The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 101,
March, 1866, by Various

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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 101, March, 1866

Author: Various

Release Date: May 4, 2007 [EBook #21288]

Language: English

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[Pg 257]



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 have been corrected and footnotes moved to the end of the article. Table of contents has been generated for the HTML version.





Maine, Thursday, July 20, 1837.—A drive, yesterday afternoon, to a pond in the vicinity of Augusta, about nine miles off, to fish for white perch. Remarkables: the steering of the boat through the crooked, labyrinthine brook, into the open pond,—the man who acted as pilot,—his talking with B——about politics, the bank, the iron money of "a king who came to reign, in Greece, over a city called Sparta,"—his advice to B—— to come amongst the laborers on the mill-dam, because it stimulated them "to see a man grinning amongst them." The man took hearty tugs at a bottle of good Scotch whiskey, and became pretty merry. The fish caught were the yellow perch, which are not esteemed for eating; the white perch, a beautiful, silvery, round-backed fish, which bites eagerly, runs about with the line while being pulled up, makes good sport for the angler, and an admirable dish; a great chub; and three horned pouts, which swallow the hook into their lowest entrails. Several dozen fish were taken in an hour or two, and then we returned to the shop where we had left our horse and wagon, the pilot very eccentric behind us. It was a small, dingy shop, dimly lighted by a single inch of candle, faintly disclosing various boxes, barrels standing on end, articles hanging from the ceiling; the proprietor at the counter, whereon appear gin and brandy, respectively contained in a tin pint-measure and an earthenware jug, with two or three tumblers beside them, out of which nearly all the party drank; some coming up to the counter frankly, others lingering in the background, waiting to be pressed, two paying for their own liquor and withdrawing. B—— treated them twice round. The pilot, after drinking his brandy, gave a history of our fishing expedition, and how many and how large fish we caught. B—— making acquaintances and renewing them, and gaining great credit for liberality and free-heartedness,—two or three boys looking on and listening to the talk,—the shopkeeper smiling [Pg 258]behind his counter, with the tarnished tin scales beside him,—the inch of candle burned down almost to extinction. So we got into our wagon, with the fish, and drove to Robinson's tavern, almost five miles off, where we supped and passed the night. In the bar-room was a fat old countryman on a journey, and a quack doctor of the vicinity, and an Englishman with a peculiar accent. Seeing B——'s jointed and brass-mounted fishing-pole, he took it for a theodolite, and supposed that we had been on a surveying expedition. At supper, which consisted of bread, butter, cheese, cake, doughnuts, and gooseberry-pie, we were waited upon by a tall, very tall woman, young and maiden-looking, yet with a strongly outlined and determined face. Afterwards we found her to be the wife of mine host. She poured out our tea, came in when we rang the table-bell to refill our cups, and again retired. While at supper, the fat old traveller was ushered through the room into a contiguous bedroom. My own chamber, apparently the best in the house, had its walls ornamented with a small, gilt-framed, foot-square looking-glass, with a hair-brush hanging beneath it; a record of the deaths of the family, written on a black tomb, in an engraving, where a father, mother, and child were represented in a graveyard, weeping over said tomb; the mourners dressed in black, country-cut clothes; the engraving executed in Vermont. There was also a wood engraving of the Declaration of Independence, with fac-similes of the autographs; a portrait of the Empress Josephine, and another of Spring. In the two closets of this chamber were mine hostess's cloak, best bonnet, and go-to-meeting apparel. There was a good bed, in which I slept tolerably well, and, rising betimes, ate breakfast, consisting of some of our own fish, and then started for Augusta. The fat old traveller had gone off with the harness of our wagon, which the hostler had put on to his horse by mistake. The tavern-keeper gave us his own harness, and started in pursuit of the old man, who was probably aware of the exchange, and well satisfied with it.

Our drive to Augusta, six or seven miles, was very pleasant, a heavy rain having fallen during the night and laid the oppressive dust of the day before. The road lay parallel with the Kennebec, of which we occasionally had near glimpses. The country swells back from the river in hills and ridges, without any interval of level ground; and there were frequent woods, filling up the valleys or crowning the summits. The land is good, the farms looked neat, and the houses comfortable. The latter are generally but of one story, but with large barns; and it was a good sign, that, while we saw no houses unfinished nor out of repair, one man, at least, had found it expedient to make an addition to his dwelling. At the distance of more than two miles, we had a view of white Augusta, with its steeples, and the State-House, at the farther end of the town. Observable matters along the road were the stage,—all the dust of yesterday brushed off, and no new dust contracted,—full of passengers, inside and out; among them some gentlemanly people and pretty girls, all looking fresh and unsullied, rosy, cheerful, and curious as to the face of the country, the faces of passing travellers, and the incidents of their journey; not yet damped, in the morning sunshine, by long miles of jolting over rough and hilly roads,—to compare this with their appearance at midday, and as they drive into Bangor at dusk;—two women dashing along in a wagon, and with a child, rattling pretty speedily down hill;—people looking at us from the open doors and windows;—the children staring from the wayside;—the mowers stopping, for a moment, the sway of their scythes;—the matron of a family, indistinctly seen at some distance within the house, her head and shoulders appearing through the window, drawing her handkerchief over her bosom, which had been uncovered to give the baby its breakfast,—the said baby, or its immediate predecessor, sitting at the door, turning round to creep away on all fours;—a man building a flat-bottomed boat by the roadside: he talked with B—[Pg 259]— about the Boundary question, and swore fervently in favor of driving the British "into hell's kitchen" by main force.

Colonel B——, the engineer of the mill-dam, is now here, after about a fortnight's absence. He is a plain country squire, with a good figure, but with rather a ponderous brow; a rough complexion; a gait stiff, and a general rigidity of manner, something like that of a schoolmaster. He originated in a country town, and is a self-educated man. As he walked down the gravel path to-day, after dinner, he took up a scythe, which one of the mowers had left on the sward, and began to mow, with quite a scientific swing. On the coming of the mower, he laid it down, perhaps a little ashamed of his amusement. I was interested in this; to see a man, after twenty-five years of scientific occupation, thus trying whether his arms retained their strength and skill for the labors of his youth,—mindful of the day when he wore striped trousers, and toiled in his shirt-sleeves,—and now tasting again, for pastime, this drudgery beneath a fervid sun. He stood awhile, looking at the workmen, and then went to oversee the laborers at the mill-dam.

Monday, July 24th.—I bathed in the river on Thursday evening, and in the brook at the old dam on Saturday and Sunday,—the former time at noon. The aspect of the solitude at noon was peculiarly impressive, there being a cloudless sunshine, no wind, no rustling of the forest-leaves, no waving of the boughs, no noise but the brawling and babbling of the stream, making its way among the stones, and pouring in a little cataract round one side of the mouldering dam. Looking up the brook, there was a long vista,—now ripples, now smooth and glassy spaces, now large rocks, almost blocking up the channel; while the trees stood upon either side, mostly straight, but here and there a branch thrusting itself out irregularly, and one tree, a pine, leaning over,—not bending,—but leaning at an angle over the brook, rough and ragged; birches, alders; the tallest of all the trees an old, dead, leafless pine, rising white and lonely, though closely surrounded by others. Along the brook, now the grass and herbage extended close to the water; now a small, sandy beach. The wall of rock before described, looking as if it had been hewn, but with irregular strokes of the workman, doing his job by rough and ponderous strength,—now chancing to hew it away smoothly and cleanly, now carelessly smiting, and making gaps, or piling on the slabs of rock, so as to leave vacant spaces. In the interstices grow brake and broad-leaved forest grass. The trees that spring from the top of this wall have their roots pressing close to the rock, so that there is no soil between; they cling powerfully, and grasp the crag tightly with their knotty fingers. The trees on both sides are so thick, that the sight and the thoughts are almost immediately lost among confused stems, branches, and clustering green leaves,—a narrow strip of bright blue sky above, the sunshine falling lustrously down, and making the pathway of the brook luminous below. Entering among the thickets, I find the soil strewn with old leaves of preceding seasons, through which may be seen a black or dark mould; the roots of trees stretch frequently across the path; often a moss-grown brown log lies athwart, and when you set your foot down, it sinks into the decaying substance,—into the heart of oak or pine. The leafy boughs and twigs of the underbrush enlace themselves before you, so that you must stoop your head to pass under, or thrust yourself through amain, while they sweep against your face, and perhaps knock off your hat. There are rocks mossy and slippery; sometimes you stagger, with a great rustling of branches, against a clump of bushes, and into the midst of it. From end to end of all this tangled shade goes a pathway scarcely worn, for the leaves are not trodden through, yet plain enough to the eye, winding gently to avoid tree-trunks and rocks and little hillocks. In the more open ground, the aspect of a tall, fire-blackened stump, standing alone, high up on a swell of land, that rises[Pg 260] gradually from one side of the brook, like a monument. Yesterday, I passed a group of children in this solitary valley,—two boys, I think, and two girls. One of the little girls seemed to have suffered some wrong from her companions, for she was weeping and complaining violently. Another time, I came suddenly on a small Canadian boy, who was in a hollow place, among the ruined logs of an old causeway, picking raspberries,—lonely among bushes and gorges, far up the wild valley,—and the lonelier seemed the little boy for the bright sunshine, that showed no one else in a wide space of view except him and me.

Remarkable items: the observation of Mons. S—— when B—— was saying something against the character of the French people,—"You ought not to form an unfavorable judgment of a great nation from mean fellows like me, strolling about in a foreign country." I thought it very noble thus to protest against anything discreditable in himself personally being used against the honor of his country. He is a very singular person, with an originality in all his notions;—not that nobody has ever had such before, but that he has thought them out for himself. He told me yesterday that one of his sisters was a waiting-maid in the Rocher de Caucale. He is about the sincerest man I ever knew, never pretending to feelings that are not in him,—never flattering. His feelings do not seem to be warm, though they are kindly. He is so single-minded that he cannot understand badinage, but takes it all as if meant in earnest,—a German trait. Revalues himself greatly on being a Frenchman, though all his most valuable qualities come from Germany. His temperament is cool and pure, and he is greatly delighted with any attentions from the ladies. A short time since, a lady gave him a bouquet of roses and pinks; he capered and danced and sang, put it in water, and carried it to his own chamber; but he brought it out for us to see and admire two or three times a day, bestowing on it all the epithets of admiration in the French language,—"Superbe! magnifique!" When some of the flowers began to fade, he made the rest, with others, into a new nosegay, and consulted us whether it would be fit to give to another lady. Contrast this French foppery with his solemn moods, when we sit in the twilight, or after B—— is abed, talking of Christianity and Deism, of ways of life, of marriage, of benevolence,—in short, of all deep matters of this world and the next. An evening or two since, he began singing all manner of English songs,—such as Mrs. Hemans's "Landing of the Pilgrims," "Auld Lang Syne," and some of Moore's,—the singing pretty fair, but in the oddest tone and accent. Occasionally he breaks out with scraps from French tragedies, which he spouts with corresponding action. He generally gets close to me in these displays of musical and histrionic talent Once he offered to magnetize me in the manner of Monsieur P——.

Wednesday, July 26th.—Dined at Barker's yesterday. Before dinner, sat with several other persons in the stoop of the tavern. There was B——, J. A. Chandler, Clerk of the Court, a man of middle age or beyond, two or three stage people, and, nearby, a negro, whom they call "the Doctor," a crafty-looking fellow, one of whose occupations is nameless. In presence of this goodly company, a man of a depressed, neglected air, a soft, simple-looking fellow, with an anxious expression, in a laborer's dress, approached and inquired for Mr. Barker. Mine host being gone to Portland, the stranger was directed to the bar-keeper, who stood at the door. The man asked where he should find one Mary Ann Russell,—a question which excited general and hardly-suppressed mirth; for the said Mary Ann is one of a knot of women who were routed on Sunday evening by Barker and a constable. The man was told that the black fellow would give him all the information he wanted. The black fellow asked,—

"Do you want to see her?"

Others of the by-standers or by-sitters[Pg 261] put various questions as to the nature of the man's business with Mary Ann. One asked,—

"Is she your daughter?"

"Why, a little nearer than that, I calkilate," said the poor devil.

Here the mirth was increased, it being evident that the woman was his wife. The man seemed too simple and obtuse to comprehend the ridicule of his situation, or to be rendered very miserable by it. Nevertheless, he made some touching points.

"A man generally places some little dependence on his wife," said he, "whether she's good or not."

He meant, probably, that he rests some affection on her. He told us that she had behaved well, till committed to jail for striking a child; and I believe he was absent from home at the time, and had not seen her since. And now he was in search of her, intending, doubtless, to do his best to get her out of her troubles, and then to take her back to his home. Some advised him not to look after her; others recommended him to pay "the Doctor" aforesaid for guiding him to her; which finally "the Doctor" did, in consideration of a treat; and the fellow went off, having heard little but gibes, and not one word of sympathy! I would like to have witnessed his meeting with his wife.

There was a moral picturesqueness in the contrasts of the scene,—a man moved as deeply as his nature would admit, in the midst of hardened, gibing spectators, heartless towards him. It is worth thinking over and studying out. He seemed rather hurt and pricked by the jests thrown at him, yet bore it patiently, and sometimes almost joined in the laugh, being of an easy, unenergetic temper.

Hints for characters:—Nancy, a pretty, black-eyed, intelligent servant-girl, living in Captain H——'s family. She comes daily to make the beds in our part of the house, and exchanges a good-morning with me, in a pleasant voice, and with a glance and smile,—somewhat shy, because we are not acquainted, yet capable of being made conversable. She washes once a week, and may be seen standing over her tub, with her handkerchief somewhat displaced from her white neck, because it is hot. Often she stands with her bare arms in the water, talking with Mrs. H——, or looks through the window, perhaps, at B—— or somebody else crossing the yard,—rather thoughtfully, but soon smiling or laughing. Then goeth she for a pail of water. In the afternoon, very probably, she dresses herself in silks, looking not only pretty, but lady-like, and strolls round the house, not unconscious that some gentleman may be staring at her from behind the green blinds. After supper, she walks to the village. Morning and evening, she goes a-milking. And thus passes her life, cheerfully, usefully, virtuously, with hopes, doubtless, of a husband and children.—Mrs. H—— is a particularly plump, soft-fleshed, fair-complexioned, comely woman enough, with rather a simple countenance, not nearly so piquant as Nancy's. Her walk has something of the roll or waddle of a fat woman, though it were too much to call her fat. She seems to be a sociable body, probably laughter-loving. Captain H—— himself has commanded a steamboat, and has a certain knowledge of life.

Query, in relation to the man's missing wife, how much desire and resolution of doing her duty by her husband can a wife retain, while injuring him in what is deemed the most essential point?

Observation. The effect of morning sunshine on the wet grass, on sloping and swelling land, between the spectator and the sun at some distance, as across a lawn. It diffused a dim brilliancy over the whole surface of the field. The mists, slow-rising farther off, part resting on the earth, the remainder of the column already ascending so high that you doubt whether to call it a fog or a cloud.

Friday, July 28th.—Saw my classmate and formerly intimate friend, Cilley,[Pg 262] for the first time since we graduated. He has met with good success in life, in spite of circumstance, having struggled upward against bitter opposition, by the force of his own abilities, to be a member of Congress, after having been for some time the leader of his party in the State Legislature. We met like old friends, and conversed almost as freely as we used to do in college days, twelve years ago and more. He is a singular man, shrewd, crafty, insinuating, with wonderful tact, seizing on each man by his manageable point, and using him for his own purpose, often without the man's suspecting that he is made a tool of; and yet, artificial as his character would seem to be, his conversation, at least to myself, was full of natural feeling, the expression of which can hardly be mistaken, and his revelations with regard to himself had really a great deal of frankness. He spoke of his ambition, of the obstacles which he had encountered, of the means by which he had overcome them, imputing great efficacy to his personal intercourse with people, and his study of their characters; then of his course as a member of the Legislature and Speaker, and his style of speaking and its effects; of the dishonorable things which had been imputed to him, and in what manner he had repelled the charges. In short, he would seem to have opened himself very freely as to his public life. Then, as to his private affairs, he spoke of his marriage, of his wife, his children, and told me, with tears in his eyes, of the death of a dear little girl, and how it affected him, and how impossible it had been for him to believe that she was really to die. A man of the most open nature might well have been more reserved to a friend, after twelve years' separation, than Cilley was to me. Nevertheless, he is really a crafty man, concealing, like a murder-secret, anything that it is not good for him to have known. He by no means feigns the good-feeling that he professes, nor is there anything affected in the frankness of his conversation; and it is this that makes him so very fascinating. There is such a quantity of truth and kindliness and warm affections, that a man's heart opens to him, in spite of himself. He deceives by truth. And not only is he crafty, but, when occasion demands, bold and fierce as a tiger, determined, and even straightforward and undisguised in his measures,—a daring fellow as well as a sly one. Yet, notwithstanding his consummate art, the general estimate of his character seems to be pretty just. Hardly anybody, probably, thinks him better than he is, and many think him worse. Nevertheless, if no overwhelming discovery of rascality be made, he will always possess influence; though I should hardly think that he would take any prominent part in Congress. As to any rascality, I rather believe that he has thought out for himself a much higher system of morality than any natural integrity would have prompted him to adopt; that he has seen the thorough advantage of morality and honesty; and the sentiment of these qualities has now got into his mind and spirit, and pretty well impregnated them. I believe him to be about as honest as the great run of the world, with something even approaching to high-mindedness. His person in some degree accords with his character,—thin and with a thin face, sharp features, sallow, a projecting brow not very high, deep-set eyes, an insinuating smile and look, when he meets you, and is about to address you. I should think that he would do away with this peculiar expression, for it reveals more of himself than can be detected in any other way, in personal intercourse with him. Upon the whole, I have quite a good liking for him, and mean to go to Thomaston to see him.

Observation. A steam-engine across the river, which almost continually during the day, and sometimes all night, may be heard puffing and panting, as if it uttered groans for being compelled to labor in the heat and sunshine, and when the world is asleep also.

Monday, July 31st.—Nothing remarkable to record. A child asleep in[Pg 263] a young lady's arms,—a little baby, two or three months old. Whenever anything partially disturbed the child, as, for instance, when the young lady or a by-stander patted its cheek or rubbed its chin, the child would smile; then all its dreams seemed to be of pleasure and happiness. At first the smile was so faint, that I doubted whether it were really a smile or no; but on further efforts, it brightened forth very decidedly. This, without opening its eyes.—A constable, a homely, good-natured, business-looking man, with a warrant against an Irishman's wife for throwing a brickbat at a fellow. He gave good advice to the Irishman about the best method of coming easiest through the affair. Finally settled,—the justice agreeing to relinquish his fees, on condition that the Irishman would pay for the mending of his old boots!

I went with Monsieur S—— yesterday to pick raspberries. He fell through an old log bridge thrown over a hollow; looking back, only his head and shoulders appeared through the rotten logs and among the bushes.—A shower coming on, the rapid running of a little barefooted boy, coming up unheard, and dashing swiftly past us, and showing the soles of his naked feet as he ran adown the path before us, and up the opposite rise.

Tuesday, August 1st.—There having been a heavy rain yesterday, a nest of chimney-swallows was washed down the chimney into the fireplace of one of the front-rooms. My attention was drawn to them by a most obstreperous twittering; and looking behind the fire-board, there were three young birds, clinging with their feet against one of the jambs, looking at me, open-mouthed, and all clamoring together, so as quite to fill the room with the short, eager, frightened sound. The old birds, by certain signs upon the floor of the room, appeared to have fallen victims to the appetite of the cat. La belle Nancy provided a basket filled with cotton-wool, into which the poor little devils were put; and I tried to feed them with soaked bread, of which, however, they did not eat with much relish. Tom, the Irish boy, gave it as his opinion that they were not old enough to be weaned. I hung the basket out of the window, in the sunshine, and upon looking in, an hour or two after, found that two of the birds had escaped. The other I tried to feed, and sometimes, when a morsel of bread was thrust into its open mouth, it would swallow it. But it appeared to suffer a good deal, vociferating loudly when disturbed, and panting, in a sluggish agony, with eyes closed, or half opened, when let alone. It distressed me a good deal; and I felt relieved, though somewhat shocked, when B—— put an end to its misery by squeezing its head and throwing it out of the window. They were of a slate-color, and might, I suppose, have been able to shift for themselves.—The other day a little yellow bird flew into one of the empty rooms, of which there are half a dozen on the lower floor, and could not find his way out again, flying at the glass of the windows, instead of at the door, thumping his head against the panes or against the ceiling. I drove him into the entry and chased him from end to end, endeavoring to make him fly through one of the open doors. He would fly at the circular light over the door, clinging to the casement, sometimes alighting on one of the two glass lamps, or on the cords that suspended them, uttering an affrighted and melancholy cry whenever I came near and flapped my handkerchief, and appearing quite tired and sinking into despair. At last he happened to fly low enough to pass through the door, and immediately vanished into the gladsome sunshine.—Ludicrous situation of a man, drawing his chaise down a sloping bank, to wash in the river. The chaise got the better of him, and, rushing downward as if it were possessed, compelled him to run at full speed, and drove him up to his chin into the water. A singular instance, that a chaise may run away with a man without a horse![Pg 264]

Saturday, August 12th.—Left Augusta a week ago this morning for Thomaston. Nothing particular in our drive across the country. Fellow-passenger, a Boston dry-goods dealer, travelling to collect bills. At many of the country shops he would get out, and show his unwelcome visage. In the tavern, prints from Scripture, varnished and on rollers,—such as the Judgment of Christ; also, a droll set of colored engravings of the story of the Prodigal Son, the figures being clad in modern costume,—or, at least, that of not more than half a century ago. The father, a grave, clerical person, with a white wig and black broadcloth suit; the son, with a cocked hat and laced clothes, drinking wine out of a glass, and caressing a woman in fashionable dress. At Thomaston, a nice, comfortable, boarding-house tavern, without a bar or any sort of wines or spirits. An old lady from Boston, with her three daughters, one of whom was teaching music, and the other two were school-mistresses. A frank, free, mirthful daughter of the landlady, about twenty-four years old, between whom and myself there immediately sprang up a flirtation, which made us both feel rather melancholy when we parted on Tuesday morning. Music in the evening, with a song by a rather pretty, fantastic little mischief of a brunette, about eighteen years old, who has married within a year, and spent the last summer in a trip to the Springs and elsewhere. Her manner of walking is by jerks, with a quiver, as if she were made of calves-feet jelly. I talk with everybody: to Mrs. Trott, good sense,—to Mary, good sense, with a mixture of fun,—to Mrs. Gleason, sentiment, romance, and nonsense.

Walked with Cilley to see General Knox's old mansion,—a large, rusty-looking edifice of wood, with some grandeur in the architecture, standing on the banks of the river, close by the site of an old burial-ground, and near where an ancient fort had been erected for defence against the French and Indians. General Knox once owned a square of thirty miles in this part of the country; and he wished to settle it with a tenantry, after the fashion of English gentlemen. He would permit no edifice to be erected within a certain distance of his mansion. His patent covered, of course, the whole present town of Thomaston, with Waldoborough and divers other flourishing commercial and country villages, and would have been of incalculable value could it have remained unbroken to the present time. But the General lived in grand style, and received throngs of visitors from foreign parts, and was obliged to part with large tracts of his possessions, till now there is little left but the ruinous mansion and the ground immediately around it. His tomb stands near the house,—a spacious receptacle, an iron door at the end of a turf-covered mound, and surmounted by an obelisk of the Thomaston marble. There are inscriptions to the memory of several of his family; for he had many children, all of whom are now dead, except one daughter, a widow of fifty, recently married to Hon. John H——. There is a stone fence round the monument. On the outside of this are the gravestones, and large, flat tombstones of the ancient burial-ground,—the tombstones being of red freestone, with vacant spaces, formerly inlaid with slate, on which were the inscriptions, and perhaps coats-of-arms. One of these spaces was in the shape of a heart. The people of Thomaston were very wrathful that the General should have laid out his grounds over this old burial-place; and he dared never throw down the gravestones, though his wife, a haughty English lady, often teased him to do so. But when the old General was dead, Lady Knox (as they called her) caused them to be prostrated, as they now lie. She was a woman of violent passions, and so proud an aristocrat, that, as long as she lived, she would never enter any house in Thomaston except her own. When a married daughter was ill, she used to go in her carriage to the door, and send up to inquire how she did. The General[Pg 265] was personally very popular; but his wife ruled him. The house and its vicinity, and the whole tract covered by Knox's patent, may be taken as an illustration of what must be the result of American schemes of aristocracy. It is not forty years since this house was built, and Knox was in his glory; but now the house is all in decay, while within a stone's throw of it there is a street of smart white edifices of one and two stories, occupied chiefly by thriving mechanics, which has been laid out where Knox meant to have forests and parks. On the banks of the river, where he intended to have only one wharf for his own West Indian vessels and yacht, there are two wharves, with stores and a lime-kiln. Little appertains to the mansion, except the tomb and the old burial-ground, and the old fort.

The descendants are all poor, and the inheritance was merely sufficient to make a dissipated and drunken fellow of the only one of the old General's sons who survived to middle age. The man's habits were as bad as possible as long as he had any money; but when quite ruined, he reformed. The daughter, the only survivor among Knox's children, (herself childless,) is a mild, amiable woman, therein totally differing from her mother. Knox, when he first visited his estate, arriving in a vessel, was waited upon by a deputation of the squatters, who had resolved to resist him to the death. He received them with genial courtesy, made them dine with him aboard the vessel, and sent them back to their constituents in great love and admiration of him. He used to have a vessel running to Philadelphia, I think, and bringing him all sorts of delicacies. His way of raising money was to give a mortgage on his estate of a hundred thousand dollars at a time, and receive that nominal amount in goods, which he would immediately sell at auction for perhaps thirty thousand. He died by a chicken-bone. Near the house are the remains of a covered way, by which the French once attempted to gain admittance into the fort; but the work caved in and buried a good many of them, and the rest gave up the siege. There was recently an old inhabitant living, who remembered when the people used to reside in the fort.

Owl's Head,—a watering-place, terminating a point of land, six or seven miles from Thomaston. A long island shuts out the prospect of the sea. Hither coasters and fishing-smacks run in when a storm is anticipated. Two fat landlords, both young men, with something of a contrast in their dispositions;—one of them being a brisk, lively, active, jesting fat man; the other more heavy and inert, making jests sluggishly, if at all. Aboard the steamboat, Professor Stuart of Andover, sitting on a sofa in the saloon, generally in conversation with some person, resolving their doubts on one point or another, speaking in a very audible voice; and strangers standing or sitting around to hear him, as if he were an ancient apostle or philosopher. He is a bulky man, with a large, massive face, particularly calm in its expression, and mild enough to be pleasing. When not otherwise occupied, he reads, without much notice of what is going on around him. He speaks without effort, yet thoughtfully.

We got lost in a fog the morning after leaving Owl's Head. Fired a brass cannon, rang bell, blew steam like a whale snorting. After one of the reports of the cannon, we heard a horn blown at no great distance, the sound coming soon after the report. Doubtful whether it came from the shore or a vessel. Continued our ringing and snorting; and by and by something was seen to mingle with the fog that obscured everything beyond fifty yards from us. At first it seemed only like a denser wreath of fog; it darkened still more, till it took the aspect of sails; then the hull of a small schooner came beating down towards us, the wind laying her over towards us, so that her gunwale was almost in the water, and we could see the whole of her sloping deck.[Pg 266]

"Schooner ahoy!" say we. "Halloo! Have you seen Boston Light this morning?"

"Yes; it bears north-northwest, two miles distant."

"Very much obliged to you," cries our captain.

So the schooner vanishes into the mist behind. We get up our steam, and soon enter the harbor, meeting vessels of every rig; and the fog, clearing away, shows a cloudy sky. Aboard, an old one-eyed sailor, who had lost one of his feet, and had walked on the stump from Eastport to Bangor, thereby making a shocking ulcer.

Penobscot Bay is full of islands, close to which the steamboat is continually passing. Some are large, with portions of forest and portions of cleared land; some are mere rocks, with a little green or none, and inhabited by sea-birds, which fly and flap about hoarsely. Their eggs may be gathered by the bushel, and are good to eat. Other islands have one house and barn on them, this sole family being lords and rulers of all the land which the sea girds. The owner of such an island must have a peculiar sense of property and lordship; he must feel more like his own master and his own man than other people can. Other islands, perhaps high, precipitous, black bluffs, are crowned with a white light-house, whence, as evening comes on, twinkles a star across the melancholy deep,—seen by vessels coming on the coast, seen from the mainland, seen from island to island. Darkness descending, and looking down at the broad wake left by the wheels of the steamboat, we may see sparkles of sea-fire glittering through the gloom.


By the waters of Life we sat together,
Hand in hand in the golden days
Of the beautiful early summer weather,
When skies were purple and breath was praise,
When the heart kept tune to the carol of birds
And the birds kept tune to the songs which ran
Through shimmer of flowers on grassy swards,
And trees with voices Æolian.
By the rivers of Life we walked together,
I and my darling, unafraid;
And lighter than any linnet's feather
The burdens of Being on us weighed.
And Love's sweet miracles o'er us threw
Mantles of joy outlasting Time,
And up from the rosy morrows grew
A sound that seemed like a marriage chime.
In the gardens of Life we strayed together;
And the luscious apples were ripe and red,
And the languid lilac and honeyed heather
Swooned with the fragrance which they shed.
[Pg 267] And under the trees the angels walked,
And up in the air a sense of wings
Awed us tenderly while we talked
Softly in sacred communings.
In the meadows of Life we strayed together,
Watching the waving harvests grow;
And under the benison of the Father
Our hearts, like the lambs, skipped to and fro.
And the cowslips, hearing our low replies,
Broidered fairer the emerald banks,
And glad tears shone in the daisies' eyes,
And the timid violet glistened thanks.
Who was with us, and what was round us,
Neither myself nor my darling guessed;
Only we knew that something crowned us
Out from the heavens with crowns of rest;
Only we knew that something bright
Lingered lovingly where we stood,
Clothed with the incandescent light
Of something higher than humanhood.
O the riches Love doth inherit!
Ah, the alchemy which doth change
Dross of body and dregs of spirit
Into sanctities rare and strange!
My flesh is feeble and dry and old,
My darling's beautiful hair is gray;
But our elixir and precious gold
Laugh at the footsteps of decay.
Harms of the world have come unto us,
Cups of sorrow we yet shall drain;
But we have a secret which cloth show us
Wonderful rainbows in the rain.
And we hear the tread of the years move by,
And the sun is setting behind the hills;
But my darling does not fear to die,
And I am happy in what God wills.
So we sit by our household fires together,
Dreaming the dreams of long ago:
Then it was balmy summer weather,
And now the valleys are laid in snow.
Icicles hang from the slippery eaves;
The wind blows cold,—'tis growing late;
Well, well! we have garnered all our sheaves,
I and my darling, and we wait.

[Pg 268]


As a man puts on the stoutness and thicksetness of middle life, he begins to find himself contemplating well-filled meat and fish stalls, and piles of lusty garden vegetables, with unfeigned interest and delight. He walks through Quincy Market, for instance, with far more pleasure than through the dewy and moonlit groves which were the scenes of his youthful wooings. Then he was all sentiment and poetry. Now he finds the gratification of the mouth and stomach a chief source of mundane delight. It is said that all the ships on the sea are sailing in the direction of the human mouth. The stomach, with its fierce assimilative power, is a great stimulator of commercial activity. The table of the civilized man, loaded with the products of so many climes, bears witness to this. The demands of the stomach are imperious. Its ukases and decrees must be obeyed, else the whole corporeal commonwealth of man, and the spirit which makes the human organism its vehicle in time and space, are in a state of trouble and insurrection.

A large part of the lower organic world, both animal and vegetable, is ground between man's molars and incisors, and assimilated through the stomach with his body. This may be called the final cause of that part of the lower organic world which is edible. Man is a scientific eater,—a cooking animal. Laughter and speech are not so distinctive traits of him as cookery. Improve his food, and he is improved both physically and mentally. His tissue becomes finer, his skin clearer and brighter, and his hair more glossy and hyacinthine. Cattle-breeders and the improvers of horticulture are indirectly improving their own race by furnishing finer and more healthful materials to be built into man's body. Marble, cedar, rosewood, gold, and gems make a finer edifice than thatch and ordinary timber and stones. So South-Down mutton and Devonian beef fattened on the blue-grass pastures of the West, and the magnificent prize vegetables and rich appetizing fruits, equal to anything grown in the famed gardens of Alcinoüs or the Hesperides, which are displayed at our annual autumnal fairs as evidences of our scientific horticulture and fructiculture, adorn the frame into which they are incorporated by mastication and digestion, as rosewood and marble and cedar and gold adorn a house or temple.

The subject of eating and drinking is a serious one. The stomach is the great motive power of society. It is the true sharpener of human ingenuity, curis acuens mortalia corda. Cookery is the first of arts. Chemistry is a mere subordinate science, whose chief value is that it enables man to impart greater relish and gust to his viands. The greatest poets, such as Homer, Milton, and Scott, treat the subject of eating and drinking with much seriousness, minuteness of detail, and lusciousness of description. Homer's heroes are all good cooks,—swift-footed Achilles, much-enduring Ulysses, and the rest of them. Read Milton's appetizing description of the feast which the Tempter set before the fasting Saviour:—

"Our Saviour, lifting up his eyes, beheld
In ample space, under the broadest shade,
A table richly spread in regal mode,
With dishes piled, and meats of noblest sort
And savor: beasts of chase or fowl of game
In pastry built, or from the spit, or boiled,
Gris-amber steamed; all fish from sea or shore,
Freshet or purling brook, of shell or fin,
And exquisitest name, for which was drained
Pontus and Lucrine bay and Afric coast;
And at a stately sideboard, by the wine
That fragrant smell diffused in order stood
Tall stripling youths, rich clad, of fairer hue
Than Ganymed or Hylas."

It is evident that the sublime Milton had a keen relish for a good dinner. Keats's description of that delicious moonlight spread by Porphyro, in the room of his fair Madeline, asleep, on St. Agnes' eve, "in lap of legends old," is another delicate morsel of Apician[Pg 269] poetry. "Those lucent syrups tinct with cinnamon and sugared dainties" from Samarcand to cedared Lebanon, show that Keats had not got over his boyish taste for sweet things, and reached the maturity and gravity of appetite which dictated the Miltonian description. He died at twenty-four years. Had he lived longer, he might have sung of roast and boiled as sublimely as Milton has done.

Epicurus, in exalting cookery and eating and drinking to a plane of philosophical importance, was a true friend of his race, and showed himself the most sensible and wisest of all the Greek philosophers. A psychometrical critic of the philosopher of the garden says:—

"The first and last necessity is eating. The animated world is unceasingly eating and digesting itself. None could see this truth clearly but an enthusiast in diet like Epicurus, who, discovering the unexceptionableness of the natural law, proceeded to the work of adaptation. Ocean, lake, streamlet, was separately interrogated, 'How much delicious food do you contain? What are your preparations? When should man partake?' In like manner did the enthusiast peregrinate through Nature's empire, fixing his chemical eye upon plant and shrub and berry and vine,—asking every creeping thing, and the animal creation also, 'What can you do for man?' And such truths as the angels sent! Sea, earth, and air were overflowing and heavily laden with countless means of happiness. 'The whole was a cupboard of food or cabinet of pleasure.' Life must not be sacrificed by man, for thereby he would defeat the end sought. Man's fine love of life must save him from taking life." (This is not doctrine to promulgate in the latitude of Quincy Market, O clairvoyant Davis!) "In the world of fruit, berries, vines, flowers, herbs, grains, grasses, could be found all proper food for 'bodily ease and mental tranquillity.'

"Behold the enthusiast! classifying man's senses to be gratified at the table. All dishes must be beautifully prepared and disposed to woo and win the sense of sight; the assembled articles must give off odors harmoniously blended to delight and cultivate the sense of smell; and each substance must balance with every other in point of flavor, to meet the natural demands of taste; otherwise the entertainment is shorn of its virtue to bless and tranquillize the soul!...

"But lo, the fanatic in eating appears! Miserably hot with gluttonous debauchery. He has feasted upon a thousand deaths! Belshazzar's court fed on fish of every type, birds of every flight, brutes of every clime, and added thereto each finer luxury known in the catalogue of the temperate Epicurus....

"Behold the sceptics. A shivering group of acid ghouls at their scanty board.... Bread, milk, bran, turnips, onions, potatoes, apples, yield so much starch, so much sugar, so much nitrogen, so much nutriment! Enough! to live is the end of eating, not to be pleased and made better with objects, odors, flavors. Therefore welcome a few articles of food in violation of every fine sensibility. Stuff in and masticate the crudest forms of eatables,—bad-cooking, bad-looking, bad-smelling, bad-tasting, and worse-feeling,—down with them hastily,—and then, between your headaches and gastric spasms, pride yourself upon virtues and temperance not possessed by any student in the gastronomic school of Epicurus! Let it be perpetually remembered to the credit of this apostle of alimentation and vitativeness with temperance, that, in his religious system, eating was a 'sacramental' process, and not a physical indulgence merely, as the ignorant allege."

Bravo for the seer of Poughkeepsie! In the above extracts, quoted from his "Thinker," he has vindicated the much maligned Epicurus better than his disciples Lucretius and Gassendi have done, and by some mysterious process (he calls it psychometry) he seems to know more of the old Athenian, and to have a more intimate knowledge of his doctrines, than can be found in Brucker or Ritter.

When it is considered how our mental states may be modified by what we eat[Pg 270] and drink, the importance of good ingesta, both fluid and solid, becomes apparent. Among the good things which attached Charles Lamb to this present life was his love of the delicious juices of meats and fishes.

But these things are preliminary, although not impertinent to the main subject, which is Quincy Market. After having perambulated the principal markets of the other leading American cities, I must pronounce it facile princeps among New-World markets. A walk through it is equal to a dose of dandelion syrup in the way of exciting an appetite for one's dinner. Such a walk is tonic and medicinal, and should be prescribed to dyspeptic patients. To the hungry, penniless man such a walk is like the torture administered to the old Phrygian who blabbed to mortals the secrets of the celestial banquets. Autumn is the season in which to indulge in a promenade through Quincy Market, after the leaf has been nipped by the frost and crimson-tinted, when the morning air is cool and bracing. Then the stalls and precincts of the chief Boston market are a goodly spectacle. Athenæus himself, the classic historian of classic gluttons and classic bills of fare, could not but feel a glow at the sight of the good things here displayed, if he were alive. Quincy Market culminates at Thanksgiving time. It then attains to the zenith of good fare.

Cleanliness and spruceness are the rule among the Quincy Market men and stall-keepers. The matutinal display outside of apples, pears, onions, turnips, beets, carrots, egg-plants, cranberries, squashes, etc., is magnificent in the variety and richness of its hues. What a multitude of orchards, meadows, gardens, and fields have been laid under contribution to furnish this vegetable abundance! And here are their choicest products. The foodful Earth and the arch-chemic Sun, the great agriculturist and life-fountain, have done their best in concocting these Quincy Market culinary vegetables. They wear a healthful, resplendent look. Inside, what a goodly vista stretches away of fish, flesh, and fowl! From these white stalls the Tempter could have furnished forth the banquet the Miltonic description of which has been quoted.

Here is a stall of ripe, juicy mutton, perhaps from the county of St. Lawrence, in Northeastern New York. This is the most healthful and easily digested of all meats. Its juiciness and nutritiousness are visible in the trumpeter-like cheeks of the well-fed John Bull. The domestic Anglo-Saxon is a mutton-eater. Let his offshoots here and elsewhere follow suit. There is no such timber to repair the waste of the human frame. It is a fuel easily combustible in the visceral grate of the stomach. The mutton-eater is eupeptic. His dreams are airy and lightsome. Somnus descends smiling to his nocturnal pillow, and not clad in the portentous panoply of indigestion, which rivals a guilty conscience in its night visions. The mutton department of Quincy Market is all that it should be.

Next we come upon "fowl of game," wild ducks, pigeons, etc.—What has become of those shoals of pigeons, those herrings of the air, which used in the gloom and glory of a breezy autumnal day to darken the sun in their flight, like the discharge of the Xerxean arrows at Thermopylæ? The eye sweeps the autumnal sky in vain now for any such winged phenomenon, at least here in New England. The days of the bough-house and pigeon-stand strewn with barley seem to have gone by. Swift of flight and shapely in body is the North American wild pigeon, running upon the air fleeter than Anacreon's dove. He can lay any latitude under contribution in a few hours, flying incredible distances during the process of digestion. He is an ornament to the air, and the pot also.—Here might be a descendant of Bryant's waterfowl; but its journeyings along the pathless coast of the upper atmosphere are at an end.

"All flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds." The matter composing the vegetables and the lower animals[Pg 271] is promoted, as it were, by being eaten by man and incorporated into his body, which is a breathing house not made with hands built over the boundary-line of two worlds, the sensible and noumenal. "The human body is the highest chemical laboratory which matter can reach. In that body the highest qualities and richest emoluments are imparted to it, and it is indorsed with a divine superscription." It there becomes part and parcel of the eye, the organ of light and the throne of expression,—of the blood, which is so eloquent in cheek and brow,—of the nerves, the telegraph-wires of the soul,—of the persuasive tongue,—of the tear-drop, the dew of emotion, which only the human eye can shed,—of the glossy tresses of beauty, the nets of love.

The provision markets of a community are a good index of the grade of its civilization. Tell me what a nation eats, what is its diet, and I will tell you what is its literature, its religious belief, and so forth. Solid, practical John Bull is a mutton, beef, and pudding eater. He drinks strong ale or beer, and thinks beer. He drives fat oxen, and is himself fat. He is no idealist in philosophy. He hates generalization and abstract thought. He is for the real and concrete. Plain, unadorned Protestantism is most to the taste of the middle classes of Great Britain. Music, sculpture, and painting add not their charms to the Englishman's dull and respectable devotions. Cross the Channel and behold his whilom hereditary foeman, but now firm ally, the Frenchman! He is a dainty feeder and the most accomplished of cooks. He etherealizes ordinary fish, flesh, and fowl by his exquisite cuisine. He educates the palate to a daintiness whereof the gross-feeding John Bull never dreamed. He extracts the finest flavors and quintessential principles from flesh and vegetables. He drinks light and sparkling wines, the vintage of Champagne and Burgundy. Accordingly the Frenchman is lightsome and buoyant. He is a great theorist and classifier. He adheres to the ornate worship of the Mother Church when religiously disposed. His literature is perspicuous and clear. He is an admirable doctrinaire and generalizer,—witness Guizot and Montesquieu. He puts philosophy and science into a readable, comprehensible shape. The Teutonic diet of sauer-kraut, sausages, cheese, ham, etc., is indigestible, giving rise to a vaporous, cloudy cerebral state. German philosophy and mysticism are its natural outcome.

Baked beans, pumpkin pie, apple-sauce, onions, codfish, and Medford rum,—these were the staple items of the primitive New England larder; and they were an appropriate diet whereon to nourish the caucus-loving, inventive, acute, methodically fanatical Yankee. The bean, the most venerable and nutritious of lentils, was anciently used as a ballot or vote. Hence it symbolized in the old Greek democracies politics and a public career. Hence Pythagoras and his disciples, though they were vegetable-eaters, eschewed the bean as an article of diet, from its association with politics, demagogism, and ochlocracy. They preferred the life contemplative and the fallentis semita vitæ. Hence their utter detestation of beans, the symbols of noisy gatherings, of demagogues and party strife and every species of political trickery. The primitive Yankee, in view of his destiny as the founder of this caucus-loving nation and American democracy, seems to have been providentially guided in selecting beans for his most characteristic article of diet.

But to move on through the market. The butter and cheese stalls have their special attractions. The butyraceous gold in tubs and huge lumps displayed in these stalls looks as though it was precipitated from milk squeezed from Channel Island cows, those fawn-colored, fairest of dairy animals. In its present shape it is the herbage of a thousand clover-blooming meads and dewy hill-pastures in old Berkshire, in Vermont and Northern New York, transformed by the housewife's churn into edible gold. Not only butter and cheese are grass or of gramineous origin,[Pg 272] but all flesh is grass,—a physiological fact enunciated by Holy Writ and strictly true.

Porcine flesh is too abundant here. How the New-Englander, whose Puritan forefathers were almost Jews, and hardly got beyond the Old Testament in their Scriptural studies, has come to make pork so capital an article in his diet, is a mystery. Small-boned swine of the Chinese breed, which are kept in the temple sties of the Josses, and which are capable of an obeseness in which all form and feature are swallowed up and lost in fat, seem to be plenty in Quincy Market. They are hooked upright upon their haunches, in a sitting posture, against the posts of the stall. How many pots of Sabbath morning beans one of these porkers will lubricate!

Beef tongues are abundant here, and eloquent of good living. The mighty hind and fore quarters and ribs of the ox,

"With their red and yellow,
Lean and tallow,"

appeal to the good-liver on all sides. They seem to be the staple flesh of the stalls.

But let us move on to the stalls frequented by the ichthyophagi. Homer calls the sea the barren, the harvestless! Our Cape Ann fishermen do not find it so.

"The sounds and seas, with all their finny droves,
That to the Moon in wavering morrice move,"

are as foodful as the most fertile parts of terra firma. Here lie the blue, delicate mackerel in heaps, and piles of white perch from the South Shore, cod, haddock, eels, lobsters, huge segments of swordfish, and the flesh of various other voiceless tenants of the deep, both finned and shell-clad. The codfish, the symbol of Puritan aristocracy, as the grasshopper was of the ancient Athenians, seems to predominate. Our frutti di mare, in the shape of oysters, clams, and other mollusks, are the delight of all true gastronomers. What vegetable, or land animal, is so nutritious? Here are some silvery shad from the Penobscot, or Kennebec, or Merrimac, or Connecticut. The dams of our great manufacturing corporations are sadly interfering with the annual movements of these luscious and beautiful fish. Lake Winnipiseogee no longer receives these ocean visitors into its clear, mountain-mirroring waters. The greedy pike is also here, from inland pond and lake, and the beautiful trout from the quick mountain brook, "with his waved coat dropped with gold." Who eats the trout partakes of pure diet. He loves the silver-sanded stream, and silent pools, and eddies of limpid water. In fact, all fish, from sea or shore, freshet or purling brook, of shell or fin, are here, on clean marble slabs, fresh and hard. Ours is the latitude of the fish-eater. The British marine provinces, north of us, and Norway in the Old World, are his paradise.

Man is a universal eater.

"He cannot spare water or wine,
Tobacco-leaf, or poppy, or rose,
From the earth-poles to the line,
All between that works and grows.
* * * * * *
Give him agates for his meat;
Give him cantharids to eat;
From air and ocean bring him foods,
From all zones and altitudes;—
From all natures sharp and slimy,
Salt and basalt, wild and tame;
Tree and lichen, ape, sea-lion,
Bird and reptile, be his game."

Quincy Market sticks to the cloven hoof, I am happy to say, notwithstanding the favorable verdict of the French savans on the flavor and nutritious properties of horse-flesh. The femurs and tibias of frogs are not visible here. At this point I will quote in extenso from Wilkinson's chapter on Assimilation and its Organs.

