The Project Gutenberg EBook of Continental Monthly, Vol. I. February,
1862, No. II., by Various

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Title: Continental Monthly, Vol. I. February, 1862, No. II.
       Devoted To Literature And National Policy

Author: Various

Release Date: October 5, 2004 [EBook #13634]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Joshua Hutchinson, Josephine Paolucci, the PG Online
Distributed Proofreading Team, and Cornell University

[pg 113]





Can this great republic of our forefathers exist with slavery in it?

Whether we like or dislike the question, it must be answered. As the war stands, we have gone too far to retreat. It clamors for a brave and manly solution. Let us see if we can, laying aside all prejudices, all dislikes whatever, discover an honest course, simply with a view to preserve the Union and insure its future prosperity. Let us avoid all foregone conclusions, all extraneous issues, adhering strictly to the one great need of the hour—how to conquer the foe, reëstablish the Union, and do this in a manner most consonant with our future national prosperity.

It is manifest enough that in a continent destined at no distant day to contain its hundred millions, the question whether these shall form one great nation or a collection of smaller states is one of fearful importance. He who belongs to a great nation is thereby great of himself. He has the right to be proud, and will work out his life more proudly and vigorously and freely than the dweller in a corner-country. Do those men ever reflect, who talk so glibly of this government as too large, and as one which must inevitably be sundered, to what a degradation they calmly look forward! No; Union,—come what may,—now and ever. Greatness is to every brave man a necessity. Out on the craven and base-hearted who aspire to being less than the co-rulers of a continent. See how vile and mean are those men who in the South have lost all national pride in a small-minded provincial attachment to a State, who love their local county better still, and concentrate their real political interests in the feudal government of a plantation. Shall we be as such,—we, the men who hold the destinies of a hemisphere within our grasp? Never,—God help us,—never!

On the basis of free labor we are pressing onward over the mighty West. Two great questions now require grappling with. The one is, whether slavery shall henceforth be tolerated; the other, whether we shall strengthen this great government of the Union so as to preserve it in future from the criminal intrigues of would-be seceding, ambitious men of no principle. Now is the time to decide.

We must not be blind to a great opportunity which may be lost, of forever quelling a foul nuisance which would, if neglected now, live forever. Do we not see, feel, and understand what sort of white men are developed by slavery, [pg 114] and do we intend to keep up such a race among us? Do we want all this work to do over again every ten or five years or all the time? For a quarter of a century, slavery and nothing else has kept us in a growing fever, and now that it has reached a crisis the question is whether we shall calm down the patient with cool rose-water. In the crisis comes a physician who knows the constitution of his patient, and proposes searching remedies and a thorough cure,—and, lo! the old nurse cries out that he is interfering and acting unwisely, though he is quite as willing to adopt her cooling present solace as she.

If we had walked over the war-course last spring without opposition,—if we had conquered the South, would we have put an end to this trouble? Does any one believe that we would? This is not now a question of the right to hold slaves, or the wrong of so doing. All of that old abolition jargon went out and died with the present aspect of the war. So far as nine-tenths of the North ever cared, or do now care, slaves might have hoed away down in Dixie, until supplanted, as they have been in the North, by the irrepressible advance of manufactures and small farms, or by free labor. 'Keep your slaves and hold your tongues,' was, and would be now, our utterance. But they would not hold their tongues. It was 'rule or ruin' with them. And if, as it seems, a man can not hold slaves without being arrogant and unjust to others, we must take his slaves away.

And why is not this the proper time to urge emancipation? Divested of all deceitful and evasive turns, the question reduces itself to this,—are we to definitely conquer the enemy once and for all, the great enemy Oligarchy, by taking out its very heart? or are we to keep up this strife with slaveholders forever? It is a great and hard thing to do, this crushing the difficulty, but we must either do it or be done for. In a few months 'the tax-gatherer will be around.' If anybody has read the report of the Secretary of the Treasury without a grave sensation, he is very fortunate. How would such reports please us annually for many years? So long as there exists in the Union a body of men disowning allegiance to it, puffed up in pride, loathing and scorning the name of free labor, especially as the ally of capital, just so long will the tax-gatherer be around,—and with a larger bill than ever.

To such an extent is this arrogance carried of urging utter silence at present on the subject of slavery, that one might almost question whether the right of free speech or thought is to be left at all, save to those who have determined on a certain course of conduct. When it is remembered that those who wish to definitely conclude this great national trouble are in the great majority, we stand amazed at the presumption which forbids them to utter a word. One may almost distrust his senses to hear it so brazenly urged that because he happens to think that our fighting and victories may go hand in hand with a measure which is to prevent future war, he is 'opposed to the Administration,' is 'a selfish traitor thinking of nothing but the Nigger,' and altogether a stumbling-block and an untimely meddler. If he protest that he cares no more for the welfare of the Negro than for that of the man in the moon, he is still reviled as an 'abolitionist.' If he insist that emancipation will end the war, his 'conservative' foe becomes pathetic over his indifference as to what is to become of the four millions of 'poor blacks.' And, in short, when he urges the great question whether this country is to tolerate slavery or no, he is met with trivial fribbling side-issues, every one of which should vanish like foam before the determined will and onward march of a great, free people.

Now let every friend of the Union boldly assume that so far as the settlement of this question is concerned he does not care one straw for the Negro. Leave the Negro out altogether. Let him sink or swim, so far as this difficulty goes. Men have tried for thirty years [pg 115] to appeal to humanity, without success, for the Negro, and now let us try some other expedient. Let us regard him not as a man and a brother, but as 'a miserable nigger,' if you please, and a nuisance. But whatever he be, if the effect of owning such creatures is to make the owner an intolerable fellow, seditious and insolent, it becomes pretty clear that such ownership should be put an end to. If Mr. Smith can not have a horse without riding over his neighbor, it is quite time that Smith were unhorsed, no matter how honestly he may have acquired the animal. And if the Smiths, father and sons, threaten to keep their horse in spite of law,—nay, and breed up a race of horses from him, whereon to roughride everybody who goes afoot,—then it becomes still more imperative that the Smith family cease cavaliering it altogether.

There is yet another point which the stanch Union-lover must keep in view. In pushing on the war with heart and soul, we inevitably render slaveholding at any rate a most precarious institution, and one likely to be broken up altogether. Seeing this, many unreflectingly ask, 'Why then meddle with it?' But it must be considered in some way, and provided for as the war advances, or we shall find ourselves in such an imbroglio as history never saw the like of. He who cuts down a tree must take forethought how it may fall, or he will perchance find himself crushed. He who in a tremendous conflagration would blow up a block of houses with powder, must, even amid the riot and roar, so manage the explosion that lives be not wantonly lost. We must clear the chips away as our work advances. The matter in hand is the war—if you choose, nothing but the war. But pushing on singly and simply at the war implies some wisdom and a certain regard to the future and to consequences. The mere abolitionist of the old school, who regards the Constitution as a league with death and a covenant with hell, may, if he pleases, see in the war only an opportunity to wreak vengeance on the South and free the black. But the 'emancipationist' sees this in a very different light. He sees that we are not fighting for the Negro, or out of hatred to anybody. He knows that we are fighting to restore the Union, and that this is the first great thought, to be carried out at all hazards. But he feels that this carrying out involves some action at the same time on the great trouble which first caused the war, and which, if neglected, will prolong the war forever. He feels that the future of the greatest republic in existence depends on settling this question now and forever, and that if it be left to the chances of war to settle itself, there is imminent danger that even a victory may not prevent a disrupture of the Union. For, disguise it as we may, there is a vast and uncontrollable body at the North who hate slavery, and pity the black, and these men will not be silent or inactive. Did the election of Abraham Lincoln involve nothing of this? We know that it did. Will this 'extreme left,' this radical party, keep quiet and do nothing? Why they are the most fiercely active men on our continent. Let him who would prevent this battle degenerating into a furious strife between radical abolition and its opponents weigh this matter well. There are fearful elements at work, which may be neutralized, if we who fight for the Union will be wise betimes, and remove the bone of contention.

Above all, let every man bear in mind that, even as the war stands, something must be done to regulate and settle the Negro question. After what has been already effected in the border States and South Carolina, it would be impossible to leave the Negro and his owner in such an undefined relation as now exists. And yet this very fact—one of the strongest which can be alleged to prove the necessity of legislation and order—is cited to prove that the matter will settle itself. Take, for instance, the following from the correspondence of a daily cotemporary:—

THE ARMY SPOILING THE SLAVES.—Whatever may be the policy of the government in regard to the status of the slaves, one thing is [pg 116] certain, that wherever our army goes, it will most effectually spoil all the slaves and render them worthless to their masters. This will be the necessary result, and we think it perfectly useless to disturb the administration and distract the minds of the people with the everlasting discussion of this topic. Soon our army will be in Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana, and the soldiers will carry with their successful arms an element of liberty that will infuse itself into every slave in those States. The only hope for the South, if, indeed, it has not passed away, is to throw down their arms and submit unconditionally to the government.

That is to say, we are to free the slave, only we must not say so! Rather than take a bold, manly stand, avow what we are actually doing, and adopt a measure which would at once conciliate and harmonize the whole North, we are to suffer a tremendous disorder to spring up and make mischief without end! Can we never get over this silly dread of worn-out political abuse and grapple fairly with the truth? Are we really so much afraid of being falsely called abolitionists and negro-lovers that we can not act and think like men! Here we are frightened at names, dilly-dallying and quarreling over idle words, when a tremendous crisis calls for acts. But this can not last forever. Something must be done right speedily for the myriad of blacks whom we shall soon have on our hands. Barracooning contrabands by thousands may do for the present, but how as to the morrow? Let it be repeated again and again, that they who argue against touching the Negro question at present are putting off from day to day an evil which becomes terrible as it is delayed. It can not be let alone. Already those in power at Washington are terrified at its extent, but fear to act, owing to 'abolition,' while all the time the foul old political ties and intrigues are gathering closely about. Let us cut the knot betimes, act bravely and manfully, and settle the difficulty ere it settles us. Something must be done, and that right early.

But what is to become of the freed blacks? Again and again does this preposterous bugbear rise up to prove, by the terror which it excites, the vast ignorance of the subject which prevails in this country, and the small amount of deliberate reasoning generally bestowed on matters of the most vital importance. Reader, if you would answer it, go to facts. You have probably all your life accepted as true the statement that the black when free promptly becomes an idle, worthless vagabond. You have believed that a majority of the free blacks in the North are good for nothing. Now I tell you calmly and deliberately, and challenging inquiry, that this is not true. Admitting that about one-fifth of them are so, you have but a weak argument. As for the forlorn, unacclimated exiles in Canada, where there is no demand for the labor which they are peculiarly fit to render, they are not a case in point. The black servants, cooks, barbers, white-washers, carpet-beaters and grooms of Baltimore and Philadelphia, which form the four-fifths majority of free blacks in those cities, are not idle vagabonds. Above all, reader, I beg of you to read the dispassionate and calmly written Cotton Kingdom of Frederick Law Olmstead, recently published by Mason Brothers, of New York. You will there find the fact set forth by closest observation that the negroes in part are indeed lazy vagabonds, but that the majority, when allowed to work for themselves, and when free, do work, and that right steadily. In the Virginia tobacco factories slaves can earn on an average as much money for themselves, in the 'over hours' allowed them, as the manufacturer pays their owner for their services during the day. There are cases in which slaves, hired for one hundred dollars a year, have made for themselves three hundred.1

But the vagabond surplus,—the minority? Is it possible that with Union [pg 117] or disunion before us we can hesitate as to taking on this incumbrance? In a hard-working land vagabonds must die off,—'tis a hard case, but the emergency for the white men of this and a coming age is much harder. After all, there are only some fifteen hundred or two thousand lazy free negroes in New York city,—the climate, we are told, is too severe for them,—and this among well-nigh a million of inhabitants. We think it would be possible to find one single alderman in that city who has wasted as much capital, and injured the commonwealth quite as much, in one year, as all the negroes there put together, during the same time. It would be absurd to imagine that the emancipation of every negro in America to-morrow would add one million idlers and vagabonds to our population. But what if it did? Would their destiny or injury to us be of such tremendous importance that we need for it peril our welfare as a nation? The standing armies of Germany absorb about one-fifth of the entire capital of the land. Better one million of negative negroes than a million of positive soldiers!

There was never yet in history a time when such a glorious future offered itself to a nation as that which is now within our grasp. In its greatness and splendor it is beyond all description. The great problem of Republicanism—the question of human progress—has reached its last trial. If we keep this mighty nation one and inseparable, we shall have answered it forever; if not, why then those who revile man as vile and irreclaimably degraded may raise their pæans of triumph; the black spectres of antique tyrants may clap their hands gleefully in the land of accursed shadows, and hell hold high carnival, for, verily, it would seem as if they had triumphed, and that hope were a lie.

But who are they who dare accuse us of wishing to weaken the administration and impede its course? Bring the question to light! If there be one thing more than another which those who demand emancipation desire, it is that the central government should be strengthened—aye, strengthened as it has never been before; so that, in future, there can be no return of secession. We have never been a republic—only an aggregate of smaller republics. If we had been one, the first movement toward disunion would have hurled the traitors urging it to the dust. Aye, strengthen the government; and let its first manifestation of strength and will be the settling of the negro question. Give the administration as full power as you please—the more the better; it is only conferring strength on the people. There is no danger that the men of the North will ever lose a shadow of individual rights. They are too powerful.

And now let the freemen of America speak, and the work will be done. A great day is at hand; hasten it. The hour which sees this Union re-united will witness the most glorious triumph of humanity,—the greatest step towards realizing the social aim of Christianity, and of Him who died for all,—the recognition of the rights of every one. Onward!

[pg 118]



My last speculation had proved a failure. I was left with a stock of fifty impracticable washing-machines on my hands, and a cash capital of forty-four cents. With the furniture of my room, these constituted my total assets. I had an unsettled account of forty dollars with Messrs. Roller & Ems, printers, for washing-machine circulars, cards, etc.; and—

Rap, rap, rap!

[Enter boy.]

'Mr. Peck says as how you'll please call around to his office and settle up this afternoon, sure.'

[Exit boy.]

New York, Nov. 30, 1859.



To Rent of Room to date ... $9.00

Rec'd Pay't,

I came to the emphatic conclusion that I was 'hard up.'

I kept bachelor's hall in Franklin Street, in apartments not altogether sumptuous, yet sufficiently so for my purposes,—to wit, to sit in and to sleep in; and inasmuch as I took my meals amid the gilded splendors of the big saloon on the corner of Broadway, I was not disposed to reproach myself with squalor. Yet the articles of furniture in my room were so far removed, separately or in the aggregate, from anything like the superfluous, that when I calmly deliberated what to part with, there was nothing which struck me as a luxury or a comfort as distinct from a necessary of life. I took a second mental inventory: two common chairs, a table, a mirror, a rocking-chair, a bed, a lounge, and a single picture on the wall.

I declare, thought I, here's nothing to spare.

But things were getting to a crisis. I must 'make a raise,' somehow. Borrow? Ah, certainly—where was the benevolent moneyed individual? My credit had gone with my cash; both were sunk in the washing-machines.

I lighted my pipe, and surveyed my household goods once more.

There was the picture: couldn't I do without that?

Possibly. But that picture I had had—let me see—fifteen, yes, sixteen years. That picture was a third prize for excellence in declamation, presented me at the school exhibition in —— Street, when I was twelve years old. That was in 1843, and here, on the first of December, 1859, I sat deliberately meditating its sale for paltry bread and butter!

No, no; I'd go hungry a little longer, before I'd part with that old relic—remembrancer of the proudest day of my life. What a pity I hadn't permitted that day to give a direction to my life, instead of turning my attention to the paltry expedients for money-making followed by the common herd! I might have been an accomplished orator by this time, capable of drawing crowds and pocketing a thousand a month, or so. But my tastes had run in other channels since the day when I took that prize.

Still, when I thought of it deliberately, I made bold to believe there was that yet in me which could meet the expectant eyes of audiences nor quail before them.

A thought struck me! Was not here an 'opening' for an enterprising young man? Was not the lecture-season at hand? Did not lecturers get from ten to two hundred dollars per night? Couldn't I talk off a lecture with the best of them, perhaps? Well, perhaps I could, and perhaps not, but if I wouldn't try it on, I hoped I might be blessed—that—was all.

I thought proper, after having reached this conclusion, to calculate my wealth in the way of preliminary requisites to success. [pg 119] By preliminary requisites to success, I mean those which lead to the securing of invitations to lecture. I flattered myself that all matters consequent to this point in my career would very readily turn themselves to my advantage. The preliminary requisites were as follows:—

1. Notoriety. I could boast of nothing in this line. I had no reputation whatever. I had never written a line for publication.

When I had satisfied myself that I lacked this grand requisite, I turned my attention to the subject again only to find that No. 1 was quite alone in its glory. It was the Alpha and Omega of the preliminary requisites. I should never be able to get a solitary invitation.

Here I was for a moment disheartened; but, persevering in my newly-assumed part of literary philosopher, I proceeded to the consideration of the consequent requisites:—

1. Literary ability. To say the truth, my literary abilities had hitherto been kept in the background. I was glad they were now going to come forward. For present purposes, it was sufficient that the Astor Library was handy, and that I could string words together respectably.

2. Oratorical ability. As already indicated, I was conscious of no mean alloy of the Demosthenic gold tempering the baser metal of my general composition. My voice was deep and strong.

3. Facial brass. I felt brazen enough to set up a bell-foundery on my personal curve. My cheeks were of that metalline description that never knew a blush, before an audience of one or many.

4. Personal appearance. I consulted my mirror on that point. It showed me a young man of only twenty-eight, and tall and shapely proportions; a well-dressed young man, with light-colored hair, prominent nose, and heavy red beard and moustache. I twisted the latter institution undecidedly, and ventured the belief that by shaving myself clean and bridging my nose with a pair of black-bowed spectacles I could pass muster.

The result total was satisfactory. I resolved to disregard the preliminary respecting invitations, and to make a modest effort of my own to secure an audience, by going into the country, and advertising myself in proper form. I commenced the work of writing a lecture forthwith; and in a few days I had ready what I deemed a rather superior production.


I gave up my lodgings in town, sold all my salable possessions, settled up with my landlord, paid my printers in the usual way (i.e., with promises), and, supplied with a satchel-full of hand-bills (from a rival establishment), started for the country. My ticket was for Sidon—a place I knew nothing whatever about; the only circumstance of a positive character connected with it was, that it was the farthest point from New York which I could reach by the Rattle and Smash Railroad for the net amount of funds in my pocket. I stepped into the streets of Sidon with a light heart, and looked out on the scene of my contemplated triumph. I made up my mind at once that if ancient Sidon was no more of a place than modern Sidon, it couldn't lay claim to being much of a town. The houses, including shops and stores, would not exceed one hundred. I walked to the tavern, and delivered my satchel to the custody of a rough-looking animal, whom I subsequently found to be landlord, hostler, bar-tender, table-waiter, and general manager-at-all-work. He was a very uninviting subject; but, being myself courteously inclined, and having also a brisk eye to business, I inquired if there was a public hall or lecture-room in the place.

'I've got a dance-hall up-stairs. Be you a showman?'

I said I was a lecturer by profession, and asked if churches were ever used for such purposes in Sidon.

'Never heard of any. 'Ain't got no church. Be you goin' to lecter?'

I replied that I thought some of it, and inquired if it was common to use his hall for lectures.

'Wal, Sidon ain't much of a place for [pg 120] shows anyhow. When they is any, I git 'em in, if they ain't got no tent o' their own.'

I would look at the hall.

We went up a rickety stairway, into a dingy room. The plaster had fallen from the ceiling in several places, and the room had a mouldy smell. There was a platform at one end, where the musicians sat when saltatory fêtes were held, and on this I mounted to 'take a view.' I didn't feel called upon to admire the hall in audible terms; but as I stood there an inspiring scene arose before my mental vision—a scene of up-turned faces, each representing the sum of fifteen cents, that being the regular swindle for getting into shows round here, the landlord said. I struck a bargain for the hall, at once—a bargain by which I was to have it for two dollars if I didn't do very well, or five dollars if I had a regular big crowd; bill-stickers and doorkeeper included, free.

In the evening, I went to the village post-office, which was merely a corner of the village store, and inquired if there was a letter there for Professor Green D. Brown. I knew very well there was not, of course, but I had the not unexpected pleasure of seeing the postmaster's eyes dilate inquiringly, so that I felt called upon to say:—

'I am a stranger, sir, in Sidon, at present, but I hope to enjoy the honor of making the acquaintance of a large number of your intelligent citizens during my brief stay with you. I propose lecturing in this village to-morrow evening, on a historical, or perhaps I should say biographical, subject.'

The postmaster, who appeared like an intelligent gentleman, said he was glad to see me, and glad to hear I was going to lecture; and he shook hands with me cordially. The store contained about half the adult population of the village, lounging about the warm stove, talking and dozing; and the postmaster introduced me to Squire Johnson, and Dr. Tomson, and Mr. Dickson, and Mr. Dobson and Mr. Potkins, who, five, constituted the upper ten of Sidon. With these gentlemen I held a very entertaining conversation, during which I remember I was struck with the extreme deference paid to my opinion, and the extreme contempt manifested for the opinions of each other. They all agreed, however, that my visit would be likely to prove of the greatest importance to Sidon in a literary and educational point of view.

I returned to the hotel, and retired with heart elate.

In the morning, it was with emotions of a peculiarly pleasurable nature that I observed, profusely plastered on posts and fences, the announcement, in goodly capitals:—









The critical reader may experience a desire to propound to me a question:—'Professor of what?'

Now I profess honesty, as an abstract principle—being, perhaps the conscientious reader will think, more of a professor [pg 121] than a practicer herein. But the truth is, in the present mendicant state of the word 'Professor,' I conceived I had a perfect right and title to it, by virtue of my poverty, and so appropriated it for the behoof and advantage of Number One. Which explanation, it is hoped, will do.

Friday passed in cultivating still farther the acquaintance of the previous evening, and receiving the most cordial assurances of interest on their part in my visit and its object. I was candidly (and I thought kindly) informed by my good friends, not to get my expectations too high, as a very large house could scarcely, they feared, be expected; but I deemed an audience of even no more than fifty or seventy-five a fair beginning,—a very fair beginning,—and had no fears.

I retired to my room at five o'clock, and remained locked in, with my lecture before me, oblivious of all external affairs, until a few minutes past seven, when I concluded my audience had gathered. I then smoothed my hair, adjusted my spectacles, took my MS. in my hand, and proceeded to the lecture-room. The doorkeeper was fast asleep, and the long wicks of the tallow candles were flaring wildly and dimly on a scene of emptiness. Not an auditor was present!

I descended to the bar-room. It was full of loungers, smoking, dozing, and drinking. Without entering, I hastened across the way to the post-office. There was the courteous postmaster, engaged in a sleepy talk with Squire Johnson and Dr. Tomson and Mr. Dickson and Mr. Dobson and Mr. Potkins, who sat precisely as they sat the evening previous.

I returned to the hotel and called out the landlord.

'There's no audience, I perceive,' said I.

'Wal, I didn't cal'late much of anybody'd go in. They gen'ally go over to Tyre when they want shows. Tyre's quite a town. You'd do better over thar; 's on'y seven mile over to Tyre.'

I explained my position to the landlord at once, and threw myself on his mercy. I told him I had no money, but would walk over to Tyre that very evening, rather than task his hospitality longer. After making a little money in Tyre, I would return to Sidon and settle his little bill. To which the generous-hearted fellow responded,—

'Yas, I think likely; but ye see I'm some on gettin' my pay outen these show chaps that go round. I reckon that thar satchel o' yourn's got the wuth o' my bill in it. I'll hold on to it till ye git back, ye know.'

Remonstrance was in vain. I found that my sharp landlord had entered my room while I was looking in at the post-office door, and had taken my carpet-bag, with everything I had, even my overcoat, and stowed all in a cupboard under the bar, under lock and key. He would not so much as allow me a clean shirt; and I started for Tyre, wishing from the bottom of my heart that the inhuman landlord might engage in a washing-machine speculation, and involve with himself Mr. Potkins and Mr. Dobson and Mr. Dickson and Dr. Tomson and Squire Johnson.

I reached Tyre at ten o'clock, and found that I had not been deceived respecting its size. It was quite a large Tillage, with well laid out streets, handsome residences, two large hotels, and three or four churches. I took this inventory of the principal objects in Tyre with considerable more anxiety than I had ever supposed it possible for me to entertain concerning any country town in Christendom. I was interested in the prosperity of Tyre. I sincerely hoped that the hard times had not entered its quiet and beautiful streets. The streets certainly were both quiet and beautiful, as I looked upon them in the clear moonlight of ten o'clock at night, an hour when honest people in the country are, for the most part, asleep. I entered the handsomest of the hotels, and registered my name in a bran-new book on the clerk's counter.

Name. Residence. Destination.
Prof. D.G. Brown, N.Y. City. Lecture in Tyre.

'Beautiful evening, sir,' said the clerk, who was also the landlord, but not also the bar-tender and the hostler.

[pg 122]

'You are right, sir,' said I; 'it is truly a lovely evening. I have rarely seen moonlight so beautiful. Indeed, such were the beauties of the evening, that I have positively been tempted so far as to walk over here from Sidon this evening, leaving my baggage to follow me in the morning.'

'Ah! lectured in Sidon perhaps?'

'Well, ah! um! yes; that is, I intend to do so, but unforeseen circumstances induced me to relinquish that purpose. Sidon is very small.'

'Yes, sir, small place. Never heard of a lecture, or any kind of a performance, there before. Fact is, they're a hard set over to Sidon, and the place is better known by the name of Sodom around here.'

I felt much encouraged at hearing this; for, to tell the truth, my cogitations as I tramped over the rough road between Tyre and Sidon had been anything but cheerful. This was a realization of my fond dreams of a ten-to-fifty-dollars-a-night lecture tour, such as I had hardly anticipated, and as I drew nigh unto Tyre I had been thinking whether I had not better try to get a situation as a farm-hand or dry-goods clerk before my troubles should have crushed me and driven me to suicide.

But the landlord cheered me. Tyre was a model town. Tyre had a newspaper, and Tyre patronized literary entertainments. There was a good hall in Tyre, and the Tyrians had filled it to overflowing last winter when Chapin spoke there. I went to bed under the benignant influence of my cheerful host, and dreamed of lecturing to an audience of many thousands in a hall a trifle larger than the Academy of Music, and with every nook and corner crowded with enthusiastic listeners, whose joy culminated with my peroration into such a tumult of delight that they rushed upon the stage and hoisted me on their shoulders amid cheers so boisterous that they awoke me. I found I had left my bed and mounted into a window, with the intention, doubtless, of stepping into the street and concluding my career at once, lest an anti-climax should be my fate.

In the morning, I called on the editor of the newspaper.

I desire to recommend my reader to subscribe at once to The Tyre Times, and thus aid to sustain the paper of a gentleman and a scholar, who was, as editors usually are, a plain-spoken, sensible man, conscious of the presence of talent in his sanctum, by 'sympathetic attraction.' The editor of the Times looked into the circumstances of my case with an experienced and kindly eye, and then said to me,—

'My dear sir, you can not succeed here with a lecture. We have had several in our village within a few years, but never one which 'paid,' unless it was one on phrenology, or physiology, or psychology, and plentifully spiced with humor of the coarsest sort. If you want to make money in Tyre, you'll take my advice and get a two-headed calf, a learned pig, or a band of nigger minstrels. Any of these things will answer your purpose, if you want money; but if you have ambition to gratify, if you want to lecture for the sake of lecturing, that's a different thing. At all events, you shall have my good wishes, and I'll do all I can to get you a house. But it won't pay.'

The reader knows that if I had not been a fool I would have understood and heeded a statement so plain as this, made by an editor. But then, if I hadn't been a fool, you know I should never have started on a lecture tour at all. So, being a fool, I had bills printed, hired a hall (at ten dollars), and was duly announced to lecture in Tyre on the coming Tuesday evening. The same afternoon, The Tyre Times appeared, and its editorial column contained the following notice, which I read with great interest, it being my first appearance in any periodical:—

LECTURE AT GRECIAN HALL.—We take pleasure in announcing that Prof. GREEN D. BROWN, of New York city, will favor the citizens of Tyre with a lecture on Tuesday evening [pg 123] next. From what we know of the gentleman, we are satisfied our citizens will not regret attending the lecture. We trust he may not be met with an audience so small as lectures have heretofore drawn out in Tyre. The apathy of our citizens in these matters, we have before stated, is disgraceful. Let there be a good turn-out.

But there was not a good turn-out. The receipts were two dollars and a half. The proprietor of the hall consented to take the receipts for his pay, and I returned to the hotel to muse over my unhappy fortunes.

The landlord took occasion the next morning, as I was passing out of the house, to remind me that my baggage had not arrived.

'No,' said I, 'but, as I soon leave Tyre, I shan't need it.'

The landlord looked at my dirty collar and bosom as if he doubted either my sanity or my decency, and remarked that perhaps I knew his rules compelled him to present the bills of strangers semi-weekly.

'O, yes! that's all right,' said I; 'I'll see you when I come back from the printing-office.'

I noticed that mine host stood watching to see that I entered the printing-office safely.

The editor remarked, after I had told him all the experience narrated here, commencing with the washing-machines,—

'It's a bad case, and I don't admire your experience at all, to speak candidly; but I have a little idea of my own to work out, and you can help me do it, perhaps. In the first place, though, I want to know whether you intend to continue in this line of business,—eh?'

'Not I,' was my fervent reply; 'I'm satisfied to leave lecturing to those who have a reputation, and to earn my bread and butter in a, for me, more legitimate way. But what is it you have in view?'

'Come and see me this evening, when I am at leisure, and I'll tell you what my enterprise is. Meantime, will you sell me your lecture? I can't afford to pay much for it, but I'll agree to settle your hotel bill if you'll part with it. Not that I think it's worth it, but you need to be helped somehow right away.'

I jumped at the chance, and thanked my friend heartily. He asked if I would please go and send the landlord to him, and I retired to perform that errand.

I was punctual to my appointment in the evening, and listened to the project my editorial angel had in view; a plan by which he proposed to inflict a lesson on the negligent Tyrians, and at the same time replenish my purse. He explained to me the part I was to perform in this enterprise, and I found I could enter heartily into the spirit of it. We shook hands in the best of humors, and parted that evening understanding each other perfectly.


The next day, the entire jobbing facilities of the Times office were brought into requisition, and toward evening a mammoth bill was posted around the town, which read as follows:—




The most wonderful entertainment, whether


ever brought before the astonished Public's visual organs!!!

The avant courier of this monster troupe has the honor of announcing to the ladies and gentlemen of Tyre, that Mons. BELITZ, accompanied by his entire retinue of attachés and supes, Female Dancers and Dogs, Operatic Vocalists and Vixens, Royal Musicians and Monsters, Bengal [pg 124] Tigers and Time-servers, Magicians and Madmen, Flying Birds, Swimming Fishes, Walking Cats and Dogs, Crawling Reptiles, and various other extraordinary and impossible arrangements, the like of which never before appeared in Bog county, until the arrival of the present occasion, to wit:—


On Saturday Evening, December 22, 1859.



the celebrated Magician from Egypt, performer general to


and professor of the Black Art to all the crowned heads of the Cannibal Islands and Ham Sandwichlands!!


the charming Danseuse from all the city theatres, but most recently from the Imperial Deutscher Yolks Garten, Liverpool, Ireland!


the celebrated Demagogue and Snake eater, whose unrivaled feat with a living Gryllus, whose fangs have never been extracted, fills thousands with awe and delight!


the mirth-splitting and side-provoking delineator of down-east horse peculiarities. Must be appreciated to be seen.


the distinguished Vocalist from Italy, whose lower notes, as recently discovered by the celebrated examination before the Council of Trent, reach so far below the epigastrium as to be utterly inaudible to the most acute auricular organs!


the never-to-be-sufficiently-equaled delineators of Ethiopian eccentricities, whose performances during the winter of 1869 delighted overflowing houses in the Cape Cod Lunatic Asylum for 4000 consecutive nights.


the justly-celebrated trumpeter from the splendid orchestral band attached to Marnum's Buseum, New York city, for the past fifty years!


the graceful and efficient master of ceremonies, whose efforts have been awarded by the entire available population of Blackwell's Island, in a series of resolutions of the most pathetic description!

Owing to future engagements, the stay of this troupe in Tyre will be


when the Programme will be specified in small bills of the evening.

Admittance, 25 cents. Doors open at 6; Master of Ceremonies makes his bow at 7.


Against the advice of the editor of the Times, I dispatched an agent over to Sidon, with a supply of blanked bills from the same form, with instructions to arrange for a similar 'sell' on the following Monday evening in that charming village.

I was sufficiently busy during the interval that lay between this and Saturday evening in rehearsing my part for the entertainment thus advertised. I was not entirely free from doubts of the success of a 'take-in' so palpable and ridiculous, and even if a house-full of numbsculls should gather, I deemed the experiment a dangerous one for me; but my editorial friend took the risk, remarking that he had calculated his chances, and [pg 125] knew what he was about. Nevertheless, it was not without some trepidation that I entered Grecian Hall by the private door, at a little before seven o'clock, and laid my hat behind the temporary curtain that had been erected for the accommodation of the great Humbug Troupe. Applying my eye to a chink in the cloth, I perceived that the hall was crowded to suffocation. My editorial friend sat in a prominent position near the stage, and the audience was manifesting those signs of impatience which seem to be equally orthodox among the news-boys in the pit of the old Bowery Theatre and the coarse young rustics who go to 'shows' in the back villages of ruraldom. I tinkled a bell. The uproar grew quiet. I drew aside my curtain, and made my bow, amid the silent wonderment of my auditors. Then I said:—

'Ladies and gentlemen: You now see before you the redoubtable Fantadimo Fantodimus, master of ceremonies for the Great Humbug Troupe. You also see before you, ladies and gentlemen, Mons. Belitz, the renowned magician, Mademoiselle Heliotrope, the graceful danseuse, Signor Strawstekowski, Herr Balamsass; and, in short, ladies and gentlemen, you see before you the sum and substance of the Great Humbug Troupe, as it exists in all its original splendor. We salute you!

'My friends, you were drawn here to-night by the extravagantly worded and outlandish representations of a poster which promised you only one single thing, namely, that you should behold a Great Traveling Humbug. Nothing could be more honest, though some things might be more straightforward. Force of circumstances compels me this evening to represent the Great Traveling Humbug you came to see. I am this evening the greatest of humbugs. I travel. A week ago, I traveled into this village with the laudable intention of giving you a sensible lecture on EURIPIDES, a historical personage of whom some of you may have heard. I traveled over to this hall on the evening of my lecture, and spoke to a beggarly array of empty seats. To-morrow morning, I intend to travel to church in your beautiful village, repent of my sins, and on Monday travel home to New York, where I shall at once take measures to rid myself of the title I wear this evening, by earning my bread in the old-fashioned way, by the sweat of my brow.

'Humbug, ladies and gentlemen, is a pill not at all disagreeable to take, when gilded carefully. My pill has been prepared by the hand of a novice, and you have swallowed it with your eyes open. May it benefit you!'

Symptoms of a disturbance immediately became manifest, when my editorial angel arose and spread his wings over the troubled audience.

'People of Tyre,' said he, 'the exhibition of the Great Humbug Troupe is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting and least objectionable that ever appeared in our village. It remains for us to make it instructive. I propose that we give three cheers for our brave entertainer,—hip, hip,


Like young thunder the last cheer arose; and my bacon was saved!

The receipts placed me in possession of fifty dollars, after defraying all expenses in Tyre and settling my bill and recovering my satchel from Sidon—which I did by a messenger the same evening after the lecture. My editorial friend advised me now to stop at Sidon only long enough to take the first train home, leaving the Sidonites to discover the sell without expense. But I scouted the idea. I was flushed with the success of the previous evening (a success mainly due, as the sagacious reader knows, to the editor of the Times and his corps of confidants distributed at intervals over the hall); I was chagrined at the turn my original enterprise had taken, but determined to carry it out 'to the death;' and, more than all, I was burning to revenge myself on the perfidious postmaster of Sidon, and Dr. Tomson and Squire Johnson and Mr. Dickson and Mr. Dobson and Mr. Potkins. And on Monday evening I faced an audience in Jones's [pg 126] Hall, Sidon, prominent among whom I noticed, the principal objects of my ire.


No time for contemplation was left on my hands, however; for as soon as I had articulated the words 'ladies and gentlemen,' an offensive missile hit me between my eyes, exploded, and deluged me with an odor in comparison with which that of Limberger cheese would be mere geranium. I was betrayed. Tyre had sent over a detachment of spies, and the Sidonites were armed. I briskly dodged several companion eggs whose foulness was permitted to adorn the walls of Jones's Hall behind me, and then undertook to escape. Simultaneously with the explosion of the first shot, a howl had burst from the audience, which boded no good for any prospects of comfort and profit I might entertain. Escaping on my part became no joke; and I beg the reader to believe that my chagrin was quite overwhelmed in the all-impressive desire to protect myself from total annihilation. In my subsequent gratitude at having accomplished this feat, I overlooked the little discomforts of an eye in mourning, a broken finger, and garments perfumed throughout in defiance of la mode.

At present, I am engaged in a business which I deem far more respectable and lucrative than lecturing, to wit, explaining the merits and advantages of a patent needle-threader to interested crowds on Broadway. Here my oratorical abilities are advantageously displayed, my audiences are attentive, and my profits are good.

[Exit Brown]


'Trust in the Lord, and keep your powder dry!'
  So cried stout OLIVER in the storm, before
  That redder rain on bloody Marston Moor,
Which whelmed the flower of English chivalry.
Repeat the watchword when the sullen sky
  Stoops with its weight of terror, while the roar
  Of the far thunder deepens, and no more
God's gracious sunshine greets the lifted eye!
Not Faith alone, but Faith with Action armed,
  Shall win the battle, when the anointed host
Wars with the alien armies, and, unharmed,
  Snatch victory from a field where all seemed lost.
Front Death and Danger with a level eye;
Trust in the Lord, and keep your powder dry!

[pg 127]


It is a curious test of national character to compare the prevalent impressions of one country in regard to another whereof the natural and historical description is quite diverse: and in the case of France and England, there are so many and so constantly renewed incongruities, that we must discriminate between the effect of immediate political jealousy, in such estimates, and the normal and natural bias of instinct and taste. To an American, especially, who may be supposed to occupy a comparatively disinterested position between the two, this mutual criticism is an endless source of amusement. In conversation, at the theatre, on the way from Calais or Dover to either capital, at a Paris café, or a London club-house, he hears these ebullitions of prejudice and partiality, of self-love or generous appreciation, and finds therein an endless illustration of national character as well as of human nature. But perhaps the literature of the two countries most emphatically displays their respective points of view and tone of feeling. While a popular French author sums up the elements of life in England as being la vie de famille, la politique, et les affaires,—'domestic life, politics, and business,'—he complacently infers that le fond du caractère Anglais, 'the basis of the English character,' is nothing more nor less than le manque de bonheur—'a want of anything like happiness.' An English thinker, on the other hand, finds in the very language of France the evidence of superficial emotion and unaspiring, irreverent intelligence. 'How exactly,' writes Julius Ham, 'do esprit and spirituel express what the French deem the highest glory of the human mind! A large part of their literature is mousseux; and whatever is so, soon grows flat. Our national quality is sense, which may, perhaps, betray a tendency to materialism; but which, at all events, comprehends a greater body of thought, that has settled down and become substantiated in maxims.'2 How far a Frenchman is from appreciating this distinction, as unfavorable to his own race, we can realize from the following estimate of the historical evil which an admired modern writer considers that race has suffered from the English, and from the character of the latter as recognized by another equally a favorite:—

'Iniquitous England,' writes a popular novelist, 'the vile executioner of all in which France most exulted, murdered grace in Marie Stuart, as it did inspiration in Jeanne d'Arc, and genius in Napoleon;'—'a race,' says another, 'gifted with a national feeling which well-nigh approaches superstition, yet which has chosen the whole world for its country. The gravity of these beings, accidentally brought together and isolated by mere interest, their life of mechanical activity, and of labor without relaxation as without life, all interest, yet freeze you at the same time.' 'The Englishman has made unto himself a language appropriate to his placid manners and silent habits. This language is a murmur interrupted by subdued hisses,'—'un murmure entre-coupé de sifflements doux.'

The gregarious hotel life in America commends itself to the time-saving habits of a busy race; but the love of speciality in France modifies this advantage: in our inns a stated price covers all demands except for wine; here each separate necessity is a specific charge—the sheet of writing paper, the cake of soap, and the candle figure among the innumerable items of the bill. Thus an infinite subdivision makes all business tedious, involving so many distinct processes and needless conditions; at every step we realize of how much less comparative value is time in the Old World. On the other hand, the rigid system that governs municipal life, the means adopted to render [pg 128] all public institutions both accessible and attractive, claim perpetually the gratitude of artists, students, and philosophers. A programme of exploration may be arranged at will, yielding a complete insight, and, when achieved, such has been the order, communicativeness and facility, that we have a more distinct and reliable idea of the whole circle of observation than it is possible to obtain elsewhere. We are continually reminded of Buffon's maxim: 'la genie est la patience.' A curious illustration of this systematic habit of the French occurred at Constantinople, during the Crimean war, where they immediately numbered the houses and named the streets, to the discomfiture of the passive Turks—one of whom, in his wonder at the mechanical superiority of these Frank allies, asked a soldier if the high fur cap on his head would come off. The concièrge beneath each porte cochére, the social distinction which makes each café and restaurant the nucleus of a particular class, the organized provision for all exigencies of human life in Paris, illustrate the same trait on a larger and more useful scale. If we survey the institutions and the monuments with care, and refer to their origin, associations and purposes, the historical and economical national facts are revealed with the utmost clearness and unity. The old Bastile represented, in its gloomy stolidity, the whole tragedy of the Revolution; and St. Genevieve combines the holy memories of the early church with that of the first French kings; the site of a fosse commune attests the valor of republican martyrs; the Champs Elysées are the popular earthly fields of a French paradise. One café is famed for the beauty of its mistress, another for the great chess-players who make it a resort; one is the daily rendezvous of the liberals, another of royalists, one of military men, another of artists; they flourish and fade with dynasties, and are respectively the favorites of provincials and citizens, gourmands and traders, men of letters and men of state.3 The Monte de Piété acquaints us with the vicissitudes and expedients of fortune; the Hotel Dieu is a temple of ancient charity; the Hospice des Enfants Trouvées startles us with the astounding fact that half the children born in Paris are illegitimate; and the Morgue yields no less appalling statistics of suicide. In Vernet's studio we feel the predominance of military taste and education in France; in the Ecole Polytecnique, the policy by which her youth are bred to serve their country; at the manufactories of the Gobelines and Sévres china, we perceive how naturally the mechanical genius of the race finds development in pottery and fabrics instead of ships and machines, as across the Channel and beyond the ocean; and in the self-possession, knowledge of affairs, and variety of occupation of the middle class of women, we see why they have no occasion to advocate their rights and complain of the inequality of the sexes.

All large cities furnish daily material for tragedy, and life there, keenly observed and aptly narrated, proves continually how much more strange is truth than fiction; but the impressive manners and melo-dramatic taste of the people, as well as their intricate police system, bring out more vividly these latent points of interest, as a reference to the Causes Célébres and the Memoirs of Vidocq illustrate. A friend of mine, returning from a trip to Lyons, became acquainted in the rail-car with an English gentleman, and when they reached the station, just before midnight, the two left for their hotels in the same cab. After a short drive, the vehicle suddenly came to a halt, the cabman sprang to the ground, and his passengers were left to surmise the occasion of their abrupt abandonment: presently a crowd collected, a shout was raised, and they learned that a valise had been stolen from the top of the carriage, and its owner had set off in pursuit of the thief. He ran with great swiftness, doubled corners, sprang over obstacles, and was in a fair way to distance [pg 129] his pursuer, when a soldier thrust out his foot and tripped up the fugitive, who was taken to the nearest police station. Confronted with the owner of the valise, he declared it was his own property, placed by mistake on the wrong cab. The official authorized to settle the difficulty not being present, my friend and his companion were informed they must leave the article in dispute, and the case itself, until the following morning, when a hearing would be had before one of the courts. On reaching their destination, the gentlemen parted with the understanding that they would dine together at a certain restaurant the next day. The appointed hour came, but not the Englishman; and my friend's appetite and patience were keen set, when, after an hour's delay, the truant made his appearance, looking pale, triste and exhausted. He soon explained the cause of his detention. He had gone to the police court to prove and regain his valise, and found at the bar a young man of genteel address and remarkable beauty; his costume was in the latest fashion, though somewhat soiled and torn from his fall and rough handling the previous night; but his countenance was intelligent and refined, and his bearing that of a gentleman. Upon a table lay the valise and the contents of the prisoner's pockets, among them a large penknife; he held convulsively to the rail and kept his eyes cast down; the judge had taken his seat, and a crowd of idlers and gens d'armes filled the room. The claimant immediately satisfied the court that the valise belonged to him by mentioning several articles it contained and producing the key. In the mean time the accused, earnestly watching the entrance, started and turned pale and red by turns as a beautiful girl, in the dress of a prosperous grisette, pushed her way into the crowd, stood on tiptoe, and exchanged glances with the prisoner. The latter, when asked his name, replied, 'I have brought disgrace enough upon it already,' and, seizing the penknife, thrust it into his heart, and fell dead. He was the descendant of a noble house in one of the southern provinces, and came to Paris as a medical student, and, through a devoted attachment to his mistress, whose costly tastes soon drained his purse, was induced to steal the trunks of travelers as they left the railway stations at night. In his apartment was found a large wardrobe; and a month's purloining was thus summarily expiated. Similar incidents occur elsewhere, but the details, when the scene is laid in Paris, are more picturesque and dramatic.

Two instances which I heard related will illustrate this same dramatic significance in the municipal system. After an émeute, the chef of police in a certain arrondissement, while engaged in superintending the removal of corpses from a barricade, noticed the body of a female whose delicate hands and finely-wrought robe were so alien to the scene as to excite suspicion. He ordered it to be placed in a separate apartment for examination. A more careful inspection confirmed his surmise that this was the body of no amazonian whose warlike zeal or accidental presence in such an affray could explain its discovery. There was no trace whereby the remains could be identified except a geranium leaf that was found imbedded in her long and disheveled tresses. This was given to a celebrated botanist, with orders to learn, if possible, from what plant it had been taken. The man of science visited all the houses of the neighborhood, and critically examined every specimen of the shrub he could find. At length, in the elegant library of a young abbé, he not only discovered one of the species, but, by means of a powerful microscope, detected the very branch whence the leaf had been nipped. By dexterous management the chef, thus scientifically put on the track, brought home the charge to the priest, who confessed the murder of the young lady in a fit of jealousy, and, by depositing her body, at night, amid the dead of humbler lineage, who had fallen in the revolutionary strife, thought to conceal all knowledge of his crime.

The lessee of an extensive 'hotel' had reason to believe that a child had entered [pg 130] and left the world in one of his tenants' apartments, without the cognizance of a human being except the mother; and, aware, as a landlord in Paris should be, of his responsibility to the municipal government, he communicated his suspicions to the authorities. The rooms were searched, the charge denied, and no proof elicited to warrant further action; and here the matter would have ended in any other country. But the police agent entrusted with the inquiry raked over the contents of a pigsty in the courtyard, and discovered a square inch of thin bone, which he exhibited to an anatomist, who pronounced it a fragment of a new-born infant's skull; the hogs were instantly killed, the contents of their stomachs examined, and small portions of the body found. The question then arose whether the child was born alive; pieces of the lungs were placed in a basin of water, and the fact that they floated on its surface proved, beyond a doubt, that the child had breathed; the crime of infanticide was then charged upon the unhappy mother, who, appalled by this evidence of her guilt, confessed.

In the gray of the dawn a watchful observer may behold the two extremes of Paris life ominously hinted;—a cloaked figure stealthily dropping a swathed effigy of humanity, just 'sent into this breathing world,' in the rotary cradle of the asylum for enfants trouvés, and a cart full of the corpses of the poor, driven into the yard of a hospital for dissection.

