The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 110,
December, 1866, by Various

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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 110, December, 1866
       A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics

Author: Various

Release Date: December 4, 2005 [EBook #17217]

Language: English

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Produced by Joshua Hutchinson, Josephine Paolucci and the
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[Pg 649]



A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by Ticknor and Fields, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

[Transcriber's note: Minor typos corrected, footnotes moved to end of article and table of contents created.]




Most men of "fourscore and upwards," like Lear, and who, like Lear, have been "mightily abused" in their day, are found, upon diligent inquiry, to have long outlived themselves, like the Archbishop of Granada; but here is a man, or was but the other day, in his eighty-second year, with the temper and edge and "bright blue rippling glitter" of a Damascus blade up to the very last; or rather, considering how he was last employed, with the temper of that strange tool, found among the ruins of Thebes, with which they used to smooth and polish their huge monoliths of granite, until they murmured a song of joy, whenever the morning sunshine fell upon them.

This remarkable man—remarkable under many aspects—died at Medford, Massachusetts, on Monday morning, August 27th; and it is now said of heart-disease,—that other name for a mysterious and sudden death, happen how it may, and when it may. He had been perfectly well the day before, attended church, and called on some of his neighbors; he retired to rest as usual, and nothing more was heard of him till Monday morning, when he was found asleep in Jesus, prepared, as we humbly trust, to hear the greeting of "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!" Says a friend, in a letter now lying before me, of August 27th: "On Saturday afternoon, day before yesterday, your friend and my friend, Rev. John Pierpont, called upon me, and we had a very interesting interview of about an hour. I never saw him look better or appear happier. Although eighty-one years of age the 6th of last April, he seemed to have the elasticity of youth, and he was perfectly erect. I gave him what he wanted very much,—a copy of his trial before an ecclesiastical council in this city, several years ago. He gave me his photograph, and, taking his gold pen, wrote underneath, in a beautiful hand, 'John Pierpont, aged 81.' He said he was doing some work at Washington, which he hoped to live long enough to complete.... When I published my last book, I sent him a copy. He acknowledged the receipt of it in a letter of eight or ten pages, which is now a treasure to me. His name on the photograph was probably the last time he ever wrote it,"—another treasure, which my friend would not now be likely to part with for any consideration.

[Pg 650]

My acquaintance with Mr. Pierpont began in the fall or winter of 1814, just when the war had assumed such proportions, that men's hearts were failing them for fear, and prodigies and portents were of daily occurrence. New England too—finding herself defenceless and left to the mercy of our foe—began to think, not of setting up for herself, not of withdrawing from the copartnership, without the consent of the whole sisterhood, but of coming together for conference and proposing to the general government, not to become neutral after the fashion of Kentucky, in our late misunderstanding, not of playing the part of umpire between the belligerents, like that heroic embodiment of Southern chivalry, nor of holding the balance of power, but, on being allowed her just proportion of the public revenues, to undertake for herself, and agree to give a good account of the enemy, if he should throw himself upon her bulwarks, whether along the seaboard, or upon her great northern frontier.

He had just escaped from Newburyport, after writing the "Portrait," a severe and truthful picture of the times, which went far to give him a national reputation—for the day; and opened a law office at 103 Court Street, Boston, where he found nothing to do, and spent much of his time in cutting his name on little ivory seals, and engraving ciphers—"J.P."—so beautiful in their character, and so graceful, that one I have now before me, an impression taken by him in wax, with a vermilion bed,—for in all such matters he was very particular,—were enough to establish any man's reputation as a seal engraver. It bears about the same relationship to what are called ciphers, that Benvenuto Cellini's flower-cups bore to the clumsy goblets of his day.

He was never a great reader, not being able to read more than fifty pages of law and miscellany in a day, though he managed, for once, while a tutor in Colonel Alston's family at Charleston, South Carolina, beginning by daylight and continuing as long as he could see, in midsummer, to get through with one hundred pages of Blackstone; but the "grind" was too much for him,—he never tried it again. He read Gibbon, and Chateaubriand's "Genius of Christianity," and St. Pierre, and Jeremy Bentham's "Theory of Rewards and Punishments," but never to my knowledge a novel, a romance, or a magazine article, except an occasional review; but Joanna Baillie,—that female Shakespeare of a later age,—and Beattie, and Campbell, and the British poets, and dramatic writers, were always at hand, when he had nothing better to do, with no seals to cut, no ciphers, no razor-strops, no stoves, and no clients. Over that field of enchantment and illusion he wandered with lifted wings, month after month, and year after year.

At this time he was in his thirtieth year, and I in my twenty-second. No two persons were ever more unlike; and yet we grew to be intimate friends after a while; and at the time of his death our friendship had lasted more than fifty years, with a single interruption of a twelvemonth or so while I was abroad, which was put an end to by our letters of reconciliation crossing each other almost on the same day.

With a young family on his hands, precarious health and a feeble constitution, as we then believed, which drove him to Saratoga every two or three years, and no property, what had he to look forward to, unless he could manage to go through a course of starvation at half-price, or diet with the chameleons?—though great things were expected of him by those who knew him best, and the late Mr. Justice Story could not bear to think of his abandoning the profession, so long as there was a decent chance of living through such a course of preparation.

After all that he has done as a poet, as a preacher, as a reformer, and as a lecturer, I must say that I think he was made for a lawyer. Vigorous and acute, clear-sighted, self-possessed, and logical to a fault, if he had not married so early,[Pg 651] or if a respectable inheritance had fallen to him, after he had learned to do without help or patronage, as Dr. Samuel Johnson did, while undergoing Lord Chesterfield, he might have been at the head of the Massachusetts bar,—a proud position, to be sure, at any time within the last fifty years,—or, at any rate, in the foremost rank, long before his death.

He had, withal, a great fondness for mechanics, and one at least of his inventions, the "Pierpont or Doric Stove," was a bit of concrete philosophy,—a miniature temple glowing with perpetual fire,—a cast-iron syllogism of itself, so classically just in its proportions, and so eminently characteristic, as to be a type of the author. He had been led through a long course of experiment in the structure of grates and stoves, and in the consumption of fuel, with the hope of superseding Saratoga, for himself at least, by making our terrible winters and our east winds a little more endurable. No man ever suffered more from what people sometimes call, without meaning to be naughty, damp cold weather.

In addition to the "Portrait," he had written a New-Year's Address or two, and a fine lyric, which was said or sung—I forget which—at the celebration of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow; so that after he went off to Baltimore, and the "Airs of Palestine" appeared in 1816, those who knew him best, instead of being astonished like the rest of the world, regarded it as nothing more than the fulfilment of a promise, and went about saying, or looking as if they wanted to say, "Didn't we tell you so?"

And yet, with the exception of two or three outbreaks and flashes, there was really nothing in his earlier manifestations to prefigure the "unrolling glory" of the "Airs," or to justify the extravagant expectations people had entertained from the first, if you would believe them.

Robert Treat Paine having disappeared from the stage, there was nobody left but Lucius Manlius Sargent and John Pierpont for celebrations and sudden emergencies. But Sargent never tried the heroic, and was generally satisfied with imitations of Walter Scott, and others, who were given to oddities and quaintness. For example, "I thought," says he, in the longest poem he ever wrote, which appeared in quarto,—

"I thought, than as a feather fair
More light is filmy gossamer,
So woman's heart is lighter far
Than lightest breath of summer air,
Which is so light it scarce can bear
The filmiest thread of gossamer," etc., etc., etc.

While Mr. Pierpont flung himself abroad—like Handel, over the great organ-keys at Haarlem—as if he never knew before what legs and arms were good for, after the following fashion:—

"The misty hall of Odin
With mirth and music swells,
Rings with the harps and songs of bards,
And echoes to their shells.
"See how amid the cloud-wrapped ghosts
Great Peter's awful form
Seems to smile,
As the while,
Amid the howling storm,
He hears his children shout, Hurrah!
Amid the howling storm," etc., etc.

Few men ever elaborated as he did,—not even Rousseau, when he wrote over whole pages and chapters of his "Confessions," I forget how many times. Fine thoughts were never spontaneous with him, never unexpected, never unwaited for,—never, certainly till long after he had got his growth. In fact, some of the happiest passages we have seem to be engraved, letter by letter, instead of being written at once, or launched away into the stillness, like a red-hot thunderbolt. Well do I remember a little incident which occurred in Baltimore, soon after the failure of Pierpont and Lord—and Neal, when we were all dying of sheer inaction, and almost ready to hang ourselves—in a metaphorical sense—as the shortest way of scoring off with the world.

We were at breakfast,—it was rather late.

"Where on earth is your good husband?" said I to Mrs. Pierpont.

"In bed, making poetry," said she.


[Pg 652]"Yes, flat on his back, with his eyes rolled up in his head."

Soon after, the gentleman himself appeared, looking somewhat the worse for the labor he had gone through with, and all the happier, that the throes were over, and the offspring ready for exhibition. "Here," said he, "tell me what you think of these two lines,"—handing me a paper on which was written, with the clearness and beauty of copperplate,

"Their reverend beards that sweep their bosoms wet
With the chill dews of shady Olivet."

"Charming," said I. "And what then? What are you driving at?"

"Well, I was thinking of Olivet, and then I wanted a rhyme for Olivet; and rhymes are the rudders, you know, according to Hudibras; and then uprose the picture of the Apostles before me,—their reverend beards all dripping with the dews of night."

How little did he or I then foresee what soon followed,—soon, that is, in comparison with all he had ever done before! The "Airs of Palestine," like the night-blooming cereus,—the century-plant,—flowering at last, and all at once and most unexpectedly too, after generations have waited for it, as for the penumbra of something foretold, until both their patience and their faith have almost failed. But, from the very first, there were signs of growth not to be mistaken,—of inward growth, too,—and oftentimes an appearance of slowly gathered strength, as if it had been long husbanded, and for a great purpose. For example,—

"There the gaunt wolf sits on his rock and howls,
And there, in painted pomp, the savage Indian prowls."

What a picture of brooding desolation! How concentrated and how unpretending, in its simplicity and strength!

And again, having had visions, and having begun to breathe a new atmosphere, with Sinai in view, he says,

"There blasts of unseen trumpets, long and loud,
Swelled by the breath of whirlwinds, rent the cloud,"—

two of the grandest lines to be found anywhere, out of the Hebrew.

But grandeur and strength were never his characteristics; the natural tendency of the man was toward the harmonious, the loving, and the beautiful, as in the following lines from the title-page of his poem, "By J. Pierpont, Esquire":—

"I love to breathe where Gilead sheds her balm;
I love to walk on Jordan's banks of palm;
I love to wet my foot in Hermon's dews;
I love the promptings of Isaiah's muse;
In Carmel's paly grots I'll court repose,
And deck my mossy couch with Sharon's deathless rose."

About this time it was, just before he went off to Baltimore, that we began to have occasional glimpses of that inward fire shut up in his bones, that subterranean sunshine, that golden ore, which, smelted as the constellations were, makes what men have agreed to call poetry,—which, after all, is but another name for inspiration; although the very first outbreak I remember happened at the celebration already referred to, where men saw

"The Desolator desolate, the Victor overthrown,
The Arbiter of others' fate a suppliant for his own,"

and began to breathe freely once more; and the shout of "Glory, glory! Alleluiah!" went up like the roar of many waters from all the cities of our land, as if they themselves had been delivered from the new Sennacherib; yet, after a short season of rest, like one of our Western prairies after having been over-swept with fire, he began to flower anew, and from his innermost nature, like some great aboriginal plant of our Northern wilderness suddenly transferred to a tropical region, roots and all, by some convulsion of nature,—by hurricane, or drift, or shipwreck. And always thereafter, with a very few brief exceptions, instead of echoing and re-echoing the musical thunders of a buried past,—instead of imitating, oftentimes unconsciously (the worst kind of imitation, by the way, for what can be hoped of a man whose individuality has been tampered with, and whose own perceptions mislead him?)—instead of counterfeiting the mighty minstrels he had most reverenced, and oftentimes ignorantly worshipped, as among the[Pg 653] unknown gods, in his unquestioning, breathless homage, he began to look upward to the Source of all inspiration, while

"Princely visions rare
Went stepping through the air,"

and to walk abroad with all his "singing robes about him," as he had never done before. Hitherto it had been otherwise. Campbell had opened the "Pleasures of Hope" with

"Why to yon mountains turns the musing eye,
Whose sunbright summits mingle with the sky?"

and therefore Pierpont began his "Portrait" with

"Why does the eye with greater pleasure rest
On the proud oak with vernal honors drest?"

But now, instead of diluting Beattie, with all his "pomp of groves and long resounding shore," and recasting portions of Akenside or Pope, and rehashing "Ye Mariners of England," for public celebrations, or converting Moore himself into "Your glass may be purple and mine may be blue," while urging the claims of what is called Liberal Christianity in a hymn written for the new Unitarian church of Baltimore, he would break forth now and then with something which really seemed unpremeditated,—something he had been surprised into saying in spite of himself, as where he finishes a picture of Moses on Mount Nebo, after a fashion both startling and effective in its abruptness, and yet altogether his own:—

"His sunny mantle and his hoary locks
Shone like the robe of Winter on the rocks.
Where is that mantle? Melted into air.
Where is the Prophet? God can tell thee where."

And yet in the day of his strength he was sometimes capable of strange self-forgetfulness, and once wrote, in his reverence for the classic, what, if it were not blasphemy, would be meaningless:—

"O thou dread Spirit! being's End and Source!
O check thy chariot in its fervid course;
Bend from thy throne of darkness and of fire,
And with one smile immortalize oar lyre!"

Think of a Christian poet apostrophizing the Ancient of Days—Jehovah himself—in the language of idolatrous and pagan Rome!

At another time,—but these are among the last of his transgressions, and they happened nearly fifty years before his death,—having in view that epitaph on an infant where a father says of his child,

"Like a dewdrop on the early morn
She sparkled, was exhaled, and went to heaven,"

Mr. Pierpont says of the frozen heart, when religion's "mild and genial ray" falls upon it, with music,

"The fire is kindled and the flame is bright;
And that cold mass, with either power assailed,
Is warmed, made liquid, and to heaven exhaled."

And this by a man who talks about "the glow-worm burning greenly on the wall," and the "unrolling glory" of the empyrean, as if he understood what both meant.

Nevertheless, and notwithstanding these aberrations, my friend—the truest friend I ever had in my life, on some accounts, for he was not afraid to tell me of my faults when he saw them, and the man after all, to whom I am under greater obligations than to any other, living or dead, for bringing me acquainted with myself—held on his upward course for the last thirty years of his life without faltering, and without any visible perturbation, like the planets, if not like the stars, along their appointed path, never so as to astonish perhaps, but almost always so as to convince, whatever might be the manner of his approach, and whether in prose or poetry.

But we are anticipating. At the time of our first acquaintance, he certainly entertained very different views upon the subjects which have made him so conspicuous within the last twenty-five years.

Instead of being an Abolitionist, or a Garrisonian, and insisting upon immediate, universal, and unconditional emancipation, he was a colonizationist, rather tolerant of the evil, as it existed in the South, and very patient under the wrongs of our black brethren; and so was I.

[Pg 654]

Instead of being a teetotaler, he was hardly what the temperance men of our day would call a temperance man; for he had wine upon his table when he gave dinners, and never shrank from the interchange of courtesies, nor refused a pledge,—though I did, even then. Yet more, as brandy had been prescribed for Mrs. Pierpont by the family physician, Dr. Randall, her husband used to take his brandy and water with her sometimes, just before dinner, by way of a "whet."

Again: he had been brought up, like St. Paul, at the very feet of Gamaliel. He was born Orthodox,—he lived Orthodox,—he sat for years under the preaching of Dr. Lyman Beecher, whom he looked upon as a "giant among pygmies,"—and well he might, as a metaphysician and as a controversialist, if not as a theologian,—and was, I have lately been told, a member of Dr. Spring's Orthodox church at Newburyport, before his removal to Boston. But once there, in that overcharged atmosphere, he took a pew in the Brattle Street Unitarian church,—without being then a Unitarian, or dreaming of the great change that was to follow within two or three years,—and was a regular attendant under the preaching of Mr. Everett up to the last. On his removal to Baltimore, he swung round again toward Orthodoxy,—that Orthodoxy which has been so wittily defined as my doxy, while heterodoxy is your doxy,—and sat for three years under the preaching of Dr. Ingals, the highly gifted gentleman to whom he dedicated his poem—in blank—when it first appeared, being perhaps a little afraid of committing himself in advance; and then, at the very first gathering of the Baltimore Unitarians in a large auction-room, which led to the organization of a church within a few months, the erection of a beautiful building, and to the settlement of our friend, the late Dr. Jared Sparks, he came out fair and square upon the great question, and led, or helped lead, the exercises. The result of which was, that in due time, after his failure in business, he became a student of theology at Cambridge, and within a year was called to the ministry of reconciliation over Hollis Street Church, as a successor to Mr. Holly, at that time a most captivating preacher, with a congregation and church eminently fastidious and exacting, and not easily satisfied; yet Mr. Pierpont labored with them and for them over twenty-five years, with an earnestness, a comprehensiveness, and a faithfulness, for which some of them have not forgiven him to this day. He entered upon the ministry there in April, 1819, and resigned in 1845; when he became the first pastor of a Unitarian church in Troy, remained there four years, and then took charge of a church in Medford; where he was living when the Rebellion broke out, and he entered the army as chaplain, under an express stipulation that the regiment was not to go round Baltimore.

But I am fully justified in saying that, when I first knew him in Boston, he did not know himself. He had entirely mistaken his vocation, and was about the last man in the world to enter into trade, though pre-eminently fitted for business, if he had been properly encouraged,—the business of law certainly, and the business of statesmanship. He saw nothing of what was before him,—nothing of the field he was to occupy till the Master came,—nothing of the influence, nothing of the authority, he was to exercise over the minds and hearts of men,—and nothing of that huge oriflamme which was coming up slowly, to be sure, but certainly, over the distant verge of an ever-widening horizon. He was utterly discouraged as a lawyer; he knew nothing of business; he had no capital; and what on earth was he good for? Whither should he go? What undertake?

And yet he bore up manfully through all this discouragement, and no word of complaint or murmuring ever escaped his lips. On the whole, he was one of the most truly conscientious men I ever knew,—and why not one[Pg 655] of the most truly religious, notwithstanding his obnoxious faith?—so even-tempered that I never saw him disturbed more than once or twice in all my life, and so patient under wrong that one could hardly believe in his withering sarcasm, and scorching indignation when he took the field as a reformer, "in golden panoply complete."

Let me now describe his personal appearance, for the help of those who have only heard of the man. He was tall, straight, and spare,—six feet, I should say, and rather ungraceful in fact, though called by the women of his parish, not only the most graceful, but the most finished of gentlemen. That he was dignified, courteous, and prepossessing, very pleasant in conversation, a capital story-teller, and a tolerable—no, intolerable—punster, exceedingly impressive both in the pulpit and elsewhere, when much in earnest, and in after life a great lecturer and platform speaker, I am ready to acknowledge; but he wanted ease of manner—the readiness and quiet self-possession of a high-bred man, who cannot be taken by surprise, and is neither afraid of being misunderstood nor afraid of letting himself down—till after he had passed the age of threescore.

The first impression he made on me was that of a country schoolmaster, or of a professor, on his good behavior, who had got his notions of the polite world from Chesterfield; though, when I knew him better, and learned that he had been a tutor in the Alston family of South Carolina, I detected the original type of his perpendicularity, serious composure, and stateliness,—the archetype. I was constantly reminded of John C. Calhoun, a fellow-student with him at Yale, and a man he always mentioned, with a strange mixture of admiration and awe, as if he thought him an offshoot from the Archfiend himself, "skilled to make the worse appear the better reason." His tall figure, his erect, positive bearing, and somewhat uncompromising, severe expression of countenance, when much in earnest, with black, heavy eyebrows, clear blue eyes which passed for black, and stiff black hair, were all of that Huguenot Southern type, which, like the signs of the Scotch Covenanter or of the old English Puritan, are as unlikely to die out as the Canada thistle, where they who sow the wind are content to reap the whirlwind. In their steadfast pertinacity, whether right or wrong, in their adamantine logic, as unyielding as death, and calm, serious energy of action, and in a part of their transcendental theories, they were alike; and alike, too, in their tried honesty. The great Nullifier and the great Reformer were both Titanic, in the vastness and comprehensiveness of their views, in their unrelenting self-assertion, in their metaphysics, and in their theories of government. If the dark Southron made open war upon his country till it grew to be unsafe, the dark Northerner would tear the Constitution of that country to tatters, and trample it under foot, as he did upon one occasion, without remorse or compunction, because it was held by others to give property in man, though for himself he denied that it did so, or that it sanctioned slavery in any shape,—as he did, I say, though I was not an eyewitness of the outrage, and have only the report from others who were. If it was only a flourish, like that of Edmund Burke, when he suddenly lugged out the dagger before the upturned smiling eyes of his patient compeers, and Sheridan—or was it Fox?—begged the gentleman to tell him where the fork was to be had which belonged to the knife, why, even that were not only unworthy of the man, but so utterly unlike him, for he never indulged in rhetoric or rhodomontade or claptrap, that one would be inclined to think he was beside himself, or had been dining out, like Daniel Webster when he proposed, in the Senate Chamber, to plant our starry banner on the outermost verge, the Ultima Thule, of our disputed territory, heedless of consequences. Both Pierpont and Calhoun[Pg 656] certainly forgot the injunction to be "temperate in all things"; and allow me to add, that, in my judgment, it mattered little who was with, or who against them, after they had once set the lance in rest, with a windmill in view,—they only spurred the harder for opposition, and lashed out all the more vehemently for being cheered, even by the lowliest. Encouragement and opposition were alike to both, after the rowels were set, and their beavers closed.

At the time I speak of, Mr. Pierpont and his brother-in-law, Mr. Joseph L. Lord, kept house together on a street running down hill back of the State-House,—Hancock Street, if I do not mistake. They had always two or three boarders, and sometimes more, and among them Erastus A. Lord, a brother of Joseph, and myself. With these, and with the neighbors,—the whole neighborhood, I might say, and with all their visiting-list,—our friend Pierpont was an oracle from the first, and in the church and parish, after he had been set up in the pulpit, an idol. It was thought presumptuous for anybody to differ with him upon any subject. Whatever he said, or thought, or did, was never to be questioned,—never! His opinions were maxims, his utterances apothegms, his lightest word authority. And the worst of it all, and the hardest thing for me to stomach, was, that in all our controversies, for a long time, if he was not always right, and I always wrong, I was quite sure to come out second best, in the judgment of his friends and worshippers, who had no sympathy for anybody who ventured to tilt with their champion. Nevertheless I persisted, and, not standing much in awe of the pedant and the pedagogue, however much I admired the logician and the poet or the lawyer, I lost no opportunity of asserting my independence, and took, I am afraid, a sort of malicious pleasure in showing that I had views and opinions of my own, and was determined to do my own thinking, come what might. For a while this operated against me,—if not always with Mr. Pierpont, certainly with all his immediate personal friends and family; but in time, I believe, he began to like me the better for my presumption, or foolhardiness, in battling the watch with him, whenever he laid down a proposition, with a calm, dictatorial air, which did not strike me at first either as clearly self-evident, or, after a thorough investigation, as indisputably true, so that I do on my conscience believe that I was fast growing, not only unmanageable, but unbearable.

Mr. Pierpont was no judge of painting, though he relished a good picture, and had no taste for drawing, or rather no talent for drawing, though he saw readily enough certain errors of exaggeration that abounded in the engravings of the day; and I well remember his calling my attention to the preposterously small feet of the female figures for which Messrs. Draper and Company, the bank-note engravers of that day, were so famous; and yet his handwriting was very beautiful, and the ciphers I have mentioned were neither more nor less than exquisite drawings. Nor had he any ear for music, to borrow the language we hear at every turn,—as if all persons who are not deaf by nature had not ears for music, so far as they can hear at all,—or as if he who can distinguish voices, or learn a language, so far as to be understood when he talks it, had not necessarily an ear for music, in other words, an ear for sounds and for the rhythm of speech; but he was deficient in the organ of tune, phrenologically speaking, though I have heard him warble a Scotch air on the flute with uncommon sweetness—and feebleness—without tonguing, and play two or three other tunes, which had been adapted in the choir of his church, upon glass goblets, partly filled with water and set upon a table before him, as if he enjoyed every touch and thrill,—his long, thin fingers travelling over the damp edges of the glass, and bringing forth "Bonnie Doon," or "There's nothing true but Heaven,"—with his[Pg 657] cuffs rolled up as if he were driving a lathe, and turning off some of the little thin boxes and other exquisite toys, in wood or ivory, which he was addicted to, about fifteen years ago, in what he called his workshop. Like Johnson, however, and Alexander Pope, who, according to Leigh Hunt,

"Spoiled the ears of the town
With his cuckoo-song verses, two up and two down,"

he must have had "time" large; for the music of his rhythm was absolutely faultless,—cloying indeed, so that he introduced the double rhymes to roughen it, just as he indulged in alliteration, where the "lordly lion leaves his lonely lair," that he might not be supposed incapable of running off upon another track, or into another channel.

But I never heard him sing or try to sing, though he had a deep, manly voice, read as very few are able to read, and his modulation was rich and varied, and very agreeable, both to the understanding and the ear.

His pronunciation was a marvel for correctness. In all our intercourse I never knew him to give a word otherwise than "according to Walker," so long as Walker was the standard with him,—or never but once, when he said cli-mac'ter-ic, instead of cli-mac-ter'ic; and when I remonstrated with him, he lugged out Webster, whom he adhered to forever after. So exceedingly fastidious and sensitive was he, about the time he left Baltimore for Cambridge, that in his desire to give the pure sound of e, as in met, instead of the sound of u, which is so common as to be almost universal where e is followed by r and another consonant, so that person is pronounced purson, he gave a sound which most people misunderstood for pairson, and went away and laughed at, for pedantry and affectation.

So, too, when I first knew him, and for a long time after, he was incapable of making a speech. Even a few sentences were too much for him; and though he argued at least one case to the court, while in business at Newburyport, I am persuaded, from what I afterward knew of him, that he must have done what he did by jerks, or have committed the whole to memory. And this, strange as it may now appear to those who knew him only as a lecturer and platform-speaker, continued long after he had entered upon the ministry; but of this more hereafter. Even his prayers were written out, and learned by heart, years after he took charge of the Hollis Street Church, though I dare say it was not known by his people. Perhaps, too, I may as well say here, lest I may forget to say it hereafter, that, at the time I speak of, he was neither a phrenologist, nor a spiritualist, nor a conscientious believer in witchcraft, or rather in the phenomena that used to be called witchcraft, in the days of Cotton Mather.

Soon after the beginning of our acquaintance, Mr. Joseph L. Lord, the brother of his first wife,—and he too has just passed away,—seeing what the prospect was for the brother-in-law he was so proud of, persuaded him to abandon the law at once, and forever, and go into the jobbing and retail dry-goods business with him, on the corner of Court and Marlborough, now Washington Street. He had no capital, to be sure, but then he wrote a beautiful hand, was very methodical, and had made himself acquainted with bookkeeping, after the Italian method, from Rees's Cyclopædia. I took the chamber which Mr. Pierpont left, and went into the jobbing business also, with a capital of between two and three hundred—dollars, and a credit amounting to perhaps five hundred more, which enterprise terminated after a few months, not in my failure, but in my taking a trip to New York with a large quantity of smuggled goods, belonging to Messrs. Pierpont and Lord, where I disposed of them to such advantage, that, on my return, I was persuaded to go into the retail haberdashery line, at 103 Court Street, next door to Pierpont and Lord, and just underneath the chamber, not chambers, which I had occupied at first with my wholesale establishment. I had for a partner, at first, Erastus, a [Pg 658]brother of "Joe's," whom I had known as a bookbinder in Portland two or three years before. He was now manufacturing pocket-books, and appeared to be doing, not only a large and profitable, but safe business,—selling for cash, running a horse and gig, and paying the bills of all the "dear five hundred friends" who rode with him.

Our copartnership did not last long. His brother "Joe," being a shrewd man of business, of uncommon foresight and comprehensiveness, though rather adventurous, gave me a hint, and soon provided me with another partner, a graduate of Cambridge, named Fisher, with whom I was associated a few months longer. Then came the peace of 1815, which threw the whole country into a paroxysm of joy, unsettling business everywhere, at home and abroad, and setting people together by the ears upon all the great questions of the day.

And here began the new and very brief career of Mr. Pierpont as a man of business. Wholly unfitted as he was for even the regular course of trade, he was the last man in the world for the great emergencies of the hour. The whole business of the country was little better than gambling. Our largest importing houses were lotteries or faro-banks; and we had no manufactures worth mentioning. We made no woollen goods, and our few cottons, if sold at all, were sold for British, and stood no chance with the trash that came from beyond the Cape of Good Hope, "warped with hoop-poles, and filled with oven-wood." Our foreign merchandise came tumbling down so fast, that no prospective calculations could be made upon their value. Not having manufactured ourselves, we knew nothing about the cost of production, and had no idea how much our friends over sea could afford to fall, even from the lowest prices ever heard of. British calicoes, or prints, for example, which I sold by the case for eighty-five cents cash, at auction, were in every way inferior to our own, which were retailed before the Rebellion broke out for ten cents a yard. In fact, if we had known the real cost of production, it would have made but little difference; for long after all our foreign merchandise had fallen from thirty-three and a third to fifty per cent, some of our shrewdest calculators were utterly ruined by purchasing at much lower prices, on what they believed to be a rising market.

Under such circumstances, what was a poet, a scholar, and a lawyer, without any knowledge of business, to do? Pierpont and Lord were large dealers, and had a heavy stock on hand, not paid for. Their notes were maturing with frightful rapidity, and Mr. Lord wanted all his available funds for "transactions" in gold, and other perilous "operations" along the Canada frontier. Specie was twenty-five per cent above par, or rather banknotes, everywhere but in a part of New England, where they continued to pay specie to the last, were at twenty-five per cent discount; and "Boston money," upon the average, about one per cent above gold and silver, so as to cover the cost and risk of transportation.

But something had to be done. A consultation was held between the members of "our house," and it was finally arranged that Mr. Pierpont, as the man we could best spare from the salesroom and the shop, and the partner who would best represent what was called, with singular propriety, "our concern," should go to Baltimore with the best of letters, and open a way for me in that city, which I had visited once, and once only, for the purpose of buying exchange on England,—though for a time it was thought I had run away with all the funds intrusted to me. I had taken a prodigious liking to Baltimore from the first, though I had no idea of going there to live, and was not easily persuaded to give up my little establishment in Boston. I was doing very well, and did not care to do better, till business got settled; but we were three, and I was always in the minority,—Mr. Lord being a shrewd "operator," and Mr. Pierpont, of course, deferring to him. They were[Pg 659] my partners, to be sure; but I never had anything to do with their business, apart from my own.

Nevertheless, when Mr. Pierpont returned, and gave an account of his doings there, and of the opening there was for just such a man as I had proved myself to be, I consented to pull up stakes, and transplant myself to that beautiful city.

I went with no large expectations, intending to open a retail shop, such as I had left; but within a week, finding that I could sell even my cut goods for prices much beyond what I had been retailing them for over and above the exchange, I went into the wholesale business, and with one clerk, Mr. Jenkins Howland, greatly distinguished in after life as a man of enterprise at Charleston, S.C., sold more goods, and for cash too, than perhaps any three or four of what were called the large dealers about me, with two or three clerks apiece, and at prices which fairly took away my breath at first;—Irish linens, for example, by the case at two dollars and fifty cents all round, worth not over eighty cents before the war; and assorted broadcloths by the bale at fourteen dollars a yard all round, which, within a twelvemonth, would have hung fire at three dollars and fifty cents. And this, it will be remembered, was after goods had been falling—falling—falling—for six months.

No wonder people's heads were turned—those of Pierpont and Lord among the rest. We, who had large stocks on hand, were growing rich too fast. I remember selling fourteen thousand dollars' worth of goods one day for a clear profit of more than forty per cent, and this while my poor friends at Boston were gasping for breath in that exhausted receiver; but they were kept alive by the remittances I made from Baltimore, which not only furnished them with funds for immediate use, but gave them for a few months almost unbounded credit.

This was in the fall and winter of 1815, only a few months after the Bramble arrived with the news from Ghent that our last negotiations had been successful, and that the war was over most gloriously for us, the United States. We were almost ready, in our thankfulness and joy, to canonize the ship and crew, and cut her up into snuffboxes and toothpicks.

And now—what next? "as the tadpole said, when he his tail dropped off." Weary of the growing distrust they saw, after my remittances began to fall off, and heartily sick of the Gerrymandering about them, of the usurers and money-changers and Shylocks, who were bleeding them to death, by lending them money upon pledges of merchandise, the two elder partners, Pierpont and Lord, lost no time in following their junior. He had opened on South Calvert Street; they took the whole of a large building opposite, opened below their wholesale business, and after a few months went to housekeeping overhead, both families living together. Then, to get rid of our stock, Mr. Pierpont went off to Charleston, S.C., where he had served his time as a tutor, and there set up a retail establishment, under the charge of a former clerk in their service, and of another man, a heartless vagabond, whom they had happened to get acquainted with at a boarding-house on their first arrival, and took a fancy to, nobody ever knew why. He was an Englishman, had probably been upon the stage, and lived from hand to mouth, nobody knew how, until we took him up, and he took us in most pitiably.

After a brief struggle, and the establishment of another retail store in Calvert Street, which I took charge of, with what there was left of the Charleston adventure, we failed outright, and all this within six or eight months after we had called our creditors together and obtained an extension of twelve months and testimonials in our favor of the most gratifying character, and within little more than a year after leaving Boston.

And then, for want of anything better to do, I began writing for the papers, [Pg 660]for the "Portico," and at last for the public, as an editor and as an author, mainly at the instigation of Mr. Pierpont, for whom I wrote both "Niagara"[1] and "Guldau," and a part of "Allen's" American Revolution, studying law, and languages by the half-dozen at the same time, and laboring upon the average about sixteen hours a day, while Mr. Pierpont struck out boldly for a far-off perilous and rocky shore, with a lighthouse, in the shape of a pulpit, before him, and achieved the "Airs of Palestine" while undergoing the process of regeneration, and starving by inches upon what there were left of his wife's teaspoons, which were sold one by one to pay the rent of a cheap room in Howard Street. So poor indeed were we at one time, that we could hardly muster enough between us to pay our bootblack.

I have already said that Mr. Pierpont had no aptitude for extemporaneous speaking; and what was even worse, he had no hope of being able to overcome the difficulty. Once, and once only, did I ever hear him try his hand in that way, until many years after he had entered upon the ministry. A club had been organized among us for literary purposes. We were both members, and he the Vice-President. We called ourselves the Delphians, and passed among our contemporaries for the male Muses, our number being limited to nine,—not seven, as I see it stated in the Boston Advertiser, on the authority of our friend Paul Allen. The rest of the story is near enough to the truth, although the verses therein mentioned were written by Mr. Pierpont as a volunteer offering, after the Della-Cruscan school, or manner of "Laura Matilda," and not upon the spur of the occasion, as there related, nor as a trial of wit; and the last line should be, "Pulls where'er the zephyr roves"—not, as given there, "Pulls where'er the zephyr moves."

It was in this club that Mr. Pierpont first tried himself—and the brethren—with extemporaneous speaking. It was a pitiable failure, worse if possible than my own, and I never made another attempt. Even General Winder, who was a fine advocate, and a capital speaker before a jury, boggled wretchedly before the club, and our President, Watkins, who was said to be exceedingly eloquent before the great Masonic lodges, where he occupied the highest position, could not be persuaded to open his mouth, and all the rest of the brethren were mutes. True, it was like apostrophizing your own grandmother, in the hope of raising a laugh or of bringing tears into her eyes, to make speeches at one another across the table, whatever Molière might be able to do, when alone with his aged servant. Nor did it much help the matter, when, with a view to the treasury, which began to threaten a collapse, we made a law, like that of the Medes and Persians which altereth not, whereby it was provided, among other things, that no member should ever talk over five minutes, nor stop short of three, under any circumstances,—the President being timekeeper, and the sufferer not being allowed to look at a watch. Fines of course were inevitable, and we were once more able to luxuriate on bread and cheese, with an occasional pot of beer,—nothing better or stronger being tolerated among us under any pretence, except on our anniversaries, when the[Pg 661] President, or sometimes a member, stood treat, and gave us a comfortable, though not often a costly or showy supper.

Among that strange, whimsical brotherhood—consisting of Dr. Tobias Watkins, editor of the "Portico"; General Winder (William H.), who had been "captivated" by the British, along with General Chandler, at the first invasion of Canada; William Gwin, editor of the "Federal Gazette"; Paul Allen, editor of the "Federal Republican," and of Lewis and Clarke's "Tour," and author of "Noah"; Dr. Readel, "a fellow of infinite jest"; Brackenridge, author of "Views in Louisiana," and "History of the War"; Dennison, an Englishman, who wrote clever doggerel; and, at different times, two or three more, not worth mentioning, even if I remembered their names—we passed every Saturday evening, after the club was established, until it was broken up by President Watkins's going to Washington, Vice-President Pierpont to the Divinity School at Cambridge, and Jehu O'Cataract abroad. All the members bore "clubicular" names, by which they were always to be addressed or spoken to, under another penalty; and most of them held "clubicular" offices and professorships,—Dr. Readel being Professor of Crambography, and somebody else—Gwin perhaps—Professor of Impromptology. The name given to Mr. Pierpont was Hiero Heptaglott, under an idea that he was a prodigious linguist,—another Sir William Jones, at least, if not another Learned Blacksmith; and the President himself went so far as to say so in the "Portico," where he pretended to give an account of the Delphians. Nothing could well be further from the truth, however; for, instead of being a great Hebrew scholar, and learned in the Chaldee, Coptic, and other Eastern languages, he knew very little of Hebrew, and absolutely nothing of the rest. With "a little Latin and less Greek," he was a pretty fair Latin and Greek scholar in the judgment of those who are satisfied with what we are doing in our colleges; and he was sufficiently acquainted with French to enjoy Chateaubriand, St. Pierre, Rousseau, and Lamartine, and to write the language with correctness, though not idiomatically; but he was never able to make himself understood in conversation, beyond a few phrases, uttered with a deplorable accent,—not being able to carry the flavor in his mouth,—and, though free and sprightly enough in talking English, having no idea of what passes for freedom and sprightliness with the French. He knew nothing of Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, or Dutch, nor indeed of any other modern language.

And now let me say how he came to be an extemporaneous speaker, and sometimes not only logical and convincing, but truly eloquent. On my return from abroad, in 1826, I passed through Boston, on my way to Portland, for a visit to my family, and was taken possession of by him, and went to Hollis Street Church, where I heard my friend, for the second time, in the pulpit. He was exceedingly impressive, and the sermon itself was one of the best I ever heard,—calm, serious, and satisfying; not encumbered with illustration, but full of significance. Although the discourse was carefully written out, word for word, and almost committed to memory, yet he ventured to introduce a paragraph—one paragraph only—which had not been prepared beforehand. My eyes were upon him, and he told me at dinner that he saw by my look how well I understood his departure, and how soon I detected it. "And now," said he, "I hope you are satisfied. You see now that I shall never be able to extemporize. I put that paragraph into my sermon this morning to see how you would take it, after having urged me, year after year, to extemporize at least occasionally. No, no, John; though writing two sermons a week is no trifling labor, I must continue writing to the end; for, if I cannot extemporize a single paragraph, how can I hope to extemporize a whole sermon?"

[Pg 662]"Suffer me to say that I think you misunderstand the whole question," said I. "The difficulty is in beginning. After you are well under way, if you can talk sitting, you may talk standing. Better take with you into the pulpit the merest outline of the discourse, and then trust to the inspiration of the subject, or to the feeling of the hour, when you have the audience before you, and can look into their eyes, than to have a discourse partly written, with blanks to be filled up as you go along; for then you are always beginning afresh, and by the time you have got easy in your spontaneous effort, you are obliged to go back to what you have written, and of course can never get warmed up with your subject, nor try any new adaptations, whatever may be the character of your hearers."

He shook his head. "No, no," said he, "you will never be able to persuade me that it is easier to say over the whole alphabet than to say only a part."

I persisted, urging the great advantage of spontaneous adaptation to the people. He agreed with me altogether, provided it were possible for him to do it, which he denied, though he promised to take the subject into serious consideration once more, to oblige me.

From Boston I went to Portland, where I had a similar talk with that most amiable and excellent man, the late Dr. Nichols, who labored under a similar disqualification, owing to a similar misapprehension of what was required for extemporaneous speaking, either on the platform or in the pulpit. I told him the story, and urged the same considerations; but he, like Mr. Pierpont, only smiled,—compassionately, as I thought, and rather as if he pitied the delusion I was laboring under. Yet within two years both of these remarkable men became free and natural spontaneous speakers, and both acknowledged to me that they had always misunderstood the difficulty. Dr. Nichols began afar off, as I suggested, in the Sabbath school; and Mr. Pierpont, after making two or three attempts in a small way, which were anything but satisfactory to himself,—as I told him they would be for a while, if he had the true stuff in him,—was at last surprised into doing what he believed to be impossible, by the merest accident in the world; after which he had no further trouble. It seems that he had engaged to supply a neighboring pulpit,—perhaps that of his son John, who was newly settled at Lynn. He thought he had his sermon in his pocket; but, on entering the pulpit, found that he had either left it at home or lost it on the way. What was to be done? Luckily, he had just read it over the night before, and was full of the subject therein treated. Remembering what I said, as he told me himself, he determined to go to work, hit or miss, and either make a spoon or spoil a horn.

The result was, that, after a little hesitation and floundering, he got fairly in earnest, and threw off a discourse which so delighted those who were best acquainted with him, that they stopped round the door to shake hands and congratulate him. He had never preached so well in all his life, they said. This settled the question forever; and from that day forward he began to believe that anybody who can talk in his chair can talk standing up, after he has got over his first impressions, and all the better for having a large auditory, with upturned faces, before him; so that he became at last, and within a few years, one of the finest pulpit orators of the day, and one of the best platform speakers, though not, perhaps, what the multitude consider eloquent; for, at the best, he was only argumentative and earnest and clear and convincing, in his highest manifestations.

Of his career after this, I cannot say anything as I wish, without the risk of saying too much. He had one of the wealthiest and most liberal congregations of New England. He was their idol. He was in every way most agreeably situated, with a large family flowering into usefulness about him, [Pg 663]and hosts of friends, enthusiastic and devoted. Nevertheless, believing that, as a servant of God, he had no right to preach smooth things where rough things were needed, and that acknowledging other people's transgressions would not satisfy the law, he came out boldly, with helm and spear, against two of the worst forms of human slavery,—the slavery of the body and the slavery of the soul, the slavery of the wine-cup, and the slavery of bondage to a master. Whether his beloved people would hear or whether they would forbear, being all the more beloved because of their danger, he must preach what he believed to be the truth, and the whole truth. It was like a fire shut up in his bones. He persisted, and they remonstrated, or rather a part of them did so; and the result was a speedy and hopeless alienation, followed by years of strife and bitter controversy at law, and a final separation; though by far the larger part of the church and congregation, if I do not mistake, upheld him to the last, and adhered to him through good report and through evil report,—Deacon Samuel May, a host in himself, being of their number.

During this protracted and sorrowful controversy, he became a phrenologist,—a believer in phrenology,—at any rate, following the lead of Spurzheim; and after many years, a Spiritualist,—in which faith he died,—one of his last, if not the very last, of his appearances before the public being as President of a convention held by the leading Spiritualists of the land at Philadelphia.

He could not be a materialist; and having faith in the evidence of his own senses, and being as truly conscientious a man as ever breathed, and accustomed to the closest reasoning, what was he to do? There were the facts. They were not to be controverted; they could not be explained; they could not be reconciled to any hypothesis in physics. If he was given over to delusion, to be buffeted by Satan, whose fault was it? That he was by nature somewhat credulous, and, though patient enough in his investigations, rather too fond of the marvellous, may be acknowledged; but what then? His conclusions might be wrong, his inferences faulty, though honest; but how were they to be counteracted? That he sometimes took too much for granted, I believe, nay, more, I know; because I myself have seen him grossly imposed on by a woman he took me to see, whose impersonations were thought most wonderful. But then he was a devout man, a close observer, an admirable logician, accustomed to the "competition of opposite analogies" and to weighing evidence; and if he misunderstood the facts, or misinterpreted them, or inferred the supernatural from false premises, why then let us grieve for his delusion, and wait patiently for the phenomena which led him astray to be explained.

He went abroad for a time, while pastor of the Hollis Street Church, and visited the Holy Land, in devout pilgrimage; and though he lost his first wife, the mother of all his children, and a most worthy gentlewoman, but the other day, and married another superior woman after a brief widowhood, his last days have been, I should say, most emphatically his best days; for he has lectured through the length and breadth of the land on Temperance, and, after enduring all sorts of persecution as one of the anti-slavery leaders, he lived to see the whole system against which they had been warring so long, and with so little apparent effect, utterly overthrown throughout the land, and the great God of heaven and earth acknowledged as the God of the black man. Thousands and thousands of miles he travelled, not only after having passed the meridian of his life, but after he had reached the allotted term, when life begins to be a heaviness for most, as a laborer in the cause of truth,—often of unacknowledged truth; and if mistaken, as a theologian, or as a Spiritualist, or as a man,—being what he was,—let us remember that he was never [Pg 664]false to his convictions, never a hypocrite nor a deceiver, and that he died with his harness on, having been occupied for the last five years of his life in digesting the treasury decisions, often contradictory, and always inaccessible, for there was no index, until he took them in hand, going back thirty years, I believe, and reducing the whole to a system which need be no longer unintelligible to the Department.

One word more. Among the scores of letters I had from him in the day of his bitterest trials and sorest temptations, there was one which he sent off in the midst of his first great triumph,—with no date now, although I find a mark upon it which leads me to suppose it was written November 16, 1818, and from which I must venture to take a single paragraph.

"My God!" he says,—"my God! I do most devoutly thank Thee. My prayer has reached Thee, and been accepted. My dear friend, join with me in thanking Him in whom I put my trust,—to whom alone I look, or to whom I have looked, for a smile. He has blessed me. I have been heard by man, and have not been forsaken by God. Though I have not done perfectly, I have done as well as I could rationally wish, and better than my most sanguine hopes. At Brattle Square this morning, and at the New South (late Mr. Thacher's) this afternoon. Lord! now let thy servant depart in peace; for thou hast lifted the cloud under which he has so long moved, and he may now die in thy light."

Can such a temper as this be misunderstood? Was he not a man fearing God in 1818,—forty-eight years ago?—or, rather, loving God with that perfect love which casteth out all fear?

