Memoirs, by Charles Godfrey Leland

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Title: Memoirs

Author: Charles Godfrey Leland

Release Date: July 9, 2007  [eBook #22030]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1894 London William Heinemann edition by David Price, email

Charles G. Leland


(hans breitmann)


Second Edition

[All rights reserved]

p. iiFIRST EDITION (2 Volumes), October 1893.

p. iiiPREFACE.

It happened once in Boston, in the year 1861 or 1862, that I was at a dinner of the Atlantic Club, such as was held every Saturday, when the question was raised as to whether any man had ever written a complete and candid autobiography.  Emerson, who was seated by me at the right, suggested the “Confessions” of Rousseau.  I objected that it was full of untruths, and that for plain candour it was surpassed by the “Life of Casanova.”  Of this work (regarding which Carlyle has said, “Whosoever has looked therein, let him wash his hands and be unclean until even”) neither Emerson nor Lowell, nor Palfrey nor Agassiz, nor any of the others present seemed to have any knowledge, until Dr. Holmes, who was more adventurous, admitted he knew somewhat thereof.  Now, as I had read it thrice through, I knew it pretty well.  I reflected on this, but came to the conclusion that perhaps the great reason why the world has so few and frank autobiographies is really because the world exacts too much.  It is no more necessary to describe everything cynically than it is to set forth all our petty diseases in detail.  There are many influences which, independent of passion or shame, do far more to form character.

Acting from this reflection, I wrote this book with no intention that it should be published; I had, indeed, some idea that a certain friend might use it after my death as a source whence to form a Life.  Therefore I wrote, as fully and honestly as I could, everything which I could remember p. ivwhich had made me what I am.  It occurred to me as a leading motive that a century or two hence the true inner life of any man who had actually lived from the time when railroads, steamboats, telegraphs, gas, percussion-caps, fulminating matches, the opera and omnibuses, evolution and socialism were quite unknown to his world, into the modern age, would be of some value.  So I described my childhood or youth exactly as I recalled, or as I felt it.  Such a book requires very merciful allowance from humane reviewers.

It seemed to me, also, that though I have not lived familiarly among the princes, potentates, and powers of the earth, yet as I have met or seen or corresponded with about five hundred of the three thousand set down in “Men of the Time,” and been kindly classed among them, it was worth while to mention my meetings with many of them.  Had the humblest scribbler of the age of Elizabeth so much as mentioned that he had ever exchanged a word with, or even looked at, any of the great writers of his time, his record would now be read with avidity.  I have really never in my life run after such men, or sought to make their acquaintance with a view of extending my list; all that I can tell of them, as my book will show, has been the result of chance.  But what I have written will be of some interest, I think—at least “in the dim and remote future.”

I had laid the manuscript by, till I had time to quite forget what I had written, when I unexpectedly received a proposal to write my memoirs.  I then read over my work, and determined “to let it go,” as it was.  It seemed to me that, with all its faults, it fulfilled the requisition of Montaigne in being ung livre de bonne foye.  So it has gone forth into print.  Jacta est alea.

The story of what is to me by far the most interesting period of my life remains to be written.  This embraces an account of my labour for many years in introducing Industrial Art as a branch of education in schools, my life in England and on the Continent for more than twenty years, my p. vtravels in Russia and Egypt, my researches among Gypsies and Algonkin Indians, my part in Oriental and Folklore and other Congresses, my discovery of the Shelta or Ogham tongue in Great Britain, and the long and very strangely adventurous discoveries, continued for five years, among witches in Italy, which resulted in the discovery that all the names of the old Etruscan gods are still remembered by the peasantry of the Toscana Romagna, and that ceremonies and invocations are still addressed to them.  All this, however, is still too near to be written about.  But it may perhaps some day form a second series of reminiscences if the present volumes meet with public favour.

As some of my readers (and assuredly a great many of the American) will find these volumes wanting in personal adventure and lively variety of experiences, and perhaps dull as regards “incidents,” I would remind them that it is, after all, only the life of a mere literary man and quiet, humble scholar, and that such existences are seldom very dramatic.  English readers, who are more familiar with such men or literature, will be less exacting.  What I have narrated is nowhere heightened in colour, retouched in drawing, or made the utmost of for effect, and I might have gone much further as regards my experiences in politics with the Continental Magazine, and during my connection with Colonel Forney, or life in the West, and have taken the whole, not more from my memory than from the testimony of others.  But if this work be, as Germans say, at first too subjective, and devoted too much to mere mental development by aid of books, the “balance” to come of my life will be found to differ materially from it, though it is indeed nowhere in any passage exciting.  This present work treats of my infancy in Philadelphia, with some note of the quaint and beautiful old Quaker city as it then was, and many of its inhabitants who still remembered Colonial times and Washington’s Republican Court; reminiscences of boyhood in New England; my revolutionary grandfathers and other relatives, and such men as p. vithe last survivor of the Boston Tea-party (I also saw the last signer of the Declaration of Independence); an account of my early reading; my college life at Princeton; three years in Europe passed at the Universities of Heidelberg, Munich, and Paris, in what was emphatically the prime of their quaint student-days; an account of my barricade experiences of the French Revolution of Forty-Eight, of which I missed no chief scene; my subsequent life in America as lawyer, man of letters, and journalist; my experiences in connection with the Civil War, and my work in the advancement of the signing the Emancipation by Abraham Lincoln; recollections of the Oil Region when the oil mania was at its height; a winter on the frontier in the debatable land (which was indeed not devoid of strange life, though I say it); my subsequent connection for three years with Colonel John Forney, during which Grant’s election was certainly carried by him, and in which, as he declared, I “had been his right-hand man;” my writing of sundry books, such as the “Breitmann Ballads,” and my subsequent life in Europe to the year 1870.

I can enumerate in my memory distinctly half-a-dozen little-known men whom I have known, and could with time recall far many more, compared to whose lives my uneventful and calm career has been as that of the mole before the eagle’s.  Yet not one of their lives will ever be written, which is certainly a pity.  The practice of writing real autobiographies is rapidly ceasing in this our age, when it is bad form to be egoistic or to talk about one’s self, and we are almost shocked in revising those chronicled in the Causeries de Lundi of Sainte-Beuve.  Nowadays we have good gossipy reminiscences of other people, in which the writer remains as unseen as the operator of a Punch exhibition in his schwassel box, while he displays his puppets.  I find no fault with this—à chacun sa manière.  But it is very natural under such influences that men whose own lives are full of and inspired with their own deeds will not write them on the model of Benvenuto Cellini.  One of the greatest generals of modern p. viitimes, Lord Napier of Magdala, told me that he believed I was the only person to whom he had ever fully narrated his experiences of the siege of Lucknow.  He seemed to be surprised at having so forgotten himself.  In ancient Viking days the hero made his debut in every society with a “Me voici, mes enfants!  Listen if you want to be astonished!” and proceeded to tell how he had smashed the heads of kings, and mashed the hearts of maidens, and done great deeds all round.  It was bad form—and yet we should never have known much about Regner Lodbrog but for such a canticle.  If I, in this work, have not quite effaced myself, as good taste demands, let it be remembered that if I had, at the time of writing, distinctly felt that it would be printed as put down, there would, most certainly, have been much less of “me” visible, and the dead-levelled work would have escaped much possible shot of censure.  It was a little in a spirit of defiant reaction that I resolved to let it be published as it is, and risk the chances.  As Uncle Toby declared that, after all, a mother must in some kind of a way be a relation to her own child, so it still appears to me that to write an autobiography the author must say something about himself; but it is a great and very popular tour de force to quite avoid doing this, and all art of late years has run to merely skilfully overcoming difficulties and avoiding interesting motives or subjects.  It may be, therefore, that in days to come, my book will be regarded with some interest, as a curious relic of a barbarous age, and written in a style long passed away—

“When they sat with ghosts on a stormy shore,
And spoke in a tongue which men speak no more;
Living in wild and wondrous ways,
In the ancient giant and goblin days.”

Once in my younger time, one of the most beautiful and intellectual women whom I ever knew, Madame Anita de Barréra—(Daniel Webster said she was beautiful enough to redeem a whole generation of blue-stockings from the charge of ugliness)—once made a great and pathetic fuss to me about p. viiia grey hair which had appeared among her black tresses.  “And what difference,” I said, “can one white hair make to any friend?”  “Well,” she replied, “I thought if I could not awaken any other feeling, I might at least inspire in you veneration for old age.”  So with this work of mine, if it please in naught else, it may still gratify some who love to trace the footsteps of the past, and listen to what is told by one who lived long “before the war.”

Now for a last word—which involves the only point of any importance to me personally in this preface—I would say that there will be certain readers who will perhaps think that I have exaggerated my life-work, or blown my own trumpet too loudly.  To these I declare in plain honesty, that I believe there have been or are in the United States thousands of men who have far surpassed me, especially as regards services to the country during the Civil War.  There were leaders in war and diplomacy, editors and soldiers who sacrificed their lives, to whose names I can only bow in reverence and humility.  But as it was said of the great unknown who passed away—the fortes ante Agamemnon—“they had no poet, and they died.”  These most deserving ones have not written their lives or set themselves forth, “and so they pass into oblivion”—and I regret it with all my soul.  But this is no reason why those who did something, albeit in lesser degree, should not chronicle their experiences exactly as they appear to them, and it is not in human nature to require a man to depreciate that to which he honestly devoted all his energies.  Perhaps it never yet entered into the heart of man to conceive how much has really been done by everybody.

And I do most earnestly and solemnly protest, as if it were my last word in life, that I have said nothing whatever as regards my political work and its results which was not seriously said at the time by many far greater men than I, so that I believe I have not the least exaggerated in any trifle, even unconsciously.  Thus I can never forget the deep and p. ixtouching sympathy which Henry W. Longfellow expressed to me regarding my efforts to advance Emancipation, and how, when some one present observed that perhaps I would irritate the Non-Abolition Union men, the poet declared emphatically, “But it is a great idea” or “a noble work.”  And Lowell, Emerson, and George W. Curtis, Bayard Taylor, and many more, spoke to the same effect.  And what they said of me I may repeat for the sake of History and of Truth.

The present work describes more than forty years of life in America, and it is therefore the American reader who will be chiefly interested in it.  I should perhaps have mentioned what I reserved for special comment in the future: that during more than ten years’ residence in Europe I had one thing steadily in view all the time, at which I worked hard, which was to qualify myself to return to America and there introduce to the public schools of Philadelphia the Industrial or Minor Arts as a branch of education, in which I eventually succeeded, devoting to the work there four years, applying myself so assiduously as to neglect both society and amusements, and not obtaining, nor seeking for, pay or profit thereby in any way, directly or indirectly.  And if I have, as I have read, since then “expatriated” myself, my whole absence has not been much longer than was that of Washington Irving, and I trust to be able to prove that I have “left my country for my country’s good”—albeit in a somewhat better sense than that which was implied by the poet.

And I may here incidentally mention, with all due modesty, that since the foregoing paragraph came to me “in revise,” I received from Count Angelo di Grubernatis a letter, beginning with the remark that, in consequence of my gentile ed insistence premúra, or “amiable persistence, begun four-years ago,” he has at length carried out my idea and suggestion of establishing a great Italian Folklore Society, of which I am to rank as among the first twelve members.  This is the fourth institution of the kind which I have been first, or among the first, to found in Europe, and it has in p. xevery case been noted, not without surprise, that I was an American.  Such associations, being wide-reaching and cosmopolitan, may be indeed considered by every man of culture as patriotic, and I hope at some future day that I shall still further prove that, as regards my native country, I have only changed my sky but not my heart, and laboured for American interests as earnestly as ever.

Charles Godfrey Leland.

Bagni di Lucca, Italy, August 20, 1893.

p. 1I.  EARLY LIFE.  1824-1837.

My birthplace—Count Bruno and Dufief—Family items—General Lafayette—The Dutch witch-nurse—Early friends and associations—Philadelphia sixty years ago—Early reading—Genealogy—First schools—Summers in New England—English influences—The Revolutionary grandfather—Centenarians—The last survivor of the Boston Tea-party and the last signer of the Declaration—Indians—Memories of relations—A Quaker school—My ups and downs in classes—Arithmetic—My first ride in a railway car—My marvellous invention—Mr. Alcott’s school—A Transcendental teacher—Rev. W. H. Furness—Miss Eliza Leslie—The boarding-school near Boston—Books—A terrible winter—My first poem—I return to Philadelphia.

I was born on the 15th of August, 1824, in a house which was in Philadelphia, and in Chestnut Street, the second door below Third Street, on the north side.  It had been built in the old Colonial time, and in the room in which I first saw life there was an old chimney-piece, which was so remarkable that strangers visiting the city often came to see it.  It was, I believe, of old carved oak, possibly mediæval, which had been brought from some English manor as a relic.  I am indebted for this information to a Mr. Landreth, who lived in the house at the time. [1]

p. 2It was then a boarding-house, kept by a Mrs. Rodgers.  She had taken it from a lady who had also kept it for boarders.  The daughter of this latter married President Madison.  She was the well-known “Dolly Madison,” famous for her grace, accomplishments, and belle humeur, of whom there are stories still current in Washington.

My authority informed me that there were among the boarders in the house two remarkable men, one of whom often petted me as a babe, and took a fancy to me.  He was a Swedish Count, who had passed, it was said, a very wild life as pirate for several years on the Spanish Main.  He was identified as the Count Bruno of Frederica Bremer’s novel, “The Neighbours.”  The other was the famous philologist, Dufief, author of “Nature Displayed,” a work of such remarkable ability that I wonder that it should have passed into oblivion.

My mother had been from her earliest years devoted to literature to a degree which was unusual at that time in the United States.  She had been, as a girl, a special protégée of Hannah Adams, the author of many learned works, who was the first person buried in the Mount Auburn Cemetery of Boston.  She directed my mother’s reading, and had great p. 3influence over her.  My mother had also been very intimate with the daughters of Jonathan Russell, the well-known diplomatist.  My maternal grandfather was Colonel Godfrey, who had fought in the war of the Revolution, and who was at one time an aide-de-camp of the Governor of Massachusetts.  He was noted for the remarkable gentleness of his character.  I have heard that when he went forth of a morning, all the animals on his farm would run to meet and accompany him.  He had to a miraculous degree a certain sympathetic power, so that all beings, men included, loved him.  I have heard my mother say that as a girl she had a tame crow who was named Tom, and that he could distinctly cry the word “What?”  When Tom was walking about in the garden, if called, he would reply “What?” in a perfectly human manner.

When I was one month old, General Lafayette visited our city and passed in a grand procession before the house.  It is one of the legends of my infancy that my nurse said, “Charley shall see the General too!” and held me up to the window.  General Lafayette, seeing this, laughed and bowed to me.  He was the first gentleman who ever saluted me formally.  When I reflect how in later life adventure, the study of languages, and a French Revolution came into my experiences, it seems to me as if Count Bruno, Dufief, and Lafayette had all been premonitors of the future.

I was a great sufferer from many forms of ill-health in my infancy.  Before my second birthday, I had a terrible illness with inflammation of the brain.  Dr. Dewees (author of a well-known work on diseases of women and children), who attended me, said that I was insane for a week, and that it was a case without parallel.  I mention this because I believe that I owe to it in a degree whatever nervousness and tendency to “idealism” or romance and poetry has subsequently been developed in me.  Through all my childhood and youth its influence was terribly felt, nor have I to this day recovered from it.

p. 4I should mention that my first nurse in life was an old Dutch woman named Van der Poel.  I had not been born many days before I and my cradle were missing.  There was a prompt outcry and search, and both were soon found in the garret or loft of the house.  There I lay sleeping, on my breast an open Bible, with, I believe, a key and knife, at my head lighted candles, money, and a plate of salt.  Nurse Van der Poel explained that it was done to secure my rising in life—by taking me up to the garret.  I have since learned from a witch that the same is still done in exactly the same manner in Italy, and in Asia.  She who does it must be, however, a strega or sorceress (my nurse was reputed to be one), and the child thus initiated will become deep in darksome lore, an adept in occulta, and a scholar.  If I have not turned out to be all of this in majoribus, it was not the fault of my nurse.

Next door to us lived a family in which were four daughters who grew up to be famous belles.  It is said that when the poet N. P. Willis visited them, one of these young ladies, who was familiar with his works, was so overcome that she fainted.  Forty years after Willis distinctly recalled the circumstance.  Fainting was then fashionable.

Among the household friends of our family I can remember Mr. John Vaughan, who had legends of Priestley, Berkeley, and Thomas Moore, and who often dined with us on Sunday.  I can also recall his personal reminiscences of General Washington, Jefferson, and all the great men of the previous generation.  He was a gentle and beautiful old man, with very courtly manners and snow-white hair, which he wore in a queue.  He gave away the whole of a large fortune to the poor.  Also an old Mr. Crozier, who had been in France through all the French Revolution, and had known Robespierre, Marat, Fouquier Tinville, &c.  I wish that I had betimes noted down all the anecdotes I ever heard from them.  There were also two old ladies, own nieces of Benjamin Franklin, who for many years continually took tea with p. 5us.  One of them, Mrs. Kinsman, presented me with the cotton quilt under which her uncle had died.  Another lady, Miss Louisa Nancrede, who had been educated in France, had seen Napoleon, and often described him to me.  She told me many old French fairy-tales, and often sang a ballad (which I found in after years in the works of Cazotte), which made a great impression on me—something like that of “Childe Roland to the dark tower came.”  It was called Le Sieur Enguerrand, and the refrain was “Oh ma bonne j’ai tant peur.”

That these and many other influences of culture stirred me strangely even as a child, is evident from the fact that they have remained so vividly impressed on my memory.  This reminds me that I can distinctly remember that when I was eight years of age, in 1832, my grandmother, Mrs. Oliver Leland, told my mother that the great German poet Goethe had recently died, and that they bade me remember it.  On the same day I read in the Athenæum (an American reprint of leading articles, poems, &c., from English magazines, which grandmother took all her life long) a translation of Schiller’s “Diver.”  I read it only once, and to this day I can repeat nearly the whole of it.  I have now by me, as I write, a silver messenger-ring of King Robert, and I never see it without thinking of the corner of the room by the side-door where I stood when grandmother spoke of the death of Goethe.  But I anticipate.

My father was a commission merchant, and had his place of business in Market Street below Third Street.  His partner was Charles S. Boker, who had a son, George, who will often be mentioned in these Memoirs.  George became in after life distinguished as a poet, and was Minister for many years at Constantinople and at St. Petersburg.