Summoned one evening at dusk to the sick chamber of a countryman, I realized the shadows of life in Paris. From the dazzling Boulevard the cab soon wound through dim thoroughfares, up a deserted acclivity, to a gloomy porch. A cold mist was falling, and I heard the bell sound through a vaulted arch with desolate echoes. When the massive door opened, a lamp suspended from a chain revealed a paved entresol and broad staircase; there was something prison-like even in the patrician dimensions of the edifice; the light nickered at every gust. Ascending, I pulled a cordon bleu, and was admitted into the apartment. It consisted of four places or rooms, the furniture of which was in the neatest French style, both of wood and tapestry; but the fireplace was narrow, and so ill-constructed that while the heat ascended the chimney the smoke entered the room. A nurse, with one of those keen, self-possessed faces and that efficient manner so often encountered in Paris, ushered me to the invalid's presence. He was a fair specimen of a philosophic bachelor inured to the life of the French metropolis; everything about him was in good taste, from the model of the lamp to the cover of the arm-chair; and yet an indescribable cheerlessness pervaded his elegant lodging. The last play of Scribe, the day's Journal des Debats, a bouquet, and a Bohemian glass, were on the marble table at his side. His languid eye brightened and his feverish hand tightened convulsively over mine; years had elapsed since he left our native town; he had drunk of the cup of pleasure, and cultivated the resources of literature and science in this their great centre; but now, in the hour of physical weakness, the yearning for domestic and home scenes filled his heart; and his mind reacted from the blandishments of a luxurious materialism and a refined egotism of life. It was like falling back upon the normal conditions of existence thus to behold the 'ills that flesh is heir to' in the midst of a city where such rich outward provision for human activity and enjoyment fills the senses. Excessive civilization has its morbid tendencies, and great refinement in one direction is paralleled by an equal degree of savagery in another. There is in absolute relation between the facilities for pleasure and the frequency of suicide. Of all places in the world, Paris is the most desolate to an invalid stranger. The custom of living there in lodgings isolates the visitor; the occupants of the dwelling are not alive to the claims of neighborhood; with his landlord he has only a business and formal connection; thus thrown upon himself, without the nerve or the spirits for external amusement, few situations are more forlorn. The Parisian French are intensely calculating [pg 131] and selfish; illness and grief are so alien to their tastes that, to the best of their ability, they ignore and abjure them. As long as health permits, out-of-door life or companionship solaces that within; the stranger may be enchanted; but when confined to his apartment and dependent on chance visitors or hireling services, he longs for a land where domestic life and household comfort are better cultivated and understood.

The stranger's funeral is peculiarly sad everywhere, but in Paris its melancholy is enhanced by the interference of foreign usages. Over the dead as well as the living the municipal authorities claim instant power, and the bereaved must submit to their time and arrangements in depositing the mortal remains of the loved in the grave. The black scarfs and chapeaux of the undertakers and their prescriptive orders were strangely dissonant to the group of Americans collected at the obsequies of a young countryman, and seemed incongruous when associated with the simple Protestant ceremonial performed in another tongue. Under the direction of those sable officials we entered the mourning coaches and followed the plumed hearse. It is an impressive custom—one of the humanities of the Catholic—to lift the hat at the sight of such a procession; such an act, performed like this by prince and beggar in the crowded street, so gay, busy, self-absorbed, bears affecting witness to the common vicissitudes and instincts of mankind. The dead leaves strewed the avenue of Pere la Chaise, and the bare trees creaked in the gale as we threaded sarcophagi, tablets, and railed cenotaphs; in the distance, smoke-canopied, stretched the vast city; around were countless effigies of the dead of every rank, from the plain slab of the undistinguished citizen to the wreathed obelisk of the hero, from the ancient monument of Abelard and Heloise to the broken turf on the new grave of poverty only designated by a wooden cross; gray clouds flitted along the zenith, and a pale streak of light defined the wide horizon; Paris with its frivolity, temples, business, pleasures, trophies and teeming life, sent up a confused and low murmur in the distance; only the wind was audible among the tombs. Never had the beautiful Church of England services appeared to me so grand and pathetic as when here read over the coffin of one who had died in exile, and with only a few of his countrymen, most of them unacquainted even with his features, to attend his burial.

However a change of government may interfere with a Parisian's freedom of speech and pen, the autocrat is yet to appear who dares place an interdict on his culinary aptitudes. The science of dining in Paris has, notwithstanding, its new mysteries; and in order to be abreast of the times, it is wise, instead of drawing on past experience, to take counsel of a friend who holds the present clue to the labyrinth of bills of fare and fair bills. The little cabinet of my favorite restaurant, sacred to the initiated, had the same marble table, cheerful outlook, pictured ceiling and breezy curtains,—the same look of elegant snugness; but, when we had seated ourselves in garrulous conclave over the carte, it was to the member of our party whose knowledge was of the latest acquisition that we submitted the choice of a repast; and as he discoursed of the mysterious excellences of cotelletes a la Victoria, rissoles a la Orleans, patés de fois gras a la Bonaparte, paupicettes de veau a la Demidoff, truffes a la Perigord, etc., we realized that the same incongruous blending of associations, the same zest for glory and dramatic instinct, ruled the world of cookery as of letters, and that, with all the political vicissitudes since our last dinner in Paris, her prandial distinction had progressed.

From the restaurant to the theatre, is, in Paris, a most natural transition; and the play and players of the day will be found far more closely representative of the social tone, the political creed, the artistic tastes of the hour, than elsewhere. The drama, for instance, in vogue not long since at the Vaudeville Theatre in the Place de la Bourse, is one we can scarcely imagine successful in another [pg 132] city, at least to such a degree. It was Les Filles de Marbre; and this is the plot. The opening scene is at Athens, in the studio of Phidias. It is the day after that on which Alcibiades cut off his dog's tail; and, exulting in the effect produced by that exploit, he enters with the rich Gorgias, who has ordered and paid Phidias in advance for statues of his three friends, Laïs, Phryné, and Aspasia. He finds Phidias unwilling to part with the statues, on which he has worked so long and ardently till, like Pygmalion of old, he has fallen in love with his own creation; he will not even allow Gorgias to see them, and the latter departs swearing vengeance. Diogenes enters, and a satirical brisk dialogue ensues, at the end of which Phidias draws aside a curtain and shows his work to Diogenes, who, stoic as he is, can not refrain from an exclamation of delight. The group is admirably arranged on the stage, and the effect is very fine as Theä, a young slave, holds back the drapery from the group while the moon illumines it with a soft light. At this moment an approaching tumult is heard. Theä drops the curtain, and Gorgias with his friends, heated with Cyprus wine, enters, accompanied by the 'myrmidons of the law.' He again demands the statues, for which Phidias has already received his gold. Phidias expostulates, then entreats,—no, Gorgias will have his statues. At this, Theä, who had long loved Phidias, unknown to him, hardly noticed, never requited, throws herself at Gorgias's feet and cries, 'Take me, sell me; I am young and strong, but leave Phidias his statues.' Gorgias says, 'Who are you? Poor creature, you are not worth over fifty drachmas! Away! Guards, do your duty! Slaves, seize the statues.' Then Diogenes, hitherto half asleep on a mat in the corner, cries, 'Stop, Gorgias! You always profess justice, strict justice. Why don't you ask with whom of you the statues will prefer to stay?' A shout of laughter from his jolly companions makes Gorgias accede to this droll proposal. 'So be it!' cries he; and Diogenes draws aside the curtain, and holds up his lantern, which, with a strong French reflector, throws a powerful light on the upper part of the group, with a fine and startling effect. The group represents Aspasia seated, with a scroll and stylus, Laïs leaning over her, and Phryné at her feet looking up, all draped, artistically posed, and the three beautiful girls that perform the parts look as like marble as possible.

'Now, Phidias,' cries Diogenes, 'come, what have you to say to your marble girls?'

'Laïs, Aspasia, Phryné, I am Phidias. You owe me your existence, and I love you; you know it, and that I am poor.'

'That's a bad argument, Phidias,' says Diogenes.

'I am poor, and have nothing but you. Stay by him to whom you owe your glory and your immortality!'

The statues remain immovable.

Gorgias addresses them: 'I am Gorgias, the rich Athenian; I alone am as rich as all the kings of Asia, and I offer you a palace paved with gold. Aspasia, Laïs, Phryné, which of us do you choose?'

The statues turn their heads and smile faintly on Gorgias, who starts and stands as if petrified. The Athenians look horror-struck. Phidias covers his face with his hands, and, uttering a cry, falls to the ground. A soft and enervating strain of music fills the air.

'By all the gods!' cries Gorgias, 'I believe the statues moved their lips as if to smile upon me.'

'I know you by that smile, O girls of marble,' says Diogenes,—'courtesans of the past, courtesans of the future!' and he returns to his mat.

At this moment Theä's voice is heard in the far distance, singing a few mystical, mournful bars of music, and the curtain falls.

This is the 'argument,'—the other four acts work it out.

The next act opens in a restaurant of to-day in the Bois de Boulogne, near Paris. A young artist lives there, and falls desperately in love with an actress, for whom he leaves his art, his mother, and his betrothed, is ruined in purse, and [pg 133] returns at last, heart-broken, to his old home, to die; the actress all the while sees his despair with indifference, and proves herself therefore a 'fille de marbre'

In another recent piece, we are told that a 'procession of nuns, dressed in white, sing a lay at midnight. In the intervals, a chorus of frogs in the neighboring swamp croak the refrain in unison. Sax, the great brass-founder, who made the Last Trumpets for the 'Wandering Jew,' and the instruments for the Band of the Guides, is engaged upon the frogpipes required. The illusion will be heightened by characteristic scenery and mephitic exhalations. M. Sax visited the pool in the Bois de Boulogne, known as the Marée d'Auteuil, and brought back many useful ideas in reference to the quadruped with whose vocal powers he desired to become acquainted. The frog voices will be a series of eight, representing a full octave.'

The Provincial, at Paris, is a standard theme for playwrights; what the Scotch were to Johnson, Lamb, and Sidney Smith, is the native of Provence or Brittany to the comic writers of the metropolis,—a nucleus for wit and an occasion for practical jokes. One of the late pieces, called 'My Uncle,' turned upon the devices of a wild youth to obtain money from his simple-hearted relative in the country. For months a pretended love affair, a marriage, and the birth of an heir, elicited remittances, which were expended upon banquets, at which a bevy of gay students applauded the ingenuity of their entertainer. At last the uncle comes to town, and it becomes quite a study to carry on the game, which yields occasion for innumerable salient contrasts between rustic simplicity and city acumen. A diagnosis of the provincial's ways in Paris, like every form of life there, has been given by a shrewd observer, who mentions among other signs that the novice may be recognized by the fact that he keeps his toothpick after dinner and carries it to the theatre.

I found that marvelous actress, Rachel, before her visit to America, much attenuated; indeed, she resembled a bundle of nerves electrified with vitality; her bleached skin, thin arms, large, scintillating eyes, and that indescribable something which marks the Jewish physiognomy, gave her a weird, sibyl-like appearance, as of one wasted by long vigils. There was in her glance and action the spasmodic inspiration observable in Malibran towards the close of her career. The play was Racine's Andromache, and the depth and energy of Hermione's emotions were illustrated by a sudden transition of tone, a working of the features, that a painter might study forever, and a gesture, bearing, look and utterance which were the consummation of histrionic art; yet so exclusively was this the ease, that admiration never lost itself in sympathy; it was the perfection of acting, not of nature; it won and chained the scrutinizing mind, but failed to sway the heart; it lacked the magnetic element; and while the critic was baffled in the attempt to pick a flaw, and the elocutionist in raptures at the sublime possibilities of his art, it was Rachel, not Hermione, the genius of the performer, not the reality of the character, that won the earnest attention, and woke the constant plaudits.4

That over-consciousness which belongs to the French nature, so evident in their 'Confessions,' their oratory, their manners, their conversation, and their life, [pg 134] and which is the great reason of their want of persistence and self-dependence in political affairs, modifies their ideal representations on the stage as well as in literature. The process described so philosophically by Coleridge, to lose 'self in an idea dearer than self,' is the condition of all greatness. It sublimated the life of Washington, and made it unique in the annals of nations; it enabled Shakspeare to incarnate the elements of humanity in dramatic creations, and Kean to reproduce them on the stage; it is the grand law of the highest achievements in statesmanship, in letters, and in art, without which they fall short of wide significance and enduring vitality.

Although thus destitute of great central principles, nowhere is human life more enriched by minor philosophy; it may be a fate, a routine, a drudgery, and an accident in other parts of the world, but in Paris it is or can easily be made an art. The science of substitution, the law of compensation, nowhere more obviously triumphs; taste cheaply gratified atones for limited destinies; manners yield a charm, which, for the time, renders us oblivious of age; tact proves as good a resource as learning, wit as beauty, cheerfulness as fortune. The boudoir, by means of chintz, gauze, and human vivacity, is as prolific of fine talk and good company as the drawing-room. A bunch of violets or a box of mignonnette suggests to sensitive imaginations the whole cornucopia of Flora. Perhaps the eclectic provision for enjoyment in the French capital was never more apparent than during the sojourn of the allied armies there after the battle of Waterloo. It was as good as a play illustrative of national manners and taste, to note how Russian, German, Cossack, and English, hussar, diplomat, and general, found the dish, the pastime, and the observance each most coveted, when that vast city was like a bivouac of the soldiers of Europe.

The communicative habit and social tendency of life, under every aspect, in Paris, often promotes success by making individuals famous,—a process far easier of achievement there than in any other metropolis. A poor fellow who opened a café, and had so little patronage as at the end of his first quarter to be on the verge of bankruptcy, resorted, one day, to the expedient of firing a heavily-charged musket in the midst of his neat but unfrequented saloon. The report instantly brought half a score of policemen, two gens d'armes, and a crowd of idlers, to the spot; curiosity was on tiptoe to hear of a murder, a suicide, or an infernal machine; strange rumors began to spread from the crowd within to the street; and a long investigation was held on the premises. Meantime people wanted refreshments, which the hitherto indolent waiters of the café supplied; the place was found to be quite snug and tasteful, and the proprietor quite a lion; thenceforth his credit was established in the neighborhood, and a regular set of customers liberally sustained his enterprise. Dr. Véron informs us that, after waiting six weeks for a patient, upon first commencing practice, he had the good fortune to stop the bleeding nose of a concièrge, in his vicinity, which had resisted all the usual appliances; the news of his exploit was soon noised abroad, its merit exaggerated, and he was astonished to receive six or seven patients a day, attracted by his sudden reputation. Unfortunately, however, one day an old lady, of much consideration in that quartier, requested him to bleed her; she was so fat that he made two or three unsuccessful attempts to open a vein, when she rose indignantly and pronounced him an imbecile,—a judgment which was so quickly adopted by the gossips, that in less than a week he sank into his original obscurity.

Another speciality of Parisian life occurred in the person of an old man, who came hither in youth, and while pursuing his studies received news of the loss of his fortune,—a pittance only remained; and so enamored had he become of the means of study and the monastic freedom here possible for the poor dreamer, that, hiring a cheap and obscure lodging, he remained a voluntary exile, unallured by the attractions of American enterprise, [pg 135] which soon revived the broken fortunes of his brothers. A more benign cosmopolite or meek disciple of learning it would be difficult to find; unlike his restless countrymen, he had acquired the art of living in the present;—the experience of a looker-on in Paris was to him more satisfactory than that of a participant in the executive zeal of home.

Such instances form a pleasing contrast to the outward gayety we habitually associate with Paris. It boasts a world of patient labor. Emile Souvestre has drawn some faithful and charming pictures of these scenes, wherein philosophy and cheerfulness illumine the haunts of modest toil. In England and America only artists of great merit enjoy consideration; but in Paris the pursuit itself insures countenance and sympathy, which in themselves yield vast encouragement. There are more odd characters ensconced in the nooks of this capital than anywhere else in Europe;—men who have become unconsciously metropolitan friars—living in celibate dens, haunting libraries and gardens, subsisting on a bare competence, and working out some darling theory or speculative problem; lonely in the midst of a crowd, and content in their self-imposed round of frugality and investigation.

I found the dissatisfied spirit of a young artist, whom I had known in America, here completely soothed; instead of feeling himself overpowered by the commercial spirit of his own country, one of a neglected minority, striving in vain to excite interest in a vocation too profitless for a community absorbed in trade, politics, and fashion, he now experienced the advantage of a recognized class, and the excitement of a fraternity in art; his life, studies, aims were those of hundreds as limited in their circumstances and as ideal in their aspirations; galleries, studios, lectures, models, criticism, illustrious men, noble examples, friendly words and true companionship, made his daily life, independent of its achievements, one of self-respect, of growing knowledge, and assured satisfaction. Without some pursuit thus enlisting the higher powers and justifying, as it were, the independent career of a resident, it is astonishing how the crust of selfishness gathers over the heart in Paris; the habit of living with an exclusive view to personal enjoyment, where the arrangements of life are so favorable, becomes at last engrossing; and a soulless machine, with no instincts but those of self-gratification, is often the result, especially if no ties of kindred mitigate the hardihood of epicurism.

We soon learn to echo Rochefoucauld's words as he entered Mazarin's carriage,—'everything happens in France;' and, like Goethe, cast ourselves on the waves of accident with a more than Quixotic presage,—if not of actual adventure, at least of adventurous observation; for it is a realm where Fashion, the capricious tyrant of modern civilization, has her birth, where the 'vielle femme remplissait une mission importante et tutelaire pour tous les âges;' where the raconteur exists not less in society than in literature; the elysium of the scholar, the nucleus of opinion, the arena of pleasure, and the head-quarters of experiment, scientific, political, artistic, and social.

Imagine a disciplined mind alive to the lessons of the past and yet with sympathy for casual impressions, free, intent and reflective,—and Paris becomes a museum of the world. Such a visitor wanders about the French capital with the zest of a philosopher; he warms at the frequent spectacle of enjoyable old age, notwithstanding the hecatombs left at Moscow and Waterloo, Sebastopol and Magenta; he reads on the dome of the Invalides the names of a hundred battle-fields; muses on the proximity of the lofty and time-stained Cathedral, and the little book-stall, where poor students linger in the sun; detects a government spy in the loquacious son of Crispin who acts as porter at his lodgings; pulls the cordon bleu at a dear author's oaken door on the quatrième etage in a social mood, and recalls Wellington's marquee on the Boulevard Italien, in the midst of the gay throng; notes the dexterity of a peripatetic shoeblack at his work; loves to sup in one of the restaurants of the [pg 136] Palais Royal, because there Dr. Franklin was entertained by the Duke of Orleans; remembers, at the church of St. Genevieve, that Abelard once lectured on its site; and, gazing on the beautiful ware in one of the cabinets of the Louvre, muses of the holy patience of Palissy. By the handsome quays and bridges of the Seine, he tries to realize that once only an islet covered with mud hovels met the wanderer's view. He smiles at the abundance of fancy names, some chosen for their romantic sound, and others for the renowned associations, which are attached to vocalist, shop, and mouchoir. He separates, in his thought, the incongruous emblems around him at this moment,—tricolor and cresent, St. George and the Lilies, 'God save the Queen' and High Mass, banners that have floated over adverse armies since the crusades,—amicably folded over the corpse of a French veteran! Nor are character and manners less suggestive to such an observer; if an American, he beholds with astonishment, after all he has heard of the proverbial courtesy of the French, women habitually yield the wall to men, and stops with ill-disguised impatience, on returning from an afternoon's ride, to have his carriage examined at the gate; contrasts the degraded state of the lower orders with the general urbanity and quietness of demeanor and the stern sway of political rule; marks the little crucifix and cup of holy water at the head of the peasant's bed, and the diamond cross on the lace kerchief of the kneeling empress; recognizes the force of character, the self-dependence, the mental hardihood of the women, the business method displayed in their exercise of sentiment, and the exquisite mixture in their proceedings of tact, calculation, and geniality.


Never at any stage of American history was there such a crisis of ideas as at present, and never was there such urgent necessity of setting promptly, vigorously and clearly before the people the great and new principles which this crisis is bringing to life. So vast are the issues involved, so tremendous their inevitable consequences, that we acquit of exaggeration the statesman who, in comparing even the gradual unfolding of the mighty past with this our present, exclaimed, 'Now is the first of the world's progress.'5

The reader is doubtless perfectly familiar with the fact that in the battle between the North and the South two opposite principles are involved,—the same which have been at the bottom of all wars for freedom, from the beginning of time. The one party believes that one portion of society must flourish at the expense of another part, of a permanently sunken class; while the other holds that history proves that the lot of all persons in a commonwealth is capable of being gradually ameliorated, and that in any case it is our sacred duty to legislate for the poor, on this basis, by allowing them equal rights, and making every exertion to extend the best blessings of education to them, and open to every man, without distinction, every avenue of employment for which he is qualified.

The Northern party, or that of equal rights and free labor, like their predecessors, hold many ideas which coming years will see realized, for—as has always been the case in these contests—science and learning are always on the liberal side. By a strange accident, for the first time almost in history, the Republican [pg 137] party is for once in its constituted rights, on its own ground, while the feudal or conservative wing form the aggressors. As of old, too, the Southern conservatives are enforcing theories once the property of their foes, who have now advanced to broader, nobler, and more gloriously liberal views.

For instance, the men of the South believe that labor and capital are still antagonisms. Now it is true enough that they once were, and that when the people in different ages first began to rebel against their hereditary tyrants, the workman was only a serf to his capitalist employer. That was the age when demagogues flourished by setting 'the poor' against 'the rich.' A painful, sickening series of wars it was, ending too often by labor's killing itself with its adversary. Then, a foul, false 'democracy' was evolved, which was virtually a rank aristocracy, not of nobility, but of those who could wheedle the poor into supporting them. Such was the history of nearly all 'radicalism' and 'democracy' from the days of Cleon and Alcibiades down to the present time.

But the enormous developments of science and of industry have of late years opened newer and broader views to the world. As capital has progressed in its action it is seen that at every step labor is becoming—slowly, but surely, as Heaven's law—identified with it. The harmony of interests is now no longer a vague Fourieristic notion,—for nothing is plainer than that the more the operative becomes interested in the success of the enterprise which employs him, the better is it for him and it. And all work in it—the owner and the employee. But then, we are told that 'the owner gets the profits.' Does he? Sum up the companies and capitalists who have failed during the past decade,—compare what they have lost with what they have paid their workmen, and then see who have really pocketed the money, and whether on the whole the capitalists have been more than properly repaid for their risks, and wear and tear of brains. To be sure we are as yet far from having realized a regularly arranged harmony of interests. But I see that here, even in this New England, there is nothing which the great and most intelligent capitalists desire more than this harmony, or a system in which every man's brains and labor shall be properly and abundantly remunerated, since they see (as all must see who reflect) that the nearer we approach such practical adjustment of forces, the less liable will they be to fail. And the world, as it has reflected that labor has flourished among barren rocks, covering them with smiling villages, under the fostering care of capital, when fertile Southern lands are a wilderness for want of this harmony between it and capital, has concluded that the old battle between rich and poor was a folly. The obscure hamlets of New England, which have within thirty years become beautiful towns, with lyceums, libraries, and schools, are the most striking examples on earth of the arrant folly of this gabble of 'capital as opposed to labor.' In the South, however, the old theory is held as firmly as in the days when John Randolph prophesied Northern insurrections of starving factory-slaves against manufacturing lords, and—as President Lincoln recently intimated in his Message—the effort is there being made to formally enslave labor to capital. That is to say, the South not only adheres to the obsolete theory that labor is a foe to capital, but proposes to subdue it to the latter. The progress of free labor in the North is, however, a constantly increasing proof that labor is capital.

Let the reader carefully digest this statement, and regard it not as an abstraction of political economy, but as setting forth a vital truth intimately allied to our closest interests, and to a future involving the most serious emergencies. We are at a crisis which demands a new influx of political thought and new principles. Our Revolution, with its Constitution, was such an epoch; so too was the old strife between Federalism and Democracy, in which both sides contended for what were their rights. Since those days we have gone further, and the present [pg 138] struggle, precipitated by the madness and folly of the South, sees those who understand the great and glorious question of free labor with its affinities to capital, endeavoring to prepare the way for a grand coming North American Union, in which poor and rich hand in hand shall press on, extending civilization, and crushing to the ground all obsolete demagogueism, corruption, and folly.

It is time that the word 'radical' were expunged from our political dictionary. Under the old system of warfare men were regarded as being divided into the 'poor,' who were 'out' of capital, and the rich, who were 'in.' The progress of good, honest, unflinching labor is causing men to look higher than these old limitations. We want no 'outs' or 'ins'—in this country every man should be 'in,' given heart and soul to honest industry. And no man or woman who can work is without capital, for every such person is a capital in self. When politics are devoted, as they must be, to extending education and protecting industry, we shall hear no more of these absurd quarrels between the 'conservative' and 'radical' elements.

When the government shall have triumphed in this great struggle,—when the South, with its obsolete theories of the supremacy of capital over labor, shall have yielded to the great advancing truth of the age,—when free labor, rendered freer and nobler than ever, shall rule all powerful from ocean to ocean, then we shall see this great American republic restored to its original strength and beauty, progressing in the path laid down by our Revolutionary forefathers, and stripped of the cruel impediments which have clogged its course for years, proving to the world the great assertion of all time, that man is capable of self-government. It is this which lies before us,—neither a gloomy 'conservative' prospect of old-fashioned unchangeability, and still less the gorgeous but preposterous dreams of Fourierite or other socialist; but simply the healthy future of a hard-working country, in which every impediment shall be removed from free labor and its every right respected. And to bring this to pass there is but one first step required. Push on the war, support the Administration, triumph at any risk or cost, and then make of this America one great free land. Freedom! In hoc signo vinces.


You wish that slavers once again
  May freely darken every sea,
Nor think that honor takes a stain
  From what the world calls piracy;
And now your press in thunder tones
  Calls for the Black Flag in each street—
O, add to it a skull and bones,
  And let the banner be complete.

[pg 139]



After a few moments he arose, and, staggering towards me, grasped my hand and shook it violently, stuttering out, 'Evelyn Afton is an angel—that is, your wife, I mean, would have made a greater actress than Mrs. Siddons. Sefton's a rascal—d——d rascal. You see, Mr. Bell, I'm not what I was once. The cursed liquor—that's what made me this. John Foster once held his head as high as anybody. Want, sir, absolute want, brought me from my "high estate"—id est, liquor. Cursed liquor made me poor, and poverty made me mean.' He continued for some time in a broken strain, interrupted by hiccoughs and sobs, exhibiting in his demeanor the remains of former brilliancy, but now everything impaired—voice, manner, eyesight and intellect—by excessive indulgence.

The result of my conference was learning that Foster had been the agent of Sefton in a conspiracy against my wife. Foster had of late years made a precarious livelihood by occasional engagement on the stages, and a few weeks since had strayed to this city. Being well known to Sefton, the latter had promised him ample provision if he would feign illness, induce my wife to visit him from motives of charity, and subsequently, when called upon for testimony, allege that her visits were the renewal of an old licentious intimacy. To these disgraceful propositions Foster's degradation acceded, though in his better moments he contemned his employer and himself.

'What,' I meditated, 'can be Sefton's design? Can it be to compel my wife to his passion through threats of destroying her reputation?' I smiled as I thought of the futility of such a scheme, for Evelyn would treat with the most scornful defiance any attempt at coercion, although resistance would sacrifice not only her honor but her life. But this can not be his real object, else why would he have advised a divorce? I have it. He is really infatuated with her, and desires to free her from my possession that she may come into his—knowing his ability to clear her character, should it appear contaminated, but reckoning chiefly on its preservation by my own delicacy from any public stain.

Foster informed me that he always made Sefton aware of my wife's visits,—as she appointed the evenings for them,—and that Sefton attended the interviews, concealed in the next room. I therefore arranged with Foster to inform Sefton that she would be present the next evening, and then took my leave, Foster repeating again and again, 'Sefton's a rascal—Mrs. Bell's an angel. Only want, absolute want, made me undertake this. Yes, sir,—I assure you,—want.'

In pursuance of the arrangement, I visited Foster the next evening, arriving before Sefton, and going into the next apartment. Sefton soon after entered and engaged in a conversation with Foster, which fully corroborated the information I had previously obtained. During its progress I entered upon them. Sefton was amazed, and struck with a consciousness of discovered guilt.

'I am now fully aware,' I said, 'Mr. Sefton, of your cause for interest in my affairs, and of the manner in which you have evinced it'

He had by a violent effort recovered his equanimity, and said,—'Prevarication or denial I suppose to be useless. You have probably outbid me for the confidence of this miserable villain. What do you propose to do?'

'Were we both young,' I replied, 'there would be only one answer to that question. It would be necessary to have recourse to a duel. As it is, I am too old a man to be indulged leniently by the [pg 140] public in such a proceeding. Moreover, I am conscientiously averse to initiating it. Besides, it will not be permissible in this case to drag my wife's name into any publicity. My only alternative, therefore, is to remain content with the private discovery of your rascality, and hereafter to forbid you any association with what pertains to me or my affairs.'

'I will obviate all your objections,' he replied. 'I will assume the initiative, and attribute your acceptance of a challenge to such causes as will excuse you to the public. Some story may easily be devised which will cover the real motives for our proceeding.'

'Now,' I meditated, 'I have the clue to the mystery. Relying properly on my wife's pride, and (alas!) her probable want of regard for me, this man was convinced that she would not relate his attempt upon her, and that I should never therefore be able to trace his connection with the conspiracy. My opportune knowledge has counteracted his designs. Evidently he has determined to possess Evelyn in marriage, since he can in no other way. Therefore he suggested the divorce; and now, being an excellent shot (while unaware of my own skill), he counts on removing me by death—thus destroying all proof of his villany, and at the same time all obstacles in his path to her. Well, I am not called on to meet him, but I will take this hazard, as well as every other, for her.'

I signified my assent to his proposals, and there, on the scene of his detected iniquity, we calmly discussed the necessary arrangements.

The next day, in pursuance of them, we met as by accident in the most frequented hotel, and, after the usual salutations, engaged in conversation, handling various papers, as if transacting a negotiation of some kind. Gradually we warmed and our tones became louder, until finally he exclaimed, 'It is false, Mr. Bell! Entirely false! I never made any such representation.'

'Perhaps,' I answered mildly, 'you mean to intimate that I am mistaken, and would not charge me, as your words imply, with wilful falsehood.'

'You must make your own application, sir,' he rejoined. 'I say your statement is false—so false that a mere mistake can scarcely be considered responsible for it.'

'Such a reiteration of your insult,' I said, 'leaves me no redress except by force. As you gave the first offense, I return it to your keeping.' So saying, I struck him.

By-standers, who had been attracted around, now seized us, and there was, of course, much excitement and confusion.

'This is a simple matter of private business, gentlemen,' said Mr. Sefton, 'and its settlement will take place elsewhere.'

'Yes, gentlemen,' I added, 'your interference now is not required, and hereafter will be of no avail.' So we separated.

I proceeded to my place of business and retired to my secret chamber, giving orders to admit no one to me (lest I should be disturbed by the officiousness of friends seeking to 'arrange' matters), but to send up any letters. Soon a formal challenge arrived, to which I despatched a formal answer. At the hour of closing business I sought my chief clerk, whom I knew to be a sporting man, and briefly informed him of the anticipated duel, which was appointed for an early hour the next morning, the weapons pistols, and the place a short distance from the city, and engaged him to act as my second.

I occupied the evening in the necessary preparations of my affairs for the contingency of a fatal issue. Near midnight I went to my residence, and in the seclusion of my sleeping chamber passed an hour in a tumultuous variety of thought. I had briefly written, for Evelyn's perusal, a history of my life as connected with her, and a true version of the circumstances leading to the duel. 'If I fall'—I sadly thought—'will she appreciate my self-offering? Shall I leave her a legacy of sorrow, if my death under these circumstances would grieve her? No! I will die as I have thus far [pg 141] lived—making no expression of the love which sways my soul.' I tore my letter into fragments and burned them. Passing silently into her chamber,—the first time I had entered it for long months,—I kneeled at her bedside and sobbed. By the dim light I could trace the marks of grief—cold, heart-consuming grief—on her beautiful features—marks which in the day-time resolute pride effaced; as the furrows in the rocks of the sea-shore are seen at ebb-tide, but are concealed when the waters bound at their flood. Slowly and cautiously I approached my lips to hers, and lightly touched them. She stirred, and I sank to the floor. Her sleep being but lightly disturbed, I glided like a ghost from the chamber, and with a heart-rending groan threw myself on my bed and forced forgetfulness and slumber.

All parties were on the field at the appointed hour, and the preliminaries were quickly arranged. There was in Sefton's countenance the expression of deliberate criminality, encouraged by the expectation of an easy triumph. Immediately upon the word, he fired. The ball grazed my breast, tore from my shirt-front a pin, and, glancing off, fell into a creek which partly encircled the ground. Had he been a moment less precipitate in his determination to ensure my death, the slight movement I would have made in raising my arm to fire would probably have changed my position sufficiently to have received the bullet. My shot followed immediately upon his. He was seen to stagger, but declared himself unhurt, and demanded a second shot. The pistols were prepared and delivered. I noticed that Sefton received his with the left hand. We were again placed, and just as the word were being given, he fell to the ground. On examination it appeared that at the first fire my ball had struck immediately in front of the arm and shattered the clavicle, thence passing—in one of the freaks peculiar to bullets—immediately beneath the flesh, half round the body, lodging under the opposite shoulder. He had fainted from the wound.

Of course the duel was ended. Sefton was confined to his house for weeks, and on recovering removed to Texas, where in a few months afterward he died from mania a potu.

On returning home, I found that the tidings of my difficulty with Sefton, and its anticipated consequences, had been communicated to my wife. She met me in the hall, her eyes flashing, but her manner evincing more tenderness than I had ever before witnessed in it. 'Is this true, Mr. Bell,' she asked, 'that public rumor has informed me? Have you had a quarrel with Mr. Sefton? Have you fought with him?'

'It is true, my dear,' I replied. 'I have just returned from a duel.'

'Are you injured? Tell me,' she exclaimed, passionately.

'Not in the least,' I replied, 'but desperately—hungry.'

'And he?'

'I believe he is quite severely wounded. He was carried from the field insensible.'

'Thank God,' she exclaimed.

I knew it was on her lips to tell me that I had been drawn into a conflict by a villain, who had met his just deserts, but I forestalled all explanations by demanding my breakfast, and after her first emotions had subsided, merely gave her a matter-of-fact account of our pretended quarrel, and of the duel.

But I laid up in my heart, as a sweet episode in my desolate life, the anxiety she had manifested for my safety.

Public conversation and the newspapers were for a time employed on the duel, but fortunately the truth was not suggested in the remotest degree.

I provided liberally for Foster, and sent him from the city. Where he now is I know not. He had informed Evelyn, by a letter, that, his health having improved, he designed to remove.

I had long since learned Frank's early history, and, through persons to whose patronage I had commended him and who had visited his studio at Florence, was well acquainted with all his proceedings. My charity towards him was producing ample fruits.

[pg 142]

A few months after the duel, Evelyn and I were making a tour in Europe.

At a comparatively early hour on the morning after our arrival in Florence, we proceeded, without previous announcement, to visit Frank's studio. Being ushered into an antechamber of the rather luxurious range of apartments, which, as I was aware, he occupied, in company with several other bachelors, I merely sent him word that a gentleman and lady had called to see his works, the servant informing us that he was at breakfast. Of this our own ears received a sufficient evidence, for, from an adjacent apartment, we heard not only the rattle of table service in industrious requisition, but conversation and laughter, which proved that the bachelors were jolly over their meal. Indeed, their mutual rallying was not altogether of the most delicate kind, and several favorite signoritas were allude to with various degrees of insinuation. In all this, Frank, whose voice I could well distinguish (its echoes had never left my ear), and which I was satisfied, from Evelyn's peculiar expression, that she also recognized, bore a prominent part. Evelyn was astonished. Frank soon appeared, looking the least like the imaginative and love-vitalized artist possible, and entirely like the gay young dog I knew he had become. The confused character of their greetings may be conceived. But of this I professed to be entirely uncognizant, and, after a hasty visit to the studio, gave Frank an invitation to dinner on the succeeding day, and we departed.

The money with which I had liberally supplied Frank had induced him to enter with a youthful zest into the pleasures of life, and his dream of love for Evelyn had attenuated into a mere memory. He was now a successful and courted artist. I was possessed of another fact in reference to him—that he was very much domesticated in an American family residing in the city, one of whose young lady members was greatly disposed, much to Frank's satisfaction, to recompense to him whatever subtractions from his fund of love had previously been wasted on Evelyn. Access to this family had been secured to Frank on my recommendation, given before they left America. I conveyed Evelyn to their residence, and, after also inviting them to our proposed dinner, we returned to our temporary home.

I was careful not to intrude on Evelyn during the evening, leaving her alone to struggle with the melancholy which I knew the incidents of the day must induce.

Frank arrived early the next day. Evelyn's presence had evidently renewed the power of his former feelings. Indeed, had opportunity offered, he was prepared to give way to them, but I was careful that none should be afforded. When our other guests arrived he was thrown into unexpected confusion. The conflict between the past and the present love—the ideal and the real—the shadow and the substance—the memory and the actual—was painful, yet ridiculous to look upon. I calmly watched, without giving any symptom of observation, the results of my strategy, and never did a chess-player more rejoice over the issue of a hard-fought contest. Evelyn, as I perceived, soon discovered all the circumstances, and I could trace the conflict of passions in her bosom—the revulsion at Frank's infidelity, yet the spontaneous acknowledgment of her heart that he had acted wisely. She was also reflecting, I was confident, on the weakness that constrained him to abandon the worship of her image,—however vain and unsatisfactory it might be,—and to elevate on the altar of his affections such a goddess as supplied her place. For the young female in whose service Frank was enrolled was a plump, merry and matter-of-fact girl, destitute of genius, though possessing all the qualities which adapt woman to fulfill the duties of the domestic relations.

My time for a final demonstration had now arrived. In the despair of her abandonment, Evelyn must, either welcome me as her deliverer, or she must perish [pg 143] in her pride. Death alone could sever us—death alone furnished me a remedy for the deprivation of her love.

In one of the large, gloomy apartments of the dilapidated palace we occupied, I sat alone as the twilight was gathering. My pistol case was on the table at my side. I rang the bell, and directed the servant who answered it to desire Evelyn's presence, and bring lights. She soon appeared—cold, passive, incurious, yet beneath this I could see the confined struggle of passion.

I remarked on her looks as peculiar, and expressed a fear that she was unwell. No, she assured me, her health was as usual. Perhaps, then, she did not find her stay in Florence agreeable. Perfectly so. She had no desire to go or to remain, except as I had arranged in the programme of our tour. But, I urged, she seemed dejected. Something must have occurred to depress her mind. Not at all. She was unaware that her humor was different from ordinary.

'Indeed, Evelyn,' said I, 'there is deception in this, and I insist on an explanation.'

She looked surprised, but did not yet comprehend my purport; so answered, in a proper, wife-like manner, that my anxiety had deceived me—that in all respects her feelings, and, so far as she knew, her appearance, differed not from what they had been.

'Well, then,' said I, 'your feelings and appearance must be changed. I will tolerate them no longer.'

Her features evinced the greatest astonishment. 'You are inexplicable,' she said. 'May I beg to know your meaning?'

'Know it? You shall, and you shall conform yourself to it. Resistance will be vain, for (displaying the pistols) I have the means of coercion.'

She thought I was mad, and rose on the impulse to summon help.

'Do not stir a step,' I said, aiming a pistol at her, 'or it will be your last.' She stopped, without exhibiting the least symptom of fear, but simply because she saw that to proceed would be useless.

'Ha! ha! Evelyn,' said I, forcing an imitation of incoherent laughter, 'I am but trifling with you. I am not mad. I sought but to rouse some passion in you—either of fear or of anger. But, alas! I have not sufficient power over you even for that. Sit down. I have something to relate. When I have ended, these pistols may be useful for one or both of us. But you do not fear them. I have long known that life was too valueless to you for fear of losing it to make any impression.'

She saw that something unusual was impending—what she did not fully understand, but calmly took her seat to await it. At this moment a servant knocked and entered with a letter. I mechanically opened it and read. It was an announcement from my partners that my inattention to the business had involved us all in ruin. The clerk to whom I had entrusted it (the sporting character before mentioned) had defaulted and fled. He had contracted large debts in the name of the firm, and gambled away all the accessible funds. The ruin was supposed to be irretrievable, and with many bitter reproaches I was summoned to return with speed to extricate affairs, and—make such reparation as I could.

The letter filled me with almost demoniacal joy. I was ruined, and for her sake. I gloated over the thought.

'These weapons will now be useless,' said I. 'Place them on the shelf beside you. This letter will answer in their stead.'

She obeyed me, and I then related the information I had received. 'This ruin comes upon me through you.' She thought I was about to make a vulgar complaint of extravagance, and for once flushed with anger. 'Remain entirely quiet,' I said. 'Hear me, but do not interrupt by word or gesture. You do not yet understand me.'

Then I entered on all the particulars of my life; recounted my passion for [pg 144] her; told how in my mad infatuation I had bargained for her; how in my selfish exultation I had assumed all the freedoms of love, never stopping to question my right to exercise them; how I was aroused from my stupid content by accidentally witnessing her interview with Frank. I related the feelings this excited within me; how for the first time I learned the miserable and contemptible part I had acted; how I then understood the sorrow of her life; how I would have crushed out my love and given her to Frank, had there been any practicable way; how, knowing that the only chance for happiness to both was in mutual love, I had determined to gain hers by every act of devotion; how I sought to give her the only relation to Frank she could properly bear—his benefactress. I told her of my secret studies, designed to fit me for companionship with her; of my withdrawing with her into the wilderness, that her grief might be alleviated in the inspiring presence of uncontaminated nature; of my expenditures to gratify her wishes and tastes. I narrated the incidents which preceded the duel, and informed her that I was perfectly acquainted with Sefton's object in seeking an encounter with me; that I gratified him because willing to undertake every hazard for her sake. Finally, I avowed my knowledge of all the disappointment her heart had experienced by Frank's inconstancy.' know you feel, to-night,' I said, 'that existence is an imposture—worse than the meanest jiggle. So do I. The only thing that can render it a reality is love. I intended to say to you, let us end it. For two years, I have borne the mask of a hypocrite that I might thus tell you of my idolatry, and say give me love or die. This letter necessitates a change of purpose. I welcome it as announcing that my sacrifice is complete—inadequate in comparison with the one you made in uniting yourself to me, but all that I have to give. It is requisite that I must yet live to do others justice—to provide for our children; although they have been valueless to me since I knew that their souls were not links between ours. But you I release. Before dawn I shall be on my return. The provision for your future, thank heaven, no demands of justice can infringe. Hereafter know me not as your husband, but as one who wronged you, devoted his all to reparation, and failed.'

I rose—weak and tottering—and passed to the door. I caught but a glimpse of her face. There was in it, and particularly in her eyes,—which, perhaps, on account of her dramatic cultivation, had the faculty of concentrating in a wonderful manner the most powerful as well as the most indefinable expressions,—a peculiar light, which then I did not understand, but afterwards, oh, too well. Fool, fool, that I was, after all my anxious scrutiny of her moods through two years of intensest agony, not to understand this one. The alchemist, who wasted his life in vigils over his crucible, but stood uncognizant of the gold when it gleamed lustrously before him, was not more a dolt. Thrice afterward I beheld that light in her glorious eyes. To my spiritual sight I can ever recall it. When you asked me her history, those orbs of beauty beamed out upon me with that same fascinating light.

I went immediately to America. My ruin was entire. I had greatly embarrassed my fortune in wild extravagances for Evelyn, and the remainder I surrendered to my partners. Their criminations were somewhat assuaged, and our partnership relations being dissolved, the business was reorganized, and I was engaged in a humble clerical capacity. Moody and taciturn, I was regarded simply as the ordinary victim of a recklessly spendthrift wife, and was ridiculed and pitied as such. What cared I for ridicule or pity?

A letter came from Evelyn, stating that she designed resuming her profession, and would appear immediately in London. Sometime in the Spring I should hear from her again.

Accompanying the letter was a formal legal surrender of such property as she possessed by my gift or otherwise, and a [pg 145] demand that I should apply it to cancel my obligations. She would hereafter, she said, provide for herself. Except a small reservation for the benefit of the children, I complied with her direction. No mandate of hers would I disobey.

So existence dragged on. I resided in a humble dwelling with my two children. Their presence did not soothe me,—their infantile affection made no appeal to my heart,—but their dependence claimed my care.—Memories of Evelyn alone possessed me. I secured full files of London papers, and watched for notices of her appearance. At last they came. A new star, the papers said, had suddenly appeared, unheralded, in the theatrical firmament, and rapidly culminated in the zenith. She was understood to be an American lady, formerly an actress, who had returned to the stage on account of domestic difficulties. Some papers intimated that her husband was a brute, who had forsaken her; others, that by a series of mischances she had been compelled to the stage to support a husband and numerous dependent relations. Lengthy criticisms on her various performances were inserted, most of them stuffed with the pseudo-taste and finical ostentation of knowledge prevalent in that department of newspaper literature, but all according her the most exalted merit. The tragedies involving the intense domestic affections were those she had selected for her rôles. Romeo and Juliet, Evadne, Douglas, Venice Preserved, and others of that class, were mentioned. The critics, however, devoted their most enthusiastic encomiums to her performance of Imogen in Shakspeare's Cymbeline, a version of which, it seems, she had herself adapted. The reproduction of this piece, which had vanished from the modern repertoire, attracted marked attention. Her rendering of 'Imogen'—was pronounced superb.

The papers also made passing allusions to her personal beauty. Soon paragraphs appeared concerning the attentions of Lord A—— and the Earl of B—— to her; of the infatuation of certain members of the various diplomatic corps. Young men of fashion were reported as throwing to her bouquets containing diamonds; others sent horses and carriages to her residence, with requests for her acceptance. One paper alluded maliciously to the fact that a certain antiquated nobleman had given her a New Year's present of bon bons, every 'sugared particle' being folded in a five-pound Bank of England note. The paper added some rough witticism, and informed the nobleman that his 'assiduities' would be ineffectual, saying that 'the lady, with true Yankee shrewdness, accepts all offerings at her shrine, but confers no favors in return.'

So the season wore away until the Spring had again come around. I saw an announcement in a New York paper that Evelyn Afton (her maiden name), who had recently acquired such a brilliant reputation in London, etc., would perform during a short engagement at the Park Theatre. The next morning saw me on the route to New York. I placed myself in an obscure corner of the theatre. The curtain rose. There was a brief absence of all consciousness, and then she came upon the stage. The play was Cymbeline. I know nothing of what transpired, save that when she rendered the words,—

'Oh for a horse with wings,'—

that light again appeared in her eyes.

The performance ended, and a man, feeling himself old and weary, passed into the streets, and wandered through them till morning, wondering if he had not in some way been connected with the brilliant being he had seen; it seemed to him that once there had been some entwining of their fates, but the recollection of it came like the indistinct memory of a half-impressed dream,—as if it had been in some previous condition of existence, and the consciousness of it had lingered through a subsequent metempsychosis.

I was sitting solitary in an apartment of the humble dwelling which I occupied, poring in a slow, melancholy memory [pg 146] over my past life, and questioning myself when Evelyn would fulfil the promise of again informing me of her intentions. My mood was scarcely disturbed by a knock at the outer door, which was responded to by the maid who had charge of my children, and the next instant I was thrilled almost to stupefaction by seeing Evelyn enter the room.

'I've come! I've come!' she cried, in wild eagerness. 'Have you not expected me? I'm home—home once more. Dearest—lover—husband—I'm here, never to leave you!'

I only gasped forth—'Evelyn!'

I knew not but it was an illusion.

Then she threw herself upon me, and covered me with kisses, uttered a volume of passionate endearments, entwined her arms about me in all tender embraces. I reasoned with myself that it was a dream, and would not stir lest it should dissolve.

She stood above me, and again I saw that light in her eyes. Then for the first time I understood its import. Oh! the strange, deep, glorious light of love and resolute devotion.

I rose falteringly, and asked in feeble accents,—'Is it you, Evelyn? Have you indeed come?'

'Yes, yes, your Evelyn at last,—come to your arms and your heart. Your own Evelyn, so long unworthy of you. Will you receive me?'

I but threw my arms around her, and sank down with her on my breast. Nature exhausted itself in the intensity of that embrace. Language was denied to emotion. For some moments she lay like a child, nestling to my heart, then suddenly started up and disappeared in the hall. Again I thought it was a dream, and that it had fled. She reappeared, bearing a small casket, which in a quick, frantic sort of way she thrust on the table, opened and pulled out gold pieces, jewels and bank notes, flinging them down, some on the table and some on the floor, exclaiming, 'See, you ruined yourself for me, and I have come to repay you. Look, all these your Evelyn brings to testify to her love. The children!' she exclaimed, as she threw out the last contents,—'where are they? Come, show me.' She seized the lamp, and, grasping my arm, dragged me in my half-bewildered state to the next apartment, where the infants lay sleeping. She flung herself eagerly but tenderly upon them, and devoured them with kisses. 'Now you will love them, for my sake,' she said; and, for the first time since discovering that she loved me not, I bestowed upon them a voluntary paternal caress—I bowed over them and gently kissed their foreheads. Her love for them had restored them to my heart.

Then again, with her wild, impetuous manner, she led me back to the other room. I sat upon the sofa and drew her to my breast. She lay passive a moment, then started up and paced the floor, with rapid utterances, broken with half sobs and half laughter. She returned to me, and again repeated this, till finally interrupted with a violent fit of coughing, occasioned, as I supposed, by excitement.

'Be calm, Evelyn,' I said. 'Come and lie in my arms. This joy is too great for me to realize. I must feel you on my bosom to convince me that I am not deceived.'