"In this late age, the human home has one universal season and one universal climate. The produce of every zone and month is for the board where toil is compensated and industry refreshed. For man alone, the universal animal, can wield the powers of fire, the universal element, whereby seasons, latitudes, and altitudes are levelled into one genial temperature. Man alone, that is to say, the social man alone, can want and duly conceive and invent that which[Pg 273] is digestion going forth into nature as a creative art, namely, cookery, which by recondite processes of division and combination,—by cunning varieties of shape,—by the insinuation of subtle flavors,—by tincturings with precious spice, as with vegetable flames,—by fluids extracted, and added again, absorbed, dissolving, and surrounding,—by the discovery and cementing of new amities between different substances, provinces, and kingdoms of nature,—by the old truth of wine and the reasonable order of service,—in short, by the superior unity which it produces in the eatable world,—also by a new birth of feelings, properly termed convivial, which run between food and friendship, and make eating festive,—all through the conjunction of our Promethean with our culinary fire raises up new powers and species of food to the human frame, and indeed performs by machinery a part of the work of assimilation, enriching the sense of taste with a world of profound objects, and making it the refined participator, percipient, and stimulus of the most exquisite operations of digestion. Man, then, as the universal eater, enters from his own faculties into the natural viands, and gives them a social form, and thereby a thousand new aromas, answering to as many possible tastes in his wonderful constitution, and therefore his food is as different from that of animals in quality as it is plainly different in quantity and resource. How wise should not reason become, in order to our making a wise use of so vast an apparatus of nutrition!...

"There is nothing more general in life than the digestive apparatus, because matter is the largest, if not the greatest, fact in the material universe. Every creature which is here must be made of something, and be maintained by something, or must be landlord of itself.... The planetary dinner-table has its various latitudes and longitudes, and plant and animal and mineral and wine are grown around it, and set upon it, according to the map of taste in the spherical appetite of our race.... Hunger is the child of cold and night, and comes upwards from the all-swallowing ground; but thirst descends from above, and is born of the solar rays.... Hunger and thirst are strong terms, and the things themselves are too feverish provocations for civilized man. They are incompatible with the sense of taste in its epicureanism, and their gratification is of a very bodily order. The savage man, like a boa-constrictor, would swallow his animals whole, if his gullet would let him. This is to cheat the taste with unmanageable objects, as though we should give an estate to a child. On the other hand, civilization, house-building, warm apartments and kitchen fires, well-stored larders, and especially exemption from rude toil, abolish these extreme caricatures; and keeping appetite down to a middling level by the rote of meals, and thus taking away the incentives to ravenous haste, they allow the mind to tutor and variegate the tongue, and to substitute the harmonies and melodies of deliberate gustation for such unseemly bolting. Under this direction, hunger becomes polite; a long-drawn, many-colored taste; the tongue, like a skilful instrument, holds its notes; and thirst, redeemed from drowning, rises from the throat to the tongue and lips, and, full of discrimination, becomes the gladdening love of all delicious flavors.... In the stomach, judging by what there is done, what a scene we are about to enter! What a palatial kitchen and more than monasterial refectory! The sipping of aromatic nectar, the brief and elegant repast of that Apicius, the tongue, are supplanted at this lower board by eating and drinking in downright earnest. What a variety of solvents, sauces, and condiments, both springing up at call from the blood, and raining down from the mouth into the natural patines of the meats! What a quenching of desires, what an end and goal of the world is here! No wonder; for the stomach sits for four or five assiduous hours at the same meal that the dainty tongue will despatch in a twentieth portion of the time. For the stomach is bound to supply the extended body, while the tongue wafts[Pg 274] only fairy gifts to the close and spiritual brain."

So far Wilkinson, the Milton of physiologists.

But lest these lucubrations should seem to be those of a mere glutton and gastrolater,—of one like the gourmand of old time, who longed for the neck of an ostrich or crane that the pleasure of swallowing dainty morsels might be as protracted as possible,—let me assume a vegetable, Pythagorean standpoint, and thence survey this accumulation of creature comforts, that is, that portion of them which consists of dead flesh. The vegetables and the fruits, the blazonry of autumn, are of course ignored from this point of view. Thus beheld, Quincy Market presents a spectacle that excites disgust and loathing, and exemplifies the fallen, depraved, and sophisticated state of human nature and human society. In those juicy quarters and surloins of beef and those fat porcine carcasses the vegetable-eater, Grahamite or Brahmin, sees nothing but the cause of beastly appetites, scrofula, apoplexy, corpulence, cheeks flushed with ungovernable propensities, tendencies downward toward the plane of the lower animals, bloodshot eyes, swollen veins, impure blood, violent passions, fetid breath, stertorous respiration, sudden death,—in fact, disease and brutishness of all sorts. A Brahmin traversing this goodly market would regard it as a vast charnel, a loathsome receptacle of dead flesh on its way to putrescence. His gorge would rise in rebellion at the sight. To the Brahmin, the lower animal kingdom is a vast masquerade of transmigratory souls. If he should devour a goose or turkey or hen, or a part of a bullock or sheep or goat, he might, according to his creed, be eating the temporary organism of his grandmother. The poet Pope wrote in the true Brahminical spirit, when he said,—"Nothing can be more shocking and horrid than one of our kitchens sprinkled with blood, and abounding with cries of creatures expiring, or with the limbs of dead animals scattered or hung up there. It gives one an image of a giant's den in romance, bestrewed with the scattered heads and mangled limbs of those who were slain by his cruelty." Think of the porcine shambles of Cincinnati, with their swift-handed swine-slayers!

"What loud lament and dismal miserere,"

ear-deafening and horrible, must issue from them. How can a Jew reside in that porkopolitan municipality? The brutishness of the Bowery butchers is proverbial. A late number of Leslie's Pictorial represents a Bowery butcher's wagon crowded with sheep and calves so densely that their heads are protruded against the wheels, which revolve with the utmost speed, the brutal driver urging his horse furiously.

The first advocate of a purely vegetable diet was Pythagoras, the Samian philosopher. His discourse delivered at Crotona, a city of Magna Græcia, is ably reported for posterity by the poet Ovid. From what materials he made up his report, it is impossible now to say. Pythagoras says that flesh-eaters make their stomachs the sepulchres of the lower animals, the cemeteries of beasts. About thirty years ago there was a vegetable diet movement hereabouts, which created some excitement at the time. Its adherents were variously denominated as Grahamites, and, from the fact of their using bread made of unbolted wheat-meal, bran-eaters. There was little of muscular Christianity in them. They were a pale, harmless set of valetudinarians, who were, like all weakly persons, morbidly alive to their own bodily states, and principally employed in experimenting on the effects of various insipid articles of diet. Tea and coffee were tabooed by these people. Ale and wine were abominations in their Index Expurgatorius of forbidden ingesta. The presence of a boiled egg on their breakfast-tables would cause some of the more sensitive of these New England Brahmins to betake themselves to their beds for the rest of the day. They kept themselves in a semi-famished state on principle. One of the most liberal and latitudinarian of the sect wrote, in 1835,—"For two[Pg 275] years past I have abstained from the use of all the diffusible stimulants, using no animal food, either flesh, fish, or fowl, nor any alcoholic or vinous spirits, no form of ale, beer, or porter, no cider, tea, or coffee; but using milk and water as my only liquid aliment, and feeding sparingly, or rather moderately, upon farinaceous food, vegetables, and fruit, seasoned with unmelted butter, slightly boiled eggs, and sugar and molasses, with no condiment but common salt."

These ultra-temperance dietetical philosophers never flourished greatly. They were too languid and too little enthusiastic to propagate their rules of living and make converts. In a country where meat is within reach of all, a vegetable dietary is not popular. Doubtless a less frequent use of fleshly food would be greatly to our advantage as a people. But utter abstinence is out of the question. A vegetable diet, however, has great authorities in its favor, both ancient and modern. Plautus, Plutarch, Porphyry of Tyre, Lord Bacon, Sir William Temple, Cicero, Cyrus the Great, Pope, Newton, and Shelley have all left their testimony in favor of it and of simplicity of living. Poor Shelley, who in his abstract moods forgot even to take vegetable sustenance for days together, makes a furious onslaught upon flesh-eating in his Notes to "Queen Mab." The notes, as well as the poem, are crude productions, the outgivings of a boy; but that boy was Shelley. It was said that he was traceable, in his lonely wanderings in secluded places in Italy, by the crumbs of bread which he let fall. Speculative thinkers have generally been light feeders, eschewing stimulants, both solid and liquid, and preferring mild food and water for drink. Those who lead an interior life sedentary and contemplative need not gross pabulum, but would find their inward joy at the contemplation and discovery of truth seriously qualified and deadened by it. Spare fast is the companion of the ecstatic moods of a high truth-seeker such as Newton, Malebranche, etc. Immanuel Kant was almost the only profound speculative thinker who was decidedly convivial, and given to gulosity, at least at his dinner. Asceticism ordinarily reigns in the cloister and student's bower. The Oxford scholar long ago, as described by Chaucer, was adust and thin.

"As lene was his hors as is a rake,
And he was not right fat, I undertake."

The ancient anchorets of the East, the children of St. Anthony, were a long-lived sect, rivalling the many-wintered crow in longevity. Yet their lives were vapid monotonies, only long in months and years. They were devoid of vivid sensations, and vegetated merely. Milk-eaters were, in the days of Homer, the longest-lived of men.

Without the ministry of culinary fire, man could not gratify his carnivorous propensities. He would be obliged to content himself with a vegetable diet; for, according to the comparative anatomists, man is not structurally a flesh-eater. At any rate he is not fanged or clawed. His teeth and nails are not like the natural cutlery found in the mouths and paws of beasts of prey. He cannot eat raw flesh. Digger Indians are left to do that when the meat is putrescent. Prometheus was the inventor of roast and boiled beef, and of cookery generally, and therefore the destroyer of the original simplicity of living which characterized primitive man, when milk and fruits cooked by the sun, and acorns, were the standing repasts of unsophisticated humanity. Per contra, Horace makes man, in his mast-eating days, a poor creature.

"Forth from the earth when human kind
First crept, a dull and brutish herd, with nails
And fists they fought for dens wherein to couch, and acorns."

Don Quixote, however, in his eloquent harangue to the shepherds in the Sierra Morena, took a different view of man during the acorn period. He saw in it the golden age.

There are vast rice-eating populations in China and India, who are a low grade of men, morally and physically. Exceptional cases of longevity, like those of old Parr, Jenkins, Francisco,[Pg 276] Pratt, and Farnham, are often-times adduced as the results of abstemiousness and frugality of living. These exceptional cases prove nothing whatever. These individuals happened to reach an almost antediluvian longevity, thanks to their inherited vitality and their listless, uneventful, monotonous lives. Their hearts beat a dull funeral march through four or five generations, and finally stopped. But the longevity of such mighty thinkers and superb men as Humboldt and Goethe is glorious to contemplate. They were never old, but were vernal in spirit to the last, and, for aught that appears to the contrary, generous livers, not "acid ghouls" or bran-eating valetudinarians. Shakespeare died at fifty-one, but great thinkers and poets have generally been long-lived. "Better fifty years of Europe" or America "than a cycle of" rice-eating "Cathay."

The value of the animals slaughtered in this country in 1860 was, in round numbers, $212,000,000, a sum to make the vegetable feeder stare and gasp. How many thousands and tens of thousands of acres of herbage, which could not be directly available for human consumption as food, had these slaughtered animals incorporated into their frames, and rendered edible for man! "The most fertile districts of the habitable globe," says Shelley, "are now actually cultivated by men for animals, at a delay and waste of aliment absolutely incalculable." On the contrary, the close-feeding sheep and the cow and ox utilize for man millions of acres of vegetation which would otherwise be useless. The domestic animals which everywhere accompany civilized man were a part of them intended as machines to convert herbage into milk and flesh for man's sustenance. The tame villatic fowl scratches and picks with might and main, converting a thousand refuse things into dainty human food. A vegetable diet is out of the question for the blubber-eating Esquimaux and Greenlander, even if it would keep the flame of life burning in their Polar latitudes.

The better and more nutritious the diet, the better the health. It is to the improved garden vegetables and domestic animals that man will hereafter owe the superior health and personal comeliness which he will undoubtedly enjoy as our planet becomes more and more humanized, and man asserts his proper lordship over Nature. This matter of vegetable and animal food is dictated by climate. In the temperate zone they go well mixed. In the tropics man is naturally a Pythagorean, but he is not so strong, or so healthy, or moral, or intellectual, as the flesh-eating nations of northern latitudes.




As the Freedman relates only events which came under his own observation, it is necessary to preface the remaining portion of his narrative with a brief account of the Christiana riot. This I extract mainly from a statement made at the time by a member of the Philadelphia bar, making only a few alterations to give the account greater clearness and brevity.

On the 9th of September, 1851, Mr. Edward Gorsuch, a citizen of Maryland, residing near Baltimore, appeared before[Pg 277] Edward D. Ingraham, Esquire, United States Commissioner at Philadelphia, and asked for warrants under the act of Congress of September 18, 1850, for the arrest of four of his slaves, whom he had heard were secreted somewhere in Lancaster County. Warrants were issued forthwith, directed to H. H. Kline, a deputy United States Marshal, authorizing him to arrest George Hammond, Joshua Hammond, Nelson Ford, and Noah Buley, persons held to service or labor in the State of Maryland, and to bring them before the said Commissioner.

Mr. Gorsuch then made arrangements with John Agin and Thompson Tully, residents of Philadelphia, and police officers, to assist Kline in making the arrests. They were to meet Mr. Gorsuch and some companions at Penningtonville, a small place on the State Railroad, about fifty miles from Philadelphia. Kline, with the warrants, left Philadelphia on the same day, about 2 p.m., for West Chester. There he hired a conveyance and rode to Gallagherville, where he hired another conveyance to take him to Penningtonville. Before he had driven very far, the carriage breaking down, he returned to Gallagherville, procured another, and started again. Owing to this detention, he was prevented from meeting Mr. Gorsuch and his friends at the appointed time, and when he reached Penningtonville, about 2 a.m. on the 10th of September, they had gone.

On entering the tavern, the place of rendezvous, he saw a colored man whom he recognized as Samuel Williams, a resident of Philadelphia. To put Williams off his guard, Kline asked the landlord some questions about horse thieves. Williams remarked that he had seen the "horse thieves," and told Kline he had come too late.

Kline then drove on to a place called the Gap. Seeing a person he believed to be Williams following him, he stopped at several taverns along the road and made inquiries about horse thieves. He reached the Gap about 3 a.m., put up his horses, and went to bed. At half past four he rose, ate breakfast, and rode to Parkesburg, about forty-five miles from Philadelphia, and on the same railroad. Here he found Agin and Tully asleep in the bar-room. He awoke Agin, called him aside, and inquired for Mr. Gorsuch and his party. He was told they had gone to Sadsbury, a small place on the turnpike, four or five miles from Parkesburg.

On going there, he found them, about 9 a.m. on the 10th of September. Kline told them he had seen Agin and Tully, who had determined to return to Philadelphia, and proposed that the whole party should return to Gallagherville. Mr. Gorsuch, however, determined to go to Parkesburg instead, to see Agin and Tully, and attempt to persuade them not to return. The rest of the party were to go to Gallagherville, while Kline returned to Downingtown, to see Agin and Tully, should Mr. Gorsuch fail to meet them at Parkesburg. He left Gallagherville about 11 a.m., and met Agin and Tully at Downingtown. Agin said he had seen Mr. Gorsuch, but refused to go back. He promised, however, to return from Philadelphia in the evening cars. Kline returned to Downingtown, and then met all the party except Mr. Edward Gorsuch, who had remained behind to make the necessary arrangements for procuring a guide to the houses where he had been informed his negroes were to be found.

About 3 p.m., Mr. Edward Gorsuch joined them at Gallagherville, and at 11 p.m. on the night of the 10th of September they all went in the cars to Downingtown, where they waited for the evening train from Philadelphia.

When it arrived, neither Agin nor Tully was to be seen. The rest of the party went on to the Gap, which they reached about half past one on the morning of the 11th of September. They then continued their journey on foot towards Christiana, where Parker was residing, and where the slaves of Mr. Gorsuch were supposed to be living. The party then consisted of Kline, Edward Gorsuch, Dickinson Gorsuch, his son, Joshua M. Gorsuch, his nephew,[Pg 278] Dr. Thomas Pierce, Nicholas T. Hutchings, and Nathan Nelson.

After they had proceeded about a mile they met a man who was represented to be a guide. He is said to have been disguised in such a way that none of the party could recognize him, and his name is not mentioned in any proceedings. It is probable that he was employed by Mr. Edward Gorsuch, and one condition of his services may have been that he should be allowed to use every possible means of concealing his face and name from the rest of the party. Under his conduct, the party went on, and soon reached a house in which they were told one of the slaves was to be found. Mr. Gorsuch wished to send part of the company after him, but Kline was unwilling to divide their strength, and they walked on, intending to return that way after making the other arrests.

The guide led them by a circuitous route, until they reached the Valley Road, near the house of William Parker, the writer of the annexed narrative, which was their point of destination. They halted in a lane near by, ate some crackers and cheese, examined the condition of their fire-arms, and consulted upon the plan of attack. A short walk brought them to the orchard in front of Parker's house, which the guide pointed out and left them. He had no desire to remain and witness the result of his false information. His disguise and desertion of his employer are strong circumstances in proof of the fact that he knew he was misleading the party. On the trial of Hanway, it was proved by the defence that Nelson Ford, one of the fugitives, was not on the ground until after the sun was up. Joshua Hammond had lived in the vicinity up to the time that a man by the name of Williams had been kidnapped, when he and several others departed, and had not since been heard from. Of the other two, one at least, if the evidence for the prosecution is to be relied upon, was in the house at which the party first halted, so that there could not have been more than one of Mr. Gorsuch's slaves in Parker's house, and of this there is no positive testimony.

It was not yet daybreak when the party approached the house. They made demand for the slaves, and threatened to burn the house and shoot the occupants, if they would not surrender. At this time, the number of besiegers seems to have been increased, and as many as fifteen are said to have been near the house. About daybreak, when they were advancing a second or third time, they saw a negro coming out, whom Mr. Gorsuch thought he recognized as one of his slaves. Kline pursued him with a revolver in his hand, and stumbled over the bars near the house. Some of the company came up before Kline, and found the door open. They entered, and Kline, following, called for the owner, ordered all to come down, and said he had two warrants for the arrest of Nelson Ford and Joshua Hammond. He was answered that there were no such men in the house. Kline, followed by Mr. Gorsuch, attempted to go up stairs. They were prevented from ascending by what appears to have been an ordinary fish gig. Some of the witnesses described it as "like a pitchfork with blunt prongs," and others were at a loss what to call this, the first weapon used in the contest. An axe was next thrown down, but hit no one.

Mr. Gorsuch and others then went outside to talk with the negroes at the window. Just at this time Kline fired his pistol up stairs. The warrants were then read outside the house, and demand made upon the landlord. No answer was heard. After a short interview, Kline proposed to withdraw his men, but Mr. Gorsuch refused, and said he would not leave the ground until he made the arrests. Kline then in a loud voice ordered some one to go to the sheriff and bring a hundred men, thinking, as he afterwards said, this would intimidate them. The threat appears to have had some effect, for the negroes asked time to consider. The party outside agreed to give fifteen minutes.

While these scenes were passing at[Pg 279] the house, occurrences transpired elsewhere that are worthy of attention, but which cannot be understood without a short statement of previous events.

In the month of September, 1850, a colored man, known in the neighborhood around Christiana to be free, was seized and carried away by men known to be professional kidnappers, and had not been seen by his family since. In March, 1851, in the same neighborhood, under the roof of his employer, during the night, another colored man was tied, gagged, and carried away, marking the road along which he was dragged with his blood. No authority for this outrage was ever shown, and the man was never heard from. These and many other acts of a similar kind had so alarmed the neighborhood, that the very name of kidnapper was sufficient to create a panic. The blacks feared for their own safety; and the whites, knowing their feelings, were apprehensive that any attempt to repeat these outrages would be the cause of bloodshed. Many good citizens were determined to do all in their power to prevent these lawless depredations, though they were ready to submit to any measures sanctioned by legal process. They regretted the existence among them of a body of people liable to such violence; but without combination had, each for himself, resolved that they would do everything dictated by humanity to resist barbarous oppression.

On the morning in question, a colored man living in the neighborhood, who was passing Parker's house at an early hour, saw the yard full of men. He halted, and was met by a man who presented a pistol at him, and ordered him to leave the place. He went away and hastened to a store kept by Elijah Lewis, which, like all places of that kind, was probably the head-quarters of news in the neighborhood. Mr. Lewis was in the act of opening his store when this man told him that "Parker's house was surrounded by kidnappers, who had broken into the house, and were trying to get him away." Lewis, not questioning the truth of the statement, repaired immediately to the place. On the way he passed the house of Castner Hanway, and, telling him what he had heard, asked him to go over to Parker's. Hanway was in feeble health and unable to undergo the fatigue of walking that distance; but he saddled his horse, and reached Parker's during the armistice.

Having no reason to believe he was acting under legal authority, when Kline approached and demanded assistance in making the arrests, Hanway made no answer. Kline then handed him the warrants, which Hanway examined, saw they appeared genuine, and returned.

At this time, several colored men, who no doubt had heard the report that kidnappers were about, came up, armed with such weapons as they could suddenly lay hands upon. How many were on the ground during the affray it is now impossible to determine. The witnesses on both sides vary materially in their estimate. Some said they saw a dozen or fifteen; some, thirty or forty; and others maintained, as many as two or three hundred. It is known there were not two hundred colored men within eight miles of Parker's house, nor half that number within four miles; and it would have been almost impossible to get together even thirty at an hour's notice. It is probable there were about twenty-five, all told, at or near the house from the beginning of the affray until all was quiet again. These the fears of those who afterwards testified to larger numbers might easily have magnified to fifty or a hundred.

While Kline and Hanway were in conversation, Elijah Lewis came up. Hanway said to him, "Here is the Marshal." Lewis asked to see his authority, and Kline handed him one of the warrants. When he saw the signature of the United States Commissioner, "he took it for granted that Kline had authority." Kline then ordered Hanway and Lewis to assist in arresting the alleged fugitives. Hanway refused[Pg 280] to have anything to do with it. The negroes around these three men seeming disposed to make an attack, Hanway "motioned to them and urged them back." He then "advised Kline that it would be dangerous to attempt making arrests, and that they had better leave." Kline, after saying he would hold them accountable for the fugitives, promised to leave, and beckoned two or three times to his men to retire.

The negroes then rushed up, some armed with guns, some with corn-cutters, staves, or clubs, others with stones or whatever weapon chance offered. Hanway and Lewis in vain endeavored to restrain them.

Kline leaped the fence, passed through the standing grain in the field, and for a few moments was out of sight. Mr. Gorsuch refused to leave the spot, saying his "property was there, and he would have it or perish in the attempt." The rest of his party endeavored to retreat when they heard the Marshal calling to them, but they were too late; the negroes rushed up, and the firing began. How many times each party fired, it is impossible to tell. For a few moments everything was confusion, and each attempted to save himself. Nathan Nelson went down the short land, thence into the woods and towards Penningtonville. Nicholas Hutchings, by direction of Kline, followed Lewis to see where he went. Thomas Pierce and Joshua Gorsuch went down the long lane, pursued by some of the negroes, caught up with Hanway, and, shielding themselves behind his horse, followed him to a stream of water near by. Dickinson Gorsuch was with his father near the house. They were both wounded; the father mortally. Dickinson escaped down the lane, where he was met by Kline, who had returned from the woods at the end of the field. Kline rendered him assistance, and went towards Penningtonville for a physician. On his way he met Joshua M. Gorsuch, who was also wounded and delirious. Kline led him over to Penningtonville and placed him on the upward train from Philadelphia. Before this time several persons living in the neighborhood had arrived at Parker's house. Lewis Cooper found Dickinson Gorsuch in the place where Kline had left him, attended by Joseph Scarlett. He placed him in his dearborn, and carried him to the house of Levi Pownall, where he remained till he had sufficiently recovered to return home. Mr. Cooper then returned to Parker's, placed the body of Mr. Edward Gorsuch in the same dearborn, and carried it to Christiana. Neither Nelson nor Hutchings rejoined their party, but during the day went by the railroad to Lancaster.

Thus ended an occurrence which was the theme of conversation throughout the land. Not more than two hours elapsed from the time demand was first made at Parker's house until the dead body of Edward Gorsuch was carried to Christiana. In that brief time the blood of strangers had been spilled in a sudden affray, an unfortunate man had been killed, and two others badly wounded.

When rumor spread abroad the result of the affray, the neighborhood was appalled. The inhabitants of the farm-houses and the villages around, unused to such scenes, could not at first believe that it had occurred in their midst. Before midday, exaggerated accounts had reached Philadelphia, and were transmitted by telegraph throughout the country.

Many persons were arrested for participation in the riot; and, after a long imprisonment, were arraigned for trial, on the charge of treason, before Judges Grier and Kane, of the United States Court, sitting at Philadelphia.

Every one knows the result. The prisoners were all acquitted; and the country was aroused to the danger of a law which allowed bad men to incarcerate peaceful citizens for months in prison, and put them in peril of their lives, for refusing to aid in entrapping, and sending back to hopeless slavery, men struggling for the very same freedom we value as the best part of our birthright.

The Freedman's narrative is now resumed.[Pg 281]

A short time after the events narrated in the preceding number, it was whispered about that the slaveholders intended to make an attack on my house; but, as I had often been threatened, I gave the report little attention. About the same time, however, two letters were found thrown carelessly about, as if to attract notice. These letters stated that kidnappers would be at my house on a certain night, and warned me to be on my guard. Still I did not let the matter trouble me. But it was no idle rumor. The bloodhounds were upon my track.

I was not at this time aware that in the city of Philadelphia there was a band of devoted, determined men,—few in number, but strong in purpose,—who were fully resolved to leave no means untried to thwart the barbarous and inhuman monsters who crawled in the gloom of midnight, like the ferocious tiger, and, stealthily springing on their unsuspecting victims, seized, bound, and hurled them into the ever open jaws of Slavery. Under the pretext of enforcing the Fugitive Slave Law, the slaveholders did not hesitate to violate all other laws made for the good government and protection of society, and converted the old State of Pennsylvania, so long the hope of the fleeing bondman, wearied and heartbroken, into a common hunting-ground for their human prey. But this little band of true patriots in Philadelphia united for the purpose of standing between the pursuer and the pursued, the kidnapper and his victim, and, regardless of all personal considerations, were ever on the alert, ready to sound the alarm to save their fellows from a fate far more to be dreaded than death. In this they had frequently succeeded, and many times had turned the hunter home bootless of his prey. They began their operations at the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, and had thoroughly examined all matters connected with it, and were perfectly cognizant of the plans adopted to carry out its provisions in Pennsylvania, and, through a correspondence with reliable persons in various sections of the South, were enabled to know these hunters of men, their agents, spies, tools, and betrayers. They knew who performed this work in Richmond, Alexandria, Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Harrisburg, those principal depots of villany, where organized bands prowled about at all times, ready to entrap the unwary fugitive.

They also discovered that this nefarious business was conducted mainly through one channel; for, spite of man's inclination to vice and crime, there are but few men, thank God, so low in the scale of humanity as to be willing to degrade themselves by doing the dirty work of four-legged bloodhounds. Yet such men, actuated by the love of gold and their own base and brutal natures, were found ready for the work. These fellows consorted with constables, police-officers, aldermen, and even with learned members of the legal profession, who disgraced their respectable calling by low, contemptible arts, and were willing to clasp hands with the lowest ruffian in order to pocket the reward that was the price of blood. Every facility was offered these bad men; and whether it was night or day, it was only necessary to whisper in a certain circle that a negro was to be caught, and horses and wagons, men and officers, spies and betrayers, were ready, at the shortest notice, armed and equipped, and eager for the chase.

Thus matters stood in Philadelphia on the 9th of September, 1851, when Mr. Gorsuch and his gang of Maryland kidnappers arrived there. Their presence was soon known to the little band of true men who were called "The Special Secret Committee." They had agents faithful and true as steel; and through these agents the whereabouts and business of Gorsuch and his minions were soon discovered. They were noticed in close converse with a certain member of the Philadelphia bar, who had lost the little reputation he ever had by continual dabbling in negro-catching, as well as by association with and support of the notorious Henry H.[Pg 282] Kline, a professional kidnapper of the basest stamp. Having determined as to the character and object of these Marylanders, there remained to ascertain the spot selected for their deadly spring; and this required no small degree of shrewdness, resolution, and tact.

Some one's liberty was imperilled; the hunters were abroad; the time was short, and the risk imminent. The little band bent themselves to the task they were pledged to perform with zeal and devotion; and success attended their efforts. They knew that one false step would jeopardize their own liberty, and very likely their lives, and utterly destroy every prospect of carrying out their objects. They knew, too, that they were matched against the most desperate, daring, and brutal men in the kidnappers' ranks,—men who, to obtain the proffered reward, would rush willingly into any enterprise, regardless alike of its character or its consequences. That this was the deepest, the most thoroughly organized and best-planned project for man-catching that had been concocted since the infamous Fugitive Slave Law had gone into operation, they also knew; and consequently this nest of hornets was approached with great care. But by walking directly into their camp, watching their plans as they were developed, and secretly testing every inch of ground on which they trod, they discovered enough to counterplot these plotters, and to spring upon them a mine which shook the whole country, and put an end to man-stealing in Pennsylvania forever.

The trusty agent of this Special Committee, Mr. Samuel Williams, of Philadelphia,—a man true and faithful to his race, and courageous in the highest degree,—came to Christiana, travelling most of the way in company with the very men whom Gorsuch had employed to drag into slavery four as good men as ever trod the earth. These Philadelphia roughs, with their Maryland associates, little dreamed that the man who sat by their side carried with him their inglorious defeat, and the death-warrant of at least one of their party. Williams listened to their conversation, and marked well their faces, and, being fully satisfied by their awkward movements that they were heavily armed, managed to slip out of the cars at the village of Downington unobserved, and proceeded to Penningtonville, where he encountered Kline, who had started several hours in advance of the others. Kline was terribly frightened, as he knew Williams, and felt that his presence was an omen of ill to his base designs. He spoke of horse thieves; but Williams replied,—"I know the kind of horse thieves you are after. They are all gone; and you had better not go after them."

Kline immediately jumped into his wagon, and rode away, whilst Williams crossed the country, and arrived at Christiana in advance of him.

The manner in which information of Gorsuch's designs was obtained will probably ever remain a secret; and I doubt if any one outside of the little band who so masterly managed the affair knows anything of it. This was wise; and I would to God other friends had acted thus. Mr. Williams's trip to Christiana, and the many incidents connected therewith, will be found in the account of his trial; for he was subsequently arrested and thrown into the cold cells of a loathsome jail for this good act of simple Christian duty; but, resolute to the last, he publicly stated that he had been to Christiana, and, to use his own words, "I done it, and will do it again." Brave man, receive my thanks!

Of the Special Committee I can only say that they proved themselves men; and through the darkest hours of the trials that followed, they were found faithful to their trust, never for one moment deserting those who were compelled to suffer. Many, many innocent men residing in the vicinity of Christiana, the ground where the first battle was fought for liberty in Pennsylvania, were seized, torn from their families, and, like Williams, thrown into prison for long, weary months, to be tried for their lives. By them this Committee[Pg 283] stood, giving them every consolation and comfort, furnishing them with clothes, and attending to their wants, giving money to themselves and families, and procuring for them the best legal counsel. This I know, and much more of which it is not wise, even now, to speak: 't is enough to say they were friends when and where it cost something to be friends, and true brothers where brothers were needed.

After this lengthy digression, I will return, and speak of the riot and the events immediately preceding it.

The information brought by Mr. Williams spread through the vicinity like a fire in the prairies; and when I went home from my work in the evening, I found Pinckney (whom I should have said before was my brother-in-law), Abraham Johnson, Samuel Thompson, and Joshua Kite at my house, all of them excited about the rumor. I laughed at them, and said it was all talk. This was the 10th of September, 1851. They stopped for the night with us, and we went to bed as usual. Before daylight, Joshua Kite rose, and started for his home. Directly, he ran back to the house, burst open the door, crying, "O William! kidnappers! kidnappers!"

He said that, when he was just beyond the yard, two men crossed before him, as if to stop him, and others came up on either side. As he said this, they had reached the door. Joshua ran up stairs, (we slept up stairs,) and they followed him; but I met them at the landing, and asked, "Who are you?"

The leader, Kline, replied, "I am the United States Marshal."

I then told him to take another step, and I would break his neck.

He again said, "I am the United States Marshal."

I told him I did not care for him nor the United States. At that he turned and went down stairs.

Pinckney said, as he turned to go down,—"Where is the use in fighting? They will take us."

Kline heard him, and said, "Yes, give up, for we can and will take you anyhow."

I told them all not to be afraid, nor to give up to any slaveholder, but to fight until death.

"Yes," said Kline, "I have heard many a negro talk as big as you, and then have taken him; and I'll take you."

"You have not taken me yet," I replied; "and if you undertake it you will have your name recorded in history for this day's work."

Mr. Gorsuch then spoke, and said,—"Come, Mr. Kline, let's go up stairs and take them. We can take them. Come, follow me. I'll go up and get my property. What's in the way? The law is in my favor, and the people are in my favor."

At that he began to ascend the stair; but I said to him,—"See here, old man, you can come up, but you can't go down again. Once up here, you are mine."

Kline then said,—"Stop, Mr. Gorsuch. I will read the warrant, and then, I think, they will give up."

He then read the warrant, and said,—"Now, you see, we are commanded to take you, dead or alive; so you may as well give up at once."

"Go up, Mr. Kline," then said Gorsuch, "you are the Marshal."

Kline started, and when a little way up said, "I am coming."

I said, "Well, come on."

But he was too cowardly to show his face. He went down again and said,—"You had better give up without any more fuss, for we are bound to take you anyhow. I told you before that I was the United States Marshal, yet you will not give up. I'll not trouble the slaves. I will take you and make you pay for all."

"Well," I answered, "take me and make me pay for all. I'll pay for all."

Mr. Gorsuch then said, "You have my property."

To which I replied,—"Go in the room down there, and see if there is anything there belonging to you. There are beds and a bureau, chairs, and other things. Then go out to the barn; there you will find a cow and some hogs. See if any of them are yours."

He said,—"They are not mine; I[Pg 284] want my men. They are here, and I am bound to have them."

Thus we parleyed for a time, all because of the pusillanimity of the Marshal, when he, at last, said,—"I am tired waiting on you; I see you are not going to give up. Go to the barn and fetch some straw," said he to one of his men, "I will set the house on fire, and burn them up."

"Burn us up and welcome," said I. "None but a coward would say the like. You can burn us, but you can't take us; before I give up, you will see my ashes scattered on the earth."

By this time day had begun to dawn; and then my wife came to me and asked if she should blow the horn, to bring friends to our assistance. I assented, and she went to the garret for the purpose. When the horn sounded from the garret window, one of the ruffians asked the others what it meant; and Kline said to me, "What do you mean by blowing that horn?"

I did not answer. It was a custom with us, when a horn was blown at an unusual hour, to proceed to the spot promptly to see what was the matter. Kline ordered his men to shoot any one they saw blowing the horn. There was a peach-tree at that end of the house. Up it two of the men climbed; and when my wife went a second time to the window, they fired as soon as they heard the blast, but missed their aim. My wife then went down on her knees, and, drawing her head and body below the range of the window, the horn resting on the sill, blew blast after blast, while the shots poured thick and fast around her. They must have fired ten or twelve times. The house was of stone, and the windows were deep, which alone preserved her life.

They were evidently disconcerted by the blowing of the horn. Gorsuch said again, "I want my property, and I will have it."

"Old man," said I, "you look as if you belonged to some persuasion."

"Never mind," he answered, "what persuasion I belong to; I want my property."

While I was leaning out of the window, Kline fired a pistol at me, but the shot went too high; the ball broke the glass just above my head. I was talking to Gorsuch at the time. I seized a gun and aimed it at Gorsuch's breast, for he evidently had instigated Kline to fire; but Pinckney caught my arm and said, "Don't shoot." The gun went off, just grazing Gorsuch's shoulder. Another conversation then ensued between Gorsuch, Kline, and myself, when another one of the party fired at me, but missed. Dickinson Gorsuch, I then saw, was preparing to shoot; and I told him if he missed, I would show him where shooting first came from.

I asked them to consider what they would have done, had they been in our position. "I know you want to kill us," I said, "for you have shot at us time and again. We have only fired twice, although we have guns and ammunition, and could kill you all if we would, but we do not want to shed blood."

"If you do not shoot any more," then said Kline, "I will stop my men from firing."

They then ceased for a time. This was about sunrise.

Mr. Gorsuch now said,—"Give up, and let me have my property. Hear what the Marshal says; the Marshal is your friend. He advises you to give up without more fuss, for my property I will have."

I denied that I had his property, when he replied, "You have my men."

"Am I your man?" I asked.


I then called Pinckney forward.

"Is that your man?"


Abraham Johnson I called next, but Gorsuch said he was not his man.

The only plan left was to call both Pinckney and Johnson again; for had I called the others, he would have recognized them, for they were his slaves.

Abraham Johnson said, "Does such a shrivelled up old slaveholder as you own such a nice, genteel young man as I am?"[Pg 285]

At this Gorsuch took offence, and charged me with dictating his language. I then told him there were but five of us, which he denied, and still insisted that I had his property. One of the party then attacked the Abolitionists, affirming that, although they declared there could not be property in man, the Bible was conclusive authority in favor of property in human flesh.

"Yes," said Gorsuch, "does not the Bible say, 'Servants, obey your masters'?"

I said that it did, but the same Bible said, "Give unto your servants that which is just and equal."

At this stage of the proceedings, we went into a mutual Scripture inquiry, and bandied views in the manner of garrulous old wives.

When I spoke of duty to servants, Gorsuch said, "Do you know that?"

"Where," I asked, "do you see it in Scripture, that a man should traffic in his brother's blood?"

"Do you call a nigger my brother?" said Gorsuch.

"Yes," said I.

"William," said Samuel Thompson, "he has been a class-leader."

When Gorsuch heard that, he hung his head, but said nothing. We then all joined in singing,—

"Leader, what do you say
About the judgment day?
I will die on the field of battle,
Die on the field of battle,
With glory in my soul."

Then we all began to shout, singing meantime, and shouted for a long while. Gorsuch, who was standing head bowed, said, "What are you doing now?"

Samuel Thompson replied, "Preaching a sinner's funeral sermon."

"You had better give up, and come down."

I then said to Gorsuch,—"'If a brother see a sword coming, and he warn not his brother, then the brother's blood is required at his hands; but if the brother see the sword coming, and warn his brother, and his brother flee not, then his brother's blood is required at his own hand.' I see the sword coming, and, old man, I warn you to flee; if you flee not, your blood be upon your own hand."

It was now about seven o'clock.

"You had better give up," said old Mr. Gorsuch, after another while, "and come down, for I have come a long way this morning, and want my breakfast; for my property I will have, or I'll breakfast in hell. I will go up and get it."

He then started up stairs, and came far enough to see us all plainly. We were just about to fire upon him, when Dickinson Gorsuch, who was standing on the old oven, before the door, and could see into the up-stairs room through the window, jumped down and caught his father, saying,—"O father, do come down! do come down! They have guns, swords, and all kinds of weapons! They'll kill you! Do come down!"

The old man turned and left. When down with him, young Gorsuch could scarce draw breath, and the father looked more like a dead than a living man, so frightened were they at their supposed danger. The old man stood some time without saying anything; at last he said, as if soliloquizing, "I want my property, and I will have it."

Kline broke forth, "If you don't give up by fair means, you will have to by foul."

I told him we would not surrender on any conditions.

Young Gorsuch then said,—"Don't ask them to give up,—make them do it. We have money, and can call men to take them. What is it that money won't buy?"

Then said Kline,—"I am getting tired waiting on you; I see you are not going to give up."

He then wrote a note and handed it to Joshua Gorsuch, saying at the same time,—"Take it, and bring a hundred men from Lancaster."

As he started, I said,—"See here! When you go to Lancaster, don't bring a hundred men,—bring five hundred. It will take all the men in Lancaster to change our purpose or take us alive."[Pg 286]

He stopped to confer with Kline, when Pinckney said, "We had better give up."

"You are getting afraid," said I.

"Yes," said Kline, "give up like men. The rest would give up if it were not for you."

"I am not afraid," said Pinckney; "but where is the sense in fighting against so many men, and only five of us?"

The whites, at this time, were coming from all quarters, and Kline was enrolling them as fast as they came. Their numbers alarmed Pinckney, and I told him to go and sit down; but he said, "No, I will go down stairs."

I told him, if he attempted it, I should be compelled to blow out his brains. "Don't believe that any living man can take you," I said. "Don't give up to any slaveholder."

To Abraham Johnson, who was near me, I then turned. He declared he was not afraid. "I will fight till I die," he said.

At this time, Hannah, Pinckney's wife, had become impatient of our persistent course; and my wife, who brought me her message urging us to surrender, seized a corn-cutter, and declared she would cut off the head of the first one who should attempt to give up.

Another one of Gorsuch's slaves was coming along the highroad at this time, and I beckoned to him to go around. Pinckney saw him, and soon became more inspirited. Elijah Lewis, a Quaker, also came along about this time; I beckoned to him, likewise; but he came straight on, and was met by Kline, who ordered him to assist him. Lewis asked for his authority, and Kline handed him the warrant. While Lewis was reading, Castner Hanway came up, and Lewis handed the warrant to him. Lewis asked Kline what Parker said.

Kline replied, "He won't give up."

Then Lewis and Hanway both said to the Marshal,—"If Parker says they will not give up, you had better let them alone, for he will kill some of you. We are not going to risk our lives";—and they turned to go away.

While they were talking, I came down and stood in the doorway, my men following behind.

Old Mr. Gorsuch said, when I appeared, "They'll come out, and get away!" and he came back to the gate.

I then said to him,—"You said you could and would take us. Now you have the chance."

They were a cowardly-looking set of men.

Mr. Gorsuch said, "You can't come out here."

"Why?" said I. "This is my place, I pay rent for it. I'll let you see if I can't come out."

"I don't care if you do pay rent for it," said he. "If you come out, I will give you the contents of these";—presenting, at the same time, two revolvers, one in each hand.

I said, "Old man, if you don't go away, I will break your neck."

I then walked up to where he stood, his arms resting on the gate, trembling as if afflicted with palsy, and laid my hand on his shoulder, saying, "I have seen pistols before to-day."

Kline now came running up, and entreated Gorsuch to come away.

"No," said the latter, "I will have my property, or go to hell."

"What do you intend to do?" said Kline to me.

"I intend to fight," said I. "I intend to try your strength."

"If you will withdraw your men," he replied, "I will withdraw mine."

I told him it was too late. "You would not withdraw when you had the chance,—you shall not now."

Kline then went back to Hanway and Lewis. Gorsuch made a signal to his men, and they all fell into line. I followed his example as well as I could; but as we were not more than ten paces apart, it was difficult to do so. At this time we numbered but ten, while there were between thirty and forty of the white men.

While I was talking to Gorsuch, his son said, "Father, will you take all this from a nigger?"

I answered him by saying that I respected[Pg 287] old age; but that, if he would repeat that, I should knock his teeth down his throat. At this he fired upon me, and I ran up to him and knocked the pistol out of his hand, when he let the other one fall and ran in the field.

My brother-in-law, who was standing near, then said, "I can stop him";—and with his double-barrel gun he fired.

Young Gorsuch fell, but rose and ran on again. Pinckney fired a second time, and again Gorsuch fell, but was soon up again, and, running into the cornfield, lay down in the fence corner.

I returned to my men, and found Samuel Thompson talking to old Mr. Gorsuch, his master. They were both angry.

"Old man, you had better go home to Maryland," said Samuel.

"You had better give up, and come home with me," said the old man.

Thompson took Pinckney's gun from him, struck Gorsuch, and brought him to his knees. Gorsuch rose and signalled to his men. Thompson then knocked him down again, and he again rose. At this time all the white men opened fire, and we rushed upon them; when they turned, threw down their guns, and ran away. We, being closely engaged, clubbed our rifles. We were too closely pressed to fire, but we found a good deal could be done with empty guns.

Old Mr. Gorsuch was the bravest of his party; he held on to his pistols until the last, while all the others threw away their weapons. I saw as many as three at a time fighting with him. Sometimes he was on his knees, then on his back, and again his feet would be where his head should be. He was a fine soldier and a brave man. Whenever he saw the least opportunity, he would take aim. While in close quarters with the whites, we could load and fire but two or three times. Our guns got bent and out of order. So damaged did they become, that we could shoot with but two or three of them. Samuel Thompson bent his gun on old Mr. Gorsuch so badly, that it was of no use to us.

When the white men ran, they scattered. I ran after Nathan Nelson, but could not catch him. I never saw a man run faster. Returning, I saw Joshua Gorsuch coming, and Pinckney behind him. I reminded him that he would like "to take hold of a nigger," told him that now was his "chance," and struck him a blow on the side of the head, which stopped him. Pinckney came up behind, and gave him a blow which brought him to the ground; as the others passed, they gave him a kick or jumped upon him, until the blood oozed out at his ears.

Nicholas Hutchings, and Nathan Nelson of Baltimore County, Maryland, could outrun any men I ever saw. They and Kline were not brave, like the Gorsuches. Could our men have got them, they would have been satisfied.

One of our men ran after Dr. Pierce, as he richly deserved attention; but Pierce caught up with Castner Hanway, who rode between the fugitive and the Doctor, to shield him and some others. Hanway was told to get out of the way, or he would forfeit his life; he went aside quickly, and the man fired at the Marylander, but missed him,—he was too far off. I do not know whether he was wounded or not; but I do know, that, if it had not been for Hanway, he would have been killed.

Having driven the slavocrats off in every direction, our party now turned towards their several homes. Some of us, however, went back to my house, where we found several of the neighbors.

The scene at the house beggars description. Old Mr. Gorsuch was lying in the yard in a pool of blood, and confusion reigned both inside and outside of the house.

Levi Pownell said to me, "The weather is so hot and the flies are so bad, will you give me a sheet to put over the corpse?"

In reply, I gave him permission to get anything he needed from the house.

"Dickinson Gorsuch is lying in the fence-corner, and I believe he is dying. Give me something for him to drink,"[Pg 288] said Pownell, who seemed to be acting the part of the Good Samaritan.

When he returned from ministering to Dickinson, he told me he could not live.

The riot, so called, was now entirely ended. The elder Gorsuch was dead; his son and nephew were both wounded, and I have reason to believe others were,—how many, it would be difficult to say. Of our party, only two were wounded. One received a ball in his hand, near the wrist; but it only entered the skin, and he pushed it out with his thumb. Another received a ball in the fleshy part of his thigh, which had to be extracted; but neither of them were sick or crippled by the wounds. When young Gorsuch fired at me in the early part of the battle, both balls passed through my hat, cutting off my hair close to the skin, but they drew no blood. The marks were not more than an inch apart.

A story was afterwards circulated that Mr. Gorsuch shot his own slave, and in retaliation his slave shot him; but it was without foundation. His slave struck him the first and second blows; then three or four sprang upon him, and, when he became helpless, left him to pursue others. The women put an end to him. His slaves, so far from meeting death at his hands, are all still living.

After the fight, my wife was obliged to secrete herself, leaving the children in care of her mother, and to the charities of our neighbors. I was questioned by my friends as to what I should do, as they were looking for officers to arrest me. I determined not to be taken alive, and told them so; but, thinking advice as to our future course necessary, went to see some old friends and consult about it. Their advice was to leave, as, were we captured and imprisoned, they could not foresee the result. Acting upon this hint, we set out for home, when we met some female friends, who told us that forty or fifty armed men were at my house, looking for me, and that we had better stay away from the place, if we did not want to be taken. Abraham Johnson and Pinckney hereupon halted, to agree upon the best course, while I turned around and went another way.