From Mrs. Rodgers’ my parents went to Mrs. Shinn’s, in Second Street.  It also was a very old-fashioned house, with a garden full of flowers, and a front doorstep almost on a level with the ground.  The parlour had a large old fireplace, p. 6set with blue tiles of the time of Queen Anne, and it was my delight to study and have explained to me from them the story of Joseph and his brethren and Æsop’s fables.  Everything connected with this house recurs to me as eminently pleasant, old-fashioned, and very respectable.  I can remember something very English-like among the gentlemen-boarders who sat after dinner over their Madeira, and a beautiful lady, Mrs. Stanley, who gave me a sea-shell.  Thinking of it all, I seem to have lived in a legend by Hawthorne.

There was another change to a Mrs. Eaton’s boarding-house in Fifth Street, opposite to the side of the Franklin Library.  I can remember that there was a very good marine picture by Birch in the drawing-room.  This was after living in the Washington Square house, of which I shall speak anon.  I am not clear as to these removals.  There were some men of culture at Mrs. Eaton’s—among them Sears C. Walker, a great astronomer, and a Dr. Brewer, who had travelled in Italy and brought back with him pieces of sculpture.  We were almost directly opposite the State House, where liberty had been declared, while to the side, across the street, was the Library founded by Dr. Franklin, with his statue over the door.  One of his nieces often told me that this was an absolutely perfect likeness.  The old iron railing, now removed—more’s the pity!—surrounded the Square, which was full of grand trees.

It was believed that the spirit of Dr. Franklin haunted the Library, reading the books.  Once a coloured woman, who, in darkey fashion, was scrubbing the floor after midnight, beheld the form.  She was so frightened that she fainted.  But stranger still, when the books were removed to the New Library in Locust Street, the ghost went with them, and there it still “spooks” about as of yore to this day, as every negro in the quarter knows.

In regard to Franklin and his apparition, there was a schoolboy joke to this effect: that whenever the statue of p. 7Franklin over the Library door heard the clock strike twelve at night, it descended, went to the old Jefferson Wigwam, and drank a glass of beer.  But the sell lay in this, that a statue cannot hear.

And there was a dim old legend of a colony of Finns, who, in the Swedish time, had a village all to themselves in Wiccacoe.  They were men of darksome lore and magic skill, and their women were witches, who at tide and time sailed forth merrily on brooms to the far-away highlands of the Hudson, where they held high revel with their Yankee, Dutch, and Indian colleagues of the mystic spell.  David MacRitchie, in a recent work, has made a note of this curious offshoot of the old Philadelphia Swedes.

And I can also remember that before a marble yard in Race Street there were two large statues of very grim forbidding-looking dogs, of whom it was said that when there was any one about to die in the quarter, these uncanny hounds came down during a nightly storm and howled a death duet.

And when I was very young there still lingered in the minds of those invaluable living chronicles (whether bound in sheepskin or in calf), the oldest inhabitants, memories from before the Revolution of the Indian market, when on every Saturday the natives came from their rural retreats, bringing pelts or skins, baskets, moccasins, mocos or birch boxes of maple-sugar, feathers, and game for sale.  Then they ranged themselves all along the west side of Independence Square, in tents or at tables, and sold—or were sold themselves—in bargains.  Even now the Sunday-child, or he who is gifted to behold the departed, may see the ghostly forms of Red-men carrying on that weekly goblin market.  Miss Eliza Leslie’s memory was full of these old stories, which she had collected from old people.

As for the black witches, as there were still four negro sorcerers in Philadelphia in 1883 (I have their addresses), it may be imagined to what an extent Voodoo still prevailed p. 8among our Ebo-ny men and brothers.  Of one of these my mother had a sad experience.  We had a black cook named Ann Lloyd, of whom, to express it mildly, one must say that she was “no good.”  My mother dismissed her, but several who succeeded her left abruptly.  Then it was found that Ann, who professed to be a witch, had put a spell of death on all who should take her place.  My mother learned this, and when the last black cook gave warning she received a good admonition as to a Christian being a slave to the evil one.  I believe that this ended the enchantment.  There is or was in South Fifth Street an African church, over the door of which was the charming inscription, “Those who have walked in Darkness have seen a great light.”  But this light has not even yet penetrated to the darksome depths of Lombard or South Streets, if I may believe the strange tales which I have heard, even of late, of superstition there.

Philadelphia was a very beautiful old-fashioned city in those days, with a marked character.  Every house had its garden, in which vines twined over arbours, and the magnolia, honeysuckle, and rose spread rich perfume of summer nights, and where the humming-bird rested, and scarlet tanager or oriole with the yellow and blue bird flitted in sunshine or in shade.  Then swallows darted at noon over the broad streets, and the mighty sturgeon was so abundant in the Delaware that one could hardly remain a minute on the wharf in early morn or ruddy evening without seeing some six-foot monster dart high in air, falling on his side with a plash.  In the winter-time the river was allowed to freeze over, and then every schoolboy walked across to Camden and back, as if it had been a pilgrimage or religious duty, while meantime there was always a kind of Russian carnival on the ice, oxen being sometimes roasted whole, and all kinds of “fakirs,” as they are now termed, selling doughnuts, spruce-beer, and gingerbread, or tempting the adventurous with thimblerig; many pedestrians stopping at the old-fashioned inn on Smith’s Island for hot punch.  Juleps and cobblers, and the p. 9“one thousand and one American fancy drinks,” were not as yet invented, and men drank themselves unto the devil quite as easily on rum or brandy straight, peach and honey, madeira and punch, as they now do on more varied temptations.  Lager beer was not as yet in the land.  I remember drinking it in after years in New Street, where a German known as der dicke Georg first dealt it in 1848 to our American public.  Maize-whisky could then be bought for fifteen cents a gallon; even good “old rye” was not much dearer; and the best Havanna cigars until 1840 cost only three cents a-piece.  As they rose in price they depreciated in quality, and it is now many years since I have met with a really aromatic old-fashioned Havanna.

It was a very well-shaded, peaceful city, not “a great village,” as it was called by New Yorkers, but like a pleasant English town of earlier times, in which a certain picturesque rural beauty still lingered.  The grand old double houses, with high flights of steps, built by the Colonial aristocracy—such as the Bird mansion in Chestnut Street by Ninth Street—had a marked and pleasing character, as had many of the quaint black and red-brick houses, whose fronts reminded one of the chequer-board map of our city.  All of this quiet charm departed from them after they were surrounded by a newer and noisier life.  I well remember one of these fine old Colonial houses.  It had been the old Penington mansion, but belonged in my early boyhood to Mr. Jones, who was one of my father’s partners in business.  It stood at the corner of Fourth and Race Streets, and was surrounded on all sides by a garden.  There was a legend to the effect that a beautiful lady, who had long before inhabited the house, had been so fond of this garden, that after death her spirit was often seen of summer nights tending or watering the flowers.  She was a gentle ghost, and the story made a great impression on me.  I still possess a pictured tile from a chimney-piece of this old mansion.

The house is gone, but it is endeared to me by a very p. 10strange memory.  When I was six or seven years of age, I had read Shakespeare’s “Tempest,” and duly reflected on it.  The works of Shakespeare were very rare indeed in Quaker Philadelphia in those days, and much tabooed, but Mr. Jones, who had a good library in the great hall upstairs, possessed a set in large folio.  This I was allowed to read, but not to remove from the place.  How well I can remember passing my Saturday afternoons reading those mighty tomes, standing first on one leg, then on the other for very weariness, yet absorbed and fascinated!

About this time I was taken to the theatre to see Fannie Kemble in “Much Ado About Nothing”—or it may have been to a play before that time—when my father said to me that he supposed I had never heard of Shakespeare.  To which I replied by repeating all the songs in the “Tempest.”  One of these, referring to the loves of certain sailors, is not very decent, but I had not the remotest conception of its impropriety, and so proceeded to repeat it.  A saint of virtue must have laughed at such a declamation.

As it recurs to me, the spirit which was over Philadelphia in my boyhood, houses, gardens, people, and their life, was strangely quiet, sunny, and quaint, a dream of olden time drawn into modern days.  The Quaker predominated, and his memories were mostly in the past; ours, as I have often said, was a city of great trees, which seemed to me to be ever repeating their old poetic legends to the wind of Swedes, witches, and Indians.

Among the street-cries and sounds, the first which I can remember was the postman’s horn, when I was hardly three years old.  Then there were the watchmen, “who cried the hour and weather all night long.”  Also a coloured man who shouted, in a strange, musical strain which could be heard a mile:


p. 11Also the quaint old Hominy-man:

“De Hominy man is on his way,
   Frum de Navy-Yard!
   Wid his harmony!”

(Spoken) “Law bess de putty eyes ob de young lady!  Hominy’s good fur de young ladies!

“De Harmony man is on his way,” &c.

Also, “Hot-corn!”  “Pepper-pot!”  “Be-au-ti-ful Clams!” with the “Sweep-oh” cry, and charcoal and muffin bells.

One of the family legends was, that being asked by some lady, for whom I had very little liking, to come and visit her, I replied with great politeness, but also with marked firmness, “I am very much obliged to you, ma’am, and thank you—but I won’t.”

In Washington Square, three doors from us, at the corner of Walnut Street, lived Dr. George McClellan.  He had two sons, one, John, of my own age, the other, George, who was three years younger.  Both went to school with me in later years.  George became a soldier, and finally rose to the head of the army in the first year of the War of Rebellion, or Emancipation, as I prefer to term it.

Washington Square, opposite our house, had been in the olden time a Potter’s Field, where all the victims of the yellow fever pestilence had been interred.  Now it had become a beautiful little park, but there were legends of a myriad of white confused forms seen flitting over it in the night, for it was a mysterious haunted place to many still, and I can remember my mother gently reproving one of our pretty neighbours for repeating such tales.

I have dreamy yet very oft-recurring memories of my life in childhood, as, for instance, that just before I was quite three years old I had given to me a copy of the old New England Primer, which I could not then read, yet learned from others the rhymes with the quaint little cuts.

“In Adam’s fall
We sin-nèd all.”

p. 12“My book and heart
Shall never part,” &c.

Also of a gingerbread toy, with much sugar, colour, and gilding, and of lying in a crib and having the measles.  I can remember that I understood the meaning of the word dead before that of alive, because I told my nurse that I had heard that Dr. Dewees was dead.  But she replying that he was not, but alive, I repeated “live” as one not knowing what it meant.

I recollect, also, that one day, when poring over the pictures in a toy-book, my Uncle Amos calling me a good little boy for so industriously reading, I felt guilty and ashamed because I could not read, and did not like to admit it.  Whatever my faults or follies may be, I certainly had an innate rectitude, a strong sense of honesty, just as many children have the contrary; and this, I believe, is due to inherited qualities, though these in turn are greatly modified by early association and influences.  That I also had precocious talent and taste for the romantic, poetic, marvellous, quaint, supernatural, and humorous, was soon manifested.  Even as an infant objects of bric-à-brac and of antiquity awoke in me an interest allied to passion or awe, for which there was no parallel among others of my age.  This was, I believe, the old spirit which had come down through the ages into my blood—the spirit which inspired Leland the Flos Grammaticorum, and after him John Leland, the antiquary of King Henry VIII., and Chrs. (Charles) Leland, who was secretary of the Society of Antiquaries in the time of Charles I.  Let me hereby inform those who think that “Chrs.” means Christopher, that there has been a Charles in the family since time immemorial, alternated with an Oliver since the days of Cromwell.

John Leyland, an Englishman, now living, who is a deep and sagacious scholar, and the author of the “Antiquities of the Town of Halifax” (a very clever work), declares that for four hundred years there has not been a generation in which p. 13some Leland (or Leyland) of the old Bussli de Leland stock has not written a work on antiquity or allied to antiquarianism, though in one case it is a translation of Demosthenes, and in another a work on Deistical Writers.  He traces the connection with his own family of the Henry Leland, my ancestor, a rather prominent political Puritan character in his time, who first went to America in 1636, and acquired land which my grandfather still owned.  It was very extensive.

There is a De la Laund in the roll of Battle Abbey, [13] but John says our progenitor was De Bussli, who came over with the Conqueror, ravaged all Yorkshire, killing 100,000 men, and who also burned up, perhaps alive, the 1,000 Jews in the Tower of York.  For these eminent services to the state he was rewarded with the manor of Leyland, from which he took his name.  The very first complete genealogical register of any American family ever published was that of the Leland family, by Judge Leland, of Roxbury, Mass. (but for which he was really chiefly indebted to another of the name), in which it is shown that Henry Leland had had in 1847 fifteen thousand descendants in America.  In regard to which I am p. 14honoured with a membership in the Massachusetts Genealogical Society.  The crest of Bussli and the rest of us is a raven or crow transfixed by an arrow, with a motto which I dearly love.  It is Cui debeo, fidus.  Very apropos of this crow or raven is the following: Heinrich Heine, in his “Germany” (vol. ii. p. 211, Heinemann’s edition), compares the same to priests “whose pious croaking is so well known to our ears.”  This is in reference to such birds which fly about the mountain of Kyffhäuser, in which the Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa is sleeping, and where he will sleep till they disappear.  And then, praising himself, Heine adds: “But old age has weakened them, and there are good marksmen who know right well how to bring them down.  I know one of these archers, who now lives in Paris, and who knows how, even from that distance, to hit the crows which fly about the Kyffhäuser.  When the Emperor returns to earth, he will surely find on his way more than one raven slain by this archer’s arrows.  And the old hero will say, smiling, ‘That man carried a good bow.’”  In my note to this I remarked that “the raven or crow transfixed by an arrow is the crest of the coat-of-arms of the name of Leland, or of my own.  I sincerely trust that Bussli, the first who bore it, did not acquire the right to do so by shooting a clergyman.”  As a single crow is an omen of ill-luck, so the same transfixed signifies misfortune overcome, or the forcible ending of evil influences by a strong will.  It is a common belief or saying among all the Lelands, however widely related, that there has never been a convicted criminal of the name.  Dii faxint!

At four years of age, while still living in Washington Square, I was sent to an infant school in Walnut Street, above Eighth Street, south side, near by.  It was kept by the Misses Donaldson.  We all sat in a row, on steps, as in an amphitheatre, but in straight lines.  Miss Donaldson, senior, sat at a desk, prim and perpendicular, holding a rod which was fifteen or twenty feet in length, with which she could hit on the head or poke any noisy or drowsy child, without p. 15stirring from her post.  It was an ingenious invention, and one which might be employed to advantage in small churches.  I can remember that at this time I could not hear a tune played without stringing my thoughts to it; not that I have any special ear for music, but because I am moved by melody.  There was a rhyme that was often sung to me to the tune of “Over the Water”—

   “Charley Buff
   Had money enough,
And locked it in his store;
   Charley die
   And shut his eye,
And never saw money no more.”

The influence of this and other tunes on my thought was so great, that I have often wondered whether anybody ever realised how much we may owe to metre acting on thought; for I do not believe that I ever penned any poetry in my life unless it was to a tune; and even in this prose which I now write there is ever and anon a cadence as of a brook running along, then rising, anon falling, perceptible to me though not to you, yet which has many a time been noted down by critics speaking gently of my work.  This induced me to learn betimes an incredible number of songs; in fact, at the age of ten or eleven I had most of Percy’s “Relics” by heart.  This naturally enough led me to read, and reading understand, an amount of poetry of such varied character that I speak with strictest truth in saying that I have never met with, and never even read of, any boy who, as a mere little boy, had mastered such a number and variety of ballads and minor poems as I had done—as will appear in the course of this narrative.

While living at Mrs. Eaton’s I was sent to a school kept by two very nice rather young Quaker ladies in Walnut Street.  It was just opposite a very quaint old-fashioned collection of many little dwellings in one (modelled after the Fuggerei of Augsburg?) known as the Quaker Almshouse.  p. 16One morning I played truant, and became so fearfully weary and bored lounging about, that I longed for the society of school, and never stayed from study any more.  Here I was learning to read, and I can remember “The History of Little Jack,” and discussing with a comrade the question as to whether the word history really meant his story, or was ingeniously double and inclusive.  I also about this time became familiar with many minor works, such as are all now sold at high prices as chap-books, such as “Marmaduke Multiply,” “The World Turned Upside Down,” “Chrononhotonthologos,” “The Noble History of the Giants,” and others of Mr. Newberry’s gilt-cover toy-books.  All of our juvenile literature in those days was without exception London made, and very few persons can now realise how deeply Anglicised I was, and how all this reading produced associations and feelings which made dwelling in England in later years seem like a return to a half-forgotten home, of which we have, however, pleasant fairy-tale reminiscences.

The mistress of the school was named Sarah Lewis, and while there, something of a very extraordinary nature—to me, at least—took place.  One day, while at my little desk, there came into my head with a strange and unaccountable intensity this thought: “I am I—I am Myself—I myself I,” and so on.  By forcing this thought on myself very rapidly, I produced a something like suspension of thought or syncope; not a vertigo, but that mental condition which is allied to it.  I have several times read of men who recorded nearly the same thing among their youthful experiences, but I do not recall that any of them induced this coma by reflecting on the ego-ism of the I, or the me-ness of the Me. [16]  It often recurred to me in after years when studying Schelling and p. 17Fichte, or reading works by Mystics, Quietists, and the like.  At a very early age I was indeed very much given to indulging in states of mind resembling metaphysical abstraction—a kind of vague marvelling what I was and what others were; whether they and everything were not spirits playing me tricks, or a delusion—a kind of psychology without material or thought, like a workman without tools.

For a short time, while five or six years old, and living at Mrs. Eaton’s, I was sent to a school of boys of all ages, kept by a man named Eastburn, in Library Street, whom I can only recall as a coarse, brutal fiend.  From morning to night there was not a minute in which some boy was not screaming under the heavy rattan which he or his brother always held.  I myself—infant as I was—for not learning a spelling-lesson properly, was subjected to a caning which would have been cruel if inflicted on a convict or sailor.  In the lower story this man’s sister kept a girls’ school, and the ruffian was continually being called downstairs to beat the larger girls.  My mother knew nothing of all this, and I was ashamed to tell that I had been whipped.  I have all my life been opposed to corporal punishment, be it in schools or for criminals.  It brings out of boys all that is evil in their nature and nothing that is good, developing bullying and cruelty, while it is eminently productive of cowardice, lying, and meanness—as I have frequently found when I came to hear the private life of those who defend it as creating “manliness.”  It was found during the American war that the soldiers who had been most accustomed to beating and to being beaten were by far the greatest cowards, and that “Billy Wilson’s” regiment of pugilists was so absolutely worthless as to be unqualified for the field at any time.  One thing is very certain, that I have found that boys who attend schools where there is no whipping, and little or no fighting, are freest from that coarseness which is so invariably allied to meanness, lying, and dishonesty.  I had about 2000 children in the public schools of Philadelphia pass under my teaching, and never p. 18met with but one instance of direct rudeness.  There was also only one of dishonesty or theft, and that was by a fighting boy, who looked like a miniature pugilist.  Philadelphia manners were formed by Quakers.  When I visited, in 1884, certain minor art-work classes established in the East End of London, Mr. Walter Besant said to me that I would find a less gentle set of pupils.  In fact, in the first school which I examined, the girls had, the week before, knocked down, kicked, and trampled on an elderly lady who had come to teach them art-work out of pure benevolence.  I am often told that whipping put an end to garroting.  If this be true, which it is not (for garroting was a merely temporary fancy, which died out in America without whipping), it only proves that the garotters, who were all fighting and boxing roughs, were mere cowards.  Red Indians never whip children, but they will die under torture without a groan.