So she reposed in my arms, and with broken sobs, the intervals of which gradually increased, she finally slept. A lethargy also fell upon me, which endured how long I know not. As I returned to wakefulness, I shuddered with a cold thrill, such as one might feel on suddenly finding himself in the presence of a spirit; for I heard what was of more terrible meaning to me than any other sound. The rest of the precious sleeper at my side was disturbed frequently by a short, husky cough, followed by a low moan as of dull pain. Well I knew the prediction conveyed by those sounds. Long watchings by the bedside of a slowly-dying mother had made me fearfully familiar with them. Through the lingering hours of that night I sat listening to them with an agonized ear, and in my bitterness I almost cursed [pg 147] Heaven for providing the doom I anticipated.

At the first glimpse of morning I bore her carefully to the side of the sleeping children, and, after replacing in the casket its contents, sped to the house of the physician whom I have previously mentioned, and, leaving word for immediate attendance, hastened back, and resumed my watch. Oh! in the dawn how pallid and sunken the features which I had so often seen flushed and full with the animation of life and genius! Evelyn woke and smiled peacefully on me, but lay as if still exhausted with weariness. The physician came. He was already aware that my wife had been engaged in her profession, though ignorant of the objects which had induced her to it. I informed him of my apprehensions. Conducting him to Evelyn, I excused his presence by stating my fear that she might require his advice after her excitement and fatigue. With skillful caution he observed her, and in conversation elicited the statement that some months since she had been ill from exposure. She had recovered, she said, and was entirely well, except that occasionally slight exertion prostrated her. Even while she spoke the monitor was continually making itself heard.

I drew him to the other apartment, and in a hoarse whisper said,—'Well, your verdict;—but I know it already from your countenance.'

'If you were wealthy,' he replied—

'Wealthy! I am rich—rich,' I interrupted him. 'Look!' (with this I opened the casket, and run my fingers through the glittering contents, like a miser through his coin.) 'Tell me what wealth can do, and these shall do it. To gain these she has imperiled life. Let them restore it if they can.'

I saw suspicion on his countenance. 'It is false,' I exclaimed, 'false! I tell you she is as pure as heaven. It was for me that she earned all these.' And I dashed them on the floor and ground them under my feet.

He seized me and was weeping. 'You are mad,' he said. 'I believe you. Now I understand all. Do not delay. Take her to Italy, and may Heaven preserve her to you.'

In a week's time we were on our voyage, accompanied by the children and the physician—the latter professing to Evelyn that he desired to make the tour of Europe. My own apology for the voyage was a wish to complete the tour previously interrupted.

The passage was long and tedious. Before reaching our destination my hopes of Evelyn's recovery had vanished. Her demeanor was so gentle, childlike and affectionate, my heart was wrung with anguish. I could not break her sweet serenity by disclosing the fate which was impending. She seemed to have reached a period of the most holy and perfect satisfaction. All the suppressed bitterness of former years—all the earnest resolution of the later time—had vanished, and she rested happy in the enjoyment of our mutual love. This quiet assisted the process of destruction. Had there been something to rouse her old energy, I am confident she would have made a desperate, perhaps successful, struggle for life. But I could not force myself to excite it by a warning against the insidious destroyer.

On our arrival she was in a deplorable condition of weakness. She imputed this debility to the voyage. Day by day I saw the flame of life dwindling, but she was unsuspicious, and only wondered that her recovery was so slow. Once, as she was watching, in a half-declining position, the setting sun, and talking of the happy days to come, I could contain myself no longer, but burst forth into a frenzy of sobbing.

'Evelyn,' I said, 'you are dying. You know it not, but, oh God, it is true. You are dying before me, and I can not save you. Perhaps it is too late for you to save yourself.'

At first she supposed that my emotion was only the undue result of anxiety for her, but as I grew calmer, and told her [pg 148] more precisely my meaning, and the causes of my fears, she said, with something of her old firmness,—

'If this be true, let me become fully convinced. Call in Dr. ——, and leave me alone with him. I have not thought of dying, but should have known that my present happiness was too exquisite to last.'

I sent in the doctor, and he told her all. What passed between us, on my return, is too sacred for relation. It is enough that the bitterness of that hour filled all the capacity of the human heart for anguish and despair. Afterwards we became more reconciled to the dispositions of Heaven.

The history of her gradual decline need not be related—the hopes, the suspense, the disappointments—the reviving indications of health, the increasing symptoms of fatal disease—the flush and brilliancy as of exuberant vitality—the fading of all the hues of life—all the vicissitudes of the unrelenting progress of decay—one after another, resolving themselves into the lineaments of death.

It was indeed too late.

Frank still remained in Florence, but had discarded the society of his bachelor friends for that of the young lady previously mentioned, who was now entitled to call him husband.

Soon after our arrival I called upon him, announced Evelyn's illness, with its hopeless character. The young man was shocked. He had never thought of disease or death in connection with Evelyn. Who could? Besides, I could read in his face a horror mixed with thankfulness at the escape, as his memory recalled the madness which would have urged to guilt, her who was about to leave the scenes of earthly passion. I invited him to return with me. He did so, and I left him alone with Evelyn. I knew that his presence would now give her no shock.

What passed between them I never heard; but it was not beyond conjecture. The method of his regard for her subsequently, fully revealed it. It was the most lofty and refined feeling of which humanity is capable—the worship of the artist—the friendship of the man.

Well,—the last scene arrived. We knew that the time had come. It was, as she had hoped, at sunset. She gazed long at the changing splendors of the western sky. 'Such,' she said, 'is death. Life merely revolves away from us, but the soul still shines the same upon another sphere. The faith that invests death with terror is a false one. We pass from one world to another—drop one style of existence for a higher. We enter on a life in which may be realized all which here we have vainly sought for. The soul-longings shall all be there fulfilled. Come soon—all of you. I shall be waiting you. There love and friendship—unsullied and unruffled—without passion or misconception—will give perpetual happiness.'

And so she passed away. This is the tenth anniversary of her death. We bore hither all that was left of her to us, and Frank's chisel has marked her resting place. Her children are beside her, and I wait impatiently the time when I may enter with them on that existence where the budding affections of earth shall blossom into immortal enjoyment.

As Mr. Bell ceased his narrative, I pressed his hand, and without words departed.

About noon next day the rumor circulated through the streets that he was dead. I hastened to his house, and learned that it was true. He had been found at a late hour of the morning lying on his bed, dressed as I had left him. Physicians made an examination of the corpse, and attributed the cause to apoplexy. I did not lament him, for I knew his spirit was in the embrace of the loved ones who went before him.

[pg 149]


When the eaglets' tender wings are feathered
  The old eagles crowd them from the nest;
Down they flutter till their plumes have gathered
  Strength to lift them to the granite crest
  Of the hills their eldest sires possessed.
When the one cub of the lordly lions
  Strikes the earth and shakes his bristling mane,
Forth they lash him, though he growl defiance,
  O'er the sand-waste to pursue his gain,—
  Shaggy Nimrod of the desert plain!
Still the eagles watch out from the eyrie
  On the mountains, their young heirs to screen;
The old lions on the hot sand-prairie,—
  If some peril track their cub,—unseen,
  Stealthier than the Bedouin, glide between.
So the noblest of earth's creatures noble
  Are cast forth to find their way alone,
So our manhood, in its day of trouble,
  Is but crowded from the sheltering zone
  And broad love-wings, to achieve its throne.
We are left to battle, not forsaken,
  Watched in secret by our awful Sire;
Left to conquer, lest our spirits weaken,
  And forget to wrestle and aspire,
  Finding all things prompter than desire.
He hath hid the everlasting presence
  Of his Godhead from the world he made,
Veiled his incommunicable essence
  In thick darkness of thick clouds arrayed,
  On our bold search flashing through the shade.
We are gods in veritable seeming
  When we struggle for our vacant thrones,
But are earthlings beyond God's redeeming
  While we lean, and creep, and beg in moans,
  And base kneeling cramps our knitted bones.
[pg 150]
Strength is given us, and a field for labor,
  Boundless vigor and a boundless field;
Not to eat the harvests of our neighbor,
  But our own fate's reaping-hook to wield—
  Gathering only what our lands may yield;
If perchance it may be wheat or darnel,
  Bitter herbs to medicine a wrong,
Stinging thistles round a haunted charnel,
  Or rich wines to make us glad and strong,—
  Fitting fruits that to each mood belong.
While such power and scope to us are given,
  Who shall bind us to the triumph-car
Of some victor soul, before us driven,
  Earlier hero in the work and war,
  Him to mimic, humbly and afar?
No! we will not stoop, and fawn and follow;
  There are victories for our hands to win,
Rocks to rive, and stubborn glebes to mellow,
  Outward trials leagued to foes within;
  Earth and self to purify from sin.
No! our spirits shall not cringe and grovel,
  Stooping lowly to a low thoughts door,
As if Heaven were straitened to a hovel,
  All its star-worlds set to rise no more,
  And our genius had no wings to soar.
Truths bequeathed us are for lures to action;
  Not for grave-stones fane and altar stand,
Tempting men to wait the resurrection
  Of old prophets from their sunsets grand,—
  Rather mile-stones towards the Promised Land,
Gird your mantles and bind on your sandals,
  Each man marching by his own birth-star;
God will crown us when those glimmering candles
  Swell to suns as forth we track them far,—
  Suns that bear our throne and victory-bannered car!

[pg 151]


The celebrated 'Edict of Nantes' was, to speak accurately, a new confirmation of former treaties between the French government and the Protestants, or Huguenots—in fact, a royal act of indemnity for all past offences. The verdicts against the 'Reformed' were annulled and erased from the rolls of the Superior Courts, and to them unlimited liberty of conscience was recognized as a right. This important and solemn Edict marked for France the close of the Middle Ages, and the true commencement of modern times; it was sealed with the great seal of green wax, to testify its irrevocable and perpetual character. In signing this great document, Henry IV. completely triumphed over the usages of the Middle Ages, and the illustrious monarch wished nothing less than to grant to the 'Reformed' all the civil and religious rights which had been refused them by their enemies. For the first time France raised itself above religious parties. Still, a state policy so new could not fail to excite the clamors of the more violent, and the hatred of factions. The sovereign, however, remained firm. 'I have enacted the Edict,' said Henry to the Parliament of Paris,—'I wish it to be observed. My will must serve as the reason why. I am king. I speak to you as king.—I will be obeyed.' To the clergy he said, 'My predecessors have given you good words, but I, with my gray jacket,—I will give you good deeds. I am all gray on the outside, but I'm all gold within.' Praise to those noble sentiments, peace was maintained in the realm; the honor of which alone belongs to Henry IV.

In the first half of the seventeenth century, there could be counted in France more than eight hundred Reformed churches, with sixty-two Conferences. Such was the prosperity and powerful organization of the Protestant party until the fall of La Rochelle, which was emphatically called the citadel of 'the Reform.' This misfortune terminated the religious wars of France. The Huguenots, now excluded from the employment of the civil service and the court, became the industrial arms of the kingdom. They cultivated the fine lands of the Cevennes, the vineyards of Guienne, the cloths of Caen. In their hands were almost entirely the maritime trade of Normandy, with the silks and taffetas of Lyons, and, from even the testimony of their enemies, they combined with industry, frugality, integrity all those commercial virtues, which were hallowed by earnest love of religion and a constant fear of God. The vast plains which they owned in Bearn waved with bounteous harvests. Languedoc, so long devastated by civil wars, was raised from ruin by their untiring industry. In the diocese of Nimes was the valley of Vannage, renowned for its rich vegetation. Here the Huguenots had more than sixty churches or 'temples,' and they called this region 'Little Canaan.' Esperon, a lofty summit of the Cevennes, filled with sparkling springs and delicious wild flowers, was known as 'Hort-dieu' the garden of the Lord.

The Protestant party in France did not confine themselves to manufactures and commerce, but entered largely into the liberal pursuits. Many of the 'Reformed' distinguished themselves as physicians, advocates and writers, contributing largely to the literary glory of the age of Louis XIV. In all the principal cities of the kingdom, the Huguenots maintained colleges, the most flourishing of which were those at Orange, Caen, Bergeracs and Nimes, etc. etc. To the Huguenot gentlemen, in the reign of Louis XIII. and Louis XIV., France was indebted for her most brilliant victories. Marshal Rantzan, brave and devoted, received no less than sixty wounds, lost an arm, a leg, and an eye, his heart alone remaining untouched, amidst his many [pg 152] battles. Need we add the names of Turenne, one of the greatest tacticians of his day, with Schomberg, who, in the language of Madame de Sevigne, 'was a hero also,' or glorious Duquesne, the conqueror of De Ruyter? He beat the Spaniards and English by sea, bombarded Genoa and Algiers, spreading terror among the bold corsairs of the Barbary States; the Moslemin termed him 'The old French captain who had wedded the sea, and whom the angel of death had forgotten.' All these were illustrious leaders, with crowds of distinguished officers, and belonged to the Reformed religion. Wonderful and strange to relate, in the midst of all this national happiness and prosperity, the kingdom of France was again to appear before the world as the persecutor of her best citizens, the destroyer of her own vital interests. The Edict of Nantes was revoked on 22d October, 1685. It is not our purpose to name the causes of this suicidal policy, as they are indelibly written on the pages of our world's history, nor shall we point to the well-known provisions of this insane and bloody act. In a word, Protestant worship was abolished throughout France, under the penalty of arrest, with the confiscation of goods. Huguenot ministers were to quit the kingdom in a fortnight. Protestant schools were closed, and the laity were forbidden to follow their clergy, under severe and fatal penalties. All the strict laws concerning heretics were again renewed. But, in spite of all these enactments, dangers and opposition, the Huguenots began to leave France by thousands.

Many entreated the court, but in vain, for permission to withdraw themselves from France. This favor was only granted to the Marshal de Schomberg and the Marquis de Ruoigny, on condition of their retiring to Portugal and England. Admiral Duquesne, then aged eighty, was strongly urged by the king to change his religion. 'During sixty years,' said the old hero, showing his gray hairs,' I have rendered unto Cæsar the things which I owe to Cæsar; permit me now, sire, to render unto God the thing which I owe to God.' He was permitted to end his days in his native land. The provisions of the Edict were carried out with inflexible rigor. In the month of June, 1686, more than six hundred of the Reformed could be counted in the galleys at Marseilles, and nearly as many in those of Toulon, and the most of them condemned by the decision of a single marshal (de Mortieval). Fortunately for the refugees, the guards along the coast did not at all times faithfully execute the royal orders, but often aided the escape of the fugitives. Nor were the, land frontiers more faithfully guarded. In our day, it is impossible to state the correct numbers of the Protestant emigration. Assuming that one hundred thousand Protestants were distributed among twenty millions of Roman Catholics, we think it safe to calculate that from two hundred and fifty to three hundred thousand, during fifteen years, expatriated themselves from France. Sismondi estimates their number at three or four hundred thousand. Reaching London, Amsterdam or Berlin, the refugees were received with open purses and arms, and England, America, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Prussia, and Holland, all profited by this wholesale proscription of Frenchmen. All agree that these Protestant emigrants were among the bravest, the most industrious, loyal and pious in the kingdom of France, and that they carried with them the arts by which they had enriched their own land, and abundantly repaid the hospitality of those countries which afforded them that asylum denied them in their own.

The influence which the Huguenot refugees especially exerted upon trade and manufactures in those countries where they settled, was very striking and lasting. England and Holland, of all other nations, owe gratitude to the Protestants of France for the various branches of industry introduced by them, and which have greatly contributed in making their 'merchants princes,' and, their 'traffickers the honorable of the earth.' We refer to these nations particularly, [pg 153] because they are so intimately connected with the colonization of our own favored land. The Huguenot refugees in England introduced the silk factories in Spitalfields, using looms like those of Lyons and of Tours. They also commenced the manufacture of fine linen, calicoes, sail-cloth, tapestries, and paper, most of which had before been imported from France. It has been estimated that these refugees thus brought into Great Britain a trade which deprived France of an annual income of nearly ten millions of dollars. Science, arms, jurisprudence and literature, were also advanced by their arrival. The first newspaper in Ireland was published by the Pastor Droz, a refugee, who also founded a library in Dublin. Thelluson (Lord Redlesham), a brave soldier in the Peninsular war, General Ligonier, General Prevost of the British army, Sir Samuel Romilly, Majendie, Bishop of Chester, Henry Layard, the excavator of Nineveh, all are the descendants of the French Huguenots. Saurin secured the reputation of his powerful eloquence at the Hague; but in the French Church, Threadneedle street, London, he reached the summit of his splendid pulpit eloquence. Most of the Huguenots who fled to England for an asylum were natives of Normandy, Brittany, Picardy, and Guienne. Their numbers at the revocation may be calculated at eighty thousand. Hume estimates them at fifty thousand, another writer at seventy thousand, but we believe these calculations are too low. In 1676, the communicants of the Protestant French Church at Canterbury reached not less than twenty-five hundred. Of all the services of the Huguenots to England, none was more important than the energetic support to the Prince of Orange against James II. The Prince employed no less than seven hundred and thirty-six French officers, brave men who had been learned to conquer under the banner of Turenne and Condi. Schomberg was the hero at the battle of Boyne. One of his standards bore a BIBLE, supported on three swords, with the motto—'Ie maintiendray.' The gallant old man, now eighty-two years of age, fell mortally wounded, but triumphing, and with his dying eyes he saw the soldiers of James vanquished, and dispersed in headlong flight. Ruoigny, in the same battle, received a mortal wound, and, covered with blood, before the advancing French refugee regiments, cheered them on, crying, 'Onward, my lads, to glory! onward to glory!'

In England, the French Protestants long remained as a distinct people, preserving in a good degree a nationality of their own, but in the lapse of years this disappeared. One hardly knows in our day where to find a genuine Saxon,—'pure English undefiled,'—for the Huguenot blood circulates beneath many a well-known patronymic. Who would imagine that anything French could be traced in the colorless names of White and Black, or the authoritative ones of King and Masters? Still it is a well-known fact that such names, at the close of the last century, delighted in the designations of Leblanck (White), Lenoir (Black), Loiseau (Bird), Lejeune (Young), Le Tonnellier (Cooper), Lemaitre (Master), Leroy (King). These names were thus translated into good strong Saxon, the owners becoming one with the English in feeling, language, and religion. Holland, too, glorious Protestant Holland! the fatherland of American myriads, welcomed the fugitive Huguenots. From the beginning of the Middle Ages that noble land had been a hospitable home for the persecuted from all parts of Europe. During the last twenty years of the seventeenth century, the French emigration into that country became a political event. Amsterdam granted to all citizenship, with freemen's privilege of trade, and exemption of taxes for three years; and all the other towns of that nation rivalled each other in the same liberal and Christian spirit. In the single year of the revocation, more than two hundred and fifty Huguenot preachers reached the free soil of the United Provinces. Pensions were allowed to them, the married receiving four hundred florins, those in celibacy two hundred. [pg 154] The Prince of Orange attached two French preachers to his person, with many French officers to his army against James II.—thanks to the generous Princess of Orange, who selected several Huguenot dames as ladies of honor. One house at Harlaem was exclusively reserved for young ladies of noble birth. At the Hague, an ancient convent of preaching monks was changed into an asylum for the persecuted ladies. Of all lands which received the refugees, none witnessed such crowds as the Republic of Holland; and hence Boyle called it 'the grand arch of the refugees.' No documents exactly compute their number; one author calculates it at fifty-five thousand, and another, in 1686, at nearly seventy-five thousand souls. In the Dutch Republic and Germany, as was the result in England, the Huguenots exercised a most powerful influence on politics, literature, war, and religion, and industry and commerce. Holland, contrary to the general expectation, outlived the invasion of 1672, the Prince of Orange fortunately checking the designs of Louis XIV. Refugee soldiers had powerfully contributed to the triumph of his cause in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and then they followed him, with valor, in the war against Louis XIV., which compelled that monarch to sue for peace.

Literary men and preachers obtained repose and liberty in that land, with consideration and honor. Amsterdam alone received sixteen banished refugee ministers; and more than two hundred spread themselves through all the towns of the United Provinces. Very eloquent French pastors filled the pulpits of the Hague, Rotterdam, Leyden, and Harlaem. Their most brilliant orator was James Saurin. Abbaddié, hearing him for the first time, exclaimed, 'Is this a man or an angel, who is speaking to us?' Let us dwell a moment upon the character of this wonderful man. By the elevation of his thoughts and brilliancy of imagination, his luminous expositions, purity of style, with vigor of expression, he produced the most profound impression on the refugees and others who crowded to hear his varied eloquence. What charmed them most was the union in his style of Genevese zeal and earnestness with southern ardor, and especially those solemn prayers, with which he loved to close his discourses. Saurin displayed in these petitions strains of supplication which up to this time among the Hollanders had never been observed in any other preacher.

All the branches of human learning were advanced in Holland by the Protestant Frenchmen. Here no fetters on genius, no secret censorship or persecution, existed. The boldest democratic theories, with the most daring philosophic systems, were freely discussed, and the refugees promoted this spirit of investigation. They also increased the commerce and manufactures and agriculture of the Netherlands, and rendered Amsterdam one of the most famous cities of the world. Like the ancient city of Tyre, which the prophet named the 'perfection of beauty,' her merchant princes traded with all islands and nations. Macpherson, in his Annals of Commerce, estimates the annual loss to France, caused by the refugees establishing themselves in England and Holland, was not less than 3,582,000 pounds sterling, or about ninety millions of francs. Until the close of the eighteenth century, the descendants of the Huguenots in Holland were united among themselves, by intermarriage and the bonds of mutual sympathies. But in time a fusion with the Dutch became inevitable. Then, in Holland, as was the case with England and Germany, many refugees, abjuring their nationality, changed their French names into Dutch. The Leblancs called themselves De Witt,—the Deschamps, Van de Velde,—the Dubois, Van den Bosch,—the Chevaliers, Ruyter,—the Legrands, De Groot, etc. etc. With the change of names, Huguenot churches began to disappear, so that out of sixty-two which could be counted among the seven provinces in 1688, eleven only now remain,—among them those at Hague, Amsterdam, Leyden, Utrecht, Rotterdam, and Groningen. These are the last monuments of [pg 155] the Huguenot emigration to Holland, and a certain number of families preserve some sentiment of nationality, who consider themselves honored by their French, noble, Protestant origin, while at the same time they are united by patriotic affection to their newly adopted country.

This rapid chapter of the expulsion of the 'Huguenots,' or 'Protestants,' or 'Refugees,' from their native land, with their settlement in England and Holland, seem necessary for a better understanding of our subject. Thence, they emigrated to America, and it is our object to collect something concerning their origin and descendants among us. The Huguenots of America is a volume which still remains fully and correctly to be written. This is a period when increased attention and study are directed to historical subjects, and we gladly will contribute what mite we may possess to the important object.


'A witch,' according to my nurse's account, 'must be a haggard old woman, living in a little rotten cottage under a hill by a wood-side, and must be frequently spinning by the door; she must have a black cat, two or three broom-sticks, and must be herself of so dry a nature, that if you fling her into a river she will not sink: so hard then is her fate, that, if she is to undergo the trial, if she does not drown she must be burnt, as many have been within the memory of man.'


In a bustling New England village there lived, not many years ago, a poor, infirm, deformed little old woman, who was known to the middle-aged people living there and thereabout as 'Aunt Hannah.' The younger members of the little community had added another and very odious title to the 'Aunt'—they called her 'Aunt Hannah, the Black Witch.' Not that she was of negro blood. Her pale, pinched and patient face was white as the face of a corpse; so, also, was her thin hair, combed smoothly down under the plain cap she always wore. Very white indeed she was, as to face, and hair, and cap, but otherwise she was all and always black, especially so as regarded an ugly pair of gloves, which were never removed from her hands, so far as the youngsters were aware, and which added to the fearfully mysterious aspect of those members. Exactly what they covered, the children never knew, but they saw that one hideous glove enclosed something like a gigantic, withered bird's claw, while within the other there musts have been a repulsive and horrid knob, without proper form, and lacking any remotest attempt at thumb and fingers.

These shapeless members, forever covered from the world, wrought fearful images in the minds of the children, and their youthful imaginations conjured up all sorts of uses to which such strange members might be applied. Upon one point they were agreed. There was no doubt in any little head among them that Aunt Hannah had at some time sold herself to Satan, and that he had placed this deformity upon her as a mark of ownership. Then she had a humped back, poor woman, the result of the cruel weight of many weary years; and she leaned upon an old-fashioned staff with a curved and crutch-like handle; and her bleared eyes were bent forever on the ground; and her thin lips twitched convulsively, and she muttered to herself as she crawled about the village [pg 156] streets; and it was said by those who knew, that she was nearly a hundred years of age. So the youngsters called her the 'Black Witch,' and sometimes hooted after her in the streets, or hobbled on before her with bowed heads and ridiculous affectation of infirmity. Thanks to her evil name, none of them ever ventured to actually assault the poor old creature, and their taunts she bore with patient meekness, going ever quietly upon her accustomed, peaceful way.

The older villagers regarded her with a pity that was half pity and half disgust. Those fearful hands they never could forget, nor the bowed figure, nor the strange working of the lips. Therefore, they held her in a sort of dreading, but still her lonely life, and her patient, uncomplaining spirit, moved their hearts. Then a vague tradition—nothing more, for neither kith nor kin had ancient Hannah—a vague tradition said that she had once been very beautiful; that when she was in her fresh and lovely youth, some strange misfortune had fallen upon her, and that she had worn since then—most innocently—the mark of a direful tragedy. One lady, old, nearly, as Aunt Hannah, but upon whom there had never fallen any blight of poverty or wrong, loved the poor creature well, and she only, of all the inhabitants of the village, frequently entered the cottage where the 'Black Witch' dwelt. This lady, it was said, had known her when both were young, and carried forever locked in her heart the story of that saddened youth. None called good Mrs. Marjoram a witch. Her face was clear, her smile bright, her eyes sparkling, and she bore her years with an upright and cheerful carriage.

The little, one-storied house where Aunt Hannah dwelt was situated in a hollow just out of the village, in the shadow of a grove of tangled hemlocks and pines. It consisted of two rooms only, with an unfinished attic overhead; and before her door the poor old soul might be seen any pleasant day, sitting meekly in the sun. She could neither knit nor sew as other old women do, but she sat there waiting patiently for the time when her kind Father should call her home, to lose forever the blackness that clung to her in this weary world.

She did not live here entirely alone, for, true to the universal reputation of witches, she kept, not one cat only, but several; all black cats, too. It was the only fancy she indulged in, the only luxury she allowed herself, and it was sad that this harmless freak should cost her so many taunts. Sometimes the boys tried to kill her cats, aided in the murderous attempt by the village dogs, but no dog ever came back scatheless from those sharp and spiteful claws. Hence the boys were certain as to the witchcraft, and 'knew' that these savage animals were true imps of Satan.

This weak and defenceless creature, living thus apart from human companionship, was supported on a small annuity, paid her quarterly by a very honest company, that would have been ruined with many such venerable clients. On pleasant days she crept about the town to do her meagre marketing, or crawled to the paupers' pew in the old brick meeting-house. During the warm summer weather her scant life was somewhat cheered, and a faint attempt at joyousness sometimes winked in her old eyes, but with the winter's cold came the cruel cramps and rheumatism, the sleepless nights and painful days. Then Mrs. Marjoram frequently drove to her door, carrying medicines and nourishing food,—over and above all, bringing cheerful words and a warm and hearty smile.

One winter Mrs. Marjoram was taken ill, and, being so very old, her life was despaired of. During this sickness there came a great fall of snow, piling up four or five feet on the level, and driving and drifting into the hollows, so that for several days the less frequented roads in that part of the country were impassible. And now, when Mrs. Marjoram, but for her own sad plight, would have thought of poor Aunt Hannah, there was no one enough interested to give her loneliness a moment's consideration, till, one morning, one street lad cried out suddenly to [pg 157] another that Aunt Hannah must be buried alive!

Buried alive? The men, suddenly summoned from their business or their leisure, hardly thought that possible in the deep hollow, filled nearly to the level with heavily packed and frozen snow.

Men walked out on the firm crust till they were directly over the spot where, full twenty feet below, stood Aunt Hannah's little house. And they shook their heads mournfully at the sickening thought of what must lie below them.

It was a good day's work for twenty men to open a gradually descending way to the lonely house,—a good day's work; so that when they reached the door—finding it locked inside—they sent back to the village for lanterns and candles before bursting it in.

The sight that startled and horrified them after they had forced the door, they never liked to speak of. The sounds from the furious, spitting and snarling cats they never forgot.

Her disfigured and mutilated remains were decently interred, and when the spring-time carried away the snow, they leveled the house with the ground. But, though they buried her out of their sight and pulled down the rotten cottage she had inhabited for so many weary years, the fearful memory of her evil name and dreadful end remained, and nearly all the village came to regard her as, in very truth, a witch.

Only Mrs. Marjoram took from the cottage with pious love an ancient and much-thumbed book, on whose fly-leaf was written 'Jason Fletcher, His Bible.' Then, having no longer any reason to conceal the early history of the deceased, she related to the village gossips—as a warning against trusting too fully to evil appearances—the following


A long time ago—before the middle of the last century, in fact—there dwelt in one of the most flourishing towns in Western Massachusetts a family of Puritan extraction named Fletcher. Straitest among the strict, John Cotton Fletcher and his wife Mehitabel held all lightness of conduct or gamesomeness of speech as sin most devoutly to be prayed and striven against, and not only 'kept' the ten commandments with pious zeal, but, for the better serving of the Lord, invented an eleventh, which read 'Laugh not at all.' Holy days they knew, in number during the year fifty-four, namely, the fifty-two 'Sabbaths' and the governor's Fast and Thanksgiving days; holidays they held in utter abhorrence, deeming Christmas, especially, an invention of the devil. On 'work-days' they worked; on 'Sabbath-days' they attended the preaching of the word; otherwise, on the Lord's day, doing nothing save to eat and drink what was absolutely necessary to keep them from faintness. They lived to praise the Lord, and they must eat to live. But no cooking or other labor was done on that day, and if the old horse was saddled to carry them to meeting it was because that was a work of necessity. On Fast and Thanksgiving days—because they were peculiarly of Puritan origin—there was an especial effort at godliness, and woe, then, to any profaning youngster who dared to shout or play within sound or sight of Deacon Fletcher's premises. Every Saturday night, at sunset, all tools for men and playthings for children were put away, to be disturbed no more till sunset on Sunday. All papers, books, knitting-work, sewing, were disposed of 'out of the way.' It was necessary to milk the cows, feed the pigs, and saddle the horse, but that was all the work that was allowed. As to any jest on any holy day, that was, beyond all other things, most abhorrent to their ideas of Christian duty. Life with them was a continued strife against sin, cheered only by the hope of casting off all earthly trammels at last, to enter upon one long, never-ending Sabbath. And their Sabbath of idleness was more dreary than their 'week-day' of work.

Yet were they an humble, honest, and upright pair, walking purely before God according to the light they had, and as highly respected and honored in the [pg 158] community, that the fiat of the minister himself—and in those days the minister's word was 'law and gospel' in the smaller New England villages—was hardly more potent than that of Deacon Fletcher.

To this couple was born one son, and one only. Much as they mourned when they saw their neighbors adding almost yearly to their groups of olive branches, the Lord in his wisdom vouchsafed to them only this one child, and they bowed meekly to the providence and tried to be content. Why his father named the boy 'Jason,' no one could rightly tell; perhaps because the fleece of his flocks had been truly fleece of gold to him; at all events, thus was the child named, and in the strict rule of this Christian couple was Jason reared.

It would be sad as well as useless to tell of the dreary winter-Sundays in the cold meeting-house (it was thought a wicked weakness to have a fire in a church then) through which he shivered and froze; of the fearful sitting in the corner after the two-hours sermons and the thirty-minutes prayers were done; of the utter absence of all cheerful themes or thoughts on the holy days which they so straitly remembered to keep; of the visions of sudden death, and the bottomless pit thereafter, which haunted the child through long nights; of the sighing for green fields and the singing of birds, on some summer Sundays, when the sun was warm and the sky was fair; and the clapping of the old-fashioned wooden seats, as the congregation rose to pray or praise, was sweeter music than the blacksmith made who 'led the singing' through his nose. It would be a dreary task to follow the boy through all this youthful misery, and so I will let it pass. Doubtless all these things brought forth their fruits when his day of freedom came. He was a large-framed, full-blooded boy, with more than the usual allowance of animal spirits. But his father was larger framed and tougher, and in his occasional contests with his son victory naturally perched upon his banners, so that the boy's spirit (which rebelled alway against the iron rule of the household), if not broken down, was certainly so far kept under that it rarely showed itself. It was a slumbering volcano, ready, when it reached its strength, to pour out burning lava of passion and evil-doing.

Thus the boy grew up almost to manhood, with very few rays of sunshine cast over his early path to look back upon when he should Teach the middle eminence of life. And the gloom of the present cheerless and austere way caused him to look forward with the more rapture to that time, when, with his twenty-first birth-day, should come the power to do as he pleased with himself: with his hours of labor and of ease, with his Sabbath-days and his work-days.

A little before the time when big majority was to come and set him partially free—for then, according to the good old Puritan custom, he would have his 'freedom-suit,' and probably a few hundred dollars and a horse, and might remain with his father or go elsewhere—there fell across Jason's path a sweet gleam of golden sunshine, such as he had never known before, nor ever dreamed of. When he was in his twenty-first year, his father, the Deacon,—being urged thereto by the failing health of his overtasked wife,—adopted as half daughter, half serving maid, a beautiful and friendless girl, who might otherwise have gone to ruin. Her name was plain Hannah Lee. No name can be imagined too liquid, sweet and voluptuous in its sound to typify her loveliness. It was not strange, therefore, that she had not been long in the house before Jason Fletcher, hitherto deprived of much cheerful female society, felt stealing over him a new and strange excitement of mingled joy and wonder. It is trite and tame to say that for him there came new flowers in all the fields and by all the road-sides, and a hitherto unknown fragrance in the balmy air; rosier colors to the sunset, softer tints to the yellow gray east at dawn, brighter sparkle to the brooks, breezier glories to the mountain-tops; but, doubtless, this was strictly true, as [pg 159] it has been many times before and since to many other men, but scarce ever accompanied by so great and complete a change.

His father might have expected it, and his mother have reckoned upon it, but no thought of love in connection with their quiet and awkward son ever entered into their minds, and so they put this sweet creature into the youth's way, not reflecting that only one result—on his side, at least—could follow.

They kept no watch upon the pair, and knew not of the many meetings, accidental, apparently, even to themselves, that took place between the innocent youth and girl. It needs no reading of light books to make a successful lover, nor grace, nor elegant carriage; and Nature points the way to the most modest and untrained wooer. So, without a word having been spoken on the subject, nor any caress exchanged, except, perhaps, an occasional momentarily clasped hand, or the necessary and proper contact, when Hannah rode, sometimes, behind Jason on the pillion (one arm around him to keep her in her seat), they became lovers, and none the less so that they had given no verbal or labial utterance to their loves.

And the summer flew by on wings of the fleetest, and Jason's twenty-first birth-day approached.

It fell this year upon a Sunday. The family had 'been to meeting' all the day as usual, no reference being made to the fact that the youth was now 'free.' (His father had said to him, as they milked the cows on Saturday night, 'We will put by your "Freedom Day" till Monday.') But all day Jason had walked, and thought, and eaten, and drunk, not to the glory of the Lord, as his father and mother piously believed they did, but to the glory of himself—no longer a child, but a man!

It lacked a full half hour to sunset, and there was no cooler resting place that warm summer afternoon than beneath the shade of a thick-leaved grape-vine that overspread a stunted pear tree some little distance in the rear of the house. Hannah, with her natural love for pleasant things and places, had induced Jason, some time before, to make a seat for her in this charming spot. It was quite out of sight from the house, and the little bower the vine made could be entered only from one side. In this bower Hannah sat this sunny afternoon, wondering if it would change Jason very much to be a boy no longer, and devoutly praying in the depths of her pure little heart that it would not.

She sat, half sadly, and not very distinctly, dreaming over this problem, when the shade was deepened, and, looking up, she was aware that Jason stood at the entrance to the arbor. Her heart stopped beating for half a moment, and she felt quite faint and sick. Then she said, with a smile, half sad, half jocose, 'You are a man now, Jason, are you not?'

There was room for two on the seat, and she moved a little toward the further end as she spoke.

'I am a man to-day, Hannah,' he said. 'Father wants to keep me boy till to-morrow, because this is the Lord's day, and I suppose it is wicked to be a man on Sunday. To-morrow I shall go away from here, and not come back for a long, long time.' His voice trembled, and sounded very cold and sad.

Hannah put her two elbows on her knees, rested her face in her hands, and uttered a little, low, wailing cry, most painful to hear.

Then Jason seated himself beside her, put his arms about her, and, raising her gently up, kissed her on the cheek. He had never before kissed any woman save his mother.

'When I come back,' he said, 'I will marry you, if you love me, and then we will always live together.'

The little maid dried her eyes, and a look sweet and calm, such as, perhaps, the angels wear, stole over her innocent face.

'Oh, do you love me so? Will you?' she said.

'So help me God, I will,' he said.

Then she put her arms about his neck, [pg 160] and lifting up her innocent face to his, gave him her heart in one long kiss.

(Just then a light foot, passing toward the house from a neighbor's, paused at the arbor door, all unknown to those within, and little Martha Hopkins, the neighbor's daughter and Hannah's special pet, looked in upon them for a moment. Then she sped quickly to Deacon Fletcher's house, and burst, all excitement, into the kitchen.)

'Will you wait for me, Hannah, darling,' said Jason, 'all the time it may take me to get ready for a wife, and never love any other man, nor let any other man love you? Never forget me, for years and years, perhaps, till I come back for you? Will you always remember that we love each other, and that you are to be my wife?'

'I will wait for you, dear, if I wait till I die,' she answered.

He folded her yet more closely to his breast.

While they held each other thus, forgetting all else in the world, his father burst, furious and terrible, into the arbor!

He seized them with a strong and cruel rasp, and tore them pitilessly asunder.

'Go into the house, boy,' he cried, 'and leave this'—

'Stop!' shouted Jason, springing to his feet, his face as white as death and his eyes flashing—'Stop! Do not call her any name but a good name! I would not bear it if you were twenty times my father!'

The old man stood transfixed.

'She is as good as you or as my mother, and will go to heaven as well as you when she dies,' he continued passionately; 'as well as any of us; as well as the minister! What did you come here for? Haven't you driven my life almost to death ever since I can remember; and isn't that enough, but you must come here and kill my darling, my dear, my love?'

He knelt where she lay on the ground.

'Hear the boy,' cried the father, in a rage equally terrible and far less noble. 'Hear the boy go on about the baggage!'

The boy still knelt, unheeding anything save the senseless form beside him.

'Wasn't it enough that you should wanton with a young woman in this style, but you must do it on the holy Sabbath day?' the old man continued. 'Mother,' he cried, jerking the words over his shoulder at his wife, who stood behind him, 'do you bring such profligates as this into the world, to disgrace a pious man's fame and bring his house to sorrow? Let him go forth—my oldest and youngest born, and eat husks with the swine; he shall have no portion, and there shall be no fatted calf killed when he returns!'

Still the youth knelt, and now his head had fallen upon the prostrate body, and he was covering her cold hand with kisses.

'Look here, young man,' the father cried, 'leave go that girl's hand and come into the house; as true as there's a God in Israel I'll teach you what a stout rawhide is made of!'

Just at this juncture neighbor Hopkins and his wife, warned by quick-flying little Martha that something terrible was going on at Deacon Fletcher's, appeared, hurrying towards the spot.

Peter Hopkins was considered a somewhat ungodly but a very just man, and while the Deacon most highly disapproved of his spiritual state, and doubted that he and 'vital piety' were strangers, he still respected Peter's rugged honesty and directness of purpose, and ranked him foremost among the 'world's people.' He was a man of powerful frame and strong impulses, and when his feelings were aroused he stood in awe of no man, high or low. When he forced his way into the arbor, therefore, the Deacon paused in his invective and made no remonstrance.

Peter Hopkins at once put the worst construction on the scene before him. He saw in the son of Deacon Fletcher only a seducer, in poor Hannah Lee only a victim, and his blood rose to boiling heat. Without pausing to ask any [pg 161] question, grasping at one guess, as he supposed, the whole sad history, he seized Jason by the collar, and, lifting him up, dashed him violently down again, the boy's head striking a corner of the bench as he fell.

Then he took the girl tenderly up and faced about upon the father, actually foaming with wrath.

'This comes of psalm singing,' he cried. 'Clear the way there!' and he bore the still unconscious maiden toward his own house.

Then a sudden and strange revulsion came over Deacon Fletcher. For the first time, perhaps, in twenty-one years, the father's heart triumphed over the Deacon's prejudices. As he saw his son—his only son—lying pale and bleeding on the ground, all recollection of his offense, all thought of sinfulness or godliness in connection with his conduct, vanished, and he only considered whether this pride of his, this strong and beautiful son, were to die there, or to live and bless him. He stooped, sobbing, over the boy, reconciled, at last, to humanity, and conscious of a strong human love.

Not more tenderly was poor Hannah Lee borne to the house of Peter Hopkins than the father carried the son he had only just received into his own dwelling. There were no thoughts of husks now, but only a sorrowful joy that one so long dead to him was at length alive, that a new heart, full of human instincts, had found birth within his bosom. But mingled with this joy was the fear that he had only, at length, possessed his son to lose him.

While Jason Fletcher lay tossing, week after week, through the fever that followed the scene of violence in the arbor, poor Hannah went sadly but patiently about the light duties that farmer Hopkins and his wife allowed her to perform.

Thoroughly convinced, through his wife's communications with Hannah, of the innocence of the pair, Peter Hopkins had gone to Deacon Fletcher and remonstrated with him on his outrageous conduct.

'Your son is a fine lad,' he said, 'and Hannah is fit to be queen anywhere; and if you don't give her a fitting out when he's well enough to marry her, hang me if I won't! I owe the boy something for the ill trick I played him in my hot-headedness, and he shall have it, too! Say, now, that they shall be man and wife!'

Deacon Fletcher astonished the hot-hearted man beyond measure by quietly telling him that, God willing, his dear son should marry Hannah as soon as the visitation that now kept him on a bed of raving illness was taken away. He added meekly that he hoped God would forgive him if he had abused the trust placed in him, and, misled by a vanity of holiness, had done his son great wrong, these many years.

'Give us your hand, Deacon,' cried the delighted pleader; 'you are a good man, if you are a Deacon, and that's more'n I'd have said a week ago! You have hurt that boy, and no mistake! You've either beaten the spirit all out of him, or you have shut up a devil in him that'll break out one o' these days, worse'n them that went into the pigs that we read about! But 'tain't too late to mend, an' if a stitch in time does save nine, it's better to take the nine stitches than to wait till they are ninety times nine. You've got to be a thousand times kinder to the boy than you would if you hadn't been so hard on him all his life.'

It was agreed that while the fever held its course nothing should be said to poor Hannah, and so the two men parted—warm friends for the first time in their lives.

And poor Hannah Lee went droopingly and patiently about her duties, asking quietly from day to day as to the health of Jason, and telling no soul how her heart seemed breaking within her, and how all the future looked to her like a dreary waste.

Mrs. Hopkins threw out gentle hints that the Deacon might relent, and that if he did the wish that was ever in Hannah's heart might be realized. But the poor child paid little heed to her suggestions, [pg 162] a foreshadowing of some direful calamity constantly enfolding and saddening her. Still she kept bravely and quietly about her duties, and it was only when she was alone in her chamber at night that she gave way to the terrible wofulness that oppressed her, and prayed, and wept, and wrestled with her sorrow.

And this sweet and lovely creature was the same pious and patient soul who was afterwards taunted by rude village boys, and pointed at as one who had sold herself to Satan.

One night she had cried herself asleep, and lay in an unquiet and fitful slumber. As she thought of him alway by day, so now in her dreams the image of Jason Fletcher was fantastically and singularly busy. It seemed to her that she stood upon an eminence overlooking a peaceful valley of that charming sort only to be seen in dreams. Afar off, and still, in some strange way, very near, she beheld the youth of her love, who reclined upon a bank beside a quiet stream. Everything was at rest. The soft moonbeams—for, in her dream, evening rested on the valley—bathed all the prospect in a cool effulgence. There was no sound, save only that sweet music of never-sleeping nature which is forever heard within all her broad domain. Still the dreamer felt that there was something direful and most to be dreaded that threatened to invade and mar the heavenly peacefulness. She felt it coming, and fearfully awaited its approach. And she had not long to wait. For presently there appeared, flying between the calm moonlight and the figure, and casting a doleful shadow over his form, a scaly and dreadful dragon, like those we read of that devastated whole countries in the old, old times. This hideous beast breathed fire and smoke from its horrid nostrils as it flew, and it flapped its fearful way downwards to scorch and destroy the figure recumbent by the stream.

Just when it was stooping upon its unconscious victim, a heavy scale, beaten from its side by the bat-like wings, fell upon the night-mare stricken sleeper's breast, and she awoke.

The moon was shining peacefully into the room, and she found upon the bed a black cat that had leaped in through the low window. It was a gentle and loving animal, that had made friends with her upon her first arrival, and it had already coiled itself up on the bed with a gentle purring.

Everything was most quiet and calm as she lay gazing out through the window; still the dreadful memory of her dream weighed upon and oppressed her. She arose and leaned out into the cool night air. So leaning, she could see Deacon Fletcher's house, standing bare and brown in the moonlight only a few rods distant. She could gaze, with what pleasure or sorrow she might, at the windows of the room where poor Jason lay tossing with the fever.

She gazes earnestly thitherward, and her breath comes thick and short, while her heart seems rising into her throat. For she sees, gathered thick and dun above the house, a dense, undulating and ever-increasing shadow, that threatens to obscure the low-floating moon! There is no wind, and it rises slowly but steadily! Deacon Fletcher's house is on fire!

Her shrill cries, uttered in wild and rapid succession, aroused the household of Peter Hopkins to the fact that there was fire somewhere—fire, that most terrible fiend to awake before in the dead of night. As for Hannah, it was but an instant's work for her to throw on a little clothing and spring from the low window into the yard. Then she ran, with what trembling speed she might, towards the burning house.

The smoke still rose sombre and heavy from the roof, and about one of the chimneys little tongues of flame leaped up as she approached. She could hear a fierce crackling, too, of that spiteful sort made by the burning of dry wood. The house was all of wood, and old, and it was evidently thoroughly afire within.

She realized this as she hurried up to it. In the brief seconds of her crossing [pg 163] the field and leaping a small stream that ran near the house, she thought of Jason, so noble, so self-denying, so persecuted, so beautiful, lying there in his little upper room, powerless from the fever, and doomed to die a dreadful death. She thought of him, weak and helpless, with no strength even to shrink from the flames that should lap over him and lick him to death with their fiery tongues. All this as she sped across the field and leaped the stream.

Reaching the house, she glanced upward, and could perceive the light of the flames already showing itself through the upper front windows, next the room where slept the Deacon and his wife. Fortunately Jason's room was in the rear. Then she remembered that an old nurse from the village watched with him, and she called fiercely on her name, but with no response.

As she had approached the house, the nearest outer door was that facing the road, immediately over which the fire was evidently about to break out, and this door she tried, finding it fast. Then she remembered a side entrance, through an old wood-shed, that was seldom locked, and she immediately made her way to it.

Meanwhile the fire was busy with the dry wood-work of the house, and though there was no wind, it spread with fearful rapidity. Already the flames had burst out through the roof in two or three places, and in the front of the house they were cruelly curling and creeping about the eaves. They seemed confined, however, to the upper portion of the building, and therein she had hope.

As she had anticipated, she found the side door unfastened, and she made her way rapidly to the foot of the back stairway. When she opened the door to ascend, a thick, black smoke rushed down, almost overpowering her. The opening of the door seemed to aid the fire, too, and there was a sort of explosive eagerness in the new start it took as it now crackled and roared above her. Then she recognized in the sickening smoke a smell of burning feathers, and she felt faint and weak as she thought that it might be his bed that was on fire.

This was only for an instant. Staggering backward before the cloud of smoke, with outstretched, groping hands, like one suddenly struck blind, an 'instinct,' or what you please to call it, struck her, and she tore off her flannel petticoat, wrapping it about her head and shoulders. Then, holding her hands over mouth and nose, she rushed desperately up the stairs.

No one, unless he has been through such a smoke, can conceive of the trials she had to undergo in mounting those stairs. No one can fancy, except from the recollection of such an experience, how the fierce heat beat her back when she reached the upper hall. The walls were not yet fully on fire, but great tongues of flame curled along the ceiling, and hot blasts swept across her path.

She knew his room. It was but a step to it, and the door opened easily. The nurse was fast asleep, so fast that poor Hannah's warning cry, as she stumbled in, hardly aroused her. On the bed lay Jason, so thin, so white, so corpse-like, she would hardly have known him. In the fierce strength of her despair it was no task to lift that emaciated body, but, ah! how to get out of the house with it? For when she turned she saw that the hall was now wholly on fire.

But she did not hesitate. Wrapping him quickly and tenderly in a blanket taken from the bed, she rushed out into the flames.

Meanwhile Peter Hopkins and his 'hired man' had been aroused by Hannah's first screams, and had hurriedly scrambled on a portion of their clothing and rushed out. They had been in time—running quickly across the field—to see Hannah disappear behind the house. Neither of them supposed for an instant that she had entered it.