Before setting out on my long journey northward, I determined to have an interview with my family, if possible, and to that end changed my course. As we went along the road to where I found them, we met men in companies of three and four, who had been drawn together by the excitement. On one occasion, we met ten or twelve together. They all left the road, and climbed over the fences into fields to let us pass; and then, after we had passed, turned, and looked after us as far as they could see. Had we been carrying destruction to all human kind, they could not have acted more absurdly. We went to a friend's house and stayed for the rest of the day, and until nine o'clock that night, when we set out for Canada.

The great trial now was to leave my wife and family. Uncertain as to the result of the journey, I felt I would rather die than be separated from them. It had to be done, however; and we went forth with heavy hearts, outcasts for the sake of liberty. When we had walked as far as Christiana, we saw a large crowd, late as it was, to some of whom, at least, I must have been known, as we heard distinctly, "A'n't that Parker?"

"Yes," was answered, "that's Parker."

Kline was called for, and he, with some nine or ten more, followed after. We stopped, and then they stopped. One said to his comrades, "Go on,—that's him." And another replied, "You go." So they contended for a time who should come to us. At last they went back. I was sorry to see them go back, for I wanted to meet Kline and end the day's transactions.

We went on unmolested to Penningtonville; and, in consequence of the excitement, thought best to continue on to Parkersburg. Nothing worth mention occurred for a time. We proceeded to Downingtown, and thence six miles beyond, to the house of a friend.[Pg 289] We stopped with him on Saturday night, and on the evening of the 14th went fifteen miles farther. Here I learned from a preacher, directly from the city, that the excitement in Philadelphia was too great for us to risk our safety by going there. Another man present advised us to go to Norristown.

At Norristown we rested a day. The friends gave us ten dollars, and sent us in a vehicle to Quakertown. Our driver, being partly intoxicated, set us down at the wrong place, which obliged us to stay out all night. At eleven o'clock the next day we got to Quakertown. We had gone about six miles out of the way, and had to go directly across the country. We rested the 16th, and set out in the evening for Friendsville.

A friend piloted us some distance, and we travelled until we became very tired, when we went to bed under a haystack. On the 17th, we took breakfast at an inn. We passed a small village, and asked a man whom we met with a dearborn, what would be his charge to Windgap. "One dollar and fifty cents," was the ready answer. So in we got, and rode to that place.

As we wanted to make some inquiries when we struck the north and south road, I went into the post-office, and asked for a letter for John Thomas, which of course I did not get. The postmaster scrutinized us closely,—more so, indeed, than any one had done on the Blue Mountains,—but informed us that Friendsville was between forty and fifty miles away. After going about nine miles, we stopped in the evening of the 18th at an inn, got supper, were politely served, and had an excellent night's rest. On the next day we set out for Tannersville, hiring a conveyance for twenty-two miles of the way. We had no further difficulty on the entire road to Rochester,—more than five hundred miles by the route we travelled.

Some amusing incidents occurred, however, which it may be well to relate in this connection. The next morning, after stopping at the tavern, we took the cars and rode to Homerville, where, after waiting an hour, as our landlord of the night previous had directed us, we took stage. Being the first applicants for tickets, we secured inside seats, and, from the number of us, we took up all of the places inside; but, another traveller coming, I tendered him mine, and rode with the driver. The passenger thanked me; but the driver, a churl, and the most prejudiced person I ever came in contact with, would never wait after a stop until I could get on, but would drive away, and leave me to swing, climb, or cling on to the stage as best I could. Our traveller, at last noticing his behavior, told him promptly not to be so fast, but let all passengers get on, which had the effect to restrain him a little.

At Big Eddy we took the cars. Directly opposite me sat a gentleman, who, on learning that I was for Rochester, said he was going there too, and afterwards proved an agreeable travelling-companion.

A newsboy came in with papers, some of which the passengers bought. Upon opening them, they read of the fight at Christiana.

"O, see here!" said my neighbor; "great excitement at Christiana; a—a statesman killed, and his son and nephew badly wounded."

After reading, the passengers began to exchange opinions on the case. Some said they would like to catch Parker, and get the thousand dollars reward offered by the State; but the man opposite to me said, "Parker must be a powerful man."

I thought to myself, "If you could tell what I can, you could judge about that."

Pinckney and Johnson became alarmed, and wanted to leave the cars at the next stopping-place; but I told them there was no danger. I then asked particularly about Christiana, where it was, on what railroad, and other questions, to all of which I received correct replies. One of the men became so much attached to me, that, when we would go to an eating-saloon, he would[Pg 290] pay for both. At Jefferson we thought of leaving the cars, and taking the boat; but they told us to keep on the cars, and we would get to Rochester by nine o'clock the next night.

We left Jefferson about four o'clock in the morning, and arrived at Rochester at nine the same morning. Just before reaching Rochester, when in conversation with my travelling friend, I ventured to ask what would be done with Parker, should he be taken.

"I do not know," he replied; "but the laws of Pennsylvania would not hang him,—they might imprison him. But it would be different, very different, should they get him into Maryland. The people in all the Slave States are so prejudiced against colored people, that they never give them justice. But I don't believe they will get Parker. I think he is in Canada by this time; at least, I hope so,—for I believe he did right, and, had I been in his place, I would have done as he did. Any good citizen will say the same. I believe Parker to be a brave man; and all you colored people should look at it as we white people look at our brave men, and do as we do. You see Parker was not fighting for a country, nor for praise. He was fighting for freedom: he only wanted liberty, as other men do. You colored people should protect him, and remember him as long as you live. We are coming near our parting-place, and I do not know if we shall ever meet again. I shall be in Rochester some two or three days before I return home; and I would like to have your company back."

I told him it would be some time before we returned.

The cars then stopped, when he bade me good by. As strange as it may appear, he did not ask me my name; and I was afraid to inquire his, from fear he would.

On leaving the cars, after walking two or three squares, we overtook a colored man, who conducted us to the house of—a friend of mine. He welcomed me at once, as we were acquainted before, took me up stairs to wash and comb, and prepare, as he said, for company.

As I was combing, a lady came up and said, "Which of you is Mr. Parker?"

"I am," said I,—"what there is left of me."

She gave me her hand, and said, "And this is William Parker!"

She appeared to be so excited that she could not say what she wished to. We were told we would not get much rest, and we did not; for visitors were constantly coming. One gentleman was surprised that we got away from the cars, as spies were all about, and there were two thousand dollars reward for the party.

We left at eight o'clock that evening, in a carriage, for the boat, bound for Kingston in Canada. As we went on board, the bell was ringing. After walking about a little, a friend pointed out to me the officers on the "hunt" for us; and just as the boat pushed off from the wharf, some of our friends on shore called me by name. Our pursuers looked very much like fools, as they were. I told one of the gentlemen on shore to write to Kline that I was in Canada. Ten dollars were generously contributed by the Rochester friends for our expenses; and altogether their kindness was heartfelt, and was most gratefully appreciated by us.

Once on the boat, and fairly out at sea towards the land of liberty, my mind became calm, and my spirits very much depressed at thought of my wife and children. Before, I had little time to think much about them, my mind being on my journey. Now I became silent and abstracted. Although fond of company, no one was company for me now.

We landed at Kingston on the 21st of September, at six o'clock in the morning, and walked around for a long time, without meeting any one we had ever known. At last, however, I saw a colored man I knew in Maryland. He at first pretended to have no knowledge of me, but finally recognized me. I made known our distressed condition,[Pg 291] when he said he was not going home then, but, if we would have breakfast, he would pay for it. How different the treatment received from this man—himself an exile for the sake of liberty, and in its full enjoyment on free soil—and the self-sacrificing spirit of our Rochester colored brother, who made haste to welcome us to his ample home,—the well-earned reward of his faithful labors!

On Monday evening, the 23d, we started for Toronto, where we arrived safely the next day. Directly after landing, we heard that Governor Johnston, of Pennsylvania, had made a demand on the Governor of Canada for me, under the Extradition Treaty. Pinckney and Johnson advised me to go to the country, and remain where I should not be known; but I refused. I intended to see what they would do with me. Going at once to the Government House, I entered the first office I came to. The official requested me to be seated. The following is the substance of the conversation between us, as near as I can remember. I told him I had heard that Governor Johnston, of Pennsylvania, had requested his government to send me back. At this he came forward, held forth his hand, and said, "Is this William Parker?"

I took his hand, and assured him I was the man. When he started to come, I thought he was intending to seize me, and I prepared myself to knock him down. His genial, sympathetic manner it was that convinced me he meant well.

He made me sit down, and said,—"Yes, they want you back again. Will you go?"

"I will not be taken back alive," said I. "I ran away from my master to be free,—I have run from the United States to be free. I am now going to stop running."

"Are you a fugitive from labor?" he asked.

I told him I was.

"Why," he answered, "they say you are a fugitive from justice." He then asked me where my master lived.

I told him, "In Anne Arundel County, Maryland."

"Is there such a county in Maryland?" he asked.

"There is," I answered.

He took down a map, examined it, and said, "You are right."

I then told him the name of the farm, and my master's name. Further questions bearing upon the country towns near, the nearest river, etc., followed, all of which I answered to his satisfaction.

"How does it happen," he then asked, "that you lived in Pennsylvania so long, and no person knew you were a fugitive from labor?"

"I do not get other people to keep my secrets, sir," I replied. "My brother and family only knew that I had been a slave."

He then assured me that I would not, in his opinion, have to go back. Many coming in at this time on business, I was told to call again at three o'clock, which I did. The person in the office, a clerk, told me to take no further trouble about it, until that day four weeks. "But you are as free a man as I am," said he. When I told the news to Pinckney and Johnson, they were greatly relieved in mind.

I ate breakfast with the greatest relish, got a letter written to a friend in Chester County for my wife, and set about arrangements to settle at or near Toronto.

We tried hard to get work, but the task was difficult. I think three weeks elapsed before we got work that could be called work. Sometimes we would secure a small job, worth two or three shillings, and sometimes a smaller one, worth not more than one shilling; and these not oftener than once or twice in a week. We became greatly discouraged; and, to add to my misery, I was constantly hearing some alarming report about my wife and children. Sometimes they had carried her back into slavery,—sometimes the children, and sometimes the entire party. Then there would come a contradiction. I was soon so completely worn down by my fears for them, that I thought my heart[Pg 292] would break. To add to my disquietude, no answer came to my letters, although I went to the office regularly every day. At last I got a letter with the glad news that my wife and children were safe, and would be sent to Canada. I told the person reading for me to stop, and tell them to send her "right now,"—I could not wait to hear the rest of the letter.

Two months from the day I landed in Toronto, my wife arrived, but without the children. She had had a very bad time. Twice they had her in custody; and, a third time, her young master came after her, which obliged her to flee before day, so that the children had to remain behind for the time. I was so glad to see her that I forgot about the children.

The day my wife came, I had nothing but the clothes on my back, and was in debt for my board, without any work to depend upon. My situation was truly distressing. I took the resolution, and went to a store where I made known my circumstances to the proprietor, offering to work for him to pay for some necessaries. He readily consented, and I supplied myself with bedding, meal, and flour. As I had selected a place before, we went that evening about two miles into the country, and settled ourselves for the winter.

When in Kingston, I had heard of the Buxton settlement, and of the Revds. Dr. Willis and Mr. King, the agents. My informant, after stating all the particulars, induced me to think it was a desirable place; and having quite a little sum of money due to me in the States, I wrote for it, and waited until May. It not being sent, I called upon Dr. Willis, who treated me kindly. I proposed to settle in Elgin, if he would loan means for the first instalment. He said he would see about it, and I should call again. On my second visit, he agreed to assist me, and proposed that I should get another man to go on a lot with me.

Abraham Johnson and I arranged to settle together, and, with Dr. Willis's letter to Mr. King on our behalf, I embarked with my family on a schooner for the West. After five days' sailing, we reached Windsor. Not having the means to take us to Chatham, I called upon Henry Bibb, and laid my case before him. He took us in, treated us with great politeness, and afterwards, took me with him to Detroit, where, after an introduction to some friends, a purse of five dollars was made up. I divided the money among my companions, and started them for Chatham, but was obliged to stay at Windsor and Detroit two days longer.

While stopping at Windsor, I went again to Detroit, with two or three friends, when, at one of the steamboats just landed, some officers arrested three fugitives, on the pretence of being horse thieves. I was satisfied they were slaves, and said so, when Henry Bibb went to the telegraph office and learned through a message that they were. In the crowd and excitement, the sheriff threatened to imprison me for my interference. I felt indignant, and told him to do so, whereupon he opened the door. About this time there was more excitement, and then a man slipped into the jail, unseen by the officers, opened the gate, and the three prisoners went out, and made their escape to Windsor. I stopped through that night in Detroit, and started the next day for Chatham, where I found my family snugly provided for at a boarding-house kept by Mr. Younge.

Chatham was a thriving town at that time, and the genuine liberty enjoyed by its numerous colored residents pleased me greatly; but our destination was Buxton, and thither we went on the following day. We arrived there in the evening, and I called immediately upon Mr. King, and presented Dr. Willis's letter. He received me very politely, and said that, after I should feel rested, I could go out and select a lot. He also kindly offered to give me meal and pork for my family, until I could get work.

In due time, Johnson and I each chose a fifty-acre lot; for although when in Toronto we agreed with Dr. Willis to take one lot between us, when[Pg 293] we saw the land we thought we could pay for two lots. I got the money in a little time, and paid the Doctor back. I built a house, and we moved into it that same fall, and in it I live yet.

When I first settled in Buxton, the white settlers in the vicinity were much opposed to colored people. Their prejudices were very strong; but the spread of intelligence and religion in the community has wrought a great change in them. Prejudice is fast being uprooted; indeed, they do not appear like the same people that they were. In a short time I hope the foul spirit will depart entirely.

I have now to bring my narrative to a close; and in so doing I would return thanks to Almighty God for the many mercies and favors he has bestowed upon me, and especially for delivering me out of the hands of slaveholders, and placing me in a land of liberty, where I can worship God under my own vine and fig-tree, with none to molest or make me afraid. I am also particularly thankful to my old friends and neighbors in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,—to the friends in Norristown, Quakertown, Rochester, and Detroit, and to Dr. Willis of Toronto, for their disinterested benevolence and kindness to me and my family. When hunted, they sheltered me; when hungry and naked, they clothed and fed me; and when a stranger in a strange land, they aided and encouraged me. May the Lord in his great mercy remember and bless them, as they remembered and blessed me.

The events following the riot at Christiana and my escape have become matters of history, and can only be spoken of as such. The failure of Gorsuch in his attempt; his death, and the terrible wounds of his son; the discomfiture and final rout of his crestfallen associates in crime; and their subsequent attempt at revenge by a merciless raid through Lancaster County, arresting every one unfortunate enough to have a dark skin,—is all to be found in the printed account of the trial of Castner Hanway and others for treason. It is true that some of the things which did occur are spoken of but slightly, there being good and valid reasons why they were passed over thus at that time in these cases, many of which might be interesting to place here, and which I certainly should do, did not the same reasons still exist in full force for keeping silent. I shall be compelled to let them pass just as they are recorded.

But one event, in which there seems no reason to observe silence, I will introduce in this place. I allude to the escape of George Williams, one of our men, and the very one who had the letters brought up from Philadelphia by Mr. Samuel Williams. George lay in prison with the others who had been arrested by Kline, but was rendered more uneasy by the number of rascals who daily visited that place for the purpose of identifying, if possible, some of its many inmates as slaves. One day the lawyer previously alluded to, whose chief business seemed to be negro-catching, came with another man, who had employed him for that purpose, and, stopping in front of the cell wherein George and old Ezekiel Thompson were confined, cried out, "That's him!" At which the man exclaimed, "It is, by God! that is him!"

These ejaculations, as a matter of course, brought George and Ezekiel, who were lying down, to their feet,—the first frightened and uneasy, the latter stern and resolute. Some mysterious conversation then took place between the two, which resulted in George lying down and covering himself with Ezekiel's blanket. In the mean time off sped the man and lawyer to obtain the key, open the cell, and institute a more complete inspection. They returned in high glee, but to their surprise saw only the old man standing at the door, his grim visage anything but inviting. They inserted the key, click went the lock, back shot the bolt, open flew the door, but old Ezekiel stood there firm, his eyes flashing fire, his brawny hands flourishing a stout oak stool furnished him to rest on by friends of whom I[Pg 294] have so often spoken, and crying out in the most unmistakable manner, every word leaving a deep impression on his visitors, "The first man that puts his head inside of this cell I will split to pieces."

The men leaped back, but soon recovered their self-possession; and the lawyer said,—"Do you know who I am? I am the lawyer who has charge of this whole matter, you impudent nigger, I will come in whenever I choose."

The old man, if possible looking more stern and savage than before, replied,—"I don't care who you are; but if you or any other nigger-catcher steps inside of my cell-door I will beat out his brains."

It is needless to say more. The old man's fixed look, clenched teeth, and bony frame had their effect. The man and the lawyer left, growling as they went, that, if there was rope to be had, that old Indian nigger should certainly hang.

This was but the beginning of poor George's troubles. His friends were at work; but all went wrong, and his fate seemed sealed. He stood charged with treason, murder, and riot, and there appeared no way to relieve him. When discharged by the United States Court for the first crime, he was taken to Lancaster to meet the second and third. There, too, the man and the lawyer followed, taking with them that infamous wretch, Kline. The Devil seemed to favor all they undertook; and when Ezekiel was at last discharged, with some thirty more, from all that had been so unjustly brought against him, and for which he had lain in the damp prison for more than three months, these rascals lodged a warrant in the Lancaster jail, and at midnight Kline and the man who claimed to be George's owner arrested him as a fugitive from labor, whilst the lawyer returned to Philadelphia to prepare the case for trial, and to await the arrival of his shameless partners in guilt. This seemed the climax of George's misfortunes. He was hurried into a wagon, ready at the door, and, fearing a rescue, was driven at a killing pace to the town of Parkesburg, where they were compelled to stop for the night, their horses being completely used up. This was in the month of January, and the coldest night that had been known for many years. On their route, these wretches, who had George handcuffed and tied in the wagon, indulged deeply in bad whiskey, with which they were plentifully supplied, and by the time they reached the public-house their fury was at its height. 'T is said there is honor among thieves, but villains of the sort I am now speaking of seem to possess none. Each fears the other. When in the bar-room, Kline said to the other,—"Sir, you can go to sleep. I will watch this nigger."

"No," replied the other, "I will do that business myself. You don't fool me, sir."

To which Kline replied, "Take something, sir?"—and down went more whiskey.

Things went on in this way awhile, until Kline drew a chair to the stove, and, overcome by the heat and liquor, was soon sleeping soundly, and, I suppose, dreaming of the profits which were sure to arise from the job. The other walked about till the barkeeper went to bed, leaving the hostler to attend in his place, and he also, somehow or other, soon fell asleep. Then he walked up to George, who was lying on the bench, apparently as soundly asleep as any of them, and, saying to himself, "The damn nigger is asleep,—I'll just take a little rest myself,"—he suited the action to the word. Spreading himself out on two chairs, in a few moments he was snoring at a fearful rate. Rum, the devil, and fatigue, combined, had completely prostrated George's foes. It was now his time for action; and, true to the hope of being free, the last to leave the poor, hunted, toil-worn bondman's heart, he opened first one eye, then the other, and carefully examined things around. Then he rose slowly, and keeping step to the deep-drawn snores of the miserable, debased wretch who claimed him, he stealthily crawled towards the door, when, to his consternation, he[Pg 295] found the eye of the hostler on him. He paused, knowing his fate hung by a single hair. It was only necessary for the man to speak, and he would be shot instantly dead; for both Kline and his brother ruffian slept pistol in hand. As I said, George stopped, and, in the softest manner in which it was possible for him to speak, whispered, "A drink of water, if you please, sir." The man replied not, but, pointing his finger to the door again, closed his eyes, and was apparently lost in slumber.

I have already said it was cold; and, in addition, snow and ice covered the ground. There could not possibly be a worse night. George shivered as he stepped forth into the keen night air. He took one look at the clouds above, and then at the ice-clad ground below. He trembled; but freedom beckoned, and on he sped. He knew where he was,—the place was familiar. On, on, he pressed, nor paused till fifteen miles lay between him and his drunken claimant; then he stopped at the house of a tried friend to have his handcuffs removed; but, with their united efforts, one side only could be got off, and the poor fellow, not daring to rest, continued his journey, forty odd miles, to Philadelphia, with the other on. Frozen, stiff, and sore, he arrived there on the following day, and every care was extended to him by his old friends. He was nursed and attended by the late Dr. James, Joshua Gould Bias, one of the faithful few, whose labors for the oppressed will never be forgotten, and whose heart, purse, and hand were always open to the poor, flying slave. God has blessed him, and his reward is obtained.

I shall here take leave of George, only saying, that he recovered and went to the land of freedom, to be safe under the protection of British law. Of the wretches he left in the tavern, much might be said; but it is enough to know that they awoke to find him gone, and to pour their curses and blasphemy on each other. They swore most frightfully; and the disappointed Southerner threatened to blow out the brains of Kline, who turned his wrath on the hostler, declaring he should be taken and held responsible for the loss. This so raised the ire of that worthy, that, seizing an iron bar that was used to fasten the door, he drove the whole party from the house, swearing they were damned kidnappers, and ought to be all sent after old Gorsuch, and that he would raise the whole township on them if they said one word more. This had the desired effect. They left, not to pursue poor George, but to avoid pursuit; for these worthless man-stealers knew the released men brought up from Philadelphia and discharged at Lancaster were all in the neighborhood, and that nothing would please these brave fellows—who had patiently and heroically suffered for long and weary months in a felon's cell for the cause of human freedom—more, than to get a sight at them; and Kline, he knew this well,—particularly old Ezekiel Thompson, who had sworn by his heart's blood, that, if he could only get hold of that Marshal Kline, he should kill him and go to the gallows in peace. In fact, he said the only thing he had to feel sorry about was, that he did not do it when he threatened to, whilst the scoundrel stood talking to Hanway; and but for Castner Hanway he would have done it, anyhow. Much more I could say; but short stories are read, while long ones are like the sermons we go to sleep under.[Pg 296]


Thompson and I had a fortnight's holiday, and the question arose how could we pass it best, and for the least money.

We are both clerks, that is to say, shopmen, in a large jobbing house; but although, like most Americans, we spend our lives in the din and bustle of a colossal shop, where selling and packing are the only pastime, and daybooks and ledgers the only literature, we wish it to be understood that we have souls capable of speculating upon some other matters that have no cash value, yet which mankind cannot neglect without becoming something little better than magnified busy bees, or gigantic ants, or overgrown social caterpillars. And although I say it myself, I have quite a reputation among our fellows, that I have earned by the confident way in which I lay down a great principle of science, æsthetics, or morals. I confess that I am perhaps a little given to generalize from a single fact; but my manner is imposing to the weaker brethren, and my credit for great wisdom is well established in our street.

Under these circumstances it became a matter of some importance to decide the question, Where can we go to the best advantage, pecuniary and æsthetical?

We had both of us, in the pursuit of our calling,—that is to say, in hunting after bad debts and drumming up new business,—travelled over most of this country on those long lines of rails that always remind me of the parallels of latitude on globes and maps; and we wondered why people who had once gratified a natural curiosity to see this land should ever travel over it again, unless with the hope of making money by their labor. Health, certainly, no one can expect to get from the tough upper-leathers and sodden soles of the pies offered at the ten-minutes-for-refreshment stations, nor from their saturated spongecakes. As to pleasure, I said to Thompson,—"the pleasure of travelling consists in the new agreeable sensations it affords. Above all, they must be new. You wish to move out of your set of thoughts and feelings, or else why move at all? But all the civilized world over, locomotives, like huge flat-irons, are smoothing customs, costumes, thoughts, and feelings into one plane, homogeneous surface. And in this country not only does Nature appear to do everything by wholesale, but there is as little variety in human beings. We have discovered the political alkahest or universal solvent of the alchemists, and with it we reduce at once the national characteristics of foreigners into our well-known American compound. Hence, on all the great lines of travel, Monotony has marked us for her own. Coming from the West, you are whirled through twelve hundred miles of towns, so alike in their outward features that they seem to have been started in New England nurseries and sent to be planted wherever they might be wanted;—square brick buildings, covered with signs, and a stoutish sentry-box on each flat roof; telegraph offices; express companies; a crowd of people dressed alike, 'earnest,' and bustling as ants, with seemingly but one idea,—to furnish materials for the statistical tables of the next census. Then, beyond, you catch glimpses of many smaller and neater buildings, with grass and trees and white fences about them. Some are Gothic, some Italian, some native American. But the glory of one Gothic is like the glory of another Gothic, the Italian are all built upon the same pattern, and the native American differ only in size. There are three marked currents of architectural taste, but no individual character in particular buildings. Everywhere you see comfort and abundance; your mind is easy on the great subject of imports, exports, products of the soil, and manufactures;—a pleasant and strengthening[Pg 297] prospect for a political economist, or for shareholders in railways or owners of lands in the vicinity. This 'unparalleled prosperity' must be exciting to a foreigner who sees it for the first time; but we Yankees are to the manner born and bred up. We take it all as a matter of course, as the young Plutuses do their father's fine house and horses and servants. Kingsley says there is a great, unspoken poetry in sanitary reform. It may be so; but as yet the words only suggest sewers, ventilation, and chloride of lime. The poetry has not yet become vocal; and I think the same may be said of our 'material progress.' It seems thus far very prosaic. 'Only a great poet sees the poetry of his own age,' we are told. We every-day people are unfortunately blind to it."

Here I was silent. I had dived into the deepest recesses of my soul. Thompson waited patiently until I should rise to the surface and blow again. It was thus:—

"Have you not noticed that the people we sit beside in railway cars are becoming as much alike as their brown linen 'dusters,' and unsuggestive except on that point of statistics? They are intelligent, but they carry their shops on their backs, as snails do their houses. Their thoughts are fixed upon the one great subject. On all others, politics included, they talk from hand to mouth, offering you a cold hash of their favorite morning paper. Even those praiseworthy persons who devote their time to temperance, missions, tract-societies, seem more like men of business than apostles. They lay their charities before you much as they would display their goods, and urge their excellence and comparative cheapness to induce you to lay out your money.

"The fact is, that the traveller is daily losing his human character, and becoming more and more a package, to be handled, stowed, and 'forwarded' as may best suit the convenience and profit of the enterprising parties engaged in the business. If at night he stops at a hotel, he rises to the dignity of an animal, is marked by a number, and driven to his food and litter by the herdsmen employed by the master of the establishment. To a thinking man, it is a sad indication for the future to see what slaves this hotel-railroad-steamboat system has made of the brave and the free when they travel. How they toady captains and conductors, and without murmuring put up with any imposition they please to practise upon them, even unto taking away their lives! As we all pay the same price at hotels, each one hopes by smirks and servility to induce the head-clerk to treat him a little better than his neighbors. There is no despotism more absolute than that of these servants of the public. As Cobbett said, 'In America, public servant means master.' None of us can sing, 'Yankees never will be slaves,' unless we stay at home. We have liberated the blacks, but I see little chance of emancipation for ourselves. The only liberty that is vigorously vindicated here is the liberty of doing wrong."

Here I stopped short. It was evident that my wind was gone, and any further exertion of eloquence out of the question for some time. I was as exhausted as a Gymnotus that has parted with all its electricity. Thompson took advantage of my helpless condition, and carried me off unresisting to a place which railways can never reach, and where there is nothing to attract fashionable travellers. The surly Atlantic keeps watch over it and growls off the pestilent crowd of excursionists who bring uncleanness and greediness in their train, and are pursued by the land-sharks who prey upon such frivolous flying-fish. A little town, whose life stands still, or rather goes backward, whose ships have sailed away to other ports, whose inhabitants have followed the ships, and whose houses seem to be going after the inhabitants; but a town in its decline, not in its decay. Everything is clean and in good repair; everybody well dressed, healthy, and cheerful. Paupers there are none; and the new school-house would be an ornament[Pg 298] to any town in Massachusetts. That there is no lack of spirit and vigor may be known from the fact that the island furnished five hundred men for the late war.

When we caught sight of Nantucket, the sun was shining his best, and the sea too smooth to raise a qualm in the bosom of the most delicately organized female. The island first makes its appearance, as a long, thin strip of yellow underlying a long, thinner strip of green. In the middle of this double line the horizon is broken by two square towers. As you approach, the towers resolve themselves into meeting-houses, and a large white town lies before you.

At the wharf there were no baggage smashers. Our trunks were

"Taken up tenderly,
Lifted with care,"

and carried to the hotel for twenty-five cents in paper. I immediately established the fact, that there are no fellow-citizens in Nantucket of foreign descent. "For," said I, "if you offered that obsolete fraction of a dollar to the turbulent hackmen of our cities, you would meet with offensive demonstrations of contempt." I seized the opportunity to add, apropos of the ways of that class of persons: "Theoretically, I am a thorough democrat; but when democracy drives a hack, smells of bad whiskey and cheap tobacco, ruins my portmanteau, robs me of my money, and damns my eyes when it does not blacken them, if I dare protest,—I hate it."

The streets are paved and clean. There are few horses on the island, and these are harnessed single to box-wagons, painted green, the sides of which are high enough to hold safely a child, four or five years of age, standing. We often inquired the reasons for this peculiar build; but the replies were so unsatisfactory, that we put the green box down as one of the mysteries of the spot.

It seemed to us a healthy symptom, that we saw in our inn none of those alarming notices that the keepers of hotels on the mainland paste up so conspicuously, no doubt from the very natural dislike to competition, "Beware of pickpockets," "Bolt your doors before retiring," "Deposit your valuables in the safe, or the proprietors will not be responsible." There are no thieves in Nantucket; if for no other reason, because they cannot get away with the spoils. And we were credibly informed, that the one criminal in the town jail had given notice to the authorities that he would not remain there any longer, unless they repaired the door, as he was afraid of catching cold from the damp night air.

In the afternoons, good-looking young women swarm in the streets,

"Airy creatures,
Alike in voice, though not in features,"

I could wish their voices were as sweet as their faces; but the American climate, or perhaps the pertness of democracy, has an unfavorable effect on the organs of speech. Governor Andrew must have visited Nantucket before he wrote his eloquent lamentation over the excess of women in Massachusetts. I am fond of ladies' society, and do not sympathize with the Governor. But if that day should ever come, which is prophesied by Isaiah, when seven women shall lay hold of one man, saying, "We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name," I think Nantucket will be the scene of the fulfilment, the women are so numerous and apparently so well off. I confess that I envy the good fortune of the young gentlemen who may be living there at that time. We saw a foreshadowing of this delightful future in the water. The bathing "facilities" consist of many miles of beach, and one bathing-house, in which ladies exchange their shore finery for their sea-weeds. Two brisk young fellows, Messrs. Whitey and Pypey, had come over in the same boat with us. We had fallen into a traveller's acquaintance with them, and listened to the story of the pleasant life they had led on the island during previous visits. We lost sight of them on the wharf. We found them again near the bath-house, in the hour of their glory. There they were, disporting themselves in the[Pg 299] clear water, swimming, diving, floating, while around them laughed and splashed fourteen bright-eyed water-nymphs, half a dozen of them as bewitching as any Nixes that ever spread their nets for soft-hearted young Ritters in the old German romance waters. Neptune in a triumphal progress, with his Naiads tumbling about him, was no better off than Whitey and Pypey. They had, to be sure, no car, nor conch shells, nor dolphins; but, as Thompson remarked, these were unimportant accessories, that added but little to Neptune's comfort. The nymphs were the essential. The spectacle was a saddening one for us, I confess; the more so, because our forlorn condition evidently gave a new zest to the enjoyment of our friends, and stimulated them to increased vigor in their aquatic flirtations. Alone, unintroduced, melancholy, and a little sheepish, we hired towels at two cents each from the ladylike and obliging colored person who superintended the bath-house, and, withdrawing to the friendly shelter of distance, dropped our clothes upon the sand, and hid our envy and insignificance in the bosom of the deep.

And the town was brilliant from the absence of the unclean advertisements of quack-medicine men. That irrepressible species have not, as yet, committed their nuisance in its streets, and disfigured the walls and fences with their portentous placards. It is the only clean place I know of. The nostrum-makers have labelled all the features of Nature on the mainland, as if our country were a vast apothecary's shop. The Romans had a gloomy fashion of lining their great roads with tombs and mortuary inscriptions. The modern practice is quite as dreary. The long lines of railway that lead to our cities are decorated with cure-alls for the sick, the ante-mortem epitaphs of the fools who buy them and try them.

"No place is sacred to the meddling crew
Whose trade is——"

posting what we all should take. The walls of our domestic castles are outraged with graffiti of this class; highways and byways display them; and if the good Duke with the melancholy Jaques were to wander in some forest of New Arden, in the United States, they would be sure to

"Find elixirs on trees, bitters in the running brooks,
Syrups on stones, and lies in everything."

Last year, weary of shop, and feeling the necessity of restoring tone to the mind by a course of the sublime, Thompson and I paid many dollars, travelled many miles, ran many risks, and suffered much from impertinence and from dust, in order that we might see the wonders of the Lord, his mountains and his waterfalls. We stood at the foot of the mountain, and, gazing upward at a precipice, the sublime we were in search of began to swell within our hearts, when our eyes were struck by huge Roman letters painted on the face of the rock, and held fast, as if by a spell, until we had read them all. They asked the question, "Are you troubled with worms?"

It is hardly necessary to say that the sublime within us was instantly killed. It would be fortunate, indeed, for the afflicted, if the specific of this charlatan St. George were half as destructive to the intestinal dragons he promises to destroy. Then we turned away to the glen down which the torrent plunged. And there, at the foot of the fall, in the midst of the boiling water, the foam, and spray, rose a tall crag crowned with silver birch, and hung with moss and creeping vines, bearing on its gray, weather-beaten face: "Rotterdam Schnapps." Bah! it made us sick. The caldron looked like a punch-bowl, and the breath of the zephyrs smelt of gin and water.

Thousands of us see this dirty desecration of the shrines to which we make our summer pilgrimage, and bear with the sacrilege meekly, perhaps laugh at the wicked generation of pill-venders, that seeks for places to put up its sign. But does not this tolerance indicate the note of vulgarity in us, as Father Newman might say? Is it not a blot on the people as well as on the rocks? Let them fill the columns of newspapers with their ill-smelling advertisements, and sham testimonials from the Reverend[Pg 300] Smith, Brown, and Jones; but let us prevent them from setting their traps for our infirmities in the spots God has chosen for his noblest works. What a triple brass must such men have about their consciences to dare to flaunt their falsehoods in such places! It is a blasphemy against Nature. We might use Peter's words to them,—"Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." Ananias and Sapphira were slain for less. But they think, I suppose, that the age of miracles has passed, or survives only in their miraculous cures, and so coolly defy the lightnings of Heaven. I was so much excited on this subject that Thompson suggested to me to give up my situation, turn Peter the Hermit, and carry a fiery scrubbing-brush through the country, preaching to all lovers of Nature to join in a crusade to wash the Holy Places clean of these unbelieving quacks.

It is pleasant to see that the Nantucket people are all healthy, or, if ailing, have no idea of being treated as they treat bluefish,—offered a red rag or a white bone, some taking sham to bite upon, and so be hauled in and die. As regards the salubrity of the climate, I think there can be no doubt. The faces of the inhabitants speak for themselves on that point. I heard an old lady, not very well preserved, who had been a fortnight on the island, say to a sympathizing friend, into whose ear she was pouring her complaints, "I sleeps better, and my stomach is sweeter." She might have expressed herself more elegantly, but she had touched the two grand secrets of life,—sound sleep and good digestion.

Another comfort on this island is, that there are few shops, no temptation to part with one's pelf, and no beggars, barelegged or barefaced, to ask for it. I do not believe that there are any cases of the cacoethes subscribendi. The natives have got out of the habit of making money, and appear to want nothing in particular, except to go a-fishing.

They have plenty of time to answer questions good-humoredly and gratis, and do not look upon a stranger as they do upon a stranded blackfish,—to be stripped of his oil and bone for their benefit. "I feel like a man among Christians," I declaimed,—"not, as I have often felt in my wanderings on shore, like Mungo Park or Burton, a traveller among savages, who are watching for an opportunity to rob me. I catch a glimpse again of the golden age when money was money. The blessed old prices of my youth, which have long since been driven from the continent by

'paper credit, last and best supply,
That lends corruption lighter wings to fly,'

have taken refuge here before leaving this wicked world forever. The cordon sanitaire of the Atlantic has kept off the pestilence of inflation."

One bright afternoon we took horse and "shay" for Siasconset, on the south side of the island. A drive of seven miles over a country as flat and as naked of trees as a Western prairie, the sandy soil covered with a low, thick growth of bayberry, whortleberry, a false cranberry called the meal-plum, and other plants bearing a strong family likeness, with here and there a bit of greensward,—a legacy, probably, of the flocks of sheep the natives foolishly turned off the island,—brought us to the spot. We passed occasional water-holes, that reminded us also of the West, and a few cattle. Two or three lonely farm-houses loomed up in the distance, like ships at sea. We halted our rattle-trap on a bluff covered with thick green turf. On the edge of this bluff, forty feet above the beach, is Siasconset, looking southward over the ocean,—no land between it and Porto Rico. It is only a fishing village; but if there were many like it, the conventional shepherd, with his ribbons, his crooks, and his pipes, would have to give way to the fisherman. Seventy-five cosey, one-story cottages, so small and snug that a well-grown man might touch the gables without rising on tip-toe, are drawn up in three rows parallel to the sea, with narrow lanes of turf between them,—all of a weather-beaten gray tinged with purple, with pale-blue[Pg 301] blinds, vines over the porch, flowers in the windows, and about each one a little green yard enclosed by white palings. Inside are odd little rooms, fitted with lockers, like the cabin of a vessel. Cottages, yards, palings, lanes, all are in proportion and harmony. Nothing common or unclean was visible,—no heaps of fish-heads, served up on clam-shells, and garnished with bean-pods, potato-skins, and corn-husks; no pigs in sight, nor in the air,—not even a cow to imperil the neatness of the place. There was the brisk, vigorous smell of the sea-shore, flavored, perhaps, with a suspicion of oil, that seemed to be in keeping with the locality.

We sat for a long time gazing with silent astonishment upon this delightful little toy village, that looked almost as if it had been made at Nuremberg, and could be picked up and put away when not wanted to play with. It was a bright, still afternoon. The purple light of sunset gave an additional charm of color to the scene. Suddenly the lumen juventæ purpureum, the purple light of youth, broke upon it. Handsome, well-dressed girls, with a few polygynic young men in the usual island proportion of the sexes, came out of the cottages, and stood in the lanes talking and laughing, or walked to the edge of the bluff to see the sun go down. We rubbed our eyes. Was this real, or were we looking into some showman's box? It seemed like the Petit Trianon adapted to an island in the Atlantic, with Louis XV. and his marquises playing at fishing instead of farming.

A venerable codfisher had been standing off and on our vehicle for some time, with the signal for speaking set in his inquisitive countenance. I hailed him as Mr. Coffin; for Cooper has made Long Tom the legitimate father of all Nantucketers. He hove to, and gave us information about his home. There was a picnic, or some sort of summer festival, going on; and the gay lady-birds we saw were either from Nantucket, or relatives from the main. There had once been another row of cottages outside of those now standing; but the Atlantic came ashore one day in a storm, and swallowed them up. Nevertheless, real property had risen of late. "Why," said he, "do you see that little gray cottage yonder? It rents this summer for ten dollars a month; and there are some young men here from the mainland who pay one dollar a week for their rooms without board."

Thompson said his sensations were similar to those of Captain Cook or Herman Melville when they first landed to skim the cream of the fairy islands of the Pacific.

I was deeply moved, and gave tongue at once. "It is sad to think that these unsophisticated, uninflated people must undergo the change civilization brings with it. The time will come when the evil spirit that presides over watering-places will descend upon this dear little village, and say to the inhabitants that henceforth they must catch men. Neatness, cheapness, good-feeling, will vanish; a five-story hotel will be put up,—the process cannot be called building; and the sharks that infest the coast will come ashore in shabby coats and trousers, to prey upon summer pleasure-seekers."

"In the mean time," said Thompson, "why should not we come here to live? We can wear old clothes, and smoke cigars of the Hippalektryon brand. Dr. Johnson must have had a poetic prevision of Nantucket when he wrote his impecunious lines:

'Has Heaven reserved, in pity for the poor,
No pathless waste or undiscovered shore,
No secret island in the boundless main?'

This is the island. What an opening for young men of immoderately small means! The climate healthy and cool; no mosquitoes; a choice among seven beauties, perhaps the reversion of the remaining six, if Isaiah can be relied upon. In our regions, a thing of beauty is an expense for life; but with a house for three hundred dollars, and bluefish at a cent and a half a pound, there is no need any more to think of high prices and the expense of bringing up a family. If the origin of evil was,[Pg 302] that Providence did not create money enough, here it is in some sort Paradise."

"That's Heine," said I; "but Heine forgot to add, that one of the Devil's most dangerous tricks is to pretend to supply this sinful want by his cunning device of inconvertible paper money, which lures men to destruction and something worse."

Our holiday was nearly over. We packed up our new sensations, and steamed away to piles of goods and columns of figures. Town and steeples vanished in the haze, like the domes and minarets of the enchanted isle of Borondon. Was not this as near to an enchanted island as one could hope to find within twenty-five miles of New England? Nantucket is the gem of the ocean without the Irish, which I think is an improvement.


He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter. It is true the pomp and the pageantry are swept away, but the essential elements remain,—the day and the night, the mountain and the valley, the elemental play and succession and the perpetual presence of the infinite sky. In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. Summer is more wooing and seductive, more versatile and human, appeals to the affections and the sentiments, and fosters inquiry and the art impulse. Winter is of a more heroic cast, and addresses the intellect. The severe studies and disciplines come easier in winter. One imposes larger tasks upon himself, and is less tolerant of his own weaknesses.

The tendinous part of the mind, so to speak, is more developed in winter; the fleshy, in summer. I should say winter had given the bone and sinew to Literature, summer the tissues and blood.

The simplicity of winter has a deep moral. The return of Nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread.

And then this beautiful masquerade of the elements,—the novel disguises our nearest friends put on! Here is another rain and another dew, water that will not flow, nor spill, nor receive the taint of an unclean vessel. And if we see truly, the same old beneficence and willingness to serve lurk beneath all.

Look up at the miracle of the falling snow,—the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes, noiselessly transforming the world, the exquisite crystals dropping in ditch and gutter, and disguising in the same suit of spotless livery all objects upon which they fall. How novel and fine the first drifts! The old, dilapidated fence is suddenly set off with the most fantastic ruffles, scalloped and fluted after an unheard-of fashion! Looking down a long line of decrepit stone-wall, in the trimming of which the wind had fairly run riot, I saw, as for the first time, what a severe yet master artist old Winter is. Ah, a severe artist! How stern the woods look, dark and cold and as rigid against the horizon as iron!

All life and action upon the snow have an added emphasis and significance. Every expression is underscored. Summer has few finer pictures than this winter one of the farmer foddering[Pg 303] his cattle from a stack upon the clean snow,—the movement, the sharply-defined figures, the great green flakes of hay, the long file of patient cows,—the advance just arriving and pressing eagerly for the choicest morsels,—and the bounty and providence it suggests. Or the chopper in the woods,—the prostrate tree, the white new chips scattered about, his easy triumph over the cold, coat hanging to a limb, and the clear, sharp ring of his axe. The woods are rigid and tense, keyed up by the frost, and resound like a stringed instrument. Or the road-breakers, sallying forth with oxen and sleds in the still, white world, the day after the storm, to restore the lost track and demolish the beleaguering drifts.

All sounds are sharper in winter; the air transmits better. At night I hear more distinctly the steady roar of the North Mountain. In summer it is a sort of complacent pur, as the breezes stroke down its sides; but in winter always the same low, sullen growl.

A severe artist! No longer the canvas and the pigments, but the marble and the chisel. When the nights are calm and the moon full, I go out to gaze upon the wonderful purity of the moonlight and the snow. The air is full of latent fire, and the cold warms me—after a different fashion from that of the kitchen-stove. The world lies about me in a "trance of snow." The clouds are pearly and iridescent, and seem the farthest possible remove from the condition of a storm,—the ghosts of clouds, the indwelling beauty freed from all dross. I see the hills, bulging with great drifts, lift themselves up cold and white against the sky, the black lines of fences here and there obliterated by the depth of the snow. Presently a fox barks away up next the mountain, and I imagine I can almost see him sitting there, in his furs, upon the illuminated surface, and looking down in my direction. As I listen, one answers him from behind the woods in the valley. What a wild winter sound,—wild and weird, up among the ghostly hills. Since the wolf has ceased to howl upon these mountains, and the panther to scream, there is nothing to be compared with it. So wild! I get up in the middle of the night to hear it. It is refreshing to the ear, and one delights to know that such wild creatures are still among us. At this season Nature makes the most of every throb of life that can withstand her severity. How heartily she indorses this fox! In what bold relief stand out the lives of all walkers of the snow! The snow is a great telltale, and blabs as effectually as it obliterates. I go into the woods, and know all that has happened. I cross the fields, and if only a mouse has visited his neighbor, the fact is chronicled.

The Red Fox is the only species that abounds in my locality; the little Gray Fox seems to prefer a more rocky and precipitous country, and a less vigorous climate; the Cross Fox is occasionally seen, and there are traditions of the Silver Gray among the oldest hunters. But the Red Fox is the sportsman's prize, and the only fur-bearer worthy of note in these mountains.[A] I go out in the morning, after a fresh fall of snow, and see at all points where he has crossed the road. Here he has leisurely passed within rifle-range of the house, evidently reconnoitring the premises, with an eye to the hen-coop. That sharp, clear, nervous track,—there is no mistaking it for the clumsy foot-print of a little dog. All his wildness and agility are photographed in that track. Here he has taken fright, or suddenly recollected an engagement, and, in long, graceful leaps, barely touching the fence, has gone careering up the hill as fleet as the wind.

The wild, buoyant creature, how beautiful he is! I had often seen his dead carcase, and, at a distance, had witnessed the hounds drive him across the upper fields; but the thrill and excitement of meeting him in his wild freedom in the woods were unknown to me, till, one cold winter day, drawn thither by the baying of a hound, I stood far up toward the mountain's brow, waiting a renewal of the sound, that I might determine[Pg 304] the course of the dog and choose my position,—stimulated by the ambition of all young Nimrods, to bag some notable game. Long I waited, and patiently, till, chilled and benumbed, I was about to turn back, when, hearing a slight noise, I looked up and beheld a most superb fox, loping along with inimitable grace and ease, evidently disturbed, but not pursued by the hound, and so absorbed in his private meditations that he failed to see me, though I stood transfixed with amazement and admiration not ten yards distant. I took his measure at a glance,—a large male, with dark legs, and massive tail tipped with white,—a most magnificent creature; but so astonished and fascinated was I by his sudden appearance and matchless beauty, that not till I had caught the last glimpse of him, as he disappeared over a knoll, did I awake to my position as a sportsman, and realize what an opportunity to distinguish myself I had unconsciously let slip. I clutched my gun, half angrily, as if it was to blame, and went home out of humor with myself and all fox-kind. But I have since thought better of the experience, and concluded that I bagged the game after all, the best part of it, and fleeced Reynard of something more valuable than his fur without his knowledge.