My parents were from Massachusetts, and every summer they returned to pass several months in or near Boston, generally with their relatives in Worcester county, in Dedham, in the “Hub” itself, or in Milford, Mendon, or Holliston, the home of my paternal grandfather, Oliver Leland.  Thus I grew to be familiar with New England, its beautiful scenery and old-fashioned Yankee rural ways.  Travelling was then by stage-coach, and it took two days to go from Philadelphia to Boston, stopping on the way overnight at Princeton, Perth Amboy, or Providence.  This is to me a very interesting source of reminiscences.  In Dedham, for three summers, I attended school.  I remember that we stayed with Dr. Jeremy Stimson, who had married a sister of my mother.  I studied French; and can recall that my cousins Caroline and Emily, who were very beautiful young ladies, generally corrected my exercises.  I was then seven or eight years of age.  Also that I was very much alone; that I had a favourite bow, made by some old Indian; that I read with great relish “Gil Blas” and “Don Quixote,” and especially books of curiosities and oddities which had a great influence on me.  I wandered p. 19for days by myself fishing, strolling in beautiful wild places among rocks and fields, or in forests by the River Charles.  I can remember how one Sunday during service I sat in church unseen behind the organ, and read Benvenuto Cellini’s account of the sorcerer in the Colosseum in Rome: I shall see his Perseus ten minutes hence in the Signoria of Florence, where I now write.

Then there were the quiet summer evenings in the drawing-room, where my cousins played the piano and sang “The Sunset Tree,” “Alknoomuk,” “I see them on the winding way,” and Moore’s melodies.  Tempi passati—“’Tis sixty year’s since.”  Caroline meantime married a Mr. Wight, who had passed most of his life in England, and was thoroughly Anglicised.  There was also an English lady visiting America who stayed a while in Dedham to be with my cousin.  She was jeune encore, but had with her a young English gentleman relative who would call her “Mamma!” which we thought rather niais.  From my reading and my few experiences I, however, acquired a far greater insight into life than most boys would have done, for I remembered and thought long over everything I heard or learned.  Between my mother and cousins and our visitors there was much reading and discussion of literary topics, and I listened to more than any one noted, and profited by it.

I was always reading and mentally reviewing.  If my mother made a call, I was at once absorbed in the first book which came to hand.  Thus I can remember that one summer, when we came to Dr. Stimson’s, during the brief interval of our being shown into the “parlour,” I seized on a Unitarian literary magazine and read the story of Osapho, the Egyptian who trained parrots to cry, “Osapho is a god!”  Also an article on Chinese acupuncture with needles to cure rheumatism; which chance readings and reminiscences I could multiply ad infinitum.

My cousin Caroline, whom I remember as very beautiful and refined, with a distinguée manner, had a small work-box, p. 20on the cover of which was a picture of the Pavilion in Brighton.  She spoke of the building as a rubbishy piece of architecture; but I, who felt it through the “Arabian Nights,” admired it, and pitied her want of taste.  Now I have lived altogether three years in Brighton, but I never saw the Pavilion without recalling the little yellow work-box.  In some mysterious way the picture seems to me to be grander than the original.  Dickens has expressed this idea.  I was too grave and earnest as a child to be called a cheerful or happy one, which was partly due to much ill-health; yet, by a strange contradiction not uncommon in America, I was gifted with a precociously keen sense of humour, and not only read, but collected and preserved every comic almanac and scrap of droll anecdote which I could get.  Thus there came into my possession half-a-dozen books of the broadest London humour of the time, all of which entered into my soul; such things as:—

‘“Ladies in furs and gemmen in spurs,
   Who lollop and lounge all day;
The Bazaar in Soho is completely the go,
   Walk into the shop of Grimaldi.”

Reader mine, you can have no conception how deeply I, as a mere little boy, entered into and knew London life and society from such songs, sketches, anecdotes, books, and caricatures as I met with.  Others read and forget them, but I took such trifles deep into my soul and dwelt on them.  It is only of late years, since I have lived in England, that I have learned how extensively—I may say incredibly well—I was informed for my age as to many phases of English life.  Few of us know what may be got out of reading the current light literature of the day, if we only read it earnestly and get it by heart.  This I did to a great extent, as my reminiscences continually awakened in England prove.

There was in Dedham a very old house of somewhat superior style, which had been built, if not in 1630, at least within a very few years after.  It was inhabited by three sisters p. 21named Fairbanks, who were very peculiar indeed, and their peculiarity consisted in a strange devotion to the past, and above all to old English memories of colonial times before the Revolution.  Even in England this resistance can hardly be understood at the present day, and yet it may still be found alive in New England.  In the house itself was a well, dug to supply water when besieged by Indians, and the old ladies used to exhibit an immense old gun once used by Puritans, and an ox-saddle and other relics.  They had also a very ancient book of prayer of the Church of England, and an old Bible, and thereby hangs a tale.  They were all still living in 1849 or 1850, when I visited them with my very pretty cousin Mary Elizabeth Fisher, and as I professed the Episcopal faith, and had been in England, the precious relics were shown to me as to one of the initiated.  But they showed a marked aversion to letting Miss Fisher see them, as she was a Unitarian.  So they went on, as many others did in my youth, still staunch adherents to England, nice old Tories, believers in the King or Queen, for whom they prayed, and not in the President.  I remember that Miss Eliza Leslie told me in later years of just such another trio.

My grandfather in Holliston was, as his father and brothers and uncles had all been, an old Revolutionary soldier, who had been four years in the war and taken part in many battles.  He had been at Princeton (where I afterwards graduated) and Saratoga, and witnessed the surrender of Burgoyne to Gates.  I was principally concerned to know whether the conqueror had kept the sword handed to him on this occasion, and was rather disappointed to learn that it was given back.  Once I found in the garret a bayonet which my grandma said had been carried by grandfather in the war.  I turned it with a broom-handle into a lance and made ferocious charges on the cat and hens.

This grandfather, Oliver Leland, exerted an extraordinary influence on me, and one hard to describe.  He was great, grim, and taciturn to behold, yet with a good heart, and not p. 22devoid of humour.  He was gouty, and yet not irritable.  He continually recurs to me while reading Icelandic sagas, and as a kind of man who would now be quite out of the age anywhere.  All his early associations had been of war and a half-wild life.  He was born about 1758, and therefore in a rude age in rural New England.  He, I may say, deeply interested me.

All boys are naturally full of the romance of war; the Revolution was to us more than the Crusades and all chivalry combined, and my grandfather was a living example and chronicle of all that I most admired.  Often I sat on a little cricket at his feet, and listened to tales of battles, scoutings, and starving; how he had been obliged to live on raw wheat, which produced evil results, and beheld General Washington and other great men, and had narrow escapes from Indians, and been at the capturing of a fort by moonlight, and seen thousands of pounds’ worth of stores destroyed.  I frequently thought of old grandfather Oliver when “out” myself during the Civil War, and was half-starved and chilled when scouting, or when doing rough and tough in West Virginia.

My grandfather often told me such stories of the war, and others of his father and grandfather, who had fought before him in the old French war in Canada, and how the latter, having gone up to trade among the Indians one winter, endeared himself so much to them that they would not let him go, and kept him a captive until the next summer.  I came across traces of this ancestor in an old Canadian record, wherein it appears that he once officiated as interpreter in the French and Indian tongues.  Whereby critics may remark that learning French and Algonkin runs in our blood, and that my proclivity for Indians is legitimately inherited.  I would that I knew all the folklore that my great-grandsire heard in the Indian wigwams in those old days!

I can remember seeing my grandfather once sitting and talking with five other veterans of the war.  But I saw them daily in those times, and once several hundreds, or it may be p. 23thousands, of them in a great procession in Philadelphia in 1832.  And here I may mention that in 1834 I often saw one named Rice, whose age, as authenticated by his pension papers, was 106, and that in 1835 I shook hands with Thomas Hughes, aged 95, who was the last survivor of the Boston Tea party.  He had come to visit our school, and how we boys cheered the old gentleman, who was in our eyes one of the greatest men alive!  But all the old folk in my boyhood could tell tales of the Revolution, which was indeed not very much older then than the Rebellion is to us now.

I can also recollect seeing Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, though my memory of the man is now confused with that of a very perfect portrait which belonged to his granddaughter, Mrs. Jackson, who was a next-door but one neighbour in after years in Walnut Street, Philadelphia.  He was a very venerable-looking man.

My father served for a short time in the war of 1812, and I have heard him relate that when the startling news of peace arrived in Boston, where he was, he at once took a sleigh and fast horses and drove full speed, being the first to disseminate the news in the country.  That was as good as Browning’s “Ride to Ghent” in its way—apropos of which Mr. Browning once startled me by telling me, “I suppose you know that it is an invention of mine, and not founded on any real incident.”  But my father’s headlong sleigh-ride—he was young and wild in those days—was real and romantic enough in all conscience.  It set bells to ringing, multitudes to cheering, bonfires a-blazing on hills and in towns, and also some few to groaning, as happened to a certain old deacon, who had invested his all in English goods, and said, when he heard the cheers caused by the news, “Wife, if that’s war news, I’m saved; but if it’s peace, I’m ruined!”  Even so it befell me, in after years, to be the first person to announce in the United States, far in advance of any others, the news of the French Revolution of 1848, as I shall fully prove in the sequence.

p. 24It may be here remarked, that, though not “professionals,” all of our family, without a break in the record, have successively taken turns at fighting, and earned our pay as soldiers, since time lost in oblivion; for I and my brother tried it on during the Rebellion, wherein he indeed, standing by my side, got the wound from a shell of which he eventually died; while there were none who were not in the old Indian wars or the English troubles of Charles the Second and First, and so on back, I dare say, to the days of Bussli de Leland, who laid all Yorkshire waste.

My grandfather, though not wealthy, owned a great deal of land, and I can remember that he one afternoon showed me a road, saying that he owned the land on each side for a mile.  I myself, in after years, however, came to own in fee-simple a square mile of extremely rich land in Kansas, which I sold for sixteen hundred dollars, while my grandfather’s was rather of that kind by which men’s poverty was measured in Virginia—that is to say, the more land a man had the poorer he was considered to be.  It is related of one of these that he once held great rejoicing at having got rid of a vast property by the ingenious process of giving some person one half of it to induce him to take the other.  However, as there is now a large town or small city on my grandfather’s whilom estate, I wish that it could have been kept.  Mais où sont les neiges d’antan, or the ducats of Panurge?

There was a “home-pasture,” a great field behind my grandfather’s house, where I loved to sit alone, and which has left a deep impression on my memory, as though it were a fairy-haunted or imagined place.  It was very rocky, the stones being covered with clean, crisp, dry lichens, and in one spot there was the gurgling deep down in some crevice of a mysterious unseen spring or rivulet.  Young as I was, I had met with a line which bore on it—

“Deep from their vaults the Loxian murmurs flow.”

And there was something very voice-like or human in this p. 25murmur or chattering of the unseen brook.  This I distinctly remember, that the place gave me not only a feeling, but a faith that it was haunted by something gentle and merry.  I went there many a time for company, being much alone.  An Indian would have told me that it was the Un à games-suk—the spirit-fairies of the rock and stream.  These beings enter far more largely, deeply, and socially into their life or faith than elves or fairies ever did into those of the Aryan races, and I might well have been their protégé, for there could have been few little boys living, so fond as I was of sitting all alone by rock and river, hill and greenwood tree.  There are yet in existence on some of this land which was once ours certain mysterious walls or relics of heavy stone-work, which my friend Eben C. Horsford thinks were made by the Norsemen.  I hope that they were, for I have read many a saga in Icelandic, old Swedish, and Latin, and the romance thereof is deep in my soul; and as my own name is Godfrey, it is no wonder that the god Frey and his Freya are dear to me.  In my boyhood—and it may be still the case—the “Injuns” got the credit of having built these mysterious works.

Not far from Holliston is Mendon, where I had an uncle, Seth Davenport, who had a large, pleasant, old-fashioned New England farm, which was more productive than my grandfather’s, since there were employed on it sixteen men, three of whom were Natick Indians of the old local stock.  There were many of them when my mother was young, but I suppose that the last of the tribe has long since died.  One of these Indians, Rufus Pease, I can recall as looking like a dark-ruddy gypsy, with a pleasant smile.  He very was fond of me.  He belonged to a well-known family, and had a brother—and thereby hangs a tale, or, in this case, a scalp-lock.

“Marm” Pease, the mother of Rufus, had on one occasion been confined, and old Doctor—I forget his name—who officiated at the birth, had been asked to give the infant a p. 26name.  Now he was a dry wag, of the kind so dear to Dr. Holmes, and expressed much gratification and gratitude at such a compliment being paid to him.  “He had long been desirous,” he said, “of naming a child after his dear old friend, Dr. Green.”  So the name was bestowed, the simple Indians not realising for some time after the christening that their youngest bore the name of Green Pease.  Whether he was ever called a duck, I know not.

Everything about Uncle Seth and Aunt Betsy was, as I remember, delightfully comfortable, old-fashioned, and in a way beautiful.  There was their daughter Rebecca, who was pretty and gentle, so that several wild birds came every morning to feed from her hand and perch on her fingers.  Uncle Seth himself wore a scarlet waistcoat, and, as I recall him, seemed altogether in figure to belong to the time of Cromwell, or to earlier days.  There was a hall, hung round with many old family portraits in antique dresses, and an immense dairy—the pride of Aunt Betsy’s heart—and a garden, in which I was once shown a humming-bird’s nest; and cousin Rebecca’s mantelpiece, over a vast old fireplace, heaped with mosses, birds’ nests, shells, and such curiosities as a young girl would gather in the woods and fields; and the cider-press, in which Uncle Seth ground up the sixteen hundred bushels of apples which he had at one crop, and the new cider gushing in a stream, whereof I had a taste.  It was a charming, quiet old homestead, in which books and culture were not wanting, and it has all to me now something of the chiaroscuro and Rembrandt colour and charm of the Mährchen or fairy-tale.  The reality of this charm is apt to go out of life as that of literature or culture comes in.  To this day I draw the deepest impression or sentiment of the pantheism or subtle spiritual charm of Nature far more from these early experiences of rural life than from all the books, poetry included, which I have ever perused.  Note this well, ye whose best feelings are only a rechauffé of Ruskin and Browning—secundem ordinem—for I observe p. 27that those who do not think at second hand are growing rare.

In the town of Milford lived my uncle, William Godfrey, with my aunt Nancy, and of them and their home I have many pleasant memories.  The very first of them all was not so pleasant to me at the time.  My parents had just arrived, and had not been ten minutes in the house ere a tremendous squall was heard, and my mother, looking from the window, beheld me standing in the open barn-door holding a tiny chicken in my right hand, while an old hen sat on my head flapping her wings and pecking me in wrath.  I, seeing the brood, had forthwith captured one, and for that was undergoing penance.  It was a beautiful tableau, which was never forgotten!  We went there on visits for many summers.  Uncle William was a kind-hearted, “sportive” man, who took Bell’s Life, and I can remember that there was a good supply of English reading in the house.  My uncle had three sons, all much older than I.  The eldest, Stearns, was said to have first popularised the phrase “posted up,” to signify well-informed.  The second, Benjamin, became in after years a great manufacturer and somewhat noted politician, and owner of a famous racehorse.  The third, Samuel, went into business in Philadelphia, and crossed the Atlantic with me.  He died quite young.  All of them, like their father and grandfather, were very good-natured or gentle, and men of perfect integrity.  The Lelands, however, were rather dour and grim in their honesty, or more Northern than the Godfreys.  This was accounted for by the fact, that while my father’s family was Puritan of the purest, and only intermarried with Puritan stock, the Godfreys had in Rhode Island received an infusion of French Huguenot blood, which was indeed very perceptible in their faces and lively pleasant manner.

There was a strange tradition, to which my mother sometimes jestingly referred, that there had been among her Rhode Island ancestors a High German (i.e., not a Hollander) doctor, who had a reputation as a sorcerer or wizard.  p. 28He was a man of learning, but that is all I ever heard about him.  My mother’s opinion was that this was a very strong case of atavism, and that the mysterious ancestor had through the ages cropped out again in me.  Something tells me that this was the High German doctor who, according to Washington Irving, laid the mystic spell on Sleepy Hollow, which made of it such a pleasant, ancient, dreamy fairy-land.  Whether his friendly spirit still watches over me, or whether I am the man himself, is a problem which I leave to my friend Francis Galton, who indeed personally often reminds me of Irving.  High German sorcerers were not common in those days north of Pennsylvania, so that I trow mine was the very man referred to by Geoffrey Crayon.  And it is true beyond all doubt that even in infancy, as I have often heard, there was a quaint uncanniness, as of something unknown, in my nature, and that I differed in the main totally from every relative, and indeed from any other little boy, known to anybody; though I was a perfect Godfrey in face when very young, as I am now a typical Leland.  I was always given to loneliness in gardens and woods when I could get into them, and to hearing words in birds’ songs and running or falling water; and I once appalled a visitor by professing seriously that I could determine for him some question as to what would happen to him by divination with a bullet in an Indian moccasin.  We had two servants who spoke old Irish; one was an inexhaustible mine of legends, which she related to me—she surpassed Croker; the other, less versed, still knew a great deal, and told me how her own father, Jackey Mooney, had seen the fairies with his own eyes.  Both of these sincerely and seriously regarded me as “gifted” or elfin-favoured, and the latter said in proof thereof, “Only listen to his voice; sure whin he spakes he’d while a burred aff a tree.”  For my uncanny ways made a deep impression on them, as also on the darkies.

Once I had a wonderful dream.  I thought that I was in Dr. Furness’s chapel, but that, instead of the gentle reverend p. 29clergyman, the devil himself was in the pulpit preaching.  Feeling myself inspired, I went up into the pulpit, threw the Evil One out, and preached myself in his place.  Now our nurse had a dream-book, and made some pretence to mystic fairy knowledge learned in Kilkenny, and she interpreted this dream as signifying that I would greatly rise in this world, and do strange things.  But she was greatly struck with such a vision in such an infant.