But we need not stop here. After he had become a Spiritualist, that is, on the 5th of April, 1862, the evening before his seventy-seventh birthday, he wrote a poem of one hundred and sixty lines, entitled "Meditations of a Birthday Eve," a copy of which he sent me on the 10th of November following, upon the express condition that nobody but myself was to see it, until it should be all over with him. It must have been written without labor, as one would breathe a prayer upon a death-bed. The following extracts—I wish we had room for more—will show what were his feelings and what his aspirations at this time.

"Spirit, my spirit, hath each stage
That brought thee up from youth
To thy now venerable age
Seen thee in search of Truth?
"Hast thou in search of Truth been true,—
True to thyself and her,—
And been with many or with few
Her honest worshipper?
     *     *     *     *     *
"Spirit, thy race is nearly run;
Say, hast thou run it well?
Thy work on earth is almost done;
How done, no man can tell.
"Spirit, toil on! thy house, that stands
Seventy years old and seven,
Will fall; but one 'not made with hands'
Awaiteth thee in heaven.
"Washington, D.C., 5 April, 1862."

With the foregoing came another poem, "In Commemoration of a Silver Wedding," October 2, 1863, full of tenderness and pleasantry,—the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. J. Pierpont Lord.

And on his eighty-first birthday, called by a strange mistake his eightieth, there was another celebration, yet more solemn and affecting, where the greetings and congratulations of his brother-poets, all over the land, were sent to him and published in the newspapers of the day.

Among his later poems, the "E Pluribus Unum" appears to me most worthy of his reputation, and least like the doings of his early manhood.

And now, though we had little reason to look for the prolongation of such a life;—a continued miracle from the age of thirty or thirty-five, after which he built himself up anew, by living as well in cold water as in hot, and luxuriating in cold baths, and working hard,—harder, perhaps, on the whole, at downright drudgery, than any other man of his age, like Rousseau in copying music, [Pg 665]as a relief from writing poetry,—yet when death happens we are all taken by surprise, just as if we thought God had overlooked his aged servant, or made him an exception to the great, inflexible law of our being; or as if a whisper had reached us, saying, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?"

But enough; a volume of such memoranda would be far short of what such a man deserves when he is finally translated. Faithful among the faithless, may we not hope that his grandeur and strength of purpose, and downright, fearless honesty, will have their appropriate reward, both here and hereafter?


[1] And here I may as well mention a curious incident. When I wrote my poem, I had never seen Niagara; but we agreed to go together on a pilgrimage at our earliest convenience. One thing and another happened, until I had been abroad and returned, without our seeing it together. At last, being about to go to the South of Europe, I made a new arrangement with him; but just as we—my wife and I—were ready to go, he was called away to consecrate some church in the West, and we started on a journey of two thousand miles through portions of our country I had never seen, and was ashamed to go abroad again without seeing. On my way back we stopped in Buffalo, and as I stood in the piazza I saw a little card on one of the pillars saying that the Rev. Mr. Pierpont would preach in the evening somewhere. I found him, and we went together at last, and saw Niagara together, as we had agreed to do forty years before. And that night the heavens rained fire upon us, and the great November star-shooting occurred, and our landlord, being no poet, was unwilling to disturb us, so that we missed the show altogether.


If I could put my woods in song,
And tell what's there enjoyed,
All men would to my gardens throng,
And leave the cities void.
In my plot no tulips blow,
Snow-loving pines and oaks instead,
And rank the savage maples grow
From spring's faint flush to autumn red.
My garden is a forest-ledge,
Which older forests bound;
The banks slope down to the blue lake-edge,
Then plunge in depths profound.
Here once the Deluge ploughed,
Laid the terraces, one by one;
Ebbing later whence it flowed,
They bleach and dry in the sun.
The sowers made haste to depart,
The wind and the birds which sowed it;
Not for fame, nor by rules of art,
Planted these and tempests flowed it.
Waters that wash my garden-side
Play not in Nature's lawful web,
They heed not moon or solar tide,—
Five years elapse from flood to ebb.
Hither hasted, in old time, Jove,
And every god,—none did refuse;
And be sure at last came Love,
And after Love, the Muse.
[Pg 666]Keen ears can catch a syllable,
As if one spake to another
In the hemlocks tall, untamable,
And what the whispering grasses smother.
Æolian harps in the pine
Ring with the song of the Fates;
Infant Bacchus in the vine,—
Far distant yet his chorus waits.
Canst thou copy in verse one chime
Of the wood-bell's peal and cry?
Write in a book the morning's prime,
Or match with words that tender sky?
Wonderful verse of the gods,
Of one import, of varied tone;
They chant the bliss of their abodes
To man imprisoned in his own.
Ever the words of the gods resound,
But the porches of man's ear
Seldom in this low life's round
Are unsealed that he may hear.
Wandering voices in the air,
And murmurs in the wold,
Speak what I cannot declare,
Yet cannot all withhold.
When the shadow fell on the lake,
The whirlwind in ripples wrote
Air-bells of fortune that shine and break,
And omens above thought.
But the meanings cleave to the lake,
Cannot be carried in book or urn;
Go thy ways now, come later back,
On waves and hedges still they burn.
These the fates of men forecast,
Of better men than live to-day;
If who can read them comes at last,
He will spell in the sculpture, "Stay."

[Pg 667]


Off the southeastern extremity of Asia, and separated from it by the Chinese Sea, lies a cluster of great islands, comprising that portion of Oceanica commonly called Malaysia. Of these islands Borneo is the most extensive, and, if you call Australia a continent, it is by far the largest island in the world. Situated on the equator, stretching from 7° of north to 4° of south latitude, and from 108° to 119° of east longitude, its extreme length is 800 miles, its breadth 700, and it contains 320,000 square miles,—an area seven times as great as that of the populous State of New York.

But though its size and importance are so great, though it was discovered by the Portuguese as early as 1518, though several European nations have at various times had settlements on its coasts, though it is rich in all the products of a tropical clime, and in base and precious metals, diamonds and stones, and though its climate, contrary to what might have been expected, is in many localities salubrious even to an American or European constitution, yet until recently almost nothing was known by the world of its surface, its products, or its inhabitants.

The causes of this ignorance are obvious. The very shape of Borneo is unfavorable to discovery. A lumpish mass, like Africa and Australia, the ocean has nowhere pierced it with those deep bays and gulfs in which commerce delights to find a shelter and a home. And though it has navigable rivers, their course is through the almost impenetrable verdure of the tropics, and they reach the sea amid unwholesome jungles. The coast, moreover, is in most places marshy and unhealthy, for the distance of twenty or thirty miles inland; while the interior is filled with vast forests and great mountain ranges, almost trackless to any but native feet. Besides, the absence of all just and stable government has reduced society to a state of chaos. And to all this must be added piracy, from time immemorial sweeping the sea and ravaging the land. Under such circumstances, if there were little opportunity for commerce, there was none for scientific investigations; and only by the enterprises of commerce or the researches of science do we know of new and distant countries.

Many races inhabit Borneo; but the Malays and Sea and Land Dyaks greatly preponderate. The Malays, who came from continental Asia, are the conquering and governing race. In their native condition they are indolent, treacherous, and given to piracy. The very name Malay has come to stand for cruelty and revenge. But well governed, they prove to be much like other people, susceptible to kindness, capable of affection, amiable, fond to excess of their children, and courteous to strangers. The Sea Dyaks are piratical tribes, dwelling on the coasts or borders of rivers, and subsisting by rapine and violence. The Land Dyaks are the descendants of the primitive inhabitants. They are a mild, industrious race, and remarkably honest. One hideous custom, that of preserving the heads of their fallen enemies as ghastly tokens of victory, has invested the name of Dyak with a reputation of cruelty which is not deserved. This singular practice, originating, it is said, in a superstitious desire to propitiate the Evil Spirit by bloody offerings, has in process of time become connected with all their ideas of manly prowess. The young girl receives with proud satisfaction from her lover the gift of a gory head, as the noblest proof both of his affection and his heroism. This custom is woven, too, into the early traditions of the race. The Sakarrans tell us that their first mother, who dwells now in [Pg 668]heaven near the evening star, asked of her wooer a worthy gift; and that when he presented her a deer she rejected it with contempt; when he offered her a mias, the great orang-outang of Borneo, she turned her back upon it; but when in desperation he went out and slew a man, brought back his head, and threw it at her feet, she smiled upon him, and said that was indeed a gift worthy of her. This legend shows, at any rate, how fixed is this habit, not alone in the passions of the people, but also in their traditional regard. Yet, strange as it may seem, they are an attractive race. A missionary's wife who has known them well declares that they are gentle and kindly, simple as children, disposed to love and reverence all who are wiser and more civilized than themselves. Ida Pfeiffer concludes that the Dyaks pleased her best, not only among the races of Borneo, but among all the races of the earth with which she has come in contact. And a cultivated Englishman, with wealth and social position at command, has been so attracted to them, that he has lavished both his fortune and his best years in the work of their elevation. The social condition of the Dyaks has been sufficiently wretched. Subjected to the Malays, they have been forced to work in the mines without pay, while they were liable at any moment to be robbed of their homes, and even of their wives and children. "We do not live like men," said one of them, with great pathos. "We are like monkeys, hunted from place to place. We have no houses, and we dare not light a fire lest the smoke draw our enemies upon us."

Running along the whole northern coast of Borneo, eight hundred miles, and inland perhaps two hundred, is found Borneo Proper, one of the three great Mohammedan kingdoms into which the island was divided as early as the sixteenth century. This state is governed, or rather misgoverned, by a sultan, and, under him, by rajahs and pangerans,—officials who give to the commands of their nominal superior but a scanty obedience. For two centuries Borneo Proper has been steadily settling into anarchy and barbarism. With a government both feeble and despotic, it was torn by intestine wars, crushed within by oppression and ravaged without by piracy, until commerce and agriculture, the twin pillars of the state, were equally threatened, and not one element of ruin seemed to be wanting. What evidence of decay could be more striking than the simple fact that Bruni, its capital, which in the sixteenth century was crowded with a population of more than two hundred thousand souls, had in 1840 scarcely fourteen thousand inhabitants?

To one corner of this wasting empire came, twenty-five years ago, a young Englishman. Simply a gentleman, he had no governmental alliances to help him, and no advantages of any sort for founding empire, except such as sprang from the possession of a sagacious mind, an undaunted temper, and a heart thoroughly in sympathy with the oppressed. Alone he has built up a flourishing state, introducing commercial activity and the habits of civilized life where only oppression and misery were, and has achieved an enterprise which seems to belong rather to the days of chivalry than to a plodding, utilitarian age,—an enterprise which, in romance and success, but not in carnage, calls to mind the deeds of the great Spanish captains in the New World.

James Brooke, the second and only surviving son of Thomas Brooke, a gentleman who had acquired a fortune in the service of the East India Company, was born in India, April 29, 1803. At an early age he entered the employ of the same company to whose interests his father had given his best days. In 1826, as a cadet, he accompanied the British army to the Burmese war, was dangerously wounded, received a furlough, and came to England. To restore his health and gratify his curiosity he spent the year 1827 in travelling [Pg 669]on the Continent. His furlough having nearly expired, he embarked for India, but was wrecked on the voyage, and could not report for duty in proper season. This was one of those apparently fortuitous circumstances which so often change the whole aspect of a man's life. At any rate, it was the turning-point in Mr. Brooke's career. Finding that his misfortune had cost him his position, and that he could not recover it without tedious formalities, he left the service. Uncontrolled master of himself, and endowed with sagacity and courage of no ordinary stamp, he was ready for any undertaking which his adventurous spirit or his love of research might dictate. In fact, it was during this interval of leisure that he embarked for China, and on his passage saw for the first time the Eastern Archipelago. He was painfully interested in the condition of Borneo and Celebes, those great islands, sinking apparently into hopeless decay. His sympathies were awakened by the sufferings of the helpless natives, and his indignation was aroused by the outrages of an unbridled piracy. His feelings can be best gathered from his own language. "These unhappy countries afford a striking proof how the fairest and richest lands under the sun may become degraded by a continuous course of oppression and misrule. Whilst extravagant dreams of the progressive advancement of the human race are entertained, a large tract of the globe has been gradually relapsing into barbarism. Whilst the folly of fashion requires an acquaintance with the deserts of Africa, and a most ardent thirst for a knowledge of the customs of Timbuctoo,—whilst the trumpet tongue of many an orator excites thousands to the rational and charitable object of converting the Jews or of reclaiming the Gypsies,—not a single prospectus is spread abroad, not a single voice is raised in Exeter Hall, to relieve the darkness of this paganism and the horrors of this slave-trade. Under these circumstances I have considered that individual exertions may be usefully applied to rouse the zeal of slumbering philanthropy."

The feelings thus awakened were not of a transient character. His dreams henceforth were to visit these islands, see them for himself, study their natural history, understand their social condition, and ascertain what avenues could be opened for trade, and what steps taken to redeem the oppressed native races.

In 1835 the death of his father, leaving him master of an independent fortune, enabled him to realize his dreams. He was a member of the Royal Yacht Club, as well as owner and commander of a yacht,—a position which admitted him in foreign ports to all the privileges of an English naval officer. In this little vessel he resolved to undertake an adventurous voyage of discovery. He approached his enterprise with a wary forethought. "I was convinced," he says, "that it was necessary to form men to my purpose, and by a line of steady and kind conduct to raise up a personal regard for myself and an attachment to the vessel." He cruised three years in the Mediterranean, carefully selecting and training his crew. He studied thoroughly the whole subject of the Eastern Archipelago, and acquainted himself as perfectly as possible with the minutiæ of seamanship and with every useful art. And when his preparations were all complete, on the 16th of December, 1838, he set sail for Singapore, in the yacht Royalist, a vessel of one hundred and forty-two tons, manned by twenty men and officers, with an armament of six six-pounders and a full supply of small arms of all sorts. Such were the mighty resources wherewith he began an enterprise which has ended in raising him to the government of a petty kingdom, and to almost sovereign influence over the whole empire of Borneo Proper.

The reader has already had glimpses of the feelings which prompted this expedition. In a communication to the "Geographical Register" he more fully [Pg 670]unfolds his views; and from this and from his familiar letters it is not difficult to gain a clear idea of the character and motives of the man. That his ardent mind had been fired by a study of the career of his great predecessor, Stamford Raffles, is evident. That he was himself one of those energetic, restless natures, to which idleness or mere routine-work is the severest of penalties, is equally evident. He had, moreover, a large share of that kind of enthusiasm which the cool, sagacious men of this world call romance, and which delights to fasten on objects seemingly impossible. He was like the old knights, rejoicing most when the field of their devoir was distant and dangerous. Yet not altogether like them. He was rather a man of the twelfth century, disciplined and invigorated by the hard common-sense and sharp utilitarianism of the nineteenth century. And we must not forget that he honestly wished to benefit the native races. Every page, nay, almost every line, in his journals and letters, bears witness to his profound compassion for the despised and downtrodden Dyaks. Aside from this, when we remember that he was a genuine Englishman, proud of his native land and thoughtful always of her aggrandizement, we need be at no loss to understand his motives. He went forth to gratify a love of adventure, "to see something of the world and come back again," to extend a little the realms of scientific knowledge, to suggest, perhaps, some plans for the improvement of native character, and last, but not least, to learn whether there might not be opened new avenues for the extension of British trade and British power.

That the methods by which these objects were to be attained were not very well defined even to his own mind is clear. He himself said, "I cast myself upon the waters, like Southey's little book; but whether the world will know me after many days, is a question I cannot answer." And some years after, alluding to a charge of inconsistency, he said, "I did not embrace my position at once; and indeed the position itself altered very rapidly; and I am free to confess before the world that my views of duty and responsibility were not so high at first as they have since been." Without doubt his direct and primary purpose was investigation. He took with him men of some scientific knowledge, himself being no mean observer; and he proposed to prosecute, wherever opportunity occurred, researches into the geography, natural history, and commercial resources of these islands. If he had ulterior ends, as yet they existed in his mind as fascinating dreams, rather than well-defined plans.

After a tedious voyage of nearly six months, the Royalist reached Singapore, June 1, 1839. While Mr. Brooke was engaged in refitting his yacht, and anxiously revolving in his mind how he should obtain permission to penetrate into the neighboring kingdom of Borneo, he learned that Muda Hassim, uncle of the Sultan, and Rajah of Sarawak, the northwestern province of Borneo, had displayed great humanity towards a crew of shipwrecked Englishmen. On receiving this information he started at once for Sarawak, hoping to get some hold upon the Rajah, and by such help to pursue his researches. But the time of his visit was most unfortunate. The whole province was in a state of open rebellion; so that, while he was received courteously, and permitted to make some local surveys, nothing of importance could be accomplished. Baffled and wearied by delay, he sailed back to Singapore, and from thence to Celebes, where he remained several months, engaged in extensive explorations, and in collecting specimens to illustrate the natural history of that island.

Mr. Brooke returned from Celebes worn out and sick, and was obliged to remain at Singapore several months to recruit his strength. In August, 1840, he made a second visit to Sarawak, intending to tarry there a few days, and then proceed homeward by the way of[Pg 671] Manilla and China. "I have done fully as much as I promised the public," he writes. He found things in much the same state as when he left. No progress had been made in the suppression of the rebellion. Few lives indeed had been lost, but the most bloody war could hardly have produced worse results. The country was filled with combatants. Every straggler was cut off. Violence and rapine were the law. Trade and agriculture languished. A rich province was fast relapsing into a wilderness; and all its people were beginning to suffer alike for shelter and sustenance. As our hero was about to set sail, the Rajah opened his whole heart to him. His prospects were anything but flattering. He found himself unequal to the reduction of the rebels. He was surrounded by traitors. At the court of the Sultan, a hostile cabal, taking advantage of his ill-fortune, threatened his power and his life. In this strait, he besought his visitor to remain and give him aid, promising in event of success to confer upon him the government of the province. After a few days' reflection, Mr. Brooke, believing, as he declares, that the cause of the Sultan was just, believing also that what the whole people needed most was peace, and that peace would place him in a position to render them the greatest service, acceded to this request, without, however, be it observed, binding Muda Hassim to any precise stipulations concerning the government.

Many pages of his journal are devoted to an account of this war; and a most curious story it is of cowardice, bravado, and inefficiency. It was advance and retreat, boastful challenge and as boastful reply, marching and countermarching, day after day, and month after month. "Like the heroes of old, the adverse parties spoke to each other: 'We are coming, we are coming; lay aside your muskets and fight us with your swords'; and so the heroes ceased not to talk, but always forgot to fight";—the sum of all their achievements being to lay waste the country, to interrupt honest industry, and to put in peril the lives of the unoffending. Mr. Brooke soon tired of this farce. Gathering a motley force, consisting of Malays, Dyaks, Chinese, and his own crew, he prepared for an assault. Then, planting his cannon where they commanded the stronghold of the enemy, with a few well-directed volleys he brought its walls tumbling about their ears. The insurgents, driven to the open country, and altogether amazed by this specimen of Saxon energy, surrendered at discretion. At one blow a desolating war was ended.

Peace being restored, Mr. Brooke did not insist on the literal fulfilment of the terms which Muda Hassim had in his extremity been so ready to proffer. He chose to occupy a position of influence, rather than one of outward authority. A contract was entered into by which he became Resident of Sarawak. The conditions of the agreement were, that the Rajah on his part should repress piracy, protect legitimate commerce, and as far as possible remove from the Dyaks unjust burdens; while his ally, in return for these concessions, should open trade, sending a vessel to and fro between Singapore and Sarawak, exchanging foreign luxuries for native products, and more especially for antimony, of which article the Rajah had the monopoly. In fulfilment of his part of the treaty, Mr. Brooke proceeded to Singapore, purchased a schooner, loaded her with an assorted cargo, returned to Sarawak, and at the earnest request of Muda Hassim landed and distributed his goods.

But auspicious as was the commencement of this alliance, soon grave causes of complaint arose. On every point the deceitful Malay came short of his agreement. Having obtained valuable property, he showed no alacrity in paying for it; weeks and months passed without bringing him apparently any nearer to a pecuniary settlement. So far from repressing piracy, he encouraged [Pg 672]it; and a fleet of one hundred and twenty prahus, with his tacit consent, actually put to sea. When a crew of English seamen were enslaved and carried to Bruni, under the most frivolous pretexts he refused to intercede with the Sultan for these unfortunate men. And so this strange friendship cooled. It was no slight proof either of his courage or his humanity to despatch at this very time, as Mr. Brooke did, his yacht to Bruni, to attempt something in behalf of his enslaved countrymen, and to remain himself with only three men at Sarawak. The yacht came back, however, having effected nothing.

By this time the patience of the creditor was exhausted. Despoiled of his goods, finding that, despite his remonstrances, the Dyaks were cruelly oppressed, and that piracy was encouraged, he resolved to try the effect of threats. He repaired on board his yacht, loaded her guns with grape and canister, and brought her broadside to bear upon the Rajah's palace. Then taking a small, but well-armed guard, he sought an interview with Muda Hassim. The terror of that functionary was extreme. The native tribes openly sided with their English friend. The Chinese residents remained obstinately neutral. The Malays, between cowardice and treachery, afforded him no efficient support. To crown all, his resolute and incensed ally had only to wave his hand to bring down upon him swift destruction. "After this demonstration, things went cheerily to a conclusion." Muda Hassim, finding that his creditor was inflexible, and being unable or unwilling to pay for the goods which he had fraudulently obtained, offered in payment of all debts to surrender the government. The offer was accepted, the agreement drawn up, signed, sealed, guns fired and flags waved, and on September 24, 1841, Mr. Brooke became Rajah of Sarawak. In August of the following year the Sultan solemnly confirmed the agreement.

The territory thus strangely passing into the hands of a private English gentleman was a tract of country bordering upon the sea sixty miles, and extending inland from seventy to eighty miles. Situated at the northeastern extremity of Borneo, pierced by two small, but navigable rivers, its position is most favorable for commerce. Its soil is deep and rich, yielding under any proper culture large crops of all tropical products. Its forests are filled with trees fit for shipbuilding, and abound in that variety from which is obtained the gutta percha of commerce. The hills are rich in iron and tin of the best quality. The mountain streams wash down gold. In the beds of smaller rivers are found diamonds, in such profusion that most of the Malays wear them set in rings and other ornaments. From this single province comes nearly the whole supply of antimony in the world. "I do not believe," says a resident, "that in the same given space there can be found so great mineral and vegetable wealth in any land in the whole world."

With what sentiments the new Rajah entered upon his duties can be best understood by a perusal of his familiar letters. He writes to his mother: "Do not start when I say that I am going to settle in Borneo, that I am about to endeavor to plant there a mixed colony amid a wild but not unvirtuous race, and to become the pioneer of European knowledge and improvement. The diffusion of civilization, commerce, and religion through so vast an island as Borneo, I call a grand object,—so grand that self is quite lost when I consider it; and even failure would be much better than the non-attempt." "A few days ago I was up a high mountain and looked over the country. It is a prospect which I have rarely seen equalled; and sitting there, lazily smoking a cigar, I called into existence the coffee plantations, the sugar plantations, the nutmeg plantations, and pretty white villages and tiny steeples, and dreamed that I heard the buzz of life and the clang of industry amid the jungles, and that the China Colins whistled [Pg 673]as they went, for want of thought, as they homeward bent."

The first duty which claimed attention was the relief of the native Dyaks. A shrewd Dyak once defined the Malay government as "a plantain in the mouth and a thorn in the back." A plantain giving to their poor subjects a little to keep life in them; a thorn stripping them to the skin and piercing them to the bone. The description is pithy, and it is true. The exactions of the Malay chiefs were almost beyond belief. Seizing and monopolizing some article of prime necessity,—salt perhaps,—they would force the natives to buy at the rate of fifty dollars' worth of rice for a teacup of salt; until the wretched cultivator, who had raised a plentiful crop, was brought to the verge of starvation. They reserved to themselves the right of purchasing the articles which the Dyaks had to sell, and then affixed to those articles an arbitrary price, perhaps less than a five-hundredth of their real value. They would send a bar of iron two or three feet long, and having an intrinsic worth of a few cents, to the head mart of a tribe, demanding that his village should give for it a sum equal to five, ten, or twenty dollars. Another was sent in the same way, and another, and another, until the rapacity of the chiefs was satisfied, or the wretched natives had no more to give. Often, when the latter had been robbed of everything, the Malays would seize and sell their wives and children. It is recorded of one tribe, that there was not so much as one woman or child to be found in it. All had been swept off by these remorseless slave-hunters. Nor did their wrongs end here. If a Dyak killed a Malay "under any circumstances of aggression," he was put to death, often with every possible addition of torture. If he accidentally injured one of the ruling caste, he was fortunate to escape with the loss of half or two thirds of his little savings. On the other hand, a Malay might kill as many Dyaks as he pleased, and if perchance justice were a little sterner than usual, he might be fined a few cents or a few dollars. Volumes are contained in this one statement, that in the ten years from 1830 to 1840, the Dyaks in the province of Sarawak dwindled from 14,000 to 6,000 souls.

A blow was immediately struck at the root of this black oppression. As soon as the new government was fairly established, a few simple enactments were published. They declared that every man, Dyak as well as Malay, should enjoy unmolested all the gains of his toil; that all exactions of every name and nature should cease, and that only a small tax, evenly distributed, should be levied for the support of government; that all roads and rivers should be free to all; that all molestation of the Dyaks should be punished with severity. The proclamation which contains these laws concludes with exhorting all persons who are disposed to disturb the public peace to take flight speedily to some other country, where they can break with impunity the laws of God and man. These enactments were firmly executed, without fear and without partiality. Wonderful were the results! Internal violence ceased. The confidence of the natives was awakened. Industry and enterprise sprang up on every hand as by magic. Sarawak became a city of refuge. Sometimes as many as fifty fled thither in a day. In 1844, in the short space of two months, five hundred families took shelter in the province. In 1850, three thousand Chinese fled from Sambas to Sarawak. The Dyaks returned the good-will of their Rajah with love and reverence. During one of his tours in the interior, delegations from tribes numbering six thousand souls came to seek his protection. "We have heard," said they, in simple but touching language, "that a son of Europe has arrived, who is a friend of the Dyaks." When he visited the native hamlets, the women would throw themselves on the ground and clasp his feet, and the whole tribe would spend the night in joyful feasting and merriment. It is [Pg 674]soberly affirmed by a credible witness, that on one occasion messengers came fifteen days' journey from a distant province to see if there were such a phenomenon as Dyaks living in comfort.

Mr. Brooke soon found that all his efforts for internal reform must be in a comparative sense futile so long as piracy, that curse of Borneo, was permitted to ravage unchecked. "It is in a Malay's nature," says the Dutch proverb, "to rove on the seas in his prahu, as it is in that of the Arab to wander with his steed on the sands of the desert." No person who has not investigated the subject can appreciate how wide-spread and deep-seated this plague of piracy is. The mere statistics are appalling. It was estimated, in 1840, that one hundred thousand men made freebooting their trade. One single chief had under control seven hundred prahus. Whole tribes, whole groups of islands, almost whole races, despising even the semblance of honest industry, depended upon rapine for a livelihood. "It is difficult to catch fish, but it is easy to catch Borneans," said the Soloo pirates scornfully; and, acting upon that principle, they fitted out their fleets and planned their voyages with all the method of honest tradesmen.

This piracy was divided into two branches,—coastwise piracy and piracy on the broad seas. The Sea Dyaks built boats called bangkongs, sixty to a hundred feet long, narrow and sharp, propelled by thirty to fifty oars, and so swift that nothing but a steamer could overtake them. These freebooters were the terror of all honest laborers and tradesmen. Skulking along the coast, pushing up rivers and creeks, landing anywhere and every where without warning, they mercilessly destroyed the native villages and swept the inhabitants into captivity. Or else, impelling with the force of fifty men their snaky craft, which were swift as race-boats and noiseless as beasts of prey, they would surprise at dead of night some defenceless merchantman, overwhelm their victims with showers of spears, and with morning light a plundered boat, a few dead bodies, were the silent witnesses of their ferocity. On the other hand, the Illanum and Balanini tribes, infesting the islands to the northeast of Borneo, undertook far grander enterprises. Putting to sea, prepared for a long voyage, in fleets of two or three hundred prahus, propelled by wind and oars, armed with brass cannon, and manned by ten thousand bold buccaneers, they swept through the whole length of the Chinese Sea, and, turning the southernmost point of Borneo, penetrated the straits and sounds between Java and Celebes, never stopping in their ruthless course until they came face to face with the sturdy pirates of New Guinea, and returned, after a voyage of ten thousand miles and an absence of two years, laden with spoils and captives. How hapless was the fate of the poor Dyak! If he stayed at home, cultivating his fields, his Malay lord fleeced him to the skin. If, thinking to engage in gainful traffic, he hugged the shore with his little bark, the river-pirate snatched him up. If he stood out upon the broad waters, he could scarcely hope to escape the Northern hordes who swarmed in every sea.

Mr. Brooke's most terrible assailants were the Sakarran and Sarebus pirates, two tribes of freebooters whose seats of power were on the Sarebus and Batang Lupar rivers, two streams fifty or sixty miles east of Sarawak. These tribes were encouraged and secretly helped by his own Malay chiefs, and insolently defied his power, continuing their depredations, capturing every vessel which ventured out, and ravaging all the adjacent coasts. The strength of these confederacies was so great, that it was no unusual thing for them to muster a hundred war-boats; and they had built, on the banks of the rivers which they infested, strong forts at every point which commanded the channel. That the new Rajah was not able with his slender resources to [Pg 675]curb these sea-robbers is not surprising. The only wonder is, that he was able to protect his own capital from the assaults which they often threatened but never dared to attempt.

But efficient aid was at hand. In the summer of 1843 the British ship Dido anchored off the entrance of Sarawak River. She was commissioned to suppress piracy in and about the Chinese Sea. Her commander readily entered into the views of the English Rajah. A boat expedition against the strongholds of the Sarebus pirates was projected. Mr. Brooke assisted with seven hundred Dyaks. A curious incident occurred, showing how clearly the natives appreciated their dependence on their English friend. When he asked their chiefs if they would aid him, they besought him not to risk his life in so desperate an enterprise. But when he assured them that his purpose was fixed, that he should go, alone if necessary, they replied: "What is the use of our remaining behind? You die, we die; you live, we live. We will go too." The expedition was perfectly successful. Three fortified villages were stormed, many guns spiked, many boats destroyed, and their defenders driven to the jungles. This chastisement not sufficing, in the following year another expedition from the same vessel attacked the Sakarran pirates and inflicted upon them a punishment even more severe than that which had fallen to the lot of their Sarebus brethren. Six forts, one mounting fifty-six guns, scores of war-boats, and more than a thousand huts, were burned. These lessons, though sharp, did not permanently subdue.

The blow which broke the power of these confederacies was inflicted in 1849. News came to Sarawak that the pirates had put to sea, marking their course by fearful atrocities. At once Mr. Brooke applied to the English Admiral for assistance, and the steamer Nemesis was despatched to the scene of action. The Rajah joined her with eighteen war-boats, to which were afterwards added eleven hundred Dyaks, in their bangkongs. On the 31st of July, at night, they encountered the great war-fleet of the Sarebus and Sakarran pirates, numbering one hundred and fifty bangkongs, returning home laden with plunder. The pirates found the entrances of the river occupied by their enemies,—the English, Malay, and Dyak forces being placed in three detachments, while the Nemesis was fully prepared to assist whenever the attack should begin. "Then there was a dead silence, broken only by three strokes of a gong, which called the pirates to a council of war. A few minutes afterwards a fearful yell gave notice of their advance, and the fleet approached in two divisions. In the dead of the night there ensued a terrible scene. The pirates fought bravely, but they could not withstand the superior forces of their enemy. Their boats were upset by the paddles of the steamer. They were hemmed in on every side, and five hundred men were killed sword in hand, while twenty-five hundred escaped to the jungles, many of them to perish. The morning light showed a sad spectacle of ruin and defeat. Upwards of eighty prahus and bangkongs were captured, and many more destroyed." The English officers would have gladly saved life; but the pirates would take no quarter, and the prisoners were few. It was a striking fact, that one of the war-boats under Mr. Brooke was manned by some thirty Malays, every one of whom had lost during the year a near relative, killed by these same pirates. The confederacy has never risen from this defeat, and for years the tribes composing it have returned to the labors of peaceful life. Writing twelve months afterwards to a friend, Rajah Brooke says: "Pray keep the 31st of July apart for a special bumper, for during the last year not a single innocent life has been taken by these pirates, nor a single prahu fallen into their hands." Many [Pg 676]a victory, famous in story, has accomplished less.

The next year a fleet of sixty-four prahus, manned by northern pirates, and carrying 1224 guns, was destroyed by British gunboats in the Gulf of Tonquin. This was followed by an attack of the Spaniards upon the haunts of the Soloo pirates. A lull ensued. For three or four years almost nothing was heard of freebooting; but it was a deceitful calm, not a final cessation of the storm. The freebooting spirit was not taken out of the blood of the Malay. Now piracy is said to be on the increase again. Only three years since six Balanini pirates had the audacity to sail into Sarawak Bay and commence depredations along its coasts. But not one returned to tell the tale. The whole six were captured or destroyed, and their crews killed or taken prisoners. The only permanent remedy for the evil is just, settled, and efficient government, such as has been established at Sarawak, destroying not simply the fleets, but breaking up the piratical haunts, and with firm hand forcing their people back into the habits and pursuits of civilized life.

Being delivered for a time at least from these perils, the new Rajah was at liberty to devote himself to the welfare of his subjects. It is not possible, in a brief notice, even to hint at all the events and efforts of the next fifteen years of his government,—to say how he repressed the cupidity and lawlessness of the Malay chiefs; how he encouraged and protected the poor Dyaks; how he opened new channels for trade; how, from year to year, he resisted the fierce pirates, who, coming from the neighboring islands with strong fleets, sought to sweep the adjacent seas. Of course the prime need was to restore confidence, and to assure to all honest workers, of every race, the gains of their industry. The first question, indeed, of the Chinese emigrant was, "Will you protect us, or will our plantations, so soon as they are worth anything, be stripped by your chiefs?" It has been beautiful to behold order coming out of chaos, peace out of violence, whole districts redeemed from anarchy, simply by giving efficient support to the orderly part of the population. Another object of not less importance was to create in this people something of the feeling of nationality, and to make them comprehend that they were citizens, with the duties of citizens. It certainly was no easy task to awaken much of the sentiment of lofty patriotism in the minds of those whose only common memories were of lawless misrule and oppression. Every possible effort has been made in this direction. The struggle has been, not to plant an English colony, but to create a Bornean state. The laws are not English, nor built upon English precedents. They are simply the old Bornean statutes, made conformable to the principles of equity, and administered with just regard to the customs and traditions of the people. The offices of government are filled to the least possible degree with foreigners; while native chiefs and even reclaimed pirates are associated with them, and thus habituated to all the forms of a civilized state. Mr. Brooke, with a rare courage and wisdom, has always trusted for his safety to the good-will of his native subjects. He has never been sustained by mercenary bands. At a time when piratical violence was most threatening, when disorders were yet rife in his own state, and when his subjects but poorly appreciated his benevolent purposes towards them, his whole English force was twenty-four men. It is pleasant to add, that this confidence was not misplaced. A younger generation is now springing up, with larger views of life, and with a better appreciation of the workings and value of equitable government. To sum up all in a brief sentence, it may be said with truth that the administration has been marked by rare sagacity, firmness, and comprehensiveness of view, and that it has been crowned with success.

In 1845, Mr. Brooke came for the [Pg 677]first time into official relations with the British government, by accepting the office of confidential agent in Borneo. We have already alluded to his warm love of his native country. As early as 1841, he had expressed a willingness to sacrifice his large outlays, and to relinquish all his rights and interests to the crown, if a guaranty could be given that piracy would be checked and the native races protected in all their proper rights and privileges. He accepted gladly, therefore, a post which promised to increase his power to benefit his people, and entered upon its duties with vigor. Immediately upon his appointment, he was requested to make investigations as to the existence of a harbor fit for the shelter and victualling of ships bound from Hong-Kong to Singapore. He reported that Labuan, a small island north of Borneo, was in every way suitable; that it was about equidistant from the two parts; that it had a fine harbor, or rather roadstead; that it was healthy; that it abounded in coal of the best quality; that, finally, the Sultan stood pledged to convey it upon reasonable terms.

But before legal papers could be drawn, the whole policy of the court of Bruni had changed. The Sultan was a monarch with "the head of an idiot and the heart of a pirate." All his sympathies were with violence and robbery. Under the influence of others, he had agreed to use his power against piracy, and had even been brought to say, in fawning phrase, that "he wanted the English near to him." But he suddenly repented of his good purposes. In a fit of Oriental fickleness he caused Muda Hassim and all who favored the English alliance to be put to death, despatched a messenger secretly to administer poison to Mr. Brooke, and entered into even closer friendship than before with the piratical tribes. A confidential servant of Pangeran Budrudeen, the brother of Muda Hassim, with difficulty escaped, and fled to Sarawak. He related that his master had bravely resisted, but, overpowered by numbers and desperately wounded, had committed to his charge a ring, bidding him deliver it to Rajah Brooke as a dying memento, and to tell him that he died faithful to his pledges to the Queen; then, setting fire to a keg of powder, he blew himself with his family into the air.

These tidings filled Mr. Brooke with grief and indignation. Every passion of his fiery and energetic nature was aroused. He repaired on board the British fleet, which, upon receipt of this news, had put into Sarawak. Without delay the fleet sailed for Bruni. An immediate explanation was demanded of the Sultan. The reply was a volley from the forts which commanded the river. Without ceremony the ships returned the fire. In a brief time these strongholds were stormed, and Bruni itself was at the mercy of the enemy. The Sultan fled to the swamps. Sailing out of Borneo River, the fleet swept along the whole northern coast, taking in rapid succession the forts of the Illanum pirates who had instigated the murders at Bruni, and inflicting upon them a signal chastisement.

By this time the Sultan wearied of jungles and sighed for his palace. He wrote a cringing letter, promising amendment, agreeing to ratify all his former engagements, and as a sign of his true penitence was ready even to pay royal honors to the memory of the men whom he had slain. There was no further difficulty in respect to the cession of Labuan, and it was taken possession of December 24, 1846,—Mr. Brooke being appointed governor. It is said that the possession of this island goes far to make England mistress of the Chinese Sea,—a statement easily to be credited by any one conversant with English policy. At any rate, he who observes how, at apparently insignificant stations,—on little islands, on a marshy peninsula,—mere dots on the map,—England has established her commercial depots,—at Hong-Kong in the north, at Labuan in the centre, and at Singapore in the south,—will gain new respect for the sagacity which in the councils of the mother country always [Pg 678]lurks behind the red-tapism of which we hear so much.

After an absence of nine years, Rajah Brooke revisited England in the year 1847. He was the hero of the hour. Every honor was showered upon him. He was invited to visit Windsor Castle, received the freedom of London, and then or soon after was knighted. Owing to his representations of the readiness of the Dyaks to receive instruction, a meeting was held in London, at which funds were obtained to build a church and school-houses. Two missionaries and their families were sent to Sarawak. The buildings were erected long since, and these Christian means are in full activity. Brooke's language upon the proper qualifications of a missionary exhibits in a striking light his straightforward resolution and enlarged liberality. "Above all things, I beg of you to save us from such a one as some of the committee desire to see at Sarawak. Zealots, and intolerants, and enthusiasts, who begin the task of tuition by a torrent of abuse against all that their pupils hold sacred, shall not come to Sarawak. Whilst our endeavors to convert the natives are conducted with charity, I am a warm friend of the mission. But whenever there is a departure from the only visible means God has placed at our disposal,—time, reason, patience,—and the Christian faith is to be heralded in its introduction by disturbances and heart-burnings and bloodshed, I want it not; and you are quite at liberty to say, that I would rather that the mission were withdrawn."

About the year 1850, Mr. Brooke became the object of a virulent attack, continued several years, both in the public prints and in Parliament. Prompted originally by the petty malice of those whose tool for the advancement of their personal schemes he had refused to become, this attack was taken up by a few persons of influence, who seem to have misunderstood utterly both his character and work. He has been termed a mere adventurer. He has been accused of avarice, of wringing from the natives great sums, and receiving from England large salaries as Consul at Borneo and as Governor of Labuan. It has been asserted that he has been guilty of wholesale slaughter of the innocent, interfering with tribal wars under the pretence of extirpating piracy. None of these charges have been sustained. On the contrary, it has been conclusively shown that he has sunk more than £20,000 of his private fortune in this enterprise. The piracy, so mildly called intertribal war, is undoubtedly robbery, both on the sea and on the land, and conducted with all fitting accompaniments of cruelty and bloodshed. This persecution has not been borne by its object with much patience, and, indeed, like Rob Roy's Highlander, "he does not seem to be famous for that gude gift." "I am no tame lion to be cowed by a pack of hounds. These intertribal wars are such as the wolf wages against the lamb. I should like to ask the most peaceable man in England what he would do if a horde of bandits frequently burst forth from Brest and Cherbourg, ravaging the shores of the Channel, and carrying women and children into captivity, with the heads of their decapitated husbands and fathers? Would he preach? Would he preach when he saw his daughter dishonored and his son murdered? And then would he proclaim his shame and cowardice among men? What do some gentlemen expect? They particularly desire to suppress piracy. Do they really imagine that piracy is to be suppressed by argument and preaching?"

Mr. Brooke's enemies have three times pressed their accusations before the House of Commons, and three times have been defeated by overwhelming majorities,—the last vote being 230 to 19. Finally, to end the controversy, a royal commission was appointed to visit the scene of these transactions, and upon the spot to decide their merits. The report of [Pg 679]this commission has not reached us, if indeed it has ever been made public; but the practical results of it are certain. Mr. Brooke has severed his official connection with the British government by a resignation of the offices which he held under it; while he retains his sovereignty at Sarawak, with the undiminished love of his subjects and an unimpaired influence over the native tribes. There seems to be no doubt that the intelligent public opinion of England fully sustains him. And it is safe to predict that with that opinion the final verdict of history will coincide. That, placed in circumstances of great difficulty, he may have taken steps not to be squared with the nicest morality, is possible; for that is what must be said of every man who has borne the burden of great public responsibility. Neither is it surprising that a man of such boldness of speech and such almost Cromwellian vigor in action should have enemies; that is a necessity. But that he has been a true and sagacious friend of the natives, and that his career has been for the increase of human happiness, are facts as certain as any can be.

His best defence is his works. In 1842, when he took the government of Sarawak, it was a feeble province, torn by dissension, crushed by slavery, and ravaged by lawless violence. Now it is a peaceful, prosperous commonwealth. In 1842, its capital, Kuching, was a wretched village, whose houses were miserable mud huts or tents of leaves, and containing but fifteen hundred inhabitants. Now it numbers fifteen thousand,—an increase almost rivalling that of our Western cities. In 1842, no boat put to sea without terror. As a result, the amount of trade was contemptible. Now Sarawak has enterprising native merchants, owning vessels of two hundred tons, having regular transactions with Singapore and all the neighboring ports. This trade, as early as 1853, employed twenty-five thousand tons of shipping, and the exports for the year were valued at more than a million of dollars. In 1842, deaths by violence were of almost daily occurrence. Twelve years later, a resident could boast that for three years only one person had lost his life by other than natural causes. How would American cities appear in comparison with this poor Dyak and heathen metropolis? Well does Rajah Brooke proudly ask, "Could such success spring from a narrow and sordid policy?" Mrs. McDougall, the missionary's wife, says: "We have now a beautiful church at Sarawak, and the bell calls us there to worship every morning at six, and at five every evening. Neither is there anything in this quiet, happy place to prevent our thus living in God's presence."

Mrs. McDougall adds a story which shows the estimation in which the natives hold their Rajah. "Pa Jenna paid me a visit at Sarawak. The Rajah was then in England. But Pa Jenna, coming into my sitting-room, immediately espied his picture hanging against the wall. I was much struck with the expression of respect which both the face and attitude of this untutored savage assumed as he stood before the picture. He raised his handkerchief from his head, and, saluting the picture with a bow, such as a Roman Catholic would make to his patron saint's altar, whispered to himself, 'Our great Rajah.'" And this man was a reclaimed pirate.

This reverential love of the natives is the one thing which does not admit of a doubt. The proofs are constant and irresistible. Some years since a lady with a few attendants was pushing her boat up a Bornean river, many leagues away from Sarawak, when she encountered a wild Dyak tribe on a warlike expedition. The sight of more than a hundred half-naked savages, crowning a little knoll which jutted into the river a half-dozen rods in advance of her boat, dancing frantically like maniacs, brandishing their long knives, and yelling all the while like demons, was not cheering. Yet at the sight of the Sarawak flag raised at the bow of the boat, every demonstration of hostility ceased. She was overpowered [Pg 680]by their noisy welcome, and received from them the kindest attention. A dozen years ago, at the very time that the accusations of cruelty and wholesale slaughter of innocent people were most recklessly made, a party of Englishmen, and among them the adopted son of the Rajah, went on an exploring expedition to the extreme northeast corner of Borneo, more than six hundred miles from Sarawak. While they were seated one evening around their fire, the whole air resounded with the cries, "Tuan Brooke! Tuan Brooke!" and presently the natives drew near and expressed their joy at seeing a son of the great Rajah, and wondering that he who had so blessed the southern Dyaks did not extend his protection to their northern brethren. One anecdote more. During the Chinese insurrection, of which we shall soon speak, a Malay chief, fighting desperately against the insurgents, was mortally wounded, only lingering long enough to be assured of the Rajah's victory, and to exclaim with his dying breath, "I would rather be in hell with the English, than in heaven with my own countrymen."

The loyalty of the native population was thoroughly tested in the year 1857. It was the time of the second British war against China. Now the Chinese are in one sense the most cosmopolitan of races. Wherever bread is to be won, or gold amassed, there they go, thus becoming scattered all through Southeastern Asia and the adjoining islands. In one aspect they are a great blessing. They are a most laborious and thrifty race, of almost incalculable benefit in the development of the material resources of a country. But in some respects they are also an element of danger. They never identify themselves with the country in which they dwell. They simply come to get a living out of it. They band themselves in secret societies or other exclusive organizations, and seem to get no real love for the land which gives them bread, or the people among whom they live. Under a peaceful rule, this race had greatly multiplied at Sarawak. Some branches of industry had indeed almost fallen into their hands. Especially in all mining operations was their help a positive necessity. For the Dyak, though industrious enough on his little plantation, will not work, except on compulsion, in the mines. These places are bitter to him with the memory of forced labor and unrequited misery. Besides, he believes that the bowels of the earth are filled with demons, and no amount of pay gives him courage to face these. As a result, the conduct of the mines was left to the Chinese, and they were unwisely permitted to work them in large companies of several hundred, under their own overseers. This gave them the advantages of a compact organization: to a dangerous degree they became a state within the state.