This is thoroughly a winter sound,—this voice of the hound upon the mountain,—and one that is music to many ears. The long, trumpet-like bay, heard for a mile or more,—now faintly back in the deep recesses of the mountain,—now distinct, but still faint, as the hound comes over some prominent point, and the wind favors,—anon entirely lost in the gully,—then breaking out again much nearer, and growing more and more pronounced as the dog approaches, till, when he comes around the brow of the mountain, directly above you, the barking is loud and sharp. On he goes along the northern spur, his voice rising and sinking, as the wind and lay of the ground modify it, till lost to hearing.

The fox usually keeps half a mile ahead, regulating his speed by that of the hound, occasionally pausing a moment to divert himself with a mouse, or to contemplate the landscape, or to listen for his pursuer. If the hound press him too closely, he leads off from mountain to mountain, and so generally escapes the hunter; but if the pursuit be slow, he plays about some ridge or peak, and falls a prey, though not an easy one, to the experienced sportsman.

A most spirited and exciting chase occurs when the farm-dog gets close upon one in the open field, as sometimes happens in the early morning. The fox relies so confidently upon his superior speed, that I imagine he half tempts the dog to the race. But if the dog be a smart one, and their course lies down hill, over smooth ground, Reynard must put his best foot forward; and then, sometimes, suffer the ignominy of being run over by his pursuer, who, however, is quite unable to pick him up, owing to the speed. But when they mount the hill, or enter the woods, the superior nimbleness and agility of the fox tell at once, and he easily leaves the dog far in his rear. For a cur less than his own size he manifests little fear, especially if the two meet alone, remote from the house. In such cases, I have seen first one turn tail, then the other.

A novel spectacle often occurs in summer, when the female has young. You are rambling on the mountain, accompanied by your dog, when you are startled by that wild, half-threatening squall, and in a moment perceive your dog, with inverted tail and shame and confusion in his looks, sneaking toward you, the old fox but a few rods in his rear. You speak to him sharply, when he bristles up, turns about, and, barking, starts off vigorously, as if to wipe out the dishonor; but in a moment comes sneaking back more abashed than ever, and owns himself unworthy to be called a dog. The fox fairly shames him out of the woods. The secret of the matter is her sex, though her conduct, for the honor of the fox be it said, seems to be prompted only by solicitude for the safety of her young.

One of the most notable features of[Pg 305] the fox is his large and massive tail. Seen running on the snow, at a distance, his tail is quite as conspicuous as his body; and, so far from appearing a burden, seems to contribute to his lightness and buoyancy. It softens the outline of his movements, and repeats or continues to the eye the ease and poise of his carriage. But, pursued by the hound on a wet, thawy day, it often becomes so heavy and bedraggled as to prove a serious inconvenience, and compels him to take refuge in his den. He is very loath to do this; both his pride and the traditions of his race stimulate him to run it out, and win by fair superiority of wind and speed; and only a wound or a heavy and mopish tail will drive him to avoid the issue in this manner.

To learn his surpassing shrewdness and cunning, attempt to take him with a trap. Rogue that he is, he always suspects some trick, and one must be more of a fox than he is himself to overreach him. At first sight it would appear easy enough. With apparent indifference he crosses your path, or walks in your footsteps in the field, or travels along the beaten highway, or lingers in the vicinity of stacks and remote barns. Carry the carcass of a pig, or a fowl, or a dog, to a distant field in midwinter, and in a few nights his tracks cover the snow about it.

The inexperienced country youth, misled by this seeming carelessness of Reynard, suddenly conceives a project to enrich himself with fur, and wonders that the idea has not occurred to him before, and to others. I knew a youthful yeoman of this kind, who imagined he had found a mine of wealth on discovering on a remote side-hill, between two woods, a dead porker, upon which it appeared all the foxes of the neighborhood had nightly banqueted. The clouds were burdened with snow; and as the first flakes commenced to eddy down, he set out, trap and broom in hand, already counting over in imagination the silver quarters he would receive for his first fox-skin. With the utmost care, and with a palpitating heart, he removed enough of the trodden snow to allow the trap to sink below the surface. Then, carefully sifting the light element over it and sweeping his tracks full, he quickly withdrew, laughing exultingly over the little surprise he had prepared for the cunning rogue. The elements conspired to aid him, and the falling snow rapidly obliterated all vestiges of his work. The next morning at dawn, he was on his way to bring in his fur. The snow had done its work effectually, and, he believed, had kept his secret well. Arrived in sight of the locality, he strained his vision to make out his prize lodged against the fence at the foot of the hill. Approaching nearer, the surface was unbroken, and doubt usurped the place of certainty in his mind. A slight mound marked the site of the porker, but there was no foot-print near it. Looking up the hill, he saw where Reynard had walked leisurely down toward his wonted bacon, till within a few yards of it, when he had wheeled, and with prodigious strides disappeared in the woods. The young trapper saw at a glance what a comment this was upon his skill in the art, and, indignantly exhuming the iron, he walked home with it, the stream of silver quarters suddenly setting in another direction.

The successful trapper commences in the fall, or before the first deep snow. In a field not too remote, with an old axe, he cuts a small place, say ten inches by fourteen, in the frozen ground, and removes the earth to the depth of three or four inches, then fills the cavity with dry ashes, in which are placed bits of roasted cheese. Reynard is very suspicious at first, and gives the place a wide berth. It looks like design, and he will see how the thing behaves before he approaches too near. But the cheese is savory and the cold severe. He ventures a little closer every night, until he can reach and pick a piece from the surface. Emboldened by success, like other foxes, he presently digs freely among the ashes, and, finding a fresh supply of the delectable morsels every night, is soon thrown off his guard, and[Pg 306] his suspicions are quite lulled. After a week of baiting in this manner, and on the eve of a light fall of snow, the trapper carefully conceals his trap in the bed, first smoking it thoroughly with hemlock boughs to kill or neutralize all smell of the iron. If the weather favors and the proper precautions have been taken, he may succeed, though the chances are still greatly against him.

Reynard is usually caught very lightly, seldom more than the ends of his toes being between the jaws. He sometimes works so cautiously as to spring the trap without injury even to his toes; or may remove the cheese night after night without even springing it. I knew an old trapper who, on finding himself outwitted in this manner, tied a bit of cheese to the pan, and next morning had poor Reynard by the jaw. The trap is not fastened, but only encumbered with a clog, and is all the more sure in its hold by yielding to every effort of the animal to extricate himself.

When Reynard sees his captor approaching, he would fain drop into a mouse-hole to render himself invisible. He crouches to the ground and remains perfectly motionless until he perceives himself discovered, when he makes one desperate and final effort to escape, but ceases all struggling as you come up, and behaves in a manner that stamps him a very timid warrior,—cowering to the earth with a mingled look of shame, guilt, and abject fear. A young farmer told me of tracing one with his trap to the border of a wood, where he discovered the cunning rogue trying to hide by embracing a small tree. Most animals, when taken in a trap, show fight; but Reynard has more faith in the nimbleness of his feet than in the terror of his teeth.

Entering the woods, the number and variety of the tracks contrast strongly with the rigid, frozen aspect of things. Warm jets of life still shoot and play amid this snowy desolation. Fox-tracks are far less numerous than in the fields; but those of hares, skunks, partridges, squirrels, and mice abound. The mice-tracks are very pretty, and look like a sort of fantastic stitching on the coverlid of the snow. One is curious to know what brings these tiny creatures from their retreats; they do not seem to be in quest of food, but rather to be travelling about for pleasure or sociability, though always going post-haste, and linking stump with stump and tree with tree by fine, hurried strides. That is when they travel openly; but they have hidden passages and winding galleries under the snow, which undoubtedly are their main avenues of communication. Here and there these passages rise so near the surface as to be covered by only a frail arch of snow, and a slight ridge betrays their course to the eye. I know him well. He is known to the farmer as the deer-mouse, to the naturalist as the Hesperomys leucopus,—a very beautiful creature, nocturnal in his habits, with large ears, and large, fine eyes, full of a wild, harmless look. He leaps like a rabbit, and is daintily marked, with white feet and a white belly.

It is he who, far up in the hollow trunk of some tree, lays by a store of beech-nuts for winter use. Every nut is carefully shelled, and the cavity that serves as storehouse lined with grass and leaves. The wood-chopper frequently squanders this precious store. I have seen half a peck taken from one tree, as clean and white as if put up by the most delicate hands,—as they were. How long it must have taken the little creature to collect this quantity, to hull them one by one, and convey them up to his fifth-story chamber! He is not confined to the woods, but is quite as common in the fields, particularly in the fall, amid the corn and potatoes. When routed by the plough, I have seen the old one take flight with half a dozen young hanging to her teats, and with such reckless speed, that some of the young would lose their hold, and fly off amid the weeds. Taking refuge in a stump with the rest of her family, the anxious mother would presently come back and hunt up the missing ones.

The snow-walkers are mostly night-walkers also, and the record they leave upon the snow is the main clew one has[Pg 307] to their life and doings. The hare is nocturnal in his habits, and though a very lively creature at night, with regular courses and run-ways through the wood, is entirely quiet by day. Timid as he is, he makes little effort to conceal himself, usually squatting beside a log, stump, or tree, and seeming to avoid rocks and ledges where he might be partially housed from the cold and the snow, but where also—and this consideration undoubtedly determines his choice—he would be more apt to fall a prey to his enemies. In this as well as in many other respects he differs from the rabbit proper (Lepus sylvaticus); he never burrows in the ground, or takes refuge in a den or hole, when pursued. If caught in the open fields, he is much confused and easily overtaken by the dog; but in the woods, he leaves him at a bound. In summer, when first disturbed, he beats the ground violently with his feet, by which means he would express to you his surprise or displeasure; it is a dumb way he has of scolding. After leaping a few yards, he pauses an instant, as if to determine the degree of danger, and then hurries away with a much lighter tread.

His feet are like great pads, and his track has little of the sharp, articulated expression of Reynard's, or of animals that climb or dig. Yet it is very pretty, like all the rest, and tells its own tale. There is nothing bold or vicious or vulpine in it, and his timid, harmless character is published at every leap. He abounds in dense woods, preferring localities filled with a small undergrowth of beech and birch, upon the bark of which he feeds. Nature is rather partial to him and matches his extreme local habits and character with a suit that corresponds with his surroundings,—reddish-gray in summer and white in winter.

The sharp-rayed track of the partridge adds another figure to this fantastic embroidery upon the winter snow. Her course is a clear, strong line, sometimes quite wayward, but generally very direct, steering for the densest, most impenetrable places,—leading you over logs and through brush, alert and expectant, till, suddenly, she bursts up a few yards from you, and goes humming through the trees,—the complete triumph of endurance and vigor. Hardy native bird, may your tracks never be fewer, or your visits to the birch-tree less frequent!

The squirrel-tracks—sharp, nervous, and wiry—have their histories also. But who ever saw squirrels in winter? The naturalist says they are mostly torpid; yet evidently that little pocket-faced depredator, the chipmunk, was not carrying buckwheat for so many days to his hole for nothing;—was he anticipating a state of torpidity, or the demands of a very active appetite? Red and gray squirrels are more or less active all winter, though very shy, and, I am inclined to think, partially nocturnal in their habits. Here a gray one has just passed,—came down that tree and went up this; there he dug for a beech-nut, and left the bur on the snow. How did he know where to dig? During an unusually severe winter I have known him to make long journeys to a barn, in a remote field, where wheat was stored. How did he know there was wheat there? In attempting to return, the adventurous creature was frequently run down and caught in the deep snow.

His home is in the trunk of some old birch or maple, with an entrance far up amid the branches. In the spring he builds himself a summer-house of small leafy twigs in the top of a neighboring beech, where the young are reared and much of the time passed. But the safer retreat in the maple is not abandoned, and both old and young resort thither in the fall, or when danger threatens. Whether this temporary residence amid the branches is for elegance or pleasure, or for sanitary reasons or domestic convenience, the naturalist has forgotten to mention.

The elegant creature, so cleanly in its habits, so graceful in its carriage, so nimble and daring in its movements, excites feelings of admiration akin to those awakened by the birds and the fairer forms of nature. His passage[Pg 308] through the trees is almost a flight. Indeed, the flying-squirrel has little or no advantage over him, and in speed and nimbleness cannot compare with him at all. If he miss his footing and fall, he is sure to catch on the next branch; if the connection be broken, he leaps recklessly for the nearest spray or limb, and secures his hold, even if it be by the aid of his teeth.

His career of frolic and festivity begins in the fall, after the birds have left us and the holiday spirit of nature has commenced to subside. How absorbing the pastime of the sportsman, who goes to the woods in the still October morning in quest of him! You step lightly across the threshold of the forest, and sit down upon the first log or rock to await the signals. It is so still that the ear suddenly seems to have acquired new powers, and there is no movement to confuse the eye. Presently you hear the rustling of a branch, and see it sway or spring as the squirrel leaps from or to it; or else you hear a disturbance in the dry leaves, and mark one running upon the ground. He has probably seen the intruder, and, not liking his stealthy movements, desires to avoid a nearer acquaintance. Now he mounts a stump to see if the way is clear, then pauses a moment at the foot of a tree to take his bearings, his tail, as he skims along, undulating behind him, and adding to the easy grace and dignity of his movements. Or else you are first advised of his proximity by the dropping of a false nut, or the fragments of the shucks rattling upon the leaves. Or, again, after contemplating you awhile unobserved, and making up his mind that you are not dangerous, he strikes an attitude on a branch, and commences to quack and bark, with an accompanying movement of his tail. Late in the afternoon, when the same stillness reigns, the same scenes are repeated. There is a black variety, quite rare, but mating freely with the gray, from which he seems to be distinguished only in color.

The track of the red squirrel may be known by its smaller size. He is more common and less dignified than the gray, and oftener guilty of petty larceny about the barns and grain-fields. He is most abundant in old bark-peelings, and low, dilapidated hemlocks, from which he makes excursions to the fields and orchards, spinning along the tops of the fences, which afford, not only convenient lines of communication, but a safe retreat if danger threatens. He loves to linger about the orchard; and, sitting upright on the topmost stone in the wall, or on the tallest stake in the fence, chipping up an apple for the seeds, his tail conforming to the curve of his back, his paws shifting and turning the apple, he is a pretty sight, and his bright, pert appearance atones for all the mischief he does. At home, in the woods, he is the most frolicsome and loquacious. The appearance of anything unusual, if, after contemplating it a moment, he concludes it not dangerous, excites his unbounded mirth and ridicule, and he snickers and chatters, hardly able to contain himself; now darting up the trunk of a tree and squealing in derision, then hopping into position on a limb and dancing to the music of his own cackle, and all for your special benefit.

There is something very human in this apparent mirth and mockery of the squirrels. It seems to be a sort of ironical laughter, and implies self-conscious pride and exultation in the laugher, "What a ridiculous thing you are, to be sure!" he seems to say; "how clumsy and awkward, and what a poor show for a tail! Look at me, look at me!"—and he capers about in his best style. Again, he would seem to tease you and to provoke your attention; then suddenly assumes a tone of good-natured, childlike defiance and derision; that pretty little imp, the chipmunk, will sit on the stone above his den, and defy you, as plainly as if he said so, to catch him before he can get into his hole if you can. You hurl a stone at him, and "No you didn't" comes up from the depth of his retreat.

In February another track appears upon the snow, slender and delicate,[Pg 309] about a third larger than that of the gray squirrel, indicating no haste or speed, but, on the contrary, denoting the most imperturbable ease and leisure, the footprints so close together that the trail appears like a chain of curiously carved links. Sir Mephitis chinga, or, in plain English, the skunk, has woke up from his six-weeks nap, and come out into society again. He is a nocturnal traveller, very bold and impudent, coming quite up to the barn and outbuildings, and sometimes taking up his quarters for the season under the hay-mow. There is no such word as hurry in his dictionary, as you may see by his path upon the snow. He has a very sneaking, insinuating way, and goes creeping about the fields and woods, never once in a perceptible degree altering his gait, and, if a fence crosses his course, steers for a break or opening to avoid climbing. He is too indolent even to dig his own hole, but appropriates that of a woodchuck, or hunts out a crevice in the rocks, from which he extends his rambling in all directions, preferring damp, thawy weather. He has very little discretion or cunning, and holds a trap in utter contempt, stepping into it as soon as beside it, relying implicitly for defence against all forms of danger upon the unsavory punishment he is capable of inflicting. He is quite indifferent to both man and beast, and will not hurry himself to get out of the way of either. Walking through the summer fields at twilight, I have come near stepping upon him, and was much the more disturbed of the two. When attacked in the open fields he confounds the plans of his enemies by the unheard-of tactics of exposing his rear rather than his front. "Come if you dare," he says, and his attitude makes even the farm-dog pause. After a few encounters of this kind, and if you entertain the usual hostility towards him, your mode of attack will speedily resolve itself into moving about him in a circle, the radius of which will be the exact distance at which you can hurl a stone with accuracy and effect.

He has a secret to keep, and knows it, and is careful not to betray himself until he can do so with the most telling effect. I have known him to preserve his serenity even when caught in a steel trap, and look the very picture of injured innocence, manœuvring carefully and deliberately to extricate his foot from the grasp of the naughty jaws. Do not by any means take pity on him, and lend a helping hand.

How pretty his face and head! How fine and delicate his teeth, like a weasel's or cat's! When about a third grown, he looks so well that one covets him for a pet. He is quite precocious however, and capable, even at this tender age, of making a very strong appeal to your sense of smell.

No animal is more cleanly in its habits than he. He is not an awkward boy, who cuts his own face with his whip; and neither his flesh nor his fur hints the weapon with which he is armed. The most silent creature known to me, he makes no sound, so far as I have observed, save a diffuse, impatient noise, like that produced by beating your hand with a whisk-broom, when the farm-dog has discovered his retreat in the stone fence. He renders himself obnoxious to the farmer by his partiality for hens' eggs and young poultry. He is a confirmed epicure, and at plundering hen-roosts an expert. Not the full-grown fowls are his victims, but the youngest and most tender. At night Mother Hen receives under her maternal wings a dozen newly hatched chickens, and with much pride and satisfaction feels them all safely tucked away in her feathers. In the morning she is walking about disconsolately, attended by only two or three of all that pretty brood. What has happened? Where are they gone? That pickpocket, Sir Mephitis, could solve the mystery. Quietly has he approached, under cover of darkness, and, one by one, relieved her of her precious charge. Look closely, and you will see their little yellow legs and beaks, or part of a mangled form, lying about on the ground. Or, before the hen has hatched, he may find[Pg 310] her out, and, by the same sleight of hand, remove every egg, leaving only the empty blood-stained shells to witness against him. The birds, especially the ground-builders, suffer in like manner from his plundering propensities.

The secretion upon which he relies for defence, and which is the chief source of his unpopularity, while it affords good reasons against cultivating him as a pet, and mars his attractiveness as game, is by no means the greatest indignity that can be offered to a nose. It is a rank, living smell, and has none of the sickening qualities of disease or putrefaction. Indeed, I think a good smeller will enjoy its most refined intensity. It approaches the sublime, and makes the nose tingle. It is tonic and bracing, and, I can readily believe, has rare medicinal qualities. I do not recommend its use as eye-water, though an old farmer assures me it has undoubted virtues when thus applied. Hearing, one night, a disturbance among his hens, he rushed suddenly out to catch the thief, when Sir Mephitis, taken by surprise, and, no doubt, much annoyed at being interrupted, discharged the vials of his wrath full in the farmer's face, and with such admirable effect, that, for a few moments, he was completely blinded, and powerless to revenge himself upon the rogue; but he declared that afterwards his eyes felt as if purged by fire, and his sight was much clearer.

In March, that brief summary of a bear, the raccoon, comes out of his den in the ledges, and leaves his sharp digitigrade track upon the snow,—travelling not unfrequently in pairs,—a lean, hungry couple, bent on pillage and plunder. They have an unenviable time of it,—feasting in the summer and fall, hibernating in winter, and starving in spring. In April, I have found the young of the previous year creeping about the fields, so reduced by starvation as to be quite helpless, and offering no resistance to my taking them up by the tail, and carrying them home.

But with March our interest in these phases of animal life, which winter has so emphasized and brought out, begins to decline. Vague rumors are afloat in the air of a great and coming change. We are eager for Winter to be gone, since he too is fugitive, and cannot keep his place. Invisible hands deface his icy statuary; his chisel has lost its cunning. The drifts, so pure and exquisite, are now earth-stained and weather-worn,—the flutes and scallops, and fine, firm lines, all gone; and what was a grace and an ornament to the hills is now a disfiguration. Like worn and unwashed linen appear the remains of that spotless robe with which he clothed the world as his bride.

But he will not abdicate without a struggle. Day after day he rallies his scattered forces, and night after night pitches his white tents on the hills, and forges his spears at the eaves and by the dripping rocks; but the young Prince in every encounter prevails. Slowly and reluctantly the gray old hero retreats up the mountain, till finally the south rain comes in earnest, and in a night he is dead.[Pg 311]


[A] A spur of the Catskills.


Maiden, there is something more
Than raiment to adore;
Thou must have more than a dress,
More than any mode or mould,
More than mortal loveliness,
To captivate the cold.
Bow the knightly when they bow,
To a star behind the brow,—
Not to marble, not to dust,
But to that which warms them;
Not to contour nor to bust,
But to that which forms them,—
Not to languid lid nor lash,
Satin fold nor purple sash,
But unto the living flash
So mysteriously hid
Under lash and under lid.
But, vanity of vanities,—
If the red-rose in a young cheek lies,
Fatal disguise!
For the most terrible lances
Of the true, true knight
Are his bold eyebeams;
And every time that he opens his eyes,
The falsehood that he looks on dies.
If the heavenly light be latent,
It can need no earthly patent.
Unbeholden unto art—
Fashion or lore,
Scrip or store,
Earth or ore—
Be thy heart,
Which was music from the start,
Music, music to the core!
Music, which, though voiceless,
Can create
Both form and fate,
As Petrarch could a sonnet
That, taking flesh upon it,
Doth the same inform and fill
With a music sweeter still!
Lives and breathes and palpitates,
Moves and moulds and animates,
And sleeps not from its duty
Till the maid in whom 'tis pent[Pg 312]
From a mortal rudiment,
From the earth-cell
And the love-cell,
By the birth-spell
And the love-spell—
Come to beauty.
Beauty, that, (Celestial Child,
From above,
Born of Wisdom and of Love,)
Can never die!
That ever, as she passeth by,
But casteth down the mild
Effulgence of her eye,
And, lo! the broken heart is healed,
The maimed, perverted soul
Ariseth and is whole!
That ever doing the fair deed,
And therein taking joy,
(A pure and priceless meed
That of this earth hath least alloy,)
It comes at last,
All mischance forever past,—
Every beautiful procedure
Manifest in form and feature,—
To be revealed:
There walks the earth an heavenly creature!
Beauty is music mute,—
Music's flower and fruit,
Music's creature—
Form and feature—
Music's lute.
Music's lute be thou,
Maiden of the starry brow!
(Keep thy heart true to know how!)
A Lute which he alone,
As all in good time shall be shown,
Shall prove, and thereby make his own,
Who is god enough to play upon it.
Happy, happy maid is she
Who is wedded unto Truth:
Thou shalt know him when he comes,
(Welcome youth!)
Not by any din of drums,
Nor the vantage of his airs;
Neither by his crown,
Nor his gown,
Nor by anything he wears.
He shall only well known be
By the holy harmony
That his coming makes in thee!

[Pg 313]


It was about half past six o'clock on the morning of the 27th of October, 1865, that we left Manaos, (or as the maps usually call it, Barra do Rio Negro,) on an excursion to the Lake of Hyanuary, on the western side of the Rio Negro. The morning was unusually fresh for these latitudes, and a strong wind was blowing up so heavy a sea in the river, that, if it did not actually make one sea-sick, it certainly called up very vivid and painful associations. We were in a large eight-oared custom-house barge, our company consisting of his Excellency, Dr. Epaminondas, President of the Province,[B] his secretary, Senhor Codicera, Senhor Tavares Bastos, the distinguished young deputy from the Province of Alagoas, Major Coutinho, of the Brazilian Engineer Service, Mr. Agassiz and myself, Mr. Bourkhardt, his artist, and two of our volunteer assistants. We were preceded by a smaller boat, an Indian montaria, in which was our friend and kind host, Senhor Honorio, who had undertaken to provide for our creature comforts, and had the care of a boatful of provisions. After an hour's row we left the rough waters of the Rio Negro, and rounding a wooded point, turned into one of those narrow, winding igarapés (literally, "boat-paths"), with green forest walls, which make the charm of canoe excursions in this country. A ragged drapery of long, faded grass hung from the lower branches of the trees, marking the height of the last rise of the river,—some eighteen or twenty feet above its present level. Here and there a white heron stood on the shore, his snowy plumage glittering in the sunlight; numbers of ciganas (the pheasants of the Amazons) clustered in the bushes; once a pair of king vultures rested for a moment within gunshot, but flew out of sight as our canoe approached; and now and then an alligator showed his head above water. As we floated along through this picturesque channel, so characteristic of the wonderful region to which we were all more or less strangers,—for even Dr. Epaminondas and Senhor Tavares Bastos were here for the first time,—the conversation turned naturally enough upon the nature of this Amazonian Valley, its physical conformation, its origin and resources, its history past and to come, both alike and obscure, both the subject of wonder and speculation. Senhor Tavares Bastos, although not yet thirty, is already distinguished in the politics of his country; and from the moment he entered upon public life to the present time, the legislation in regard to the Amazons, its relation to the future progress and development of the Brazilian empire, has been the object of his deepening interest. He is a leader in that class of men who advocate the most liberal policy in this matter, and has already urged upon his countrymen the importance, even from selfish motives, of sharing their great treasure with the world. He was little more than twenty years of age when he published his papers on the opening of the Amazons, which have done more, perhaps, than anything else of late years to attract attention to the subject.

There are points where the researches of the statesman and the investigator meet, and natural science is not without its influence, even on the practical bearings of this question. Shall this region be legislated for as sea or land? Shall the interests of agriculture or navigation prevail in its councils? Is it essentially aquatic or terrestrial? Such were some of the inquiries which came up in the course of the discussion. A region[Pg 314] of country which stretches across a whole continent, and is flooded for half the year, where there can never be railroads, or highways, or even pedestrian travelling, to any great extent, can hardly be considered as dry land. It is true that, in this oceanic river system, the tidal action has an annual, instead of a daily, ebb and flow; that its rise and fall obey a larger light, and are regulated by the sun, and not the moon; but it is nevertheless subject to all the conditions of a submerged district, and must be treated as such. Indeed, these semiannual changes of level are far more powerful in their influence on the life of the inhabitants than any marine tides. People sail half the year over districts where, for the other half, they walk, though hardly dry-shod, over the soaked ground; their occupations, their dress, their habits, are modified in accordance with the dry and wet seasons. And not only the ways of life, but the whole aspect of the country, the character of the landscape, are changed. At this moment there are two most picturesque falls in the neighborhood of Manaos,—the Great and Little Cascades, as they are called,—favorite resorts for bathing, picnics, etc., which, in a few months, when the river shall have risen above their highest level, will have completely disappeared. Their bold rocks and shady nooks will have become river-bottom. All that one hears or reads of the extent of the Amazons and its tributaries does not give one an idea of its immensity as a whole. One must float for months upon its surface, in order to understand how fully water has the mastery over land along its borders. Its watery labyrinth is not so much a network of rivers, as an ocean of fresh water cut up and divided by land, the land being often nothing more than an archipelago of islands in its midst. The valley of the Amazons is indeed an aquatic, not a terrestrial, basin; and it is not strange, when looked upon from this point of view, that its forests should be less full of life, comparatively, than its rivers.

But while we were discussing these points, talking of the time when the banks of the Amazons will teem with a population more active and vigorous than any it has yet seen,—when all civilized nations shall share in its wealth,—when the twin continents will shake hands, and Americans of the North come to help Americans of the South in developing its resources,—when it will be navigated from north to south, as well as from east to west, and small steamers will run up to the head-waters of all its tributaries,—while we were speculating on these things, we were approaching the end of our journey; and, as we neared the lake, there issued from its entrance a small, two-masted canoe, evidently bound on some official mission, for it carried the Brazilian flag, and was adorned with many brightly colored streamers. As it drew near we heard music; and a salvo of rockets, the favorite Brazilian artillery on all festive occasions, whether by day or night, shot up into the air. Our arrival had been announced by Dr. Carnavaro of Manaos, who had come out the day before to make some preparations for our reception, and this was a welcome to the President on his first visit to the Indian village. When they came within speaking distance, a succession of hearty cheers went up for the President; for Tavares Bastos, whose character as the political advocate of the Amazons makes him especially welcome here; for Major Coutinho, already well known from his former explorations in this region; and for the strangers within their gates,—for the Professor and his party. When the reception was over, they fell into line behind our boat, and so we came into the little port with something of state and ceremony.

This pretty Indian village is hardly recognized as a village at once, for it consists of a number of sitios (palm-thatched houses), scattered through the forest; and though the inhabitants look on each other as friends and neighbors, yet from our landing-place only one sitio was to be seen,—that at which we were to stay. It stood on a hill which sloped gently up from the lake shore, and consisted of a mud house,—the rough frame[Pg 315] being filled in and plastered with mud,—containing two rooms, beside several large palm-thatched sheds outside. The word shed, which we connect with a low, narrow out-house, gives no correct idea, however, of this kind of structure, universal throughout the Indian settlements, and common also among the whites. The space enclosed is generally large, the sloping roof of palm-thatch is lifted very high on poles made of the trunks of trees, thus allowing a free circulation of air, and there are usually no walls at all. They are great open porches, or verandas, rather than sheds. One of these rooms was used for the various processes by which the mandioca root is transformed into farinha, tapioca, and tucupi, a kind of intoxicating liquor. It was furnished with the large clay ovens, covered with immense shallow copper pans, for drying the farinha, with the troughs for kneading the mandioca, the long straw tubes for expressing the juice, and the sieves for straining the tapioca. The mandioca room is an important part of every Indian sitio; for the natives not only depend, in a great degree, upon the different articles manufactured from this root for their own food, but it makes an essential part of the commerce of the Amazons. Another of these open rooms was a kitchen; while a third, which served as our dining-room, is used on festa days and occasional Sundays as a chapel. It differed from the rest in having the upper end closed in with a neat thatched wall, against which, in time of need, the altar-table may stand, with candles and rough prints or figures of the Virgin and Saints. A little removed from this more central part of the establishment was another smaller mud house, where most of the party arranged their hammocks; Mr. Agassiz and myself being accommodated in the other one, where we were very hospitably received by the senhora of the sitio, an old Indian woman, whose gold ornaments, necklace, and ear-rings were rather out of keeping with her calico skirt and cotton waist. This is, however, by no means an unusual combination here. Beside the old lady, the family consisted, at this moment, of her afilhada (god-daughter), with her little boy, and several other women employed about the place; but it is difficult to judge of the population of the sitios now, because a great number of the men have been taken as recruits for the war with Paraguay, and others are hiding in the forest for fear of being pressed into the same service.

The breakfast-table, covered with dishes of fish fresh from the lake, and dressed in a variety of ways, with stewed chicken, rice, etc., was by no means an unwelcome sight, as it was already eleven o'clock, and we had had nothing since rising, at half past five in the morning, except a hot cup of coffee; nor was the meal the less appetizing that it was spread under the palm-thatched roof of our open, airy dining-room, surrounded by the forest, and commanding a view of the lake and wooded hillside opposite, the little landing below, where were moored our barge with its white awning, the gay canoe, and two or three Indian montarias, making the foreground of the picture. After breakfast our party dispersed, some to rest in their hammocks, others to hunt or fish, while Mr. Agassiz was fully engaged in examining a large basket of fish,—Tucunarés, Acaras, Curimatas, Surubims, etc.,—just brought in from the lake for his inspection, and showing again what every investigation demonstrates afresh, namely, the distinct localization of species in every different water-basin, be it river, lake, igarapé, or forest pool. Though the scientific results of the expedition have no place in this little sketch of a single excursion, let me make a general statement as to Mr. Agassiz's collections, to give you some idea of his success. Since arriving in Pará, although his exploration of the Amazonian waters is but half completed, he has collected more species than were known to exist in the whole world fifty years ago. Up to this time, something more than a hundred species of fish were known to science from the Amazons;[C] Mr. Agassiz has already[Pg 316] more than eight hundred on hand, and every day adds new treasures. He is himself astonished at this result, revealing a richness and variety in the distribution of life throughout these waters of which he had formed no conception. As his own attention has been especially directed to their localization and development, his collection of fishes is larger than any other; still, with the help of his companions, volunteers as well as regular assistants, he has a good assortment of specimens from all the other classes of the animal kingdom likewise.

One does not see much of the world between one o'clock and four in this climate. These are the hottest hours of the day, and there are few who can resist the temptation of the cool swinging hammock, slung in some shady spot within doors or without. I found a quiet retreat by the lake shore, where, though I had a book in my hand, the wind in the trees overhead, and the water rippling softly around the montarias moored at my side, lulled me into that mood of mind when one may be lazy without remorse or ennui, and one's highest duty seems to be to do nothing. The monotonous notes of a violon, a kind of lute or guitar, came to me from a group of trees at a little distance, where our boatmen were resting in the shade, the red fringes of their hammocks giving to the landscape just the bit of color which it needed. Occasionally a rustling flight of paroquets or ciganas overhead startled me for a moment, or a large pirarucu plashed out of the water; but except for these sounds, Nature was silent, and animals as well as men seemed to pause in the heat and seek shelter.

Dinner brought us all together again at the close of the afternoon in our airy banqueting-hall. As we were with the President, our picnic was of a much more magnificent character than are our purely scientific excursions, of which we have had many. On such occasions, we are forced to adapt our wants to our means; and the make-shifts to which we are obliged to resort, if they are sometimes inconvenient, are often very amusing. But now, instead of teacups doing duty as tumblers, empty barrels serving as chairs, and the like incongruities, we had a silver soup tureen and a cook and a waiter, and knives and forks enough to go round, and many other luxuries which such wayfarers as ourselves learn to do without. While we were dining, the Indians began to come in from the surrounding forest to pay their respects to the President; for his visit was the cause of great rejoicing, and there was to be a ball in his honor in the evening. They brought an enormous cluster of game as an offering. What a mass of color it was, looking more like an immense bouquet of flowers than like a bunch of birds! It was composed entirely of toucans with their red and yellow beaks, blue eyes, and soft white breasts bordered with crimson, and of parrots, or papagaios, as they call them here, with their gorgeous plumage of green, blue, purple, and red.

When we had dined we took coffee outside, while our places around the table were filled by the Indian guests, who were to have a dinner-party in their turn. It was pleasant to see with how much courtesy several of the Brazilian gentlemen of our party waited upon these Indian senhoras, passing them a variety of dishes, helping them to wine, and treating them with as much attention as if they had been the highest ladies of the land. They seemed, however, rather shy and embarrassed, scarcely touching the nice things placed before them, till one of the gentlemen who has lived a good deal among the Indians, and knows their habits perfectly, took the knife and fork from one of them, exclaiming,—"Make no ceremony, and don't be ashamed; eat with your fingers, all of you, as you're accustomed to do, and then you'll find your appetites and enjoy your dinner." His advice was followed; and I must say they seemed much more comfortable[Pg 317] in consequence, and did better justice to the good fare. Although the Indians who live in the neighborhood of the towns have seen too much of the conventionalities of civilization not to understand the use of a knife and fork, no Indian will eat with one if he can help it; and, strange to say, there are many of the whites in the upper Amazonian settlements who have adopted the same habits. I have dined with Brazilian senhoras of good class and condition, belonging to the gentry of the land, who, although they provided a very nice service for their guests, used themselves only the implements with which Nature had provided them.

When the dinner was over, the room was cleared of the tables, and swept; the music, consisting of a guitar, flute, and violin, called in; and the ball was opened. At first the forest belles were rather shy in the presence of strangers; but they soon warmed up, and began to dance with more animation. They were all dressed in calico or muslin skirts, with loose white cotton waists, finished around the neck with a kind of lace they make themselves by drawing out the threads from cotton or cambric so as to form an open pattern, sewing those which remain over and over to secure them. Much of this lace is quite elaborate, and very fine. Many of them had their hair dressed either with white jessamine or with roses stuck into their round combs, and several wore gold beads and ear-rings. Some of the Indian dances are very pretty; but one thing is noticeable, at least in all that I have seen. The man makes all the advances, while the woman is coy and retiring, her movements being very languid. Her partner throws himself at her feet, but does not elicit a smile or a gesture; he stoops, and pretends to be fishing, making motions as if he were drawing her in with a line; he dances around her, snapping his fingers as though playing on the castanets, and half encircling her with his arms; but she remains reserved and cold. Now and then they join together in something like a waltz; but this is only occasionally, and for a moment. How different from the negro dances, of which we saw many in the neighborhood of Rio! In those the advances come chiefly from the women, and are not always of a very modest character.

The moon was shining brightly over lake and forest, and the ball was gayer than ever, at ten o'clock, when I went to my room, or rather to the room where my hammock was slung, and which I shared with Indian women and children, with a cat and her family of kittens, who slept on the edge of my mosquito-net, and made frequent inroads upon the inside, with hens and chickens and sundry dogs, who went in and out at will. The music and dancing, the laughter and talking outside, continued till the small hours. Every now and then an Indian girl would come in to rest for a while, take a nap in a hammock, and then return to the dance. When we first arrived in South America, we could hardly have slept soundly under such circumstances; but one soon becomes accustomed, on the Amazons, to sleeping in rooms with mud floors and mud walls, or with no walls at all, where rats and birds and bats rustle about in the thatch over one's head, and all sorts of unwonted noises in the night remind you that you are by no means the sole occupant of your apartment. This remark does not apply to the towns, where the houses are comfortable enough; but if you attempt to go off the beaten track, to make canoe excursions, and see something of the forest population, you must submit to these inconveniences. There is one thing, however, which makes it far pleasanter to lodge in the Indian houses here than in the houses of our poorer class at home. One is quite independent in the matter of bedding; no one travels without his own hammock and the net which in many places is a necessity on account of the mosquitoes. Beds and bedding are almost unknown here; and there are none so poor as not to possess two or three of the strong and neat twine hammocks[Pg 318] made by the Indians themselves from the fibres of the palm. Then the open character of their houses, as well as the personal cleanliness of the Indians, makes the atmosphere fresher and purer there than in the houses of our poor. However untidy they may be in other respects, they always bathe once or twice a day, if not oftener, and wash their clothes frequently. We have never yet entered an Indian house where there was any disagreeable odor, unless it might be the peculiar smell from the preparation of the mandioca in the working-room outside, which has, at a certain stage in the process, a slightly sour smell. We certainly could not say as much for many houses where we have lodged when travelling in the West, or even "Down East," where the suspicious look of the bedding and the close air of the room often make one doubtful about the night's rest.

We were up at five o'clock; for the morning hours are very precious in this climate, and the Brazilian day begins with the dawn. At six o'clock we had had coffee, and were ready for the various projects suggested for our amusement. Our sportsmen were already in the forest; others had gone off on a fishing excursion in a montaria; and I joined a party on a visit to a sitio higher up the lake. Mr. Agassiz, as has been constantly the case throughout our journey, was obliged to deny himself all these parties of pleasure; for the novelty and variety of the species of fish brought in kept him and his artist constantly at work. In this climate the process of decomposition goes on so rapidly, that, unless the specimens are attended to at once, they are lost; and the paintings must be made while they are quite fresh, in order to give any idea of their vividness of tint. We therefore left Mr. Agassiz busy with the preparation of his collections, and Mr. Bourkhardt painting, while we went up the lake through a strange, half-aquatic, half-terrestrial region, where the land seemed hardly redeemed from the water. Groups of trees rose directly from the lake, their roots hidden below its surface, while numerous blackened and decayed trunks stood up from the water in all sorts of picturesque and fantastic forms. Sometimes the trees had thrown down from their branches those singular aerial roots so common here, and seemed standing on stilts. Here and there, when we coasted along by the bank, we had a glimpse into the deeper forest, with its drapery of lianas and various creeping vines, and its parasitic sipos twining close around the trunks, or swinging themselves from branch to branch like loose cordage. But usually the margin of the lake was a gently sloping bank, covered with a green so vivid and yet so soft that it seemed as if the earth had been born afresh in its six months' baptism, and had come out like a new creation. Here and there a palm lifted its head above the line of the forest, especially the light, graceful Assai palm, with its tall, slender, smooth stem and crown of feathery leaves vibrating with every breeze.

Half an hour's row brought us to the landing of the sitio for which we were bound. Usually the sitios stand on the bank of the lake or river, a stone's throw from the shore, for convenience of fishing, bathing, etc. But this one was at some distance, with a very nicely-kept winding path leading through the forest; and as it was far the neatest and prettiest sitio I have seen here, I may describe it more at length. It stood on the brow of a hill which dipped down on the other side into a wide and deep ravine. Through this ravine ran an igarapé, beyond which the land rose again in an undulating line of hilly ground, most refreshing to the eye after the flat character of the upper Amazonian scenery. The fact that this sitio, standing now on a hill overlooking the valley and the little stream at its bottom, will have the water nearly flush with the ground around it when the igarapé is swollen by the rise of the river, gives an idea of the change of aspect between the dry and wet seasons. The establishment consisted of a number[Pg 319] of buildings, the most conspicuous of which was a large and lofty open room, which the Indian senhora told me was their reception-room, and was often used, she said, by the brancos (whites) from Manaos and the neighborhood for an evening dance, when they came out in a large company, and passed the night. A low wall, some three or four feet in height, ran along the sides of this room, wooden benches being placed against them for their whole length. The two ends were closed from top to bottom by very neat thatched walls; the palm-thatch here, when it is made with care, being exceedingly pretty, fine, and smooth, and of a soft straw color. At the upper end stood an immense embroidery-frame, looking as if it might have served for Penelope's web, but in which was stretched an unfinished hammock of palm-thread, the senhora's work. She sat down on the low stool before it, and worked a little for my benefit, showing me how the two layers of transverse threads were kept apart by a thick, polished piece of wood, something like a long, broad ruler. Through the opening thus made the shuttle is passed with the cross-thread, which is then pushed down and straightened in its place by means of the same piece of wood.

When we arrived, with the exception of the benches I have mentioned and a few of the low wooden stools roughly cut out of a single piece of wood and common in every sitio, this room was empty; but immediately a number of hammocks, of various color and texture, were brought and slung across the room from side to side, between the poles supporting the roof, and we were invited to rest. This is the first act of hospitality on arriving at a country-house here; and the guests are soon stretched in every attitude of luxurious ease. After we had rested, the gentlemen went down to the igarapé to bathe, while the senhora and her daughter, a very pretty Indian woman, showed me over the rest of the establishment. She had the direction of everything now; for the master of the house was absent, having a captain's commission in the army; and I heard here the same complaints which meet you everywhere in the forest settlements, of the deficiency of men on account of the recruiting. The room I have described stood on one side of a cleared and neatly swept ground, around which, at various distances, stood a number of little thatched houses,—casinhas, as they call them,—consisting mostly only of one room. But beside these there was one larger house, with mud walls and floor, containing two or three rooms, and having a wooden veranda in front. This was the senhora's private establishment. At a little distance farther down on the hill was the mandioca kitchen, with several large ovens, troughs, etc. Nothing could be neater than the whole area of this sitio; and while we were there, two or three black girls were sent out to sweep it afresh with their stiff twig brooms. Around was the plantation of mandioca and cacao, with here and there a few coffee-shrubs. It is difficult to judge of the extent of these sitio plantations, because they are so irregular, and comprise such a variety of trees,—mandioca, coffee, cacao, and often cotton, being planted pellmell together. But every sitio has its plantation, large or small, of one or other or all of these productions.

On the return of the gentlemen from the igarapé, we took leave, though very kindly pressed to stay and breakfast. At parting, the senhora presented me with a wicker-basket of fresh eggs, and some abacatys, or alligator pears, as we call them. We reached the house just in time for a ten-o'clock breakfast, which assembled all the different parties once more from their various occupations, whether of work or play. The sportsmen returned from the forest, bringing a goodly supply of toucans, papagaios, and paroquets, with a variety of other birds; and the fishermen brought in treasures again for Mr. Agassiz.

After breakfast I retired to the room where we had passed the night, hoping to find a quiet time for writing up letters[Pg 320] and journal. But it was already occupied by the old senhora and her guests, lounging about in the hammocks or squatting on the floor and smoking their pipes. The house was, indeed, full to overflowing, as the whole party assembled for the ball were to stay during the President's visit. In this way of living it is an easy matter to accommodate any number of people; for if they cannot all be received under the roof, they are quite as well satisfied to put up their hammocks under the trees outside. As I went to my room the evening before, I stopped to look at quite a pretty picture of an Indian mother with her two little children asleep on either arm, all in one hammock, in the open air.

My Indian friends were too much interested in my occupations to allow of my continuing them uninterruptedly. They were delighted with my books, (I happened to have Bates's "Naturalist on the Amazons" with me, in which I showed them some pictures of Amazonian scenery and insects,) and asked me many questions about my country, my voyage, and my travels here. In return, they gave me much information about their own way of life. They said the present gathering of neighbors and friends was no unusual occurrence; for they have a great many festas which, though partly religious in character, are also occasions of great festivity. These festas are celebrated at different sitios in turn, the saint of the day being carried, with all his ornaments, candles, bouquets, etc., to the house where the ceremony is to take place, and where all the people of the the village congregate. Sometimes they last for several days, and are accompanied by processions, music, and dances in the evening. But the women said the forest was very sad now, because their men had all been taken as recruits, or were seeking safety in the woods. The old senhora told me a sad story of the brutality exercised in recruiting the Indians. She assured me that they were taken wherever they were caught, without reference to age or circumstances, often having women and children dependent upon them; and, if they made resistance, were carried off by force, frequently handcuffed, or with heavy weights attached to their feet. Such proceedings are entirely illegal; but these forest villages are so remote, that the men employed to recruit may practise any cruelty without being called to account for it. If they bring in their recruits in good condition, no questions are asked. These women assured me that all the work of the sitios—the making of farinha, the fishing, the turtle-hunting—was stopped for want of hands. The appearance of things certainly confirms this, for one sees scarcely any men about in the villages, and the canoes one meets are mostly rowed by women.

I must say that the life of the Indian woman, so far as we have seen it, and this is by no means the only time that we have been indebted to Indians for hospitality, seems to me enviable in comparison with that of the Brazilian lady in the Amazonian towns. The former has a healthful out-of-door life; she has her canoe on the lake or river, and her paths through the forest, with perfect liberty to come and go; she has her appointed daily occupations, being busy not only with the care of her house and children, but in making farinha or tapioca, or in drying and rolling tobacco, while the men are fishing and turtle-hunting; and she has her frequent festa days to enliven her working life. It is, on the contrary, impossible to imagine anything more dreary and monotonous than the life of the Brazilian senhora in any of the smaller towns. In the northern provinces, especially, old Portuguese notions about shutting women up and making their home-life as colorless as that of a cloistered nun, without even the element of religious enthusiasm to give it zest, still prevail. Many a Brazilian lady passes day after day without stirring beyond her four walls, scarcely even showing herself at the door or window; for she is always in a careless dishabille, unless she expects company. It is sad to see these stifled existences; without any[Pg 321] contact with the world outside, without any charm of domestic life, without books or culture of any kind, the Brazilian senhora in this part of the country either sinks contentedly into a vapid, empty, aimless life, or frets against her chains, and is as discontented as she is useless.