Now, I was a great reader of Scripture; in fact, I learned a great deal too much of it, believing now that for babes and sucklings about one-third of it had better be expurgated.  The Apocrypha was a favourite work, but above all I loved the Revelations, a work which, I may say by the way, is still a treasure to be investigated as regards the marvellous mixture of Neo-Platonic, later Egyptian (or Gnostic), and even Indian Buddhistic ideas therein.  Well, I had learned from it a word which St. John applies (to my mind very vulgarly and much too frequently) to the Scarlet Lady of Babylon or Rome.  What this word meant I did not know, but this I understood, that it was “sass” of some kind, as negroes term it, and so one day I applied it experimentally to my nurse.  Though the word was not correctly pronounced, for I had never heard it from anybody, its success was immediate, but not agreeable.  The passionate Irish woman flew into a great rage and declared that she would “lave the house.”  My mother, called in, investigated the circumstances, and found that I really had no idea whatever of the meaning of what I had said.  Peace was restored, but Annie declared that only the divil or the fairies could have inspired such an infant to use such language.

I was very fond of asking my nurse to sing in old Irish or to teach me Irish words.  This she did, but agreed with her sister Biddy that it was all very uncanny, and that there must have been a time when I was perfectly familiar with the owld language, as I had such unearthly fondness for it.

I must have been about seven years old when my parents p. 30took a house in Arch Street, above Ninth Street, Philadelphia.  Here my life begins to be more marked and distinct.  I was at first sent, i.e., walked daily to the school of Jacob Pierce, a worthy Quaker, who made us call him Jacob, and who carefully taught us all the ordinary branches, and gave us excellent lectures on natural philosophy and chemistry with experiments, and encouraged us to form mineralogical collections, but who objected to our reading history, “because there were so many battles in it.”  In which system of education all that is good and bad, or rather weak, in Quakerism is fully summed up.  Like the Roman Catholic, it is utterly unfit for all the world, and incapable of grappling with or adapting itself to the natural expansion of science and the human mind.  Thus the Quaker garb, which was originally intended by its simplicity to avoid the appearance of eccentricity or peculiarity (most dress in the time of the Stuarts being extravagant), has now become, by merely sticking to old custom, the most eccentric dress known.  The school was in a very large garden, in which was a gymnasium, and in the basement of the main building there was a carpenter’s shop with a turning-lathe, where boys were allowed to work as a reward for good conduct.

I could never learn the multiplication table.  There are things which the mind, like the stomach, spasmodically rejects without the least perceptible cause or reason.  So I have found it to be with certain words which will not be remembered.  There was one Arab word which I verily believe I looked out one hundred times in the dictionary, and repeated a thousand, yet never could keep it.  Every teacher should be keen to detect these antipathies, and cure them by gentle and persuasive means.  Unfortunately no one in my youth knew any better way to overcome them than by “keeping me in” after school to study, when I was utterly weary and worn—a very foolish punishment, as is depriving a boy of his meals, or anything else levelled at Nature.  I think there must have been many months of time, and of p. 31as much vain and desperate effort on my part to remember, wasted on my early arithmetic.  Now I can see that by rewards or inducements, and by the very simple process of only learning “one time one is one” for the first lesson, and that and one line more for the second, I could have mastered the whole book in time.  But oh! the weary, dreary days, and the sad waste of time, and the anxious nervous suffering, which arithmetic cost me in my youth, and mathematics in after years!

But there was one class at Jacob’s in which I was facile-princeps and habitual past-grand-master.  This was the class which was, like the professorship of Diogenes Teufelsdröckh, for Matters and Things in General.  That is to say, we read aloud from some book—it may have been selections from English writers—and then Jacob, picking out the hard words or facts or phrases, required of them definition or explanation.  One day there arose in these questions a sum in arithmetic, when I shot down to the tail of the class as a plummet drops to the bottom of the well.  I shall never forget the proud fierce impatience which I felt, like an imprisoned chieftain who knows that he will speedily be delivered and take dire vengeance on his foes.  I had not long to wait.  “‘Refectory,’ what is a ‘refectory’?  Hillburn Jones, does thee know?  Joseph Widdifield, does thee?”  But none of them knew till it came to me “down tail,” when I cried “An oyster-cellar.”  “That is quite right, Charley; thee can go up head,” said Jacob, and as I passed Hillburn Jones he whispered, half in fun, half enviously, the “Kemble Refectory.”  This was an oyster-cellar which had been recently opened under the Arch Street Theatre, and whence Hillburn and I had derived our knowledge of the word, the difference being that I remembered more promptly and risked more boldly.  But I missed it one day when I defined a peasant as “a nest full of young birds;” the fact being that I recalled a picture in Æsop’s fables, and confused peasant with pheasant.  One day Jacob rebuked the class for letting me p. 32always be at their head, when Hillburn Jones, who was a very honest little boy, said, “Indeed, Jacob, thee must know that all that we do know, Charley tells us.”  For I was already an insatiable reader, and always recalling what I read, and always communicating my knowledge to others in the form of small lectures.  I had a book of Scripture stories, with a picture of Pharaoh in his chariot, with the title, “Pharaoh’s host sunk in the Red Sea.”  Hence I concluded that a host was a vehicle of a very superior description.  A carriage-builder in our neighbourhood had executed a chaise of very unusual magnificence, and as I stood admiring it I informed Hillburn that this was what was called by the learned a host, and that it was in such a host that Pharaoh perished.  I remember elevating my voice somewhat for the benefit of a bystander, being somewhat proud of this bit of knowledge.

Unfortunately, not only my father, but also my teacher, and with them the entire population of North America, in those days regarded a good knowledge of arithmetic as forming nine-tenths of all that was most needful in education, while indulgence in a taste for general information, and “literature” especially, was glared at with a very evil eye indeed, as tending to injure a “practical business man.”  That there could be any kind of profitable or respectable calling not based upon arithmetic did not enter into the heart of man to conceive, while among the bankers and merchants of Boston, New York, or Philadelphia there was a deeply-seated conviction that even a wealthy and successful editor, literary man, or artist, was really an inferior as compared to themselves.  As this sublime truth was severely rubbed into me several times daily during the greater portion of my youthful life, and as in its earlier stage I rarely met with a man grown who did not look down on me as an unfortunate non-arithmetical, unbusinesslike creature, and let me know it too, I very naturally grew up with a low estimate of my own capacities; and as I was proud and sensitive, this was to me p. 33a source of much suffering, which often became terrible as I advanced in years.  But at that time the position of the literary man or scholar, with the exception of a very few brilliant magnates who had “made money,” was in the United States not an enviable one.  Serious interest in art and letters was not understood, or so generally sympathised with, as it now is in “Quakerdelphia.”  There was a gentleman in Philadelphia who was a scholar, and who having lived long abroad, had accumulated a very curious black-letter and rariora library.  For a long time I observed that this library was never mentioned in polite circles without significant smiles.  One day I heard a lady say very meaningly, “I suppose that you know what kind of books he has and how he obtained them?”  So I inquired very naturally if he had come by them dishonestly.  To which the reply, half-whispered in my ear lest it should be overheard, was, “They say his books are all old things, which he did not buy at any first-class stores, but picked up at old stalls and in second-hand shops at less than their value; in fact, they did not cost him much.”

Yet these remarks must not be regarded as too sweeping or general.  Firstly, I am speaking of sixty years since.  Secondly, there were many people of literary tastes in Philadelphia—a little isolated, it is true; and finally, there was a great culture of science, founded by Franklin, and fostered by the medical schools.  I could cite a brilliant array of names of men distinguished in these matters.  What I am writing is simply a sincere record of my own—somewhat peculiar—or personal experiences.  There are doubtless many who would write very differently.  And now times are very greatly changed.

I have again a quaint early reminiscence.  It would happen that now and then a new carriage, always of the same sober description, with two very good, but seldom showy, horses would appear in the streets.  Then its owner would be greeted on Market Street with the remark, “Well, Sammy, p. 34I see thee’s got thee fifty thousand dollars.”  This sum—ten thousand pounds—constituted the millionaireism or moneyed aristocracy of those days.  On it, with a thriving business, Samuel could maintain a family in good fashion, and above all, in great comfort, which was sensibly regarded as better than fashion or style.  Fifty thousand dollars entitled a man to keep a carriage and be classed as “quality” by the negroes.

It may be worth noting that although the Quakers did not allow the piano in their families, as being too worldly, they compromised by having musical boxes.  And I have heard that in the country, where still older fashioned ideas prevailed, the one bit of finery allowed to a Quaker damsel was a red ribbon; but it must be red, not of any other colour.

Let it be remembered that at this time Philadelphia, and even the world, were as yet to a great degree in the Middle Ages as compared to the present day.  We had few steamboats, and no railroads, or telephones, or percussion-caps, or a tremendous press, or Darwinism, or friction matches.  Even the introduction of ice-cream, and stone coal as fuel, and grates was within the memory of our elders.  Apropos of matches, the use of tinderbox and brimstone matches was universal; bold young men had tinder pistols; but the wood fire was generally kept under ashes all night, and I can well remember how our negro servants, when it had gone out, were used early on winter mornings to borrow a shovelful of coals from the cook of our next-door neighbour, and how it was handed over the garden fence, the recipient standing on our pump handle and the donor on hers.

I forget in what year the railroad (with locomotives) was first built from Philadelphia to Columbia, a distance of sixty miles.  I believe it was the first real road of the kind in America.  On the day when the first train ran, the City Council and certain honoured guests made the journey, and among them was my father, who took me with him.  There were only a few miles of the road then completed.  It was a stupendous marvel to me, and all this being drawn by steam, p. 35and by a great terrible iron monster of a machine.  And there was still in all souls a certain unearthly awe of the recently invented and as yet rather rare steamboats.  I can (strangely enough) still recall this feeling by a mental effort—this meeting the Horror for the first time!  My father remembered, and had been in the first steamboat which was a success on the Delaware.  I saw its wreck in after years at Hoboken.  The earlier boat made by John Fitch is still preserved in Bordentown.

I can remember that when gas was introduced to light the city, it was done under a fearful opposition.  All the principal people signed a petition against it.  I saw the paper.  It would burst and kill myriads; it was poisonous; and, finally, it would ruin the oil trade.  However, we got it at last.  Somebody had invented hand gas-lamps; they were sold in the Arcade; and as one of these had burst, it was naturally supposed that the gasworks would do the same.

The characteristics of old Philadelphia were in those days so marked, and are, withal, so sweet to the memory, that I cannot help lingering on them.  As Washington Irving says of the Golden Age of Wouter van Twiller, “Happy days when the harvest moon was twice as large as now, when the shad were all salmon, and peace was in the land.”  Trees grew abundantly in rows in almost every street—one before every house.  I had two before mine till 1892, when the Street Commissioners heartlessly ordained that one must be cut down and removed, and charged me ten dollars for doing it.  It is needless to say that since Street Commissioners have found this so profitable, trees have disappeared with sad rapidity.  Then at twilight the pea-ak of the night-hawk could be heard all over Arasapha, which is the Indian name for the place where our city stands; there were in Coaquannoc, or the Schuylkill, abundant gold fish and perch, of which I angled divers.  Yes, there was, and still is, a Fisher Club, which claims to be the oldest gentleman’s club in Anglo-Saxony, and which has for two centuries brewed for itself a p. 36“fish-house punch” as delicious as that of London civic banquets.  There be no fish in the fair river now; they have all vanished before the combined forces of petroleum and the offal of factories and mines, but the Fish-House Club still has its merry banquets in its ancient home; for, as the French say, “Chacun péche à sa manière.”  In graveyards lone or over gardens green glittered of summer nights millions of fireflies; there was the scent of magnolias, roses, pinks, and honeysuckles by every house; for Philadelphians have always had a passion for flowers, and there never was a Quaker, much less a Quakeress, who has not studied botany, and wandered in Bartram’s Garden and culled blue gentians in the early fall, or lilies wild in Wissahickon’s shade.  There still remains a very beautiful relic of this olden time in the old Swedes Church, which every stranger should visit.  It is a quaint structure of more than two hundred years, and in its large churchyard (which is not, like Karamsin’s graves, “deserted and drear,” but charming and garden-like) one can imagine himself in rural England.

In the spring of the year there was joyous activity on the Delaware, even in town; for, as the song hath it—

“De fishin’ time hab come at last,
De winter all am gone and past;”

and there was the casting of immense seines and the catching of myriads of shad, the typical fish or emblem of the Quaker Philadelphian, because in the profile outline of the shad people professed to discern the form according to which the Quaker coat was cut.  With the shad were many herring, and now and then a desperate giant of a sturgeon, who in his struggles would give those concerned enough to do.  Then the yells of the black fishermen, the flapping of the horny knife-backed prey—often by the flashing of a night-fire—formed a picture worthy of Rembrandt.  Apropos of these sturgeon, the fresh caviare or roe (which has been pronounced at St. Petersburg to surpass the Russian) was always thrown p. 37away, as was often the case with sweetbreads, which were rarely eaten.  But if the caviare or roe was really in those days “caviare to the general” multitude, the nose of the fish was not, it being greatly coveted by us small boys wherewith to make a ball for “shinny,” which for some occult reason was preferred to any other.  Old people of my acquaintance could remember when seals had been killed at Cape May below the city, and how on one or two occasions a bewildered whale of no small dimensions had found its way to Burlington, some miles above.

Now and then there would be found in the bay below the city a tremendous, square-shaped, hideous, unnatural piscatorial monster, known as a devil-fish, or briefly devil.  It was a legend of my youth that two preachers or ministers of the Presbyterian faith once went fishing in those waters, and having cast out a stout line, fastened to the mast, for shark, were amazed at finding themselves all at once careering through the waves at terrible speed, being dragged by one of the diabolical “monsters of the roaring deep” above mentioned.  Whereupon a friend, who was in the boat, burst out laughing.  And being asked, “Wherefore this unrestrained hilarity?” replied, “Is it not enough to make a man laugh to see the Devil running away with two clergymen?”

There was a very excellent and extensive museum of Matters and Things in General, founded by an ancient artist named Peale, who was the head-central charm and delight of all young Philadelphia in those days, and where, when we had been good all the week, we were allowed to repair on Saturday afternoons.  And here I may say by the way, that miscellaneous collections of “curiosities,” oddities, and relics are far more attractive to children, and stimulate in them far more interest and inquisitiveness and desire for general information, than do the best scientific collections, where everything is ranked and numbered, and wherein even an Etruscan tiara or a Viking’s sword loses much of its charm when placed simply as a “specimen” in a row of others of p. 38the kind.  I am not arguing here in the least against scientific or properly arranged archæologic collections, but to declare the truth that for children museums of the despised curiosities are far more attractive and infinitely more useful.

I owe so very much myself to the old Peale’s Museum; it served to stimulate to such a remarkable degree my interest in antiquities and my singular passion for miscellaneous information, and it aided me so much in my reading, that I cannot pass it by without a tribute to its memory.  How often have I paused in its dark galleries in awe before the tremendous skeleton of the Mammoth—how small did that of a great elephant seem beside it—and recalled the Indian legend of it recorded by Franklin.  And the stuffed monkeys—one shaving another—what exquisite humour, which never palled upon us!  No; that was the museum for us, and the time will come when there will be such collections made expressly for the young.

“Stuffed monkey” was a common by-word, by the way, for a conceited fellow.  Therefore the Louisville Journal, speaking of a rival sheet, said: “Reader, if you will go into the Louisville Museum, you will see two stuffed monkeys reading the Courier.  And if you will then go into the office of the Louisville Courier, you may see two living stuffed monkeys editing the same.”  The beautiful sallies of this kind which appeared in these two newspapers for years would make a lively volume.

Never shall I forget one evening alone in that Museum.  I had come with Jacob Pierce’s school, and strayed off alone into some far-away and fascinating nook, forgetful of friends and time.  All the rest had departed homewards, and I sought to find them.  The dark evening shades were casting sombre tones in the galleries—I was a very little boy of seven or eight—and the stuffed lions and bears and wolves seemed looming or glooming into mysterious life; the varnished sharks and hideous shiny crocodiles had a light of awful intelligence in their eyes; the gigantic anaconda had long p. 39awaited me; the grim hyæna marked me for his own; even deer and doves seemed uncanny and goblined.  At this long interval of sixty years, I can recall the details of that walk, and every object which impressively half-appalled me, and how what had been a museum had become a chamber of horrors, yet not without a wild and awful charm.  Of course I lost my way in the shades, and was beginning to speculate on having to pass a night among the monsters, and how much there would be left for my friends to mourn over in the morning, when—Eureka! Thalatta!—I beheld the gate of entrance and exit, and made my latter as joyously as ever did the souls who were played out of Inferno by the old reprobate of the Roman tale.

Since that adventure I never mentioned it to a living soul till now, and yet there is not an event of my life so vividly impressed on my memory.

My father took me very rarely to the theatre; but my Quaker school-mates had never seen the inside of such places at all, and therefore listened greedily to what I could tell them of the sights.  One of the wonders of my youth was the seeing the great elephant Columbus perform in a play called “The Englishman in Siam.”  It was indeed very curious, and it is described as such in works on natural history.  And I saw Edwin Forrest (whom I learned to know in later years) in “Metamora,” and Fanny Kemble in “Beatrice,” and so on.  As for George Boker, he went, I believe, to every place of amusement whenever he pleased, and talked familiarly of actors, some of whom he actually knew, and their lives, in a manner which awoke in me awe and a feeling as being humble and ignorant indeed.  As we grew older, Boker and I, from reading “Don Quixote” and Scott, used to sit together for hours improvising legends of chivalry and marvellous romances.  It was in the year when it first appeared that I read (in the New Monthly) and got quite by heart the rhyming tale of “Sir Rupert the Fearless,” a tale of the Rhine, one of the Ingoldsby legends, by Barham.  I p. 40can still repeat a great part of it.  I bore it in mind till in after years it inspired (allied to Goethe’s Wassermädchen) my ballad of De Maiden mit Nodings on, which has, as I now write, been very recently parodied and pictured by Punch, March 18, 1893.  My mother had taught me to get poetry by heart, and by the time I was ten years of age, I had imbibed, so to speak, an immense quantity; for, as in opium-eating, those who begin by effort end by taking in with ease.

