Project Gutenberg's Lippincott's Magazine, August, 1885, by Various

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Title: Lippincott's Magazine, August, 1885

Author: Various

Release Date: December 30, 2004 [EBook #14530]
[Date last updated: July 30, 2005]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David Gundry and the Online Distributed
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Transcriber's Note: The Table of Contents was added by the transcriber. Footnotes will be found at the end of the text.


AUGUST, 1885.



VIII. 113




I.     PARADISE.138




















Daniel Webster's "Moods." by F.C.M.206
Feuds and Lynch-Law in the Southwest. by J.A.M. 208
The Etymology of "Babe." by S.E.T. 210




Recent Fiction. 215





[Pg 113]Not the least delightful of Sir Robert's qualities was his capacity for enjoying most things that came in his way, and finding some interest in all. When Mr. Ketchum joined him in the library, where he was jotting down "the sobriquets of the American States and cities," and told him of the Niagara plan, his ruddy visage beamed with pleasure.

"A delightful idea. Capital," he said. "I suppose I can read up a bit about it before we start, and not go there with my eyes shut. Ni-a-ga-rah,—monstrously soft and pretty name. Isn't there something on your shelves that would give me the information I want? But we can come to that presently. Just now I want to find out, if I can, how these nicknames came to be given. They must have originated in some great popular movement, eh? I thought I saw my way, as, for example, the 'Empire State' and the 'Crescent City' and some others, but this 'Sucker State,' now, and 'Buckeye' business,—what may that mean in plain English?"

Mr. Ketchum shed what light he could on these interesting questions, and Sir Robert thoughtfully ran his hands through his side-whiskers, while, with an apologetic "One moment, I beg," or "Very odd, very; that must go down verbatim," he entered the gist of Mr. Ketchum's queer remarks in his note-book.

On the following morning he rose with Niagara in his soul. He had more questions to ask at the breakfast-table than anybody could answer, and was eager to be off. Mr. Ketchum, who had that week made no less than fifty thousand dollars by a lucky investment, was in high spirits. Captain Kendall, who had been allowed to join the party, was vastly pleased by the prospect of another week in Ethel's society. Mrs. Sykes was tired of Fairfield, and longed to be "on the move" again, as she frankly said. So that, altogether, it was a merry company that finally set off.

The very first view of "the ocean unbound" increased their pleasure to enthusiasm. Mrs. Sykes, without reservation, admitted that it was "a grand spot," and felt as though she were giving the place a certificate when she added, "Quite up to the mark." She was out on the Suspension Bridge, making a sketch, as soon as she could get there; she took one from every other spot about the place; and when tired of her pencil, she stalked about with her hammer, chipping off bits of rock that promised geological interest. But she found her greatest amusement in the brides that "infested the place" (to quote from her letter to her sister [Pg 114]Caroline), indulged in much satirical comment on them, and, choosing one foolish young rustic who was there as her text, wrote in her diary, "American brides like to go from the altar to some large hotel, where they can display their finery, wear their wedding-dresses every evening, and attract as much attention as possible. The national passion for display makes them delight in anything that renders them conspicuous, no matter how vulgar that display may be. If one must have a fools' paradise, generally known as a honeymoon, this is about as pleasant a place as any other for it; and, as there are several runaway couples stopping here, and the place is just on the border, this is doubtless the American Gretna Green, where silly women and temporarily-infatuated men can marry in haste, to repent at leisure."

Mr. Heathcote gave his camera enough to do, as may be imagined. He and Sir Robert traced the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, and photographed it at every turn, made careful estimates of its length, breadth, depth, the flow of currents, scale of descent to the mile, wear of precipice, and time necessary for the river to retire from the falls business altogether and meander tranquilly along on a level like other rivers. They arrayed themselves in oil-skin suits and spent an unconscionable time at the back of the Horseshoe Fall, roaring out observations about it that were rarely heard, owing to the deafening din, and had more than one narrow escape from tumbling into the water in these expeditions. They carefully bottled some of it, which they afterward carefully sealed with red wax and duly labelled, intending to add it to a collection of similar phials which Sir Robert had made of famous waters in many countries. They went over the mills and factories in the neighborhood, and Sir Robert had long confabs with the managers, of whom he asked permission to "jot down" the interesting facts developed in the course of their conversations, surprising them by his knowledge of mechanics and the subjects in hand.

"Man alive! what do you want with those?" said he to one of them, a keen-faced young fellow, who was showing him the boiler-fires. He pointed with his stick as he spoke, and rattled it briskly about the brick-work by way of accompaniment as he went on: "Such a waste of force, of money! downright stupidity! You don't want it. You don't need it, any more than you need an hydraulic machine tacked to the back of your trains. You have got water enough running past your very door to—"

"I've told that old fool Glass that a thousand times," broke in the young man; "but if he wants to try and warm and light the world with a gas-stove when the sun is up I guess it's no business of mine, though it does rile me to see the power thrown away and good coal wasted. If I had the capital, here's what I'd do. Here."

Seizing Sir Robert's stick, the enthusiast drew a fondly-loved ideal mill in the coal-dust at his feet, while Sir Robert looked and listened, differed, suggested, with keen interest, and Mr. Heathcote gave but haughty and ignorant attention to the talk that followed.

"Yes, that's the way of it; but Glass has lived all his life with his head in a bag, and he can't see it. I am surprised to see you take an interest in it. Ever worked at it?" said the man in conclusion.

"A little," said Sir Robert affably, who could truthfully have said as much of anything. "Who is this Glass?"

"Oh, he's the man that owns all this; the stupidest owl that ever lived. I wish he could catch on like you. I'd like very well to work with you," was the reply.

"A bumptious fellow, that," commented Mr. Heathcote when they left. "He'd 'like to work with you,' indeed!"

"A fellow with ideas. I'd like to work with him," replied his uncle; "though he isn't burdened with respect for his employers."

Miss Noel meanwhile tied on her large straw hat, took her cane, basket, trowel, tin box, and, followed by Parsons [Pg 115]with her sketching-apparatus, went off to hunt plants or wash in sketches, a most blissfully occupied and preoccupied old lady.

To Mr. Ketchum's great amusement, Miss Noel, Mrs. Sykes, and Mr. Heathcote all arrived at a particular spot within a few moments of each other one morning, all alike prepared and determined to get the view it commanded.

Miss Noel had said to Job en route, "Do you think that I shall be able to get a fly and drive about the country a bit? I should so like it. Are they to be had there?"

And he had replied, "You will have some difficulty in not taking 'a fly' there, I guess. The hackmen would rather drive your dead body around town for nothing than let you enjoy the luxury of walking about unmolested. But I will see to all that."

Accordingly, a carriage had been placed at their disposal, and they had taken some charming drives, in the course of which Parsons, occupying the box on one occasion, was seen to be peering very curiously about her.

"A great pity, is it not, Parsons, that we can't see all this in the autumn, when the thickets of scarlet and gold are said to be so very beautiful?" said Miss Noel, addressing her affably.

"Yes, mem," agreed Parsons. "And, if you please, mem, where are the estates of the gentry, as I 'ave been lookin' for ever since we came hover?"

"Not in this part," replied Miss Noel. "The red Indians were here not very long since. You should really get a pin-cushion of their descendants, those mild, dirty creatures that work in bark and beads. Buy of one that has been baptized: one shouldn't encourage them to remain heathens, you know. Your friends in England will like to see something made by them; and they were once very powerful and spread all over the country as far as—as—I really forget where; but I know they were very wild and dreadful, and lived in wigwams, and wore moccasins."

"Oh, indeed, mem!" responded Parsons, impressed by the extent of her mistress's information.

"A wigwam is three upright poles, such as the gypsies use for their kettles, thatched with the leaves of the palm and the plantain," Miss Noel went on. "Dear me! It is very odd! I certainly remember to have read that; but perhaps I am getting back to the Southern Americans again, which does so vex Robert. I wonder if one couldn't see a wigwam for one's self? It can't be plantain, after all: there is none growing about here."

She asked Mabel about this that evening, and the latter told her husband how Miss Noel was always mixing up the two continents.

"I don't despair, Mabel. They will find this potato-patch of ours after a while," he said good-humoredly.

But he was less amiable when Mrs. Sykes said at dinner next day, "I should like to try your maize. Quite simply boiled, and eaten with butter and salt, I am told it is quite good, really. I have heard that the Duke of Slumborough thought it excellent."

"You don't say so! I am so glad to hear it! I shall make it generally known as far as I can. Such things encourage us to go on trying to make a nation of ourselves. It would have paralyzed all growth and development in this country for twenty years if he had thought it 'nasty,'" said Job. "Foreigners can't be too particular how they express their opinions about us. Over and over again we have come within an ace of putting up the shutters and confessing that it was no use pretending that we could go on independently having a country of our own, with distinct institutions, peculiarities, customs, manners, and even productions. It would be so much better and easier to turn ourselves over to a syndicate of distinguished foreigners who would govern us properly,—stamp out ice-water and hot rolls from the first, as unlawful and not agreeing with the Constitution, give us cool summers, prevent children from teething hard, make it a penal offence to talk through the nose, and put a bunch of Bourbons in [Pg 116]the White House, with a divine right to all the canvas-back ducks in the country. There are so many kings out of business now that they could easily give us a bankrupt one to put on our trade dollar, or something really sweet in emperors who have seen better days. And a standing army of a hundred thousand men, all drum-majors, in gorgeous uniforms, helmets, feathers, gold lace, would certainly scare the Mexicans into caniptious and unconditional surrender. The more I think of it, the more delightful it seems. It is mere stupid obstinacy our people keeping up this farce of self-government, when anybody can see that it is a perfect failure, and that the country has no future whatever."

"Oh, you talk in that way; but I don't think you would really like it," said Mrs. Sykes. "Americans seem to think that they know everything: they are above taking any hints from the Old World, and get as angry as possible with me when I point out a few of the more glaring defects that strike me."

"I am surprised at that. Our great complaint is that we can't get any advice from Europeans. If we only had a little, even, we might in time loom up as a fifth-rate power. But no: they leave us over here in this wilderness without one word of counsel or criticism, or so much as a suggestion, and they ought not to be surprised that we are going to the dogs. What else can they expect?" said Mr. Ketchum.

"Husband, dear, you were very sharp with my cousin to-day, and it was not like you to show temper,—at least, not temper exactly, but vexation," said Mabel to him afterward in mild rebuke. "She has told me that you quite detest the English, so that she wonders you should have married me. And I said that you were far too intelligent and just to cherish wrong feelings toward any people, much less my people."

"Well, if she represented England I should drop England quietly over the rapids some day when I could no longer stand her infernal patronizing, impertinent airs, and rid the world of a nuisance," said Mr. Ketchum, with energy. "Excuse my warmth, but that woman would poison a prairie for me. Fortunately, I happen to know that she only represents a class which neither Church nor State there has the authority to shoot, yet, and I am not going to cry down white wool because there are black sheep. Look at Sir Robert, and Miss Noel, and all the rest of them, how different they are."

Captain Kendall certainly found Niagara delightful, for, owing to the absorption of the party in their different pursuits, he was able to see more of Ethel than he had ever done. He was so different from the men she had known that he was a continual study to her. Instead of the studied indifference, shy avoidance, shy advances, culminating in a blunt and straightforward declaration of "intentions," which she would have thought natural in an admirer, followed by transparent, honest delight in the event of acceptance, or manly submission to the inevitable in the event of rejection, Captain Kendall had surprised her by liking her immediately, or at least by showing that he did, and seeking her persistently, without any pretence of concealment. He talked to her of politics, of social questions in the broadest sense, of books, scientific discoveries, his travels, and the travels of others. He read whole volumes of poetry to her. He discoursed by the hour on the manly character, its faults, merits, peculiarities, and possibilities, and then contrasted it with the womanly one, trait for trait, and it seemed to her that women had never been praised so eloquently, enthusiastically, copiously. At no time was he in the least choked by his feelings or at a loss for a fresh word or sentiment. Such romance, such ideality, such universality, as it were, she had never met. When his admiration was most unbridled it seemed to be offered to her as the representative of a sex entirely perfect and lovely. Everything in heaven and earth, apparently, ministered to his passion and made him talk all around the beloved subject with a [Pg 117]wealth of simile and suggestion that she had never dreamed of. But, if he gave full expression to his agitated feelings in these ways, he was extremely delicate, respectful, reserved, in others. He wrapped up his heart in so many napkins, indeed, that, being a practical woman not extraordinarily gifted in the matter of imagination, she frequently lost sight of it altogether, and she sometimes failed to follow him in a broad road of sentiment that (like the Western ones which Longfellow has described) narrowed and narrowed until it disappeared, a mere thread, up a tree. If he looked long, after one of these flights, at her sweet English face to see what impression he had made, he was often forced to see that it was not the one he had meant to make at all.

"Is anything amiss?" she asked once, in her cool, level tone, fixing upon him her sincerely honest eyes. "Are there blacks on my nose?" Although she had distinctly refused him at Kalsing, as became a girl destitute of vanity and coquetry and attached to some one else, she had not found him the less fluent, omnipresent, persuasive, at Niagara. It was diverting to see them seated side by side on Goat Island, he waving his hand toward the blue sky, apostrophizing the water, the foliage, the clouds, and what not, in prose and verse, quite content if he but got a quiet glance and assenting word now and then, she listening demurely in a state of protestant satisfaction, her fair hair very dazzling in the sunshine, an unvarying apple-blossom tint in her calm face, her fingers tatting industriously not to waste the time outright. It was very agreeable in a way, she told herself, but something must really be done to get rid of the man. And so, one morning when they chanced to be alone, and he was being unusually ethereal and beautiful in his remarks, telling her that, as Byron had said, she would be "the morning star of memory" for him, she broke in squarely, "That is all very nice; very pretty, I am sure. But I do hope you quite understand that I have not the least idea of marrying you. There is no use in going on like this, you know, and you would have a right to reproach me if I kept silent and led you to think that I was being won over by your fine speeches. You see, you don't really want a star at all. You want a wife; though military men, as a rule, are better off single. I do thank you heartily for liking me for myself, and all that, and I shall always remember the kind things you have done, and our acquaintance, but you must put me quite out of your head as a wife. I should not suit you at all. You would have to leave the American service, and I should hate feeling I had tied you down, and I couldn't contribute a penny toward the household expenses, and, altogether, we are much better apart. It would not answer at all. So, thank you again for the honor you have conferred upon me, and be—be rather more—like other people, won't you, for the future? Auntie fancies that I am encouraging you, and is getting very vexed about it. Perhaps you had better go away? Yes, that would be best, I think."

Thus solicited, Captain Kendall went away, taking a mournfully-eloquent farewell of Ethel, which she thought final; but in this she was mistaken.

Our party did not linger long after this. Sir Robert met a titled acquaintance, who inflamed his mind so much about Manitoba that he decided to go to Canada at once, taking Miss Noel, Ethel, and Mr. Heathcote; Mrs. Sykes had taken up on her first arrival with some New York people, who asked her to visit them in the central part of the State,—which disposed of her; Mabel was secretly longing to get back to her "American child," as Mrs. Sykes called little Jared Ponsonby; and they separated, with the understanding that they should meet again before the English guests left the country, and with a warm liking for each other, the Sykes not being represented in the pleasant covenants of friendship formed.

"I am glad that we have not to bid Ketchum good-by here," said Sir Robert. "Such a hearty, genial fellow! And how kind he has been to us! [Pg 118]His hospitality is the true one; not merely so much food and drink and moneyed outlay for some social or selfish end, but the entertainment of friends because they are friends, with every possible care for their pleasure and comfort, and the most unselfish willingness to do anything that can contribute to either. I am afraid he would not find many such hosts as himself with us. We entertain more than the Americans, but I do not think we have as much of the real spirit of hospitality as a nation. The relation between host and guest is less personal, there is little sense of obligation, or rather sacredness, on either side, and the convenience, interest, or amusement of the Amphitryon is more apt to be considered, as a general thing, than the pleasure of the guest: at least this has been growing more and more the case in the last twenty years, as our society has broken away from old traditions and levelled all its barriers, to the detriment of our social graces, not to speak of our morals and manners. As for that charmingly gentle, sweet woman Mrs. Ketchum, it is my opinion that we are not likely to improve on that type of Englishwoman. A modest, simple, religious creature, a thorough gentlewoman, and a devoted wife and mother. My cousin Guy Rathbone is engaged to a specimen of a new variety,—one of the 'emancipated,' forsooth; a woman who has a betting-book instead of a Bible and plays cards all day Sunday. He tells me that she is wonderfully clever, and that it is all he can do to keep her from running about the kingdom delivering lectures on Agnosticism; as if one wanted one's wife to be a trapesing, atheistical Punch-and-Judy! And the fellow seemed actually pleased and flattered. He told me that she had 'an astonishing grasp of such subjects' and was 'attracting a great deal of attention.' And I told him that if I had a wife who attracted attention in such ways I would lock her up until she came to her senses and the public had forgotten her want of modesty and discretion. This ought to be called the Age of Fireworks. The craze for notoriety is penetrating our very almshouses, and every toothless old mumbler of ninety wants to get himself palmed off as a centenarian in the papers and have a lot of stuff printed about him."

"I see what you mean, Robert," said Miss Noel, "and it certainly cannot be wholesome for women to thirst for excitement, and one would think a lady would shrink from being conspicuous in any way; but things are very much changed, as you say. And I agree with you in your estimate of the Ketchums. She is a sweet young thing, and I heartily like him. Only think! his last act was to send a great basket of fine fruits up to my room, and quite an armful of railway-novels for the journey. Such beautiful thought for our comfort as they have shown!"

"He is rather a good sort in some ways, but a very ignorant man. I showed him some of my specimens the other day, and he thought them granitic, when they were really Silurian mica schist of some kind," put in Mrs. Sykes, who never could bear unqualified praise. "Still, on the whole, the Americans are less ignorant than might have been expected."

"I consider Mr. Ketchum a most kind, gentlemanly, sociable, clever man," said Miss Noel, with an emphatic nod of her head to each adjective, "geology or no geology. And I must say that it is very ungrateful of you to speak of him so sneeringly always."

Sir Robert only waited to write the usual batch of letters, including a last appeal to the editor of the "Columbia Eagle" to know whether he intended to apologize for and publicly retract a certain article, and asking "whether it was possible that any considerable or respectable portion of the Americans could be so arbitrary, illiberal, and exclusive as to wish to exclude the English from America." This done, he left for Canada with his relatives. With his stay there we have nothing to do. It consumed six weeks of exhaustive travel and study of Canadian conditions and resources, resulting ultimately in the [Pg 119]conclusion that Manitoba was not the place he was looking for. The ladies, who had been left in Montreal, were then taken for a short tour through the country, which they all enjoyed, after which Sir Robert asked Miss Noel whether she would be willing to take Ethel back to Niagara and wait there a fortnight, or perhaps a little longer, while he and Mr. Heathcote came back by way of New England and from there went down into Maryland and Virginia, where, according to "a member of the Canadian Parliament," lands were to be had for a song.

"A fortnight? I could spend a twelve-month there," exclaimed she. "Had it not been that I was ashamed to insist upon being let off this journey, I should have stopped there as it was."

To Niagara the aunt and niece and Parsons went, as agreed, and there they found Mr. Bates wandering languidly about the place in chronic discontent with everything for not being something else. He had burned a good deal of incense on Ethel's shrine when she was at Kalsing, and now hailed their advent with some approach to enthusiasm, and attached himself to their suite, vice Captain Kendall, retired. He liked to be seen with them, thought the views from the Canadian side were "deucedly fine," was cruelly affected by the advertisements in the neighborhood, which he denounced as "dreadfully American," trickled out much feeble criticism of and acid comment on his surroundings, gave utterance to fervent wishes that he was "abrard," and in his own unpleasant way gave Ethel to understand that she might make a fellow-countryman happy by becoming Mrs. Samuel Bates if she liked to avail herself of a golden opportunity. "I would live in England, you know. I am really far more at home there than here," said the expatriated suitor. "I have been taken for an Englishman as often as three times in one week, do you know. Curious, isn't it? I ought to be down in Kent now, visiting Lady Simpson, a great friend of mine, who has asked me there again and again. You would like her if you knew her. She is quite the great lady down there."

"A foolish little man, and evidently a great snob, or else rather daft upon some points," Ethel reported to her aunt. "And such a dull, discontented creature, with all his money!" Ethel had some trials of her own just then, and it was no great felicity to listen to Mr. Bates's endless complaints, nor could she spare much sympathy for the sufferings of the exile of Tecumseh, with his rose-leaf sensibilities, inanities, absurdities.

Meanwhile, the young gentleman who was indirectly responsible for many a sad thought of two charming girls that we know of—and who shall say how many more?—was enjoying as much happiness as ever fell to any man in the capacity of ardent sportsman. He had joined the duke and his party at St. Louis, and from there they had gone "well away from anywhere," as he said in describing his adventures to Mr. Heathcote. He had at last reached the ideal spot of all his wildest imaginations and most cherished hopes,—"the wild part,"—really the great prairies, about two hundred miles west of the Mississippi and east of the Rockies. The dream of his life was being fulfilled. He related, in a style not conspicuous for literary merit, but very well suited to the simple annals of the rich, how, having first procured guides, tents, ambulances, camp-equipage, they had pushed on briskly to a military fort, where, having made friends with "a pleasant, gentlemanly set of fellows," the commanding officer, "a friendly old buffer," had courteously given them an escort to protect them from "those dirty, treacherous brutes, the Indians." Not a joy was wanting in this crowning bliss. The guide was "a wonderful chap named Big-Foot Williams, so called by the Indians, good all around from knocking over a rabbit to tackling a grizzly," with an amazing knowledge of woodcraft, "a nose like a bloodhound, an eye as cool as a toad's." No special mention was made of his ear; but the first time he [Pg 120]got off his horse and applied it to the earth, listening for the tramp of distant hoofs in a hushed silence, one bosom could hardly hold all the rapture that filled Mr. Ramsay's figurative cup up to the brim. And the tales he told of savageness long drawn out were as dew to the parched herb, greedily absorbed at every pore. A portrait of "Black Eagle," a noted chief, was given when they got among the Indians,—"a great hulking slugger of a savage, awfully interesting, long, reaching step, magnificent muscles, snake eye, could thrash us all in turn if he liked. The best of the lot."

Even the noble red man was not insensible to the charms of this graceful, handsome young athlete who smiled at them perpetually and said, "Amigo! amigo!" at short intervals,—a phrase suggested by the redoubtable Williams and varied occasionally by a prefix of his own, "Muchee amigo!" The way in which he tested the elasticity of their bows, inspected their guns, the game they had killed, the other natural objects about them, aroused a certain sympathy, perhaps. At any rate, they were soon teaching him their mode of using the most picturesquely murderous of all weapons, and Black Eagle offered, through the interpreter, to give him a mustang and a fine wolf-skin. The pony was declined, the skin accepted, a quid pro quo being bestowed on the chief in the shape of one of Mr. Ramsay's breech-loaders, a gift that made the snake eyes glitter. But what earthly return can be made for some friendly offices? Could a thousand guns be considered as an adequate payment for the delirious thrill that Mr. Ramsay felt when he shot an arrow straight through the neck of a big buffalo, and, wheeling, galloped madly away, like the hero of one of his favorite stories? Was not the duke, who "knew a thing or two about shooting" and had hunted the noble bison in Lithuania, almost as much delighted as though he had done it himself? Is it any wonder that these intoxicating pleasures were all-sufficient for the time to Mr. Ramsay? Perhaps Thekla would have been forgotten by her Max, and Romeo would never have sighed and died for love of Juliet, if those interesting lovers had ceased from wooing and gone a-hunting of the buffalo instead. Not the most deadly and cruel pangs of the most unfortunate attachment could have taken away all the zest from such an occupation, provided they had had what the Mexican journals call the "corazon de los sportsmans." Youth, strength, courage, skill, exercised in a vagabondage that has all the nomadic charm without any of its drawbacks, are apt to sponge the old figures off the slate of life, leaving a teary smear, perhaps, to show where they have been, and room for fresh problems. At night over the camp-fire Mr. Ramsay gave a few pensive thoughts to the girl who regularly put two handkerchiefs under her pillow to receive the tears that welled out copiously when she was at last alone and unobserved after a day of virtuous hypocrisy. Poor child! The pain was very real, and the tears were bitter and salty enough, though they were to be dried in due time. If he had known of them, perhaps he might have kept awake a little longer; but when he wasn't sleepy he was hungry, and when he wasn't hungry he was tired, and when he wasn't tired he was too actively employed to think of anything but the business in hand. Happily, at five-and-twenty it is perfectly possible to postpone being miserable until a more convenient season; and, though he would have denied it emphatically afterward, he certainly thought only occasionally of Bijou at this period, and of Ethel not at all.

Miss Noel heard very regularly from Mrs. Sykes all this while; and that energetic traveller had not been idle. She had made her new friends "take her about tremendously," she said. She had seen all the large towns in that part of the country, and thought them "very ugly and monotonously commonplace, but prosperous-looking,—like the inhabitants." The scenery she had found "far too uninteresting to repay the bother of sketching it." But she had [Pg 121]made a few pictures of "the views most cracked up in the White Mountains,"—where she had been,—"a sort of second-hand Switzerland of a place; really nothing after the Himalayas, but made a great fuss over by the Americans." She described with withering scorn a drive she took there.

"We came suddenly one day upon a party in a kind of Cheap-Jack van," she wrote,—"gayly-dressed people, tricked off in smart finery, and larking like a lot of Ramsgate tradesmen on the public road. One of the impudent creatures made a trumpet of his great ugly fist and spelt out the name of the hotel at which they were stopping, and then put his hand to his ear, as if to listen for the response. Expecting me to tell them anything about myself! But I flatter myself that I was a match for them. I just got out my umbrella and shot it up in their very faces as we passed, in a way not to be mistaken. And—would you believe it?—the rude wretches called out, 'The shower is over now! and 'What's the price of starch?' and roared with laughing." A highly-colored description of "a visit to a great Dissenting stronghold, Marbury Park," followed: "I was immensely curious to see one of these characteristic national exhibitions of hysteria, ignorance, superstition, and immorality, called a 'camp-meeting.' to which the Americans of all classes flock annually by the thousands, so I quite insisted upon being taken to one, though my friends would have got out of it if they could. I fancy they were very ashamed of it; and they had need to be. I will not attempt to describe it in detail here,—you will hear what I have said of it in my diary,—but a more glaringly vulgar, intensely American performance you can't fancy. I have made a number of sketches of the grounds, the tents and tent-life, with the people bathing and dressing and all that in the most exposed manner; of the pavilion, where the roaring and ranting is done; and of the great revivalist who was holding forth when I got there, and who had got such a red face and seemed so excited that it is my belief he was regularly screwed, though my friends denied it, of course. With such a preacher, you can 'realize,' as they say, what the people were like. A regular Derby-day crowd having a religious saturnalia,—that is what it is. It would not be allowed at home, I am sure. Disgusting! One can't wonder at the state of society in America when one sees what their religion is. An unpleasant incident occurred to me while sketching in the pavilion, that shows what I have often pointed out to you,—the radicalism and odious impertinence of this people. I was just putting the finishing-touches to my picture of the Rev. (?) 'Galusha Wickers' (the revivalist: such names as these Americans have!), when I heard a voice behind me saying, 'Lor! Why, that's splendid! perfectly splendid! Well, I declare, you've got him to a t. Lemmy see.' And, if you please, a hand was thrust over my shoulder and the sketch seized, without so much as a 'By your leave.' Can you fancy a more unwarrantable, insufferable liberty? But they are all alike over here. I turned about, and saw a woman who was examining the reverend revivalist with much satisfaction. 'Well, you have got him, to be sure,' she said, returning my angry glance with one of admiration, and quite unabashed. 'What'll you take for it? I've sat under him for five years; and for taking texteses from one end of the Bible to the other, and leading in prayer, and filling the mourners' bench in five minutes, I will say he hasn't got his equal in the universe. He's got a towering intellect, I tell you. I'll give you fifty cents for this, if you'll color it up nice for me and throw in a frame.' Of course I took the picture away from the brazen creature and told her what I thought of her conduct. 'Well, you air techy,' she said, and walked off leisurely." Before closing her letter, Mrs. Sykes remarked of her hostess, "Quite good for nothing physically, and absurdly romantic. She has been abroad a good deal, and bores me dreadfully with her European reminiscences. She is always talking in a foolish, rapturous [Pg 122]sort of way about 'dear Melrose,' or 'noble Tintern Abbey,' or 'enchanting Warwick Castle;' and she has read simply libraries of books about England, and puts me through a sort of examination about dozens of places and events, as though I could carry all England about in my head. I really know less of it than of most other countries: there is nothing to be got by running about it. If one knew every foot of it, everybody would think it a matter of course; but to be able to talk of Siam and the Fiji Islands, Cambodia and Alaska, and the like, is really an advantage in society. One gets the name of being a great traveller, and all that, and is asked about tremendously and taken up to a wonderful extent. I know a man that didn't wish to go to the trouble and expense of rambling all over the world, and wanted the reputation of having done it, so he went into lodgings at intervals near the British Museum and got all the books that were to be had about a particular country, and, having read them, would come back to the West End and give out that he had been there. It answered beautifully for a while, and he was by way of being asked to become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical, and was thought quite an authority and wonderfully clever; but somehow he got found out, which must have been a nuisance and spoiled everything. I can see that these people consider it quite an honor to have me visit them, all because of my having been around the world, I dare say. And of course I have let them see that I know who is who and what is what. They are imploring me to stay on; but I told them yesterday that it wouldn't suit my book at all to stay over two weeks longer, when I had seen all there was to see. That young Ramsay seems to be enjoying himself out there among those nasty savages; and, as hunting is about the only thing he is fit for, he had best stay out there altogether."

The unwritten history of Mrs. Sykes's visit to Marbury Park would have been more interesting than the account she gave. She took with her a camp-chair, which she placed in any and every spot that suited her or commanded the pictorial situations which she wished to make her own permanently. To the horror and surprise of her friends, she plumped it down immediately in front of Mr. Wickers (after marching past an immense congregation), and, wholly unembarrassed by her conspicuous position, settled herself comfortably, took out her block and pencil, and proceeded to jot down that worthy's features line upon line, as though he had been a newly-imported animal at the "Zoo" on exhibition, paying no attention to the precept upon precept he was trying to impress upon his audience.

She walked all over the place repeatedly, went poking and prying into such tents as she chanced to find empty, nor considered this an essential requisite to the conferring of this honor. When less sociably inclined, she established herself outside, close at hand, and in this way made those valuable observations and spirited drawings which subsequently enriched her diary and delighted a discerning British public. But this is anticipating. When she tired of New York, she wrote to Sir Robert that she wished to give as much time as possible to the Mormons, and would leave at once for Salt Lake City, where she would busy herself in laying bare the domestic system as it really existed, and hold herself in readiness to join the party again when they should arrive there en route to the Yosemite.

Sir Robert, being an heroic creature, felt that he could bear this temporary separation with fortitude, and, being about to start for Boston when he got the news, forthwith threw himself upon the New England States in a frenzied search for all the information to be had about them,—their exact geographical position, by whom discovered, when settled, climate, productions, population, principal towns and rivers. He studied three maps of the region as he rattled along in the south-bound train, and devoted the rest of the time to getting an outline of its history: so that his nephew found him but an indifferent companion.

[Pg 123]"I suppose there are authorized maps and charts, geographical, hydrographical, and topographical, issued by the government, and to be seen at the libraries. I must get a look at them at once. These are amateur productions, the work of irresponsible men, contradicting each other in important particulars as to the relative positions of places, and inaccurate in many respects, as I find by comparison," he said, emerging from a prolonged study of his authorities. "You don't seem to take much interest in all this. You should be at the pains to inform yourself upon every possible point in connection with this country, or any other in which you may find yourself; else why travel at all?"

Mr. Heathcote, not having his uncle's thirst for information, was reading a French novel at the time, and did not attempt to defend his position, knowing it probably to be indefensible.

Before getting to Boston the air turned very chill, and a fine, penetrating rain set in that for a while disturbed the student of American history with visions of rheumatism. "God bless my soul! I shall be laid by the heels here for weeks. Damp is the one thing that I can't stand up against. And I have not left my coat out!" he exclaimed, tugging anxiously at his side-whiskers and annoyed to find how dependent he had grown on his valet. "What shall I do? Ah! I have an idea. Damp. What resists it and is practically water-proof? Newspapers!" With this he stood up, seized the "Times" supplement, made a hole in the middle of the central fold, and put it over his head. "Now I have improvised a South-American serape" he observed, in a tone that betrayed the pleasure it gave him to exercise his ingenuity. He then took two other sheets and successively wrapped them around his legs, after the fashion in vogue among gardeners intent upon protecting valuable plants from the rigors of winter. This done, he smoothed down the serape, which showed a volatile tendency to blow up a good deal, and, with a brief comment to the effect that "oilskin or india-rubber could not be better," and no staring about him to observe the effect of his action on the passengers, replaced his hat, sat down, picked up his book again, readjusted his eye-glasses, and went on with the episode he had been reading aloud to his nephew, who, mildly bored by King Philip's war, was mildly amused by the spectacle the baronet presented, and surprised to see that their fellow-travellers thought it an excellent joke. A loud "Haw! haw!" and many convulsive titters testified their appreciation of the absurd contrast between Sir Robert's highly-respectable head, his grave, absorbed air, and the remarkable way in which he was finished off below the ears; but he read on and on, in his round, agreeable voice, unconscious of the effect he was producing, until the train came to the final stop, when Mr. Porter and a very dignified, rigid style of friend came into the car to look for him.

"My dear Porter, I am delighted to see you, and I shall be with you in one moment. I shall then have ceased to be a grub and have become a most beautiful butterfly, ready to fly away home with you as soon as ever you like," he called out in greeting, and in a twinkling had torn off his wrappers, and stood there a revealed acquaintance, carefully collecting his "traps," and beaming cheerfully even upon the friend, who had not come to a pantomime and showed that he disapproved of harlequins in private life.

Mr. Porter, however, was all cordiality, and very speedily transferred his guests to his own house in the vicinity of Boston.

The season was not the one for gaining a fair idea of the society of the city and neighborhood; but if all the people who were away at the sea-side and the mountains were half as charming as those left behind and invited by Mr. Porter, to meet his friends, it is certain that Sir Robert lost a great deal. On the other hand, it is equally certain that if they had been at home Sir Robert would most likely be there now, and this chronicle of his travels would end [Pg 124]here. As it was, he found something novel and agreeable at every step, a fresh interest every hour of his stay. He began at the beginning, and promptly found out what kind of soil the city was built on, went on to consider such questions as drainage, elevation, water-supply, wharves, quays, bridges, and worked up to libraries, museums, public and private collections of pictures, and what not. He ordered three pictures of Boston artists,—two autumnal scenes, and an interior, a negro cabin, with an hilarious sable group variously employed, called "Christmas in the Quarters." Then the questions of fisheries, maritime traffic, coast and harbor defences, light-houses, the ship-building interests, life-saving associations, and railway systems, pressed for investigation, to say nothing of the mills and manufactories, wages of operatives, trades-unions, trade problems, and all the pros and cons of free trade versus protective tariff. Over these he pondered and pored until all hours every night; and the diary had now to be girt about with two stout rubber bands to keep it from scattering instructive leaflets about promiscuously and prematurely. And by day there were sites literary, historical, or generally interesting to be visited, engagements with many friends to keep, endless occupations apparently.

There was so much to see and do that the place was delightful to him, and he certainly made himself vastly agreeable in return to such of its inhabitants as came in his way.

"I have added to my circle some very valuable acquaintances, whom I shall hope to retain as friends," he wrote to England, "notably a medical man who confirms my germ-propagation theory of the 'vomito,' which is now raging in the Southern part of the States (I had it, you remember, on the west coast of Africa, and studied it in the Barbadoes),—an exceptionally clever man, and, like all such men, inclined to be eccentric. I think I was never more surprised than to come upon him the other day in a side-street, where he was positively having his boots polished in public by a ragged gamin who offered to 'shine' me for a 'dime.' He behaved sensibly about it,—betrayed no embarrassment, though he must have felt excessively annoyed, made no apologies, and only remarked that he had been out in the country, and did not wish to be taken for a miller in the town.

"I was led to believe before coming here that I should not be able to tell that Boston was not an English town. It did not so impress me on a surface-view, but it was not long before I recognized that the warp and woof of the social fabric is that of our looms, though the pattern is a little different,—a good sort of stuff, I think, warranted to wash and wear. The variation, such as it is, tried by what I call my differential nationometer, gives to the place its own peculiar, delightful quality." The rigid gentleman, who was a great deal at the Porters', was rather inclined to insist upon the great purity and beauty of his English, to which he repeatedly invited attention, and, as Mr. Ramsay would have said, "went in for" certain philological refinements which Sir Robert had never heard before, and thoroughly disliked. But as there are more Scotchmen in London than in Edinburgh, and better oranges can be bought for less money in New York than in New Orleans, so it may be that if you want to find really superior English you must leave England altogether,—abandon it to its defective but firmly-rooted patois, and seek in more classic shades for the well—spring of Saxon undefiled. But Sir Robert was not inclined to do this. There were limits to his liberality and spirit of investigation. When the rigid gentleman instanced certain words to which he gave a pronunciation that made them bear small resemblance to the same words as spoken by any class of people laboring under the disadvantage of having been born and bred in England, Sir Robert got impatient, and testily dismissed the subject with, "Oh, come, now! I can stand a good deal, but I can't stand being told that we don't know how to speak English in England." Something, however, must [Pg 125]be pardoned to a foreigner. If Sir Robert would not consent to set Emerson a little higher than the angels, as some other Bostonians could have wished, and had never so much as heard of Thoreau and other American celebrities not wholly insignificant, he had an immense admiration for Longfellow, and could spout "Hiawatha" or "Evangeline" with the best, associated Hawthorne with something besides his own hedges in the month of May, and was eager to be taken out to Beverly Farms, that he might "do himself the honor to call upon" the wisest, wittiest, least-dreaded, and best-loved of Autocrats. When the day fixed for his departure came, he was still revelling in what the Historical Society of Massachusetts had to show him, and actually stayed over a day that he might see the finest collection of cacti in the country, and at last tore himself away with much difficulty and lively regrets, carrying with him a collection of Indian curiosities given him by Mr. Porter, whom he considered to have behaved "most handsomely" in making him such a present. "I can't rob you outright, my dear fellow. I feel a cut-purse, almost, when I think of taking all these valuable and deeply-interesting objects illustrative of the life and civilization of the aborigines," he said. "Give me duplicates, if you will be so generous, but nothing unique, I insist." He finally accepted one gem in the collection,—a towering structure of feathers that formed "a most delightful head-dress, quite irresistibly fascinating," tried it on before a mirror that gave back faithfully the comical reflection, and incidentally delivered a lecture on the head-ornaments of many savage and civilized nations of every age, though not at all in the style of the famous Mr. Barlow.