On the day of our arrival the dinner had been interrupted by the entrance of the Indians with their greetings and presents of game to the President; but on the second day it was enlivened by quite a number of appropriate toasts and speeches. I thought, as we sat around the dinner-table, there had probably never before been gathered under the palm-roof of an Indian house on the Amazons a party combining so many different elements and objects. There was the President, whose interest is, of course, in administering the affairs of the province, in which the Indians come in for a large share of his attention;—there was the young statesman, whose whole heart is in the great national question of peopling the Amazonian region and opening it to the world, and in the effect this movement is to have upon his country;—there was the able engineer, whose scientific life has been passed in surveying the great river and its tributaries with a view to their future navigation;—and there was the man of pure science, come to study the distribution of animal life in their waters, with no view to practical questions. The speeches touched upon all these interests, and were received with enthusiasm, each one closing with a toast and music, for our little band of the night before had been brought in to enliven the scene. The Brazilians are very happy in their after-dinner speeches, and have great facility in them, whether from a natural gift or from much practice. The habit of drinking healths and giving toasts is very general throughout the country; and the most informal dinner among intimate friends does not conclude without some mutual greetings of this kind.

As we were sitting under the trees afterwards, having yielded our places in the primitive dining-room to the Indian guests, the President suggested a sunset row on the lake. The hour and the light were most tempting; and we were soon off in the canoe, taking no boatmen, the gentlemen preferring to row themselves. We went through the same lovely region, half water, half land, over which we had passed in the morning, floating between patches of greenest grass, and large forest-trees, and blackened trunks standing out of the lake like ruins. We did not go very fast nor very far, for our amateur boatmen found the evening warm, and their rowing was rather play than work; they stopped, too, every now and then, to get a shot at a white heron or into a flock of paroquets or ciganas, whereby they wasted a good deal of powder to no effect. As we turned to come back, we were met by one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen. The Indian women, having finished their dinner, had taken the little two-masted canoe, dressed with flags, which had been prepared for the President's reception, and had come out to meet us. They had the music on board, and there were two or three men in the boat; but the women were some twelve or fifteen in number, and seemed, like genuine Amazons, to have taken things into their own hands. They were rowing with a will; and as the canoe drew near, with music playing and flags flying, the purple lake, dyed in the sunset and smooth as a mirror, gave back the picture. Every tawny figure at the oars, every flutter of the crimson and blue streamers, every fold of the green and yellow national flag at the prow, was as distinct below the surface as above it. The fairy boat, for so it looked floating between glowing sky and water, and seeming to borrow color from both, came on apace, and as it approached our friends greeted us with many a Viva! to which we responded as heartily. Then the two canoes joined company, and we went on together, taking the guitar sometimes into one and sometimes into the other, while Brazilian and Indian songs followed each other. Anything more national, more completely imbued with tropical coloring and character,[Pg 322] than this evening scene on the lake, can hardly be conceived. When we reached the landing, the gold and rose-colored clouds were fading into soft masses of white and ashen gray, and moonlight was taking the place of sunset. As we went up the green slope to the sitio, a dance on the grass was proposed, and the Indian girls formed a quadrille; for thus much of outside civilization has crept into their native manners, though they throw into it so much of their own characteristic movements that it loses something of its conventional aspect. Then we returned to the house, where while here and there groups sat about on the ground laughing and talking, and the women smoking with as much enjoyment as the men. Smoking is almost universal among the common women here, nor is it confined to the lower classes. Many a senhora, at least in this part of Brazil, (for one must distinguish between the civilization upon the banks of the Amazons and in the interior, and that in the cities along the coast,) enjoys her pipe while she lounges in her hammock through the heat of the day.

The following day the party broke up. The Indian women came to bid us good by after breakfast, and dispersed in various directions, through the forest paths, to their several homes, going off in little groups, with their babies, of whom there were a goodly number, astride on their hips, and the older children following. Mr. Agassiz passed the morning in packing and arranging his fishes, having collected in these two days more than seventy new species: such is the wealth of life everywhere in these waters. His studies had been the subject of great curiosity to the people about the sitio; one or two were always hovering around to look at his work, and to watch Mr. Bourkhardt's drawing. They seemed to think it extraordinary that any one should care to take the portrait of a fish. The familiarity of these children of the forest with the natural objects about them—plants, birds, insects, fishes—is remarkable. They frequently ask to see the drawings, and, in turning over a pile containing several hundred colored drawings of fish, they will scarcely make a mistake; even the children giving the name instantly, and often adding, "He filho d'elle,"—"It is the child of such a one,"—thus distinguishing the young from the adult, and pointing out their relation. The scientific work excites great wonder among the Indians, wherever we go; and when Mr. Agassiz succeeds in making them understand the value he attaches to his collections, he often finds them efficient assistants.

We dined rather earlier than usual,—our chief dish being a stew of parrots and toucans,—and left the sitio at about five o'clock, in three canoes, the music accompanying us in the smaller boat. Our Indian friends stood on the shore as we left, giving us a farewell greeting with cheers and waving hats and hands. The row through the lake and igarapé was delicious; and we saw many alligators lying lazily about in the quiet water, who seemed to enjoy it, after their fashion, as much as we did. The sun had long set as we issued from the little river, and the Rio Negro, where it opens broadly out into the Amazons, was a sea of silver. The boat with the music presently joined our canoe; and we had a number of the Brazilian modinhas, as they call them,—songs which seem especially adapted for the guitar and moonlight. These modinhas have quite a peculiar character. They are little, graceful, lyrical snatches of song, with a rather melancholy cadence; even those of which the words are gay not being quite free from this undertone of sadness. One hears them constantly sung to the guitar, a favorite instrument with the Brazilians as well as the Indians. This put us all into a somewhat dreamy mood, and we approached the end of our journey rather silently. But as we came toward the landing, we heard the sound of a band of brass instruments, effectually drowning our feeble efforts, and saw a crowded canoe coming towards us. They were the boys from an Indian school in the neighborhood of Manaos, where a certain number[Pg 323] of boys of Indian parentage, though not all of pure descent, receive an education at the expense of the province, and are taught a number of trades. Among other things, they are trained to play on a variety of instruments, and are said to show a remarkable facility for music. The boat, which, from its size, was a barge rather than a canoe, looked very pretty as it came towards us in the moonlight; it seemed full to overflowing, the children all standing up, dressed in white uniforms. This little band comes always on Sunday evenings and festa days to play before the President's house. They were just returning, it being nearly ten o'clock; but the President called to them to turn back, and they accompanied us to the beach, playing all the while. Thus our pleasant three-days picnic ended with music and moonlight.


[B] Without entering here upon the generosity shown not only by the Brazilian government, but by individuals also, to this expedition,—a debt which it will be my pleasant duty to acknowledge fully hereafter in a more extended report of our journey,—I cannot omit this opportunity of thanking Dr. Epaminondas, the enlightened President of the Province of the Amazonas, for the facilities accorded to me during my whole stay in the region now under his administration.—Louis Agassiz.

[C] Mr. Wallace speaks of having collected over two hundred species in the Rio Negro; but as these were unfortunately lost, and never described, they cannot be counted as belonging among the possessions of the scientific world.



At about the date of this interview which we have described as having taken place beyond the seas,—upon one of those warm days of early winter, which, even in New England, sometimes cheat one into a feeling of spring,—Adèle came strolling up the little path that led from the parsonage gate to the door, twirling her muff upon her hand, and thinking—thinking—But who shall undertake to translate the thought of a girl of nineteen in such moment of revery? With the most matter of fact of lives it would be difficult. But in view of the experience of Adèle, and of that fateful mystery overhanging her,—well, think for yourself,—you who touch upon a score of years, with their hopes,—you who have a passionate, clinging nature, and only some austere, prim matron to whom you may whisper your confidences,—what would you have thought, as you twirled your muff, and sauntered up the path to a home that was yours only by sufferance, and yet, thus far, your only home?

The chance villagers, seeing her lithe figure, her well-fitting pelisse, her jaunty hat, her blooming cheeks, may have said, "There goes a fortunate one!" But if the thought of poor Adèle took one shape more than another, as she returned that day from a visit to her sweet friend Rose, it was this: "How drearily unfortunate I am!" And here a little burst of childish laughter breaks on her ear. Adèle, turning to the sound, sees that poor outcast woman who had been the last and most constant attendant upon Madame Arles coming down the street, with her little boy frolicking beside her. Obeying an impulse she was in no mood to resist, she turns back to the gate to greet them; she caresses the boy; she has kindly words for the mother, who could have worshipped her for the caress she has given to her outcast child.

"I likes you," says the sturdy urchin, sidling closer to the parsonage gate, over which Adèle leans. "You's like the French ooman."

Whereupon Adèle, in the exuberance of her kindly feelings, can only lean over and kiss the child again.

Miss Johns, looking from her chamber, is horrified. Had it been summer, she would have lifted her window and summoned Adèle. But she never forgot—that exemplary woman—the proprieties of the seasons, any more than other proprieties; she tapped upon the glass with her thimble, and beckoned the innocent offender into the parsonage.

"I am astonished, Adèle!"—these were her first words; and she went on to belabor the poor girl in fearful ways,—all[Pg 324] the more fearful because she spoke in the calmest possible tones. She never used others, indeed; and it is not to be doubted that she reckoned this forbearance among her virtues.

Adèle made no reply,—too wise now for that; but she winced, and bit her lip severely, as the irate spinster "gave Miss Maverick to understand that an intercourse which might possibly be agreeable to her French associations could never be tolerated at the home of Dr. Johns. For herself, she had a reputation for propriety to sustain; and while Miss Maverick made a portion of her household, she must comply with the rules of decorum; and if Miss Maverick were ignorant of those rules, she had better inform herself."

No reply, as we have said,—unless it may have been by an impatient stamp of her little foot, which the spinster could not perceive.

But it is the signal, in her quick, fiery nature, of a determination to leave the parsonage, if the thing be possible. From her chamber, where she goes only to arrange her hair and to wipe off an angry tear or two, she walks straight into the study of the parson.

"Doctor," (the "New Papa" is reserved for her tenderer or playful moments now,) "are you quite sure that papa will come for me in the spring?"

"He writes me so, Adaly. Why?"

Adèle seeks to control herself, but she cannot wholly. "It's not pleasant for me any longer here, New Papa,—indeed it is not";—and her voice breaks utterly.

"But, Adaly!—child!" says the Doctor, closing his book.

"It's wholly different from what it once was; it's irksome to Miss Eliza,—I know it is; it's irksome to me. I want to leave. Why doesn't papa come for me at once? Why shouldn't he? What is this mystery, New Papa? Will you not tell me?"—and she comes toward him, and lays her hand upon his shoulder in her old winning, fond way. "Why may I not know? Do you think I am not brave to bear whatever must some day be known? What if my poor mother be unworthy? I can love her! I can love her!"

"Ah, Adaly," said the parson, "whatever may have been her unworthiness, it can never afflict you more; I believe that she is in her grave, Adaly."

Adèle sunk upon her knees, with her hands clasped as if in prayer. Was it strange that the child should pray for the mother she had never seen?

From the day when Maverick had declared her unworthiness, Adèle had cherished secretly the hope of some day meeting her, of winning her by her love, of clasping her arms about her neck and whispering in her ear, "God is good, and we are all God's children!" But in her grave! Well, at least justice will be done her then; and, calmed by this thought, Adèle is herself once more,—earnest as ever to break away from the scathing looks of the spinster.

The Doctor has not spoken without authority, since Maverick, in his reply to the parson's suggestions respecting marriage, has urged that the party was totally unfit, to a degree of which the parson himself was a witness, and by further hints had served fully to identify, in the mind of the old gentleman, poor Madame Arles with the mother of Adèle. A knowledge of this fact had grievously wounded the Doctor; he could not cease to recall the austerity with which he had debarred the poor woman all intercourse with Adèle upon her sick-bed. And it seemed to him a grave thing, wherever sin might lie, thus to alienate the mother and daughter. His unwitting agency in the matter had made him of late specially mindful of all the wishes and even caprices of Adèle,—much to the annoyance of Miss Eliza.

"Adaly, my child, you are very dear to me," said he; and she stood by him now, toying with those gray locks of his, in a caressing manner which he could never know from a child of his own,—never. "If it be your wish to change your home for the little time that remains, it shall be. I have your father's authority to do so."

"Indeed I do wish it, New Papa";—and[Pg 325] she dropped a kiss upon his forehead,—upon the forehead where so few tender tokens of love had ever fallen, or ever would fall. Yet it was very grateful to the old gentleman, though it made him think with a sigh of the lost ones.

The Doctor talked over the affair with Miss Eliza, who avowed herself as eager as Adèle for a change in her home, and suggested that Benjamin should take counsel with his old friend, Mr. Elderkin; and it is quite possible that she shrewdly anticipated the result of such a consultation.

Certain it is that the old Squire caught at the suggestion in a moment.

"The very thing, Doctor! I see how it is. Miss Eliza is getting on in years; a little irritable, possibly,—though a most excellent person, Doctor,—most excellent! and there being no young people in the house, it's a little dull for Miss Adèle, eh, Doctor? Grace, you know, is not with us this winter; so your lodger shall come straight to my house, and she shall take the room of Grace, and Rose will be delighted, and Mrs. Elderkin will be delighted; and as for Phil, when he happens with us,—as he does only off and on now,—he'll be falling in love with her, I haven't a doubt; or, if he doesn't, I shall be tempted to myself. She's a fine girl, eh, Doctor?"

"She's a good Christian, I believe," said the Doctor gravely.

"I haven't a doubt of it," said the Squire; "and I hope that a bit of a dance about Christmas time, if we should fall into that wickedness, wouldn't harm her on that score,—eh, Doctor?"

"I should wish, Mr. Elderkin, that she maintain her usual propriety of conduct, until she is again in her father's charge."

"Well, well, Doctor, you shall talk with Mrs. Elderkin of that matter."

So, it is all arranged. Miss Johns expresses a quiet gratification at the result, and—it is specially agreeable to her to feel that the responsibility of giving shelter and countenance to Miss Maverick is now shared by so influential a family as that of the Elderkins. Rose is overjoyed, and can hardly do enough to make the new home agreeable to Adèle; while the mistress of the house—mild, and cheerful, and sunny, diffusing content every evening over the little circle around her hearth—wins Adèle to a new cheer. Yet it is a cheer that is tempered by many sad thoughts of her own loneliness, and of her alienation from any motherly smiles and greetings that are truly hers.

Phil is away at her coming; but a week after he bursts into the house on a snowy December night, and there is a great stamping in the hall, and a little grandchild of the house pipes from the half-opened door, "It's Uncle Phil!" and there is a loud smack upon the cheek of Rose, who runs to give him welcome, and a hearty, honest grapple with the hand of the old Squire, and then another kiss upon the cheek of the old mother, who meets him before he is fairly in the room,—a kiss upon her cheek, and another, and another, Phil loves the old lady with an honest warmth that kindles the admiration of poor Adèle, who, amid all this demonstration of family affection, feels herself more cruelly than ever a stranger in the household,—a stranger, indeed, to the interior and private joys of any household.

Yet such enthusiasm is, somehow, contagious; and when Phil meets Adèle with a shake of the hand and a hearty greeting, she returns it with an outspoken, homely warmth, at thought of which she finds herself blushing a moment after. To tell truth, Phil is rather a fine-looking fellow at this time,—strong, manly, with a comfortable assurance of manner,—a face beaming with bonhomie, cheeks glowing with that sharp December drive, and a wild, glad sparkle in his eye, as Rose whispers him that Adèle has become one of the household. It is no wonder, perhaps, that the latter finds the bit of embroidery she is upon somewhat perplexing, so that she has to consult Rose pretty often in regard to the different shades, and twirl the worsteds over and over, until confusion about the colors shall restore her own equanimity. Phil, meantime,[Pg 326] dashes on, in his own open, frank way, about his drive, and the state of the ice in the river, and some shipments he had made from New York to Porto Rico,—on capital terms, too.

"And did you see much of Reuben?" asks Mrs. Elderkin.

"Not much," and Phil (glancing that way) sees that Adèle is studying her crimsons; "but he tells me he is doing splendidly in some business venture to the Mediterranean with Brindlock; he could hardly talk of anything else. It's odd to find him so wrapped up in money-making."

"I hope he'll not be wrapped up in anything worse," said Mrs. Elderkin, with a sigh.

"Nonsense, mother!" burst in the old Squire; "Reuben'll come out all right yet."

"He says he means to know all sides of the world, now," says Phil, with a little laugh.

"He's not so bad as he pretends to be, Phil," answered the Squire. "I knew the Major's hot ways; so did you, Grace (turning to the wife). It's a boy's talk. There's good blood in him."

And the two girls,—yonder, the other side of the hearth,—Adèle and Rose, have given over their little earnest comparison of views about the colors, and sit stitching, and stitching, and thinking—and thinking—


Phil had at no time given over his thought of Adèle, and of the possibility of some day winning her for himself, though he had been somewhat staggered by the interview already described with Reuben. It is doubtful, even, if the quiet permission which this latter had granted (or, with an affectation of arrogance, had seemed to grant) had not itself made him pause. There are some things which a man never wants any permission to do; and one of those is—to love a woman. All the permissions—whether of competent authority or of incompetent—only retard him. It is an affair in which he must find his own permit, by his own power; and without it there can be no joy in conquest.

So when Phil recalled Reuben's expression on that memorable afternoon in his chamber,—"You may marry her, Phil,"—it operated powerfully to dispossess him of all intention and all earnestness of pursuit. The little doubt and mystery which Reuben had thrown, in the same interview, upon the family relations of Adèle, did not weigh a straw in the comparison. But for months that "may" had angered him and made him distant. He had plunged into his business pursuits with a new zeal, and easily put away all present thought of matrimony, by virtue of that simple "may" of Reuben's.

But now when, on coming back, he found her in his own home,—so tenderly cared for by mother and by sister,—so coy and reticent in his presence, the old fever burned again. It was not now a simple watching of her figure upon the street that told upon him; but her constant presence;—the rustle of her dress up and down the stairs; her fresh, fair face every day at table; the tapping of her light feet along the hall; the little musical bursts of laughter (not Rose's,—oh, no!) that came from time to time floating through the open door of his chamber. All this Rose saw and watched with the highest glee,—finding her own little, quiet means of promoting such accidents,—and rejoicing (as sisters will, where the enslaver is a friend) in the captivity of poor Phil. For an honest lover, propinquity is always dangerous,—most of all, the propinquity in one's own home. The sister's caresses of the charmer, the mother's kind looks, the father's playful banter, and the whisk of a silken dress (with a new music in it) along the balusters you have passed night and morning for years, have a terrible executive power.

In short, Adèle had not been a month with the Elderkins before Phil was tied there by bonds he had never known the force of before.[Pg 327]

And how was it with Adèle?

That strong, religious element in her,—abating no jot in its fervor,—which had found a shock in the case of Reuben, met none with Philip. He had slipped into the mother's belief and reverence, not by any spell of suffering or harrowing convictions, but by a kind of insensible growth toward them, and an easy, deliberate, moderate living by them, which more active and incisive minds cannot comprehend. He had no great wastes of doubt to perplex him, like Reuben, simply because his intelligence was of a more submissive order, and never tested its faiths or beliefs by that delicately sensitive mental apparel with which Reuben was clothed all over, and which suggested a doubt or a hindrance where Phil would have recognized none;—the best stuff in him, after all, of which a hale, hearty, contented man can be made,—the stuff that takes on age with dignity, that wastes no power, that conserves every element of manliness to fourscore. Too great keenness does not know the name of content; its only experience of joy is by spasms, when Idealism puts its prism to the eye and shows all things in those gorgeous hues, which to-morrow fade. Such mind and temper shock the physique, shake it down, strain the nervous organization; and the body, writhing under fierce cerebral thrusts, goes tottering to the grave. Is it strange if doubts belong to those writhings? Are there no such creatures as constitutional doubters, or, possibly, constitutional believers?

It would have been strange if the calm, mature repose of Phil's manner,—never disturbed except when Adèle broke upon him suddenly and put him to a momentary confusion, of which the pleasant fluttering of her own heart gave account,—strange, if this had not won upon her regard,—strange, if it had not given hint of that cool, masculine superiority in him, with which even the most ethereal of women like to be impressed. There was about him also a quiet, business-like concentration of mind which the imaginative girl might have overlooked or undervalued, but which the budding, thoughtful woman must needs recognize and respect. Nor will it seem strange, if, by contrast, it made the excitable Reuben seem more dismally afloat and vagrant. Yet how could she forget the passionate pressure of his hand, the appealing depth of that gray eye of the parson's son, and the burning words of his that stuck in her memory like thorns?

Phil, indeed, might have spoken in a way that would have driven the blood back upon her heart; for there was a world of passionate capability under his calm exterior. She dreaded lest he might. She shunned all provoking occasion, as a bird shuns the grasp of even the most tender hand, under whose clasp the pinions will flutter vainly.

When Rose said now, as she was wont to say, after some generous deed of his, "Phil is a good, kind, noble fellow!" Adèle affected not to hear, and asked Rose, with a bustling air, if she was "quite sure that she had the right shade of brown" in the worsted work they were upon.

So the Christmas season came and went. The Squire cherished a traditional regard for its old festivities, not only by reason of a general festive inclination that was very strong in him, but from a desire to protest in a quiet way against what he called the pestilent religious severities of a great many of the parish, who ignored the day because it was a high holiday in the Popish Church, and in that other, which, under the wing of Episcopacy, was following, in their view, fast after the Babylonish traditions. There was Deacon Tourtelot, for instance, who never failed on a Christmas morning—if weather and sledding were good—to get up his long team (the restive two-year-olds upon the neap) and drive through the main street, with a great clamor of "Haw, Diamond!" and "Gee, Buck and Bright!"—as if to insist upon the secular character of the day. Indeed, with the old-fashioned New-England religious faith, an exuberant, demonstrative joyousness could not gracefully or easily be welded.[Pg 328] The hopes that reposed even upon Christ's coming, with its tidings of great joy, must be solemn. And the anniversary of a glorious birth, which, by traditionary impulse, made half the world glad, was to such believers like any other day in the calendar. Even the good Doctor pointed his Christmas prayer with no special unction. What, indeed, were anniversaries, or a yearly proclamation of peace and good-will to men, with those who, on every Sabbath morning, saw the heavens open above the sacred desk, and heard the golden promises expounded, and the thunders of coming retribution echo under the ceiling of the Tabernacle?

The Christmas came and went with a great lighting-up of the Elderkin house; and there were green garlands which Rose and Adèle have plaited over the mantel, and over the stiff family portraits; and good Phil—in the character of Santa Claus—has stuffed the stockings of all the grandchildren, and—in the character of the bashful lover—has played like a moth about the blazing eyes of Adèle.

Yet the current of the village gossip has it, that they are to marry. Miss Eliza, indeed, shakes her head wisely, and keeps her own counsel. But Dame Tourtelot reports to old Mistress Tew,—"Phil Elderkin is goin' to marry the French girl."

"Haöw?" says Mrs. Tew, adjusting her tin trumpet.

"Philip Elderkin—is—a-goin' to marry the French girl," screams the Dame.

"Du tell! Goin' to settle in Ashfield?"

"I don't know."

"No! Where, then?" says Mistress Tew.

I don't know," shrieks the Dame.

"Oh!" chimes Mrs. Tew; and after reflecting awhile and smoothing out her cap-strings, she says,—"I've heerd the French gurl keeps a cross in her chamber."

"She dooz," explodes the Dame.

"I want to know! I wonder the Squire don't put a stop to 't."

"Doan't believe he would if he could," says the Dame, snappishly.

"Waal, waal! it's a wicked world we're a-livin' in, Miss Tourtelot." And she elevates her trumpet, as if she were eager to get a confirmation of that fact.


In those days to which our narrative has now reached, the Doctor was far more feeble than when we first met him. His pace has slackened, and there is an occasional totter in his step. There are those among his parishioners who say that his memory is failing. On one or two Sabbaths of the winter he has preached sermons scarce two years old. There are acute listeners who are sure of it. And the spinster has been horrified on learning that, once or twice, the old gentleman—escaping her eye—has taken his walk to the post-office, unwittingly wearing his best cloak wrong-side out; as if—for so good a man—the green baize were not as proper a covering as the brown camlet!

The parson is himself conscious of these short-comings, and speaks with resignation of the growing infirmities which, as he modestly hints, will compel him shortly to give place to some younger and more zealous expounder of the faith. His parochial visits grow more and more rare. All other failings could be more easily pardoned than this; but in a country parish like Ashfield, it was quite imperative that the old chaise should keep up its familiar rounds, and the occasional tea-fights in the out-lying houses be honored by the gray head of the Doctor or by his evening benediction. Two hour-long sermons a week and a Wednesday evening discourse were very well in their way, but by no means met all the requirements of those steadfast old ladies whose socialities were both exhaustive and exacting. Indeed, it is doubtful if there do not exist even now, in most country parishes of New England, a few most excellent and notable women, who delight in an overworked parson,[Pg 329] for the pleasure they take in recommending their teas, and plasters, and nostrums. The more frail and attenuated the teacher, the more he takes hold upon their pity; and in losing the vigor of the flesh, he seems to their compassionate eyes to grow into the spiritualities they pine for. But he must not give over his visitings; that hair-cloth shirt of penance he must wear to the end, if he would achieve saintship.

Now, just at this crisis, it happens that there is a tall, thin, pale young man—Rev. Theophilus Catesby by name, and nephew of the late Deacon Simmons (now unhappily deceased)—who has preached in Ashfield on several occasions to the "great acceptance" of the people. Talk is imminent of naming him colleague to Dr. Johns. The matter is discussed, at first, (agreeably to custom,) in the sewing-circle of the town. After this, it comes informally before the church brethren. The duty to the Doctor and to the parish is plain enough. The practical question is, how cheaply can the matter be accomplished?

The salary of the good Doctor has grown, by progressive increase, to be at this date some seven hundred dollars a year,—a very considerable stipend for a country parish in that day. It was understood that the proposed colleague would expect six hundred. The two joined made a somewhat appalling sum for the people of Ashfield. They tried to combat it in a variety of ways,—over tea-tables and barn-yard gates, as well as in their formal conclaves; earnest for a good thing in the way of preaching, but earnest for a good bargain, too.

"I say, Huldy," said the Deacon, in discussion of the affair over his wife's fireside, "I wouldn't wonder if the Doctor 'ad put up somethin' handsome between the French girl's boardin', and odds and ends."

"What if he ha'n't, Tourtelot? Miss Johns's got property, and what's she goin' to do with it, I want to know?"

On this hint the Deacon spoke, in his next encounter with the Squire upon the street, with more boldness.

"It's my opinion, Squire, the Doctor's folks are pooty well off, now; and if we make a trade with the new minister, so's he'll take the biggest half o' the hard work of the parish, I think the old Doctor 'ud worry along tol'able well on three or four hundred a year; heh, Squire?"

"Well, Deacon, I don't know about that;—don't know. Butcher's meat is always butcher's meat, Deacon."

"So it is, Squire; and not so dreadful high, nuther. I've got a likely two-year-old in the yard, that'll dress abaout a hundred to a quarter, and I don't pretend to ask but twenty-five dollars; know anybody that wants such a critter, Squire?"

With very much of the same relevancy of observation the affair is bandied about for a week or more in the discussions at the society-meetings, with danger of never coming to any practical issue, when a wiry little man—in a black Sunday coat, whose tall collar chafes the back of his head near to the middle—rises from a corner where he has grown vexed with the delay, and bursts upon the solemn conclave in this style:—

"Brethren, I ha'n't been home to chore-time in the last three days, and my wife is gittin' worked up abaout it. Here we've bin a-settin' and a-talkin' night arter night, and arternoon arter arternoon for more 'n a week, and 'pears to me it 's abaout time as tho' somethin' o' ruther ought to be done. There's nobody got nothin' agin the Doctor that I've heerd of. He's a smart old gentleman, and he's a clever old gentleman, and he preaches what I call good, stiff doctrine; but we don't feel much like payin' for light work same as what we paid when the work was heavy,—'specially if we git a new minister on our hands. But then, brethren, I don't for one feel like turnin' an old hoss that's done good sarvice, when he gits stiff in the j'ints, into slim pastur', and I don't feel like stuffin' on 'em with bog hay in the winter. There's folks that dooz; but I don't. Now, brethren, I motion that[Pg 330] we continner to give as much as five hundred dollars to the old Doctor, and make the best dicker we can with the new minister; and I'll clap ten dollars on to my pew-rent; and the Deacon there, if he's anything of a man, 'll do as much agin. I know he's able to."

Let no one smile. The halting prudence, the inevitable calculating process through which the small country New-Englander arrives at his charities, is but the growth of his associations. He gets hardly; and what he gets hardly he must bestow with self-questionings. If he lives "in the small," he cannot give "in the large." His pennies, by the necessities of his toil, are each as big as pounds; yet his charities, in nine cases out of ten, bear as large a proportion to his revenue as the charities of those who count gains by tens of thousands. Liberality is, after all, comparative, and is exceptionally great only when its sources are exceptionally small. That "widow's mite"—the only charity ever specially commended by the great Master of charities—will tinkle pleasantly on the ear of humanity ages hence, when the clinking millions of cities are forgotten.

The new arrangement all comes to the ear of Reuben, who writes back in a very brusque way to the Doctor: "Why on earth, father, don't you cut all connection with the parish? You've surely done your part in that service. Don't let the 'minister's pay' be any hindrance to you, for I am getting on swimmingly in my business ventures,—thanks to Mr. Brindlock. I enclose a check for two hundred dollars, and can send you one of equal amount every quarter, without feeling it. Why shouldn't a man of your years have rest?"

And the Doctor, in his reply, says: "My rest, Reuben, is God's work. I am deeply grateful to you, and only wish that your generosity were hallowed by a deeper trust in His providence and mercy. O Reuben! Reuben! a night cometh, when no man can work! You seem to imagine, my son, that some slight has been put upon me by recent arrangements in the parish. It is not so; and I am sure that none has been intended. A servant of Christ can receive no reproach at the hands of his people, save this,—that he has failed to warn them of the judgment to come, and to point out to them, the ark of safety."

Correspondence between the father and son is not infrequent in these days; for, since Reuben has slipped away from home control utterly,—being now well past one and twenty,—the Doctor has forborne that magisterial tone which, in his old-fashioned way, it was his wont to employ, while yet the son was subject to his legal authority. Under these conditions, Reuben is won into more communicativeness,—even upon those religious topics which are always prominent in the Doctor's letters; indeed, it would seem that the son rather enjoyed a little logical fence with the old gentleman, and a passing lunge, now and then, at his severities; still weltering in his unbelief, but wearing it more lightly (as the father saw with pain) by reason of the great crowd of sympathizers at his back.

"It is so rare," he writes, "to fall in with one who earnestly and heartily seems to believe what he says he believes. And if you meet him in a preacher at a street-corner, declaiming with a mad fervor, people cry out, 'A fanatic!' Why shouldn't he be? I can't, for my life, see. Why shouldn't every fervent believer of the truths he teaches rush through the streets to divert the great crowd, with voice and hand, from the inevitable doom? I see the honesty of your faith, father, though there seems a strained harshness in it when I think of the complacency with which you must needs contemplate the irremediable perdition of such hosts of outcasts. In Adèle, too, there seems a beautiful singleness of trust; but I suppose God made the birds to live in the sky.

"You need not fear my falling into what you call the Pantheism of the moralists; it is every way too cold for my hot blood. It seems to me that the moral icicles with which their doctrine[Pg 331] is fringed (and the fringe is the beauty of it) must needs melt under any passionate human clasp,—such clasp as I should want to give (if I gave any) to a great hope for the future. I should feel more like groping my way into such hope by the light of the golden candlesticks of Rome even. But do not be disturbed, father; I fear I should make, just now, no better Papist than Presbyterian."

The Doctor reads such letters in a maze. Can it indeed be a son of his own loins who thus bandies language about the solemn truths of Christianity?

"How shall I give thee up, Ephraim! How shall I set thee as Zeboim!"


In the early spring of 1842,—we are not quite sure of the date, but it was at any rate shortly after the establishment of the Reverend Theophilus Catesby at Ashfield,—the Doctor was in the receipt of a new letter from his friend Maverick, which set all his old calculations adrift. It was not Madame Arles, after all, who was the mother of Adèle; and the poor gentleman found that he had wasted a great deal of needless sympathy in that direction. But we shall give the details of the news more succinctly and straightforwardly by laying before our readers some portions of Maverick's letter.

"I find, my dear Johns," he writes, "that my suspicions in regard to a matter of which I wrote you very fully in my last were wholly untrue. How I could have been so deceived, I cannot even now fairly explain; but nothing is more certain, than that the person calling herself Madame Arles (since dead, as I learn from Adèle) was not the mother of my child. My mistake in this will the more surprise you, when I state that I had a glimpse of this personage (unknown to you) upon my visit to America; and though it was but a passing glimpse, it seemed to me—though many years had gone by since my last sight of her—that I could have sworn to her identity. And coupling this resemblance, as I very naturally did, with her devotion to my poor Adèle, I could form but one conclusion.

"The mother of my child, however, still lives. I have seen her. You will commiserate me in advance with the thought that I have found her among the vile ones of what you count this vile land. But you are wrong, my dear Johns. So far as appearance and present conduct go, no more reputable lady ever crossed your own threshold. The meeting was accidental, but the recognition on both sides absolute, and, on the part of the lady, so emotional as to draw the attention of the habitués of the café where I chanced to be dining. Her manner and bearing, indeed, were such as to provoke me to a renewal of our old acquaintance, with honorable intentions,—even independent of those suggestions of duty to herself and to Adèle which you have urged.

"But I have to give you, my dear Johns, a new surprise. All overtures of my own toward a renewal of acquaintance have been decisively repulsed. I learn that she has been living for the past fifteen years or more with her brother, now a wealthy merchant of Smyrna, and that she has a reputation there as a dévote, and is widely known for the charities which her brother's means place within her reach. It would thus seem that even this French woman, contrary to your old theory, is atoning for an early sin by a life of penance.

"And now, my dear Johns, I have to confess to you another deceit of mine. This woman—Julie Chalet when I knew her of old, and still wearing the name—has no knowledge that she has a child now living. To divert all inquiry, and to insure entire alienation of my little girl from all French ties, I caused a false mention of the death of Adèle to be inserted in the Gazette of Marseilles. I know you will be very much shocked at this, my dear Johns, and perhaps count it as large a sin as the grosser one; that I committed it for the child's sake will be no excuse in[Pg 332] your eye, I know. You may count me as bad as you choose,—only give me credit for the fatherly affection which would still make the path as easy and as thornless as I can for my poor daughter.

"If Julie, the mother of Adèle, knew to-day of her existence,—if I should carry that information to her,—I am sure that all her rigidities would be consumed like flax in a flame. That method, at least, is left for winning her to any action upon which I may determine. Shall I use it? I ask you as one who, I am sure, has learned to love Adèle, and who, I hope, has not wholly given over a friendly feeling toward me. Consider well, however, that the mother is now one of the most rigid of Catholics; I learn that she is even thinking of conventual life. I know her spirit and temper well enough to be sure that, if she were to meet the child again which she believes lost, it would be with an impetuosity of feeling and a devotion that would absorb every aim of her life. This disclosure is the only one by which I could hope to win her to any consideration of marriage; and with a mother's rights and a mother's love, would she not sweep away all that Protestant faith which you, for so many years, have been laboring to build up in the mind of my child? Whatever you may think, I do not conceive this to be impossible; and if possible, is it to be avoided at all hazards? Whatever I might have owed to the mother I feel in a measure absolved from by her rejection of all present advances. And inasmuch as I am making you my father confessor, I may as well tell you, my dear Johns, that no particular self-denial would be involved in a marriage with Mademoiselle Chalet. For myself, I am past the age of sentiment; my fortune is now established; neither myself nor my child can want for any luxury. The mother, by her present associations and by the propriety of her life, is above all suspicion; and her air and bearing are such as would be a passport to friendly association with refined people here or elsewhere. You may count this a failure of Providence to fix its punishment upon transgressors: I count it only one of those accidents of life which are all the while surprising us.

"There was a time when I would have had ambition to do otherwise; but now, with my love for Adèle established by my intercourse with her and by her letters, I have no other aim, if I know my own heart, than her welfare. It should be kept in mind, I think, that the marriage spoken of, if it ever take place, will probably involve, sooner or later, a full exposure to Adèle of all the circumstances of her birth and history. I say this will be involved, because I am sure that the warm affections of Mademoiselle Chalet will never allow of the concealment of her maternal relations, and that her present religious perversity (if you will excuse the word) will not admit of further deceits. I tremble to think of the possible consequences to Adèle, and query very much in my own mind, if her present blissful ignorance be not better than reunion with a mother through whom she must learn of the ignominy of her birth. Of Adèle's fortitude to bear such a shock, and to maintain any elasticity of spirits under it, you can judge better than I.

"I propose to delay action, my dear Johns, and of course my sailing for America, until I shall hear from you."

Our readers can surely anticipate the tone of the Doctor's reply. He writes:—

"Duty, Maverick, is always duty. The issues we must leave in the hands of Providence. One sin makes a crowd of entanglements; it is never weary of disguises and deceits. We must come out from them all, if we would aim at purity. From my heart's core I shall feel whatever shock may come to poor, innocent Adèle by reason of the light that may be thrown upon her history; but if it be a light that flows from the performance of Christian duty, I shall never fear its revelations. If we had been always true, such dark corners would never have existed to fright us with their goblins of terror. It is never too late, Maverick, to begin to be true.[Pg 333]

"I find a strange comfort, too, in what you tell me of that religious perversity of Mademoiselle Chalet which so chafes you. I have never ceased to believe that most of the Romish traditions are of the Devil; but with waning years I have learned that the Divine mysteries are beyond our comprehension, and that we cannot map out His purposes by any human chart. The pure faith of your child, joined to her buoyant elasticity,—I freely confess it,—has smoothed away the harshness of many opinions I once held.

"Maverick, do your duty. Leave the rest to Heaven."


It is remarkable that, while we have been fighting for national existence, there has been a constant growth of the Republic. This is not wholly due to the power of democratic ideas, but owing in part to the native wealth of the country,—its virgin soil, its mineral riches. So rapid has been the development that the maps of 1864 are obsolete in 1866. Civilization at a stride has moved a thousand miles, and taken possession of the home of the buffalo. Miners with pick and spade are tramping over the Rocky Mountains, exploring every ravine, digging canals, building mills, and rearing their log cabins. The merchant, the farmer, and the mechanic follow them. The long solitude of the centuries is broken by mill-wheels, the buzzing of saws, the stroke of the axe, the blow of the hammer and trowel. The stageman cracks his whip in the passes of the mountains. The click of the telegraph and the rumbling of the printing-press are heard at the head-waters of the Missouri, and borne on the breezes there is the laughter of children and the sweet music of Sabbath hymns, sung by the pioneers of civilization.

Communities do not grow by chance, but by the operation of physical laws. Position, climate, latitude, mountains, lakes, rivers, coal, iron, silver, and gold are forces which decree occupation, character, and the measure of power and influence which a people shall have among the nations. Rivers are natural highways of trade, while mountains are the natural barriers. The Atlantic coast is open everywhere to commerce; but on the Pacific shore, from British Columbia to Central America, the rugged wall of the coast mountains, cloud-capped and white with snow, rises sharp and precipitous from the sea, with but one river flowing outward from the heart of the continent. The statesman and the political economist who would truly cast the horoscope of our future must take into consideration the Columbia River, its latitude, its connection with the Missouri, the Mississippi, the Lakes, and the St. Lawrence.

How wonderful the development of the Pacific and Rocky Mountain sections of the public domain! In 1860 the population of California, Oregon, and the territories lying west of Kansas, was six hundred and twenty-three thousand; while the present population is estimated at one million, wanting only facility of communication with the States to increase in a far greater ratio.

In 1853 a series of surveys were made by government to ascertain the practicability of a railroad to the Pacific. The country, however, at that time, was not prepared to engage in such an enterprise; but now the people are calling for greater facility of communication with a section of the country abounding in mineral wealth.

Of the several routes surveyed, we shall have space in this article to notice only the line running from Lake Superior[Pg 334] to the head-waters of the Missouri, the Columbia, and Puget Sound, known as the Northern Pacific Railroad.

The public domain north of latitude 42°, through which it lies, comprises about seven hundred thousand square miles,—a territory larger than England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, all the German States, Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden.

The route surveyed by Governor Stevens runs north of the Missouri River, and crosses the mountains through Clark's Pass. Governor Stevens intended to survey another line up the valley of the Yellow Stone; and Lieutenant Mullan commenced a reconnoissance of the route when orders were received from Jeff Davis, then Secretary of War, to disband the engineering force.


Recent explorations indicate that the best route to the Pacific will be found up the valley of this magnificent river. The distances are as follows:—From the Mississippi above St. Paul to the western boundary of Minnesota, thence to Missouri River, two hundred and eighty miles, over the table-land known as the Plateau du Coteau du Missouri, where a road may be constructed with as much facility and as little expense as in the State of Illinois. Crossing the Missouri, the line strikes directly west to the Little Missouri,—the Wah-Pa-Chan-Shoka,—the heavy-timbered river of the Indians, one hundred and thirty miles. This river runs north, and enters the Missouri near its northern bend. Seventy miles farther carries us to the Yellow Stone. Following now the valley of this stream two hundred and eighty miles, the town of Gallatin is reached, at the junction of the Missouri Forks and at the head of navigation on that stream. The valley of the Yellow Stone is very fertile, abounding in pine, cedar, cotton-wood, and elm. The river has a deeper channel than the Missouri, and is navigable through the summer months. At the junction of the Big Horn, its largest tributary, two hundred and twenty miles from the mouth of the Yellow Stone, in midsummer there are ten feet of water. The Big Horn is reported navigable for one hundred and fifty miles. From Gallatin, following up the Jefferson Fork and Wisdom River, one hundred and forty miles, we reach the Big Hole Pass of the Rocky Mountains, where the line enters the valley of the St. Mary's, or Bitter Root Fork, which flows into the Columbia. The distance from Big Hole Pass to Puget Sound will be about five hundred and twenty miles, making the entire distance from St. Paul to Puget Sound about sixteen hundred miles, or one hundred and forty-three miles shorter than that surveyed by Governor Stevens. The distance from the navigable waters of the Missouri to the navigable waters of the Columbia is less than three hundred miles.


"Rivers are the natural highways of nations," says Humboldt. This route, then, is one of Nature's highways. The line is very direct. The country is mostly a rolling prairie, where a road may be constructed as easily as through the State of Iowa. It may be built with great rapidity. Parties working west from St. Paul and east from the Missouri would meet on the plains of Dacotah. Other parties working west from the Missouri and east from the Yellow Stone would meet on the "heavy-timbered river." Iron, locomotives, material of all kinds, provisions for laborers, can be delivered at any point along the Yellow Stone to within a hundred miles of the town of Gallatin, and they can be taken up the Missouri to that point by portage around the Great Falls. Thus the entire line east of the Rocky Mountains may be under construction at once, with iron and locomotives delivered by water transportation, with timber near at hand.

The character of the country is sufficient to maintain a dense population. It has always been the home of the buffalo, the favorite hunting-ground of the[Pg 335] Indians. The grasses of the Yellow Stone Valley are tender and succulent. The climate is milder than that of Illinois. Warm springs gush up on the head-waters of the Yellow Stone. Lewis and Clark, on their return from the Columbia, boiled their meat in water heated by subterraneous fires. There are numerous beds of coal, and also petroleum springs.

"Large quantities of coal seen in the cliffs to-day,"[D] is a note in the diary of Captain Clark, as he sailed down the Yellow Stone, who also has this note regarding the country: "High waving plains, rich, fertile land, bordered by stony hills, partially supplied by pine."[E]

Of the country of the Big Horn he says: "It is a rich, open country, supplied with a great quantity of timber."

Coal abounds on the Missouri, where the proposed line crosses that stream.[F]

The gold mines of Montana, on the head-waters of the Missouri, are hardly surpassed for richness by any in the world. They were discovered in 1862. The product for the year 1865 is estimated at $16,000,000. The Salmon River Mines, west of the mountains, in Idaho, do not yield so fine a quality of gold, but are exceedingly rich.

Many towns have sprung into existence on both sides of the mountains. In Eastern Montana we have Gallatin, Beaver Head, Virginia, Nevada, Centreville, Bannock, Silver City, Montana, Jefferson, and other mining centres. In Western Montana, Labarge, Deer Lodge City, Owen, Higginson, Jordan, Frenchtown, Harrytown, and Hot Spring. Idaho has Boisee, Bannock City, Centreville, Warren, Richmond, Washington, Placerville, Lemhi, Millersburg, Florence, Lewiston, Craigs, Clearwater, Elk City, Pierce, and Lake City,—all mining towns.

A gentleman who has resided in the territory gives us the following information:—

"The southern portion of Montana Territory is mild; and from the testimony of explorers and settlers, as well as from my own experience and observation, the extreme northern portion is favored by a climate healthful to a high degree, and quite as mild as that of many of the Northern and Western States. This is particularly the case west of the mountains, in accordance with the well-known fact, that the isothermal line, or the line of heat, is farther north as you go westward from the Eastern States toward the Pacific.

"At Fort Benton [one hundred and thirty miles directly north from Gallatin], in about 48° of north latitude, a trading post of the American Fur Company, their horses and cattle, of which they have large numbers, are never housed or fed in winter, but get their own living without difficulty....

"Northeastern Montana is traversed by the Yellow Stone, whose source is high up in the mountains, from thence winding its way eastward across the Territory and flowing into the Missouri at Fort Union; thus crossing seven degrees of longitude, with many tributaries flowing into it from the south, in whose valleys, in connection with that of the Yellow Stone, there are hundreds of thousands of acres of tillable land, to say nothing of the tributaries of the Missouri, among which are the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin forks, along which settlements are springing up, and agriculture is becoming a lucrative business. These valleys are inviting to the settler. They are surrounded with hills and mountains, clad with pine, while a growth of cotton-wood skirts the meandering streams that everywhere flow through them, affording abundance of water-power.

"The first attempt at farming was made in the summer of 1863, which was a success, and indicates the productiveness of these valleys. Messrs. Wilson and Company broke thirty acres last spring, planting twelve acres of potatoes,—also corn, turnips, and a variety of garden sauce, all of which did well. The potatoes, they informed me, yielded two hundred bushels per acre, and sold[Pg 336] in Virginia City, fifty miles distant, at twenty-five cents per pound, turnips at twenty cents, onions at forty cents, cabbage at sixty cents, peas and beans at fifty cents per pound in the pod, and corn at two dollars a dozen ears. Vines of all kinds seem to flourish; and we see no reason why fruit may not be grown here, as the climate is much more mild than in many of the States where it is a staple.

"The valley at the Three Forks, as also the valley along the streams, as they recede from the junction, are spacious, and yield a spontaneous growth of herbage, upon which cattle fatten during the winter....

"The Yellow Stone is navigable for several hundred miles from its mouth, penetrating the heart of the agricultural and mineral regions of Eastern Montana.... The section is undulating, with ranges of mountains, clad with evergreens, between which are beautiful valleys and winding streams, where towns and cities will spring up to adorn these mountain retreats, and give room for expanding civilization....

"On the east side of the mountains the mines are rich beyond calculation, the yield thus far having equalled the most productive locality of California of equal extent. The Bannock or Grasshopper mines were discovered in July, 1862, and are situated on Grasshopper Creek, which is a tributary of the Jefferson fork of the Missouri. The mining district here extends five miles down the creek, from Bannock City, which is situated at the head of the gulch, while upon either side of the creek the mountains are intersected with gold-bearing quartz lodes, many of which have been found to be very rich....