When the war in China broke out, the Chinese residents at Sarawak, sympathizing with their countrymen, were naturally greatly excited; and when tidings came that the English fleet had been repulsed from before the Canton forts, they were emboldened to take the desperate step of attempting to put to death or to drive out of the country Rajah Brooke and the rest of the English people, that they themselves might take possession of it. About dusk on a February night, six hundred of them gathered under their chiefs, armed themselves, went on board cargo-boats, and began to float down the river towards the capital. At midnight they attacked the Rajah's house. Its inmates were forced to flee to the jungles. The Rajah rose from a sick-bed, ran to the banks of the stream, dove under one of the Chinese boats, swam the river, and took refuge with the Malays. Several of his countrymen were murdered. His own house, filled with the priceless collections of a lifetime, together with a costly library, was burned.

It was a gloomy morning which succeeded the night of this catastrophe. Though he did not doubt for a moment [Pg 681]the ultimate suppression of the rebellion, what ruin might not be wrought in the few days or weeks which should elapse before that event! And where, now that he had been driven from his capital, he should find a base of operations to which he might gather the scattered native forces, was the perplexing question of the hour,—when, joyful sight, he beheld a merchant steamer sailing up the river! He hailed her, went on board, and with a sufficient force steamed up to Sarawak. With his appearance the last vestige of hope for the insurrection disappeared.

Meanwhile stirring events had taken place. At first the natives were stunned. They were roused at dead of night, to find the Chinese in possession of the town, their Rajah's house in flames, the Rajah missing, while the rumor was that he had been killed. For a time they wandered about listlessly, vacantly staring each other in the face, and it seemed as though they were about to submit without a struggle. In the midst of this gloom and uncertainty, up spoke a Malay trader, whose veins, despite his peaceful occupation, were full of the old pirate blood: "Are we going to submit to be governed by these Chinese, or are we going to be faithful to our Rajah? I am no talker, but I will never be governed by any but him, and to-night I commence war to the knife with his enemies." This broke the spell. Both Malays and Dyaks, in city and country alike, rose en masse, and after a severe fight, prolonged till the reappearance of Mr. Brooke, drove the Chinese to the forests, and pursued them with unrelenting fury. Many of the insurgents perished by the sword. Many more wandered about till they died of starvation. Some threw themselves down in their tracks, expiring from fatigue and utter wretchedness. Some hung themselves to escape their misery. In despair and exasperation, they even turned their arms against each other. Of the six hundred who made the original attack, sixty escaped. Of the four thousand who composed the Chinese population, a forlorn and wearied remnant of two thousand took refuge in the Dutch part of the island. This lamentable destruction was the result neither of the order nor the permission of the Rajah. It was accomplished by the unreasoning fury of an outraged people. In a few days the formidable insurrection was ended. The places of the insurgents were filled as rapidly as they had been vacated. Scarcely a trace was left of the ravages of the rebellion; and it accomplished nothing, save to convince all doubters that the government of the province rested, as all stable government must rest, on the good-will of the subject.

At the height of the insurrection a striking incident occurred. While their brethren were being hurled in utter confusion across the Dutch borders, several hundred Chinese fled from those very Dutch territories and sought refuge in Sarawak. Though harassed by care, the Rajah did not neglect their appeal, but sent trustworthy men, who piloted them safely through the incensed Dyaks, who on their part by no means appreciated the virtue of such a step, but thought rather that every man "who wore a tail" ought to be put to death, though they bowed to the better judgment of their chief.

The latest accounts represent the province as continuing in a state of unabated prosperity. Its bounds, by more recent cessions, have been so largely increased, that its shore line is now three hundred miles long, and the whole population of the state two hundred and fifty thousand. The haunts of the Sarebus and Sakarran pirates are included in the new limits; and these once-dreaded freebooters have learned the habits of honest industry. Indeed, during the days of the insurrection the state found no more faithful or courageous defenders than they, although their old corsair blood was visible in the relentless tenacity with which they tracked the flying foe. Sir James Brooke, with increasing years, has retired somewhat from the active care of [Pg 682]the government, leaving the conduct of affairs very much to his nephew, Captain Brooke, whom he has designated as his heir and successor, and who is represented as being also heir in a large degree to his uncle's principles, courage, and sagacity.

Rajah Brooke sought persistently for many years to give perpetuity to his life's work by placing Sarawak under British protection. He made repeated offers to surrender to the Queen all right and title which he had acquired, on any terms which would secure the welfare of the natives. But these offers have been definitely rejected; the seeming protection which Sarawak enjoyed through the position of its ruler as Governor of Labuan has been withdrawn, and the little state left to work out unaided its destiny. What shall be the final fate of this interesting experiment, whether there shall arise successors to the founder wise enough to maintain the government so bravely established, or whether the infant state shall perish with the man who called it into existence, and become only a memory, it is impossible to foretell; but, living or dead, its annals will always be a noble monument to him whose force of character and undaunted persistency created it.

The earlier portraits we have of Rajah Brooke depict him as a man of a peculiarly frank, open, and pleasing exterior, yet with a countenance marked by intelligence, thought, and energy; but underneath all a certain dreaminess of expression, found often in the faces of those born for adventure and to seek for the enterprise of their age fresh fields, new El Dorados hidden in strange lands and unfamiliar seas.

The later portraits give us a face, plain, sagacious, yet full of an expression of kindly benevolence. The exigencies of a busy life have transformed romance into reality and common-sense; the adventurer and knight-errant has but obeyed the law of his age, and become a noble example of the power of the Anglo-Saxon mind to organize in the face of adverse circumstances a state, and to construct out of most unpromising elements the good fabric of orderly social life.



March, 1845.—Nature sometimes displays a little tenderness for our vanity, but is never careful for our pride. She is willing that we should look foolish in the eyes of others, but keeps our little nonsensicalnesses from ourselves.

Perhaps there are higher intelligences that look upon all the manifestations of the human mind—metaphysics, ethics, histories, politics, poems, stories, etc., etc.—with the same interest that we look upon flowers, or any other humble production of nature,—finding a beauty and fitness even in the poorest of them, which we cannot see in the best.

A child or a young girl so sweet and beautiful, that God made new flowers on purpose for her.

May 4.—On the river-side, by the Promontory of Columbines. The river here makes a bend, nearly at a right angle. On the opposite side, a high bank descends precipitately to the water; a few apple-trees are scattered along the declivity. A small cottage, [Pg 683]with a barn, peeps over the top of the bank; and at its foot, with their roots in the water, is a picturesque clump of several maple-trees, their trunks all in a cluster, and their tops forming a united mass of new fast-budding foliage. At the foot of this clump of trees lies a boat, half in the water, half drawn up on the bank. A tract of flags and water-weeds extends along the base of the bank, outside of which, at a late period, will grow the flat, broad leaves of the yellow water-lily, and the pond-lily. A southwestern breeze is ruffling the river, and drives the little wavelets in the same direction as the current. Most of the course of the river in this vicinity is through marshy and meadowy ground, as yet scarcely redeemed from the spring-time overflow, and which at all seasons is plashy and unfit for walking. At my feet the water overbrims the shore, and kisses the new green grass, which sprouts even beneath it.

The Promontory of Columbines rises rugged and rocky from amidst surrounding lowlands, (in a field next to that where the monument is erected, near the Old Manse,) and it forms the forth-putting angle at the bend of the river. In earlier spring the river embraces it all round, and converts it into an island. Rocks, with flakes of dry moss covering them, peep out everywhere; and abundant columbines grow in the interstices of these rocks, and wherever else the soil is scanty and difficult enough to suit their fancy,—avoiding the smoother and better sites, which they might just as well have chosen, close at hand. They are earlier on this spot than anywhere else, and are therefore doubly valuable, though not nearly so large, nor of so rich a scarlet and gold, as some that we shall gather from the eastern slope of a hill, two or three weeks hence. The promontory is exposed to all winds, and there seems no reason why it should produce the earliest flowers, unless that this is a peculiar race of columbines, which has the precious gift of earlier birth assigned to them in lieu of rich beauty. This is the first day of the present spring that I have found any quite blown; but last year, I believe, they came considerably earlier. Here and there appeared a blue violet, nestling close to the ground, pretty, but inconvenient to gather and carry home, on account of its short stalk. Houstonias are scattered about by handfuls. Anemones have been in bloom for several days on the edge of the woods, but none ever grow on the Promontory of Columbines.

The grass is a glad green in spots; but this verdure is very partial, and over the general extent the old, withered stalks of last year's grass are found to predominate. The verdure appears rich, between the beholder and the sun; in the opposite direction, it is much less so. Old mullein-stalks rise tall and desolate, and cling tenaciously to the soil when we try to uproot them. The promontory is broken into two or three heads. Its only shadow is from a moderately-sized elm, which, from year to year, has flung down its dead branches, all within its circumference, where they lie in various stages of decay. There are likewise rotten and charred stumps of several other trees.

The fence of our avenue is covered with moss on the side fronting towards the north, while the opposite side is quite free from it,—the reason being, that there is never any sunshine on the north side to dry the moisture caused by rains from the northeast. The moss is very luxuriant, sprouting from the half-decayed wood, and clinging to it as if partially incorporated therewith.

Towards the dimness of evening a half-length figure appearing at a window,—the blackness of the background, and the light upon the face, cause it to appear like a Rembrandt picture.

On the top of Wachusett, butterflies, large and splendid; also bees in considerable numbers, sucking honey from the alpine flowers. There is a [Pg 684]certain flower, a species of Potentilla, I think, which is found on mountains at a certain elevation, and inhabits a belt, being found neither above nor below it. On the highest top of Wachusett there is a circular foundation, built evidently with great labor, of large, rough stones, and rising perhaps fifteen feet. On this basis formerly rose a wooden tower, the fragments of which, a few of the timbers, now lie scattered about. The immediate summit of the mountain is nearly bare and rocky, although interspersed with bushes; but at a very short distance below there are trees, though slender, forming a tangled confusion, and among them grows the wild honeysuckle pretty abundantly, which was in bloom when we were there (Sunday, June 17th). A flight of rude stone steps ascends the circular stone foundation of the round tower. By the by, it cannot be more than ten feet high, at the utmost, instead of fifteen.

The prospect from the top of Wachusett is the finest that I have seen,—the elevation being not so great as to snatch the beholder from all sympathy with earth. The roads that wind along at the foot of the mountain are discernible; and the villages, lying separate and unconscious of one another, each with their little knot of peculiar interests, but all gathered into one category by the observer above them. White spires, and the white glimmer of hamlets, perhaps a dozen miles off. The gleam of lakes afar, giving life to the whole landscape. Much wood, shagging hills and plains. On the west, a hill-country, swelling like waves, with these villages sometimes discovered among them. On the east it looks dim and blue, and affects the beholder like the sea, as the eye stretches far away. On the north (?) appears Monadnock, in his whole person, discernible from the feet upwards, rising boldly and tangibly to the sense, so that you have the figure wholly before you, fair and blue, but not dim and cloudlike.

On the road from Princeton to Fitchburg we passed fields which were entirely covered with the mountain-laurel in full bloom,—as splendid a spectacle, in its way, as could be imagined. Princeton is a little town, lying on a high ridge, exposed to all the stirrings of the upper air, and with a prospect of a score of miles round about. The great family of this place is that of the Boylstons, who own Wachusett, and have a mansion, with good pretensions to architecture, in Princeton.

Notables: Old Gregory, the dweller of the mountain-side; his high-spirited wife; the son, speaking gruffly from behind the scenes, in answer to his father's inquiries as to the expediency of lodging us. The brisk little landlord at Princeton, recently married, intelligent, honest, lively, agreeable; his wife, with her young-ladyish manners still about her; the second class of annuals, and other popular literature, in the parlors of the house; colored engraving of the explosion of the Princeton's gun, with the principal characters in that scene, designated by name; also Death of Napoleon, &c. A young Mr. Boylston boarding at the inn, and driving out in a beautiful, city-built phaeton, of exquisite lightness. We met him and a lady in the phaeton, and two other ladies on horseback, in a narrow path, densely wooded, on the ascent of a hill. It was quite romantic. Likewise old Mr. Boylston, frequenting the tavern, coming in after church, and smoking a cigar,... entering into conversation with strangers about the ascent of the mountain. The tailor of the place, with his queer advertisement pasted on the wall of the barroom, comprising certificates from tailors in New York City, and various recommendations, from clergymen and others, of his moral and religious character. Two Shakers in the cars,—both, if I mistake not, with thread gloves on. The foundation of the old meeting-house of Princeton, standing on a height above the village, as bleak and windy as the top of Mount Ararat; also the old deserted town-house. The [Pg 685]edifices were probably thus located in order to be more exactly in the centre of the township.

From July 25 to August 9, 1845, at Portsmouth Navy Yard. Remarkables: the free and social mode of life among the officers and their families, meeting at evening on the door-steps or in front of their houses, or stepping in familiarly; the rough-hewn first lieutenant, with no ideas beyond the service; the doctor, priding himself on his cultivation and refinement, pretending to elegance, sensitive, touchy; the sailing-master, an old salt, of the somewhat modernized Tom Bowline pattern, tossed about by fifty years of stormy surges, and at last swept into this quiet nook, where he tells yarns of his cruises and duels, repeats his own epitaph, drinks a reasonable quantity of grog, and complains of dyspepsia; the old fat major of marines, with a brown wig not pretending to imitate natural hair, but only to cover his baldness and grayness with something that he imagines will be less unsightly: he has a potent odor of snuff, but has left off wine and strong drink for the last twenty-seven years. A Southerner, all astray among our New England manners, but reconciling himself to them, like a long practised man of the world, only somewhat tremulous at the idea of a New England winter. The lieutenant of marines, a tall, red-haired man, between thirty and forty, stiff in his motions from the effect of a palsy contracted in Florida,—a man of thought, both as to his profession and other matters, particularly matters spiritual,—a convert, within a few years, to Papistry,—a seer of ghosts,—a dry joker, yet sad and earnest in his nature,—a scientific soldier, criticising Jackson's military talent,—fond of discussion, with much more intellect than he finds employment for,—withal, somewhat simple. Then the commandant of the yard, Captain S——, a man without brilliancy, of plain aspect and simple manners, but just, upright, kindly, with an excellent practical intellect; his next in rank, Commander P——, an officer-like, middle-aged man, with such cultivation as a sensible man picks up about the world; and with what little tincture he imbibes from a bluish wife. In the vicinity of the Navy Yard, an engineer-officer, stationed for a year or two past on a secluded point of the coast, making a map, minutely finished, on a very extensive scale, of country and coast near Portsmouth; he is red-nosed, and has the aspect of a free liver; his companion, a civil engineer, with much more appearance of intellectual activity. Their map is spread out in a room that looks forth upon the sea and islands, and has all the advantages of sea-air,—very desirable for summer, but gloomy as a winter residence.

At Fort Constitution are many officers,—a major and two lieutenants, the former living in a house within the walls of the fort, the latter occupying small residences outside. They are coarse men, apparently of few ideas, and not what one can call gentlemen. They are likewise less frank and hospitable than the navy officers. Their quarters have not the aspect of homes, although they continue for a term of years, five or more, on one station, whereas the navy officers are limited to two or three. But then the former migrate with their families to new stations, whereas the wives of the naval officers, though ejected from the navy-yard houses, yet, not accompanying their husbands on service, remain to form a nucleus of home.

Two or three miles from the Navy Yard, on Kittery Point, stands the former residence of Sir William Pepperell. It is a gambrel-roofed house, very long and spacious, and looks venerable and imposing from its dimensions. A decent, respectable, intelligent woman admitted us, and showed us from bottom to top of her part of the house; she being a tenant of one half. The rooms were not remarkable for size, but were panelled on every side. The staircase is the best feature, ascending gradually, broad and square, and with an elaborate balustrade; and over the [Pg 686]front door there is a wide window and a spacious breadth, where the old baronet and his guests, after dinner, might sit and look out upon the water and his ships at anchor. The garret is one apartment, extending over the whole house. The kitchen is very small,—much too small for the credit of the house, were it not redeemed by the size of the fireplace, which originally could not have been less than fourteen feet, though now abridged by an oven, which has been built within it. The hearth extends half-way across the floor of the kitchen. On one side, the road passes close by the house; on the other, it stands within fifty yards of the shore. I recollect no outhouses. At a short distance, across the road, is a marble tomb, on the level slab of which is the Pepperell coat of arms, and an inscription in memory of Sir William's father, to whom the son seems to have erected it,—although it is the family tomb. We saw no other trace of Sir William or his family. Precisely a hundred years since he was in his glory. None of the name now exist here,—or elsewhere, as far as I know. A descendant of the Sparhawks, one of whom married Pepperell's daughter, is now keeper of a fort in the vicinity,—a poor man. Lieutenant Baker tells me that he has recently discovered a barrel full of the old family papers.

The house in Portsmouth now owned and occupied by the Rev. Mr. Burroughs was formerly the mansion of Governor Langdon. It contains noble and spacious rooms. The Doctor's library is a fine apartment, extending, I think, the whole breadth of the house, forty or fifty feet, with elaborate cornices, a carved fireplace, and other antiquated magnificences. It was, I suppose, the reception-room, and occasionally the dining-hall. The opposite parlor is likewise large, and finished in excellent style, the mantelpiece being really a fine architectural specimen.... Doctor Burroughs is a scholar, rejoicing in the possession of an old, illuminated missal, which he showed us, adorned with brilliant miniatures and other pictures by some monkish hand. It was given him by a commodore in the navy, who picked it up in Italy, without knowing what it was, nor could the learned professors of at least one college inform him, until he finally offered it to Dr. Burroughs, on condition that he should tell him what it was. We likewise saw a copy of the famous "Breeches Bible," and other knicknacks and curiosities which people have taken pleasure in giving to one who appreciated such things, and whose kindly disposition makes it a happiness to oblige him. His house has entertained famous guests in the time of the old Governor,—among them Louis Philippe, Talleyrand, Lafayette, and Washington, all of whom occupied successively the same chamber; besides, no doubt, a host of less world-wide distinguished persons.

A battery of thirty-two pound periods.

In the eyes of a young child or other innocent person, the image of a cherub or an angel to be seen peeping out,—in those of a vicious person, a devil.

October 11. In Boston, a man passing along Colonnade Row, grinding a barrel-organ, and attended by a monkey, dressed in frock and pantaloons, and with a tremendously thick tail appearing behind. While his master played on the organ, the monkey kept pulling off his hat, bowing and scraping to the spectators, round about,—sometimes, too, making a direct application to an individual,—by all this dumb show, beseeching them to remunerate the organ-player. Whenever a coin was thrown on the ground, the monkey picked it up, clambered on his master's shoulder, and gave it into his keeping, then descended, and repeated his pantomimic entreaties for more. His little, old, ugly, wrinkled face had an earnestness that looked just as if it came from the love of money deep within his soul. He peered round, searching for filthy lucre on all sides. With his tail and [Pg 687]all, he might be taken for the Mammon of copper coin,—a symbol of covetousness of small gains,—the lowest form of the love of money.

Baby was with us, holding by my forefinger, and walking decorously along the pavement. She stopped to contemplate the monkey, and after a while, shocked by his horrible ugliness, began to cry.

A disquisition or a discussion between two or more persons, on the manner in which the Wandering Jew has spent his life. One period, perhaps, trying over and over again to grasp domestic happiness; then a soldier, then a statesman, &c., at last realizing some truth.

The most graceful way in which a man can signify that he feels that he is growing old, and acquiesces in it, is by adhering to the fashion of dress which chances to be in vogue when the conviction comes upon him. Thus, in a few years, he will find himself quietly apart from the crowd of young men.

Our most intimate friend is not he to whom we show the worst, but the best of our nature.

Nothing comes amiss to Nature,—all is fish that comes to her net. If there be a living form of perfect beauty, instinct with soul,—why, it is all very well, and suits Nature well enough. But she would just as lief have that beautiful, soul-illumined body for worms' meat and earth's manure!

Instances of two ladies, who vowed never again to see the light of the sun, on account of disappointments in love. Each of them kept her vow, living thenceforth, and dying after many years, in apartments closely shut up, and lighted by candles. One appears to have lived in total darkness.

The infirmities that come with old age may be the interest on the debt of nature, which should have been more seasonably paid. Often the interest will be a heavier payment than the principal.

By a Lord of the Admiralty, (in a speech in Parliament during our Revolution,) the number of American sailors employed in the British navy previous to the Revolution was estimated at eighteen thousand.

Some men have no right to perform great deeds, or think high thoughts; and when they do so, it is a kind of humbug. They had better keep within their own propriety.

In England, in 1761, a man and his wife, formerly in good circumstances, died very poor, and were buried at the expense of the parish. This coming to the ears of the friends of their better days, they had the corpses taken out of the ground and buried in a more genteel manner!

In the "Annual Register," Vol. IV., for 1761, there is a letter from Cromwell to Fleetwood, dated August 22, 1653, which Carlyle appears not to have given. Also one, without date, to the Speaker of the House of Commons, narrating the taking of Basing House.

Recently, in an old house which has been taken down at the corner of Bulfinch Street and Bowdoin Square, a perfect and full-grown skeleton was discovered, concealed between the ceiling and the floor of a room in the upper story. Another skeleton was not long since found in similar circumstances.

In a garden, a pool of perfectly transparent water, the bed of which should be paved with marble, or perhaps with mosaic work in images and various figures, which through the clear water would look wondrously beautiful.

October 20, 1847.—A walk in a warm and pleasant afternoon to Browne's Hill, not uncommonly called Browne's[Pg 688] Folly, from the mansion which one of that family, before the Revolution, erected on its summit. (On October 14, 1837, I recorded a walk thither.) In a line with the length of the ridge, the ascent is gradual and easy, but straight up the sides it is steep. There is a large and well-kept orchard at the foot, through which I passed, gradually ascending; then, surmounting a stone wall, beneath chestnut-trees which had thrown their dry leaves down, I climbed the remainder of the hill. There were still the frequent barberry-bushes; and the wood-wax has begun to tuft itself over the sides and summit, which seem to be devoted to pasture. On the very highest part are still the traces of the foundation of the old mansion. The hall had a gallery running round it beneath the ceiling, and was a famous place for dancing. The house stood, I believe, till some years subsequent to the Revolution, and was then removed in three portions, each of which became a house somewhere on the plain, and perhaps they are standing now. The proprietor, being a royalist, became an exile when the Revolution broke out, and I suppose died abroad. I know not whether the house was intended as a permanent family-residence or merely as a pleasure-place for the summer; but from its extent I should conceive the former to have been its purpose. Be that as it may, it has perpetuated an imputation of folly upon the poor man who erected it, which still keeps his memory disagreeably alive after a hundred years. The house must have made a splendid appearance for many miles around; and the glare of the old-fashioned festivities would be visible, doubtless, in the streets of Salem, when he illuminated his windows to celebrate a king's birthday, or some other loyal occasion. The barberry-bushes, clustering within the cellars, offer the harsh acidity of their fruit to-day, instead of the ripe wines which used to be stored there.

Descending the hill, I entered a green, seldom-trodden lane, which runs along at a hundred yards or two from its base, and parallel with its ridge. It was overshadowed by chestnut-trees, and bordered with the prevalent barberry-bush, and between ran the track,—the beaten path of the horses' feet, and the even way of either wheel, with green strips between. It was a very lonely lane, and very pleasant in the warm, declining sun; and, following it a third of a mile, I came to a place that was familiar to me when I was a child, as the residence of a country cousin whom I used to be brought to see. There was his old house still standing, but deserted, with all the windows boarded up, and the door likewise, and the chimneys removed,—a most desolate-looking place. A young dog came barking towards me as I approached,—barking, but frisking, between play and watchfulness. Within fifty yards of the old house, farther back from the road, stands a stone house, of some dozen or twenty years' endurance,—an ugly affair, so plain is it,—which was built by the old man in his latter days. The well of the old house, out of which I have often drunk, and over the curb of which I have peeped to see my own boy-visage closing the far vista below, seems to be still in use for the new edifice. Passing on a little farther, I came to a brook, which, I remember, the old man's son and I dammed up, so that it almost overflowed the road. The stream has strangely shrunken now; it is a mere ditch, indeed, and almost a dry one. Going a little farther, I came to a graveyard by the roadside,—not apparently a public graveyard, but the resting-place of a family or two, with half a dozen gravestones. On two marble stones, standing side by side, I read the names of Benjamin Foster and Anstiss Foster, the people whom I used to be brought to visit. He had died in 1824, aged seventy-five; she in 1837, aged seventy.

A young woman in England, poisoned by an East Indian barbed dart, which her brother had brought home as a curiosity.

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The old house on Browne's Hill was removed from the summit to the plain, at a short distance from the foot of the hill. Colonel Putnam, of the Custom-House, recollects it there, standing unoccupied, but with the furniture still in it. It seems to have been accessible to all who wished to enter. It was at that time under the care of Richard Derby, an ancestor of the present Derbys, who had a claim to the property through his wife, who was a Browne. The owner of the house had fled during the Revolution, and Richard Derby seems to have held the estate as it was when the refugee left it, in expectation of his eventual return. There was one closet in the house which everybody was afraid to open, it being supposed that the Devil was in it. One day, above fifty years ago, or threescore it may have been, Putnam and other boys were playing in the house, and took it into their heads to peep into this closet. It was locked, but Putnam pried open the door, with great difficulty and much tremor. At last it flew open, and out fell a great pile of family portraits, faces of gentlemen in wigs, and ladies in quaint head-dresses, displaying themselves on the floor, startling the urchins out of their wits. They all fled, but returned after a while, piled up the pictures again, and nailed up the door of the closet.

The house, according to the same authority, was not tenanted after the earthquake of 1775; at least, it was removed from the summit of the hill on that occasion, it having been greatly shaken by the earthquake.

The house formerly inhabited by Rev. Mr. Paris, and in which the witchcraft business of 1692 had its origin, is still standing in the north parish of Danvers. It has been long since removed from its original site. The workmen at first found great difficulty in removing it; and an old man assured them that the house was still under the influence of the Devil, and would remain so unless they took off the roof. Finally they did take off the roof, and then succeeded in moving the house. Putnam was personally cognizant of this fact.

November 17.—A story of the effects of revenge in diabolizing him who indulges in it.

The Committee of Vigilance, instituted to promote the discovery of old Mr. White's murderers,—good as the machinery of a sketch or story.

A story of the life, domestic and external, of a family of birds in a marten-house, for children.

The people believed that John Hancock's uncle had bought an immense diamond at a low price, and sold it for its value,—he having grown rich with a rapidity inexplicable to them. The fact was, however, according to Hutchinson, that he made his fortune by smuggling tea in molasses hogsheads from St. Eustatia.

An old French Governor of Acadie, the predecessor of D'Aulnay, paid for some merchandise, which he bought of the captain of an English vessel, with six or seven hundred buttons of massive gold, taken from one of his suits. (Mass. Hist. Coll.)

An apparition haunts the front yard. I have often, while sitting in the parlor, in the daytime, had a perception that somebody was passing the windows; but, looking towards them, nobody is there. The appearance is never observable when looking directly towards the window, but only by such a sidelong or indirect glance as one gets while reading, or when intent on something else. But I know not how many times I have raised my head or turned with the certainty that somebody were passing. The other day I found that my wife was equally aware of the spectacle, and that, as likewise agrees with my own observation, it always appears to be entering the yard from the street, never going out.

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The immortal flowers,—a child's story.

"He looked as if he had been standing up thirty years against a northeast storm." Description of an old mate of a vessel, by Pike.

Death possesses a good deal of real estate, namely, the graveyards in every town. Of late years, too, he has pleasure-grounds, as at Mount Auburn and elsewhere.

Corwin is going to Lynn; Oliver proposes to walk thither with him. "No," says Corwin, "I don't want you. You take great, long steps; or, if you take short ones, 'tis all hypocrisy. And, besides, you keep humming all the time."

May 18, 1848.—Decay of the year has already commenced. I saw a dandelion gone to seed, this afternoon, in the Great Pasture.

Words, so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

Captain B—— tells a story of an immense turtle which he saw at sea, on a voyage to Batavia,—so long, that the look-out at the mast-head mistook it for a rock. The ship passed close to it, and it was apparently longer than the long-boat, "with a head bigger than any dog's head you ever see," and great prickles on his back a foot long. Arriving at Batavia, he told the story, and an old pilot exclaimed, "What! have you seen Bellysore Tom?" It seems that the pilots had been acquainted with this turtle as many as twelve years, and always found him in the same latitude. They never did him any injury, but were accustomed to throw him pieces of meat, which he received in good part, so that there was a mutual friendship between him and the pilots. Old Mr. L——, in confirmation of the story, asserted that he had often heard other shipmasters speak of the same, monster; but he being a notorious liar, and Captain B—— an unconscionable spinner of long yarns and travellers' tales, the evidence is by no means perfect. The pilots estimated his length at not less than twenty feet.

The Grey Property Case. Mrs. Grey and her child three years old were carried off by the Indians in 1756 from the Tuscarora valley in Pennsylvania. The father, going on a campaign in search of them, was exhausted by fatigue, and came home only to die, bequeathing half his property to his child, if living. The mother, his wife, being redeemed, and there being several children who had been captive to the Indians to be seen at Philadelphia, went thither to see and recognize her little three years' old daughter, from whom, in her captivity, she had been separated. Her child proved not to be among the little captives; but, in order to get possession of her husband's property, she claimed another child, of about the same age. This child grew up gross, ugly, awkward, a "big, black, uncomely Dutch lump, not to be compared to the beautiful Fanny Grey," and moreover turned out morally bad. The real daughter was said to have been married, and settled in New York, "a fine woman, with a fair house and fair children." At all events, she was never recovered by her relatives, and her existence seems to have been doubtful. In 1789, the heirs of John Grey, the father, became aware that the claimed and recovered child was not the child that had been lost. They commenced a lawsuit for the recovery of John Grey's property, consisting of a farm of three or four hundred acres. This lawsuit lasted till 1834, when it was decided against the identity of the recovered child. (Sherman Day's Hist. Coll. of Penn.)

Bethuel Vincent, carried by the Indians to Canada, being then recently [Pg 691]married. A few years after, a rough-looking man fell in with a sleighing party at a tavern, and inquired if they knew anything of Mrs. Vincent. She was pointed out to him. He gave her news of her husband, and, joining the sleighing party, began to grow familiar with Mrs. Vincent, and wished to take her upon his lap. She resisted,—but behold! the rough-looking stranger was her long-lost husband. There are good points in this story. (Ibid.)

Among the survivors of a wreck are two bitter enemies. The parties, having remained many days without food, cast lots to see who shall be killed as food for the rest. The lot falls on one of the enemies. The other may literally eat his heart!

October 13.—During this moon, I have two or three evenings sat for some time in our dining-room without light except from the coal fire and the moon. Moonlight produces a very beautiful effect in the room, falling so white upon the carpet, and showing its figures so distinctly, and making all the room so visible, and yet so different from a morning or noontide visibility. There are all the familiar things, every chair, the tables, the couch, the bookcase, all that we are accustomed to see in the daytime; but now it seems as if we were remembering them through a lapse of years, rather than seeing them with the immediate eye. A child's shoe, the doll, sitting in her little wicker-carriage, all objects that have been used or played with during the day, though still as familiar as ever, are invested with something like strangeness and remoteness. I cannot in any measure express it. Then the somewhat dim coal fire throws its unobtrusive tinge through the room,—a faint ruddiness upon the wall,—which has a not unpleasant effect in taking from the colder spirituality of the moonbeams. Between both these lights such a medium is created that the room seems just fit for the ghosts of persons very dear, who have lived in the room with us, to glide noiselessly in and sit quietly down, without affrighting us. It would be like a matter of course to look round and find some familiar form in one of the chairs. If one of the white curtains happen to be drawn before the windows, the moonlight makes a delicate tracery with the branches of the trees, the leaves somewhat thinned by the progress of autumn, but still pretty abundant. It is strange how utterly I have failed to give anything of the effect of moonlight in a room.

The firelight diffuses a mild, heart-warm influence through the parlor, but is scarcely visible, unless you particularly look for it; and then you become conscious of a faint tinge upon the ceiling, of a reflected gleam from the mahogany furniture, and, if your eyes happen to fall on the looking-glass, deep within it you perceive the glow of the burning anthracite. I hate to leave such a scene; and when retiring to bed, after closing the door, I reopen it again and again, to peep back at the warm, cheerful, solemn repose, the white light, the faint ruddiness, the dimness,—all like a vision, and which makes me feel as if I were in a conscious dream.

The first manufacture of the kind of candy called Gibraltar rock, for a child's story; to be told in a romantic, mystic, marvellous style.

An angel comes from heaven, commissioned to gather up, put into a basket, and carry away everything good that is not improved by mankind, for whose benefit it was intended. The angel distributes these good things where they will be appreciated.

Annals of a kitchen.

A benevolent person going about the world and endeavoring to do good to everybody; in pursuance of which object, for instance, he gives, a pair of spectacles to a blind man, and does all such ill-suited things.

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Beautiful positions of statues to one intellectually blind.

A man, arriving at the extreme point of old age, grows young again at the same pace at which he has grown old; returning upon his path, throughout the whole of life, and thus taking the reverse view of matters. Methinks it would give rise to some odd concatenations.

Little gnomes, dwelling in hollow teeth. They find a tooth that has been plugged with gold, and it serves them as a gold mine.

The wizard, Michael Scott, used to give a feast to his friends, the dishes of which were brought from the kitchens of various princes in Europe, by devils at his command. "Now we will try a dish from the King of France's kitchen," etc. A modern sketch might take a hint from this, and the dishes be brought from various restaurants.

"Pixilated,"—a Marblehead word, meaning bewildered, wild about any matter. Probably derived from Pixy, a fairy.

For a child's story,—imagine all sorts of wonderful playthings.

Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Thomas More, Algernon Sidney, or some other great man, on the eve of execution, to make reflections on his own head,—considering and addressing it in a looking-glass.

March 16, 1849.—J—— ... speaking of little B. P——: "I will hug him, so that not any storm can come to him."

A story, the principal personage of which shall seem always on the point of entering upon the scene, but never shall appear.

In the "New Statistical Account of Scotland," (Vol. I.,) it is stated that a person had observed, in his own dairy, that the milk of several cows, when mixed together and churned, produced much less butter proportionably than the milk of a single cow; and that the greater the number of cows which contributed their milk, the smaller was the comparative product. Hence, this person was accustomed to have the milk of each cow churned separately.

A modern magician to make the semblance of a human being, with two laths for legs, a pumpkin for a head, etc., of the rudest and most meagre materials. Then a tailor helps him to finish his work, and transforms this scarecrow into quite a fashionable figure. At the end of the story, after deceiving the world for a long time, the spell should be broken, and the gray dandy be discovered to be nothing but a suit of clothes, with a few sticks inside of them. All through his seeming existence as a human being there shall be some characteristics, some tokens, that to the man of close observation and insight betray him to be a thing of mere talk and clothes, without heart, soul, or intellect. And so this wretched old creature shall become the symbol of a large class.

The golden sands that may sometimes be gathered (always, perhaps, if we know how to seek for them) along the dry bed of a torrent adown which passion and feeling have foamed, and passed away. It is good, therefore, in mature life, to trace back such torrents to their source.

The same children who make the little snow image shall plant dry sticks, etc., and they shall take root and grow in mortal flowers, etc.

Monday, September 17.—Set out on a journey to Temple, N.H., with E.F. M——, to visit his father. Started by way of Boston, in the half past ten train, and took the Lowell and Nashua Railroad at twelve, as far as Danforth's[Pg 693] Corner, about fifty miles, and thence in stage-coach to Milford, four miles farther, and in a light wagon to Temple, perhaps twelve miles farther. During the latter drive, the road gradually ascended, with tracts of forest land alongside, and latterly a brook, which we followed for several miles, and finally found it flowing through General M——'s farm. The house is an old country dwelling, in good condition, standing beside the road, in a valley surrounded by a wide amphitheatre of high hills. There is a good deal of copse and forest on the estate, high hills of pasture land, old, cultivated fields, and all such pleasant matters. The General sat in an easy-chair in the common room of the family, looking better than when in Salem, with an air of quiet, vegetative enjoyment about him, scarcely alive to outward objects. He did his best to express a hospitable pleasure at seeing me; but did not succeed, so that I could distinguish his words. He loves to sit amidst the bustle of his family, and is dimly amused by what is going forward; is pleased, also, to look out of the open window and see the poultry—a guinea-hen, turkeys, a peacock, a tame deer, etc.—which feed there. His mind sometimes wanders, and he hardly knows where he is; will not be convinced that he is anywhere but at Salem, until they drag his chair to a window from which he can see a great elm-tree of which he is very fond, standing in front of the house. Then he acknowledges that he must be at the farm, because, he says, they never could have transplanted that tree. He is pleased with flowers, which they bring him,—a kind-hearted old man. The other day a live partridge was sent him, and he ordered it to be let go, because he would not suffer a life to be taken to supply him with a single meal. This tenderness has always been characteristic of the old soldier. His birthplace was within a few miles of this spot,—the son and descendant of husbandmen,—and character and fortune together have made him a man of history.

This is a most hospitable family, and they live in a style of plain abundance, rural, but with traits of more refined modes. Many domestics, both for farm and household work. Two unmarried daughters; an old maiden aunt; an elderly lady, Mrs. C. of Newburyport, visiting; a young girl of fifteen, a connection of the family, also visiting, and now confined to her chamber by illness. Ney, a spaniel of easy and affable address, is a prominent personage, and generally lies in the parlor or sits beside the General's chair; always ready, too, to walk out with anybody so inclined. Flora, a little black pony, is another four-footed favorite. In the warm weather, the family dine in a large room on one side of the house, rough and rustic looking, with rude beams overhead. There were evergreens hanging on the walls, and the figures 1776, also in evergreen, and a national flag suspended in one corner,—the blue being made out of old homespun garments, the red stripes out of some of the General's flannel wrappings, and the eagle copied from the figure on a half-dollar,—all being the handiwork of the ladies, on occasion of the last Fourth of July. It is quite a pleasant dining-hall; and while we were eating fruit, the deer, which is of a small and peculiar breed from the South, came and thrust its head into the open window, looking at us with beautiful and intelligent eyes. It had smelt the fruit, and wished to put in its claim for a share.

Tuesday morning, before breakfast, E—— and I drove three or four miles, to the summit of an intervening ridge, from which we had a wide prospect of hill and dale, with Monadnock in the midst. It was a good sight, although the atmosphere did not give the hills that aspect of bulk and boldness which it sometimes does. This part of the country is but thinly inhabited, and the dwellings are generally small. It is said that, in the town of Temple, there are more old cellars, where dwellings have formerly stood, than there are houses now inhabited. The [Pg 694]town is not far from a hundred years old, but contains now only five or six hundred inhabitants. The enterprising young men emigrate elsewhere, leaving only the least energetic portions to carry on business at home. There appear to be but few improvements, the cultivated fields being of old date, smooth with long cultivation. Here and there, however, a tract newly burned over, or a few acres with the stumps still extant. The farm-houses all looked very lonesome and deserted to-day, the inhabitants having gone to the regimental muster at New Ipswich.

As we drove home, E—— told a story of a child who was lost, seventy or eighty years ago, among the woods and hills. He was about five years old, and had gone with some work-people to a clearing in the forest, where there was a rye-field, at a considerable distance from the farm-house. Getting tired, he started for home alone, but did not arrive. They made what search for him they could that night, and the next day the whole town turned out, but without success. The day following, many people from the neighboring towns took up the search, and on this day, I believe, they found the child's shoes and stockings, but nothing else. After a while, they gave up the search in despair; but for a long time, a fortnight or three weeks or more, his mother fancied that she heard the boy's voice in the night, crying, "Father! father!" One of his little sisters also heard this voice; but people supposed that the sounds must be those of some wild animal. No more search was made, and the boy never was found.

But it is not known whether it was the next autumn, or a year or two after, some hunters came upon traces of the child's wanderings among the hills, in a different direction from the previous search, and farther than it was supposed he could have gone. They found some little houses, such as children build of twigs and sticks of wood, and these the little fellow had probably built for amusement in his lonesome hours. Nothing, it seems to me, was ever more strangely touching than this incident,—his finding time for childish play, while wandering to his death in these desolate woods,—and then pursuing his way again, till at last he lay down to die on the dark mountain-side. Finally, on a hill which E—— pointed out to me, they found a portion of the child's hair adhering to the overthrown trunk of a tree; and this is all that was ever found of him. But it was supposed that the child had subsisted, perhaps for weeks, on the berries and other sustenance such as a forest-child knew how to find in the woods. I forgot to say, above, that a piece of birch or other bark was found, which he appeared to have gnawed. It was thought that the cry of "Father! father!" which the mother and little sister heard in the night-time, was really the little fellow's voice, then within hearing of his home; but he wandered away again, and at last sank down, and Death found him and carried him up to God. His bones were never found; and it was thought that the foxes or other wild animals had taken his little corpse, and scattered the bones, and that, dragging the body along, one lock of his flaxen hair had adhered to a tree.

I asked a physician whether it were possible that a child could live so long in the woods; and he thought it was, and said that children often show themselves more tenacious of life than grown people, and live longer in a famine. This is to me a very affecting story; and it seems to be felt as such by the people of the country. The little boy's parents, and his brothers and sisters, who probably lived to maturity or old age, are all forgotten; but he lives in tradition, and still causes wet eyes to strangers, as he did to me.

To account for the singularity of his not having been found by such numbers as took up the search, it is suggested that he was perhaps frightened, and perhaps concealed himself when he heard the noise of people making their way through the forest, people [Pg 695]being apt to do so, when they get mazed with wandering in the woods. But it is strange that old hunters, with dogs, should have failed to find him. However, there is the fact.

After breakfast (a broiled chicken and excellent coffee) I walked out by myself. The brook would be a beautiful plaything for my children, and I wish I had such a one for them. As I looked down into it from the bridge, I saw little fish, minnows, small chubs, and perch sporting about and rising eagerly to anything that was thrown in. Returning towards the house, I encountered an ass, who seemed glad to see me, in its donkeyish way. Afterwards, E—— and I took a ramble among some of his old haunts, which took up pretty much all the remainder of the forenoon. After dinner we drove to New Ipswich, expecting to see the closing scenes of the muster, but found the regiment dismissed, and the spectators taking their departure. We visited a cousin of E——, and took tea; borrowed two great-coats (it having grown from summer to autumn very rapidly since nightfall), and drove home, six miles or thereabouts. A new moon and the long twilight gleamed over the first portion of our drive, and then the northern lights kindled up and shot flashes towards the zenith as we drove along, up hill and down dale, and most of the way through dense woods.

The next morning, after breakfast, we got into our wagon and returned to Milford, thence by stage to Danforth's Corner, thence to Boston by rail. Nothing noteworthy occurred, except that we called on Mr. Atherton and lady at Nashua. We reached Boston at three o'clock. I visited the Town and Country Club, and read the papers and journals, took the three quarters past five train and reached home at half past six.

In the new statistical account of Scotland, in the volume about the Hebrides, it is stated that a child was born, and lived to the age of, I think, two years, with an eye in the back of its head, in addition to the usual complement in front. It could evidently see with this eye; for when its cap was drawn down over it, it would thrust it upward.

October 27.—Mrs.—— gave a black woman six dollars for a dress of pine-apple cloth, sixteen yards, perhaps worth ten times as much,—the owner being ignorant of the value.

To inherit a great fortune.—To inherit a great misfortune.

Reflections in a mud-puddle;—they might be pictures of life in a mean street of a city.

February 16, 1850.—The sunbeam that comes through a round hole in the shutter of a darkened room, where a dead man sits in solitude.

The hoary periwig of a dandelion gone to seed.

Lenox, July 14, 1850.—Language,—human language,—after all, is but little better than the croak and cackle of fowls, and other utterances of brute nature, sometimes not so adequate.

The queer gestures and sounds of a hen looking about for a place to deposit her egg, her self-important gait, the sideway turn of her head and cock of her eye, as she pries into one and another nook, croaking all the while, evidently with the idea that the egg in question is the most important thing that has been brought to pass since the world began. A speckled black and white and tufted hen of ours does it to most ludicrous perfection.

July 25.—As I sit in my study, with the windows open, the occasional incident of the visit of some winged creature,—wasp, hornet, or bee,—entering out of the warm, sunny atmosphere, soaring round the room with large sweeps, then buzzing against the glass, as not satisfied with the place, and desirous [Pg 696]of getting out. Finally, the joyous uprising curve with which, coming to the open part of the window, it emerges into the cheerful glow outside.

August 4.—Dined at hotel with J.T. Fields. Afternoon drove with him to Pittsfield, and called on Dr. Holmes.

August 5.—Drove with Fields to Stockbridge, being thereto invited by Mr. Field of Stockbridge, in order to ascend Monument Mountain. Found at Mr. Field's, Dr. Holmes, Mr. Duyckink of New York; also Mr. Cornelius Matthews and Herman Melville. Ascended the mountain,—that is to say, Mrs. Fields and Miss Jenny Field, Mr. Field and Mr. J.T. Fields, Dr. Holmes, Mr. Duyckink, Matthews, Melville, Mr. Harry Sedgwick, and I,—and were caught in a shower. Dined at Mr. Field's. Afternoon, under guidance of J.F. Headley, the party scrambled through the Ice Glen. Left Stockbridge and arrived at home about eight P.M.

August 7.—Messrs. Duyckink, Matthews, and Melville called in the forenoon. Gave them a couple of bottles of Mr. Mansfield's champagne, and walked down to the lake with them. At twilight Mr. Edwin P. Whipple and wife called from Lenox.

August 19.—Monument Mountain, in the early sunshine; its base enveloped in mist, parts of which are floating in the sky; so that the great hill looks really as if it were founded on a cloud. Just emerging from the mist is seen a yellow field of rye, and above that, forest.

August 24.—In the afternoons, this valley in which I dwell seems like a vast basin filled with golden sunshine, as with wine.

August 31.—J.R. Lowell called in the evening. September 1st, he called with Mrs. Lowell in the forenoon, on their way to Stockbridge or Lebanon, to meet Miss Bremer.

September 2.—"When I grow up," quoth J——, in illustration of the might to which he means to attain,—"when I grow up, I shall be two men!"

September 3.—Foliage of maples begins to change.

In a wood, a heap or pile of logs and sticks that had been cut for firewood, and piled up square, in order to be carted away to the house when convenience served, or rather to be sledded in sleighing-time. But the moss had accumulated on them, and, leaves falling over them from year to year, and decaying, a kind of soil had quite covered them, although the softened outline of the woodpile was perceptible in the green mound. It was perhaps fifty years, perhaps more, since the woodman had cut and piled these logs and sticks, intending them for his winter fire. But he probably needs no fire now. There was something strangely interesting in this simple circumstance. Imagine the long-dead woodman, and his long-dead wife and family, and one old man who was a little child when the wood was cut, coming back from their graves, and trying to make a fire with this mossy fuel.