Mr. Heathcote at least was not sorry to find that they were, as he said. "booked for Baltimore." The image of the beautiful Miss Bascombe had not been effaced. Perhaps he had photographed it by some private process on his heart with the lover's camera, which takes rather idealized but very charming pictures, some of which never fade. At all events, there it was, very distinct and very lovely, and always hung on the line in his mental picture-gallery. It was positively with trepidation that he presented himself before her very soon after his arrival; and an undeniable blush "mantled" his cheek—if a blush can be said with any propriety to mantle the male cheek—- when he marched into the drawing-room, where she was doing a dainty bit of embroidery, and with much simplicity and directness said, "You said I might come, you know, and I have come; and I begged of Ethel to come too, but she could not leave my aunt," before he had so much as shaken hands. Of course no well-regulated and well-bred young woman—and Miss Bascombe was both—ever permits herself to remember any man until she is engaged to him; but she need not forget one that has impressed her agreeably. Miss Bascombe had not forgotten the handsome Englishman she had met at Jenny De Witt's, nor the little lecture she had given him on the duties of brothers to sisters, and it did not strike her that his inaugural address was at all eccentric or mysterious. He had been told what he ought to do; he had tried to do it, as was quite right and proper. He deserved some reward. And he got it,—though only as an encouragement to abstract virtue, of course. The young lady was pleased to be friendly, gracious, charming. Her mother came in presently, was equally friendly and gracious, and almost as charming. Her father came home to dinner, and was friendly too, and hearty, and very hospitable. Her brothers were friendliest of all. He knew quite well that he had no claim on them, that he had not saved the life of any member of the family or laid them under any sort of obligation, individually or collectively, and no reception could have seemed more special and dangerously cordial, yet no anxieties oppressed, no fears distracted him. The weight of excessive eligibility suddenly slipped off him, like the albatross from the neck of the Ancient [Pg 126]Mariner, leaving him a thankful and a happy man, and in a week he had established himself firmly at the Bascombes', declined to accompany his uncle to Virginia, and definitely settled in his own mind that he would take the step matrimonial,—the step from the sublime to—well, not always the ridiculous. With this resolution he naturally thought that the greatest obstacle to success had been removed; but he was soon disillusionized. He had already come to see that American girls were very much in the habit of being gracious to everybody, and saying pretty and pleasant things, with no thought of an hereafter; also that they did not live with St. George's, Hanover Square, or its American equivalent, Trinity Church, New York, stamped on the mental retina. Miss Bascombe was "very nice" to him, he told himself, but she was quite as nice to a dozen other men. She was uniformly kind, courteous, agreeable, to every one who came to the house. Her cordiality to him meant nothing whatever. Yes, he was quite free,—free as air; he saw that plainly, and perversely longed to assume the fetters he had so long and so skilfully avoided. What was the use of having serious intentions when not the slightest notice was taken of the most compromising behavior? It was true that he was perfectly at liberty to see more of Edith than an Englishman ever does of any woman not related to him, and to say and do a thousand things any one of which at home would have necessitated a proposal or instant flight. But no importance whatever seemed to be attached to them here, and he was utterly at a loss how to make his seriousness felt. Yet it was quite clear that if there was to be any wooing done, he would have to do it,—go every step of the way himself, with no assistance from Miss Bascombe. "How on earth am I to show her that I care for her?" he thought. "Other men send her dozens of bouquets, and box after box of expensive sweets, and loads of books, and music without end, and they come to see her continually, and take her about everywhere, and are entirely devoted to her. I wonder what fellows over here do when they are serious? How do they make themselves understood when they go on in this way habitually? It is a most extraordinary state of affairs! And neither party seems to feel in the least compromised by it. There is that fellow Clinch, who fairly lives at the Bascombes', and when I asked her if she was engaged to him she said, 'Engaged to George Clinch? What an idea! No. What put that in your head? He is a nice fellow, and I like him immensely, but there's nothing of that sort between us. What made you think there was? And when I explained, she said, 'Oh, that's nothing! He is just as nice to lots of other girls.' And when I suggested to him that he was attached to her, he said, 'Edith Bascombe? Oh, no! She is a great friend of mine, and a charming girl, but I have never thought of that, nor has she. I go there a good deal, but I have never paid her any marked attention.' No marked attention, indeed! Nothing seems to mean anything here: it is worse than being in England, where everything means something. No, it isn't, either. I vow that when I am at the Clintons' in Surrey I scarcely dare offer the girls so much as a muffin, and if I ask the carroty one, Beatrice, the simplest question, she blushes and stammers as if I were proposing out of hand. But what am I to do? I can't sing and take to serenading Edith on moonlit nights with a guitar and a blue ribbon around my neck. I can't push her into the river that I may pull her out again. I dare say there is nothing for it but to adopt the American method,—enter with about fifty others for a sort of sentimental steeple-chase, elbow or knock every other fellow out of the way in the running, work awfully hard to please the girl, and get in by half a length, if one wins at all. There is no feeling sure of her until one is coming back from the altar, evidently."

Some of his conversations with Edith were certainly anything but encouraging. At other times he felt morally sure that [Pg 127]she shared that derangement of the bivalvular organ technically defined as "a muscular viscus which is the primary instrument of the blood's motion," whose worst pains are said to be worth more than the greatest pleasures. He was very much in earnest, and entirely straightforward, There were no balancing indecisions now, but the most downright affirmation of preference. His little speeches were not veiled in rosy clouds of metaphor and poetry and distant allusions, like Captain Kendall's, nor did they flow out in an unfailing stream of romantic eloquence, like that gifted warrior's. They were so honest and so clumsy, indeed, that Edith could not help laughing at them merrily sometimes, to his great discomfiture, consisting as they did chiefly of such statements as, "You know that I am most awfully fond of you. I was tremendously hard hit from the first. If you don't believe me, you can ask Ramsay. I told him all about it. You aren't in the least like any other girl that I have ever known, except Mrs. De Witt a little. I suppose you know that I would have married her at the dropping of a hat if I could have done so. But that is all over now. I care an awful lot for you now, and shall be quite frightfully cut up if you won't have anything to say to me,—I shall, really. I have got quite wrapped up in you, upon my word. And I shall be intensely glad and proud if you will consent to be my wife."

When Edith failed to take such speeches as these seriously, poor Mr. Heathcote was quite beside himself, and, in reply to her bantering accusations as to his being "a great flirt" and not "really meaning one word that he said," opposed either burly negation or a deeply-vexed silence. They looked at so many things differently that they found a piquant interest in discussing every subject that came up.

"There go May Dunbar and Fred Beach," she said to him one Sunday as they were coming home from church. "Isn't he handsome? They have been engaged three years. Did you ever hear of such constancy?"

"Do you call that constancy? Why, if a fellow can't wait three years for a lovely girl like that, he must be a poor stick. Why, my uncle Montgomery was engaged to his wife seventeen years, while he went out to India and shook the pagoda-tree, after which he came back, paid all his father's debts, and they married and went into the house they had picked out before he sailed," said Mr. Heathcote.

"Good gracious! what a time! I hope the poor things were happy at last. Were they?" asked Edith.

"H-m—pretty well. He is a rather fiery, tyrannical old party. She doesn't get her own way to hurt," he replied.

"I have heard that Englishwomen give way to the men in everything and are always, voluntarily or involuntarily, sacrificed to them. It must be so bad for both," said Edith sweetly.

"Oh, you go in for woman's rights and that sort of thing, I suppose," he said, in a tone of annoyance.

"Indeed I don't do anything of the kind," replied she, with warmth. "If I did, I should be aping the men when I wasn't sneering at them. But I respect your sex most when they most deserve to be respected, and I don't see anything to admire in a selfish, tyrannical man that is always imposing his will, opinions, and wishes upon the ladies of his household and expects to be the first consideration from the cradle to the grave because he happens to be a man."

"But he is the head of his house. He ought to get his own way, if anybody does, and, if he is not a coward, he will, too," said Mr. Heathcote rather hotly. "Would you have a man a molly-coddle, tied to his wife's apron-string, and not daring to call his soul his own?"

"Not at all," replied Edith. "It is the cowards that are the tyrants. 'The bravest are the tenderest, the loving are the daring,' as our American poet says. And women have souls of their own, except in the East. Why shouldn't they be the first consideration and do as they please, pray? They are the weaker, the more delicate and daintily bred. If [Pg 128]there is any pampering and spoiling to be done, they should be the objects of it. And as to rights, there is no divine right of way given to man, that I know of. I don't believe in that sort of thing at all. Of course no reasonable woman wants or expects everybody to kootoo before her and everything to give way to her."

"And no gentleman fails to show a proper respect for his wife's wishes and comfort, not to mention her happiness," said Mr. Heathcote. "But of course that sort of thing is only to be found in America. Englishmen are all selfish, and tyrants, and domestic monsters, I know."

"I didn't say anything of the kind," replied Edith quickly, her cheeks pink with excitement. "I don't know anything about Englishmen or the domestic system of England, and I never expect to. But, if what I have heard is true, it is a system that tends to make men mortally selfish; and selfish people, whether they are men or women, and whether they know it or not, are all monsters. But I apologize for my remarks, and, as I am not interested in the subject in the least, we will talk of something else, if you please."

This very feminine conclusion, delivered loftily and with sudden reserve, left Mr. Heathcote in anything but an agreeable frame of mind, and for an hour or two made him doubt the wisdom of international marriages; but this mood passed away, and he remained a fixture at the maison Bascombe, where the very postman came to know him and generously sympathized with the malady from which he was suffering. Nor was this the only house in which he was made very welcome. Baltimore is one of many American cities that suffer from the vague but painful accusation of being "provincial;" but, admitting this dreadful charge, it has social, gastronomic, and other charms of its own that ought to compensate for the absence of that doubtful good, cosmopolitanism. Mr. Heathcote certainly found no fault with it, and did not miss the population, pauperism, or other institutions of Paris, London, or Vienna. On the contrary, he took very kindly to the pretty place, and heartily liked the people. There was nothing oppressive or ostentatious in the attentions he received, but just the cordiality, grace, and charm of an old-established society of most refined traditions, perfect savoir-vivre, and chronic hospitality.

"You are making a Baltimorean of me, you are so awfully kind to me," he would say, pronouncing the a in Bal as he would have done in sal; but the truth was that he had become primarily a Bascomite and only very incidentally a Baltimorean. The city counts hundreds of such converts every year. He was so happy and entirely content that he would have quite forgotten what it was to be bored just at this period but for certain individuals,—a boastful, disagreeable Irishman, who fastened upon him apparently for no other reason than that he might abuse England at great length and talk of his own valor, accomplishments, and "paddygree" (as he very properly called the record that established his connection with Brian Boroo and Irish kings generally), and a lady who seemed to take the most astounding, unquenchable interest in the English nobility, as more than one lady had seemed to him to do, to his great annoyance.

"I don't know a bit about them, I assure you," he said to her; "but I have the 'Peerage.' If you would like to see that, I will send it you with pleasure."

This only diverted her conversation into a different but equally distasteful channel,—the great distinction and antiquity of her own family. It really seemed as though she had a dread of Mr. Heathcote's leaving the country with some wrong impression on this important subject and was determined that he should be put in possession of all the information she had or imagined herself to have about it. She talked to him about it so much that the poor man was at incredible pains to keep out of her way.

"I don't care a brass copper about [Pg 129]her," he complained to Edith; "and if the family has been producing women like her as long as she says, and is going on at it, all I can say is that it is a pity they have lasted this long, and the sooner they die out the better. What do I care about her family, pray? I never heard as much about family in all my life, I give you my word, as I have done since I came to America. The stories told me are something wonderful,—all about the two brothers that left England, and all that, you know. They seem all to have come away in pairs, like the animals in the ark. I said to one fellow that was beginning with those two brothers, 'Couldn't you make it three, don't you think?' And you'll not believe me, but I speak quite without exaggeration, when I say that one woman out in Raising assured me gravely that she was descended from the houses of York and Lancaster!"

"She didn't!" exclaimed Edith. "That is, if she did, she must have been crazy; and I won't have you going back to England and giving false impressions of us by repeating such stories. Promise me that you will never repeat it there."

"Oh, that's all right," he replied soothingly. "It's an extreme case, I grant, and I'll say no more about it if it vexes you, but it is a true tale all the same. Howe was her name, I remember; and I felt like saying,—I'll eat my hand if I understand Howe this can possibly be,'—that's in the Bab Ballads,—but I didn't."

Sir Robert had small opportunity of making acquaintance with Baltimore. He was very eager to get down into Virginia, and stayed there but two days. On the second of these he attended a gentleman's dinner-party, the annual mile-stone of a military society composed of men who had worn the gray and marked the well-known tendency of tempus to fugit in this agreeable fashion. Their ex-enemies of the blue were also there, but not in the original overwhelming numbers, and the battle was now to one party, now to the other, the race to the best raconteur, rivers of champagne flowed instead of brave blood, and the smoke of cannon was exchanged for that of Havanas. Sir Robert's face beamed more and more brightly as the evening wore on, and reminiscences, anecdotes, stories, jests, songs, were fluently and cleverly poured out in rapid succession by the hilarious company. The fun was at its height, when he suddenly leaned forward with his body at an insinuating angle and smilingly addressed an officer opposite: "You must really let me say that I have been delighted by all that I have heard here to-night, and appreciate the compliment you have paid me in permitting me to join you. And now I am going to ask a great favor. Could you, would you, give me some idea of 'the rebel yell,' as it was called? We heard so much about that. I am most curious to hear it. It is always spoken of as perfectly terrifying, almost unearthly."

The gentleman whom he addressed looked down the table and rapped to call attention to what he had to say: "Boys, this English gentleman is asking whether we can't give him some idea of what the rebel yell is like. What do you say? If our Federal friends are afraid, they can get under the table, where they will be perfectly safe, and a good deal more comfortable than they used to be behind trees or in baggage-wagons," he called out.

A hearty laugh followed, and, their blood having got bubbles in it by this time, a general assenting murmur was heard.

The next instant a shriek, sky-rending, blood-curdling, savage beyond description, went up,—a truly terrific yell in peace, and enough to create a panic, one would think, in the Old Guard in time of war.

"Thank you, thank you. I am entirely satisfied" said Sir Robert, in a comically rueful tone, as soon as he could say anything for the uproar. "I never imagined anything like it, never. Where did you get it? Who invented it? Is it an adaptation of some war-cry of the North American Indians? It sounds like what one would fancy their cries [Pg 130]might be, doesn't it? It has got all the beasts of the forest in it; and I confess that I for one, would have fled before it and stayed in the wagons as long as there was the slightest danger of hearing it. By Jove! it must have been heard in Boston when given in Virginia. It is curious how very ancient the practice of—"

But the company heard no more of curious practices, for their yell had been heard, if not in Boston, in a far more remarkable quarter,—namely, by the police, who now rushed in, prepared to club, arrest, and carry off any and all disorderly and dreadful disturbers of the peace.

If Sir Robert had been in any danger of being murdered, all experience goes to show that no policeman could have been found before the following morning, and then only in the remotest part of the city. As he was merely being wined, dined, and amused, quite a formidable body of these devoted but easily-misled guardians of respectability and innocence poured into the room, where at first they could see nothing for the smoke. Matters were explained, they were invited to "take something" before they went, and took it, and, quite placated, filed out into the passage again, and from thence into the street.

Sir Robert sat up late that night, or rather began early on the following day, to copy the stories he had most relished into the diary, and do what justice he could to "the rebel yell," and, having added an admirably discriminating chapter on "the present political situation in the States," concluded with, "How striking is the good sense, the good feeling, that both the conquerors and the conquered have shown, on the whole! In other countries, how often has a war far less bloody and protracted left in its wake evils far greater than the original one, in guerilla warfare, murders, ceaseless revolt, and smouldering hatred lasting for centuries on one side, and centuries of tyranny, oppression, executions, confiscations, on the other! A brave and fine race this, not made of the stuff that goes to keep up vendettas, shoot landlords, blow up rulers, assassinate enemies. They can fight as well as any, and they have shown that they can forgive better than most,—taken together, true manliness. It may be that they are influenced by a consideration which is said to be always present to an American,—'Will it pay?' and of course so practical a people as this see that anarchy doesn't pay; but I would rather attribute their conduct to nobler, more generous motives, and in doing this seem to myself to be doing them no more than justice."




The picturesqueness of France in our day is confined almost exclusively to its humble life. The Renaissance and the Revolution swept away in most parts of the country moated castle, abbaye, grange, and chateau, to replace them with luxurious but conventional piles and ruins humbly restored and humbly inhabited. Many a farmhouse with unkempt cour and dishevelled pelouse is the relic of a turreted château, stables are often desecrated churches, seigneurial colombiers shelter swine, and battlemented portals to fortified walls serve, as does the one of our ville, to house hideously-uniformed douaniers watching the luggage of arriving travellers.

[Pg 131]Our ville was never an aristocratic one, and to this day very few of our names are preceded by the idealizing particle de. We have an ancient history, however,—so ancient that all historians place our origin at un temps trèsrecule. We had houses and walls when Rouen yonder was a marsh, and we saw Havre spring up like a mushroom only two little centuries and a half ago. Besieged and taken, burned and ravaged, alternately by Protestant and Catholic, no wonder our ville has not even ruins to show that we are older than the fifteen hundreds. Still, ancient though we are, we have always been a ville of humble folk,—hardy sailors, brave fishers, and thrifty bourgeois,—and to-day, as always, our highest families buy and sell and build their philistine homes back toward the côte, while our humble ones picturesquely haunt the quais.

The town is exquisitely situated at the foot of abrupt côtes, just where the broad and tranquil river shudders with mysterious deep heavings and meets its dolphin-hued death in the all-devouring sea. Away off in the shimmering distance is the second seaport city of France. On still days,—and our gray or golden Norman days are almost always still,—faint muffled sounds of life, the throbbing of factories, the farewell boom of cannon from ships setting forth across the Atlantic, even the musical notes of the Angelus, float across the water to us as dreamily vague as perhaps our earth-throbs and passion-pulses reach a world beyond the clouds. This city is our metropolis, with which we are connected by small steamers crossing to and fro with the tide, and where all our shopping is done, our own ville being too thoroughly limited and roturier in taste to merit many of our shekels.

In fact, such of our shopping as is done in our ville is in the quaint marketplace, where black house-walls are beetling and bent, and Sainte-Cathérine's ancient wooden tower stands the whole width of the Place away from its Gothic church. Here we bargain and chaffer with towering bonnets blancs for peasant pottery and faïence, paintable half-worn stuffs, and delicious ancestral odds and ends of broken peasant households.

We have many streets over which wide eaves meet, and within which twilight dwells at noonday. Some of the hand-wide streets run straight up the côte, and are a succession of steep stairs climbing beside crouching, timber-skeletoned houses perforated by narrow windows opening upon vistas of shadow. Others seem only to run down from the côte to the sea as steeply as black planks set against a high building. Upon the very apex of the côte, visible miles away at sea, lives our richest citizen. His house smiles serenely modern even if only pseudo-classic contempt on all the quaint duskiness and irregularity below, and is pillared, corniced, entablatured, and friezed, with lines severely straight, although the building itself is as round as any mediæval campanile and surmounted with a Gothic bell-turret, while the entrance-gate is turreted, machicolated, castellated, like the fortress-castles of the Goths.

Lower down the côte, convent walls raise themselves above red-tiled and lichen-grown roofs. In one of these convents, behind eyeless grim walls, are hidden cloistered nuns; from others the Sisters go freely forth upon errands of both business and mercy. The convent of cloisters, Couvent des Augustines, is passing rich, and has houses and lands to let. Once upon a time an Américaine coveted one of these picturesque houses. She entered the convent and interviewed the business-manager, a veiled nun behind close bars.

"Madame may occupy the house," said ma Soeur, "by paying five hundred francs a year, by observing every fast and feast of the Church, by attending either matins or vespers every day, and by attending confession and partaking of the holy sacrament every month."

Madame is a zealous Catholic, therefore the terms, although peculiar, did not seem too severe. She was about to remove into the house, when, lo! she received word that, it having come to the knowledge of the convent that the [Pg 132]husband of Madame was a heretic, he could not be allowed to occupy any tenement of the Communauté.

Although this cloistered sisterhood is vowed to perpetual seclusion, once a year even heretics may gaze upon their pale faces. This annual occasion is the prize-day of the school they teach, when the school-room is decorated with white cloth and paper roses, the curés of neighboring parishes and the Maire of our ville, with invited distinguished guests, occupy the platform, and the floor below is free to everybody furnished with invitation-cards.

I had always longed to enter these prison-like walls and gaze from my tempestuous distance upon those peaceful lives set apart from earth's rush and turmoil in a fair and blessed haven of the Lord. I longed to see those pure visionaries, pale spouses of Christ, and read upon illumined faces the unspeakable rapture of mystic union with the Lamb of God.

Monsieur le Docteur S——, our family physician, is also physician of the convent.

"You will see nobody," he said, remarking my sentimental curiosity concerning cloistered nuns,—"you will see nobody but a lot of lace-mending and stocking-knitting old maids who failed to get husbands."

I had already heard queer stories of our old doctor's forty years of attendance upon the convent, and I was not so easily discouraged. I was especially anxious to see the Mother Superior, having many times heard the story of her flight in slippers and dressing-gown from the breakfast-table to bury herself forever within the walls that have held her now these twenty-five years. In all these years her unforgiving father has never seen her face, nor she his, although they live within stone's throw of each other.

"Know about him? of course she does," answered Victoire to my question. "She knows all about him, and more too. Do you suppose there is an item of news in the whole town that those cloistered nuns do not hear? If you had been educated by them, as we were, and pumped dry every day as to what went on in our own and our neighbors' families, you would not ask that question."

Victoire and I penetrated into the convent that very same day. We followed a crowd of women, paysannes and citoyennes, into a sunny court paved with large stones and arched by the noontide sky, but unsoftened by tree or flower, and surrounded by the open windows of dormitories. Over the threshold we had just crossed the nuns pass but once after their vows,—pass outward, feet foremost, deaf and unseeing, to a closer, darker home than even their cloistered one. Some of them have seen nothing beyond their convent walls for forty years, while one has here worn away sixty years.

Sixty years without one single glimpse of sweet dawn or fair sunset, without one single vision of the sea in winter majesty of storm or summer glory! Sixty years without sound of lisping music running through tall grass, without one single whisper of the æolian pines, or glimpse of blooming orchards against pure skies! Sixty years!

Beside me in the school-room sat a buxom peasant-woman, who, as a little girl crowned with a gaudy tinsel wreath descended from the platform, confidentially informed me, "C'est ma fille. She has taken the prize for good conduct, and there isn't a worse coquine in our whole commune."

I saw the pale visionaries, a circle of black-robed figures, with dead-white bands, like coffin-cerements, across their brows. I saw them almost unanimously fat, with pendulous jowls and black and broken teeth, as remote from any expression of mystic fervors and spiritual espousals as could be well imagined, "Vieilles commères!" grunted my paysanne, who was evidently neither amiable nor saintly.

Mother Mary-of-the-Angels, once Elise Gautier, was short, fat, and bustling, with large round-eyed spectacles upon her nose, and the pasty complexion and premature flaccid wrinkles that come [Pg 133]with long seclusion from sunshine and exercise. She marched about like one who had chosen Martha's rather than Mary's manner of serving her Lord, and we saw her chat a full half-hour with the wife of the Maire, bowing, smiling, gesticulating meantime with all the florid grace of a French woman of the world.

"The Maire's wife was her former intimate friend," whispered Victoire. "See how much younger and healthier she looks than the Mother Superior, and how much happier. On dit that it was chagrin at the marriage of this friend that caused Élise Gautier to desert her widowed father and dependent little brothers and sisters to bury herself in a convent."

A more interesting story than Élise Gautier's is told in our ville. Some years ago a nun left the Couvent des Augustines in open day, passing out from the central door in her nun's garb, and meeting there a foreign-looking man accompanied by a posse of gendarmes. The couple, followed by a half-hooting, half-cheering mob, drove directly to the hôtel-de-ville, where they were united in marriage. Then they went away from our ville, where both were born, to the husband's home in Spain. When those convent doors had closed upon her, a quarter of a century before, and the lovers believed themselves eternally separated, she was a lovely girl of twenty, he a bright youth of twenty-five. She passed away from his despairing sight, fair and fresh as a spring flower, with beautiful golden hair and violet eyes; she came out from that fatal portal a woman of forty-five, stout, spectacled, with faded, thin hair beneath her nun's cowl, to meet a portly gray-haired man of fifty, in whom not even love's eye could detect the faintest vestige of the slender bright-eyed lover of her youth.

The unhappy Laure had been forced to unwilling vows to keep her from this beggarly lover, and, when he fled to Spain, both became dead to our ville for long years. Twenty-two years after Laure became Soeur Angelica it was known in the convent that the machinery of the civil law, which had only lately forbidden eternal religious vows, had been set in motion to secure her release; but it remained a mystery who the spring of the movement was, her parents having long been dead. Soeur Angelica herself seemed almost more terrified than otherwise at the knowledge, for every conventual influence was brought to bear upon her morbid conscience to assure her that eternal damnation follows broken vows. It seems, however, that amid all her spiritual stress she never confessed, even to her spiritual director, what desecration had come upon that dovecote by her constant correspondence with the lover of her youth, now a wealthy wine-merchant in Spain. When she left the convent, some of these love-letters were left behind; and to this day those scandalized doves, to whom Soeur Angelica is forever a lost soul, wonder futilely how those emissaries of Satan penetrated their holy walls.

"How did they, do you suppose?" I asked.

Victoire and Clarice smiled curiously, while Émile, with an expression savoring of paganism and pig-tails, squinted obliquely toward our doctor.

"Nous n'en savons rien" they answered me.

The social amusements of our ville are few, as must naturally be the case in a provincial town ruled by the Draconian law that a jeune fille à marier must be no more than an animated puppet, while jeunes gens must have their coarse fling before they are fit for refined society. Occasionally an ambulant theatrical troupe gives an entertainment in our little theatre. Once a year Talbot comes, during vacation at the Francais, and gives us "L'Avare" or "Le Roi s'amuse;" but such are small events, to our provincial taste, compared with the vaulting and grimacing of the more frequent English and American circus troupes in our Place Thiers.

Perhaps the chief distraction of our young people is going to early mass, whither our young ladies go accompanied by bonnes, Maman having not yet emerged from the French mamma's chrysalis condition [Pg 134]of morning crimping-pins, petticoat and short gown, and list slippers. The bonnes who thus serve as chaperons are often as young as or even younger than the demoiselles whose virginal modesty they are supposed to protect. That they are anything more than a mere form of guardian, a figment of the social fiction that a young French girl never leaves her mother's side till she goes to her husband's, it is unnecessary to observe. Human nature, especially French human nature, is human nature all the world over, and Romeo will woo and Juliet be won during early mass or twilight vespers as well as from a balcony, in spite of all the Montagues and Capulets. Girl-chaperons are oftener in sympathy with ardent daughters than with worldly mothers, while even the oldest and most sedate of French bonnes are malleable to other influences than those of their legitimate employers. It was across our river, yonder from whence the sound of the Angelus comes across the summer water like the music of dreams, that Balzac's Modest Mignon carried on her intrigues of hifalutin gush, by means of a facile bonne, with a man whom she had never seen, and who deceived her by personating the poet she wished him to be. Modest Mignons are not rare in our ville, and the Gothic vaults of Saint-Léonard and the pillared aisles of Sainte-Cathérine witness almost as many little intrigues, as many heart-beats and blushes, as does "evenin' meetin'" in our own bucolic regions.

Désirée, our femme-de-chambre, before she came to us, lived in a wealthy roturier family.

"It was a good place, and I was sorry to lose it when Mademoiselle Eugénie was married," said she. "The little gifts the jeunes gens slipped into my panier as I came with mademoiselle from mass almost equalled my wages. Mademoiselle had a good dot as well as beauty, and ces jeunes gens expected to lose nothing by what they gave me. Mademoiselle herself often said, 'Désirée, walk a few steps behind me, and, while I keep my eyes upon the pavement, tell me all the young men who turn to look after me. If you hear any of them say, "Comme elle est jolie!" (How pretty she is!) you shall have my batiste mouchoirs.'"

On Sunday afternoons all the bourgeois world of our ville disports itself upon the jetty. Not only then do all the mothers of the town with daughters "to marry" bring those daughters to the weekly matrimonial mart, but many of the mothers and chaperons of the near country round about come in from rural propriété and rustic chalet to exhibit their candidates. The method of procedure is eminently French, of course, and eminently naïve, as even the intrigues and machinations of Balzac's bourgeoisie, although intended as marvels of finesse, seem so often naïveté itself to our blunter and less-plotting minds. The mothers and daughters, or chaperons and charges, walk slowly arm in arm up and down one side the jetty, facing the counter-current of young men and men not young who have not lost interest in feminine attractions. Back and forth, back and forth, for hours, move the two separate streams, never for one instant commingling, each discussing the other's prospects, characters, appearance, and, above all, dots and rentes, till twilight falls and all the world goes home to dinner.

Once upon a time a retired man of business came to our ville, accompanied by his son. He was one of the class known in England as "Commys," and so obnoxious in France as commis-voyageurs. He stopped at the Cheval Blanc, and in conversation with mine host inquired if it might chance that some café-keeper in the town desired to sell his café and marry his daughter. Monsieur Brissom mentioned to him our café-keepers blessed with marriageable daughters, and "Commy" made the rounds among them, announcing that he had a son whom he wished to marry to some charming demoiselle doted with a café. One of the café-keepers had "précisément votre affaire." It was arranged that Mademoiselle Clothilde should be promenaded by her mother the next Sunday on the jetty, [Pg 135]where the young man should join the counter-current, and thus each take observations of the other.

As said, so done. Monsieur Henri and Mademoiselle Clothilde declared themselves enchanted with each other.

"Très-bien," said the reflective parents. "Now fall in love as fast as ever you please."

Monsieur and mademoiselle not only "fell," but plunged.

Two weeks afterward, however, the papas fell out. Cafétier exacted more than Commis could promise, and Commis declared Mademoiselle Clothilde pas grand' chose: her eyebrows were too white, and her toes turned in.

The marriage was declared "off," and the young people were ordered to fall out of love the quickest possible.

"Too late!" they cried.

"You have seen each other but four times."

"Quite enough," declared the lovers.

"You shall not marry," shouted the parents.

"We will!" screamed their offspring.

Nevertheless they could not, for the French law gives almost absolute power to parents. Mademoiselle would have no dot unless her father chose to give her one, and no French marriage is legal without paternal consent or the almost disgraceful expedient of sommations respectueuses. Mademoiselle threatened to enter a convent. Cafétier assured her that no convent opens cordial doors to dotless girls.

Juliet was ready to defy all the Capulets when she had seen Romeo but once; Corinne was ready to fling all her laurels at Oswald's feet at their second interview; Rosamond Vincy planned her house-furnishing during her second meeting with Lydgate; even Dorothea Brooke felt a "trembling hope" the very next day after her first sight of Mr. Casaubon. How, then, could one expect poor Clothilde to yield up her undersized, thin-moustached, and very unheroic-looking Henri, having seen him four times?

There was one way out of her troubles,—that to which Alphonse Daudet's and André Theuriet's people gravitate as needles to their pole. She walked one dark midnight upon the jetty alone. Nobody saw the end; but the next Sunday, three weeks to a day from the one when the two had countermarched in matrimonial procession, Mademoiselle Clothilde was laid in her grave.

The whole French social system revolves around the dot.

"How dare you speak to my father so!" I once heard a daughter reproach her mother. "How dare you, who brought him no dot!"

"It is a pity Madame Marais has no more influence in her family," I heard remarked in a social company. "It is a pity, for she is a good woman, and her husband and sons are all going to the bad."

"Yes, it is a pity," answered another; "but, then, what else can she expect? She brought no dot into the family."

Once upon a time a young man made a friendly call upon a family in our ville, he a distant relative of the family. He sat in the salon with mother and daughter, when suddenly the mother was called away a moment. When she returned, not more than two minutes later,—horror! she could not enter the room! In closing the door she had somehow disarranged the handles; screws had dropped out and could not be found; the knob would not turn. What a situation! A young girl shut up in a locked room with a young man! What a scandal if the story got out in the town! and what could the poor, distracted mamma do to release her daughter from that damning situation without the knowledge of the servants? She dared not even summon a locksmith, for locksmith tongues are free; and who would not shoot out the lip at poor Jeanne, hearing the miserable story at breakfast-tables to-morrow?

"You must marry Jeanne, mon cousin," cried mamma through the keyhole.

"Impossible, ma cousine. You know I am fiancé," laughed he.

Nevertheless he did!

[Pg 136]For when papa heard that Jeanne had remained two whole hours shut up with Cousin Pierre in a brilliantly-lighted salon, with a frantic mother at the keyhole and all the servants grinning upon their knees searching for the missing screws, he added twenty thousand francs to her dot on the spot, and Pierre wrote to his other fiancée that he had "changed his intentions."

"Mamma's tapage was too funny," laughed Madame Pierre, telling me this story herself. "Pierre and I laughed well on our side of the door, although we were careful not to let maman hear us. For we had often been alone together before when nobody knew it."

Which makes all the difference in the world in our ville, as well as elsewhere.

Pierre's funny experience did not end with his betrothal. In relating the adventure which follows, I wish it distinctly to be understood that I do it in all respect, admiration, and reverence for the Church which is the mother of all Churches calling themselves Christian. The Holy Roman Catholic Church is no less holy that her servants are so often base and vile and that her livery is so often stolen to serve evil in. What wickedness and hypocrisy have we not in our own Protestant clergy, and without even the tremendous excuse for it which the conditions of European society give for the occasional levity of its priesthood! In France the Church is a recognized profession, to which parents destine and for which they educate their sons without waiting for them to exhibit any special bias toward a religious life. In spite of themselves, many young men are even forced into the priesthood, not only by strong family influence, but through having been educated so as to be absolutely unfitted for any other walk of life. With us the priesthood is a matter of deliberate and perfectly voluntary choice, and he who wears it as a cloak is ten thousand times the hypocrite his Catholic brother is.

It happened that our curé of Saint-Étienne was a jolly good fellow, somewhat given to wine-bibbing, and much given to Rabelaisian stories. He was also hail-fellow-well-met with Pierre, and Pierre, like most of the young men of France, prided himself upon his entire freedom from the "superstitious." Père Duhaut lived by teaching and preaching.

In France the church sacrament of marriage cannot be performed unless both the contracting parties furnish certificates of having made confession within three weeks. To secure his certificate it would be necessary for Pierre to confess to the curé of Saint-Étienne, Père Duhaut.

"I confess to Duhaut!" he laughed in our house. "I'll be—what's-his-named first. Old Duhaut might as well confess to me. I shall simply give him six francs and get my certificate without any more ado, just as the other fellows get theirs."

That very afternoon Père Duhaut took tea with us, and Émile was mean enough to betray Pierre's intentions.

"We'll see," said our curé.

The next day Pierre passed our windows. He bowed gayly, and called up that he was going for his six francs' worth of ante-nuptial absolution. An hour later he passed again, but he did not look up. In the evening Père Duhaut came, bursting with laughter.

"Ask Pierre how he got his certificate," he guffawed. Then he told us the story. Pierre, it seems, had offered the six francs, which offer the confessor had rejected with scorn.

"In to the confessional," he cried, "and make your confession like a penitent!"

"I'll make it fifteen," grinned Pierre.

"Not for a thousand. In! in!"

"Come, now, Duhaut, this is all humbug. You know I'm not penitent, and I'll be—— if I'll confess to you."

Without more words, the burly priest seized the recalcitrant and grabbed him by the neck, trying to force him into the confession-box. Pierre resisted, and, as the curé told us bursting with laughter, the two wrestled and waltzed half around the church. Finally Pierre was brought to his knees.

[Pg 137]"Eh bien, allez! What am I to confess?" he grumbled.

"Every sin you have committed since your last confession."

How malicious was Père Duhaut in this! for he knew Pierre had not kept the observances of the Church since he left home at seventeen, and had not been an anchorite either.

"I'll make it an even hundred," begged the now exasperated yet humbled Pierre. "Come, now, do be reasonable; that's a jolly old boy."

"Confess! confess!" roared the confessor, dealing the kneeling impenitent a sounding cuff on the ear.

"Ask Pierre how he got his certificate," roared Père Duhaut. "Demandez-lui! Demandez-lui!"

But we never did.

Until his grave received him, only a few weeks ago, a marked character of our ville was a stooping old man, of a ghastly paleness, noted through all the region for avarice and for speaking every one of his many languages each with worse accent than the other. His Spanish sounded like German, his German had the strongest possible American accent, his English was vividly Teutonic, and after forty years of marriage his Norman wife never ceased to mock at his atrociously-mouthed French. He was wine-merchant and banker combined, and, though his social position was among the best in our bourgeoise ville, all the world smiled with the knowledge that the rich old banquier, whose nose had a strong Hebraic curve, delivered his own merchandise at night from under his long coat, in order to escape the tax on every bottle of wine transported from one domicile to another.

The stately gate-post of "Père S——'s" pretentious and philistine mansion is decorated with the coats-of-arms of several nations. England's is there, Germany's, Spain's, Portugal's, as well as our own Eagle; while upon days when our own exiled hearts beat most proudly—4th of July and 22d of February—our star-spangled banner floats from his roof-top as well as from our own, the only two, of course, in our ville. Our ville, so important to us, has scarcely an existence for our home government, and administrative changes there float over us like clouds of heaven, without touching us in their changefulness. Thus Père S——, though so courteous and cordial to Americans, has been long years forgotten at Washington, whence every living servitor of the administration that appointed him our consul here has long since passed away forever. He was born in Pennsylvania, of German parents, nearly eighty years ago. He received his appointment in 1837, and held it through fourteen administrations since Van Buren, without ever returning to America, till he faded away one little month ago and was buried in the parish cemetery of Saint-Léonard by a Lutheran pastor brought over for the occasion from Havre. No church-bells tolled for his death, and the street-children did not go on their way singing, as they always do, to the sound of funeral bells.

"Viens, corps, ta fosse t'attend!" for Pere S—— was a heretic, and could not have slept in consecrated ground had he died before the République Française removed religious restrictions from all burial-places. All the consular corps in all the region round about followed the old man to his long home, all our public buildings hung their flags half-mast high, all our little world told queer stories of the dead old man. But our own hearts grew tender with thoughts of this life finished at fourscore years with its longing of almost half a century unfulfilled. "Philip Nolan" we often called the old man, who sometimes said to us, with yearning, pathetic voice,—

"I am an American; I am here only till I make my fortune. When I am rich enough I shall go Home. I shall die and be buried at Home,—when I am rich enough."

Temperament is Fate. Père S——'s temperament of Harpagon fated him to die as he had lived,—a man without a country.


[Pg 138]



The island in Magog Lake was like a world by itself. Though there were but fifteen or twenty acres of land in it, that land was so diversified by dense woods, rocks, verdant open spots, and smooth shore-rims that it seemed many places in one.

Adam's tent was set in the arena of an amphitheatre of hills, upon close, smooth sward sloping down to the lake-margin of milk-white sand. Beyond the lake stood up a picture as heavenly to man's vision as the New Jerusalem appearing in the clouds.

This was a mountain bounded at the base by two spurs of the lake, and clothed by a plumage of woods, except upon spaces near the centre of its slope. Here green fields disclosed themselves and two farm-houses were nested, basking in the light of a sky which deepened and deepened through infinite blues.

Though it was high noon, dew yet remained upon the abundance of ferns and rock-mosses on those heights around the camp. The tent stood open at both ends, framing a triangular bit of lake-water and shore. Within it were a table piled with books, an oval mirror hung over a toilet-stand, garments suspended along a line, a small square rug overlying the sward, and camp-chairs.

The two cots had been stripped of their blankets—which were out sunning upon a pole—and set in the thickest shade, and upon one of these cots Eva was stretched out, having a pillow under her head. Her dress was of a green woollen stuff, and barely reached the instep of her low shoes. A mighty bunch of trailing ferns, starred with furry azure flowers and ox-eyed daisies, was fastened from her neck to her girdle. She had drawn her broad sun-hat partly over the bewitching mystery of her eyes and forehead, to keep the sky-glow at bay, but left space enough through which to search the whole visible world, and her face was smiling with pure joy. To be alive beside Lake Magog was sufficient; and she was both alive and beloved.

She thought within herself how indescribable all this beauty was. A pleasant wind smelling of world-old fern-loam fanned her. There were neither mosquitoes nor flies to sting, and, had there been, Adam was provided with a bottle of pennyroyal oil, wherewith he would anoint her face and hands, kissing any lump planted there before he came to the rescue.

Eva felt sure she never wanted to go back to civilization again. Days and days of shining weather, fog-or dew-drenched in the morning, wine-colored or opaline in the evening; cool, starry nights, so cool, so dense with woods-shade that they drove her to hide her head in the blankets under Adam's arm; glowing noons, when the world swam in ecstasy; long pulls at the oars from point to point of this magic lake, she holding the trolling-line at the stern of the boat, her husband sometimes resting and leaning forward to get her smile at nearer range upon his face; plunges into the warm lake-water in the afternoon when time stood still in a trance of satisfaction:—what a honeymoon she was having! Why should it ever end? There were responsible folks enough to carry the world's work forward. Two people might be allowed to spend their lives in paradise, if a change of seasons could only be prevented. Anyhow, Eva was soaking up present joy. She half closed her eyes, and whispered fragmentary words, feeling that her heart was a censer of incense, swinging off clouds of thanksgiving at every beat.

Adam came from the spring with a dripping pail. A fret-work of cool drops stood all over the tin surface, even when he set the pail beside his heated stove. That water had been filtered through [Pg 139]moss and pebbles and chilled by overlaced boughs until its nature was glacial.