"While gold has been found in paying quantities all along the Rocky chain, its deposits are not confined to this locality, but sweep across the country eastward some hundreds of miles, to the Big Horn Mountains. The gold discoveries there cover a large area of country."[G]

Governor Stevens says: "Voyagers travel all winter from Lake Superior to the Missouri, with horses and sleds, having to make their own roads, and are not deterred by snows."

Alexander Culbertson, the great voyager and trader of the Upper Missouri, who, for the last twenty years, has made frequent trips from St. Louis to Fort Benton, has never found the snow drifted enough to interfere with travelling. The average depth is twelve inches, and frequently it does not exceed six.[H]

Through such a country, east of the mountains, lies the shortest line of railway between the Atlantic and Pacific,—a country rich in mineral wealth, of fertile soil, mild climate, verdant valleys, timbered hills, arable lands yielding grains and grass, with mountain streams for the turning of mill-wheels, rich coal beds, and springs of petroleum!


There are several passes at the head-waters of the Missouri which may be used;—the Hell-Gate Pass; the Deer Lodge; and the Wisdom River, or Big Hole, as it is sometimes called, which leads into the valley of the Bitter Root, or St. Mary's. The Big Hole is thus described by Lieutenant Mullan:—

"The descent towards the Missouri side is very gradual; so much so, that, were it not for the direction taken by the waters, it might be considered an almost level prairie country."[I]

Governor Stevens thus speaks of the valley of the Bitter Root:—

"The faint attempts made by the Indians at cultivating the soil have been attended with good success; and fair returns might be expected of all such crops as are adapted to the Northern States of our country. The pasturage grounds are unsurpassed. The extensive bands of horses, owned by the Flathead Indians occupying St. Mary's village, on the Bitter Root River, thrive well winter and summer. One hundred horses, belonging to the exploration, are wintered in the valley; and up to the[Pg 337] 9th of March the grass was fair, but little snow had fallen, and the weather was mild. The oxen and cows, owned here by the half-breeds and Indians, obtain good feed, and are in good condition."[J]

This village of St Mary's is sixty miles down the valley from the Big Hole Pass; yet, though so near, snow seldom falls, and the grass is so verdant that horses and cattle subsist the year round on the natural pasturage.

Lieutenant Mullan says of it: "The fact of the exceedingly mild winters in this valley has been noticed and remarked by all who have ever been in it during the winter season. It is the home of the Flathead Indians, who, through the instrumentality and exertions of the Jesuit priests, have built up a village,—not of logs, but of houses,—where they repair every winter, and, with this valley covered with an abundance of rich and nutritious grass, they live as comfortably as any tribe west of the Rocky Mountains....

"The numerous mountain rivulets, tributary to the Bitter Root River, that run through the valley, afford excellent and abundant mill-seats; and the land bordering these is fertile and productive, and has been found, beyond cavil or doubt, to be well suited to every branch of agriculture. I have seen oats, grown by Mr. John Owen, that are as heavy and as excellent as any I have ever seen in the States; and the same gentleman informs me that he has grown excellent wheat, and that, from his experience while in the mountains, he hesitated not in saying that agriculture might be carried on here in all its numerous branches, and to the exceeding great interest and gain of those engaged in it. The valley and mountain slopes are well timbered with an excellent growth of pine, which is equal, in every respect, to the well-known pine of Oregon. The valley is not only capable of grazing immense bands of stock of every kind, but is also capable of supporting a dense population.

"The provisions of Nature here, therefore, are on no small scale, and of no small importance; and let those who have imagined—as some have been bold to say it—that there exists only one immense bed of mountains at the head-waters of the Missouri to the Cascade Range, turn their attention to this section, and let them contemplate its advantages and resources, and ask themselves, since these things exist, can it be long before public attention shall be attracted and fastened upon this heretofore unknown region?"[K]


We have been accustomed to think of the Rocky Mountains as an impassable barrier, as a wild, dreary solitude, where the storms of winter piled the mountain passes with snow. How different the fact! In 1852-53, from the 28th of November to the 10th of January, there were but twelve inches of snow in the pass. The recorded observations during the winter of 1861-62 give the following measurements in the Big Hole Pass: December 4, eighteen inches; January 10, fourteen; January 14, ten; February 16, six; March 21, none.

We have been told that there could be no winter travel across the mountains,—that the snow would lie in drifts fifteen or twenty feet deep; but instead, there is daily communication by teams through the Big Hole Pass every day in the year! The belt of snow is narrow, existing only in the Pass.

Says Lieutenant Mullan, in his late Report on the wagon road: "The snow will offer no great obstacle to travel, with horses or locomotives, from the Missouri to the Columbia."

This able and efficient government officer, in the same Report, says of this section of the country:—

"The trade and travel along the Upper Columbia, where several steamers now ply between busy marts, of themselves attest what magical effects the years have wrought. Besides gold, lead for miles is found along the Kootenay.[Pg 338] Red hermatite, iron ore, traces of copper, and plumbago are found along the main Bitter Root. Cinnabar is said to exist along the Hell Gate. Coal is found along the Upper Missouri, and a deposit of cannel coal near the Three Butts, northwest of Fort Benton, is also said to exist. Iron ore has been found on Thompson's farms on the Clark's Fork. Sulphur is found on the Loo Loo Fork, and on the tributaries of the Yellow Stone, and coal oil is said to exist on the Big Horn.... These great mineral deposits must have an ultimate bearing upon the location of the Pacific Railroad, adding, as they will, trade, travel, and wealth to its every mile when built....

"The great depots for building material exist principally in the mountain sections, but the plains on either side are not destitute in that particular. All through the Bitter Root and Rocky Mountains, the finest white and red cedar, white pine, and red fir that I ever have seen are found."[L]


The geological formation of the heart of the continent promises to open a rich field for scientific exploration and investigation. The Wind River Mountain, which divides the Yellow Stone from the Great Basin, is a marked and distinct geological boundary. From the northern slope flow the tributaries of the Yellow Stone, fed by springs of boiling water, which perceptibly affect the temperature of the region, clothing the valleys with verdure, and making them the winter home of the buffalo,—the favorite hunting-grounds of the Indians,—while the streams which flow from the southern slope of the mountains are alkaline, and, instead of luxuriant vegetation, there are vast regions covered with wild sage and cactus. They run into the Great Salt Lake, and have no outlet to the ocean. A late writer, describing the geological features of that section, says:—

"Upon the great interior desert streams and fuel are almost unknown. Wells must be very deep, and no simple and cheap machinery adequate to drawing up the water is yet invented. Cultivation, to a great extent, must be carried on by irrigation."[M]

Such are the slopes of the mountains which form the rim of the Great Basin, while the valley of the Yellow Stone is literally the land which buds and blossoms like the rose. The Rosebud River is so named because the valley through which it meanders is a garden of roses.

And here, along the head-waters of the Yellow Stone and its tributaries, at the northern deflection of the Wind River chain of mountains, flows a river of hot wind, which is not only one of the most remarkable features of the climatology of the continent, but which is destined to have a great bearing upon the civilization of this portion of the continent. St. Joseph in Missouri, in latitude 40°, has the same mean temperature as that at the base of the Rocky Mountains in latitude 47°! The high temperature of the hot boiling springs warms the air which flows northwest along the base of the mountains, sweeping through the Big Hole Pass, the Deer Lodge, Little Blackfoot, and Mullan Pass, giving a delightful winter climate to the valley of the St. Mary's, or Bitter Root. It flows like the Gulf Stream of the Atlantic. Says Captain Mullan: "On its either side, north and south, are walls of cold air, and which are so clearly perceptible that you always detect the river when you are on its shores."[N]

This great river of heat always flowing is sufficient to account for the slight depth of snow in the passes at the head-waters of the Missouri, which have an altitude of six thousand feet. The South Pass has an altitude of seven thousand eight hundred and eighty-nine feet. The passes of the Wasatch Range, on the route to California, are higher by three thousand feet than those at the[Pg 339] head-waters of the Missouri, and, not being swept by a stream of hot air, are filled with snows during the winter months. The passes at the head-waters of the Saskatchawan, in the British possessions, though a few hundred feet lower than those at the head-waters of the Missouri, are not reached by the heated Wind River, and are impassable in winter. Even Cadotte's Pass, through which Governor Stevens located the line of the proposed road, is outside of the heat stream, so sharp and perpendicular are its walls.

Captain Mullan says: "From whatsoever cause it arises, it exists as a fact that must for all time enter as an element worthy of every attention in lines of travel and communication from the Eastern plains to the North Pacific."[O]


That this line is the natural highway of the continent is evident from other considerations. The distances between the centres of trade and San Francisco, and with Puget Sound, will appear from the following tabular statement:—

Approximate Distances.

to San Franciscoto Puget SoundDifference
Chicago2,448 miles[P]1,906 miles542 miles
St. Louis2,345 "1,981 "364 "
Cincinnati2,685 "2,200 "486 "
New York3,417 "2,892 "525 "
Boston3,484 "2,942 "542 "

The line to Puget Sound will require no tunnel in the pass of the Rocky Mountains. The approaches of the Big Hole and Deer Lodge in both directions are eminently feasible, requiring little rock excavation, and with no grades exceeding eighty feet per mile.

All of the places east of the latitude of Chicago, and north of the Ohio River, are from three hundred to five hundred and fifty miles nearer the Pacific at Puget Sound than at San Francisco,—due to greater directness of the route and the shortening of longitude. These on both lines are the approximate distances. The distance from Puget Sound to St. Louis is estimated—via Desmoines—on the supposition that the time will come when that line of railway will extend north far enough to intersect with the North Pacific.


The census of 1860 gives thirty thousand miles of railroad in operation, which cost, including land damages, equipment, and all charges of construction, $37,120 per mile. The average cost of fifteen New England roads, including the Boston and Lowell, Boston and Maine, Vermont Central, Western, Eastern, and Boston and Providence, was $36,305 per mile. In the construction of this line, there will be no charge for land damages, and nothing for timber, which exists along nearly the entire line. But as iron and labor command a higher price than when those roads were constructed, there should be a liberal estimate. Lieutenant Mullan, in his late Report upon the Construction of the Wagon Road, discusses the probability of a railroad at length, and with much ability. His highest estimate for any portion of the line is sixty thousand dollars per mile,—an estimate given before civilization made an opening in the wilderness. There is no reason to believe that this line will be any more costly than the average of roads in the United States.

In 1850 there were 7,355 miles of road in operation; in 1860, 30,793; showing that 2,343 miles per annum were constructed by the people of the United States. The following table shows the number of miles built in each year from 1853 to 1856, together with the cost of the same.

18522,541$ 94,000,000
Total expenditure for five years,$554,507,000

[Pg 340]

This exhibit is sufficient to indicate that there need be no question of our financial ability to construct the road.

In 1856, the country had expended $776,000,000 in the construction of railroads, incurring a debt of about $300,000,000. The entire amount of stock and bonds held abroad at that time was estimated at only $81,000,000.[Q]


The desire of the people for the speedy opening of this great national highway is manifested by the action of the government, which, by act of Congress, July 2, 1864, granted the alternate sections of land for twenty miles on each side of the road in aid of the enterprise. The land thus appropriated amounts to forty-seven million acres,—more than is comprised in the States of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York! If all of these lands were sold at the price fixed by government,—$2.50 per acre,—they would yield $118,000,000,—a sum sufficient to build and equip the road. But years must elapse before these lands can be put upon the market, and the government, undoubtedly, will give the same aid to this road which has already been given to the Central Pacific Road, guaranteeing the bonds or stock of the company, and taking a lien on the road for security. Such bonds would at once command the necessary capital for building the road.


Puget Sound, with its numerous inlets, is a deep indentation of the Pacific coast, one hundred miles north of the Columbia. It has spacious harbors, securely land-locked, with a surrounding country abounding in timber, with exhaustless beds of coal, rich in agricultural resources, and with numerous mill-streams. Nature has stamped it with her seal, and set it apart to be the New England of the Pacific coast.

That portion of the country is to be peopled by farmers, mechanics, and artisans. California is rich in mineral wealth. Her valleys and mountain-slopes yield abundant harvests; but she has few mill-streams, and is dependent upon Oregon and Washington for her coal and lumber. An inferior quality of coal is mined at Mount Diablo in California; but most of the coal consumed in that State is brought from Puget Sound. Hence Nature has fixed the locality of the future manufacturing industry of the Pacific. Puget Sound is nearer than San Francisco, by several hundred miles, to Japan, China, and Australia. It is therefore the natural port of entry and departure for our Pacific trade. It has advantages over San Francisco, not only in being nearer to those countries, but in having coal near at hand, which settles the question of the future steam marine of the Pacific.

Passengers, goods of high cost, and bills of exchange, move on the shortest and quickest lines of travel. No business man takes the way-train in preference to the express. Sailing vessels make the voyage from Puget Sound to Shanghai in from thirty to forty days. Steamers will make it in twenty.


Far-seeing men in England are looking forward to the time when the trade between that country and the Pacific will be carried on across this continent. Colonel Synge, of the Queen's Royal Engineers, says:—

"America is geographically a connecting link between the continents of Europe and Asia, and not a monstrous barrier between them. It lies in the track of their nearest and best connection; and this fact needs only to be fully recognized to render it in practice what it unquestionably is in the essential points of distance and direction."[R]

Another English writer says:—

"It is believed that the amount of direct traffic which would be created between Australia, China, and Japan, and England, by a railway from Halifax to the Gulf of Georgia, would soon[Pg 341] more than cover the interest upon the capital expended.... If the intended railway were connected with a line of steamers plying between Victoria (Puget Sound), Sydney, or New Zealand, mails, quick freight, passengers to and from our colonies in the southern hemisphere, would, for the most part, be secured for this route.

"Vancouver's Island is nearer to Sydney than Panama by nine hundred miles; and, with the exception of the proposed route by a Trans-American railway, the latter is the most expeditious that has been found.

"By this interoceanic communication, the time to New Zealand would be reduced to forty-two, and to Sydney to forty-seven days, being at least ten less than by steam from England via Panama."[S]

Lord Bury says:—

"Our trade [English] in the Pacific Ocean with China and with India must ultimately be carried through our North American possessions. At any rate, our political and commercial supremacy will have utterly departed from us, if we neglect that great and important consideration, and if we fail to carry out to its fullest extent the physical advantages which the country offers to us, and which we have only to stretch out our hands to take advantage of."[T]

Shanghai is rapidly becoming the great commercial emporium of China. It is situated at the mouth of the Yangtse-Kiang, the largest river of Asia, navigable for fifteen hundred miles. Hong-Kong, which has been the English centre in China, is nine hundred and sixty miles farther south.

With a line of railway across this continent, the position of England would be as follows:—

"""Puget Sound,33"

Mr. Maciff divides the time as follows by the Puget Sound route:—

Southampton to Halifax,9days.
Halifax to Puget Sound,6"
Puget Sound to Hong-Kong,21"

The voyage by Suez is made in the Peninsular and Oriental line of steamers. The passage is proverbially comfortless,—through the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, across the Bay of Bengal, through the Straits of Malacca, and up the Chinese coast, under a tropical sun. Bayard Taylor thus describes the trip down the Red Sea:—

"We had a violent head-wind, or rather gale. Yet, in spite of this current of air, the thermometer stood at 85° on deck, and 90° in the cabin. For two or three days we had a temperature of 90° to 95°. This part of the Red Sea is considered to be the hottest portion of the earth's surface. In the summer the air is like that of a furnace, and the bare red mountains glow like heaps of live coals. The steamers at that time almost invariably lose some of their firemen and stewards. Cooking is quite given up."[U]

Bankok, Singapore, and Java can be reached more quickly from England by Puget Sound than by Suez.

Notwithstanding the discomforts of the passage down the Red Sea, the steamers are always overcrowded with passengers, and loaded to their utmost capacity with freight. The French line, the Messageries Imperials de France, has been established, and is fully employed. Both lines pay large dividends.

The growth of the English trade with China during the last sixteen years has been very rapid. Tea has increased 1300 per cent, and silk 950.[V]

The trade between the single port of Shanghai and England and America in the two great staples of export is seen from the following statement of the export of tea and silk from that port from July 1, 1859, to July 1, 1860:—

Tea, lbs.Silk, bales.
Great Britain,31,621,00019,084
United States,18,299,0001,554

The total value of exports from England to China in 1860 was $26,590,000. Says Colonel Sykes:[Pg 342]

"Our trade with China resolves itself into our taking almost exclusively from them teas and raw silk, and their taking from us cotton, cotton yarns, and woollens."[W]

The exports of the United States to the Pacific in 1861 were as follows:—

To China,$5,809,724
Islands of the Pacific484,000

By the late treaty between the United States and China, that empire is thrown open to trade; and already a large fleet of American-built steamers is afloat on the gleaming waters of the Yang-tse. Mr. Burlingame, our present Minister, is soon to take his departure for that empire, with instructions to use his utmost endeavor to promote friendly relations between the two countries. That this country is to have an immense trade with China is evident from the fact that no other country can compete with us in the manufacture of coarse cotton goods, which, with cotton at its normal price, will be greatly sought after by the majority of the people of that country, who of necessity are compelled to wear the cheapest clothing.

Shanghai is the silk emporium of the empire. A ton of silk goods is worth from ten to fifteen thousand dollars. Nearly all of the silk is now shipped by the Peninsular and Oriental line, at a charge of $125 to $150 per ton; and notwithstanding these exorbitant rates, Shanghai merchants are compelled to make written application weeks in advance, and accept proportional allotments for shipping. In May, 1863, the screw-steamer Bahama made the trip from Foochow to London in eighty days with a cargo of tea, and obtained sixty dollars per ton, while freights by sailing vessels were but twenty dollars; the shippers being willing to pay forty dollars per ton for forty days' quicker delivery. With the Northern Pacific line constructed, the British importer could receive his Shanghai goods across this continent in fifty days, and at a rate lower than by the Peninsular line.

The route by the Peninsular line runs within eighty miles of the Equator; and the entire voyage is through a tropical climate, which injures the flavor of the tea. Hence the high price of the celebrated "brick tea," brought across the steppes of Russia. The route by Puget Sound is wholly through temperate latitudes, across a smooth and peaceful sea, seldom vexed by storms, and where currents, like the Gulf Stream of Mexico, and favoring trade-winds, may be taken advantage of by vessels plying between that port and the Asiatic coast.

Japan is only four thousand miles distant from Puget Sound. The teas and silks of that country are rapidly coming into market. Coal is found there, and on the island of Formosa, and up the Yang-tse.


The climate of Puget Sound is thus set forth by an English writer, who has passed several months at Victoria:—

"From October to March we are liable to frequent rains; but this period of damp is ever and anon relieved by prolonged intervals of bright dry weather. In March, winter gives signs of taking its departure, and the warm breath of spring begins to cover the trees with tinted buds and the fields with verdure.... The sensations produced by the aspects of nature in May are indescribably delightful. The freshness of the air, the warbling of birds, the clearness of the sky, the profusion and fragrance of wild roses, the widespread, variegated hues of buttercups and daisies, the islets and violets, together with the distant snow-peaks bursting upon the view, combine in that month to fill the mind with enchantment unequalled out of Paradise. I know gentlemen who have lived in China, Italy, Canada, and England; but, after a residence of some years in Vancouver Island, they entertained a preference for the climate of the colony which approached affectionate enthusiasm."[X]

The climate of the whole section through which the line passes is milder[Pg 343] than that of the Grand Trunk line. The lowest degree of temperature in 1853—54 at Quebec was 29 below zero; Montreal, 34; St. Paul, 36; Bitter Root Valley, forty miles from Big Hole Pass, 20.

In 1858 a party of Royal Engineers, under Captain Pallissir, surveyed the country of the Saskatchawan for a line to Puget Sound which should lie wholly within the British possessions. They found a level and fertile country, receding to the very base of the mountains, and a practicable pass, of less altitude than those at the head-waters of the Missouri; but in winter the snow is deep and the climate severe. That section of Canada north of Superior is an unbroken, uninhabitable wilderness. The character of the region is thus set forth by Agassiz. He says:—

"Unless the mines should attract and support a population, one sees not how this region should ever be inhabited. Its stern and northern character is shown in nothing more clearly than in the scarcity of animals. The woods are silent, and as if deserted. One may walk for hours without hearing an animal sound; and when he does, it is of a wild and lonely character.... It is like being transported to the early ages of the earth, when mosses and pines had just begun to cover the primeval rock, and the animals as yet ventured timidly forth into the new world."[Y]


The census returns of the United States indicate that, thirty-four years hence, in the year 1900, the population of this country will exceed one hundred millions. What an outlook! The country a teeming hive of industry; innumerable sails whitening the Western Ocean; unnumbered steamers ploughing its peaceful waters; great cities in the unexplored solitudes of to-day; America the highway of the nations; and New York the banking-house of the world!

This is the age of the people. They are the sovereigns of the future. It is the age of ideas. The people of America stand on the threshold of a new era. We are to come in contact with a people numbering nearly half the population of the globe, claiming a nationality dating back to the time of Moses. A hundred thousand Chinese are in California and Oregon, and every ship sailing into the harbor of San Francisco brings its load of emigrants from Asia. What is to be the effect of this contact with the Orient upon our civilization? What the result of this pouring in of emigrants from every country of the world,—of all languages, manners, customs, nationalities, and religions? Can they be assimilated into a homogeneous mass? These are grave questions, demanding the earnest and careful consideration of every Christian, philanthropist, and patriot. We have fought for existence, and have a name among the nations. But we have still the nation to save. Railroads, telegraphs, steamships, printing-presses, schools, platforms, and pulpits are the agents of modern civilization. Through them we are to secure unity, strength, and national life. Securing these, Asia may send over her millions of idol-worshippers without detriment to ourselves. With these, America is to give life to the long-slumbering Orient.

So ever toward the setting sun the course of empire takes its way,—not the empire of despotism, but of life, liberty,—of civilization and the Christian religion.[Pg 344]


[D] Lewis and Clark's Expedition to the Columbia, Vol. II. p. 392.

[E] Ibid., p. 397.

[F] See Pacific Railroad Report, Vol. I. p. 239.

[G] Idaho: Six Months among the New Gold Diggings, by J. L. Campbell, pp. 15-28.

[H] Pacific Railroad Report, Vol. I. p. 130.

[I] Ibid., Vol. XII. p. 169.

[J] Governor Stevens's Report of the Pacific Railroad Survey.

[K] Pacific Railroad Survey. Lieutenant Mullan's Report.

[L] Lieutenant Mullan's Report on the Construction of Wagon Road from Fort Benton to Walla-Walla, p. 45.

[M] New York Tribune, December 2, 1865, correspondence of "A. D. R."

[N] Report of Captain Mullan, p. 54.

[O] Report of Captain Mullan, p. 54.

[P] Hall's Guide,—via Omaha, Denver, and Salt Lake.

[Q] Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, 1857.

[R] Paper read before the British North American Association, July 21, 1864.

[S] Vancouver's Island and British Columbia, Maciff, p. 343.

[T] Speech by Lord Bury, quoted by Maciff.

[U] India, China, and Japan, p. 23.

[V] Statistical Journal, 1862.

[W] Statistical Journal, 1862, p. 15.

[X] Vancouver and British Columbia, Maciff, p. 179.

[Y] Agassiz, Lake Superior, p. 124.


The salt wind blows upon my cheek
As it blew a year ago,
When twenty boats were crushed among
The rocks of Norman's Woe.
'Twas dark then; 't is light now,
And the sails are leaning low.
In dreams, I pull the sea-weed o'er,
And find a face not his,
And hope another tide will be
More pitying than this:
The wind turns, the tide turns,—
They take what hope there is.
My life goes on as thine would go,
With all its sweetness spilled:
My God, why should one heart of two
Beat on, when one is stilled?
Through heart-wreck, or home-wreck,
Thy happy sparrows build.
Though boats go down, men build anew,
Whatever winds may blow;
If blight be in the wheat one year,
We trust again and sow,
Though grief comes, and changes
The sunshine into snow.
Some have their dead, where, sweet and soon,
The summers bloom and go:
The sea withholds my dead,—I walk
The bar when tides are low,
And wonder the grave-grass
Can have the heart to grow!
Flow on, O unconsenting sea,
And keep my dead below;
Though night—O utter night!—my soul,
Delude thee long, I know,
Or Life comes or Death comes,
God leads the eternal flow.

[Pg 345]




"Papa, do you see what the Evening Post says of your New-Year's article on Reconstruction?" said Jennie, as we were all sitting in the library after tea.

"I have not seen it."

"Well, then, the charming writer, whoever he is, takes up for us girls and women, and maintains that no work of any sort ought to be expected of us; that our only mission in life is to be beautiful, and to refresh and elevate the spirits of men by being so. If I get a husband, my mission is to be always becomingly dressed, to display most captivating toilettes, and to be always in good spirits,—as, under the circumstances, I always should be,—and thus 'renew his spirits' when he comes in weary with the toils of life. Household cares are to be far from me: they destroy my cheerfulness and injure my beauty.

"He says that the New England standard of excellence as applied to woman has been a mistaken one; and, in consequence, though the girls are beautiful, the matrons are faded, overworked, and uninteresting; and that such a state of society tends to immorality, because, when wives are no longer charming, men are open to the temptation to desert their firesides, and get into mischief generally. He seems particularly to complain of your calling ladies who do nothing the 'fascinating lazzaroni of the parlor and boudoir.'"

"There was too much truth back of that arrow not to wound," said Theophilus Thoro, who was ensconced, as usual, in his dark corner, whence he supervises our discussions.

"Come, Mr. Thoro, we won't have any of your bitter moralities," said Jennie; "they are only to be taken as the invariable bay-leaf which Professor Blot introduces into all his recipes for soups and stews,—a little elegant bitterness, to be kept tastefully in the background. You see now, papa, I should like the vocation of being beautiful. It would just suit me to wear point-lace and jewelry, and to have life revolve round me, as some beautiful star, and feel that I had nothing to do but shine and refresh the spirits of all gazers, and that in this way I was truly useful, and fulfilling the great end of my being; but alas for this doctrine! all women have not beauty. The most of us can only hope not to be called ill-looking, and, when we get ourselves up with care, to look fresh and trim and agreeable; which fact interferes with the theory."

"Well, for my part," said young Rudolph, "I go for the theory of the beautiful. If ever I marry, it is to find an asylum for ideality. I don't want to make a culinary marriage or a business partnership. I want a being whom I can keep in a sphere of poetry and beauty, out of the dust and grime of every-day life."

"Then," said Mr. Theophilus, "you must either be a rich man in your own right, or your fair ideal must have a handsome fortune of her own."

"I never will marry a rich wife," quoth Rudolph. "My wife must be supported by me, not I by her."

Rudolph is another of the habitués of our chimney-corner, representing the order of young knighthood in America, and his dreams and fancies, if impracticable, are always of a kind to make every one think him a good fellow. He who has no romantic dreams at twenty-one will be a horribly dry peascod at fifty; therefore it is that I gaze reverently at all Rudolph's chateaus in Spain,[Pg 346] which want nothing to complete them except solid earth to stand on.

"And pray," said Theophilus, "how long will it take a young lawyer or physician, starting with no heritage but his own brain, to create a sphere of poetry and beauty in which to keep his goddess? How much a year will be necessary, as the English say, to do this garden of Eden, whereinto shall enter only the poetry of life?"

"I don't know. I haven't seen it near enough to consider. It is because I know the difficulty of its attainment that I have no present thoughts of marriage. Marriage is to me in the bluest of all blue distances,—far off, mysterious, and dreamy as the Mountains of the Moon or sources of the Nile. It shall come only when I have secured a fortune that shall place my wife above all necessity of work or care."

"I desire to hear from you," said Theophilus, "when you have found the sum that will keep a woman from care. I know of women now inhabiting palaces, waited on at every turn by servants, with carriages, horses, jewels, laces, cashmeres, enough for princesses, who are eaten up by care. One lies awake all night on account of a wrinkle in the waist of her dress; another is dying because no silk of a certain inexpressible shade is to be found in New York; a third has had a dress sent home, which has proved such a failure that life seems no longer worth having. If it were not for the consolations of religion, one doesn't know what would become of her. The fact is, that care and labor are as much correlated to human existence as shadow is to light; there is no such thing as excluding them from any mortal lot. You may make a canary-bird or a gold-fish live in absolute contentment without a care or labor, but a human being you cannot. Human beings are restless and active in their very nature, and will do something, and that something will prove a care, a labor, and a fatigue, arrange it how you will. As long as there is anything to be desired and not yet attained, so long its attainment will be attempted; so long as that attainment is doubtful or difficult, so long will there be care and anxiety. When boundless wealth releases woman from every family care, she immediately makes herself a new set of cares in another direction, and has just as many anxieties as the most toilful housekeeper, only they are of a different kind. Talk of labor, and look at the upper classes in London or in New York in the fashionable season. Do any women work harder? To rush from crowd to crowd all night, night after night, seeing what they are tired of, making the agreeable over an abyss of inward yawning, crowded, jostled, breathing hot air, and crushed in halls and stairways, without a moment of leisure for months and months, till brain and nerve and sense reel, and the country is longed for as a period of resuscitation and relief! Such is the release from labor and fatigue brought by wealth. The only thing that makes all this labor at all endurable is, that it is utterly and entirely useless, and does not good to any one in creation; this alone makes it genteel, and distinguishes it from the vulgar toils of a housekeeper. These delicate creatures, who can go to three or four parties a night for three months, would be utterly desolate if they had to watch one night in a sick-room; and though they can exhibit any amount of physical endurance and vigor in crowding into assembly rooms, and breathe tainted air in an opera-house with the most martyr-like constancy, they could not sit one half-hour in the close room where the sister of charity spends hours in consoling the sick or aged poor."

"Mr. Theophilus is quite at home now," said Jennie; "only start him on the track of fashionable life, and he takes the course like a hound. But hear, now, our champion of the Evening Post:—

"'The instinct of women to seek a life of repose, their eagerness to attain the life of elegance, does not mean contempt for labor, but it is the confession of unfitness for labor. Women were not intended to work,—not because work is ignoble, but because it is as[Pg 347] disastrous to the beauty of a woman as is friction to the bloom and softness of a flower. Woman is to be kept in the garden of life; she is to rest, to receive, to praise; she is to be kept from the workshop world, where innocence is snatched with rude hands, and softness is blistered into unsightliness or hardened into adamant. No social truth is more in need of exposition and illustration than this one; and, above all, the people of New England need to know it, and, better, they need to believe it.

"'It is therefore with regret that we discover Christopher Crowfield applying so harshly, and, as we think, so indiscriminatingly, the theory of work to women, and teaching a society made up of women sacrificed in the workshops of the state, or to the dust-pans and kitchens of the house, that women must work, ought to work, and are dishonored if they do not work; and that a woman committed to the drudgery of a household is more creditably employed than when she is charming, fascinating, irresistible, in the parlor or boudoir. The consequence of this fatal mistake is manifest throughout New England,—in New England, where the girls are all beautiful and the wives and mothers faded, disfigured, and without charm or attractiveness. The moment a girl marries in New England she is apt to become a drudge, or a lay figure on which to exhibit the latest fashions. She never has beautiful hands, and she would not have a beautiful face if a utilitarian society could "apply" her face to anything but the pleasure of the eye. Her hands lose their shape and softness after childhood, and domestic drudgery destroys her beauty of form and softness and bloom of complexion after marriage. To correct, or rather to break up, this despotism of household cares, or of work, over woman, American society must be taught that women will inevitably fade and deteriorate, unless it insures repose and comfort to them. It must be taught that reverence for beauty is the normal condition, while the theory of work, applied to women, is disastrous alike to beauty and morals. Work, when it is destructive to men or women, is forced and unjust.

"'All the great masculine or creative epochs have been distinguished by spontaneous work on the part of men, and universal reverence and care for beauty. The praise of work, and sacrifice of women to this great heartless devil of work, belong only to, and are the social doctrine of, a mechanical age and a utilitarian epoch. And if the New England idea of social life continues to bear so cruelly on woman, we shall have a reaction somewhat unexpected and shocking.'"

"Well now, say what you will," said Rudolph, "you have expressed my idea of the conditions of the sex. Woman was not made to work; she was made to be taken care of by man. All that is severe and trying, whether in study or in practical life, is and ought to be in its very nature essentially the work of the male sex. The value of woman is precisely the value of those priceless works of art for which we build museums,—which we shelter and guard as the world's choicest heritage; and a lovely, cultivated, refined woman, thus sheltered, and guarded, and developed, has a worth that cannot be estimated by any gross, material standard. So I subscribe to the sentiments of Miss Jennie's friend without scruple."

"The great trouble in settling all these society questions," said I, "lies in the gold-washing,—the cradling I think the miners call it. If all the quartz were in one stratum and all the gold in another, it would save us a vast deal of trouble. In the ideas of Jennie's friend of the Evening Post there is a line of truth and a line of falsehood so interwoven and threaded together that it is impossible wholly to assent or dissent. So with your ideas, Rudolph, there is a degree of truth in them, but there is also a fallacy.

"It is a truth, that woman as a sex ought not to do the hard work of the world, either social, intellectual, or moral. There are evidences in her physiology that this was not intended for her, and[Pg 348] our friend of the Evening Post is right in saying that any country will advance more rapidly in civilization and refinement where woman is thus sheltered and protected. And I think, furthermore, that there is no country in the world where women are so much considered and cared for and sheltered, in every walk of life, as in America. In England and France,—all over the continent of Europe, in fact,—the other sex are deferential to women only from some presumption of their social standing, or from the fact of acquaintanceship; but among strangers, and under circumstances where no particular rank or position can be inferred, a woman travelling in England or France is jostled and pushed to the wall, and left to take her own chance, precisely as if she were not a woman. Deference to delicacy and weakness, the instinct of protection, does not appear to characterize the masculine population of any other quarter of the world so much as that of America. In France, les Messieurs will form a circle round the fire in the receiving-room of a railroad station, and sit, tranquilly smoking their cigars, while ladies who do not happen to be of their acquaintance are standing shivering at the other side of the room. In England, if a lady is incautiously booked for an outside place on a coach, in hope of seeing the scenery, and the day turns out hopelessly rainy, no gentleman in the coach below ever thinks of offering to change seats with her, though it pour torrents. In America, the roughest backwoods steamboat or canal-boat captain always, as a matter of course, considers himself charged with the protection of the ladies. 'Place aux dames' is written in the heart of many a shaggy fellow who could not utter a French word any more than could a buffalo. It is just as I have before said,—women are the recognized aristocracy, the only aristocracy, of America; and, so far from regarding this fact as objectionable, it is an unceasing source of pride in my country.

"That kind of knightly feeling towards woman which reverences her delicacy, her frailty, which protects and cares for her, is, I think, the crown of manhood; and without it a man is only a rough animal. But our fair aristocrats and their knightly defenders need to be cautioned lest they lose their position, as many privileged orders have before done, by an arrogant and selfish use of power.

"I have said that the vices of aristocracy are more developed among women in America than among men, and that, while there are no men in the Northern States who are not ashamed of living a merely idle life of pleasure, there are many women who make a boast of helplessness and ignorance in woman's family duties which any man would be ashamed to make with regard to man's duties, as if such helplessness and ignorance were a grace and a charm.

"There are women who contentedly live on, year after year, a life of idleness, while the husband and father is straining every nerve, growing prematurely old and gray, abridged of almost every form of recreation or pleasure,—all that he may keep them in a state of careless ease and festivity. It may be very fine, very generous, very knightly, in the man who thus toils at the oar that his princesses may enjoy their painted voyages; but what is it for the women?

"A woman is a moral being,—an immortal soul,—before she is a woman; and as such she is charged by her Maker with some share of the great burden of work which lies on the world.

"Self-denial, the bearing of the cross, are stated by Christ as indispensable conditions to the entrance into his kingdom, and no exception is made for man or woman. Some task, some burden, some cross, each one must carry; and there must be something done in every true and worthy life, not as amusement, but as duty,—not as play, but as earnest work,—and no human being can attain to the Christian standard without this.

"When Jesus Christ took a towel and girded himself, poured water into a basin, and washed his disciples' feet, he[Pg 349] performed a significant and sacramental act, which no man or woman should ever forget. If wealth and rank and power absolve from the services of life, then certainly were Jesus Christ absolved, as he says,—'Ye call me Master, and Lord. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.'

"Let a man who seeks to make a terrestrial paradise for the woman of his heart,—to absolve her from all care, from all labor,—to teach her to accept and to receive the labor of others without any attempt to offer labor in return,—consider whether he is not thus going directly against the fundamental idea of Christianity,—taking the direct way to make his idol selfish and exacting, to rob her of the highest and noblest beauty of womanhood.

"In that chapter of the Bible where the relation between man and woman is stated, it is thus said, with quaint simplicity:—'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.' Woman the helper of man, not his toy,—not a picture, not a statue, not a work of art, but a helper, a doer,—such is the view of the Bible and the Christian religion.

"It is not necessary that women should work physically or morally to an extent which impairs beauty. In France, where woman is harnessed with an ass to the plough which her husband drives,—where she digs, and wields the pick-axe,—she becomes prematurely hideous; but in America, where woman reigns as queen in every household, she may surely be a good and thoughtful housekeeper, she may have physical strength exercised in lighter domestic toils, not only without injuring her beauty, but with manifest advantage to it. Almost every growing young girl would be the better in health, and therefore handsomer, for two hours of active housework daily; and the habit of usefulness thereby gained would be an equal advantage to her moral development. The labors of modern, well-arranged houses are not in any sense severe; they are as gentle as any kind of exercise that can be devised, and they bring into play muscles that ought to be exercised to be healthily developed.

"The great danger to the beauty of American women does not lie, as the writer of the Post contends, in an overworking of the physical system which shall stunt and deform; on the contrary, American women of the comfortable classes are in danger of a loss of physical beauty from the entire deterioration of the muscular system for want of exercise. Take the life of any American girl in one of our large towns, and see what it is. We have an educational system of public schools which for intellectual culture is a just matter of pride to any country. From the time that the girl is seven years old, her first thought, when she rises in the morning, is to eat her breakfast and be off to her school. There really is no more time than enough to allow her to make that complete toilet which every well-bred female ought to make, and to take her morning meal before her school begins. She returns at noon with just time to eat her dinner, and the afternoon session begins. She comes home at night with books, slate, and lessons enough to occupy her evening. What time is there for teaching her any household work, for teaching her to cut or fit or sew, or to inspire her with any taste for domestic duties? Her arms have no exercise; her chest and lungs, and all the complex system of muscles which are to be perfected by quick and active movement, are compressed while she bends over book and slate and drawing-board; while the ever-active brain is kept all the while going at the top of its speed. She grows up spare, thin, and delicate; and while the Irish girl, who sweeps the parlors, rubs the silver, and irons the muslins, is developing a finely rounded arm and bust, the American girl has a pair of bones at her sides, and a bust composed of cotton padding, the work of a skilful dressmaker. Nature,[Pg 350] who is no respecter of persons, gives to Colleen Bawn, who uses her arms and chest, a beauty which perishes in the gentle, languid Edith, who does nothing but study and read."

"But is it not a fact," said Rudolph, "as stated by our friend of the Post, that American matrons are perishing, and their beauty and grace all withered, from overwork?"

"It is," said my wife; "but why? It is because they are brought up without vigor or muscular strength, without the least practical experience of household labor, or those means of saving it which come by daily practice; and then, after marriage, when physically weakened by maternity, embarrassed by the care of young children, they are often suddenly deserted by every efficient servant, and the whole machinery of a complicated household left in their weak, inexperienced hands. In the country, you see a household perhaps made void some fine morning by Biddy's sudden departure, and nobody to make the bread, or cook the steak, or sweep the parlors, or do one of the complicated offices of a family, and no bakery, cookshop, or laundry to turn to for alleviation. A lovely, refined home becomes in a few hours a howling desolation; and then ensues a long season of breakage, waste, distraction, as one wild Irish immigrant after another introduces the style of Irish cottage life into an elegant dwelling.

"Now suppose I grant to the Evening Post that woman ought to rest, to be kept in the garden of life, and all that, how is this to be done in a country where a state of things like this is the commonest of occurrences? And is it any kindness or reverence to woman, to educate her for such an inevitable destiny by a life of complete physical delicacy and incapacity? Many a woman who has been brought into these cruel circumstances would willingly exchange all her knowledge of German and Italian, and all her graceful accomplishments, for a good physical development, and some respectable savoir faire in ordinary life.

"Moreover, American matrons are overworked because some unaccountable glamour leads them to continue to bring up their girls in the same inefficient physical habits which resulted in so much misery to themselves. Housework as they are obliged to do it, untrained, untaught, exhausted, and in company with rude, dirty, unkempt foreigners, seems to them a degradation which they will spare to their daughters. The daughter goes on with her schools and accomplishments, and leads in the family the life of an elegant little visitor during all those years when a young girl might be gradually developing and strengthening her muscles in healthy household work. It never occurs to her that she can or ought to fill any of these domestic gaps into which her mother always steps; and she comforts herself with the thought, 'I don't know how; I can't; I haven't the strength. I cant' sweep; it blisters my hands. If I should stand at the ironing-table an hour, I should be ill for a week. As to cooking, I don't know anything about it.' And so, when the cook, or the chambermaid, or nurse, or all together, vacate the premises, it is the mamma who is successively cook, and chambermaid, and nurse; and this is the reason why matrons fade and are overworked.

"Now, Mr. Rudolph, do you think a woman any less beautiful or interesting because she is a fully developed physical being,—because her muscles have been rounded and matured into strength, so that she can meet the inevitable emergencies of life without feeling them to be distressing hardships? If there be a competent, well-trained servant to sweep and dust the parlor, and keep all the machinery of the house in motion, she may very properly select her work out of the family, in some form of benevolent helpfulness; but when the inevitable evil hour comes, which is likely to come first or last in every American household, is a woman any less an elegant woman because her love of neatness, order, and beauty leads her to make vigorous personal[Pg 351] exertions to keep her own home undefiled? For my part, I think a disorderly, ill-kept home, a sordid, uninviting table, has driven more husbands from domestic life than the unattractiveness of any overworked woman. So long as a woman makes her home harmonious and orderly, so long as the hour of assembling around the family table is something to be looked forward to as a comfort and a refreshment, a man cannot see that the good house fairy, who by some magic keeps everything so delightfully, has either a wrinkle or a gray hair.

"Besides," said I, "I must tell you, Rudolph, what you fellows of twenty-one are slow to believe; and that is, that the kind of ideal paradise you propose in marriage is, in the very nature of things, an impossibility,—that the familiarities of every-day life between two people who keep house together must and will destroy it. Suppose you are married to Cytherea herself, and the next week attacked with a rheumatic fever. If the tie between you is that of true and honest love, Cytherea will put on a gingham wrapper, and with her own sculptured hands wring out the flannels which shall relieve your pains; and she will be no true woman if she do not prefer to do this to employing any nurse that could be hired. True love ennobles and dignifies the material labors of life; and homely services rendered for love's sake have in them a poetry that is immortal.

"No true-hearted woman can find herself, in real, actual life, unskilled and unfit to minister to the wants and sorrows of those dearest to her, without a secret sense of degradation. The feeling of uselessness is an extremely unpleasant one. Tom Hood, in a very humorous paper, describes a most accomplished schoolmistress, a teacher of all the arts and crafts which are supposed to make up fine gentlewomen, who is stranded in a rude German inn, with her father writhing in the anguish of a severe attack of gastric inflammation. The helpless lady gazes on her suffering parent, longing to help him, and thinking over all her various little store of accomplishments, not one of which bear the remotest relation to the case. She could knit him a bead-purse, or make him a guard-chain, or work him a footstool, or festoon him with cut tissue-paper, or sketch his likeness, or crust him over with alum crystals, or stick him over with little rosettes of red and white wafers; but none of these being applicable to his present case, she sits gazing in resigned imbecility, till finally she desperately resolves to improvise him some gruel, and, after a laborious turn in the kitchen,—after burning her dress and blacking her fingers,—succeeds only in bringing him a bowl of paste!

"Not unlike this might be the feeling of many and elegant and accomplished woman, whose education has taught and practised her in everything that woman ought to know, except those identical ones which fit her for the care of a home, for the comfort of a sick-room; and so I say again, that, whatever a woman may be in the way of beauty and elegance, she must have the strength and skill of a practical worker, or she is nothing. She is not simply to be the beautiful,—she is to make the beautiful, and preserve it; and she who makes and she who keeps the beautiful must be able to work, and to know how to work. Whatever offices of life are performed by women of culture and refinement are thenceforth elevated; they cease to be mere servile toils, and become expressions of the ideas of superior beings. If a true lady makes even a plate of toast, in arranging a petit souper for her invalid friend, she does it as a lady should. She does not cut blundering and uneven slices; she does not burn the edges; she does not deluge it with bad butter, and serve it cold; but she arranges and serves all with an artistic care, with a nicety and delicacy, which make it worth one's while to have a lady friend in sickness.

"And I am glad to hear that Monsieur Blot is teaching classes of New York ladies that cooking is not a vulgar kitchen toil, to be left to blundering[Pg 352] servants, but an elegant feminine accomplishment, better worth a woman's learning than crochet or embroidery; and that a well-kept culinary apartment may be so inviting and orderly that no lady need feel her ladyhood compromised by participating in its pleasant toils. I am glad to know that his cooking academy is thronged with more scholars than he can accommodate, and from ladies in the best classes of society.

"Moreover, I am glad to see that in New Bedford, recently, a public course of instruction in the art of bread-making has been commenced by a lady, and that classes of the most respectable young and married ladies in the place are attending them.

"These are steps in the right direction, and show that our fair country-women, with the grand good sense which is their leading characteristic, are resolved to supply whatever in our national life is wanting.

"I do not fear that women of such sense and energy will listen to the sophistries which would persuade them that elegant imbecility and inefficiency are charms of cultivated womanhood or ingredients in the poetry of life. She alone can keep the poetry and beauty of married life who has this poetry in her soul; who with energy and discretion can throw back and out of sight the sordid and disagreeable details which beset all human living, and can keep in the foreground that which is agreeable; who has enough knowledge of practical household matters to make unskilled and rude hands minister to her cultivated and refined tastes, and constitute her skilled brain the guide of unskilled hands. From such a home, with such a mistress, no sirens will seduce a man, even though the hair grow gray, and the merely physical charms of early days gradually pass away. The enchantment that was about her person alone in the days of courtship seems in the course of years to have interfused and penetrated the home which she has created, and which in every detail is only an expression of her personality. Her thoughts, her plans, her provident care, are everywhere; and the home attracts and holds by a thousand ties the heart which before marriage was held by the woman alone."



"Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor."
Gray's Elegy.

It was a long, long time ago, before the flame of gas was seen in the streets, or the sounds of the railroad were heard in the land; so long before, that, had any prophet then living foretold such magical doings, he would have been deemed a fit inhabitant of Bedlam. In those primitive times, the Widow Lawton was considered a rich woman, though her income would not go far toward clothing a city-fashionable in these days. She owned a convenient house on the sea-shore, some twelve or fifteen miles from Cape Ann; she cultivated ten acres of sandy soil, and had a well-tended fish-flake a quarter of a mile long. To own an extensive fish-flake was, in that neighborhood, a sure sign of being well to do in the world. The process of transmuting it into[Pg 353] money was slow and circuitous; but those were not fast days. The fish were to be caught, and cleaned, and salted, and spread on the flake, and turned day after day till thoroughly dry. Then they were packed, and sent in vessels to Maryland or Virginia, to be exchanged for flour or tobacco; then the flour and tobacco were sold in foreign ports, and silks, muslins, and other articles of luxury procured with the money.