There was something else so very characteristic of old Philadelphia that I will not pass it by.  In the fall of the year the reed-bird, which is quite as good as the ortolan of Italy, and very much like it (I prefer the reed-bird), came in large flocks to the marshes and shores of the Delaware and Schuylkill.  Then might be seen a quaint and marvellous sight of men and boys of all ages and conditions, with firearms of every faculty and form, followed by dogs of every degree of badness, in all kinds of boats, among which the bateau of boards predominated, intermingled with an occasional Maryland dug-out or poplar canoe.  Many, however, crept on foot along the shore, and this could be seen below the Navy Yard even within the city limits.  Then, as flock after flock of once bobolinks and now reed-birds rose or fell in flurried flight, there would be such a banging, cracking, and barking as to suggest a South American revolution aided by blood-hounds.  That somebody in the mêlée now and then got a charge of shot in his face, or that angry parties in dispute over a bird sometimes blazed away at one another and fought à l’outrance in every way, “goes without saying.”  Truly they were inspiriting sights, and kept up the martial valour, aided by frequent firemen’s fights, which made Philadelphians so indomitable in the Rebellion, when, to the amazement of everybody, our Quaker city manifested a genius or love for hard fighting never surpassed by mortals.

There were, of course, some odd episodes among the infantry or gunners on foot, and one of these was so well p. 41described by my brother Henry in a poem, that I venture to give it place.


Two men and a bull-dog ugly,
  Two guns and a terrier lame;
They’d better stick out in the marsh there,
  And set themselves up for game.

But no; I mark by the cocking
  Of that red-haired Paddy’s eye,
He’s been “reeding” too much for you, sir,
  Any such game to try.

“Now, Jamie, ye divil, kape dark there,
  And hould the big bull-dog in;
There’s a bloody big crowd of rade-birds,
  That nade a pepperin’!”

Ker-rack! goes the single barrel,
  Flip-boong! roars the old Queen Anne;
There’s a Paddy stretched out in the mud-hole,
  A kicked-over, knocked-down man.

“Och, Jamie, ye shtupid crature,
   Sure ye’re the divil’s son;
How many fingers’ load, thin,
   Did ye putt in this d---d ould gun?”

“How many fingers, be jabers?
   I nivir putt in a wan;
Did ye think I’d be afther jammin’
   Me fingers into a gun?”

“Well, give me the powder, Jamie.”
   “The powder! as sure as I’m born,
I put it all into yer musket,
   For I’d nivir a powder-horn!”

Then we all had reed-bird suppers or lunches, eked out perhaps with terrapins and soft-shell crabs, gumbo, “snapper,” or pepper-pot soup, peaches, venison, bear-meat, salon la saison—for both bear and deer roamed wild within fifty or sixty miles—so that, all things considered, if Philadelphians, p. 42and Baltimoreans did run somewhat over-much to eating up their intellects—as Dr. Holmes declares they do—they had at least the excuse of terrible temptation, which the men of my “grandfather-land” (New England), as he once termed it in a letter to me, very seldom had at any time.

Once it befell, though a few years later, that one winter there was a broad fair field of ice just above Fairmount dam, which is about ten feet high, that about a hundred and fifty men and maidens were merrily skating by moonlight.  I know not whether Colonel James Page, our great champion skater, was there cutting High Dutch; but this I know, that all at once, by some strange rising of the stream, the whole flake of ice and its occupants went over the dam.  Strangely enough, no one was killed, but very few escaped without injury, and for some time the surgeons were busy.  It would make a strange wild picture that of the people struggling in the broken floes of ice among the roaring waters.

And again, during a week on the same spot, some practical joker amused himself with a magic-lantern by making a spirit form flit over the fall, against its face, or in the misty air.  The whole city turned out to see it, and great was their marvelling, and greater the fear among the negroes at the apparition.

Sears C. Walker, who was an intimate friend, kept a school in Sansom Street, to which I was transferred.  I was only seven years old at the time, and being the youngest, he made, when I was introduced, a speech of apology to his pupils.  He was a good kind man, who also, like Jacob, gave us lectures on natural philosophy and chemistry.  There I studied French, and began to learn to draw, but made little progress, though I worked hard.  I have literally never met in all my life any person with so little natural gift or aptitude for learning languages or drawing as I have; and if I have since made an advance in both, it has been at the cost of such extreme labour as would seem almost incredible.  I was greatly interested in chemistry, as a child would be, p. 43and, having heard Mr. Walker say something about the colouring matter in quartz, resolved on a great invention which should immortalise my name.  My teacher used to make his own ink by pounding nut-galls in an iron mortar.  I got a piece of coarse rock-crystal, pounded it up in the same mortar, pouring water on it.  Sure enough the result was a pale ink, which the two elder pupils, who had maliciously aided and encouraged me, declared was of a very superior quality.  I never shall forget the pride I felt.  I had, first of all scientists, extracted the colouring matter from quartz!  The recipe was at once written out, with a certificate at the end, signed by my two witnesses, that they had witnessed the process, and that this was written with the ink itself!  This I gave to Mr. Walker, and could not understand why he laughed so heartily at it.  It was not till several days after that he explained to me that the ink was the result of the dregs of the nut-galls which remained in the mortar.

We had not many books, but what we had I read and reread with great assiduity.  Among them were Cooper’s novels, Campbell’s poems, those of Byron, and above all, Washington Irving’s “Sketch Book,” which had great influence on me, inspiring that intense love for old English literature and its associations which has ever since been a part of my very soul.  Irving was indeed a wonderful, though not a startling genius; but he had sympathised himself into such appreciation of the golden memories and sweet melodies of the olden time, be it American or English, as no writer now possesses.  In my eighth year I loved deeply his mottoes, such as that from Syr Grey Steel:—

“He that supper for is dight,
He lies full cold I trow this night;
Yestreen to chamber I him led,
This nighte Grey Steel has made his bed.”

Lang—not Andrew—has informed us that no copy of the first black-letter edition of Sir Grey Steel is known to exist.  In after years I found in the back binding of an old p. 44folio two pieces of it, each about four inches square.  It has been an odd fatality of mine that whenever a poet existed in black-letter, I was always sure to peruse him first in that type, which I always from childhood preferred to any other.  To this day I often dream of being in a book-shop, turning over endless piles of marvellously quaint parchment bound books in letres blake, and what is singular, they are generally works quite unknown to the world—first discoveries—unique!  And then—oh! then—how bitter is the waking!

There was in Mr. Walker’s school library a book, one well known as Mrs. Trimmer’s “Natural History.”  This I read, as usual, thoroughly and often, and wrote my name at the end, ending with a long snaky flourish.  Years passed by, and I was at the University, when one evening, dropping in at an auction, I bought for six cents, or threepence, “a blind bundle” of six books tied up with a cord.  It was a bargain, for I found in it in good condition the first American editions of De Quincey’s “Opium-Eater,” “The Rejected Addresses,” and the Poems of Coleridge.  But what startled me was a familiar-looking copy of Mrs. Trimmer’s “Natural History,” in which at the end was my boyish signature.

“And still wider.”  In 1887 I passed some weeks at a hotel in Venice.  A number of Italian naval officers dined at our table-d’hôte every evening.  One of them showed us an intaglio which he had bought.  It represented a hunter on an elephant firing at a tiger.  The owner wished to know something about it.  Baron von Rosenfeld, a chamberlain of the Emperor of Austria, remarked at once that it was as old as the days of flint-locks, because smoke was rising from the lock of the gun.  I felt that I knew more about it, but could not at once recall what I knew, and said that I would explain it the next day.  And going into the past, I remembered that this very scene was the frontispiece to Mrs. Trimmer’s “Natural History.”  I think that some gem engraver, possibly in India, had copied it to order.  I can even now recall many other things in the book, but attribute my retention of p. 45so much which I have read not to a good memory, such as the mathematician has, which grasps directly, but simply to frequent reading and mental reviewing or revising.  Where there has been none of this, I forgot everything in a short time.

My father took in those years Blackwood’s and the New Monthly Magazine, and as I read every line of them, they were to me a vast source of knowledge.  I remember an epigram by “Martial in London” in the latter:—

“In Craven Street, Strand, four attorneys find place,
And four dark coal-barges are moored at the base;
Fly, Honesty, fly—seek some safer retreat,
For there’s craft on the river, and craft in the street.”

I never pass by Craven Street without recalling this, and so it has come to pass that by such memories and associations London in a thousand ways is always reviving my early life in America.

The Noctes Ambrosianæ puzzled me, as did the Bible, but I read, read, read, toujours.  My uncle Amos lent me the “Arabian Nights,” though my father strictly prohibited it.  But the zest of the forbidden made me study it with wondrous love.  The reader may laugh, but it is a fact that having obtained “Mother Goose’s Melodies,” I devoured them with a strange interest reflected from Washington Irving.  The truth is, that my taste had been so precociously developed, that I unconsciously found a literary merit or charm in them as I did in all fairy-tales, and I remember being most righteously indignant once when a young bookseller told me that I was getting to be too old to read such stuff!  The truth was, that I was just getting to be old enough to appreciate it as folk-lore and literature, which he never did.

The great intellectual influence which acted on me most powerfully after Irving was an incomplete volume of about 1790, called “The Poetical Epitome.”  It consisted of many of Percy’s “Relics” with selections of ballads, poems, and p. 46epigrams of many eminent writers.  I found it a few years after at a boarding-school, where I continually read it as before.

As I was backward in my studies, my parents, very injudiciously so far as learning was concerned, removed me from Mr. Walker’s school, and put me under the care of T. Bronson Alcott, who had just come to Philadelphia.  This was indeed going from the frying-pan into the very fire, so far as curing idleness and desultory habits and a tendency to romance and wild speculation was concerned.  For Mr. Alcott was the most eccentric man who ever took it on himself to train and form the youthful mind.  He did not really teach any practical study; there was indeed some pretence at geography and arithmetic, but these we were allowed to neglect at our own sweet will.  His forte was “moral influence” and “sympathetic intellectual communion” by talking; and oh, heaven! what a talker he was!  He was then an incipient Transcendentalist, and he did not fail to discover in me the seeds of the same plant.  He declared that I had a marvellous imagination, and encouraged my passion for reading anything and everything to the very utmost.  It is a fact that at nine years of age his disquisitions on and readings from Spenser’s “Faerie Queen” actually induced me to read the entire work, of which he was very proud, reminding me of it in 1881, when I went to Harvard to deliver the Phi Beta Kappa poem.  He also read thoroughly into us the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” Quarles’s “Emblems,” Northcote’s “Fables,” much Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Milton, all of which sunk into my very soul, educating me indeed “ideally” as no boy perhaps in Philadelphia had ever been educated, at the utter cost of all real “education.”  It was a great pity, and pity ’tis ’tis true.  The word ideal was ever in his mouth.  All of the new theories, speculations, or fads which were beginning to be ventilated among the Unitarian liberal clergy found ready welcome in his dreamy brain, and he retailed them all to his pupils, among whom I was certainly the only one who p. 47took them in and seriously thought them over.  Yet I cannot say that I really liked the man himself.  He was not to me exactly sympathetic-human.  Such training as his would develop in any boy certain weaknesses—and I had mine—which were very repulsive to my father, who carried plain common-sense to extremes, and sometimes into its opposite of unconscious eccentricity, though there was no word which he so much hated.

Bulwer’s “Last Days of Pompeii,” “The Disowned,” and “Pilgrims of the Rhine” made a deep and lasting impression on me.  I little thought then that I should in after years be the guest of the author in his home, and see the skull of Arbaces.  Oh, that by some magic power every author could be made to feel all the influence, all the charm, which his art exerts on his readers, and especially the young.  Sometimes, now and then, by golden chance, a writer of books does realise this, and then feels that he has lived to some purpose.  Once it happened to me to find a man, an owner of palaces and millions, who had every facility for becoming familiar with far greater minds and books than mine, who had for years collected with care and read everything which I had ever written.  He actually knew more about my books than I did.  I was startled at the discovery as at a miracle.  And if the reader knew what a mélange I have written, he would not wonder at it.

It is very probable that no man living appreciates the vast degree to which any book whatever which aims at a little more than merely entertaining, and appeals at all to thought, influences the world, and how many readers it gets.  There are books, of which a thousand copies were never sold, which have permeated society and been the argument of national revolutions.  Such a book was the “Political Economy” of H. C. Carey, of which I possess the very last copy of the first, and I believe the only, edition.  And there are novels which have gone to the three hundred thousand, of whose authors it may be said that

p. 48“Over the barren desert of their brains
There never strayed the starved camel of an idea,”

and whose works vanish like wind.

What is very remarkable is the manner in which even the great majority of readers confuse these two classes, and believe that mere popular success is correlative with genius and desert.  A great cause of this really vulgar error is the growing conviction that artistic skill alone determines merit in literature, and that intellect, as the French, beginning mildly with Voltaire and ending violently with Sainte-Beuve, assert is of far less importance than style.  “Le style, c’est l’esprit du siècle.”  Apropos of which I remarked that in the warlike Middle Age in France the motto might have been “L’homme c’est le steel.”  Then came the age of wigs, when the cry was, “L’homme c’est le style.”  And now we are in the swindling and bogus-company-promoting age, when it might be proclaimed that “L’homme c’est le steal.”

There was another book which I read through and through in early childhood to great profit.  This was Cottle’s “Alfred,” an epic of some merit, but chiefly in this, that it sets forth tolerably clearly the old Norse life and religion.  George Boker owned and gave me some time after a book entitled “Five Norse Poems,” in the original, and translated.  This with Grey’s poems, which latter I possessed, laid the basis for a deep interest in after years in Northern antiquities; they were soon followed by Mallett; and if I have since read many sagas in Icelandic and studied with keenest interest the museums of the North, the first incentive thereto came from my boyish reading.  When I was sixteen I executed a poetic version of the “Death Song of Regner Lodbrog,” which, though it was never published, I think was at least as good as any translation which I have since executed, “however that may be.”  I very seriously connected this Norse spirit with my grandfather and his stern uncles and progenitors, who had fought in Canada and in the icy winters of New England; grim men they were all; and I daresay that I was p. 49quite right.  It always seems to me that among these alternately fighting and farming Icelanders I am among my Leland relatives; and I even once found Uncle Seth in his red waistcoat in the Burnt Njals saga to the life.  There was a paragraph, as I write, recently circulating in the newspapers, in which I was compared in appearance to an old grey Viking, and it gave me a strange uncanny thrill, as if the writer of it were a wizard who had revealed a buried secret.

My parents, on coming to Philadelphia, had at first attended the Episcopal church, but finding that most of their New England friends held to the Rev. W. H. (now Dr.) Furness, an Unitarian, they took a pew in his chapel.  After fifteen years they returned to the Episcopal faith, but allowed me to keep the pew to myself for one or two years, till I went to college.  In Dr. Furness’s chapel I often heard Channing and all the famous Unitarian divines of the time preach, and very often saw Miss Harriet Martineau, Dr. Combe, the phrenologist, and many other distinguished persons.  In other places at different times I met Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, to whom I was introduced, Daniel Webster, to whom I reverently bowed, receiving in return a gracious acknowledgment, Peter Duponceau, Morton, Stephen Girard, Joseph Buonaparte, the two authors of the “Jack Downing Letters”; and I once heard David Crockett make a speech.  Apropos of Joseph Buonaparte, I can remember to have heard my wife’s mother, the late Mrs. Rodney Fisher, tell how when a little girl, and while at his residence at Bordentown, she had run a race with the old ex-king of Spain.  A very intimate friend in our family was Professor John Frost, the manufacturer of literally innumerable works of every description.  He had many thousands of woodcut blocks, and when he received an order—as, for example, a history of any country, or of the world, or of a religion, or a school geography, or book of travel or adventure, or a biography, or anything else that the heart of man could conceive—he set his scribes to write, scissors and paste, and lo! the book was p. 50made forthwith, he aiding and revising it.  What was most remarkable was that many of these pièces de manufacture were rather clever, and very well answered the demand, for their sale was enormous.  He had when young been in the West Indies, and written a clever novelette entitled “Ramon, the Rover of Cuba.”  Personally he was very handsome, refined, and intelligent; a man meant by Nature for higher literary work than mere book-making.

Miss Eliza Leslie, the writer of the best series of sketches of American domestic life of her day, was a very intimate friend of my mother, and a constant visitor at our house.  She was a sister of Leslie, the great artist, and had been in her early life much in England.  I was a great favourite with her, and owed much to her always entertaining and very instructive conversation, which was full of reminiscences of distinguished people and remarkable events.  I may say with great truth that I really profited as much by mere hearing as many boys would have done by knowing the originals, so deep was the interest which I felt in all that I heard, and so eager my desire to learn to know the world.

Then I was removed, and with good cause, from Mr. Alcott’s school, for he had become so very “ideal” or eccentric in his teaching and odd methods of punishment by tormenting without ever whipping, that people could not endure his purely intellectual system.  So for one winter, as my health was bad and I was frequently ill, for a long time I was allowed to do nothing but attend a writing-school kept by a Mr. Rand.  At the end of the season, he sadly admitted that I still wrote badly; I think he pronounced me the worst and most incurable case of bad writing which he had ever attended.  In 1849 Judge (then Mr.) Cadwallader, with whom I was studying law, said that he admired my engrossing hand more than any he had ever seen except one.  As hands go round the clock, our hands do change.

I was to go the next summer to New England with my younger brother, Henry Perry Leland, to be placed in the p. 51celebrated boarding-school of Mr. Charles W. Greene, at Jamaica Plains, five miles from Boston; which was done, and with this I enter on a new phase of life, of which I have very vivid reminiscences.  Let me state that we first went to Dedham and stayed some weeks.  There I found living with his father, an interesting boy of my own age, named William Joshua Barney, a grandson of the celebrated Commodore Barney, anent whom was written the song, “Barney, leave the girls alone,” apropos of his having been allowed to kiss Marie Antoinette and all her maids of honour.  William had already been at Mr. Greene’s school, and we soon became intimate.