The cooking-stove stood quite apart from the tent, under a tree. Blue woodsmoke escaped from its pipe and straight-way disappeared. A covered pot was already steaming, and Adam filled and put the kettle to boil. Not far from the stove was a stationary table, made of boards fastened upon posts. The potato-cellar and the cold-chest were boxes sunk in the ground. Some dippers, griddles, and pans hung upon nails driven in the tree.

Adam spread the table with a red cloth, brought chairs from the tent, and came and leaned over Eva's cot. He was a sandy-haired, blue-eyed, hardy-looking Scotchman, gentlemanly in his carriage, and bearing upon his visible character the stamp of Edinbro' colleges and of Calvinistic sincerity. He wore the Highland cap or bonnet, a belted blouse, knickerbockers, long gray stockings, and heavy-soled shoes.

"Well, Mrs. Macgregor," said Adam, giving the name a joyful burr in his throat, "my sweethairt. I must have a look of your eyes before you taste a bit of my baked muskalunge."

"Well, Mr. Macgregor. And will I get up and set the table and help put on dinner?"

"No, my darling. It's all ready,—or all but a bit of fixing."

"I am so happy," said Eva, "so lazy and happy, it doesn't seem fair to the rest of the world."

"There is at this time no rest of the world," responded Adam. "Nothing has been created but an island and one man and woman. Do you belaive me?"

"I would if I didn't see those farm-houses, and the boats occasionally coming and going on the lake; yes, and if you didn't have to row across there for butter and milk, and to Magog village for other supplies."

"That's a mere illusion. We live here on ambrosial distillations from the rocks and muskalunge from the lake. I never came to Canada from old Glazka town, and never saw Loch Achray, or Loch Lomond, or any body of water save this, since I was created in God's image without any knowledge of the catechism. And let me see a mon set foot on this strond!"

"Oh, you inhospitable creature!"

"I but said let me see him."

"Yes, but I know what you meant. You meant you didn't want anybody."

"My wants are all satisfied, thank God," said Adam, lifting his cap. "I have you, and the breath o' life, and the camp-outfit."

"And the mountains, and the lake, and the rocks, and the woods," added Eva. "I never could have believed there were such sublime things in the world if I hadn't seen them."

"Neither could I," owned the Scotchman. "Especially such a sublime thing as me wife."

Eva struck at him, restraining her palm from bringing more than a pat upon his cheek.

"How your little hand makes me tremble!" said Adam, drawing his breath from chest-depths. "Will I ever grow to glimpse at you without having the blood spurt quick from me hairt, or to touch you without this faintness o' joy? And don't mock me wi' your eyes, bonnie wee one, for it's bonnie wee one you'll be to me when you're a fat auld woman the size of yonder mountain. And that changes the laughter in your eyes."

"I didn't suppose you ever could call me a fat old woman."

"I'll be an auld man then meself, me fiery locks powthered with ashes, and my auld knees knocking one at the ither," laughed Adam.

        "But hand in hand we'll go,"
sang Eva,
        "And sleep thegither at the foot,
         Joh—n Ander—son, my jo—o."

"Oh, don't!" said Adam, with a sudden grasp on her wrist. "My God! one must go first; and I could naither leave you nor close these eyes of yours." He put his other hand across his eyelids, his lower features wincing. "Sweetheart," said Adam, removing it, and taking her head between his palms, [Pg 140]"for what we have already received the Lord make us duly thankful. And shut up about the rest. And there's grace said for dinner: excepting I didn't uncover me head. Excuse me bonnet."

"Take off your ridiculous bonnet," said Eva, emerging from the eclipse of a long kiss, "and drag me out of my web. If I am to be your helpmeet, make me help."

"You naidn't lift a finger, my darling. I don't afford and won't have a sairvant in the camp, so I should sairve you myself."

Passing over this argument, Eva crept up on the stretcher and had him lift her to the ground. Her shape was very slender and elegant, and when the two passed each an arm across the other's back to walk together school-girl fashion, Adam's grasp sloped far downward. She did not quite reach his shoulder.

They made coffee, and served up their dinner in various pieces of pottery. The baked muskalunge was portioned upon two plates and surrounded with stewed potato. Potatoes with scorched jackets, enclosing their own utmost fragrance, also came out of the ashes. Adam poured coffee for Eva into a fragile china cup, and coffee for himself into a tin pint-measure. The sugar was in a glass fruit-jar, and the cream came directly off a pan in the cold-box. They had pressed beef in slices, chow-chow through the neck of the bottle, apricot jam in a little white pot, baker's rolls, and a cracked platter heaped with wild strawberries. Around the second point of Magog Island, down one whole stony hill-side, those strawberries grew too thick for stepping. The hugest, most deadly sweet of cultivated berries could not match them. You ate in them the light of the sky and the ancient life of the mountain.

"I never was so hungry at home," said Eva, accepting a finely-done bit of fish with which her lord fed her as a nestling. "Perhaps things taste better eaten out of unmatched crockery and under a roof of leaves. I wouldn't have a plate different in the whole camp."

"Nor would I," said Adam.

She looked across at the mountain-panorama, for, though stationary, it was also forever changing, and the light of intense and burning noon was different from the humid veil of morning.

"And yonder goes a sail," she tacked to the end of her mountain-observations.

"Heaven speed it!" responded Adam, carrying his cup for a second filling to the coffee-pot on the stove. "Will ye have a drop more?"

"Indeed, yes. I don't know how many drops more I shall drink. We get so fierce and reckless about our victuals. Will it be the spirit of the old counterfeiters who used to inhabit this island entering into us?" suggested Eva, using the English-Canadian idiom of the western provinces.

"Without doot. It was their custom never to let a body leave this strond alive, and they can only hairm us by making us eat oursels to death."

"Nearly a hundred years ago, wasn't it, they lived here and made counterfeit money and drew silly folks in to buy it of them? When I hear the rocks all over this island sounding hollow like muffled drumming under our feet, I scare myself thinking that gang may be hid hereabouts yet and may come and peep into the tent some night."

"Behind them all the army of bones they drowned in Magog watther or buried in the island," laughed Adam. "It's not for a few old ghosts we'd take up our pans and kettles and move out of the Gairden of Eden. I'll keep you safe from the counterfeiters, my darling, never fear."

"You said heaven speed that sail yonder; but the man has taken it down and is rowing in here."

"Then he's an impudent loon. Who asked him?"

"The sight of our tent, very likely. And maybe it will be some friend of ours, stopping at the Magog House. He wears a white helmet-hat; and isn't that a yachting-suit of white flannel?"

"He comes clothed as an angel of light," said Adam.

[Pg 141]They both watched the figure and the boat growing larger in perspective. Features formed in the blur under the rower's hat; his individuality sprung suddenly from a shape which a moment ago might have been any man's.

"Oh, Adam, it will be Louis Satanette from Toronto," exclaimed Eva.

"And what's a Toronto man doing away up on Lake Magog?"

"What will a Glasgow man be doing away off here on Lake Magog?"

"Camping with his wife, and getting more religion than ever was taught in the creeds."

"I'm not so sure of that, then."

"Because I don't love a Frenchman?"

"A French-Canadian. And a member of Parliament, too. Think of that at his age! They say in Toronto he is one of the most promising men in the provinces."

"Can he spear a salmon with a gaff, and does he know a pairch from a lunge? And he couldn't be a Macgregor, anyhow, if he was first man in Canada."

Eva laughed, and, forming her lips into a kiss, slyly impressed the same upon the air, as if it could reach Adam through some invisible pneumatic tube. He was not ashamed to make a return in kind; and, the boat being now within their bay, they went down to the sand to meet it.


In spotless procession the days moved along until that morning on which Adam dreamed his dream. He waked up trembling with joy and feeling the tears run down his face. His watch ticked like the beating of a pulse under his pillow, and he kept time to its rhythm with whispered words no human ear would ever hear him utter with such rapture.

He had dreamed of breasting oceans and groping through darkness after his wife until he was ready to die. Then, while he lay helpless, she came to him and lifted him up in her arms. There was perfect and unearthly union between them. His happiness became awful. He woke up shaken by it as by a hand of infinite power.

Instead of turning toward her, he was still. Such experiences cannot be told. The tongue falters and words limp when we try to repeat them to the one beloved. A divine shame keeps us silent. Perhaps the glory of that perfect love puts a halo around our common thoughts and actions for days afterward, but no man or woman can fitly say, "I was in heaven with you, my other soul, and the gladness was so mighty that I cried helplessly long after I woke."

Adam kept his sleeve across his eyes. He had risked his life in many an adventure without changing a pulse-beat, but now he was an infant in the grasp of emotion.

When at last he cast a furtive glance at Eva's cot, she was not there. She often slipped out in the early morning to drench herself with dew. Once he had discovered her stooping on the sand, washing soiled clothes in the lake. She clapped and rubbed the garments between soap and her little fists. The sun was just coming up in the far northeast. Shapes of mist gyrated slowly upward in the distance, and all the morning birds were rushing about, full of eager business. Eva stopped her humming song when she saw him, and laughed over her unusual employment. The first time she ever washed clothes in her life she wanted to have Magog for her tub and accomplish the labor on a vast and princess-like scale. Adam helped her spread the wet things on bushes, and they both marvelled at the bleached dazzle which the sun gave to those garments.

He did not move from the cot, hoping awhile that she might come in, dew-footed, and yet kiss him. That clear shining of the face which one sometimes observes in pure-minded devotees, or in young mothers over their firstborn, gave him a look of nobility in the pallid shadow of the tent.

He thought of all their days on the island, and, incidentally, of Louis Satanette's frequent comings. The Frenchman [Pg 142]was a beautiful, versatile fellow. He sailed a boat, he swam, he fished knowingly, he sang like an angel, leaning his head back against a tree to let the moonlight touch up his ivory face and silky moustache and eyebrows. He had firm, marble-white fingers, nicely veined, on which reckless exposure to sun and wind had no effect, and the kindliest blue eyes that ever beamed equal esteem upon man and woman. Sometimes this Satanette came in a blue-flannel suit, the collar turned well back from the throat, and in a broad straw hat wound with pink and white tarlatan. He looked like a flower,—if any flower ever expressed along with its beauty the powerful nerve of manliness.

Frequently he sailed out from Magog House and stayed all night on the island, slinging his own hammock between trees. Then he and Adam rose early and trolled for lunge in deep water under the cliff. In the afternoon they all plunged into the lake, Eva swimming like a cardinal-flower afloat. Adam was careful to keep near her, and finally to help her into the boat, where she sat with her scarlet bathing-dress shining in the sun and her drenched hair curling in an arch around her face.

All these days flashed before Adam while he put a slow foot out on the tent-rug.

There was nobody about the camp when he had made his morning toilet and unclosed the tent-flaps, so he built a fire in the stove, hung the bedding to sun, and set out the cots. A blueness which was not humid filtered itself through the air everywhere, and fold upon fold of it seemed rising from invisible censers on the mainland.

Eva hailed him from the lake. She came rowing across the sun's track. The water was fresh and blue, glittering like millions of alternately dull and burnished scales.

Adam drew the boat in and lifted her out, more tenderly but with more reticence than usual.

"You don't know where I have been, laddie," exclaimed Eva. "Look at all the fern and broken bushes in the boat; and I have my pocket sagged down with gold-streaked quartz. I went around to the other side of the island, where the counterfeiters' hole is, to look into it while the morning sun on the lake threw a reflection."

"There's nothing wonderful to be seen there."

"How will we know that? The rocks sound hollow all about, and there may be a great cavern full of counterfeiters' relics. Oh, Adam, I saw Louis Satanette's sail!"

"He comes early this morn."

"I think he has been camping by himself over on the lake-shore. He says we'll explore the counterfeiters' hole, and let us go directly after breakfast."

"What is it worth the exploring?" said Adam. "Four rocks set on end, and you crawl in on your hands and knees, look at the dark, and back out again. It's but a burrow, and ends against the hill's heart of rock. I've to row across yonder for the eggs and butter and milk."

The smoke rising from different points on the mainland kept sifting and sifting until at high noon the air was pearl-gray. As if there was not enough shadow betwixt him and the sun, Adam sat in his boat at the foot of the cliff, where brown glooms never rose quite off the water. He looked down until sight could pierce no farther, and, though a fish or two glided in beautiful curves beneath his eye, he had no hook dropped in as his excuse for loitering.

The eggs and butter and milk for which he had rowed across the lake were covered with green leaves under one of the boat-benches.

Straight above him, mass on mass, rose those protruding ribs of the earth, the rocks. He lay back in the boat's stern and gazed at their summit of pinetrees and ferns. Bunches of gigantic ferns sprouted from every crevice, and not a leaf of the array but was worth half a lifetime's study. Yet Adam's eye wandered aimlessly over it all, as if it gave him no pleasure. Nor did he seem to wish that a little figure would [Pg 143]bend from the summit, half swallowed in greenness and made a vegetable mermaid from the waist downward, to call to him. He was so haggard the freckles stood in bold relief upon his face and neck.

The hiss of a boat and the sound of row-locks failed to move him from his listless attitude. He did, however, turn his eyes and set his jaws in the direction of the passing oarsman. Louis Satanette was all in white flannel, and flush-faced like a cream-pink rose with pleasant exhilaration. He held his oars poised and let his boat run slowly past Adam.

"What have you the matter?" he exclaimed, with sincere anxiety.

"Oh, it's naught," said Adam. "I'm just weary, weary."

"You have been gone a very, very long time," said Louis, using the double Canadian adjective. "Mrs. Macgregor is on the lookout."

Adam thought of her when she was not on the lookout. He also thought of her tidying things about the camp in the morning, and singing as he pulled from the bay. Perhaps she was on another sort of lookout then.

"I'll go in presently," he muttered.

"Beg pardon?" said Louis Satanette, bending forward, and giving the upward inflection to that graceful Canadian phrase which asks a repetition while implying that the fault is with the hearer.

"I said I'd go in presently. There's no hurry."

"Allow me to take you in," said Louis. "You have approached too close to the altars of the sylvan gods, and their sacrificial smoke has overcome you. Don't you see it rising everywhere from the woods?"

"The sylvan gods are none of my clan," remarked Adam, shifting his position impatiently, "and it's little I know of them. There's a graat dail of ignorance consailed aboot my pairson."

Louis Satanette laughed with enjoyment:

"Well, au revoir. I will put up my sail when I turn the points. It will be a long run up the lakes, with this haze hanging and not wind enough to lift it."

"Good-day to ye," responded Adam. "We'll likely shift camp before you're this way."

"In so short a time?" exclaimed Louis.

"In so lang a time. I'm soul-sick of it. It's lone; it's heavy. The fine's too great for the pleasure of the feight. Look, now,—there were two rough laddies up Glazka way, in my country, and they came to fists aboot a sweethairt, the fools. But when they are stripped and ready, one hits the table wi's hond, and says he, 'Ay, Georgie, I'm wullin' to feight ye, but wha's goin' to pay the fine?'"

Louis Satanette laughed again, but as if he did not know just what was meant."

"It's a cautious mon, is the Scotchmon," said Adam, "but no' so slow, after all."

"Oh, never slow!" said Louis. "Very, very fast indeed, to leave this paradise in the midst of the summer."

"'Farewell to lovely Loch Achray,'" sighed Adam:

"Where shall we find, in any land,
So lone a lake, so sweet a strand?"

Louis made a sign of adieu and dipped his oars.

"It's only au revoir," said he, shooting past. "Be very, very far from parting with Magog too early."

"'So lone a lake, so sweet a strand,'" repeated Adam, dropping his head back against the stern.

He did not move while the sound of the other's oars died away behind him. He did not move while the afternoon shadows spread far over the water.

The long Canadian twilight advanced stage by stage. First, all Magog flushed, as if a repetition of the old miracle had turned it to wine. Then innumerable night-hawks uttered their four musical notes in endless succession, upon the heights, down in the woods, from the mainland mountain. The north star became discernible almost overhead. Then, with slow and irregular strokes, Adam [Pg 144]pulled away from the cliff, and brought his keel to grate the sand in front of his tent.

Eva was sitting there on a rock, huddling a shawl around her.

"Oh, Adam Macgregor!" she began, in a low voice, "and do you condescend to bring your wraith back to me at last?"

"It's nothing but my wraith," said Adam, lifting his eggs and butter and milk, and stepping from the boat. "The mon in me died aboot noon."

Eva walked along by his side to the cool-box, where he deposited his load.

"What is the matter with you, laddie, that you look and talk so strangely?"

"Oh, naught," said Adam, turning and facing her. "I but saw you kissing Louis Satanette on the hill to-day."


The changes which passed over her face were half concealed by the twilight. She was grieved, indignant, and frightened, but over all other expressions lurked the mischievous mirth of a bad child.

"I meant to tell you about it," she said.

"Hearken," said Adam, with a fierce stare. "I've stayed out on the lake all day, and I'm quiet. At first I wasn't. But when he came by I gave him nothing but a good word."

"I wish you'd scolded him instead of me," said Eva, propping her back against the table and puckering her lips.

"He did naught," said Adam, "but what any man would do that got lave. It's you that gave him lave that are to blame."

"Don't be so serious about a little thing," put forth Eva. "We just walked over to the counterfeiters' hole, and coming back we picked strawberries, and he teased me like a girl, and caught hold of me and kissed me. We've been such good friends in camp. I think it's this easy, wild life made me do it."

"She'll blame the very sky over her instead of taking blame to herself," ground out Adam from between his jaws. "I sat in me boat below and saw you arch your head and look at him ways that I remember. My God! why did you make this woman so false, and yet so sweet that a mon canna help loving her in spite o' his teeth?"

"Because I'd die if folks didn't love me," burst out Eva, with a sob. "And if men can't help loving me, what do you blame me for?"

"What right have you to breathe such a word when you're married to me?"

"But I'm not used to being married yet," pleaded Eva. "And I forgot, this once."

"It's once and for all," said Adam, "You'll never be to me what you were before. Is it the English-Canadian way to bring up women to kiss every comer?"

"I didn't kiss anybody but Louis Satanette," maintained Eva, "and I didn't really want to kiss him"

"Never mind," said Adam. "Don't trouble your butterfly soul about it." And he turned away and walked toward the tent.

"I'll not love you if you say such awful things to me," she flashed after him.

"Ye can't take the breeks off a Hielandman," he replied, facing about, "Ye never loved me. Not as I loved you. And it's no loss I've met, if I could but think it."

"Oh, Adam!" Now she ran forward and caught him around the waist. "Don't be so hard with me. I know I am very bad, but I didn't mean to be."

Some faint perception of that coarse fibre within her was breaking with horror through her face. She held to his hands after he had separated her from his person and held her off.

"All that you do still has its effect on me," said the man, gazing sternly at her. "I love ye; but I despise myself for loving ye. This morn I adored ye with reverence; this night you're as a bit o' that earth."

Eva let go his hands and sat down on the ground. As he made his preparations [Pg 145]in the tent he could not help seeing with compassion how abjectly her figure drooped. All its flexible proud lines, were suddenly gone. She was dazed by his treatment and by the light in which he put her trifling. She sat motionless until Adam came out with one of the cots in his arms.

"I'm to sleep upon the hill in the pine woods to-night," said he. "Go into the tent, and I'll fasten the flaps. You shan't be scared by anything."

"Let me get in the boat and leave the island, if you can't breathe the same air with me," said Eva. staggering up.

"No, I can't breathe the same air with ye to-night, but ye'll go into the tent," said Adam, with authority.

"I'll not stay there," she rebelled. "I'll follow you. You don't know what may be on this island."

"There can be nothing worse than what I've seen," said Adam; "and that's done all the hairm it can do."

"Oh, Adam, are we both crazy?" the small creature burst out, weeping as if her heart would break. "Don't go away and leave me so. I am not real bad in my heart, I know I am not; and if you would be a little patient with me and help me, I shall get over my silly ways. There is something in me, you can depend upon, if I did do that foolish thing. And my mother didn't live long enough to train me, Adam; remember that. Won't you please kiss me? My heart is breaking."

He put down the cot and took her by the shoulders, trembling as he did so from head to foot:

"My wife, I belaive what you say. I'd give all the days remaining to me if I could strain ye against my breast with the feeling I had this morn. But there comes that sight. I never shall see the hill again, I never shall see a spot of this island again, without seeing your mouth kissing another man. Go into the tent. God knows I'd die before hairm should come to you. But not to-night can I stay beside you. Or kiss you."

He carried her into the tent and put her on her bed. She had made all the night-preparations herself, placing the pillows on both cots and turning back the sun-sweetened blankets.

Adam left her sobbing, buttoned the tent-flaps outside, and placed a barricade of kettles and pans which could not be touched without disturbing him on the hill. Then, taking up his own bed, he marched off through the ferns, edging his burden among dense boughs as he ascended.

When he had made the joints of his couch creak with many uneasy turnings, had clinched at leaves, and started up to return to the tent, only to check himself in the act as often as he started, he lost consciousness in uneasy dreams rather than fell asleep.

He was smothering, and yet could not open his lips to gasp for a breath of air. Then he was drowning: he gulped in vast sheets of water upon his lungs. An alarm sounded from Eva's barricade. He heard the pans and kettles clanging and her own voice in screams which pierced him, yet he could not move. A nightmare of heat enveloped him; the smothering element pouring upon his lungs was not water, but smoke; and he knew if no effort of will could move his body to her rescue he must be perishing himself.

After these brief sensations his existence was as blank as the empty void outside the worlds, until his ears began to throb like drums, and he felt water, like the tears he had shed in the morning, running all over his face. Eva held him in her arms, and alternately kissed his head and drenched it from the lake.

Moreover, he was in the boat, outside the bay, and their island glowed like a furnace before his dazzled eyes.

Those pine woods where he had gone to sleep were roaring up toward heaven in a column of fire. The tent was burning, all its interior illuminated until every object showed its minutest lines. He thought he saw some of Eva's dark hairs in an upturned hair-brush on the wash-stand.

Fire ran along the cliff-edge and dropped hissing brands into the lake. [Pg 146]Old moss logs and pine-trees dry as tinder sent out sickening heat. The light ran like a flash up the tree over their stove, and in an instant its crown was wavering with flames. The grass itself caught here and there, and in whatever direction the eye turned, new fires as instantaneously sprang out to meet it.

Stumps blazed up like lighted altars, or like huge gas-jets suddenly turned on. Adam saw one log lying endwise downhill, one side of which was crumbling into coals of fierce and tremulous heat, while from the other side still sprung unsinged a delicate tuft of ferns.

The smoke was driving straight upward in a quivering current, and in Lake Magog's depths another island seemed to be on fire.

Sublime as the sight was, all these details impressed themselves on the man in an instant, and he turned his face directly up toward the woman.

"Darling, your face looks blistered," said Adam.

"It feels blistered," replied Eva. "I'll put some water on it, now that you've caught your breath again. I thought I could not get you out from those burning trees."

"But you dragged me down the hill?"

"Yes, and then dipped you in the lake and pushed off with you in the boat. I don't know how I did it. But here we are together."

Adam bathed her face carefully himself, and held her tight in his arms. The unspeakable love of which he had dreamed, and the heat of the burning island, seemed welding them together without other sign than the fact.

Not a word was sighed out for forgiveness on either side. They held each other and floated back into the lake. Adam took an oar and occasionally paddled, without wholly releasing his hold of Eva.

"Don't you remember our fish's nest?" she whispered beside his neck. "I wonder if the slim little silver thing is swimming around over the gravel hollow, frightened by all this glare? I hope those overhanging bushes won't catch fire and drop coals on her; for she's a silly thing,—she might not want to dart out in deep water and lose her unhatched family."

Adam smiled into his wife's eyes. He was quite singed, but did not know it.

"Ay, burn," he spoke out exultantly, apostrophizing the island. "Burn up our first home and all. It's worth it. We're the other side o' the world of fire now. We've passed through it, and are afloat on the sea of glass."



Full slow to part with her best gifts is Fate:

The choicest fruitage comes not with the spring,

But still for summer's mellowing touch must wait,

For storms and tears that seasoned excellence bring;

And Love doth fix his joyfullest estate

In hearts that have been hushed 'neath Sorrow's brooding wing.

Youth sues to Fame: she coldly answers, "Toil!"

He sighs for Nature's treasures: with reserve

Responds the goddess, "Woo them from the soil."

Then fervently he cries, "Thee will I serve,—

Thee only, blissful Love." With proud recoil

The heavenly boy replies, "To serve me well—deserve."


[Pg 147]



The route of Robertson lay over the great Indian war-path, which led, in a southwesterly direction, from the valley of Virginia to the Cherokee towns on the lower Tennessee, not far from the present city of Chattanooga. He would, however, turn aside at the Tellico and visit Echota, which was the home of the principal chiefs. While he is pursuing his perilous way, it may be as well to glance for a moment at the people among whom he is going at so much hazard.

The Cherokees were the mountaineers of aboriginal America, and, like most mountaineers, had an intense love of country and a keen appreciation of the beautiful in nature, as is shown by the poetical names they have bequeathed to their rivers and mountains. They were physically a fine race of men, tall and athletic, of great bravery and superior natural intelligence. It was their military prowess alone that enabled them to hold possession of the country they occupied against the many warlike tribes by whom they were surrounded.

They had no considerable cities, or even villages, but dwelt in scattered townships in the vicinity of some stream where fish and game were found in abundance. A number of these towns, bearing the musical names of Tallassee, Tamotee, Chilhowee, Citico, Tennassee, and Echota, were at this time located upon the rich lowlands lying between the Tellico and Little Tennessee Rivers. These towns contained a population, in men, women, and children, estimated at from seven to eight thousand, of whom perhaps twelve hundred were warriors. These were known as the Ottari (or "among the mountains") Cherokees.

About the same number, near the head-waters of the Savannah, in the great highland belt between the Blue Ridge and the Smoky Mountains, were styled the Erati (or "in the valley") Cherokees. Another body (among whom were many Creeks), nearly as large, and much more lawless than either of the others, occupied towns lower down the Tennessee and in the vicinity of Lookout Mountain. These, from their residence near the stream of that name, were known as the Chickamaugas.

These various bodies were one people, governed by an Archimagus, or King, who, with a supreme council of chiefs, which sat at Echota, decided all important questions in peace or war. Under him were the half-or vice-king and the several chiefs who governed the scattered townships and together composed the supreme council. In them was lodged the temporal power. Spiritual authority was of a far more despotic form and character. It was vested in one person, styled the Beloved man or woman of the tribe, who, over a people so superstitious as the Cherokees, held a control that was wellnigh absolute. This person was generally of superior intelligence, who, like the famous Prophet of the Shawnees, officiated as physician, prophet, and intercessor with the invisible powers; and, by virtue of the supernatural authority which he claimed, he often by a single word decided the most important questions, even when opposed by the king and the principal chiefs.

Echota was located on the northern bank of the Tellico, about five miles from the ruins of Fort Loudon, and thirty southwest from the present city of Knoxville. It was the Cherokee City of Refuge. Once within its bounds, an open foe, or even a red-handed criminal, could dwell in peace and security. The danger to an enemy was in going and returning. It is related that an Englishman who, in self-defence, once slew a Cherokee, fled to this sacred city to escape the vengeance of the kindred of his victim. He was treated here with such kindness that [Pg 148]after a time he thought it safe to leave his asylum. The Indians warned him against the danger, but he left, and on the following morning his body was found on the outskirts of the town, pierced through and through with a score of arrows.

About two hundred cabins and wigwams, scattered, with some order but at wide intervals, along the bank of the river, composed the village. The cabins, like those of the white settlers, were square and built of logs; the wigwams were conical, with a frame of slender poles gathered together at the top and covered with buffalo-robes, dressed and smoked to render them impervious to the weather. An opening at the side formed the entrance, and over it was hung a buffalo-hide, which served as a door. The fire was built in the centre of the lodge, and directly overhead was an aperture to let out the smoke. Here the women performed culinary operations, except in warm weather, when such employments were carried on outside in the open air. At night the occupants of the lodge spread their skins and buffalo-robes on the ground, and then men, women, and children, stretching themselves upon them, went to sleep, with their feet to the fire. By day the robes were rolled into mats and made to serve as seats. A lodge of ordinary size would comfortably house a dozen persons; but two families never occupied one domicile, and, the Cherokees seldom having a numerous progeny, not more than five or six persons were often tenants of a single wigwam.

These rude dwellings were mostly strung along the two sides of a wide avenue, which was shaded here and there with large oaks and poplars and trodden hard with the feet of men and horses. At the back of each lodge was a small patch of cleared land, where the women and the negro slaves (stolen from the white settlers over the mountains) cultivated beans, corn, and potatoes, and occasionally some such fruits as apples, pears, and plums. All labor was performed by the women and slaves, as it was considered beneath the dignity of an Indian brave to follow any occupation but that of killing, either wild beasts in the hunt or enemies in war. The house-lots were without fences, and not an enclosure could be seen in the whole settlement, cattle and horses being left to roam at large in the woods and openings.

In the centre of Echota, occupying a wide opening, was a circular, tower-shaped structure, some twenty feet high and ninety in circumference. It was rudely built of stout poles, plastered with clay, and had a roof of the same material sloping down to broad eaves, which effectually protected the walls from moisture. It had a wide entrance, protected by two large buffalo-hides hung so as to meet together in the middle. There were no windows, but an aperture in the roof, shielded by a flap of skins a few feet above the opening, let out the smoke and admitted just enough light to dissipate a portion of the gloom that always shrouded the interior. Low benches, neatly made of cane, were ranged around the circumference of the room. This was the great council-house of the Cherokees. Here they met to celebrate the green-corn dance and their other national ceremonials; and here the king and half-king and the princes and head-men of the various towns consulted together on important occasions, such as making peace or declaring war.

At the time of which I write, several of the log cabins of Echota were occupied by traders, adventurous white men who, tempted by the profit of the traffic with the Cherokees, had been led to a more or less constant residence among them. Their cabins contained their stock in trade,—traps, guns, powder and lead, hatchets, looking-glasses, "stroud," beads, scarlet cloth, and other trinkets, articles generally of small cost, but highly prized by the red-men, and for which they gave in exchange peltries of great value. The trade was one of slow returns, but of great profits to the trader. And it was of about equal advantage to the Indian; for with the trap or rifle he had gotten for a few skins he was able to [Pg 149]secure more game in a day than his bow and arrow and rude "dead-fall" would procure for him in a month of toilsome hunting. The traders were therefore held in high esteem among the Cherokees, who encouraged their living and even marrying among them. In fact, such alliances were deemed highly honorable, and were often sought by the daughters of the most distinguished chiefs. Consequently, among the trader's other chattels would often be found a dusky mate and a half-dozen half-breed children; and this, too, when he had already a wife and family somewhere in the white settlements.

These traders were an important class in the early history of the country. Of necessity well acquainted with the various routes traversing the Indian territory, and with the state of feeling among the savages, and passing frequently to and fro between the Indian towns and the white settlements, they were often enabled to warn the whites of intended attacks, and to guide such hostile parties as invaded the Cherokee territory. Though often natives of North Carolina or Virginia, and in sympathy with the colonists, they were, if prudent of speech and behavior, allowed to remain unmolested in the Indian towns, even when the warriors were singing the war-song and brandishing the war-club on the eve of an intended massacre of the settlers.

Living in Echota at this time was one of this class who, on account of his great services to the colonists, is deserving of special mention. His name was Isaac Thomas, and he is said to have been a native of Virginia. He is described as a man about forty years of age, over six feet in height, straight, long-limbed, and wiry, and with a frame so steeled by twenty years of mountain-life that he could endure any conceivable hardship. His features were strongly marked and regular, and they wore an habitual expression of comic gravity; but on occasion his dark, deep-set eye had been known to light up with a look of unconquerable pluck and determination. He wore moccasins and hunting-shirt of buckskin, and his face, neck, and hands, from long exposure, had grown to be of the same color as that material. His coolness and intrepidity had been shown on many occasions, and these qualities, together with his immense strength, had secured him high esteem among the Cherokees, who, like all uncivilized people, set the highest value upon personal courage and physical prowess. It is related that shortly before the massacre at Fort Loudon he interfered in a desperate feud between two Cherokee braves who had drawn their tomahawks to hew each other in pieces. Stepping between them, he wrenched the weapons from their hands, and then, both setting upon him at once, he cooled their heated valor by lifting one after the other into the air and gently tossing him into the Tellico. Subsequently, one of these braves saved his life at the Loudon massacre, at the imminent risk of his own. If I were writing fiction, I might make of this man an interesting character: as it is, it will be seen that facts hereinafter related will fully justify the length of this description.

A wigwam, larger and more pretentious than most of the others in Echota, stood a little apart from the rest, and not far from the council-house. Like the others, it had a frame of poles covered with tanned skins; but it was distinguished from them by a singular "totem,"—an otter in the coils of a water-snake. Its interior was furnished with a sort of rude splendor. The floor was carpeted with buffalo-hides and panther-skins, and round the walls were hung eagles' tails, and the peltries of the fox, the wolf, the badger, the otter, and other wild animals. From a pole in the centre was suspended a small bag,—the mysterious medicine-bag of the occupant. She was a woman who to this day is held in grateful remembrance by many of the descendants of the early settlers beyond the Alleghanies. Her personal appearance is lost to tradition, but it is said to have been queenly and commanding. She was more than the queen, she was the [Pg 150]prophetess and Beloved Woman, of the Cherokees.

At this time she is supposed to have been about thirty-five years of age. Her father was an English officer named Ward, but her mother was of the "blood royal," a sister of the reigning half-king Atta-Culla-Culla. The records we have of her are scanty, as they are of all her people, but enough has come down to us to show that she had a kind heart and a sense of justice keen enough to recognize the rights of even her enemies. She must have possessed very strong traits of character to exercise as she did almost autocratic control over the fierce and wellnigh untamable Cherokees when she was known to sympathize with and befriend their enemies the white settlers. Not long before the time of which I am writing, she had saved the lives of two whites,—Jeremiah Jack and William Rankin,—who had come into collision with a party of Cherokees; and subsequently she performed many similar services to the frontier people.

Other wigwams as imposing as that of Nancy Ward, and not far from the council-house, were the habitations of the head-king Oconostota, the half-king Atta-Culla-Culla, and the prince of Echota, Savanuca, otherwise called the Raven. Of these men it will be necessary to say more hereafter: here I need only remark that they have now gathered in the council-house, with many of the principal warriors and head-men of the Ottari Cherokees, and that the present fate of civilization in the Southwest is hanging on their deliberations.

They are of a gigantic race, and none of those at this conclave, except Atta-Culla-Culla, are less than six feet in height "without their moccasins." Squatted as they are gravely around the council-fire, they present a most picturesque appearance. Among them are the Bread-Slave-Catcher, noted for his exploits in stealing negroes; the Tennassee Warrior, prince of the town of that name; Noon-Day, a wide-awake brave; Bloody Fellow, whose subsequent exploits will show the appropriateness of his name; Old Tassell, a wise and reasonably just old man, afterward Archimagus; and John Watts, a promising young half-breed, destined to achieve eminence in slaughtering white people.

As one after another of them rises to speak, the rest, with downcast eyes and cloudy visages, listen with silent gravity, only now and then expressing assent by a solitary "Ugh!"

There is strong, though suppressed, passion among them; but it is passion under the control of reason. Whatever they decide to do will be done without haste, and after a careful weighing of all the consequences. In the midst of their deliberations the rapid tread of a horse's feet is heard coming up the long avenue. The horseman halts before the council-house, and soon the buffalo-hide parts in twain, and a tall young warrior, decorated with eagles' feathers and half clad in the highest style of Cherokee fashion, enters the door-way. He stands silent, motionless, not moving a pace beyond the entrance, till Oconostota, raising his eyes and lifting his huge form into an erect posture, bids him speak and make known his errand.

The young brave explains that the chief of the pale-faces has come down the great war-path to an outlying town to see the head-men of the Ottari. The warriors have detained him till they can know the will of their father the Archimagus.

The answer is brief: "Let him come. Oconostota will hear him."

And now an hour goes by, during which these grave chiefs sit as silent and motionless as if keeping watch around a sepulchre. At its close the tramp of a body of horsemen is heard, and soon Robertson, escorted by a score of painted warriors, enters the council-chamber. Like the rest, the new-comers are of fine physical proportions; and, as the others rise to their feet and all form in a circle about him, Robertson, who stands only five feet nine inches and is not so robust as in later years, seems like a pygmy among giants. Yet he is as cool, as collected, as apparently unconscious of danger, as if every [Pg 151]one of those painted savages (when aroused, red devils) was his near friend or blood-relation. The chiefs glance at him, and then at one another, with as much wonderment in their eyes as was ever seen in the eyes of a Cherokee. They know he is but one man and they twelve hundred, and that by their law of retaliation his life is forfeit; and yet he stands there, a look of singular power on his face, as if not they but he were master of the situation. They have seen physical bravery; but this is moral courage, which, when a man has a great purpose, lifts him above all personal considerations and makes his life no more to him than the bauble he wears upon his finger.

Robertson waits for the others to speak, and there is a short pause before the old chief breaks the silence. Then, extending his hand to Robertson, he says, "Our white brother is welcome. We have eaten of his venison and drunk of his fire-water. He is welcome. Let him speak. Oconostota will listen."

The white man returns cordially the grasp of the Indian; and then, still standing, while all about him seat themselves on the ground, he makes known the object of his coming. I regret I cannot give here his exact answer, for all who read this would wish to know the very words he used on this momentous occasion. No doubt they were, like all he said, terse, pithy, and in such scriptural phrase as was with him so habitual. I know only the substance of what he said, and it was as follows: that the young brave had been killed by one not belonging to the Watauga community; that the murderer had fled, but when apprehended would be dealt with as his crime deserved; and he added that he and his companion-settlers had come into the country desiring to live in peace with all men, but more especially with their near neighbors the brave Cherokees, with whom they should always endeavor to cultivate relations of friendliness and good-fellowship.

The Indians heard him at first with silent gravity, but, as he went on, their feelings warmed to him, and found vent in a few expressive "Ughs!" and when he closed, the old Archimagus rose, and, turning to the chiefs, said, "What our white brother says is like the truth. What say my brothers? are not his words good?"

The response was, "They are good."

A general hand-shaking followed; and then they all pressed Robertson to remain with them and partake of their hospitality. Though extremely anxious to return at once with the peaceful tidings, he did so, and thus converted possible enemies into positive friends; and the friendship thus formed was not broken till the outbreak of the Revolution.

While Robertson had been away, Sevier had not been idle. He had put Watauga into the best possible state of defence. With the surprising energy that was characteristic of him, he had built a fort and gathered every white settler into it or safe within range of its muskets. His force was not a hundred strong; but if Robertson had been safely out of the savage hold, he might have enjoyed a visit from Oconostota and his twelve hundred Ottari warriors.

The fort was planned by Sevier, who had no military training except such as he had received under his patron and friend Lord Dunmore. Though rude and hastily built, it was a model of military architecture, and in the construction of it Sevier displayed such a genius for war as readily accounts for his subsequent achievements.

It was located on Gap Creek, about half a mile northeast of the Watauga, upon a gentle knoll, from about which the trees, and even stumps, were carefully cleared, to prevent their sheltering a lurking enemy. The buildings have now altogether crumbled away; but the spot is still identified by a few graves and a large locust-tree,—then a slender sapling, now a burly patriarch, which has remained to our day to point out the spot where occurred the first conflict between civilization and savagery in the new empire beyond the Alleghanies. For the conflict was between those two [Pg 152]forces; and the forts along the frontier—of which this at Watauga was the original and model—were the forerunners of civilization,—the "voice crying in the wilderness," announcing the reign of peace which was to follow.

The fort covered a parallelogram of about an acre, and was built of log cabins placed at intervals along the four sides, the logs notched closely together, so that the walls were bullet-proof. One side of the cabins formed the exterior of the fort, and the spaces between them were filled with palisades of heavy timber, eight feet long, sharpened at the ends, and set firmly into the ground. At each of the angles was a block-house, about twenty feet square and two stories high, the upper story projecting about two feet beyond the lower, so as to command the sides of the fort and enable the besieged to repel a close attack or any attempt to set fire to the buildings. Port-holes were placed at suitable distances. There were two wide gate-ways, constructed to open quickly to permit a sudden sally or the speedy rescue of outside fugitives. On one of these was a lookout station, which commanded a wide view of the surrounding country. The various buildings would comfortably house two hundred people, but on an emergency a much larger number might find shelter within the enclosure.