Trying the front door, and finding it fast, Peter uplifted his stout foot and kicked it crashing in, but he found it impossible to enter by the breach he [pg 164] had made. The front stairway was all in flames, and the fierce heat drove him hopelessly back. Then they ran around to the rear. By this time the entire upper portion of the building seemed to be one mass of fire and smote, and now they could hear shrill and terrible shrieks, evidently proceeding from the suddenly awakened inmates. They ran to the kitchen door and burst it in.

As they did so there rushed towards them from the foot of the kitchen stairs some horrible, blazing, and unnatural shape, that came stumbling but swiftly forward. With it came smoke and flame and a horrible sound of stifled moans.

At the approach of this strange and unsightly object they sprang back amazed, and it passed them headlong into the open air; passed them and dropped apart, as it were, into the stream before the door.

For many years thereafter the slumbers of Farmer Hopkins were disturbed by visions of what he saw when the two two parts of that terrible apparition were taken from the water.

There lay Hannah Lee, no longer beautiful and fresh as the morning, but blackened, crisped, scorched and shrunken, with all her wealth of silken hair burned to ashes, with all her clear loveliness of complexion gone forever. And there lay Jason Fletcher, unburned,—so carefully had she covered him as she fled,—but senseless, and to all appearance a corpse.

Thus Hannah Lee went through fire and water, even unto worse than death, for the sake of him she loved. And verily she had her reward.

When the sun rose, there only remained a black and ugly pit to mark the place where Deacon Fletcher's house had stood.

And of all its inmates, only Jason—carefully watched and tended at the house of Peter Hopkins—was left to tell the tale of that night's tragedy. And he, poor fellow, had no tale to tell, the delirium of fever having been upon him all the night. It was very doubtful if he would recover,—more than doubtful. Not one in a thousand could do so, with such an exposure at the critical period of his sickness.

Even more tenderly, with even more anxiety, did all in the country round minister to poor Hannah Lee. The story of her love, of her bravery, of her heroic self-abnegation, spread throughout all those parts, and there was no end to what was done for her by neighbors and friends. So widely did her fame spread, that people from thirty, forty, and even fifty miles away came to see her, or sent messages, or money, or delicacies to comfort her.

What could be done for them was done, and they both lived.

When Jason Fletcher arose from his sick bed, he arose another man than the Jason Fletcher who was thrown down in the arbor by Farmer Hopkins. He went sick, a dependent, simple, good-hearted, though impatient boy, worn out by the constraints of twenty years, but capable of future cultivation and improvement; he arose from his sickness a moody, cross-grained, dogged and impatient man, whose only memories were tinged red with wrong, and made bitter by thought of what he had endured. It was little matter to him that all his father's broad acres were now his own—the thought of the horrible death his parents had died only suggested a question in his mind, whether it were not a 'judgment' on them: they having lived to persecute him too long already. Through all the vista of his past life he saw only gloom and shadows, and no ray of brightness cheered the retrospective glance.

No ray? Yes, there was one. He saw a fair young girl, loving and innocent, whose sweet face scarce ever left his thoughts. She reigned where father and mother held no sway; and she made, with the sunshine of her love, a clear heaven for him even in the purgatory of the past. So he lay, slowly gathering strength, dreaming about her. And presently they told him—gently as might be—how she had saved him. [pg 165] And they nearly killed him in the telling.

When he was well enough to be about, it was strange that they would not allow him to see her. She was still very ill, they said, and the doctor, a reasonable man enough usually, utterly refused him admission to her chamber. He fretted at this, and as he gained strength he 'went wrong.'

Mingled with the memory of his old privations was a full assurance of his present liberty. He was of age, and he owned, by right, all the extensive property the Deacon, his father, had so laboriously amassed. During all his boyhood he had never had a shilling, at any one time, that he could call his own; now hundreds of pounds stood ready at his bidding, and he proceeded very speedily to spend them. During all his boyhood he had been cut off from the amusements common to the youth of that day; now he launched out into the most extravagant pleasures his money could procure. Money was nothing, for he had it in plenty; character was nothing, for he had none to lose; only love remained to him of all the good things he might have held, and love lay bleeding while he was denied access to Hannah. Love lay bleeding, and he turned for comfort to the wine-cup, and raised Bacchus to the place Cupid should have occupied. Alas for Jason Fletcher!

Weeks rolled on and passed into months, and still he was refused speech with, or right of, Hannah. And he chafed at the denial. Had she not risked everything to save his life? And he could not even thank her!

At length, being unable to find further excuse wherewith to put him off, they one day told him he could see his love. They endeavored to prepare him by hints and suggestions as to the probable consequences of the trial she had passed through, but all that they could say or he imagine had not prepared him for the fearful sight.

Poor Hannah Lee! This scarred, deformed and helpless body, without proper hands—oh! white hands, how well he remembered them!—without comeliness of form or feature, was all that was left of the once glorious creature, whose heaven-given beauty had ensnared his fresh and untutored heart! Poor Hannah Lee!

The rough youth, loving her yet, but repelled by the horrible aspect she presented, fell sobbing upon his knees and buried his face in the bed-clothing. He spoke no word, but the tumultuous throes of his agony shook the room as he knelt beside her. And from the bed arose a wail more terrible in its utter, eternal sorrowfulness than had ever fallen upon the ears of those present. It was the wail of a soul recognizing for the first time that the loveliness of life had passed away forever.

They mingled their cries thus for a little time, and then Jason arose and staggered from the room. He would have spoken, but the dreadful sorrow rose up and choked him. All the memories of the past were linked with youth and beauty. He could not speak to the blight before him, as to his love and his life, and so, with blind and lumbering footsteps, he toiled heavily from the house.

The fires of the Revolution had broken forth and swept over New England, burning out like stubble the little loyalty to the crown left in men's hearts.

At the battle of Bunker Hill Jason Fletcher fought like a tiger. Last among the latest, he clubbed his musket, and was driven slowly backward from the slight redoubt.

He was heard of at White Plains, at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and always with marvelous mention of courage and prowess. Then he was promoted from the ranks, and was mentioned as 'Lieutenant Fletcher.' Then there were rumors of some dishonor that had sullied the brightness of his fame; and then it came to be hinted about that in all the rank and file of the patriot army there was no one so utterly dissolute and drunken as he. And then came news of his ignominiously quitting the service, and a cloud dropped down [pg 166] about him, and no word, good or bad, came home from the castaway any more.

Meanwhile poor Hannah Lee languished upon her bed of suffering, but did not die. And finally, when spring after spring had spread new verdure over the rough hills among which she dwelt, she got, by little and little, to venturing out into the village streets. And when they saw her bowed form and her ugly, misshapen hands, the village children, knowing her history, forbore to sneer at or taunt her. All the village loved the unfortunate creature, and all the village strove together to do her kindness.

One man in the town—a cousin of Jason the wanderer—was supposed to hold communication with him. This man notified Hannah one day that a safe life annuity had been purchased for her, and thereafter she lived at the house of Farmer Hopkins, not as a loved dependent, but as a cherished and faithful friend. Thus freed from the bitter sting of helpless poverty, Hannah sank resignedly into a quiet and honorable life.

At length, one warm summer day, when Jason Fletcher should have been about forty years of age, there strayed into the village a blind mendicant, with a dog for guide, and a wooden leg rudely fastened to one stiff stump. This stranger, white-headed and with the care-lines of many years on his sadly furrowed face, sought out poor Hannah Lee, and told her that he had, by the grace of God, come back, at last, to die. Leading him with gentle counsels to that Mercy Seat where none ever seek in vain, poor Hannah saw him bend with contrite and humble spirit, and seek the forgiveness needed to atone for many years of sin. Patient and penitent he passed a few quiet years, and then she followed to the tomb the earthly remains of him for whom she had sacrificed a life.

And this being done, she removed to a distant town, where Martha Hopkins, now kind Mrs. Marjoram, dwelt.

And many years afterwards Mrs. Marjoram told her story, as a lesson that men should never judge a living soul by its outward habiliments.


From Everglades to Dismal Swamp
  Rose on the hot and trembling air
Cloud after cloud, in dark array,
  Enfolding from their serpent lair
The starry flag that guards the free:—
  One after one its stars grew dun,
Heaven given to shine on Liberty.
But swifter than the lightning's gleam
  Flashed out the spears of Northern-light,
And with the north wind's saving wings,
  The cloud-host, vanquished, took to flight.
Then in her white-winged radiance there
  The angel Freedom conquering came,
Relit once more her brilliant stars,
  To burn with an eternal flame.

[pg 167]


The plains is the current designation of the region stretching westward from Missouri—or rather from the western settlements of Kansas and Nebraska—to the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. Part of it is included under the vague designation of 'the Great American Desert;' but that title is applicable to a far larger area westward than eastward of the Rocky Mountains. The Great Basin, whereof Salt Lake is the lowest point, and the Valley of the Colorado, which skirts it on the east, are mainly sterile from drouth or other causes—not one acre in each hundred of their surface being arable without irrigation, and not one in ten capable of being made productive by irrigation. Arid, naked, or thinly shrub-covered mountains traverse and chequer those deep yet elevated valleys, wherein few savages or even wild animals of any size or value were ever able to find subsistence. Probably that of the Colorado is, as a whole, the most sterile and forbidding of any valley of equal size on earth, unless it be that of one of the usually frozen rivers in or near the Arctic circle. Even Mormon energy, industry, frugality and subservience to sacerdotal despotism, barely suffice to wrench a rude, coarse living from those narrow belts and patches of less niggard soil which skirt those infrequent lakes and scanty streams of the Great Basin which are susceptible of irrigation; mines alone (and they must be rich ones) can ever render populous the extensive country which is interposed between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada.

The Plains differ radically from their western counterpoise. They have no mountains, and very few considerable hills; they are not rocky: in fact, they are rendered all but worthless by their destitution of rock. In Kansas, a few ridges, mainly (I believe) of lime, rise to the surface; beyond these, and near the west line of the new State, stretches a thin-soiled, rolling sandstone district, perhaps forty miles wide; then comes the Buffalo range, formerly covering the entire valley of the Mississippi, and even stretching fitfully beyond the Rocky Mountains, but now shrunk to a strip hardly more than one hundred and fifty miles in width, but extending north and south from Texas into the British territory which embosoms the Red River of the North. Better soil than that of the Buffalo region west of Kansas is rarely found, though the scarcity of wood, and the unfitness of the little that skirts the longer and more abiding streams for any use but that of fuel, must be a great drawback to settlement and cultivation. The coarse, short, hearty grass that carpets most of this region, and which is allowed to attain its full growth only in the valleys of the Chugwater and a few other streams which have their course mainly within or very near the Rocky Mountains, and which the Buffalo no longer visit, seems worthy at least of trial by the farmers and shepherds of our older States. Its ability to resist drouth and overcropping and hard usage generally must be great, and I judge that many lawns and pastures would be improved by it. That it has merely held its ground for ages, in defiance of the crushing tread and close feeding of the enormous herds of the Plains, proves it a plant of signal hardihood and tenacity of life; while the favor with which it is regarded by passing teams and herds combines with its evident abundance of nutriment to render its intrinsic value unquestionable.

The green traveler or emigrant in early summer has traversed, since he crossed the Missouri, five hundred miles of almost uniformly arable soil, most of it richly grassed, with belts of timber skirting its moderately copious and not unfrequent water-courses, and he very naturally concludes 'the American Desert' a [pg 168] misnomer, or at best a gross exaggeration. But, from the moment of leaving the Buffaloes behind him, the country begins to shoal, as a sailor might say, growing rapidly sterile, treeless, and all but grassless. The scanty forage that is still visible is confined to the immediate banks or often submerged intervales of streams, though a little sometimes lingers in hollows or ravines where the drifted snows of winter evidently lay melting slowly till late in the spring. By-and-by the streams disappear, or are plainly on the point of vanishing; of living wood there is none, and only experienced plainsmen know where to look for the fragments of dead trees which still linger on the banks of a few slender or dried-up brooks, whence sweeping fires or other destructive agencies long since eradicated all growing timber. The last living, or, indeed, standing tree you passed was a stunted, shabby specimen of the unlovely Cotton-wood, rooted in naked sand beside a water-course, and shielded from prairie-fires by the high, precipitous bank; for, scanty as is the herbage of the desert, the fierce winds which sweep over it will yet, especially in late spring or early summer, drive a fire (which has obtained a start in some fairly grassed vale or nook) through its dead, tinder-like remains. How far human improvidence and recklessness—especially that of our own destructive Caucasian race—has contributed to denude the Plains of the little wood that thinly dotted their surface at a period not very remote, I can not pretend to decide; but it is very evident that there are far fewer trees now standing than there were even one century ago.

Of rocks rising above or nearing the surface, the Plains are all but destitute; hence their eminent lack first of wood, then of moisture. Your foot will scarcely strike a pebble from Lawrence to Denver; and the very few rocky terraces or perpendicular ridges you encounter appear to be a concrete of sand and clay, hardened to stone by the persistent, petrifying action of wind and rain. Of other rock, save the sandstone ridges already noticed, there is none: hence the rivers, though running swiftly, are never broken by falls; hence the prairie-fires are nowhere arrested by swamps or marshes; hence the forests, if this region was ever generally wooded, have been gradually swept away and devoured, until none remain. In fact, from the river bottoms of the lower Kansas to those of the San Joaquin and Sacramento, there is no swamp, though two or three miry meadows of inconsiderable size, near the South Pass, known as 'Ice Springs' and 'Pacific Springs,' are of a somewhat swampy character. Beside these, there is nothing approximating the natural meadows of New England, the fenny, oozy flats of nearly all inhabited countries. Bilious fevers find no aliment in the dry, pure breezes of this elevated region; but this exemption is dearly bought by the absence of lakes, of woods, of summer rains, and unfailing streams.

Vast, rarely-trodden forests are wild and lonely: the cit who plunges into one, a stranger to its ways, is awed by its gloom, its silence, its restricted range of vision, its stifled winds, and its generally forbidding aspect. He may talk bravely and even blithely to his companions, but his ease and gayety are unnatural: Leatherstocking is at home in the forest, but Pelham is not, and can not be. On the better portion of the Plains—say in the heart of the Buffalo region—it is otherwise: though you are hundreds of miles from a human habitation other than a rude mail-station tent or ruder Indian lodge, the country wears a subdued, placid aspect; you rise a gentle slope of two or three miles, and look down the opposite incline or 'divide,' and up the counterpart of that you have just traversed, seeing nothing but these gentle, wave-like undulations of the surface to limit your gaze, which contemplates at once some fifty to eighty square miles of unfenced, treeless, but green and close-cropped pasturage; and it is hard to realize that you are out of the pale of civilization, hundreds of [pg 169] miles from a decent dwelling-house, and that the innumerable cattle moving and grazing before you—so countless that they seem thickly to cover half the district swept by your vision—are not domestic and heritable—the collected herds of some great grazing county, impelled from Texas or New Mexico to help subdue some distant Oregon. It seems a sad waste to see so much good live-stock ranging to no purpose and dying to no profit: for the roving, migrating whites who cross the Plains slaughter the buffalo in mere wantonness, leaving scores of carcasses to rot where they fell, perhaps taking the tongue and the hump for food, but oftener content with mere wanton destruction. The Indian, to whom the buffalo is food, clothing, and lodging (for his tent, as well as his few if not scanty habiliments, is formed of buffalo-skins stretched over lodge-poles), justly complains of this shameful improvidence and cruelty. Were he to deal thus with an emigrant's herd, he would be shot without mercy; why, then, should whites decimate his without excuse?

Beyond the Buffalo region the Plains are bleak, monotonous, and solitary. The Antelope, who would be a deer if his legs were shorter and his body not so stout, is the redeeming feature of the well-grassed plains next to Kansas, and which recur under the shadow of the Rocky Mountains; but he is an animal of too much sense to remain in the scantily grassed desert which separates the buffalo range from the latter. There the lean Wolf strolls and hunts and starves; there the petty Prairie-Wolf, a thoroughly contemptible beast, picks up such a dirty living as he may; while the sprightly, amusing little Prairie-Dog, who is a rather short-legged gray squirrel, with a funny little yelp and a troglodyte habitation, lives in villages or cities of from five hundred to five thousand dens, each (or most of them) tenanted in common with him by a harmless little Owl and a Rattlesnake of questionable amiability. The Owl sits by the mouth of the hole till driven away by your approach, when he follows his confrere's example by diving; the Rattlesnake stays usually below, to give any prowling, thieving prairie-wolf, or other carnivorous intruder, the worst of the bargain, should he attempt to dig out the architect of this subterranean abode. But for this nice little family arrangement, the last prairie-dog would long since have been unearthed and eaten. As it is, the rattlesnake gets a den for nothing, while the prairie-dog sleeps securely under the guardianship of his poison-tongued confederate. The owl, I presume, either pays his scot by hunting mice and insects for the general account, or by keeping watch against all felonious approaches. Even man does not care to dig out such a nest, and prefers to drown out the inmates by pouring in pail after pail of water till they have to put in an appearance above ground. The only defense against this is to construct a prairie-dog town as far as possible from water, and this is carefully attended to. I heard on the Plains of one being drowned out by a sudden and overwhelming flood; but of the hundreds I passed, not one was located where this seemed possible.

Absence of rock in place—that is, of ridges or strata of rock rising through the soil above or nearly to the surface—has determined the character not only of the Plains but of much of the roll of the great rivers east and south of them. Even at the very base of the Rocky Mountains, the Chugwater shows a milky though rapid current, while the North Platte brings a considerable amount of earthy sediment from the heart of that Alpine region. After fairly entering upon the Plains, every stream begins to burrow and to wash, growing more and more turbid, until it is lost in 'Big Muddy,' the most opaque and sedimentary of all great rivers. I suspect that all the other rivers of this continent convey in the aggregate less earthy matter to the ocean than the Missouri pours into the previously transparent Mississippi, thenceforth an unfailing testimony that evil company corrupts and defiles. Louisiana [pg 170] is the spoil of the Plains, which have in process of time been denuded to an average depth of not less than fifty and perhaps to that of two or three hundred feet. I passed hills along the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains where this process is less complete and more active than is usual,—hills which are the remaining vestiges of a former average level of the plain adjacent, and which have happened to wear away so steeply and sharply that very little vegetation ever finds support on their sides, which every rain is still abrading. At a single point only do I remember a phenomenon presented by some other mountain bases,—that of a water-course (dry perhaps half the year, but evidently a heady torrent at times), which had gradually built up a bed and banks of boulders, pebbles and gravel, washed down from a higher portion of its headlong course, so that its current, when it had a current, was considerably above the general surface on either side of it. Away from the mountains, however, boulders or loose stones of any size are rarely seen in the beds of even the largest and deepest channeled streams, which are usually swift, but never broken by a fall, because never down to the subjacent rock in place, assuming that such rock must be.

In the rare instances of rocky banks skirting the immediate valley of a stream, the seeming rock is evidently a modern concrete of clay and the usual sand or gravel composing the soil,—a concrete slowly formed by the action of sun and rain and wind, on a bank left nearly or quite perpendicular by the wearing action of the stream. In the neighborhood of Cheyenne Pass,—say for a distance of fifty to a hundred miles S.S.W. of Laramie,—this effect is exhibited on the grandest scale in repeated instances, and in two or three cases for an extent of miles. Along either bank of the Chugwater, at distances of twenty to forty miles, above its junction with the Laramie affluent of the North Platte, stretch perpendicular rocky terraces, thirty to forty feet high, looking, from a moderate distance, as regular and as artificial as the façade of any row of city edifices. I did not see 'Chimney Rock,' farther down the Platte; but I presume that this, too, is a relic of what was once the average level of the adjacent country, from which all around has been gradually washed away, while this 'spared monument' has been hardened by exposure and the action of the elements from earth to enduring rock—a gigantic natural adobe.

The Plains attest God's wisdom in usually providing surface-rock in generous abundance as the only reliable conservative force against the insidious waste and wear of earth by water. Storms, rills, and rivers are constantly at work to carry off the soil of every island and continent, and lose it in the depths of seas and oceans. Rock in place impedes this tendency, by arresting the headlong course of streams, and depositing in their stiller depths the spoils that the current was hastening away; still more by the formation of swamps and marshes, which arrest the sweep of fires, and so protect the youth and growth of trees and forests. An uninhabited, moderately-rolling or nearly flat country, wherein no ridges of stubborn rock gave protection to fire-repelling marshes, would gradually be swept of trees by fires, and converted into prairie or desert.

Life on the Plains—the life of white men, by courtesy termed civilized—is a rough and rugged matter. I can not concur with J.B. Ficklin, long a mail-agent ranging from St. Joseph to Salt Lake (now, I regret to say, a quarter-master in the rebel army), who holds that a man going on the Plains should never wash his face till he comes off again; but water is used there for purposes of ablution with a frugality not fully justified by its scarcity. A 'biled shirt' lasts a good while. I noted some in use which the dry, fine dust of that region must have been weeks in bringing to the rigidity and clayey yellow or tobacco-stain hue which they unchangeably wore during the days that I enjoyed the society of the wearers. Pilot-bread, a year or so baked, and ever since subjected [pg 171] to the indurating influences of an atmosphere intensely dry, is not particularly succulent or savory food, and I did not find it improved by some minutes' immersion in the frying-pan of hot lard from which our rations of pork had just been turned out; but others of more experience liked it much. The pork of the Plains is generally poor, composed of the lightly-salted and half-smoked sides of shotes who had evidently little personal knowledge of corn. The coffee I did not drink; but, in the absence of milk, and often of sugar also, and in view of its manufacture by the rudest and rawest of masculine cooks, I judge that the temptation to excessive indulgence in this beverage was not irresistible. Most of the water of the Plains, unlike that of the Great Basin, is pretty good; but as you near the Rocky Mountains, 'alkali' becomes a terror to man and beast.

The present Buffalo range will, doubtless, in time, be covered with civilized herdsmen and their stock; but beyond that to the fairly watered and timbered vicinity of the Rocky Mountains, settlers will be few and far between for many generations. What the Plains universally need is a plant that defies intense protracted drouth, and will propagate itself rapidly and widely by the aid of winds and streams alone. I do not know that the Canada thistle could be made to serve a good purpose here, but I suspect it might. Let the plains be well covered by some such deep-rooting, drouth-defying plant, and the most of their soil would be gradually arrested, the quality of that which remains, meliorated, and other plants encouraged and enabled to attain maturity under its protection. Shrubs would follow, then trees; until the region would become once more, as I doubt not it already has been, hospitable and inviting to man. At present, I can only commend it as very healthful, with a cooling, non-putrefying atmosphere; and, while I advise no man to take lodgings under the open sky, still, I say that if one must sleep with the blue arch for his counterpane and the stars for its embellishments, I know no other region where an out-door roll in a Mackinaw blanket for a night's rest is less perilous or more comfortable.



Once upon a time—see the Arabian Nights Entertainments—as the Caliph Haroun Alraschid—blessed be his memory!—walked, disguised, as was his wont, through the streets of Bagdad, he observed a young man lashing furiously a beautiful, snow-white mare to the very verge of cruelty. Coming every day to the same place, and finding the spectacle repeated, the curiosity of the humane Caliph, was excited to learn the cause of such treatment. Mr. Rarey had not yet been born; but the Arab knows, and always has known, how to subdue and to control his steed with equal skill, without resort to severity. The explanation of this afterwards appears in that wonderful book.

One Sidi Norman having married, as the custom was, without ever having seen his bride, was agreeably surprised, when the veil was removed, at finding her dazzlingly beautiful. He enfolded her in his arms with joy unspeakable, and so the honeymoon began. Short dream of bliss; she became capricious at once, and seven devils at least seemed to [pg 172] have nestled in her lovely bosom. Sid was touchy himself, and not the man to bear with such humors. Every day she sat at his bountiful board, and, instead of partaking the food which he set before her, she would daintily and mincingly pick out a few grains of rice with the point of a bodkin. Sid asked her what she meant by such conduct, and whether his table was not well supplied. To this she deigned no reply. When she ate no rice, she would choke down a few crumbs of bread, not enough for a sparrow. His indignation was aroused, but his curiosity also. He looked daggers; but he was a still man, kept his counsel to himself, and set himself to study out the solution of this problem.

One night, when his wife stole away from his side,—she thought he was asleep, did she?—he followed her with the stealthiness of a cat; and, oh horrible! tracked her steps to a graveyard, where she began to cut and carve; and he then discovered, to his great loathing, that he had been married to a ghoul!

Amina came home after a good feast. Sid was snoring away, apparently in the profound depths of sleep, hiding away from any Caudle lectures. He was about as sound asleep as a weasel. Breakfast passed off most charmingly without a word said by any one; and he walked round to the khan to scrutinize some figs.

'How does the lady?' said Ben Hadad, sarcastically.

'Very well indeed, I thank you,' replied Sid.

The dinner-bell rang, down they sat, and out came the bodkin. It did not, however, 'his quietus make.'

'My dear,' he said, smothering up his Arabian fury, 'do you not like this bill of fare, or does the sight of me take away your taste for food? Could you obtain a better meal even at the Bagdad St. Nicholas?'

No answer.

'All well,' said he; 'I suppose that this food is not so toothsome to you as dead men's flesh!'

Thunder and furies! A more dreadful domestic scene was never beheld. The lovely Amina turned black in the face, her eyes bulged out of her head, she foamed at the mouth, and, seizing a goblet of water, dashed it into the face of the unfortunate man.

'Take that,' said she, 'and learn to mind your own business.' Whereupon he became a dog, and a miserable dog at that.

Many adventures he then had. For full particulars, see the Arabian Nights. He used to fight for a bone, or lick up a mouthful from a gutter. He had not the spirit to prick up his ears, or to wag or curl up his tail, if he had one—for, shortly after his transformation, the end of it was wedged into a door by his wife, and he was cur-tailed.

Happy is he who gets into trouble by necromancy, who can get out of it by the same. The devil rarely bolts and unbolts his door for his own guests. He is not wont to say, 'Walk in, my friend,' and afterward, 'Good-by.' But it so turned out in the case of Sid Norman, because he had not been knowingly bewitched; and Mrs. Amina Ghoul Sid Norman learned to respect the motto, Cave canem!

While his canine sufferings lasted, he fell in with various masters, and nosed about to see if he could substitute reason for instinct, and get established on two legs again. He looked up wistfully into the faces of passers-by, as if to say, 'I am not a dog, but the man for whom a large reward has been offered.' On one occasion, seeing Amina come from a shop where she had just purchased a Cashmere shawl of great size and value, he set his teeth like a steel trap, and made a grab at her ankles. But she recognized him on all fours, with a diabolical grin, and fetching him a kick with her little foot, caused him to yelp most pitifully. Running under a little cart which stood in the way, he skinned his teeth, and growled to himself, 'By the prophet, but I can almost love her again; she distinguished herself by that kick, which was aimed with infinite [pg 173] tact; it went right to the spot, and struck me like a discharge from a catapult, drove all the wind out of me, and left an absolute vacuum, as if a stomach-pump had sucked me out. Yap—yow—eaow—yeaow—yap—snif—xquiz;' and, after a good deal of panting and distress, he at last yawned so wide as nearly to dislocate his jaws, sneezed once or twice, and then trotted off on three legs, with his half a tail tucked up underneath, and lay down disconsolate in an ash-hole.

'Oh, how distressing it is,' said he, 'to be bewitched by a bad woman! It metamorphoses one entirely. He loses all semblance to his former self, parts with all his reason, no more walks upright, and bids philosophy adieu. One drop from the cup of her incantations, and the gossamer net-work which she threw about him is changed into prisonbars, her silken chain into links of forged iron; strong will is dwindled, and he who on some 'heaven-kissing hill' stood up to gaze upon the stars, is fit to grovel in a sty.—Miserable dog! Bow-wow, bow-wow!'

One day, as the story proceeds, Sid's master was offered a base coin in his shop, when this 'learned dog' at once put his foot upon it, and in fact put his foot in the bargain.

'Ah, indeed!' said a Bagdad lady, who stood by; 'that's no dog, or, if he is, the Caliph ought to have him.' So, snapping her fingers slyly as she went out, he followed her.

'Daughter,' said she to the fair Xarifa, who was working embroidery, 'I have brought the baker's famous dog that can distinguish money. There is some sorcery about it.—You have once walked on two legs,' said she, looking down upon the fawning animal, 'have you not? If so, wag your tail.'

Sid thumped the floor most furiously with the stump of it, whereupon she poured liquid into a phial, threw it into his face, and he stood up once more a man,—Sid Norman, lost and saved by a woman, his eyes beaming one moment with the tenderest gratitude, but on the next flashing with the most deadly revenge. Heaven and hell, the one with its joyous sunshine, the other with its lurid lights, appeared to struggle and mix up their flashes on Sid Norman's countenance, till gratitude, that rarest grace, was quenched, and hell triumphed.

'Than all the nectar ever served in golden cups and brewed by houries in Mahomet's paradise, revenge is sweeter,' he murmured to himself.

'Stay,' said Xarifa, who divined his thoughts; 'you will transform yourself back again. There will be no transmigration of soul for you, if you are lost by your own sorcery. Let dogs delight to bark and bite.'

'Hold your tongue, Xarifa,' said the mother, who was not so amiable. 'The man shall have revenge. Since he has trotted about so long on all fours, he must be paid for it. It is not revenge, it is sheer justice.'

'True as the Koran,' exclaimed Sid Norman, who was becoming infatuate again, and would have fallen down at the knees of this new charmer and worshiped her. The fact is, that he was too easily transformed, and submitted too quickly to the latest magic; otherwise he would have always walked erect, instead of wearing fur on his back, and a tail at the end of it. A coat of tar and feathers would have been a mere circumstance compared with such an indignity. Well, it was the fault, perhaps it should rather be called the misfortune, of character.

'Sidi Norman,' said the lady, fixing upon him an amorous glance, 'you shall not only have revenge, but the richest kind of it. You have a bone to pick with your wife. She was brought up in the same school of magic that I was, hence I hate her. She has the secret of the same rouge, and concocts the same potions and love-filters; but she shall smart for it. Excellent man! injured husband! Monopolize to yourself all the whip-cords of Bagdad.'

Sid Norman kneeled and kissed her hand. Xarifa looked up from her embroidery and frowned.

[pg 174]

The benefactress withdrew to consult her books, but returned presently.

'Your wife,' she said, 'has gone out shopping, also to leave some cards, to fulfil an engagement with the French minister, and to engage a band of music for an entertainment at which Prince Schearazade is expected to be present. Wait patiently for her return, then confront her boldly, upbraid her, toss this liquor in her eyes, and then you shall see what you shall see.'

Sid Norman went to his late home, which was in the West End, the Fifth Avenue of Bagdad. He opened the door, but silence prevailed. Costly silks, and many extravagant and superfluous things, lay strewn about. He sat down in a rocking-chair and gazed at a full-length portrait of the Haroun Alraschid.

About noon the lady came in, with six shop clerks after her, bearing packages, tossed off her head-dress, and flung herself inanimately on the sofa.

'Ahem,' grunted Sid Norman, who was concealed in the shadow of an alcove.

Amina looked up. Furies! what an appalling rencontre! She looked as pale as the corpses which she adored; she would have shrieked, but had no more voice than a ghost; she would have fled, but was riveted as with the gaze of a basilisk.

'Dear,' said Sid Norman, with an uxorious smile, 'what ails you? Has the fast of Kamazan begun? Hardly yet, for this looks more like the carnival. How much gave you for this Cashmere, my love?'

A great sculptor was Sid Norman, for, without lifting a hand, or using any other tool than a keen eye and a sharp tongue, he had wrought out before him, carved as in cold marble, the statue of a beautiful, bad woman. Such is genius. Such is conscience!

'Mrs. Amina Sidi Ghoul Norman,' proceeded the husband, giving his wife time to relax a little from her rigor, 'is dinner ready? We want nothing but a little rice. Set on only two plates, a knife and fork for me, and a bodkin for you, if you please, madam.'

(A symptom of hysterics, checked by a nightmare inability of action.)

'Have you nothing to say? Is thy servant a dog? Why have you wrought this deviltry? Take that.'

Therewith he flung some liquid in her face, and the late fashionable lady of Bagdad became a mare. Sid seized a cow-skin, and laid on with a will.

'You may now cut up as many capers as you please,' said he, reining her in with a bit and bridle, and cutting her with the whip until the blood rolled. 'To-morrow you may go to grass in the graveyard.'

Every day he made a practice of lashing her around the square, if possible, to get the devil out of her. When the Caliph Haroun Alraschid learned the true cause of such conduct, he remarked that it was punishment enough to be transformed into a beast; and, while the stripes should be remitted, still he would not have the woman to assume her own shape again, as she would be a dangerous person in his good city of Bagdad.

The moral of this tale of sorcery, which is equal to any in Æsop's Fables, may be drawn from a posthumous letter which was found among the papers of Sidi Norman, and is as follows:—


'You, who stand upon the verge of youth,—for that is the age, and there is the realm, of genii, fairies, and wild 'enchantments,—learn wisdom from the said story of Sidi Norman.

'I was brought up to respect the laws of God and the prophet. When I came to marriageable age, and, "unsight, unseen," was induced to espouse the veiled Amina, it was, as we say in Bagdad, like "buying a pig in a poke," although rumor greatly magnified her charms, and a secret inclination prompted me. I longed eagerly for the wedding-day; and when her face was revealed to conjugal eyes, methought [pg 175] that Mahomet had sent down a houri from his paradise. Yet I found out, to my cost, that a little knowledge of a woman is worse than ignorance, and that the blinding light of beauty hides the truth more than the thick veil of darkness. Oh, her bosom was white as the snows of Lebanon, and her eyes were like those of the dear gazelle. Cheeks had she as red as the Damascus rose, and a halo encircled her like that of the moon. Her smiles were sunshine, her lips dropped honey. I thought I saw upon her shoulders the cropping out of angelic wings. I sought out the carpets of Persia for the soft touch of her tiny feet, and hired all the lutes of Bagdad to be strung in praise of my beloved. I sent plum-cake to the newspapers, and placed a costly fee in the hand of the priest. Oh, blissful moments! But I purchased hell with them, for she began to lead me a dog's life. She had no taste for home, no appetite for healthful food; she ran me into debt, hated my friends, loved my enemies, and changed her soft looks into daggers to stab me with. Her bloom became blight; her lips oozed out poison, and she dabbled in corrupt things. I tracked her footsteps from my sacred couch as they led to the very brink of the grave.

'O, my son, beware of your partner in the dance of life; for, as Mahomet used to say, in his jocular moods, 'those who will dance must pay the fiddler.' To be tied, forever, for better, for worse, to such a —— as Amina Ghoul, is to be transformed in one's whole nature. It is the transmigration of a soul from amiability to peevishness, from activity to discouragement, from love to hate, and from high-souled sentiment to the dog-kennel of humility. Go thou, and don't do likewise.

'Woe is me! Who takes one wrong step, gets out of it by another; and so I went on from enchantment to enchantment, and fell out of the frying-pan into the fire. If I stood erect, and no longer groveled, if I was not any more a beast, I became like the devils which possessed them. So did I scourge and lash the object of my hatred with feelings of the deadliest revenge.

'Oh, my Ben Hadad, presume not from my ultimate escape. If I have ceased to snap and snarl and growl,—if I now, in the decline of life, pursue the even tenor of my way,—if I have been redeemed from snares, and learned even to forgive my enemies, it is because the fair Xarifa represented my better nature, and that has triumphed because I took counsel of her. Farewell, my son, and, in the pilgrimage of life, reflect upon the dear-bought experience of SIDI NORMAN.'


What will we do with you, if God
  Should give you over to our hands,
To pass in turn beneath the rod,
  And wear at last the captive's bands?'
'What will we do?' Our very best
  To make of each a glorious State,
Worthy to match with North and West,—
  Free, vigorous, beautiful and great!
As God doth live, as Truth is true,
  We swear we'll do all this to you.

[pg 176]


A late National Review asserts with true English shrewdness that American literature is yet to be born,—that it has scarcely a substantive existence. 'Its best works,' says this modern Scaliger, 'are scarcely more than a promise of excellence; the precursors of an advent; shadows cast before, and, like most shadows, they are too vague and ill-defined, too fluctuating and easily distorted into grotesque forms, to enable us to discriminate accurately the shape from which they are flung.... The truth is, that American literature, apart from that of England, has no separate existence.... The United States have yet to sign their intellectual Declaration of Independence: they are mentally still only a province of this country.' With a gallantry too characteristic to be startling, a discernment that does all honor to his taste, and a coolness highly creditable to his equatorial regions of discussion, the critic continues by assuring his readers that Washington Irving was not an American. He admits that by an accident, for which he is not responsible, this beloved scholar, writer and gentleman claimed our country as his birthplace, and even, perhaps, had a 'full appetite to this place of his kindly ingendure,' but informs us he was an undeniable contemporary of Addison and Steele, a veritable member of the Kit-Cat Club. We may reasonably anticipate that the next investigation of this penetrative ethnologist may result in the appropriation to us of that fossil of nineteenth-century literature, Martin Farquhar Tupper, an intellectual quid pro quo, which will doubtless be received gratefully by a public already supposed to be lamenting the unexpected loss of its co-nationality with Irving.

What species of giant the watchful affection of Motherland awaits in a literature whose unfledged bantlings are Cooper, Emerson, Holmes, Motley and Lowell, our imagination does not attempt to depict. We venture, however, to predict that the National Review will not be called upon to stand sponsor for the bairn, whose advent it so pleasantly announces, and for whose christening should be erected a cathedral more vast than St. Peter's, a temple rarer than that of Baalbec. But while our sensitive cousin across the water would pin us down to a credo as absurd as that of Tertullian, and hedge us in with the adamantine wall of his own lordly fiat, let us, who fondly hope we have a literature, whose principal defect—a defect to which the one infallible remedy is daily applied by the winged mower—is youth, inquire into its leading characteristics, seeing if haply we may descry the elements of a golden maturity.

It has been asserted that we are a gloomy people; it is currently reported that the Hippocrene in which of old the Heliconian muses bathed their soft skins, is now fed only with their tears; that instead of branches of luxuriant olive, these maidens, now older grown and wise, present to their devout adorers twigs of suggestive birch and thorny staves, by whose aid these mournful priests wander gloomily up and down the rugged steeps of the past. We have begun to believe that our writers are afflicted with a sort of myopy that shuts out effectually sky and star and sea, and sees only the pebbles and thistles by the dusty roadside. Truly, the prospect is at first disheartening. The great Byron, who wept in faultless metre, and whose aristocratic maledictions flow in graceful waves that caress where they mean to stifle, has so poisoned our 'well of English undefiled,' that wise men now drink from it warily, and only after repeated filterings and skillful analyses by the Boerhaaves of the press. And Poe, who, with all the great poet's faults, possessed none of his few genial features, has painted the fatal skull and cross-bones upon our banners, [pg 177] that should own only the oriflamme. Yet it is Poe whom the English critic honors as exceeding all our authors in intensity, and approaching more nearly to genius than they all.

Now may St. Loy defend us! At the proposition of Poe's intensity we do not demur. All of us who have shrieked in infancy at the charnel-house novelettes of imprudent nurses, shivered in childhood at the mysterious abbeys and concealed tombs of Anne Radcliffe, or rushed in horror from the apparition of the dead father of the Archivarius of Hoffman, tumbling his wicked son down stairs in the midst of the onyx quarrel, will willingly and with trembling fidelity bear witness to the intensity of Poe. He was indeed our Frankenstein (of whom many prototypes do abound), wandering in the Cimmerian regions of thought, the graveyards of the mind, and veiling his monstrous creations with the filmy drapery of rhyme and the mists of a perverted reason. In his sad world eternal night reigns and the sun is never seen.

'Tristis Erinnys,
Prætulit infaustas sanguinolenta faces,'

by whose red light awed audiences see the fruit of his labors.

But what right has he to a place in our van, who never asked our sympathy, whose every effort was but to widen the gulf between him and his fellow-man, whose sword was never drawn in defence of the right? Genius! The very word is instinct with nobility and heartiness. Genius clasps hands with true souls everywhere: it wakes the chord of brotherhood in rude hearts in hovels, and quickens the pulses under the purple and ermine of palaces. It has a smile for childhood and a reverent tone for white-haired age. Its clasp takes in the frail flower bending from slender stems and the stars in their courses. There is laughter in its soul, and a huge banquet-table there to which all are welcome. And to us, on its borders, come the summer-breath of Pæstum roses and the aroma of the rich red wine of Valdepeñas; and there toasts are given to the past and to the future, for genius knows no nation nor any age. It sparkles along the current of history, and under its warm smile deserts blossom like the rose.

And Poe? With a mind neither well balanced nor unprejudiced, and an imagination that mistook the distorted fantasies of a fevered brain for the pure impulses of some mysterious muse, and gave the reins to coursers that even Phaeton would have feared to trust, he can only excite our pity where he desires our admiration. Qui non dat quod amat, non accipit ille quod optat, was an inscription on an old chequer-board of the times of Henry II. And what did Poe love? Truth shrugs her shoulders, but forbears to answer,—Himself. His were the vagaries of genius without its large-hearted charities; its nice discrimination without its honesty of purpose; its startling originality without its harmonious proportions; its inevitable errors without its persevering energies. He acknowledged no principle; he was actuated by no high aim; he even busied himself—as so many of the unfortunate great have done—with no chimera. From a mind so highly cultured, an organization so finely strung, we expected the rarest blossoms, the divinest melodies. The flowers lie before us, mere buds, from which the green calyx of immaturity has not yet curled, and in whose cold heart the perfume is not born; the melodies vibrate around us, matchless in mechanism, wondrous in miraculous accord, but as destitute of the soul of harmony as the score of Beethoven's sonata in A flat to unlearned eyes. If his analyses and criticisms are keen and graceful, they are unreliable and contradictory, for he was often influenced by private piques, and unpardonable egotism, and the opinions of those whose favor he courted. He was Byron without Byron's wonderful perceptions of nature, Byron's consciousness of the good.

And is it from a genius like this that our literature has taken its tone? Heaven forbid! Wee Apollos there may be, 'the little Crichtons of the hour,' who twist about their brows the cypress sprays that have fallen from this perverted poet's [pg 178] wreath, and fancy themselves crowned with the laurel of a nation's applause. But these men are not types of our literature. The truly great mind is never molded by the idol of a day, a clique, a sect. Pure-hearted and strong the man must be whose hands take hold of the palaces of the world's heart, who grasps the spirit of the coming time. Errors may be forgiven, vices may be forgotten, where only a noble aim has influenced, as a true creative genius gleamed.

But larger constellations have appeared in our literary sky, that burn with undimmed lustre even beside that great morning star that rose above the horizon of the Middle Ages. Historians we have, with all of Chaucer's truthfulness and luxuriance of expression, and poets with his fresh tendernesses, his flashing thoughts, and exquisite simplicity of heart. And perhaps, if we inquire for the distinguishing features of our literature, we shall discover them to be the strength and cheerfulness so pre-eminently the characteristics of Chaucer, which we have so long been accustomed to deny to ourselves. Observe the stately but flowing periods of Motley; his polished courtliness of style, the warm but not exaggerated coloring of his descriptions, the firm but never ungraceful outlines of his sketches of character that mark him the Michael Angelo among historians. In his brilliant imagery, his splendid scholarship, his fine analytical power, he is not surpassed by Macaulay, while he far exceeds him in impartiality,—that diamond of the historian,—and in his keen comprehension of the great motive-principles of the age which he describes. Neither are Prescott, Bancroft, or Irving inferior to Gibbon, Hume, or Robertson.

And over and through our poetry blow fresh and inspiring the winds from our own vast prairies. Those names, few, but honorable, that have become as household words among us, are gilded, not with the doubtful lustre of a moonlit sentimentality, but with the real gold of day-dawn. If they are few, let it be remembered that we are now but first feeling our manhood, trying our thews and sinews, and must needs stop to wonder a little at the gradual development of our unsuspected powers. The most of our great men have been but stalwart mechanics, busied with the machinery of government, using intellect as a lever to raise ponderous wheels, whereon our chariot may run to Eldorado. We have a right to be proud of our poets; their verses are the throbs of our American heart. And if we do but peer into their labyrinth of graceful windings and reach their Chrimhilde Rose-garden, we shall find it begirt with the strong, fighting men of humor. This element lurks under many a musical strophe and crowns many a regal verse. And yet in real humorous poetry we have been sadly deficient. Only of late years have the constant lions by the gate begun to rouse from their strong slumber, to shake their tawny manes, and rumble out a warning of their future prowess.

Nor is it strange that we, who were scarcely an organized people, should have lacked this great witness to the vitality and stability of a race. The features of a national character must be marked and prominent, and a strong sense of a national individuality be developed, before that last, best faculty of man is aroused, and leaps forth to maturity in verse. The one magnificent trait of true humorous poetry is, that in its very nature it is incapable of trivialities. It must grasp as its key-note some vast truth, must grapple with some great injustice, must hurl its lances at some wide-spread prejudice, or toy with the tangles of some mighty Nærea's hair. Undines and satyrs, cupids and merry fauns, may spring laughing from under the artist's hand, but it is from the unyielding marble that these slender children of his mirthful hours are carved. It was not in her infancy that Rome produced her Juvenal. Martial and Plautus caricatured the passions of humanity after Carthage had been destroyed and Julius Cæsar had made of his tomb a city of palaces. Aristophanes wrote when Greece had her Parthenon and had boasted her Pericles. [pg 179] France had given birth to Richelieu when Molière assumed the sack, and England had sustained the Reformation and conquered the land of the Cid when Butler, with his satires, shaking church and state, appeared before her king. So with America. It was not until wrongs were to be redressed, and unworthy ambitions to be checked, that the voice of LOWELL'S scornful laughter was heard in the land, piercing, with its keen cadences and mirth-provoking rhyme, the policy of government and the ghostly armor of many a spectral faith and ism.

True, we had the famous 'Hasty Pudding' of Joel Barlow, the 'Terrible Tractoration' of Fessenden, and Halleck's 'Fanny,' but these were mere jeux, gallant little histories, over which we laughed and voila le tout! And our Astolfo, Holmes, flying by on his winged horse, sends down now and then

'His arrowes an elle long
With pecocke well ydight,'

which we gather, and our fair dames weave into brilliant fans that flutter and snap in many a gay assembly, and whose myriad eyes of blue and purple smile with irresistible mirthfulness into the most hostile countenances. Still Holmes apparently likes best the unrestrained freedom of prose. His genius delights in periods finished after its own heart,—pyramidal, trapezoidian, isoscelesian, rhomboidical. But Lowell's genius is infinitely pliable, accommodating itself without hesitation to the arbitrary requirements of the Sieur Spondee, and laughing in the face of the halting Dactyl. His Birdofredom could, we doubt not, sail majestically in the clouds of a stately hexameter, make the aristocratic Alexandrine cry for quarter, and excel the old Trouveurs in the Rime équivoquée. From the quiet esteem which his early poems and essays had won for him, he leaped at once into the high tide of popularity, and down its stream

'Went sailing with vast celerity,'

with the 'Biglow Papers' for his sail. This work electrified the public. It pierced the crust of refinement and intelligence, and roused the latent laughter of its heart. Even newsboys chuckled with delight over its caustic hits at the powers that were, against which, with the characteristic precocity of Young America, each had his private individual spite; while they found in its peculiar phraseology a mine of fun. Patriots rejoiced that one vigilant thinker dared stand guard over our national honor, with the two-edged sword of satire in his hand. Men in authority, at whom the shafts of its scathing rebukes were leveled, writhed on their cushions of state, while, in sheer deference to his originality and humor, they laughed with the crowd at—themselves. And in sooth it was a goodly sight, the young scholar, who had hitherto only dabbled delicately with the treasures of poetry, whose name was a very synonym for elegance and the repose of a genial dignity, whom we suspected of no keen outlooks into the practical world of to-day,—to see this man suddenly flashing into the dusty arena, with indignation rustling through his veins and breathing more flame

'Than ten fire-kings could swallow,'

scorching with his burning words, which an inimitable carelessness made doubly effective, the willful absurdities of government and the palpable wrongs of society, to question which had seemed before almost a heresy. But Lowell's humor was the chrism, snatching together parallels whose apparent inequalities, yet real justice, were powerfully convincing. He never sought the inconsistencies of his subject, they flocked to meet him uninvited. And his infinite cheerfulness, his freedom, even in his most daring onslaughts, from ill-nature, these were the influences meet,

'That bowed our hearts like barley bending.'

Scarcely did we know our knight in his new armor. Off with the hauberk and visor, down with the glittering shield of his mediæval crusade, and, lo! with his hand on the plow and his eyes on the fair fields of his own New England, our country boy sings his Ave Aquila! while other men are rubbing the sunbeams of [pg 180] of the new-born day into their sleepy eyes.