During this time my father hired a chaise; I borrowed William’s shot-gun, and we went together on a delightful tour to visit all our relations in Holliston, Milford, and elsewhere.  At one time we stopped to slay an immense black snake; at another to shoot wild pigeons, and “so on about” to Providence and many places.  From cousins who lived in old farmhouses in wild and remote places I received Indian arrow-heads and a stone tomahawk, and other rustic curiosities dear to my heart.  At the Fremont House in Boston my father showed me one day at dinner several foreign gentlemen of different nations belonging to different Legations.  In Rhode Island I found by a stream several large pot-holes in rocks of which I had read, and explained to my father (gravely as usual) how they were made by eddies of water and gravel-stones.  One day my father in Boston took me to see a marvellous white shell from China, valued at one hundred pounds.  What was the amazement of all present to hear me give its correct Latin name, and relate a touching tale of a sailor who, finding such a shell when shipwrecked on a desert island, took it home with him, “and was thereby raised (as I told them) from poverty to affluence.”  Which tale I had read the week before in a children’s magazine, and, as usual, reflected deeply on it, resolving to keep my eye on all shells in future, in the hope of something turning up.

p. 52I was not, however, a little prig who bored people with my reading, for I have heard old folk say that there was a quaint naïveté and droll seriousness, and total unconsciousness of superior information in my manner, which made these outpourings of mine very amusing.  I think I was a kind of little Paul Dombey, unconsciously odd, and perhaps innocently Quaker-like.  I could never understand why Aunt Nancy, and many more, seemed to be so much amused at serious and learned examples and questions which I laid down to them.  For though they did not “smile outright,” I had learned to penetrate the New England ironical glance and satirical intonation.  My mother said that, when younger, I, having had a difficulty of some kind with certain street-boys, came into the house with my eyes filled with tears, and said, “I told them that they were evil-minded, but they laughed me to scorn.”  On another occasion, when some vagabond street-boys asked me to play with them, I gravely declined, on the ground that I must “Shun bad company”—this phrase being the title of a tract which I had read, and the boys corresponding in appearance to a picture of sundry young ragamuffins on its title-page.

My portrait had been admirably painted in Philadelphia by Mrs. Darley, the daughter of Sully, who, I believe, put the finishing touches to it.  When Mr. Walker saw it, he remarked that it looked exactly as if Charley were just about to tell one of his stories.  At the time I was reading for the first time “The Child’s Own Book,” an admirable large collection of fairy-tales and strange adventures, which kept me in fairy-land many a time while I lay confined to bed for weeks with pleurisies and a great variety of afflictions, for in this respect I suffered far more than most children.


Mr. Charles W. Greene was a portly, ruddy, elderly Boston gentleman of good family, who had been in early life attached in some diplomatic capacity to a Legation, and had visited Constantinople.  I think that he had met with reverses, but having some capital, had been established by his many friends as a schoolmaster.  He was really a fine old gentleman, with a library full of old books, and had Madeira in quaint little old bottles, on which, stamped in the glass, one could read Greene 1735.  He had a dear little wife, and both were as kind to the boys as possible.  Once, and once only, when I had really been very naughty, did he punish me.  He took me solemnly into the library (oh, what blessed beautiful reading I often had there!), and, after a solemn speech, and almost with tears in his eyes, gave me three blows with a folded newspaper!  That was enough.  If I had been flayed with a rope’s end, it would not have had a greater moral effect than it did.

Everything was very English and old-fashioned about the place.  The house was said in 1835 to be a hundred and fifty years old, having been one of the aristocratic Colonial manors.  One building after another had been added to it, and the immense elms which grew about testified to its age.  The discipline or training was eminently adapted to make young gentlemen of us all.  There was almost no immorality among the boys, and no fighting whatever.  The punishments were bad marks, and for every mark a boy was obliged to go to bed an hour earlier than the others.  Extreme cases of wickedness were punished by sending boys to bed in the daytime.  When two were in a room, and thus confined, they used to relieve the monotony of their imprisonment by fighting with pillows.  Those who had bad marks were also confined within certain bounds.  Good boys, or those especially favoured, were allowed to chop kindling wood, or do other light work, for which they were paid three cents per hour.

p. 54The boy who was first down in the morning had an apple given to him.  This apple was greatly despised by the bolder spirits, who taunted those who arose promptly with a desire to obtain it.

Candour compels me to admit that, as a teacher of learning, Mr. Greene was not pre-eminent.  He had two schoolrooms, and employed for each as good a teacher as he could hire.  But we were not at all thoroughly well taught, although we were kept longer in the schoolroom than was really good for us; for in summer we had an hour’s study before breakfast, then from nine till twelve, and again from two to five.  In winter we had, instead of the early lesson, an hour in the evening.  Something was wanting in the system, and I believe that after a year and a half I knew no more, as regards studies, than I did when I first entered.

When a boy’s birthday came, he was allowed to have some special dainty for us all.  I was very much disgusted with the Boston boys when they selected pork and beans, which I loathed.  Some would choose plum-pudding, others apple-pies.  There were always two or three dishes for breakfast, as, for instance, fried potatoes and butter, or cold meat, or pan-dowdy—a kind of coarse and broken up apple-pie—with the tea and bread and coffee, but we could only eat of one.  There was rather too much petty infant-schoolery in all this, but we got on very well.  Pepper and mustard were forbidden, but I always had a great natural craving for these, and when I asked for them, Mr. Greene would shake his head, but always ended by handing them to me.  He was a bon vivant himself, and sympathised with me.  There were one or two books also of a rather peppery or spicy nature in his library, such as a collection of rollicking London songs, at which he likewise shook his head when I asked for them—but I got them.  There I read for the first time all of Walter Scott’s novels, and the Percy Ballads, and some of Marryatt’s romances, and Hood’s Annual, and Dr. Holmes’s first poems.

p. 55There was in Mr. Greene’s library a very curious and now rare work in three volumes, published in Boston at some time in the twenties, called “The Marvellous Depository.”  It consisted of old legends of Boston, such as the story of “Peter Rugg,” “Tom Walker and the Devil,” “The Golden Tooth,” “Captain Kidd,” “The Witch Flymaker,” and an admirable collection of unearthly German tales, such as “The Devil’s Elixir,” by Hoffmann (abridged), “Jacob the Bowl,” “Rubezahl,” “Der Freyschutz,” and many more, but all of the unearthly blood-curdling kind.  Singly, they were appalling enough to any one in those days when the supernatural still thrilled the strongest minds, but taken altogether for steady reading, the book was a perfect Sabbat of deviltry and dramatic horrors.  The tales were well told, or translated in very simple but vigorous English, and I pored over the collection and got it by heart, and borrowed it, and took it to Dedham in the holidays, and into the woods, where I read it in sunshine or twilight shade by the rippling river, under wild rocks, and so steeped my soul in the supernatural, that I seemed to live a double life.  As was natural, my schoolmates read and liked such tales, but they sunk into my very soul, and took root, and grew up into a great overshadowing forest, while with others they were only as dwarf bushes, if they grew at all.  All of this—though I did not know it—was unconsciously educating my bewitched mind to a deep and very precocious passion for mediæval and black-letter literature and occult philosophy, which was destined to manifest itself within a few years.

There was another book which greatly influenced my mind and life.  I have forgotten the title, but it was a very remarkable collection of curiosities, such as accounts of a family of seven children who had every one some strange peculiarity, dwarfs and giants, and mysteriously-gifted mortals, and all kinds of odd beings and inventions.  I obtained in a very mysterious way; for one day I found it in my desk, a blessed gift indeed from some unknown friend who p. 56had rightly judged of my tastes.  This work I literally lived upon for a long time.  Once a lady friend of my mother’s came in winter and took me a-sleighing, but I had my dear book under my jacket, and contrived now and then to re-read some anecdote in it.  In after years I found a copy of it in the Mercantile Library, Philadelphia, but I have never seen it elsewhere. [56]  I had at Mr. Alcott’s carefully studied all the Percy Anecdotes, and could repeat most of them when recalled by some association; also Goldsmith’s “Animated Nature,” the perusal of which latter work was to me as the waving of a forest and the sighing of deep waters.  Then, too, I had read—in fact I owned—the famous Peter Parley books, which gave me, as they have to thousands of boys, a desire to travel and see the world.  I marvelled greatly at finding that Peter Parley himself, or Mr. S. G. Goodrich, had a beautiful country-house very near our school, and his son Frank, who was a very pleasant and wonderfully polite and sunshiny boy, sat by me in school.  Frank Goodrich in after life wrote a novel entitled “Flirtation and its Consequences,” of which my brother said, “What are its consequences, Frank; good rich husbands?  By no means.”  I can remember being invited to a perfectly heavenly garden-party at the Goodrichs’, and evening visits there with my mother.  And I may note by the way, that Frank himself lived abroad in after years; that his father became the American Consul p. 57in Paris, and that in 1848 he introduced to the Gouvernement Provisoire the American delegation, of which I was one, and how we were caricatured in the Charivari, in which caricature I was specially depicted, the likeness being at once recognised by everybody, and how I knew nothing of it all till I was told about it by the beautiful Miss Goodrich, Frank’s younger sister, on a Staten Island steamboat, many, many years after.  And as a postscript I may add, that it is literally true that before I was quite twenty-three years of age I had been twice caricatured or pictorially jested on in the Munich Fliegende Blätter and twice in the Paris Charivari, which may show that I was to a certain degree about town in those days, as I indeed was.  While I am about it, I may as well tell the Munich tale.  There was a pretty governess, a great friend of mine, who had charge of two children.  Meeting her one day in the park, at a sign from me she pressed the children’s hats down over their eyes with “Kinder, setzt eure Hüte fester auf!” and in that blessed instant cast up her beautiful lips and was kissed.  I don’t know whether we were overseen; certain it is that in the next number of the Fliegende Blätter the scene was well depicted, with the words.  The other instance was this.  One evening I met in a Bierhalle a sergeant of police with whom I fraternised.  I remember that he could talk modern Greek, having learned it in Greece.  This was very infra dig. indeed for a student, and one of my comrades said to me that, as I was a foreigner, I was probably not aware of what a fault I had committed, but that in future I must not be seen talking to a soldier.  To which I, with a terrible wink, replied, “Mum’s the word; that soldier is lieutenant of police in my ward, and I have squared it with him all right, so that if there should be a Bierkrawall (a drunken row) in our quarter he will let me go.”  This, which appeared as a grand flight of genial genius to a German, speedily went through all the students’ kneipe, and soon appeared, very well illustrated, in the “F. B.”

We were allowed sixpence a week spending-money at Mr. p. 58Greene’s, two cents, or a penny, being deducted for a bad mark.  Sometimes I actually got a full week’s income; once I let it run on up to 25 cents, but this was forbidden, it not being considered advisable that the boys should accumulate fortunes.  A great deal of my money went for cheap comic literature, which I carefully preserved.  In those days there were Crockett’s almanacs (now a great fund of folk-lore), and negro songs and stories were beginning to be popular.  It is very commonly asserted that the first regular negro minstrel troupe appeared in 1842.  This is quite an error.  While I was at Mr. Greene’s, in 1835, there came to Dedham a circus with as regularly-appointed a negro minstrel troupe of a dozen as I ever saw.  I often beheld the pictures of them on the bill.  Nor do I think that this was any novelty even then.  The Crockett almanacs greatly stimulated my sense of American humour (they do indeed form collectively a very characteristic work), and this, with some similar reading, awoke in me a passion for wild Western life and frontier experiences, which was fully and strangely gratified in after years, but which would certainly have never happened had it not been for this boyish reading.

For I beg the reader to observe that it is a very deeply-seated characteristic that whatever once takes root in my mind invariably grows.  This comes from the great degree to which I have always gone over, reviewed, and reflected on, or nursed everything which ever once really interested me.  And as I have thus far written, and shall probably conclude this work without referring to a note, the reader will have ample opportunity of observing how very strangely in all cases the phases of my life were predetermined long before by the literary education which I gave myself, aided very much by hereditary or other causes quite beyond my control.  Now, as the object of a Life is to understand every cause which created it, and as mine was to a very unusual degree created by reading and reflecting, even in infancy, I beg the reader not to be impatient with me for describing so much in detail the p. 59books which made my mind at different times.  That is, I pray this much allowance and sympathy from possible readers and critics, that they will kindly not regard me as vain or thinking over-much of, or too much over, myself.  For to get oneself forth as one really is requires deep investigation into every cause, and the depicting all early characteristics, and the man never lived who ever did this truly and accurately without much egoism, or what the ill-disposed may treat as such.  And I promise the possible reader that when this subjective analysis shall be fairly disposed of, there will be no lack of mere incident or event of objective nature and more general interest.

My first winter at Jamaica Plains was the terrible one of 1835, during which I myself saw the thermometer at 50 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, and there was a snow-bank in the play-ground from October till May.  The greatest care possible was taken of us boys to keep us warm and well, but we still suffered very much from chilblains.  Water thrown into the air froze while falling.  Still there were some happy lights and few shadows in it all.  The boys skated or slid on beautiful Jamaica Pond, which was near the school.  There was a general giving of sleds to us all; mine broke to pieces at once.  I never had luck with any plaything, never played ball or marbles, and hardly ever had even a top.  Nor did I ever have much to do with any games, or even learn in later years to play cards, which was all a great pity.  Sports should be as carefully looked to in early education as book-learning.  I had also a pair of dear gazelle-skates given to me with the rest, but they also broke up on first trial, and I have never owned any since.  Destiny was always against me in such matters.

The boys built two large snow-houses, roofed in or arched over with hard snow.  One was ingeniously and appropriately like an Eskimo hut, with a rather long winding passage leading into it.  Of these I wrote in the spring, when the sun had begun to act, “one is almost annihilated, and of the p. 60other not a vestage remains.”  I found the letter by chance many years later.

There lived in Boston some friends of my mother’s named Gay.  In the family was an old lady over eighty, who was a wonderfully lively spirited person.  She still sang, as I thought, very beautifully, to the lute, old songs such as “The merry days of good Queen Bess,” and remembered the old Colonial time as if it were of yesterday.  One day Mr. Gay came out and took me to his house, where I remained from Saturday until Monday; during which time I found among the books, and very nearly read through, all the poems of Peter Pindar or Doctor Wolcott.  Precious reading it was for a boy of eleven, yet I enjoyed it immensely.  While there, I found in the earth in the garden an oval, dark-green porphyry pebble, which I, moved by a strange feeling, preserved for many years as an amulet.  It is very curious that exactly such pebbles are found as fetishes all over the world, and the famous conjuring stone of the Voodoos, which I possess, is only an ordinary black flint pebble of the same shape.  Negroes have travelled a thousand miles to hold it in their hands and make a wish, which, if uttered with faith, is always granted.  Its possession alone entitles any one to the first rank as master in the mysteries of Voodoo sorcery.  Truly I began early in the business!  I may here say that since I owned the Voodoo stone it has been held in several very famous and a few very beautiful hands.

While I was at Mr. Greene’s I wrote my first poem.  I certainly exhibited no great precocity of lyrical genius in it, but the reader must remember that I was only a foolish little boy of ten or eleven at the time, and that I showed it to no one.  It was as follows:

“As a long-bearded Sultan, an infidel Turk,
Who ne’er in his life had done any work,
Rode along to the bath, he saw Hassan the black,
With two monstrous water-skins high on his back.

p. 61“‘Ho, Hassan, thou afreet! thou infidel dog!
Thou son of a Jewess and eater of hog!
This instant, this second, put down thy skin jugs,
And for my sovereign pleasure remove both the plugs!’

“The negro obeyed him, put both on the ground,
And opened the skins and the water flew round;
The Sultan looked on till he laughèd his fill;
Then went on to the bath, feeling heated and ill.

“When arrived at the bath, ‘Is all ready?’ he cries.
‘Indeed it is not, sire,’ the bath-man replies;
‘For to fetch the bath-water black Hassan has gone,
And your highness can’t have it till he shall return.’”

In after years my friend, Professor E. H. Palmer, translated this into Arabic, and promised me that it should be sung in the East.  It is not much of a poem, even for a boy, but there is one touch true to life in it—which is the cursing.  This must have come to me by revelation; and in after years in Cairo I never heard a native address another as “AfritYa-hinzeerwa Yahudyin uldeen ak?”—“curse your religion!”—but I thought how marvellous it was that I, even in my infancy, had divined so well how they did it!  However, now I come to think of it, I had the year before read Morier’s “Haji-Baba” with great admiration, and I doubt not that it was the influence of that remarkable book which produced this beautiful result.  In after years I met with a lady who was a daughter of Morier.  Apropos of the book, it reminds me that I specially recall my reviewing it mentally many times.

I have reviewed my early life in quiet, old-fashioned, shaded Philadelphia and in rural New England so continually and carefully all the time ever since it passed that I am sure its minutest detail on any day would now be accurately recalled at the least suggestion.  As I shall almost certainly write this whole work without referring to a note or journal or other document, it will be seen that I remember the past pretty well.  What is most remarkable in it all, if I can make myself intelligible, is that what between the deep and indelible p. 62impression made on my mind by books, and that of scenery and characters now passed away—the two being connected—it all seems to me now to be as it were vividly depicted, coloured, or written in my mind, like pages in an illuminated or illustrated romance.  As some one has said that dreams are novels which we read when asleep, so bygone memories, when continually revived and associated with the subtle and delicate influences of reading, really become fixed literature to us, glide into it, and are virtually turned to copy, which only awaits type.  Thus a scene to one highly cultivated in art is really a picture, to a degree which few actually realise, though they may fancy they do, because to actually master this harmony requires so many years of study and thought that I very rarely meet with perfect instances of it.  De Quincey and Coleridge are two of the best illustrations whom I can recall, while certain analytical character-sifters in modern novels seem the farthest remote from such genial naturalness.

At the end of the first year my brother returned to Philadelphia.  I passed the summer at Dr. Stimson’s, in Dedham, wandering about in the woods with my bow, fishing in the river, reading always whatever fate or a small circulating library provided—I remember that “The Devil on Two Sticks” and the “Narrative of Captain Boyle” were in it—and carving spoons and serpents from wood, which was a premonition of my later work in this line, and of my “Manual of Wood-Carving.”

At this time something took place which deeply impressed me.  This was the two hundredth anniversary of the building of the town of Dedham, which was celebrated with very great splendour: speeches, tents with pine-boughs, music-booths, ginger-beer, side-shows—in short, all the pomp and circumstance of a country fair allied to historic glory.  I had made one or two rather fast and, I fear me, not over-reputable acquaintances of my own age, with whom I enjoyed the festival to the utmost.  Then I returned to school, and autumn p. 63came, and then winter.  At this time I felt fearfully lonely.  I yearned for my mother with a longing beyond words, and was altogether home-sick.

I was seated one Saturday afternoon, busily working in the drawing-class under a little old Englishman named Dr. Hunt, when there came the startling news that a gentleman had come to take me home!  I could hardly believe my senses.  I went down, and was presented to a man of about thirty, of extremely pleasant and attractive appearance, who told me that his name was Carlisle, that he was a friend of my father’s, and that I was at once to return with him to Philadelphia.  I wonder that I did not faint with joy.  Mr. Carlisle was a man of very remarkable intelligence, kindness, and refinement.  Nearly sixty years have passed since then, and yet the memory of the delightful impression which he made on me is as fresh as ever.  My trunk was soon packed; we were whirled away to Boston, and went to a hotel, he treating me altogether like a young gentleman and an equal.