The fort was admirably adapted to its design, and, properly manned, would repel any attack of fire-arms in the hands of such desultory warriors as the Indians. In the arithmetic of the frontier it came to be adopted as a rule that one white man behind a wall of logs was a match for twenty-five Indians in the open field; and subsequent events showed this to have been not a vainglorious reckoning.

There were much older men at Watauga than either Sevier or Robertson,—one of whom was now only twenty-eight and the other thirty,—but they had from the first been recognized as natural leaders. These two events—the building of the fort and the Cherokee mission, which displayed Sevier's uncommon military genius and Robertson's ability and address as a negotiator—elevated them still higher in the regard of their associates, and at once the cares and responsibilities of leadership in both civil and military affairs were thrust upon them. But Sevier, with a modesty which he showed throughout his whole career, whenever it was necessary that one should take precedence of the other, always insisted upon Robertson's having the higher position; and so it was that in the military company which was now formed Sevier, who had served as a captain under Dunmore, was made lieutenant, while Robertson was appointed captain.

The Watauga community had been till now living under no organized government. This worked very well so long as the newly-arriving immigrants were of the class which is "a law unto itself;" but when another class came in,—men fleeing from debt in the older settlements or hoping on the remote and inaccessible frontier to escape the penalty of their crimes,—some organization which should have the sanction of the whole body of settlers became necessary. Therefore, speaking in the language of Sevier, they, "by consent of the people, formed a court, taking the Virginia laws as a guide, as near as the situation of affairs would admit."

The settlers met in convention at the fort, and selected thirteen of their number to draft articles of association for the management of the colony. From these thirteen, five (among whom were Sevier and Robertson) were chosen commissioners, and to them was given power to adjudicate upon all matters of controversy and to adopt and direct all measures having a bearing upon the peace, safety, good order, and well-being of the community. By them, in the language of the articles, "all things were to be settled."

These articles of association were the first compact of civil government anywhere west of the Alleghanies. They were adopted in 1772, three years prior to the association formed for Kentucky "under the great elm-tree outside of the fort at Boonesboro." The simple [Pg 153]government thus established was sufficient to secure good order in the colony for several years following.

Now ensued four more years of uninterrupted peace and prosperity, during which the settlement increased greatly in numbers and extended its borders in all directions. The Indians, true to their pledges to Robertson, continued friendly, though suffering frequently from the depredations of lawless white men from the old settlements. These were reckless, desperate characters, who had fled from the order and law of established society to find freedom for unbridled license in the new community. Driven out by the Watauga settlers, they herded together in the wilderness, where they subsisted by hunting and fishing and preying upon the now peaceable Cherokees. They were an annoyance to both the peaceable white man and the red; but at length, when the Indians showed feelings of hostility, they became a barrier between the savages and the industrious cultivators of the soil, and thus unintentionally contributed to the well-being of the Watauga community.

No event materially affecting the interests of the colony occurred during the four years following Robertson's visit to the Cherokees at Echota. The battles of Lexington and Concord had been fought, but the shot which was "heard round the world" did not echo till months afterward in that secluded hamlet on the Watauga. But when it did reverberate amid those old woods, every backwoodsman sprang to his feet and asked to be enrolled to rush to the rescue of his countrymen on the seaboard. His patriotism was not stimulated by British oppression, for he was beyond the reach of the "king's minions." He had no grievances to complain of, for he drank no tea, used no stamps, and never saw a tax-gatherer. It was the "glorious cause of liberty," as Sevier expressed it, which called them all to arms to do battle for freedom and their countrymen.

"A company of fine riflemen was accordingly enlisted, and embodied at the expense and risque of their private fortunes, to act in defence of the common cause on the sea-shore."[001] But before the volunteers could be despatched over the mountains it became apparent that their services would be needed at home for the defence of the frontier against the Indians.

Through the trader Isaac Thomas it soon became known to the settlers that Cameron, the British agent, was among the Cherokees, endeavoring to incite them to hostilities against the Americans. At first the Indians resisted the enticements—the hopes of spoil and plunder and the recovery of their hunting-grounds—which Cameron held out to them. They could not understand how men of the same race and language could be at war with one another. It was never so known in Indian tradition. But soon—late in 1775—an event occurred which showed that the virus spread among them by the crafty Scotchman had begun to work, at least with the younger braves, and that it might at any moment break out among the whole nation. A trader named Andrew Grear, who lived at Watauga, had been at Echota. He had disposed of his wares, and was about to return with the furs he had taken in exchange, when he perceived signs of hostile feeling among some of the young warriors, and on his return, fearing an ambuscade on the great war-path, he left it before he reached the crossing at the French Broad, and went homeward by a less-frequented trail along the Nolachucky. Two other traders, named Boyd and Dagget, who left Echota on the following day, pursued the usual route, and were waylaid and murdered at a small stream which has ever since borne the name of Boyd's Creek. In a few days their bodies were found, only half concealed in the shallow water; and as the tidings flew among the scattered settlements they excited universal alarm and indignation.

The settlers had been so long at peace with the Cherokees that they had been [Pg 154]lulled into a false security; but, the savage having once tasted blood, they knew his appetite would "grow by what it fed on," and they prepared for a deadly struggle with an enemy of more than twenty times their number. The fort at Watauga was at once put into a state of efficient defence, smaller forts were erected in the centre of every scattered settlement, and a larger one was built on the frontier, near the confluence of the north and south forks of the Holston River, to protect the more remote settlements. This last was called Fort Patrick Henry, in honor of the patriotic governor of Virginia. The one at Watauga received the name of Fort Lee.

All the able-bodied males sixteen years of age and over were enrolled, put under competent officers, and drilled for the coming struggle. But the winter passed without any further act of hostility on the part of the disaffected Cherokees. The older chiefs, true to their pledges to Robertson, still held back, and were able to restrain the younger braves, who thirsted for the conflict from a passion for the excitement and glory they could find only in battle.

Nancy Ward was in the secrets of the Cherokee leaders, and every word uttered in their councils she faithfully repeated to the trader Isaac Thomas, who conveyed the intelligence personally or by trusty messengers to Sevier and Robertson at Watauga. Thus the settlers were enabled to circumvent the machinations of Cameron until a more powerful enemy appeared among the Cherokees in the spring of 1776. This was John Stuart, British superintendent of Southern Indian affairs, a man of great address and ability, and universally known and beloved among all the Southwestern tribes. Fifteen years before, his life had been saved at the Fort Loudon massacre by Atta-Culla-Culla, and a friendship had then been contracted between them which now secured the influence of the half-king in plunging the Cherokees into hostilities with the settlers.

The plan of operations had been concerted between Stuart and the British commander-in-chief, General Gage. It was for a universal rising among the Creeks, Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Shawnees, who were to invade the frontiers of Georgia, Virginia, and the Carolinas, while simultaneously a large military and naval force under Sir Peter Parker descended upon the Southern seaboard and captured Charleston. It was also intended to enlist the co-operation of such inhabitants of the back settlements as were known to be favorable to the British. Thus the feeble colonists were to be not only encircled by a cordon of fire, but a conflagration was to be lighted which should consume every patriot's dwelling. It was an able but pitiless and bloodthirsty plan, for it would let loose upon the settler every savage atrocity and make his worst foes those of his own household. If successful, it would have strangled in fire and blood the spirit of independence in the Southern colonies.

That it did not succeed seems to us, who know the means employed to thwart it, little short of a miracle. Those means were the four hundred and forty-five raw militia under Moultrie, who, behind a pile of palmetto logs, on the 28th of June, 1776, repulsed Sir Peter Parker in his attack on Sullivan's Island in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, and the two hundred and ten "over-mountain men," under Sevier, Robertson, and Isaac Shelby, who beat back, on the 20th and 21st of July, the Cherokee invasion of the western frontier.

As early as the 30th of May, Sevier and Robertson were apprised by their faithful friend Nancy Ward of the intended attack, and at once they sent messengers to Colonel Preston, of the Virginia Committee of Safety, for an additional supply of powder and lead and a reinforcement of such men as could be spared from home-service. One hundred pounds of powder and twice as much lead, and one hundred militiamen, were despatched in answer to the summons. The powder and lead were distributed among the stations, and the [Pg 155]hundred men were sent to strengthen the garrison of Fort Patrick Henry, the most exposed position on the frontier. The entire force of the settlers was now two hundred and ten, forty of whom were at Watauga under Sevier and Robertson, the remainder at and near Fort Patrick Henry under no less than six militia captains, no one of whom was bound to obey the command of any of the others. This many-headed authority would doubtless have worked disastrously to the loosely-jointed force had there not been in it as a volunteer a young man of twenty-five who in the moment of supreme danger seized the absolute command and rallied the men to victory. His name was Isaac Shelby, and this was the first act in a long career in the whole of which "he deserved well of his country."

Thus, from the 30th of May till the 11th of July the settlers slept with their rifles in their hands, expecting every night to hear the Indian war-whoop, and every day to receive some messenger from Nancy Ward with tidings that the warriors were on the march for the settlements. At last the messengers came,—four of them at once,—as we may see from the following letter, in which Sevier announces their arrival to the Committee of Safety of Fincastle County, Virginia:

"FORT LEE,  July 11, 1776.

DEAR GENTLEMEN,—Isaac Thomas, William Falling, Jarot Williams, and one more, have this moment come in, by making their escape from the Indians, and say six hundred Indians and whites were to start for this fort, and intend to drive the country up to New River before they return.


He says nothing of the feeble fort and his slender garrison of only forty men; he shows no sign of fear, nor does he ask for aid in the great peril. The letter is characteristic of the man, and it displays that utter fearlessness which, with other great qualities, made him the hero of the Border. The details of the information brought by Thomas to Sevier and Robertson showed how truthfully Nancy Ward had previously reported to them the secret designs of the Cherokees. The whole nation was about to set out upon the war-path. With the Creeks they were to make a descent upon Georgia, and with the Shawnees, Mingoes, and Delawares upon Kentucky and the exposed parts of Virginia, while seven hundred chosen Ottari warriors were to fall upon the settlers on the Watauga, Holston, and Nolachucky. This last force was to be divided into two bodies of three hundred and fifty each, one of which, under Oconostota, was to attack Fort Watauga; the other, under Dragging-Canoe, head-chief of the Chickamaugas, was to attempt the capture of Fort Patrick Henry, which they supposed to be still defended by only about seventy men. But the two bodies were to act together, the one supporting the other in case it should be found that the settlers were better prepared for defence than was anticipated. The preparation for the expedition Thomas had himself seen: its object and the points of attack he had learned from Nancy Ward, who had come to his cabin at midnight on the 7th of July and urged his immediate departure. He had delayed setting out till the following night, to impart his information to William Falling and Jarot and Isaac Williams, men who could be trusted, and who he proposed should set out at the same time, but by different routes, to warn the settlements, so that in case one or more of them was waylaid and killed the others might have a chance to get through in safety. However, at the last moment the British agent Cameron had himself disclosed the purpose of the expedition to Falling and the two brothers Williams, and detailed them with a Captain Guest to go along with the Indians as far as the Nolachucky, when they were to scatter among the settlements and warn any "king's men" to join the Indians or to wear a certain badge by which they would be known and protected in any attack from the savages. These men had set out with [Pg 156]the Indians, but had escaped from them during the night of the 8th, and all had arrived at Watauga in safety.

Thomas and Falling were despatched at once with the tidings into Virginia, the two Williamses were sent to warn the garrison at Fort Patrick Henry, and then the little force at Watauga furbished up their rifles and waited in grim expectation the coming of Oconostota.

But the garrison at Fort Patrick Henry was the first to have tidings from the Cherokees. Only a few men were at the fort, the rest being scattered among the outlying stations, but all were within supporting-distance. On the 19th of July the scouts came in and reported that a large body of Indians was only about twenty miles away and marching directly upon the garrison. Runners were at once despatched to bring in the scattered forces, and by nightfall the one hundred and seventy were gathered at the fort, ready to meet the enemy. Then a council of war was held by the six militia captains to determine upon the best plan of action. Some were in favor of awaiting the attack of the savages behind the walls of the fort, but one of them, William Cocke, who afterward became honorably conspicuous in the history of Tennessee, proposed the bolder course of encountering the enemy in the open field. If they did not, he contended that the Indians, passing them on the flank, would fall on and butcher the defenceless women of the settlements in their rear.

It was a step of extreme boldness, for they supposed they would encounter the whole body of seven hundred Cherokees; but it was unanimously agreed to, and early on the following morning the little army, with flankers and an advance guard of twelve men, marched out to meet the enemy. They had not gone far when the advance guard came upon a force of about twenty Indians. The latter fled, and the whites pursued for several miles, the main body following close upon the heels of the advance, but without coming upon any considerable force of the enemy. Then, being in a country favorable to an ambuscade, and the evening coming on, they held a council and decided to return to the fort.

They had not gone upward of a mile when a large force of the enemy appeared in their rear. The whites wheeled about at once, and were forming into line, when the whole body of Indians rushed upon them with great fury, shouting, "The Unacas are running! Come on! scalp them!" They attacked simultaneously the centre and left flank of the whites; and then was seen the hazard of going into battle with a many-headed commander. For a moment all was confusion, and the companies in attempting to form in the face of the impetuous attack were being broken, when Isaac Shelby rushed to the front and ordered each company a few steps to the rear, where they should reform, while he, with Lieutenant Moore, Robert Edmiston, and John Morrison, and a private named John Findlay,—in all five men,—should meet the onset of the savages. Instantly the six captains obeyed the command, recognizing in the volunteer of twenty-five their natural leader, and then the battle became general. The Indians attacked furiously, and for a few moments those five men bore the brunt of the assault. With his own hand Robert Edmiston slew six of the more forward of the enemy, Morrison nearly as many, and then Moore became engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand fight with an herculean chieftain of the Cherokees. They were a few paces in advance of the main body, and, as if by common consent, the firing was partly suspended on both sides to await the issue of the conflict. "Moore had shot the chief, wounding him in the knee, but not so badly as to prevent him from standing. Moore advanced toward him, and the Indian threw his tomahawk, but missed him. Moore sprung at him with his large butcher-knife drawn, which the Indian caught by the blade and attempted to wrest from the hand of his antagonist. Holding on with desperate tenacity to the knife, both clinched with their left hands. A scuffle ensued, in which the [Pg 157]Indian was thrown to the ground, his right hand being nearly dissevered, and bleeding profusely. Moore, still holding the handle of his knife in the right hand, succeeded with the other in disengaging his own tomahawk from his belt, and ended the strife by sinking it in the skull of the Indian. Until this conflict was ended, the Indians fought with unyielding spirit. After its issue became known, they retreated."[002] "Our men pursued in a cautious manner, lest they might be led into an ambuscade, hardly crediting their own senses that so numerous a foe was completely routed. In this miracle of a battle we had not a man killed, and only five wounded, who all recovered. But the wounded of the enemy died till the whole loss in killed amounted to upward of forty."[003]

As soon as this conflict was over, a horseman was sent off to Watauga with tidings of the astonishing victory. "A great day's work in the woods," was Sevier's remark when speaking subsequently of this battle.

Meanwhile, Oconostota, with his three hundred and fifty warriors, had followed the trail along the Nolachucky, and on the morning of the 20th had come upon the house of William Bean, the hospitable entertainer of Robertson on his first visit to Watauga, Bean himself was at the fort, to which had fled all the women and children in the settlement, but his wife had preferred to remain at home. She had many friends among the Indians, and she felt confident they would pass her without molestation. She was mistaken. They took her captive, and removed her to their station-camp on the Nolachucky. There a warrior pointed his rifle at her, as if to fire; but Oconostota threw up the barrel and began to question her as to the strength of the whites. She gave him misleading replies, with which he appeared satisfied, for he soon told her she was not to be killed, but taken to their towns to teach their women how to manage a dairy.

Those at the fort knew that Oconostota was near by on the Nolachucky, but he had deferred the attack so long that they concluded the wary and cautious old chief was waiting to be reinforced by the body under Dragging-Canoe, which had gone to attack Fort Patrick Henry. News had reached them of Shelby's victory, and, as it would be some time before the broken Cherokees could rally and join Oconostota, they were in no apprehension of immediate danger. Accordingly, they went about their usual vocations, and so it happened that a number of the women ventured outside the fort as usual to milk the cows on the morning of the 21st of July. Among them was one who was destined to occupy for many years the position of the "first lady in Tennessee."

Her name was Catherine Sherrell, and she was the daughter of Samuel Sherrell, one of the first settlers on the Watauga. In age she was verging upon twenty, and she was tall, straight as an arrow, and lithe as a hickory sapling. I know of no portrait of her in existence, but tradition describes her as having dark eyes, flexible nostrils, regular features, a clear, transparent skin, a neck like a swan, and a wealth of wavy brown hair, which was a wonder to look at and was in striking contrast to the whiteness of her complexion. A free life in the open air had made her as supple as an eel and as agile as a deer. It was said that, encumbered by her womanly raiment, she had been known to place one hand upon a six-barred fence and clear it at a single bound. And now her agility was to do her essential service.

While she and the other women, unconscious of danger, were "coaxing the snowy fluid from the yielding udders of the kine," suddenly the war-whoop sounded through the woods, and a band of yelling savages rushed out upon them. Quick as thought the women turned and darted for the gate of the fort; but the savages were close upon them in a neck-and-neck race, and Kate, more remote than the rest, was cut off from the entrance. Seeing her danger, Sevier and a dozen others opened the gate and were [Pg 158]about to rush out upon the savages, hundreds of whom were now in front of the fort; but Robertson held them back, saying they could not rescue her, and to go out would insure their own destruction. At a glance Kate took in the situation. She could have no help from her friends, and the tomahawk and scalping-knife were close behind her. Instantly she turned, and, fleeter than a deer, made for a point in the stockade some distance from the entrance. The palisades were eight feet high, but with one bound she reached the top, and with another was over the wall, falling into the arms of Sevier, who for the first time called her his "bonnie Kate," his "brave girl for a foot-race." The other women reached the entrance of the fort in safety.

Then the baffled savages opened fire, and for a full hour it rained bullets upon the little enclosure. But the missiles fell harmless: not a man was wounded. Driven by the light charges the Indians were accustomed to use, the bullets simply bounded off from the thick logs and did no damage. But it was not so with the fire of the besieged. The order was, "Wait till you see the whites of your enemies' eyes, and then make sure of your man." And so every one of those forty rifles did terrible execution.

For twenty days the Indians hung about the fort, returning again and again to the attack; but not a man who kept within the walls was even wounded. It was not so with a man and a boy who, emboldened by a few days' absence of the Indians, ventured outside to go down to the river. The man was scalped on the spot; the boy was taken prisoner, and subjected to a worse fate in one of the Indian villages. His name was Moore, and he was a younger brother of the lieutenant who fought so bravely in the battle near Fort Patrick Henry.

At last, baffled and dispirited, the Indians fell back to the Tellico. They had lost about sixty killed and a larger number wounded, and they had inflicted next to no damage upon the white settlers. They were enraged beyond bounds and thirsting for vengeance. Only two prisoners were in their power; but on them they resolved to wreak their extremest tortures. Young Moore was taken to the village of his captor, high up in the mountains, and there burned at a stake. A like fate was determined upon for good Mrs. Bean, the kindly woman whose hospitable door had ever been open to all, white man or Indian. Oconostota would not have her die; but Dragging-Canoe insisted that she should be offered up as a sacrifice to the manes of his fallen warriors; and the head-king was not powerful enough to prevent it.

She was taken to the summit of one of the burial-mounds,—those relics of a forgotten race which are so numerous along the banks of the Tellico. She was tied to a stake, the fagots were heaped about her, and the fire was about to be lighted, when suddenly Nancy Ward appeared among the crowd of savages and ordered a stay of the execution. Dragging-Canoe was a powerful brave, but not powerful enough to combat the will of this woman. Mrs. Bean was not only liberated, but sent back with an honorable escort to her husband.

The village in which young Moore was executed was soon visited by Sevier with a terrible retribution; and from that day for twenty years his name was a terror among the Cherokees.

Before many months there was a wedding in the fort at Watauga. It was that of John Sevier and the "bonnie Kate," famous to this day for leaping stockades and six-barred fences. He lived to be twelve years governor of Tennessee and the idol of a whole people. She shared all his love and all his honors; but in her highest estate she was never ashamed of her lowly days, and never tired of relating her desperate leap at Watauga; and, even in her old age, she would merrily add, "I would make it again—every day in the week—for such a husband."



[Pg 159]It was drawing toward nine o'clock, and symptoms of closing for the night were beginning to manifest themselves in Mr. Pegram's store. The few among the nightly loungers there who had still a remnant of domestic conscience left had already risen from boxes and "kags," and gathered up the pound packages of sugar and coffee which had served as the pretext for their coming, but which would not, alas! sufficiently account for the length of their stay. The older stagers still sat composedly in the seats of honor immediately surrounding the red-hot stove, and a look of disapproval passed over their faces as Mr. Pegram, opening the door and thereby letting in a blast of cold air upon their legs, proceeded to put up the outside shutters.

"In a hurry to-night, ain't you, Pegram?" inquired Mr. Dickey, as the proprietor returned, brushing flakes of snow from his coat and shivering expressively.

"Well, not particular," replied Mr. Pegram, with a deliberation which confirmed his words, "but it's pretty nigh nine, and Sally she ast me not to be later than nine to-night, for our hired girl's gone home for a spell, and that makes it kind of lonesome for Sally: the baby don't count for much, only when he cries, and I'll do him the justice to say that isn't often."

"It's a new thing for Sally to be scary, ain't it?" queried Mr. Crumlish, with an expression of mild surprise.

"Well, yes, I may say it is," admitted Mr. Pegram; "but, you know, we had a kind of a warning, before we moved in, that all wasn't quite as it should be, and, as bad luck would have it, there was a Boston paper come round her new coat, with a story in it that laid out to be true, of noises and appearances, and one thing and another, in a house right there to Boston, and Sally she says to me, 'If they believe in them things to Boston, where they don't believe in nothing they can't see and handle, if all we hear's true, there must be something in it, and I only wish I'd read that piece before we took the house.'

"I keep a-telling her we've neither seen nor heard nothing out of the common, so far, but all she'll say to that is, 'That's no reason we won't;' and sure enough it isn't, though I don't tell her so."

"But surely," said Mr. Birchard, the young schoolmaster, who boarded with Mr. Dickey, "you don't believe any such trash as that account of a haunted house in Boston?" There was a non-committal silence, and he went on impatiently, "I could give you a dozen instances in which mysteries of this kind, when they were energetically followed up, were proved to be the results of the most simple and natural causes."

"Like enough, like enough, young man," said Uncle Jabez Snyder, in his tremulous tones, "and mebbe some folks not a hunderd miles from here could tell you another dozen that hadn't no natural causes."

"I should like very much to hear them," replied the young man, with an exasperatingly incredulous smile.

"If Pegram here wasn't in such a durned hurry to turn us out and shet up," said Mr. Dickey, with manifest irritation, "Uncle Jabez could tell you all you want to hear."

Mr. Pegram looked disturbed. It was with him a fixed principle never to disoblige a customer, and he saw that he was disobliging at least half a dozen. On the other hand, he was not prepared to face his wife should he so daringly disregard her wishes as to keep the store open half an hour later than usual. He pondered for a few moments, and then his face suddenly brightened, and he said, "If one of you gentlemen that passes my house on your way home [Pg 160]would undertake to put coal on the fire, put the lights out, lock the door, and bring me the key, the store's at your disposal till ten o'clock; and I'm only sorry I can't stay myself."

Two or three immediately volunteered, but as the schoolmaster and Mr. Dickey were the only ones whose way lay directly past Mr. Pegram's door, it was decided that they should divide the labors and honors between them.

"I'd like you not to stop later than ten," said Mr. Pegram deprecatingly, as he buttoned his great-coat and drew his hat down over his eyes, "for I have to be up so early, since that boy cleared out, that I need to go to bed sooner than I mostly do."

Compliance with this modest request was readily promised, good-nights were exchanged, and the lessened circle drew in more closely around the stove, for several of the company had reluctantly decided that, all things considered, it would be the better part of valor for them to go when Mr. Pegram went.

There was a few minutes' silence, and then Mr. Dickey said impatiently, "We're all ready, Uncle Jabez. Why don't you fire away, so's to be through by ten o'clock?"

"I was a-thinkin' which one I'd best tell him," said Uncle Jabez mildly. "They're all convincin' to a mind that's open to convincement, but I'd like to pick out the one that's most so."

"There's the one about Alviry Pratt's grandfather," suggested Mr. Crumlish encouragingly.

"No," mused the old man. "I've no doubt of that myself, but then it didn't happen to me in person, and I've a notion he'd rather hear one I've experienced than two I've heard tell of."

"Of course I would, Uncle Jabez," said Mr. Birchard kindly, but with an amused twinkle in his eyes. "You take your own time: it's only just struck nine, and there's no hurry at all."

"Supposin' I was to tell him that one about my first wife?" said the old man presently, and with an inquiring look around the circle.

Several heads were nodded approvingly, and Mr. Crumlish said, "The very one I'd 'a' chosen myself if you'd ast me."

Thus encouraged, Uncle Jabez, with a sort of deliberate promptness, began: "We married very young, Lavina and me,—too young, some said, but I never could see why, for I had a good farm, with health and strength to carry it on, and she was a master-hand with butter and cheese. At any rate, we thriv; and if we had plenty of children, there was plenty for 'em to eat, and they grew as fast as everything else did. She wasn't what you'd fairly call handsome, Lavina wasn't, but she was pleasant-appearin', very,—plump as a pa'tridge, with nice brown hair and eyes and a clean-lookin' skin. But it was her smile in particular that took me; and when she set in to laugh you couldn't no more' help laughin' along with her than one bobolink can help laughin' back when he hears another. She was the tenderest-hearted woman that ever breathed the breath of life: she couldn't bear to hurt the feelin's of a cat, and she'd go 'ithout a chicken-dinner any day sooner'n kill a chicken. As time passed on and she begun to age a little, she grew stouter 'n' stouter; but it didn't seem to worry her none. She'd puff and blow a good bit when she went up-stairs, but she'd always laugh about it, and say that when we was rich enough we'd put in an elevator, like they had at a big hotel we saw once. It would suit her fine, she said, to set down on a cushioned seat and be up-stairs afore she could git up again. Now, you needn't think I'm wanderin' from the p'int," and Uncle Jabez looked severely at Mr. Dickey, who was manifestly fidgeting. "All you folks that have lived about here all your lives knew Lavina 'ithout my tellin' you this; but Mr. Birchard he's a stranger in the neighborhood, and it's needful to the understandin' of my story that he should know just what sort of a woman she was,—or is, as I should say."

Mr. Dickey subsided, while Mr. Birchard tried to throw still more of an expression of the deepest interest and attention into his face. He must have [Pg 161]succeeded, for the old man, going on with his story, fixed his eyes more and more frequently upon those of the young one. They were large, gentle, appealing blue eyes, with a mildly surprised expression, which Mr. Birchard found exceedingly attractive. Whether or not the fact that the youngest of Uncle Jabez's children, a daughter, had precisely similar eyes, in any way accounted for the attraction, I leave to minds more astute than my own.

"You may think," the narrator resumed, when he felt that he had settled Mr. Dickey, "whether or not you'd miss a woman like that, when you'd summered and wintered with her more'n forty year. She always said she hoped she'd go sudden, for she was so heavy it would 'a' took three or four of the common run of folks to lift her, and she dreaded a long sickness. Well, she was took at her word. We was settin', as it might be now, one on one side the fire, the other on t'other, in the big easy-cheers that Samuel—that's our oldest son, and a good boy, if I do say it—had sent us with the fust spare money he had. She'd been laughin' and jokin', as she so often did, five minutes afore. Gracie—she was a little thing then, and, bein' the youngest, a little sassy and sp'iled, mebbe—had been on a trip to the city, and she'd brought her ma a present of a shoe-buttoner with a handle a full foot long.

"'There, ma,' she says, laughin' up in her mother's face; 'you was complainin' about the distance it seemed to be to your feet: here's a kind of a telegraft-pole to shorten it a little.'

"My, how we did laugh! And Lavina must needs try it right away, to please Gracie; and she said it worked beautiful. But whether it was the laughin' so much right on top of a hearty supper, or the bendin' down to try her new toy, or both, she jest says, as natural as I'm speakin' now, 'Jabez, I'm a-goin'—' and then stopped. And when I looked up to see why she didn't finish, she was gone, sure enough."

His voice broke, and he stopped abruptly. Mr. Birchard, without in the least intending to do it, grasped his hand, and held it with affectionate warmth for a moment.

"Thank you, young man, thank you kindly," said Uncle Jabez, recovering his voice and shaking Mr. Birchard's hand heartily at the same moment. "You've an uncommon feelin' heart for one so young.

"To say I was lonesome after she went don't say much; but time evens things out after a while, or we couldn't stand it as long as we do. Gracie she settled into a little woman all at once, as you may say, and seemed older for a while than she does now. The rest was all married and gone, but one boy,—a good boy, too. But they came around me, comfortin' and helpin', though each one of 'em mourned her nigh as much as I did myself; and after a while, as I said, I got used, in a manner, to doin' 'ithout her."

Here he made a long pause, with his eyes intently fixed upon the darkness of the adjoining store-room. The heat from the stove had become too great after the shutting of the shutters, and one of the men had opened an inner door for ventilation.

Now, as one pair of eyes after another followed those of the old man, there was a sort of subdued stir around the circle, and the schoolmaster, to his intense disgust, caught himself looking hastily over his shoulder,—the door being behind him.

Mr. Dickey broke the spell by suddenly rising, with the exclamation, "I think we're cooled off about enough; and, as I'm a little rheumaticky to-night, I'll shut that door, if you've none of you no objections."

There was a subdued murmur of assent, the door was closed, and Uncle Jabez returned to the thread of his discourse:

"Lemme see: where was I? Oh, yes. You may think it a little strange, now, but I didn't neither see nor hear tell of her for a full six months. If I was makin' this story up, and anxious to make a good story of it, you can see, if you're fair-minded, that I'd say she [Pg 162]came back right away. Now, wouldn't I be most likely to? Say?"

He appealed so directly to Mr. Birchard, pausing for a reply, that the sceptic was obliged to answer in some way, and, with a curious sort of reluctance, he said slowly, "Yes—I suppose—I'm sure you would."

This seemed to satisfy Uncle Jabez, and he went on with his story:

"I came home from town one stormy night, about six months after she died, pretty well beat out,—entirely so, I may say. I'd been drivin' some cattle into the city, and I'd had only a poor concern of a boy to help me. The cattle was contrai-ry,—contrai-rier'n common; and I remember thinkin', when the feller at the drove-yard handed me my check, that I'd earned it pretty hard. That's the last about it I do remember. I s'pose I must 'a' put it in my pocket-book, the same as usual; but I rode home in a sort of a maze, I was so tired and drowsy, and I'd barely sense enough to eat my supper and grease my boots afore I went to bed. I had a bill to pay the next day, and I opened my pocket-book, quite confident, to take out the check. It wasn't there. I always kep' a number of papers in that pocket-book, and I thought at fust it had got mislaid among 'em: so I turned everything out, and unfolded 'em one by one, and poked my finger through a hole between the leather and the linin', and made it a good deal bigger,—but that's neither here nor there,—and before I was through I was certain sure of one thing,—- that wherever else that check was, it wasn't in that pocket-book. Then I tried my pockets, one after the other,—four in my coat, four in my overcoat, three in my vest, two in my pants: no, it wasn't in any of them, and I begun to feel pretty queer, I can tell you. It was my only sale of cattle for the season; I was dependin' on it to pay a bill and buy one or two things for Gracie; and, anyhow, it's no fun to lose a hunderd-dollar check and feel as if it must have been bewitched away from you. I rode back to the drove-yard, though I wasn't more'n half rested from the day before, and they said they'd stop payment on the check and give me a chance to look right good for it, and if I couldn't find it they'd draw me another. You see, they knowed me right well, and they wasn't afraid I was tryin' to play any sort of a game on 'em. Still, it wasn't a pleasant thing to have happen, for, say the best you could of it, it argued that I'd lost a considerable share of my wits. So, when I come home, I felt so kind of worried and down-hearted that I couldn't half eat my supper; and that worried Gracie,—she was a thin-skinned little critter, and if I didn't eat the same as usual she'd always take it into her head there was something wrong with the victuals. I fell asleep in my cheer right after supper, and slept till nine o'clock; and then Gracie woke me, and ast me if I didn't think I'd better go to bed. I said yes, I s'posed I had; but by that time I was hungry, and I ast her what she had good in the pantry. She brightened up wonderful at that,—though when I come to look closer at her I see she'd been cryin',—and she said there was doughnuts, fresh fried that day, and the best half of a mince pie. I told her that was all right so far as it went, but I'd like somethin' a little solider to begin with: so she found me a few slices of cold pork and one of her cowcumber pickles, and I eat a right good supper. She picked at a piece of pie, by way of keepin' me company, but she didn't eat much. Now, I tell you this, which you may think isn't revelant to the subject, to let you see I went to bed comfortable. We laughed and talked over our little supper, and pretended we was city-folks, on our way home from the theater, gettin' a fancy supper at Delmonico's. And I forgot all about the check for the time bein', as slick and clean as if I'd never had it nor lost it. But, nevertheless, when I went to sleep I begun to dream about it, and was to the full as much worried in my dream as I was when I was awake. I seemed to myself to be huntin' all over the house, in every hole and corner I could think of, and sometimes I'd come on pieces of paper that looked so like it [Pg 163]outside I'd make sure I'd found it, and then when I opened 'em they'd be ridickilous rhymes, 'ithout any sense to 'em; when all of a sudden I heard Lavina's voice, as plain as you hear mine now. It seemed to come from a good ways off just at first, callin' 'Father,'—she always called me 'Father,' partly because she didn't like the name of Jabez, and it is a humbly name, I'm free to confess,—and then again nearer, 'Father;' and then again, as if it was right at the foot of the stairs. And this time it went on to say, loud and plain, so's 't I could hear every word, 'You look in the little black teapot on the top shelf of the pantry, where I kep' the missionary money, and see what you'll find.' And with that I heard her laugh; and I'd know Lavina's laugh among a thousand. I was too dazed like to do it right away, and I must 'a' fell asleep while I was thinkin' about it, for when I woke up it was broad daylight and Gracie was callin' to me to get up. But I hadn't forgot a word that Lavina'd said, and I went for that teapot as quick as I was dressed, and there was the check, sure enough, in good order and condition!"

He paused to look round at his audience and see the effect of this statement, and the schoolmaster took advantage of the pause to ask, "Were you in the habit of putting money in that teapot for safe-keeping, Uncle Jabez?"

"Young man, I was not," said Uncle Jabez emphatically, and evidently annoyed both by the question and by the tone in which it was uttered. "It was a little notion of Lavina's, and I'd never meddled with it, one way or the other. But I'd left it be there after she died, because I liked to look at it. I'd no more 'a' dreamed of puttin' that check in it than I would of puttin' it into Gracie's work-box. But there it was, and how it come there it wasn't vouchsafed me to know.

"I think it must have been a matter of three or four months after this, though I wouldn't like to say too positive, that I fell into my first and last lawsuit. A man I'd always counted a good neighbor made out he'd found an old title-deed which give him a right to a smart slice off'n my best meadow-land. It dated fifty years back, and old Peter Pinnell, that was the only surveyor in the township at that time, made out he recollected runnin' the lines; and when McKellop, the feller that claimed the track, took old Pinnell over the ground, to see if he could find any landmarks that would help to make the claim good, they found a big pine-tree jest where they wanted to find it, and cut into it at the right height to find a 'blaze,' if there was one. The rings was marked as plain as the lines on a map, and when they'd cut through fifty, there was the mark, sure enough, and McKellop's lawyer crowed ready to hurt himself. I was a good deal cut down, I can tell you, for I could see pretty well that it was goin' to turn the scale; and when supper-time came, Gracie could hardly coax me to the table. I said no, I didn't feel to be hungry; for I couldn't get that strip of meadow-land out of my head. And it wasn't so much the value of the land, either, though I couldn't well afford to lose it, as it was the idee of McKellop's crowin' and cacklin' all over the neighborhood about it. But Gracie looked so anxious and tired that I come to the table, jest to satisfy her; and I found I was hungry, after all, for I'd been trampin' round the farm most of the day, lookin' for some landmark or sign that would prove my claim, that dated seventy years back. I recollect we had soused pigs' feet for supper that night; and I don't think I ever tasted better in my life. I eat pretty free of them, as I always did of anything I liked, and we wound up with some of her canned peaches, that she'd got out to coax me to eat, and cream on 'em 'most as thick as butter: she had a skimmer with holes into it that she always skimmed the cream with for our own use. She'd made as good a pot of coffee as I ever tasted. And when I'd had all I wanted, I felt a good deal better, and I says to her,—'I'll fret over it no more, Gracie: [Pg 164]if it's his'n, let him take it 'ithout more words.'

"She read me a story out of the paper that made us both laugh right hearty, and then a chapter, as usual, and then we went to bed. And all come round jest as it did afore. I thought I was roamin' about the farm, as I had been pretty nigh all day; but things was changed round, somehow, and the further I went the more mixed up they got, till, jest as I'd found the pine-tree, I heard Lavina's voice, the same as I'd done afore,—first far, and then near,—sayin', 'Father;' and the third time she said it, when it sounded close to, she went on to say, 'He's done his cuttin', now do you do yours. You cut through twenty more rings, and you'll find the blaze that marks your survey. And then thank him kindly for givin' you the idee. The smartest of folks is too smart for themselves once in a while.' And with that she laughed her own jolly, hearty laugh; but that was the last she said; and I laid there wonderin' and thinkin' for a while, and then dropped off to sleep. But it was all as clear as a bell in my head in the morning, and I had McKellop and old Peter at the pine-tree by eight o'clock. I'd sharpened my axe good, I can tell you, and it didn't take me long to cut through twenty more rings, and there, sure enough, was the blaze; and if ever you see a blue-lookin' man, that man was McKellop; for as soon as old Peter see the blaze he recollected hearin' his father tell about the survey; he recollected it particular because the old man was a good judge of apple-jack, and he'd said that my father'd gi'n him some of the best, that day the survey was made, that he'd ever tasted. And Peter said he reckoned he could find something about it in his father's books and among some loose papers he had in a box. And, sure enough, he found enough to make my claim as clear as a bell and make McKellop's as flat as a pancake. Now, what do you think of that, hey?"

Once more the old man peered into Birchard's face, and the schoolmaster answered one question with another, after the custom of the country:

"Did you ever know anything about the blazed tree before McKellop found the blaze?"

"When I come to think it over, I found I did," said Uncle Jabez, falling all unconscious into the trap set for him. "I hadn't no papers about it, but my father had told me all the ins and outs of it when I was a boy, and it had somehow gone out of my mind."

"Ah!" said the schoolmaster.

"I don't know what you mean by 'Ah' in this connection," said Uncle Jabez, speaking with unwonted sharpness; "but if you're misdoubtin' what I tell you I may as well shet up and go home."

"I don't doubt your word in the least, Uncle Jabez; I assure you I don't," Mr. Birchard hastened to say. "And I'm deeply interested. I hope you will go on and tell me all your experiences of this kind. I've heard and read a good many ghost-stories; but in all of them the ghosts were malicious creatures, who seemed to come back chiefly for the fun of scaring people out of their wits. Yours is the first really benevolent and well-meaning ghost of which I have ever heard; and it interests me immensely; for I never could see why a person who was all goodness and generosity while he—or she—was alive should turn into an unmitigated nuisance after dying. I should think, if they must needs come back, they might just as well be pleasant about it and make people glad to see—or hear—them."

"That's exactly the view I've always taken," said Mr. Crumlish modestly; "and one reason I've never felt to doubt any of Uncle Jabez's stories is that all the ghosts he's ever seen or heard tell of have been decent-behaving ghosts, that didn't come back just for the fun of scaring people to death."

"That's so; that's so," said the old man, entirely mollified, and hearing no note of sarcasm in the schoolmaster's rapidly-uttered eloquence. "If any one of 'em was to behave ugly," he continued, [Pg 165]"it would shake my faith in the whole thing considerable; for I couldn't bring myself to believe that anybody I've ever knowed could be so far given over as to want to be ugly after dyin'."