And it was not alone in our own country that this newly developed phase of our poet's genius was acknowledged and applauded. Says a British Review, with an admiration whose reservations are unfortunately too just to be disputed: 'All at once we have a batch of small satirists,—Mr. Bailey at their head,—in England, and one really powerful satirist in America, namely, Mr. J.R. Lowell, whose "Biglow Papers" we most gladly welcome as being not only the best volume of satires since the Anti-Jacobin, but also the first work of real and efficient poetical genius which has reached us from the United States. We have been under the necessity of telling some unpleasant truths about American literature from time to time, and it is with hearty pleasure that we are now able to own that the Britishers have been for the present utterly and apparently hopelessly beaten by a Yankee in one important department of poetry. In the United States, social and political evils have a breadth and tangibility which are not at present to be found in the condition of any other civilized country. The "peculiar domestic institution," the fillibustering tendencies of the nation, the charlatanism which is the price of political power, are butts for the shafts of the satirist, which European poets may well envy Mr. Lowell. We do not pretend to affirm that the evils of European society may not be as great in their own way as those which affect the credit of the United States, with the exception, of course, of slavery, which makes American freedom deservedly the laughing-stock of the world; but what we do say is, that the evils in point have a boldness and simplicity which our more sophisticated follies have not, and that a hundred years hence Mr. Lowell's Yankee satires will be perfectly intelligible to every one.'

The predictions of the English reviewer are fulfilled already. The prescribed century has not elapsed, and in a decade the 'Yankee satires' are comprehended as perhaps even their author failed to comprehend as he created them. There is something positively startling and uncanny in his prophetic insight into the passions that have attained their majority in this present year of grace,—passions that,

'Like aconite, where'er they spread, they kill.'

He does not approach with the old show of superstitious reverence the altar of our vaunted destiny, where men have sung their in-secula-seculorums, while pagans at the chancel rail have been distributing to infidel hordes the relics of their holiest saints, and threatening the very fane itself with fire. Mere words will never strike him dumb. He does not bow to the shadow of Justice or kneel with the ignorant and unsuspicious at the shrine of every plausible Madonna by the roadside. Hear him on the constitutional pillars that heaven and earth are now moved to keep in place, and let us commiserate what must now be the distracting dread of Increse D. O'Phace, Esquire, lest some Samson in blind revenge entomb himself in the ruins of the Constitution.

'Wy, all o' them grand constitootional pillers,
Our four fathers fetched with 'em over the billers,
Them pillers the people so soundly hev slept on,
Wile to slav'ry, invasion an' debt they were swept on,
Wile our destiny higher an' higher kep mountin'
(Though I guess folks'll stare wen she hands her account in).
Ef members in this way go kickin' agin 'em,
They won't hev so much ez a feather left in em.'

Not less wonderful than his penetration into political affairs is Lowell's command of the pure Yankee dialect. His knowledge of it is perfect; he elevates it to the dignity of a distinct tongue, having its own peculiar etymology, and only adopting the current rules of prosody in tender consideration for its thousands of English readers. There is, however, we are tolerably assured, a certain class of critics who venture to lament that this laughter-inspiring muse should have descended from the sunny Parnassus of its own vernacular to the meads below, where disport the unlearned and uninspired, [pg 181] the mere kids and lambs of its celestial audience: a generous absurdity, at which the very Devil of Delphos might have demurred. These are the dapper gentlemen, who, tripping gayly along to the blasts and tinklings of Lanner's Waltzes, would judge every man's intellect by the measure of their own. Know, oh dwarfed descendants of Procustes, that the quality of humor is not strained, but droppeth as the gentle dew from heaven; and if, after patient blending with grains of intolerance and egotism, in the mortar of your minds, it seems to you but that poisonous foam that of old sorcerers drew, by their incantations, from the moon, we can only smile with Voltaire at your 'foolish ingenuities,' and recommend to you a new career. 'Go pype in an ivy lefe,' Monsieur Mustard-seed, or 'blow the bukkes' horne.'

It is no trifling merit in a work of so extraordinary a character that the original programme should have been so perfectly carried out. The poet never relaxes, even into a Corinthian elegance of allusion; his metaphors are always fresh and ungarnished; they no more shine with the polish of the court than do those of Panurge. In fact, there is a flavor of the camp about them, a pleasant suspicion, and more than a suspicion, of life in the open air, the fresh smell of the up-turned earth, the odor of clover blossoms. The poet is walking in the fresco, and the sharp winds cut a pathway across every page. Equally remarkable and pervaded by a most delightful personality are the editorial lucubrations of the Rev. Homer Wilbur. The very lustre of the midnight oil shines upon their glittering fragments of philosophy, admirably twisted to suit the requirements of an eminently unphilosophical age; moral axioms from heathen writers applied judiciously to the immoral actions of Christian doers; distorted shadows of a monstrous political economy, and dispassionate and highly commendable views 'de propagandâ fide.' Like Johnson,

'He forced Latinisms into his line,
Like raw undrilled recruits,'

that have yet done immense service in his conflicts with the enemy. This pedantry, so inimitable, is unequaled even by the most weighty pages of the 'Pseudodoxia Epidemica' of Sir Thomas Browne. That it should prove obnoxious to some critics only testifies to its perfection and their own incapacity for enjoyment. If a man does not relish the caviare and truffles at a dinner, he does not question the wisdom of his Lucullus in providing them; the fault is in his own palate, not in the judgment of his host. The aggrieved individuals, who are either too weak or too indolent to scale the numberless peaks of Lowell's genius, may comfort themselves with the reflection that the treasures of their minds will never be tesselated into the mosaic of any satirist's fancy, for in them can abound only emptiness and cobwebs—as saith the Staphyla of Plautus:—

'Nam hic apud nos nihil est aliud qua sti furibus,
Ita inaniis sunt oppletæ atque araneis.'

Caricatures have never been disdained by the greatest minds. They were rather the healthful diversion of their leisure hours. Even the stern and rugged-natured artist, Annibale Caracci, was famous for his humorous inventions, and the good Leonardo da Vinci esteemed them as most useful exercises. We all remember the group of the Laocoon that Titian sketched with apes, and those whole humorous poems in lines found in Herculaneum, where Anchises and Æneas are represented with the heads of apes and pigs. Lessing even tells us in his Laocoon that in Thebes the rage for these caricatura was so great that a law was passed forbidding the production of any work conflicting with the severe and absolute laws of beauty.

In quite another vein, yet transfused with the same irrepressible mirth, we have Lowell's 'Fable for Critics,' which, with its 'preliminary notes and few candid remarks to the reader,' is a literary curiosity whose parallel we have not in any work by an American author. It is all one merry outburst of youth and health, and music and poetry, with the spice of [pg 182] a criticism so rare and genial, that one could almost court dissection at his hands, for the mere exquisitely epicurean bliss of an artistic euthanasia. It is genius on a frolic, coquetting with all the Graces, and unearthing men long since become gnomes,

  'In that country
Where are neither stars nor meadows,'

to join in his merry carousing. They float on floods of Chian and moor their barks under 'hills of spice.' What golden wine of inspiration has our poet drunk, whose flush is on his brow and its fire in his veins? For every sentence of this poem is aglow with vigor and life and power;

'Its feeldes have een and its woodes have eeres.'

And if he sometimes stumbles over a metre or lets his private friendships and preferences run away with his cool discretion and judgment, why, bonus dormitat Homerus, let us, like the miser Euclio, be thankful for the good the gods vouchsafe us. Taken in themselves and without regard to their poetical surroundings, no more comprehensive, faithful, concise portraitures of our authors have ever been produced. They unite in the highest degree candor and justice, and there is withal a tone so kindly and a wit so pure, that we almost believe him to be describing a community of brothers affiliated by the close ties of deep mutual appreciation. He flings his diamonds of learning upon the page, and we recognize the scholar whom no extravagance in knowledge can make bankrupt. We seem to have come by rare chance upon one of those wardrobes of the early kings, wherein are all savory treasures,—the rose and violet colored sugars of Alexandria, sweet almonds, and sharp-toothed ginger. We pardon his puns, indeed we believe them to be inevitable, the flash of the percussion cap, the sparks of electricity, St. Elmo's stars, phosphorescent gleams, playing over the restless ocean of his fruitful imagination. And we are persuaded that if the venerable Democritus (who was uncanonized only because the Holy See was still wavering, an anomalous body, in Weissnichtwo, and who existed forty days on the mere sight of bread and honey) had been regaled with the piquant delicacies of Lowell's picture of a Critic, he might have continued unto this present. It is a satire so pleasantly constructed, so full of palpable hits at the 'musty dogmas' of the day, so rich in mirthful allusion, and with such a generously insinuated tribute to the true and earnest-hearted critic, that we know not which most to admire, the sketch, or the soul whence it emanated. The following description of a 'regular heavy reviewer' is complete:

'And here I must say he wrote excellent articles
On the Hebraic points, or the force of Greek particles,
They filled up the space nothing else was prepared for;
And nobody read that which nobody cared for;
If any old book reached a fiftieth edition,
He could fill forty pages with safe erudition;
He could gauge the old books by the new set of rules,
And his very old nothings pleased very old fools.
But give him a new book fresh out of the heart,
And you put him at sea without compass or chart,—
His blunders aspired to the rank of an art;
For his lore was engraft, something foreign that grew in him,
Exhausting the sap of the native, and true in him,
So that when a man came with a soul that was new in him,
Carving new forms of truth out of Nature's old granite,
New and old at their birth, like Le Verrier's planet,
Which, to get a true judgment, themselves must create
In the soul of their critic the measure and weight,
Being rather themselves a fresh standard of grace,
To compute their own judge and assign him his place,
Our reviewer would crawl all about it and round it,
And reporting each circumstance just as he found it,
Without the least malice—his record would be
Profoundly æsthetic as that of a flea,
Which, supping on Wordsworth, should print, for our sakes,
Recollections of nights with the Bard of the Lakes,
Or, borne by an Arab guide, venture to render a
General view of the ruins of Denderah.'
[pg 183]

He draws with a few strokes of his magical charcoal a sharp silhouette of Brownson upon the wall of our waiting curiosity, fills in his sketch of Parker with a whole wilderness of classical shades, disposes of Willis with a kiss and a blow, gives pages of sharp pleasantries to Emerson, pays a graceful tribute to Whittier, and Hawthorne,—

'His strength is so tender, his wildness so meek,
That a suitable parallel sets one to seek,—
He's a John Bunyan Fouqué, a Puritan Tieck;
When Nature was shaping him, clay was not granted
For making so full-sized a man as she wanted,
So to fill out her model, a little she spared
From some finer-grained stuff for a woman prepared,
And she could not have hit a more excellent plan
For making him fully and perfectly man.'

Turning backward from these evidences of Lowell's ripening powers to his early poems, astonishment at his versatility is the first emotion produced. It is hard to believe that the 'Biglow Papers' slid from under the hand that wrote the 'Prometheus' and the 'Legend of Brittany.' His genius flashes upon us like a certain flamboyant style of poetic architecture—the flowing, flame-like curves of his humor blending happily with the Gothic cusps of veneration for the old, with quaint ivy-leaves, green and still rustling under the wind and rain, springing easily out of its severer lines. What resistless magic is there in the fingers whose touch upon the same rich banks of keys, summons solemn, vibrant peals as of Beethoven's grandest fugues, endless harmonies as of the deep seas, and the light and graceful fantasies of Rossini, which are as the glad sunshine upon their waves. Truly the poet's gift is a divine and an awful one. His heart must needs be proud and humble too, who is claimed as nearer of kin than a brother by myriads of stranger souls, each, perhaps, owning its separate creed, and in whose unspoken prayers his name is ever present. In his 'Conversations on some of the old Poets,' we discover the alembic through which his crude opinions, his glowing impulses, his exquisitely minute discrimination were distilled;—the old poets, to whom the heart turns ever lovingly as to the wide west at eve. They were the nursing mothers of his intellectual infancy, and it is probably to his reverent but not blind esteem for them, his earnest study of them, not merely as poets, but as men, citizens, and friends, that much of the buoyancy and vigor of his poetry is to be attributed. The 'Conversations' themselves are alive with that enthusiasm and sympathetic inquiry that disproves the false saying of the Parisian Aspasia of Landor—'Poets are soon too old for mutual love.' They are the warm photographs of feeling as it bubbles from a burning heart; sometimes burned over-deep, with a leaning to fanaticism, but with so much of the generosity and justice of maturity in their decisions that these necessary errors of an ardent youth are overlooked, and the more as they have disappeared almost entirely from the productions of later years. He betrays in his quick conception of an author's mood and meaning a delicacy so extreme, an organization so nervously alive to beauties and discords, and a religious sentiment so cultured to the last degree of feeling, that we dread lest we shall encounter the weakness, morbidness or bigotry that naturally results from the contact of such a soul with the passions of everyday life, recalling the oft-quoted 'Medio in fonte leporum'—

'In the bowl where pleasures swim,
The bitter rises to the brim,
And roses from the veriest brake
May press the temples till they ache.'

But among the roses of his criticisms we look in vain for thorns. In style, it is true, these essays are halting and unequal. His adoption of the colloquial form for the expression of opinion to the public has never seemed to us remarkably felicitous, in spite of its venerable precedents. Where his imagery becomes lofty and his flow of thought should be continuous, we are indignant at its sudden arrest, and involuntarily devote the intruder to a temporary bungalow in Timbuctoo.

[pg 184]

It is refreshing to lose the moony Tennysonian sensuousness which induced, with Lowell's vigorous imagination, the blank artificiality of style which was visible in several of his early poems. There was a tendency, too, to the Byzantine liberty of gilding the bronze of our common words, a palpable longing after the ississimus of Latin adjectives, of whose softness our muscular and variegated language will not admit. Mr. Lowell's Sonnets, too, we could wish unwritten, not from any defect in their construction, but from a fancied want of congeniality between their character and his own. In spite of its Italian origin, the sonnet always seems to demand the severest classical outlines, both in spirit and expression, calm and steadfastly flowing without ripples or waves, a poem cut in the marble of stately cadences that imprison some vast and divine thought. Lowell is too elastic, impulsive, for a sonneteer. But considered apart from our peculiar ideas of the sonnet, the following is full of a very tender beauty:—

'I ask not for those thoughts that sudden leap
From being's sea, like the isle-seeming Kraken,
With whose great rise the ocean all is shaken,
And a heart-tremble quivers through the deep;
Give me that growth which some perchance deem sleep,
Wherewith the steadfast coral-stems uprise,
Which by the toil of gathering energies
Their upward way into clear sunshine keep,
Until, by Heaven's sweetest influences,
Slowly and slowly spreads a speck of green
Into a pleasant island in the seas,
Where, 'mid tall palms, the cave-roofed home is seen
And wearied men shall sit at sunset's hour,
Hearing the leaves and loving God's dear power.'

And what could be more drippingly quaint than his song to 'Violets,' which breathes so gentle and real a sympathy with its subject, that we almost imagine it was written in those early times when men communed with Nature in her own audible language. It is even more beautiful than Herrick's

'Why do ye weep, sweet babe? Can tears
Speak grief in you, who were but born
Just as the modest morn
Teemed her refreshing dew?'

We give but a fragment of the Violet.

'Violet! sweet violet!
Thine eyes are full of tears;
  Are they wet
  Even yet
With the thought of other years?
Or with gladness are they full,
For the night is beautiful,
And longing for those far-off spheres?
Thy little heart, that hath with love
Grown colored, like the sky above
On which thou lookest ever—
  Can it know
  All the woe
Of hope for what returneth never,
All the sorrow and the longing
To these hearts of ours belonging?'

And there are touches of what we are wont to call dear, womanly feeling, as when the 'Forlorn,' out in the bitter cold,

'Hears a woman's voice within
  Singing sweet words her childhood knew,
And years of misery and sin
  Furl off and leave her heaven blue.'

The 'Changeling' alone would sustain a reputation. It seems always like the plaintive but sweet warble of some unknown bird rising from the midst of tall water-rushes in the day's dim dawning. A wonderful melody as of Mrs. Browning's best efforts pervades every verse, priceless and rare as some old intaglio. But when we come to his 'Odes to the Past and the Future,' the full power of poesy unfolds before us. Their images are not the impalpable spectres of a poet's dream, but symbols hardened into marble by his skill, and informed with the fire of life by his genius.

'Wondrous and awful are thy silent halls,
  O kingdom of the past!
There lie the bygone ages in their palls,
  Guarded by shadows vast;
There all is hushed and breathless,
  Save when some image of old error falls,
Earth worshiped once as deathless.'

Was ever picture of silence more effective and complete? We can see the desolate quiet of the vast arched halls, left undisturbed by centuries, and as the moldering statue totters forward from its niche, we feel a faith has fallen which was once the heaven of nations, and the awful tumult is audible as a voice from the drear kingdom of death. And the hymn to the Future, with all the [pg 185] joyful Titian hues of its opening strophes, the glowing fervor of its deep yearning, swelling through 'golden-winged dreams' of the 'Land of Promise':—

'To thee the Earth lifts up her fettered hands
  And cries for vengeance; with a pitying smile
Thou blessest her, and she forgets her bands,
  And her old woe-worn face a little while
Grows young and noble: unto thee the Oppressor
    Looks and is dumb with awe;
    The eternal law
Which makes the crime its own blindfold redresser,
Shadows his heart with perilous foreboding,
    And he can see the grim-eyed Doom
    From out the trembling gloom
Its silent-footed steeds toward his palace goading.'

We pass by the 'Legend of Brittany,' which, as a mere artistic study of light and shade in words, is worthy an extended notice. Its fine polish and refinement of feeling remind us of Spencer's silver verses, frosted here and there with the old fret-work of his lovable affectations. But we pause at the 'Prometheus,' honestly believing that no poem made up of so many excellences was ever written in America. Its defects are not of conception, but in an occasional carelessness of execution—a gasp in the rhythm; and when we consider its richness and majesty, when we feel its resistless grasp upon the heart, we could pardon it if its great pearls were strung on straws or its diamonds hidden in a sand-hill of sentimentality. But never was poem freer from morbidness: it repels the sickly pallor of our modern stereotyped sorrow, and is made up only of a grief that is regal—more—divine. If any place by its side the Prometheus of Æschylus and appeal to the unapproachable dignity of their model, we can only say that we hold these two poems distinct as the East is from the West, only between them springs boldly the blue arch of a universal humanity that suffered and enjoyed as now when the earth was young. But it must not be forgotten that the Greek lived when with men was born a boundless sympathy for, and pride in, their gods; that what are now to us but the wonderful dreams of a primeval poesy, shadowing mighty truths, were to the ancients living influences that molded their lives. And if it be urged that already faith must have grown dim in so great a mind as that of Æschylus, then indeed we wonder not at the marvels of magnificent despair, the death-in-life of a godlike suffering which reach in his 'Prometheus Chained' a height of sublimity we may scarcely hope to see approached in modern times, for the mind that created it stood in a light shallop, drifting away from the old landmarks of a worn-out creed into the dark, unknown night of doubt and speculation. But the Prometheus of Lowell is not the god-man writhing in an awful conflict with his slavery but begun. His heart

'For ages hath been empty of all joy,
Except to brood upon its silent hope,
As o'er its hope of day the sky doth now.'

The defiant pride and scornful dignity that raised him above our sympathy in Æschylus, are tempered by Lowell with a human longing for comfort that, in its mighty woe, might melt adamant, or draw from the watchful heavens

'Mild-eyed Astarte, his best comforter,
With her pale smile of sad benignity.'

Chained to the rock in utter loneliness he lies. Long since the 'crisped smiles' of the waves and the 'swift-winged winds' had ceased to listen to his call.

'Year after year will pass away and seem
To me, in mine eternal agony,
But as the shadows of dark summer clouds,
Which I have watched so often darkening o'er
The vast Sarmatian plain, league-wide at first,
But, with still swiftness lessening on and on,
Till cloud and shadow meet and mingle where
The gray horizon fades into the sky,
Far, far to northward. Yes, for ages yet
Must I lie here upon my altar huge,
A sacrifice for man.'

'A sacrifice for man.' The theme has won a high significance with time. One more passage, and we are done—a passage which rivals Shakspeare in its startling vividness, as it whispers with awful power close to our ears. All night had the prisoned god heard voices,—

    'Deeper yet
The deep, low breathings of the silence grew

    And then toward me came
A shape as of a woman; very pale
It was, and calm; its cold eyes did not move,
And mine moved not, but only stared on them.
Their fixed awe went through my brain like ice;
[pg 186]
A skeleton hand seemed clutching at my heart,
And a sharp chill, as if a dank night-fog
Suddenly closed me in, was all I felt.
And then, methought, I heard a freezing sigh,
A long, deep, shivering sigh, as from blue lips
Stiffening in death, close to mine ear. I thought
Some doom was close upon me, and I looked
And saw the red morn, through the heavy mist,
Just setting, and it seemed as it were falling,
Or reeling to its fall, so dim and dead
And palsy-struck it looked. Then all sounds merged
Into the rising surges of the pines,
Which, leagues below me, clothing the gaunt loins
Of ancient Caucasus with hairy strength,
Sent up a murmur in the morning wind,
Sad as the wail that from the populous earth
All day and night to high Olympus soars,
Fit incense to thy wicked throne, O Jove!'

Mr. Lowell is no fine dreamer, no enthusiast in the filmy questions of some cloud-land of poetry: the sword of power is in his hand, and the stern teachings of Right and Justice ring through his heart. To such men, Destiny looks for her unfolding. Woe to them, if upon their silence, inaction or irresolution in these great days, the steadfast gaze of her high expectation falls unheeded.


Go where the sunlight brightly falls,
  Through tangled grass too thick to wave;
Where silence, save the cricket's calls,
  Reigns o'er a patriot's grave;
And you shall see Faith's violets spring
From whence his soul on heavenward wing
  Rose to the realms where heroes dwell:
  Heroes who for their country fell;
  Heroes for whom our bosoms swell;
    Heroes in battle slain.
God of the just! they are not dead,—
Those who have erst for freedom bled;—
Their every deed has boldly said
  We all shall rise again.
A patriot's deeds can never die,—
  Time's noblest heritage are they,—
Though countless æons pass them by,
  They rise at last to day.
The spirits of our fathers rise
Triumphant through the starry skies;
  And we may hear their choral song,—
  The firm in faith, the noble throng,—
  It bids us crush a deadly wrong,
    Wrought by red-handed Cain.
Goes onward with resistless might:
His hand shall win for us the fight.
    We, too, shall rise again!

[pg 187]


My last article left the reader in the doorway of the Colonel's mansion. Before entering, we will linger there awhile and survey the outside of the premises.

The house stands where two roads meet, and, unlike most planters' dwellings, is located in full view of the highway. It is a rambling, disjointed structure, thrown together with no regard to architectural rules, and yet there is a kind of rude harmony in its very irregularities that has a pleasing effect. The main edifice, with a frontage of nearly eighty feet, is only one and a half stories high, and is overshadowed by a broad projecting roof, which somehow, though in a very natural way, drops down at the eaves, and forms the covering of a piazza, twenty-feet in width, and extending across the entire front of the house. At its south-easterly angle, the roof is truncated, and made again to form a covering for the piazza, which there extends along a line of irregular buildings for sixty yards. A portion of the verandah on this side being enclosed, forms a bowling-alley and smoking-room, two essential appendages to a planter's residence. The whole structure is covered with yellow-pine weather boarding, which in some former age was covered with paint of a grayish brown color. This, in many places, has peeled off and allowed the sap to ooze from the pine, leaving every here and there large blotches on the surface, which somewhat resemble the 'warts' I have seen on the trunks of old trees.

The house is encircled by grand, old pines, whose tall, upright stems, soaring eighty and ninety feet in the air, make the low hamlet seem lower by the contrast. They have stood there for centuries, their rough, shaggy coats buttoned close to their chins, and their long, green locks waving in the wind; but man has thrust his long knife into their veins, and their life-blood is fast oozing away.

With the exception of the negro huts, which are scattered at irregular intervals through the woods in the rear of the mansion, there is not a human habitation within an hour's ride; but such a cosey, inviting, hospitable atmosphere surrounds the whole place, that a stranger does not realize he has happened upon it in a wilderness.

The interior of the dwelling is in keeping with the exterior, though in the drawing-rooms, where rich furniture and fine paintings actually lumber the apartments, there is evident the lack of a nice perception of the 'fitness of things,' and over the whole hangs a 'dusty air,' which reminds one that the Milesian Bridget does not 'flourish' in South Carolina.

I was met in the entrance-way by a tall, fine-looking woman, to whom the Colonel introduced me as follows:—

'Mr. K——, this is Madam ——, my housekeeper; she will try to make you forget that Mrs. J—— is absent.'

After a few customary courtesies were exchanged, I was shown to a dressing-room, and with the aid of 'Jim,' a razor, and one of the Colonel's shirts,—all of mine having undergone a drenching,—soon made a tolerably presentable appearance. The negro then conducted me to the breakfast-room, where I found the family assembled.

It consisted, besides the housekeeper, of a tall, raw-boned, sandy-haired personage, with a low brow, a blear eye and a sneaking look, the Overseer of the plantation; and of a well-mannered, intelligent lad,—with the peculiarly erect carriage and uncommon blending of good-natured ease and dignity which distinguished my host,—who was introduced to me as the housekeeper's son.

Madam P——, who presided over the 'tea things,' was a person of perhaps thirty-five, but a rich olive complexion, enlivened by a delicate red-tint, and relieved by thick masses of black hair, made her appear to a casual observer several [pg 188] years younger. Her face showed vestiges of great beauty, which time, and, perhaps, care, had mellowed but not obliterated, while her conversation indicated high cultivation. She had evidently mingled in refined society in this country and in Europe, and it was a strange freak of fortune that reduced her to a menial condition in the family of a backwoods planter.

After some general conversation, the Colonel remarked that his wife and daughter would pass the winter in Charleston.

'And do you remain on the plantation?' I inquired.

'Oh yes, I am needed here,' he replied; 'but Madam's son is with my family.'

'Madam's son!' I exclaimed in astonishment, forgetting in my surprise that the lady was present.

'Yes, sir,' she remarked, 'my oldest boy is twenty.'

'Excuse me, Madam; I forgot that in your climate one never grows old.'

'There you are wrong, sir; I'm sure I feel old when I think how soon my boys will be men.'

'Not old yet, Alice,' said the Colonel, in a singularly familiar tone; 'you seem to me no older than when you were fifteen.'

'You have been long acquainted,' I remarked, not knowing exactly what to say.

'Oh yes,' replied my host, 'we were children together.'

'Your Southern country, Madam, affords a fine field for young men of enterprise.'

'My eldest son resides in Germany,' replied the lady. 'He expects to make that country his home. He would have passed his examination at Heidelberg this autumn had not circumstances called him here.'

'You are widely separated,' I replied.

'Yes, sir; his father thinks it best, and I suppose it is. Thomas, here, is to return with his brother, and I may live to see neither of them again.'

My curiosity was naturally much excited to learn more, but nothing further being volunteered, and the conversation turning to other topics, I left the table with it unsatisfied.

After enjoying a quiet hour with the Colonel in the smoking-room, he invited me to join him in a ride over the plantation. I gladly assented, and 'Jim' shortly announced the horses were ready. That darky, who invariably attended his master when the latter proceeded from home, accompanied us. As we were mounting I bethought me of Scip, and asked Jim where he was.

'He'm gwine to gwo, massa. He want to say good-by to you.'

It seemed madness for Scip to start on a journey of seventy miles without rest, so I requested the Colonel to let him remain till the next day. He cheerfully assented, and sent Jim to find him. While waiting for the darky, I spoke of how faithfully he had served me during my journey.

'He's a splendid nigger,' replied the Colonel; 'worth his weight in gold. If affairs were more settled I would buy him.'

'But Colonel A—— tells me he is too intelligent. He objects to "knowing" niggers.'

'I do not,' replied my host, 'if they are honest, and I would trust Scip with uncounted gold. Look at him,' he continued, as the negro approached; 'were flesh and bones ever better put together?'

The darky was a fine specimen of sable humanity, and I readily understood why the practiced eye of the Colonel appreciated his physical developments.

'Scip,' I said, 'you must not think of going to-day; the Colonel will be glad to let you remain until you are fully rested.'

'Tank you, massa, tank you bery much, but de ole man will spec me, and I orter gwo.'

'Oh, never mind old ——,' said the Colonel, 'I'll take care of him.'

'Tank you, Cunnel, den I'll stay har till de mornin.'

Taking a by-path which led through the forest in the rear of the mansion, we [pg 189] soon reached a small stream, and, following its course for a short distance, came upon a turpentine distillery, which the Colonel explained to me was one of three that prepared the product of his plantation for market, and provided for his family of two hundred souls.

It was enclosed, or rather roofed, by a rude structure of rough boards, open at the sides, and sustained on a number of pine poles about thirty feet in height, and bore a strong resemblance to the usual covering of a New England haystack.

Three stout negro men, divested of all clothing excepting a pair of coarse gray trowsers and a red shirt,—it was a raw, cold, wintry day,—and with cotton bandannas bound about their heads, were 'tending the still.' The foreman stood on a raised platform level with its top, but as we approached very quietly seated himself on a turpentine barrel which a moment before he had rolled over the mouth of the boiler. Another negro was below, feeding the fire with 'light wood,' and a third was tending the trough by which the liquid rosin found its way into the semi-circle of rough barrels intended for its reception.

'Hello, Junius, what in creation are you doing there?' asked the Colonel, as we approached, of the negro on the turpentine barrel.

'Holein' her down, Cunnel; de ole ting got a mine to blow up dis mornin; I'se got dis barrl up har to hole her down.'

'Why, you everlasting nigger, if the top leaks you'll be blown to eternity in half a second.'

'Reckon not, massa; de barrl and me kin hole her. We'll take de risk.'

'Perhaps you will,' said the Colonel, laughing, 'but I won't. Nigger property isn't of much account, but you're too good a darky, June, to be sent to the devil for a charge of turpentine.'

'Tank you, massa, but you dun kno' dis ole ting like I do. You cudn't blow her up nohow; I'se tried her afore dis way.'

'Don't you do it again; now mind; if you do I'll make a white man of you.' (This I suppose referred to a process of flaying with a switch; though the switch is generally thought to redden, not whiten, the darky.)

The negro did not seem at all alarmed, for he showed his ivories in a broad grin as he replied, 'Jess as you say, massa; you'se de boss in dis shanty.'

Directing the fire to be raked out, and the still to stand unused until it was repaired, the Colonel turned his horse to go, when he observed that the third negro was shoeless, and his feet chapped and swollen with the cold. 'Jake,' he said, 'where are your shoes?'

'Wored out, massa.'

'Worn out! Why haven't you been to me?'

''Cause, massa, I know'd you'd jaw; you tole me I wears 'em out mighty fass.'

'Well, you do, that's a fact; but go to Madam and get a pair; and you, June, you've been a decent nigger, you can ask for a dress for Rosey. How is little June?'

'Mighty pore, massa; de ma'am war dar lass night and dis mornin', and she reckun'd he's gwine to gwo sartain.'

'Sorry to hear that,' said the Colonel. I'll go and see him. Don't feel badly, June,' he continued, for the tears welled up to the eyes of the black man as he spoke of his child; 'we all must die.'

'I knows dat, massa, but it am hard to hab em gwo.'

'Yes, it is, June, but we may save him.'

'Ef you cud, massa! Oh, ef you cud!' and the poor darky covered his face with his great hands and sobbed like a child.

We rode on to another 'still,' and there dismounting, the Colonel explained to me the process of gathering and manufacturing turpentine. The trees are 'boxed' and 'tapped' early in the year, while the frost is still in the ground. 'Boxing' is the process of scooping a cavity in the trunk of the tree by means of a peculiarly shaped axe, made for the purpose; 'tapping' is scarifying the rind of the wood above the boxes. This is never done until the trees have [pg 190] been worked one season, but it is then repeated year after year, till on many plantations they present the marks of twenty and frequently thirty annual 'tappings,' and are often denuded of bark for a distance of thirty feet from the ground. The necessity for this annual tapping arises from the fact that the scar on the trunk heals at the end of a season, and the sap will no longer run from it; a fresh wound is therefore made each spring. The sap flows down the scarified surface and collects in the boxes, which are emptied six or eight times in a year, according to the length of the season. This is the process of 'dipping,' and it is done with a tin or iron vessel constructed to fit the cavity in the tree.

The turpentine gathered from the newly boxed or virgin tree is very valuable, on account of its producing a peculiarly clear and white rosin, which is used in the manufacture of the finer kinds of soap, and by 'Rosin the Bow,' and commands, ordinarily, nearly five times the price of the common article. When barreled, the turpentine is frequently sent to market in its crude state, but more often is distilled on the plantation, the gatherers generally possessing means sufficient to own a still.

In the process of distilling, the crude turpentine is 'dumped' into the boiler through an opening in the top,—the same as that on which we saw Junius composedly seated,—water is then poured upon it, the aperture made tight by screwing down the cover and packing it with clay, a fire built underneath, and when the heat reaches several hundred degrees Fahrenheit, the process of manufacture begins. The volatile and more valuable part of the turpentine, by the action of the heat, rises as vapor, then condensing flows off through a pipe in the top of the still, and comes out spirits of turpentine, while the heavier portion finds vent at a lower aperture, and comes out rosin.

No article of commerce is so liable to waste and leakage as turpentine. The spirits can only be preserved in tin cans, or in thoroughly seasoned oak barrels, made tight by a coating of glue on the inner side. Though the material for these barrels exists at the South in luxuriant abundance, they are all procured from the North, and the closing of the Southern ports has now entirely cut off the supply; for while the turpentine farmer may improvise coopers, he can by no process give the oak timber the seasoning which is needed to render the barrel spirit-tight. Hence it is certain that a large portion of the last crop of turpentine must have gone to waste. When it is remembered that the one State of North Carolina exports annually nearly twenty millions in value of this product, and employs fully three-fourths of its negroes in its production, it will be seen how dearly the South is paying for the mad freak of secession. Putting out of view his actual loss of produce, how does the turpentine farmer feed and employ his negroes? and, pressed as these blacks inevitably are by both hunger and idleness, those prolific breeders of sedition, what will keep them quiet?

'What effect would secession have on your business?' I asked the Colonel, after a while.

'A favorable one. I should ship my crop direct to Liverpool and London, instead of selling it to New York middlemen.'

'But is not the larger portion of the turpentine crop consumed at the North?'

'Oh, yes. We should have to deal with the Yankees anyhow, but we should do as little with them as possible.'

'Suppose the Yankees object to your setting up by yourselves, and put your ports under lock and key?'

'They won't do that, and if they did England would break the blockade.'

'We might rap John Bull over the knuckles in that event,' I replied.

'Well, suppose you did, what then?'

'Merely, England would not have a ship in six months to carry your cotton. A war with her would ruin the shipping trade of the North. Our marine would seek employment at privateering, and soon sweep every British merchant ship from the ocean. We could afford to give [pg 191] up ten years' trade with you, and have to put down seccession by force, for the sake of a year's brush with John Bull.'

'But, my good friend, where would the British navy be all the while?'

'Asleep. The English haven't a steamer that can catch a Brookhaven schooner. The last war proved that vessels of war are no match for privateers.'

'Well, well! but the Yankees won't fight.'

'Suppose they do. Suppose they shut up your ports, and leave you with your cotton and turpentine unsold? You raise scarcely anything else—what would you eat?'

'We would turn our cotton-fields into corn and wheat. Turpentine-makers, of course, would suffer.'

'Then why are not you a Union man?'

'My friend, I have two hundred mouths to feed. I depend on the sale of my crop to give them food. If our ports are closed, I can not do it,—they will starve, and I be ruined. But sooner than submit to the domination of the cursed Yankees, I will see my negroes starving and my child a beggar.'

At this point in the conversation we arrived at the negro shanty where the sick child was. Dismounting, the Colonel and I entered.

The cabin was almost a counterpart of the 'Mills House,' described in my previous paper, but it had a plank flooring, and was scrupulously neat and clean. The logs were stripped of bark, and whitewashed. A bright, cheerful fire was blazing on the hearth, and an air of rude comfort pervaded the whole interior. On a low bed in the farther corner of the room lay the sick child. He was a boy of about twelve years, and evidently in the last stages of consumption. By his side, bending over him as if to catch his almost inaudible words, sat a tidy, youthful-looking colored woman, his mother, and the wife of the negro we had met at the 'still.' Playing on the floor, was a younger child, perhaps five years old, but while the faces of the mother and the sick lad were of the hue of charcoal, his skin, by a process well understood at the South, had been bleached to a bright yellow.

The woman took no notice of our entrance, but the little fellow ran to the Colonel and caught hold of the skirts of his coat in a free-and-easy way, saying, 'Ole massa, you got suffin' for Dickey?'

'No, you little nig,' replied the Colonel, patting his woolly head as I might have done a white child's, 'Dickey isn't a good boy.'

'Yas, I is,' said the little darky; 'you'se ugly ole massa, to gib nuffin' to Dickey.'

Aroused by the Colonel's voice, the woman turned towards us. Her eyes were swollen and her face bore traces of deep emotion.

'Oh massa!' she said, 'de chile am dyin'! It'm all along ob his workin' in de swamp,—no man orter work dar, let alone a chile like dis.'

'Do you think he is dying, Rosey?' asked the Colonel, approaching the bedside.

'Shore, massa, he'm gwine fass. Look at 'em.'

The boy had dwindled to a skeleton, and the skin lay on his face in crimpled folds, like a mask of black crape. His eyes were fixed, and he was evidently going.

'Don't you know massa, my boy?' said the Colonel, taking his hand tenderly in his.

The child's lips slightly moved, but I could hear no sound. The Colonel put his ear down to him for a moment, then, turning to me, said,—

'He is dying. Will you be so good as to step to the house and ask Madam P—— here, and please tell Jim to go for Junius and the old man.'

I returned in a short while with the lady, but found the boy's father and 'the old man'—the darky preacher of the plantation—there before us. The preacher was a venerable old negro, much bowed by years, and with thin wool as white as snow. When we entered he was bending over the dying boy, but shortly turning to my host, said,—

'Massa, de blessed Lord am callin' for de chile,—shall we pray?'

[pg 192]

The Colonel nodded assent, and we all, blacks and whites, knelt down on the floor, while the old preacher made a short, heart-touching prayer. It was a simple, humble acknowledgment of the dependence of the creature on the Creator,—of His right to give and to take away, and was uttered in a free, conversational tone, as if long communion with his Maker had placed the old negro on a footing of friendly familiarity with Him, and given the black slave the right to talk with the Deity as one man talks with another.

As we rose from our knees my host said to me, 'It is my duty to stay here, but I will not detain you. Jim will show you over the plantation. I will join you at the house when this is over.' The scene was a painful one, and I gladly availed myself of the Colonel's suggestion.

Mounting our horses, Jim and I rode off to the negro house where Scip was staying.

Scip was not at the cabin, and the old negro woman told us he had been away for several hours.

'Reckon he'll be 'way all day, sar,' said Jim, as we turned our horses to go.

'He ought to be resting against the ride of to-morrow. Where has he gone?'

'Dunno, sar, but reckon he'm gwine to fine Sam.'

'Sam? Oh, he's the runaway the Colonel has advertised.'

'Yas, sar, he'm 'way now more'n a monfh.'

'How can Scip find him?'

'Dunno, sar. Scipio know most ebery ting,—reckon he'll track him. He know him well, and Sam'll cum back ef he say he orter.'

'Where do you think Sam is?'

'P'raps in the swamp.'

'Where is the swamp?'

''Bout ten mile from har.'

'Oh, yes! the shingles are cut there. I should think a runaway would be discovered where so many men are at work.'

'No, massa, dar'm places dar whar de ole debil cudn't fine him, nor de dogs nudder.'

'I thought the bloodhounds would track a man anywhere.'

'Not t'ru de water, massa; dey lose de scent in de swamp.'

'But how can a negro live there,—how get food?'

'De darkies work dar and dey take 'em nuff.'

'Then the other negroes often know where the runaways are; don't they sometimes betray them?'

'Neber, massa; a darky neber tells on anoder. De Cunnel had a boy in dat swamp once, good many years.'

'Is it possible? Did he come back?'

'No, he died dar. Sum ob de hands found him dead one mornin' in de hut whar he lib'd, and dey buried him dar.'

'Why did Sam run away?'

''Cause de Oberseer flog him. He use him bery hard, massa.'

'What had Sam done?'

'Nuffin', massa.'

'Then why was he flogged? Did the Colonel know it?'

'Oh, yas; Moye cum de possum ober de Cunnel, and make him b'lieve Sam war bad. De Cunnel dunno de hull ob dat story.'

'Why didn't you tell him? The Colonel trusts you.'

'Twudn't hab dun no good; de Cunnel wud hab flogged me for tellin' on a wite man. Nigga's word ain't ob no account.'

'What is the story about Sam?'

'You won't tell dat I tole you, massa?'

'No, but I'll tell the Colonel the truth.'

'Wal den, sar, you see Sam's wife am bery good-lookin', her skin's most wite,—her mudder war a mulatter, her fader a wite man,—she lub'd Sam 'bout as well as de wimmin ginrally lub dar husbands,' (Jim was a bachelor, and his observation of plantation morals had given him but little faith in the sex), 'but most ob 'em, ef dey'm married or no, tink dey must smile on de wite men, so Jule she smiled on de Oberseer,—so Sam tought,—and it made him bery jealous. He war sort o' sassy, and de Oberseer strung him up and flog him bery hard. Den Sam took to de swamp, but he didn't know whar to gwo, and de dogs tracked him; he'd ha' got 'way dough ef de Oberseer hadn't shot [pg 193] him; den he cudn't run. Den Moye flogged him till he war 'most dead, and arter dat chained him up in de ole cabin and gabe him 'most nuffin' to eat. De Cunnel war gwine to take Sam to Charles'on and sell him, but sumhow he got a file and sawed fru de chain and got 'way in de night to de 'still.' When de Oberseer cum dar in de mornin', Sam jump on him and 'most kill him. He'd hab sent him whar dar ain't no niggas ef Junius hadn't a holed him. I'd a let de ole debil gwo.'

'Junius, then, is a friend of the Overseer.'

'No, sar; he hain't no friends, 'cep de debil; but June am a good nigga, and he said 'twarn't right to kill ole Moye so sudden, for den dar'd be no chance for de Lord forgibin' him.'

'Then Sam got away again?'

'O yas; nary one but darkies war round, and dey wouldn't hole him. Ef dey'd cotched him den, dey'd hung him, shore.'

'Why hung him?'

''Cause he'd struck a wite man; it 'm shore death to do dat.'

'Do you think Scip will bring him back?'

'Yas; 'cause he 'm gwine to tell massa de hull story. De Cunnel will b'lieve Scipio ef he am brack. Sam'll know dat, and he'll come back. De Cunnel'll make de State too hot to hole ole Moye, when he fine him out.'

'Does Sam's wife "smile" on the Overseer now?'

'No; she see de trubble she bring on Sam, and she bery sorry. She won't look at a wite man now.'

During the conversation above recorded, we had ridden for several miles over the western half of the plantation, and were then again near the house. My limbs being decidedly stiff and sore from the effects of the previous day's journey, I decided to alight and rest at the house until the hour for dinner.

I mentioned my jaded condition to Jim, who said,—

'Dat's right, massa; come in de house. I'll cure de rumatics; I knows how to fix dem.'

Fastening the horses at the door, Jim accompanied me to my sleeping-room, where he lighted a pile of pine knots, and in a moment the fire blazed up on the hearth and sent a cheerful glow through the apartment; then, saying he would return after stabling the horses, the darky left me.

I took off my boots, drew the sofa near the fire, and stretched myself at full length upon it. If ever mortal was tired, 'I reckon' I was. It seemed as if every joint and bone in my body had lost the power of motion, and sharp, acute pains danced along my nerves, as I have seen lightning play along the telegraph wires. My entire system had the toothache.

Jim soon returned, bearing in one hand a decanter of 'Otard,' and in the other a mug of hot water and a crash towel.

'I'se got de stuff dat'll fix de rumatics, massa.'

'Thank you, Jim; a glass will do me good. Where did you get it?' I asked, thinking it strange the Colonel should leave his brandy-bottle within reach of the darkies, who have an universal weakness for spirits.

'Oh, I keeps de keys; de Cunnel hisself hab to come to me wen he want suffin' to warm hisself.'

It was the fact; Jim had exclusive charge of the wine-cellar; in short, was butler, barber, porter, footman, and body-servant, all combined.

'Now, massa, you lay right whar you is, and I'll make you ober new in less dan no time.'

And he did; but I emptied the brandy-bottle. Lest my temperance friends should be horror-stricken, I will mention, however, that I took the fluid by external absorption. For all rheumatic sufferers, I would prescribe, hot brandy in plentiful doses, a coarse towel, and an active Southern darky, and if on the first application the patient is not cured, the fault will not be the nigger's. [pg 194] Out of mercy to the chivalry, I hope our government, in saving the Union, will not annihilate the order of body-servants. They are the only perfect institution in the Southern country, and, so far as I have seen, about the only one worth saving.

The dinner-bell sounded a short while after Jim had finished the scrubbing operation, and I went to the table with an appetite I had not felt for a week. My whole system seemed rejuvenated, and I am not sure that I should, at that moment, have declined a wrestling match with Heenan himself.

I found at dinner only the Overseer and the young son of Madam P——, the Colonel and the lady being still at the cabin of the dying boy. The dinner, though a queer mixture of viands, would not have disgraced, except, perhaps, in the cooking, the best of our Northern hotels. Venison, bacon, wild fowl, hominy, poultry, corn-bread, French 'made-dishes,' and Southern 'common doin's,' with wines and brandies of the choicest brands, were placed on the table together.

'Dis, massa,' said Jim, 'am de raal juice; it hab ben in de cellar eber since de house war built. Massa tole me to gib you some, wid him complimen's.'

Passing it to my companions, we drank the Colonel's health in as fine wine as I ever tasted.

I had taken an instinctive dislike to the Overseer at the breakfast-table, and my aversion was not lessened by learning his treatment of Sam; curiosity to learn what manner of man he was, however, led me, towards the close of our meal, to 'draw him out,' as follows:—

'What is the political sentiment, sir, of this section of the State?'

'Wal, I reckon most of the folks 'bout har' is Union; they're from the "old North," and gin'rally pore trash.'

'I have heard that the majority of the turpentine getters are enterprising men and good citizens,—more enterprising, even, than the cotton and rice planters.'

'Wal, they is enterprisin', 'cause they don't keer for nuthin' 'cep' money.'

'The man who is absorbed in money-getting is generally a quiet citizen.'

'P'raps that's so. But I think a man sh'u'd hev a soul suthin' 'bove dollars. Them folks will take any sort o' sarce from the Yankees, ef they only buy thar truck.'

'What do you suffer from the Yankees?'

'Suffer from the Yankees? Don't they steal our niggers, and hain't they 'lected an ab'lishener for President?'

'I've been at the North lately, but I am not aware that is so.'

'So! it's damnably so, sir. I knows it. We don't mean to stand it eny longer.'

'What will you do?'

'We'll secede, and then give 'em h—l, ef they want it!'

'Will it not be necessary to agree among yourselves before you do that? I met a turpentine farmer below here who openly declared that he is friendly to abolishing slavery. He thinks the masters can make more money by hiring than by owning the negroes.'

'Yes, that's the talk of them North County6 fellers, who've squatted round har. We'll hang every mother's son on 'em, by G——.'

'I wouldn't do that: in a free country [pg 195] every man has a right to his opinions.'

'Not to sech opinions as them. A man may think, but he mustn't think onraasonable.'

'I don't know, but it seems to me reasonable, that if the negroes cost these farmers now one hundred and fifty dollars a year, and they could hire them, if free, for a hundred, that they would make by abolition.'

'Ab'lish'n! By G——, sir, ye ain't an ab'lishener, is ye?' exclaimed the fellow, in an excited tone, bringing his hand down on the table in a way that set the crockery a-dancing.

'Come, come, my friend,' I replied, in a mild tone, and as unruffled as a basin of water that has been out of a December night; 'you'll knock off the dinner things, and I'm not quite through.'

'Wal, sir, I've heerd yer from the North, and I'd like to know if yer an ab'lishener.'

'My dear sir, you surprise me. You certainly can't expect a modest man like me to speak of himself.'

'Ye can speak of what ye d—— please, but ye can't talk ab'lish'n har, by G——,' he said, again applying his hand to the table, till the plates and saucers jumped up, performed several jigs, then several reels, and then rolled over in graceful somersaults to the floor.

At this juncture, the Colonel and Madam P—— entered.

Observing the fall in his crockery, and the general confusion of things, the Colonel quietly asked, 'What's to pay?'

I said nothing, but burst into a fit of laughter at the awkward fix the Overseer was in. That gentleman also said nothing, but looked as if he would like to find vent through a rat-hole or a window-pane. Jim, however, who stood at the back of my chair, gave his eloquent thoughts utterance, very much as follows:—

'Moye hab 'sulted Massa K——, Cunnel, awful bad. He hab swore a blue streak at him, and called him a d—— ab'lishener, jess 'cause Massa K—— wudn't get mad and sass him back. He hab disgrace your hosspital, Cunnel, wuss dan a nigga.'

The Colonel turned white with rage, and, striding up to the Overseer, seized him by the throat, yelling, rather than speaking, these words: 'You d—— —— —— —— —— —— ——, have you dared to insult a guest in my house?'

'I didn't mean to 'sult him,' faltered out the Overseer, his voice running through an entire octave, and changing with the varying pressure of the Colonel's fingers on his throat; 'but he said he war an ab'lishener.'