It had been the dream and hope and wild desire of my life to go to the Lion Theatre in Boston, where circus was combined with roaring maritime melodramas, of which I had heard heavenly accounts from a few of my schoolmates.  And Mr. Carlisle took me there that evening, and I saw “Hyder Ali.”  Never, never in my life before did I dream that dramatic art, poetry, and mimesis could attain to such ideal splendour.  And then a sailor came on the stage and sang “Harry Bluff,” and when he came to the last line—

“And he died like a true Yankee sailor at last,”

amid thundering hurrahs, it seemed to me that romance could go no farther.  I do not think that Mr. Carlisle had any knowledge of boys, certainly not of such a boy as I was, but I am sure that he must have been amply repaid for his kindness to me in my delight.  And there were acrobatic performances, p. 64such as I had never seen in my life, and we returned to the hotel and a grand supper, and I was in heaven.

The next morning Mr. Carlisle put into my hand, with great delicacy, such a sum as I had never before possessed, telling me that I “would need it for travelling expenses.”  All the while he drew me out on literature.  On the Long Island Sound steamer he bade me notice a young gentleman (whom I was destined to know in after years), a man with curly hair and very foppish air, accompanied by a page “in an eruption of buttons,” and told me that it was N. P. Willis.  And so revelling in romance and travel, with mince-pie and turkey for my daily food, my pocket stuffed with money, in the most refined and elegant literary society (at least it was there on deck), I came to Philadelphia.  I may here say that the memory of Mr. Carlisle has made me through all my life kinder to boys than I might otherwise have been; and if, as a teacher, I have been popular among them, it was to a great degree due to his influence.  For, as will appear in many passages in this book, I have to a strange degree the habit of thinking over marked past experiences, and drawing from them precedents by which to guide my conduct; hence it has often happened that a single incident has shown itself in hundreds of others, as a star is reflected in countless pools.

p. 65II.  BOYHOOD AND YOUTH.  1837-1845.

Return to Philadelphia at twelve years of age—Early discipline—School at Mr. C. Walker’s—B. P. Hunt—My first reading of Rabelais—Mr. Robert Stewart—Hurlbut’s school—Boyish persecution—Much strange reading—François Villon—Early studies in philosophy—Transcendentalism and its influence—Spanish—School of E. C. Wines—The French teacher—Long illness—The intelligent horse—Princeton University professors—Albert Dodd and James Alexander—College life—Theology—Rural scenes—Reading—My first essays—The Freshman rebellion—Smoking—George H. Boker—Jacob Behmen or Böhme—Stonington—Captain Nat Palmer and Commodore Vanderbilt—My graduation.

How happy I was again to see my mother and father and Henry!  And then came other joys.  My father had taken a very nice house in Walnut Street, in the best quarter of the city, below Thirteenth Street, and this was a source of pleasure, as was also a barrel of apples in the cellar, to which I had free access.  They had been doled out to us very sparingly at school, and I never shall forget the delight with which I one day in December at Jamaica Plain discovered a frozen apple on a tree!  Then there was the charm of being in a great city, and familiar old scenes, and the freedom from bad marks, and being ruled into bounds, and sent to bed at early hours.  There is, in certain cases, a degree of moral restraint and discipline which is often carried much too far, especially where boys are brought up with a view to pushing themselves in the world.  I was sixteen years of age and six feet high before I was allowed to leave off short jackets, go to a theatre, or travel alone, all of which was more injurious to p. 66me, I believe, than ordinary youthful dissipation would have been, especially in America.  Yet, while thus repressed, I was being continually referred by all grown-up friends to enterprising youth of my own age, who were making a living in bankers’ or conveyancers’ offices, &c., and acting “like men.”  The result really being that I was completely convinced that I was a person of feeble and inferior capacity as regarded all that was worth doing or knowing in life, though Heaven knows my very delicate health and long illnesses might of themselves have excused all my failings.  The vast majority of Americans, however kind and generous they may be in other respects, are absolutely without mercy or common-sense as regards the not succeeding in life or making money.  Such, at least, was my experience, and bitter it was.  Elders often forget that even obedience, civility, and morality in youth are luxuries which must be paid for like all other extravagances at a high price, especially in children of feeble constitution.  The dear boy grows up “as good as pie,” and, being pious, “does not know one card from another,” nor one human being from another.  You make of him a fool, and then call him one—I mean, what you regard as a fool.  I am not at all sure that one or two cruises in a slaver (there were plenty of them sailing out of New York in those days) would not have done me far more good of a certain kind than all the education I had till I left college in America.  I am not here complaining, as most weak men do, as if they were specially victims to a wretched fate and a might-have-been-better.  The vast majority of boys have not better homes or education, kinder parents, or advantages greater than mine were.  But as I do not recall my boyhood’s days or my youth till I left college with that joyousness which I find in other men without exception, and as, in fact, there always seems as if a cloud were over it all, while from below there was a low continual murmur as of a patient soul in pain, I feel that there was something wrong in it all, as there indeed was—the wrong of taking all the starch out of a shirt, and then wondering p. 67that it was not stiff.  But I must say, at the same time, that this free expansion is not required by the vast majority of boys, who are only far too ready and able to spread themselves into “life” without any aid whatever.  What is for one meat may be for another poison, and mine was a very exceptional case, which required very peculiar treatment.

My father had sold out his business in 1832 to Mr. Charles S. Boker, and since then been principally engaged in real estate and stock speculation.  When I returned, he had bought a large property between Chestnut Market and Third Streets, on which was a hotel called Congress Hall, with which there were connected many historical associations, for most of the noted men who for many years visited Philadelphia had lived in it.  With it were stables and other buildings, covering a great deal of ground in the busiest portion of the city, but still not in its condition very profitable.  Then, again, he purchased the old Arch Street prison, a vast gloomy pile, like four dead walls, a building nearly 400 feet square.  It was empty, and I went over it and into the cells many times.  I remember thinking of the misery and degradation of those who had been confined there.  The discipline had been bad enough, for the prisoners had been allowed to herd freely together.  My father tore it down, and built a block of handsome dwelling-houses on its site.  As the trottoir or side-walk was narrow, he, at a considerable loss to himself, made a present to the city of a strip of land which left a wide pavement.  I say “at a loss,” for had the houses been deeper they would have sold for much more.  The City Council graciously accepted the gift, with the special condition that my father should pay all the expenses of the transfer!  From which I learned the lesson that in this life a man is quite as liable to suffer from doing good as doing evil, unless he employs just as much foresight or caution in the doing thereof.  Some of the most deeply regretted acts of my life, which have caused me most sincere and oft-renewed repentance, p. 68were altogether and perfectly acts of generosity and goodness.  The simple truth of which is that a gush, no matter how sweet and pure the water may be, generally displaces something.  Many more buildings did my father buy and sell, but committed withal the very serious error of never buying a house as a permanent home or a country place, which he might have easily done, and even to great profit, which error in the long-run caused us all great inconvenience, and much of that shifting from place to place which is very bad for a growing family.  The humblest man in such case in a house of his own has certain great advantages over even a millionaire in lodgings.

Mr. S. C. Walker had given over his school to a younger brother named Joseph, but it was still kept in the old house in Eighth Street, where also I had taken my lessons in the rudiments of Transcendentalism from the Orphic Alcott.  It was now a fairly good school as things went in those days, with the same lectures in Natural Philosophy and Chemistry—the same mild doses of French and Latin.  The chief assistant was E. Otis Kimball, subsequently a professor of astronomy, a very gentlemanly and capable instructor, of a much higher type than any assistant-teacher whom I had ever before met.  Under him I read Voltaire’s “Charles the Twelfth.”  George H. Boker, who was one year older than I, and the son of my father’s old partner, went to this school.  I do not remember that for the first year or eighteen mouths after my return to Philadelphia there was any incident of note in my life, or that I read anything unless it was Shakespeare, and reviews which much influenced me.  However, I was very wisely allowed to attend a gymnasium, kept by a man named Hudson.  Here there was a sporting tone, much pistol-shooting at a mark, boxing and fencing, prints of prize-fighters on the wall, and cuts from Life in London, with copious cigar-smoke.  It was a wholesome, healthy place for me.  Unfortunately, I could not afford the shooting, boxing, &c., but I profited somewhat by it, both morally p. 69and physically.  At this critical period, or a little later, a few pounds a year judiciously invested in sport and “dissipation” would have changed the whole current of my life, probably much for the better, and it would certainly have spared my poor father the conviction, which he had almost to his death, that I was a sad and mortifying failure or exception which had not paid its investment; for which opinion he was in no wise to blame, it being also that of all his business acquaintances, many of whose sons, it was true, went utterly to the devil, but then it was in the ancient intelligible, common-sensible, usual paths of gambling, horsing, stock-brokering, selling short, or ruining all their relatives by speculating with their money.  However, there was also the—rather forlorn—hope ahead that I would do something in a profession.

The school went on, Mr. Walker studying law meantime till he had passed his examination, when it was transferred to Mr. B. P. Hunt.  With this man, who became and remained my intimate friend till his death, thirty years after, came the first faint intimation of what was destined to be the most critical, the most singular, and by far the most important period of my life.

Mr. Hunt was, as he himself declared to me in after years, not at all fitted to be a schoolmaster.  He lacked the minor or petty earnestness of character, and even the training or preparation, necessary for such work.  On the other hand, he had read a great deal in a desultory way; he was very fond of all kinds of easy literature; and when he found that any boy understood the subject, he would talk with that boy about whatever he had been reading.  Yet there was something real and stimulative in him, for there never was a man in Philadelphia who kept school for so short a time and with so few pupils who had among them so many who in after life became more or less celebrated.  For he certainly made all of us who were above idiocy think and live in thought above the ordinary range of school-boy life.  Thus I can recall these two out of many incidents:—

p. 70Finding me one day at an old book-stand, he explained to me Alduses, and Elzevirs, and bibliography, showing me several specimens, all of which I remembered.

I had read Watson’s “Annals of Philadelphia.”  [By the way, I knew the daughter of the author.]  There was an allusion in it to Cornelius Agrippa, and Mr. Hunt explained and dilated on this great sorcerer to me till I became half crazy to read the “Occult Philosophy,” which I did at a roaring rate two years later.

One day I saw Mr. Hunt and Mr. Kendall chuckling together over a book.  I divined a secret.  Now, I was a very honourable boy, and never pried into secrets, but where a quaint old book was concerned I had no more conscience than a pirate.  And seeing Mr. Hunt put the book into his desk, I abode my time till he had gone forth, when I raised the lid, and . . .

Merciful angels and benevolent fairies! it was Urquhart’s translation of Rabelais!  One short spell I read, no more; but it raised a devil which has never since been laid.  Ear hath not heard, it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive, what I felt as I realised, like a young giant just awakened, that there was in me a stupendous mental strength to grasp and understand that magnificent mixture of ribaldry and learning, fun and wisdom, deviltry and divinity.  In a few pages’ time I knew what it all meant, and that I was gifted to understand it.  I replaced the book; nor did I read it again for years, but from that hour I was never quite the same person.  The next day I saw Callot’s “Temptation of St. Anthony” for the first time in a shop-window, and felt with joy and pride that I understood it out of Rabelais.  Two young gentlemen—lawyers apparently—by my side thought it was crazy and silly.  To me it was more like an apocalypse.

I am speaking plain truth when I say that that one quarter of an hour’s reading of Rabelais—standing up—was to me as the light which flashed upon Saul journeying to p. 71Damascus.  It seems to me now as if it were the great event of my life.  It came to such a pass in after years that I could have identified any line in the Chronicle of Gargantua, and I also was the suggester, father, and founder in London of the Rabelais Club, in which were many of the best minds of the time, but beyond it all and brighter than all was that first revelation.

It should be remembered that I had already perused Sterne, much of Swift, and far more comic and satiric literature than is known to boys, and, what is far more remarkable, had thoroughly taken it all into my cor cordium by much repetition and reflection.

Mr. Hunt in time put me up to a great deal of very valuable or curious belletristic fair-lettered or black-lettered reading, far beyond my years, though not beyond my intelligence and love.  We had been accustomed to pass to our back-gate of the school through Blackberry Alley—

“Blackberry Alley, now Duponceau Street,
A rose by any name will smell as sweet”—

which was tenanted principally by social evils.  He removed to the corner of Seventh and Chestnut Streets.  Under our schoolroom there was a gambling den.  I am not aware that these surroundings had any effect whatever upon the pupils.  Among the pupils in Seventh Street was one named Emile Tourtelôt.  We called him Oatmeal Turtledove.  I had another friend who was newly come from Connecticut.  His uncle kept a hotel and often gave him Havanna cigars.  We often took long walks together out of town and smoked them.  He taught me the song—

“On Springfield mountains there did dwell,”

with much more quaint rural New England lore.

About this time my grandfather Leland died.  I wept sadly on hearing it.  My father, who went to Holliston to attend the funeral, brought me back a fine collection of p. 72Indian stone relics and old American silver coins, for he had been in his way an antiquarian.  Bon sang ne peut mentir.  I had also the certificate of some Society or Order of Revolutionary soldiers to which he had belonged.  One of his brothers had, as an officer, a membership of the hereditary Order of the Cincinnati.  This passed to another branch of the family.

For many years the principal regular visitor at our house was Mr. Robert Stewart, a gentleman of good family and excellent education, who had during the wars with Napoleon made an adventurous voyage to France, and subsequently passed most of his life as Consul or diplomatic agent in Cuba.  He had brought with him from Cuba a black Ebo-African slave named Juan.  As the latter seemed to be discontented in Philadelphia, Mr. Stewart, who was kindness itself, offered to send him back freed to Cuba or Africa, and told him he might buy a modest outfit of clothing, such as suited his condition.  The negro went to a first-class tailor and ordered splendid clothes, which were sent back, of course.  The vindictive Ebo was so angry at this, that one summer afternoon, while Mr. Stewart slept, the former fell on him with an axe and knife, mangled his head horribly, cut the cords of his hand, &c., and thought he had killed him.  But hearing his victim groan, he was returning, when he met another servant, who said, “Juan, where are you going?”  He replied, “Me begin to kill Mars’ Stewart—now me go back finish him!”  He was, of course, promptly arrested.  Mr. Stewart recovered, but was always blind of one eye, and his right hand was almost useless.  Mr. Stewart had in his diplomatic capacity seen many of the pirates who abounded on the Spanish Main in those days.  He was an admirable raconteur, abounding in reminiscences.  His son William inherited from an uncle a Cuban estate worth millions of dollars, and lived many years in Paris.  He was a great patron of (especially Spanish) art.

So I passed on to my fourteenth year, which was destined p. 73to be the beginning of the most critical period of my life.  My illnesses had increased in number and severity, and I had shot up into a very tall weak youth.  Mr. Hunt gave up teaching, and became editor of Littell’s Magazine.  I was sent to the school of Mr. Hurlbut—as I believe it was then spelled, but I may be wrong.  He had been a Unitarian clergyman, but was an ungenial, formal, rather harsh man—the very opposite of Mr. Hunt.  My schoolmates soon found that though so tall, I was physically very weak, and many of them continually bullied and annoyed me.  Once I was driven into a formal stand-up fight with one younger by a year, but much stronger.  I did my best, but was beaten.  I offered to fight him then in Indian fashion with a hug, but this he scornfully declined.  After this he never met me without insulting me, for he had a base nature, as his after-life proved.  These humiliations had a bad effect upon me, for I was proud and nervous, and, like many such boys, often very foolish.

But I had a few very good friends.  Among these was Charles Macalester.  One day when I had been bullied shamefully by the knot of boys who always treated me badly, he ran after me up Walnut Street, and, almost with tears in his eyes, assured me of his sympathy.  There were two other intimates.  George Patrullo, of Spanish parentage, and Richard Seldener, son of the Swedish Consul.  They read a great deal.  One day it chanced that Seldener had in his bosom a very large old-fashioned flint-lock horse-pistol loaded with shot.  By him and me stood Patrullo and William Henry Hurlbut, who has since become a very well-known character.  Thinking that Seldener’s pistol was unloaded, Patrullo, to frighten young Hurlbut, pulled the weapon suddenly from Seldener’s breast, put it between Hurlbut’s eyes and fired.  The latter naturally started to one side, so it happened that he only received one shot in his ear.  The charge went into the wall, where it made a mark like a bullet’s, which was long visible.  George Patrullo was drowned not long after while p. 74swimming in the Schuylkill river, and Richard Seldener perished on an Atlantic steamer, which was never heard of.

On the other hand, something took place which cast a marvellous light into this darkened life of mine.  For one day my father bought and presented to me a share in the Philadelphia Library.  This was a collection which even then consisted of more than 60,000 well-chosen volumes.  And then began such a life of reading as was, I sincerely believe, unusual in such youth.  My first book was “Arthur of Little Britaine,” which I finished in a week; then “Newes from New Englande, 1636,” and the “Historie of Clodoaldus.”  Before long I discovered that there were in the Loganian section of the library several hundred volumes of occult philosophy, a collection once formed by an artist named Cox, and of these I really read nearly every one.  Cornelius Agrippa and Barret’s “Magus,” Paracelsus, the black-letter edition of Reginald Scot, Glanville, and Gaffarel, Trithemius, Baptista Porta, and God knows how many Rosicrucian writers became familiar to me.  Once when I had only twenty-five cents I gave it for a copy of “Waters of the East” by Eugenius Philalethes, or Thomas Vaughan.

All of this led me to the Mystics and Quietists.  I read Dr. Boardman’s “History of Quakerism,” which taught me that Fox grew out of Behmen; and I picked up one day Poiret’s French work on the Mystics, which was quite a handbook or guide to the whole literature.  But these books were but a small part of what I read; for at one time, taking another turn towards old English, I went completely through Chaucer and Gower, both in black letter, the collections of Ritson, Weber, Ellis, and I know not how many more of mediæval ballads and romances, and very thoroughly and earnestly indeed Warton’s “History of English Poetry.”  Then I read Sismondi’s “Literature of Southern Europe” and Longfellow’s “Poets and Poetry of Europe,” which set me to work on Raynouard and other collections of Provençal poetry, in the knowledge of which I made some progress, and also St. p. 75Pelaye’s, Le Grand’s, Costello’s, and other books on the Trouveurs.  I translated into rhyme and sent to a magazine, of which I in after years became editor, one or two laïs, which were rejected, I think unwisely, for they were by no means bad.  Then I had a fancy for Miscellanea, and read the works of D’Israeli the elder and Burton’s “Anatomy.”