"Well, now, I don't know," said Mr. Dickey argumentatively. "I hev knowed certain folks that it seems to me would stick to their ugliness alive or dead, and, though I've never seen no appearances of any kind, as I may say, I can believe jist as easy that some of 'em come back for mischief as that others come back for good."

There was a few minutes' constrained silence after this remark. Mr. Dickey's first wife had been what is popularly known as "a Tartar," and there was a generally current rumor that as the last shovelful of earth was patted down on her grave he had been heard to murmur, "Thanks be to praise, she's quiet at last." The idea of her reappearance in her wonted haunts was indeed a dismaying one, especially as Mr. Dickey had recently married again, and, if the gossips knew anything about it, was repeating much of his former painful experience. The silence, which was becoming embarrassing, was finally broken by the schoolmaster.

"Had you any more experiences of the kind you have just related, Uncle Jabez?" he asked, in tones of such deep respect and lively interest that Uncle Jabez responded, with gratifying promptness,—

"Plenty, plenty, though perhaps them two that I've just told you was the most strikin'. But it always seemed to me, after that first time, that Lavina was on hand when anything went wrong or was likely to go wrong; and ef I was to tell you all the scrapes she's kep' me out of and pulled me out of, I should keep you settin' here all night. There was one more," he continued, "that struck me a good deal at the time. It was about money, like the fust one, in a different sort of way. It was durin' those days when specie was so skurce and high that it was quite a circumstance to get a piece of hard money. There come along a peddler in a smart red wagon, with all sorts of women's trash packed into it, and Gracie took it into her head to want some of his things. It happened to be her birthday that day, and, as she didn't often pester me about clothes, I told her to choose out what she wanted, up to five dollars' worth, and, if the feller could change me a twenty-dollar note, I'd pay for it. He jumped at it, sayin' he didn't count it any trouble at all to give change, the way some storekeepers did, and that he always kep' a lot on hand to oblige his customers. I will say for him that it seemed to me he give Gracie an amazin' big five dollars' worth, and when he come to make the change he handed out a ten-dollar gold piece, or what I then took to be such, as easy as if he'd found it growin' on a bush, and said nothin' whatever about the premium on it. Perhaps I'd ought to have mentioned it, but it seemed to me it was his business more'n mine: so I jest took it as if it was the most natural thing in life, and he went off. I thought I might as well as not get the premium on it before it went down the way folks said it was goin' to: so, after dinner, I harnessed up, and drove down to the post-office,—it was kep' in the drug-store then, the same as it is now,—and when I handed my gold piece to the postmaster, which was also the druggist, and said I'd take a quarter's worth of stamps, and I believed gold was worth a dollar fifteen just now, he first smelt of it, and then bit it, and then poured some stuff out'n a bottle onto it, and then handed it back to me with a pityin' smile that somehow riled me more'n a little, and he says, says he,—

"'Somebody's fooled you badly, Uncle Jabez. That coin's a counterfeit. Do you happen to know where you got it?'

"'I know well enough,' I says, and I expect I spoke pretty mad, for I felt mad. 'I got it of a travellin' peddler, that's far enough away by this time, and if you're sure it's bad I'm that much out of pocket.' He seemed right concerned about it, and ast me if I hadn't no clue that I could track the peddler by; but I couldn't think of any, [Pg 166]and I went home a good deal down in the mouth. But Gracie chirked me up, as she always does, bless her! and she made me a Welsh rabbit for supper, and some corn muffins, and a pot of good rich chocolate, by way of a change, and we agreed that, as she'd a pretty big five dollars worth and as the rest of the change was good, we'd say no more about it, for it would be like lookin' for a needle in a hay-stack to try to track him.

"'Why, father,' she says, 'I don't so much as know his name: do you?'

"I told her no, I didn't; that if I'd heard his name I disremembered it, but that I didn't think I'd heard it. And then that very night come another visit from mother, and she told me all about it. She come the way she always did, and when she spoke the last time, close to, as you may say, she says,—

"'I wouldn't give up that ten dollars so easy, if I was you, father. That peddler's name is Hanigan,—Elwood Hanigan,—and he'll be at the State Fair to-morrow. Now, do you go, and you'll find his red wagon with no trouble at all; and jest be right down firm with him, and tell him that if he doesn't give you good money in place of the bad he foisted off on you you'll show him up to the whole fair, and you'll see how glad he'll be to settle it.'

"And with that she laughed jest as natural as life, and I heard no more till Gracie knocked on my door in the morning."

"And did you go to the fair and find him and get your money back?" asked Birchard, who was interested in spite of his scepticism.

"I did, jest that," replied Uncle Jabez. "I got off bright and early, and, as luck would have it, I'd jest tied and blanketed my horse when that wonderful smart red wagon come drivin' in at the gate. I waited till he'd begun to pull his wares out and make a fine speech about 'em, and then I jest walked up to him, cool and composed, and give him his choice between payin' me good money for his bogus gold or hearin' me make a speech; and you may jest bet your best hat he paid up quicker'n winkin'. Perhaps I'd ought to have warned folks ag'in' him as it was, but I had a notion he'd save his tricks till he got to another neighborhood; and it turned out I was right. He didn't give none of his gold change out that day. But you can see for yourself that if it hadn't been for Lavina he'd have come off winnin' horse in that race. That was always the way when mother was about: she had more sense in her little finger than I had in my whole body, and head too, for that matter."

"And you found that you really had not known the man's name until it was conveyed to you in the manner in which you have described?" asked the schoolmaster deferentially.

"Well, no," said Uncle Jabez. "When I saw his wagon the next day, I remembered of readin' his name in gilt letters on the side, tacked to some patent medicine he claimed to have invented; but I don't suppose I'd ever thought of it again if mother hadn't told it to me so plain."

The schoolmaster said nothing. He had his own neat little theories concerning all the manifestations which had been mentioned, but somehow the old man's guileless belief had touched him, and he had no longer any desire to shake it, even had it been possible to do so. But he could not help probing the subject a little further: so presently he asked, "And you've never spoken to her, never asked her if it were not possible for you to see as well as hear her?"

"Young man," said Uncle Jabez kindly, but solemnly, "there's such a sin as presumption, and there's some old sayin' or other about fools rushin' in where angels fear to tread. If you try to grab too much at once, you're apt to lose all. If it was meant for me to see mother as well as hear her, I should see her; and if I was to go to pryin' round and tryin' to find out what's purposely hid from me, I make no doubt but I should lose the little that's been vouchsafed to me. But I'd far rather hear you ask questions like that than to have [Pg 167]you throwin' doubt on the whole business, as you seemed inclined to do at fust."

"Look here," said Mr. Dickey briskly, "do you know it's well on to half-past ten? and we were to have the key at Pegram's by ten. I think we'd better do what there is to do, and clear out of this as quick as we know how, and mebbe some of us will wish before an hour's gone that we had Uncle Jabez's knack at makin' out a good story."

"You speak for yourself, Dickey," said Mr. Crumlish good-naturedly. "There's some of us that goes in and comes out, with nobody to care which it is, nor how long we stay; but freedom has its drawbacks, as well as other things."

The schoolmaster laughed at himself for striking a match as he turned the last light out, but he felt moving through his brain a vague wish that Uncle Jabez would break himself of that trick he had of gazing fixedly at nothing, and that other trick of stopping suddenly in the middle of a sentence to cock his head, as if he were hearing some far-away, uncertain sound.



When a man has once absorbed into his system a love for fishing or hunting, he is under the influence of an invisible power greater than that of vaccine matter or the virus of rabies. The sporting-fever is the veritable malady of St. Vitus, holding its victim forever on the go, as game-seasons come, and so long as back and legs, eye and ear, can wrestle with Time's infirmities. It breeds ambition, boasting, and "yarns" to a proverbial extent, with a general disbelief in the possible veracity of a brother sportsman, and an irresistible; desire to talk of new and privately discovered sporting-heavens. The gold-seeker stakes his claim, the "wild-catting" oil-borer boards up his lot, the inventor patents his invention, and the author copyrights his brain-fruit; but the sportsman crazily tells all he knows. So the secret gets out, and the discoverer is robbed of his treasure and forced to seek new fields for his rod and gun.

Colonel Bangem had enjoyed a year's sport among the unvisited preserves of Elk River. Mrs. Bangem and Bess, their daughter, had shared his pleasures and acquired his fondness for such of them as were within feminine reach. Any ordinary man would have been perfectly satisfied with such company and delights; but no, when the bass began to leap and the salmon to flash their tails, the pressure was too great. His friends the Doctor and the Professor were written to, and summoned to his find. They came, the secret was too good to keep, and that is the way this chronicle of their doings happens to be written.

No sooner was the invitation received than the Doctor eased his conscience and delighted his patients by the regular professional subterfuge of sending such of them as had money to the sea-shore, and telling those who had not that they needed no medicine at present; the Professor turned his classes over to an assistant on pretext of a sudden bronchial attack, for which a dose of mountain-air was the prescribed remedy. And so the two were whirled away on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad across the renowned valley of Virginia and the eastern valley steps of the Alleghany summits, past the gigantic basins where boil and bubble springs curative of all human ills, down the wild boulder-tossed waters [Pg 168]and magnificent cañons of New River, around mountain-bases, through tunnels, and out into the broad, beautiful fertility of the Kanawha Valley, until the spires of Charleston revealed the last stage of their railroad journey. When their train stopped, stalwart porters relieved them of their baggage and deafened them with self-introductions in stentorian tones: "Yere's your Hale House porter!" "I's de man fer St. Albert's!"

"It's no wonder," said the Doctor, as he followed the sable guide from the station to the river ferry, and looked across the Kanawha's busy flow, covered with coal-barges, steamboats, and lumber-crafts, to Charleston's long stretch of high-bank river front, "that Western rivers get mad and rise against the deliberate insult of all the towns and cities turning their backs to them. There is a mile of open front, showing the cheerful faces of fine residences through handsome shade-trees and over well-kept lawns; but here, where our ferry lands, and where we see the city proper, stoops and kitchens, stove-pipes and stairways, ash-piles and garbage-shoots, are stuck out in contempt of the river's charms and the city's comeliness."

"Stove-pipes and stairways have to be put somewhere," said the matter-of-fact Professor. "And the best way to turn dirty things is toward the water."

The ferry-boat wheezed and coughed and sidled across the river to a floating wharf, covered, as usual, with that portion of the population, white and black, which has no interest in the arrival of trains, or anything else, excepting meals at the time for them, but which manages to live somehow by looking at other people working.

"Give me," said the Professor, "the value of the time which men spend in gazing at what does not concern them, and, according to my estimate, I could build a submarine railroad from New York to Liverpool in two years and three months. What are those fellows doing with their huge barrels on wheels backed into the river?"

"Dat is de Charleston water-works, boss," answered the grinning porter. "Widout dem mules an' niggahs an' bar'ls dah wouldn't be 'nough water in dis town to wet a chaw tobacky."

A winding macadamized road leads up the river bank to the main street running parallel with it. There is a short cut by a rickety stairway, but, as some steep climbing has to be done before reaching the lower step, it is seldom used. These formerly led directly to the Hale House, a fine brick building, which faced the river, with a commodious portico, and offered the further attractions of a pleasant interior and an excellent table; but now a blackened space marked its site, as though a huge tooth had been drawn from the city's edge, for one morning a neighboring boiler blew up, carrying the Hale House and much valuable property with it, but leaving the owners of the boiler.

"Dat's where de Hale House was, boss, but it's done burned down. I's de porter yit. When it's done builded ag'in I's gwine back dar. Dis time I take you down to de St. Albert. I's used to yellin' Hale House porter so many years dat St. Albert kind chokes me."

So to the St. Albert went the Doctor and Professor, where they met with a home-like greeting from its popular host.

Wheeling was formerly the capital of West Virginia, but for good reasons it was decided to move the seat of government from "that knot on the Panhandle" to Charleston. A commodious building of brick and sandstone, unchristened as to style of architecture, has been erected for the home of the law-makers; and henceforth the city which started around the little log fort built in 1786 by George Glendermon to afford protection against Indians will be the seat of government for the great unfenced State of West Virginia. Its business enterprise and thrift, its excellent geographical and commercial position, its healthiness notwithstanding its bad drainage, or rather no drainage, have induced a growth almost phenomenal. Churches, factories, and commodious [Pg 169]storehouses have spread the town rapidly over the beautiful valley in which it lies. The United States government has been lavish in its expenditure upon a handsome building for court, custom, and post-office purposes; and to it flock, especially when court is in session, as motley an assortment of our race as ever assembled at legal mandate. Moonshiners, and those who regard whiskey-making, selling, and drinking as things that ought to be as free as the air of the mountain and licenses as unheard-of impositions of a highly oppressive government, that would "tax a feller for usin' up his own growin' uv corn," and courts as "havin' a powerful sight uv curiosity, peekin' into other fellers' business," afford ample opportunities for the exercise of judicial authority.

A long mountaineer was before a dignified judge of the United States Court for selling liquor without a license. He had bought a gallon at a still,—as to the locality of which he professed profound ignorance,—carried it thirty miles, and peddled it out to his long-suffering and thirsty neighbors. Every native being a natural informer, the story was soon told: arrest followed, a march of fifty miles over the mountains, and a lengthy imprisonment before trial. Following the advice of his assigned counsel, he pleaded guilty. Being too poor to pay a fine, and having an unlimited family dependent upon their own exertions,—which comprises the sum of parental responsibility among the natives,—the judge released him on his own bail-bond, and told him to go home. He deliberately put on his hat, walked up to his honor, and said, "I say, jedge, I reckon you fellers 'ill give me 'nough money to ride hum an' pay fer my grub, 'cause 'tain't fair, noway. You fetched me clar down yere, footin' it the hull way, an' now you're lettin' me off an' tellin' me to foot it back. 'Tain't fair, noway. You-uns oughter pay me fer it." And he went off highly indignant at having his modest request refused.

There is much of the primitive not outgrown as yet by Charleston: it has put on a long-tailed coat over its round-about. The gossipy telephone is ahead of the street-cars; gas-works supply private consumers, while the citizens wade the unlighted streets by the glimmer of their own lanterns; innumerable cows contest the right of pedestrians to the board footways and what of pavement separates the mud-holes; an ice-manufactory supplies coolness to water peddled about in barrels; the officials outnumber the capacity of the jail; the ferry-facilities vary from an unstable leaky bateau to a dirty, open-decked dynamite steamboat, whose night-service is subject to the lung-capacity of the traveller hallooing for it, and the fares to necessities and circumstances; the fine brick improvements are flanked by frame tinder-boxes; the offal of the city has not a single relieving sewer: yet it is a beautiful, healthy place, and the chief city of the greatest mineral-district in the world.

Our travellers breakfasted on delicious mountain mutton and vegetables fresh from surrounding farms. Their host secured three men and a canoe to carry them up Elk River to Colonel Bangem's camp, at the cost of one dollar a day and "grub," or one dollar and a quarter a day if they found themselves, with the moderate charge of fifty cents a day for the canoe.

When the time arrived for starting, the Professor was missing. Bells were rung, servants were despatched to search the hotel for him, but he was not to be found. The Doctor grew impatient, but restrained himself until an uncoated countryman, who had just walked into town and was ready for a talk, told him that he "seed a feller, thet wuz a stranger in these parts, with a three-legged picter-gallery, chasin' a water-cart a right smart ways back in the town, ez I come in."

"That's he," said the Doctor. "He is crazy after pictures. I'll give you a dollar if you bring him to the hotel alive."

"Is he wicked?" asked the man.

"Generally," answered the Doctor, whose eyes began to twinkle; "but you [Pg 170]get hold of his picture-gallery and run for the hotel: he will follow you. I often have to manage him that way."

"I'm minded to try coaxin' him in thet a-way fer a dollar. You jist take keer uv my shoes, an' I'll hev him yer ez quick ez Tim Price kin foot it, if he follers well an' hain't contrairy-like, holdin' back."

Tim Price relieved his feet of their encumbrances, and started. When his tall, gaunt figure had disappeared around the corner, the Doctor grew red in the face from an internal convulsion, and then exploded past all concealment of his joke.

"If you gentlemen," he said to the by-standers, "want to see some fun, just follow that man. I will stay here as judge whether the man brings in the Professor or the Professor brings in the man."

A good joke would stop a funeral in Charleston. The hotel was cleared of men in an instant to follow Tim and enjoy the hunt. Tim sighted the Professor about a quarter of a mile back in the town, A darky driving a water-cart was standing up on the shafts, thrashing his mule with the ends of his driving-lines, and urging it, by voice and gesture, to the highest mule-speed: "Git up! git up! you lazy old no-go! Git up! Don't you see dat picter-feller tryin' to took you an' me an' de bar'l? Git up! Wag yer ears an' switch yer tail. You're not gwine ter stan' still an' keep yer eyes on de instrement fer no gallery-man to took, 'less you's fix' up fer Sunday. Git up, you ole long-eared corn-eater!"

The Professor was keeping well up with the flying water-works. His hat was stuck on the back of his head, he carried his camera with its tripod spread ready for sudden action, and every step of his run was guided by thoughts of proper distance, fixed focus, and determination to have the water-works in his collection of instantaneous photographs. A turn in the street gave the Professor his opportunity: he darted ahead, set his camera, and took the whole show as it went galloping by, when he reclined against a fence while making the street ring with his laugh.

Tim Price, who was watching his chance, saw that it had come. He grabbed the camera, gave a yell of triumph, and faced for the home-run. He had not an instant to lose. The Professor sprang for his precious instrument. Tim's long legs carried him across the street, over a fence into a cross-cut lot, and away for the hotel at a mountaineer's speed. The Professor was small, but active as a cat. Where Tim jumped fences, the Professor squirmed through them; where Tim took one long stride, the Professor scored three short ones. Tim lost his hat, and the Professor threw off his coat as he ran. The main street was reached without perceptible decrease of distance between them; but there the pavements were something Tim's bare feet were not used to catching on, and the people something he was not used to dodging: he upset several, but dashed on, with his pursuer gaining on his heels. Men, women, dogs, and darkies turned out to witness the race or follow it. "Stop thief!" "Go it, Tim!" "You're catching him, stranger!" "Foot it, little one!" were cries that speeded the running. The Doctor stood waiting at the hotel door, laughing, shaking, and red as a veritable Bacchus. Tim Price banged the camera into him, whirled round suddenly, caught the Professor as he dashed at him, and held him in his powerful arms, squirming like an eel.

"Yere's your crazy man, stranger," said Tim, in slow, drawling tone. "I tell you he kin jest p'intedly foot it. Thar hain't been such a run in Kanoy County sence they stopped 'lectin' country fellers fer sheriff. I reckon I've arned thet dollar. What shall I do with the leetle feller?"

The Professor was powerless, but lay in Tim's arms biting, kicking, and curled up like a yellow-jacket interested with an enemy.

"Let him go," said the laughing Doctor. "He will stay with me now. He is not dangerous when I am about. Set him on his feet."

No sooner was the Professor deposited [Pg 171]on the pavement than he dealt Tim a stinging blow which staggered him, and stood ready with trained muscles set for defence.

"Look yere, leetle un," said Tim, coolly and with great self-restraint, "'tain't fer the likes uv me to hit you, bein's you're a bit out in your top, but I'll gin you another hug ef you do that ag'in; I will, p'intedly."

In the good humor of the crowd, the mirth of the Doctor, and the latter's possession of the camera the Professor scented a joke, and at once saw his friend's hand in it. He joined in the laugh at his expense, and lengthened his friend's face by saying, "The Doctor having had his fun, he will now pay the bill at the bar for all of you: he pays all my expenses: so walk in, gentlemen."

The laws of hospitality west of the Alleghanies do not permit any one to decline an invitation, so the Doctor settled for the whole procession and paid Tim Price his well-earned dollar.

"Captain," said Tim to the hotel-proprietor, who had joined the crowd, "ef two fellers comes here from the East, one uv 'em ez round ez a punkin an' red ez a flannel shirt an' bald ez a land-tortle, an' t'other ez brown ez a mud-catty an' poor ez a razor-back hog, tell 'em I'm yere to pilot 'em up Elk to Colonel Bangem's caliker tents. He said they were ez green ez frogs, an' didn't know nothin' noway, an' fer me to take keer uv 'em. He don't reckon they'll come tell to-morrow. One uv 'em's a hoss-doctor, an' t'other's a perfessor uv religion, Colonel Bangem telled me. I dunno whether the feller's a circuit-rider er a rale preacher."

"That's the highly-illuminated pumpkin, my good man," said the Professor, pointing to the Doctor, "and I am Colonel Bangem's spiritual adviser. We got here a day sooner than we expected to."

"You don't say? May I never! An' the colonel never telled me nothin' nohow 'bout any one uv you bein' crazy. Howdee? How do you like these parts? Right smart town we've got yere, hain't it? I'll take keer uv you. There hain't no man on Elk River kin take keer uv you better nor Tim Price, ary time. I hain't much up to moon men, though. Thar's one feller up my way thet gits kinder skeery at the full uv the moon; but I hain't never tended him. I reckon I kin l'arn the job,—ez the ole boy said when his marm set him to mindin' fleas off the cat."

Tim Price was the hunter, boatman, fisherman, yarn-spinner, and character of his region, and Colonel Bangem's faithful ally in all his sports: the latter had therefore sent him to meet his friends on their arrival at Charleston, and he at once proceeded to take command of the whole party as a matter of course.

"I footed it over the mountains, and sent my boat the river way. Hit oughter be yere now: so we'll pack you men's tricks to the boats an' p'int 'em up-stream. It 'ill be sundown afore we git thar."

The party started from the hotel, the procession followed to see them off, and they were soon down the Kanawha and into the mouth of Elk at the point of the town. Log rafts, huge barges, miles of railroad-ties, laid-up steamers, peddling-boats, with their highly-colored storehouses, fishermen's scows, floating homely cabins alive with bare-legged children and idlers of the water-side, push-boats loaded to the edge of the narrow gunwales with merchandise for delivery to stores and dwellers far up the river, boats loaded with hoop-poles, grist, chickens, and the "home-plunder" of some mover to civilization, coming down the river from the mountain-clearing, and samples of every conceivable kind of the river's outpour, were tied to the banks or lazily floating on the currentless back-water from the Kanawha.

An old steamboat-captain once said of Elk that "it was the all-firedest river God ever made,—fer it rises at both ends and runs both ways to wunst." This is true, and is caused by the Kanawha, when rising, pouring its water into the mouth of Elk and reversing its current for many miles, while at the same [Pg 172]time rain falls in the mountains, increasing the latter river's depth and velocity. Flour-mills, iron-foundries, saw-mills, woollen-mills, and barrel-factories extend their long wooden slides down to the river's edge, to gather material for their consumption. A railroad spans it with an iron trussed bridge, and the demands of wagon and foot-travel are met by an airy one suspended by cables from tower-like abutments on either side, both bridges swung high in the air, out of reach of flood and of the smoke-stacks of passing steam-craft.

A mile from the river's mouth, and just beyond the limits of Charleston, is one of the finest sandstone-quarries in the world. The United States government monopolizes most of its product in the construction of the magnificent lock and shifting dams in course of erection on the Kanawha to facilitate the transportation of coal from the immense deposits now being mined to the great markets of the Ohio River. A little farther on, the brown front of a timber dam and cribbed lock looks down upon a wild swirl and rush of water; for through a cut gap in its centre Elk flows unobstructed,—a penniless mob having made the opening one night that their canoes might pass free and capitalists be encouraged to remove such worthless stuff as money from the growing industries of the river. Prior to this act of vandalism the water was backed by the dam for a distance of fourteen miles, to Jarrett's Ford, making a halting-place for rafts and logs, barges and floats, coming down from the vast forests above when rains and snow-thaws raised the river and its tributaries; but now a long stretch of boom catches what it can of Elk's commerce and is a chartered parasite upon it.

Here at the old dam the mountains close in tightly upon the narrow valley. Log cabins and a few simple frame houses nestle upon diminutive farms; the wild beauty of shoal and eddy, bouldered channel and lake-like stretches of pool, rocky walls and timber-clad peaks, begins to charm the stranger and draw him on and on through scenery as attractive as grand toss of mountains and delve of river can make it.

By dint of poling, pushing, rowing, and pulling, the boats were worked over rapids and pools for almost a score of miles, to where the last rays of the sun slid over a mountain-point and hit Colonel Bangem's hat as it spun in the air by way of welcome, while the prows clove the water of a lovely eddy lying in front of his camp. The meeting was that of old friends, with the addition of a blush from Bess Bangem and its bright reflection from the Professor's face.

Tim Price took the colonel to one side mysteriously, and whispered, "I took keer uv the Perfessor my own self: he guv me a power uv trouble, though. Shell I hitch him now, er let him run loose?"

"We'll turn him loose now, Tim; but if he takes to turning somersets, catch him, loosen his collar, take off his boots, and throw him into the river," was the colonel's sober reply.

Scientists nowadays set up Energy as the ancestor of everything, measure the value of its descendants by the quantity they possess of the family trait, and spend their time in showing how to utilize it for the good of mankind in general. Professor Yarren was an apostle of Energy: it absorbed him, filled him. From the weight of the sun to boiled potatoes, from the spring of a tiger to the jump of a flea, from the might of chemical disembodiment to opening an oyster, he calculated, advised, and dilated upon it. He himself, was the epitome of Energy: in his size he economized space, in his diet he ate for power, not quantity. To him eating and sleeping were Energy's warehousemen; idleness was dry-rot, moth, and mildew; laughing, talking, whistling, singing, somersets, and fishing, never-to-be-neglected and in-constant-use safety-valves. He regarded himself as an assimilator of everything that went into him, be it food, sight, sound, or scent, and his perfection as such in exact ratio to the product he derived from them. So when next morning he said "Come [Pg 173]on" to the Doctor, and Colonel Bangem, Mrs. Colonel Bangem, Bess Bangem, and Martha, the mountain-maid, who were all standing in front of the camp rigged for a day's fishing, he meant that one of Energy's safety-valves was ready to blow off, and that further delay might be dangerous to him.

In the Doctor, Energy was stored in bond as it were, subject to duties, and only to be issued on certificate that it was wanted for use and everything ready for it: therefore at the Professor's "Come on" he calmly sat down on a log, filled his pipe, leisurely lighted it, and good-humoredly remarked, "I am confident that one-half of what we call life is spent in undoing what we have done, in lamenting the lack of what we have forgotten, or going back after it: therefore I make it a rule when everything seems ready for a start—especially when going fishing—to sit five minutes in calm communion with my pipe, thinking matters over. It insures against much discomfort from treacherous memories and neglect."

As the Doctor whiffed at his pipe, he inventoried guns, tackle, lunch, hammocks, air-cushions, gigs, frog-spears, and all other necessaries for a day's sport on the river. The result was as he had prophesied,—many things had been omitted. "Now," said he, when the five minutes were up, "we might venture down the bank, which, rest assured, each member of this party will have to climb up again after something left behind."

A motley little fleet awaited the party at the water's edge,—square-ended, flat-bottomed punts, sharp-bowed bateaux, long, graceful, dug-out canoes, and a commodious push-boat, with cabin and awning, whose motive power was poles. Elk River craft are as abundant as the log cabins on its banks, and their pilots are as numerous as the inhabitants. Neither sex nor size is a disqualification, for, excepting the trifling matter of being web-toed, all are provided from birth with water-going properties, and, be it seed-time or harvest, the river has the first claim upon them for all its varied sports and occupations. A shot at mallard, black-head, butter-duck, loon, wild goose, or blue-winged teal, as they follow the river's winds northward in the spring-time, will stop the ploughs furrowing its fertile bottoms as far as its echoes roll around mountain-juts, and cause the hands that held the lines to grasp old-fashioned rifles for a chance at the winged passers. When, later, woodcock seek its margins, gray snipe, kill-deer, mud-hens, and plovers its narrow fens, the scythe will rest in the half-mown field while its wielder "takes a crack at 'em." And when autumn brings thousands of gray squirrels, flocks of wild pigeon and water-fowl, to feed on its mast, no household obligation or out-door profit will keep the natives from shooting, morning, noon, and night.

Some day in the near future a railroad will be built "up Elk," and then, while commerce and civilization will get a lift, the loveliest of rivers will be scarred; her trout-streams, carp-runs, bass-pools, salmon-swirls, deer-licks, bear-dens, partridge-nestles, and pheasant-covers will be overrun by sports-men, her magnificent mountains will be scratched bald-headed by lumbermen, her laughing tributaries will be saddened with saw-dust, and her queer, quaint, original boat-pullers and "seng-diggers" will wear shoes in summer-time and coats in winter, weather-board their log cabins, put glass in the windows and partitions across the one room inside. Woods-meetings will creep into churches, square sousing in the river will degenerate to the gentle baptismal sprinkle; no picnics or barbecues will delight the inhabitants with flying horses and fights, open fireplaces and sparking-benches will give way to stoves and chairs, riding double on horseback, with fair arms not afraid to hold tight against all dangers real or fancied, will be a joy of the past, "bean-stringin's," "apple-parin's," "punkin-clippin's," "sass-bilin's," "sugar-camps," "cabin-raisin's," "log-rollin's," "bluin's," "tar-and-feathering," and "hangin's," will be out-civilized, and the whole country will be spoiled.

"It looks like a good biting morning [Pg 174]for bass," said Colonel Bangem, while he was distributing the party properly among the boats. "But, in spite of all signs, bass bite when they please. It is a sunny morning: so use bright spoon-trolls, medium size. If the fish rise freely, twenty-five feet of line is enough to have out on the stern lines; and, as the ladies will use the poles, ten feet of line is enough for them. Don't forget, Mrs. Bangem, to keep your troll spinning just outside the swirl of the oar, and as near the surface of the water as possible. You know you will talk and forget all about it. Now we will start. If we get separated and it grows cloudy, change your trolls for three-inch 'fairy minnows;' and if the wind ripples the water, let out from sixty to eighty feet of line. Take the centre of the river, and you will haul in salmon; for bass will not rise to a troll in the eddies when the water is rough. Salmon will. Tim, take the lead with the Professor, that the other men may see your stroke and course. In trolling, the oarsman has as much to do with the success as the fisherman."

Off they went, three to a boat, the fishers seated in bow and stern, the ladies in front with their fishing-poles, and the oarsman in his proper place, rowing a slow, steady stroke, dipping true and silently just fifty feet from bank, or sedge, or shelf of rock, steering outside of snags and drift and where overhanging trees buried their shadows in the water.

The boats had hardly reached their positions—two on each side of the stream—when a shout from the Professor announced a catch, as hand over hand he cautiously drew in the swerving line or held it taut, as the diving fish sought the rocky bottom or the friendly refuge of a log drift. With unvarying stroke Tim kept his boat in deep water, away from entangling dangers. There was a flash in the air and a jingle of the troll, as a fine bass shot out of the water to shake the barbs from his open mouth; but the hooks held firm, and the taut line foiled the effort to dislodge them. Down came the fish with a splash, to dart for the boat at lightning speed and leap again for life; but this time no jingle of troll announced his game. He leaped ahead to fall upon the line and thus tear the hooks from their hold. Successful fishing depends upon two things,—the presence of fish and knowing more than fish do. At the instant of the fish's leap the Professor slackened his line: down came the bass on a limber loop, defeated in his strategy and wearied by his effort, to be hauled quickly to the boat's side and landed, wriggling and tossing, at Tim Price's feet.

"You've cotched bass afore, Perfesser. You ez up to their ways ez a mus'rat to a mussel, er a kingfisher to a minner," exclaimed Tim admiringly, as he loosened the troll from a two-pound bass. "Hit's p'intedly a pity you're out uv your head 'bout picters."

"Oh, I have one! I have one!—a fish! What kind is it?" screamed Bess Bangem, who was the Professor's companion, as her light trout-pole bent from a sudden tug, and the reel whirred as the line ran off.

"Stop him, hold on to him, wind him in, and I will tell you," answered the Professor, laughing.

Bess was a practised hand, and loved the sport; but, woman-like, she always paused to wonder what she had caught before proceeding to find out.

"It will be the subject of a lecture for you, whatever it is," replied Bess, with a saucy shake of her head, as she wound in the line and guided the playing fish with well-managed pole. Her fine face flushed with the excitement of the run and leap of her prey, as it came nearer and nearer, until Tim slipped the landing-net quietly under it and landed a beauty in the boat.

"Poor fellow! I wonder if I hurt him?" said Bess.

"Not much, if any," remarked the Professor. "I never was a fish, and consequently never was foolish enough to jump at a bunch of hooks; but, as the cartilage of a fish's mouth is almost nerveless, there is but little pain from a hook diet. Bass, salmon, pike, and [Pg 175]other gamey fish will often keep on biting after they have been badly hooked."

"So will men," said Bess, as she threw her troll into the water to do fresh duty.

"You're p'intedly keerect," said Tim Price. "I got the sack four times, an' hed right smart mittens, afore I cotched a stayin' holt on my old woman."

Shout after shout waked the mountain-echoes, as fish were held up in triumph, and as the boats glided over the smooth water of the eddy. Ahead was a mass of foam and a long dash of water down a shoal.

"Yere's where me and the colonel catches 'em lively when I pull him," said Martha to the Doctor. "They bite yere ez lively ez a stray pig in a tater-patch. Whoop! I've got him! He pulls like a mule at a hitchin'-rope. Keep your boat head to the current, Alec, an' pull hard, er we'll drift down on him an' I'll lose him. Whoop! May I never! A five-pounder! I'll slit him down the back an' brile him fer breakfast. Whoop! In you come!"

The boatmen pulled hard against the fierce current at the foot of the shoal, crossed and recrossed, circled, and at it again, until a score or more of noble bass were hooked from the swirl, and Colonel Bangem led the way up the rapids. Then the oarsmen leaped into the water and towed the boats through the wild current, until the eddy at the top of it allowed them to take oars again.

"Preacher, kin you paddle?" asked Tim Price of the Professor, as he drained the water from his legs before getting into the boat. "Ef you air a hand at it, take an oar an' paddle a bit astern: there'll be white peerch an' red-hoss lyin' yere at the head uv the shore."

The Professor took an oar and paddled, while Tim Price poised himself in the boat, spear in hand and the long rope from its slender shaft coiled at his feet. He peered intently into the water as the boat moved slowly along. Presently every muscle of him was set: he bent backward for a cast, pointed his spear with steady hands to a spot in the river, and quick as a flash it pierced the water until its ten-foot shaft was seen no more. As quickly was it recovered by Tim's active hands catching the flying line to haul it in; and on its prongs squirmed a monstrous fish of the sucker tribe,—a red-horse,—pinned through and through by his unerring aim.

Shoal and eddy, swirl and silent pool, yielded good sport and harvest, as haunts of bass and salmon were entered and passed, until the inviting mouth of Little Sandy Creek suggested rest for the boatmen and a stroll for the fishers. A neat hotel, clean and well kept for so wild a region, harbors lumbermen, rivermen, and those who love the rod and gun. There are many such attractive centres along the banks of Elk, with charming camping-grounds, where neighboring hospitality abounds, and chickens, eggs, milk, corn, and bacon are abundant and cheap, and the finest bass-and other fishing possible, from Queen's Shoal—four miles away—to the old dam above Charleston. Above Queen's Shoal the region increases in wildness and attractiveness for traveller or sportsman. Trout in plenty find homes in the mountain-tributaries of Upper Elk; deer abound, and all manner of smaller game. Where nature does her best work, man is apt to do but little. Nature farms the Elk country.

Bright moonlight, the early morning after the sun is up, and from a couple of hours after mid-day until the mountain-shadows strike the water in the evening, are the best times to troll for bass. If so minded, they will rise to a fly at such times in the rapids; but no allurement excepting the troll will bring them to the surface in still water. When the river is rising, or the water is clouded with mud or drift, bass scorn all surface-diet; but the live minnow or crawfish, hellgramite or fish-worm, will capture them on trout-line or hook attached to the soul-absorbing bob. A clothes-line wire cable, furnished with well-assorted hooks baited with cotton, dough, and cheese well mixed together, [Pg 176]and stretched in eddy-water when the river is muddy, will give fine reward in carp, white perch, catfish, turtles, garfish, and sweet revenge on the bait-stealing guana.

After nooning, lunch, and a quiet loaf, the party sped homeward with the current, handling rods and trolls as salmon and bass demanded lively attention. Shooting a rapid, and out into a deep pool at its foot, the Doctor's boat struck a snag, and he, having a resisting power equal to that of a billiard-ball, put his heels where his head had been, and disappeared under the water, to pop up again instantly, sputtering and spitting, like a jug full of yeast with a corn-cob stopper.

"Oh, Hickey! Whoop!" exclaimed Martha, as she went off in wild screams of laughter. "Kin you swim?" she asked, with the coolness of the mountain-maiden she was.

"No, no," sputtered the Doctor.

"I reckon you'll tow good. Jest gimme your han', an' keep your feet down, an' me an' Alec 'ill tow you ashore to dreen. Hit's like you're purty wet."

He was soon landed by the stalwart Martha and Alec, and, while he attitudinized for draining, the Professor amused himself with taking an instantaneous photograph.

"By gum! he mought hev drownded," said Tim Price to the Professor. "The Doctor hain't a good shape fer towin', but he floats higher than any craft of his length I ever seed on Elk River."

Just as the golden light of evening cast its sheen upon the river the camp-tents came in sight, where a group of natives stood waiting the arrival of the fishers to "hear what luck they'd hed."

Colonel Bangem and Bess carried off equal honors in greatest count,—sixty-two bass and five salmon each. Martha, with her five-pounder, was weight champion. Mrs. Bangem had the only blue pike. The Professor claimed that, besides his twoscore fish, he had illustrations enough for a comic annual; and the Doctor asserted that he knew more about bass than any of them, for he had been down where they lived, and was of the opinion that he had swallowed a couple.

Bess Bangem said to the Professor, as they went up the bank together, "I had a great mind to count you in with my fish, to beat father; but I caught you long ago, so it would not have been fair."



As Moscow's splendors trench on narrow lanes,

The wonder, brimming every traveller's eyes,

To disappointment's sudden darkness wanes

At finding meanness near such grandeur lies.

O human city! built on Moscow's plan,

Thy great and little touch each other so,

Let me forbear, and, as an erring man,

Make my approaches wisely, from below,

Hasting through all the narrow and the base

Before I stand where all is high and vast:

After the dark, let glory light my face,

Thy shining greatness break upon me last.


[Pg 177]


It is hard to dispel the halo which poetry and romance have thrown about the Scottish Highlander and see him simply as he appears in every-day life. And indeed, all fiction aside, there is in his history and character much that is most admirable and noble. On many a terrible battle-field his courage has been unsurpassed. His brave and tireless struggle for existence where both climate and soil are unfriendly is equally worthy of respect. Then, too, his sterling honesty and independence in speech and action and his high moral and religious qualities combine to make him a valuable citizen.

Such considerations account in part for the interest which has been excited in England by the claims of the Scottish crofters. There are, however, other reasons why so much attention has of late been given to their complaints. Their poverty and hardships have long been known in England. The reports made by the Emigration Commissioners in 1841 and by Sir John McNeil a few years later contain accounts of miserably small and unproductive holdings, of wretched hovels for dwellings, of lack of enterprise and interest in making improvements, of curtailment of pasture, of high rents and insecurity of tenure, very similar to those found on the pages of the report of the late Royal Commission. While in this interval the condition of the crofters has but slightly, if at all, improved, there has been a very considerable improvement in the condition of the middle and lower classes of the people in other parts of Scotland and in England. The masses of the people have better houses, better food and clothing, while with the development of the school system and the newspaper press general intelligence has greatly increased. The accounts of the poverty and wretchedness of the crofters now reach the public much more quickly and make a much deeper impression on all classes than they did forty years ago. While these small farmers are not numerous,—there are probably not more than four thousand families in need of relief,—many of their kinsmen elsewhere have acquired wealth and influence and have been able to plead their cause with good effect. In this country "The Scottish Land League" has issued in "The Cry of the Crofter" an eloquent plea for help to carry on the agitation to a successful issue.

Another reason for the increased attention that has lately been given to these claims is found in the rapidly-growing tendency to concede to the landlord fewer and fewer and to the tenant more and more rights in the land. The recent extension of the suffrage, giving votes to nearly two millions of agricultural and other laborers, leads politicians to go as far as possible in favoring new legislation in the interest of tenants and laborers. The crofters' case has therefore come to be of special interest as a part of the general land question which has of late received so much attention from the English press and Parliament, and which is pretty certain to be prominent for several years to come.