September 19.—Lying by the lake yesterday afternoon, with my eyes shut, while the breeze and sunshine were playing together on the water, the quick glimmer of the wavelets was perceptible through my closed eyelids.

October 13.—A cool day,—the wind northwest, with a general prevalence of dull gray clouds over the sky, but with brief, sudden glimpses of sunshine. The foliage having its autumn hues, Monument Mountain looks like a headless Sphinx, wrapt in a rich Persian shawl. Yesterday, through a diffused mist, with the sun shining on it, it had the aspect of burnished copper. The sun-gleams on the hills are peculiarly magnificent, just in these days.

October 13.—One of the children, [Pg 697]drawing a cow on the blackboard, says, "I'll kick this leg out a little more,"—a very happy energy of expression, completely identifying herself with the cow; or, perhaps, as the cow's creator, conscious of full power over its movements.

October 14.—The brilliancy of the foliage has past its acme; and, indeed, it has not been so magnificent this season as usual, owing to the gradual approaches of cool weather, and there having been slight frosts instead of severe ones. There is still a shaggy richness on the hillsides.

October 16.—A morning mist, filling up the whole length and breadth of the valley, between the house and Monument Mountain, the summit of the mountain emerging. The mist reaches to perhaps a hundred yards of me, so dense as to conceal everything, except that near its hither boundary a few ruddy or yellow tree-tops rise up, glorified by the early sunshine, as is likewise the whole mist-cloud. There is a glen between our house and the lake, through which winds a little brook, with pools and tiny waterfalls, over the great roots of trees. The glen is deep and narrow, and filled with trees; so that, in the summer, it is all in dark shadow. Now, the foliage of the trees being almost entirely of a golden yellow, instead of being obscure, the glen is absolutely full of sunshine, and its depths are more brilliant than the open plain or the mountain-tops. The trees are sunshine, and, many of the golden leaves having freshly fallen, the glen is strewn with light, amid which winds and gurgles the bright, dark little brook.

October 28.—On a walk yesterday forenoon, my wife and children gathered Houstonias. Before night there was snow, mingled with rain. The trees are now generally bare.

December 1.—I saw a dandelion in bloom near the lake, in a pasture by the brookside. At night, dreamed of seeing Pike.

December 19.—If the world were crumbled to the finest dust, and scattered through the universe, there would not be an atom of the dust for each star.




Soon after Fanny's funeral, Miss Mehitable told me she had found out who the lady was that wished for my painting at the fair. Her niece had pointed her out as she drove by in a barouche; and it was Miss Dudley.

My second copy was begun in the last fortnight of Fanny's life, as she slept and I sat beside her. I had not then had time, nor since had heart, to go on with it. But now, seeing an opportunity to do something more to fulfil her wishes and to "do anything for Miss Dudley," I took up my task again, and quickly finished it. Then, still unsatisfied, I roamed through the woods, and along the shore, to gather specimens of the native plants, insects, and shells that seemed to me most like the foreign ones that I had copied, and grouped and painted and framed them like the first. The Doctor left both [Pg 698]for me at Miss Dudley's gate, with this inscription on the envelope: "A little offering of great gratitude, from a sister of Fanny Morne." I suppose, by the way, this is one source of the satisfaction that some real mourners find in wearing mourning, as they say, "for the dead,"—a vague longing, like mine, after they have passed beyond human care, to do or sacrifice still something more for them.

After that, there seemed to be nothing more that I could do for Fanny, nor anything that, for myself, I cared to do. From habit only, I employed myself. Julia, as she begged that I would call her, had a large basket of baby-clothes cut out. At that I seated myself after breakfast; and at that I often worked till bedtime, like a machine,—startled sometimes from my revery, indeed, by seeing how much was done, but saying nothing, hearing little, and shedding not a tear.

Julia would have remonstrated; but the Doctor said to her: "Let her alone for the present, my dear; she has had a great shock. Trust to nature. This cannot last long with a girl like Katy. It is half of it over-fatigue, carried on from her school-keeping to add to the present account." To me he said: "Katy, you may sew, if you like, but not in-doors, I will carry your basket out for you into the arbor; and in the afternoon I am going to take you to ride in the woods."

Our past selves are often a riddle that our present selves cannot read; but I suspect the real state of the case was, partly that, as the Doctor believed, I was for the time being exhausted in body and stunned in mind, and partly that, in those young, impetuous days, grief was such an all-convulsing passion with me, when I yielded to it, that to the utmost of my strength I resisted it at the outset, and seldom dared suffer myself to suffer at all. But, as he also believed, "this could not last long"; and it did not.

One afternoon, as I sewed in the arbor, a sweet little girl, who had been in Fanny's class in her Sunday school, stole into the garden and up to me, looked wistfully into my face as if seeking some likeness there, kissed my cheek timidly, laid a large nosegay of delicate flowers upon my knee, and crept away as gently as she came. The flowers were all white; and I saw at once that they were meant for Fanny's grave. I might go there for the first time now, as well as at any other time. The Doctor and his wife were out together, and no one was at home to question me.

Fanny had been laid, I need scarcely say, just where she wished. My guardian had driven me there early one morning to point out the place; and we found the withered clovers in the grass. It had rained often since. The swollen turf was nearly healed. I untied the flowers, and slowly, and with minute precision, arranged them in a cross above her breast. At last, when there was no blossom more to add or alter, I sat down again in my solitude where I sat with her so lately, with the same leaves fluttering on the same trees, the same grass waving on the same graves, and her beneath instead of upon it.

At first I could not think,—I could only cry. For now at length I had to cry; and cry I did, in a tornado and deluge of grief that by degrees swept and washed away the accumulated vapors from my mind, and brought it to a clearer, healthier calm. I believe God in His mercy has appointed that those who are capable of the strongest, shall not in general be capable of the longest anguish. At least, I am sure that it is so, not only with myself, but with one better and dearer than myself; so that the experience of life has taught me to see in the sharpest of pangs the happiest augury of their brevity.

Thus it could not have been very long before I was able to raise my head, and wipe my eyes, and look once more upon my two dear graves. The setting sun glowed over them. They looked soft and bright. From one of [Pg 699]them the echo of an angel's voice seemed still to say, "Here, by mamma, is where I like to lie"; from both in unison I heard, "It is good and brave to look things in the face and on all sides; but then among the sides, never forget the bright side, little Katy."

Could I refuse? I looked for the bright side. It was not far to seek. In the first place, the worst was over. Never again could I lose what I had lost, nor—so at least I thought then—could I feel what I had felt. Secondly, my sorrow was only mine, and no one's else. Those whom I loved were happy, every one of them;—mamma and Fanny,—I could not doubt it,—happier far than I ever could have made them, even if I had always tried as hard as I did after they began to leave me,—safer than they could ever have been in this world, and safe forever; and Jim,—I would not begin now to think about him again, but just so much I must,—he was happy with Emma. Even thus much brought a fresh gush of tears, though not for him,—I could still truly say that I had never shed one for him, and that was some comfort to my pride at least;—but for Fanny; because I had sometimes thought that, when she was well and I had time to think of anything besides her, if I ever did tell anybody of the mistake and trouble I had fallen into, I would tell her,—and now, however much I might need advice and assistance, that could never be. My guardian and his wife were happy in each other, and would be happier still after I roused myself, as I must and ought, and ceased to sadden their home. The world in which I still must live was, whatever people might say of it, not all sin, sickness, or sorrow. Even where I sat, in one of those spots which most persons accounted the dreariest in it, I could hear the laughter of light-hearted children at their play, the soft lowing of cattle grazing in the pleasant fields, and shouts of strong men at their wholesome, useful work. I knew there must be sickness, sin, and sorrow in it; but could not I do some little to help them, with my free hands and the health and strength which were almost always mine? Very good I was not myself, but I had been watchfully brought up in an innocent home; there was no crime upon my conscience, and, even as I cast a rueful glance upon its blemishes, I heard a well-remembered voice say from a grave once more: "Have patience with my little daughter. Some of the richest fruits and souls are not the first to ripen. The chief thing that she wants is time to mellow."

And one of the brightest points in all the bright side was, that, in living so constantly through her illness with Fanny, who lived with God, I had been perforce brought nearer to Him, and therefore naturally learned to dread Him less and love Him more than I had done; so that I hoped, as I know my mother did, that the sunshine of His grace would help to mellow me.

Another bright point was, that I need not go back to Greenville. The present mistress was glad to keep the school, and the committee willing to keep her.

My desultory thoughts still growing calmer, I began to form plans for my way of living, as I used to do aloud, when I could talk them over with my mother and Fanny. I did not plan anything great, however, because I was conscious of no great powers.—I already, I think, began to divine the truth of what a wise woman afterwards said to me, "Your own nature must settle your work," or rather of what she implied, though she did not say it: In laying out your work, you should do your best to take the diagonal between your nature and your circumstances.—But I resolved, such as I was, to try to make the most of myself in every way, for myself, my neighbors, and my God.

I was to stay at my guardian's for the present. He forbade my trying to teach again, for some months at least. It was my duty, as well as my pleasure, to obey him. In the mean time, I could prepare myself to teach better when I [Pg 700]began again. I would draw and paint at odd times. Two hours a day I would try to divide between history and the English classic poets, of both of which I knew sadly little. Julia often drove out with her husband; and then I could study by myself. When she was at home, if I could not always chat with her as formerly, I could read to her in French, which she liked to hear; and that would be much more sociable and cheerful for her than my sitting mute. I would now exert myself to walk out every day for exercise, so that there would be no reason for her giving up her place in the Doctor's chaise to me. I blushed to think how often I had suffered myself to be foisted into it by her already. By my walks, I would earn leave to sit with her in-doors; and then I could save her many steps and little household cares. Then what should I do for her husband? Sing to him in the evening, and begin, if he liked it, to-night. It might be a little hard the first time; but if so, there was all the more reason for having the first time over. There was no need of my choosing sad songs, or any that Fanny was fond of.

But it was growing late. They would be anxious. I must get up and go home. Go home!—without my home-mates?—leave them here?—with no kiss,—no good-night? I stood up, and sat down again. The blinding, choking passion, that had seemed over, swelled up into my eyes and throat once more. O that lonely, empty life! Must I go back to it? How long would it last? This was my only real home. When might I come here to sleep?

In an instant it would have been all over again with my hardly-won calm; but in that instant a white and gray fluttering between the green graves caught my tear-blurred sight. I thought it that of a living dove, but, going nearer, found only a piece of torn newspaper, which had been wrapped around the stems of the flowers, playing in the wind; and on it my attention was caught by these quaint and pithy lines, printed in one corner in double columns:—

"Sad soul, long harboring fears and woes
Within a haunted breast.
Haste but to meet your lowly Lord,
And he shall give you rest.
"Into his commonwealth alike
Are ills and blessings thrown.
Bear you your neighbors' loads; and
     *     *     *     *     *
"Yield only up His price, your heart,
Into God's loving hold,—
He turns with heavenly alchemy
Your lead of life to gold.
"Some needful pangs endure in peace,
Nor yet for freedom pant,—
He cuts the bane you cleave to off,
Then ..."

The rest was torn away. "'And,'" repeated I, impatiently,—"'Then'! 'Andthen'—what?" There was no answer, or at least I heard none; but the verses, so far as they went, struck my excited fancy as a kind of preternatural confirmation of the faint outline of life and duty which I had been sketching. I marked the date of the day upon the white margin with my pencil, and took the paper with me as a memento of the time and place, trimmed its torn edges carefully, and laid it in Fanny's little Bible.


The next morning, at breakfast, Dr. Physick said: "You did me a good office, Katy, by singing me to sleepiness last night. I was as tired as a dog,—no, as a whole pack of Esquimaux dogs,—and, instead of lying awake and saying to myself, every time I turned over, 'What in this wide world am I ever going to do with that poor little Nelly Fader?' I only repeated, whenever I came to myself a little, 'Nelly Bligh shuts her eye when she goes to sleep'; and then I followed her example."

"I only wish," said I, "that there was any good office beside that I could do you."

[Pg 701]

"Well, now I think of it, there is one that I should be very much obliged to you to do, to me and Nelly Fader besides. I've got to hurry off in the direction opposite to her Uncle Wardour's; and you talked of walking. Take this paper. Empty it into a wine-bottle. Fill it up with spring-water. Cork it. Gum these directions on it. Take them to Nelly. Read them to her, and make her understand them if you can, and follow them, which I can't. I happen to have a better sample of the drug than is often in the market; and she may as well have the benefit of it. Her aunt's a goose, and she's a baby. But, as she's likely to be a suffering baby for some time to come, we must try to have patience, and take extra pains with her."

"Is she going to die?" asked I, anxiously.

"No, no! I've no idea she is. No such good luck, poor little victim! 'Only nervous,' as people say. I can't find out that there's much else the matter. I utterly hate these cases. She ought to be under the care of a sensible woman; and if there only was such a one in the profession, I'd guarantee her her hands full of patients out of my practice alone."

"A female physician!" cried I, in horror.

"O Phil! what will you say next?" exclaimed his wife, laughing.

"Well, only wait till you're a male physician, then, and see," returned he, jumping into his chaise, and relieving his own nerves with a crack of the whip, which put new vivacity into those of De Quincey.

I made ready at once, for the day was sulky. It had been weeping, and had not yet begun to smile.

Nelly lived with her uncle, the apothecary, Mr. Wardour, and his widowed sister, Mrs. Cumberland. As I neared the door, I heard her voice, which was not dulcet, from the parlor-kitchen: "What's this here winder open for?"

"It felt so close in here," was the plaintive little answer; "and the Doctor said I ought to have the air."

"Does he think we can afford wood enough to warm all out-doors with?"

I knocked; but Mrs. Cumberland was deaf, and went on: "My sakes alive, child! what's all this?"

"The stewed damsons."

"'Stewed damsons,' indeed!—Stewed stalks and stewed leaves and stewed creaturs! Didn't you have faculty of yourself enough to know that they'd got to be picked over before they went into the pot? There, there, child! don't you go to cryin', whatever you do."

I knocked louder.

"There's somebody to the door; mebbe it's the Doctor. You go and see what's wanted, an' don't take no more concern about these. I'll see to 'em."

After a little delay, occasioned perhaps by the need of rubbing the eyelids, which were red, a little pallid lass, apparently about sixteen years old, shyly opened the door, and looked relieved, I thought, to find only me at it. She had a small and pretty nose and mouth, large, heavy blue eyes, flaxen hair drawn neatly, but unbecomingly, away from her face, looked modest and refined, but sadly moped, and was dressed in dark green, which set her off much as spinach does a dropped egg.

"Miss Nelly?" said I.

"Yes, Miss Morne," said she.

I had never seen her before; but it afterwards came out that she had peeped at me through the blinds of her chamber.

"I have brought you a little treat from Dr. Physick."

"O," said she, looking rather pleased; "then isn't he coming to-day?"

"No; he sent me instead."

"I am glad to see you," said she, timidly, but beginning to look really pretty, as her countenance went on brightening. "Won't you walk in?"

I did so, sat down opposite to her in the cold, shaded "best parlor," and went over the directions to her aloud. She kept her face civilly turned towards me; but it grew utterly blank again, and I saw she was not paying the least attention. So I played her a genuine [Pg 702]teacher's trick, which I had learned in my school-room. "Now," continued I, "will you be so good as to repeat to me what I have been saying, so that I may be able to tell Dr. Physick that I explained it to you perfectly? He was rather particular about it."

Of course she could not; but this obliged her, in common courtesy, to listen the second time, which was all I wanted. Then I rose.

She went with me to the door, saying, "I am sorry to give so much trouble. You are very kind to take so much for me."

"It will be a 'joyful trouble,' if it does you good."

"You are very kind to me. Do you like roses?"

"Indeed I do. Do not you?"

"I don't know. I used to."

There were three blossoms and one bud on a monthly rose-bush, which stood in an earthen pot by the front door. In an instant she had gathered them all, in spite of my protestations. She added two or three from a heliotrope, and the freshest sprigs from a diosma, a myrtle, and a geranium, all somewhat languishing, and tied them together for me with a long blade of grass.

"It is plain," said I, as I thanked her, "that you still care enough about flowers to arrange them most sweetly. These look as if they were sitting for their picture. I should like to paint them just as they are."

"Can you paint?"

"A little. Cannot you?"

"No; I can't do anything."

"Shall we make a bargain, then?" I ventured to say, as she looked and seemed so much like the poor baby the Doctor had called her. "We will each of us try to do something for the other. If I succeed in painting your flowers, and you succeed in following your directions, you shall have the picture."

She blushed deeply, looked half ashamed and half gratified, but altogether more alive than she had done till now, and finally managed to stammer out: "It's too good an offer—too kind—to refuse; but it's more than I deserve, a great deal. So I'll try to mind Dr. Physick, to please you; and then—if you liked to give me the picture, I should prize it very much."

I nodded, laughed, went home, put the flowers in water on Julia's work-table, read to her, and went into the heart of the town to do some shopping for her. After our early dinner, I said I was a little tired; and she drove with her husband. I took out my paper, brushes, and palette, set Nelly's nosegay in a becoming light, and began to rub my paints; when wheels and hoofs came near and stopped, and presently the door-bell rang.

"Are the ladies at home?" asked a smooth, silvery, feminine voice, with a peculiarly neat, but unaffected enunciation.

"No'm, he ain't," returned the portress, mechanically; "an' he's druv Missis out, too. Here's the slate; or Miss Kitty could take a message, I s'pose, without she's went out lately ago."

"Take this card," resumed the first voice, "if you please, to Miss Morne, and say that, if she is not engaged, I should be glad to see her."

I rose in some confusion, pushed my little table into the darkest corner of the room, received the white card from Rosanna's pink paw, in which it lay like cream amidst five half-ripe Hovey's seedlings, read "Miss Dudley" upon it, told Rosanna to ask her to please to walk in, and took up my position just within the door, in a state of some palpitation.

In another minute a gray-haired, rather tall and slight, and very well-made lady, with delicate, regular, spirited features, was before me, telling me with a peculiar kind of earnest cordiality, and a sympathy that expressed itself fully in tones, though not in words, that she could not content herself with writing her acknowledgments to me; she must come and see me herself, to tell me how pleased and gratified and touched she was by the offering that I had sent her.

[Pg 703]

I felt myself too much moved by the associations connected with it, and called up by her, to answer readily; and she, as if conjecturing this, led the conversation gently off, at first to painting in general, and afterwards, as I grew more at my ease with her, back again, with an appearance of genuine interest, to mine.

"There was one little shell," said she, "in your native group, which was quite new to me, and—which is more remarkable—to my brother."

"Was it like this?" asked I, taking a specimen from my paint-box.

"Precisely. We felt sure the portrait must be true to life, because all its companions were such faithful likenesses; and then it had itself such an honest, genuine, individual look. But is it to be found on this coast?"

"Yes. If Mr. Dudley has not met with it, it must no doubt be very rare; but, near the same spot always, just beyond Cedar Point, under the rocks in the little cove that lies farthest to the south, I have found it more than once."

"You must be quite an enthusiast in natural history. Have you studied it long?"

"No, ma'am, never. I mean," continued I, answering her look of surprise, "never from books. I believe I should enjoy it more than any other study; but I know so little yet of other things, and there are so many other things that one needs more to know." I felt my cheeks burn; for no sooner was I helplessly launched into this speech, than I perceived what an awkward one it was to make to the sister of an eminent naturalist. Notwithstanding, as I thought it was true, I could not take it back.

"I agree with you entirely," said she with a reassuring smile. "Such studies are fitted much more for the coping-stones than the foundation-stones of a good education. But then, if you will not think me too inquisitive, pray let me ask you one thing more; and that is, where and how you came by all the information that that group showed."

"Only by playing on the beaches and in the woods when I was a child. My mother did not like to keep me in, because she thought that that had impaired my sister"—here my voice would break, but I would go on,—Fanny's dear name should not die out of memory while I lived—"my sister Fanny's health; but they were afraid to let me run quite wild, and so she—my sister—led me out often wherever I wished to go, and helped me fill a little pasteboard museum which she made for me."

Miss Dudley's large, soft, trusty brown eyes met mine tenderly, as she said: "These things must indeed possess a more than common interest for you then. Have you that museum now?"

"No, ma'am; I sometimes wish I had. I gave it away when I went to Greenville to keep school," I added; not that I supposed it would matter anything to her, but that I thought it just as well to make sure of her understanding my position in life.

"That is so natural to us all,—to part with these little relics when we are still very young, and then to wish them back again before we are much older! You would smile to see a little museum that I keep for my brother,—not his scientific collection, which I hope some day to have the pleasure of showing you,—but 'an olla podrida in an ancestral wardrobe,' as my little Paul calls it, of his and my two little nieces' first baby-shoes, rattles, corals, and bells, wooden horses, primers, picture-books, and so forth, down to the cups and balls, and copy-books, which they have cast off within a month or two, each labelled with the owner's name, and the date of deposit. No year goes by without leaving behind some memento of each of them, or even without my laying aside there some trifling articles of dress that they have worn. It is a fancy of my brother's. He says that others may claim their after-years, but their childhood is his own,—all of it that is not mine,—and he must keep it for himself, and for them when they [Pg 704]come back to visit him in his old age. It is a birthday treat to them already to take the key from my split-ring, and look together over the half-forgotten things. But there is one thing there—a manuscript on the topmost shelf—which they do not know about, but which we take out and laugh over sometimes when they are all in bed,—a record that I have kept of all the most diverting things which we have heard them say, ever since they began to learn to talk." She checked herself,—I fancied because she remembered that, in her enthusiasm about the children, she had forgotten to what a new acquaintance she was speaking. She rose to take leave, and resumed, shaking hands with me cordially,—she had, I observed, a remarkably cordial and pleasant, earnest way of shaking hands,—"But upon the subject of my museum, Miss Morne, I need hardly beg you to be more discreet than I, and not to mention a domestic trifle of so little general interest."

I could only bow, but longed, as I attended her to the door, to assure her of the particular interest which I had already begun to feel in every trifle which belonged to her.

Her little barouche, and long-tailed, dark-gray ponies, vanished with her down the road; and I was left walking up and down the room. The "kind o' poor-lookin', pale-lookin', queer-lookin' lady," that Miss Mehitable had described,—was this she? How are we ever to know people by descriptions, when the same person produces one impression on one mind and quite another on another,—nay, may have one set of inherent qualities brought out by contact with one character, and quite another set by contact with another character? Have I described Miss Dudley? No,—and I cannot. She was both unique and indescribable.

Most people impress us more, perhaps, by their outward and physical, than by their inward and psychical life. On a first interview with them, especially, we receive an impression of clothes, good or otherwise, of beauty or plainness or ugliness of feature, and of correctness or uncouthness of manner. These are the common people, whether ladies and gentlemen, or simple men and women. There are, however, others, in all ranks and conditions, so instinct and replete with spirit, that we chiefly feel, when they have come in our way, that a spirit has passed by,—that a new life has been brought in contact with our own life.

Of these was Miss Dudley. But because, ever since the day I write of, I have loved to think of her, and because I know that, when I rejoin her, I shall leave some behind me who will still love, and have a right to hear of her, I will indulge myself in saying something more. That something shall be what I said to myself then, as I promenaded to and fro,—that bodily exercise was one of my safety-valves in those times,—in the endeavor to work off so much of my superfluous animation as to be in a state to sit down and paint again; and thus I spake: "I must have had before me an uncommonly fine specimen of a class whose existence I have conjectured before, but by no means including all the wealthy, who wear their purple and fine linen both gracefully and graciously, fare not more sumptuously than temperately every day, and do a great deal, not only directly by their ready beneficence, but indirectly by their sunny benignity, to light up the gloomy world of Lazarus." And though I was but a budding theorist in human nature, and often made mistakes before and afterwards, I never found myself mistaken there.

When Julia came in an hour after, she said to me, as I looked up from my roses and my rose-colored revery, "Katy, you look like an inspired sibyl! What has come over you?"

"Miss Dudley," said I.

"What! has she really—been here? How I wish I had seen her! What did she wear?"

"I'm afraid I can't tell you. Wait, I will try. O yes! it comes back to me;—a silver-gray shot poplin, or silk, [Pg 705]made full, but, I think, quite plain; a large red Cashmere shawl, rather more crimson and less scarlet than they usually are,—it glowed gloriously out from the gray;—then some kind of a thin, gray bonnet, with large gray and crimson crape and velvet flowers in it,—hibiscus or passion-flowers, or really I don't know what,—that seemed just to marry the dress to the shawl."

"Pretty well for you, Katy! Rather heavy for the season; but I suppose she was afraid of this east wind. You liked her, then?"

"Very much."

"So does the Doctor, always. Some people call her proud; but he says, that is only their way of expressing their view of the fact that she has a good deal to make her so, and more than enough to make them so, if they had it instead of her."

"I dare say. I should not think she was a person to take liberties with; but she was very sweet and kind to me."

"You are not a person to take liberties with anybody, nor to have any taken with you; and so I dare say she recognized a kindred spirit."

"Now, Julia, by your paying me such a compliment as that, I am certain you must want to have your bonnet taken up stairs for you; and so you shall."

"Ah! now I shall always know what string to pull when I wish to put a skilful attendant in motion. Phil would take my bonnet up stairs for me in a moment, if I bade him; but when I went up myself after it, it would be sure to stare me in the face, topsy-turvy, dumped bolt upright on the feather."


In another fortnight we had another Physick in the family. His papa called him "a little dose," and his mamma a "pill," in contradistinction to her previous "Phil." Proving peaceful and reflective, he also soon earned for himself the title of "the infant Philosopher."

Mrs. Physick did not like the society of Mrs. Rocket, the nurse, whom the Doctor had chosen "on account of the absence of her conversational powers." Mrs. Physick was accordingly always trying to get me into her chamber to sit with her. Mrs. Rocket accordingly did not like me, and was always trying to get me out. Between these two contending powers above, and the butcher, the baker, and candlestick-maker below, I was neither solitary nor idle.

There was much to do, moreover, in answering the kind inquiries, and receiving and disposing of the whips, jellies, blanc-mangers, and other indigestible delicacies, sent in by anxious friends. These the grateful Doctor pronounced, in the privacy of domestic life, "poison for the patient, but not quite so bad for the attendants." Accordingly, we ate them together sociably, at almost every meal; after which we went up stairs and told "the patient" how good they were, while I presented her gruel, and he would ask her, with an earnest air of judicial and dispassionate investigation, whether that was not "nice." This conduct she declared most unfeeling and ungrateful in us both, and bound herself by many a vow to make us pay for it as soon as she had the ordering of our dinners again. So we all made merry together over the little cradle that was called "the pill-box." Its small tenant was from the first, as I have hinted, a virtuous child, cried little, slept much, and when awake rewarded our attentions by making such preposterous faces as rendered it a most grateful task to watch him. I soon, therefore, became much attached to him; and I enjoyed one at least of the chief elements of the happiness of the individual,—the happiness of those among whom the individual lives.

In the mean time my guardian sometimes discussed with me some other things besides the jellies. For instance, "Katy," said he at one of our tête-à-tête dinners, "you walk out every day, I suppose; or, at least, you ought. I wish you would call now and then, and take Nelly Fader with you. She can [Pg 706]hardly be a very entertaining companion to you, I own, but it would be a charity; and, for your mother's daughter, that's enough."

"Certainly I will. By the way, speaking of her, what did you mean by what you said that day about female physicians?"

"I meant what I said," returned he, bluntly. "I meant just what I said. We need them, and we shall have them. It is an experiment that has got to be tried, and will be probably, within your lifetime, if not in mine. I don't want you to be one of them, though. You ought to be as much cleverer than yourself as you are now than Nelly Fader, in order to carry it through; and even then it might be the carrying of a cross through life,—a grievous, in the view of most men perhaps an ignominious cross, to the pioneers. Especially it will be so, if other good but uninformed and thoughtless women are going to cry out upon it, as you and Julia did the other day. Whether the experiment is to succeed or not depends, under Providence, very much on you and such as you. But if that sort of outcry is to be raised, it will probably have the effect of keeping out of the profession such women as, from their integrity, ability, culture, and breeding, could be ornaments to it, and leave us shallow and low-minded smatterers, that I wouldn't trust with the life of a canary-bird,—who will ask which is likely to be the most lucrative calling, medicine or millinery, and take their choice accordingly,—and, for want of better, poor dupes will employ them. If you can't bear female practitioners, you'll have to bear female quacktitioners." He paused and looked at me.

I knew how jealous he always was for the honor of his craft. He did not often come so near giving me a scolding; and I began to be afraid I might deserve one, though I could not see how. "I am sorry," said I; "I did not mean—I did not think—I did not know—"

"Precisely, kitten on the hearth," returned he, good-humoredly; "and as you are sorry, and as you are besides usually rather less unmeaning and unthinking and unknowing than most other chits of your age, I forgive you. Learn to think and know before you hiss or purr, and you will be wiser than most chits of any age or sex. But now, consider: you, such as you are, yourself little more than a child, have, in two or three short visits, roused, interested, and done that other poor child more good, and, I strongly suspect, inspired her with more confidence, than I—I trust as upright a person and as sincere a well-wisher—have been able to do in a score. And this you have been able to do, in great part, simply by virtue of your womanhood. It comes more natural to her, no doubt, to talk with you. Nelly's is a case in point, though by no manner of means so strong a case as others that I have in my mind. Now imagine another woman with your good-will and natural tact, vivacity, and sympathy; multiply these by double your age and intellect, and again by triple your experience and information; calculate from these data her powers of doing good in such cases, and then see whether, in helping to brand her and fetter her in the exercise of such powers, you may not 'haply be found to fight against God.'"

"I will not speak so again,—at least before I think and know. You have forgiven me. Now appoint me my penance."

"Do what more you can for Nelly, then. I can do little or nothing. In fact, my visits seem to embarrass and agitate her so much, that I am sometimes afraid they hurt her more than they help her. She suffers more in mind than body, I suspect. How, she will not tell me, and perhaps she cannot. It may be that she is sick from sorrow; or, on the other hand, her sorrow may be only an illusion of her sickness. It is all, from first to last, a mere miserable groping and working in the dark. In the mean time her constitution and character are forming for life. It is enough to make one's heart ache to look at the poor baby, and think what [Pg 707]an unsatisfactory, profitless, miserable life that may be. I need not remind you, Katy, that all this is a little piece of Freemasonry between ourselves. You are one of the exceptional and abnormal human people before whom one can safely think aloud."

I went to Nelly that very afternoon, with some curiosity and with no unwillingness. I had already begun to like her better than the Doctor did, as I began to know her better. At first I had been somewhat at a loss as to her real disposition, between the constant civility of her manners, and the occasional sullenness of her manner. I was fast making up my mind that the civility was genuine; the sullenness, apparent only, the result of extreme shyness, despondency, and languor. As fast as she became more and more at her ease with me, just so fast did she become more and more engaging. She was chaotic enough, and like a different creature on different days; but I found her, though sometimes very childish, often sweet and never sour, unvaryingly patient towards her very trying aunt, and only too subservient to her.

On this particular afternoon, I spied her through the best-parlor window, sobbing dismally. When she heard and saw me, she tried to compose herself in vain; but the only account she had to give of her grief was, that "the mocking-bird sang so dreadfully, and the Doctor told Aunt Cumberland she [Nelly] was not going to die. There," added she, under her breath, "I didn't mean to say that!"

We had no chance to say more; for Mrs. Cumberland came in from her shopping, and inquired for some cap-ruffles, which she had given Nelly to make up for her. "She said she didn't feel well enough to go down town with me," said Mrs. Cumberland; "an' so I left her them to hem, 'cause the Doctor says she needs cheerful occupation; an' them are just the pootiest kind o' work for young ladies, an' ruther tryin' to old eyes."

This was unanswerable; and as I was obliged myself to go to some shops, and Nelly could not, with her swollen lids, I bade Mrs. Cumberland good by; but told her niece that I meant to call for her soon again, for the Doctor thought it would do both of us good to take a walk every day. She looked somewhat encouraged by this; and I hoped that the plan would have the twofold effect of making her think it would be ungracious to refuse to accompany me a second time, and of keeping her from crying lest she should again be caught at it.

When I reached home, I found it a home of strife. The pill was soon to be labelled. Dr. Physick wished to call it Julius; but nothing would do for his tyrannical wife but to have it bear his name.

"Thank you," said the Doctor, as I entered. "Aren't the sufferings of one generation under that dispensation enough for you? Do as you would be done by, Julia. How would you like yourself to be called Philemon?"

"I can't help that," persisted Mrs. Julia. "The name of Phil is a philter to me. Unless he bears it, I shall hate him."

"A likely story! What should you have done if he had been a girl?"

"Called him Phillis," answered the ready Julia, sturdily.

"Then what should you say to Philip, now?" interposed I in behalf of the helpless innocent,—(an interposition in return for which, ever after we have finished his medical education with a year in Paris, he ought in common gratitude to prescribe for me gratis, if I live to be as old and ill as Joyce Heth;—for Philip he was and is, and will be, I trust, for many a fine day,—the fine, honest, clever, useful fellow!)

"Here's your fee, Katy, for restoring my domestic supremacy—ahem! I hope Mrs. Physick did not hear," said the Doctor;—"domestic balance of power shall I say, my love,—or system of compromises?"

What "my love" desired him to say I cannot say, for I was deep in the note which he had disgorged for me from his not only omnivorous, but, [Pg 708]alas! too often oblivious pocket. It was written on small-sized French paper, in a beautiful English hand, bore date, to my consternation, some days back, and ran as follows:—

"Barberry Beach, Monday, Sept.—th, 18—.

"Dear Miss Morne:—

"I have been wishing to see you again, all through this month, but scarcely expecting it till now; because I knew how full your heart and hands must be at home. Now, however, since I have had the pleasure of hearing from the Doctor that Mrs. Physick is nearly well, perhaps it will not be too much to hope that you will find an hour to spare for me some day this week. I have no engagements made; and if you can appoint a time to come to me, I shall be here and deny myself to other visitors. I should send my barouche for you; but one of the ponies has hurt its hoof, and the Doctor says that you confine yourself too closely to your household cares, and that you would be all the better for a walk.

"Another indulgence which I have been promising myself,—that of painting some illustrations for my brother's next work,—I find I must not only put off, but forego. It would be some consolation to me to be able to make it over to you, and believe that you found half as much enjoyment in it as I have, on former occasions. The usual terms, when he has paid for such work, have been ... [here she named a liberal sum]; but of course, if you like to undertake it, you will feel at liberty to name your own; and I shall be, as I am,

"Very gratefully yours,
"Elizabeth Dudley.
"Miss Morne."

Between surprise, pleasure, and dismay at my apparent neglect, I exclaimed simply, "What shall I do!"

"In all dilemmas, consult your guardian," answered he; and I handed him the note by way of a Nemesis.

He read it aloud very honestly, date and all; and I had the satisfaction to hear his wife, who was fast getting him well in hand again, rebuke him.

"Whew!" whistled he with most appropriate contrition; "'Monday'! and it's Thursday now, and too late for to-day! I wish I mayn't have lost you the job, Katy. While the heart holds out, however, never give up the case! Put on your best bib and tucker when you get up to-morrow morning; and, as soon as you have got through ordering me an apple-dumpling, I will take you over there, and tell Miss Dudley who was to blame, and promise her, if she will forgive us, never to give her any assafœtida."


I could scarcely sleep that night for eagerness and anticipation. Ever since the afternoon when the vision of Miss Dudley appeared, to startle me from my painting, in the little south parlor, she had been the foremost figure in my brightest day-dreams, as often as, with little Philip warm and slumberous on my knees, I could find time for day-dreams. Accordingly, I had been more than wishing—longing—to see her again; though I put off returning her visit, partly from real want of time, partly from uncertainty about what was the proper etiquette for me, and partly from the dread of dispelling some pleasant illusions, and finding that the Miss Dudley of my reveries belonged to the realm of my imagination rather than to that of my memory. I dreamed of her all that night, when I was not lying awake to think of her; and when, in the morning, I arose early to brush and brighten my somewhat faded black, the keen autumn air, instead of chilling me, seemed but to whet and sharpen my zest for my expedition.

Julia's toilet was not made when I heard the clatter of the recalcitrant De Quincey backing the chaise out of his beloved, but little be-lived in, stable. She sat up in bed, however, when I went in to kiss her, in spite of Mrs. Rocket, turned me round to the window [Pg 709]to see whether I was looking my best, or, as she equivocally phrased it, "the best of which I was capable," told me, that I had got a little rouge the last time I was out, and must ask Miss Dudley whether it was not becoming, and hooked her forefingers into my naturally gekräuseltes hair, to pull it into what she always maintained to be the proper pose above my eyebrows.

Then down I ran, and off I went, through the town and along the road, between rocks and evergreens with here and there a gate among them that marked the entrance to the earthly paradise of some lucky gentleman.

"Sha'n't we be too early?" asked I, fidgeting, for my prosperity appeared to me, just now, too perfect to be permanent.

"No," said the Doctor. "They are early people at Barberry Beach,—not Sybarites in anything, so far as I can judge. It is near nine. Miss Dudley tells me I shall almost always find her visible by that time. If, not hearing from you, she has made other engagements, you know she is more likely to be at leisure now than later."

"She does not look well yet. What was the matter with her?"

"Angina pectoris. That is Greek to you, Katy. Pain in the heart, then."

"What made her have it?"

"That is a deep question in the most interesting of sciences,—that of the metamorphoses of diseases. Many men would answer it according to their many minds. To the best of my belief, the cause of Miss Dudley's having a pain in her heart lay in her great-grandfather's toe."

"O Doctor! what do you mean?"

"The gout."

"Well, that sounds very aristocratic and imposing; but, notwithstanding, I know you are laughing at me."

"No, I am not. It is no laughing matter."

"Why, is it dangerous?"

"Dangerous!" said he. "It is deadly. Why, Katy, I never shall dare to tell you anything again, if you are going to look so frightened! She did not when I told her."

"Does she know?"

"Yes, and makes no secret of it, and is not unlikely to mention it before you; so that you must accustom yourself to the idea, and be prepared to face it as she does."

"How came she to know?"

"She asked me. I gave up very early in my practice, for several reasons, the habit of lying to my patients. If they are cowards, or if, for any reason, I think the truth and the whole truth would shorten their days, I often tell them little or nothing; but I tell them nothing but the truth. She is not a person to be put off from knowing what she has a right to know."

"How did she take it?"

"Nobly and simply, without any affectation of indifference. As she put the question, I laid my hand on her pulse; and, as it went on pretty firmly, I went on too. When I had said all there was to say, she thanked me earnestly, and said, as sweetly as anything could possibly be said, that the information would add double weight to the cautions and other counsels I had given her, and told me that, if I ever came to be in a situation like hers, she trusted that I should find the comfort of being dealt with with candor and kindness like mine. After all, Katy, she may live yet many years, and die at last of something else; and that is about the best that can be prognosticated of you and me, my dear."

"'Tis true the young may die, but the old must," thought I. I was half comforted, and only half. Yet the pensive shadow of coming doom—or shall I not rather say the solemn dawn of approaching eternity?—seemed to lend a new and more unearthly charm to the lovely spiritual vision I cherished in my mind.

Presently, instead of passing a gate, the Doctor turned in at it, and drove smoothly up the gentle slope of a hard-rolled winding avenue lined with hemlocks. "Pretty, isn't it?" cried he. "O for the time when I shall retire [Pg 710]upon my fortune, and leave my office to Phil the second! There, Katy! What do you think of that?"

What did I think? O, too much to be told, either then or now! From the dark trees one forward step of each of De Quincey's forefeet brought us out into a high amphitheatre, at the instant flooded with sunshine. A higher hill, wooded with evergreens and bossed with boulders, made a background behind it, on the right, for a large, low cottage of clear gray granite, with broad piazzas curtained with Virginia creepers and monthly honeysuckles, and cloistered on the south. In front of the cottage was a shaven lawn, rimmed with a hedge of graceful barberries, and lighted up by small circular spots of brown earth, teeming with salvia and other splendid autumn flowers. Beyond and on the left ran a long reach of rocky headlands, burning with golden-rod and wild-rose berries mingled with purple asters and white spiræa, and all along from below, but very near, spread out far and wide the inexpressible ocean. It was a rough, ridgy, sage-greenish, gray ocean, I remember, that morning, full of tumble and toss and long scalloped lines of spent foam, covered over with a dim, low half-dome of sky,—with seagulls flickering, and here and there a small, wild, ragged gypsy of a cloud, of a little darker gray, scudding lawlessly under,—and threw out in the strongest contrast the brilliant hues and sharp, clear outlines of the shore.

The Doctor sprang from the chaise, left me in it, and threw me the reins. I always wished he wouldn't, but he always would. The most I had to gain by pulling them, if De Quincey grew restless, was to make him back; and this was precisely what I least desired. My reasonable expostulations, however, could never obtain any more grace from him who should have been my guardian than a promise, if I would "make no fuss, and broken bones" came of it, that he would "mend me softly." Therefore I thought it most prudent not to expostulate; but my penance was this time a brief one. He had hardly entered the door when the tall, striking figure I recollected so well came dimly in view in one of the nearest bay-windows, tapped on the glass with one slender white-frilled hand, and nodded with a bright, glad smile; and back came the Doctor to help me out.

"It is all right, Katy. Miss Dudley wants you, and does not want me. If it rains, you can stay till I call for you. Otherwise, come back when you like. The first door to your left in the hall."

Miss Dudley met me in the parlor-door, laughing. "I should have come out to make prize of you," said she, "but they say it is rather bleak this morning, and I am still under orders. I had almost given you up for this week; but the Doctor assures me that he has already been suitably dealt with and brought to repentance, and so there is no more to be said on that point, especially as you have happened to hit on the very time when I am most alone, and when, as I have been accustomed to be the busiest, I feel my present idleness the most. You drove here, after all. You are not tired? What should you say, first, to a walk with me?"

A staid-looking, exquisitely neat, elderly woman brought her bonnet, umbrella, gloves, and a large Scotch plaid shawl, in which she wrapped Miss Dudley, with much solicitude, and was so prettily thanked for her pains that I longed to have the wrapping up to do myself.

"I really do not think I needed to be muffled up quite so closely to-day," said my hostess, as she stepped lightly from the piazza to the sunlit gravel-walk; "but Bonner is ten years older than I, and feels the cold a good deal herself, and I do not like to make her anxious about me. She had a great fright, poor thing! when I was ill. Where shall we go, Miss Morne?—to the garden or the shore? I am not certain that those clouds mean to give us time for both."

Not knowing which she would prefer, I answered that I could hardly choose, unless she would be so kind as to tell me which was the most beautiful.[Pg 711] To my joy, she said the shore. The path ran close to the edge of the cliffs; and below our very feet were the beach and the breakers. We both forgot ourselves at first, I think, in the sight and sound.

At length she turned, with a sudden movement, and looked me in the face. "I do believe, Miss Morne," said she, "that you are one of the fortunate people who have the power to enjoy this to the full. I trust that we may often still enjoy it here together."

"Shall I tell you how I enjoy it, ma'am?" I exclaimed, carried out of myself at sight of the enthusiasm that was tinging her delicate cheek and lighting up her eyes. "As we enjoy those things that it never comes into our heads to ask ourselves whether we like or not. Some things we have to ask ourselves, whether we like or not, before we know, and even after we are scarcely sure; and some things, such as the poor little 'Marchioness's' orange-peel and water, we have to 'make believe very hard' in order to like at all. But home when we have been away, and friends when we have been lonely, and water when we are thirsty, and the sea always!—we never ask ourselves if those are good,—we know." Then my face burnt. How it would burn in those girlish days!

And how foolish I felt, or had begun to feel, when Miss Dudley slowly answered, looking mercifully away from me and at the waves: "Very true, Miss Morne! You speak from your heart, and to mine."

The clouds were forbearing, and allowed us time afterwards for a visit to the gorgeous garden. We walked to the summer-house at the very end, from which a winding path began to climb the hill. There Miss Dudley paused. "My chamois days are over, for the present, at least," said she. "We must wait for my little nieces or nephew to escort you up there. Shall we go in?"

When we did so, I thought that the interior of the cottage was not much less grand, scarcely less beautiful, than what we had seen without. At that period most housekeepers held the hardly yet exploded heresy, not only that fresh air was a dangerous and unwholesome luxury, to be denied, as far as might be, to any but the strongest constitutions,[2] but that even sunshine within the doors was an inadmissible intrusion, alike untidy and superfluous. On these points this house set public opinion at defiance. It was set, of set purpose, at wrong angles to the points of the compass. Every wind of heaven could sweep it, at the pleasure of the inmates, through and through, and the piazzas were so arranged that there was not a single apartment in it into which the sun could not look, through one window or another, once at least in the twenty-four hours. The floors were tiled, ingrained, oiled, matted,—everything but carpeted, except that of the state drawing-room; and there the Wilton had a covering over it, removed, as I afterwards found, only on occasions of state. The whole atmosphere seemed full of health, purity, cheerfulness, warmth, and brightness. Brilliant flowers peeped in at the windows, and were set on the tables in vases, or hung in them from the walls. And there were pictures, and there were statues, but there too was Miss Dudley, paring a peach for me, for sociability's sake,—for she could not eat one herself, so soon after her breakfast; and, as I knew the time must be running away very fast,—hard that it will always run fastest when we are the happiest!—I seized my first opportunity to say that few things would give me greater pleasure than to furnish the illustrations she had mentioned, if I could but succeed in executing them as I ought.

"As to that, I will be your sponsor," returned she, gayly, "if you would like to begin them here. Your touch is very firm and true; and I will show you all our tricks of color. Here is my paint-box. Have you time to-day?"

I had time, and no excuse; though, [Pg 712]in falling so suddenly into the midst of painting-lessons from Miss Dudley, I really felt as if I was having greatness thrust upon me in a manner to take my breath away. If I had only had a little more time to think about it, my touch might have been truer for the nonce. Her paint-box was so handsomely furnished, too, and so daintily ordered, that I scarcely dared touch it. She gave me a little respite, however, by rubbing the colors for me,—colors, some of them, that, for their costliness, I could not allow myself at all at home,—and selected for me two such exquisite brushes from her store! Then she lay down beside me on a "couch of Ind," smiled as I laid her plaid over her feet, and watched me at the work. How that brought my poor Fanny back to me! But my new mistress went on unwearyingly, teaching and encouraging me, and, if I was more than satisfied with her, did not on her part show that she was less than satisfied with me. The clock struck twelve before I dreamed of its taking upon itself to offer such an untimely interruption.

"Now I am nicely rested," said she, soon after; "and I am afraid you must begin to be nicely tired. Do you not?"

"No, indeed; I seldom do till nine o'clock at night."

"Then we will indulge ourselves here still a little longer. But hark! Are not there my little people back from school?"

The expression common to those who love children stole into her face. Young voices were drawing nearer.

"Come to my arms, O lovely cherub!" said one that had a boyish sound in it, paternally.