'No matter what he said,' replied the Colonel; 'he is my guest, and in my house he shall say what he pleases, by G——. Apologize to him, or I'll send you to h—— in a second.'

The fellow turned cringingly to me, and ground out something like this, every word seeming to give him the toothache:—

'I meant no offence, sar; I hope ye'll excuse me.'

This satisfied me, but, before I could make a reply, the Colonel again seized him by the throat, and yelled,—

'None of your sulkiness; get on your knees, you d—— white-livered hound, and ask the gentleman's pardon like a man.'

The fellow then fell on his knees, and got out, with less effort than before,—

'I 'umbly ax yer pardon, sar, very 'umbly, indeed.'

'I am satisfied, sir,' I replied. 'I bear you no ill-will.'

'Now go,' said the Colonel; 'and in future, take your meals in the kitchen. I have none but gentlemen at my table.'

The fellow went. As soon as he had closed the door, the Colonel said to me,—

'Now, my dear friend, I hope you will pardon me for this occurrence. I sincerely regret you have been insulted in my house.'

'Don't speak of it, my dear sir; the fellow is ignorant, and really thinks I am an abolitionist. It was his zeal in politics that led to his warmth. I blame him very little,' I replied.

[pg 196]

'But he lied, Massa K——,' chimed in Jim, very warmly; 'you neber said you war an ab'lishener.'

'You know what they are, don't you, Jim?' said the Colonel, laughing, and taking no notice of Jim's breach of decorum in wedging his black ideas into a white conversation.

'Yas, I does dat,' said the darky, grinning.

'Jim,' said the Colonel, 'you're a prince of a nigger, but you talk too much; ask me for something to-day, and I reckon you'll get it; but go now, and tell Chloe (the cook) to get us some dinner.'

The darky left, and, excusing myself, I soon followed suit.

I went to my room, laid down on the lounge, and soon fell asleep. It was nearly five o'clock when a slight noise in the apartment awoke me, and, looking up, I saw the Colonel quietly seated by the fire, smoking a cigar. His feet were elevated above his head, and he appeared absorbed in no very pleasant reflections.

'How is the sick boy, Colonel?' I asked.

'It's all over with him, my friend. He died easy; but 'twas very painful to me, for I feel I have done him wrong.'

'How so?'

'I was away all summer, and that cursed Moye sent him to the swamp to tote for the shinglers. It killed him.'

'Then you are not to blame,' I replied.

'I wish I could feel so.'

The Colonel remained with me till supper-time, evidently much depressed by the events of the morning, which had affected him more than I could have conceived possible. I endeavored, by cheerful conversation, and by directing his mind to other topics, to cheer him, and in a measure succeeded.

While we were seated at the supper-table, the black cook entered from the kitchen,—a one-story shanty, detached from and in the rear of the house,—and, with a face expressive of every conceivable emotion a negro can feel,—joy, sorrow, wonder, and fear all combined,—exclaimed, 'O massa, massa! dear massa! Sam, O Sam!'

'Sam,' said the Colonel; 'what about Sam?'

'Why, he hab—dear, dear massa, don't yer, don't yer hurt him—he hab come back!'

If a bombshell had fallen in the room, a greater sensation could not have been produced. Every individual arose from the table, and the Colonel, striding up and down the apartment, exclaimed,—

'Is he mad? The everlasting fool! Why in h—— has he come back?'

'Oh, don't ye hurt him, massa,' said the black cook, wringing her hands. 'Sam hab ben bad, bery bad, but he won't be so no more.'

'Stop your noise, aunty,' said the Colonel, but with no harshness in his tone. 'I shall do what I think right.'

'Send for him, David,' said Madam P——; 'let us hear what he has to say. He would not come back if he meant to be ugly.'

'Send for him, Alice!' replied my host. 'He's prouder than Lucifer, and would send me word to come to him. I will go. Will you accompany me, Mr. K——? You'll hear what a runaway nigger thinks of slavery: Sam has the gift of speech, and uses it regardless of persons.'

'Yes, sir, I'll go with pleasure.'

Supper being over, we went. It was about an hour after nightfall when we emerged from the door of the mansion and took our way to the negro quarters. The full moon had risen half way above the horizon, and the dark pines cast their shadows around the little collection of negro huts, which straggled about through the woods for the distance of a third of a mile. It was dark, but I could distinguish the figure of a man striding along at a rapid pace a few hundred yards in advance of us.

'Isn't that Moye?' I asked the Colonel, directing his attention to the receding figure.

'I reckon so; that's his gait. He's had a lesson to-day that'll do him good.'

[pg 197]

'I don't like that man's looks,' I replied, carelessly; 'but I've heard of singed cats.'

'He is a sneaking d——l,' said the Colonel; 'but he's very valuable to me. I never had an overseer who got so much work out of the hands.'

'Is he cruel to them?'

'Yes, I reckon he is; but a nigger is like a dog,—you must flog him to make him like you.'

'I judge your niggers haven't been flogged into liking Moye,' I replied.

'Why, have you heard any of them speak of him?'

'Yes; though, of course, I've made no effort to draw gossip from them. I had to hear.'

'O yes; I know; there's no end to their gabble; niggers will talk. But what have you heard?'

'That Moye is to blame in this affair of Sam, and that you don't know the whole story.'

'What is the whole story?' asked the Colonel, stopping short in the road; 'tell me before I see Sam.'

I then told him what Jim had recounted to me. He heard me through attentively, then laughingly exclaimed,—

'Is that all! Lord bless you; he didn't seduce her. There's no seducing these women; with them it's a thing of course. It was Sam's d—— high blood that made the trouble. His father was the proudest man in Virginia, and Sam is as like him as a nigger can be like a white man.'

'No matter what the blood is, it seems to me such an injury justifies revenge.'

'Pshaw, my good fellow, you don't know these people. I'll stake my plantation against a glass of whisky there's not a virtuous woman with a drop of black blood in her veins in all South Carolina. They prefer the white men; their husbands know it, and take it as a matter of course.'

We had here reached the negro cabin. It was one of the more remote of the collection, and stood deep in the woods, an enormous pine growing up directly beside the doorway. In all respects it was like the other huts on the plantation. A bright fire lit up its interior, and through the crevices in the logs we saw, as we approached, a scene that made us pause involuntarily, when within a few rods of the house. The mulatto man, whose clothes were torn and smeared with swamp mud, stood near the fire. On a small pine table near him lay a large carving-knife, which glittered in the blaze, as if recently sharpened. His wife was seated on the side of the low bed at his back, weeping. She was two or three shades lighter than the man, and had the peculiar brown, kinky hair, straight, flat nose, and speckled, gray eyes which mark the metif. Tottling on the floor at the feet of the man, and caressing his knees, was a child of perhaps two years.

As we neared the house, we heard the voice of the Overseer issuing from the doorway on the other side of the pine-tree.

'Come out, ye black rascal.'

'Come in, you wite hound, ef you dar,' responded the negro, laying his hand on the carving-knife.

'Come out, I till ye; I sha'n't ax ye agin.'

'I'll hab nuffin' to do wid you. G'way and send your massa har,' replied the mulatto man, turning his face away with a lordly, contemptuous gesture, that spoke him a true descendant of Pocahontas. This movement exposed his left side to the doorway, outside of which, hidden from us by the tree, stood the Overseer.

'Come away, Moye,' said the Colonel, advancing with me toward the door; 'I'll speak to him.'

Before all of the words had escaped the Colonel's lips, a streak of fire flashed from where the Overseer stood, and took the direction of the negro. One long, wild shriek,—one quick, convulsive bound in the air,—and Sam fell lifeless to the floor, the dark life-stream pouring from his side. The little child also fell with him, and its greasy-grayish shirt was dyed with its father's blood. Moye, at the distance of ten feet, had discharged [pg 198] the two barrels of a heavily-loaded shot-gun directly through the negro's heart.

'You incarnate son of h——,' yelled the Colonel, as he sprang on the Overseer, bore him to the ground, and wrenched the shot-gun from his hand. Clubbing the weapon, he raised it to brain him. The movement occupied but a second; the gun was descending, and in another instant Moye would have met Sam in eternity, had not a brawny arm caught the Colonel's, and, winding itself around his body, pinned his limbs to his side so that motion was impossible. The woman, half frantic with excitement, thrust open the door when her husband fell, and the light which came through it revealed the face of the new-comer. But his voice, which rang out on the night air as clear as a bugle, had there been no light, would have betrayed him. It was Scip. Spurning the prostrate Overseer with his foot, he shouted,—

'Run, you wite debil, run for your life!'

'Let me go, you black scoundrel,' shrieked the Colonel, wild with rage.

'When he'm out ob reach, you'd kill him,' replied the negro, as cool as if he was doing an ordinary thing.

'I'll kill you, you black —— hound, if you don't let me go,' again screamed the Colonel, struggling violently in the negro's grasp, and literally foaming at the mouth.

'I shan't lef you gwo, Cunnel, till you 'gree not to do dat.'

The Colonel was a stout, athletic man, in the very prime of life, and his rage gave him more than his ordinary strength, but Scip held him as I might have held a child.

'Here, Jim,' shouted the Colonel to his body-servant, who just then emerged from among the trees, 'rouse the plantation—shoot this d—— nigger.'

'Dar ain't one on 'em wud touch him, massa. He'd send me to de hot place wid one fist.'

'You ungrateful dog,' groaned his master. 'Mr. K——, will you stand by and see me handcuffed by a miserable slave?'

'The black means well, my friend; he has saved you from murder. Say he is safe, and I'll answer for his being away in an hour.'

The Colonel made one more ineffectual attempt to free himself from the vice-like grip of the negro, then relaxed his efforts, and, gathering his broken breath, said, 'You're safe now, but if you're found within ten miles of my plantation by sunrise, by G—— you're a dead man.'

The negro relinquished his hold, and, without saying a word, walked slowly away.

'Jim, you d—— rascal,' said the Colonel to that courageous darky, who was skulking off, 'raise every nigger on the plantation, catch Moye, or I'll flog you within an inch of your life.'

'I'll do dat, Cunnel; I'll kotch de ole debil, ef he's dis side de hot place.'

His words were echoed by about twenty other darkies, who, attracted by the noise of the fracas, had gathered within a safe distance of the cabin. They went off with Jim, to raise the other plantation hands, and inaugurate the hunt.

'If that d—— nigger hadn't held me, I'd had Moye in h—— by this time,' said the Colonel to me, still livid with excitement.

'The law will deal with him. The negro has saved you from murder, my friend.'

'The law be d——; it's too good for such a — hound; and that the d—— nigger should have dared to hold me,—by G——, he'll rue it.'

He then turned, exhausted with the recent struggle, and, with a weak, uncertain step, entered the cabin. Kneeling down by the dead body of the negro, he attempted to raise it; but his strength was gone. Motioning to me to aid him, we placed the corpse on the bed. Tearing open the clothing, we wiped away the still flowing blood, and saw the terrible wound which had sent the negro to his account. It was sickening to look on, and I turned to go.

The negro woman, who was weeping and wringing her hands, now approached [pg 199] the bed, and, in a voice nearly choked with sobs, said,—

'Massa, oh massa, I done it! it's me dat killed him!'

'I know you did, you d—— ——. Get out of my sight.'

'Oh, massa,' sobbed the woman, falling on her knees, 'I'se so sorry; oh, forgib me!'

'Go to ——, you —— ——, that's the place for you,' said the Colonel, striking the kneeling woman with his foot, and felling her to the floor.

Unwilling to see or hear more, I left the master with the slave. A quarter of a mile through the woods brought me to the cabin of the old negress where Scip lodged. I rapped at the door, and was admitted by the old woman. Scip, nearly asleep, was lying on a pile of blankets in the corner.

'Are you mad?' I said to him. 'The Colonel is frantic with rage, and swears he will kill you. You must be off at once.'

'No, no, massa; neber fear; I knows him. He'd keep his word, ef he loss his life by it. I'm gwine afore sunrise; till den I'm safe.'

Of the remainder of that night, more hereafter.


With the executive capacity and marked forensic versatility of William Henry Seward whilst Governor and Senator of the Empire State, the great public have long been familiar. That public are now for the first time practically discussing his diplomatic statesmanship. A world of spectators or auditors witness or listen to the debate, and are eager to pronounce favorable judgment, because so much of national honor is now entrusted to him. Our national history discloses no crisis of domestic or foreign affairs so momentous as the present one. The most remarkable chapter in that history will be made up from the complications of this crisis, and from the disasters to or the successes of our national fame. Hence to himself and to his friends, more than to the watchful public even, Mr. Seward's course attracts an interest which may attend upon the very climacteric excellence of his statesman-career during a quarter-century.

Much, that remains obscure or is merely speculative when these pages at the holiday season undergo magazine preparation, will have been unfolded or explained at the hour in which they may be read. The national firmament, which at the Christmas season displayed the star of war and not of peace, may at midwinter display the raging comet; or that star of war may have had a speedy setting, to the mutual joy of two nations who only one year ago played the role of Host and Guest, whilst the young royal son of one government rendered peaceful homage at the tomb of the oldest Father of the other nation.

Hence, it is not the province of this paper to indulge in speculations regarding the future of Mr. Seward's diplomacy;—only to collect a few facts and critical suggestions respecting the diplomatic labors of Secretary Seward since his accession to honor, with some interesting references to our British complications which have passed under his supervision.

Fortunately for the enlightenment of the somewhat prejudiced audience who listen to our American discussion, there appeared simultaneously with the publications of British prints the governmental volume of papers relating to foreign affairs which usually accompanies a [pg 200] President's Message. It is not commonly printed for many months after reception by Congress. But the sagacity of Mr. Seward caused its typographical preparation in advance of presidential use. It therefore becomes an antidote to the heated poison of the Palmerston or Derby prints, which emulate in seizing the last national outrage for party purposes. And its inspection enables the great public, after perusing what Secretary Seward has written during the past troublous half year, to acquire a calm reliance upon his skill in navigating our glorious ship of state over the more troublous waters of the next half year.

The most cursory inspection of this volume must put to shame those Washington news-mongers, who from March to December pictured the Secretary as locked up in his office, in order to merely shun office-seekers, or as idling his time at reviews and sham-fights. The collection demonstrates, that his logic, persuasion, and rhetorical excellence have in diplomatic composition maintained their previous excellences in other public utterances; and that his physical capacity for labor, and his mental sympathy with any post of duty, have been as effective, surrounded by the dogs of war, as they were when tasked amid the peaceful herds of men. The maxim, inter arma silent leges, is suspended by the edicts of diplomacy!

Mr. Seward entered the State Department March the fifth (according to reliable Washington gossip), before breakfast, and was instantly at work. He found upon his table, with the ink scarcely dry, the draft of a (February 28th) circular from his predecessor, Mr. Black (now U.S. Supreme Court reporter), addressed to all the ministers of the United States. That circular very briefly recited the leading facts of the disunion movement, and instructed the ministers to employ all means to prevent a recognition of the confederate States. The document in question is dated at the very time when President Lincoln was perfecting his inaugural; and why its imperative and necessary commands were delayed until that late hour, is something for Mr. Buchanan to explain in that volume of memoirs which he is said to be preparing at the falling House of Lancaster.

From the dates of Mr. Seward's circulars, it is evident that he devoted small time to official 'house-warming' or 'cleaning up.' Some time, no doubt, was passed in consulting the indexes to the foreign affairs of the past eventful four months, and in making himself master of the situation. His first act is to transmit to all the (Buchanan) subordinates abroad copies of the President's Message, accompanying it with a score of terse and sparkling paragraphs regarding the rebellion; yet, in those few paragraphs, demonstrating the illusory and ephemeral advantages which foreign nations would derive from any connection they might form with any 'dissatisfied or discontented portion, State, or section of the Union.' In this connection, he refers to the 'governments' of J. Davis, Esq., as 'those States of this Union in whose name a provisional government has been announced;'—which is the happiest description yet in print.

There is apparently a fortnight's interregnum, during which a procession of would-be consuls and ministers marches from the State Department to the Senate chamber to receive the accolade of diplomacy. The Minister to Prussia, Mr. Judd, first finds gazette, and on March 22d the Secretary prepares for him instructions suitable to the crisis. There are 'stars' affixed to the published extracts, showing coetera desunt, matters of secret moment perchance! And here we may fitly remark, that whilst the labors of the diplomatist which came before the public for inspection display his industry, it is certain that quite as voluminous, perhaps more, must be the unpublished and secret dispatches. 'The note which thanked Prince Gortchacow through M. De Stoeckl was reprehensibly brief,' the leading gazettes said; but are they sure nothing else was prepared and transmitted, of which the public must remain uncertain? Are they ready to assert that Russia has become [pg 201] a convert to an open diplomacy? Or does she still feel most complimented with ciphers and mystery?

So early as the date of the Judd dispatch, the text of the Lincoln administration appears. 'Owing to the very peculiar structure of our federal government, and the equally singular character and habits of the American people, this government not only wisely, but necessarily, hesitates to resort to coercion and compulsion to secure a return of the disaffected portion of the people to their customary allegiance. The Union was formed upon popular consent, and must always practically stand on the same basis. The temporary causes of alienation must pass away; there must needs be disasters and disappointments resulting from the exercise of unlawful authority by the revolutionists, while happily it is certain that there is a general and profound sentiment of loyalty pervading the public mind throughout the United States. While it is the intention of the President to maintain the sovereignty and rightful authority of the Union everywhere, with firmness as well as discretion, he at the same time relies with great confidence on the salutary working of the agencies I have mentioned to restore the harmony and union of the States. But to this end, it is of the greatest importance that the disaffected States shall not succeed in obtaining favor or recognition from foreign nations.'

Two months prior to this, and on the Senate floor, Mr. Seward had said, 'taking care always that speaking goes before voting, voting goes before giving money, and all go before a battle, which I should regard as hazardous and dangerous; and therefore the last, as it would be the most painful measure to be resorted to for the salvation of the Union.'

A day or two succeeding the Judd dispatch, Mr. Seward writes for Minister Sanford (about to leave for Belgium) instructions; commingling views upon non-recognition with considerations respecting tariff modifications. In these appears a sentence kindred to those just quoted—'The President, confident of the ultimate ascendency of law, order, and the Union, through the deliberate action of the people in constitutional forms,' etc.

From those diplomatic suggestions, which are accordant with European exigencies, Mr. Seward readily turns his attention to Mexican affairs, in a carefully considered and most ably written letter of instructions for Minister Corwin. He touches upon the robberies and murder of citizens, the violation of contracts, and then gracefully withdraws them from immediate attention until the incoming Mexican administration shall have had time to cement its authority and reduce the yet disturbed elements of their society to order and harmony. He avers that the President not only forbids discussion of our difficulties among the foreign powers, but will not allow his ministers 'to invoke even censure against those of our fellow-citizens who have arrayed themselves in opposition to authority.' He refers to the foreshadowed protectorate in language complimentary to Mexico, yet firm in assurance that the President neither has, nor can ever have, any sympathy with revolutionary designs for Mexico, in whatever quarter they may arise, or whatever character they may take on.'

Within one week (and at dates which contradict the prevailing gossip of last April, that Messrs. Adams, Dayton, Burlingame, Schurz and Co. were detained awaiting Mr. Seward's advices) still more elaborate and masterly instructions are given out to these gentlemen. The paper to Mr. Adams will in future years be quoted and referred to as a model history of the rise and progress of the secession enormity. It may be asked, Why are such dispatches and instructions needed? Why such elaborate briefs and compendiums required for gentlemen each of whom may have said, respecting his connection with subject-matter of the Secretary (none more emphatically so than Messrs. Adams and Burlingame), quorum pars magna fui? Yet, it must be remembered that diplomacy, like jurisprudence (with its red tape common to both), taketh few things for granted, and constantly maketh records for itself, under the maxim [pg 202] de non apparentibus non existentibus eadem est ratio; and ever beareth in mind that when certioraris to international tribunals are served, the initiatory expositions and the matured results must not be subjected to a pretence of diminution, but be full and complete.

The early dispatch for Mr. Burlingame contains the caustic sentence, 'Our representatives at Vienna seem generally to have come, after a short residence there, to the conclusion that there was nothing for them to do, and little for them to learn.' But 'the President expects that you will be diligent in obtaining not only information about political events, but also commercial and even scientific facts, and in reporting them to this department.'

Although the Austrian mantle was soon transferred to the classic shoulders of Mr. Motley,—another honored Bay-state-ian,—the caustic reference to predecessors, and the implied compliment of request, did not at all lose their respective significance.

What a compact statement is contained in the following sentence of the instructions to the representative of foreign affairs at Vienna!—'The political affairs in Austria present to us the aspect of an ancient and very influential power, oppressed with fiscal embarrassments,—the legacy of long and exhausting wars,—putting forth at one and at the same time efforts for material improvement and still mightier ones to protect its imperfectly combined dominion from dismemberment and disintegration, seriously menaced from without, aided by strong and intense popular passions within.' A lyceum lecturer might consume an evening over the present political condition of Austria, and yet not convey a more perfect idea thereof than is comprehended by the preceding paragraph!

Mr. Seward in first addressing Mr. Dayton discusses the slavery element of the rebellion, and elucidates more particularly the relations of France to a preserved or a dismembered Union; and evolves this plucky sentence: 'The President neither expects nor desires any intervention, or even any favor, from the government of France, or any other, in this emergency.' But a still more spirited paragraph answers a question often asked by the great public, 'What will be the course of the administration should foreign intervention be given?' Foreign intervention would oblige us to treat those who should yield it as allies of the insurrectionary party, and to carry on the war against them as enemies. The case would not be relieved, but, on the contrary, would only be aggravated, if several European states should combine in that intervention. The President and the people of the United States deem the Union which would then be at stake, worth all the cost and all the sacrifices of a contest with the world in arms, if such a contest should prove inevitable.'

In the advices to Mr. Schurz, at Madrid, occurs a most ingenious application of the doctrine of secession to Spanish consideration in respect to Cuba and Castile; to Aragon and the Philippine Islands; as well as a most opportune reference to the proffered commercial confederate advantages. 'What commerce,' asks the Secretary, 'can there be between states whose staples are substantially identical? Sugar can not be exchanged for sugar, nor cotton for cotton.' And another sentence is deserving remembrance for its truthful sarcasm: 'It seems the necessity of faction in every country, that whenever it acquires sufficient boldness to inaugurate revolution, it then alike forgets the counsels of prudence, and stifles the instincts of patriotism, and becomes a suitor to foreign courts for aid and assistance to subvert and destroy the most cherished and indispensable institutions of its own.'

Thus, within six weeks succeeding his entrance into the chambers of State, Mr. Seward had mapped out in his own brain a much more comprehensive policy than he had even laboriously and ably outlined upon paper. He had placed himself in magnetico-diplomatic communication with the great courts of Europe; surrounded by place-seekers, dogged by reporters, and paragraphed at by a thousand [pg 203] newspapers, from 'Fundy' to 'Dolores.' And the most remarkable rhetorical feature of these many dispatches is the absence of iteration, notwithstanding they were written upon substantially one text. It is characteristic of them, as of his speeches, that no one interlaces the other; each is complete of itself. Mr. Seward has always possessed that varied fecundity of expression for which Mr. Webster was admired. A gentleman who accompanied him upon his Lincoln-election tour from Auburn to Kansas, remarked, that listening to and recalling all the bye-play, depot speeches, and more elaborate addresses uttered by Mr. Seward during the campaign, he never heard him repeat upon himself, nor even speak twice in the same groove of thought. Neither will any reader discover throughout even these early dispatches a marked haste of thought, or a slovenly word-link in the Saxon rhetoric.

So far, we have alluded only to the instructions prepared before plenipotentiary departure. But the executive axe in the block of foreign affairs having been scoured, and new faces having fully replaced the decapitated heads in foreign diplomatic baskets, circulars, instructions and dispatches daily accumulate, 'treading on each other's heels.' The volume contains one hundred and forty emanations from the pen of Secretary Seward. How many more there exist is only known to the Cabinet or the exigencies of secret service. Is not the bare arithmetical announcement sufficient to satisfy the inquirer into Mr. Seward's diplomatic assiduity? If not, will he please to remember as well Mr. Seward's perusals of foreign mails, cabinet meetings, consultation of archives or state papers or precedents, examinations into the relation of domestic events to foreign policy, and the inspection of the sands of peace or war in the respective hour-glasses of his department?

The circulars of Secretaries Black and Seward are promptly answered by Mr. Dallas about a month after the inauguration, and whilst awaiting the arrival of Charles Francis Adams. He said, among other things, 'English opinion tends rather, I apprehend, to the theory that a peaceful separation may work beneficially for both groups of States, and not injuriously affect the rest of the world. The English can not be expected to appreciate the weakness, discredit, complications and dangers which we instinctively and justly ascribe to disunion.'

In this connection, let us remark, that we recently listened to a very interesting discussion, at the 'Union' club, between an English traveler of high repute, and a warm Unionist, upon the attitude of England. The former seemed as ardent as was the latter disputant in his abhorrence of the Southern traitors; but he constructed a very fair argument for the consistency of England. Taking for his first position, that foreign nations viewed the Jeff Davis movement as a revolution, self-sustained for nearly a year, his second was, that the most enlightened American abolitionists, as well as the most conservative Federalist, coincided in the belief that disunion was ultimate emancipation. Then, acquiescing in the statement of his antagonist, that the English nation had always reprehended American slavery, and desired its speedy overthrow, he inquired what more inconsistency there was in the English nation construing disunion in the same way wherein the American abolitionist and conservative Unionist did, as the inevitable promotion of slavery's overthrow? When it was rejoined that the canker of slavery had eaten away many bonds of Union, and promoted secession, the English disputant demanded whether the war aimed at rebuking slavery in a practical way, or by strengthening it as a locally constitutional institution? When the question was begged by the assertion that recognition of the Southern confederacy, although granted to be of abolition tendencies, was ungenerous and unfraternal, the position assumed was that nations, like individuals, cherished self-love, and always sought to turn intestine troubles among competitive powers into the channels of home-aggrandizement; [pg 204] and it was asked whether, should Ireland maintain a provisional government for nearly a year, there would not be found a strong party in the States advocating her recognition?

But Mr. Seward, in replying to Mr. Dallas in a dispatch to Mr. Adams, dismissed all arguments of policy or consistency, and remarked: 'Her Britannic Majesty's government is at liberty to choose whether it will retain the friendship of this government, by refusing all aid and comfort to its enemies, now in flagrant rebellion against it, as we think the treaties existing between the two countries require, or whether the government of her Majesty will take the precarious benefits of a different course.'

So early as May 2d, the British Secretary told Mr. Dallas that an understanding existed between the British and French governments which would lead both to take one and the same course as to recognition. Mr. Seward comments upon this in one of the most manly letters ever written by an American Secretary. It will be preserved upon the same historic shelf whereon reposes the manuscript of Daniel Webster's letter to the Chevalier Hulsemann. To Mr. Adams he says, that the communication loses its value because withheld until the knowledge was acquired from other sources, together with the additional fact that other European states are apprized by France and England of the agreement, and are expected to concur with or follow them in whatever measures they adopt on the subject of recognition! Great Britain, if intervening, is assured that she will calculate for herself the ultimate as well as the immediate consequences; and must consider what position she will hold when she shall have lost forever the sympathies and affections of the only nation upon whose sympathies and affections she has a natural claim. In making that calculation she will do well to remember that in the controversy she proposes to open, we shall be actuated neither by pride, nor passion, nor cupidity, nor ambition; but we shall stand simply upon the principle of self-preservation, our cause involving the independence of nations and the rights of human nature. These utterances were doubtless, in their book form, perused by the British cabinet during the Christmas holidays.

Taking the pages which close up the word-tilts of the diplomatists at date of November first (and we dare say our Board-of-Brokers readers regret that complete dispatches down to the sailing of the Africa, with that interesting pouch of letters on board, are not to be had at all the book-stores!) we may imagine Messrs. Russell, Adams, Seward and Lyons resolved into a conversational club, and talking as follows from week to week:—

Mr. Adams. It is gratifying to the grandson of the first American Minister at this court to feel that there are now fewer topics of direct difference between the two countries than have, probably, existed at any preceding time; and even these are withdrawn from discussion at St. James, to be treated at Washington. It would have been more gratifying to find that the good will, so recently universally felt at my home for your country, was unequivocally manifested here.

Lord Russell (smiling blandly). To what do you allude?

Mr. Adams. It is with pain that I am compelled to admit that from the day of my arrival I have felt in the proceedings of both houses of Parliament, in the language of her Majesty's ministers, and in the tone of opinion prevailing in private circles, more of uncertainty about this than I had before thought possible. (Lord Russell silent and still smiling blandly). It is therefore the desire of my government to learn whether it was the intention of her Majesty's ministers to adopt a policy which would have the effect to widen, if not to make irreparable a breach which I believe yet to be entirely manageable.

Lord Russell. I beg to assure your Excellency there is no such intention. The clearest evidence of this is to be found in the assurance given by me to Mr. Dallas, before your arrival. But you must admit that I hardly can see my way [pg 205] to bind my government to any specific course, when circumstances beyond our agency render it difficult to tell what might happen.

Mr. Seward (aside). But the future will care for itself. We deal with the 'Now.' 'There is "Yet" in that word "Hereafter."' Great Britain has already acted on the assumption that the Confederate States (so called) are de facto a self-sustaining power. After long forbearance, designed to soothe discontent and avert the need of civil war, the land and naval forces of the United States have been put in motion to repress insurrection. The true character of the pretended new state is revealed. It is seen to be a power existing in pronunciamento only. It has obtained no forts that were not betrayed into its hands or seized in breach of trust. It commands not a single port, nor one highway from its pretended capital by land.

Mr. Adams. Her Majesty's proclamation and the language of her ministers in both houses have raised insurgents to the level of a belligerent state.

Lord Russell. I think more stress is laid upon these events than they deserve. It was a necessity to define the course of the government in regard to the participation of the subjects of Great Britain in the impending conflict. The legal officers were consulted. They said war de facto existed. Seven States were in open resistance.

Mr. Adams. But your action was very rapid. The new administration had been but sixty days in office. All departments were demoralized. The British government then takes the initiative, and decides practically it is a struggle of two sides, just as the country commenced to develop its power to cope with the rebellion. It considered the South a marine power before it had exhibited a single privateer on the ocean. The Greeks at the time of recognition had 'covered the sea with cruisers.'

Lord Russell (smiling yet more blandly). I cite you the case of the Fillmore government towards Kossuth and Hungary. Was not an agent sent to the latter country with a view to recognition?

Mr. Seward (aside). The proclamation, unmodified and unexplained, leaves us no alternative but to regard the government of Great Britain as questioning our free exercise of all the rights of self-defence guaranteed to us by our Constitution, and the laws of nature and of nations, to suppress insurrection. But now as to the propositions sent, viz. (1.) Privateering abolished. (2.) Neutral flag covers enemy's goods except contraband of war. (3.) Neutral goods safe under enemy's flag, with same exception. (4.) Effective blockades.

Mr. Adams (aside to Mr. Seward). It is to be agreed to, if there be received a written declaration by Great Britain, to accompany the signature of her minister,—'Her Majesty does not intend thereby to undertake any engagement which shall have any bearing, direct or indirect, on the internal differences now prevailing in the United States.'

Mr. Seward (still aside). I am instructed by the President to say it is inadmissible. (1.) It is virtually a new and distinct article incorporated into the projected convention. (2.) The United States must accede to the Declaration of the Congress of Paris on the same terms with other parties, or not at all. (3.) It is not mutual in effect, for it does not provide for a melioration of our obligations in internal differences now prevailing in, or which may hereafter arise in, Great Britain. (4.) It would permit a foreign power for the first time to take cognizance of, and adjust its relations upon, assumed internal and purely domestic differences. (5.) The general parties to the Paris convention can not adopt it as one of universal application.

Lord Russell. Touching the disagreements as to acquiescing in the Paris convention and the proposed modification, I ask to explain the reason of the latter. The United States government regards the confederates as rebels, and their privateersmen as pirates. We regard the [pg 206] confederates as belligerents. As between us and your government, privateering would be abolished. We would and could have no concurrent convention with the confederate power upon the subject. We would have in good faith to treat the confederate privateersmen as pirates. Yet we acknowledge them belligerents. Powers not a party to the convention may rightfully arm privateers. Hence, instead of an agreement, charges of bad faith and violation of a convention might be brought in the United States against us should we accept the propositions unreservedly.

Mr. Adams. Your Lordship's government adhere to the proposition of modification?

Lord Russell. Such are my instructions.

Mr. Adams. Then, refraining for the present from reviewing our past conversations to ascertain the relative responsibilities of the parties for this failure of these negotiations, I have to inform you that they are for the time being suspended.

Mr. Adams. But your Lordship has many time unofficially received the confederate ambassadors, so styled. This has excited uneasiness in my country. It has, indeed, given great dissatisfaction to my government. And, in all frankness and courtesy, I have to add, that any further protraction of this relation can scarcely fail to be viewed by us as hostile in spirit.

Lord Russell. It has been custom, both here and in France, for a long time back, to receive such persons unofficially. Pole, Hungarians, Italians, and such like, have been allowed unofficial interviews, in order that we might hear what they had to say. But this never implied recognition in their case, any more than in yours!

Mr. Adams. I observe in the newspapers an account of a considerable movement of troops to Canada. In the situation of our governments this will excite attention at home. Are they ordered with reference to possible difficulties with us?

Lord Russell. Canada has been denuded of troops for some time back. The new movement is regarded, in restoring a part of them, as a proper measure of precaution in the present disordered condition of things in the United States. But Mr. Ashmun is in Canada, remonstrating as to alleged breaches of neutrality.

(Lord Lyons. I viewed the subject as cause of complaint.

Mr. Seward. And I instantly recalled Mr. Ashmun.)

Mr. Adams. He was in Canada to watch and prevent just such a transaction as the fitting out of a pirate or privateer—the Peerless case.

Lord Russell. Mr. Seward threatened to have the Peerless seized on Lake Ontario.

Mr. Adams. I respectfully doubt your Lordship's information. It was surely an odd way of proceeding to furnish at once the warning in time to provide against its execution!

Mr. Adams. I deeply regret a painful necessity which compels me to make a representation touching the conduct of Consul Bunch at Charleston. A private and opened letter, intercepted on the person of a naturalized American citizen and colonel in the confederate army,—Robert Mure, bearer of dispatches to Great Britain,—disclosed these words: 'Mr. Bunch, on oath of secrecy, communicated to me that the first step to recognition was taken. So prepare for active business BY THE FIRST OF JANUARY.'

Lord Russell. I will without hesitation state to you that, in pursuance of an agreement between the British and French governments, Mr. Bunch was instructed to communicate to the persons exercising authority in the so-called confederate States, the desire of those governments that certain articles of the declaration of Paris should be observed by them in their hostilities(!) But regarding the [pg 207] other statement, I as frankly say, Her Majesty's government have not recognized, and are not prepared to recognize, the so-called confederate States as a separate and independent power.

Mr. Seward (aside to Mr. Adams). The President revokes the exequatur of Consul Bunch, who has not only been the bearer of communications between the insurgents and a foreign government in violation of our laws, but has abused equally the confidence of the two governments by reporting, without the authority of his government, and in violation of their own policy, as well as of our national rights, that the proceeding in which he was engaged was in the nature of a treaty with the insurgents, and the first step toward a recognition by Great Britain of their sovereignty. His whole conduct has been, not that of a friend to this government, nor of a neutral even, but of a partisan of faction and disunion.

Lord Lyons. My government are concerned to find that two British subjects, Mr. Patrick and Mr. Rahming, have been subjected to arbitrary arrest.

Mr. Seward. At the time of arrest it was not known they were British subjects. They have been released.

Lord Lyons. They applied for habeas corpus, and its exercise was refused. Congress has not suspended the writ. Our law officers say that the authority of Congress is necessary to justify this arrest and imprisonment.

Mr. Seward (with suavity, but profound dignity, as if the nation spoke). I have to regret that, after so long an official intercourse between the governments of the United States and Great Britain, it should be necessary now to inform her Majesty's ministers that all executive proceedings are of the President. Congress has no executive power or responsibility. The President constitutionally exercises the right of suspending the writ of habeas corpus. This government does not question the learning of the legal advisers of the British Crown, or the justice of the deference which her Majesty's government pays to them; nevertheless, the British government will hardly expect that the President will accept their explanation of the Constitution of the United States!

Are not the following inferences legitimately to be made from a close and calm study of the published dispatches respecting our foreign relations with Great Britain, and in connection with much that has transpired since their congressional publication?—

1. The British government officers were in some way prepared to expect that the election of Mr. Lincoln would result in an attempted disruption of the Union. The arrival of Governor Pickens in England just before the presidential election, and his arrival in New York, and immediate journey to South Carolina, on the day of that election, may be cited as one of many coincidences—showing that the spirit of Cobb, Floyd, and Thompson, if not their doings and plans, were parodied on the other side of the Atlantic.

2. The British government were not averse to disunion from the outset, and seized every pretext of tariff, or of inaction respecting the rebellion, that it might quibble with the United States authority.

3. The tone of the press, ministry and people was early heard, and echoed by Mr. Dallas to our government. Mr. Seward therefore, at the outset, knew his position, and most opportunely and dignifiedly maintained a bearing all the more noble because it proceeded from a government which had taken arms against a sea of troubles.

4. The British government waited only so long as international decency technically warranted before proclaiming an acknowledgment of civil war in the United States, and accepting the government of Mr. Davis as an equal belligerent with that of Mr. Lincoln. This was a matured step, and a strong link in a chain of ultimate recognition.

5. The Crown ministers early sought and obtained an understanding with [pg 208] France for mutual action: an understanding palpably hostile to the United States and tantalizingly acknowledged by open diplomacy.

6. The British ministry construed strictly as against the Washington government, but liberally as toward that of Jeff Davis, in regard to all arising complications.

7. The British government palpably permitted purchases and shipments of contraband articles by Southern emissaries, but exercised the utmost vigilance when the United States agents entered the market for similar purposes.

8. The action of Lord Russell respecting the proposition to abolish privateering was covertly insulting. It asked to interpolate a new condition as between France and England of the one part and the United States of the other; and a condition conceived in a spirit of liberality toward Jeff Davisdom, and promulgated in a meddlesome mood toward the United States government.

9. The tone of Lord Lyons was a more permissible manifestation of British spleen than the higher functionaries at home displayed, yet none the more acrid. This appears in all his letters and dispatches respecting blockade, privateering, the arrest of spies, and the detention of British subjects, or the seizure of prizes. It is especially offensive in the letter to Mr. Seward which drew forth a diplomatic rebuke upon a dictation by English law authority regarding constitutional construction.

10. The correspondence of the State Department was conducted by Mr. Seward (as was well said by the N.Y. Evening Post, Dec. 21) with great skill and adroitness. It was also firm in the defence of our national honor and rights. His rhetoric was always measured by the dignified, tasteful, and cautious rules of international intercourse. Its entire tone in correspondence was earnest but restrained, and in style fully equaling his best, and most ornate efforts.

What are Mr. Seward's views in the 'Past' respecting England and the emergency of a war with her, is a question now much mooted. It can be readily answered by reference to a speech made at a St. Patrick's Day dinner whilst he was Governor. 'Gentlemen, the English are in many respects a wise as they are a great and powerful nation. They have obtained an empire and ascendancy such as Rome once enjoyed. As the Tiber once bore, the Thames now bears the tribute of many nations, and the English name is now feared and respected as once the Roman was in every part of the world. England has been alike ambitious and successful. England too is prosperous, and her people are contented and loyal. But contentment and loyalty have not been universal in the provinces and dependencies of the English government. The desolation which has followed English conquest in the East Indies has been lamented throughout the civilized world. Ireland has been deprived of her independence without being admitted to an equality with her sister-island, and discontent has marked the history of her people ever since the conquest. England has not the magnanimity and generosity of the Romans. She derives wealth from her dependencies, but lavishes it upon objects unworthy of herself. She achieves victories with their aid, but appropriates the spoils and trophies exclusively to herself. For centuries she refused to commit trusts to Irishmen, or confer privileges upon them, unless they would abjure the religion of their ancestors.'

Ten years later, in the United States Senate, during the debate upon the Fisheries dispute, Mr. Seward said, after discussing England's financial and commercial position: 'England can not wisely desire nor safely dare a war with the United States. She would find that there would come over us again that dream of conquest of those colonies which broke upon us even in the dawn of the Revolution, when we tendered them an invitation to join their fortunes with ours, and followed it with the sword—that dream which returned again in 1812, when we attempted to subjugate them by force; and that now, when we have matured [pg 209] the strength to take them, we should find the provinces willingly consenting to captivity. A war about these fisheries would be a war which would result either in the independence of the British Provinces, or in their annexation to the United States. I devoutly pray God that that consummation may come; the sooner the better: but I do not desire it at the cost of war or of injustice. I am content to wait for the ripened fruit which must fall. I know the wisdom of England too well to believe that she would hazard shaking that fruit into our hands.'

Another question, now asked,—'Will Mr. Seward exhaust negotiation?'—may be in like manner answered by himself. In a succeeding debate on the same 'fisheries' controversy, commenting upon negotiation, he said: 'Sir, it is the business of the Secretary of State, and of the government, always to be ready, in my humble judgment, to negotiate under all circumstances, whether there be threats or no threats, whether there be force or no force: but the manner and the spirit and the terms of the negotiation will be varied by the position that the opposing party may occupy.'

It can not be denied that more cordial relations exist between the President and the Secretary of State than ever any previous administration disclosed: so that when Mr. Seward acts, the government will prove a powerful unit. Indeed, in this connection, history will hereafter write precisely what Mr. Seward, in his speech on the 'Clayton-Bulwer treaty,' said respecting the Taylor administration:—'Sir, whatever else may have been the errors or misfortunes of that administration, want of mutual confidence between the Secretary of State and his distinguished chief was not one of them. They stood together firmly, undivided, and inseparable to the last. Storms of faction from within their own party and from without beset them, and combinations and coalitions in and out of Congress assailed them with a degree of violence that no other administration has ever encountered. But they never yielded.'

We can not better conclude this paper, while the volumes of Mr. Seward's works are open on the table, than by quoting still again, and asking the reader to apply his own remarks on Secretary of State Webster in the fisheries-war speech, before alluded to: 'I shall enter into no encomium on the Secretary of State; he needs none. I should be incompetent to grasp so great a theme, if it were needed. The Secretary of State! There he is! Behold him, and judge for yourselves. There is his history; there are his ideas; his thoughts spread over every page of your annals for near half a century. There are his ideas, his thoughts impressed upon and inseparable from the mind of his country and the spirit of the age. The past is at least secure. The past is enough of itself to guarantee a future of fame unapproachable and inextinguishable.'


The Yankee chain you'd gladly split,
And yet begin by heating it!
But when the iron is all aglow,
'Twill closer blend at every blow.
Learn wisdom from a warning word,
Beat not the chain into a sword.

[pg 210]



Qui curios simulant, et Bacchanalia vivunt. JUV.
Odi Persicos apparatus. HOR.
Indulge Genio: carpamus dulcia. PERS.

Roseton awoke. A silver clock upon the mantle, so constructed as to represent Guido's 'Hours,' had just struck the hour of eight, accompanying the signal with the festal la ci darem of Don Giovanni. This was Roseton's invariable hour of waking, no matter what might be the season, or what might have been his time of retiring. Slightly stirring upon the couch, the night drapery became relaxed, and from his sleeve of Mechlin lace appeared a hand and wrist of unspeakable delicacy, yet of iron strength. Another slight movement, and one saw the upper portions of the form of the late slumberer; 'a graceful composition in one of Nature's happiest moments.' It was indeed difficult properly to estimate either the beauty of his proportions or their amazing strength. The most celebrated sculptors of Europe had made pilgrimages across the sea to refresh their perceptions by gazing upon a figure which, even in the unclassic habiliments of modern dress, caused the Apollo to resemble a plowboy; and the athletes of both hemispheres had, singly, and in pairs, and even in triplets, measured their powers vainly against his unaided arms. To keep ten fifty-sixes in the air for an hour at a time was to him the merest trifle; but the ennui of such diversions had long since crept upon him, and only on occasions of the extremest urgency did he exercise any other faculties than those of the will. In compliance with an effort of the latter nature, his favorite servant now entered the apartment. The Rev. Geo. Langford had but a moment before been deeply engaged in solving the problem of the fourth satellite of Jupiter, when a sharp, tingling sensation in the rear of his brain convinced him that a master will desired his attendance. The scholar, who thus rose to be the servant of Roseton,—a position that even the President of a Western college might envy, such were its dignities and emoluments,—stood for a moment at the foot of Roseton's couch, and in silence received the silent orders of the day. No words passed, but in an incredibly short space of time Roseton's commands had flashed into the mind of his attendant, and the latter withdrew to reduce them to writing for the benefit of the four masters of the four departments of the House. They in turn methodized them for their forty-eight deputies, and one hundred and ninety-two servants—in addition to the female who came to the house to receive the weekly wash—performed their daily task intelligently and harmoniously.

A bath of atar of roses next received the master of the House of Pont-Noir. This was renewed every hour of the day; for Roseton's fancy indulged the frequent and the casual lavation, and his exacting taste demanded the strictest purity. A careless servant once ventured to leave the bath filled without a change of the fluid, after it had been occupied; but the negligence was at once detected by the master of Pont-Noir, and his weekly allowance of cologne-water was summarily reduced. Upon the ceiling, over the bath, were frescoed, in Titianelli's richest style, the most graceful legends of mythology. Here Theseus toyed with Ariadne; here the infant Mercury furtively enticed the Grecian Short-horns; here Triton blew his seaweed-tangled horn, and troops of ocean-nymphs threw the surface of the deep into 'sparkling commotions of splendor;' here Venus allured Anchises, by sweetly calling him to the leafy tops of Ida; here Deucalion surmounted the [pg 211] miraculous floods; and here Pyrrha first instructed wondering men in the knowledge of the existence, beauties and duties of the fairer part of creation. Here, reclining in dreamful ease, and indulging in the perpetual warmth by which the bath confessed the power of unseen caloric agency, Roseton was wont ever to sport with delicious memories, now with rapturous hopes, and at times to compose those elegant sonnets for the New York weekly newspapers, for each one of which a thousand dollars was joyfully given by the delighted proprietors to the poor of the city.

Carefully wiped, and clothed in a morning robe by twelve gentlemanly attendants, each one a scion of the first families of the metropolis, Roseton was borne to the breakfasting apartment. Here, indeed, a scene presented itself, among whose splendors imagination only could safely dwell, and before which the practical and the prosaic mind might well grow comatose or skeptical. Malachite tables of every conceivable shape from the Ural; carpets to whose texture the shawls of Cashmere had become tributary; paintings by all the known, and many of the unknown, old masters; these were only rivaled by chairs of the most undeniable and gorgeous curled maple; and a beaufet of true cherry acknowledged, in common with a Jerome horologe, a Connecticut origin. These incredible adjuncts to luxury were, however, eclipsed by the dazzling glory of a vast pyramid of purest oreide, which at its apex separated into four divisions to the sound of slow music, by forty hidden performers, revealing, as it descended to the floor, an equal number of tables, on which plate, Sévres China, Nankin porcelain, and the emerald glass of New England, rivaled the display of damask, fruits, liqueurs, and delicatest meats. Here smoked a sweetbread, here gleamed a porgy, not yet forty-eight hours caught, and here the strawberry crimsoned the cream that lapped its blushing sides. Here the Arabian berry evolved clouds of perfume; here Curaçoa glistened from behind its strawy shield; and here a decanter of warranted real French brandy, side by side with a bottle of Stoughton's bitters, suggested that a cocktail might not only be desirable, but possible. But Roseton's eyes gazed languidly upon the spectacle, and the walls of the pyramid again ascending, shut the quadruple banquets from the sight.

A moment elapsed, and they fell once more. A fountain of cool, fragrant distillation threw showers of delight into the atmosphere, under the canopy of which again appeared four luxurious tables. Upon one, tea and toast suggested the agreeable and appropriate remedy for an over-night's dissipation; upon another, an array of marmalades, icy tongues reduced by ether to a temperature of minus sixty, Finnane haddock, and oaten meal of rarest bolting, indicated and offered to gratify the erratic taste of a Caledonian. Again, upon another, a Strasburg pie displayed its delicious brown, the members of the emerald songster of the fen lay whitely delicate, and accompanying absinthe revealed the knowledge of Gallic preferences. Upon the fourth, smoking and olent Rio, puddings of Indian, cakes composed of one third butter, one third flour, one third saleratus, and the crisping bean, surmounted by crimped pork, showed that a Providence Yankee might well find an appropriate entertainment. But again the eyes of Roseton looked vacantly on, and again, amid strains of music, the walls of the pyramid ascended.

A short pause, and they sunk again. Now appeared, as a central figure, an odalisque. In each ivory hand she bore a double fan of exquisite workmanship, on each of which again glistened a delicate and fairy banquet. Here were ultimate quintessences—pines reduced to a drop of honeyed delight; bananas whose life lay in points of bewildering sweetness; enormous steamboat puddings compressed within the compass of a thimble, exclusive of the sauce; chocolates, oceans of which lay in mimic lakes, each of which the bill of a humming-bird might expand; tongues of most melodious [pg 212] singing birds—the nightingale, the thrush, and the goldfinch; lambs en suprême, each eliminated of earthly particles, and spiritualized in scarcely tangible results. Over all hovered the memories of exquisite beverages, which became realities when you approached, and stole over the sense with insidious deliciousness.