Those who are familiar only with the relations existing between landlord and tenant in this country are naturally surprised to find the crofter demanding that his landlord shall (1) give him the use of more land, (2) reduce his rent, (3) pay him on leaving his holding for all his improvements, and (4) not accept in his stead another tenant, even though the latter may be anxious to take the holding at a higher figure or turn him out for any other reason. In addition to all this, the crofters demand that the government shall advance them money to enable them to build suitable houses and improve and stock their farms. An American tenant who should make such demands would be considered insane. No [Pg 178]such view of the crofters' claims, however, is taken in England and Scotland.

What, then, are the grounds upon which these extensive claims are based? Why should the crofter claim a right to have his holding enlarged and to have the land at a lower rent than some one else may be willing to pay? The reasons are to be found partly in his history, traditions, and circumstances, and partly in the present tendency of the legislation and discussions relating to the ownership and occupation of land.

Under the old clan system, to which the crofter is accustomed to trace his claims, the land was owned by the chief and clansmen in common, and allotments and reallotments were made from time to time to individual clansmen, each of whom had a right to some portion of the land, while the commons were very extensive. Rent or service was paid to the chief, who had more or less control over the clan lands and often possessed an estate in severalty, with many personal dependants. In many cases the power of the chief was great and tyrannical, and many of the clansmen were in a somewhat servile condition; but the more influential clansmen seem sometimes to have retained permanent possession of their allotments. Long ago sub-letting became common, and hard services were often exacted of the sub-tenants, whose lot was frequently a most unhappy one. The modern cottar, as well as the squatter, had his representative in the dependant of the chief, or clansman, or in the outlaw or vagrant member of another clan who came to build his rude cabin wherever he could find a sheltered and unoccupied spot. No doubt many of the sub-tenants, even where they held originally by base and uncertain services and at the will of their superior, came in time, like the English copyholder, to have a generally-recognized right to the permanent possession of their holdings, while custom tended to fix the character and quantity of their services. The population was not numerous, and it was probably not difficult for every man to secure a plot of land of some sort.

The crofters of to-day have lost for the most part the traditions of the drawbacks and hardships of this ancient system, with its oppressive services, to which many of their ancestors were subject, and have commonly retained only the tradition of the right which every clansman had to some portion of the clan lands. In 1745 the clan organizations were abolished and the chiefs transformed into landlords and invested with the fee-simple of the land. But, while changes were gradually made on some estates in the direction of conformity to the English system, most of the old customary rights of the people continued to be recognized. The tenant was commonly allowed to occupy his holding from year to year without interruption. Money rent gradually took the place of service or rent in kind, but the amount exacted does not seem to have been often increased arbitrarily. The rights of common, which were often of great value, were respected.

The descendants and successors, however, of the old Scotch lairds did not always display the same regard for prescriptive rights and usages. In some cases the extravagance and bankruptcy of the old owners caused the titles to pass to Englishmen, while in others the inheritors of the estates were more and more inclined to insist upon their legal rights and to introduce in the management of their property rules similar to those in use in England. Early in the present century sheep-farming was found to be profitable, and many large areas of glen and mountain were cleared of the greater part of their population and converted into sheep-farms. Many of the mountainous parts of Scotland are of little use for agricultural purposes. Formerly the crofters used large tracts as summer pastures for their small herds of inferior stock. By and by the proprietors found that large droves of better breeds of sheep could be kept on these mountain-pastures. The crofters were too poor to undertake the management of the large sheep-farms into which it was apparently most profitable to divide these mountain-lands, and sheep-farmers from the south became [Pg 179]the tenants. By introducing sheep-farming on a large scale the landlords were able, they claimed, to use hundreds of thousands of acres which before were of comparatively little value. The large flocks of sheep could not, however, be kept without having the lower slopes of the mountains on which to winter. It was these slopes that the crofters commonly used for pasture, below which, in the straths and glens, were their holdings and dwellings. The ruins of cottages, or patches of green here and there where cottages stood, mark the sites of many little holdings from which the crofters and their families were turned out many years ago in order to make room for sheep-farms. The proprietors sometimes recognized the rights of these native tenants, and gave them new holdings in exchange for the old ones. The new crofts were often nearer the sea, where the land was less favorable for grazing and where the rights of common were less valuable, but the occupants had better opportunities for supplementing their incomes from the land by fishing and by gathering sea-weed for kelp, from which iodine was made. There were, however, great numbers who were not supplied with new crofts, but turned away from their old homes and left to shift for themselves. Some of these, too poor to go elsewhere, built rude huts wherever they could find a convenient spot, and thus increased the ranks of the squatters. Others were allowed to share the already too small holdings of their more fortunate brethren, while others, again, found their way to the lowlands and cities of the south or to America. The traditions of the hardships and sufferings endured by some of these evicted crofters are still kept alive in the prosperous homes of their children and grandchildren on this side of the Atlantic. The process of clearing off the crofters went on for many years. In 1849 Hugh Miller, in trying to arouse public sentiment against it, declared that, "while the law is banishing its tens for terms of seven and fourteen years,—the penalty of deep-dyed crimes,—irresponsible and infatuated power is banishing its thousands for no crime whatever."

Lately, owing to foreign competition and the deterioration of the land that has been used for many years as sheep-pastures, sheep-farming has become much less profitable than formerly, and many large tenants have in consequence given up their farms. The enthusiasm for deer-hunting has, however, increased with the increase of wealth and leisure among Englishmen, and immense tracts, amounting altogether to nearly two millions of acres, have been turned into deer-forests, yielding, as a rule, a slightly higher rent than was paid by the crofters and sheep-farmers. Much of this land is either unfit for agricultural purposes or could not at present be cultivated with profit. Some of it, however, is fertile, or well suited for grazing, and greatly coveted by the crofters. The deer and other game often destroy or injure the crops of the adjoining holdings, and thus add to the troubles of the occupants and increase their indignation at the land's being used to raise sheep and "vermin" instead of men. Most Americans have had intimations of this feeling through the accounts of the hostility that has been shown to our countryman, Mr. Winans, whose deer-forest is said to cover two hundred square miles. While evictions are much less common than they were two or three generations ago, there has all along been a disposition on the part of the proprietors to enclose in their sheep-farms and deer-forests lands that were formerly tilled or used as commons by the crofters and cottars. In comparison with the crofter of to-day the sub-tenant of a hundred years ago had, as a rule, more land for tillage, a far wider range of pasture for his stock, and "greater freedom in regard to the natural produce of the river and moor."

Many of the crofters belong to families which have lived on the same holdings for generations. It is a common experience everywhere that long-continued use begets and fosters the feeling of ownership. This is especially [Pg 180]true when, as in the crofter's case, there is so much in the history and traditions of the people and the property that tends to establish a right of possession. Besides, the crofter, or one of his ancestors, has in most cases built the house and made other improvements: sometimes he has reclaimed the land itself and changed a barren waste into a garden. The labor and money which he and his ancestors have expended in improving the place seem to him to give him an additional right to occupy it always. It is his holding and his home, the home of his fathers and of his family. While he may be unable to resist the power of his landlord, and may have no legal security for his rights and interests, he regards the curtailment of his privileges or the increase of his rent as unjust, and eviction as a terrible outrage. "The extermination of the Highlanders," says one of their kinsmen, "has been carried on for many years as systematically and persistently as that of the North-American Indians.... Who can withhold sympathy as whole families have turned to take a last look at the heavens red with their burning homes? The poor people shed no tears, for there was in their hearts that which stifled such signs of emotion: they were absorbed in despair. They were forced away from that which was dear to their hearts, and their patriotism was treated with contemptuous mockery.... There are various ways in which the crime of murder is perpetrated. There are killings which are effected by the unjust and cruel denying of lands to our fellow-creatures to enable them to obtain food and raiment."

The feeling of the crofters in regard to increase of rent and eviction is very similar to that of the Irish tenantry. Very recently Mr. Parnell uttered sentiments which both would accept as their own. "I trust," he said, "that when any individual feels disposed to violate the divine commandment by taking, under such circumstances, that which does not belong to him, he will feel within him the promptings of patriotism and religion, and that he will turn away from the temptation. Let him remember that he is doing a great injustice to his country and his class,—that though he may perhaps benefit materially for a while, yet that ill-gotten gains will not prosper." Where crofters have been evicted, or have had their privileges curtailed or their rent raised, they and their descendants do not soon forget the grievance. Claims have recently been made for lands which the crofters have not occupied for two or three generations.

The Scotch landlords are not, as a rule, cruel or unjust. On the contrary, some of them are exceedingly kind and generous to their tenants, and have spent large sums of money in making improvements which add greatly to the prosperity and comfort of those who live on their estates. Many of them recognize the right of their tenants to occupy their holdings without interruption so long as the rent is paid regularly. The natural tendency, however, to insist upon their legal rights and to make the most they can out of their estates has led to not a few cases of hardship and injustice. A few such instances in a community are talked over for years, and often seriously interfere with the contentment and industry of many families. The traditions and recollections of the many evictions which have occurred during this century have often caused the motives of the best landlords to be suspected and their most benevolent acts to be misunderstood by their tenants. The crofter system has been an extremely bad one in many respects. There cannot be much interest in making improvements where the tenant must build the houses, fences, stables, etc., but has no guarantee that he will not be turned out of his holding or have his rent so increased as practically to compel him to leave the place. The kindness and humanity of the landlords have in many instances mitigated the worst evils of the system; but, while human nature remains as it is, no matter how just and generous individual landlords may be, general prosperity and contentment are impossible [Pg 181]under the present arrangements. The discontent and discouragement caused by the action of the less kind and considerate landlords and agents frequently extend to crofters who have no just grounds of complaint, and troubles and hardships resulting from idleness or improvidence or other causes are often attributed to the injustice of the laws or the cruelty of the landlords.

The poverty of the crofter often renders his condition deplorable. His holding and right of common have been curtailed by the landlord, or he has sub-divided them among his sons or kinsmen, until it would be impossible for the produce of the soil to sustain the population, even if no rent whatever were charged. Some years ago he was able to increase his income by gathering sea-weed for kelp; but latterly, since iodine can be obtained more cheaply from other sources, the demand for this product has ceased. In some places the fishing is valuable, enabling him to supply his family with food for a part of the year, and bringing him money besides. He is, however, often too poor to provide the necessary boats and nets, while in many places the absence of good harbors and landings is a most serious drawback to the fishing industry. Sometimes he supplements his income by spending a few months of the year in the low country and obtaining work there. In most cases, however, a large part of his income must be derived from the land. If there were plenty of employment to be had, the little holding would do very well as a garden, and the stock which he could keep on the common would add greatly to his comfort. As things now are, he must look chiefly to the land both for his subsistence and his rent, and, with an unfruitful soil and an unfriendly climate, he is often on the verge of want.

Still more wretched is the condition of the cottars and squatters. The latter are in some places numerous and have taken up considerable portions of land formerly used as common, thus interfering with the rights of the crofters. They appropriate land and possess and pasture stock, but pay no rent, obey no control, and scarcely recognize any authority. The dwellings of this class and of some of the poorer crofters are wretched in the extreme. A single apartment, with walls of stone and mud, a floor of clay, a thatched roof, no windows, no chimney, one low door furnishing an entrance for the occupants and a means of ventilation and of escape for the smoke which rolls up black and thick from the peat fire, furniture of the rudest imaginable sort, the inhabitants—the human beings, the cows, the pigs, the sheep, and the poultry—all crowded together in the miserable and filthy hut, make up a picture which the most romantic and poetic associations can hardly render pleasing to one accustomed to the comforts and refinements of modern civilization. Of course many of the crofters live in greater comfort, and some of the cottages are by no means unattractive. But the Royal Commissioners say that the crofter's habitation is usually "of a character that would imply physical and moral degradation in the eyes of those who do not know how much decency, courtesy, virtue, and even refinement survive amidst the sordid surroundings of a Highland hovel." An Englishman who, on seeing these "sordid surroundings," was disposed to compare the social and moral condition of the people to "the barbarism of Egypt," was told that if he would ask one of the crofters, in Gaelic or English, "What is the chief end of man?" he would soon see the difference.

With such a history, such traditions, grievances, conditions, and hardships, it is not strange that the crofter should be ready to join an agitation that promised a remedy. Some of his grievances and claims have been so similar to those of the Irish tenant that the legislation which followed the violent agitation in Ireland has led him to hope for relief-measures similar to those enacted for the Irish tenantry. The Irish Land Act of 1870 recognized the tenant's right to the permanent possession of his holding and to his improvements, by providing that on being turned out by his [Pg 182]landlord he should have compensation for disturbance and for his improvements. It did not, however, secure him against the landlord's so increasing his rent as practically to appropriate his improvements and even force him to leave his holding without any compensation. The Land Act of 1881 secured his interests by establishing a court which should fix a fair rent, by giving him a right to compensation for disturbance and for his improvements, and by allowing him to sell his interests for the best price he can get for them. It also enabled him to borrow from the government, at a low rate of interest, three-fourths of the money necessary to purchase his landlord's interest in the holding. This legal recognition and guarantee of the Irish tenant's interests have led the crofter to hope that his claims, based on better grounds, may also be conceded.

The changes recently made in the land laws of England and Scotland, and the activity of the advocates of further and more radical changes, have increased this hope. Progressive English statesmen have long looked with disfavor upon entails and settlements, and there have been a number of enactments providing for cutting off entails and increasing the power of limited owners. The last and most important of these, the Settled Estates Act, passed in 1882, gives the tenant for life power to sell any portion of the estate except the family mansion, and thus thoroughly undermines the principle upon which primogeniture and entails are founded. Much land which has hitherto been so tied up that the limited owners were either unable or unwilling to develop it can now be sold and improved. New measures have been proposed to increase still further the power of limited owners and to make the sale and transfer of land easier and less expensive. Many able statesmen are advocates of these measures. Mr. Goschen in a recent speech at Edinburgh urged the need of a land-register by which transfers of land might be made almost as cheaply and easily as transfers of consols. By such an arrangement, it is held, many farmers of small capital will be enabled to buy their farms, and the land of the country will thus be dispersed among a much larger number of owners. There has also been a very marked tendency to enlarge the rights and the authority of the tenant farmer. The Agricultural Holdings Act of 1883 gives the tenant a right to compensation for temporary and, on certain conditions, for permanent improvements, and permits him in most cases, where he cannot have compensation, to remove fixtures or buildings which he has erected, contrary to the old doctrine that whatever is fixed to the soil becomes the property of the landlord. The landlord's power to distrain for rent is greatly reduced: formerly he could distrain for six years' rent, now he can distrain only for the rent of one year, and he is required to give the tenant twelve instead of six months' notice to quit. The tenant is therefore more secure than formerly in the possession of his farm and in spending money and labor in making improvements that will render it more productive. Other changes are proposed, which will give him still more rights, greater freedom in the management of the farm, and additional encouragement to adopt the best methods of farming and invest his labor and money in improvements. Many of the land reformers advocate the adoption of measures similar to those that have been enacted for Ireland. It has for some time been one of the declared purposes of the Farmers' Alliance to secure a system of judicial rents for the tenant farmers of England. An important conference lately held at Aberdeen and participated in by representatives of both the English and Scottish Farmers' Alliances adopted an outline of a land bill for England and Scotland, providing for the establishment of a land court, fixing fair rents, fuller compensation for improvements, and the free sale of the tenant's interests.

The wretched condition of the dwellings of the agricultural laborers in many parts of the country has attracted much attention, and plans for bettering [Pg 183]their condition have frequently been urged. Lately the interest in the subject has increased, prominent statesmen on both sides having espoused the cause. In view of the political power which the recent extension of the suffrage has given to the agricultural laborers, there is a general expectation that a measure will shortly be enacted requiring the owner or occupier of the farm to give each laborer a plot of ground "of a size that he and his family can cultivate without impairing his efficiency as a wage-earner," at a rent fixed by arbitration, and providing for a loan of money by the state for the erection of a proper dwelling. The provisions of the Irish Land Act and its amendment relating to laborers' cottages and allotments suggest the lines along which legislation for the improvement of laborers' dwellings in England and Scotland is likely to proceed.

Then there is the scheme for nationalizing the land, the state paying the present owners no compensation, or a very small amount, and assuming the chief functions now exercised by the landlords. No statesman has yet ventured to advocate this scheme, but it has called forth a great deal of discussion on the platform and in the newspapers and reviews, and has captivated most of those who are inclined to adopt socialistic theories of property. Mr. George himself has preached his favorite doctrine to the crofters, whose views of their own rights in the land have led them to look upon the plan with more favor than the English tenants. Others, too, who have plans to advocate for giving tenants and laborers greater rights have taken special pains to have their views presented to the crofters, since the claims of the latter against the landlords seem to rest upon so much stronger grounds than those of the English tenant.

The agitations for the reform of the land laws in Ireland and England, and the utterances of the advocates of the various plans for increasing the rights and privileges of the tenant, have led the crofters to dwell upon their grievances until they have become thoroughly aroused. They have in many cases refused to pay rent, have resisted eviction and driven away officers who attempted to serve writs, have offered violence to the persons or property of some of those who have ventured to take the crofts of evicted tenants, and in some instances have taken forcible possession of lands which they thought ought to be added to their crofts. The government found it necessary a short time ago to send gunboats with marines and extra police to some of the islands and districts to restore the authority of the law. The crofters and their friends are thoroughly organized, and seem likely to insist upon their claims with the persistency that is characteristic of their race. It is now generally conceded that some remedy must be provided for their grievances and hardships.

The remedy that has been most frequently suggested, the only one recommended by the Emigration Commissioners in 1841 and by Sir John McNeil in 1852, is emigration. The crofting system, it has often been urged, belongs to a bygone age; it survives only because of its remoteness from the centres of civilization and the ruggedness of the country; the implements used by the crofters are of the most primitive sort, while their agricultural methods are "slovenly and unskilful to the last degree." It is impossible for these small farmers, with their crude implements and methods, to compete with the large farmers, who have better land and use the most improved implements and methods. Besides, many of the crofters are, and their ancestors for many generations have been, "truly laborers, living chiefly by the wages of labor, and holding crofts and lots for which they pay rents, not from the produce of the land, but from wages." If they cannot find employment within convenient distance of their present homes, the best and kindest thing for them is to help them to go where there is a good demand for labor and better opportunities for earning a decent livelihood. To encourage them to stay on their little crofts, where they are frequently on the [Pg 184]verge of want, is unkind and very bad policy. One who has seen the wretched hovels in which some of these crofter families live, the small patches of unproductive land on which they try to subsist, the hardships which they sometimes suffer, and the lack of opportunities for bettering their condition in their native Highlands or islands, and who knows how much has been accomplished by the enterprise and energy of Highlanders in other parts of the world, can hardly help wishing that they might all be helped to emigrate to countries where their industry and economy would more certainly be rewarded, and where they would have a fairer prospect for success in the struggle for life and advancement. Many of them would undoubtedly be far better off if they could emigrate under favorable conditions. The descendants of many of those who were forced to leave their homes by "cruel and heartless Highland lairds," and who suffered terrible hardships in getting to this country and founding new homes, have now attained such wealth and influence as they could not possibly have acquired among their ancestral hills. The Royal Commissioners recommended that the state should aid those who may be willing to emigrate from certain islands and districts where the population is apparently too great for the means of subsistence.

The crofters are, however, strongly attached to their native hills and glens, and they claim that such laws can and ought to be enacted as will enable them to live in comfort where they are. The present, it is urged, is a particularly favorable time to establish prosperous small farmers in many parts of the Highlands where sheep-farming has proved a failure. The inhabitants of the coasts and islands are largely a seafaring people. There is quite as much Norse as Celtic blood in the veins of many of them, and the Norseman's love of the sea leads them naturally to fishing or navigation. The herring-fisheries, with liberal encouragement on the part of the government, might be made far more profitable to the fishermen and to the nation. Besides, the seafaring people of the Highlands and islands "constitute a natural basis for the naval defence of the country, a sort of defence which cannot be extemporized, and which in possible emergencies can hardly be overrated." At the present time they "contribute four thousand four hundred and thirty-one men to the Royal Naval Reserve,—a number equivalent to the crews of seven armored war-steamers of the first class." It is surely desirable to foster a population which has been a "nursery of good citizens and good workers for the whole empire," and of the best sailors and soldiers for the British navy and army. Public policy demands that every legitimate means be used to better the condition of the crofters and cottars, and to encourage them to remain in and develop the industries of their own country, instead of abandoning it to sheep and deer. Private interests must be made subordinate to the public good. Parliament may therefore interfere with the rights of landed property when the interests of the people and of the nation demand it, as they do in this case.

It was on some such grounds that the Royal Commissioners recommended that restrictions be placed upon the further extension of deer-forests, that the fishing interests should be aided by the government, that the proprietors should be required to restore to the crofters lands formerly used as common pastures, and to give them, under certain restrictions, the use of more land, enlarging their holdings, and that in certain cases they should be compelled to grant leases at rents fixed by arbitration, and to give compensation for improvements. The government is already helping the fishermen by constructing a new harbor and by improving means of communication and transportation, and proposes to greatly lighten taxation in the near future.

The bill which the late government introduced into Parliament does not undertake to provide for aid to those who may wish to emigrate, or for the compulsory restoration of common pasture, or for the enlargement of the holdings. [Pg 185]It does, however, propose to lend money on favorable terms for stocking and improving enlarged or new holdings. As a convention of landlords which was held at Aberdeen last January, and which represented a large amount of land, resolved to increase the size of crofters' holdings as suitable opportunities offered and when the tenants could profitably occupy and stock the same, the demand for more land seems likely to be conceded in many cases without compulsory legislation. The bill defines a crofter to be a tenant from year to year of a holding of which the rent is less than fifty pounds a year, and which is situated in a crofting-parish. Every such crofter is to have security of tenure so long as he pays his rent and complies with certain other conditions; his rent is to be fixed by an official valuer or by arbitration, if he and his landlord cannot agree in regard to it; he is to have compensation, on quitting his holding, for all his improvements which are suitable for the holding; and his heirs may inherit his interests, although he may not sell or assign them. Such propositions seem radical and calculated to interfere greatly with proprietary rights and the freedom of contract. They are, however, but little more than statements of the customs that already exist on some of the best estates. Just as the government by the Irish Land Law Act (1881) took up the Ulster tenant-right customs, gave them the force of law, and extended them to all Ireland, it is proposed by this bill to give the sanction of law to those customary rights which the crofters claim to have inherited from former generations, and which have long been conceded by some of the landlords.

Such a measure of relief will not make all the crofters contented and prosperous. It will, however, give them security against being turned out of their homes and against excessively high rents, and will encourage them to spend their labor and money in improving their holdings. If some assistance could be given to those who may wish to emigrate from overcrowded districts, and if the government would make liberal advances of money to promote the fishing industry, the prospect that the discontent and destitution would disappear would be much better. The relief proposed will, however, be thankfully received by many of the crofters and their friends.



Since his own days at the university George Randall had always had a friend or two among the students who came after him. I remember how in my Freshman year I used to see Tom Wayward going up the stairs in the Academy of Music building to his office, and how I used to envy Billy Wylde when I met him arm in arm with George on one of the campus malls. It was occasionally whispered about that Randall's influence on these young men was not of the very best, and that he used to have a never-empty bottle of remarkably smooth whiskey in his closet, along with old letter-files and brief-books; and it is undoubtedly true that Perry Tomson and I used to consider George's friends as models in the manner of smoking a pipe, or ordering whiskey-and-soda at Bertrand's to give us an appetite for our mutton-chops or our bifteck aux pommes, and in the delightful self-sufficiency with which in the pleasant spring days they would cut recitations and loll on the grass smoking cigarettes right under the nose, almost, of the professor. But they are both married now, and [Pg 186]settled down to respectable conventional success; and Billy Wylde, as I happen to know, has repaid the money which George lent him wherewith to finish his education in Germany. The estimable matrons of Lincoln who made so much ado over George's ruining these young men,—who had such bright intellects and might have been expected to do something but for that dreadfully well read lawyer's awful influence,—these women do not consider it worth their while now, in the face of the facts as they have turned out, to remember their predictions, but confine themselves to making their dismal prophecies anew in regard to the three young fellows whom George has of late taken up. But then I remember how they went on about Perry Tomson and me in the early part of our Junior year, when we began to enjoy the favor of George's friendship; and if their miserable croaking never does any good, I fancy it will never work any very great harm: so one might as well let them croak in peace. In fact, one would more easily dam the waters of Niagara than stop them, and George, I know, doesn't care the cork of an empty beer-bottle what they say of him.

I have never tried to analyze the influence for good George had over us, or account for it in any way, nor do I care to. I have always considered his friendship for me as one of the pleasantest and most profitable experiences of my life in Lincoln. Perry and I were always more close and loving friends, and cared for George with a silent but abiding sense of gratitude in addition to the other sources of our affection for him, after he showed us the boyish foolishness of our quarrel about Lucretia Knowles. Of course I ought not to have grown angry at Perry's good-natured cynicism; for how could he have imagined that I cared for her? Though I sometimes think, even now, that Perry was indeed anxious lest I should fall in love with her, and wanted to ridicule me out of the notion, and I fear, in spite of his acquaintance, that he disapproves of our engagement. I wonder if he will ever get over his prejudice against women. The dear old fellow! if he would only consent to know Lucretia better I am sure he would.

One night in the winter before we graduated, Perry and I went with George to the Third House, which is a mock session of the legislature that the political wags of the State take advantage of to display their wit and quickness at repartee and ability to make artistic fools of themselves. If it happens to be a year for the election of a senator, as it was in this case, the different candidates are in turn made fun of and held up to ridicule or approval; and the chief issues of the time are handled without gloves in a way that is always amusing and often worth while in showing the ridiculous nature of some of them. The Third House is usually held on some evening during the first or second week of the session, and is opened by the Speaker calling the house to order with a thundering racket of the gavel—"made from the wood of trees grown on the prairies of the State"—and announcing the squatter governor. Since the State was a territory, this announcement, after due formalities, has been followed by the statement that, as the squatter governor is somewhat illiterate, his message will be read by his private secretary. After this personage has read his score or more pages of jokes, sarcastic allusions, and ridiculous recommendations, the discussion of the message takes place, during which any one who thinks of a bright remark may get up and fire it at the gallery; and many very lame attempts pass for good wit, and much private spite goes for harmless fooling.

George got us seats in the gallery next to old Billy Gait, the bald-headed bachelor, who owns half a dozen houses which he rents for fifty dollars a month each, and who lives on six hundred a year, investing the surplus of his income every now and then in another house. William, as usual, had a pretty girl at his elbow, and we heard him telling her how he could never get interested in George Eliot's novels, and how it beat [Pg 187]him to know why he ever wrote such tedious books. The young lady smiled over her fan at Randall, and said that she supposed Mr. Eliot had a great deal of spare time on his hands, but of course he had no business to employ it in writing tiresome novels.

George, who knew everybody, had a kindly greeting for all who were within its reach, even for the tired-looking little school-teacher, who had come out with her landlady's fifteen-year-old son as an escort and in a little while had settled down to quiet enjoyment of the squatter governor's message, approving with a quiet smile the grin that occasionally spread over Perry's good-humored face. As for me, I was made miserable from the start by seeing Lucretia Knowles in one of the best seats on the floor, with a conceited fool of a newspaper-correspondent at her side, whispering nonsense in her ear at such a rate that she did nothing but laugh and turn her pretty head back to speak with Mamie Jennings, her fidus Achates, and never once cast her eyes toward the gallery. She has said since that she knew I was there all the time, and that she didn't dare look at me, because I was such a frightful picture of jealousy, with my fingers in my hair and my elbow on the gallery railing, staring down on the floor as if I should like to drop a bomb and annihilate the entire lot. It is all very well to look back now and laugh and feel sorry for the curly-locked journalist, who is writing letters from Mexico and trying to get over the disappointment which the knowledge of our engagement gave him, but it was very little fun for me at the time.

I turned away a dozen times, and swore inwardly that I wouldn't look that way again, and after each resolve I would find my eyes glancing from one person to another in Lu's vicinity, until finally they would rest again on her. When I had declared for the thirteenth time that I wouldn't contemplate her heartless flirting, I noticed George bow to some one who had just come in at the gallery door. A young man from one of the western counties was making a satirical speech in favor of the woman's suffrage amendment, misquoting Tennyson's "Princess" and making the gallery shake with laughter, at the time; but I noticed George's face light up and his eyes sparkle with pleasure at the sight of the new-comer. She was a beautiful lady, over thirty, I should say, with the sweetest face, for a sad one, I had ever seen. Of course, in a certain way I like Lucretia's style of beauty better; but Mrs. Herbert was beautiful in a way, so far as the women I have ever seen are concerned, peculiar to herself. She was rather slender, and had a calm, graceful bearing that I somehow at once associated with purity and nobleness. She was quite simply dressed, and had on a small widow's bonnet, with the ribbons tied under her chin, while a charming little girl, whose hair curled obstinately over her forehead, had hold of her hand.

I was somewhat surprised—I will not say disappointed exactly—to see her lips break into a glad smile, though it made her face look all the lovelier and sweeter, in reply to George's greeting; and when she came toward us, as he beckoned her to do, every one immediately and gladly made room for her to pass. Perry and I gave our seats to Mrs. Herbert and her little girl; and I found myself speculating, as I leaned against one of the pillars, on the difference of expression in the eyes of the two, which were otherwise so much alike,—the same deep shade of brown, the same soft look, the same lashes, and yet what a vast difference when one thought of the combined effect of all these similar details. I spoke to Perry of it, and he good-naturedly poked fun at me, saying I was forever trying to see a romance or a history in people's eyes.

"Well, I suppose you will say she isn't even lovely," I exclaimed, with impatience.

"I'm no judge," he replied, with exasperating carelessness; "but a little too pale, I should say. I wish George hadn't introduced her to me."


"Oh, it made me feel cheap to have to back into old Billy Gait's bony legs [Pg 188]and try to bow and shake hands before everybody,—in the eyes of the assembled community, as Charley McWenn would say."

McWenn was the stupid block of a journalist,—for I do think him a stupid block, in spite of his cleverness,—and I realized then that I had forgotten for a moment all about Lucretia. I could not see her from my new position, so I amused myself by imagining how she was carrying on.

At last George and Mrs. Herbert rose up to go, and the former, as he asked our forgiveness for leaving us, told us to come to his office when we had enough of the Third House, and, if he wasn't there, to wait for him. "We'll go over to Bertrand's and have some oysters," he said, with his confidence-inspiring smile. I have always thought that if George had not had so pleasant a smile and such a soulful laugh we should never have been such friends.

We found him waiting for us at the foot of the Academy of Music stairs, with a cigar in his mouth and one for each of us in his hand, and we knew from experience that his case was filled with a reserve.

"It's a pleasant night, boys, isn't it?" he said, looking up at the stars (wonderfully bright they were in the clear, cold atmosphere) as we went, crunching the snow under our feet, along the deserted streets to the little back-entrance we knew of to Bertrand's.

"Yes," said Perry; "but you missed the best thing of the whole circus by leaving before Colonel Bouteille made his speech in favor of the prohibition amendment." And he gave a résumé of the colonel's laughable sophistry for George's benefit,—and for mine as well, for I had paid no attention to the old toper's remarks.

We could see the glimmer of lights behind the shutters of the faro-room over Sudden's saloon and hear the rattle of the ivory counters as we passed.

"Do you ever go up there?" asked George, interrupting Perry.

"Why, yes; sometimes," we answered.

"Play a little now and then? I suppose?"

"We don't like to loaf around such a place," said Perry rather grandly, considering our circumstances, "without putting down a few dollars."

"That's all right," said George; "but once or twice is enough, boys. After you have seen what the thing is like, keep away from the tiger. She is a greedy beast, and always hungry; and of course you can't think of sitting down at a poker-table with the professional players."

Direct advice was rather a new strain for Randall, and we were not surprised when he dropped it abruptly as we filed into a little private room at the restaurant.

"Yes, I fancy old Bouteille might have made a humorous speech," he said, after ordering the oysters. "Three?" he added, looking at me, "or four?"

"Quarts?" I asked in reply.

George nodded.

"Two, I should say."

"Oh, bother!" exclaimed Perry. "We should only have to trouble the waiter again."

So George ordered four bottles of beer.

"It's after ten o'clock, sir," said the waiter doubtfully. It is needless to say that he was a new one.

"That's the reason we came here," answered George, with a calm manner of assumption that dissipated the waiter's doubts while it evidently filled him with remorse. "Where's Auguste?"

"He's gone to bed, sir; but I guess 'twill be all right." And the waiter started to fetch the beer.

"I should think so," growled Perry.

"I suppose it is not good form to drink beer with oysters," I suggested mildly.

"I don't know, I'm sure," said George.

"I suppose not," said Perry; "they go so well together. I hope it isn't, at any rate: I like to do things that are bad form."

So I relapsed into silence, and my speculations about George's outbreak [Pg 189]against gambling, and Mrs. Herbert's beautiful face and sad eyes, and Lucretia Knowles's wicked light-heartedness.

When we had finished eating and had opened the last bottle of beer, I asked George, as he stopped his talk with Perry for a moment to relight his cigar, who Mrs. Herbert was.

"She is the noblest and most unfortunate woman in the world," he replied, "I will tell you her story some time, perhaps."

"Let us hear it now," I cried, looking at Perry with triumph.

"Yes, let us," said Perry, nothing to my surprise, for I knew his heart was in the right place, if his ways were a little rough and unimpressionable-like. "We have no recitations, no lectures, no anything, to-morrow, and there is no one else in the restaurant but the waiter, and he is asleep."

And, in fact, we could hear him snoring.

"No, I would rather not tell it here," George said simply; "but if you will come with me to the office you shall hear it." And when we had heard it we respected the feeling that had prompted him to consider even the walls of such a place as unfit listeners. To be sure, it was a very comfortable restaurant, where the waiters were always attentive and skilful and the mutton-chops irreproachable, and many a pleasant evening had we three had there over our cigars and Milwaukee, and sometimes a bottle or two of claret. But so had Tom Hagard, the faro-dealer, and Frank Sauter, who played poker over Sudden's, and Dick Bander, who got his money from Madame Blank because he happened to be a swashing slugger, and many another Tom, Dick, and Harry whose reputations were, to say the least, questionable. Of course we never associated with such characters, and plenty of estimable people besides ourselves frequented Bertrand's. The place was not in bad odor at all, but merely a little miscellaneous, and suited our plebeian fancies all the more on that account. If young fellows want to be really comfortable in life, we thought, and see a little at first hand just what sort of people make up the world, they must not be too particular. So we used to sit down at the next table to one where a gambler or a horse-jockey would perhaps be seated, or a man of worse fame, and order our humble repast with a quiet conscience and a strengthened determination never to become one among such people. We would even see the gay flutter of skirts sometimes, as the waiter entered one of the private rooms with an armful of dishes, and hear the chatter and laughter of the wearers.

We did not wonder, therefore, at George's preference for his own office, whose four walls had never looked down upon anything but innocent young fellows smoking and talking whatever harmless nonsense came into their heads, or playing chess or penny-ante, or upon his own generous thoughts and solitary contemplations, or hard work on some intricate lawsuit. So we aroused the sleeping waiter, and walked back to the Academy of Music building in silence.

"It is rather a long story," said George, when we had at last made ourselves comfortable, "and I have never told it before. I don't know why I should tell it now, but somehow I want to. I felt this evening after I left the Capitol that I would, and I asked leave of Mrs. Herbert while we were walking to her home together. I knew she would let me: I am the only friend, I suppose,—the only real friend, I mean, whom she trusts and treats as an intimate friend,—that she has in the world. I know I am the only person who knows the whole story of her sad life.

"When I was in the university," he slowly continued, holding his cigar in the gas-jet and turning it over and over between his fingers, with an evident air of collating his reminiscences, "Phil Kendall and I were great friends. I don't know how we ever came to be so: it was natural, I suppose, for us to like each other. I used to notice that he did not associate much with the other fellows; and yet he was the best runner and boxer in the [Pg 190]class. He was the only fellow in the university who could do the giant swing on the bar, and, though he had never taken lessons, it was next to impossible for any one but Wayland, the sub-professor in chemistry, to touch him with the foils. Somehow we were drawn together, and before long were hardly ever apart. We used to get out our Horace together, he with the pony and text and I with the lexicon, for he was too impatient to hunt up the words. I believe you study differently now."

"We still have the pony," said Perry.

"And we used to puzzle our heads together over Mechanics, for we didn't have election as you do, and take long walks, and play chess, and get up spreads in our room for nobody but us two. Not such elaborate affairs as are called spreads now, but I warrant you they were fully as much enjoyed. I fancy we were rather sentimental. We used to hold imaginary conversations in the person of some favorite characters in fiction; but we were very young and boyish."

Perry glanced at me sheepishly, but George went on without noticing:

"Phil's father lived here, and was proprietor of the only wholesale grocery-store the town then boasted of. He had been captain of a volunteer company in the war, and, I fancy, had a romance too. At any rate, his wife had been dead since Phil was a little fellow in knickerbockers; and not very long after her death a certain Mrs. Preston had sent a little girl, about a year older than Phil, with a dying charge to the captain to care for the friendless orphan for the sake of their early love. No one but Grace could ever get anything out of the old gentleman about her mother, and she never learned much. Mrs. Preston had been unhappy at least, and perhaps miserable, in her marriage. We always thought she had forsaken Mr. Kendall in their youth and made a hasty marriage; but never a word was uttered by him about Grace's father.

"I used to imagine Mr. Kendall cared more for his adopted daughter than for his son, from what I saw of them, and I was at the house a good deal with Phil. I am sure they were very affectionate; and it was only natural that the melancholy old man—that is the way he always struck me—should have loved the daughter of the woman who had deserted him and then turned toward him in her hour of supreme need. It showed that her trust and belief in him and his goodness had never really left her. And, besides, Grace was always so airy and light-hearted,—nothing could put her out of humor,—so kind and gentle, and as lovely as a flower. She is a splendid-looking woman yet, but one can have no idea of what she was in those days, from the sad-eyed Mrs. Herbert who smiles so rarely on any one but her little girl. Nannie is going to make much such a young lady as her mother was, but I don't believe she will ever be quite so beautiful.

"Well, I was not long in discovering that Phil was in love with his father's adopted daughter. I was never quite sure whether he knew it himself at the time or not, but I could see easily enough that she didn't dream of such a thing, nor the old captain either. They were so much like brother and sister it used to make me feel wofully sorry for Phil to see her throw her arms around his neck and kiss him for some little kindness or other that he was always doing her: the difference of mood in which the caress would be given from that in which Phil would receive it was somehow always painful to me. Phil would never offer to kiss her on his own account; and it is still a mystery to me why she never discovered how he felt toward her until he became jealous. The tenderness and gentle considerateness of his bearing were always so marked that to a less innocent and pure nature, I fancy, it would have been noticeable at once.

"When we were Juniors, Phil took her to a party one night, just after Easter. The captain was a scrupulous Churchman, and Grace was always by him in the pew. She had not been confirmed, however, and never said a word [Pg 191]to Phil and me about our persistency in staying away from church, though the captain used to lecture Phil quite soberly about it. This party was given at the house of one of the vestrymen, and they had refreshments, and, after the rector had gone home, dancing. They called it a sociable, and took up a collection for the ladies' aid society just after the cake and coffee and whipped cream had been served. There was where Grace first met George Herbert. He was a handsome young fellow, well educated, a graduate of some Eastern college, clever and talented, and his family in Rochester, New York, were considered very good people. He had come to Lincoln to take a place on the 'Gazette,' and every one thought him a young man of good parts and fair prospects.

"He made up to Grace from the start. They were laughing and talking together all the evening on a little sofa, just large enough for two, that stood in the bow-window. There was a little crowd of young people around the two most of the time, and she was saying bright things to them all, but never, I noticed, at the expense of young Herbert, who made most of his remarks so low that no one but Grace could hear them. She always smiled and often broke out into her musical laugh at what he said; and when Phil, who had been trapped into a game of whist with some old fogies, finally came back into the parlor and made his way to where Grace was having such a happy time, she even launched a shaft or two of her wit at him.