"Look out and see them," whispered Miss Dudley to me.

I peeped through the blinds. A handsome and very graceful olive-hued boy, apparently about fourteen years old, with a form like that of the Mercury upborne by a zephyr, eyes like stars, lashes like star-beams, and an expression that would have made him a good study for a picture of Puck, half leaning, half sitting, on the stone balustrade, was tenderly dandling in his arms a huge, vulgar-looking, gray, striped stable-cat, that rolled and writhed therein in transports of comfort and affection.

"But, indeed, Paul," remonstrated another voice, tout comme un serin, "Pet ought to be whipped instead of hugged! Lily says so."

"Tiger Lily? What a cruel girl! O, my Pettitoes! how can she say so?"

"Why," answered another girlish voice, a little firmer, but hardly less sweet, than the first, "only think! While we were all in school, he watched his opportunity and killed the robin that lives in the crab-apple-tree. The gardener says he heard it cry, and ran with his hoe; and there was this wicked, horrid, grim, great Pet galloping as fast as he could gallop to the stable, with its poor little beak sticking out at one side of his grinning mouth, and its tail at the other!"

"Why, Pettitoes! how very inconsiderate! You won't serve it so another time, will you? Though how a robin can have the face to squeak when he catches it himself at noon, after cramming himself with worms the whole morning, is more than I can see!"

"O no, Paul! He was singing most sweetly! I heard him; and so did Rose."

"And so did I. He was singing through his nose as bad as Deacon Piper, because he had a worm in his mouth. He couldn't leave off gobbling one single minute,—not even to practise his music."

"Let us go out," said Miss Dudley.

We did so. Paul's retreating back was all that was to be seen of the boy, with Pet's peaceful chin pillowed upon his shoulder, as, borne off in triumph, he looked calmly back at Lily, who stood shaking her small, chiselled ivory finger at him. Rose was still beside her, with her arm around her waist, as if in propitiation.

Two twelve-year-old twins, in twin blue gingham frocks,—they were much addicted to blue and pink ginghams,—they [Pg 713]had that indefinable look of blood which belonged to their kin, which is sometimes, to be sure, to be found in families that have no great-grandfathers, after they have been well-fed, well-read, and well-bred for a generation or two, but to which they had an uncommonly good right, as their pedigree—so I afterwards found—ran straight back to the Norman Conquest, without a single "probably" in it. They were, for their age, tall and slender, with yet more springy buoyancy than their aunt in pose and movement. Strangers were always mistaking them for each other. That day I could scarcely tell them apart, though afterwards I wondered at it. Rose was the very prettiest child I ever saw, and Lily pretty nearly the most beautiful person.

Lily was already the tallest. Her thick and wavy hair was blonde cendrée, and all her features were perfectly Grecian. Her eyes were of a very dark blue, that turned into nothing but clear radiance when she was opposed or in any way excited. Her complexion was healthful, but would be described as soft and warm, rather than brilliant. Her whole fair little face was about as firm and spirited as a fair girlish face could be.

Rose's larger eyes were of a pure, deep hazel. Her hair, as thick and curly as Lily's, was far more glossy and flossy, and of the yellowest, brightest gold-color. Her nose—a most perfect little nose—was more aquiline than her sister's. Her skin was of the tints of the finest rare-ripe peaches,—pure white and deepening pink; and all around her mouth were dimples lying in wait for her to laugh.

As they met Miss Dudley, with the many-colored Virginia creepers behind them and the flowers behind her, a better tableau vivant of "first youth" and first age could scarcely have been put together than they made. It made me wish that I had been more than a painter of specimens. The elder lady presented me to the younger ones; and they greeted me with that pretty courtesy that always charms us twofold when we meet with it in children, because we scarcely expect it of them. Rose's radiant little countenance, especially, seemed to say, "I have heard of you before, and wished to know you"; and that is one of the most winning expressions that a new countenance can wear. Then they put their arms round "dear Aunt Lizzy," coaxed her for peaches, and obtained the remainder of our basketful without much difficulty; and then I had to depart, but not quite without solace, for Rose ran after me to say, "Aunt Lizzy hopes, if you are not otherwise engaged, to see you again Monday morning at nine; and she sends you this book that she forgot to give you. It made her think of you, she says, when she was reading it."

It was Greenwood's "Sermons of Consolation"; and, written in her hand on the fly-leaf, I found my name.


[2] The old philosophy held, that "Nature abhors a vacuum"; but modern observation shows that the natural Yankee abhors the air.


With the steadfast stars above us,
And the molten stars below,
We sailed through the Southern midnight,
By the coast of Mexico.
Alone, on the desolate, dark-ringed,
Rolling and flashing sea,
A grim old Venezuelan
Kept the deck with me,
[Pg 714] And talked to me of his country,
And the long Spanish war,
And told how a young Republic
Forged the sword of Bolivar.
Of no base mundane metal
Was the wondrous weapon made,
And in no earth-born fire
Was fashioned the sacred blade.
But that it might shine the symbol
Of law and light in the land,
Dropped down as a star from heaven,
To flame in a hero's hand.
And be to the world a portent
Of eternal might and right,
They chose for the steel a splinter
From a fallen aerolite.
Then a virgin forge they builded
By the city, and kindled it
With flame from a shattered palm-tree,
Which the lightning's torch had lit,—
That no fire of earthly passion
Might taint the holy sword,
And no ancient error tarnish
The falchion of the Lord.
For Quito and New Granada
And Venezuela they pour
From three crucibles the dazzling
White meteoric ore.
In three ingots it is moulded,
And welded into one,
For an emblem of Colombia,
Bright daughter of the sun!
It is drawn on a virgin anvil,
It is heated and hammered and rolled,
It is shaped and tempered and burnished,
And set in a hilt of gold;
For thus by the fire and the hammer
Of war a nation is built,
And ever the sword of its power
Is swayed by a golden hilt.
Then with pomp and oratory
The mustachioed señores brought
To the house of the Liberator
The weapon they had wrought;
[Pg 715] And they said, in their stately phrases,
"O mighty in peace and war!
No mortal blade we bring you,
But a flaming meteor.
"The sword of the Spaniard is broken,
And to you in its stead is given,
To lead and redeem a nation,
This ray of light from heaven."
The gaunt-faced Liberator
From their hands the symbol took,
And waved it aloft in the sunlight,
With a high, heroic look;
And he called the saints to witness:
"May these lips turn into dust,
And this right hand fail, if ever
It prove recreant to its trust!
"Never the sigh of a bondman
Shall cloud this gleaming steel,
But only the foe and the traitor
Its vengeful edge shall feel.
"Never a tear of my country
Its purity shall stain,
Till into your hands, who gave it,
I render it again."
Now if ever a chief was chosen
To cover a cause with shame,
And if ever there breathed a caitiff,
Bolivar was his name.
From his place among the people
To the highest seat he went,
By the winding paths of party
And the stair of accident.
A restless, weak usurper,
Striving to rear a throne,
Filling his fame with counsels
And conquests not his own;—
Now seeming to put from him
The sceptre of command,
Only that he might grasp it
With yet a firmer hand;—
His country's trusted leader,
In league with his country's foes,
Stabbing the cause that nursed him,
And openly serving those;—
[Pg 716]
The chief of a great republic
Plotting rebellion still,—
An apostate faithful only
To his own ambitious will.
Drunk with a vain ambition,
In his feeble, reckless hand,
The sword of Eternal Justice
Became but a brawler's brand.
And Colombia was dissevered,
Rent by factions, till at last
Her name among the nations
Is a memory of the past.
Here the grim old Venezuelan
Puffed fiercely his red cigar
A brief moment, then in the ocean
It vanished like a star;
And he slumbered in his hammock;
And only the ceaseless rush
Of the reeling and sparkling waters
Filled the solemn midnight hush,
As I leaned by the swinging gunwale
Of the good ship, sailing slow,
With the steadfast heavens above her,
And the molten heavens below.
Then I thought with sorrow and yearning
Of my own distracted land,
And the sword let down from heaven
To flame in her ruler's hand,—
The sword of Freedom, resplendent
As a beam of the morning star,
Received, reviled, and dishonored
By another than Bolivar!
And my prayers flew home to my country:
O ye tried and fearless crew!
O ye pilots of the nation!
Now her safety is with you.
Beware the traitorous captain,
And the wreckers on the shore;
Guard well the noble vessel;
And steadily evermore,
As ye steer through the perilous midnight,
Let your faithful glances go
To the steadfast stars above her,
From their fickle gleams below.

[Pg 717]


The incessant demolition of which Broadway is the scene denotes to the most careless eye that devotion to the immediate which De Tocqueville maintains to be a democratic characteristic. The huge piles of old bricks which block the way—with their array of placards heralding every grade of popular amusement, from a tragedy of Shakespeare to a negro melody, and from a menagerie to a clairvoyant exhibition, and vaunting every kind of experimental charlatanism, from quack medicine to flash literature—are mounds of less mystery, but more human meaning, than those which puzzle archæologists on the Mississippi and the Ohio; for they are the débris of mansions only half a century ago the aristocratic homes of families whose descendants are long since scattered, and whose social prominence and local identity are forgotten, while trade has obliterated every vestige of their roof-tree and association of their hearth-stone. Such is the constant process. As private residences give way to stores and offices, the upper portion of the island is crowded with their enlarged dimensions and elaborate luxury; churches are in the same manner sacrificed, until St. Paul's and Trinity alone remain of the old sacred landmarks; and the suburban feature—those "fields" where burgomasters foregathered, the militia drilled, and Hamilton's youthful eloquence roused the people to arms—is transferred to the other and distant end of Manhattan, and expanded into a vast, variegated, and beautiful rural domain,—that "the Park" may coincide in extent and attraction with the increase of the population and growth of the city's area. Thus a perpetual tide of emigration, and the pressure of the business on the resident section,—involving change of domicile, substitution of uses, the alternate destruction and erection of buildings, each being larger and more costly in material than its predecessor,—make the metropolis of the New World appear, to the visitor from the Old, a shifting bivouac rather than a stable city, where hereditary homes are impossible, and nomadic instincts prevalent, and where local associations, such as endear or identify the streets abroad, seem as incongruous as in the Eastern desert or Western woods, whose dwellers "fold their tents like the Arabs, and as silently steal away." The absence of the law of primogeniture necessitates the breaking up of estates, and thus facilitates the methods whereby the elegant homestead becomes, in the second or third generation, a dry-goods store, a boarding or club house, a milliner's show-room or a dentist's office. Here and there some venerable gossip will rehearse the triumphs of refined hospitality, or describe the success of a belle or the brilliancy of a genial leader in politics or social pastime, which, years ago, consecrated a mansion or endeared a neighborhood,—whereof not a visible relic is now discoverable, save in a portrait or reminiscent paper conserved in the archives of the Historical Society. And in this speedy oblivion of domestic and social landmarks, how easily we find a reason for the national irreverence, and the exclusive interest in the future, which make the life of America, like the streets of her cities, a scene of transition unhallowed by memorials.

Yet, despite its dead horses and vehicular entanglements, its vile concert saloons, the alternate meanness and magnificence of its architecture, the fragile character of its theatrical structures, and their limited and hazardous means of exit,—despite falling walls and the necessity of police guardianship at the crossings, the reckless driving of butcher-boys and the dexterity of pickpockets,—despite the slippery pavement, and the chronic cry for[Pg 718] "relief,"—Broadway is a spectacle and an experience worth patient study, and wonderfully prolific of life-pictures. With a fountain at one end, like a French town, and a chime of bells at the other, like a German city, the intermediate space is as representative a rendezvous as can be found in the world.

The first thing that strikes an experienced eye in New York's great thoroughfare is the paucity of loiterers: he sees, at a glance, that the flâneur is an exotic here. There is that in the gait and look of every one that shows a settled and an eager purpose,—a goal sought under pressure. A counting-room, office, court, mart, or mansion is to be reached punctually, and therefore the eye and step are straightforward, intent, preoccupied. But this peculiarity is chiefly obvious early and late in the day, when business and professional men are on their way to and from the place of their daily vocations. Later, and especially about two hours after noon, it is the dress and number of the other sex that win attention; and to one fresh from London, the street attire of ladies—or those who aspire, with more or less justice, to that title—is a startling incongruity; for the showy colors and fine textures reserved across the sea for the opera, the salon, and the fashionable drive, are here displayed on shopping expeditions, for which an English lady dresses in neutral tints and substantial fabrics,—avoiding rather than courting observation. The vulgar impression derived in Broadway from an opposite habit is vastly increased by modern fashions; for the apology for a bonnet that leaves brow, cheek, and head fully exposed,—the rustle and dimensions of crinoline,—the heavy masses of unctuous false hair attached to the back of the head, deforming its shape and often giving a coarse monstrosity to its naturally graceful poise and proportions,—the inappropriate display of jewelry and the long silk trains of the expensive robes trailing on the dirty walk, and continually caught beneath the feet of careless pedestrians,—all unite to render the exhibition repulsive to taste, good sense, and that chivalric sympathy inspired by the sight of female beauty and grace, so often co-existent with these anomalies. Broadway has often been compared to a kaleidoscope,—an appellation suggested by the variety of shifting tints, from those of female dress to those of innumerable commodities, from dazzling effects of sunshine to the radiance of equipage, vivid paint, gilded signs, and dazzling wares. And blent with this pervading language of colors are the local associations which the articles of merchandise hint. Consider how extensive is their scope,—Persian carpets, Lyons silks, Genoa velvets, ribbons from Coventry and laces from Brussels, the furs of the Northwest, glass of Bohemia, ware of China, nuts from Brazil, silver of Nevada mines, Sicily lemons, Turkey figs, metallic coffins and fresh violets, Arabian dates, French chocolate, pine-apples from the West Indies, venison from the Adirondacs, brilliant chemicals, gilded frames, Manchester cloth, Sheffield cutlery, Irish linens, ruddy fruit, salmon from the Thousand Isles, sables from Russia, watches from Geneva, carvings from Switzerland, caricatures and India-rubber garments, saccharine temples, books in tinted covers, toys, wines, perfumes, drugs, dainties, art, luxury, science, all lavishing their products to allure the throng,—phenomena common, indeed, to all streets devoted to trade, but here uniquely combined with a fashionable promenade, and affording the still-life of a variegated moving panorama. It is characteristic, also, that the only palatial buildings along the crowded avenue are stores and hotels. Architecture thus glorifies the gregarious extravagance of the people. The effect of the whole is indefinitely prolonged, to an imaginative mind, by the vistas at the lower extremity, which reveal the river, and, at sunset, the dark tracery of the shipping against the far and flushed horizon; while, if one lifts his eye to the telegraph wire, or lowers it to some [Pg 719]excavation which betrays the Croton pipes, a sublime consciousness is awakened of the relation of this swift and populous eddy of life's great ocean to its distant rural streams, and the ebb and flow of humanity's eternal tide. Consider, too, the representative economics and delectations around, available to taste, necessity, and cash,—how wonderful their contrast! Not long since, an Egyptian museum, with relics dating from the Pharaohs, was accessible to the Broadway philosopher, and a Turkish khan to the sybarite; one has but to mount a staircase, and find himself in the presence of authentic effigies of all the prominent men of the nation, sun-painted for the million. This pharmacist will exorcise his pain-demon; that electrician place him en rapport with kindred hundreds of miles away, or fortify his jaded nerves. Down this street he may enjoy a Russian or Turkish bath; down that, a water-cure. Here, with skill undreamed of by civilized antiquity, fine gold can be made to replace the decayed segment of a tooth; there, he has but to stretch out his foot, and a chiropodist removes the throbbing bunion, or a boy kneels to polish his boots. A hackman is at hand to drive him to the Park, a telescope to show him the stars; he has but to pause at a corner and buy a journal which will place him au courant with the events of the world, or listen to an organ-grinder, and think himself at the opera. This temple is free for him to enter and "muse till the fire burns"; on yonder bookseller's counter is an epitome of the wisdom of ages; there he may buy a nosegay to propitiate his lady-love, or a sewing-machine to beguile his womankind, and here a crimson balloon or spring rocking-horse, to delight his little boy, and rare gems or a silver service for a bridal gift. This English tailor will provide him with a "capital fit," that German tobacconist with a creamy meerschaum. At the artificial Spa he may recuperate with Vichy or Kissingen, and at the phrenologist's have his mental and moral aptitudes defined; now a "medium" invites him to a spiritual séance, and now an antiquarian to a "curiosity shop." In one saloon is lager such as he drank in Bavaria, and in another, the best bivalves in the world. Here is a fine billiard-table, there a gymnasium;—food for mind and body, gratification to taste;—all the external resources of civilization are at hand,—not always with the substantial superiority of those of London or the elegant variety of Paris, but with enough of both to make them available to the eclectic cosmopolite.

The historical epochs of New York are adequately traceable by the successive pictures of her main thoroughfare,—beginning with the Indian village and the primeval forest which Henry Hudson found on the island of Manhattan in 1609, and advancing to the stockade fort of New Amsterdam, built where the Battery now is, by Wouter Van Twiller, the second Dutch governor, and thence to the era when the fur trade, tobacco-growing, and slavery were enriching the India Company, when the Wall was built on the site of the so-called financial rendezvous, to protect the settlement from savage invasion, and a deep valley marked the present junction of Canal Street and Broadway. The advent of a new class of artisans signalizes the arrival of Huguenot emigrants; the rebellion of Leisler marks the encroachment of new political agencies, and the substitution of Pitt's statue for that of George III. on the Bowling Green in 1770, the dawn of Independence, so sturdily ushered in and cherished by the Liberty Boys, and culminating in the evacuation of the British in 1783, the entrance of Washington with the American army, and, two years after, in the meeting of the first Congress. These vicissitudes left their impress on the street. Every church but the Episcopal was turned by the English into a riding-school, prison, or stable; each successive charter was more liberal in its municipal privileges. The Boston stage long went from the Fort to the Park, and so on by the old post-road, [Pg 720]and was fourteen days en route; pestilence, imported from the West India islands, depopulated the adjacent houses; water was sold from carts; and dimly lighted was the pedestrian on his midnight way, while old-fashioned watchmen cried the hour; and when, in 1807, Robert Fulton initiated steam navigation, the vast system of ferriage was established which inundated the main avenue of the city with a perpetual tributary stream of floating population from all the outlying shores of the Hudson and East Rivers, Staten and Long Islands, and the villages above Manhattan. A lady who lived in New York forty years ago, and returned this season, expressed her surprise that the matutinal procession of rustics she used to watch from the window of her fashionable domicile in the lower part of Broadway had ceased, so completely had suburban citizens usurped the farmers' old homes. The beautiful pigeons that used to coo and cluster on the cobble stones had no resting-place for their coral feet on the Russ pavement, so thickly moved the drays, and so unremitted was the rush of man and beast. In fact, the one conservative feature eloquent of the past is the churchyard,—the old, moss-grown, sloping gravestones,—landmarks of finished life-journeys, mutely invoking the hurrying crowd through the tall iron railings of Trinity and St. Paul's. It is a striking evidence of a "new country," that a youth from the Far West, on arriving in New York by sea, was so attracted by these ancient cemeteries that he lingered amid them all day,—saying it was the first time he had ever seen a human memorial more than twenty years old, except a tree! And memorable was the ceremony whereby, a few years since, the Historical Society celebrated the bicentennial birthday of Bradford, the old colonial printer, by renewing his headstone. At noonday, when the life-tide was at flood, in lovely May weather, a barrier was stretched across Broadway; and there, at the head of eager gold-worshipping Wall Street, in the heart of the bustling, trafficking crowd, a vacant place was secured in front of the grand and holy temple of Trinity. The pensive chant arose; a white band of choristers and priests came forth; and eminent citizens gathered around to reconsecrate the tablet over the dust of one who, two hundred years ago, had practised a civilizing art in this fresh land, and disseminated messages of religion and wisdom. It was a singular picture, beautiful to the eye, solemn to the feelings, and a rare tribute to the past, where the present sways with such absolute rule. Few Broadway tableaux are so worthy of artistic preservation. Before, the vista of a money-changers' mart; above and below, a long, crowded avenue of metropolitan life; behind, the lofty spire, gothic windows, and archways of the church, and the central group as picturesquely and piously suggestive as a mediæval rite.

Vainly would the most self-possessed reminiscent breast the living tide of the surging thoroughfare, on a weekday, to realize in his mind's eye its ancient aspect; but if it chance to him to land at the Battery on a clear and still Sabbath morning, and before the bells summon forth the worshippers, and to walk thence to Union Square in company with an octogenarian Knickerbocker of good memory, local pride, and fluent speech, he will obtain a mental photograph of the past that transmutes the familiar scene by a quaint and vivid aerial perspective. Then the "Middle Road" of the beginning of this century will reappear,—the traces of a wheat-field on the site of St. Paul's, still a fresh tradition; Oswego Market, opposite Liberty Street, is alive with early customers; the reminiscent beholds the apparition of Rutgers's orchard, whose remaining noble elms yet shade the green vista of the City Hospital, and which was a place for rifling bird's-nests in the boyhood of his pensive companion, whose father played at skittles on the Bowling Green, hard by the Governor's house, while the Dutch householders sat smoking long [Pg 721]pipes in their broad porticos, cosily discussing the last news from Antwerp or Delft, their stout rosy daughters meanwhile taking a twilight ramble, with their stalwart beaux, to the utmost suburban limit of Manhattan, where Canal Street now intersects Broadway,—then an unpaved lane with scattered domiciles, only grouped into civic contiguity around the Battery, and with many gardens enhancing its rural aspect. Somewhat later, and Munn's Land Office, at the corner of what is now Grand Street, was suggestive of a growing settlement and the era of speculation; an isolated coach-factory marked the site of the St. Nicholas Hotel; people flocked along, in domestic instalments, to Vauxhall, where now stands the Astor Library, to drink mead and see the Flying Horses; and capitalists invested in "lots" on Bayard's Farm, where Niblo's and the Metropolitan now flourish; the one-story building at the present angle of Prince Street was occupied by Grant Thorburn's father; beyond lay the old road leading to Governor Stuyvesant's Bowerie, with Sandy Hill at the upper end. In 1664, Heere Stras was changed to Broadway. At the King's Arms and Burr's Coffee-House, near the Battery, the traitor Arnold was wont to lounge, and in the neighborhood dwelt the Earl of Stirling's mother. At the corner of Rector Street was the old Lutheran church frequented by the Palatine refugees. Beyond or within the Park stood the old Brewery, Pottery, Bridewell, and Poor-house; relics of an Indian village were often found; the Drover's Inn, cattle-walk, and pastures marked the straggling precincts of the town; and on the commons oxen were roasted whole on holidays, and obnoxious officials hung in effigy. Anon rose the brick mansions of the Rapelyes, Rhinelanders, Kingslands, Cuttings, Jays, Bogarts, Depeysters, Duers, Livingstons, Verplancks, Van Rensselaers, De Lanceys, Van Cortlands, etc.; at first along the "Middle Road," and then in bystreets from the main thoroughfare down to the rivers; and so, gradually, the trees and shrubs that made a rus in urbe of the embryo city, and the gables and tiles, porches and pipes, that marked the dynasty chronicled by old Diedrich, gave way to palatial warehouses, magnificent taverns, and brown stone fronts.

The notes of old travellers best revive the scene ere it was lost in modern improvements. Mrs. Knight, who visited New York in 1704, having performed the journey from Boston all the way on horseback, enjoyed the "vendues" at Manhattan, where "they gave drinks"; was surprised to see "fireplaces that had no jambs" and "bricks of divers colors and laid in checkers, being glazed and looking very agreeable." The diversion in vogue was "riding in sleighs about four miles out of town, where they have a house of entertainment at a place called the Bowery." In 1769 Dr. Burnaby recognized but two churches, Trinity and St. George, and "went in an Italian chaise to a turtle feast on the East River." In 1788, Brissot found that the session of Congress there gave great éclat to New York, but, with republican indignation, he laments the ravages of luxury and the English fashions visible in Broadway,—"silks, gauzes, hats, and borrowed hair;... equipages rare, but elegant." "The men," he adds, "have more simplicity of dress; they disdain gewgaws; but they take their revenge in the luxury of the table";—"and luxury," he observes, "forms a class dangerous to society,—I mean bachelors,—the expense of women causing matrimony to be dreaded by men." It is curious to find the French radical of eighty years ago drawing from the life of Broadway inferences similar to those of the even more emphatic economical moralist of to-day. In 1794, Wansey, a commercial traveller, found the "Tontine near the Battery" the most eligible hotel, and met there Dr. Priestley, breakfasted with Gates, and had a call from Livingston; saw "some good paintings by Trumbull, at the Federal Hall," and Hodgkinson, at the theatre, in "A Bold Stroke for a Husband"; dined with[Pg 722] Comfort Sands; and Mr. Jay, "brother to the Ambassador," took him to tea at the "Indian Queen";—items of information that mark the social and political transition since the days of Dutch rule, though the Battery still remained the court end and nucleus of Manhattan.

But it is not local memory alone that the solitude of Broadway awakens in our aged guide; the vacant walk is peopled, to his fancy, with the celebrities of the past whom he has there gazed at or greeted,—Franklin, Jay, Tom Paine, Schuyler, Cobbett, Freneau, and Colonel Trumbull, with their Revolutionary prestige; Volney and Genet, with the memory of French radicalism; Da Ponte and the old Italian opera; Colles and Clinton and the Erie Canal days; Red Jacket and the aborigines; Dunlap and Dennie, the literary pioneers; Cooke, Kemble, Kean, Matthews, and Macready, followed so eagerly by urchin eyes,—the immortal heroes of the stage; Hamilton, Clinton, Morris, Burr, Gallatin, and a score of political and civic luminaries whose names have passed into history; Decatur, Hull, Perry, and the brilliant throng of victorious naval officers grouped near the old City Hotel; Moreau, Louis Philippe, Talleyrand, Louis Napoleon, Maroncelli, Foresti, Kossuth, Garibaldi, and many other illustrious European exiles; Jeffrey, Moore, Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope, and the long line of literary lions, from Basil Hall to Tupper; Chancellor Kent, Audubon, Fulton, Lafayette, Randolph, the Prince of Wales, and the Queen of the Sandwich Islands, Turkish admirals, Japanese officials, artists, statesmen, actors, soldiers, authors, foreign savans, and domestic eccentricities, who have perambulated this central avenue of a cosmopolitan American city. Could they have all been photographed, what a reflex of modern society would such a picture-gallery afford!

The old Dutch traders, with the instinct of their Holland habitudes, clung to the water-side, and therefore their domiciles long extended at angles with what subsequently became the principal avenue of the settlement; and until 1642 Pearl Street was the fashionable quarter. Meantime, where now thousands of emigrants daily disembark, and the offices of ocean steamships indicate the facility and frequency of Transatlantic travel, the Indian chiefs smoked the pipe of peace with the victorious colonists under the shadow of Fort Amsterdam, and the latter held fairs there, or gathered, for defence and pastime, round the little oasis of the metropolitan desert where carmen now read "The Sun." No. 1 was the Kennedy House, subsequently the tavern of Mrs. Koch,—whose Dutch husband was an officer in the Indian wars,—and was successively the head-quarters of Clinton, Cornwallis, and Washington, and at last the Prime Mansion; and farther up was Mrs. Ryckman's boarding-house,—genial sojourn of Irving, and the scene of his early pen-craft and youthful companionships, when "New York was more handy, and everybody knew everybody, and there was more good-fellowship and ease of manners." Those were the days of ropewalks and "selectmen," of stage-coaches and oil-lamps. The Yankee invasion had scarcely superseded the Knickerbocker element. The Free Academy was undreamed of; and the City Hotel assemblies were the embryo Fifth Avenue balls. An old Directory or a volume of Valentine's Manual, compared with the latest Metropolitan Guide-Book and Trow's last issue, will best illustrate the difference between Broadway then and now.

But it is not so much the more substantial memorials as the "dissolving views" that give its peculiar character to the street. Entered at the lower extremity by the newly-arrived European, on a rainy morning, the first impression is the reverse of grand or winsome. The squalor of the docks and the want of altitude in the buildings, combined with the bustle and hubbub, strike the eye as repulsive; but as the [Pg 723]scene grows familiar and is watched under the various aspects produced by different seasons, weather, and hours of the day, it becomes more and more significant and attractive. Indeed, there is probably no street in the world subject to such violent contrasts. It is one thing on a brilliant and cool October day and another in July. White cravats and black coats mark "Anniversary week"; broad brims and drab, the "Yearly Meeting" of the Friends; the "moving day" of the householders, the "opening day" of the milliners, Christmas and New Year's, sleighing-time and spring, early morning and midnight, the Sabbath and week-days, a cold spell and the "heated term,"—every hour, season, holiday, panic, pastime, and parade brings into view new figures and phases,—diverse phenomena of crowd and character,—like the shifting segments of a panorama. The news of victories during the war for the Union could be read there in people's eyes and heard in their greetings. Sorrowful tidings seemed to magnetize with sadness the long procession. Something in the air foretold the stranger how beat the public pulse. The undercurrent of the prevalent emotion seems to vibrate, with electric sympathy, along the human tide.

A walk in Broadway is a most available remedy for "domestic" vexation and provincial egotism. "Every individual spirit," says Schiller, "waxes in the great stream of multitudes." Stand awhile calmly by the rushing stream, and note its representative significance, or stroll slowly along, with observant eye, to mark the commodities and nationalities by the way. The scene is an epitome of the world. Here crouches a Chinese mendicant, there glides an Italian image-vender; a Swedish sailor is hard pressed by a smoking Cuban, and a Hungarian officer is flanked by a French loiterer; here leers a wanton, there moans a waif; now passes an Irish funeral procession, and again long files of Teutonic "Turners"; the wistful eyes of a beggar stare at the piles of gold in the money-changer's show-window; a sister of charity walks beside a Jewish Rabbi; then comes a brawny negro, then a bare-legged Highlander; figures such as are met in the Levant; school-boys with their books and lunch-boxes, Cockneys fresh from Piccadilly, a student who reminds us of Berlin, an American Indian, in pantaloons; a gaunt Western, a keen Yankee, and a broad Dutch physiognomy alternate; flower-venders, dog-pedlers, diplomates, soldiers, dandies, and vagabonds, pass and disappear; a firemen's procession, fallen horse, dead-lock of vehicles, military halt, or menagerie caravan, checks momently the advancing throng; and some beautiful face or elegant costume looms out of the confused picture like an exquisite vision; great cubes of lake crystal glisten in the ice-carts hard by blocks of ebon coal from the forests of the primeval world; there a letter-carrier threads his way, and here a newsboy shouts his extra; a milk-cart rattles by, and a walking advertisement stalks on; here is a fashionable doctor's gig, there a mammoth express-wagon; a sullen Southerner contrasts with a grinning Gaul, a darkly-vested bishop with a gayly-attired child, a daintily-gloved belle with a mud-soiled drunkard; a little shoe-black and a blind fiddler ply their trades in the shadow of Emmet's obelisk, and a toy-merchant has Montgomery's mural tablet for a background; on the fence is a string of favorite ballads and popular songs; a mock auctioneer shouts from one door, and a silent wax effigy gazes from another. Pisani, who accompanied Prince Napoleon in his yacht-voyage to America, calls Broadway a bazaar made up of savagery and civilization, a mile and a half long; and M. Fisch, a French pasteur, was surprised at the sight of palaces six or seven stories high devoted to commerce and les figures fines et gracieuses, la démarche légère et libre des femmes, les allures vives de toute la population. The shopkeepers are urbanely courteous, says one traveller. "Horses and harness are fine, but equipages inferior,"[Pg 724] observes another; while a third remarks, after witnessing the escapade of vehicles in Broadway: "American coachmen are the most adroit in the world."

It has been said that a Paris gamin would laugh at our fêtes; and yet, if such a loyal custodian as one of the old sacristans we meet abroad, who has kept a life-vigil in a famous cathedral, or such a vigilant chronicler as was Dr. Gemmelaro, who for years noted in a diary the visitors to Ætna, and all the phenomena of the volcano,—if such a fond sentinel were to have watched, even for less than a century, and recorded the civic, military, and industrial processions of Broadway, what a panoramic view we should have of the fortunes, development, and transitions of New York! The last of the cocked-hats would appear with the final relics of Dutch and Quaker costume; the celebration of the opening of the Erie Canal would seem consummated by the festivals that signalized the introduction of Croton, and the success of the Atlantic Telegraph; the funeral cortége of Washington would precede that of scores of patriots and heroes, from Hamilton and Lawrence to John Quincy Adams and General Wadsworth; Scott would reappear victorious from Mexico, Kossuth's plumed hat wave again to the crowd, grim Jackson's white head loom once more to the eager multitude, and Lafayette's courteous greetings win their cheers; St. Patrick's interminable line of followers would contrast with the robes and tails of the Japanese,—the lanterns of a political battalion, with the badges of a masonic fraternity,—the obsolete uniform of the "Old Continentals," with the red shirts of the firemen and the miniature banners of a Sunday-school phalanx,—the gay citizen soldiers who turned out to honor Independence or Evacuation Day, with the bronzed and maimed veterans bringing home their bullet-torn flags from the bloody field of a triumphant patriotic war,—the first negro regiment raised therefor cheerily escorted by the Union League Club, with the sublime funeral train of the martyred President. Including party demonstrations, popular ovations, memorable receptions and obsequies,—Broadway processions, historically speaking, uniquely illustrate the civic growth, the political freedom, the cosmopolitan sympathies, and the social prosperity of New York.

The mutations and ameliorations of Broadway are singularly rapid. It is but a few years since the eye of the passenger therein often caught sight of pleasant domestic nooks,—bulbs in bloom, a canary, gold-fish, or a graceful head bent over a book or crochet-work, at the cheerful window,—where now iron fronts and plate-glass of enormous size proclaim the prosperous warehouse. One of those sudden and sweeping conflagrations, which so frequently make a breach in the long line of edifices, destroyed within a few months the tall white walls of the American Museum, with its flaring effigies of giants, dwarfs, and monsters, and its band of musicians in the balcony, so alluring to the rustic visitor. The picturesque church of St. Thomas and the heavy granite façade of the Stuyvesant Institute, the "Tabernacle," the Art-Academy, and the Society Library buildings have given way to palaces of trade, and been transferred to the indefinitely extensive region of "up town." Stewart's lofty marble stores redeemed the character of the east side, long neglected in favor of the more crowded and showy opposite walk; and his example has been followed by so many other enterprising capitalists, that the original difference, both of aspect and prestige, has all but vanished.

Among the most noticeable of the later features are the prevalence of flower-venders, and the increase of beggars; as well as the luxurious attractiveness of the leading confectioners' establishments, which, in true American eclectic style, combine the Parisian café with the London pastry-cooks and the Continental restaurant,—delectable rendezvous of women who [Pg 725]lunch extravagantly. Another and more refined feature is the increase of elegant Art stores, where Gerome's latest miracle of Oriental delineation, a fresh landscape of Auchenbach, or a naive gem by Frere, is freely exposed to the public eye, beside new and elaborate engravings, and graphic war-groups of Rogers, or the latest crayon of Darley, sunset of Church, or rock-study by Haseltine. These free glimpses of modern Art are indicative of the growing taste for and interest therein among us. Pictures were never such profitable and precious merchandise here, and the fortunes of artists are different from what they were in the days when Cole used to bring his new landscape to town, deposit it in the house of a friend, and personally call the attention thereto of the few who cared for such things, and when the fashionable portrait-painter was the exclusive representative of the guild in Gotham.

The Astor House was the first of the large hotels on Broadway; and its erection marks a new era in that favorite kind of enterprise and entertainment of which Bunker's Mansion House was so long the comfortable, respectable, and home-like ideal. Yet it is noteworthy that inns rarely have or keep a representative character with us, but blend popularity with fashion, as nowhere else. One may be associated with Rebeldom, another with trade; this be frequented by Eastern, and that by Western travellers; and nationalities may be identified with certain resorts. But the tendency is towards the eclectic and homogeneous; individuality not less than domesticity is trenched upon and fused in these extravagant caravanseries; and there is no fact more characteristic of the material luxury and gregarious standard of New York life, than that the only temple erected to her patron saint is a marble tavern!

Broadway has always had its eccentric or notable habitués. The Muse of Halleck, in her palmy days, immortalized not a few; and many persons still recall the "crazy poet Clarke," the "Lime-Kiln man," the courteous and venerable Toussaint,—New York's best "image of God carved in ebony,"—tall "gentleman George" Barrett, and a host of "familiar faces" associated with local fame or social traits. The representative clergy, physicians, lawyers, merchants, editors, politicians, bards, and beauties, "men about town," and actors, were there identified, saluted, and observed; and of all these, few seemed so appropriately there as the last; for often there was and is a melodramatic aspect and association in the scene, and Burton, Placide, or the elder Wallack walked there with a kind of professional self-complacency. Thackeray, who had a quick and trained eye for the characteristic in cities, delighted in Broadway, for its cheerful variety, its perpetual "comedy of life"; the significance whereof is only more apparent to the sympathetic observer, because now and then through the eager throng glides the funeral car to the sound of muffled drums, the "Black Maria" with its convict load, or the curtained hospital litter with its dumb and maimed burden. And then, to the practised frequenter, how, one by one, endeared figures and faces disappear from that diurnal stage! It seems but yesterday since we met there Dr. Francis's cheering salutation, or listened to Dr. Bethune's and Fenno Hoffman's genial and John Stephens's truthful talk,—watched General Scott's stalwart form, Dr. Kane's lithe frame, Cooper's self-reliant step, Peter Parley's juvenile cheerfulness,—and grasped Henry Inman's cordial hand, or listened to Irving's humorous reminiscence, and met the benign smile of dear old Clement Moore. As to fairer faces and more delicate shapes,—to encounter which was the crowning joy of our promenade,—and "cheeks grown holy with the lapse of years," memory holds them too sacred for comment. "Passing away" is the perpetual refrain in the chorus of humanity in this bustling thoroughfare, to the sober eye of maturity. The never-ending procession, to the sensitive and the observant, has also [Pg 726]infinite degrees of language. Some faces seem to welcome, others to defy, some to lower, and some to brighten, many to ignore, a few to challenge or charm,—as we pass. And what lessons of fortune and of character are written thereon,—the blush of innocence and the hardihood of recklessness, the candid grace of honor and the mean deprecatory glance of knavery, intelligence and stupidity, soulfulness and vanity, the glad smile of friendship, the shrinking eye of fallen fortune, the dubious recognition of disgrace, the effrontery of the adventurer, and the calm, pleasant bearing of rectitude,—all that is beautiful and base in humanity, gleams, glances, and disappears as the crowd pass on.

Richard Cobden, when in New York, was caught and long detained in a mesh of drays and carriages in Broadway, and he remarked that the absence of passionate profanity among the carmen and drivers, and the good-natured patience they manifested, were in striking contrast with the blasphemous violence exhibited in London under like circumstances; and he attributed it to the greater self-respect bred in this class of men here by the prospect and purpose of a higher vocation. It is curious to observe how professional are the impressions and observations of Broadway pedestrians. Walk there with a portrait-painter, and he will infer character or discover subjects of art in every salient physiognomy. The disparities of fortune and the signs of depravity will impress the moralist. The pictorial effects, the adventurous possibilities, the enterprise, care, or pastime of the scene, elicit comments in accordance with the idiosyncrasies or aptitudes of the observer. What gradations of greeting, from the curt recognition to the hilarious salute! What variety of attraction and repulsion, according as your acquaintance is a bore or a beauty, a benefactor or a bankrupt! The natural language of "affairs," however, is the predominant expression. From the days of Rip Van Dam to those of John Pintard, it is as a commercial city that New York has drawn both her rural and foreign population. And her chief thoroughfare retains the distinctive aspect thereof, as the extension of the city has eliminated therefrom all other social elements,—fashion being transferred to the Fifth Avenue, indigence to the Five Points, and equipages to the Central Park. Police reports abound with the ruses and roughnesses of metropolitan life, as developed in the most frequented streets, where rogues seek safety in crowds. A rheumatic friend of ours dropped a guinea in the Strand, and, being unable to stoop, placed his foot upon the coin, and waited and watched for the right man to ask to pick it up for him. He was astonished at the difficulty of the choice. One passer was too elegant, another too abstracted, one looked dishonest, and another haughty. At last he saw approaching a serious, kindly-looking, middle-aged loiterer, with a rusty black suit and white cravat,—apparently a poor curate taking his "constitutional." Our friend explained his dilemma, and was assured, in the most courteous terms, that the stranger would accommodate him with pleasure. Very deliberately the latter picked up the guinea, wiped it carefully on his coat-sleeve, and transferred it to his vest-pocket,—walking off with a cheerful nod. Indignant at the trick, the invalid called out "Stop, thief!" The rascal was chased and caught, and, when taken to the police office, proved to be Bristol Bill,—one of the most notorious and evasive burglars in London. Many like instances of false pretences are traditional in Broadway,—where there are sometimes visible scenic personages, like a quack doctor whose costume and bearing were borrowed from Don Pasquale, and Dr. Knickerbocker in the elegant and obselete breeches, buckles, and cocked hat of the olden time.

A peculiar hardihood and local wit are claimed for what are called the B'hoys. A cockney, in pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, was walking up Broadway with the hospitable citizen to whose [Pg 727]guidance he had been specially commended by a London correspondent.

"I want," said the stranger, "to see a b'hoy,—a real b'hoy."

"There's one," replied his companion, pointing to a strapping fellow, in a red shirt and crush hat, waiting for a job at the corner.

"Ah, how curious!" replied John Bull, examining this new species with his double eye-glass,—"very curious; I never saw a real b'hoy before. I should like to hear him speak."

"Then, why don't you talk to him?"

"I don't know what to say."

"Ask him the way to Laight Street."

The inquisitive traveller crossed the street, and, deferentially approaching the new genus, lisped, "Ha—ah—how d' do, ha? I want to go to Laight Street."

"Then why in hell don't you go?" loudly and gruffly asks the b'hoy.

Cockney nervously rejoined his friend, saying,—"Very curious, the Broadway b'hoys!"

To realize the extent and character of the Celtic element in our population, walk down this thronged avenue on a holiday, when the Irish crowd the sidewalks, waiting for a pageant; and all you have ever read or dreamed of savagery will gleam, with latent fire, from those myriads of sullen or daredevil eyes, and lurk in the wild tones of those unchastened voices, as the untidy or gaudily dressed and interminable line of expectants, flushed with alcohol, yield surlily to the backward wave of the policeman's baton. The materials of riot in the heart of the vast and populous city then strike one with terror. We see the worst elements of European life cast upon our shore, and impending, as it were, like a huge wave, over the peacefulness and prosperity of the nation. The corruptions of New York local government are explained at a glance. The reason why even patriotic citizens shrink from the primary meetings whence spring the practical issues of municipal rule is easily understood; and the absolute necessity of a reform in the legislative machinery, whereby property and character may find adequate representation, is brought home to the most careless observer of Broadway phenomena. But it is when threading the normal procession therein that distrust wanes, in view of so much that is hopeful in enterprise and education, and auspicious in social intelligence and sympathy. It may be that on one of our bright and balmy days of early spring, or on a cool and radiant autumnal afternoon, you behold, in your walk from Union Square to the Battery, an eminent representative of each function and phase of high civilization;—wealth vested in real estate in the person of an Astor, peerless nautical architecture in a Webb; the alert step and venerable head of the poet of nature, as Bryant glides by, and the still bright eye of the poet of patriotism and wit, as Halleck greets you with the zest of a rural visitor refreshed by the sight of "old, familiar faces"; anon comes Bancroft, a chronicler of America's past, yet moving sympathetically through living history the while; Verplanck, the Knickerbocker Nestor, and the gentlemen of the old school represented by Irving's old friend, the companionable and courteous Governor Kemble; pensive, olive-cheeked, sad-eyed Hamlet, in the person of Edwin Booth, our native histrionic genius; Vandyke-looking Charles Elliot, the portrait-painter; Paez, the exiled South American general; Farragut, the naval hero; Hancock, Hooker, Barlow, or some other gallant army officer,—volunteer heroes, maimed veterans of the Union war; merchants, whose names are synonymous with beneficence and integrity; artists, whose landscapes have revealed the loveliness of this hemisphere to the Old World; women who lend grace to society and feed the poor; men of science, who alleviate, and of literature, who console, the sorrows of humanity; the stanch in friendship, the loyal in national sentiment, the indomitable in duty, the exemplary in Christian faith, the tender and true in domestic life,—the redeeming and recuperative elements of civic society.

[Pg 728]


Kicking my "Dutch wife,"[3] that comfortable Batavian device, to the foot of the bed, and turning over with a delicious stretch just as day began to dawn, I opened my eyes with a drowsy sense of refreshing favor,—a half-dream, mixed of burning and breeze,—and discovered old Karlee, my pearl of bhearers,[4] waiting in still patience on the outside of the tent-like mosquito curtain, punka in hand, and tenderly waving a balmy blessing across the sirocco-plagued sand of my slumber.

"Good morning, Karlee."

"Salaam, Sahib-bhote-bhote salaam![5] Master catch plenty good isleep this night, Karlee hope."

"So, so,—so, so. But you look happy this morning; your eyes are bright, and your kummerbund[6] jaunty, and you sport a new turban. What's the good news, old man?"

"Yes, Sahib. Large joy Karlee have got,—happy kismut,[7]—too much jolly good luck, master, please."

"Aha! I'm glad of it. None too jolly for my patient Karlee, I'll engage,—not a whit too happy and proud for my faithful, grateful, humble old man. And what is it?"

"By master's favor, one man-child have got; one fine son he come this night, please master's graciousness."

"A son—your wife!—what, you, Karlee, you?"

"Please master's pardon, no,—Karlee wife, no; Karlee daughter, Karlee ison-in-law, one man-child have catch this night, by Sahib's merciful goodness."

"So! your daughter and her husband, the young kitmudgar,[8] they that were married last year. Good! let us exalt our horn, let us glorify ourselves; for is it not written, 'By a son a man shall obtain victory over all people; by a son's son he shall enjoy immortality; and by a son's son's son he shall reach the solar abodes'? Verily it is pleasant to have a boy-butcha in the house,—the heir and lord. So we will even make merry to-day; to-day we will take holiday. Let the buttons wait, and the beard go awry; send the barber away, and tell the tailor to come to-morrow; for one day Sahib, the master of earth, abdicates in favor of Puttro, the 'Deliverer from Hell,' the true king for every pious Hindoo. And here are some rupees to buy him a happy horoscope with, and to pay the gooroo[9] for a good strong charm, warranted to avert the Evil Eye."

"Ah! Master's bountiful favor too much compassion have,—too much pitiful munif—"

"That's all right, old man. Salaam now; and good luck to the baby."

Now here, thought I, is a chance to observe my pagan at home, under the most favorable circumstances. Karlee will devote the occasion to the domestic felicities; he will spread holiday fare, and there will be neighborly congratulations, and a hospitable relaxation in the family of the orthodox heathen rigor. I will make a "surprise party" of myself, and on the recommendation of a string of corals for the new butcha I'll catch him in the very dishabille of his Hindooism. And I did.