The Widow Lawton was a notable, stirring woman, and it was generally agreed that no one in that region kept a sharper look-out for the main chance. Nobody sent better fish to market; nobody had such good luck in hiving bees; nobody could spin more knots of yarn in a day, or weave such handsome table-cloths. Great was her store of goodies for the winter. The smoke-house was filled with hams, and the ceiling of the kitchen was festooned with dried apples and pumpkins. In summer, there was a fly-cage suspended from the centre. It was made of bristles, in a sort of basket-work, in which were arranged bits of red, yellow, and green woollen cloth tipped with honey. Flies, deceived by the fair appearance, sipped the honey, and remained glued to the woollen; their black bodies serving to set off the bright colors to advantage. In those days, such a cage was considered a very genteel ornament for a New England kitchen. Rich men sometimes have their coats of arms sketched on the floor in colored crayons, to be effaced in one night by the feet of dancers. The Widow Lawton ornamented her kitchen floor in a manner as ephemeral, though less expensive. Every afternoon it was strewn with white sand from the beach, and marked all over with the broom in a herring-bone pattern; a very suitable coat of arms for the owner of a fish-flake. In the parlor was an ingrained carpet, the admiration and envy of the neighborhood. A large glass was surmounted by a gilded eagle upholding a chain,—prophetic of the principal employment of the bird of freedom for three quarters of a century thereafter. In the Franklin fireplace, tall brass andirons, brightly burnished, gleamed through a feathery forest of asparagus, interspersed with scarlet berries. The high, mahogany case of drawers, grown black with time, and lustrous with much waxing, had innumerable great drawers and little drawers, all resplendent with brass ornaments, kept as bright as new gold.

The Widow was accustomed to say, "It takes a good deal of elbow-grease to keep everything trig and shiny"; and though she was by no means sparing of her own, the neat and thriving condition of the household and the premises was largely owing to the black Chloe, her slave and servant-of-all-work. When Chloe was a babe strapped on her mother's shoulders, they were stolen from Africa and packed in a ship. What became of her mother she knew not. How the Widow Lawton obtained the right to make her work from morning till night, without wages, she never inquired. It had always been so, ever since she could remember, and she had heard the minister say, again and again, that it was an ordination of Providence. She did not know what ordination was, or who Providence was; but she had a vague idea that both were up in the sky, and that she had nothing to do but submit to them. So year after year she patiently cooked meals, and weeded the garden, and cut and dried the apples, and scoured the brasses, and sanded the floor in herring-bone pattern, and tended the fish-flake till the profitable crop of the sea was ready for market. There was a melancholy expression in the eyes of poor, ignorant Chloe, which seemed to indicate that there might be in her soul a fountain that was deep, though it was sealed by the heavy stone of slavery. Carlyle said of a dog that howled at the moon, "He would have been a poet, if he could have found a publisher." And Chloe, though she never thought about the Infinite, was sometimes impressed with a feeling of its mysterious presence, as she walked back and forth tending the fish-flake; with the sad song of the sea forever resounding in her ears, and a glittering[Pg 354] orb of light sailing through the great blue arch over her head, and at evening sinking into the waves amid a gorgeous drapery of clouds. When the moon looked on the sea, the sealed fountain within her soul was strangely stirred. The shadow of rocks on the beach, the white sails of fishing-boats glimmering in the distance, the everlasting sighing of the sea, made her think of ghosts; though the oppressive feeling never shaped itself into words, except in the statement, "I'se sort o' feared o' moonlight." So poor Chloe paced her small round upon the earth, as unconscious as the ant in her molehill that she was whirling round among the stars. The extent of her moral development was, that it was her duty to obey her mistress and believe all the minister said. She had often been told that was sufficient for her salvation, and she supposed it was so.

But the dream that takes possession of young hearts came to Chloe also; though in her case it proved merely the shadow of a dream, or a dream of a shadow. On board of one of the sloops that carried fish to Baltimore was a free colored man, named Jim Saunders. The first time she saw him, she thought his large brown eyes were marvellously handsome, and that he had a very pleasant way of speaking to her. She always watched for the ship in which he came, and was very particular to have on a clean apron when she was likely to meet him. She looked at her own eyes in a bit of broken looking-glass, and wondered whether they seemed as handsome to him as his eyes did to her. In her own opinion she had rather pretty eyes, and she was not mistaken; for the Scriptural description, "black, but comely," was applicable to her. Jim never told her so, but she had somehow received an impression that perhaps he thought so. Sometimes he helped her turn the fish on the Flake, and afterward walked with her along the beach, as she wended her way homeward. On such occasions there was a happy sound in the song of the sea, and her heart seemed to dance up in sparkles, like the waves kissed by the sunshine. It was the first free, strong emotion she had ever experienced, and it sent a glow through the cold dulness of her lonely life.

Jim went away on a long voyage. He said perhaps he should be gone two years. The evening before he sailed, he walked with Chloe on the beach; and when he bade her good by, he gave her a pretty little pink shell, with a look that she never forgot. She gazed long after him, and felt flustered when he turned and saw her watching him. As he passed round a rock that would conceal him from her sight, he waved his cap toward her, and she turned homeward, murmuring to herself, "He didn't say nothin'; but he looked just as ef he wanted to say suthin'." On that look the poor hungry heart fed itself. It was the one thing in the world that was her own, that nobody could take from her,—the memory of a look.

Time passed on, and Chloe went her rounds, from house-service to the field, and from field-service to the fish-flake. The Widow Lawton had strongly impressed upon her mind that the Scripture said, "Six days shalt thou work." On the Sabbath no out-door work was carried on, for the Widow was a careful observer of established forms; but there were so many chores to be done inside the house, that Chloe was on her feet most of the day, except when she was dozing in a dark corner of the meeting-house gallery, while the Reverend Mr. Gordonmammon explained the difference between justification and sanctification. Chloe didn't understand it, any more than she did the moaning of the sea; and the continuous sound without significance had the same tendency to lull her to sleep. But she regarded the minister with great awe. It never entered her mind that he belonged to the same species as herself. She supposed God had sent him into the world with special instructions to warn sinners; and that sinners were sent into the world to listen to him and obey him. Her visage lengthened visibly whenever she saw him approaching with his[Pg 355] cocked hat and ivory-headed cane. He was something far-off and mysterious to her imagination, like the man in the moon; and it never occurred to her that he might enter as a disturbing element into the narrow sphere of her humble affairs. But so it was destined to be.

The minister was one of the nearest neighbors, and not unfrequently had occasion to negotiate with the Widow Lawton concerning the curing of hams in her smoke-house, or the exchange of pumpkins for dried fish. When their business was transacted, the Widow usually asked him to "stop and take a dish o' tea"; and he was inclined to accept the invitation, for he particularly liked the flavor of her doughnuts and pies. On one of these occasions, he said: "I have another matter of business to speak with you about, Mrs. Lawton,—a matter nearly connected with my temporal interest and convenience. My Tom has taken it into his head that he wants a wife, and he is getting more and more uneasy about it. Last night he strayed off three miles to see Black Dinah. Now if he gets set in that direction, it will make it very inconvenient for me; for it will take him a good deal of time to go back and forth, and I may happen to want him when he is out of the way. But if you would consent to have him marry your Chloe, I could easily summon him if I stood in need of him."

"I can't say it would be altogether convenient," replied Mrs. Lawton. "He'd be coming here often, bringing mud or dust into the house, and he'd be very likely to take Chloe's mind off from her work."

"There need be no trouble on that score," said Mr. Gordonmammon. "I should tell Tom he must never come here except on Saturday evenings, and that he must return early on Sunday morning. My good woman has taught him to be so careful about his feet, that he will bring no mud or dust into your house. His board will cost you nothing for he will come after supper and leave before breakfast; and perhaps you may now and then find it handy for him to do a chore for you."

Notwithstanding these arguments, the Widow still seemed rather disinclined to the arrangement. She feared that some moments of Chloe's time might thereby be lost to her.

The minister rose, and said, with much gravity: "When a pastor devotes his life to the spiritual welfare of his flock, it would seem reasonable that his parishioners should feel some desire to serve his temporal interests in return. But since you are unwilling to accommodate me in this small matter, I will bid you good evening, Mrs. Lawton."

The solemnity of his manner intimidated the Widow, and she hastened to say: "Of course I am always happy to oblige you, Mr. Gordonmammon; and since you have set your mind on Tom's having Chloe, I have no objection to your speaking to her about it."

The minister at once proceeded to the kitchen. Chloe, who was carefully instructed to use up every scrap of time for the benefit of her mistress, had seated herself to braid rags for a carpet, as soon as the tea things were disposed of. The entrance of the minister into her apartment surprised her, for it was very unusual. She rose, made a profound courtesy, and remained standing.

"Sit down, Chloe! sit down!" said he, with a condescending wave of his hand. "I have come to speak to you about an important matter. You have heard me read from the Scriptures that marriage is honorable. You are old enough to be married, Chloe, and it is right and proper you should be married. My Tom wants a wife, and there is nobody I should like so well for him as you. I will go home and send Tom to talk with you about it."

Chloe looked very much frightened, and exclaimed: "Please don't, Massa Gordonmammon, I don't want to be married."

"But it's right and proper you should be married," rejoined the minister; "and Tom wants a wife. It's your duty, Chloe, to do whatever your minister[Pg 356] and your mistress tell you to do."

That look from Jim came up as a bright vision before poor Chloe, and she burst into tears.

"I will come again when your mind is in a state more suited to your condition," said the minister. "At present your disposition seems to be rebellious. I will leave you to think of what I have said."

But thinking made Chloe feel still more rebellious. Tom was fat and stupid, with thick lips, and small, dull-looking eyes. He compared very unfavorably with her bright and handsome Jim. She swayed back and forth, and groaned. She thought over all the particulars of that last walk on the beach, and murmured to herself, "He looked jest as ef he wanted to say suthin'."

She thought of Tom and groaned again; and underlying all her confusion of thoughts there was a miserable feeling that, if the minister and her mistress both said she must marry Tom, there was no help for it.

The next day, she slashed and slammed round in an extraordinary manner. She broke a mug and a bowl, and sanded the floor with a general conglomeration of scratches, instead of the neat herring-bone on which she usually prided herself. It was the only way she had to exercise her free-will in its desperate struggle with necessity.

Mrs. Lawton, who never thought of her in any other light than as a machine, did not know what to make of these singular proceedings. "What upon airth ails you?" exclaimed she. "I do believe the gal's gone crazy."

Chloe paused in her harum-scarum sweeping, and said, with a look and tone almost defiant, "I don't want to marry Tom."

"But the minister wants you to marry him," replied Mrs. Lawton, "and you ought to mind the minister."

Chloe did not dare to dispute that assertion, but she dashed her broom round in the sand, in a very rebellious manner.

"Mind what you're about, gal!" exclaimed Mrs. Lawton. "I am not going to put up with such tantrums."

Chloe was acquainted with the weight of her mistress's hand, and she moved the broom round in more systematic fashion; but there was a tempest raging in her soul.

In the course of a few days the minister visited the kitchen again, and found Chloe still averse to his proposition. If his spiritual ear had been delicate, he would have noticed anguish in her pleading tone, when she said: "Please, Massa Gordonmammon, don't say nothin' more 'bout it. I don't want to be married." But his spiritual ear was not delicate; and her voice sounded to him merely as that of a refractory wench, who was behaving in a manner very unseemly and ungrateful in a bondwoman who had been taken from the heathen round about, and brought under the guidance of Christians. He therefore assumed his sternest look when he said: "I supposed you knew it was your duty to obey whatever your minister and your mistress tell you. The Bible says, 'He is the minister of God unto you.' It also says, 'Servants, obey your masters in all things'; and your mistress stands to you in the place of your deceased master. How are you going to account to God for your disobedience to his commands?"

Chloe, half frightened and half rebellious, replied, "I don't think Missis would like it, if you made Missy Katy marry somebody when she said she didn't want to be married."

"Chloe, it is very presumptuous in you to talk in that way," rejoined the minister. "There is no similarity between your condition and that of your young mistress. You are descended from Ham, Chloe; and Ham was accursed of God on account of his sin, and his posterity were ordained to be servants; and the Bible says, 'Servants, obey your masters in all things'; and it says that the minister is a 'minister of God unto you.' You were born among heathen and brought to a land of Gospel privileges; and you ought to be grateful that you have protectors capable[Pg 357] of teaching you what to do. Now your mistress wants you to marry Tom, and I want you to marry him; and we expect that you will do as we bid you, without any more words. I will come again, Chloe; though you ought to feel ashamed of yourself for giving your minister so much trouble about such a trifling matter."

Receiving no answer, he returned to the sitting-room to talk with Mrs. Lawton.

Chloe, like most people who are alone much of their time, had a confirmed habit of talking to herself; and her soliloquies were apt to be rather promiscuous and disjointed.

"Trifling matter!" said she. "S'pose it's trifling matter to you, Massa Minister. Ugh! S'pose they'll make me. Don't know nothin' 'bout Ham. Never hearn tell o' Ham afore, only ham in the smoke-house. If ham's cussed in the Bible, what fur do folks eat it? Hearn Missis read in the Bible that the Divil went into the swine. Don't see what fur I must marry Tom 'cause Ham was cussed for his sin." She was silent for a while, and, being unable to bring any order out of the chaos of her thoughts, she turned them toward a more pleasant subject. "He didn't say nothin'," murmured she; "but he looked jest as ef he wanted to say suthin'." The tender expression of those great brown eyes came before her again, and she laid her head down on the table and sobbed.

Her protectors, as they styled themselves, never dreamed that she had a heart. In their thoughts she was merely a bondwoman taken from the heathen, and consigned to their keeping for their uses.

Tom made another visit to Dinah, and was out of the way when his master wanted him. This caused the minister to hasten in making his third visit to Chloe. She met him with the same frightened look; and when he asked if she had made up her mind to obey her mistress, she timidly and sadly repeated, "Massa Minister, I don't want to be married."

"You don't want to do your duty; that's what it is, you disobedient wench," said the minister sternly. "I will wrestle with the Lord in prayer for you, that your rebellious heart may be taken away, and a submissive temper given you, more befitting your servile condition."

He spread forth his hands, covered with very long-fingered, dangling black-silk gloves, and lifted his voice in the following petition to the Throne of Grace: "O Lord, we pray thee that this rebellious descendant of Ham, whom thou hast been pleased to place under our protection, may learn that it is her duty to obey thy Holy Word; wherein it is written that I am unto her a minister of God, and that she is to obey her mistress in all things. May she be brought to a proper sense of her duty; and, by submission to her superiors, gain a humble place in thy heavenly kingdom, where the curse inherited from her sinful progenitor may be removed. This we ask in the name of thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, who died that sinners might be redeemed by believing on his name; even sinners who, like this disobedient handmaid, were born in a land of heathens."

He paused and looked at Chloe, who could do nothing but weep. There were many words in the prayer which conveyed to her no meaning; and why she was accursed on account of the sin of Ham remained a perplexing puzzle to her mind. But she felt as if she must, somehow or other, be doing something wicked, or the minister would not come and pray for her in such a solemn manner.

Mr. Gordonmammon, having reiterated his rebukes and expostulations without receiving any answer but tears, called Mrs. Lawton to his assistance. "I have preached to Chloe, and prayed for her," said he; "but she remains stubborn."

"I am surprised at you, Chloe!" exclaimed the Widow. "You have been told a great many times that it is your duty to obey the minister and to obey me; yet you have put him to the trouble of coming three times to talk with you.[Pg 358] I sha'n't put up with any more such doings. You must make up your mind once for all to marry Tom. What have you to say about it, you silly wench?"

With a great break-down of sobs, poor Chloe blubbered out, "S'pose I must."

They left her alone; and O how dreadfully alone she felt, with the memory of that treasured look, and the thought that, whatever it was Jim wanted to say, he could never say it now!

The next day, soon after dinner, Mrs. Lawton entered the kitchen, and said: "Chloe, the minister has brought Tom. Make haste, and do up your dishes, and put on a clean apron, and come in to be married."

Chloe's first impulse was to run away; but she had nowhere to run. She was recognized as the property of her mistress, and wherever she went she would be sure to be sent back. She washed the dishes so slowly that Mrs. Lawton came again to say the minister was waiting. Chloe merely replied, "Yes, missis." But when the door closed after her, she muttered to herself: "Let him wait. I didn't ax him to come here plaguing me about the cuss o' Ham. Don't know nothin' 'bout Ham. Never hearn tell 'bout him afore."

Again her mistress came to summon her, and this time in a somewhat angry mood. "Have you got lead tied to your heels, you lazy wench?" said she. "How many times must I tell you the minister's waiting?" And she emphasized the question with a smart box on the ear.

Like a cowardly soldier driven up to the cannon's mouth by bayonets, Chloe put on a clean apron, and went to the sitting-room. When the minister told Tom to stand up, she did not even look at him; and he, on his part, seemed very much frightened. After a brief form of words had been repeated, they were told that they were husband and wife. Then the bridegroom was ordered to go to ploughing, and the bride was sent to the fish-flake.

Two witnesses were present at this dismal wedding beside Mrs. Lawton. One was the Widow's daughter, a girl of seventeen, whom Chloe called "Missy Katy." The other was Sukey Larkin, who lived twenty miles off, but occasionally came to visit an aunt in the neighborhood. Both the young girls were dressed in their best; for they were going to a quilting-party, where they expected to meet many beaux. But Catherine Lawton's best was very superior to Sukey Larkin's. Her gown was of a more wonderful pattern than had been seen in that region. It had been brought from London, in exchange for tobacco. Sukey had heard of it, and had stopped at the Widow Lawton's to make sure of seeing it, in case Catharine did not wear it to the quilting-party. Though she had heard much talk about it, it surpassed her expectations, and made her very discontented with her own gown of India-cotton, dotted all over with red spots, like barley-corns. The fabric of Catharine's dress was fine, thick linen, covered with pictures, like a fancifully illustrated volume of Natural History. Butterflies of all sizes and colors were fluttering over great baskets of flowers, birds were swinging on blossoming vines, bees were hovering round their hives, and doves were billing and cooing on the roof of their cots. One of the beaux in the neighborhood expressed his admiration of it by saying "It beats all natur'." It was made in bodice-fashion, with a frill of fine linen nicely crimped; and the short, tight sleeves were edged just above the elbow with a similar frill.

Sukey had before envied Catharine the possession of a gold necklace; but that grew dim before the glory of this London gown. She repeated several times that it was the handsomest thing she ever saw, and that it was remarkably becoming. But at the quilting-party the bitterness of her spirit betrayed itself in such remarks as these: "Folks wonder where the Widow Lawton gets money to set herself up so much above other folks. But she knows how to drive a bargain. She can skin a flint, and tan the hide. She makes a fool of Catharine, dressing her up like a London[Pg 359] doll. I wonder who she expects is going to marry her, if she brings her up with such extravagant notions."

"Mr. Gordonmammon thinks a deal of the Widow Lawton," said the hostess of the quilting-party.

"Yes, I know he does," replied Sukey. "If he was a widower, I guess they'd be the town's talk. Some folks think he goes there full often enough. He brought his Tom there to-day to marry Chloe. I wonder the Widow could spare her time to be married,—though, to be sure, it didn't take long, for the minister made a mighty short prayer."

Poor Chloe! Thus they dismissed a subject which gave her a life-long heart-ache. There was no honey in her bridal moon. She told Tom several times she wished he would stay at home; but he was so perseveringly good-natured, there was no possibility of quarrelling with him. By degrees, she began to find his visits on Saturday evening rather more entertaining than talking to herself.

"I wouldn't mind bein' so druv wi' work," said Tom, "ef I could live like white folks do when they gits married. I duz more work than them as has a cabin o' their own, an' keeps a cow and a pig. But black folks don't seem to git no good o' their work."

"Massa Minister says it's 'cause God cussed Ham," replied Chloe. "I thought 'twas wicked to cuss, but Massa Minister says Ham was cussed in the Bible. Ef I could have some o' the fish I clean and dry, I could sen' to Lunnun for a gownd; but Missy Katy she gits all the gownds, 'cause Ham was cussed in the Bible. I don't know nothin' 'bout it; seems drefful queer."

"Massa tole me I mus' work for nothin', 'cause Ham was cussed," rejoined Tom. "But it seems like Ham cussed some black folks worse nor others. There's Jim Saunders, he's a nigger, too; but he gits his feed and six dollars a month."

The words were like a stab to Chloe. She dropped half a needleful of stitches in her knitting, and told Tom she wished he'd hold his tongue, for he kept up such a jabbering that he made all her stitches run down. Tom, thus silenced, soon fell asleep. She glanced at him as he sat snoring by her side, and contrasted him with the genteel figure and handsome features that had been so indelibly photographed on her memory by the sunbeams of love. Tears dropped fast on her knitting-work; but when Tom woke up, she spoke kindly, and tried to atone for her ill-temper. Time, which gradually reconciles us to all things, produced the same effect on her as on others. When the minister asked her, six months afterward, how she and Tom were getting along, she replied, "I's got used to him."

Yet life seemed more dreary to her than it did before she had that brief experience of a free feeling. She never thought of that look without longing to know what it was Jim wanted to say. But, as months passed on, the tantalizing vision came less frequently, and at the end of a year Chloe experienced the second happy emotion of her life. When she looked upon her babe, a great fountain of love leaped up in her heart. She was never too tired to wait upon little Tommy; and if his cries disturbed her deep sleep, she folded the helpless little creature to her bosom, with the feeling that he was better than rest. She was accustomed to carry him to the fish-flake in a big basket, and lay him on a bed of dry leaves, with her apron for an awning. As she paced backwards and forwards at her daily toil, it was a perpetual entertainment to see him lying there sucking his thumbs. But that was nothing compared with the joy of nursing him. When his hunger was partially satisfied, he would stop to smile in his mother's face; and Chloe had never seen anything so beautiful as that baby smile. As he lay on her lap, laughing and cooing, there was something in the expression of his eyes that reminded her of the look she could never forget. He had taken the picture from her soul, and brought it with him to the outer world; but as he lay there, playing with his[Pg 360] toes, he knew no more about his mother's heart than did the Rev. Mr. Gordonmammon.

One balmy day in June, she was sitting on a rock by the sea-shore, nursing her babe, pinching his little plump cheeks, and chirruping to make him smile, when she heard the sound of footsteps. She looked up, and saw Jim approaching. Her heart jumped into her throat. She felt very hot, and then very cold. When Jim came near enough to look upon the babe, he stopped an instant, said, in a constrained way, "How d' ye, Chloe," then turned and walked quickly away. She gazed after him so wistfully that for a few moments the cooing of her babe was disregarded. "'Pears like he was affronted," she murmured, at last; and the big tears dropped slowly. Little Tommy had a fit that night; for, by the strange interfusion of spirit into all forms of matter, the quick revulsion of the blood in his mother's heart passed into his nourishment, and convulsed his body, as her soul had been convulsed.

But the disturbance passed away, and Chloe's life rolled on in its accustomed grooves. Tommy grew strong enough to run by her side when she went to the beach. Hour after hour he busied himself with pebbles and shells, every now and then bringing her his treasures, and calling out, "Pooty!" When he held out a shell, and looked at her with his great brown eyes, it stirred up memories; but the pain was gone from them. Her heart was no longer famished; it was filled with little Tommy.

This engrossing love was not agreeable to the Widow Lawton. If less was accomplished in a day than usual, she would often exclaim, "That brat takes up too much of your time." And not unfrequently Chloe was compelled to go to the beach and leave Tommy fastened up in the kitchen; though this was never done without some outcries on his part, and some suppressed mutterings on hers.

On one of these occasions, Sukey Larkin came to make a call. When Mrs. Lawton saw her at the gate, she said to her daughter, "How long do you suppose she'll be in the house before she asks to see your silk gown?"

Catharine smiled and kept on spinning flax till her visitor entered.

"Good morning, Sukey," said Mrs. Lawton. "I didn't know you was about in these parts."

"I come yesterday to do some business for mother," replied Sukey, "and I'm going back in an hour. But I thought I would just run in to see you, Catharine. Aunt says you're going to Jane Horton's wedding. Are you going to wear your new silk?"

"So you've heard about the new silk?" said Mrs. Lawton.

"To be sure I have," rejoined Sukey. "Everybody's talking about it. Do show it to me, Catharine; that's a dear."

The dress was brought forth from its envelope of white linen. It was a very lustrous silk, changeable between rose-color and apple-green, and the delicate hues glanced beautifully in the sunlight.

Sukey was in raptures, and exclaimed, "I don't wonder Mr. Gordonmammon said Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like Catharine, when she went to the great party at Cape Ann. I do declare, you've got lace at the elbows and round the neck!" She heaved a deep sigh when the dress was refolded; and after a moment's silence said, "I wish mother had a fish-flake, and knew how to manage as well as you do, Mrs. Lawton; then she could trade round with the sloops and get me a silk gown."

"O, I dare say you will have one some time or other," rejoined Catharine.

"No, I shall never have one, if I live to be a hundred years old," replied Sukey. "I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, like some folks."

"I wonder what Tommy's doing in the kitchen," said Mrs. Lawton. "He's generally about some mischief when he's so still. I declare I'd as lief have a colt in the house as that little nigger." She looked into the kitchen[Pg 361] and added, "He's sound asleep on the floor."

"If he's so much trouble to you," said Sukey, "I wish you'd give him to me. I always thought I should like to have a nigger."

"You may have him if you want him," replied Mrs. Lawton. "He's nothing but a pester, and he takes up a quarter part of Chloe's time. But you'd better take him before she gets home, for she'll make a fuss; and if he wakes up he'll cry."

Sukey had a plan in her mind, suggested by the sight of the silk gown, and she was eager to get possession of little Tommy. She said her horse was tackled to the wagon, all ready to start for home, and there was some straw in the bottom of it. The vehicle was soon at the widow's door, and by careful management the child was placed on the straw without waking; though Catharine said she heard him cry before the wagon was out of sight.

Chloe hurried through her work on the beach, and came home at a quick pace; for she was longing to see her darling, and she had some misgivings as to how he was treated in her absence. She opened the kitchen-door with the expectation that Tommy would spring toward her, as usual, exclaiming, "Mammy! mammy!" The disappointment gave her a chill, and she ran out to call him. When no little voice responded to the call, she went to the sitting-room and said, "Missis, have you seen Tommy?"

"He a'n't been here," replied Mrs. Lawton, evasively. "Can't you find him?"

The Widow was a regular communicant of the Reverend Mr. Gordonmammon's church; but she was so blinded by slavery that it never occurred to her there was any sin in thus trifling with a mother's feelings. When Chloe had hurried out of the room, she said to her daughter, in a tone of indifference, "One good thing will come of giving Tommy to Sukey Larkin,—she won't come spying about here for one spell; she'll be afraid to face Chloe."

In fact, she herself soon found it rather unpleasant to face Chloe; for the bereaved mother grew so wild with anxiety, that the hardest heart could not remain untouched. "O missis! why didn't you let me take Tommy with me" exclaimed she. "He played with hisself, and wasn't no care to me. I s'pose he was lonesome, and runned down to the beach to look for mammy; an' he's got drownded." With that thought she rushed to the door to go and hunt for him on the sea-shore.

Her mistress held her back with a strong arm, and, finding it impossible to pacify her, she at last said, "Sukey Larkin wanted Tommy, and I told her she might have him; she'll take good care of him."

The unhappy bondwoman gazed at her with an expression of intense misery, which she was never afterward able to forget. "O missis! how could you do it?" she exclaimed; and, sinking upon a chair, she covered her face with her apron.

"Sukey will be good to him," said Mrs. Lawton, in tones more gentle than usual.

"He'll cry for his mammy," sobbed Chloe. "O missis! 't was cruel to take away my little Tommy."

The Widow crept noiselessly out of the room, and left her to wrestle with her grief as she could. She found the minister in the sitting-room, and told him she had given away little Tommy, but that she wouldn't have done it if she had thought Chloe would be so wild about it; for she doubted whether she should get any work out of her for a week to come.

"She'll get over it soon," said the minister. "My cow lowed dismally, and wouldn't eat, when I sold her calf; but she soon got used to doing without it."

It did not occur to him as included within his pastoral duties to pray with the stricken slave; and poor Chloe, oppressed with an unutterable sense of loneliness, retired to her straw pallet, and late in the night sobbed herself to sleep. She woke with a weight on her heart, as if there was somebody dead in[Pg 362] the house; and quickly there rushed upon her the remembrance that her darling was gone. A ragged gown of his was hanging on a nail. How she kissed it, and cried over it! Then she took Jim's pink shell from her box, folded them carefully together, and laid them away. No mortal but herself knew what memories were wrapped up with them. She went through the usual routine of housework like a laborer who drags after him a ball and chain. At the appointed time, she wandered forth to the beach with no little voice to chirp music to her as she went. When she saw prints of Tommy's little feet in the sand, she sat down on a stone, and covered her face with her apron. For a long time her sobs and groans mingled with the moan of the sea. She raised her head, and looked inland, in the direction where she supposed Sukey Larkin lived. She revolved in her mind the possibility of going there. But stages were almost unknown in those days; and no wagoner would take her, without consent of her mistress, if she pleaded ever so hard. She thought of running away at midnight; but Mrs. Lawton would be sure to overtake her, and bring her back. Thoughts of what her mistress might do in such a case reminded her that she was neglecting the fish. Like a machine wound up, she began to go her customary rounds; but she had lost so much time that it was late before her task was completed. Then she wandered away to a little heap of moss and pebbles, that Tommy had built the last time they were together on the beach. On a wet rock near by she sat down and cried. Black clouds gathered over her head, a cold northeast wind blew upon her, and the spray sprinkled her naked feet. Still she sat there and cried. Louder and louder whistled the wind; wilder and wilder grew the moan of the sea. She heard the uproar without caring for it. She wished the big waves would come and wash her away.

Meanwhile Mrs. Lawton noticed the gathering darkness, and looked out anxiously for the return of her servant. "What upon airth can have become of her?" said she. "She oughter been home an hour ago."

"I shouldn't wonder if she had set out to go to Sukey Larkin's," replied Catharine.

The Widow had thought of that; she had also thought of the sea; for she had an uneasy remembrance of that look of utter misery when Chloe said, "How could you do it?"

It was Saturday evening; and, according to custom, Tom came to see his wife, all unconscious of the affliction that had befallen them. Mrs. Lawton went out to meet him, and said: "Tom, I wish you would go right down to the beach, and see what has become of Chloe. She a'n't come home yet, and I'm afraid something has happened." She returned to the house, thinking to herself, "If the wench is drowned, where shall I get such another?"

Tom found Chloe still sitting on the wet stone. When he spoke to her, she started, as if from sleep; and her first exclamation was, "O Tom! missis has guv away little Tommy."

It was some time before he could understand what had happened; but when he realized that his child was gone, his strong frame shook with sobs. Little Tommy was the only creature on earth that loved him,—his only treasure, his only plaything. "It's cruel hard," said he.

"O, how little Tommy is crying for mammy!" sobbed Chloe; "and I can't git to him nohow. Oh! oh!"

Tom tried to comfort her, as well as he knew how. Among other things, he suggested running away.

"I've been thinking 'bout that," rejoined Chloe; "but there a'n't nowhere to run to. The white folks has got all the money, and all the hosses, and all the law."

"O, what a cuss that Ham was!" groaned Tom.

"Don't know nothin' 'bout that ole cuss," replied Chloe. "Missis was cruel. What makes God let white folks cruellize black folks so?"[Pg 363]

The question was altogether too large for Tom, or anybody else, to answer. After a moment's silence, he said, "P'r'aps Sukey Larkin will come sometimes, and bring little Tommy to see us."

"She shouldn't have him ag'in!" exclaimed Chloe. "I'd scratch her eyes out, if she tried to carry him off ag'in."

The sudden anger roused her from her lethargy; and she rose immediately when Tom reminded her that it was late, and they ought to be going home. Home! how the word seemed to mock her desolation!

Mrs. Lawton was so glad to see her faithful servant alive, and was so averse to receiving another accusing look from those sad eyes, that she forbore to reprimand her for her unwonted tardiness. Chloe spoke no word of explanation, but, after arranging a few things, retired silently to her pallet. She had been accustomed to exercise out of doors in all weathers, but was unused to sitting still in the wet and cold. She was seized with strong shiverings in the night, and continued feverish for some days. Her mistress nursed her, as she would a valuable horse or cow.

In a short time she resumed her customary tasks, but coughed incessantly and moved about slowly and listlessly. Her mistress, annoyed not to have the work going on faster, said to her reproachfully one day, "You got this cold by staying out so late that night."

"Yes, missis," replied Chloe, very sadly. "I shouldn't have stayed out ef little Tommy had been with me."

"What a fuss you make about that little nigger!" exclaimed Mrs. Lawton. "Tommy was my property, and I'd a right to give him away."

"'Twas cruel of you, missis," rejoined Chloe. "Tommy was all the comfort I had; an' I's worked hard for you, missis, many a year."

Mrs. Lawton, unaccustomed to any remonstrance from her bondwoman, seized a switch and shook it threateningly.

But Catherine said, in a low tone: "Don't, mother! She feels bad about little Tommy."

Chloe overheard the words of pity; and the first time she was alone with her young mistress, she said, "Please, Missy Katy, write to Sukey Larkin and ask her to bring little Tommy."

Catharine promised she would; but her mother objected to it, as making unnecessary trouble, and the promise was not fulfilled.

Week after week Chloe looked out upon the road, in hopes of seeing Sukey Larkin's wagon. But Sukey had no thoughts of coming to encounter her entreaties. She was feeding and fatting Tommy, with a view to selling him and buying a silk gown with the money. The little boy cried and moped for some days; but, after the manner of children, he soon became reconciled to his new situation. He ran about in the fields, and gradually forgot the sea, the moss, the pebbles, and mammy's lullaby.

One day Mrs. Lawton said to her daughter, "How that dreadful cough hangs on! I begin to be afraid Chloe's going into a consumption. I hope not; for I don't know where I shall find such another wench to work."

She mentioned her fears to the minister, and he said, "When she gets over worrying about Tommy, she'll pick up her crumbs."

But the only change that came over Chloe was increasing listlessness of mind and fatigue of body. At last, she was unable to rise from her pallet. She lay there looking at her thin hands, and talking to herself, according to her old habit. The words Mrs. Lawton most frequently heard were, "It was cruel of missis to take away little Tommy." Notwithstanding all the clerical arguments she had heard to prove the righteousness of slavery, the moan of the dying mother made her feel uncomfortable. Sometimes the mind of the invalid wandered, and she would hug Tommy's little gown, pat it lovingly, and sing to it the lullaby her baby loved. Sometimes she murmured, "He looked jest as ef he wanted to say suthin'"; and sometimes a smiled lighted up her[Pg 364] face, as if she saw some pleasant vision.

The minister came to pray with her, and to talk what he called religion. But it sounded to poor Chloe more than ever like the murmuring of the sea. She turned her face away from him and said nothing. With what little mental strength she had, she rejected the idea that the curse of Ham, whoever he might be, justified the treatment she had received. She had no idea what a heathen was, but she concluded it meant something bad; and she had often told Tom she didn't like to have the minister talk that way, for it sounded like calling her names.

At last the weary one passed away from a world where the doings had all been dark and incomprehensible to her. But her soul was like that of a little child; and Jesus has said, "Of such are the kingdom of heaven." They found under her pillow little Tommy's ragged gown, and a pink shell. Why the shell was there no one could conjecture. The pine box containing her remains was placed across the foot of Mr. Lawton's grave, at whose side his widow would repose when her hour should come. It was the custom to place slaves thus at the feet of their masters, even in the graveyard.

The Reverend Mr. Gordonmammon concluded to buy a young black woman, that Tom might not be again induced to stray off after Dinah; and Tom passively yielded to the second arrangement, as he had to the first.

In two years after Sukey Larkin took possession of little Tommy, she sent him to Virginia to be exchanged for tobacco; with the proceeds of which she bought a gold necklace, and a flashy silk dress, changeable between grass-green and orange; and great was her satisfaction to astonish Catharine Lawton with her splendor the next time they met at a party.

I never heard that poor Chloe's ghost haunted either them or the Widow Lawton. Wherever slavery exerts its baneful influence, it produces the same results,—searing the conscience and blinding the understanding to the most obvious distinctions between right and wrong.

There is no record of little Tommy's fate. He disappeared among "the dark, sad millions," who knew not father or mother, and had no portion in wife or child.


The Summer comes, and the Summer goes.
Wild-flowers are fringing the dusty lanes,
The sparrows go darting through fragrant rains,
And, all of a sudden,—it snows!
Dear Heart! our lives so happily flow,
So lightly we heed the flying hours,
We only know Winter is gone—by the flowers,
We only know Winter is come—by the Snow!

[Pg 365]



Griffith, with an effort he had not the skill to hide, stammered out, "Mistress Kate, I do wish you joy." Then, with sudden and touching earnestness, "Never did good fortune light on one so worthy of it."

"Thank you, Griffith," replied Kate, softly. (She had called him "Mr. Gaunt" in public till now.) "But money and lands do not always bring content. I think I was happier a minute ago than I feel now," said she, quietly.

The blood rushed into Griffith's face at this; for a minute ago might mean when he and she were talking almost like lovers about to wed. He was so overcome by this, he turned on his heel, and retreated hastily to hide his emotion, and regain, if possible, composure to play his part of host in the house that was his no longer.

Kate herself soon after retired, nominally to make her toilet before dinner; but really to escape the public and think it all over.

The news of her advancement had spread like wildfire; she was waylaid at the very door by the housekeeper, who insisted on showing her her house.

"Nay, never mind the house," said Kate; "just show me one room where I can wash my face and do my hair."

Mrs. Hill conducted her to the best bedroom; it was lined with tapestry, and all the colors flown; the curtains were a deadish yellow.

"Lud! here's a colored room to show me into," said the blonde Kate; "and a black grate, too. Why not take me out o' doors and bid me wash in the snow?"

"Alack, mistress," said the woman, feeling very uneasy, "we had no orders from Mr. Gaunt to light fires up stairs."

"O, if you wait for gentlemen's orders to make your house fit to live in! You knew there were a dozen ladies coming, yet you were not woman enough to light them fires. Come, take me to your own bedroom."

The woman turned red. "Mine is but a small room, my lady," she stammered.

"But there's a fire in it," said Kate, spitefully. "You servants don't wait for gentlemen's orders, to take care of yourselves."

Mrs. Hill said to herself, "I'm to leave; that's flat." However, she led the way down a passage, and opened the door of a pleasant little room in a square turret; a large bay window occupied one whole side of the room, and made it inexpressibly bright and cheerful, though rather hot and stuffy; a clear coal fire burned in the grate.

"Ah!" said Kate, "how nice! Please open those little windows, every one. I suppose you have sworn never to let wholesome air into a room. Thank you: now go and forget every cross word I have said to you,—I am out of sorts, and nervous, and irritable. There, run away, my good soul, and light fires in every room; and don't you let a creature come near me, or you and I shall quarrel downright."

Mrs. Hill beat a hasty retreat. Kate locked the door and threw herself backwards on the bed, with such a weary recklessness and abandon as if she was throwing herself into the sea, to end all her trouble,—and burst out crying.

It was one thing to refuse to marry her old sweetheart; it was another to take his property and reduce him to poverty. But here was she doing both, and going to be persuaded to marry Neville, and swell his wealth with the very possessions she had taken from Griffith; and him wounded into the bargain for love of her. It was really too cruel. It was an accumulation of different cruelties. Her bosom revolted; she was agitated, perplexed, irritated, unhappy, and all in a tumult; and although she had but one fit of crying,—to[Pg 366] the naked eye,—yet a person of her own sex would have seen that at one moment she was crying from agitated nerves, at another from worry, and at the next from pity, and then from grief.

In short, she had a good long, hearty, multiform cry; and it relieved her swelling heart, so far that she felt able to go down now, and hide her feelings, one and all, from friend and foe; to do which was unfortunately a part of her nature.

She rose and plunged her face into cold water, and then smoothed her hair.

Now, as she stood at the glass, two familiar voices came in through the open window, and arrested her attention directly. It was her father conversing with Griffith Gaunt. Kate pricked up her quick ears and listened, with her back hair in her hand. She caught the substance of their talk, only now and then she missed a word or two.

Mr. Peyton was speaking rather kindly to Griffith, and telling him he was as sorry for his disappointment as any father could be whose daughter had just come into a fortune. But then he went on and rather spoiled this by asking Griffith bluntly what on earth had ever made him think Mr. Charlton intended to leave him Bolton and Hernshaw.

Griffith replied, with manifest agitation, that Mr. Charlton had repeatedly told him he was to be his heir. "Not," said Griffith, "that he meant to wrong Mistress Kate, neither: poor old man, he always thought she and I should be one."

"Ah! well," said Squire Peyton, coolly, "there is an end of all that now."

At this observation Kate glided to the window, and laid her cheek on the sill to listen more closely.

But Griffith made no reply.

Mr. Peyton seemed dissatisfied at his silence, and being a person who, notwithstanding a certain superficial good-nature, saw his own side of a question very big, and his neighbor's very little, he was harder than perhaps he intended to be.

"Why, Master Gaunt," said he, "surely you would not follow my daughter now,—to feed upon a woman's bread. Come, be a man; and, if you are the girl's friend, don't stand in her light. You know she can wed your betters, and clap Bolton Hall on to Neville's Court. No doubt it is a disappointment to you: but what can't be cured must be endured; pluck up a bit of courage, and turn your heart another way; and then I shall always be a good friend to you, and my doors open to you come when you will."

Griffith made no reply. Kate strained her ears, but could not hear a syllable, A tremor ran through her. She was in distance farther from Griffith than her father was; but superior intelligence provided her with a bridge from her window to her old servant's mind. And now she felt that this great silence was the silence of despair.

But the Squire pressed him for a definite answer, and finally insisted on one. "Come, don't be so sulky," said he; "I'm her father: give me an answer, ay or no."

Then Kate heard a violent sigh, and out rushed a torrent of words that each seemed tinged with blood from the unfortunate speaker's heart. "Old man," he almost shrieked, "what did I ever do to you, that you torment me so? Sure you were born without bowels. Beggared but an hour agone, and now you must come and tell me I have lost her by losing house and lands! D'ye think I need to be told it? She was too far above me before, and now she is gone quite out of my reach. But why come and fling it in my face? Can't you give a poor, undone man one hour to draw his breath in trouble? And when you know I have got to play the host this bitter day, and smile, and smirk, and make you all merry, with my heart breaking! O Christ, look down and pity me, for men are made of stone! Well, then, no; I will not, I cannot say the word to give her up. She will discharge[Pg 367] me, and then I'll fly the country and never trouble you more. And to think that one little hour ago she was so kind, and I was so happy! Ah, sir, if you were born of a woman, have a little pity, and don't speak to me of her at all, one way or other. What are you afraid of? I am a gentleman and a man, though sore my trouble: I shall not run after the lady of Bolton Hall. Why, sir, I have ordered the servants to set her chair in the middle of the table, where I shall not be able to speak to her, or even see her. Indeed I dare not look at her: for I must be merry. Merry! My arm it worries me, my head it aches, my heart is sick to death. Man! man! show me some little grace, and do not torture me more than flesh and blood can bear."

"You are mad, young sir," said the Squire, sternly, "and want locking up on bread and water for a month."

"I am almost mad," said Griffith, humbly. "But if you would only let me alone, and not tear my heart out of my body, I can hide my agony from the whole pack of ye, and go through my part like a man. I wish I was lying where I laid my only friend this afternoon."

"O, I don't want to speak to you," said Peyton, angrily; "and, by the same token, don't you speak to my daughter no more."

"Well, sir, if she speaks to me, I shall be sure to speak to her, without asking your leave or any man's. But I will not force myself upon the lady of Bolton Hall; don't you think it. Only for God's sake let me alone. I want to be by myself." And with this he hurried away, unable to bear it any more.

Peyton gave a hostile and contemptuous snort, and also turned on his heel, and went off in the opposite direction.

The effect of this dialogue on the listener was not to melt, but exasperate her. Perhaps she had just cried away her stock of tenderness. At any rate, she rose from her ambush a very basilisk; her eyes, usually so languid, flashed fire, and her forehead was red with indignation. She bit her lip, and clenched her hands, and her little foot beat the ground swiftly.

She was still in this state, when a timid tap came to the door, and Mrs. Hill asked her pardon, but dinner was ready, and the ladies and gentlemen all a waiting for her to sit down.

This reminded Kate she was the mistress of the house. She answered civilly she would be down immediately. She then took a last look in the glass; and her own face startled her.

"No," she thought, "they shall none of them know nor guess what I feel." And she stood before the glass and deliberately extracted all emotion from her countenance, and by way of preparation screwed on a spiteful smile.

When she had got her face to her mind, she went down stairs.

The gentlemen awaited her with impatience, the ladies with curiosity, to see how she would comport herself in her new situation. She entered, made a formal courtesy, and was conducted to her seat by Mr. Gaunt. He placed her in the middle of the table. "I play the host for this one day," said he, with some dignity; and took the bottom of the table himself.

Mr. Hammersley was to have sat on Kate's left, but the sly Neville persuaded him to change, and so got next to his inamorata; opposite to her sat her father, Major Rickards, and others unknown to fame.

Neville was in high spirits. He had the good taste to try and hide his satisfaction at the fatal blow his rival had received, and he entirely avoided the topic; but Kate saw at once, by his demure complacency, he was delighted at the turn things had taken, and he gained nothing by it: he found her a changed girl. Cold monosyllables were all he could extract from her. He returned to the charge a hundred times, with indomitable gallantry, but it was no use. Cold, haughty, sullen!

Her other neighbor fared little better; and in short the lady of the house made a vile impression. She was an[Pg 368] iceberg,—a beautiful kill-joy,—a wet blanket of charming texture.

And presently Nature began to co-operate with her: long before sunset it grew prodigiously dark; and the cause was soon revealed by a fall of snow in flakes as large as a biscuit. A shiver ran through the people; and old Peyton blurted out, "I shall not go home to-night." Then he bawled across the table to his daughter: "You are at home. We will stay and take possession."

"O papa!" said Kate, reddening with disgust.

But if dulness reigned around the lady of the house, it was not so everywhere. Loud bursts of merriment were heard at the bottom of the table. Kate glanced that way in some surprise, and found it was Griffith making the company merry,—Griffith of all people.

The laughter broke out at short intervals, and by and by became uproarious and constant. At last she looked at Neville inquiringly.

"Our worthy host is setting us an example of conviviality," said he. "He is getting drunk."

"O, I hope not," said Kate. "Has he no friend to tell him not to make a fool of himself?"

"You take a great interest in him," said Neville, bitterly.

"Of course I do. Pray, do you desert your friends when ill luck falls on them?"

"Nay, Mistress Kate, I hope not."

"You only triumph over the misfortunes of your enemies, eh?" said the stinging beauty.

"Not even that. And as for Mr. Gaunt, I am not his enemy."

"O no, of course not. You are his best friend. Witness his arm at this moment."

"I am his rival, but not his enemy. I'll give you a proof." Then he lowered his voice, and said in her ear: "You are grieved at his losing Bolton; and, as you are very generous and noble-minded, you are all the more grieved because his loss is your gain." (Kate blushed at this shrewd hit.) Neville went on: "You don't like him well enough to marry him; and since you cannot make him happy, it hurts your good heart to make him poor."

"It is you for reading a lady's heart," said Kate, ironically.

George proceeded steadily. "I'll show you an easy way out of this dilemma."