"I saw that the poor fellow was hurt: he turned away without answering, though, and, coming over to where I was, sat down and began looking at an album, trying hard all the time to hide his feelings. But in a moment Grace was hanging over his shoulder, oblivious of her surroundings, and lovingly begging his pardon if she had hurt him. I have sometimes thought that Phil then fully realized for the first time how he cared for her. The way in which her affection disregarded the presence of the crowd smote him, I imagine, with something like despair. I saw him turn pale and catch his breath, and I knew his laugh too well to be deceived, as Grace was, when he made light of her self-accusations and declared that than taking offence at her words nothing had been further from his thoughts. This was in a sense true, of course, for ordinarily he would have answered as light-heartedly almost as Grace herself; and it was only the feeling of jealousy, unconscious perhaps, at any rate irresistible, that gave her words undue—no, not that exactly, but unusual influence over his feelings.

"For a while Phil acted as considerately as ever, and made himself thoroughly agreeable to several young ladies, whereat Grace was highly pleased and soon took up again her mood of gayety. But when Phil brought her a plate and napkin and some things to eat, and found her and Herbert already served and with mock gravity breaking a piece of cake together on the stairs,—'they were only doing it,' Phil declared to me afterward, 'that they might touch each other's hands,'—he lost his head. He must have spoken very bitterly, else he would never have aroused Grace's anger. I don't know what he said, except that he complained about having come to such a thing as a church sociable, which he despised, and, inasmuch as he had done it for the sake of her enjoyment and pleasure, she might at least have shown him the same politeness she would have accorded to any of the insufferable prigs whom she seemed delighted to honor.

"Herbert started to reply, but Grace silenced him by a look, and said, 'We have been as brother and sister since childhood.' It was probably well for Herbert's handsome face that he did not enter into a discussion with Phil. They were both hot-tempered, and Phil had no scruples against asking him out of doors, and would have been as cool in his manner and as terrible in his strength as an iceberg.

"Grace led Phil away, and tried to tell him how she had not supposed he [Pg 192]would care; that she had imagined he would prefer to serve the young lady with whom he had been talking; how she had never known him to put such store by trivialities before; how 'at least we,' Phil told me, bitterly quoting her words, 'at least we ought to be sure of each other's hearts,' and did everything to pacify him. But he would listen to nothing, and, coming to me, asked me to walk home with Grace, as he was going away immediately. I imagined the trouble, and got him to admit that he and Grace had said unkind words to each other. But he would say nothing more about the matter till I found him in my room after it was all over, when he raved about Grace until near morning, and cursed the fate that had turned the bread of her kind affection for him into a stone. 'How can I ever hope to win her love when she thinks that way of me?' he would ask sorrowfully, after telling of some pure and loving freedom she had taken. I was full of pity for the miserable fellow, but I felt as if I ought to do all I could to discourage him. I was sure he was right; he never could hope to, and I thought the sooner he learned this, and to submit to it, the better it would be for him.

"I persuaded him not to leave the party in the height of his resentment, though, and he was so quiet before the dancing that I began to hope he would beg Grace's pardon and take her home repentantly and in peace. But he insisted on my going and offering to dance with her the first set in his place. She had already promised, she said, to dance it with Mr. Herbert, and it was in vain that I told her she must look upon me as acting for Phil, and advised her for his sake to excuse herself to Herbert and dance with either Phil or myself. 'If Phil should come and ask me himself on his knees I would not do it,' she declared, with superb grandeur, 'He has acted wrong, and imputed to me the worst motives for trivial things which I did unthinkingly even, and, heaven knows, without deliberate calculation.'

"I saw it was no use to talk with her, and that in her present mood even entreaty, to which she was usually so yielding, would be of no avail. I felt very helpless and miserable about it, but I could do nothing. I saw that Phil had made a grave mistake by accusing her of partiality for Herbert, and that her acquaintance with him might possibly be forced into a closer relation by Phil's jealousy. I kept away from him for a while, and almost made Miss Scrawney think I had fallen in love with her, in order to keep Phil from getting a word with me. At last, however, just as the music began, he pulled my sleeve and asked in a whisper if I wasn't going to take Grace out and dance with her.

"'She was already engaged,' I answered.

"'To whom?' said Phil. 'But there is no need to ask.' And at the moment, indeed, almost as if in answer to his question, Grace entered the room from the hall on Herbert's arm. I was afraid for an instant that Phil would make a scene. The veins on his forehead swelled, and he started forward as they passed within a few feet of where we were standing, Grace smiling and talking to Herbert, apparently as oblivious of us as if we had not been within a thousand miles of her; but he mastered the impulse, whatever it was, and I have often speculated as to whether it was to upbraid Grace or to strike Herbert.

"'Look at her, George,' he said, with a calmness that was belied by the look in his eyes. 'You wouldn't think that three hours ago she had never known him, would you? nor that we had lived in the same house since we were no higher than that. Her mother, I know, did her best to break my old man's heart, and I warrant you it was for some such worthless fool as that, who wasn't fit to black the dear old fellow's boots. Poor old dad! we shall be together in the boat: when I begin to handle hams and barrelled sugar we will write ourselves 'Kendall & Son' with a flourish.' And as we went up the stairs to get his coat and hat he told me to stay and offer to go home with Grace. [Pg 193]'It wouldn't do for me to leave her unless you do, George,' he said; 'but if she wants to go with Herbert, let her; but she shall not say I went away and left her without an escort.'

"I promised readily enough, and even hurried him away. There was no good in his staying; in fact, I thought it better that he should leave; and after he had gone I went to Grace. I managed the matter rather badly, but I suppose the most consummate tact on my part would not have changed things. I should have waited until I saw her alone, or until the party was breaking up; but I went directly I saw they had stopped dancing. She was leaning on the piano and letting Herbert fan her, and looking almost too beautiful for real life as she turned her face toward him, flushed with her exercise and beaming with excitement. There was something grand to me in the expression of individuality and proud insistence that had come to her so suddenly. It was no factitious strife of her nature against the dependence of her position as an adopted daughter, I knew, for she had never felt in the least but that she was perfectly free; it was no caprice or stubbornness; it was merely her womanly assertion of self and her unconscious protest against what she thought injustice. She would not have believed from any one but Phil himself that he was in love with her and jealous.

"'Phil has gone away,' I said bluntly, interrupting their talk. She looked at me for a moment and raised her eyebrows slightly.

"'Has he?' was all she asked.

"'Yes: he was feeling badly,' I went on. 'He asked me to walk home with you when you were ready to go. I thought I would tell you now, so you would not be at a loss in case you should want to leave before the party breaks up.'

"'You are very kind, I am sure, Mr. Kendall' (she usually called me George), 'but I shall not want to go for ever so long yet. It was needless for Phil to trouble you; he knew I should get home all right,—but it was like him. I am awfully sorry to keep you waiting: I know you are anxious to get back to your pipe and books.'

"Here Herbert said something with the appearance of speaking to us both; but she only could hear what it was. I, however, imagined readily enough.

"'Will you?' she answered him, in a pleased tone, and I fancied her smile was grateful. 'Mr. Herbert is going to stay and dance a while longer,' she went on, turning to me, 'and if he takes me home it will not seem as if I were troubling any one too much, and—'

"'Very well, Miss Preston,' I interrupted, making my best bow; 'as you like.' And when I saw the smile on Herbert's face I didn't wonder much at the way Phil had felt. 'Let me bid you good-night,' I said, bowing again, and started off.

"Grace followed me rapidly into the hall. 'Now, please don't you be angry too, George,' she said, laying her hand on my arm.

"'I am not angry,' I said.

"'Do you think it right, George,' she asked earnestly,—and there was a pleading look in her eyes,—'or manly to desert one's friends in trouble?'

"'I am doing the best I know how,' said I, 'to be true to my friend.'

"'Oh, George, I am so sorry!' Her voice trembled, and all her queenliness had gone. 'You must not go off this way. You don't blame me as Phil does, do you? Wait, I will get my things, and you shall walk home with me now. I will see Phil and tell him—'

"'He has gone to my room,' I said.

"'Well, I will wait till you bring him home. You must tell him I forgive him,—or no, tell him I am sorry and ask his forgiveness. Oh, George, we cannot be this way. Only think how sad it would make his father—and—' There were tears on her lashes, and her lips were trembling piteously. She put her hand to her throat and could not go on. God forgive me if I was wrong,—and I know I was,—but I couldn't help it then,—I asked, almost with a sneer, if she didn't dislike to slight her estimable friend Mr. Herbert's kindness; and [Pg 194]she turned away without a word, as if regretting, from my unworthiness, the emotion she had shown.

"I was in very nearly as bad a state as Phil for a while. I told him just how I had acted, and he was rather pleased than otherwise at my cruelty. We tried hard to make ourselves believe that Grace had deserved it, and to a certain extent succeeded.

"'She probably thought it was too high a price,' said Phil, 'when she saw both of us going off offended, and she concluded not to give it. But, then, it was just like her,' he added, in a kindlier spirit than the natural interpretation of his words seemed to indicate.

"It was a month before either of us went to the house. The old captain thought at first that we were going to the dogs, and, I think, kept up a kind of watch over our movements. He came in one morning, after he had concluded his suspicions were wrong, and made a sort of expiatory call. He tried to tell us how he had judged us too harshly, but couldn't quite bring himself to it, and, after a good many half-uttered remarks that did honor to the old gentleman's heart, if they didn't prove him a cool hand in such matters, he left us with an unspoken blessing and some homely, sound advice to do as we liked, so long as we were manly and honest.

"Within a week he was stricken with apoplexy on receiving news of some serious losses, and was taken home without speaking. He died the next morning just at sunrise, and Grace and Phil mingled their tears at his bedside. He tried in vain to speak to them, and the pleased light in his eyes as they took each other's hands and laid them, joined together, in his, was the only sign he gave of having known there had been a difference between them.

"Poor Grace! she was very miserable and lonely after that. Phil could never bear to be with her after he had spoken. Her true kindness and gentle, loving pity were misery to him. He made a noble effort to stay by and watch over her, but he was hardly fit to take care of himself. She never knew how small a share of what little was left of his father's money he took with him to the mountains, but she realized why he went without waiting for his degree, and sadly approved his resolution. She always kept the growing attachment between her and Herbert from grating on Phil as much as was in her power, but he could not help seeing it. Though he never said anything even to me, it was plain that he had a poor opinion of the young journalist; and Grace was very thankful to him for all he did and suffered.

"She must have felt very much alone in the world after Phil left, and the house certainly seemed empty and sad when I used to go there to see her. There was no one but Grace and the housekeeper and an old gentleman, a clerk in one of the State departments, to whom she had rented rooms, partly for the money and partly to have a man in the house. Herbert was with her whenever his work would permit, and there was some talk about their intimacy among people who, even if they had known her, were too base to have appreciated the fineness and truth and purity of Grace's nature.

"I couldn't blame her for marrying Herbert,—which she did the fall after I graduated. They certainly were very much in love, and Herbert had borne himself creditably in every way. No one could have foreseen that he would turn out so badly; and for a year or more after their marriage they were as happy as birds in May. Grace was never light-hearted, as when I first knew her,—no woman of worth and tenderness would have been,—but still she was happily and sweetly contented, completely bound up in her husband, thinking almost of nothing but him, and caring for nothing but his love.

"When I came back from the law-school, I went to see them as soon as I was settled. They had sold the house, and were living in a rented cottage out in East Lincoln. Nannie, their baby, was quite if not more than a year old then; and, though I had known that Grace would be a fond mother, I was [Pg 195]unprepared to see the way in which she seemed absolutely to worship the child. I immediately asked myself if it meant that she was not so happy with Herbert as she had been. I met him at tea, to which Grace insisted on my staying. His dress was as neat and as carefully arranged as ever, and he was cordial enough toward me; but he did not kiss Grace when he came in, and hardly looked at the baby. He laughed a good deal, and told several amusing incidents of his newspaper experience. I noticed that his old habit of looking at one's chin or cravat instead of at one's eyes when he spoke to one had grown upon him. He excused himself soon after tea on the ground of having to be at the office, and went away smoking a cigarette.

"Grace complained of the way in which his work kept him up nights. He was never home until after midnight, she said, and sometimes not before morning. She was afraid it was telling upon his health. 'You must come and see me often. George.' she said, as she gave me her hand at parting. 'I see very little of my husband now, and, if it were not for Nannie, I feel as if I should be almost unhappy. Then he would have to do some other work, though he likes journalism so well.' That was the nearest she ever came to complaining to me, though I soon knew that she had plenty of cause. She was not entirely deceived by Herbert's assertions and excuses. I learned before long, for I made a point of finding out, that he was never obliged to be at the office after nine o'clock, that he gambled and drank, and was looked on with unpleasant suspicions by his employers, so that he might at any time find himself without a position. He owned no property, and Grace's little patrimony had disappeared, even to the money they had received for the house, without leaving the slightest trace. Herbert's ill reputation was common property in the town, and he and Grace went nowhere together. She had even given up going to church, that she might be with him for a few hours on Sundays; and now and then if he took her for a walk and pushed the baby-carriage through the Capitol-grounds for an hour, she cared more for it than for a whole stack of Mr. Gittner's sermons. She had no friends at all, and but few acquaintances, and altogether had much to bear up under. Right nobly she did it, too; never a word of complaint to any one: I believe not even to herself would she admit that she was treated basely.

"They kept on in this way for a year after I opened my office. I heard from Phil now and then,—brief notes that he was alive and well,—and on the 11th of June, the date of the old captain's death, Grace always received a long letter from him, full of references to their childhood, but telling little of himself. Herbert's reputation became worse and worse, and he deserved all the evil that was said of him. The tradesmen refused him credit, and the carpets and furniture of their little cottage grew old and thread-bare and were not replaced. I have seen him play pool at Sudden's for half a day at a dollar a game, and perhaps lose his week's wages. He was hand in glove with the set that lurked about the 'club-room' over the saloon, and almost any night could be seen at the faro-table fingering his chips and checking off the cards on his tally-sheet. Nobody but strangers would sit down to a game of poker or casino with him: he had grown much too skilful. He was what they called a 'very smooth player:' though I never heard of his being openly accused of cheating.

"One of my first cases of consequence was to recover some money which had been paid to some sharpers by an innocent young fellow from the East for a worthless mine in Colorado. In connection with it I went to Denver. Charlie Wayland, a brother of the chemistry professor, happened to be on the same train. He owns the planing-mill down on Sixth Street now, you know; but he was a wild young fellow then, and knew everything that was going on. He intended to have a time, he said, while he was in Denver; that was what he was going for. He went with [Pg 196]me to the St. James, where I had written Phil to meet me, if he could come down from Boulder.

"Young Wayland had his time in the city, and I had finished my business and was going to start back and leave him to enjoy by himself his trip to Pike's Peak and the other sights of the State, considerably disappointed at not having seen Phil, when he came in on us as I was packing my grip-sack. He was rough and hardy as a bear, and had grown a tremendous black beard: his heavy hand closed over mine till my knuckles cracked. We were glad enough to see each other, and had plenty to talk about. Of course I stayed over another day, and Wayland put off his trip to Pike's Peak to keep us company, though we didn't care so much for his presence as he seemed to think we did. But he gave us a little dinner at Charpiot's, and I forgave his talkativeness for the sake of the champagne, until he became excited by drinking too much of it and began to talk about George Herbert. He was stating his system of morality, which was, in effect,—and Charlie had acted up to it pretty well,—that a fellow should go it when he was young, but when he was married he ought to settle down.

"'Now, I can't stand a fellow like that Herbert,' he said; and for all my kicks under the table he went on, 'It may be well enough for the French, but I say in this country it's a devilish shame. He is a young fellow in Lincoln, Mr. Kendall,—got a splendid wife, and a little baby, one of the nicest women in the world, and thinks the world of him, and he goes it with the boys as if he was one of 'em. He never goes home, though, unless he is sober enough to keep himself straight; but I've seen him bowling full many a time. Wine, women, and song, you know, and all that; it may be well enough for us young bloods, but in a fellow of his circumstances I say it's wrong, damn it! and he oughtn't to do it.'

"Now, I had told Phil that Grace was well and fairly happy. I had thought it but just to sink my opinion and give Grace's own account of herself and deliver her simple message without comment. 'Give Phil my love,' she had said as I left her the night before I came away.

"'And how does this Herbert's wife take all this?' asked Phil of Wayland.

"'Oh, she doesn't know all, I suppose. If she did, it would probably kill her. My brother's wife says that if it were not for her child she doesn't believe Mrs. Herbert would live very long, as it is.'

"'Her trouble is common talk, then?' observed Phil, sipping his wine and avoiding my eyes.

"'Why, yes, to a certain extent; though she doesn't parade it, by any means. In fact, she lives very much alone; no one ever sees her, hardly, but George here, who is an old friend, you know. Maybe you used to know her,' he added suddenly, coming to himself a little. 'Well, if you did,' he went on, as Phil did not answer, 'you wouldn't know her now, they say, for the lively, careless girl she was five or six years ago.' And then he began to talk about the condition of the Chinese in Denver, and how he had that morning seen one of them kicked off the sidewalk without having given the least provocation.

"Phil said nothing further about the Herberts all evening, but just before we separated for the night he asked me if I could let him have some money. I unsuspectingly thanked my stars that I could, and told him so.

"'Well, then,' he declared, 'I am going back to Lincoln with you to-morrow.' And, in spite of all I could say, he did. He had his beard shaved off, bought himself some civilized clothes, and made his appearance with me on the streets of Lincoln as naturally as if he had gone away but the day before. His life in the mountains had given him an air of decision, a certain quiet energy and determination which impressed one immediately with the sense of his being a man of strong character, with a powerful will under perfect control. I grew to have so much confidence in him that I thought his coming would somehow [Pg 197]be a benefit to Grace, though I could not see how; in fact, when I tried to reason about it, I told myself exactly the contrary. But Phil seemed to have such implicit confidence in himself, to be so self-sufficient and so ready for any emergency, and altogether such a perfect man of action, that he inspired belief and confidence in others.

"We met Herbert on our way up from the station: he was standing in front of the 'Gazette' office, laughing and talking with Sudden's barkeeper. He greeted Phil with cordiality, in spite of the latter's distant bearing, and told him Grace would be greatly pleased at his arrival.

"'I suppose she will be glad to see me,' said Phil, as we passed on. And she was glad, very glad, to see him, but she was far from being made happy by his coming. I sent a note out to her, and Phil and I followed shortly after. I did not watch their meeting,—I thought, somehow, that no one ought to see it,—but I knew he took her in his arms; and when she came out on the porch to bring me in there were tears in her eyes.

"We all sat and talked for a long while, Grace with her hand in Phil's and her eyes on his face, when she was not looking anxiously after my awkward attempts at caring for her baby; for of course Nannie had been brought out almost the first thing. I think, from the way in which she carefully avoided asking him his reasons for coming back, that she divined what they were. I imagined that she blamed me as being the prime cause; but there was nothing I could say to undeceive her. In fact, I thought it better for her to believe so than to know the truth.

"'She is miserably unhappy, George,' said Phil gloomily, as we walked away. 'But you were right not to tell me. I can do nothing to help her: I cannot even openly sympathize with her. It would have been better to have kept on thinking she was happy: there was a bitter kind of satisfaction to me in that, but still it was a satisfaction.'

"Nevertheless Phil did not go back to the mountains. He stayed on here for a month or more, dividing his time pretty equally between my office and Grace's little parlor. He very seldom met Herbert. Now and then they would be together at the cottage for half an hour, if Herbert happened to come home while he was there, and when they met on the street they would merely pass the time of day.

"One evening before going to supper I waited until after seven o'clock for Phil to come in, and just as I had given him up, and was starting away alone, he entered the office, looking pale as a ghost, and evidently in great distress of spirit.

"'For God's sake, Phil, what is the matter?' I exclaimed, as he sank upon the sofa and covered his face with his hands.

"'Go away, George: go away and leave me,' was all he said; then he got up and began walking violently up and down the room. At last he came near me and put his hand on my shoulder. 'I've killed her, George, I am afraid; At least I have killed him right before her eyes, and she may never get over it. I didn't mean to, George, you know that; but he came home drunk, and I had gone to bid Grace good-by,—for I had made up my mind, George, to leave to-morrow,—and he came in. We had been talking of father, and Grace was very sad and wretched, and there were tears in her eyes when she kissed me, just as he came in and saw us. She was frightened at his brutality, and clung to me in terror, when he began swearing in a torrent of passion and calling her the vilest of names. He struck at us with his cane. If he had struck me he might yet have been alive; but when I saw the great red welt on Grace's neck and heard her cry out, I was wild, George. For an instant, I believe, I could have stamped him into bits, and if it had been my last act on earth I could not have helped striking him.'

"While he spoke, Phil stood with his hand on my shoulder, looking into my eyes, as if he wanted me to judge him, [Pg 198]as if he would read in my very look whether I blamed him or not. I took his hand.

"'I thought you would understand,' he went on. 'I did not know I was going to kill him, but I think I tried to: I struck him with all my might, Grace threw herself between us and begged me not to hurt him after he had fallen down, and took hold of my arm as if to hold me. But when she saw the blood running from his temple, where he had struck it on the window-sill, and how still and motionless he lay, she tried to go to him, but could not for weakness and fainting. I carried her into Mrs. Stanley's, and have not seen her since, but the doctor says she is very ill. Herbert was dead when they went into the room after I told them what had happened; and I suppose I had better give myself up to the law.'

"You can have no idea how I felt to see my dearest friend in such a position. And poor Grace!—it was much worse for her. I thought with Phil that she might never survive the shock and misery of it all. But she did, and came out, weak and broken down as she was, to give her testimony at Phil's trial. We had no trouble in getting a jury to acquit him, and he went back to Colorado without bidding Grace good-by, although she would have seen him and was even anxious to do so. Some persons here, mostly women, pretended to think that there had been more cause for Herbert's jealousy than was generally supposed; but they belonged to the sanctimonious, hypocritical custom-worshippers. All really good people remembered what Herbert had been, and refused to see in him a martyr or even a wronged man.

"After that Grace supported herself by dress-making and teaching music; and some two years ago, when we heard that Phil had been killed by a mine's caving in, and that he had left a little fortune to her and Nannie, I, as his executor and her friend, induced her to take and use it,—which she did, with simplicity and thankfulness and with her heart full of pity and love for poor Phil. Yes, poor Phil! those five or six years must have been full of misery to him, and he was probably thankful when the end came. We never heard from him until after his death. There was a letter that came to me with the will, that had been written long before. None but they two know what was in it; and I, for one, do not want to inquire."

George sat for a long while in silence, looking at the glowing coals in the huge reservoir stove. Neither Perry nor I cared to interrupt his revery. At last he roused himself.

"Well, boys," he said, "it is late: I think we had better go. It is all over now, and life has gone on calmly for years. Other people have forgotten that there ever were such persons as Phil or Herbert."

When Perry and I reached our room we found it was almost three o'clock. George had walked with us to the door, and very little had been said between us. I took a cigarette and lay down on the bed. "Perry," I said, as he was lighting the gas.

"Sur to you," he answered, in a way he had of imitating a certain barkeeper of our acquaintance.

"What do you think of George?"

"You know what I think of him as well as I do."

"Yes; but I mean in connection with this that he has told us."

"I think he acted just like himself all the way through."

"Don't you think he has been in love with Mrs. Herbert from the first?"

"Am I in the habit of imagining such nonsense?"

"You may think it nonsense," I answered, with the quiet fervor of conviction, "but I am sure it is nothing but the real state of the case."

"Bosh!" exclaimed Perry, throwing his boots into a corner; and therewith the discussion closed.

About a week ago I had a letter from him, though, in which he recalled this circumstance and acknowledged that I had been in the right. "They are going to be married in the fall," he wrote. "I [Pg 199]hope they may be happy, and I suppose they will be; but I don't think Mrs. Herbert ought to marry him unless she loves him; and I am fearful that she only thinks to reward long years of faithful affection. George deserves more than that." This was a good deal for Perry to manage to say. He usually keeps as far away from such subjects as he well can,—which is partly the reason, I think, that his opinion thereon is not greatly to be trusted. As for me, I am sure George's wife will love him as much as he deserves,—though this is almost an infinite amount,—and that she has not been far from loving him from the beginning. I have bought a pair of vases to send them; and I expect that Miss Lucretia Knowles will say, when she learns how much they cost, that I was very extravagant. Not that Lu is close or stingy at all; but she has promised to wait until I have made a start in life, and is naturally impatient for me to get on as rapidly as possible.



Lover of solitude,

Poet and priest of nature's mysteries,

If but a step intrude,

Thy oracle is mute, thy music dies.

Oft have I lightly wooed

Sweet Poesy to give me pause of pain,

Oft in her singing mood

Sought to surprise her haunt, and sought in vain.

And thou art shy as she,

But mortal, or I had not found thy shrine,

To listen breathlessly

If I may make thy hoarded secret mine.

Thy tender mottled breast,

Dappled the color of our primal sod,

Now quick and song-possessed,

Doth seem to hold the very joy of God,—

Joy hid from mortal quest

Of bosky loves on silver-moonéd eves,

And the high-hearted best

That swells thy throat with joy among the leaves.

Like the Muezzin's call

From some high minaret when day is done,

Among the beeches tall

Thy voice proclaims, "There is no God but one."

And but one Beauty, too,

Of whose sweet synthesis we ever fail:

She flies if we pursue,

Like thy swift wing down some dim intervale.

[Pg 200]

For thou art lightly gone;

Gone is the flute-like note, the yearning strain,

And all the air forlorn

Is breathless till it hear thy voice again.

But thou wilt not return;

Thou hast the secret of thy joy to keep,

And other hearts must learn

Thy tuneful message, ere the world may sleep,—

Sleep lulled by many a dream

Of sylvan sounds that woo the ear in vain,

While still thy numbers seem

To voice the pain of bliss, the bliss of pain.



Last spring, or possibly it was early in June, I was walking, in company with an intelligent farmer, through a bit of heavy forest that bordered some fields of corn and wheat, when a golden, flame-like gleam from the midst of the last year's leaves and twigs on the ground at my feet attracted my sight. I stooped and picked up a large fragment of a flower of the Liriodendron Tulipifera which had been let fall by some foraging squirrel from the dark-green and fragrant top of the giant tree nearest us. Strange to say, my farmer friend, who owned the rich Indiana soil in which the tree grew, did not know, until I told him, that the "poplar," as he called the tulip-tree, bears flowers. For twenty years he had owned this farm, during which time he had cut down acres of forest for rails and lumber, without ever having discovered the gorgeous blossom which to me is the finest mass of form and color to be seen in our American woods. As I had a commission from an artist to procure a spray of these blooms for her, I at once began to search the tree-top with my eyes. The bole, or stem, rose sixty feet, tapering but slightly, to where some heavy and gnarled limbs put forth, their extremities lost in masses of peculiarly dark, rich foliage. At first I could distinguish no flowers, but at length here and there a suppressed glow of orange shot with a redder tinge showed through the dusky gloom of the leaves. Lo! there they were, hundreds of them, over three inches in diameter, bold, gaudy, rich, the best possible examples of nature's pristine exuberance of force and color. Two gray squirrels were frisking about among the highest sprays, and it was my good fortune that my friend carried on his shoulder a forty-four-calibre rifle; for, though it was death to the nimble little animals, it proved to be the instrument with which I procured my coveted flowers. It suggested the probability that, if bullets could fetch down squirrels from that tree-top, they might also serve to clip off and let fall some of the finest clusters or sprays of tulip. The experiment was tried, with excellent result. I made the little artist glad with some of the grandest specimens I have ever seen.

The tulip-tree is of such colossal size and it branches so high above ground that it is little wonder few persons, even of those most used to the woods, ever see [Pg 201]its bloom, which is commonly enveloped in a mass of large, dark leaves. These leaves are peculiarly outlined, having short lobes at the sides and a truncated end, while the stem is slender, long, and wire-like. The flower has six petals and three transparent sepals. In its centre rises a pale-green cone surrounded by from eighteen to thirty stamens. Sap-green, yellow of various shades, orange-vermilion, and vague traces of some inimitable scarlet, are the colors curiously blended together within and without the grand cup-shaped corolla. It is Edgar Fawcett who draws an exquisite poetic parallel between the oriole and the tulip,—albeit he evidently did not mean the flower of our Liriodendron, which is nearer the oriole colors. The association of the bird with the flower goes further than color, too; for the tulip-tree is a favorite haunt of the orioles. Audubon, in the plates of his great ornithological work, recognizes this by sketching the bird and some rather flat and weak tulip-sprays together on the same sheet. I have fancied that nature in some way favors this massing of colors by placing the food of certain birds where their plumage will show to best advantage on the one hand, or serve to render them invisible, on the other, while they are feeding. The golden-winged woodpecker, the downy woodpecker, the red-bellied woodpecker, and that grand bird the pileated woodpecker, all seem to prefer the tulip-tree for their nesting-place, pecking their holes into the rotten boughs, sometimes even piercing an outer rim of the fragrant green wood in order to reach a hollow place. I remember, when I was a boy, lying in a dark old wood in Kentucky and watching a pileated woodpecker at work on a dead tulip-bough that seemed to afford a great number of dainty morsels of food. There were streaks of hard wood through the rotten, and whenever his great horny beak struck one of these it would sound as loud and clear as the blow of a carpenter's hammer. This fine bird is almost extinct now, having totally disappeared from nine-tenths of the area of its former habitat. I never see a tulip-tree without recollecting the wild, strangely-hilarious cry of the Hylotomus pileatus; and I cannot help associating the giant bloom, its strength of form and vigor of color, with the scarlet crest and king-like bearing of the bird. The big trees of California excepted, our tulip-bearing Liriodendron is the largest growth of the North-American forests; for, while the plane-tree and the liquidambar-(sweet-gum) tree sometimes measure more in diameter near the ground, they are usually hollow, and consequently bulged there, while the tulip springs boldly out of the ground a solid shaft of clear, clean, and sweetly-fragrant wood, sixty or seventy feet of the bole being often entirely without limbs, with an average diameter of from three to five feet. I found a stump in Indiana nearly eight feet in diameter (measured three feet above the ground), and a tree in Clarke County, Kentucky, of about the same girth, tapering slowly to the first branch, fifty-eight feet from the root.

In nearly all the Western and Southern States the tulip is generally called poplar, and the lumber manufactured from it goes by the same name, while in the East it is known as white-wood. The bark is very thick and cork-like, exhaling an odor peculiarly pungent and agreeable; the buds and tender twigs in the spring have a taste entirely individual and unique, very pleasant to some persons, but quite repellent to others. Gray squirrels and the young of the fox-squirrel eat the buds and flowers as well as the cone-shaped fruit. Humming-birds and bumble-bees in the blossoming-time make a dreamy booming among the shadowy sprays. A saccharine, sticky substance, not unlike honey-dew, may often be found in the hollows of the immense petals, in search of which large black ants make pilgrimages from the root to the top of the largest tulip-trees, patiently toiling for two or three hours over the rough bark, among the bewildering wrinkles of which it is, a wonder how the way is kept with such unerring [Pg 202]certainty. I have calculated that in making such a journey the ant does what is equivalent to a man's pedestrian tour from New York City to the Adirondacks by the roughest route, and all for a smack of wild honey! But the ant makes his long excursion with neither alpenstock nor luncheon, and without sleeping or even resting on the way.

The tulip-tree grows best in warm loam in which there is a mixture of sand and vegetable mould superposed on clay and gravel. About its roots you may find the lady-slipper and the dog-tooth violet, each in its season. Its bark often bears the rarest lichens, and, near the ground, short green moss as soft and thick as velvet. The poison-ivy and the beautiful Virginia creeper like to clamber up the rough trunk, sometimes clothing the huge tree from foot to top in a mantle of brown feelers and glossy leaves. Seen at a distance, the tulip-tree and the black-walnut-tree look very much alike; but upon approaching them the superior symmetry and beauty of the former are at once discovered. The leaves of the walnut are gracefully arranged, but they admit too much light; while the tulip presents grand masses of dense foliage upheld by knotty, big-veined branches, the perfect embodiment of vigor.

In the days of bee-hunting in the West, I may safely say that a majority of bee-trees were tulips. I have found two of these wild Hyblas since I began my studies for this paper; but the trees have become so valuable that the bees are left unmolested with their humming and their honey. It seems that no more appropriate place for a nest of these wild nectar-brewers could be chosen than the hollow bough of a giant tulip,—a den whose door is curtained with leaves and washed round with odorous airs, where the superb flowers, with their wealth of golden pollen and racy sweets, blaze out from the cool shadows above and beneath. But the sly old 'coon, that miniature Bruin of our Western woods, is a great lover of honey, and not at all a respecter of the rights of wild bees. He is tireless in his efforts to reach every deposit of waxy comb and amber distillation within the range of his keen power of scent. The only honey that escapes him is that in a hollow too small for him to enter and too deep for his fore-paws to reach the bottom.

Poe, in his story of the Gold-Bug, falls into one of his characteristic errors of conscience. The purposes of his plot required that a very large and tall tree should be climbed, and, to be picturesque, a tulip was chosen. But, in order to give a truthful air to the story, the following minutely incorrect description is given: "In youth the tulip-tree, or Liriodendron Tulipiferum, the most magnificent of American foresters, has a trunk peculiarly smooth, and often rises to a great height without lateral branches; but in its riper age the bark becomes gnarled and uneven, while many short limbs make their appearance on the stem" The italics are mine, and the sentence italicized contains an unblushing libel upon the most beautiful of all trees. Short branches never "appear on the stems" of old tulip-trees. The bark, however, does grow rough and deeply seamed with age. I have seen pieces of it six inches thick, which, when cut, showed a fine grain with cloudy waves of rich brown color, not unlike the darkest mahogany. But Poe, no matter how unconscionable his methods of art, had the true artistic judgment, and he made the tulip-tree serve a picturesque turn in the building of his fascinating story; though one would have had more confidence in his descriptions of foliage if it had been May instead of November.

The growth of the tulip-tree, under favorable circumstances, is strong and rapid, and, when not crowded or shaded by older trees, it begins flowering when from eighteen to twenty-five years old. The blooming-season, according to the exigences of weather, begins from May 20 to June 10 in Indiana, and lasts about a week. The fruit following the flower is a cone an inch and a half long and nearly an inch in diameter at the base, of a greenish—yellow color, very pungent and odorous, and full of germs [Pg 203]like those of a pine-cone. The tree is easily grown from the seed. Its roots are long, flexible, and tough, and when young are pale yellow and of bitterish taste, but slightly flavored with the stronger tulip individuality which characterizes the juice and sap of the buds and the bark of the twigs. The leaves, as I have said, are dark and rich, but their shape and color are not the half of their beauty. There is a charm in their motion, be the wind ever so light, that is indescribable. The rustle they make is not "sad" or "uncertain," but cheerful and forceful. The garments of some young giantess, such as Baudelaire sings of, might make that rustling as she would run past one in a land of colossal persons and things.

I have been surprised to find so little about the tulip-tree in our literature. Our writers of prose and verse have not spared the magnolia of the South, which is far inferior, both tree and flower, to our gaudy, flaunting giantess of the West. Indeed, if I were an aesthete, and were looking about me for a flower typical of a robust and perfect sentiment of art, I should greedily seize upon the bloom of the tulip-tree. What a "craze" for tulip borders and screens, tulip wallpapers and tulip panel-carvings, I would set going in America! The colors, old gold, orange, vermilion, and green,—the forms, gentle curves and classical truncations, and all new and American, with a woodsy freshness and fragrance in them. The leaves and flowers of the tulip-tree are so simple and strong of outline that they need not be conventionalized for decorative purposes. During the process of growth the leaves often take on accidental shapes well suited to the variations required by the designer. A wise artist, going into the woods to educate himself up to the level of the tulip, could not fail to fill his sketch-books with studies of the birds that haunt the tree, and especially such brilliant ones as the red tanager, the five or six species of woodpecker, the orioles, and the yellow-throated warbler. The Japanese artists give us wonderful instances of the harmony between birds, flowers, and foliage; not direct instances, it is true, but rather suggested ones, from which large lessons might be learned by him who would carry the thought into our woods with him in the light of a pure and safely-educated taste. Take, for instance, the yellow-bellied woodpecker, with its red fore-top and throat, its black and white lines, and its bright eyes, together with its pale yellow shading of back and belly, and how well it would "work in" with the tulip-leaves and flowers! Even its bill and feet harmonize perfectly with the bark of the older twigs. So the golden-wing, the tanager, and the orioles would bear their colors harmoniously into any successful tulip design.

South of the Alleghany Mountains I have not found as fine specimens of this tree as I have in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. Everywhere the saw-mills are fast making sad havoc. The walnut and the tulip are soon to be no more as "trees with the trees in the forest." Those growing in the almost inaccessible "pockets" of the Kentucky and Tennessee mountains may linger for a half-century yet, but eventually all will be gone from wherever a man and a saw can reach them.

The oak of England and the pine of Norway are not more typical than the tulip-tree. The symmetry, vigor, and rich colors of our tree might represent the force, freedom, and beauty of our government and our social influences. If the American eagle is the bird of freedom, the tulip is the tree of liberty,—strong, fragrant, giant-flowered, flaunting, defiant, yet dignified and steadfast.

A very intelligent old man, who in his youth was a great bear- and panther-hunter, has often told me how the black bear and the tawny catamount used to choose the ample "forks" of the tulip-tree for their retreats when pursued by his dogs. The raccoon has superseded the larger game, and it was but a few weeks ago that I found one lying, like a striped, fluffy ball of fur, in a crotch ninety feet above ground. "Our white-wood" lumber has grown so valuable that no land-owner will allow the trees [Pg 204]to be cut by the hunter, and hence the old-fashioned 'coon-hunt has fallen among the things of the past, for it seems that the 'coon is quite wise enough to choose for the place of his indwelling the costliest tulip of the woods. I have already casually mentioned the fact that the tulip-tree's bloom is scarcely known to exist by even intelligent and well-informed Americans. Every one has heard of the mimosa, the dogwood, the red-bud, and the magnolia, but not of the tulip-bearing tree, with its incomparably bold, dashing, giantesque flower, once so common in the great woods of our Western and Middle States. I have not been able to formulate a good reason for this. Every one whose attention is called to the flower at once goes into raptures over its wild beauty and force of coloring, and wonders why poems have not been written about it and legends built upon it. It is a grander bloom than that which once, under the same name, nearly bankrupted kingdoms, though it cannot be kept in pots and greenhouses. Its colors are, like the idiosyncrasies of genius, as inimitable as they are fascinating and elusive. Audubon was something of an artist, but his tulip-blooms are utter failures. He could color an oriole, but not the corolla of this queen of the woods. The most sympathetic and experienced water-colorist will find himself at fault with those amber-rose, orange-vermilion blushes, and those tender cloudings of yellow and green. The stiff yet sensitive and fragile petals, the transparent sepals, with their watery shades and delicate washing of olive-green, the strong stamens and peculiarly marked central cone, are scarcely less difficult. All the colors elude and mock the eager artist. While the gamut of promising tints is being run, he looks, and, lo! the grand tulip has shrivelled and faded. Again and again a fresh spray is fetched in, but when the blooming-season is over he is still balked and dissatisfied. The wild, Diana-like purity and the half-savage, half-æsthetic grace have not wholly escaped him, but the color,—ah I there is the disappointment.

I have always nursed a fancy that there is something essential to perfect health in the bitters and sweets of buds and roots and gums and resins of the primeval woods. Why does the bird keep, even in old age, the same brilliancy of plumage and the same clearness of eye? Is it because it gets the elixir vitæ from the hidden reservoir of nature? Be this as it may, there are times when I sincerely long for a ball of liquidambar or a mouthful of pungent spring buds. The inner bark of the tulip-tree has the wildest of all wild tastes, a peculiarly grateful flavor when taken infinitesimally, something more savage than sassafras or spice-wood, and full of all manner of bitter hints and astringent threatenings: it has long been used as the very best appetizer for horses in the early spring, and it is equally good for man. The yellow-bellied woodpecker knows its value, taking it with head jauntily awry and quiet wing-tremblings of delight. The squirrels get the essence of it as they munch the pale leaf-buds, or later when they bite the cones out of the flowers. The humming-birds and wild bees are the favored ones, however, for they get the ultimate distillation of all the racy and fragrant elements from root to bloom.