I had often heard that Karlee lived well, and that his household enjoyed substantial comfort in a degree notably superior to the general circumstances of his class. With eminent intelligence and devotion he had served for more than forty years various American gentlemen residing in Calcutta, by [Pg 729]whom, in his neat-handedness, he was esteemed a sort of he-Phillis; and for his housewifely dusting of books and furniture, his orderly keeping of drawers and trunks, his sharp eye to punkas and mosquito-nets, and his exacting discipline of sweepers and messengers, barbers, tailors, and washermen, he had been rewarded with generous buksheesh over and above his stipulated, wages, which were liberal; so that among bhearers he was distinguished for respectability, by income as well as influence, and represented the best society. Between his own savings and those of his wife,—who, as an ayah, or nurse, in an English family high in the Civil Service, was extravagantly prized for her fidelity, skill, and patience,—Karlee had laid up a little fortune of ten thousand rupees; but that was partly by dint of a clever speculation now and then in curiosities and choice presents, which he disposed of among those of his American or English patrons who happened to be homeward bound. As it is not permitted to a bhearer to engage directly in trade, these neat little transactions were in all cases shrewdly managed by a friend of Karlee's, a smart sircar,[10] in the employ of a banyan,[11] the bhearer resting strictly in the background, a silent partner, and limiting his co-operation to the prompt furnishing of capital, which consisted not of rupees merely, but of many a cunning hint as well, as to the tastes, ways, and weaknesses of his customers. It was a mutual understanding: we knew of Karlee's interest in these sentimental "operations," and we openly patronized him; he knew which of us had wives, and which sweethearts, across the black water, and he mysteriously patronized us. On that subject my heathen was always at home; and so it happened, by a happy dispensation of cause and effect, that at home he lived like a gentleman.

Through narrow, dingy miles of scrambling bazaar, redolent of all the unfragrances of that dusty, sweaty, greasy, jabbering quarter, I rolled in my light buggy, behind a nimble Arab mare, to a suburban retreat on the eastern skirt of the Black Town, where, just beyond a cluster of mean huts of the sooa-logue, the low laboring rabble, I found Karlee's genteel abode, and was refreshed by the contrast it presented to the hovel of his next neighbor, whose single windowless apartment, and walls of alternate rows of straw and reeds, plastered with mud, proclaimed most unpicturesquely the hard fate of him who springs from the soles of Brahma's feet. Karlee's walls were of solid clay of substantial thickness. His floor was raised a foot or two above the ground, and there was a neatly thatched roof over all, swelling out in an elongated dome, and oddly resembling an inverted boat. As in the rural districts, Karlee had fenced in his privacy with a thick hedge of clipped bamboo surmounting a quadrangular embankment. Before the grateful porch two beautiful tamarind-trees and a palm bestowed their kindly shade, and in the hedge the bamboos, with their golden stems and bright green leaves, rustled cheerfully.

On the other side of the road, and shyly retired from it in a close bamboo covert, dwelt Karlee's partner in the curiosity and general fancy line, the sharp sircar, with whom (both being soodras,[12] and of the same sect) his social relations were intimate and free. The sircar, having thriven under the patronage of more than one rich and liberal baboo,[13] to whose favor he had recommended himself by his business alertness and his ever-politic compliance, had attained unto the honor of a brick house of two stories, plastered and whitewashed without and within, with a flat roof, having a low parapet, and laid with a rain-proof composition of clay and lime. Though his stairs are narrow, his veranda is commodious; and when he shall have made his fortune in the curiosity and general fancy [Pg 730]line, he will have wings, with a central area open to the sky, and a double veranda with a lattice. Then, his accommodations being sufficiently enlarged, the proudest wish of his heart shall be gratified in the reunion of his entire family—children and grandchildren, even uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces—under the same roof.

As I drove up to Karlee's hedge, and, tossing the reins to my syce,[14] passed under the tamarind-trees to the little porch, the old man came out to meet me with unwonted precipitation; and, although he maintained with admirable presence of mind that imperturbable gravity, that tranquil, expectant self-possession, which is the study of a Hindoo's life, and to which he gives all his mind from the time when he first begins to have any, ever solicitous to be master of himself though China fall, it was not difficult on this occasion to detect in the fluttering lights and shades of his countenance an expression mixed of astonishment, gratification, and confusion, very natural to a poor bhearer who had never before been taken by a Sahib in the very bosom of his family. There was something at once pitiful and comical in the subdued "fidget" with which, applying his joined palms to his forehead, and lowly louting, he made his most obsequious salaam again and again.

"Master have command for Karlee? Any wrong thing happen, master? Dhobee[15] come? Mehtur[16] not sweep room? Punka-wallah[17] run away? Sahibs make visit? Kitmudgar not—"

"No, no; everything all right and proper. I have come to bring good wishes and a lucky eye to all this house, and a small salaamee, a pretty gift, for the new Suntoshum,—the jewel that hangs on its mother's bosom."

"Ah! master make slave too much happy honor. Master's pitiful graciousness all same Barra Lard Sahib" (the Governor-General). "Poor, foolish bhearer kiss master's feet."

"Well, another time for that. Lead the way now, and let me make my salaam to your coolest mat and your largest punka, for I am hot and tired."

"S'pose Sahib like, Belatta pawnee have got?"

"Acha; Belatta pawnee lou."[18]

Here, indeed, was a wide stride in the direction of refinement and Evangelism! Soda-water in a bhearer's house! Karlee had not served the Sahibs, and observed "Young Bengal" baboos, in vain. From Belatta pawnee to Isherryshrob and Simpkin (sherry and champagne) is not far, and well does Young Bengal know the way.

A quick glance, as I passed in, informed me that Karlee's house consisted of four rooms; probably two sleeping apartments, one for the men and another for the women, a kitchen, and a common room for meals, family chats, and visitors. Like all true Hindoo houses, uncorrupted by the European innovations which snobbish baboos affect, it contained but few articles of furniture, and those of the simplest and most indispensable description,—nothing for luxury, nothing for show. To the outfit of the poorest laborer's domicile he added little more than a white cloth spread over checkered Chinese matting, to stand for chair, table, and bed; a cushion or two to recline upon; a few earthen vessels of the better quality, to hold rice or water; a brass lamp for cocoa-nut oil; several more primitive lamps rudely made of the shell of the cocoa-nut; an iron mortar and pestle—foreign, of course—for pounding curry; a couple of charpoys, or wooden cots; a few brass lotahs, or drinking-cups; and two or three hubble-bubbles. But the crowning glories were a Chinese extension chair, of bamboo and wicker, and quite a pretty hookah,—both evidently dedicated to company occasions. These were all that I could see in the two rooms to which I was admitted, and these were no doubt the very splendors of Karlee's establishment. If he had been a rich Anglicized baboo, he would [Pg 731]have had a profusion of hot, tawdry chairs, and a vulgar-gorgeous cramming of gilt-edged tables, sweaty red sofas, coarse pictures in overdone frames, Bowery mirrors, and Brummagem chandeliers.

Comfortably installed in the Chinese chair, and refreshed with the Belatta pawnee, I proceeded to take notes. Karlee had discarded his working dress for festal attire,—the difference being one of quality merely. Round his waist he wore a dhotee of coarse muslin, tight above, so as to form the kummerbund, or waistband, but thence falling in loose and not ungraceful folds down the legs to the ankles. Over his body another ample mantle, in no respect differing from the dhotee as to texture or color, was wrapped like a broad scarf, and carelessly flung over the shoulder in the fashion of a Highland plaid. In the "cold" season he would draw this over his head for a hood. These sheets of cloth are worn just as they come from the loom; needle or pin has never touched them, and they are held in place by tucking the ends under the folds.

Being a Hindoo gentleman of the old school, Karlee repudiated the headdress at home; for the puggree, at least in its present form, was adopted from the Mohammedan conquerors, and is, historically, a badge of subjugation. So when he met me at the door his head was uncovered; but I had no sooner crossed the threshold than he made haste to don his flat turban,—reflecting, perhaps, that I had never seen him without it, and might resent his bare head as an indignity. Of course his feet were unshod. To have worn his sandals in my presence would have been a flagrant insult; but on the porch I espied those two queer clogs of wood, shaped to the sole of the foot, and having no other fastening than an impracticable-looking knob, to be held between the toes.

This is the orthodox Hindoo dress; but the costume for public occasions of many Hindoos of rank has been for a quarter of a century in a state of transition from Mohammedan to British. By way of turbans, loose trousers, Cashmere shawls, and embroidered slippers, they are marching on toward pantaloons, waistcoats, shoes and stockings, stove-pipe hats, and tail-coats. A baboo of superlative fashion, according to the code of Young Bengal, paid me a visit one day in a state of confirmed "pants" and "Congress gaiters"; and, on seating himself, he took off his turban and held it on his knee. I need hardly say that he was a fool and an infidel. And I have seen an intrepid buffoon of this class in an English shirt, which he wore over his pantaloons, and hanging down to his knees. But, after all, these clumsy desecrations are confined to a small minority of the population, if not strictly to that "set" which is brought most closely in contact with Europeans; such as a few native gentlemen in the Presidency capitals, some of the pleaders and principal employés of the higher courts, not a few of the teachers and pupils in the Anglo-Indian schools, and many of the native Christians.

Karlee's politeness, superior to that of the more servile bhearers, was a fair type of the pure Hindoo manners of that well-bred middle class which clings with orthodox conservatism to its dear traditions, and spurns as unconstitutional all upstart and dandy amendments of the old social and religious law. He had invariably one salutation for an equal,—the right hand gently raised, and the head as gently inclined to meet it; another, for what I may term a familiar superior (such as myself),—the hands joined palm to palm, and so applied twice or thrice to the forehead; and still other, and more and more reverential, ceremonials for gooroos, Brahmins, holy sages, and princes,—the brow touching the ground, or the whole body prostrated.

If it was an indispensable requirement of respect that he should leave his slippers at the door on entering any house, it was no less important that he should resume them on taking his leave. To have appeared in public with [Pg 732]uncovered feet would have been a gross breach of propriety. Fine old Hindoo gentlemen, all of the olden time, find it difficult to express their mingled contempt, indignation, and regret for the innovation which substitutes the Cheapside shoe for the ceremonial slipper, or permits the wearing of the latter in a Sahib's office or drawing-room. It shows, they say, that the natives are losing their respect for the Sahibs. And yet the British authorities stupidly sanction it, even set the seal of fashion upon it, by allowing natives of rank, who visit Government House, to appear in the presence of the Governor-General, and the élite of the European society, in their slippers. The fact is, these impious disturbings of the established order of things are most shocking to the well-regulated heathen mind, to which no spectacle can be more monstrous than that of a Hindoo of good caste and old family performing with some arf-and-arf Cockney visitor a duet on the pump-handle, and directly afterward wreathing his apoplectic neck with flowers, and sprinkling his asthmatic waistcoat with rose-water. You see they both back "Young Bengal" in the Barrackpore races.

When Karlee visits his friend the sircar, he is scrupulous not to make his parting salaam until his host has given the customary signal. He waits to be dismissed, or rather to receive permission to withdraw. The etiquette supposes that his inclination is to prolong the enjoyment he derives from the society of so agreeable a gentleman; it is, therefore, not until rose-water has been presented to him, or betel-leaf, or sweetmeats, that he will venture to take his sandals and his leave.

The style of Hindoo politeness is format and imperturbably grave, utterly devoid of heartiness or impulsiveness; and the cordiality which distinguishes the intercourse of American friends appears to the native gentleman boisterous and vulgar. I never saw Karlee laugh; and if I had happened to snatch him from sudden death by fire or water, I think he would have acknowledged the obligation with precisely the same mathematical salaam, or at most the same sententious obsequiousness, with which he accepted a buksheesh of a half-rupee; and yet in both good-humor and gratitude he was as cheerful and as worthy as the most giddy and gushing of damsels. But I must acknowledge there was something truly corpsy in the solemnity with which he would "lay out" a clean shirt. Even so, in the midst of all the jolly uproar of a mess dinner, our Kitmudgars would stand in grim deadliness at our backs, like so many executioners, only waiting for a sign from the ruthless Kousomar, who was just then horribly popping the champagne corks, to behead us,—each his own doomed Sahib.

No wonder Karlee was a gentleman; for the Vishnu Pooran was his Chesterfield, and he had its precepts by heart. "A wise man," he would say to the pert young Kitmudgars, as they bragged and wrangled, between their hubble-bubbles, on the back stairs,—"a wise man will never address another with the least unkindness; but will always speak gently, and with truth, and never make public another's faults. He will never engage in a dispute with either his superiors or his inferiors: controversy and marriage are permitted only between equals. Nor will he ever associate with wicked persons: half an instant is the utmost time he should allow himself to remain in their company. A wise man, when sitting, will not put one foot over the other, nor stretch forth his foot in the presence of a superior; but he will sit with modesty, in the posture styled virasama. Above all, he will not expectorate at the time of eating, offering oblations, or repeating prayers, or in the presence of any respectable person; nor will he ever cross the shadow of a venerable man or of an idol."

For those who imagine that polygamy is a popular institution in Hindostan, the answer of a Hill-man to a Mofussil magistrate should suffice. "Do you keep more than one wife?" "We can hardly feed one; why should [Pg 733]we keep more?" In fact, the privilege of maintaining a plurality of wives is restricted to a very few,—those only of the largest means and smallest scruples,—except in the case of Kooleen Brahmins, that superlative aristocracy of caste which is supposed to be descended from certain illustrious families who settled in Bengal several centuries ago. Wealthy Hindoos of low degree eagerly aspire to the honor of mixing their puddle blood with the quintessentially clarified fluid that glorifies the circulatory systems of these demigods, and the result is a very pretty and profitable branch of the Brahmin business,—Kooleen marrying sometimes as many as fifty of such nut-brown maids of baser birth, in consideration of a substantial dowry attached to each bride, and a solemn obligation, accepted and signed by the paternal Puddle, forever to feed at home her and her improved progeny. So the fifty continue to roost in the old paternal coops, while Kooleen, like a pampered Brahmapootra, struts, in pompous patronage, from one to the other, his sense of duty satisfied when he has left a crow and a cackle behind him. It is said that many fine fowls of the Brahmin breed, who do not happen to be Kooleens, complain of the monopoly.

So Karlee had but one wife,—the handy, thrifty ayah already mentioned. She was nine and he twelve years old when they were betrothed, and they never saw each other until they were married. A professional match-maker, or go-between,—female, of course,—was employed by the parents to negotiate terms and arrange the preliminaries; and when horoscopes had been compared and the stars found all right, with a little consequential chaffering, the hymeneal instruments were "executed." There was no trouble on the score of caste, both families being soodra; otherwise, the sensitive social balance would have had to be adjusted by the payment of a sum of money. When the skirts of the bride and bridegroom had been fastened together with blades of the sweet-scented cusa grass,—when he had said, "May that heart which is thine become my heart, and this heart which is mine become thy heart,"—when, hand in hand, they had stept into the seventh of the mystic circles,—Mr. and Mrs. Karlee were an accomplished Hindoo fact.

To the parents on both sides, the wedding was a costly performance. There were the irrepressible and voracious Brahmins to propitiate, the hungry friends of both families to feast for three days, the musicians and the nautch-girls and the tamasha-wallahs[19] to be bountifully buksheeshed; and when the bridal palanquin was borne homeward, it was a high-priced indispensability that the procession should satisfy the best soodra society,—

"With the yellow torches gleaming,
And the scarlet mantles streaming,
And the canopy above
Swaying as they slowly move."

Karlee has assured me that neither his father nor his father-in-law, although both were soodras of fair credit and condition, ever quite recovered from the financial shock of that "awspidges okashn."

A Hindoo very rarely pronounces the name of his wife, even to his most intimate friends,—to strangers, and especially foreigners, never; on the part of a native visitor it is the etiquette to ignore her altogether, and for the husband to allude to her familiarly is an unpardonable breach of decorum. When, therefore, Karlee, to gratify my friendly curiosity, led in the happy grandmother, I felt that I was the recipient of an extraordinary mark of respect and confidence, involving a generous sacrifice of prejudice. As she made her modest salaam, and, in the manner of a shy child, sank to the floor in the habitual posture of an ayah, I had before me the well-preserved remains of a Hindoo beauty, according to the standard of the Shasters,—a placid, reposeful woman, almost fat, with rather delicate features of Rajpoot fairness, the complexion of [Pg 734]high caste, wealth, and ease, such as her less-favored sisters vainly strive to imitate with a sort of saffron rouge. Her expression was chaste and gentle, her voice dulcet; and to the practice of carrying light burdens on her head she was indebted for a carriage erect and graceful. On Broadway or Tremont Street, Mrs. Karlee would have passed for a very comely colored woman. If she was not like Rama, fair as the jasmine, or the moon, or the fibres of the lotos, neither had she, like Krishna, the complexion of a cloud. If she was not so delicate as that dainty beauty who bewitched the hard heart of Surajah Dowlah, and weighed but sixty-four pounds, neither did she reproduce the unwieldy charms of that Venus of one of the Shasters "whose gait was the gait of a drunken elephant or a goose." A prudent man, says the Vishnoo Pooran, will not marry a woman who has a beard, or one who has thick ankles, or one who speaks with a shrill voice, or one who croaks like a raven, or one whose eyebrows meet, or one whose teeth resemble tusks. And Karlee was a prudent man.

From the extravagant and clumsy complications, the stupid caprices and discords, and studious indecencies of our women's fashions, to the prudent simplicity, the unconscious poetry and picturesqueness and musically blended modesty and freedom of the good ayah's unchangeable attire, my thought reverts with a mingled sense of refreshment and regret. A single web of cloth, eight or nine yards long, having a narrow blue border, was drawn in self-forming folds around her shoulders and bosom, and hung down to her feet,—the material muslin, the texture somewhat coarse, the color white. No dressmaker had ever played fantastic tricks with it: it was pure and simple in its entireness as it came from the loom.

Other women, of the laboring class, and very poor, passed to and fro on the street, half naked, their legs and shoulders bare, and with only a piece of dirty cloth—blue, red, or yellow—around the loins and hips; while here and there some superfine baboo's wife floated past in her close palanquin, or sat with her children on the flat roof of her house, or peeped through her narrow windows into the street, arrayed in fancy bodice and petticoat,—Mohammedan fashion.

But the simplicity of Mrs. Karlee's attire began and ended with her drapery. Her ornaments were cumbersome, clumsy, and grotesque. On her arms and ankles were many fetter-like bands of silver and copper; rude rings of gold and silver adorned her fingers and great toes; small silver coins were twisted in her hair; and the naturally delicate outline of her lips was deformed by a broad gold ring, which she wore, like a fractious ox, in her nose. This latter vanity is as precious as it is ugly; in some of the minor castes its absence is regarded as a badge of widowhood; and for no inducement would the pious ayah have removed it from its place, even for an instant. Had it fallen, by any dreadful chance, the house would have been filled with horror and lamentation. The half-naked wife of my syce rejoices in a nose-ring of brass or pewter, and her wrists and ankles are gay with hoops of painted shell-lac; and even she stains her eyelids with lampblack, and tinges her nails with henna. Much lovelier was our pretty ayah in her maidenhood, when her dainty bosom was decked with shells and sweet-scented flowers, and her raven hair lighted up with sprays of the Indian jasmine, which first she had offered to Seeta.

But that reminds me that, when I approached her, and presented the string of corals, my small salaamee, and bade Karlee tell her that it was for the baby,—for she understood not a word of English,—and that I wished him happy stars and a good name, riches and honors, and a houseful of sons,—she uttered not a word; but with eyes brimming with gratitude, flattered to tears, by a sudden graceful movement she touched my foot with her hand and immediately laid it on her head,—and then, with many shy and mute, but [Pg 735]eloquent salaams, retired. It is difficult to imagine such a woman scolding and slang-whanging as low Hindoo women do, accompanying with passionate attitudes and gestures a reckless torrent of words, and fitting the foulest action to the most scandalous epithet.

The wives of the native servants are generally industrious. This one, Karlee boasted, was a notable housewife. Before she went out to service as an ayah she had cleaned the rice, pounded the curry, cooked all the meals, brought water from the tank in earthen jars on her head, swept and scrubbed the floor, cultivated a small kitchen garden, "shopped" at the bazaar, spun endless supplies of cotton thread on a very primitive reel, consisting of a piece of wire with a ball of clay at the end of it, which she twirled with one hand while she fed it with the other; and every morning she bathed in the Hooghly, and returned home before daybreak. Sewing and knitting were unknown arts to her,—she had no use for either; and her washing and ironing were done by a hired dhobee.

True, it was not permitted to her to eat with her husband; when Karlee dined she sat at the respectful orthodox distance, and waited; and if at any time they walked out together, ayah must keep her legal place in the rear. Saith the Shaster, "Is it not the practice of women of immaculate chastity to eat after their lords have eaten, to sleep only after they have slept, and to rise from sleep before them?" And again, "Let a wife who wishes to perform sacred ablution wash the feet of her lord, and drink the water." Nevertheless, ayah exercised an influence over her husband as decided as it was wholesome; she did not hesitate to rebuke him when occasion required; and in all that related to the moral government of her children she was free to dispute his authority, and try parental conclusions with him,—kindly but firmly. As for "the tyrannical immuring of the Oriental female," the cruel caging of the pretty birds who are supposed to be forever longing and pining for the gossip of the ghaut and the bustle of the bazaar, the only fault she had to find with it was that she did not get enough of it. The well-trained Hindoo woman has been taught to regard such seclusion as her most charming compliment, and a precious proof of her husband's affection; to be kept jealously veiled from the staring world, is associated in her mind with ideas of wealth and rank,—it is the very aristocracy of fashion.

According to the Code of Menyu, "a believer in Scripture may receive pure knowledge even from a soodra, a lesson of the highest virtue even from a chandala, and a woman bright as a gem even from the lowest family." So if Karlee's wife, instead of being of the same social rank as himself, had come of basest caste, she would still have been a treasure. Soon after she had retired, she gently pushed into the room, to pay his respects to the Sahib, a shy little boy of five years, whom Karlee presented to me as the child of his only son, a bhearer in the service of an English officer stationed at Fort William. The mother had died in blessing her husband with this bright little puttro. In costume he was the exact miniature of his grandfather, except that he wore no puggree, and his hair was cut short round the forehead in a quaint frill, like the small boys one sees running about the streets in Orissa. His ankles, too, were loaded with massive silver rings, which noticeably impeded the childish freedom of his steps. When he has begun to understand what the word "wife" means, these must be laid aside. In his manners, likewise, little Karlee was the very tautology of his namesake with the gray moustache,—the same wary self-possession, the same immovable gravity and nice decorum. Like a little courtier, he made his small salaam, and through his grandfather replied to some playful questions I addressed to him, with good emphasis and discretion, without either awkwardness or boldness, and especially without a smile.[Pg 736] When I gave him a rupee, he construed it as the customary signal, and with another small salaam immediately dismissed himself.

Little Karlee must have taken lessons in deportment with his primal pap; and in India all good little boys, who hope to go to heaven when they die, keep their noses clean, and never romp or whistle. As to girls it matters less; the midwife gets only half price for consummating that sort of blunder; for when you are dead only a son can carry you out and bury you dacent,—no daughter, though she pray with the power and perseverance of the Seven Penitents, can procure you a respectable metempsychosis.

So far little Karlee had been lucky. This house, where he was born, was lucky,—no one had ever died in it. When his dear mother could not spin any more, they carried her to the Hooghly on a charpoy, and she had breathed her last on the banks of the sacred river. Besides, his grandfather had immediately stuck up a cooking-pot, striped with perpendicular white lines, on a pole at the side of the house; so he had never been in any danger from malicious incantations and the Evil Eye. His education had been begun on a propitious day, else he might have died or turned out a dunce. The very day he was born, a Brahmin—O so pious!—had hung a charm round his neck, and only charged grandpa fifty rupees for it; when he went to the bazaar with his grandmother he was always dressed in rags, to avert envy, and no one out of the family knew his real name except his gooroo; all the other boys, and the neighbors, called him Teencowry (three cowries[20]),—such a nice mean name against spells and cross-eyed people! Once a strange Melican Sahib had said, "Hello, Buster!" to him; but he wasn't at all frightened, for his gooroo had taught him how to say a holy mautra[21] backwards; and when the Melican Sahib passed on, he spat on his shadow and said it. Last week a lizard dropped on his foot, and yesterday he saw a cow on his right hand three times,—he had always been so lucky!

Now, time, place, and mood being favorable, I called for the company hookah, and, extending the long Chinese chair, smoked myself to sleep under the punka. My nap was a long one, and when I awoke there watched and waited Karlee, tenderly patient, with the fly-flapper.

In the hospitalities thus far so handsomely extended to me, the reader will recognize and appreciate an extraordinary display of liberal ideas, for which, however, considering the sound common sense of my affectionate old bhearer, I was not altogether unprepared; but when, his little grandson being gone, he conducted me into another room, to partake of what he humbly styled a chota khana, a trifle of luncheon, my astonishment exceeded my gratification. I doubt if such a thing had ever before happened in the life of a bhearer.

On the floor a broad sheet, of spotless whiteness, was spread, and beside it a narrow mattress of striped seersucker, very clean and cool, and with a double cushion at the head to support the elbow; on this my host invited me to recline. Here then were table and chair, but as yet the board was bare. Presently little Karlee reappeared, bringing a great round hand-punka, formed of a single huge palm-leaf, and, standing behind my shoulder, began to fan me solemnly. Immediately there was a subdued and mysterious clapping of hands, and the old man, going to the door, received, from behind the red curtain which hung across it, a bowl of coarse unglazed earthenware, but smoking and savory, which he set before me, together with a smaller bowl of the same material, empty; and to my lively surprise these were followed by English bunns and pickles, a jar of chutney, a bottle of Allsop's ale, my own silver beer-mug, knives and forks, table and dessert spoons, fruit-knife, [Pg 737]and napkin,—all from our quarters in Cossitollah, two miles away. By what conjuration and mighty magic Karlee had procured these from my kitmudgar without a chittee, or order, I have not yet discovered.

The tureen contained delicious Mulligatawney soup, of which, as Karlee well knew, I was inordinately fond; and as he opened the ale he modestly congratulated himself on my vigorous enjoyment of it.

After the soup came curried prawns, a very piquant dish, in eminent repute among the Sahibs, and a famous appetizer. Tonic, hot, and pungent as it is, with spices, betel, and chillies, it is hard to imagine what the torpid livers of the Civil Service would do without their rousing curry.

The curry was followed by a tender bouilli of kid, sauced with a delicate sort of onions stewed in ghee (boiled butter), and flanked with boiled rice, sweet pumpkin, and fried bananas, all served on green leaves. Next came pine-apple, covered with sherry-wine and sugar, in company with English walnuts and cheese; and, last of all, sweetmeats and coffee,—the former a not unpleasant compound of ground rice and sugar with curds and the crushed kernel of the cocoa-nut; the coffee was served in a diminutive gourd, and was not sweetened. Last of the last, the hookah.

And all these wonders had been wrought since the grateful ayah retired with the corals! But then the bazaar was close at hand, and in the sircar's house help was handy.

Whilst I kanahed[22] and smoked, Karlee, humbly "squatting" at my back, allowed me to draw from him all that I have here related of his house and family, and much more that I have not space to relate. Of course, he could not have shared the repast with me,—all the holy water of Ganges could never have washed out so deep a defilement,—but he accompanied my hookah with his hubble-bubble. The reader has observed that, although the viands were choice enough, they were laid on the cheapest pottery, and even on leaves, that the plate from which I ate was of unglazed earthenware, and that the coffee was served in a gourd. This was in order that they might be at once destroyed. By no special dispensation could those vessels ever again be purified for the use of a respectable Hindoo; even a pariah would have felt insulted if he had been asked to eat from them; and if the knives and forks and spoons had not been my own, they must have shared the fate of the platters. But this prejudice must be taken in a Pickwickian sense,—it covered no objection simply personal to the Sahib. In some castes it is forbidden to eat from any plate twice, even in the strictest privacy of the family; and many natives, however wealthy, scrupulously insist upon leaves. All respectable Hindoos lift their food with their fingers, using neither knife, fork, nor spoon; and for this purpose they employ the right hand only, the left being reserved for baser purposes. In drinking water, many of them will not allow the lotah to touch the lips; but, throwing the head back, and holding the vessel at arm's length on high, with an odd expertness they let the water run into their mouths. The sect of Ramanujas obstinately refuse to sit down to a meal while any one is standing by or looking on; nor will they chew betel in company with a man of low caste. Ward has written, "If a European of the highest rank touch the food of a Hindoo of the lowest caste, the latter will instantly throw it away, although he may not have another morsel to allay the pangs of hunger";—but this is true only of certain very strait sects. There are numerous sects that admit proselytes from every caste; but at the same time they will not partake of food, except with those of their own religious party. "Here," says Kerr, "the spirit of sect has supplanted even the spirit of caste,"—as at the temple of Juggernath in Orissa, where the pilgrims of all castes take their khana in common.

At our quarters in Cossitollah even [Pg 738]this progressive Karlee will not taste of the food which has been served at our mess-table, though it be returned to the kitchen untouched. But at least he is consistent; for neither will he take medicine from the hand of a Sahib, however ill he may be; nor have I ever known him to decline or postpone the performance of this or that duty because it was Sunday,—as many knavish bhearers do when they have set their hearts on a cock-fight. To compound for sins one is inclined to, by damning those one has no mind to, it is not indispensable that one should be a Christian.

The amiable Mr. James Kerr, of the Hindoo College of Calcutta, has contrived an ingenious and plausible apology for the constitutional (or geographical) laziness of Bengalese servants. He says: "A love of repose may be considered one of the most striking features in the character of the people of India. The Hindoos may be said to have deified this state. Their favorite notion of a Supreme Being is that of one who reposes in himself, in a dream of absolute quiescence. This idea is, doubtless, in the first instance, a reflection of their own character; but, in whatever way it originated, it tends to sanctify in their eyes a state of repose. When removed from this world of care, their highest hope is to become a part of the great Quiescent. It will naturally appear to them the best preparation for the repose of a future life to cultivate repose in this." Therefore, if your kitmudgar, nodding behind your chair, permits his astonished fly-flapper to become a part of the great Quiescent, or if your punka-wallah, having subsided into a comatose beatitude, suddenly invites his compliant machine to repose in himself, in a dream of absolute stagnation, with the thermometer at 120° outside the refrigerator, you must not say, "Damn that boy,—he's asleep again!"—but patiently survey and intelligently admire the spiritual processes by which an exalted sentient force prepares itself for the repose of a future life. But our reckless Karlee took no thought for the everlasting rest into which his soul should enter "when removed from this world of care," according to the ingenious psychological system of the amiable Kerr Sahib; for when he had anything to do, he kept on doing it until it was done, and when he caught the punka-wallah reposing in a dream of absolute quiescence, he bumped his head against the wall, and called him a sooa, and a banchut, and a junglee-wallah.[23]

Though possessed of a lively imagination and all his race's sympathy with what is vast, though he saw nothing extravagant in the Hindoo chronology, nor aught that was monstrous in Hindoo mythology, Karlee yet served to illustrate the arguments of those who contend that Hindoos need not necessarily be all boasters, servile liars, and flatterers. He was not forever saying, "Master very wise man; master all time do good; master all time ispeak right." He never told me that my words were pearls and diamonds that I dropped munificently from my mouth. He never called me "your highness," or said I was his father and mother, and the lord of the world; and if I said at noonday, "It is night," he did not exclaim, "Behold the moon and stars!" He never tried to prove to me that the earth revolved on its axis once in twenty-four hours by my favor. "What! dost thou think him a Christian that he would go about to deceive thee?" No, he was as proudly truthful as a Rajpoot, as frank and manly as a Goorkah, and as honest as an up-country Durwan.

Good by, my best of bhearers. To the new baby a good name, and to the faithful ayah enviable enlargement of liver! Khodá rukho ki beebi-ka kulle-jee bhee itui burri hoga![24]—I owe thee for a day of hospitable edifications; and when thou comest to my country, thou shalt find thy Heathen at Home.


[Pg 739]

[3] A long, round, narrow bolster, stuffed with very light materials (often with paper), and not for the head, but embraced in the arms, so as to help the sleeper to a cool and comfortable posture.

[4] Body-servants.

[5] A salutation of particular respect and well-wishing.

[6] Waistband.

[7] Destiny, fortune.

[8] A table-servant.

[9] A spiritual teacher.

[10] Writer, clerk.

[11] Banker, merchant in foreign trade.

[12] The fourth caste—originally laborers.

[13] A native gentleman, of wealth, education, and influence.

[14] Hostler and footman.

[15] Washerman.

[16] Sweeper.

[17] Lit. Fan-fellow.

[18] "Good! Bring the Europe-water,"—Bengali for soda-water.

[19] Showmen and puppet-dancers.

[20] Little shells, used as coins by the poorest people to make the smallest change.

[21] Text.

[22] Dined.

[23] Pig, sot, and jungle-animal.

[24] "God grant the lady a substantial liver!"—"the happiness and honors which should follow upon the birth of a male child being figuratively comprehended in that liberality of the liver whence comes the good digestion for which alone life is worth the living."—Child-Life by the Ganges.


A friend!—It seems a simple boon to crave,—
An easy thing to have.
Yet our world differs somewhat from the days
Of the romancer's lays.
A friend? Why, all are friends in Christian lands.
We smile and clasp the hands
With merry fellows o'er cigars and wine.
We breakfast, walk, and dine
With social men and women. Yes, we are friends;—
And there the music ends!
No close heart-heats,—a cool sweet ice-cream feast,—
Mild thaws, to say the least;—
The faint, slant smile of winter afternoons;—
The inconstant moods of moons,
Sometimes too late, sometimes too early rising,—
But for a night sufficing,
Showing a half-face, clouded, shy, and null,—
Once in a month at full,—
Lending to-night what from the sun they borrow,
Quenched in his light to-morrow.
If thou'rt my friend, show me the life that sleeps
Down in thy spirit's deeps.
Give all thy heart, the thought within thy thought.
Nay, I've already caught
Its meaning in thine eyes, thy tones. What need
Of words? Flowers keep their seed.
I love thee ere thou tellest me "I love."
We both are raised above
The ball-room puppets with their varnished faces,
Whispering dead commonplaces,
Doing their best to dress their lifeless thought
In tinselled phrase worth naught;
Or at the best, throwing a passing spark
Like fire-flies in the dark;—
Not the continuous lamp-light of the soul,
Which, though the seasons roll
Without on tides of ever-varying winds,
The watcher never finds
Flickering in draughts, or dim for lack of oil.
There is a clime, a soil,
Where loves spring up twin-stemmed from mere chance seed
Dropped by a word, a deed.
As travellers toiling through the Alpine snow
See Italy below;—
Down glacier slopes and craggy cliffs and pines
Descend upon the vines,
And meet the welcoming South who half-way up
Lifts her o'erbrimming cup,—
[Pg 740]
So, blest is he, from peaks of human ice
Lit on this Paradise;—
Who 'mid the jar of tongues hears music sweet;—
Who in some foreign street
Thronged with cold eyes catches a hand, a glance,
That deifies his chance,
That turns the dreary city to a home,
The blank hotel to a dome
Of splendor, while the unsympathizing crowd
Seems with his light endowed.
Many there be who call themselves our friends.
But ah! if Heaven sends
One, only one, the fellow to our soul,
To make our half a whole,
Rich beyond price are we. The millionnaire
Without such boon is bare,
Bare to the skin,—a gilded tavern-sign
Creaking with fitful whine
Beneath chill winds, with none to look at him
Save as a label grim
To the good cheer and company within
His comfortable inn.


Father sits at the head of our pew. In old Indian times they say that the male head of the family always took that place, on account of the possible whoops of the savages, who sometimes came down on a congregation like wolves on the fold. It was necessary that the men should be ready to rise at once to defend their families. Whatever the old reason was, the new is sufficient. Men must sit near the pew doors now on account of the hoops of the ladies. The cause is different, the effect is the same.

Father, then, sits at the head of the pew; mother next; Aunt Clara next; next I, and then Jerusha. That has been the arrangement ever since I can remember. Any change in our places would be as fatal to our devotions as the dislodgment of Baron Rothschild from his particular pillar was once to the business of the London Stock Exchange. He could not negotiate if not at his post. We could not worship if not in our precise places. I think, by the fussing and fidgeting which taking seats in the church always causes, that everybody has the same feeling.

It was Sunday afternoon. The good minister, Parson Oliver, had finished his sermon. The text was—well, I can't pretend to remember. Aunt Clara's behavior in meeting, and what she said to us that afternoon, have put the text, sermon, and all out of my head forever. That is no matter; or rather, it is all the better; for when the same sermon comes again, in its triennial round, I shall not recognize an old acquaintance.

The sermon finished, we took up our hymn-books, of course. But the minister gave out no hymn. He sat down with a patient look at the choir, [Pg 741]as much as to say, "Now, do your worst!" Then we understood that we were to be treated to an extra performance, not in our books. There had been a renewal of interest in the choir, and there was a new singing-master. We were to have the results of the late practisings and the first fruits of the new school. The piece they sung was that in which occur the lines,—

"I'd soar and touch the heavenly strings,
And vie with Gabriel, while he sings,
In notes almost divine!"

We always, when we rise during the singing, face round to the choir. I don't know why. Perhaps it is to complete our view of the congregation, since during the rest of the time we look the other way, and, unless we faced about, should see only half. I like to peep at father, to discover whether he appreciates the performance. To-day he just turned his head away. Mother sat down. Aunt Clara looked straight ahead, and her old-fashioned bonnet hid her face; but I could discover that something more than usual was working under her cap. I looked at every one of the singers, and then at the players, from the big bass-viol down to the tenor, and not a bit of reason could I perceive for the twitter the heads of our pew had certainly got themselves into. There's a pattern old lady, Prudence Clark, presidentess of the Dorcas Society,—a spinster, just Aunt Clara's age,—a woman who knows everything, and more too. She sits in the pew before us. She turned her head and gave a sly peep at Aunt Clara. They both laughed in meeting. I know they did, and they can't deny it. I peeped round at the minister, and, if he did not laugh too, his face was scarlet, and he was taken with a wonderful fit of coughing. Such strange proceedings in meeting I never had seen. The minister, the deacon (father is a deacon), and the oldest members were setting us young folks a very bad example. But we tolerate anything in our good old parson. He was a youth when our old folks were young, and as to us young folks, he remembers us longer than we do ourselves.

We were all home, and tea was over,—the early tea with substantials, as is the custom in the primitive districts of New England on Sunday afternoon. The double accumulation of dishes was disposed of; for at noon we take a cold collation, doughnuts and cheese, and bread and butter, and we never descend to servile employments till after tea. Then many hands make light work. I suppose light work does not break the Sabbath, especially as it is done in our Sunday best, with sleeves tucked up, and an extra apron.

The laughing in church was the point upon which, as yet, we had obtained no satisfaction. Jerusha and I, in an uncertain hope that we should find out something in due time, were discussing the music. The particular point in debate was, why village choirs will astonish the people with pieces of music in which nobody can join them. We did not settle it, nor has anybody ever solved the riddle that I know of. We don't even know whether it comes under the ontological or psychological departments. (There, now! Haven't I brought in the famous words that our new schoolmaster astonished us with at the teachers' meeting? He need not think that Webster Unabridged is his particular field, in which nobody else may hunt.)

We were, as I said, discussing the music. Mother was flitting round, giving the final dust-off and brush-about after our early tea. Aunt Clara was sitting quietly at the window, pretending to read Baxter's "Saint's Rest." Jerusha and I tried to imitate the tune, and we did it, as well as we could, and I am sure we are not bad singers. Mother slipped out of the room just as we came to

"And vie with Gabriel, while he sings."

She ran as if something had stung her, and she was making for the hartshorn or some fresh brook-mud. Aunt Clara's face laughed all over, and I said:

[Pg 742]

"Come, now, Aunt Clara, you are really irreverent. You began laughing in meeting, and you are keeping it up over that good book."

"Downright wicked," said Jerusha.

Now I am a Normal graduate, and Jerusha is not yet "finished." That will account for the greater elegance of my expressions. Aunt Clara paid no heed to either of us, but laughed on. The most provoking thing in the world is a laugh that you don't understand. Here was the whole Dorcas Society laughing through its presidentess, and Aunt Clara joining in the laugh in meeting, and aggravating the offence by stereotyping the smirk in her face. In came mother again, evidently afraid to stay out, and not liking for some reason to stay in. Again we tried the tune, and had just got to

"And vie with Gabriel, while he sings."

Up jumped mother again, stopping in the door, and holding up a warning finger to Aunt Clara. That gesture spurred my curiosity to the utmost point. As to my beloved parent's running in and out, that I should not have heeded. She is like Martha, careful of many things. She is unlike Martha, for she wants no assistance; but when the rest of us are disposed to be quiet, she will keep flitting here and there, and is vexed if we follow. If father is talking, and has just reached the point of his story, off she goes, as if the common topic were nothing to her. Father says she is a perturbed spirit. But then he is always saying queer things, which poor mother cannot understand. Aunt Clara seems to know him a great deal better. I wonder he had not taken to wife a woman like Aunt Clara. He would have taken her, I suppose, if she were not his own sister.

I besought mother, as she fled, to tell me what ailed aunty. "Don't ask me," she answered. "The dear only knows. As for me, I have given up thinking, let alone asking, what either your aunt or your father would be at." And away she went, perturbed-spirit fashion, and Aunt Clara laughed louder than ever. Indeed, before she had only chuckled and silently shaken her sides; now she broke out into a scream.

"Well, I never!" she said. "That flounce of your mother's out of the room was certainly as much like old times as if the thing had happened yesterday."

"What had happened yesterday?" asked Jerusha and I, both in a breath.

"O, I shall die of laughing," said Aunt Clara.

"We shall die of impatience," said I, "if you don't tell us what you mean."

"No you won't. Nobody, especially no woman, ever yet died of unsatisfied curiosity. It rather keeps folks alive."

We very well knew that nothing would be made of Aunt Clara by teasing her. So Jerusha turned over the great family Bible, her custom always of a Sunday afternoon. Over her shoulder I happened to see that the good book was open at the first chapter of i Chronicles, "Adam, Sheth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jared." Though her lips moved diligently, I am afraid she did not make much of it. As for me, I turned to the window, and studied the landscape. Father, his custom of a Sunday afternoon, walked down into the meadow, and the cattle came affectionately up to him. It was the salt in his broad pocket that they were after. "I might salt them of a Monday," he says, "but they kind of look for it, and it isn't kind to disappoint the creetur's on a Sabba'-day. And the merciful man is merciful to his beasts."

The flies droned and buzzed that summer afternoon. Jerusha nodded over the big Bible. Aunt Clara tried to look serious over the book she held. But the latent laugh was coursing among the dimples in her face, like a spark among tinder. I stole up behind, and, leaning over her shoulder, kissed her.

"O, yes," said aunty. "Fine words butter no parsnips, and fine kisses are no better."

Jerusha's head made an awful plunge, then a reactionary lift back, and then she opened her eyes and her mouth with such a yawn!

[Pg 743]

"Why, what a mouth!" I cried. "Master Minim would rejoice if you would thus open out in singing-school,

'And vie with Gabriel, while he sings.'"

Off went Aunt Clara in the laugh again, and this time till the tears came. We saw now that there was something in that line which provoked her mirth; but what Gabriel could have to do with her strange behavior we could not imagine, and were wisely silent.

"Girls," she said, as soon as she could speak for laughing, "I will tell you."

We knew she would, provided we were not too anxious to hear. So Jerusha turned over her leaf to the second chapter of i Chronicles, "Reuben, Simeon, Levi." I pretended to be more than ever interested out of doors. Aunt Clara took off her specs, closed her book, smoothed her apron, and began:—

"When I was a girl—"

Now that we knew the story was coming, we pretended to no more indifference. Once get aunty started, and, like a horse balky at the jump, she was good for the journey. So Jerusha shut the Bible, and we both sat down at her feet.

"Not too close, girls. It's dreadful warm."

Her face worked and her sides heaved with her provoking laugh, and we were half afraid of a disappointment. But there was no danger. She was by this time quite as ready to tell as we to hear.

"When I was a girl I went to singing-school. Dear me! how many of the scholars are dead and gone! There was my brother William, poor fellow! he died away off in Calcutty. And Sarah Morgan, she never would own to it that she liked him. But actions speak plainer than words. She never held up her head after. And she's dead now, too."

Aunt Clara's face—she is a dear old aunty—had now lost every trace of mirth. The golden sunset touched her fine head, and made her look so sweetly beautiful that I wondered why no man had had the good taste, long ago, to relieve her of her maiden name. Perhaps she will tell us some day, and if she does, perhaps we will tell you. She sat two or three minutes, thinking and looking, as if she waited to see the loved and lost. There was a rustle, and she started from her revery. It was only mother, flitting into the room with one of her uneasy glances. But we were all so still and serious and Sabbath-like, that a look of relief came over her countenance. She vanished again, and through the window I saw her join her husband in the meadow.

"There, now, before they come in," said Aunt Clara. "When I was a girl, I went to singing-school. Dear me! But we will not think of the dead any more. There was one of the girls,—she thought she had a very good voice. But she never sings now."

"Why?" asked Jerusha.

"The dear knows. I suppose because she is married. Married people never sing, I believe. So, girls, if you would keep your voices, you must stay single. Well, there was one of the boys, he thought he had a good voice. And he never sings now either."

"Why?" said I.

"O, he's married too. So don't you get cheated into thinking you have mated a robin. He will turn out a crow, like as any way. I suppose they both did have good voices, and, for all that I know, they have still. They were the singing-master's especial wonders and his pattern pieces. He never was tired of praising them up to the skies, to mortify the rest of us into good behavior. She was the wonder for the girls' side and he for the boys',—two copies that we were to sing up to. I think they were a little proud of the distinction. They were kind of brought together by it, so that they did not see any harm at all in singing out of the same note-book."

"I suppose not," said Jerusha.

"Well, there was one girl in the school,—I dare say she was a giggling, mischief-making thing, for everybody said so—"

[Pg 744]

"Is she living now?" I asked.

"Yes, indeed."

"Does she sing now?" asked Jerusha.

"Well,—not much."

"Then," said I, "she must be married, too."

"No, she is not," said Aunt Clara, with a plaintive and very positive emphasis on the negative particle,—"no, she is not."

"Then why does she not sing?" I asked.

"Nobody will look over the same note-book with her," said Jerusha.

"O, you girls may have your own fun now," said Aunt Clara. "You will see the world with a sadder face by and by."

"Not if we look at it through your spectacles, aunty," I answered.

"Dear me; well, the Lord has been kind, to me," said Aunt Clara, "if I am a spinster still. But we must make haste. The old folks are coming back."