These, too, faded away amid the disregard of their owner, though the odalisque shed floods of tears of disappointment; and others succeeded, but they tempted Roseton vainly, and a glance at the clock showed that it was now ten o'clock by New Haven time. At this moment the Rev. George Langford experienced another biological sensation; Roseton had conceived a breakfast.

Repairing to a battery in a recess of his laboratory, Langford attentively studied the ebullitions occasioned by an ultimate dilution and aggregation of the chemicals in the formula HP + O^(22). During this time the sensations in his brain successively continued to rack and agonize him; but, faithful to his mission, he remained immersed in thought until his intellect grasped the key of the problem. Issuing then from the recess, he promulgated the results of his investigation to the four masters of the house, These, with the aid of the forty-eight deputies, executed the inchoate idea, and once more—and finally—the pyramid unfolded. But now a single table appeared, bearing upon its snowy mantle a Yarmouth bloater, and a bottle of Dublin stout. Roseton's eyes lighted up with unaccustomed pleasure, and he gave instant commands for the duplication of the salary of his esteemed attendant-in-chief.

In accordance with the custom of the house, the morning journals now appeared; and here the fancy of Roseton had therein a living and distinctive character over each. Youths, of perfect beauty, who had, during the three previous hours, diligently studied the sheets in question, passed before him, one by one, dressed in appropriate costume, and each one delivered to him in mental short-hand the entire contents of the journal which he represented. These were rendered wholly in the Sanscrit tongue, in which Roseton was an adept; with the exception of the Tribune, the language of which, Roseton was accustomed to say, is unique, and incapable of translation. First appeared the representative of the Herald, dressed as a jockey; an irresistible air of assurance accompanied him, and he threw frequent summersaults with inconceivable quickness. Next marched the Tribune;—a youth shrouded in inexplicable garments, and the living centre of a whirlwind of exploding theories. Then stepped the Times in rapid succession; a blooming boy dressed with precision, and delicately balancing himself as he delivered his part. Next appeared the World, habited as a theological student, and sorrow for irreparable loss was indicated by a Weed upon his hat. One looked for the embodiment of the News in vain, but a Wooden figure, wheeled in silence through the apartment, was thought to convey a mysterious lesson. A martial ghost, wearing upon his head a triple crown, like the vision of Macbeth, yet bravely supporting himself under the three-fold encumbrance, seemed the Courier of Wall Street. The pageant passed, but Roseton seemed unsatisfied; and it soon occurred to him that the deep draughts of secession news, which he had been accustomed to receive each morning from the Journal of Commerce, had, on this occasion, failed him. But on further reflection his infallible logic convinced him that the existence of this paper must have ceased at the same time with that of the Southern mails.

It now remained to perform the morning toilet; and a corps of attendants conveyed Roseton to his dressing-room. Here the lavish wealth of the Pont-Noirs found another appropriate field for its display. The floor was of Carrera marble, curiously tesselated, rising in the centre to the support of a fountain, where water-nymphs breathed forth shattered columns of fragrant spray, whose parabolic curves filled a spacious lake below. [pg 213] Vases of diamond, emerald and ruby crowded the mantles, each filled with some unknown perfume—the result of Roseton's miraculous chemistry; for in this science Roseton was supreme. In a single day he exhausted the resources of American laboratories, and a short visit to Europe convinced him that henceforth he must be his own instructor. Savants in vain solicited his formulas. 'Why,' he reasoned, 'should I furnish children in science with tools of which they can not comprehend the use?' Delicate tables, chiseled from the humbler gems, were scattered about the chamber; agate, topaz, lapis-lazuli, amethyst, and a smaragdus of miraculous beauty. Chairs of golden wire completed the furniture of this unequaled apartment.

The hangings of the walls were a freak at once of genius and lavishness. They consisted of the bills of the Valley Bank, extravagantly lapped, and of untold denomination. But the ceiling—how shall I describe it? Did you, indeed, look up inimitably into a Hesperian sky, or was this firmament the creation of the painter's art? Nothing flecked the profound, unsearchable, impassive blue. There brooded the primeval heavens, undimmed by earthly vapors, unfathomed by earthly instruments; forever indescribable by earthly tongues.

Two hundred years before, a Pont-Noir of the Roseton branch accumulated immense wealth from a diamond mine in East Haddam, Connecticut. He was a man of deep and ardent imagination, and uncomprehended by the simple villagers, who irreverently styled him the 'mad Roseton.' He died, and left a singular will. It provided that his estates, money, and jewels, should be realized and invested on interest for the space of two hundred years, by a committee of trustees, consisting of the governors of the six New England States, to be assisted by the fiscal board of Mississippi, whenever such a State should be organized. At the expiration of that time, the avails were to be paid to Roseton, of Pont-Noir, provided but one of that name should exist; if more were living, the estate was to remain in abeyance until such a condition should be reached. Not undiscerningly had he foreseen the probability that his will would be disputed, and a short time before his death he caused a formal attestation of his sanity to be made by the entire body of clergymen comprising the Middlesex Conference. His mode of proof was simple, consisting only of an original manuscript, refuting the Arminian heresy; but it sufficed, and the will was obeyed. Not unwisely, also, had he calculated upon the energies of population; for, during one hundred and fifty years, the Pont-Noirs spread over both continents. Then they paused, and but two of the race—chosen by lot—were allowed to marry. At the expiration of twenty-five years, a single male of the race, also chosen by lot, married, and became the father of the present Roseton. On the day that Roseton was twenty-four years old, his father summoned him to his apartment. 'To-morrow,' said he, 'the mystical two hundred years expire, and an estate of inconceivable magnitude will vest in the single Roseton—if there be but one. My son, my life is of less consequence than yours, since it is farther spent; but it still has sweetness, and it is the only life that I possess. Here are three goblets of wine—one is Scuppernong, the other two are harmless. I will apportion our chances fairly, and will drink two; you shall drink one. The lawyers are at hand to arrange the inquest, and to confer the title-deeds to the estate.' In silence the son consented, and the devoted pair drank off the goblets as proposed, and at once sat down to a banquet prepared for them, and for the legal gentlemen attendant. When the ices came in, the elder Roseton was carried out; and the heir of Pont-Noir, having seen the remains properly bestowed in a place of safety, and a special inquest held, finished the night with the counsellors in the enjoyment of a tempered hilarity, and rose next morning the possessor of wealth so boundless, so unspeakable, that [pg 214] my brain reels as I endeavor to grasp at even its outlying fragments.

In the hope of presenting some of its details to the reader, I procured, at an enormous expense, a Babbage calculating engine, and during three successive weeks worked it without pause upon the illimitable figures. It then became clogged, and the village Vulcan, whose impartial hand corrects at once the time-pieces and the plowshares of the neighborhood, having knocked the machinery to pieces with a sledge, declared himself incompetent to explain and unable to repair. My results therefore are maimed and imperfect, but I trust they will show that I have not exaggerated the difficulty of the process of reduction and estimation.

The fragmentary portions of the estate, then, are: the entire capital stock of thirty-eight of the Banks of New York city (though here a wise policy has suggested the employment of various respectable names as those of shareholders, in order to protect these institutions from the fury of a mob); all that portion of the metropolis lying between the Twelfth and Twenty-second Avenues, from Canal Street to the suburb of Poughkeepsie, comprising of necessity the water rights and quarries; eighteen thousand millions of bullion specially deposited in the State Bank of Mississippi, to the order of the six New England Governors, trustees; the Pont-Noir mansion on Nultiel Street, surrounded by twenty-five acres of land, the very heart of the best New York residences, and variously estimated from six to eight millions of dollars; the remote but tolerably well known villages of Boston and Philadelphia in their entirety; and one undivided tenth of the stock of the Valley Bank. It was upon the last investment that Roseton chiefly drew for his expenses. 'My fancy,' said he, 'inclines me to convert Boston into an observatory, and Philadelphia into a tea-garden, and nothing but an amiable regard for the comfort of a handful of families prevents at once from carrying such plans into effect. My mansion is of necessity unproductive; and the Mississippi bullion is greatly needed where it already is. City property is a dreadful nuisance, the taxes are outrageous and the tenants pay poorly; and although the New York Banks announce dividends, yet when you come to look at their actual condition, hum, hum;—is that door shut?—just put your ear a little this way, so; there, I say nothing; there are Banks and Banks; but a building may have two doors, and what goes out at one may come in again at the other, eh? Mind, I say nothing. So you see, beside the East Haddam diamond mines, which are at present badly worked; and a few South American republics which are chiefly occupied in assassinating their presidents; and a border State or two that usually leave me to provide for their half-yearly coupons;—besides these resources, you see, I have really little else to look to but the Valley Bank.'

While the possessor of this wealth is undergoing his morning toilet, let us attend the steps of his butler in chief, whose duty it was to prepare the eleven-o'clocker with which Roseton was accustomed to fortify himself against the fatigues of the middle part of the day. Passing down a succession of flights of stairs, each one consisting of two hundred and twenty-five steps of the finest ebony, we at last find ourselves in an immense cavern, dimly lighted by the internal fires of the earth, which are here approached and verified. It was, however, left for Roseton to discover that these flames consisted of negative qualities as to caloric; and a project for cooling the streets of Newport by night, in summer, by means of floods of brilliant radiance, every point of which shall surpass the calcium light of the Museum, will soon evince to society that Roseton has not lived in vain. It was indeed a place of rarest temperature, and a sublime sense of personal exaltation thrilled you as you entered. The butler approached an arch, and unlocking a wicker door which was ingeniously contrived to admit air, but to exclude the furtive or the inquisitive hand, threw open to [pg 215] your inspection the immense wine-cellar within.

Such indeed were the dimensions of the crypt that some little time might elapse before your eye could fully gauge them: but on accustoming yourself to the enlarged mensuration occasioned by the unearthly light, you saw that the cavity in question could not be less than six feet high at the top of the arch, three feet wide, and at least forty-eight inches deep. It was musty, cobwebbed, and encrusted with stalactic nitre, but the spirit of rare old vintages exhaled from its depths, and visionary clusters of purplest grapes dangled in every direction. And first your eye lighted upon a half dozen real old India Port, picked up by golden chance at an assignee's sale in Rivington Street. The chalk-mark on the bottles was intended to be cabalistically private, but an acquaintance with the occult dialect of Spanish Zingari convinced you that 1/2, meant nothing else than that the bottles represented twelve and a half cents each, with three years interest,—a fabulous sum, but lavished in a direction where the pledge of a dukedom had not been irrational, if the object could not have been otherwise accomplished. Next a row of Medoc claimed the enraptured attention; delicately overspread with the dust of years, but flashing through the filmy covering the undeniable blood of the Honduras forest. Here might one well pause and indulge in Clautian memories: the violent remonstrances of Nature against, and her subsequent acquiescence in, the primal draughts of vin ordinaire, whether expertly served by a Delmonico, or carelessly decanted by the Hibernian attendant in the gorgeous saloon of a Taylor; next the ascent to St. Julien, Number 2, when haply a friend from the country lingers at the office, and you see no way of escape but an exodus in quest of chicken and green peas; a blushing crimson at the surface and unknown clouds below; then the De Grave in delicate flagons, a fit sacrifice to the exquisite tastes of the editor who is to notice your forthcoming volume, or to the epicurean palate of some surcharged capitalist, into whose custody you are about to negotiate some land-grant bonds. Recovering from these delicious souvenirs, your attention was drawn to the Sauternes, indisputably titled at a Wall Street sale, and priceless. This wine had never yet been tasted, for Roseton was wont to say, 'I only care for vitriol when it is a hundred years old,' and this had only seen the summer of twenty. But a precious odor breathed from the casks, and the corroding capsules confessed the mighty powers that lurked within. Inhaling this odor, you seemed to see the Original White Hermit himself, brooding over his tiny principality of barren rock, and performing miracles with the aid of the imported carboy and the indigenous rill. As the evening gloomed, and twilight fell among the crags, a faint snicker spread upon the air, and in the dim light of the rising moon one might fancy a finger laid to the side of the nose of the holy man. From these reveries, a smart blow on the back, neatly executed by the butler, recalled your active attention to a demi-john of warranted French brandy, and a can of Bourbon certified by the hand-writing of Louis Capet himself. Upon the sawdust in the lower niches of the vault lay packages of the finest Hollands, wicker casements of Curaçoa, and the apple-jack of Jersey in gleaming glass. But the eye dwelt finally, and with a crowning wonder and approval, upon an entire basket of the celebrated eleven-dollar Heidsieck champagne, blue label, that lay upon the floor of the crypt.

The acquisition of this treasure was one of those rare good-fortunes by which the life of here and there an individual is illustrated. About a year previous to this, in the dead of night, a mysterious stranger solicited audience of the master of Pont-Noir. Attended by the entire force of the house in complete armor, Roseton granted the interview. The stranger advanced within easy gun-shot, and said:—'The great house of Boscobello, Bolaro and Company is in imminent peril. Unless a certain sum can be [pg 216] raised by two o'clock to-morrow, their acceptances will lie over. These acceptances constitute the entire loan and discount line of thirty-eight of the Banks of this city, for they have latterly made it a rule to take nothing else.' A meaning glance shot from the stranger's eye as he delivered this fearful announcement, but Roseton remained firm, though a cold shiver passed through the frames of his domestics, who were aware how vitally he was interested. 'The pledge of their stock of wine alone,' continued the mysterious visitant, 'will relieve them from their difficulties, and the capitalists then stand ready to carry them forward if they will retire from the Southern trade. Ten hundred nickels is the sum required, and I stand prepared to deliver the security by ten o'clock, A.M. The discount is immense, but the exigencies of the case are weighty.'

A consultation ensued. The bill for the kitchen crockery had just come in, and a set of three-tined forks were badly needed; but Roseton's intellect grasped the necessities of the operation, and the necessary funds were ordered to be advanced; and the pledge, now forever forfeited by the loan clause of the Revised Statutes, lay upon the floor of the vault.

The aged butler delicately lifted a flask from its encampment of straw, and bore it to that section of the apartment where the light was clearest. 'I wonder if the boss would miss it, if we should just smell of this here bottle,' said the faithful servitor. Turning it his hand, it flashed brilliant rays on every side. Entangled among these played vivid and beautiful pictures, changeable as auroras, yet perfect, during their brief instant of existence, as the imaginations of Raphael, or the transcripts of Claude.

Here then you saw a sunny hill, and troops of vintagers dispersed along its sides, whose outlines wavered in the afternoon heats. But you rapidly outlived this scene, and now the broad plains of Hungary lay before your gaze. Speeding over the contracted domains of the Tokay, you entered upon the Sarmatian wastes, where the wild vines fought for life with the icy soil and the chill winds of the desert. Uncouth proprietors urged on the unwilling peasants to the acrid press, and rolled out barrels of the 'Rackcheekzi' and the 'Quiteenough-thankzi' vintage, curiously labeled to a New York destination. Soon you beheld Water Street, and long low cellars, where groups of boys cleansed now the clouded flask, and now the imperfectly preserved cork. Now bubbles of the rarest carbonic acid gas flow, in obedience to the powerful machine, in all directions through the glassy prison; and rows of gleaming bottles indicate the activity of the enterprise. Then you saw the dining rooms of the Saint Sycophant and the Cosmopolitan Hotels. Here flew the resounding cork, to be instantly snatched up by the attendant Ethiopian, and scarcely were the champagne flasks emptied before they were reft from the tables with unimpaired labels. At the rear doors, there seemed to wait handcarts, and soon in these the corks, the bottles, and the baskets were carefully bestowed for their down-town journey, and money appeared to pass from hand to hand. Then you saw a sleighing party in the country, and soon a hostel of goodly size. The travelers entered and demanded banquet; and while they masticated the underdone and tendonous Chanticleer, quaffed deeply of the amber vintage of the previous visions. Again you saw morning couches, where lovely woman tore her Valenciennes night-cap in agonies of headache, and where her ruder partner filled the air with cries for 'soda-water!'

Engaged with these enchanting dreams, the butler made a false step, and the precious package, falling to the floor, was instantly shattered. The fluid trickled away in rivulets, but the ascending odors made amends for the untimely loss, and you felt that it might all be for the best, and haply a bill for medical attendance avoided. But the butler brooded over the scene of the calamity in hopeless despair; and you perceived that it would [pg 217] be necessary for him deeply to infringe upon his master's stores of cordial before his former serenity might be regained.

It was now after eleven, and Roseton's carriage waited. He entered, simply saying to the footman who lifted him in, 'To Mundus;' and shortly the vehicle stopped before the most palatial mansion in the entire extent of the Fifth Avenue.

I pause a moment before I attempt the portraiture of the young wife of Mundus. Her shadow has indeed flitted once before across these pages (see Chapter Four of the Novel), but the dim outlines of a shadow may be traced by a hand that is powerless to paint the living, breathing figure. The boudoir where she sat was draped with the fairest pinks of the Saxony loom, and the carpet confessed an original Axminster workmanship. With this one, the pattern was created and extinguished, and, though it cost Mundus five thousand dollars, he drew his check for the bill with a smile. The sofas and chairs were of hand-embroidered velvet, representing the delicate adventures of Wilhelm Meister; and the paintings that profusely lined the walls gave form to the warmest scenes of Farquahar's 'gayest' comedies. Bella herself sat near a window, negligently posed, reading the 'Journal of a Summer in the Country,' over which she had now hung for three hours in speechless admiration, breakfastless, and with her slipper-ribbons not yet tied. 'I must see what becomes of Wigwag,' she replied to Mundus, as he called through the door that he was eating all the eggs. 'Thank Heaven,' she finally exclaimed, as he went down into the smoking room, 'that's the last of him to-day; and now I shall have this delicious book all to myself, and all myself to this delicious book.'

'That's very prettily turned now,' said a silvery voice; 'nothing could have been prettier,—but you'—

'Oh, you naughty man, is that you already?' said Bella; 'didn't you meet the Bear as you came in?'

'He is in the front basement, sucking his paws,' replied Roseton, for it was indeed he, 'and he is trying to do a stupider thing, if possible.'

'What's that?' asked the fair Bella. 'Now don't tire me with any of your nonsense.'

'To read himself,' answered Roseton.

'You alarm me,' exclaimed she; 'it can't be possible that the servants have let him have a looking-glass, contrary to my express instructions!'

'No, no,' said the master of Pont-Noir, 'he is at work over the World.'

'The World?' said Bella, inquiringly. 'Pray don't give me a headache.'

Roseton leaned over her shoulder, and placed in her lap a miniature Andrews and Stoddard's Lexicon, open at the eight hundredth page. 'You take?' he said: 'Mundus, the World.'

'Ah, Percy,' sighed Bella, 'why do you thus unnecessarily fatigue me? Have I not often told you that, faultless as you are in every other department of life, and how I love to dwell upon this fact, still, still, my Percy, your puns, or rather your attempts, are worse than those of a Yale College freshman? You are cruel, indeed you are, thus to disappoint and wound me. Be persuaded by me, and never try again.'

Roseton paused, irresolute—it was a great struggle; but what will not one do for the woman one loves? 'I promise,' said he, at last; and, bending over her, laid a kiss—like an egg—upon her brow. 'This will forever bind me.'

'Thank you, dear Percy,' said Bella; 'and I hope you'll keep your promise better than you did the last one you made about giving up smoking. You're sure you haven't tumbled my collar, and that you wiped the egg off your moustache before you came in; get me the toilet-glass, there's a good boy. You men are so careless, and I shouldn't like it to dry on my forehead.'

Let us approach, and gaze into the mirror. Can one describe that face—the lovely brown eyebrows; the eyes, like a spring sky, just as the light, fleecy clouds are leaving it after a shower; the perfect roses, dipped in milk, of the skin; the lips where good-nature, sprightliness, [pg 218] and love, lay mingled in ambush; the dewy teeth never quite concealed? It is, indeed, useless to attempt it. And, what is very remarkable, Bella knew it. 'There, Percy,' said she, 'your indiscretion is cleared away, and now upon my word I don't know which flatters me most, you or the glass.'

'Why, I haven't tried yet,' replied Roseton.

'That's only because you know you can't,' said she;' neither can this poor little mirror. But to think what Mundus said yesterday!'

'What did he say?'

'He said—he said—he saw a pretty apple-girl in Wall Street, and I presume the wretch paid her some compliment or other while he was buying her apples, for he appeared very much pleased after he came home, and he hasn't bestowed a compliment on me since the month after we were married. Ah, fated word! Ah, Percy, Percy!—on that ill-omened day, what caused you to linger? We might even then have retraced our steps, and been—happy.'

'I was waiting—at the dock—for the news—of the Heenan prize-fight, Bella,' gasped Roseton, turning away to conceal his emotion, and to assuage the tears that fell from his manly eyes. It is a mournful sight, a strong man, in the morning of life, weeping; but Roseton's agony might well excuse it. 'I know it was unpardonable, but my card of invitation had been tampered with, the date altered; and, Bella—my Bella—we were the victims of a base deception!'

'Oh, yes, my Percy,' faintly cried Bella, letting the book fall to the ground in her confusion; 'traitorous wiles, indeed, encompassed us, and the arts of a Mundus were too subtle for my girlish brain. I sometimes fear that my poor frame will sink under the agonies I endure.'

Roseton raised the volume from the floor. 'I am told,' said he, 'that this is a very ingenious work, and that no gentleman's library is complete without it; but I never read. My days, my nights, are filled, Bella, with thoughts of you. Yes,' continued he, seating himself upon the sofa by her side, and passing his arm about her throbbing waist, 'yes, you are my muse—my only volume. You are the inspiration of the poetical trifles that I send to the weekly newspapers, and which I may say, without vanity, are considered equal to Mrs. Sigourney's. Without you, life were indeed a dreary void; and without you, I should be dreadfully bored of a morning.'

'Ah, Percy,' murmured the fair listener, 'so could I hear you talk forever.'

'Bella,' whispered Roseton, in her fairy ear, 'could you prepare your mind to entertain the idea of flight with me?'

'To Staten Island?' cried she, jumping up and clapping her hands. 'Oh, let's go to Staten Island! Mundus can never follow us there, the boats are so dangerous.'

'But, Bella mia' said Roseton, in the soft accent of Italy, 'as the eminent but slightly impractical Hungarian—I refer to Kossuth—said, Staten Island "is lovely, but exposed." We should not be safe there. Listen; in my house I have prepared a secret chamber, fifty feet square, plentifully supplied with healthful though plain provisions, and furnished with a tolerable degree of comfort. There will we dwell, until the curiosity of Mundus and the whispers of the metropolis are overpast. We will then re-appear in society, and assert our happiness. Bella, mia Bella, shall it be so?'

'Ah, Percy,' sighed she, leaning back in his arms, 'let it be just as you say.'

Their lips—

'Bella,' said Mundus, leaning over the pair, and fumbling among the vases over the fireplace, 'is there any stage change on the mantlepiece, or have either you or Roseton got such a thing about you as a sixpence? I have nothing in my pocket but hundred-dollar city bills, and those infernal omnibus drivers make change with Valley Bank notes, which a certain person furnishes them,'—and Mundus fixed his eyes full on the master of Pont-Noir.

[pg 219]

'Mr. Roseton,' he continued, 'will you be so kind as to call at my office after the Second Board, to-day? I have matters of importance to discuss with you.' And so saying, the haughty banker strode from the apartment.

Roseton's eyes mechanically followed him. In an instant he turned to Bella. She had fainted upon the sofa. His first impulse was to apply his vinaigrette; but 'no,' he said to himself, 'this will probably last twenty minutes, and do her good. During that time I can smoke a cigar, and arrange my plans. But stop,'—and here a cold sweat broke out upon him, and a livid paleness overspread his features,—'what did Mundus say about the notes? He refuses them! Strange, strange, indeed! Can it then be that the Valley Bank has bu—?'7


It is certain that when this page comes under the eye of the reader, the relations of the United States, both foreign and domestic, will have been changed materially. At the present moment, however, the condition of the country is unpromising enough; yet not so gloomy as to preclude the hope of a fortunate issue. The sacrifices and sufferings of the people are greater in civil than in foreign wars, and the ultimate advantages and benefits are proportionately large. We speak now of those civil wars which have occurred between people inhabiting the same district of country,—as the civil wars of England. Other contests, as the revolutions of Hungary, Poland, and Ireland even, were not, strictly speaking, civil wars. The parties were of different origin, and had never assimilated in language, customs, or ideas. The struggle was for the reëstablishment of a government which had once existed, and not for the reformation or change of a government that at the moment of the conflict was performing its ordinary functions.

The civil war in America does not belong to either of the classes named. To be sure, in Missouri, Kentucky, and Western Virginia, the contest has been between the inhabitants of the several localities, aided by forces from the rebel States on the one hand, and forces from the loyal States on the other. But those States, as such, were never committed to the rebellion; and the struggle within their limits has demonstrated the inability of the so-called Confederate States to command the adhesion of Missouri, Kentucky, and Western Virginia by force; but it does not, in the accomplished results, demonstrate the ability of the United States to crush the rebellion. The border States were debatable ground; but the question has been settled in favor of the government so far, at least, as Western Virginia and Missouri are concerned.

In the eleven seceded States there is no apparent difference of opinion among those in authority, or among those accustomed to lead in public affairs. The sentiment of attachment to the old Union has been disappearing rapidly since the secession of South Carolina, until there are now no open avowals of adherence to the government, unless such are made by the mountaineers of Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina. These men are for the present destitute of power. Should our armies penetrate [pg 220] those regions, the inhabitants may essentially aid in the reëstablishment of the government. Still, for the present, we must regard the eleven States as a unit in the rebellion. Thus we are called to note the anomalous fact that the rebels seek a division between a people who speak the same language, occupy a territory which has no marked lines or features of separation, and who have from the first day of their national existence been represented by the same national government. Hence it is plain, whatever may be the immediate result of the contest, that there can be no permanent peace until the territory claimed as the territory of the United States is again subject to one government. This may be the work of a few months, it may be the work of a few years, or it may be the business of a century. Without the reëstablishment of the government over the whole territory of the Union there can be no peace; and without the reëstablishment of that government there can be no prosperity.

The armies of the rebel States will march to the great lakes, or the armies of the loyal States will march to the gulf of Mexico. We are therefore involved in a war which does not admit of adjustment by negotiation. In a foreign war, peace might be secured by mutual concessions, and preserved by mutual forbearance. In ordinary civil strife the peace of a state or of an empire might be restored by concessions to the disaffected, by a limitation of the privileges of the few, or an extension of the rights of the many. But none of these expedients meet the exigency in which we find ourselves. The rebels demand the overthrow of the government, the division of the territory of the Union, the destruction of the nation. The question is, Shall this nation longer exist? And why is the question forced upon us? Is there a difference of language? Not greater than is found in single States. Indeed, Louisiana is the only one of the eleven where any appreciable difference exists, and the number of French in that State is less than the number of Germans in Pennsylvania. Nor has nature indicated lines of separation like the St. Lawrence and the lakes on the north and the Rocky Mountains on the west. The lines marked by nature—the Rocky Mountains, the Mississippi River, and the Alleghanies—cut the line proposed by the confederates transversely, and force the suggestion that each section will be put in possession of three halves of different wholes, instead of a single unit essential to permanent national existence.

Do the products of the industry of the two sections so conflict with each other in domestic or foreign markets as to encourage the idea that by separation the South could gain in this particular? Not in the least. The North has been a large customer for the leading staple of the South, and the South is constantly in need of those articles which the North is fitted to produce. The South complains of the growth of the North, and vainly imagines that by separation its own prosperity would be promoted. The answer to all this is, that there has never been a moment for fifty years when the seceded States had not employment, for all the labor that they could command, in vocations more profitable than any leading industry of the North; and, moreover, every industry of the North has been open to the free competition of the South. Not argument, only statement, is needed to show that by origin, association, language, business, and labor interests, as well as by geographical laws, unity and not diversity is the necessity of our public life. Yet, in defiance of these considerations, the South has undertaken the task of destroying the government. Nor do the rebels assert that the plan of government is essentially defective. The Montgomery constitution is modeled upon that of the United States; though the leaders no longer disguise their purpose to abolish its democratic features and incorporate aristocratic and monarchical provisions. They hope, also, to throw off the restraints of law, bid defiance to the general public sentiment of the world, and reopen the trade in slaves from Africa. It remains to be seen [pg 221] whether the desire of England for cotton and conquest, and her sympathy with the rebels, will induce her to pander to this inhuman traffic.

It has happened occasionally that a government has so wielded its powers as to contribute, unconsciously, to its own destruction. But our experience furnishes the first instance of a government having been seized by a set of conspirators, and its vast powers used for its own overthrow.

It is now accredited generally that several members of Mr. Buchanan's cabinet were conspirators, and that they used the power confided to them for the purpose of destroying the government itself. Hence it appears, whatever the test applied, that the present rebellion is distinguished from all others in the fact that it does not depend upon any of the causes on which national dissensions have been usually based.

The public discontents in Ireland, in their causes, bore a slight analogy to our own. There were existing in that country various systems and customs that were prejudicial to the prosperity of the island. Among these may be mentioned the Encumbered Estates and Absenteeism; and it is worthy of remark that whatever has been done by the British government for the promotion of the prosperity of Ireland, and the pacification of its people, has been by a reformation of the institutions of the country.

Rebels in arms may be overthrown and dispersed by superior force, but the danger of rebellion will continue so long as the disposition to rebel animates the people. This disposition can not be reached by military power merely; the exciting cause must be removed, or, at least, so limited and modified as to impair its influence as a disturbing force in the policy of the country. As we have failed to trace this rebellion to any of the causes that have led to civil disturbances in other countries, it only remains to suggest that cause which in its relations and conditions is peculiar to the United States. All are agreed that slavery is the cause of the rebellion. Yet slavery exists in other countries,—as Brazil, for example,—and thus far without exhibiting its malign influence in conspiracy and rebellion. This is no doubt true; but it should be borne in mind that, in the United States, slavery has power in the government as the basis of representation, and that the slave States are associated in the government with free States. If the institution of slavery had not been a basis of political power, or had all the States maintained slavery, it is probable that the rebellion would never have been organized, or, if organized, it could never have attained its present gigantic proportions.

We have now reached a point where we can see the error of our public national life. The doctrine announced by President Lincoln, while he was only Mr. Lincoln, of Springfield, that the nation must be all free or all slave, was not new with him. The men who framed the constitution acted under the same idea, though they may not have so distinctly expressed the truth. There is, however, abundant circumstantial evidence that they so believed, and that their only hope for the country was based on the then reasonable expectation that slavery would disappear, and that the nation would be all free. It was reserved for modern political alchemists to discover the idea on which the leading politicians have been acting for thirty or forty years, that one half of a nation might believe in the fundamental principle on which the government is based, and the other half deny it, and yet the government go on harmoniously, wielding its powers acceptably and safely to all. This is the error. Our failure is not in the plan of government; the error is not that our fathers supposed that a government could be based and permanently sustained upon slavery and freedom advancing pari passu. They indulged in no such delusion. The error is modern. When slavery demanded concessions, and freedom yielded; when slavery suggested compromises, and freedom accepted them; when slavery, unrebuked, claimed equal rights under the constitution, and [pg 222] freedom acknowledged the justice of the claim,—then came the test whether the government itself should be administered in the service of slavery or in behalf of freedom. Two considerations influenced the slaveholders. First, even should they be permitted to wield the government, they foresaw that its provisions were inadequate to meet the exigencies of slavery. No despotism can be sustained by the voluntary efforts of its subjects. Slavery is a despotism; and as such can only be supported by power independent of that of the slaves themselves, and always sufficient for their control. The slaves were yearly increasing in numbers and gaining in knowledge. These changes indicated the near approach of the time when the slaves of the South would reenact the scenes of St. Domingo. The plantations of the cotton region are remote from each other, and the proportion of slaves on a single plantation is often as many as fifty for every free person, The sale of negroes from the northern slave States has introduced an element upon the plantations at once intelligent and hostile, and, of course, dangerous, The time must come when the white populations of plantations, districts, or States even, would disappear in a single night, In such a moment of terror and massacre how, and to what extent, would the United States government, acting under the constitution, afford protection, aid, or even secure a barren vengeance? These were grave questions, and admitted only of an unsatisfactory answer at best. The government has power to put down insurrections; but for what good would a body of troops be marched to a scene of desolation and blood a fortnight or a month after the servile outbreak had done its work? These considerations controlled the intelligent minds of the South, and they were driven irresistibly to the conclusion that the government of the United States was insufficient for the institution of slavery, even though the friends of slavery were entrusted with the administration. What hope beyond? They dared to believe that by separation and the establishment of a military slaveholding oligarchy, to which the public opinion and public policy of the seceded States now tend, they would be able to guard the institution against all tumults from within and all attacks from without. If success were to crown their present undertakings, is it probable that the government contemplated would be strong enough for the task proposed? If Russia could not hold her serfs in bondage, can the South set up a government which can guard, and defend, and secure slavery? Or will a French or English protectorate render that stable which the government of the United States was incompetent to uphold? These questions remain, but the one first suggested is settled:—That the government of the United States, howsoever and by whomsoever administered, constitutionally, is inadequate to meet the exigencies of slavery.

Secondly. The leaders of the rebellion foresaw, a long time since, that slavery had no security that the government would be administered in the interest of that institution. The admission of California, followed by the admission of three other free States, forced the slaveholders into a hopeless minority in the Senate of the United States. The census of 1860 promised to reduce the delegation of the slave States in the House of Representatives. Previous to 1870 other free States were likely to be admitted into the Union; and thus by successive and unavoidable events, the government was sure to pass into the hands of the non-slave States. It would not be just to the South to omit to say that apprehensions there existed that the North would disregard the constitution. These apprehensions were fostered for unholy purposes; and so sealed is the South to the progress of truth, through the domination of the slaveholders over the press and public men, and by the consequent ignorance of the mass of the people, that these misapprehensions have never been removed in any degree by the declarations of Congress or of political parties in the North.

The mind of the South was thus brought logically to two conclusions: First, that [pg 223] the government of the United States was inadequate to meet the exigencies of slavery, even though it should be administered uniformly by the friends of slavery. Secondly, that the administration of the government would be controlled by the ideas of the free States.

These conclusions would have been sufficiently unwelcome to the Southern leaders, if they had had no purpose or policy beyond the maintenance of slavery where it exists; but they had already determined to extend the institution southward over Mexico and Central America, and they knew full well the necessity of destroying the Union and the government before such an enterprise could be undertaken with any hope of success. Hence they denied the right of the majority to rule unless they ruled in obedience to the will of the minority. Thus the slaveholders came naturally and unavoidably to the denial of the fundamental principle of the government; and, having denied the principle, there remained no reason why they should not undertake the overthrow of the government itself. And thus the conspiracy and the rebellion sprung naturally and unavoidably from the institution of slavery.

Further, slavery is the support of the conspiracy and the rebellion both in Europe and America. However disastrous slavery may be to the mass of the whites, it affords to the governing class the opportunity and means for constant attention to public affairs.

In all our history the North has felt the force of this advantage. As a general thing, a northern member occupies a seat in Congress for one or two terms, and then his place is taken by an untried man. And even during his term of service, his attention is given in part to his private affairs, or to plans and schemes designed to secure a re-election. The Southern member takes his seat with a conscious independence due to the fact that his slaves are making crops upon his plantation, and that his re-election does not depend upon the hot breath of the multitude. He enjoys a long and independent experience in the public service; and he thus acquires a power to serve his party, his country or his section, which is disproportionate even to his experience. A good deal of the consideration which the South enjoys abroad, and especially in England, is due to the fact that in the South a governing class is recognized, which corresponds to the governing classes wherever an aristocracy or monarchism exists. By a community of ideas the South commands the sympathy, and enjoys the confidence and secret support of the enemies of democracy the world over. Through the political and pecuniary support which the public men of that section have derived from slavery, they have been able to take and maintain social positions at Washington, which, by circumstances, were denied to much the larger number of northern representatives, and thus they have influenced the politics of this country and the opinions of other nations. Consider by how many sympathies and interests England is bound to encourage the policy and promote the fortunes of the South. There is the sympathy of the governing class in England for the governing class in the South, even though they are slaveholders; there is the hostility of the ignorant operatives in their manufacturing towns, who, through exterior influences, have been led to believe that whatever hardships they are brought to endure are caused by the desire of the North to subjugate the South; there is the purpose of English merchants and manufacturers to cripple, or if possible to destroy the manufactures and commerce of the North; and, finally, there is the hope of all classes that by the alienation or separation of the two sections England would derive additional commercial advantages, and that the scheme of here establishing a continental republic would be abandoned, never to be again revived. There is, moreover, a reasonable expectation, founded in the nature of things, and possibly already supported by positive promises and pledges, that England is [pg 224] to stand in the relation of protector to the confederated States. Nor will she be in the least disturbed by the institution of slavery, if perchance that institution survives the struggle. If she can be secure in the monopoly of the best cotton lands on the globe, if she can be manufacturer and shop-keeper for the South, if she can deprive the North of one half of its legitimate commerce, if she can obtain the control of the gulf of Mexico, of the mouth of the Mississippi, if she can command the line of sea-coast from Galveston to Fortress Monroe or even to Charleston, and thus compel us to make our way to the Pacific by the passes of the Rocky Mountains exclusively, there is no sacrifice of men, or of money, or of principle, or of justice, that would be deemed too great by the English people and government. But what then? Are we to make war upon England because her sympathies and interests run thus with the South? Is it not wiser to consider why it is that the South is sustained by the interests and sympathies of England? If slavery for fifty years had been unknown among us, could there be found a hundred men, within the limits of the United States, who would accept a British protectorate under any circumstances or for any purpose whatever? And is it not therein manifest, that our foreign and domestic perils are alike due to slavery? And shall we not have dealt successfully with all our foreign difficulties when we shall have established the jurisdiction of the United States over the territory claimed by the rebels? But until that happy day arrives, we shall not be relieved for an instant from the danger of a foreign war; and if the rebellion last six months longer, there is no reason to suppose that a foreign war can be averted. When we offer so tempting a prize to nations that wish us ill, can we expect them to put aside the opportunity which we have not the courage and ability to master? We have observed the hot haste of England to recognize the rebels as belligerents; we have seen the flimsy covering of neutrality that she has thrown over the illegitimate commerce that her citizens have carried on with the South, and from the time, manner, and nature of her demand for the release of Mason and Slidell, we are forced to infer that she will seize every opportunity to bring about an open rupture with the United States. And though Mr. Seward has carried the country successfully through the difficulty of the Trent, we ought to expect the presentation of demands which we can not so readily and justly meet. Indeed, enough is known of the Mexican question to suggest the most serious apprehensions of foreign war on that account.

The necessity for speedily crushing the rebellion is as strong as it was at the moment when Lord Lyons made the demand for the release of the persons taken from the deck of the Trent.

Is there any reason, even the slightest, to suppose that by military and naval means alone the rebellion can be crushed by the 19th of April next?

Yet every day's delay gives the confederate States additional strength, and renders them in the estimation of mankind more and more worthy of recognition and independent government. Their recognition will be followed by treaties of friendship and alliance; and those treaties will give strength to the rebels and increase the embarrassments of our own government. It is the necessity of our national life that the settlement of this question should not be much longer postponed.

By some means we must satisfy the world, and that speedily, that the rebellion is a failure. Nor can we much longer tender declarations of what we intend to do, or offer promises as to what we will do, in the face of the great fact that for eight months the capital of the Republic has been in a state of siege. If, in these circumstances of necessity and peril to us, the armies of the rebels be not speedily dispersed, and the leaders of the rebellion rendered desperate, will the government allow the earth to again receive seed from the hand of the slave, [pg 225] under the dictation of the master, and for the support of the enemies of the constitution and the Union? If there were any probability that the States would return to their allegiance, then indeed we might choose to add to our own burthens rather than interfere their internal affairs. But there is no hope whatever that the seceded States will return voluntarily to the Union.

There could be no justifying cause for the emancipation of the slaves in time of peace by the action of the general government; and now it must be demanded and defended as the means by which the war is to be closed, and a permanent peace secured. If before the return of seed-time the emancipation of the slaves in several or in all of the disloyal States be declared as a military necessity, and the blacks be invited to the sea-coast where we have and may have possession, they will raise supplies for themselves, and the rebellion will come to an ignominious end, through the inability of the masters, when deprived of the services of their slaves, to procure the means of carrying on the war.


She sits alone, with folded hands,
  While from her full and lustrous eyes
Imperial light wakes love to life,—
  Love that, unheeded, quickly dies.
She sits alone, among them all
  So near, and yet so far,—they seem
But our coarse waking thoughts, while she
  Is the reflection of a dream.
She sits alone, so still, so calm,
  So queenly in her grand repose,
You wish that Love would slap her cheeks
  And make the white a blush-red rose!

[pg 226]


CHEAP COTTON BY FREE LABOR. By a Cotton Manufacturer. Second edition. Boston: A. Williams & Company, 100 Washington Street. 1861. Price 12 cents.

It seldom happens that we find so many weighty facts within so short a compass as are given in this pamphlet. For many years the assertion that only the negro, and the negro as a slave, could be profitably employed in raising cotton in America, has been accepted most implicitly by the whole country, and this has been the great basis of pro-slavery argument. But of late years, doubt has been thrown, from time to time, on this assumption, and in the little work before us there is given an array of concise statements, which, until their absolute falsehood is proved, must be regarded as conclusive of the fact, that the white man is better adapted than the negro to labor at the cultivation of cotton.

Our 'cotton manufacturer' begins properly by bursting the enormous bubble of the failure of free labor in the British West Indies; showing, what is too little known, that the decrease in the export of sugar from Jamaica began and rapidly continued for thirty years before the emancipation of slaves, but has since been well-nigh arrested. With this decrease of export the import of food has decreased, although the population, has increased; but, at the present day, the aggregate value of the exports of all the British West Indies is now nearly as great as it was in the palmiest days of slavery, while on an average the free blacks now earn far more for themselves than they formerly did for their masters, and are therefore 'better off.' Even those who regard the negro, whether a slave or free, as fulfilling his whole earthly mission in proportion to the profit which he yields Lancashire spinners, have no just grounds of complaint. But as regards the United States, there are certain facts to be considered. According to the census of 1850, there were in our slave States, 'where it is frequently asserted that white men can not labor in the fields,' eight hundred thousand free whites over fifteen years of age employed exclusively in agriculture, and over one million exclusively in out-door labor. Again, wherever the free-white labor and small-farm system of growing cotton has been tried, it has invariably proved more productive than that of employing slaves. It can not be denied that, deducting the expense of maintaining decrepit and infant slaves, every field hand costs $20 per month, and German labor could be hired for less than this, the success of such labor in Texas fully establishing its superiority,—and Texas contains cotton and sugar land enough to supply three times the entire crop now raised in this country. Such being the case, has not free labor a right to demand that these fields be thrown open to it, without being degraded by comparison to and competition with slaves? Our author consequently suggests that Texas, at least, shall be made free, and a limit thereby established to slavery in the older States. It would cost less than one hundred millions of dollars to purchase all the slaves now there, and the completion of the Galveston railroad would have the effect of giving to Texas well-nigh the monopoly of the cotton supply. Such are, in brief, the main points of this pamphlet, which we trust will be carefully read, and so far as possible tested by every one desirous of obtaining information on the greatest social and economical question of the day.

[pg 227]
A DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. By Joseph E. Worcester, LL.D. Boston: Swan, Brewer & Tileston. 1862.

To boldly declare in favor of any one dictionary at the present day, would be as bold, and we may add as untimely and illogical a proceeding as to endorse any one grammar, when nothing can be clearer to the student of language than that our English tongue is more unfixed and undergoing changes more rapidly than any other which boasts a truly great literature. The scholar, consequently, generally pursues an eclectic system, if timid conforming as nearly as may be to 'general usage,' if bold and 'troubled with originality,' making up words for himself, after the manner of CARLYLE, which if 'apt,' after being more or less ridiculed, are tacitly and generally adopted. But, amid the 'war of words' and of rival systems, people must have dictionaries, and fortunately there is this of WORCESTER'S, which has of late risen immensely in public favor. We say fortunately, for whatever discords and inconvenience may arise at the time from the rivalry of different dictionaries, it can not be doubted that each effort contributes vastly to enrich our mother-tongue, and render easier the future task of the 'coming man' who is, years hence, to form from the whole one perfect work. Our own verdict in the matter would, accordingly, be, that we should most unwillingly dispense with either of the great candidates for popular orthographic favor.


Beautiful indeed is the degree of typographic art displayed in this edition of one of the raciest and most readable of our sterling English classics. The antique lettering of the title alone, in which words of carmine-red alternate with the 'letters blake,' the counterpart portrait, and the neat red-illumined capitals of every chapter, not to mention the type and binding, all render this volume one of the most appropriate of gift-books for a friend of true scholarly tastes. Few writers are so perfectly loved as Sir THOMAS BROWNE is by such 'friends;' as in BACON'S or MONTAIGNE'S essays, his every sentence has its weight of wisdom, and he who should read this volume until every sentence were cut deeply in memory, would never deem the time lost which was thus spent. Yet, while so deeply interesting to the most general reader, let it not be forgotten that it was with the greatest truth that Dr. JOHNSON testified of him that 'there is scarcely a writer to be found, whose profession was not divinity, that has so frequently testified his belief of the sacred writings, has appealed to them with such unlimited submission, or mentioned them with such unvaried reverence.'

TRAGEDY OF ERRORS. Aux plus déshérités le plus d'amour. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1862.

The extraordinary conception of a blank verse dramatic novel of Southern slave life. We can not agree with its very talented author in finding so much that is touching and beautiful in the negro, believing that the motto which prefaces this work is simply a sentimental mistake. The negro is degraded, vile if you please, and not admirable at all, and therefore we should work hard, and induce him too to work, rise, and purify himself. Apart from this little difference as to a fact, we have only praise for this work, which is most admirably written, abounding in noble passages of brave poetry, and bearing, like the 'Record of an Obscure Man,' genial evidence of scholarship and refined thoughts and instincts. It will, we sincerely hope, be very widely read, and we are confident that all who do read it will be impressed, as we have been, by the true genius of the author, even though they may dissent, as we do, from the idealization of the negro as is here done. The cause of the poor was never yet aided by false gilding.

[pg 228]


During the past month our domestic difficulties have threatened to become doubly difficult, owing to the demand made upon this country by England, and to the circumstances attending it.

Very recently it became known that on board of an English mail steamer, 'The Trent,' were two men, Messrs. SLIDELL and MASON, accredited agents from a portion of the United States which is in open and flagrant rebellion against a constituted government which has been recognized as such by every nation in the world. Those men, calling themselves ambassadors, and just as much entitled to that dignity or to official recognition as two agents from NENA SAHIB would have been during the revolt stirred up by that Hindoo, were taken by an officer of the United States government from the Trent, under the full impression by him that the seizure was in every sense legal.

The British government regarded this arrest an outrage, and promptly responded by a demand for the restoration of Messrs. SLIDELL and MASON. Numerous 'indignation meetings' held in the great centres of English commerce and manufactures echoed this demand, which received a threatening form from the fact that great military and naval preparations, evidently aimed against the United States, were at once put under way.

Was the seizure illegal?

The vast amount of international law which has been brought to light on this subject, not merely in the press, but from the researches and pens of eminent jurists, led us to no severely definite conclusion. That an emissary is not a contraband of war as much as a musket or a soldier, appears preposterous, and offers a distinction which, as Mr. SEWARD observes, disappears before the spirit of the law, M. THOUVENEL to the contrary, notwithstanding. It was therefore in the mode of procedure in regard to the seizure of the emissaries that the trouble lay. According to law, the vessel, if carrying contraband of war, is liable to seizure. But if this assumed contraband be men, these may not be guilty, and are entitled to a trial. Still, as the law—or want of law—stands, the seizure of the vessel is the requisite step, the minor issue being practically regarded as the major; an anomaly not less striking than that which still prevails in certain courts, where, to recover damages for seduction, the defendant can only be mulcted in a penalty for the loss of time caused to his victim. It was not possible for Captain WILKES to seize the vessel, Great Britain declined to waive her claim to the execution of every jot and tittle of the letter of the law, and consequently the 'contrabands' were surrendered.

The absurdity of involving two great nations in a war, on account of a legal paradox of this nature, requires no comment. The dry comment of General SCOTT, that the 'wrong' would have been none had it only been greater, recalls the absurd line in the old play:—

'My wound is great because it is so small;'

and the supplement,—

'Then 'twould be greater were it none at all.'

But, absurd or not, the law must be followed. Great nations must settle their disputes by the law, even as individuals do, and there is no shame in submitting to it, for submission to the constituted authorities is the highest proof of honor and of civilization. And if England chooses to strain the law to its utmost [pg 229] tension, to thereby push her neutrality to the very verge of sympathy with our rebels, and manifest, by a peremptory and discourteous exercise of her rights, total want of sympathy with our efforts to suppress rebellion,—why, we must bear it.