The Indians knew the value of the tulip-tree as well as its beauty. Their most graceful pirogues were dug from its bole, and its odorous bark served to roof their rude houses. No boat I have ever tried runs so lightly as a well-made tulip pirogue, or dug-out, and nothing under heaven is so utterly crank and treacherous. Many an unpremeditated plunge into cold water has one caused me while out fishing or duck-shooting on the mountain-streams of North Georgia. If you dare stand up in one, the least waver from a perfect balance will send the sensitive, skittish thing a rod from under your feet, which of course leaves you standing on the water without the faith to keep you from going under; and usually it is your head that you are standing on. But, to return to our tree, I would like to see its merits as an ornamental and shade tree duly recognized. [Pg 205]If grown in the free air and sunlight, it forms a heavy and beautifully-shaped top, on a smooth, bright bole, and I think it might be forced to bloom about the fifteenth year. The flowers of young, thrifty trees that have been left standing in open fields are much larger, brighter, and more graceful than those of old gnarled forest-trees, but the finest blooms I ever saw were on a giant tulip in a thin wood of Indiana. A storm blew the tree down in the midst of its flowering, and I chanced to see it an hour later. The whole great top was yellow with the gaudy cups, each gleaming "like a flake of fire," as Dr. Holmes says of the oriole. Some of them were nearly four inches across. Last year a small tree, growing in a garden near where I write, bloomed for the first time. It was about twenty years old. Its flowers were paler and shallower than those gathered at the same time in the woods. It may be that transplanting, or any sort of forcing or cultivation, may cause the blooms to deteriorate in both shape and color, but I am sure that plenty of light and air is necessary to their best development.

In one way the tulip-tree is closely connected with the most picturesque and interesting period of American development. I mean the period of "hewed-log" houses. Here and there among the hills of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, there remains one of those low, heavy, lime-chinked structures, the best index of the first change from frontier-life, with all its dangers and hardships, to the peace and contentment of a broader liberty and an assured future. In fact, to my mind, a house of hewed tulip-logs, with liberal stone chimneys and heavy oaken doors, embowered in an old gnarled apple-and cherry-orchard, always suggests a sort of simple honesty and hospitality long since fallen into desuetude, but once the most marked characteristic of the American people. It is hard to imagine any meanness or illiberality being generated in such a house. Patriotism, domestic fidelity, and spotless honesty used to sit before those broad fireplaces wherein the hickory logs melted to snowy ashes. The men who hewed those logs "hewed to the line" in more ways than one. Their words, like the bullets from their flint-locked rifles, went straight to the point. The women, too, they of the "big wheel" and the "little wheel," who carded and spun and wove, though they may have been a trifle harsh and angular, were diamond-pure and the mothers of vigorous offspring.

I often wonder if there may not be a perfectly explainable connection between the decay or disappearance of the forests and the evaporation, so to speak, of man's rugged sincerity and earnestness. Why should not the simple ingredients that make up the worldly part of our souls and bodies be found in all their purity where nature's reservoir has never been disturbed or its contents tainted? Why may not the subtile force that develops the immense tulip-tree and clothes it with such a starry mantle have power also to invigorate and intensify the life of man? "I was rocked in a poplar trough," was the politician's boast a generation ago. Such a declaration might mean a great deal if the sturdy, towering strength of the tree out of which the trough was dug could have been absorbed by the embryo Congressman. The "oldest inhabitant" of every Western neighborhood recollects the "sugar-trough" used in the maple-sap-gathering season, ere the genuine "sugar-camp" had been abandoned. Young tulip-trees about fifteen inches in diameter were cut down and their boles sawed into lengths of three feet. These were split in two, and made into troughs by hollowing the faces and charring them over a fire. During the bright spring days of sugar-making the young Western mother would wrap her sturdy babe in its blanket and put it in a dry sugar-trough to sleep while she tended the boiling syrup. A man born sixty years ago in the region of tulip-trees and sugar-camps was probably cradled in a "poplar" trough; and there were those born who would now be sixty [Pg 206]years old if they had not in unwary infancy tumbled into the enormous rainwater-troughs with which every well-regulated house was furnished. I have seen one or two of these having a capacity of fifty barrels dug from a single tulip bole. In such a pitfall some budding Washington or Lincoln may have been whelmed without causing so much as a ripple on the surface of history.

But, turning to take leave of my stately and blooming Western beauty, I see that she is both a blonde and a brunette. She has all the dreamy, languid grace of the South combined with the verve and force of the North. She is dark and she is fair, with blushing cheeks and dewy lips, sound-hearted, strong, lofty, self-reliant, a true queen of the woods, more stately than Diana, and more vigorous than Maid Marian.



Daniel Webster's "Moods."

A late magazine-article treating of one of America's illustrious dead—Daniel Webster—alluded to his well-known sombre moods, and the gentle suasion by which his accomplished wife was enabled to shorten their duration or dispel them entirely.

On an occasion well remembered, though the "chiel takin' notes" was but a simple child, I myself was present when the grim, moody reticence of the great orator converted fully twoscore ardent admirers into personal foes.

During the summer of 1837, Mr. Webster, in pursuit of a Presidential nomination, executed his famous tour through the Great West, at that time embracing only the States of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The first infant railway of the continent being yet in swaddling-clothes, the journey was accomplished by private conveyance, and the bumps and bruises stoically endured in probing bottomless pits of prairie-mud, diversified by joltings over rude log-ways and intrusive stumps, were but a part of the cruel price paid for a glittering prize which in the end vanished before the aspirant like fairy gold. At stations within reach of their personal influence, local politicians flew to the side of the brilliant statesman with the beautiful fidelity of steel to magnet: hence he was environed by a self-appointed escort of obsequious men, constantly changing as he progressed.

"Our member" spared neither whip nor spur, and joined the triumphal march at Chicago. Mr. Webster was then on the home-stretch, and it was shortly after this date that the incident I describe occurred. It was a time of wild Western speculation; towns and cities sprung into being as buoyantly as soap-bubbles, and often proved as perishing. Major Morse was president of a company which, perceiving a promising site for harbor and town on the shore of Michigan, where yet the Indian charmed the deer, secured a tract of land and proceeded to lay out an inviting town of—corner-lots. The major's family occupied temporarily a wide log house, with a rough "lean-to" of bright pine boards freshly cut at the mill below. Outside, the dwelling was merely a hut of primitive pattern nestling under the shade of a tall tree; inside, it presented a large room divided by curtains into cooking-and sleeping-apartments, surmounted by a stifling loft reached by the rungs of a permanent perpendicular ladder. Savory odors of wild fowl and venison daily drifted up the charred throat of its clay-daubed chimney, and by the same route, whenever the rolling smoke permitted, children sitting about [Pg 207]the hearth took observations of the clouds and heavenly bodies, according to the time of day. A narrow passage cut through the heart of the old logs led into the fragrant "lean-to," where against the wall rested a massive sideboard of dark mahogany, its top alight with glitter of glass and silver, its inmost recesses redolent of the creature comforts which the hospitality of the times demanded. Vases and meaner crockery overflowed everywhere with the gorgeousness of blossoms daily plucked from sandy slopes or the verge of the adjacent marsh. Bright carpeting kindly hid the splintered floor, and pictures did like service for the rough walls, while the whitest of muslin festooned the tiny windows.

On the morning of the Occasion, cheerful sunshine filtered through the quivering leaves of the big tree near the house, glorifying a late breakfast-table, around which the family were gathering, when horses driven in hot haste were reined up at the door. Stepping quickly forth, the major found his hand clasped by "our member," who begged the hospitalities of the house for the great Daniel Webster and suite, just at hand. Despite political differences, the desired welcome was heartily accorded, and with crucified appetites the family retired to give place to the unbidden guests, who filed into the room bandying compliments with their gay host. A kingly head, grandly set above powerful shoulders, easily marked the man in whom the interest of the hour centred. Strangely quiet amid the noisy group, he moved alone, nor waked responsive even to his host, until a brighter sally than usual provoked a grim kind of laughter. Then he suddenly aroused himself to new life, joining with a burst of humor in the pleasantries of the feast. The unexpected brightness of the cosy room was not lost on Mr. Webster, who, on entering, paused at the threshold and glanced around in an appreciative manner, while a deep, restful sigh escaped his weary soul. The dreary drive through the wilderness lent an added charm to the little oasis of civilized comfort thus encountered in the lonely backwoods of a Western quarter-section.

News of the distinguished arrival speedily flew among the laborers running the mill and constructing dwellings for the in-rushing population. Tom and Bill of the hammer, and Mike and Patsey of the spade, alike forsook their tools in order to witness the exit of a hero from the major's door. They even hoped to receive some expression of wisdom in golden words from lips used to the flow of stirring thought and burning eloquence. Lounging patiently under the trees, the expectant men listened to the clink and clatter of serving and the bursts of merriment within. At the conclusion of the breakfast and the subsequent chat, Mr. Webster asked for his hostess, to whom with great courtesy he expressed his sense of "the kindness extended to the stranger in a strange land," and, adieus being over, he approached the open door-way, and looked strangely annoyed at the sight of a double line of white-sleeved stalwart men who stood with bared heads awaiting his appearance. Then a great mood fell upon the man, with never a gentle soul at hand to charm it away. Not a feature stirred in recognition of the, voluntary homage rendered by the throng of humble men,—men controlling the ballots so ardently desired and sought. With hat pressed firmly over an ominously lowering brow, looking straight before him with cavernous, tired eyes which seemed to observe nothing whereon they rested, Webster walked through the hushed lines in grave stateliness. The crowd was only waiting for a spark of encouragement to shout itself hoarse in enthusiastic huzzahs. Eyes shone with suppressed excitement, and strong hearts swelled with pride in the towering man whose fame had surged like a tidal wave over the land. Yet with insolent deliberation he mounted the step and seated himself in the waiting carriage, giving no sign of having even noticed the flattering demonstration made in his honor. The smiles, nods, and hand-clasps expected of the chief were lavishly dispensed by [Pg 208]his mortified satellites, all of which availed not to smother the curses, loud and deep, splitting the summer air, as the wheels disappeared in the forest.

"Begorra, thin," bawled Patsey, "it's mesilf ut'll niver vote fur this big Yankee 'ristocrat, innehow. Ef he wuz a foine Irish jintleman, now, er even a r'yal prince av the blud, there'd be no sinse in his airs, bedad!"

Tom and Bill were less noisy in their just wrath, but it ran equally deep: "He belongs to the party. But when Daniel comes up for office—look out! We'll score a hard day's work against him, party or no party!"

The major rose to the occasion. Being a bit of a politician and an old-school Democrat, he could not resist the opportunity presented. With a humorous air he sprang to the nearest stump and improvised an electric little speech which sent the men back to labor, madder if not wiser voters.

With other living witnesses of the events narrated, often wondering over the strangeness of the scene of long ago, I am truly glad at the eleventh hour to find the solution of the problem in moods, rather than in a snobbish pride unbefitting the greatness of the man.


Feuds and Lynch-Law in the Southwest.

A great deal has been said and written lately about feuds and lynch-law in the districts around the lower Mississippi. The reports of recent lynching there have probably been very much exaggerated; and it would certainly be unfair to form a positive opinion about the matter without a thorough knowledge of all the circumstances.

No one who visited that part of the country before the war could return to it now without noticing the higher degree of order and the numerous evidences of progress. But lynching law-breakers and resorting to the knife or pistol to settle private disputes were once ordinary occurrences there, and they were usually marked by a businesslike coolness which gave them a distinctive character.

In the winter of 1853-54 I was clerk of a steamer owned in Wheeling. The steamer was obliged to wait some time at Napoleon for a rise in the Arkansas River to enable it to pass over the bar at the confluence of that river with the Mississippi. Napoleon then had between three and four hundred inhabitants, and was considered the worst place on the Mississippi except Natchez-under-the-Hill. Some of the dwellings were of considerable size, and, judging from their exterior, were kept in good order. They were the residences of the few who belonged to the better class, and who, to a certain extent, exercised control over their less reputable townsmen.

We were treated very kindly by the citizens, and they declined any return for their hospitality. We soon noticed that we were never invited to visit any of them at their dwellings. At their places of business we were cordially welcomed, and they seemed to take a great deal of pleasure in giving us information and affording us any amusement in their power.

Having some canned oysters among our stores, we twice invited a number of our friends to an oyster-supper. Although our invitations included their families, none but male guests attended. This, together with the fact that we rarely saw any ladies on the street, seemed very strange to us; but we made no comments, for we discovered very soon after our arrival that it would not be prudent to ask questions about matters that did not concern us. At church one Sunday night we noticed that all the ladies present—composing nearly the whole of the congregation—were dressed in black, and many of them were in deep mourning. This gave us some idea as to the reason for their exclusiveness. Soon afterward a murder occurred almost within my own sight. Two friends were standing on the street and talking pleasantly to each other, when they were approached by a man whom they did not know. Suddenly a second man came close to the stranger, and, without saying a word, drew a [Pg 209]pistol and shot him dead. The murderer was instantly seized, bound, and placed in the jail.

The jail was a square pen about thirty feet high, built of hewn logs, without any opening except in the roof. This opening was only large enough to admit one person at a time, and was protected by a heavy door. The prisoner was forced by his captors to mount the roof by means of a ladder, and then was lowered with a rope to the ground inside. The rope was withdrawn, the door securely fastened, and he was caged, without any possible means of escape, to await the verdict and sentence of the jury summoned by "Judge Lynch."

The trial was very short. The facts were proven, and the verdict was that the murderer should be severely whipped and made to leave the town forthwith. The whipping was administered, and he left immediately afterward.

Of course there was a good deal of excitement over this matter, and all the male inhabitants collected to talk about it. The discussion extended to some similar cases of recent occurrence and soon gave rise to angry disputes. In a very short time pistols and knives were produced, invitations to fight were given, and it seemed that blood would soon be shed. By the interference, however, of some of the older and more influential citizens, quiet was restored, and no one was injured. We were afterward told that there was hardly a man in the crowd who had not lost a father, brother, or near male relative by knife or pistol, either in a supposed fair fight or by foul means.

At that time the hatred of negroes from "free States" was intense, while those from "slave States" were treated kindly and regarded merely as persons of an inferior race.

Some time before our arrival, a steamer belonging to Pittsburg had stopped at Napoleon, and the colored steward went on shore to buy provisions. While bargaining for them he became involved in a quarrel with a white man and struck him. He was instantly seized, and would no doubt have paid for his temerity with his life if some one in the crowd had not exclaimed, "A live nigger's worth twenty dead ones! Let's sell him!" This suggestion was adopted. In a very short time the unfortunate steward was bound, mounted on a swift horse, and hurried away toward the interior of the State. He was guarded by a party of mounted men, and in less than a week's time he was working on a plantation as a slave for life, with no prospect of communicating with his relatives or friends.

One morning the captain of the steamer and I saw a crowd collect, and on approaching it we found a debate going on as to what should be done with a large and well-dressed colored man, evidently under the influence of liquor, who was seated on the ground with his arms and legs bound. He had knocked one white man down and struck several others while they were attempting to secure him. The crowd was undecided whether to give him a good whipping for his offence or to send for his master (who lived on the other side of the river, in Mississippi) and let him inflict the punishment. Finally, the master was sent for. He soon appeared, and stated that he had given his "boy" permission to come over to Napoleon, and had also given him money to buy some things he wanted. He was "a good boy," and had never been in trouble before, and if the citizens of Napoleon would forgive him this time he, the master, would guarantee that the boy should never visit Napoleon again. The master also stated he would "stand drinks" for the whole crowd. This gave general satisfaction. The drinks were taken, and the master and his slave were enthusiastically escorted to their dug-out on the shore. Much hand-shaking took place, in which the "boy" participated, and many invitations were given to both to visit Napoleon again; after which they rowed contentedly to their home.


The Etymology of "Babe."

In the latest English etymological dictionary, that by the Rev. W.W. [Pg 210]Skeat, we read under the word babe, "Instead of babe being formed from the infantine sound ba, it has been modified from maqui, probably by infantine influences. Baby is a diminutive form."

Maqui is Early Welsh for son, and those to whom Mr. Skeat's modified maqui seems absurd will be pleased to find its absurdity indicated, if not proved, by a Greek author of the sixth century.

The following passage in the seventy-sixth section of Damascius's "Life of Isidorus" has escaped the notice of English etymologists generally:

"Hermias had a son (the elder of his philosopher sons) by Ædesia, and one day, when the child was seven months old, Ædesia was playing with him, as mothers do, calling him bábion and paidíon, speaking in diminutives. But Hermias overheard her, and was vexed, and censured these childish diminutives, pronouncing an articulate reprimand.... Now the Syrians, and especially those who dwell in Damascus, call newborn children, and even those that have passed the period of childhood, bábia, from the goddess Babía, whom they worship."

What is bábion but the English baby, what bábia but the English babies? We can hardly suppose that our English words are derived from Syriac words in use fourteen centuries ago, or that the latter were "modified from maqui" by "infantine" or other influences. We are therefore driven to the conclusion that they were alike "formed from the infantine sound ba," unless we accept Damascius's derivation from Babía.

Unfortunately, we know no more concerning this goddess than did the learned John Selden, who, writing two hundred and twenty-odd years ago, "De Dis Syris," says, on page 296 of that work, "I cannot conjecture whether Babía, who seems to have been reverenced among the Syrians as goddess of childhood and youth, is identical with the Syrian Venus or not, and I do not remember to have met with any mention of this deity except in Damascius's Life of Isidorus."

Selden's memory was not at fault: the words bábion, bábia, and Babía occur only in the passage above quoted.

In the absence of other evidence than Damascius's own, we may well question whether he has not inverted the etymological relation between the goddess and the babies. Most divinities owe their names to the attributes or functions imputed to them by their worshippers. It seems, therefore, more probable that the Syrian protectress of babies owes her name to the bábia than that they were called bábia in her honor. If, however, we accept Damascius's theory of their relation, what forbids us to conjecture that the goddess's name was itself "formed from the infantine sound ba"? In any case, the little domestic scene between the priggish father and the dandling mother is amusing and instructive to parents as well as to etymologists.



"The Russian Revolt: its Causes, Condition, and Prospects."
By Edmund Noble.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

The internal condition of Russia, though a matter of more than speculative interest to its immediate neighbors, is not likely to become what that of France has so often been,—a European question. The institutions of other states will not be endangered by revolutionary proceedings in the dominions of the Czar, nor will any oppression exercised over his subjects be thought to justify foreign intervention. Even Polish insurrections never led to any more active measures on the part of the Western powers than delusive expressions of sympathy and equally vain remonstrances. In these days, not Warsaw, but St. Petersburg, is [Pg 211]the centre of disaffection, and the ramifications extend inland, their action stimulated, it may be, to some extent from external sources, but incapable of sending back any impulse in return. Nihilism, being based on the absence, real or supposed, of any political institutions worth preserving in Russia, cannot spread to the discontented populations of other countries. Even German socialism cannot borrow weapons or resources from a nation which has no large proletariat and whose industries are still in their infancy. In the nature of its government, the character of its people, and the problems it is called upon to solve, Russia stands, as she has always stood, alone, neither furnishing examples to other nations nor able, apparently, to copy those which other nations have set. The great peculiarity of the revolutionary movement is not simply that it does not proceed from the mass of the people,—which is a common case enough,—but that it runs counter to their instincts and their needs and rouses not their sympathy but their aversion. The peasants, who constitute four-fifths of the population, have no motive for seeking to overturn the government. Their material condition, since the abolition of serfdom, is superior to that of the Italian peasantry, who enjoy the fullest political rights. As members of the village communities, they hold possession and will ultimately obtain absolute ownership of more than half the soil of the country, excluding the domains of the state. In the same capacity they exercise a degree of local autonomy greater than that which is vested in the communes of France. They are separated from the other classes by differences of education, of habits, and of interests, while the autocracy that rules supreme over all is regarded by them as the protecting power that is to redress their grievances and fulfil all their aspirations. The discontent which has bred so many conspiracies, and which aims at nothing less than the subversion of the monarchy, is confined to a portion of the educated classes, and proceeds from causes that affect only those classes. Among them alone is there any perception of the wide and ever-increasing difference between the Russian system of government and that of every other European country, any craving for the exercise of political rights and the activity of political life, any experience of the restrictions imposed on thought and speech and the obstacles to the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and ideas, any consciousness that the corrupt, vexatious, and oppressive bureaucracy by which all affairs are administered is a direct outgrowth of unlimited and irresponsible power. Nor are they united in desiring to destroy, or even to modify, this system. Apart from those who find in it the means of satisfying their personal interests and ambitions, and the larger number in whom indolence and the love of ease stifle all thought and aspiration, there are many who believe, with reason, that the country is not ripe for the adoption of European institutions, that the foundations on which to construct them do not yet exist, and that any attempt to introduce them would lead only to calamitous results; while there is even a large party which contends that, far from needing them, Russia is happily situated in being exempt from the struggles and the storms, the wars of classes and of factions, that have attended the course of Western civilization, and in being left free to work out her own development by original and more peaceful methods. No doubt the great majority of thinking people feel the necessity for some large measures of reform and look forward to the establishment of a constitutional system and the gradual extension of political freedom to the mass of the nation. But there is no evidence that the revolutionary spirit has spread or excited sympathy in any such degree as its audacity, its resoluteness, and the terror created by its sinister achievements have seemed at times to indicate. The active members of the propaganda are almost exclusively young persons, living apart from their families, of scanty means and without conspicuous ability. They belong to the lower ranks of the nobility, the rising bourgeois class, and, above all, that large body of necessitous students, including many of the children of the ill-paid clergy, whom M. Leroy-Beaulieu styles the "intellectual proletariat." Classical studies, German metaphysics, and the scientific theories and discoveries of recent years have had much to do with the fermentation that has led to so many violent explosions, the universities have been the chief foci of agitation, and in the attempts to suppress it the government has laid itself open to the reproach of making war upon learning and seeking to stifle intellectual development.

Such is the view presented by recent [Pg 212]French and English writers who have made the condition of Russia a subject of minute investigation. Mr. Noble deals more in generalizations than in details, and sets forth a theory which it is difficult to reconcile with the facts and conclusions derived from other sources. According to him, Russia is, and has been from the first establishment of the imperial rule, in a state of chronic revolt. This revolt is "the protest of eighty millions of people against their continued employment as a barrier in the path of peaceful human progress and national development." "It is not the educated classes alone, but the masses,—peasant and artisan, land-owner and student,—of whose aspirations, at least, it may be said, as it was said of the earliest and freest Russians, 'Neminem ferant imperatorem.'" Before the rise of the empire "the Russians lived as freemen and happy." They "enjoyed what, in a political sense, we are fairly entitled to regard as the golden age of their national existence." The veché, or popular assembly, "was from a picturesque point of view the grandest, from an administrative point of view the simplest, and from a moral point of view the most equitable form of government ever devised by man." The autocracy, established by force, has encountered at all periods a steady, if passive, opposition, as exemplified in the Raskol, or separation of the "Old Believers" from the Orthodox Church, and in the resistance offered to the innovations of Peter the Great: "in the one as in the other case the popular revolt was against authority and all that it represented." It is admitted that "among the peasants the revolt must long remain in its passive stage.... Yet year by year, partly owing to educational processes, partly owing to propaganda, even the peasants are being won over to the growing battalions of discontent." The autocracy is "doomed." "The forces that undermine it are cumulative and relentless." Its "true policy is to spread its dissolution—after the manner of certain financial operations—over a number of years." "The method of the change is really not of importance. The vital matter is that the reform shall at once concede and practically apply the principle of popular self-government, granting at the same time the fullest rights of free speech and public assembly." Finally, "the Tsar and his advisers" are bidden to "beware," since "the spectacle of this frightfully unequal struggle ... is not lost upon Europe, or even upon America."

The horrible crudity, as we are fain to call it, of the notions thus rhetorically set forth must be obvious to every reader acquainted with the history of the rise and growth of states in general, however little attention he may have given to those of Russia in particular. The institutions of Russia differ fundamentally from those of other European states. But the difference lies in historical conditions and development, not in the principles underlying all human society. No people has ever had a permanent government of its own resting solely or chiefly on force. Wherever autocracy has acquired a firm footing, it has done so by suppressing anarchy, establishing order and authority, and securing national unity and independence. Nowhere has it fulfilled these conditions more completely than in Russia. It grew up when the country was lying prostrate under the Tartar domination, and it supplied the impulse and the means by which that yoke was thrown off. It absorbed petty principalities, extinguished their conflicting ambitions, and consolidated their resources; checked the migrations of a nomad population, and brought discordant races under a common rule; repelled invasions to which, in its earlier disintegrated condition, the nation must have succumbed, and built up an empire hardly less remarkable for its cohesion and its strength than for the vastness of its territory. In a word, it performed, more rapidly and thoroughly, the same work which was accomplished by monarchy between the eighth and the fifteenth century in Western Europe. If its methods were more analogous to those of Eastern despotisms than of European sovereignties, if its excesses were unrestrained and its power uncurbed, this is only saying that Russia, instead of sharing in the heritage of Roman civilization and in the mutual intercourse and common discipline through which the Western communities were developed, was cut off from association with its more fortunate kindred and subjected to influences from which they were, for the most part, exempt. To hold up the crude democracy and turbulent assemblies common in a primitive state of society as evidence that the Russian people possessed at an early period of its history a beautifully organized constitutional system; to contend that the most absolute monarchy in existence has maintained itself for centuries, [Pg 213]without encountering a single serious insurrection, in a nation whose distinguishing characteristic is its inability to endure a ruler; to treat the introduction of a totally different and far more complex system of government, the product elsewhere of elements that have no existence in Russia, and of long struggles supplemented by violent revolutions, as a thing that may be effected without danger or difficulty, the "method" being "really not of importance,"—all this strikes us as evincing a condition of mind that can only be regarded as a survival from the period when the theories and illusions of the eighteenth-century philosophes had not yet been dissipated by the French Revolution.


"A Naturalist's Wanderings in the Eastern Archipelago:
A Narrative of Travel and Exploration from 1878 to 1883."
By Henry O. Forbes, F.R.G.S.
New York: Harper & Brothers.

Although a long succession of naturalists have done their best to familiarize readers with the islands of the Eastern Archipelago, Mr. Forbes's book is full not only of freshly-adjusted and classified facts, but of curious and valuable details of his own discoveries. Even the best-known islands of the group are so inexhaustible in every form of animal and vegetable life that much remains for the patient gleaner after Darwin and Wallace, who found here some of the most striking illustrations of their deductions and theories, It is well known that startling contrasts in the distribution of plants and animals are met with in these islands, even when they lie side by side; and in no other part of the world is the history of mutations of climate, of the law of migrations, and of the changes of sea and land, so open and palpable to the scientific observer. Mr. Forbes's object seems to have been to visit those islands which offer the most striking deviations from the more general type. His earlier explorations were made alone, but during the last eighteen months he was accompanied by a brave woman who came out from England to Batavia to be married to him at the close of 1881. It is painful to read of the deadly ordeals of climate and the excessive discomforts and privations to which this lady was exposed. Her diary, kept at Dilly during her husband's absence, while she was ill, utterly deserted, and in danger of a lonely and agonizing death, makes a singular contrast to the record of Miss Bird and others of her sex who seem to have triumphed over all the vicissitudes possible to women. To the general reader Mr. Forbes's travels in Java, Sumatra, and the Keeling Islands are far more satisfactory than in those less familiar, like Timor and Buru. In the light of the terrible events of 1883, everything connected with the islands lying on either side of the Straits of Sunda is of the highest interest. Those appalling disasters which swept away part of Sumatra and Java and altered the configuration of the whole volcanic group surrounding Krakatoa took place only a few weeks after Mr. and Mrs. Forbes sailed for home. This widespread destruction seemed to the inhabitants the culmination of a series of calamitous years of drought, wet, blight, bovine pestilence, and fever. It was Mr. Forbes's fortune to be in Java during these bad seasons, which, from combined causes, made it impossible for flowers to perfect themselves and fructify. This circumstance was, however, useful to the naturalist, offering him an opportunity for experiments in the fertilization of orchids and other plants. The account of the Dutch cinchona-plantations, which now furnish quinine of the best quality, is full of interest.

Mr. Forbes's visit to the Cocos-Keeling Islands, in the Indian Ocean, cannot be passed over. He was eager to visit a coral-reef, and this atoll, stocked and planted only by the flotsam and jetsam of the seas, the winds, and migrating birds, offers to the naturalist a most delightful study; for here, progressing almost under his eyes, are the phenomena which have made Bermuda and other coral groups. Little as the Keeling Islands seem to offer in the way of secure habitation, they have a population of some hundreds of people, presided over by their energetic proprietor, Mr. Ross, who has planted the atoll thickly with cocoanut palms. Gathering the nuts and expressing the oil is the chief industry of the inhabitants, who are all taught to work and support themselves in some useful way. No money is in circulation on the island: a system of exchange and barter with agents in Batavia for necessary products takes its place. This thriving little community has, however, terrible forces to contend against. Darwin recounts the effects of an earthquake which took place two years before his visit to the islands in 1836; a fierce cyclone brought ruin and devastation in [Pg 214]1862; and in 1876 a terrible experience of cyclone and earthquake almost swept away the whole settlement. This was followed by a most singular phenomenon. "About thirty-six hours after the cyclone," writes Mr. Forbes, "the water on the eastern side of the lagoon was observed to be rising up from below of a dark color. The color was of an inky hue, and its smell 'like that of rotten eggs.' ... Within twenty-four hours every fish, coral, and mollusc in the part impregnated with this discoloring substance—probably hydrosulphuric or carbonic acid died. So great was the number of fish thrown on the beach, that it took three weeks of hard work to bury them in a vast trench dug in the sand." Wherever this water touched the growing coral-reef, it was blighted and killed. Darwin saw similar "patches" of dead coral, and attributed them to some great fall of the tide which had left the insects exposed to the light of the sun. But it is probable that a similar submarine eruption had taken place after the earthquake which preceded his visit to the Keeling Islands in 1836.


"Birds in the Bush."
By Bradford Torrey.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

We like the name of Mr. Torrey's book, which seems to carry with it a practical reversal of the proverb that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. For although in many ways it is a good and pleasant sign to note the increase of amateur naturalists among us, we yet feel a dread of an incursion of those lovers of classified collections, "each with its Latin label on," who believe that in gaining stuffed specimens they may best arrive at the charm and the mystery of that exquisite phenomenon which we call bird-life. Mr. Torrey has no puerile ambitions for birds in the hand, and a bird in the bush makes to his perception holy ground, where he takes the shoes from off his feet and watches and waits, feeling a delightful surprise in each piquant caprice of the little songster. He tells the story of his experiences and impressions simply and pleasantly, often utters a good thing without too much emphasis, and yet more often says true things, which is more difficult still. He is nowhere bookish, although he has read and can quote well if need be. He reminds one occasionally of Emerson, oftener of Thoreau, while his method is that of John Burroughs. His most careful studies are perhaps of the birds on Boston Common and about Boston, but he writes pleasantly and suggestively of those in the White Mountains. One likes to be reminded that there are still bobolinks in the world, for they have deserted many spots which they once favored. There used to be meadows full of rocks, in each crevice of which nodded a scarlet columbine, surrounded by grassy borders where wild strawberries grew thickly, with hedge-rows running riot with blackberry, sumach, and alder,—all reckless of utility and given over to lovely waste,—that were vocal on June mornings with bobolinks, but where in these times one might wait the whole day through and not hear a single note of the old refrain. Our author finds them plentiful, however, at North Conway, where, as he describes it, their "song dropped from above" while he sat perched on a fence-rail looking at the snow-crowned Mount Washington range.


"The Cruise of the Brooklyn.
A Journal of the principal events of a three years' cruise in
the U. S. Flag-Ship Brooklyn, in the South Atlantic Station,
extending south of the Equator from Cape Horn east to the limits
in the Indian Ocean on the seventieth meridian of east
longitude. Descriptions of places in South America, Africa, and
Madagascar, with details of the peculiar customs and industries
of their inhabitants. The cruises of the other vessels of the
American squadron, from November, 1881, to November, 1884."
By W.H. Beehler, Lieut. U. S. Navy.
Press of J.B. Lippincott Co. Philadelphia. 1885.

The copious information given on the title-page leaves little to be supplied in regard to the subject-matter of this volume. The same thoroughness is displayed in the narrative and descriptions, as well of the incidents of the voyage and the details of shipboard life as of the history, productions, and scenery of the various places visited. They include, of course, no events or operations such as belong to the annals of naval enterprise or maritime discovery, but, besides the ordinary phases of service on foreign stations,—the interchange of courtesies with the authorities, the routine of duty and discipline, and the scarcely less regular round of amusements and festivities,—we have interesting episodes, such as an account of the observations of the transit of Venus at Santa Cruz, in Patagonia, the "Brooklyn" having been detailed to take charge of the expedition sent out under Messrs. Very and Wheeler. A visit to some of the ports of Madagascar soon after the bombardment of Hovas [Pg 215]gives occasion for a readable relation of the internal revolutions and the transactions with European powers that have given a pretext, if such it can be called, for the French claim to exercise a protectorate over a portion of the island, the enforcement of which will require, in our author's opinion, "an army of at least fifty thousand men." Cape Town was a place of stay for several weeks on both the outward and the homeward voyage, and in this connection the history of the South African states and colonies, including the English wars and imbroglios with the Boers and the Zulus, is given in detail; while the necessity for touching at St. Helena furnished an opportunity for repeating the tale of Napoleon's captivity, with particulars preserved among "the traditions of the old inhabitants, not generally known."

It will be seen that Lieutenant Beehler made good use both of the means of observation and of the leisure for study afforded by the "cruise." He writes agreeably, and seems to have been careful in regard to the sources from which he has gathered information. The book is beautifully printed, and the illustrations are faithful but artistic renderings of photographic views.


Recent Fiction.

"At the Red Glove."
New York: Harper & Brothers.

"Upon a Cast."
By Charlotte Dunning.
New York: Harper & Brothers.

"Down the Ravine."
By Charles Egbert Craddock.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

"By Shore and Sedge."
By Bret Harte.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

"At Love's Extremes."
By Maurice Thompson.
New York: Cassell & Co.

Although the scene of "At the Red Glove" is laid in Berne, it is a typical French story of French people with French ideas and characteristics, and it is French as well in the symmetry of its arrangements and effects and its admirable technique. In point of fact, Berne is a city where a German dialect is spoken, but among the lively groups of bourgeois who carry on this effective little drama a prettier and politer language is in vogue. Madame Carouge, whose personality is the pivot upon which the story revolves, is a native of southern France, and is the proprietor of the Hôtel Beauregard. Her husband, who married her as a mere child and carried her away from a life of poverty and neglect, has died before the opening of the story and bequeathed all his property to his young and handsome wife. "Ah, but I do not owe him much," the beautiful woman said: "he has wasted my youth. I am eight-and-twenty, and I have not yet begun to live." Thus Madame Carouge as a widow sets out to realize the dreams she has dreamed in the dull apathetic days of her long bondage. Although she is bent on love and happiness, she is yet sensible and discreet, and manages the Hôtel Beauregard with skill and tact, while secluding herself from common eyes. Destiny, however, as if eager at last to work in her favor, throws in her way a handsome young Swiss, Rudolf Engemann by name, a bank-clerk, with whom she falls deeply in love. Everything is progressing to Madame's content, when a little convent-girl, Marie Peyrolles, comes to Berne to live with her old aunt, a glove-seller, whose sign in the Spitalgasse gives the name to the story. It would be a difficult matter to find a prettier piece of comedy than that which ensues upon Marie's advent. It is all simple, spontaneous, and, on the part of the actors, entirely serious, yet the effect is delightfully humorous. Berne, with its quaint arcaded streets, its Alpine views, and its suburban resorts, makes a capital background, and gives the group free play to meet with all sorts of picturesque opportunities. The story is told without any straining after climaxes, but with many felicitous touches that enhance the effect of every picture and incident. In scene, characters, and plot, "At the Red Glove" offers a brilliant opportunity to the dramatist, and one is tempted to think that the story must have been originally conceived and planned with reference to the stage.

"Upon a Cast" is also a very amusing little story, and turns on the experiences of a couple of ladies who, with a longing for a quiet life,

The world forgetting, by the world forgot,

settle on the North River in a town which, though called Newbroek, might easily be identified as Poughkeepsie. Little counting upon this niche outside the world becoming a centre of interest or a theatre of events, the necessity of presenting their credentials to the social magnates of the place does not occur to these ladies,—one the widow of a Prussian officer, and the other her niece, who have returned to America after a long residence abroad. They prefer to [Pg 216]remain, as it were, incognito; and, pried; into as the seclusion of the new-comers is by all the curious, this reticence soon causes misconstructions and scandals. The petty gossip, the solemnities of self-importance, and the Phariseeism of a country neighborhood are very well portrayed, and, we fear, without any especial exaggeration. The story is told with unflagging spirit, and shows quick perceptions and a lively feeling for situations. Carol Lester's friendship for Oliver Floyd while she is ignorant of the existence of his wife is a flaw in the pleasantness; but "Upon a Cast" is well worthy of a high place in the list of summer novels.

Although "Down the Ravine" belongs to the category of books for young people, the story is too true to life in characters and incidents, and too artistically handled, not to find appreciative readers of all ages. In fact, we are inclined to discover in the book stronger indications of the author's powers as a novelist than in anything she has hitherto published. "Where the Battle was Fought," in spite of all its fine scenes, had not the same sustained interest nor the same spontaneity. The plot of the present story is excellent, and the characters act and react on each other in a simple and natural way. The youthful Diceys, with the faithful, loyal Birt at their head, are a capital study; and from first to last the author has nowhere erred in truth or failed in humor.

Taking into consideration the ease with which Mr. Bret Harte won his laurels, and the belief which all his early admirers shared that here at last was the great American novelist, who was to hold a distinctive place in the world's literature, he has perhaps not fulfilled expectations nor answered the demands upon his powers. The very individuality of his work, its characteristic bias, has been, in point of fact, a hinderance and an impediment. The unexpectedness of his first stories, the enchanted surprise, like that of a new and delicious vintage or a wonderful undiscovered chord in music,—these effects are not easily made to recur with undiminished strength and charm. However, one may generally find some bubbles of the old delightful elixir in Mr. Harte's stories, and in this little group of them, regathered, we believe, from English magazines, each is interesting in its way, and each true to the author's typical idea, which is to discover to his readers some heroic quality in unheroic human beings which transforms their whole lives before our eyes.

Mr. Thompson on his title-page announces himself as the author of two novels, "A Tallahassee Girl" and "His Second Campaign," both of which we read with pleasure, and this impression led us to turn hopefully to a third by the same hand. "At Love's Extremes" does not, however, take our fancy. If the author undertook to discuss a complex problem seriously, he has failed to make it clear or vital to the reader; and if the various episodes of Colonel Reynolds's life are to be passed over as mere slight deviations from the commonplace, we can only say that we consider them too unpleasant and abhorrent to good taste to be imposed upon us so lightly. There are also points of the story which seem to mock the good sense of the reader. Has the author considered the state of mind of a young widow who has heard that her husband has been murdered in a street-brawl in Texas, who has mourned him for years, and then, after yielding to the solicitations of a new suitor and promising to marry him, learns from his own lips that it was his hand (although the act was one of self-defence) which sent her husband to his tragic death? Mr. Thompson seems to violate the sanctities and the proprieties of womanhood in allowing the widow, after a faint interval of shock, to pass over this fact as unimportant. This situation has, of course, its famous precedent in the scene in which Gloster wooes and wins the Lady Anne beside her murdered husband's bier; but that is tragedy, and we moderns are, besides, more squeamish than the people of those mediæval times. In this story the situation becomes more logical, even if more absurd, after the return of the husband who was supposed to have been murdered. With a good deal of effort to show powerful feeling, the characters in the book are all automatons, who say and do nothing with real thought or real passion. The vernacular of the mountaineers seems to have been carefully studied, and is so thoroughly outlandish and so devoid of fine expressions that we are inclined to believe it more accurate than the poetic and musical dialects which it is the fashion to impose upon our credulity. But it must be confessed that, with only his own rude and pointless patois in which to express himself, the Southern cracker becomes painfully devoid of interest, to say nothing of charm.



[001] John Sevier's Memorial to the North Carolina Legislature.

[002] J.G.M. Ramsay, "Annals of Tennessee."

[003] Haywood.

End of Project Gutenberg's Lippincott's Magazine, August, 1885, by Various


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