"Old folks!" I thought, and Aunt Clara is older than either of them. Father stopped and gave an ugly weed a whack with his cane. Then he stooped and rooted it up, Sabbath-day though it was. I presume he considered it an ox in a pit, for the moment.

Aunt Clara continued:—"The same tune you were at this afternoon used to be a great favorite in our school. It's as old as the hills. I wonder if Israel did not let out his voice in it! And Sally, she wouldn't be behind him, I warrant you."

Jerusha and I exchanged glances.

"It happened, one evening,—and that's what I was laughing at this afternoon. You see, the singing-master, if the music was not going to suit him, would pull the class straight up in the middle of it, and make them begin again. The giggling girl that I was speaking of, she was always fuller of her own nonsense than of learning. This particular evening she was tempted of the Evil One to alter the words to her own purposes, just for the confusion of those close to her; and a dreadful mess she would get them into. It was wrong, very wrong indeed," Aunt Clara added, with a face that was meant to be serious, while her voice laughed, in spite of her.

"On this evening, they were singing the very tune, as I told you. Something went wrong. The singing-master stopped his viol, and called out to the class to stop singing. But the heedless girl had got into mischief, and could not stop with the rest, or she did not hear, or she did not wish to. So on she went, all alone, right out, at the top of her voice:—

'And vie with Israel, while he sings,
In notes almost divine!'

"And there she broke down, and sat down, and, graceless hussy as she was, laughed as if she was mad. The truth was, that 'vying with Israel' was a byword with us. We were always teasing Sally about her vying with Israel, as she certainly did, while they sung out of the same book, and thought a deal more of each other than they did of the music. Everybody took the joke, and such a time as there was! Prudence Clark, who turned round and looked at me in meeting to-day, she laughed the most spitefully of anybody, for she had a great notion of your fath—I mean of Israel. As to Israel and Sarah, if ever you did see two persons who did not know whether to stand still or to run, to cry or to laugh, they were the couple. The master, he tried to read us a solemn lecture; but he was so full of suppressed fun that he hugged his viol under his arm till one of the strings snapped. That gave the pitch, and we had a laughing chorus. All joined in, except Israel and Sarah. She pouted, and I do believe he grit his teeth." Here Aunt Clara gave herself up to the comic reminiscence, till her eyes filled again.

"Well, and what came of it all?" asked Jerusha.

"Why, it broke up the school for that season, and made town-talk for nine days. Parson Oliver,—he was a young man then,—he went for to give the mischievous girl a good talking [Pg 745]to. He needn't have tried that; for he was too young to scold a young girl, full of mischief, and, though I say it that shouldn't say it, rather pretty."

"Why shouldn't you say she was pretty?" asked Jerusha.

"O, you hush! Well, the girl bent her head down, and a few stray tears came, for it was wicked, and she knew it. But before the water got head enough to fall from her eyes, she kind of thought that the young minister's voice was getting shaky, either with mirth or with sadness. To find out which, she slyly looked up, and both she and the minister laughed long and loud. So there was an end of the jobation that he meant to give her."

"How did you know all this?" said Jerusha. "Were you there?"

"I certainly was not far off."

"But Israel and Sarah," said I, now seeing through the whole affair, and understanding perfectly why father looked aside, and mother sat down, and Aunt Clara and Prudence Clark of the Dorcas Society exchanged glances, and the minister himself would have laughed in the pulpit, if he had not turned it off with a cough,—"but Israel and Sarah, how did they fare?"

"Why, Israel, he said that Sarah was just a pretty nobody, and Prudence Clark was a great deal more sensible,—for his part he never cared anything about Sarah. And Sarah, she declared that Israel was a hawbuck of a fellow, that no girl would think of when he was out of sight."

"It was too bad!" said Jerusha.

"Too bad!" I echoed.

"Dreadful suz!" said aunty, mocking our tone. "Never you fear, if two young simpletons are once caught, that a joke is going to separate them! And whenever you hear two people pretending to hate one another, you may get your wedding present ready for them. The folks did tease them though, too bad, and so they had it, back and forth. Stories never lose anything by carrying, especially the compliments between two quarrelling lovers. So it went on for about a month, when Israel, on his way to see Prudence Clark, who was sitting in her best, waiting for him, stopped to tell Sarah that he never said so and so. And Sarah said, she never said so and so. And they went into the house to finish their talk, and Prudence Clark was left lamenting. I know Israel came home very late that night."

"You know?" said Jerusha.

"And father's name is Israel," said I.

"And mother's name is Sarah," said my sister.

"Hush, hush; here they come," said Aunt Clara. "But I don't believe they would ever have found out their own minds if it had not been for me."

"And you were the giggling girl," said I.

"She's no better now," said my mother, as she entered the room, and readily guessed what we had been hearing from aunty. Father walked up to Aunt Clara, and pinched her ears for her. What more he might have done I don't know, if Parson Oliver had not dropped in. We made quite a pleasant evening of it, and the old folks discussed the reminiscence in all its bearings. I like to hear old people talk. They come straight to the pith of a subject, especially if it is love and matrimony. And the more I hear them, the better I can realize the truth of the Old Virginia admonition,—

"Ole folks, ole folks, you better go to bed,
You only put the mischief in the young folks' head."

[Pg 746]


In Spring the Poet is glad,
And in Summer the Poet is gay;
But in Autumn the Poet is sad,
And has something sad to say:
For the wind moans in the wood,
And the leaf drops from the tree;
And the cold rain falls on the graves of the good,
And the cold mist comes up from the sea:
And the Autumn songs of the Poet's soul
Are set to the passionate grief
Of winds that sough and bells that toll
The dirge of the falling leaf.


The great characteristic of aristocracies, according to their admirers, is prudence; and even democrats do not deny the soundness of the claim thus put forward in their behalf. They are cautious, and if they seldom accomplish anything brilliant, neither do they put everything to hazard. If they gain slowly, they keep long what they have. Did not Venice endure so long that, when she perished as a nation, within living memory, she was the oldest of great communities? And was she not the most perfect of all aristocratically governed nations? Was she not the admiration of those English republicans of the seventeenth century whose names are held in the highest honor wherever freedom is worshipped? Aristocracies have their faults, but they outlast every other kind of government, and therefore are objects of reverence to all who love order. The Roman Republic was aristocratical in its polity, and all that is great in Roman history is due to the ascendency of the Senate in the government; and when the Forum populace began to show its power, the decay of the commonwealth commenced, and did not cease till despotism was established,—the natural effect of the resistance of the many to the government of the few being the formation of the government of one. England's polity is, and for ages has been, aristocratical. Not even the passage of the Reform Bill materially lessened the power of the aristocracy; and the declaration of Earl Grey, the father of the measure, that it would be found the most aristocratical of measures,—as he was one of the most aristocratical of men,—does not seem so absurd now as it appeared four-and-thirty years since, when we note how difficult it now is to lower the franchise in Britain. The firmest government in Europe is that of England, in which property has greater influence than in that of any other nation. The conclusion drawn by aristocrats and their admirers is, that aristocracies are the most enduring of all the polities known to men, and that they are so because [Pg 747]aristocrats are the most prudent and cautious of men. The governments they form and control wash and wear well, and bid defiance to what Bacon calls "the waves and weathers of time."

There is some truth in this. Aristocracies are cautious and prudent, and indisposed to risk present advantage in the hope of future gain. Therefore aristocratical polities often attain to great age, and the nations that know them attain slowly to great and firmly-placed power. Rome and Venice and England are striking examples of these truths. Yet it is not the less true that aristocracies sometimes do behave with a rashness that cannot be paralleled from the histories of democracies and despotisms. It has been the fortune of this age to see two examples of this rashness, such as no other age ever witnessed or ever could have witnessed. The first of these was presented in the action, in 1860-61, of the American aristocracy. The second was that of the Austrian aristocracy, in 1866. The American aristocracy—the late slavocracy—was the most powerful body in the world; so powerful, that it was safe against everything but itself. It had been gradually built up, until it was as towering as its foundations were deep and broad. Not only was it unassailed, but there was no disposition in any influential quarter to assail it. The few persons who did attack it, from a distance, produced scarcely more effect adverse to its ascendency, than was produced by the labors of the first Christians against the Capitoline Jupiter in the days of the Julian Cæsars. Abolitionists were annoyed and insulted even in the course of that political campaign which ended in the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency; and not a few of the victors in that campaign were forward to declare, that between their party and the "friends of the slave" there was neither friendship nor sympathy. One of the most eminent of the Republicans of Massachusetts declared that he felt hurt at the thought that his party could be suspected of approving the conduct of Captain John Brown at Harper's Ferry. Down to the spring-time of 1860, it required, on the part of the American slaveholding interest, only a moderate display of that prudence which is said to be the chief virtue of an aristocracy, to secure all they possessed,—which was all the country had to give,—and to prepare the way for such gains as it might be found necessary to make, as the American nation should increase in strength. But this prudence the slaveholders would not display. They annoyed and insulted the people of the Free States. They broke up the Democratic party, which was well disposed to do their work. They pursued such a course as compelled the great majority of the American people to take up arms against them, and to abolish slavery by an act of war. The effect was the fall of a body of men who certainly were very powerful, and who were believed to be very wise in their generation. It was impossible to attack them as long as they were true to their own interests, and they could fall only through being attacked. They made war on the nation, and the nation was forced to defend herself, and destroyed them. It is the most wonderful case of suicide known to mankind.

The Austrian aristocracy behaved almost as unwisely as the American aristocracy. As the Republic of the United States is a union of States, which in reality was governed by the slaveholders down to 1861, so is the Austrian Empire a collection of countries, governed by a few great families, at the head of which stand the imperial family,—the House of Austria, or, as it is now generally called, the House of Hapsburg-Lorraine. That aristocracy might have prevented the occurrence of war last summer, by ceding Venetia to Italy; and that it did not make such cession early in June, when we know it was ready to make it early in July, but plunged into a contest which, according to the apologists for its terrible defeat, it was wholly unprepared to [Pg 748]wage, speaks but poorly for its prudence, though that is claimed to be the virtue of aristocracies. The Austrian aristocrats behaved as senselessly in 1866 as the Prussian aristocrats in 1806, but with less excuse than the latter had. By their action they caused their country's degradation. From the rank of a first-rate power that country has been compelled to descend, not so much through loss of territory and population as through loss of position. For centuries the house of Austria has been very powerful in Europe, though the Austrian empire can count but sixty years. Rudolph of Hapsburg, the first member of his line who rose to great eminence, in the latter part of the thirteenth century, founded the house of Austria. While holding the imperial throne, he obtained for his own family Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola; but it was not till several generations after his death, and in the fifteenth century, that the imperial dignity became virtually, though not in terms, hereditary in the Hapsburg line. For several centuries, down to the extinction of the office, there was no Emperor of Germany who was not of that family. Every effort to divert the office from that house ended in failure. The consequence was, that the house of Austria became the first of reigning families; and at one time it seemed about to grasp the sceptre of the world. When the Empire ceased to exist, the Austrian empire, though of later creation than the French empire of Napoleon I., had that appearance of antique grandeur which has so great an effect on men's minds. It was looked upon as ancient because the imperial family really was ancient, and could trace itself back through almost twelve hundred years, to the sixth century, though in places the tracing was of the most shadowy character. It profited from the greatness of the Hapsburgs in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries,—a greatness which is among the most extraordinary things recorded in history.

Should the history of royal marriages ever be written in a manner proportioned to its importance, a large part of the work would have to be given to the marriages made by various princes of the house of Austria; for those marriages had prodigious effect on the condition of the best portions of the human race, and in the sixteenth century it seemed that they were about to bring, not only most of Europe, but nearly all America, a large part of Asia, and not a little of Africa under the rule of one family, and that family by no means superior to that of Valois or the Plantagenets. The extraordinary luck of the house of Austria in turning marriage into a source of profit was early remarked; and in the latter part of the fifteenth century, long before the best of the Austrian matrimonial alliances were made, Matthias Corvinus, the greatest of Hungarian kings, wrote a Latin epigram on the subject, which was even more remarkable as a prediction than as a statement of fact; for it was as applicable to the marriage of Napoleon I. and Maria Louisa, and to that of Philip the Fair and Juana the Foolish, as it was to that of Maximilian and Mary.[25] It is from the Styrian line of the Austrian house that all princes of that house who have reigned for four centuries and upward are descended. Ernest, third son of that Leopold who was defeated and slain at the battle of Sempach by the Swiss, became master of the duchies of Styria, Carniola, and Carinthia. He was [Pg 749]a pious prince, and made a pilgrimage to Palestine, after the superstitious fashion of his time. He was a quarrelsome prince, and kept himself in a state of perpetual hot water with his brother. He was an amorous and a chivalrous prince, and, having lost his first wife, he got him a second after a knightly fashion. Having heard much of the material and mental charms of the Princess Cymburga, a Polish lady who had the blood of the Yagellons in her veins, he went to Cracow in disguise, found that report had not exaggerated her merits, and, prudently making himself known, proposed for her hand, and got it. But Cymburga was not only very clever and very beautiful: she was a muscular Christian in crinoline,—for hoops were known in those days among the Poles, or might have been known to them,—and if they were, no doubt Cymburga, like American ladies of to-day, had the sense and taste to use them. She had such strength of fist that, when she had occasion to drive a nail into anything, she dispensed with a hammer; and she economized in nut-crackers, as some independent people do in the item of pocket-handkerchiefs, by using her fingers. One would think that Ernest would have hesitated to woo and wed a lady who was so capable of carrying matters with a high hand; but then he was a very strong man, and was surnamed "The Iron," so that he could venture where no other man would have thought of going. This strong-handed as well as strong-minded couple, who were both paired and matched, must be taken as the real founders of that house of Austria which has been so conspicuous in the history of Christendom for almost four centuries, though they and their descendants built on the broad and solid foundations established by Rudolph of Hapsburg and his earlier descendants. Some authorities say that Cymburga brought into the Hapsburg family that thick lip—"the Austrian lip"—so often mentioned in history; but others call it the Burgundian lip, though the marriage between Maximilian (Cymburga's grandson) and Mary of Burgundy (Charles the Bold's daughter) did not take place till 1477; and the ducal Burgundian family was only a branch of the French royal line of Valois. It was no addition to the beauty of the imperial family, no matter to whom that family was indebted for it. It is certain that it appeared in the Emperor Frederick III., son of Ernest and Cymburga, and father of that Emperor who, when an archduke, married the Burgundian duchess, if such Mary can be called; for Menzel, who must have seen portraits of him, and who knew his history well, speaks of him as "a slow, grave man, with a large, protruding under-lip."

This Frederick was a singular character. He had the longest reign—fifty-three years—of all the German Emperors, and it may be said that he founded the house of Hapsburg, considering it as an imperial line. Yet he is almost invariably spoken of contemptuously. Menzel says that no Emperor had reigned so long and done so little. Mr. Bryce declares that under him the Empire sank to its lowest point. Even Archdeacon Coxe, who held his memory in respect, and did his best to make out a good character for him, has to admit "that he was a prince of a languid and inactive character," and to make other damaging admissions that detract from the excellence of the elaborate portrait he has [Pg 750]drawn of him. There was something fantastical in his favorite pursuits,—astrology, alchemy, antiquities, alphabet-making, and the like,—which the men of an iron age viewed with a contempt that probably had much to do with giving him that character which he has in history, contemporary opinion of a ruler generally being accepted, and enduring. "A species of anagram," says the English historian of his family, "consisting of the five vowels, he adopted as indicative of the future greatness of the house of Austria, imprinted it on all his books, carved it on all his buildings, and engraved it on all his plate. This riddle occupied the grave heads of his learned contemporaries, and gave rise to many ridiculous conjectures, till the important secret was disclosed after his death by an interpretation written in his own hand, in which the vowels form the initials of a sentence in Latin and German, signifying, 'The house of Austria is to govern the whole world.'"[26] Notwithstanding the archidiaconal sneer, Frederick III.'s anagram came quite as near the truth as any uninspired prophecy that can be mentioned. In little more than sixty years after the Emperor's death, the house of Austria ruled over Germany, the Netherlands, Naples, Sicily, the Milanese, Hungary, Bohemia, the Spains, England and Ireland (in virtue of Philip II.'s marriage with Mary I., queen-regnant of England), the greater part of America, from the extreme north to the extreme south, portions of Northern Africa, the Philippines, and some minor possessions; and it really ruled, though indirectly, most of that part of Italy, outside of the territory of Venice, that had nominally an independent existence. Before Holland's independence was fully established, but after the connection with England had ceased, Portugal passed under the dominion of the Spanish branch of the house of Austria, with all her immense American, African, and Asiatic colonial possessions. For years, Philip II. was more powerful in France than any one of her sovereigns could pretend to be. Frederick's prediction, therefore, came to pass almost literally, and was less an exaggeration than St. Luke's assertion that a decree went forth from Cæsar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. As Augustus was lord of nearly all the world that a man like St. Luke could consider civilized and worth governing, so might an Austrian writer of the sixteenth century declare that the Hapsburgs ruled over wellnigh all the world that could be looked upon as belonging to the Christian commonwealth, including not a little that had been stolen from the heathen by Christians.

It was by marriage that the Hapsburgs became so great in so short a time. Frederick III. married Eleanor, a Portuguese princess, whose mother was of the royal house of Castille. Portugal is not even of second rank now, and the Braganças are not in the first rank of royal families. But in the fifteenth century Portugal stood relatively and positively very high, and the house of Avis was above the house of Austria, though a king of Portugal was necessarily inferior to the head of the Holy Roman Empire. This marriage did not advance the fortunes of the Austrian family, though it connected them with three other great families,—the reigning houses of Portugal, Castille, and England, the Princess Eleanor having Plantagenet blood. But the son of Frederick and Eleanor, afterward the Emperor Maximilian I.,[27] married Mary of Burgundy in 1477, [Pg 751]which "gave a lift" to his race that enabled it to increase in importance at a very rapid rate. Mary was in possession of most of the immense dominions of her father, which he had intended to convert into a kingdom, had he lived to complete his purpose. His success would have had great effect on the after history of Europe, for he would have reigned over the finest of countries, and his dominions would have extended from the North Sea to Provence,—and over Provence so powerful a sovereign would have had no difficulty in extending his power,—which done, his dominions would have been touched by the Mediterranean. Louis XI. of France got hold of some of Mary's inheritance; but the greater part thereof she conveyed to Maximilian. She died young, leaving a son and a daughter. The son was Philip the Fair, who in 1496 married Juana, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, king of Aragon, and queen of Castille, and heiress of the Spanish monarchy, which had come to great glory through the conquest of Granada, and to wonderful influence through the discovery of the New World,—events that took place in the same year, and but a short time before the marriage of the Austrian archduke and the Peninsular princess. This marriage, useful and brilliant as it was to the house of Austria, turned out bitterly bad to the parties to it,—and it is not an isolated case in that respect. Philip the Fair was a very handsome fellow, as became his designation, or rather whence his designation came; but on the principle that "handsome is that handsome does," he was one of the ugliest of men. He was guilty of gallantry, the weakness of kings, and of many of the sovereign people too. When living in Spain he had many amorous adventures; and his wife, who had brought him so great a fortune that she thought she had an especial claim on his fidelity, became exceedingly jealous, and, being a dague en jarretière lady, as became one who was born to reign over Andaluçia, killed her faithless husband,—not by stabbing him, but by giving him poison. This was in 1506, when husband and wife were but twenty-eight and twenty-four years old, and had been but ten years married. There were two sons and four daughters born of this marriage, all of whom made important marriages. The eldest son was the man whom Mr. Stirling calls "the greatest monarch of the memorable sixteenth century,"—Charles V., Emperor of Germany, and the Spanish Charles I. He founded the Spanish branch of the house of Austria, the elder branch.[28] He married Isabella of Portugal, and their son was Philip II., who added Portugal to the possessions of the Austrian family, and one of whose wives was Mary Tudor, queen of England, the Bloody Mary of fire-and-fagot memory; and Philip gladly would have placed Mary's sister Elizabeth in his half-vacant bed. The marriage of Philip and Mary was barren, and poor Mary's belief that a "blessed baby"[Pg 752] was coming has been matter for laughter for more than three hundred years. Had her agonizing prayers for offspring been heard, what a change would have been wrought in human destinies, even had the child lived to be no older than Edward VI.! The second son of Philip the Fair and Juana was Ferdinand, named from his maternal grandfather, Ferdinand the Catholic, king of Argon. He was the founder of the German branch of the house of Austria, the younger branch, which has long survived the elder branch, though now it exists only in the female line, and really is the house of Lorraine. Ferdinand became Ferdinand I., Emperor of Germany, and he did far more than was done by his elder brother to keep up the character of his family for making much through marriage. In 1522, when but nineteen, he married Anne Yagellon, princess of Hungary and Bohemia,—a marriage that might not have proved very important, but that death came in and made it so, and also the births that came from it, as will presently appear. Charles and Ferdinand had four sisters, and they all four made great marriages, three of which were very useful to the Austrian house. The eldest of these ladies, Eleanora, was married to Emanuel, king of Portugal,—a man old enough to be her father, with some years to spare,—being sacrificed to the ambition of her brother Charles, for she was attached to the Count Palatine. Becoming a widow, she was compelled to give her hand to that popular rascal, Francis I. of France, when her brother wished to strengthen the treaty he made with his "good brother" at Madrid, and which the Frenchman had arranged to disregard even before he signed it. The second sister, Isabella, married Christian II., king of Denmark, when she was but fourteen, and died at twenty-four. Mary, the third sister, became the wife of Louis II., king of Hungary and Bohemia, and last of the Yagellons. The fourth sister, Catherine, married John III., king of Portugal. It was the marriage of the third sister, Mary, that, in connection with his own marriage, had the greatest effect on the fortunes of her brother Ferdinand, as his wife was the sister of Louis II., Mary's husband. Louis was defeated by the Turks at the battle of Mohacz, in 1526, and lost his life while flying from the field. Ferdinand claimed the crowns of Bohemia and Hungary, as Louis left no children, and he was chosen king in both countries; and though he disowned all other rights to the Bohemian throne than that of the election, it is certain he never would have been elected by either nation had he not married the sister of Louis, and had not Louis married his sister. All these marriages, and other events that carried the power of the house of Austria to the greatest height, took place only thirty-three years after the death of Frederick III., and some of his contemporaries may have lived to witness them all.

The marriages of the house of Austria since the sixteenth century have not been so important as they were in that century, but they have not been without influence on events, in exceptional cases. The marriage of Marie Antoinette and the French prince who became Louis XVI. was fruitful of results; and the marriage of Napoleon I. and Marie Louise, by causing the French emperor to rely on Austrian [Pg 753]aid in 1813, had memorable consequences. Louis XIII. and Louis XIV. married Austrian princesses of the Spanish branch; and the marriage of Louis XIV. and Maria Theresa led to the founding of that Bourbon line which reigns over Spain, though the main line has ceased to reign in France. The greatness of the house of Austria in the seventeenth century is visible only in Germany, after the death of Philip IV. of Spain. The German Hapsburgs had a powerful influence in the seventeenth century, playing then great parts, but often finding themselves in danger of extinction before their Spanish cousins had run out.[29] They were the rivals of the French kings of that century, and Louis XIV. was talked of as a candidate for the imperial throne. The course of English politics had a very favorable effect on the fortunes of the Hapsburgs, the same conduct that gave supremacy to Protestantism and constitutionalism in Great Britain working most favorably in behalf of that family which, for ten generations, has been identified with everything that is bigoted and intolerant in religion and politics. James II., after his fall, implored assistance from the Emperor of Germany, Leopold I.; and, considering that both were intensely Catholic, his application ought to have been favorably received; but the reigning Emperor had little difficulty in showing that it was not in his power, as assuredly it was not for his interest, to help the exiled king,—who was an exile only because of his attachment to that ancient Church through which alone, as Leopold believed, salvation could be secured. He went with the heretical William III. England, indeed, has been the bulwark of the German Hapsburgs on many occasions, and has saved them on more than one occasion from overthrow; and she did her best to aid even the Spanish branch in its last years, and then exerted herself to secure that branch's possessions for its relations at Vienna. It was English military genius that saved the Emperor Leopold I. from destruction.[30] When most of Continental Europe showed itself hostile to the Austrian house after the death of Charles VI., England was the fast friend of Maria Theresa, his daughter, and aided her to get over difficulties that seemed about to overwhelm her; and it was the fault rather of Austria than of England that the two countries did not act together [Pg 754]in the Seven Years' War, when England was, as it were, forced into the Prussian alliance, and helped Frederick win his astonishing victories. Austria came out of that memorable contest without having accomplished the purpose for which she entered it; but she had displayed great power during its course, and in the last half of the reign of the empress-queen, her reputation stood very high. Joseph II., though he declared that he had failed in everything, impressed himself very powerfully on the European mind, and was counted a great sovereign. No common man could have entertained the projects that crowded his teeming mind, and which came to little in most instances because they were in advance of the time.

During the tremendous struggle that proceeded from the French Revolution, Austria was almost always in the foreground, and next to England showed greatest powers of endurance in combating the new order of things. Six times she made war on France, and though in four of these wars she was beaten, she had the fortune to decide the event of the fifth,—that of 1814-15; and in 1815 she was as active against Napoleon as circumstances permitted any of the Allies to be, except England and Prussia. The effect of this pertinacity, and of her decisive part in 1813, was to secure for her a degree of consideration altogether disproportioned to her real power. Men took her for what she appeared to be, not as she was. In truth, very little was known of her condition, and the few who were aware of her weakness were interested in keeping their knowledge to themselves. The grand effort which she made in 1809, single-handed almost, to break the power of Napoleon, was everywhere looked upon as something alike herculean and heroical, and as such it is spoken of in all those historical works from which most readers obtain knowledge of the early years of this century; but now we know from other sources, and particularly from the Diary of Gentz, that she never was in a worse state than she knew in the days of Eckmühl, Essling, and Wagram. Reading what Gentz wrote in the ten weeks that followed Wagram, we feel as if we were reading of the twenty days that followed Sadowa. But of this nobody outside of the empire seems to have known or suspected anything; and the number of persons in the empire who knew it, or suspected it, was not large. Even Napoleon, who was on the ground, and who had the country more at his control than it was at that of Francis II., seems to have been entirely ignorant of the true state of affairs. He could have "crumpled up" Austria with ease, and have made half a dozen kingdoms or grand duchies of the spoils he had seized,—and yet he talked to General Bubna, and to others of the Austrian negotiators, as if he considered Austria the greatest nation in Europe, and sure swiftly to recover from the consequences of the blows he had dealt her. He actually spoke of the ability she would secure to decide the future fate of Europe, and therein was a prophet of his own ruin. It is possible that there may have been some affectation in what he said, but there was as much sincerity, for there is a great deal in the history of his [Pg 755]career that shows he had a high opinion of Austrian power. When Europe was settled, after his fall, Austria acquired the right to stand between England and Russia, as their equal; and down to 1848 she was the superior of both France and Prussia. The events of 1848-49 did not essentially lessen her prestige, and she had a commanding place during the Russian war. Even her defeats in the Italian war did not lead to any serious loss of consideration, and against them was set the striking fact that the victorious French had halted before the Quadrilateral, and actually had begged for peace from the vanquished.

We know how deceptive were all appearances in regard to Austrian strength; but it was in the power of Austrian statesmen to convert what was simply apparent into a solid reality. Had they been wise men, they would, during the long peace that followed 1815, have made of Austria a state as powerful in fact as the world believed her to be. Nothing could have been easier, as her undeveloped resources ever have been vast; but they did nothing of the kind, their sole aim being to get over the present, without any regard for the future. Hermayr says of Thugut, who was chief Austrian minister in the closing years of the last century, that "his policy knew neither virtue nor vice, only expedients"; and these words describe the policy of Metternich completely, and, with perhaps a little modification, they describe that of all his successors. So that when the Prussian war came, Austria was in the same state that she was in 1809,—seemingly very strong, actually very weak; and she fell in a month, with a great ruin, much to the astonishment of almost all men. But the difference between 1809 and 1866 is this,—that the light let into Austria through chinks made by the Prussian bayonet will prevent the game of deception from being renewed.

It is assumed by most persons, that the house of Austria has at last reached the turn of its fortunes, and that, having been beaten down by Prussia, it never will be able to rise again. This is the reaction against the sentiment that prevailed so generally at the beginning of last summer, just before the first blood was drawn in that war which proved so disastrous to Austria. In America, as in England, not only was it assumed that the Austrians had the better cause, but that the better chances of success were clearly with them. Black and yellow would distance black and white, and the two-headed eagle would tear and rend the single-headed eagle, thus affording another proof that two heads are better than one. Now, all is changed. In England, opinion is setting almost as strongly Prussiaward as it did in 1815, though the Prussians and the Prussian government have made no apologies for those ungracious acts against Englishmen which it was the fashion to cite as evidence of the dislike borne to the islanders by the countrymen of Bismarck. Captain Heehaw, of the Coldstreams, who thought—really, 'pon honor—that the Prussians would not be able to look half their number of Austrians in the face, has wheeled about, converted by the fast flashes of the needle-gun; and the gallant Captain, who would fight like an Achilles should opportunity offer, is a fair type of his fellows. There is a complete change of front. The English are countermarching, and will take up their former ground,—if they have not already taken it,—that on which they stood when their Parliament thanked Blücher and his Prussians for helping Wellington and his Britons strike down Napoleon and the French. Prussia now means a united Germany, to be ruled by the house of Hohenzollern, whose head is an old king of threescore and ten years, and who must, in the regular course of things, soon be displaced by a bold young prince, whose brows are thickly covered with laurels gathered on the field of Sadowa, and whose wife is the eldest child of Queen Victoria. Why should not Protestant England rejoice [Pg 756]with Protestant Prussia, and see her successes with gladness? Sure enough; and English joy over the prodigious Prussian triumph of last summer ought to be the most natural thing in the world. But we cannot forget what was the color of English opinion down to the time when it was demonstrated by the logic of cannon that the Prussian cause was perfectly pure, and that it was to fly in the face of Providence to question its excellence. If ever a man was hated in England, Count Bismarck had the honor of being thus hated. And it was an honor; for next to the love of a great people, their hatred is the best evidence of a man's greatness. Napoleon in 1807 was not more detested by Englishmen than Bismarck in 1866. The obnoxious Prussian statesman was not even respected, for he had done nothing to command the respect of enemies. From the tone in which he was talked of, it was plain that the English considered him to be a mischievous, malicious, elfish sort of creature, who could not do anything that would deserve to be considered great, but who did his utmost to make himself and his country the nuisances of Europe. Books have been made from English journals to show how extraordinarily they berated this country during the Secession war, because Americans were so brutally perverse and so selfishly silly as not to submit their country's throat to the Southern sabre for the benefit of Britain, which condescends to think that our national existence is something not altogether compatible with her safety. But a collection made from the same journals of articles assailing Prussia in general, and Count Bismarck in particular, would be even richer than anything that has been collected to show English sympathy with gentlemen who were fighting valiantly to establish that "better kind of civilization" which is based on slavery. All is now changed toward Prussia, as most has been changed toward us for twenty months, ever since the fall of Richmond. If Prussia should not soon establish a "cordial understanding" with England, vice France discarded, it will be because she is not disposed to an English alliance, or because her fortunes shall have undergone a change, and rendered her unworthy of being courted. That ancient connection of England and Austria, dating from the time that the Bourbons became dangerous to Europe, and which was so often alluded to in the time of the Italian war, and in the days that immediately preceded the German conflict, is thought little of by Englishmen, who prefer to think of Pitt's connection with Frederick when the latter was threatened with annihilation by Austria. Prussia has not only beaten the Austrian armies; she has conquered English prejudices,—much the more difficult task of the two.

The Austrians must be amused by the change that has come over the English mind; but with their sense of the satire which that change may be said to embody, there is possibly mingled the reflection that their case, bad as it is, is not so bad as to deprive them of hope. Looking back over the history of the house of Austria, there is much in it to allow the belief that possibly it may again rise to the highest place in Europe. That house has often fallen quite as low as we have seen it fall, and yet it has not passed away, but has renewed its life and strength, and has taken high part in effecting the punishment, and even the destruction, of those who might have destroyed it. When Matthias Corvinus held Vienna,—when that city was besieged by the great Solyman, whose troops marched as far to the west as Ratisbon,—when Charles V. fled before Maurice of Saxony, "lest he might one fine morning be seized in his bed,"—when Andrew Thonradtel took Ferdinand II. by the buttons of his doublet, and said, "Nandel, give in, thou must sign" (a paper containing the articles of the union of the Austrian Estates with the Bohemians, which Ferdinand refused to sign, and never signed),—when Gustavus Adolphus was beating or baffling all the Imperial [Pg 757]generals,—when Wallenstein was directing his army of condottieri, with which he had saved the Austrian house, against that house,—when Kara Mustapha, at the head of two hundred thousand Turks, aided by the Hungarians, and encouraged by the French, laid siege to Vienna, and sent his light cavalry to the banks of the Inn, and came wellnigh succeeding in his undertaking, and would have done so but for the coming in of John Sobieski and his Poles,—when the French and Bavarians, in 1704, had brought the Empire to the brink of destruction, so that it could be saved only through the combined exertions of such men as Eugène and Marlborough,—when almost all Continental Europe that was possessed of power directed that power against the Imperial house immediately after the death of Charles VI., last male member of the line of Hapsburg,—when Napoleon I. destroyed an Austrian army at Ulm, and took Vienna, and beat to pieces the Austro-Russian army at Austerlitz,—when the same Emperor took Vienna the second time, in 1809, after a series of brilliant victories, wonderful even in his most wonderful history, and won the victory of Wagram, and allowed the Austrian monarchy to exist only because he thought of marrying a daughter of its head,—when Hungarians, Italians, Germans, and others of its subjects were in arms against it, in 1848-49,—when Montebello and Palestro were followed by Magenta and Solferino,—the condition of the house of Austria was nearly as low as it is to-day, and on some of these occasions probably it was even more reduced than it is at present. Men were ready in 1529, in 1552, in 1619, in 1632, in 1683, in 1704, in 1741, in 1805, in 1809, in 1849, and in 1859 to say, as now they say, that the last hour of the fortunate dynasty was about to strike on the clock of Time, forgetting all its earlier escapes from the last consequences of defeat, recollection of which would have enabled them to form better judgments. On a dozen occasions Austria has risen superior to the effects of the direst misfortunes, and she may do so again. And her triumphs, proceeding out of failures, have not been won over common men or in ordinary contests. She has rarely had to deal with mean antagonists, and her singular victories have been enhanced in value by the high grade of her enemies. Francis I., Sultan Solyman, Gustavus Adolphus, Wallenstein, Richelieu, Louis XIV., Napoleon I., and Kossuth are conspicuous in the list of her enemies. They were all great men,—deriving greatness some of them from their intellectual powers, others from their positions as sovereigns, and yet others from both their positions and their powers of mind. Yet she got the better of them all,[31] and some of them fell miserably [Pg 758]because of her enmity to them,—as Wallenstein and Napoleon. Frederick the Great was in some sense an exception, as he accomplished most of his purposes at her expense; and yet it cannot with propriety be said that he conquered her, or that, at the utmost, he was ever more than the equal of Maria Theresa or Joseph II., with all his undoubted intellectual superiority. When we compare the Austria of 1813 with the Austria of 1809, and see how wonderfully fortune had worked in her favor under circumstances far from promising anything for her benefit, we are not surprised that Austrians should still be full of confidence, or that a few other men should share what seems to be in them a well-founded hope. A belief in good luck sometimes helps men to the enjoyment of good luck,—and if men, why not nations?

Yet against this reliance on her luck by Austria must be placed the wonderful changes that have come over the world since those times when it was in the power of a government like the Austrian to exert a great influence on the course of events. Down to the time of the French Revolution, Austrian contests were carried on against nations, governments, and dynasties, and not against peoples. Even the wars that grew out of the Reformation were in no strict sense of a popular character, but were waged by the great of the earth, who found their account in being champions of progressive ideas,—the liberalism of those days. Almost all the renowned anti-Austrian leaders of the Thirty Years' War were kings, nobles, aristocrats of every grade, most of whom, we may suppose, cared as little for political freedom as the Hapsburgs cared for it. Gustavus Adolphus could be as arbitrary as Ferdinand II., and some of his most ardent admirers are of opinion that he fell none too soon for his own reputation, though much too soon for the good of Europe, when he was slain on the glorious field of Lützen. The most remarkable of all the wars waged by the Austrian house against human rights was that which Philip II. and his successor directed against the Dutch: the latter were the champions of liberty; but the opponents of the Spanish Hapsburgs even in that war can hardly be called the people. They were—at least the animating and inspiriting portion of them—the old Dutch municipal aristocracy, who on most occasions were well supported by the people. Down to a time within living memory, the German Hapsburgs contended only against their equals in blood and birth, if not always in power. In 1792 [Pg 759]a new age began. The armies of Revolutionary France were even more democratic than our own in the Secession war, and not even Napoleon's imperializing and demoralizing course could entirely change their character. Democracy and aristocracy, each all armed, were fairly pitted against each other, in that long list of actions which began at Jemappes and terminated at Solferino. The Austrian army, like the Austrian government, is the most aristocratic institution of the kind in the world, and as such it was well ranged against the French army, the only great armed democratic force Europe had ever seen till the present year. Democracy had the better in most of the engagements that took place, though it had ever to fight hard for it, the Austrians rarely behaving otherwise than well in war. The Prussian army that did such great things last summer was conscribed from the people to an extent that has no parallel since the French Republic formed its armies; and it broke down the aristocratical force of Austria as effectively as Cromwell's Ironsides,—who were enlisted and disciplined yeomen,—broke through, cut down, and rode over the high-born Cavaliers of England. Now what Austria's army encountered when it met the French and Prussian armies, the Austrian government has to encounter in the management of affairs. In the old diplomatic school, Austria could hold her own with any foe, or friend either,—the latter the more difficult matter of the two. There seldom have been abler men in their way than Kaunitz and Metternich, but they would be utterly useless were they to come back and take charge of Austrian diplomacy, so changed is the world's state. And their successors are of their school, with abilities far inferior to theirs. The people have now to be consulted, even when treaties are arranged and political combinations made. Such a parcelling out of countries as was so easily effected at Vienna in 1815 would no more be possible now, than it would be to get up a crusade, or to revive the traffic in slaves. The ground which the people have gained in fifty years' course they have no intention of giving up, rather meaning to strengthen it and to extend it.

This is the reason why Austria cannot very hopefully look for a revival of her power, as it so often revived after defeat in old days, and under an entirely different state of things from that which now exists. A power has come into existence such as she has never been accustomed to deal with, and of which her statesmen have no knowledge. An Austrian statesman is scarcely more advanced than a Frenchman of the time of Louis Quatorze; and we verily believe that Louvois or Torcy would be quite as much at home in European politics at this moment as Mensdorff or Belcredi. Had they been well informed as to the condition of the times, they never would have so acted as to bring about the late war. It was their reliance on the ability of mere governments to settle every question in dispute, that caused them to plunge into a conflict with Prussia and Italy, when their master's empire was bankrupt, and when more or less of discontent existed in almost every part of that empire. Statesmen who knew the age, and who were aware of the change that has come over Europe in half a century, would have told the Emperor that to rely on "something turning up," after the ancient Austrian custom, would not answer in 1866, and that peoples as well as princes had much to do with the ordering of every nation's policy; and with every people Austria is unpopular. It is not difficult now to understand that Francis Joseph had a profound reliance on Napoleon III., that he believed the Frenchman would prevent his being driven to the wall, and that Prussia would be the greatest sufferer by the war, as she would be forced to part with the Rhine provinces. His mistake with respect to France was not a great one, as the French saw the triumph of Prussia with much bitterness of feeling, and gladly would have joined the Austrians; but the mistake he made in regard to Germany was very [Pg 760]great, and shows that he and his advisers knew nothing of Germanic feeling. If they could thus err on a point that was plain to every intelligent foreigner, how can we expect them to exhibit more intelligence and more sense with respect to the new state of things proceeding from the event of the war? If they could not comprehend matters of fact at the beginning of last June, why should we conclude that they will be Solomons hereafter? Brought face to face with a new state of things, they so proceeded as to convince all impartial observers that they were wellnigh as ignorant of what had been going on among men, as the Seven Sleepers were when roused from their long slumber. But for this, unless we assume that they were fools, not only would they not have admitted war to be possible, but they never would have allowed the coming about of such a state of things as led to the dispute with Prussia. The entire action of the Austrian government with reference to the affairs of Germany, for several years, was admirably calculated to lead to what has taken place this year. That government, had it been wise, never would have acted with Prussia in the matter of the Danish duchies. It would have insisted on the fulfilment of the arrangement that was made years before, in which case it would have been supported by the whole power of France and England, and not improbably by that of Russia; and against so great an array of force, Prussia, even if backed by the opinion of Germany, never would have thought of contending,—and some of the German governments would have sided with the allies, and would have behaved much more efficiently than they did in the late war. Prussia would have been isolated, as France was in 1840; and that party which was opposed to Bismarck's policy would have obtained control of her councils, the effect of which would have been to preserve peace, the very thing that was most necessary to Austria's welfare. Instead of opposing Prussia, Austria joined her, and insisted on having a part in the very business that offended the Germans as much as it disgusted foreigners. Thus a state of things was brought about which made a German war inevitable, while Austria was deprived of all aid from abroad. England's sympathies were with Austria, as against Prussia; and yet England had been shabbily treated by Austria in respect to the duchies, and it was impossible for her either to forget or forgive such treatment. France had less cause to be offended; but Napoleon III. could not have approved of action which seemed to be taken in disregard of his high position in Europe, and was calculated to advance the ends of Prussia,—the power least respected by the French,—and which finally made of that power the destroyer of the settlement of 1815,[32] a part the Emperor had intended for himself. Having acted thus unwisely, and having no support from Russia, Austria should have avoided war in 1866, at any cost; and it was in her power to avoid it down to the time that she made the German Diet so proceed as to furnish Prussia with an excellent [Pg 761]reason for setting her well-prepared armies in motion against the ill-prepared forces of her foe. Noting the folly of Austria, and observing that the French government, if M. de Lavalette's circular can be depended upon as an expression of its sentiments, is all for peace, we can see no opening for that renewal of warfare in Europe which the defeated party is said to desire, as an ally of France, in the expectation that she might recover the place she so lately lost. The reopening of the Eastern Question, of which much is said, might afford some hope to Austria, but not to the extent that is supposed; for she is not strong enough at this time to be a powerful ally of Russia as against Turkey, or of England in support of Turkey. She has parted with her old importance; for there is no further hiding from the world that her system is vicious, and that nothing could be gained from an alliance with her, while any country with which she should be associated would have to extend to her much support. She may rise again, but how, or in what manner, it is not in any man's power to say.


[25] The following is the epigram of Matthias Corvinus:—

"Bella gerant alii; tu felix nube!
Nam quæ Mars aliis dat tibi regna Venus."

Which Mr. Sterling thus renders:—

"Fight those who will; let well-starred Austria wed,
And conquer kingdoms in the marriage-bed."

Some other hand has given the following translation, or rather amplification, of the epigram:—

"Glad Austria wins by Hymen's silken chain
What other states in doubtful battles gain,
And while fierce Mars enriches meaner lands,
Receives possessions from fair Venus' hands."

There would seem to be an end of these fortunate marriages, no member of the Austrian imperial family being now in condition to wed to much profit. The Emperor Francis Joseph, who is yet a young man, took to wife a Bavarian lady, said to be of extraordinary beauty, in 1854; and he has a daughter, who was born in 1856, the same year with the French Prince Imperial, whom she might marry, but that the two are children. Besides, marriages between French princes and Austrian princesses have turned out so badly on two memorable occasions, within less than a century, that even the statesmen of Vienna and Paris might well be excused if they were to think a third alliance quite impossible. The heir apparent to the Austrian throne is but eight years old. The Emperor's next brother, Ferdinand Maximilian,—well known in this country as Emperor of the Mexicans,—made a good marriage, his wife being a daughter of the late Leopold I., King of the Belgians. She has labored with zeal to found an imperial dynasty in Mexico, but the task is beyond human strength. The imperial system fell in Mexico on the same day that Richmond fell into the hands of General Grant. The fortunes of the Austrian prince and those of Mr. Davis were bound up together, and together they fell.

[26] We give the imperial anagram:—

A: Austria Alles
E: Est Erdreich
I: Imperare Ist
O: Orbi Oesterreich
U: Universo Unterthan.

[27] Mr. Bryce credits Maximilian I. with the founding of the Austrian monarchy. "Of that monarchy," he observes, "and of the power of the house of Hapsburg, Maximilian was, even more than Rudolph his ancestor, the founder. Uniting in his person those wide domains through Germany which, had been dispersed among the collateral branches of his house, and claiming by his marriage with Mary of Burgundy most of the territories of Charles the Bold, he was a prince greater than any who had sat on the Teutonic throne since the death of Frederick II. But it was as Archduke of Austria, Count of Tyrol, Duke of Styria and Carinthia, feudal superior of lands in Swabia, Alsace, and Switzerland, that he was great, not as Roman Emperor. For just as from him the Austrian monarchy begins, so with him the Holy Empire in its old meaning ends." (The Holy Roman Empire, pp. 343, 344.) Mr. Bryce's work is one of the most valuable contributions to historical literature that have appeared in this century, and great expectations are entertained from the future labors of one so liberally endowed with the historic faculty.

[28] The division of the house of Austria into two branches, which alone prevented it from becoming supreme in Europe, and over much of the rest of the world, took place in 1521. After the death of their grandfather, Charles and Ferdinand possessed the Austrian territories in common, but in 1521 they made a division thereof. Ferdinand obtained Austria, Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria, and, in 1522, the Tyrol, and other provinces. In 1531 he was chosen King of the Romans, which made him the successor of Charles as Emperor. How Charles came, not merely to consent to his election, but to urge it, and to effect it in spite of opposition, when he had a son in his fourth year, is very strange. The reasons commonly given for his course are by no means sufficient to account or it. Many years later he tried to undo his work, in order to obtain the imperial dignity for his son; but Ferdinand held on to what he possessed, with true Austrian tenacity. Had Charles kept the imperial crown for his son, as he might have done, Philip's imperial position must have sufficed to give him control of the civilized world. He would have made himself master of both France and England, and must have rendered the Reaction completely triumphant over the Reformation. Fortunately, he failed to become Emperor, and during a portion of his time the imperial throne was occupied by the best of all the Hapsburg sovereigns,—the wise, the tolerant, the humane, and the upright Maximillian II., who was the last man in Europe likely to give him any aid in the prosecution of his vast tyrannical schemes. Besides, there was a sort of coolness between the two branches of the great family, that was not without its effect on the world's politics. Seldom has it happened that a more important event has occurred than the election of Ferdinand as King of the Romans. We are not to measure what might have been done by Philip II. as Emperor, by what was done by Charles V.; for Charles was a statesman, a politician, and, down to his latter years, when his health was utterly gone, he was no fanatic; but Phillip was a fanatic only, and a fierce one too, with a power of concentration such as his father never possessed. Then the contest between the Catholics and the Protestants was a far more serious one in Philip's time than it had been in that of Charles, which alone would have sufficed to make his occupation of the imperial throne, had he occupied it, a matter of the last importance.