And here, leaving the letter of the law, we may appropriately say a few words of the animus which has inspired the 'influential classes' in England as regards this country, during our struggle with the South. We are assured that the mass of the English people sympathize with us, and we are glad to hear it,—just as we are to know that Ireland is friendly in her disposition. But we can not refrain—and we do it with no view to words which may stir up ill-feeling—from commenting, in sorrow rather than anger, on the fact that such a majority of journalists, capitalists, yes, and the mass of inhabitants of English cities, have so unblushingly, for the mere sake of money, turned their backs on those principles of freedom of which they boasted for so many years, flouting us the while for being behind them in the race of philanthropy! It is pitiful and painful to see pride brought so low. We of the Federal Union are striving, heart and soul, to uphold our government—a government which has been a great blessing to England and to the world. Who shall say what revolutions, what tremendous disasters, would not have overtaken Great Britain had it not been for the escape-valve of emigration hither? If ever a situation appealed to the noblest sympathies of mankind, ours does. Struggling to maintain a government which has given to the poor man fuller rights and freer exercise of labor than he has ever before known on this earth; fighting heroically to uphold the best republic ever realized;—who would have dreamed that 'brave, free, honest Old England' would have regarded us coldly, sneered at our victories, grinned over our defeats? But more than this. Though not avowed as an aim, and though secondary to our first great object,—the reëstablishment of the Union and a constitutional government,—we all know, and so does every Englishman, that the emancipation of the slave, to a greater or less degree, must inevitably follow our success. Here comes the test of that English abolition of the blackest and fiercest stamp which has for years been avowed in Great Britain, and which has done as much as aught else towards stirring up this foul rebellion. Where be your gibes now, O Britannia? Where be your bitter jeers against the 'lying Constitution,' against the 'stars for the white man and the stripes for the negro,' against everything American, because America was the land of the slave? We are fighting—dying—to directly uphold ourselves, and indirectly to effect this very emancipation for which you clamored; we are losing cotton and suffering everything;—but you, when it comes to the pinch, will endure nothing for your boasted abolition, but slide off at once towards aiding the inception of the foulest, blackest, vilest slaveocracy ever instituted on earth!

Disguise, quibble, lie, let them that will—these are facts. Because we, in our need, have instituted a protective tariff, which was absolutely necessary to keep us from utter ruin, and on the flimsy pretext that we are not fighting directly for emancipation, proud, free, and honest Old England, as publicly represented, eats all her old words, and, worse than withholding all sympathy from us, shows in a thousand ill-disguised ways an itching impatience to aid the South! Men of England, we are suffering for a principle common to all humanity; can not you suffer somewhat with us? Can you not, out of the inexhaustible wealth of your islands, find wherewithal to stave off the bitter need, for a season, of your cotton-spinners? Feed them?—why we would, for a little aid in our dire need, have poured in millions of bushels of wheat to your poor,—one brave, decided act of sympathy on your part for us would ere this have trampled down secession, and sent cotton to your marts, even to superfluity. Or, were you so minded, and could 'worry through' a [pg 230] single year, you might raise in your own colonies cotton enough, and be forever free of America.

Or is it really true, as many think, that your statesmen would gladly dismember this Union? The suggestion reveals such a depth of infamy that we will not pause on it. Let it pass—if the hour of need should come we will revive it, and out of that need will arise a giant of Union such as was never before dreamed of. Let the country believe that, and from Maine to California there will be such a blending into one as time can never dissolve!

But be it borne in mind;—and we would urge it with greater earnestness than, aught which we have yet said,—there is in England a large, noble body of men who do not sympathize with the Southern rebels; who are not sold, soul and body, to cotton; who see this struggle of ours as it is, and who would not willingly see us divided. These men believe in industry, in free labor, in having every country developed as much as possible, in order that the industry of each may benefit by that of the other. Honor to whom honor is due,—and much is due to these men. Meanwhile we can wait,—and, waiting, we shall strive to do what is right. England has her choice between the cotton of the South and the market of the North. Let her choose the former, and she will grasp ruin. We should suffer for a time, bitterly. But out of that suffering we should come so strengthened, so united, and so perfectly able to dispense with all foreign labor, that where we were before as rough ore, then we should be pure gold in our prosperity.

The first statesmen of England have shown by their speeches, as the first British journals have indicated in their articles, that they earnestly believe what Stephens and hundreds of other Southerners have asserted, that all the wealth of the Northern States has come from the South, and that the South is the great ultimate market for the major portion of our imports. Glancing over our map,—as was done by The Times,-the Englishman may well believe this. He sees a vast extent of territory,—he has heard and witnessed the boasts and extravagance of Southerners abroad,—he knows that where so many million bales of cotton go out, just so much money must flow in; he is angry at our Northern tariff of emergency, and so believes that by opening to himself the South he will secure a vast market. Little does he reflect on the fact that, this step once taken, he will close up in the North and West his greatest market, one worth ten times that of the South, and constantly increasing, just in proportion as our population progresses more rapidly than that of the slave States. It is no exaggeration,—strange as it may seem,—but this extraordinary ignorance has been manifested time and again by high authority in England since the war began. But supposing the balance struck, and cotton found to be worth more to England than the market of the North. Does not our very independence of English manufactures imply such a stimulus to our own, as to threaten that we shall thereby be in a much shorter time in a condition to compete with her in every market of the world? Drive us to manufacturing for ourselves, and we shall manufacture for every one. Already every year witnesses American inventiveness achieving new triumphs over British rivalry. Has England forgotten the report of Messrs. Whitworth and Wallis on American manufactures, in which they were told that of late years they have been more indebted to American skill for useful inventions than to their own? War and non-intercourse will doubtless compel us to economy, and render labor cheaper in America, but they can not quench our innate Yankee-Saxon inventiveness and industry. But if labor is made cheaper in America, then our final triumph will only be hastened. If England seeks her own ruin, she could not advance it more rapidly than she would do by a war or a difference with us. And this many think that she will do for the sake of one season's supply of American cotton! [pg 231] The fable of him who killed the goose for the sake of the golden egg becomes terrible when acted out by a great nation. And if this be true, then the uplifted sword of Albion is, verily, nothing but a goose-killing knife.

'God is not dead yet.' If we are in the right, He will guide and guard us, and they who contend for right and justice and the liberty of the poor, first fully taught on earth by the Saviour Jesus Christ, will not suffer in the end. When we first entered on this struggle with the South, it was soon realized that we had undertaken the greatest struggle of history, the reformation of the modern age, the grandest battle for progress and against the old serpent of oppression ever known. Let them laugh who will, but such a trial of republicanism against the last of feudalism is this, and nothing less. God aid us! But it may be that, as the contest widens, grander accomplishments lie before us. Whether it be done by the sword, or by peaceful industry; whether as victors, or as the unrighteously borne-down in our sorest hour of need,—it is not impossible that, in one way or the other, it is yet in our destiny to refute the monstrous theory that whatever the most powerful nation on earth does is necessarily right, and that all considerations must yield to its enormous interests. Such has been till the present the morality of English and of all European diplomacy,—who will deny it? Can it be possible that this is to last forever, and that nations are in the onward march of progress privileged to adopt a different course from that enjoined by God on individuals? 'Was Israel punished for this?' No, it can not be. We stand at the portal of a new age; step by step Truth must yet find her way even into the selfish camarilla councils of 'diplomacy.' Storms, sorrows, trials, and troubles may be before us,—but we are working through a mighty time. 'Nothing without labor.' Our task for the present is the restoration of the sacred Union. From this let nothing turn us aside, neither the threats of England or of the world. If we must be humiliated by the law, then let us bear the humiliation. Our Great Master bore aforetime the most cruel disgrace in the same holy cause of vindicating the rights of man. If new struggles are forced upon us, let us battle like men. We are living now in the serious and the great,—let us bear ourselves accordingly, and the end shall crown the work.

There is no use in disguising the fact—the people of the North, notwithstanding their sufferings and sacrifices, are not yet aroused. While immediate apprehensions—were entertained of war with England, it was promptly said, that if this state of irritation continued, we should be able to sweep the South away like chaff.

Meanwhile, the North is full of secession sympathizers and traitors, and they are most amiably borne with. There are journals which, in their extreme 'democracy,' defend the South as openly as they dare in all petty matters, and ridicule or discredit to their utmost every statement reflecting on our enemies. They are, it is true, almost beneath contempt and punishment; but their existence is a proof of an amiable, impassive state of feeling, which will never proceed to very vigorous measures. Were the whole people fairly aflame, such paltry treason would vanish like straw in a fiery furnace.

Yet all the time we hold the great weapon idly in our hands, and fear to use it! By and by it will be too late. By and by emancipation-time will have gone by, and when it is too late, we shall possibly see it adopted, and hear its possible failure attributed to those who urged the prompt, efficient application of it betimes.

The article in this number of the Continental entitled The Huguenot Families in America, is the first of a series which will embrace a great amount of interesting details relative to the ancestry of the early French Protestant settlers in this country. Those who are [pg 232] familiar with the English version of WEISS'S History of the Huguenots, and who may recall the merits of that concluding portion which is devoted to the fortunes of the exiles in this country, will be pleased to learn that its writer and our contributor are the same person—a gentleman whose descent from the stock which he commemorates, and whose life-long studies relative to his ancestral faith and its followers, have peculiarly fitted him for the task. Descendants of any of the Huguenot families, in any part of this country, would confer a special favor by transmitting to the author, through the care of the editor, any details, family anecdotes, short biographic sketches, or other material suitable for his history. It is especially desirable that some account should be given of all those descendants of Huguenots who have in any way whatever distinguished themselves in this country.

According to the report of the N.Y. Central Railroad it appears that the average reduction of wages of the employes of that company, since the beginning of the war, has been from $1.12 1/2 per diem to 75 cents. Taking increased taxation and the rise in prices into consideration, we may assume that the working men of the North have lost fifty per cent. of their usual gains.

So far as this is an honorable sacrifice for the war, it is good. But how long is it to last? It will last until the whole country shall have lost a sneaking sympathy for the enemy and their institutions, and until every man and woman shall cease to openly approve of those principles which, as the secessionists truly maintain, constitute us 'two peoples.' With what consistency can any one avow fidelity to the Union and yet profess views according in the main with the platform of Messrs. DAVIS and STEPHENS?

Divested of all other issues, the great complaint of Europe against our conduct of the war is our 'inefficient blockade.' If we are to attach faith to those arch-factors of falsehood, the New Orleans newspaper editors, a vessel leaves their port daily and securely for the Havana. It was the same journals which some months since announced in each succeeding issue that 'the fifteen millions loan is all taken;' 'the loan is very nearly taken;' 'it gives us pleasure to announce that the loan is now completed,' and so on, backing up their assertion's by a series of truly amusing details of 'proof.'

That sundry vessels have broken the blockade is as palpable as that it was for some time most inefficiently conducted. Yet, at the same time, let the enormous difficulties of the task be remembered, and our great want of means at the beginning of the war, when, stripped by the machinations of traitors for years, we had indeed to begin from almost nothing. The coast from Maryland to Mexico is a different affair from that of France or England. The great Napoleon himself, with all his efforts, could never keep his coast-line unbroken by smugglers. Had foreign critics of our war made the slightest friendly or kindly allowance, they would never have spoken as they do of our 'inefficient blockade.' But the great majority of their comments have been neither kindly nor friendly.

Meanwhile, the work goes bravely on. 'The Stone Fleet' will soon have effectually stopped that 'rat-hole,' Charleston, and it is evident that, unless distracted by foreign intervention, the whole coast will be well walled in and guarded. It must, will, and shall be done in time. 'It is more difficult to move a mountain than a marble.'

It would be interesting to trace the probable European results of a war between America and England. Russia, threatened with a servile war, would find in a war with England the most effectual means of settling home difficulties. Louis NAPOLEON, it is said, tacitly encourages England to get to war. How long would he remain her ally when an opportunity would present itself of avenging Waterloo? Or if [pg 233] Hungary and the Sclavonian provinces blazed up in insurrection, what price less than the long-coveted Rhine, and perhaps Belgium, would Louis NAPOLEON accept for his services in aiding Austria? Or would he not take it without rendering such problematic service? Let England beware his friendship. He is a great man, and for his subjects a good one,—but woe to those who trust him for their own ends or believe in his lore! There was one VICTOR EMMANUEL who trusted him once—with the result set forth in the following merry lay:—

'This LOUIS is a rascal, friend;
From all his arts may Heaven defend!
And be thou ever on thy guard,
Lest thy faith meet a sad reward.
And if he swear he loves thee, laugh!
For give him thy little finger half,
And the iron chains of his stern control
Will sink like fire on thy poor soul!'
Now VICTOR heard all this, one day,
And smiled—'It's queer how men can say
  Such things to injure their neighbors!
For do but look at this wonderful man,
So rich in thought, so fertile in plan,
Who, to place all tyranny under ban,
  Never remits his labors,—
This dear, good soul, who, with magical art,
Brings freedom and peace to my trembling heart.'
Soon after, Sir LOUIS rode over the moor:
'My VICTOR, how comes it you're still so poor,
  When I have paid all your debts, sir?
I've made you so rich, I've made you so great;
I've brought you gifts of money and plate;
Is there anything more to complete your state,
  That you'd like to have, I can get, sir?
Come, VICTOR, confess to your faithful friend,
Who to make you happy his honor would lend.'
'Oh, worthy man,—my tower and strength!
How sweet it is that I may, at length,
  Confide in you as a brother!'
'Yes, take what you will, my statesman hold,
Only ask not whence comes the shining gold.
Just see what a beauty here I hold;
  If you're good I may bring you another!—
A crown so rich in costly gems
It will match the Eastern diadems!'
Little VICTOR gazed at the sparkling crown,
Then fell at the feet of his LOUIS down,
  Overcome by deep emotion.
'Oh! oh! is it true? is it all for me?
This beautiful crown, with its diamonds three?
And he clapped his hands in boundless glee,
  And vowed eternal devotion;
While LOUIS looked on with a happy heart,
And blessed himself for his consummate art.
'Yes, VICTOR,' he said, 'it gives me joy
To present you, to-day, with this pretty toy,
  With such freedom from envy or rancor!
But get up from your knees; 'tisn't quite orthodox
To kneel to a man; you might get on the rocks
  Of his HOLINESS' anger.
Now lay the crown in your jewel-box,
And, lest some wandering, cunning fox
Should steal it, be sure to secure the locks.'
'Oh, a friend in need is a friend indeed!'
Quoth VICTOR; 'but this is beyond my meed.
  And what gift of mine can repay you?'
'The key of the casket, friend, if you please,
I will take to my safe beyond the seas.
Your grateful heart will thus rest at ease;
  So give it to me, I pray you.'
But VICTOR'S eyes grew large with fright,
And he cried, 'Oh, LOUIS! this can't be right;
For how can I get of my jewels a sight?
  You might as well take them away too.'
'Give me the key!' screamed his guardian angel,
'Or receive the curse of the LORD'S evangel!'
Poor VICTOR trembled with fear and pain,
When he found his entreaties were all in vain,
  And the key was lost forever.
Alas, alas for the counsel scorned;
For the jewels hid and the freedom mourned.
  And the faith returning never!
For link after link of the adamant chain
Mounted endless guard over heart and brain.

The London Times of Dec. 12 contained the following:—

Blind indeed must be the fury of the Americans if they can voluntarily superadd a war with this country to their present overwhelming embarrassments. It is clear, notwithstanding the sanguine spirit in which small successes are regarded, that the Federal Government is making no material progress in the war.

That is to say, 'We have you at disadvantage. Now is our time to strike. A year ago we might have been afraid, but not now.' When John Bull is next cited as the standard authority for fair play, let his very manly vaunts at this time be quoted in illustration!

[pg 234]

Up through the misty medium of 'News from the South' have struggled of late divers rumors to the effect that the triumphant HOLLINS, of Steam Ram and Greytown memory, has been somewhat shorn of his 'lorrels.' How his stock fell below par is solemnly narrated in the second and following instalment of our' Chronicles:'—



There was a man and his name was HOLLINS.

He was of those that go down to the sea in ships, and sometimes across the bay in very different conveyances.

Bold of speech, with a face like unto a brazen idol of Gath, and a voice even as a bull of Bashan; a man such as Gog and Magog, and ever agog for to be praised of men, or any other man.

Now this HOLLINS was greatly esteemed of the South, howbeit he was held of but little worth in the North, since they who made songs and jokes for the papers had aforetime laughed him to scorn.

For it had come to pass that sundry niggers, the children of Ham, with others of the heathen, walking in darkness, had built unto themselves shanties of sticks and mud, and dwellings of palm-leaves, and given unto the place a name; even Greytown called they it;

And, waxing saucy, had reviled the powers that be, and chosen unto themselves a king, wearing pantaloons.

And HOLLINS said unto himself, 'Lo! here is glory!

'Verily here be niggers who are not men of war, strength is not in them, and their habitations are as naught.'

So he went against them with cannon and sailors, men of war and horse-marines, and made war upon the children of Ham,

Bombarding their town from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same—there was not left one old woman there, no, not one.

Now when the men of the South, and they which dwell in the isles of the sea, with those of the uplands,

Heard that HOLLINS had battered down the cabins of the niggers and slain their hens,

Then they said, 'This is a great man, and no abolitionist.'

And his fame went abroad into all lands, and they made a feast for him, where they sung aloud, merrily,

'We will not go home, no, not until the morning.

'Until the dayspring shineth we will not repair unto our dwellings.

'Advance rapidly in the days of thy youth,

'For it will come to pass that in thy declining years it will not be possible.

'Let the tongue of scandal be silent, and let the foot of dull care be no longer in our dwelling.

'It was in the centre of the Boomjalang, even on a summer day did it come to pass,—rip snap, let her be again exalted!

'Now let all the elders who are not wedded, even they that are without wives, fill up the goblet, and let those who are assembled live for many years!

'Let them drink each unto the handmaid of his heart. May we live for many years!

'Vive l'amour, vive le vin, vive la compagnie!

'We will dance through the hours of darkness to the dayspring, and return with the damsels, even unto their dwellings.

'There was a man named JOHN BROWN; he owned a little one and it was an Indian, yea, two Indian boys were among his heritage.

'The ten spot taketh the nine, but is itself taken by the ace, and since we are here assembled let us drink!

'I will advance on my charger all night, even by day will I not tarry; lo! I have wagered my shekels on the steed with a shortened tail; who will stake his gold on the bay?

'Great was COCK ROBIN, and JAMES BUCHANAN was not small, neither is WIKOFF,

'But greater than all is HOLLINS,—who shall prevail against him?'


In the days of war, even after the South had seceded,

When the arrows of the North were pointed, and the strong men had gone forth unto battle;

When the ships had closed up the ports of the great cities, and their marts were desolate;

When the damsels that had aforetime walked in fine linen and purple, and precious stones, were clad in homespun and went to indigenous parties; When the Mississippi was blockaded by the Preble and Vincennes, and many more and several such;

[pg 235]

Then HOLLINS got himself ready for battle: with great boasting and mighty words did he gird on his armor,

Saying, 'Be not afraid, it is I who will unfold the terrors of my wrath; the Yankees shall utterly wither away, their ships will I burn, and their captains will I take captive, in a highly extra manner.

'Did I not burn Greytown? was it not I who made the niggers run? who shall stand before me?'

Now they had made a thing which they called a steam-ram, an iron-covered boat, like unto a serpent, even like unto the evil beast which crawleth upon its belly, eating dirt, as do many of those who made it.

And all the South rejoiced over it, the voices of many editors were uplifted,

According to the Revised Statutes,

Prophesying sure death and sudden ruin, on back action principles.

Yea, there were those who opined that the ram would suffice to destroy the whole North, or at least its navy—there or thereabouts.

And they cried aloud that the rams of Jericho were nowhere, and that the great ram of Derby, was but as a ramlet compared to this.

And the reporters of the Crescent and Bee, and Delta, and Picayune, and they of the kangaroon Creole French press, went to see it,

And returned with their eyes greatly enlarged, so that they seemed as those of the fish men take from a mile depth in the Gulf of Nice,—which are excessively magnocular,—even as large as the round tower of Copenhagen were their optics,

Declaring that on the face of the earth was no such marvel as the ram; the wonderful wonder of wonders did it seem unto them; sharp death at short notice on craft of all sizes.

Then HOLLINS got unto himself divers tugs and clam-boats, ferry-boats, and one or two larger craft, which thieves had stolen privily aforetime from the government,

For in that land all was done in those days by stealing; pilfering and robbing were among them from the beginning.

And he went forth to battle.

Chapter III.

Now it was about the middle of the third watch of the night,

Came a messenger bearing good tidings unto the Philistines, even unto the Pelicans and Swampers of New Orleans,

Saying, 'He has done it, well he has. C'est un fait accompli.'

Then got they all together in great joy, crying aloud, 'Vive Hollane!—hurrah for Hollins! viva el adelantado! Massa Hollums fur ebber! Der Hollins soll leben! Go it, old Haulins! Evviva il capitano Hollino! Hip, hip, hurroo, ye divils, for Hollins!'

Then there stood up in the high place one bearing a dispatch, which was opened, the words whereof read he unto them:


'I have peppered them.

'Peppered, peppered, peppered, peppepa-peppered them.

'Pip, pap, pep, pop, pup-uppered 'em.

'I drove 'em all before me—glory, g'lang; knocked 'em higher 'n a kite and peppered 'em.

'I sunk the Preble, and the Vincennes did I send to thunder. I peppered 'em.

'The ram has rammed everything to pieces, and the rest did I drive high and dry ashore, where I peppered 'em.

'What was left did my ships destroy; verily I peppered 'em.

'The residue thereof, lo! was it not burnt up by my fire-ships?—yea, they were peppered.

'The remainder I am even now peppering, and the others will I continue to pepper.

'Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers—even so did I—such a peppering never yet was seen, neither aforetime, or aftertime, not in the land where the pepper grows, or any other time.

'I peppered 'em.'

And lo! when this was read there arose such a cry of joy as never was heard, no, not at the Tower of Babel on Saturday night.

And he who read, said: 'Rome was redeemed for a thousand pounds of pepper and a thousand of gold, pound for pound did they weigh it out. But such pepper as this is beyond price—yea, beyond all gold.

'But what are they whom he has conquered, oh my soul? Dirt and Iniquity is their name, evil are their ways, cuss and confound them!

'It was not worth the while for a gentleman to fight such scallawags—behold, a [pg 236] blind nigger in a mud-scow could have put them to flight—even a blind nigger should we have sent against them.

'Great and glorious is HOLLINS, splendid is his fame, great is his victory, beyond all those of the Meads and Prussians, Cherrynea and Chepultapec, Thermopilus and Vagrom.'

Then it was telegrammed all over the South, and the rest of mankind, that HOLLINS had peppered the fleet, and pulverized the last particle thereof into small-sized annihilation.


But on the evening of the first day there came yet other tidings of a reactive character,

Saying that a confounded abolitionist man-of-war was still there giving block-aid to Uncle Sam.

And HOLLINS, who was in town, being asked what this might mean,

Said, 'Fudge!

'Go to, it is naught. Now I come to think of it, there was one infernal little sneaking 90-gun Yankee frigate,

'Which, hearing of my coming, ran away six hours before the battle—ere that I had peppered 'em.'

But lo! even as he spake came yet another message, declaring there were twain.

Then HOLLINS declared, 'It is a d——d lie, and he who says it is another—an abolitionist is he in his heart. Did I not pepper 'em?'

But lo, even as he sware there came yet another,

Saying, 'Let not my lord be angry, but with these eyes have I seen it; by many others was it perceived.

'Whether the ships which my lord peppered have risen again I know not, but if the whole Yankee fleet isn't there again, all sound and right side up with care, I hope I may be drotted into everlasting turpentine.'

Then the newspapers arose and reviled HOLLINS,

Calling him a humbug—even a humbug called they him.

As for the multitude, they laughed him to scorn; such a blackguarding never received man before,

Calling him an old blower and bloat, a gas-bag and fanfaron, a Gascon and a carajo, alma miserabile, and a pudding-head, a sacre menteur and a verfluchte prahlerische Hauptesel, a brassy old blunder-head and a spupsy, un sot sans pareil and a darned old hoffmagander; a pepper-pot-pourri, a thafe of the wurreld and an owld baste, the divil's blissing an him!

In French, English, Dutch, Spanish and Irish, Yankee and Creole, yea, even in Nigger and in Natchez Indian, reviled they him.

And the rumor thereof went abroad into all lands, that HOLLINS had been compelled to hand in his horns.

How are the mighty fallen, how is he that was exalted cut down in his salary!

Beware, oh my son, that thou pullest not the long bow ere the bowstring be twisted, or ever the arrow be at hand—send not in thy bill ere the customer have bought the goods.

Sell not the skin ere thou catchest the bear, and give not out thy wedding cards before thou hast popped the question.

For all these things did HOLLINS—verily he hath his reward.

CHRISTOPHER NORTH, in Blackwood, and many others since him, have popularized this style of chronicle-English of the sixteenth century, and our contributor has sound precedent for his imitations. 'Should time permit, nor the occasion fail,' we trust to have him with us in the following number. Our thanks are due to some scores of cotemporaries who have republished the last Chronicle, and for the praise which they lavished on it.

To HENRY P. LELAND we are indebted for a


Thou who dost walk round town, not quite unknown,
  I have a word to speak within thy ear.
Hast thou no dread to hear in trumpet tone
  'John Jones has got a contract!'—dost not fear
Thy children, yet unborn, may then disown
  The parent, with whose name they thus may hear
Transactions worse than usury's heaviest loan
  Of twenty odd per cent. and more a year?
Oh, John! I pray thee that within thy heart
  The lesson that 'Police Court' teaches thee,
That other Jones' rob hen-roosts, and take part
  In many a rousing fight and drunken spree,
May have its influence; and that thou wilt start
  And have thy name changed, quickly as may be.
[pg 237]

Who has not had his attention called to the small, black carpet-bags which so greatly prevail in this very traveling community? Who has not heard of mistakes which have occurred owing to their frequency and similarity, and who in fact has not lost one himself? That these mistakes may sometimes lead to merrily-moving, serio-comic results, is set forth, not badly, as it seems to us, in the following story:—



There were three of them, all of shining black leather: one on top of the pile of trunks; one on the ground; one in the owner's hand;—all going to Philadelphia; all waiting to be checked.

The last bell rang. The baggageman bustled, fuming, from one pile of baggage to another, dispensing chalk to the trunks, checks to the passengers, and curses to the porters, in approved railway style.

'Mine!—Philadelphia!' cried a stout, military-looking man, with enormous whiskers and a red face, crowding forward, as the baggageman laid his hand on the first bag.

'Won't you please to give me a check for this, now?' entreated a pale, slender, carefully-dressed young man, for the ninth time, holding out bag No. 2. 'I have a lady to look after.'

'Say! be you agoin' to give me a check for that 'are, or not?' growled the proprietor of bag No. 3, a short, pockmarked fellow, in a shabby overcoat.

'All right, gen'l'men. Here you are,' says the functionary, rapidly distributing the three checks. 'Philadelfy, this? Yes, sir,—1092—1740.11—1020. All right.'

'All aboard!' shouted the conductor.

'Whoo-whew!' responded the locomotive; and the train moved slowly out of the station-house.

The baggageman meditatively watched it, as it sped away in the distance, and then, as if a thought suddenly struck him, slapping his thigh, he exclaimed,

'Blest if I don't believe—'

'What?' inquired the switchman.

'That I've gone and guv them three last fellers the wrong checks! The cussed little black things was all alike, and they bothered me.'

'Telegraph,' suggested the switchman.

'Never you mind,' replied the baggageman. 'They was all going to Philadelfy. They'll find it out when they get there.'

They did.


The scene shifts to the Continental Hotel, Philadelphia.—Front parlor, up stairs.—Occupants, the young gentleman alluded to in Chapter I., and a young lady. In accordance with the fast usages of the times, the twain had been made one in holy matrimony at 7.30 A.M.; duly kissed and congratulated till 8.15; put aboard the express train at 8.45, and deposited at the Continental, bag and baggage, by 12.58.

They were seated on the sofa, the black broadcloth coat-sleeve encircling the slender waist of the gray traveling-dress, and the jetty moustache in equally affectionate proximity to the glossy curls.

'Are you tired, dearest?'

'No, love, not much. But you are, arn't you?'

'No, darling.'

Kiss, and a pause.

'Don't it seem funny?' said the lady.

'What, love?'

'That we should be married.'

'Yes, darling.'

'Won't they be glad to see us at George's?'

'Of course they will.'

'I'm sure I shall enjoy it so much. Shall we get there to-night?'

'Yes, love, if—'

Rap-rap-rap, at the door.

A hasty separation took place between man and wife—to opposite ends of the sofa; and then—

'Come in.'

'Av ye plaze, sur, it's an M.P. is waiting to see yez.'

'To see me! A policeman?'

'Yis, sur.'

'There must be some mistake.'

'No, sur, it's yourself; and he's waiting in the hall, beyant.'

'Well, I'll go to—No, tell him to come here.'

'Sorry to disturb you, sir,' said the M.P., with a huge brass star on his breast, appearing with great alacrity at the waiter's elbow. 'B'lieve this is your black valise?'

'Yes, that is ours, certainly. It has Julia's—the lady's things in it.'

'Suspicious sarcumstances about that 'ere valise, sir. Telegraph come this morning [pg 238] that a burglar started on the 8.45 Philadelphia train, with a lot of stolen spoons, in a black valise.—Spoons marked T.B.—Watched at the Ferry.—Saw the black valise.—Followed it up here.—Took a peek inside. Sure enough, there was the spoons. Marked T.B., too. Said it was yours. Shall have to take you in charge.'

'Take me in charge!' echoed the dismayed bridegroom. 'But I assure you, my dear sir, there is some strange mistake. It's all a mistake.'

'S'pose you'll be able to account for the spoons being in your valise, then?'

'Why, I—I—it isn't mine. It must be somebody else's. Somebody's put them there. It is some villanous conspiracy.'

'Hope you'll be able to tell a straighter story before the magistrate, young man; 'cause if you don't, you stand a smart chance of being sent up for six months.'

'Oh, Charles! this is horrid. Do send him away. Oh dear! I wish I was home,' sobbed the little bride.

'I tell you, sir,' said the bridegroom, bristling up with indignation, 'this is all a vile plot. What would I be doing with your paltry spoons? I was married this morning, in Fifth Avenue, and I am on my wedding tour. I have high connections in New York. You'll repent it, sir, if you dare to arrest me.'

'Oh, come, now,' said the incredulous official, 'I've hearn stories like that before. This ain't the first time swindlers has traveled in couples. Do you s'pose I don't know nothin'? 'Tan't no use; you've just got to come along to the station-house. Might as well go peaceably, 'cause you'll have to.'

'Charles, this is perfectly dreadful! Our wedding night in the station-house! Do send for somebody. Send for the landlord to explain it.'

The landlord was sent for, and came; the porters were sent for, and came; the waiters, and chambermaids, and bar-room loungers came, without being sent for, and filled the room and the adjoining hall,—some to laugh, some to say they wouldn't have believed it, but nearly all to exult that the unhappy pair had been 'found out.' No explanation could be given; and the upshot was, that, in spite of tears, threats, entreaties, rage, and expostulations, the unfortunate newly-married pair were taken in charge by the relentless policeman, and marched down stairs, en route for the police office.

And here let the curtain drop on the melancholy scene, while we follow the fortunes of black valise No. 2.


When the train stopped at Camden, four gentlemen got off, and walked, arm-in-arm, rapidly and silently, up one of the by-streets, and struck off into a foot-path leading to a secluded grove outside the town. Of the first two, one was our military friend in a blue coat, apparently the leader of the party. Of the second two, one was a smiling, rosy little man, carrying a black valise. Their respective companions walked with hasty, irregular strides, were abstracted, and—apparently ill at ease.

The party stopped.

'This is the place,' said Captain Jones.

'Yes,' said Doctor Smith.

The Captain and the Doctor conferred together. The other two studiously kept apart.

'Very well. I'll measure the ground, and do you place your man.'

It was done.

'Now for the pistols,' whispered the Captain to his fellow-second.

'They are all ready, in the valise,' replied the Doctor.

The principals were placed, ten paces apart, and wearing that decidedly uncomfortable air a man has who is in momentary expectation of being shot.

'You will fire, gentlemen, simultaneously, when I give the word,' said the Captain. Then, in an undertone, to the Doctor, 'Quick, the pistols.'

The Doctor, stooping over and fumbling at the valise, appeared to find something that surprised him.

'Why, what the devil—'

'What's the matter?' asked the Captain, striding up. 'Can't you find the caps?'

'Deuce a pistol or cap, but this!'

He held up—a lady's night-cap!

'Look here—and here—and here!'—holding up successively a hair-brush, a long, white night-gown, a cologne-bottle, and a comb.

They were greeted with a long whistle by the Captain, and a blank stare by the two principals.

'Confound the luck!' ejaculated the Captain; 'if we haven't made a mistake, and brought the wrong valise!'

The principals looked at the seconds. The seconds looked at the principals. Nobody [pg 239] volunteered a suggestion. At last the Doctor inquired,

'Well, what's to be done?'

'D——d unlucky!' again ejaculated the Captain. 'The duel can't go on.'

'Evidently not,' responded the Doctor, 'unless they brain each other with the hair-brush, or take a pop at each other with the cologne-bottle.'

'You are quite sure there are no pistols in the valise?' said one of the principals, with suppressed eagerness, and drawing a long breath of evident relief.

'We might go over to the city and get pistols,' proposed the Captain.

'And by that time it will he dark,' said the Doctor.

'D——d unlucky,' said the Captain again.

'We shall be the laughing-stock of the town,' consolingly remarked the Doctor, 'if this gets wind.'

'One word with you, Doctor,' here interposed his principal.

They conferred.

At the end of the conference with his principal, the Doctor, advancing to the Captain, conferred with him. Then the Captain conferred with his principal. Then the seconds conferred with each other. Finally, it was formally agreed between the contending parties that a statement should be drawn up in writing, whereby Principal No. 1 tendered the assurance that the offensive words 'You are a liar' were not used by him in any personal sense, but solely as an abstract proposition, in a general way, in regard to the matter of fact under dispute. To which Principal No. 2 appended his statement of his high gratification at this candid and honorable explanation, and unqualifiedly withdrew the offensive words 'You are a scoundrel,' they having been used by him under a misapprehension of the intent and purpose of the remark which preceded them.

There being no longer a cause of quarrel, the duel was of course ended. The principals shook hands, first with each other, and next with the seconds, and were evidently very glad to get out of it.

'And now that it is so happily settled,' said the Doctor, chuckling and rubbing his hands, 'it proves to have been a lucky mistake, after all, that we brought the wrong valise. Wonder what the lady that owns it will say when she opens ours and finds the pistols.'

'Very well for you to laugh about,' growled the Captain; 'but it's no joke for me to lose my pistols. Hair triggers—best English make, and gold mounted. There arn't a finer pair in America.'

'Oh, we'll find 'em. We'll go on a pilgrimage from house to house, asking if any lady there has lost a night-cap and found a pair of dueling-pistols.'


In very good spirits, the party crossed the river, and inquired at the baggage-room in reference to each and all black leather traveling-bags arrived that day, took notes of where they were sent, and set out to follow them up. In due time they reached the Continental, and, as luck would have it, met the unhappy bridal pair just coming down stairs in charge of the policeman.

'What's all this?' inquired the Captain.

'Oh, a couple of burglars, caught with a valise full of stolen property.'

'A valise!—what kind of a valise?'

'A black leather valise. That's it, there.'

'Here!—Stop!—Hallo!—Policeman!—Landlord! It's all right. You're all wrong. That's my valise. It's all a mistake. They got changed at the depot. This lady and gentleman are innocent. Here's their valise, with her night-cap in it.'

Great was the laughter, multifarious the comments, and deep the interest of the crowd in all this dialogue, which they appeared to regard as a delightful entertainment, got up expressly for their amusement.

'Then you say this 'ere is yourn?' said the policeman, relaxing his hold on the bridegroom, and confronting the Captain.

'Yes, it's mine.'

'And how did you come by the spoons?'

'Spoons, you jackanapes!' said the Captain. 'Pistols!—dueling-pistols!'

'Do you call these pistols?' said the policeman, holding up one of the silver spoons marked 'T.B.'

The Captain, astounded, gasped, 'It's the wrong valise again, after all!'

'Stop! Not so fast!' said the police functionary, now invested with great dignity by the importance of the affair he found himself engaged in. 'If so be as how you've got this 'ere lady's valise, she's all right, and can go. But, in that case, this is yourn, and it comes on you to account for them 'are stole spoons. Have to take you in charge, all four of ye.'

'Why, you impudent scoundrel!' roared [pg 240] the Captain; 'I'll see you in ——. I wish I had my pistols here; I'd teach you how to insult gentlemen!'—shaking his fist.

The dispute waxed fast and furious. The outsiders began to take part in it, and there is no telling how it would have ended, had not an explosion, followed by a heavy fall and a scream of pain, been heard in an adjoining room.

The crowd rushed to the scene of the new attraction.

The door was fast. It was soon burst open, and the mystery explained. The thief, who had carried off the Captain's valise by mistake for his own, had taken it up to his room, and opened it to gloat over the booty he supposed it to contain, thrusting his hand in after the spoons. In so doing he had touched one of the hair triggers, and the pistol had gone off, the bullet making a round hole through the side of the valise, and a corresponding round hole in the calf of his leg.

The wounded rascal was taken in charge, first by the policeman, and then by the doctor; and the duelists and the wedded pair struck up a friendship on the score of their mutual mishaps, which culminated in a supper, where the fun was abundant, and where it would he hard to say which was in the best spirits,—the Captain for recovering his pistols, the bride for getting her night-cap, the bridegroom for escaping the station-house, or the duelists for escaping each other. All resolved to 'mark that day with a white stone,' and henceforth to mark their names on their black traveling-bags, in white letters.

MORAL.—Go thou and do likewise.

By odd coincidence, this is not the only 'tale of a traveler' and of a small carpet-bag in this our present number. The reader will find another, but of a tragic cast, in the 'Tints and Tones of Paris' among our foregoing pages.

There are errors and errors, as the French say. The following is not without a foundation in fact:—

THACKERAY'S young lady, who abused a gentleman for associating with low, radical literary friends, must have had about as elevated an opinion of literature as an Irishman I lately heard of had of the medical profession, as represented by its non-commissioned officers.

My friend BOB handed his man-servant some books, to return to the Franklin Library. Noticing, a few minutes afterwards, while passing through the hall, that he was busy carefully wrapping them up in newspaper, he asked him what he was doing that for.

'Och, shure, Mister ——, I'm afraid, if they say me carr'ing books rouhnd undher me ahrm, they'll be afther tayking me for a maydical student!'

The very remarkable and enthusiastic welcome which has been extended to our proposal to establish the CONTINENTAL as an independent magazine, calls for the warmest gratitude from us, and at the same time induces us to lay stress upon the fact that our pages are open to contributions of a very varied character; the only condition being that they shall be written by friends of the Union. While holding firmly to our own views as set forth under the 'Editorial' heading, we by no means profess to endorse those of our contributors, leaving the reader to make his own comments on these. In a word, we shall adopt such elements of independent action as have been hitherto characteristic of the newspaper press, but which we judge to be quite as suitable to a monthly magazine. We offer a fair field and all favors to all comers, avoiding all petty jealousies and exclusiveness. Will our readers please to bear this in mind in reading all articles published in our pages?

We can not conclude without expressing the warmest gratitude to the press and the public for the comment, commendation and patronage which they have so liberally bestowed upon us. We have been obliged to print three times the number for which we had anticipated sale, and believe that no American magazine ever circulated so many copies of a first number. In consequence of this demand we have been compelled to go to press earlier than was anticipated. Articles promised for February, by Messrs. BAYARD TAYLOR and CHARLES F. BROWNE, but not yet received, are necessarily deferred. From the latter gentleman we have a note promising a positive appearance in March.

[pg 241]


FOR 1862.

In the beginning of the last year, when its present proprietors assumed control of the Knickerbocker, they announced their determination to spare no pains to place it in its true position as the leading literary Monthly in America. When rebellion had raided a successful front, and its armies threatened the very existence of the Republic, it was impossible to permit a magazine, which in its circulation reached the best intellects in the land, to remain insensible or indifferent to the dangers which threatened the Union. The proprietors accordingly gave notice, that it would present in its pages, forcible expositions with regard to the great question of the times,—how to preserve the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in their integrity and unity. How far this pledge has been redeemed the public must judge. It would, however, be mere affectation to ignore the seal of approbation which has been placed on these efforts. The proprietors gratefully acknowledge this, and it has led them to embark in a fresh undertaking, as already announced,—the publication of the CONTINENTAL MONTHLY, devoted to Literature and National Policy; in which magazine, those who have sympathized with the political opinions recently set forth in the KNICKERBOCKER, will find the same views more fully enforced and maintained by the ablest and most energetic minds in America.

The KNICKERBOCKER, while it will continue firmly pledged to the cause of the Union, will henceforth be more earnestly devoted to literature, and will leave no effort untried to attain the highest excellence in those departments of letters which it has adopted as specialties.

The January number commences its thirtieth year. With such antecedents as it possesses, it seems unnecessary to make any especial pledges as to its future, but it may not be amiss to say that it will be the aim of its conductors to make it more and more deserving of the liberal support it has hitherto received. The same eminent writers who have contributed to it during the past year will continue to enrich its pages, and in addition, contributions will appear from others of the highest reputation, as well as from many rising authors. While it will, as heretofore, cultivate the genial and humorous, it will also pay assiduous attention to the higher departments of art and letters, and give fresh and spirited articles on such biographical, historical, scientific, and general subjects as are of especial interest to the public.

In the January issue will commence a series of papers by CHARLES GODFREY LELAND, entitled "SUNSHINE IN LETTERS," which will be found interesting to scholars as well as to the general reader, and in an early number will appear the first chapters of a NEW and INTERESTING NOVEL, descriptive of American life and character.

According to the unanimous opinion of the American press, the KNICKERBOCKER has been greatly improved during the past year, and it is certain that at no period of its long career did it ever attract more attention or approbation. Confident of their enterprise and ability, the proprietors are determined that it shall be still more eminent in excellence, containing all that is best of the old, and being continually enlivened by what is most brilliant of the new.

TERMS.—Three dollars a year, in advance. Two copies for Four Dollars and fifty cents. Three copies for Six dollars. Subscribers remitting Three Dollars will receive as a premium, (post-paid,) a copy of Richard B. Kimball's great work, "THE REVELATIONS OF WALL STREET," to be published by G.P. Putnam, early in February next, (price $1.) Subscribers remitting Four Dollars will receive the KNICKERBOCKER and the CONTINENTAL MONTHLY for one year. As but one edition of each number of the Knickerbocker is printed, those desirous of commencing with the volume should subscribe at once.

[Symbol: Pointing Hand] The publisher, appreciating the importance of literature to the soldier on duty, will send a copy gratis, during the continuance of the war, to any regiment in active service, on application being made by its Colonel or Chaplain. Subscriptions will also be received from those desiring it sent to soldiers in the ranks at half price, but in such cases it must be mailed from the office of publication.

J.R. GILMORE, 532 Broadway, New York.

C.T. EVANS, General Agent, 533 Broadway, New York.

—> All communications and contributions, intended for the Editorial department, should be addressed to CHARLES G. LELAND, Editor of the "Knickerbocker," care of C.T. EVANS, 532 Broadway, New York.

—> Newspapers copying the above and giving the Magazine monthly notices, will be entitled to an exchange.

PROSPECTUS OF The Continental Monthly.

There are periods in the world's history marked by extraordinary and violent crises, sudden as the breaking forth of & volcano, or the bursting of a storm on the ocean. These crises sweep away in a moment the landmarks of generations. They call out fresh talent, and give to the old a new direction. It is then that new ideas are born, new theories developed. Such periods demand fresh exponents, and new men for expounders.

This Continent has lately been convulsed by an upheaving so sudden and terrible that the relations of all men and women to each other are violently disturbed, and people look about for the elements with which to sway the storm and direct the whirlwind. Just at present, we do not know what all this is to bring forth; but we do know that great results MUST flow from such extraordinary commotions.

At a juncture so solemn and so important, there is a special need that the intellectual force of the country should be active and efficient. It is a time for great minds to speak their thoughts boldly, and to take position as the advance guard. To this end, there is a special want unsupplied. It is that of an Independent Magazine, which shall be open to the first intellects of the land, and which shall treat the issues presented, and to be presented to the country, in a tone no way tempered by partisanship, or influenced by fear, favor, or the hope of reward; which shall seize and grapple with the momentous subjects that the present disturbed state of affairs heave to the surface, and which CAN NOT be laid aside or neglected.

To meet this want, the undersigned have commenced, under the editorial charge of CHARLES GODFREY LELAND, the publication of a new magazine, devoted to Literature and National Policy.

In POLITICS, it will advocate, with all the for command, measures best adapted to preserve the oneness and integrity of these United States. It will never yield to the idea of any disruption of the Republic, peaceably or otherwise; and it will discuss with honesty and impartiality what must be done to save it. In this department, some of the most eminent statesmen of the time will contribute regularly to its pages.

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Among its attractions will be presented, in an early number, a NEW SERIAL of American Life, by RICHARD B. KIMBALL, ESQ., the very popular author of "The Revelations of Wall Street," "St. Leger," &c. A series of papers by HON. HORACE GREELEY, embodying the distinguished author's observations on the growth and development of the Great West. A series of articles by the author of "Through the Cotton States," containing the result of an extended tour in the seaboard Slave States, just prior to the breaking out of the war, and presenting a startling and truthful picture of the real condition of that region. No pains will be spared to render the literary attractions of the CONTINENTAL both brilliant and substantial. The lyrical or descriptive talents of the most eminent literati have been promised to its pages; and nothing will be admitted which will not be distinguished by marked energy, originality, and solid strength. Avoiding every influence or association partaking of clique or coterie, it will be open to all contributions of real merit, even from writers differing materially in their views; the only limitation required being that of devotion to the Union, and the only standard of acceptance that of intrinsic excellence.

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The CONTINENTAL will be liberal and progressive, without yielding to chimeras and hopes beyond the grasp of the age; and it will endeavor to reflect the feelings and the interests of the American people, and to illustrate both their serious and humorous peculiarities. In short, no pains will be spared to make it the REPRESENTATIVE MAGAZINE of the time.

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N.B.—Newspapers publishing this Prospectus, and giving the CONTINENTAL monthly notices, will be entitled to an exchange.

Footnote 1: (return)

'If the slaves be emancipated, what with their own natural ability and such aids and appliances as the government and 20,000,000 of people in the North can furnish, I do not believe but that they will get employment, and pay, and, of course, subsistence.'—HON. GEORGE S. BOUTWELL.

Footnote 2: (return)

Guesses at Truth.

Footnote 3: (return)

'Mes habitudes de dîner chez les restaurants,' says a Parisian philosopher, 'ont été pour moi une source intarrissable de surprises, de decouvertes, et de revelations sur l'humanité.'

Footnote 4: (return)

The very description of her enthusiastic admirers suggests that such were the original traits and the special character of Rachel. At first we are told by the patron who earliest recognized her genius, 'a delirious popularity surrounded the young tragedienne, and with her the antique tragedy which she had revived.' How different from the original relation of Kemble, Kean, or Siddons to the Shaksperian drama! Then the manner in which she prepared herself for artistic triumph is equally suggestive of the artificial and the conventional: 'Elle se drape,' we are told, 'avec un art merveilleux; au theatre elle fait preuve d'études intelligentes de la statuaire antique.' It was in the external form rather than by sympathetic emotion that she wooed the tragic muse. Véron compares her to Thiers. 'C'est la même netteté de vues, la même ardeur, les mêmes ruses vigéreuses, la même fecondité d'expedients, la même tableau phllosophique que ne la comprend ni la vengeance ni les haines, qui se contente de negocier avec les inimities, d'apaiser les rancunes et de conquerir toutes les influences, toutes les amitiés qui peuvent devenir utiles.'

Footnote 5: (return)

Hon. Daniel S. Dickinson.

Footnote 6: (return)

The 'North Counties' are the north-eastern portion of North Carolina, and include the towns of Washington and Newberne. They are an old turpentine region, and the trees are nearly exhausted. The finer virgin forests of South Carolina, and other cotton States, have tempted many of these farmers to emigrate thither, within the past ten years, and they now own nearly all the trees that are worked in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. They generally have few slaves of their own, their hands being hired of wealthier men in their native districts. The 'hiring' is an annual operation, and is done at Christmas time, when the negroes are frequently allowed to go home. They treat the darkies well, give them an allowance of meat (salt pork or beef), as much corn as they can eat, and a gill of whisky daily. No class of men at the South are so industrious, energetic, and enterprising. Though not so well informed, they have many of the traits of our New England farmers; in fact, are frequently called 'North Carolina Yankees.' It was these people the Overseer proposed to hang. The reader will doubtless think that 'hanging was not good enough for them.'

Footnote 7: (return)

This is all of this interesting family tale that will appear in this place. The remainder will be published in the New York Humdrum; the week after next number of which was issued week before last. Get up early and secure a copy.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Continental Monthly, Vol. I. February,
1862, No. II., by Various


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