"Thank you," said Kate, rather insolently.

"Give Mr. Gaunt Bolton and Hernshaw, and give me—your hand."

Kate turned and looked at him with surprise; she saw by his eye it was no jest. For all that, she affected to take it as one. "That would be long and short division," said she; but her voice faltered in saying it.

"So it would," replied George, coolly; "for Bolton and Hernshaw both are not worth one finger of that hand I ask of you. But the value of things lies in the mind that weighs 'em. Mr. Gaunt, you see, values Bolton and Hernshaw very highly; why, he is in despair at losing them. Look at him; he is getting rid of his reason before your very eyes, to drown his disappointment."

"Ah! oh! that is it, is it?" And, strange to say, she looked rather relieved.

"That is it, believe me: it is a way we men have. But, as I was saying, I don't care one straw for Bolton and Hernshaw. It is you I love,—not your land nor your house, but your sweet self; so give me that, and let the lawyers make over this famous house and lands to Mr. Gaunt. His antagonist I have been in the field, and his rival I am and must be, but not his enemy, you see, and not his ill-wisher."

Kate was softened a little. "This is all mighty romantic," said she, "and very like a preux chevalier, as you are; but you know very well he would fling land and house in your face, if you offered them him on these terms."

"Ay, in my face, if I offered them; but not in yours, if you."

"I am sure he would, all the same."

"Try him."

"What is the use?"[Pg 369]

"Try him."

Kate showed symptoms of uneasiness. "Well, I will," said she, stoutly. "No, that I will not. You begin by bribing me; and then you would set me to bribe him."

"It is the only way to make two honest men happy."

"If I thought that—"

"You know it. Try him."

"And suppose he says nay?"

"Then we shall be no worse than we are."

"And suppose he says ay?"

"Then he will wed Bolton Hall and Hernshaw, and the pearl of England will wed me."

"I have a great mind to take you at your word," said Kate; "but no; it is really too indelicate."

George Neville fixed his eyes on her. "Are you not deceiving yourself?" said he. "Do you not like Mr. Gaunt better than you think? I begin to fear you dare not put him to this test: you fear his love would not stand it?"

Kate colored high, and tossed her head proudly. "How shrewd you gentlemen are!" she said. "Much you know of a lady's heart. Now the truth is, I don't know what might not happen were I to do what you bid me. Nay, I'm wiser than you would have me; and I'll pity Mr. Gaunt at a safe distance, if you please, sir."

Neville bowed gravely. He felt sure this was a plausible evasion, and that she really was afraid to apply his test to his rival's love.

So now, for the first time, he became silent and reserved by her side. The change was noticed by Father Francis, and he fixed a grave, remonstrating glance on Kate. She received it, understood it, affected not to notice it, and acted upon it.

Drive a donkey too hard, it kicks.

Drive a man too hard, it hits.

Drive a woman too hard, it cajoles.

Now amongst them they had driven Kate Peyton too hard; so she secretly formed a bold resolution; and, this done, her whole manner changed for the better. She turned to Neville, and flattered and fascinated him. The most feline of her sex could scarcely equal her calinerie on this occasion. But she did not confine her fascination to him. She broke out, pro bono publico, like the sun in April, with quips and cranks and dimpled smiles, and made everybody near her quite forget her late hauteur and coldness, and bask in this sunny, sweet hostess. When the charm was at its height, the siren cast a seeming merry glance at Griffith, and said to a lady opposite, "Methinks some of the gentlemen will be glad to be rid of us," and so carried the ladies off to the drawing-room.

There her first act was to dismiss her smiles without ceremony; and her second was to sit down and write four lines to the gentleman at the head of the dining-table.

And he was as drunk as a fiddler.


Griffith's friends laughed heartily with him while he was getting drunk; and when he had got drunk, they laughed still louder, only at him.

They "knocked him down" for a song; and he sang a rather Anacreontic one very melodiously, and so loud that certain of the servants, listening outside, derived great delectation from it; and Neville applauded ironically.

Soon after, they "knocked him down" for a story; and as it requires more brains to tell a story than to sing a song, the poor butt made an ass of himself. He maundered and wandered, and stopped, and went on, and lost one thread and took up another, and got into a perfect maze. And while he was thus entangled, a servant came in and brought him a note, and put it in his hand. The unhappy narrator received it with a sapient nod, but was too polite, or else too stupid, to open it, so closed his fingers on it, and went maundering on till his story trickled into the sand of the desert, and somehow ceased; for it could not be said to end, being a thing without head or tail.[Pg 370]

He sat down amidst derisive cheers. About five minutes afterwards, in some intermittent flash of reason, he found he had got hold of something. He opened his hand, and lo, a note! On this he chuckled unreasonably, and distributed sage, cunning winks around, as if he, by special ingenuity, had caught a nightingale, or the like; then, with sudden hauteur and gravity, proceeded to examine his prize.

But he knew the handwriting at once; and it gave him a galvanic shock that half sobered him for the moment.

He opened the note, and spelled it with great difficulty. It was beautifully written, in long, clear letters; but then those letters kept dancing so!

"I much desire to speak to you before 'tis too late, but can think of no way save one. I lie in the turreted room: come under my window at nine of the clock; and prithee come sober, if you respect yourself, or


Griffith put the note in his pocket, and tried to think; but he could not think to much purpose. Then this made him suspect he was drunk. Then he tried to be sober; but he found he could not. He sat in a sort of stupid agony, with Love and Drink battling for his brain. It was piteous to see the poor fool's struggles to regain the reason he had so madly parted with. He could not do it; and when he found that, he took up a finger-glass, and gravely poured the contents upon his head.

At this there was a burst of laughter.

This irritated Mr. Gaunt; and, with that rapid change of sentiments which marks the sober savage and the drunken European, he offered to fight a gentleman he had been hitherto holding up to the company as his best friend. But his best friend (a very distant acquaintance) was by this time as tipsy as himself, and offered a piteous disclaimer, mingled with tears; and these maudlin drops so affected Griffith that he flung his one available arm round his best friend's head, and wept in turn; and down went both their lachrymose, empty noddles on the table. Griffith's remained there; but his best friend extricated himself, and, shaking his skull, said, dolefully, "He is very drunk." This notable discovery, coming from such a quarter, caused considerable merriment.

"Let him alone," said an old toper; and Griffith remained a good hour with his head on the table. Meantime the other gentlemen soon put it out of their power to ridicule him on the score of intoxication.

Griffith, keeping quiet, got a little better, and suddenly started up with a notion he was to go to Kate this very moment. He muttered an excuse, and staggered to a glass door that led to the lawn. He opened this door, and rushed out into the open air. He thought it would set him all right; but, instead of that, it made him so much worse that presently his legs came to a misunderstanding, and he measured his length on the ground, and could not get up again, but kept slipping down.

Upon this he groaned and lay quiet.

Now there was a foot of snow on the ground; and it melted about Griffith's hot temples and flushed face, and mightily refreshed and revived him.

He sat up and kissed Kate's letter, and Love began to get the upper hand of Liquor a little.

Finally he got up and half strutted, half staggered, to the turret, and stood under Kate's window.

The turret was covered with luxuriant ivy, and that ivy with snow. So the glass of the window was set in a massive frame of winter; but a bright fire burned inside the room, and this set the panes all aflame. It was cheery and glorious to see the window glow like a sheet of transparent fire in its deep frame of snow; but Griffith could not appreciate all that. He stood there a sorrowful man. The wine he had taken to drown his despair had lost its stimulating effect, and had given him a heavy head, but left him his sick heart.

He stood and puzzled his drowsy faculties[Pg 371] why Kate had sent for him. Was it to bid him good by forever, or to lessen his misery by telling him she would not marry another? He soon gave up cudgelling his enfeebled brains. Kate was a superior being to him, and often said things, and did things, that surprised him. She had sent for him, and that was enough. He should see her and speak to her once more, at all events. He stood, alternately nodding and looking up at her glowing room, and longing for its owner to appear. But as Bacchus had inspired him to mistake eight o'clock for nine, and as she was not a votary of Bacchus, she did not appear; and he stood there till he began to shiver.

The shadow of a female passed along the wall; and Griffith gave a great start. Then he heard the fire poked. Soon after he saw the shadow again; but it had a large servant's cap on: so his heart had beaten high for Mary or Susan. He hung his head disappointed; and, holding on by the ivy, fell a nodding again.

By and by one of the little casements was opened softly. He looked up, and there was the right face peering out.

O, what a picture she was in the moonlight and the firelight! They both fought for that fair head, and each got a share of it: the full moon's silvery beams shone on her rose-like cheeks and lilified them a shade, and lit her great gray eyes and made them gleam astoundingly; but the ruby firelight rushed at her from behind, and flowed over her golden hair, and reddened and glorified it till it seemed more than mortal. And all this in a very picture-frame of snow.

Imagine, then, how sweet and glorious she glowed on him who loved her, and who looked at her perhaps for the last time.

The sight did wonders to clear his head; he stood open-mouthed, with his heart beating. She looked him all over a moment. "Ah!" said she. Then, quietly, "I am so glad you are come." Then, kindly and regretfully, "How pale you look! you are unhappy."

This greeting, so gentle and kind, overpowered Griffith. His heart was too full to speak.

Kate waited a moment; and then, as he did not reply to her, she began to plead to him. "I hope you are not angry with me," she said. "I did not want him to leave me your estates. I would not rob you of them for the world, if I had my way."

"Angry with you!" said Griffith. "I'm not such a villain. Mr. Charlton did the right thing, and—" He could say no more.

"I do not think so," said Kate. "But don't you fret: all shall be settled to your satisfaction. I cannot quite love you, but I have a sincere affection for you; and so I ought. Cheer up, dear Griffith; don't you be down-hearted about what has happened to-day."

Griffith smiled. "I don't feel unhappy," he said; "I did feel as if my heart was broken. But then you seemed parted from me. Now we are together, I feel as happy as ever. Mistress, don't you ever shut that window and leave me in the dark again. Let me stand and look at your sweet face all night, and I shall be the happiest man in Cumberland."

"Ay," said Kate, blushing at his ardor; "happy for a single night; but when I go away you will be in the dumps again, and perhaps get tipsy; as if that could mend matters! Nay, I must set your happiness on stronger legs than that. Do you know I have got permission to undo this cruel will, and let you have Bolton Hall and Hernshaw again?"

Griffith looked pleased, but rather puzzled.

Kate went on, but not so glibly now. "However," said she, a little nervously, "there is one condition to it that will cost us both some pain. If you consent to accept these two estates from me, who don't value them one straw, why then—"

"Well, what?" he gasped.

"Why, then, my poor Griffith, we shall be bound in honor—you and I—not to meet for some months, perhaps[Pg 372] for a whole year: in one word,—do not hate me,—not till you can bear to see me—another—man's—wife."

The murder being out, she hid her face in her hands directly, and in that attitude awaited his reply.

Griffith stood petrified a moment; and I don't think his intellects were even yet quite clear enough to take it all in at once. But at last he did comprehend it, and when he did, he just uttered a loud cry of agony, and then turned his back on her without a word.

Man does not speak by words alone. A mute glance of reproach has ere now pierced the heart a tirade would have left untouched; and even an inarticulate cry may utter volumes.

Such an eloquent cry was that with which Griffith Gaunt turned his back upon the angelical face he adored, and the soft, persuasive tongue. There was agony, there was shame, there was wrath, all in that one ejaculation.

It frightened Kate. She called him back. "Don't leave me so," she said. "I know I have affronted you; but I meant all for the best. Do not let us part in anger."

At this Griffith returned in violent agitation. "It is your fault for making me speak," he cried. "I was going away without a word, as a man should, that is insulted by a woman. You heartless girl! What! you bid me sell you to that man for two dirty farms! O, well you know Bolton and Hernshaw were but the steps by which I hoped to climb to you: and now you tell me to part with you, and take those miserable acres instead of my darling. Ah, mistress, you have never loved, or you would hate yourself and despise yourself for what you have done. Love! if you had known what that word means, you couldn't look in my face and stab me to the heart like this. God forgive you! And sure I hope he will; for, after all, it is not your fault that you were born without a heart. Why, Kate, you are crying."


"Crying!" said Kate. "I could cry my eyes out to think what I have done; but it is not my fault: they egged me on. I knew you would fling those two miserable things in my face if I did, and I said so; but they would be wiser than me, and insist on my putting you to the proof."

"They? Who is they?"

"No matter. Whoever it was, they will gain nothing by it, and you will lose nothing. Ah, Griffith, I am so ashamed of myself,—and so proud of you."

"They?" repeated Griffith, suspiciously. "Who is this they?"

"What does that matter, so long as it was not Me? Are you going to be jealous again? Let us talk of you and me, and never mind who them is. You have rejected my proposal with just scorn: so now let me hear yours; for we must agree on something this very night. Tell me, now, what can I say or do to make you happy?"

Griffith was sore puzzled. "Alas! sweet Kate," said he, "I don't know what you can do for me now, except stay single for my sake."

"I should like nothing better," replied Kate warmly; "but unfortunately they won't let me do that. Father Francis will be at me to-morrow, and insist on my marrying Mr. Neville."

"But you will refuse."

"I would, if I could but find a good excuse."

"Excuse? why, say you don't love him."

"O, they won't allow that for a reason."

"Then I am undone," sighed Griffith.

"No, no, you are not; if I could be brought to pretend I love somebody else. And really, if I don't quite love you, I like you too well to let you be unhappy. Besides, I cannot bear to rob you of these unlucky farms: I think there is nothing I would not do rather than that. I think—I would rather—do—something very silly indeed.[Pg 373] But I suppose you don't want me to do that now? Why don't you answer me? Why don't you say something? Are you drunk, sir, as they pretend? or are you asleep? O, I can't speak any plainer: this is intolerable. Mr. Gaunt, I'm going to shut the window."

Griffith got alarmed, and it sharpened his wits. "Kate, Kate!" he cried, "what do you mean? am I in a dream? would you marry poor me after all?"

"How on earth can I tell, till I am asked?" inquired Kate, with an air of childlike innocence, and inspecting the stars attentively.

"Kate, will you marry me?" said Griffith, all in a flutter.

"Of course I will—if you will let me," replied Kate, coolly, but rather tenderly, too.

Griffith burst into raptures. Kate listened to them with a complacent smile, then delivered herself after this fashion: "You have very little to thank me for, dear Griffith. I don't exactly downright love you, but I could not rob you of those unlucky farms, and you refuse to take them back any way but this; so what can I do? And then, for all I don't love you, I find I am always unhappy if you are unhappy, and happy when you are happy; so it comes pretty much to the same thing. I declare I am sick of giving you pain, and a little sick of crying in consequence. There, I have cried more in the last fortnight than in all my life before, and you know nothing spoils one's beauty like crying. And then you are so good, and kind, and true, and brave; and everybody is so unjust and so unkind to you, papa and all. You were quite in the right about the duel, dear. He is an impudent puppy; and I threw dust in your eyes, and made you own you were in the wrong, and it was a great shame of me, but it was because I liked you best. I could take liberties with you, dear. And you are wounded for me, and now I have disinherited you. O, I can't bear it, and I won't. My heart yearns for you,—bleeds for you. I would rather die than you should be unhappy; I would rather follow you in rags round the world than marry a prince and make you wretched. Yes, dear, I am yours. Make me your wife; and then some day I dare say I shall love you as I ought."

She had never showed her heart to him like this before; and now it overpowered him. So, being also a little under vinous influence, he stammered out something, and then fairly blubbered for joy. Then what does Kate do, but cry for company?

Presently, to her surprise, he was half-way up the turret, coming to her.

"O, take care! take care!" she cried. "You'll break your neck."

"Nay," cried he; "I must come at you, if I die for it."

The turret was ornamented from top to bottom with short ledges consisting of half-bricks. This ledge, shallow as it was, gave a slight foothold, insufficient in itself; but he grasped the strong branches of the ivy with a powerful hand, and so between the two contrived to get up and hang himself out close to her.

"Sweet mistress," said he, "put out your hand to me; for I can't take it against your will this time. I have got but one arm."

But this she declined. "No, no," said she; "you do nothing but torment and terrify me,—there." And so gave it him; and he mumbled it.

This last feat won her quite. She thought no other man could have got to her there with two arms; and Griffith had done it with one. She said to herself, "How he loves me!—more than his own neck." And then she thought, "I shall be wife to a strong man; that is one comfort."

In this softened mood she asked him demurely, would he take a friend's advice.

"If that friend is you, ay."

"Then," said she, "I'll do a downright brazen thing, now my hand is in. I declare I'll tell you how to secure me. You make me plight my troth with you this minute, and exchange rings with[Pg 374] you, whether I like or not; engage my honor in this foolish business, and if you do that, I really do think you will have me in spite of them all. But there,—la!—am I worth all this trouble?"

Griffith did not share this chilling doubt. He poured forth his gratitude, and then told her he had got his mother's ring in his pocket; "I meant to ask you to wear it," said he.

"And why didn't you?"

"Because you became an heiress all of a sudden."

"Well, what signifies which of us has the dross, so that there is enough for both?"

"That is true," said Griffith, approving his own sentiment, but not recognizing his own words. "Here's my mother's ring, on my little finger, sweet mistress. But I must ask you to draw it off, for I have but one hand."

Kate made a wry face, "Well, that is my fault," said she, "or I would not take it from you so."

She drew off his ring, and put it on her finger. Then she gave him her largest ring, and had to put it on his little finger for him.

"You are making a very forward girl of me," said she, pouting exquisitely.

He kissed her hand while she was doing it.

"Don't you be so silly," said she; "and, you horrid creature, how you smell of wine! The bullet, please."

"The bullet!" exclaimed Griffith. "What bullet?"

"The bullet. The one you were wounded with for my sake. I am told you put it in your pocket; and I see something bulge in your waistcoat. That bullet belongs to me now."

"I think you are a witch," said he. "I do carry it about next my heart. Take it out of my waistcoat, if you will be so good."

She blushed and declined, and, with the refusal on her very lips, fished it out with her taper fingers. She eyed it with a sort of tender horror. The sight of it made her feel faint a moment. She told him so, and that she would keep it to her dying day. Presently her delicate finger found something was written on it. She did not ask him what it was, but withdrew, and examined it by her candle. Griffith had engraved it with these words:—


He looked through the window, and saw her examine it by the candle. As she read the inscription, her face, glorified by the light, assumed a celestial tenderness he had never seen it wear before.

She came back and leaned eloquently out as if she would fly to him. "O Griffith, Griffith!" she murmured, and somehow or other their lips met, in spite of all the difficulties, and grew together in a long and tender embrace.

It was the first time she had ever given him more than her hand to kiss, and the rapture repaid him for all.

But as soon as she had made this great advance, virginal instinct suggested a proportionate retreat.

"You must go to bed," she said, austerely; "you will catch your death of cold out here."

He remonstrated: she insisted. He held out: she smiled sweetly in his face, and shut the window in it pretty sharply, and disappeared. He went disconsolately down his ivy ladder. As soon as he was at the bottom, she opened the window again, and asked him, demurely, if he would do something to oblige her.

He replied like a lover; he was ready to be cut in pieces, drawn asunder with wild horses, and so on.

"O, I know you would do anything stupid for me," said she; "but will you do something clever for a poor girl that is in a fright at what she is going to do for you?"

"Give your orders, mistress," said Griffith, "and don't talk of me obliging you. I feel quite ashamed to hear you talk so,—to-night especially."

"Well, then," said Kate, "first and foremost, I want you to throw yourself on Father Francis's neck."

"I'll throw myself on Father Francis's[Pg 375] neck," said Griffith, stoutly. "Is that all?"

"No, nor half. Once upon his neck you must say something. Then I had better settle the very words, or perhaps you will make a mess of it. Say after me now: O Father Francis, 'tis to you I owe her."

"O Father Francis, 'tis to you I owe her."

"You and I are friends for life."

"You and I are friends for life."

"And, mind, there is always a bed in our home for you, and a plate at our table, and a right welcome, come when you will."

Griffith repeated this line correctly, but, when requested to say the whole, broke down. Kate had to repeat the oration a dozen times; and he said it after her, like a Sunday-school scholar, till he had it pat.

The task achieved, he inquired of her what Father Francis was to say in reply.

At this simple question Kate showed considerable alarm. "Gracious heavens!" she cried, "you must not stop talking to him; he will turn you inside out, and I shall be undone. Nay, you must gabble these words out, and then run away as hard as you can gallop."

"But is it true?" asked Griffith. "Is he so much my friend?"

"Hum!" said Kate, "it is quite true, and he is not at all your friend. There, don't you puzzle yourself, and pester me; but do as you are bid, or we are both undone."

Quelled by a menace so mysterious, Griffith promised blind obedience; and Kate thanked him, and bade him good night, and ordered him peremptorily to bed.

He went.

She beckoned him back.

He came.

She leaned out, and inquired, in a soft, delicious whisper, as follows: "Are you happy, dearest?"

"Ay, Kate, the happiest of the happy."

"Then so am I," she murmured.

And now she slowly closed the window, and gradually retired from the eyes of her enraptured lover.


But while Griffith was thus sweetly employed, his neglected guests were dispersing, not without satirical comments on their truant host. Two or three, however, remained, and slept in the house, upon special invitation. And that invitation came from Squire Peyton. He chose to conclude that Griffith, disappointed by the will, had vacated the premises in disgust, and left him in charge of them; accordingly he assumed the master with alacrity, and ordered beds for Neville, and Father Francis, and Major Rickards, and another. The weather was inclement, and the roads heavy; so the gentlemen thus distinguished accepted Mr. Peyton's offer cordially.

There were a great many things sung and said at the festive board in the course of the evening, but very few of them would amuse or interest the reader as they did the hearers. One thing, however, must not be passed by, as it had its consequences. Major Rickards drank bumpers apiece to the King, the Prince, Church and State, the Army, the Navy, and Kate Peyton. By the time he got to her, two thirds of his discretion had oozed away in loyalty, esprit du corps, and port wine; so he sang the young lady's praises in vinous terms, and of course immortalized the very exploit she most desired to consign to oblivion: Arma viraginemque canebat. He sang the duel, and in a style which I could not, consistently with the interests of literature, reproduce on a large scale. Hasten we to the concluding versicles of his song.

"So then, sir, we placed our men for the third time, and, you may take my word for it, one or both of these heroes would have bit the dust at that discharge. But, by Jove, sir, just as they were going to pull trigger, in galloped your adorable daughter, and swooned off her foaming horse in the middle of[Pg 376] us,—disarmed us, sir, in a moment, melted our valor, bewitched our senses, and the great god of war had to retreat before little Cupid and the charms of beauty in distress."

"Little idiot!" observed the tender parent; and was much distempered.

He said no more about it to Major Rickards; but when they all retired for the night, he undertook to show Father Francis his room, and sat in it with him a good half-hour talking about Kate.

"Here's a pretty scandal," said he. "I must marry the silly girl out of hand before this gets wind, and you must help me."

In a word, the result of the conference was that Kate should be publicly engaged to Neville to-morrow, and married to him as soon as her month's mourning should be over.

The conduct of the affair was confided to Father Francis, as having unbounded influence with her.


Next morning Mr. Peyton was up betimes in his character of host, and ordered the servants about, and was in high spirits; only they gave place to amazement when Griffith Gaunt came down, and played the host, and was in high spirits.

Neville too watched his rival, and was puzzled at his radiancy.

So breakfast passed in general mystification. Kate, who could have thrown a light, did not come down to breakfast. She was on her defence.

She made her first appearance out of doors.

Very early in the morning, Mr. Peyton, in his quality of master, had ordered the gardener to cut and sweep the snow off the gravel walk that went round the lawn. And on this path Miss Peyton was seen walking briskly to and fro in the frosty, but sunny air.

Griffith saw her first, and ran out to bid her good morning.

Her reception of him was a farce. She made him a stately courtesy for the benefit of the three faces glued against the panes, but her words were incongruous. "You wretch," said she, "don't come here. Hide about, dearest, till you see me with Father Francis. I'll raise my hand so when you are to cuddle him, and fib. There, make me a low bow, and retire."

He obeyed, and the whole thing looked mighty formal and ceremonious from the breakfast-room.

"With your good leave, gentlemen," said Father Francis, dryly, "I will be the next to pay my respects to her." With this he opened the window and stepped out.

Kate saw him, and felt very nervous. She met him with apparent delight.

He bestowed his morning benediction on her, and then they walked silently side by side on the gravel; and from the dining-room window it looked like anything but what it was,—a fencing match.

Father Francis was the first to break silence. He congratulated her on her good fortune, and on the advantage it might prove to the true Church.

Kate waited quietly till he had quite done, and then said, "What, I may go into a convent now that I can bribe the door open?"

The scratch was feline, feminine, sudden, and sharp. But, alas! Father Francis only smiled at it. Though not what we call spiritually-minded, he was a man of a Christian temper. "Not with my good-will, my daughter," said he; "I am of the same mind still, and more than ever. You must marry forthwith, and rear children in the true faith."

"What a hurry you are in."

"Your own conduct has made it necessary."

"Why, what have I done now?"

"No harm. It was a good and humane action to prevent bloodshed, but the world is not always worthy of good actions. People are beginning to make free with your name for your interfering in the duel."

Kate fired up. "Why can't people mind their own business?"[Pg 377]

"I do not exactly know," said the priest, coolly, "nor is it worth inquiring. We must take human nature as it is, and do for the best. You must marry him, and stop their tongues."

Kate pretended to reflect. "I believe you are right," said she, at last; "and indeed I must do as you would have me; for, to tell the truth, in an unguarded moment, I pitied him so that I half promised I would."

"Indeed!" said Father Francis. "This is the first I have heard of it."

Kate replied that was no wonder, for it was only last night she had so committed herself.

"Last night!" said Father Francis; "how can that be? He was never out of my sight till we went to bed."

"O, there I beg to differ," said the lady. "While you were all tippling in the dining-room, he was better employed,—making love by moonlight. And O what a terrible thing opportunity is, and the moon another! There! what with the moonlight, and my pitying him so, and all he has suffered for me, and my being rich now, and having something to give him, we two are engaged. See else: this was his mother's ring, and he has mine."

"Mr. Neville?"

"Mr. Neville? No. My old servant, to be sure. What, do you think I would go and marry for wealth, when I have enough and to spare of my own? O, what an opinion you must have of me!"

Father Francis was staggered by this adroit thrust. However, after a considerable silence he recovered himself, and inquired gravely why she had given him no hint of all this the other night, when he had diverted her from a convent, and advised her to marry Neville.

"That you never did, I'll be sworn," said Kate.

Father Francis reflected.

"Not in so many words, perhaps; but I said enough to show you."

"O!" said Kate, "such a matter was too serious for hints and innuendoes; if you wanted me to jilt my old servant and wed an acquaintance of yesterday, why not say so plainly? I dare say I should have obeyed you, and been unhappy for life; but now my honor is solemnly engaged; my faith is plighted; and were even you to urge me to break faith, and behave dishonorably, I should resist. I would liever take poison, and die."

Father Francis looked at her steadily, and she colored to the brow.

"You are a very apt young lady," said he; "you have outwitted your director. That may be my fault as much as yours; so I advise you to provide yourself with another director, whom you will be unable, or unwilling, to outwit."

Kate's high spirit fell before this: she turned her eyes, full of tears, on him. "O, do not desert me, now that I shall need you more than ever, to guide me in my new duties. Forgive me; I did not know my own heart—quite. I'll go into a convent now, if I must; but I can't marry any man but poor Griffith. Ah, father, he is more generous than any of us! Would you believe it? when he thought Bolton and Hernshaw were coming to him, he said if I married him I should have the money to build a convent with. He knows how fond I am of a convent."

"He was jesting; his religion would not allow it."

"His religion!" cried Kate. Then, lifting her eyes to Heaven, and looking just like an angel, "Love is his religion!" said she, warmly.

"Then his religion is Heathenism," said the priest, grimly.

"Nay, there is too much charity in it for that," retorted Kate, keenly.

Then she looked down, like a cunning, guilty thing, and murmured: "One of the things I esteem him for is he always speaks well of you. To be sure, just now the poor soul thinks you are his best friend with me. But that is my fault; I as good as told him so: and it is true, after a fashion; for you kept me out of the convent that was his only real rival. Why, here he comes. O[Pg 378] father, now don't you go and tell him you side with Mr. Neville."

At this crisis Griffith, who, to tell the truth, had received a signal from Kate, rushed at Father Francis and fell upon his neck, and said with great rapidity: "O Father Francis, 'tis to you I owe her,—you and I are friends for life. So long as we have a house there is a bed in it for you, and whilst we have a table to sit down to there's a plate at it for you, and a welcome, come when you will."

Having gabbled these words he winked at Kate, and fled swiftly.

Father Francis was taken aback a little by this sudden burst of affection. First he stared,—then he knitted his brows,—then he pondered.

Kate stole a look at him, and her eyes sought the ground.

"That is the gentleman you arranged matters with last night?" said he, drily.

"Yes," replied Kate, faintly.

"Was this scene part of the business?"

"O father!"

"Why I ask, he did it so unnatural. Mr. Gaunt is a worthy, hospitable gentleman; he and I are very good friends; and really I never doubted that I should be welcome in his house——until this moment."

"And can you doubt it now?"

"Almost: his manner just now was so hollow, so forced; not a word of all that came from his heart, you know."

"Then his heart is changed very lately."

The priest shook his head. "Anything more like a puppet, and a parrot to boot, I never saw. 'Twas done so timely, too. He ran in upon our discourse. Let me see your hand, mistress. Why, where is the string with which you pulled yonder machine in so pat upon the word?"

"Spare me!" muttered Kate, faintly.

"Then do you drop deceit and the silly cunning of your sex, and speak to me from your heart, or not at all." (Diapason.)

At this Kate began to whimper.

"Father," she said, "show me some mercy." Then, suddenly clasping her hands: "Have pity on him, and on me."

This time Nature herself seemed to speak, and the eloquent cry went clean through the priest's heart.

"Ah!" said he; and his own voice trembled a little: "now you are as strong as your cunning was weak. Come, I see how it is with you; and I am human, and have been young, and a lover into the bargain, before I was a priest. There, dry thy eyes, child, and go to thy room; he thou couldst not trust shall bear the brunt for thee this once."

Then Kate bowed her fair head and kissed the horrid paw of him that had administered so severe but salutary a pat. She hurried away up stairs, right joyful at the unexpected turn things had taken.

Father Francis, thus converted to her side, lost no time; he walked into the dining-room and told Neville he had bad news for him.

"Summon all your courage, my young friend," said he, with feeling, "and remember that this world is full of disappointments."

Neville said nothing, but rose and stood rather pale, waiting like a man for the blow. Its nature he more than half guessed: he had been at the window.

It fell.

"She is engaged to Gaunt, since last night; and she loves him."

"The double-faced jade!" cried Peyton, with an oath.

"The heartless coquette!" groaned Neville.

Father Francis made excuses for her: "Nay, nay, she is not the first of her sex that did not know her own mind all at once. Besides, we men are blind in matters of love; perhaps a woman would have read her from the first. After all, she was not bound to give us the eyes to read a female heart."

He next reminded Neville that Gaunt had been her servant for years. "You[Pg 379] knew that," said he, "yet you came between them——at your peril. Put yourself in his place: say you had succeeded: would not his wrong be greater than yours is now? Come, be brave; be generous; he is wounded, he is disinherited; only his love is left him: 'tis the poor man's lamb; and would you take it?"

"O, I have not a word to say against the man," said George, with a mighty effort.

"And what use is your quarrelling with the woman?" suggested the practical priest.

"None whatever," said George, sullenly. After a moment's silence he rang the bell feverishly. "Order my horse round directly," said he. Then he sat down, and buried his face in his hands, and did not, and could not, listen to the voice of consolation.

Now the house was full of spies in petticoats, amateur spies, that ran and told the mistress everything of their own accord, to curry favor.

And this no doubt was the cause that, just as the groom walked the piebald out of the stable towards the hall door, a maid came to Father Francis with a little note: he opened it, and found these words written faintly, in a fine Italian hand:—

"I scarce knew my own heart till I saw him wounded and poor, and myself rich at his expense. Entreat Mr. Neville to forgive me."

He handed the note to Neville without a word.

Neville read it, and his lip trembled; but he said nothing, and presently went out into the hall, and put on his hat, for he saw his nag at the door.

Father Francis followed him, and said, sorrowfully, "What, not one word in reply to so humble a request?"

"Well, here's my reply," said George, grinding his teeth. "She knows French, though she pretends not.

'Le bruit est pour le fat, la plainte est pour le sot,
L'honnête homme trompé s'eloigne et ne dit mot.'"

And with this he galloped furiously away.

He buried himself at Neville's Cross for several days, and would neither see nor speak to a soul. His heart was sick, his pride lacerated. He even shed some scalding tears in secret; though, to look at him, that seemed impossible.

So passed a bitter week: and in the course of it he bethought him of the tears he had made a true Italian lady shed, and never pitied her a grain till now.

He was going abroad: on his desk lay a little crumpled paper. It was Kate's entreaty for forgiveness. He had ground it in his hand, and ridden away with it.

Now he was going away, he resolved to answer her.

He wrote a letter full of bitter reproaches; read it over; and tore it up.

He wrote a satirical and cutting letter; read it; and tore it up.

He wrote her a mawkish letter; read it; and tore it up.

The priest's words, scorned at first, had sunk into him a little.

He walked about the room, and tried to see it all like a by-stander.

He examined her writing closely: the pen had scarcely marked the paper. They were the timidest strokes. The writer seemed to kneel to him. He summoned all his manhood, his fortitude, his generosity, and, above all, his high-breeding; and produced the following letter; and this one he sent:—

"Mistress Kate,—I leave England to-day for your sake; and shall never return unless the day shall come when I can look on you but as a friend. The love that ends in hate, that is too sorry a thing to come betwixt you and me.

"If you have used me ill, your punishment is this; you have given me the right to say to you——I forgive you.

"George Neville."

And he went straight to Italy.

Kate laid his note upon her knee, and sighed deeply; and said, "Poor fellow! How noble of him! What can such[Pg 380] men as this see in any woman to go and fall in love with her?"

Griffith found her with a tear in her eye. He took her out walking, and laid all his radiant plans of wedded life before her. She came back flushed, and beaming with complacency and beauty.

Old Peyton was brought to consent to the marriage. Only he attached one condition, that Bolton and Hernshaw should be settled on Kate for her separate use.

To this Griffith assented readily; but Kate refused plump. "What, give him myself, and then grudge him my estates!" said she, with a look of lofty and beautiful scorn at her male advisers.

But Father Francis, having regard to the temporal interests of his Church, exerted his strength and pertinacity, and tired her out; so those estates were put into trustees' hands, and tied up tight as wax.

This done, Griffith Gaunt and Kate Peyton were married, and made the finest pair that wedded in the county that year.

As the bells burst into a merry peal, and they walked out of church man and wife, their path across the churchyard was strewed thick with flowers, emblematic, no doubt, of the path of life that lay before so handsome a couple.

They spent the honeymoon in London, and tasted earthly felicity.

Yet did not quarrel after it; but subsided into the quiet complacency of wedded life.


Mr. and Mrs. Gaunt lived happily together—as times went.

A fine girl and boy were born to them; and need I say how their hearts expanded and exulted, and seemed to grow twice as large.

The little boy was taken from them at three years old; and how can I convey to any but a parent the anguish of that first bereavement?

Well, they suffered it together, and that poignant grief was one tie more between them.

For many years they did not furnish any exciting or even interesting matter to this narrator. And all the better for them: without these happy periods of dulness our lives would be hell, and our hearts eternally bubbling and boiling in a huge pot made hot with thorns.

In the absence of striking incidents, it may be well to notice the progress of character, and note the tiny seeds of events to come.

Neither the intellectual nor the moral character of any person stands stock-still: a man improves, or he declines. Mrs. Gaunt had a great taste for reading; Mr. Gaunt had not: what was the consequence? At the end of seven years the lady's understanding had made great strides; the gentleman's had apparently retrograded.

Now we all need a little excitement, and we all seek it, and get it by hook or by crook. The girl who satisfies that natural craving with what the canting dunces of the day call a "sensational" novel, and the girl who does it by waltzing till daybreak, are sisters; only one obtains the result intellectually, and the other obtains it like a young animal, and a pain in her empty head next day.

Mrs. Gaunt could enjoy company, but was never dull with a good book. Mr. Gaunt was a pleasant companion, but dull out of company. So, rather than not have it, he would go to the parlor of the "Red Lion," and chat and sing with the yeomen and rollicking young squires that resorted thither: and this was matter of grief and astonishment to Mrs. Gaunt.

It was balanced by good qualities she knew how to appreciate. Morals were much looser then than now; and more than one wife of her acquaintance had a rival in the village, or even among her own domestics; but Griffith had no loose inclinations of that kind, and never gave her a moment's uneasiness. He was constancy and fidelity in person.

Sobriety had not yet been invented.[Pg 381] But Griffith was not so intemperate as most squires; he could always mount the stairs to tea, and generally without staggering.

He was uxorious, and it used to come out after his wine. This Mrs. Gaunt permitted at first, but by and by says she, expanding her delicate nostrils: "You may be as affectionate as you please, dear, and you may smell of wine, if you will; but please not to smell of wine and be affectionate at the same moment. I value your affection too highly to let you disgust me with it."

And the model husband yielded to this severe restriction; and, as it never occurred to him to give up his wine, he forbore to be affectionate in his cups.

One great fear Mrs. Gaunt had entertained before marriage ceased to haunt her. Now and then her quick eye saw Griffith writhe at the great influence her director had with her; but he never spoke out to offend her, and she, like a good wife, saw, smiled, and adroitly, tenderly soothed: and this was nothing compared to what she had feared.

Griffith saw his wife admired by other men, yet never chid nor chafed. The merit of this belonged in a high degree to herself. The fact is, that Kate Peyton, even before marriage, was not a coquette at heart, though her conduct might easily bear that construction; and she was now an experienced matron, and knew how to be as charming as ever, yet check or parry all approaches to gallantry on the part of her admirers. Then Griffith observed how delicate and prudent his lovely wife was, without ostentatious prudery; and his heart was at peace.

He was the happier of the two, for he looked up to his wife, as well as loved her; whereas she was troubled at times with a sense of superiority to her husband. She was amiable enough, and wise enough, to try and shut her eyes to it; and often succeeded, but not always.

Upon the whole, they were a contented couple; though the lady's dreamy eyes seemed still to be exploring earth and sky in search of something they had not yet found, even in wedded life.

They lived at Hernshaw. A letter had been found among Mr. Charlton's papers explaining his will. He counted on their marrying, and begged them to live at the castle. He had left it on his wife's death; it reminded him too keenly of happier days; but, as he drew near his end, and must leave all earthly things, he remembered the old house with tenderness, and put out his dying hand to save it from falling into decay.

Unfortunately, considerable repairs were needed; and, as Kate's property was tied up so tight, Griffith's two thousand pounds went in repairing the house, lawn, park palings, and walled gardens; went, every penny, and left the bridge over the lake still in a battered, rotten, and, in a word, picturesque condition.

This lake was by the older inhabitants sometimes called the "mere," and sometimes "the fish-pools"; it resembled an hour-glass in shape, only curved like a crescent.

In mediæval times it had no doubt been a main defence of the place. It was very deep in parts, especially at the waist or narrow that was spanned by the decayed bridge. There were hundreds of carp and tench in it older than any He in Cumberland, and also enormous pike and eels; and fish from one to five pounds' weight by the million. The water literally teemed from end to end; and this was a great comfort to so good a Catholic as Mrs. Gaunt. When she was seized with a desire to fast, and that was pretty often, the gardener just went down to the lake and flung a casting-net in some favorite hole, and drew out half a bushel the first cast; or planted a flue-net round a patch of weeds, then belabored the weeds with a long pole, and a score of fine fish were sure to run out into the meshes.

The "mere" was clear as plate glass, and came to the edge of the shaven lawn, and reflected flowers, turf, and overhanging shrubs deliciously.

Yet an ill name brooded over its seductive[Pg 382] waters; for two persons had been drowned in it during the last hundred years: and the last one was the parson of the parish, returning from the squire's dinner in the normal condition of a guest, a.d. 1740-50. But what most affected the popular mind was, not the jovial soul hurried into eternity, but the material circumstance that the greedy pike had cleared the flesh off his bones in a single night, so that little more than a skeleton, with here and there a black rag hanging to it, had been recovered next morning.

This ghastly detail being stoutly maintained and constantly repeated by two ancient eye-witnesses, whose one melodramatic incident and treasure it was, the rustic mind saw no beauty whatever in those pellucid and delicious waters, where flowers did glass themselves.

As for the women of the village, they looked on this sheet of water as a trap for their poor bodies and those of their children, and spoke of it as a singular hardship in their lot, that Hernshaw Mere had not been filled up threescore years agone.

The castle itself was no castle, nor had it been for centuries. It was just a house with battlements; but attached to the stable was an old square tower, that really had formed part of the mediæval castle.

However, that unsubstantial shadow, a name, is often more durable than the thing, especially in rural parts; but, indeed, what is there in a name for Time's teeth to catch hold of?

Though no castle, it was a delightful abode. The drawing-room and dining-room had both spacious bay-windows, opening on to the lawn that sloped very gradually down to the pellucid lake, and there was mirrored. On this sweet lawn the inmates and guests walked for sun and mellow air, and often played bowls at eventide.

On the other side was the drive up to the house-door, and a sweep, or small oval plot, of turf, surrounded by gravel; and a gate at the corner of this sweep opened into a grove of the grandest old spruce-firs in the island.

This grove, dismal in winter and awful at night, was deliciously cool and sombre in the dog-days. The trees were spires; and their great stems stood serried like infantry in column, and flung a grand canopy of sombre plumes overhead. A strange, antique, and classic grove,—nulli penetrabilis astro.

This retreat was enclosed on three sides by a wall, and on the east side came nearly to the house. A few laurel-bushes separated the two. At night it was shunned religiously, on account of the ghosts. Even by daylight it was little frequented, except by one person,—and she took to it amazingly. That person was Mrs. Gaunt. There seems to be, even in educated women, a singular, instinctive love of twilight; and here was twilight at high noon. The place, too, suited her dreamy, meditative nature. Hither, then, she often retired for peace and religious contemplation, and moved slowly in and out among the tall stems, or sat still, with her thoughtful brow leaned on her white hand,—till the cool, umbrageous retreat got to be called, among the servants, "The Dame's Haunt."

This, I think, is all needs be told about the mere place, where the Gaunts lived comfortably many years, and little dreamed of the strange events in store for them; little knew the passions that slumbered in their own bosoms, and, like other volcanoes, bided their time.

[Pg 383]


Snow-Bound: a Winter Idyl. By John G. Whittier. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

What Goldsmith's "Deserted Village" has long been to Old England, Whittier's "Snow-Bound" will always be to New England. Both poems have the flavor of native soil in them. Neither of them is a reminder of anything else, but each is individual and special in those qualities which interest and charm the reader. If "The Deserted Village" had never been written, Whittier would have composed his "Snow-Bound," no doubt; and the latter only recalls the former on account of that genuine home-atmosphere which surrounds both these exquisite productions. After a perusal of this new American idyl, no competent critic will contend that we lack proper themes for poetry in our own land. The "Snow-Bound" will be a sufficient reminder to all cavillers, at home or abroad, that the American Muse need not travel far away for poetic situations.

Whittier has been most fortunate in the subject-matter of this new poem. Every page has beauties on it so easy to discern, that the common as well as the cultured mind will at once feel them without an effort. We have only space for a few passages from the earlier portion of the idyl.

"The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east: we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.
"Meanwhile we did our nightly chores,—
Brought in the wood from out of doors,
Littered the stalls, and from the mows
Raked down the herd's-grass for the cows;
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
Impatient down the stanchion rows
The cattle shake their walnut bows;
While, peering from his early perch
Upon the scaffold's pole of birch,
The cock his crested helmet bent
And down his querulous challenge sent.
"Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag wavering to and fro
Crossed and recrossed the wingéd snow:
And ere the early bed-time came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.
"So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without the sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature's geometric signs,
In starry flake, and pellicle,
All day the hoary meteor fell;
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below,—
A universe of sky and snow!
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden wall, or belt of wood;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road;
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
And even the long sweep, high aloof,
In its slant splendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa's leaning miracle.
"A prompt, decisive man, no breath
Our father wasted: 'Boys, a path!'
Well pleased, (for when did farmer boy
Count such a summons less than joy?)
Our buskins on our feet we drew;
With mittened hands, and caps drawn low,
To guard our necks and ears from snow,
We cut the solid whiteness through.
And, where the drift was deepest, made
A tunnel walled and overlaid
With dazzling crystal: we had read
Of rare Aladdin's wondrous cave,
And to our own his name we gave,
With many a wish the luck were ours
To test his lamp's supernal powers.
"We reached the barn with merry din,
And roused the prisoned brutes within.
The old horse thrust his long head out,
And grave with wonder gazed about;
The cock his lusty greeting said,
And forth his speckled harem led;
The oxen lashed their tails, and hooked,
And mild reproach of hunger looked;
The hornéd patriarch of the sheep,
Like Egypt's Amun roused from sleep,
Shook his sage head with gesture mute,
And emphasized with stamp of foot."

[Pg 384]

Lives of Boulton and Watt. Principally from the original Soho MSS. Comprising also a History of the Invention and Introduction of the Steam-Engine. By Samuel Smiles. London: John Murray.

The author of this book is an enthusiast in biography. He has given the best years of his life to the task of recording the struggles and successes of men who have labored for the good of their kind; and his own name will always be honorably mentioned in connection with Stephenson, Watt, Flaxman, and others, of whom he has written so well. Of all his published books, next to "Self-Help," this volume, lately issued, is his most interesting one. James Watt, with his nervous sensibility, his headaches, his pecuniary embarrassments, and his gloomy temperament, has never till now been revealed precisely as he lived and struggled. The extensive collection of Soho documents to which Mr. Smiles had access has enabled him to add so much that is new and valuable to the story of his hero's career, that hereafter this biography must take the first place as a record of the great inventor.

As a tribute to Boulton, so many years the friend, partner, and consoler of Watt, the book is deeply interesting. Fighting many a hard battle for his timid, shrinking associate, Boulton stands forth a noble representative of strength, courage, and perseverance. Never was partnership more admirably conducted; never was success more richly earned. Mr. Smiles is neither a Macaulay nor a Motley, but he is so honest and earnest in every work he undertakes, he rarely fails to make a book deeply instructive and entertaining.

Winifred Bertram and the World she lived in. By the Author of the Schönberg-Cotta Family. New York: M. W. Dodd.

The previous works of this prolific author have proved by their popularity that they meet a genuine demand. Such a fact can no more be reached by literary criticism, than can the popularity of Tupper's poetry. It is no reproach to a book which actually finds readers to say that it is not high art. Winifred Bertram has this advantage over her predecessors, that she takes part in no theological controversies except those of the present day, and therefore seems more real and truthful than the others. In regard to present issues, however, the book deals in the usual proportion of rather one-sided dialogues, and of arguments studiously debilitated in order to be knocked down by other arguments. Yet there is much that is lovely and touching in the characters delineated; there is a good deal of practical sense and sweet human charity; and the different heroes and heroines show some human variety in their action, although in conversation they all preach very much alike. Indeed, the book is overhung with rather an oppressive weight of clergyman; and when the loveliest of the saints is at last wedded to the youngest of the divines, she throws an awful shade over clerical connubiality by invariably addressing him as "Mr. Bertram." In this respect, at least, the fashionable novels hold out brighter hopes to the heart of woman.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No.
101, March, 1866, by Various


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