[29] The main line of the German Hapsburgs ended in 1619, with the death of the Emperor Matthias. He was succeeded by Ferdinand II., grandson of Ferdinand I., and son of that Archduke Charles who was sometimes spoken of in connection with the possible marriage of Elizabeth of England. Out of Ferdinand II.'s elevation grew a new union of the entire family of Hapsburg. During the long ascendency of the Cardinal-Duke of Lerma in the Spanish councils, temp. Philip III., the breach between the two branches, which had been more apparent than real, and yet not unimportant, was made complete by the minister's action, the policy he pursued being such as was highly displeasing to the German Hapsburgs, who had relapsed into bigotry. Philip III. set up pretensions to Hungary and Bohemia, as grandson of Maximilian II. Ferdinand, who was not yet either emperor or king, got rid of Philip's pretensions by promising to resign to him the Austrian possessions in Swabia. This led to the fall of Lerma, and to the reunion of the two branches of the Austrian house, but for which it is probable Ferdinand II. might have been beaten in the early days of the Thirty Years' War. It was to Spanish aid that Ferdinand owed his early triumphs in that contest; and many years later, in 1634, the great victory of Nordlingen was gained for the Imperialists by the presence of ten thousand Spanish infantry in their army,—that infantry which was still the first military body in Europe, not then having met with the disaster of Rocroy, which, however, was near at hand. This was a kind of Indian-summer revival of Spanish power, and at the beginning of the new alliance between Madrid and Vienna, "there appeared," says Rankè, "a prospect of founding a compact Spanish hereditary dominion, which should directly link together Milan with the Netherlands, and so give the Spanish policy a necessary preponderance in the affairs of Europe." Richelieu spoilt this fine prospect just as it seemed about to become a reality, and the Spanish Hapsburgs gradually sank into insignificance, and their line disappeared in 1700, on the death of Charles II., the most contemptible creature that ever wore a crown, and scarcely man enough to be a respectable idiot. Such was the termination of the great Austro-Burgundian dynasty that was founded by Charles V.,—at one time as majestic as "the broad and winding Rhine," but again, like the Rhine, running fast to insignificance.

[30] If the house of Austria was not in the greatest danger it ever experienced in 1704, its members and officers could affect to feel all but absolutely desperate. The following letter, written in queer German-French, by the Imperial Minister near the English court, Count John Wenceslaus Wratislaw, to Queen Anne, conveys an almost ludicrous idea of the fright under which the Austrian chiefs suffered:—"Madame, Le soussigné envoyé extraordinaire de sa Majesté Impériale ayant représenté de vive voix en diverses occasions aux ministres de votre Majesté la dure extremité dans laquelle se trouve l'Empire, par l'introduction d'une armée nombreuse de François dans la Bavière, laquelle jointe à la revolte de la Hongrie met les païs héréditaires de sa Majesté Impériale dans une confusion incroyable, de sorte que si l'on n'apporte pas un remède prompt et proportionné au danger présent, dont on est menacé on a à craindre une revolution entière, et une destruction totale de l'Allemagne." Luckily for Austria, Marlborough was a man of as much moral as physical courage, and he took the responsibility of leading his army into Germany,—a decision that, perhaps, no other commander of that time would have been equal to,—and by the junction of his forces with those of Eugène was enabled to fight and win the battle of Blenheim (Blindheim), which put an end to the ascendency of France. Emperor Leopold was positively grateful for the services Marlborough rendered him, and treated him differently from the manner in which he had treated Sobieski for doing him quite as great a favor. He wrote him a letter in his own hand, gave him a lordship in fee, and made him, by the title of Mindelheim, a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire.

[31] As it is generally assumed that Richelieu got the better of the Empire in that contest which he waged with it, perhaps some readers may think we have gone too far in saying he was one of those antagonists of whom the Austrian family got the better; but all depends upon the point of view. Richelieu died when the war was at its height, and did not live to see the success of his immediate policy; but what he did was only an incident in a long contest. The old rivalry of the house of Valois and the house of Austria was continued after the former was succeeded by the house of Bourbon. Richelieu did but carry out the policy on which Henry IV. had determined: and when the two branches of the Austrian family had united their powers, and it seemed that the effect of their reunion would be to place Europe at their command, the great Cardinal-Duke had no choice but to follow the ancient course of France. But the contest on which he entered, though in one sense fatal to his enemy, was not decided in his time, nor till he had been in his grave more than sixty years. He died just before the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV., and that monarch took up and continued the contest which Richelieu may be said to have renewed. For an unusually long period the Bourbons were successful, though without fully accomplishing their purpose. From the battle of Rocroy, in 1643, to the battle of Blenheim, in 1704, France was the first nation of Europe, and the Bourbons could boost of having humiliated the Hapsburgs. They obtained the crowns of Spain and the Indies; and the Spanish crowns are yet worn by a descendant of Louis le Grand, while another family reigns in France. But Spain and her dependencies apart, all was changed by the result at Blenheim. The Austrian house was there saved, and re-established; and it was there that the policy of Richelieu had its final decision. The France of the old monarchy never recovered from the disasters its armies met with in the War of the Spanish Succession; and when Louis XV. consented to the marriage of his grandson to an Austrian princess, he virtually admitted that the old rival of his family had triumphed in the long strife. The quarrel was again renewed in the days of the Republic, maintained under the first French Empire, and had its last trial of arms under the second Empire, in 1859; but the old French monarchy gave up the contest more than a century ago. Besides, we are to distinguish between the German Empire and the house of Hapsburg that ruled from Vienna. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) left the Germanic Emperors in a contemptible state, but the effect of it was highly favorable to these Emperors considered as chiefs of the Hapsburg family. "Placed on the eastern verge of Germany," says Mr. Bryce, "the Hapsburgs had added to their ancient lands in Austria proper and the Tyrol new German territories far more extensive, and had thus become the chiefs of a separate and independent state. They endeavored to reconcile its interests and those of the Empire, so long as it seemed possible to recover part of the old imperial prerogative. But when such hopes were dashed by the defeats of the Thirty Years' War, they hesitated no longer between an elective crown and the rule of their hereditary states, and comforted themselves thenceforth in European politics, not as the representatives of Germany, but as heads of the great Austrian monarchy." (The Holy Roman Empire, new edition, p. 355.) Thus, by diverting the Hapsburgs from their impracticable schemes, and throwing them upon their hereditary possessions, Richelieu really helped them; and in so far his policy was a failure, as he sought to lessen the power of the house of Austria, which in his time ruled over Spain, as well as in Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, and other countries. It is intimated by some European writers, that the Austrian family will once more turn its attention to the East, and, giving up all thought of regaining its place in Germany, seek compensation where it was found in the seventeenth century, after the Peace of Westphalia. But what was possible two hundred years ago might be found impossible to-day. Russia had no existence as a European power in those days, whereas now she has one of the highest places in Europe, and a very peculiar interest in not allowing Austria, or any other nation, to obtain possession of countries like the Roumanian Principalities, the addition of which to his empire might afford compensation to Francis Joseph for all he has lost in the south and the west. It is one of the infelicities of Austria's position that she cannot make a movement in any direction without treading on the toes of some giant, or on those of a dwarf protected by some giant who who intends himself ultimately to devour him.

[32] Prussia, the most thoroughly anti-Gallican of all the parties to the Treaty of Vienna, completed the work of overthrowing the "detested" arrangements made by the framers of that treaty. The federal act creating the Germanic Confederation was incorporated in the work of the Congress of Vienna, and was guaranteed by eight European powers,—France, England, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, Austria, Spain, and Portugal. Prussia destroyed the Confederation without troubling herself about the wishes and opinions of the other seven parties to the arrangement of 1815. That all those parties to that arrangement were not always indifferent to their guaranty appears from the opposition made by Russia, France, and England to Prince Schwarzenburg's proposition, that Austria should be allowed to introduce all her non-Germanic territories into the Confederation, that is to say, that the Austrian Empire, which then included the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom, should become a part of Germany, which it would soon have ruled, as well as overruled, while it would have extended its dominion over Italy. Had Schwarzenburg's project succeeded, the course of European events during the last sixteen years must have been entirely changed, or Austria would have been made too strong to be harmed by the French in Italy, or by the Prussians in Germany and Bohemia. Russia was specially adverse to that project; and the Treaty of Vienna was forcibly appealed to by her government in opposing it. The time had not then come for making waste-paper of the arrangements of 1815.


The assembling of the Second Session of the Thirty-ninth Congress may very properly be made the occasion of a few earnest words on the already much-worn topic of reconstruction.

Seldom has any legislative body been the subject of a solicitude more intense, or of aspirations more sincere and ardent. There are the best of reasons for this profound interest. Questions of vast moment, left undecided by the last session of Congress, must be manfully grappled with by this. No political skirmishing will avail. The occasion demands statesmanship.

Whether the tremendous war so heroically fought and so victoriously ended shall pass into history a miserable failure, barren of permanent results,—a scandalous and shocking waste of blood and treasure,—a strife for empire, as Earl Russell characterized it, of no value to liberty or civilization,—an attempt to re-establish a Union by force, which must be the merest mockery of a Union,—an effort to bring under Federal authority States into which no loyal man from the North may safely enter, and to bring men into the national councils who deliberate with daggers and vote with revolvers, and who do not even conceal their deadly hate of the country that conquered them; or whether, on the other hand, we shall, as the rightful reward of victory over treason, have a solid nation, entirely delivered from all contradictions and social antagonisms, based upon loyalty, liberty, and equality, must be determined one way or the other by the present session of Congress. The last session really did nothing which can be considered final as to these questions. The Civil Rights Bill and the Freedmen's Bureau Bill and the proposed constitutional amendments, with the amendment already adopted and recognized as the law of the land, do not reach the difficulty, and cannot, unless the whole structure of the government is changed from a government by States to something like a despotic central government, with power to control even the municipal regulations of States, and to make them conform to its own despotic will. While there remains such an idea as the right of each State to control its own local affairs,—an idea, by the way, more [Pg 762]deeply rooted in the minds of men of all sections of the country than perhaps any one other political idea,—no general assertion of human rights can be of any practical value. To change the character of the government at this point is neither possible nor desirable. All that is necessary to be done is to make the government consistent with itself, and render the rights of the States compatible with the sacred rights of human nature.

The arm of the Federal government is long, but it is far too short to protect the rights of individuals in the interior of distant States. They must have the power to protect themselves, or they will go unprotected, spite of all the laws the Federal government can put upon the national statute-book.

Slavery, like all other great systems of wrong, founded in the depths of human selfishness, and existing for ages, has not neglected its own conservation. It has steadily exerted an influence upon all around it favorable to its own continuance. And to-day it is so strong that it could exist, not only without law, but even against law. Custom, manners, morals, religion, are all on its side everywhere in the South; and when you add the ignorance and servility of the ex-slave to the intelligence and accustomed authority of the master, you have the conditions, not out of which slavery will again grow, but under which it is impossible for the Federal government to wholly destroy it, unless the Federal government be armed with despotic power, to blot out State authority, and to station a Federal officer at every cross-road. This, of course, cannot be done, and ought not even if it could. The true way and the easiest way is to make our government entirely consistent with itself, and give to every loyal citizen the elective franchise,—a right and power which will be ever present, and will form a wall of fire for his protection.

One of the invaluable compensations of the late Rebellion is the highly instructive disclosure it made of the true source of danger to republican government. Whatever may be tolerated in monarchical and despotic governments, no republic is safe that tolerates a privileged class, or denies to any of its citizens equal rights and equal means to maintain them. What was theory before the war has been made fact by the war.

There is cause to be thankful even for rebellion. It is an impressive teacher, though a stern and terrible one. In both characters it has come to us, and it was perhaps needed in both. It is an instructor never a day before its time, for it comes only when all other means of progress and enlightenment have failed. Whether the oppressed and despairing bondman, no longer able to repress his deep yearnings for manhood, or the tyrant, in his pride and impatience, takes the initiative, and strikes the blow for a firmer hold and a longer lease of oppression, the result is the same,—society is instructed, or may be.

Such are the limitations of the common mind, and so thoroughly engrossing are the cares of common life, that only the few among men can discern through the glitter and dazzle of present prosperity the dark outlines of approaching disasters, even though they may have come up to our very gates, and are already within striking distance. The yawning seam and corroded bolt conceal their defects from the mariner until the storm calls all hands to the pumps. Prophets, indeed, were abundant before the war; but who cares for prophets while their predictions remain unfulfilled, and the calamities of which they tell are masked behind a blinding blaze of national prosperity?

It is asked, said Henry Clay, on a memorable occasion, Will slavery never come to an end? That question, said he, was asked fifty years ago, and it has been answered by fifty years of unprecedented prosperity. Spite of the eloquence of the earnest Abolitionists,—poured out against slavery during thirty years,—even they must confess, that, in all the probabilities of the case, that system of barbarism would [Pg 763]have continued its horrors far beyond the limits of the nineteenth century but for the Rebellion, and perhaps only have disappeared at last in a fiery conflict, even more fierce and bloody than that which has now been suppressed.

It is no disparagement to truth, that it can only prevail where reason prevails. War begins where reason ends. The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion. What that thing is, we have been taught to our cost. It remains now to be seen whether we have the needed courage to have that cause entirely removed from the Republic. At any rate, to this grand work of national regeneration and entire purification Congress must now address itself, with full purpose that the work shall this time be thoroughly done. The deadly upas, root and branch, leaf and fibre, body and sap, must be utterly destroyed. The country is evidently not in a condition to listen patiently to pleas for postponement, however plausible, nor will it permit the responsibility to be shifted to other shoulders. Authority and power are here commensurate with the duty imposed. There are no cloud-flung shadows to obscure the way. Truth shines with brighter light and intenser heat at every moment, and a country torn and rent and bleeding implores relief from its distress and agony.

If time was at first needed, Congress has now had time. All the requisite materials from which to form an intelligent judgment are now before it. Whether its members look at the origin, the progress, the termination of the war, or at the mockery of a peace now existing, they will find only one unbroken chain of argument in favor of a radical policy of reconstruction. For the omissions of the last session, some excuses may be allowed. A treacherous President stood in the way; and it can be easily seen how reluctant good men might be to admit an apostasy which involved so much of baseness and ingratitude. It was natural that they should seek to save him by bending to him even when he leaned to the side of error. But all is changed now. Congress knows now that it must go on without his aid, and even against his machinations. The advantage of the present session over the last is immense. Where that investigated, this has the facts. Where that walked by faith, this may walk by sight. Where that halted, this must go forward, and where that failed, this must succeed, giving the country whole measures where that gave us half-measures, merely as a means of saving the elections in a few doubtful districts. That Congress saw what was right, but distrusted the enlightenment of the loyal masses; but what was forborne in distrust of the people must now be done with a full knowledge that the people expect and require it. The members go to Washington fresh from the inspiring presence of the people. In every considerable public meeting, and in almost every conceivable way, whether at court-house, school-house, or cross-roads, in doors and out, the subject has been discussed, and the people have emphatically pronounced in favor of a radical policy. Listening to the doctrines of expediency and compromise with pity, impatience, and disgust, they have everywhere broken into demonstrations of the wildest enthusiasm when a brave word has been spoken in favor of equal rights and impartial suffrage. Radicalism, so far from being odious, is now the popular passport to power. The men most bitterly charged with it go to Congress with the largest majorities, while the timid and doubtful are sent by lean majorities, or else left at home. The strange controversy between the President and Congress, at one time so threatening, is disposed of by the people. The high reconstructive powers which he so confidently, ostentatiously, and haughtily claimed, have been disallowed, denounced, and utterly repudiated; while those claimed by Congress have been confirmed.

Of the spirit and magnitude of the canvass nothing need be said. The [Pg 764]appeal was to the people, and the verdict was worthy of the tribunal. Upon an occasion of his own selection, with the advice and approval of his astute Secretary, soon after the members of Congress had returned to their constituents, the President quitted the executive mansion, sandwiched himself between two recognized heroes,—men whom the whole country delighted to honor,—and, with all the advantage which such company could give him, stumped the country from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, advocating everywhere his policy as against that of Congress. It was a strange sight, and perhaps the most disgraceful exhibition ever made by any President; but, as no evil is entirely unmixed, good has come of this, as from many others. Ambitious, unscrupulous, energetic, indefatigable, voluble, and plausible,—a political gladiator, ready for a "set-to" in any crowd,—he is beaten in his own chosen field, and stands to-day before the country as a convicted usurper, a political criminal, guilty of a bold and persistent attempt to possess himself of the legislative powers solemnly secured to Congress by the Constitution. No vindication could be more complete, no condemnation could be more absolute and humiliating. Unless reopened by the sword, as recklessly threatened in some circles, this question is now closed for all time.

Without attempting to settle here the metaphysical and somewhat theological question (about which so much has already been said and written), whether once in the Union means always in the Union,—agreeably to the formula, Once in grace always in grace,—it is obvious to common sense that the rebellious States stand to-day, in point of law, precisely where they stood when, exhausted, beaten, conquered, they fell powerless at the feet of Federal authority. Their State governments were overthrown, and the lives and property of the leaders of the Rebellion were forfeited. In reconstructing the institutions of these shattered and overthrown States, Congress should begin with a clean slate, and make clean work of it. Let there be no hesitation. It would be a cowardly deference to a defeated and treacherous President, if any account were made of the illegitimate, one-sided, sham governments hurried into existence for a malign purpose in the absence of Congress. These pretended governments, which were never submitted to the people, and from participation in which four millions of the loyal people were excluded by Presidential order, should now be treated according to their true character, as shams and impositions, and supplanted by true and legitimate governments, in the formation of which loyal men, black and white, shall participate.

It is not, however, within the scope of this paper to point out the precise steps to be taken, and the means to be employed. The people are less concerned about these than the grand end to be attained. They demand such a reconstruction as shall put an end to the present anarchical state of things in the late rebellious States,—where frightful murders and wholesale massacres are perpetrated in the very presence of Federal soldiers. This horrible business they require shall cease. They want a reconstruction such as will protect loyal men, black and white, in their persons and property; such a one as will cause Northern industry, Northern capital, and Northern civilization to flow into the South, and make a man from New England as much at home in Carolina as elsewhere in the Republic. No Chinese wall can now be tolerated. The South must be opened to the light of law and liberty, and this session of Congress is relied upon to accomplish this important work.

The plain, common-sense way of doing this work, as intimated at the beginning, is simply to establish in the South one law, one government, one administration of justice, one condition to the exercise of the elective franchise, for men of all races and colors alike. This great measure is sought as earnestly [Pg 765]by loyal white men as by loyal blacks, and is needed alike by both. Let sound political prescience but take the place of an unreasoning prejudice, and this will be done.

Men denounce the negro for his prominence in this discussion; but it is no fault of his that in peace as in war, that in conquering Rebel armies as in reconstructing the rebellious States, the right of the negro is the true solution of our national troubles. The stern logic of events, which goes directly to the point, disdaining all concern for the color or features of men, has determined the interests of the country as identical with and inseparable from those of the negro.

The policy that emancipated and armed the negro—now seen to have been wise and proper by the dullest—was not certainly more sternly demanded than is now the policy of enfranchisement. If with the negro was success in war, and without him failure, so in peace it will be found that the nation must fall or flourish with the negro.

Fortunately, the Constitution of the United States knows no distinction between citizens on account of color. Neither does it know any difference between a citizen of a State and a citizen of the United States. Citizenship evidently includes all the rights of citizens, whether State or national. If the Constitution knows none, it is clearly no part of the duty of a Republican Congress now to institute one. The mistake of the last session was the attempt to do this very thing, by a renunciation of its power to secure political rights to any class of citizens, with the obvious purpose to allow the rebellious States to disfranchise, if they should see fit, their colored citizens. This unfortunate blunder must now be retrieved, and the emasculated citizenship given to the negro supplanted by that contemplated in the Constitution of the United States, which declares that the citizens of each State shall enjoy all the rights and immunities of citizens of the several States,—so that a legal voter in any State shall be a legal voter in all the States.


History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent. By George Bancroft. Vol. IX. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co.

This volume of Mr. Bancroft's History, the ninth of the entire work and the third of the narrative of the American Revolution, comprises the period between July, 1776, and April, 1778, including the battles of Long Island and White Plains, the surrender of Fort Washington, the retreat of Washington through the Jerseys, the brilliant military successes of Trenton and Princeton, the capture of Philadelphia by Sir William Howe, and the memorable event which insured the success of the Revolution,—the surrender of Burgoyne. This enumeration is enough to show that, in the ground he has traversed, Mr. Bancroft has found ample scope for the display of those peculiar literary characteristics with which the readers of his former volumes are so familiar,—his rapid and condensed narration, his sweeping and sometimes rather vague generalizations, his brilliant pictures, his pointed reflections, and the sharp, cutting strokes with which he carves rather than paints characters. His usual diligence in the search of materials has not deserted him here; and he has been even more than usually successful in the amount and character of what he has found. In addition to very full collections relating to the war from the archives of England and France, he has obtained large masses of papers from Germany, among which last are many of great importance, especially for the study of military operations in 1777. Very valuable documents from the Spanish have been secured, [Pg 766]through the courtesy of the Spanish government and the kind offices of that distinguished scholar and most amiable man, Don Pascual de Gayangos.

Investigators of the past are naturally inclined to overestimate the value of any new sources of information opened by their own diligence or sagacity of research, and a little of this feeling is perceptible in Mr. Bancroft's Preface; but, after all, we apprehend that the new evidence he has so diligently collected will not shake the deliberate verdict already passed alike upon men and events. Here and there a gleam is thrown upon some single incident, or the motives and conduct of a particular actor; but the general lights and shadows of the historical landscape remain undisturbed. The statements and the views of Marshall and Sparks are substantially sustained. The patriotic American will not regret to see that Mr. Bancroft's investigations and conclusions lead him to exalt Washington in comparison with the soldiers and civilians who stood around him; and the reader of his pages will have fresh cause to admire, not merely the firmness and self-command of that illustrious man, but his abilities as a commander and a statesman. We have especially to thank Mr. Bancroft for the distinctness with which he shows how much the success of the Northern army was due to Washington's disinterested advice. His high praise of the commander-in-chief sometimes glances aslope, and lights in the form of censure of some of his subordinate officers; and we should not be surprised if some of his strictures provoked replies and led to controversies. Some of those whom he criticises have left descendants, and those who have left no descendants have partisans who are jealous of the fame of their favorites, and will not lightly allow a leaf of their laurels to be blighted.

During the period embraced by this volume the constitutions of several of the States were formed, and the Articles of Confederation were adopted which gave to the several States a semblance of unity, and smoothed the path to the more perfect union which was established ten years later. These events present themes peculiarly congenial to Mr. Bancroft's powers of brilliant generalization and rapid condensation, and tempt him into that field of discursive reflection where he is fond of lingering, and where we follow him always with interest, and generally with assent. We quote with peculiar pleasure the following observations from the fifteenth chapter, on the constitutions of the several States of America, as being sound in substance and happy in expression:—

"The spirit of the age moved the young, nation to own justice as antecedent and superior to the state, and to found the rights of the citizen on the rights of man. And yet, in regenerating its institutions, it was not guided by any speculative theory or laborious application of metaphysical distinctions. Its form of government grew naturally out of its traditions, by the simple rejection of all personal hereditary authority, which in America had never had much more than a representative existence. Its people were industrious and frugal. Accustomed to the cry of liberty and property, they harbored no dream of a community of goods; and their love of equality never degenerated into envy of the rich. No successors of the fifth-monarchy men proposed to substitute an unwritten higher law, interpreted by individual conscience, for the law of the land and the decrees of human tribunals. The people proceeded with self-possession and moderation, after the manner of their ancestors. Their large inheritance of English liberties saved them from the necessity and from the wish to uproot their old political institutions; and as happily the scaffold was not wet with the blood of their statesmen, there was no root of a desperate hatred of England, such as the Netherlands kept up for centuries against Spain. The wrongs inflicted or attempted by the British king were felt to have been avenged by independence. Respect and affection remained behind for the parent land, from which the United States had derived trial by jury, the writ for personal liberty, the practice of representative government, and the separation of the three great co-ordinate powers in the state. From an essentially aristocratic model, America took just what suited her condition, and rejected the rest. Thus the transition of the Colonies into self-existent commonwealths was free from vindictive bitterness, and attended by no violent or wide departure from the past."

A considerable portion of this volume is occupied by a consideration of the relations between Europe and America. Advancing years do not seem to chill Mr. Bancroft's faith in progress, his confidence in democracy, his love of popular institutions, or to check his tendency to throw his speculations into an aphoristic form, and to present his conclusions positively, and with less of qualification and limitation than men of a [Pg 767]more cautious temperament would do. So far as literary merit is concerned, the European chapters will be found the most attractive in the volume. They are sparkling, rapid, condensed, and pointed; they gratify our national pride; their animated and picturesque style never suffers the attention to flag for a moment;—and yet it is in these very chapters that judicial criticism will find the most frequent occasion to pause and doubt, whether we consider the direction in which the stream of thought flows, or their merely rhetorical features. Mr. Bancroft's glittering generalizations do not always seem to us to wear the sober livery of truth. For instance, on page 500 we read: "The most stupendous thought that ever was conceived by man, such as never had been dared by Socrates or the Academy, by Aristotle or the Stoics, took possession of Descartes on a November night in his meditations on the banks of the Danube." It may be coldness of temperament, it may be the chilling influence of advancing years, but we cannot admire statements like these, and we are constrained to think them exaggerated and extravagant.

And on the next page Mr. Bancroft says: "Edwards, Reid, Kant, and Rousseau were all imbued with religiosity, and all except the last, who spoiled his doctrine by dreamy indolence, were expositors of the active powers of man." It is certainly an ingenious mind that finds a resemblance between Edwards and Rousseau. What exactly is the meaning of "religiosity," we cannot say; but if it be used as a synonyme of religion, we demur to the assertion that Rousseau was imbued with religion,—Rousseau, who in his youth allowed an innocent girl to be ruined by accusing her of a theft which he himself had committed, and in his ripened manhood sent to a foundling hospital the children he had had by his mistress,—whose life was despicable and whose moral creed seemed to be summed up in the doctrine that every natural impulse is to be indulged. Rousseau was an enthusiast and a sentimentalist; he was a man of the exquisite organization of genius, and there are many passages in his writings which are colored with a half-voluptuous, half-devotional glow; but it seems to us a plain confusion of very obvious moral distinctions to represent such a man as imbued with the spirit of religion.

One of the most animated of Mr. Bancroft's chapters is the eighth, on the course of opinion in England, in which we have glimpses of Wilkes, of Barre, of Wedderburn, of Lord North, of Burke, and an elaborate character of Fox. This last is a happy specimen of Mr. Bancroft's peculiar style of portrait-drawing. The merits and defects of the subject are presented in a series of pointed and aphoristic sentences; and the likeness is gained, as in a portrait of Rembrandt, by the powerful contrast and proximity of lights and shadows. Virtues and vices stand side by side, like the black and white squares of a chess-board. Brilliant as the execution is, the man Charles James Fox seems to us reproduced with more distinctness and individuality in the easier, simpler, more flowing sentences of Lord Brougham. Mr. Bancroft's sketch has something of the coldness as well as the sharp outline of bas-relief. And strange to say, considering Fox's love of liberty, his love of America, and his hatred of slavery, the historian of liberty and democracy seems hardly to have done him justice. In the summary of the contents of the chapters prefixed to the volume, he unreservedly writes down "Fox not a great man," and such is the impression which the text leaves on the mind; but if Fox was not a great man, to whom in the sphere of government and politics can that praise be accorded?

In his Preface to this volume, Mr. Bancroft informs us that one more volume will complete the American Revolution, including the negotiations for peace in 1782; and that for this the materials are collected and arranged, and that it will be completed and published without any unnecessary delay. This volume will bring into the field Spain, France, and Great Britain, as well as the United States, and, from the nature of the subject it presents, will undoubtedly be so treated by Mr. Bancroft as to be not inferior in interest or value to any of its predecessors.

Griffith Gaunt; or Jealousy. By Charles Reade. With Illustrations. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

In discussing the qualities of this remarkable novel before the readers of "The Atlantic Monthly," we shall have an advantage not always enjoyed by criticism; for we shall speak to an audience perfectly familiar with every detail of the story, and shall not be troubled to résumer its events and characters. There has been much doubt among many worthy people [Pg 768]concerning Mr. Reade's management of the moralities and the proprieties, but no question at all, we think, as to the wonderful power he has shown, and the interest he has awakened. Even those who have blamed him have followed him eagerly,—without doubt to see what crowning insult he would put upon decency, and to be confirmed in their virtuous abhorrence of his work. It is to be hoped that these have been disappointed, for it must be confessed that, in the dénouement of the novel, others who totally differed from them in purpose and opinion have been brought to some confusion.

It is not as a moralist that we have primarily to find fault with Mr. Reade, but as an artist, for his moral would have been good if his art had been true. The work, up to the conclusion of Catharine Gaunt's trial, is in all respects too fine and high to provoke any reproach from us; after that, we can only admire it as a piece of literary gallantry and desperate resolution. "C'est magnifique; mais ce n'est pas la guerre." It is courageous, but it is not art. It is because of the splendid elan in all Mr. Reade writes, that in his failure he does not fall flat upon the compassion of his reader, as Mr. Dickens does with his "Golden Dustman." But it is a failure, nevertheless; and it must become a serious question in æsthetics how far the spellbound reader may be tortured with an interest which the power awakening it is not adequate to gratify. Is it generous, is it just in a novelist, to lift us up to a pitch of tragic frenzy, and then drop us down into the last scene of a comic opera? We refuse to be comforted by the fact that the novelist does not, perhaps, consciously mock our expectation.

Let us take the moral of "Griffith Gaunt,"—so poignant and effective for the most part,—and see how lamentably it suffers from the defective art of the dénouement. In brief: up to the end of Mrs. Gaunt's trial we are presented with a terrible image of the evils that jealousy, anger, and lies bring upon their guilty and innocent victims. Griffith Gaunt is made to suffer—as men in life suffer—a dreadful remorse and anguish for the crimes he has committed and the falsehoods to which they have committed him. A man with a heart at first tender and true becomes a son of perdition, utterly incapable of tenderness and truth,—consciously held away from them by ever-cumulative force. The spectacle is not new,—it is old as sin itself; but it is here revealed with the freshest and most authentic power, and with a repelling efficacy which we have seldom seen equalled in literature. Mrs. Gaunt justly endures the trouble brought upon her by pride and unbridled bad temper, and unavoidably endures the consequences of another's wrong. Mercy Vint is a guiltless and lovely sacrifice to both almost equally.

What is the end? Mercy Vint is given in marriage to the honestest and faithfulest gentleman in the book, whose heroism we admire without envying. But in any case so good a woman would have achieved peace for herself, and it is at some cost to our regard for her entirety that we consent to see her rewarded by being made a nobleman's wife and the mother of nine children. In this character she lives a life less perfect and consequent than she might have led in a station less exalted, but distant from the circles in which she could not appear at the same time with the man who had infamously wronged her without exciting whispers painful to herself and embarrassing to her husband. Indeed, there seems to be rather more of vicarious expiation in her fate than the interests of population and of "young women who have been betrayed" have any right to demand.

Mrs. Gaunt fully expiates her error before her trial ends. But how of her husband? Mr. Reade seems to like his Griffith Gaunt, who is not to our mind, and who is never less worthy of happiness than at the moment when his wife forgives him. It is not that he is a bigamist and betrayer of innocence that his redemption seems impossible through the means employed; but how can Catharine Gaunt love a coward and sneak, even in the wisdom which a court of justice has taught her? This furious and stupid traitor is afraid to appear and save his wife lest he be branded in the hand; and we are to pardon him because, at no risk to himself, he gives the worthless blood of his veins to rescue her from death. If the fable teaches anything in Griffith Gaunt's case, it is this: Betray two noble women, and after some difficulty you shall get rid of one, be forgiven by the other, come into a handsome property, and have a large and interesting family. If the reader will take the fate of Griffith Gaunt and contrast it with that of Tito Melema, in "Romola," he shall see all the difference that passes between an artificial and an artistic solution of a moral problem.

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Defective art is noticeable in the minor as well as the principal features of the dénouement of Griffith Gaunt. There is the case of the unhappy little baby of Mercy. It is plain that the infant is a stumbling-block in its mother's path to Neville Cross; but we have scarcely begun to lament its presence, when it is swiftly put to death by a special despatch from the obliging destiny of the dénouement. The event is a coincidence, to say the least, and is scarcely less an operation than the transfusion of blood by which Griffith Gaunt and his wife are preserved to a long life of happiness. But this part of the work is full of wonders. The cruel enchantments are all dissolved by more potent preternatural agencies, and a superhuman prosperity dwells alike with the just and the unjust,—Mrs. Ryder excepted, who will probably go to the Devil as some slight compensation for the loss of Griffith Gaunt.

But if the conclusion of the fiction is weak, how great it is in every other part! The management of the plot was so masterly, that the story proceeded without a pause or an improbability until the long fast of a month falling between the feasts of its publication became almost insupportable. It was a plot that grew naturally out of the characters, for humanity is prolific of events, and these characters are all human beings. They are not in the least anachronistic. They act and speak a great deal in the coarse fashion of the good old times. Griffith Gaunt is half tipsy when Kate plights her troth to him; and he is drunk upon an occasion not less solemn and interesting. They are of an age that was very gallant and brutal, that wore gold-lace upon its coat, and ever so much profanity upon its speech; and Mr. Reade has treated them with undeniable frankness and sincerity. Mercy Vint alone seems to belong to a better time; but then goodness and purity are the contemporaries of every generation, and, besides, Mercy Vint's puritan character is an exceptional phase of the life of the time. It is admirable to see in this fiction, as we often see in the world, how wise and refined religion makes an ignorant and lowly-bred person. As a retrospective study, Griffith Gaunt cannot be placed below Henry Esmond. As a study of passions and principles that do not change with civilizations, it is even more excellent. Griffith Gaunt himself is the most perfect figure in the book, because the plot does not at any period interfere with his growth. We start with a knowledge of the frankness and generosity native to a somewhat coarse texture of mind, and we readily perceive why a nature so prone to love and wrath should fall a helpless prey to jealousy, which is a thing altogether different from the suspicion of ungenerous spirits. It is jealousy which drives Griffith to deceive Mercy Vint, for even his desolation and his need of her consoling care cannot bring him to it, and it is only when his triumphing rival appears that this frank and kindly soul consents to enact a cruel lie. The crime committed, there is no longer virtue or courage in the man, and we see without surprise his cowardly reluctance to do the one brave and noble thing possible to him, lest he be arrested for bigamy. The letter, so weak and so boisterous, which he gives Mercy Vint to prove him alive before the court, is in keeping with the development of his character; and it is not unnatural that he should think the literal gift of his blood to his wife a sort of compensation and penance for his sins against her. The wonder is that the author should fall into the same error, as he seems to do.

The character of Kate Gaunt is treated in the dénouement with a violence which almost destroys its identity, but throughout the whole previous progress of the story it is a most artistic and consistent creation. From the beautiful girl, so virginal and dreamy and insecure of her destiny in the world, with her high aspirations and her high temper, there is a certain lapse to the handsome matron united with a man beneath her in mind and spirit, and assured of the commonplace fact that in her love and duty to him is her happiness; but as Love must often mate men and women unequally, it is perfectly natural that Love in her case should strive to keep his eyes shut when no longer blind. Great exigencies afterwards develop her character, and it gains in dignity and beauty from her misfortunes, and we do not again think compassionately of her till she is reunited with Griffith. In spite of all her faults, she is wonderfully charming. The reader himself falls in love with her, and perhaps a subtile sense of jealousy and personal loss mingles with his dissatisfaction in seeing her given up again to her unworthy husband. She should have been left a lovely and stately widow, to whom we could all have paid our court, without suffering too poignantly when Sir George Neville finally won her.

[Pg 770]

Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie. By Henry W. Longfellow. With Illustrations by F.O.C. Darley. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

Maud Muller. By John G. Whittier. With Illustrations by W.J. Hennessy. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

The Vision of Sir Launfal. By James Russell Lowell. With Illustrations by S. Eytinge, Jr. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

Flower-de-Luce. By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. With Illustrations. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

Of these volumes three have long since taken their place in the letters of America, and in the hearts of all who know and love the purest, the truest, and the best that poesy can offer. To them in their secure position will now be added "Flower-de-Luce,"—Mr. Longfellow's latest volume,—which, containing indeed for the most part only such lyrics as he has already contributed for desultory publication, is yet rich with the fruit of the deep insight, wise thought, earnest feeling, and ripe scholarship of his full maturity.

But it is not our purpose to pause in criticism over works that may fairly be said to have passed beyond the province of contemporary criticism. Rather is it our desire to welcome them as they are tendered to us in a new form, and to commend the artistic character of their presentation. For these books indicate that out of the many attempts which have been made in this country—some of them most creditable, too, and nearly approaching thorough excellence—to produce illustrative and mechanical effects equal to those of England and continental Europe, there has at last come an absolute accomplishment, from which we hope and are ready to believe there will be no recession.

One book of great beauty would hardly raise our faith so far. It might be the result of a fortunate combination of propitious circumstances, an accident of which the best intent in the world could not cause a deliberate repetition,—for chance can work well as easily as ill, may make a plan as simply as mar it, and none need be told how often the best-devised schemes "gang a-gley" by reason of some fortuity for which no allowance had been made.

But when from the same press there emanate in a single season several books, prepared at different times by different hands, although, of course, under the same general direction and supervision, the natural inference is, that something positive has been attained, either in the principle of manufacture, or in a better understanding of the elements which must enter into the composition of a really elegant book, and a juster estimate of the manner in which these elements are to be combined.

In the four books under consideration, all the necessary conditions appear to have been recognized and fulfilled. It is, of course, too much to say that they are perfect, and many who are versed in the particulars of lineal art will perhaps find things which they might wish otherwise. But with all such qualification, these volumes show indisputably that in the matter of illustration and typography the New World is now quite the equal of the Old.

The artists engaged—to whose names, as mentioned above, should be added those of H. Fenn, G. Perkins, S. Colman, Jr., and W. Waud, as illustrators of "Flower-de-Luce"—are all men well known, and most of them are eminent in their profession. Each has had a subject which suited closely his capacity and taste, together, evidently, with the liberty of treating his theme according to his own discretion, and as amply as he pleased,—the brief poem, "Maud Muller," for instance, having been supplied by Mr. Hennessy with thirteen illustrations, while in the other volumes equal liberality is manifest.

We have not the space to make, as we should like to do, an exact analysis of these volumes, comparing each artist's series of drawings, one by one, with his chosen passages of the text; but a careful examination convinces us that as a whole these designs are remarkably appreciative and apt. Every person will not expect his own ideal Evangeline or Sir Launfal to appear before him on the page, but every reflective mind will find, we think, such a parallelism between poetry and picture as is not only consistent with exactness, but will further serve to illuminate and beautify the text.

Intelligent or even inspired drawing is vain, if to it be not added faithfulness and fervor on the part of those whose handiwork follows that of the draughtsman, and upon whom his fate and fame greatly depend,—the engraver and the printer. Heretofore it has seemed almost impossible for American representatives of these three arts to work together for good. The drawing might be faultless as it lay intact upon the [Pg 771]wood, but the graver in a heedless hand or the manipulation of an injudicious pressman left little except the broad, indestructible characteristics in the impression which was eventually made public.

At last, let us be thankful, a new era has dawned, and we have here woodcuts which may confidently invite comparison with any as examples of the highest excellence which has yet been reached in this department. The thorough and intelligent workmanship of the University Press has preserved to us every line and shade which was intrusted to its care, and the prints are free alike from fade indistinctness and from ruinous weight of color. The engraving which is so admirably represented is thoroughly good, and, to our thinking, it is of a better school than that which largely obtains in England at this time, and the degeneracy and slovenliness of which have been of late so much criticised and deplored by the best judges. The most of the designs have been engraved by Mr. A.V.S. Anthony, who ranks probably at the head of American engravers, and whose delicacy of feeling and touch, beautifully exemplified in the eighth and twelfth pictures of "Maud Muller," entitle much of his work to an estimation not far below that accorded to Linton or Thompson. The few remaining blocks were cut by Mr. J.P. Davis and Mr. Henry Marsh, who emulate most praiseworthily the excellence, skill, and fidelity of Mr. Anthony.

An American Family in Germany. By J. Ross Browne. New York: Harper & Brothers.

If the author of this amusing book had been less devoted to his purpose of making fun, we think he could have made us a picture of German life which we should have been very glad to have in the absence of much honest information on the subject and the presence of a great deal of flimsy idealizing. As it is, we fear that his work, for the most part a truthful portraiture, will present itself only as a caricature to those unacquainted with the original, and that, for all Mr. Browne says to the contrary, many worthy people must go on thinking German life a romantic, Christmas-tree affair, full of pretty amenity, and tender ballads, and bon-bons. But some day, the truth will avenge itself, and without the least air of burlesque show us that often narrow and sordid existence, abounding in sensual appetites, coarse or childish pleasures, and paltry aims, and varnished with a weak and extravagant sentimentality,—that social order still so feudally aristocratic and feudally plebeian, in which the poor are little better than vassals, and their women toil in the fields like beasts of burden, and the women of all classes are treated with rude and clumsy disesteem.

Mr. Browne's book is devotedly funny, as we hinted, but, in spite of this, is really very amusing. A Californian, rich from the subiti guadagni of his shares in the Washoe mines, is carried to Frankfort by his enthusiastic wife, who is persuaded that Germany is the proper place to bring up American children. They live there in the German fashion,—Mrs. Butterfield charmed and emulous of German civilization, Mr. Butterfield willing, but incorrigibly Californian to the last, and retaining throughout that amazing local pride in the institutions, productions, and scenery of his adopted State which Americans so swiftly acquire in drifting from one section of the Union to another. The invention of this family is not the least truthful thing in the book, which in many respects is full of droll good-sense and good humor.

Charles Lamb. A Memoir. By Barry Cornwall. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

It is not to any very definable cause that this charming book owes the interest with which it holds the reader throughout. It can scarcely be said to present the life or character of Lamb in a novel aspect, and even the anecdotic material in which it abounds does not appear altogether fresh. The very manner in which the subject is treated is that to which we are accustomed: for who has ever been able to write of Charles Lamb but in a tone of tender and compassionate admiration?

Something, however, better than novelty of matter or method appears in this Memoir, and makes it the best ever written concerning the fine poet, exquisite humorist, and noble man, who it brings nearer than ever to our hearts. Much was to be expected of Mr. Proctor in such a work, though much would have been forgiven him if he had indulged himself far more than he has done in an old man's privilege to be garrulous upon old times and old friends, and had confined himself less strictly to the life and character illustrative of Lamb's.[Pg 772] As it is, there is nothing concerning any of Lamb's contemporaries that we would willingly lose from this book. In these sketches of the humorist's friends the subtile and delightful touches bring out his own nature more clearly, and he appears in the people who surrounded him hardly less than in his essays or the events of his career; while Mr. Proctor's long acquaintance with Lamb becomes the setting to a more careful picture than we have yet had of his singularly great and unselfish life; and we behold, not a study of the man in this or that mood only, but a portrait in which his whole character is seen. The sweetest and gentlest of hosts, moving among his guests and charming all hearers with his stammered, inimitable pleasantry; the clerk at his desk at the India House, and finally released from it into a life of illimitable leisure; the quaint little scholar of Christ's Hospital; the quaint old humorist taking his long walks about his beloved London; the author, known and endeared by his books; the careworn and devoted man, hurrying through the streets with his maniac sister on his arm, to place her in the shelter of a mad-house,—it is not some one of these alone, but all of these together, that we remember, after the perusal of this Memoir, so graceful in manner, so simple in style, and so thoroughly beautiful and unaffected in spirit. There is no story from which the reader can turn with a higher sense of another's greatness and goodness, or an humbler sense of his own.

Character and Characteristic Men. By Edwin P. Whiffle. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

If we should say this is a book that brings its author under its title, and that he is in every page of it to the unconscious subject of his own pen, we might sufficiently express our sense of its reality and vital strength. But no self-introduction could be more modest or undesigned. We know of no volume in which vigor walks with less attendance of vanity, or less motion of covert egotism in the stalwart stride; yet the style, which proverbially is the man, does not lack decisive stamp, but is too peculiar to be confounded with any other. It is not flaming, or flowing, or architectural. It is not built, but wrought, with blows of the hammer. We should emphasize the writer's historic taste, but that his learning is so at the service of his philosophy that it never burdens, but only arms. There is a tough welding of principle with fact, and fetching of opposite poles together in the constant circulation betwixt ideas and events. Sometimes an excess of antithesis shows a little too much the wrinkled brow of thought, striving to put more into a sentence than it will fairly carry, and corrugating the elsewhere smoother lines,—as in a hilly country there was said to be too much soil to be evenly disposed of, and so part of it had to be pushed up into the sky. But this roughness is better than thinness; and in Mr. Whipple's book there are passages of swift, grand eloquence, and of intense peace and depth. Wit and humor, native to our author, with no malignity or pride for an ally, combine with sentiment and reflection, and his talent is never wrapped up in a merely elegant phrase, but in plain and homely words is the delivery of his sense. We would cite, in proof of the justness of our criticism, such essays as those on "Character," "Intellectual Character," and "Washington and the Principles of the Revolution." Those on Thackeray and Nathaniel Hawthorne show, with appreciative praise, the literary doctor's fatal feeling of the patient's pulse. The courtesy of Everett is gracefully owned; and there is a fine glimpse of that face of Thomas Starr King, which did not seem so much to mirror the sun as to make the sunbeam a shadow of itself; while a just tribute is paid to the original and courageous genius and research of our great enthusiast and naturalist, Agassiz. But this is a book to be mastered only by a thorough perusal, and no hasty diagonal glance along the leaves can render justice to it. While deserving attention for its general merits of intelligence, morality, humanity, and a spiritual faith, which no eye of friendship is needed to discern, in the judiciary department of letters it has an unrivalled claim. For faculty of pure criticism we know not Mr. Whipple's equal. The judgment-seat shines in his eye. We seem to be hearing all the time the kindly sentence of an infallible sight. We should be afraid of the decree which such knowledge, intuition, imagination, and logic combine to pronounce, but that no grudge provokes, or bribe can ever bias the court; and, while its just conscience cannot acquit hollow pretensions, over its own decisions preside an absolute purity and the loftiest ideal of human life.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No.
110, December, 1866, by Various


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