One day I made a startling discovery, for I took at a venture from the library the black-letter first edition of the poems of François Villon.  I was then fifteen years old.  Never shall I forget the feeling, which Heine compares to the unexpected finding of a shaft of gold in a gloomy mine, which shot through me as I read for the first time these ballades.  Now-a-days people are trained to them through second-hand sentiment.  Villon has become—Heaven bless the mark!—fashionable! and æsthetic.  I got at him “straight” out of black-letter reading in boyhood as a find of my own, and it was many, many years ere I ever met with a single soul who had heard of him.  I at once translated the “Song of the Ladies of the Olden Time”; and I knew what bon bec meant, which is more than one of Villon’s great modern translators has done!  Also heaulmière, which is not helmet-maker, as another supposes.

I went further in this field than I have room to describe.  I even read the rococo-sweet poems of Joachim du Bellay.  In this year my father gave me “The Doctor,” by Robert Southey, a work which I read and re-read assiduously for many years, and was guided by it to a vast amount of odd reading, Philemon Holland’s translation of Pliny being one of the books.  This induced me to read all of Southey’s poems, which I did, not from the library, but from a bookstore, where I had free run and borrowing privileges, as I well might, since my father lost £4,000 by its owner.

While at Mr. Greene’s school I had given me Alsopp’s “Life and Letters of Coleridge,” which I read through many times; then in my thirteenth year, in Philadelphia, I read with great love Charles Lamb’s works and most of the works p. 76of Coleridge.  Mr. Alcott had read Wordsworth into us in illimitable quantities, so that I soon had a fair all-round knowledge of the Lakers, whom I dearly loved.  Now there was a certain soupçon of Mysticism or Transcendentalism and Pantheism in Coleridge, and even in Wordsworth, which my love of rocks and rivers and fairy lore easily enabled me to detect by sympathy.

But all of this was but a mere preparation for and foreshadowing of a great mental development and very precocious culture which was rapidly approaching.  I now speak of what happened to me from 1838 to 1840, principally in the latter year.  If I use extravagant, vain words, I beg the reader to pardon me.  Perhaps this will never be published, therefore sit verbo venia!

I had become deeply interested in the new and bold development which was then manifesting itself in the Unitarian Church.  Channing, whom I often heard preach, had something in common with the Quietists; Mr. Furness was really a thinker “out of bounds,” while in reality as gentle and purely Christian as could be.  There was something new in the air, and this Something I, in an antiquated form, had actually preceded.  It was really only a rechauffé of the Neo-Platonism which lay at the bottom of Porphyry, Proclus, Psellus, Jamblichus, with all of whom I was fairly well acquainted.  Should any one doubt this, I can assure him that I still possess a full copy of the “Poemander” or “Pimander” of Hermes Trismegistus, made by me in my sixteenth year, which most assuredly no mortal could ever have understood or made, or cared to make, if he had not read the Neo-Platonists; for Marsilius Ficinus himself regarded this work as a pendant to them, and published it as such.  Which work I declared was not a Christian Platonic forgery, but based on old Egyptian works, as has since been well-nigh proved from recent discoveries.  (I think it was Dr. Garnett who, hearing me once declare in the British Museum that I believed Hermes was based on an ancient Egyptian p. 77text, sent for a French work in which the same view was advanced.)

The ignorance, narrow-mindedness, and odium theologicum which prevailed in America until 1840 was worse than that in Europe under the Church in the Middle Ages, for even in the latter there had been an Agobard and an Abelard, Knight-Templar agnostics, and illuminati of different kinds.  The Unitarians, who believed firmly in every point of Christianity, and that man was saved by Jesus, and would be damned if he did not put faith in him as the Son of God, were regarded literally and truly by everybody as no better than infidels because they believed that Christ was sent by God, and that Three could not be One.  Every sect, with rare exceptions, preached, especially the Presbyterians, that the vast majority even of Christians would be damned, thereby giving to the devil that far greater power than God against which Bishop Agobard had protested.  As for a freethinker or infidel, he was pointed at in the streets; and if a man had even seen a “Deist,” he spoke of it as if he had beheld a murderer.  Against all this some few were beginning to revolt.

There came a rumour that there was something springing up in Boston called Transcendentalism.  Nobody knew what it was, but it was dreamy, mystical, crazy, and infideleterious to religion.  Firstly, it was connected with Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and finally with everything German.  The new school of liberal Unitarians favoured it.  I had a quick intuition that here was something for me to work at.  I bought Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, first edition, and read it through forty times ere I left college, of which I “kept count.”

My record here as regards some books may run a little ahead; but either before I went to college or during my first year there (almost all before or by 1840-’41), I had read Carlyle’s “Miscellanies” thoroughly, Emerson’s “Essays,” a translation of Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” the first half of it many times; Dugald Stewart’s works, something p. 78of Reid, Locke, and Hobbes’s “Leviathan”; had bought and read French versions of Schelling’s “Transcendental Idealism” and Fichte’s fascinating “Destiny of Man”; studied a small handbook of German philosophy; the works of Campanella and Vanini (Bruno much later, for his works were then exceeding rare.  I now have Weber’s edition), and also, with intense relish and great profit, an old English version of Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus.  In which last work I had the real key and clue to all German philosophy and Rationalism, as I in time found out.  I must here modestly mention that I had, to a degree which I honestly believe seldom occurs, the art of rapid yet of carefully-observant reading.  George Boker once, quite unknown to me, gave me something to read, watched my eyes as I went from line to line, timed me by watch, and finally examined me on what I had read.  He published the incident long after, said he had repeated it more than once à mon insu, and that it was remarkable.

Such a dual life as I at this time led it has seldom entered into the head of man to imagine.  I was, on the one hand, a school-boy in a jacket, leading a humiliated life among my kind, all because I was sickly and weak; while, on the other hand, utterly alone and without a living soul to whom I could exchange an idea, I was mastering rapidly and boldly that which was then in reality the tremendous problem of the age.  I can now see that, as regards its real antique bases, I was far more deeply read and better grounded than were even its most advanced leaders in Anglo-Saxony.  For I soon detected in Carlyle, and much more in Emerson, a very slender knowledge of that stupendous and marvellous ancient Mysticism which sent its soul in burning faith and power to the depth of “the downward-borne elements of God,” as Hermes called them.  I missed even the rapt faith of such a weak writer as Sir Kenelm Digby, much more Zoroaster!  Vigourous and clever and bold writers they were—Carlyle was far beyond me in literary art—but true Pantheists they were not.  And they p. 79were men of great genius, issuing essays to the age on popular, or political, or “literary” topics; but philosophers they most assuredly were not, nor men tremendous in spiritual truth.  And yet it was precisely as philosophers and thaumaturgists and revealers of occulta that they posed—especially Emerson.  And they dabbled or trifled with free thought and “immorality,” crying Goethe up as the Light of Lights, while all their inner souls were bound in the most Puritanical and petty goody-goodyism.  Though there were traces of grim Scotch humour in Carlyle, my patron saint and master, Rabelais, or aught like him, had no credit with them.

They paddled in Pantheism, but as regards it, both lacked the stupendous faith and inspiration of the old adepti, who flung their whole souls into God; and yet they sneered at Materialism and Science.

I did not then see all of this so clearly as I now do, but I very soon found that, as in after years it was said that Comteism was Catholicism without Christianity, so the Carlyle-Emersonian Transcendentalism was Mysticism without mystery.  Nor did I reflect that it was a calling people from the nightmared slumber of frozen orthodoxy or bigotry to come and see a marvellous new thing.  And when they came, they found out that this marvellous thing was that they had been awakened, “only that and nothing more”; and that was the great need of the time, and worth more than any magic or theosophy.  But I had expected, in simple ignorant faith, that the sacred mysteries of some marvellous cabala would be revealed, and not finding what I wanted (though indeed I discovered much that was worldly new to me), I returned to the good old ghost-haunted paths trodden by my ancestors, to dryads and elves and voices from the stars, and the archæus formed by the astral spirit (not the modern Blavatsky affair, by-the-bye), which entyped all things . . . and so went elving and dreaming on ’mid ruins old.

Be it observed that all this time I really did not know what I knew.  Boys are greatly influenced by their surroundings, p. 80and in those days every one about me never spoke of Transcendentalism or “Germanism,” or even “bookishness,” without a sneer.  I was borne by a mysterious inner impulse which I could not resist into this terrible whirlpool of belles-lettres, occulta, facetiæ, and philosophy; but I had, God knows, little cause for pride that I read so much, for it was on every hand in some way turned against me.  If it had only been reading like that of other human beings, it might have been endured; but I was always seen coming and going with parchment-bound tomes.  Once I implored my father, when I was thirteen or fourteen, to let me buy a certain book, which he did.  This work, which was as dear to me as a new doll to a girl for a long time, was the Reductorium or moralisation of the whole Bible by Petrus Berchorius, black-letter, folio, Basle, 1511.  It was from the library of a great and honest scholar, and, as the catalogue stated, “contained MS. notes on the margin by Melanchthon.”

Promising, this, for an American youth who was expected to go into business or study a profession!

While at Hurlbut’s school I took lessons in Spanish.  There was a Spanish boy from Malaga, a kind of half-servant, half-protégé in a family near us, with whom I practised speaking the language, and also had some opportunity with a few Cubans who visited our family.  One of them had been a governor-general.  He was a Gallician by birth, but I did not know this, and innocently asked him one day if los Gallegos no son los Irlandeses d’España?—if the Gallicians were not the Irish of Spain—which drew a grave caution from my brother, who knew better than I how the land lay.  I really attained some skill in Spanish, albeit to this day “Don Quixote” demands from me a great deal of dictionary.  But, as I said before, I learn languages with incredible difficulty, a fact which I cannot reconcile with the extreme interest which I take in philology and linguistics, and the discoveries which I have made; as, for instance, that of Shelta in England, or my labours in jargons, such as Pidgin-English, Slang, and p. 81Romany.  But, as the reader has probably perceived, I was a boy with an inherited good constitution only from the paternal side, and a not very robust one from my mother, while my mind, weakened by long illness, had been strangely stimulated by many disorders, nervous fevers being frequent among them.  In those days I was, as my mother said, almost brought up on calomel—and she might have added quinine.  The result of so much nervousness, excessive stimulating by medicine, and rapid growth was a too great susceptibility to poetry, humour, art, and all that was romantic, quaint, and mysterious, while I found it very hard to master any really dry subject.  What would have set me all right would have been careful physical culture, boxing, so as to protect me from my school persecutors, and amusement in a healthy sense, of which I had almost none whatever.

Hurlbut’s became at last simply intolerable, and my parents, finding out in some way that I was worse for being there, removed me to a far better school kept by E. C. Wines, who had written books on education, and attained some fame thereby.  This was in 1839-’40, and I was there to be prepared for college.  We were soon introduced to an old French gentleman, who was to teach us, and who asked the other boys what French works they had read.  Some had gone through Telémaque, or Paul et Virginie, Florian, etcetera.  The good-goody nature of such reading awoke in me my sense of humour.  When it came to my turn, and I was asked, I replied, “La Pucelle d’Orleans and Dictionnaire Philosophique of Voltaire, the Confessions of Rousseau, the Poems of Villon, Charles d’Orleans, Clotilde de Surville, and more or less of Helvetius, D’Holbach, and Condillac.”  Here the professor, feeling himself quizzed, cast forth his hands as in disgust and horror, and cried, “Assez! assez!  Unhappy boy, you have raked through the library of the devil down to the dregs!”  Nor was I “selling” him, for I certainly had read the works, as the records of the Philadelphia Library can in a great measure prove, and did not speak by hearsay.

p. 82I had at this time several severe long attacks of illness with much pain, which I always bore well, as a matter of course or habit.  But rather oddly, while in the midst of my Transcendentalism, and reading every scrap of everything about Germany which I could get, and metaphysics, and study—I was very far gone then, and used to go home from school and light a pipe with a long wooden stem, and study the beloved “Critic of Pure Reason” or Carlyle’s Miscellanies, having discovered that smoking was absolutely necessary in such reading—[De Quincey required a quart of laudanum to enable him to enjoy German metaphysics]—there came a strange gleam of worldly dissipation, of which I never think without pleasure.  I had passed one summer vacation on a farm near Philadelphia, where I learned something in wood-ranging about wild herbs and catching land-tortoises and “coon-hunting,” and had been allowed to hire and ride a horse.

I did not know it, but this horse had thrown over his head everybody who had ever mounted him.  He was a perfect devil, but also a perfect gentleman.  He soon took my measure, and resolved to treat me kindly as a protégé.  When we both wanted a gallop, he made such time as nobody before had dreamed was in him; when he was lazy, he only had to turn his head and look at me, and I knew what that meant and conformed unto him.  He had a queer fancy at times to quietly steal up and put his hoof on my foot so as to hurt me, and then there was an impish laugh in his eye.  For he laughed at me, and I knew it.  There is really such a thing as a horse-laugh.  One day we passed through a drove of sheep, and he did not like it—no horse does.  After a while I wanted to go by a certain road, but he refused sternly to take it.  I found soon after that if I had done so we must have met the sheep again.  He had, in fact, understood the route far better than I.  I once got a mile out of him in three minutes—more or less; but he had seen me look at my watch, and knew that I wanted to see what he p. 83could do.  He never did it again.  I may have been mistaken here, but it was my impression at the time.  Perhaps if I had gone on much longer in intimacy with him I might have profited mentally by it, and acquired what Americans call “horse-sense,” of which I had some need.  It is the sixth—or the first—sense of all Yankees and Scotchmen.  When I returned to the city I was allowed to hire a horse for a few times from a livery stable, and went out riding with a friend.  This friend was a rather precociously dissipated youth, and with him I had actually now and then—very rarely—a glass at a bar and oysters.  He soon left me for wilder associates, and I relapsed into my old sober habits.  Strange as it may seem, I believe that I was really on the brink of becoming like other boys.  But it all faded away.  Now it became imperative that I should study in earnest.  I used to rise at three or four in the morning.  What with hard work and great fear of not passing my matriculation, I contrived to get up so much Latin, Greek, and mathematics, that Mr. Wines thought I might attempt it, and so one fine summer day my father went with me to Princeton.  I was in a fearful state of nervous anxiety.



We went to Princeton, where I presented my letters of introduction, passed a by no means severe examination for the Freshman’s class, was very courteously received by the professors to whom I was commended, and, to my inexpressible delight, found myself a college student.  Rooms were secured for me at a Mrs. Burroughs’, opposite Nassau Hall; the adjoining apartment was occupied by Mr. Craig Biddle, now a judge.  George H. Boker was then at the end of his Sophomore year, the term having but a few days to run.  He had rooms in college and lived in unexampled style, having actually a carpet on his floor and superior furniture, also a p. 84good collection of books, chiefly standard English poets.  He at once took me in hand and gave me a character.

Princeton College was entirely in the hands of the strictest of “Old School” Presbyterian theologians.  Piety and mathematics rated extravagantly high in the course.  The latter study was literally reckoned in the grades as being of more account than all the rest collectively.  Thus, as eventually happened to me, a student might excel in Latin, English, and Natural Philosophy—in fact, in almost everything, good conduct included—and yet be the last in the class if he neglected mathematics.  There was no teaching of French, because, as was naïvely said, students might read the irreligious works extant in that language, and of course no other modern language; as for German, one would as soon have proposed to raise the devil there as a class in it.  If there had been an optional course, as at Cambridge, Massachusetts, by which German was accepted in lieu of mathematics, I should probably have taken the first honour, instead of the last.  And yet, with a little more Latin, I was really qualified, on the day when I matriculated at Princeton, to have passed for a Doctor of Philosophy in Heidelberg, as I subsequently accurately ascertained.

There were three or four men of great ability in the Faculty of the University.  One of these was Professor Joseph Henry, in those days the first natural philosopher and lecturer on science in America.  I had the fortune in time to become quite a special protégé of his.  Another was Professor James Alexander, who taught Latin, rhetoric, and mental philosophy.  He was so clear-headed and liberally learned, that I always felt sure that he must at heart have been far beyond the bounds of Old School theology, but he had an iron Roman-like sternness of glance which quite suited a Covenanter.  The most remarkable of all was Albert Dodd, Professor of Mathematics and Lecturer on Architecture.  This man was a genius of such a high order, that had it not been for the false position in which he was placed, he would have p. 85given to the world great works.  The false position was this: he was the chief pulpit orator of the old school, and had made war on the Transcendentalist movement in an able article in the Princeton Review (which, by the way, was useful in guiding me to certain prohibited works, before unknown to me).  But as he was a man of poetic genial feeling, he found himself irresistibly fascinated by what he had hunted down, and so read Plato, and when he died actually left behind him a manuscript translation of Spinoza’s works!

The reader may imagine what a marvellous find I was to him.  George Boker, who was ages beyond me in knowledge of the world—man and woman—said one day that he could imagine how Dodd sat and chuckled to hear me talk, which remark I did not at all understand and thought rather stupid.  I remember that during my first call on him we discussed Sartor Resartus, and I expressed it as my firm conviction that the idea of the Clothes Philosophy had been taken from the Treatise on Fire and Salt by the Rosicrucian Lord Blaise.  Then, in all naïveté and innocence of effect, I discussed some point in Kant’s “Critic,” and a few other trifles not usually familiar to sub-Freshmen, and took my departure, very much pleased at having entered on a life where my favourite reading did not really seem to be quite silly or disreputable.  I remember, however, being very much surprised indeed at finding that the other students, in whom I expected to encounter miracles of learning, or youth far superior to myself in erudition and critical knowledge, did not quite come up to my anticipations.  However, as they were all far beyond me in mathematics, I supposed their genius had all gone in that direction, for well I knew that the toughest page in Fichte was a mere trifle compared to the awful terrors of the Rule of Three, and so treated them as young men who were my superiors in other and greater things.

There were wearisome morning prayers in the chapel, and roll-call every morning, and then an hour of recitation before breakfast, study till ten or eleven, study and recitation in the p. 86afternoon, and evening prayers again and study in the evening.  The Sabbath was anything but a day of rest, for we had the same prayers; morning attendance at church; afternoon, the learning and reciting of four chapters in the Bible; while we were expected in the evening to master one or two chapters in the Greek Testament.  I am not sorry that I used to read books during sermon-time.  It kept me from, or from me, a great deal of wickedness.  Videlicet:

The sermons consisted principally of assertion that man himself consisted chiefly of original sin.  As evil communications corrupt good manners, I myself, being young and impressionable, began to believe that I too was an awful sinner.  Not knowing where else to look for it, I concluded that it consisted in my inability to learn mathematics.  I do not distinctly remember whether I prayed to Heaven that I might be able to cross the Pons Asinorum, but “anyway” my prayer was granted when I graduated.

Another stock-piece in the repertoire consisted of attacks on Voltaire, Tom Paine, and other antiquated Deists or infidels.  I had read with great contempt a copy of “The Rights of Man” belonging to my genial uncle Amos.  I say with great contempt, for I always despised that kind of free thought which consisted chiefly of enmity to Christianity.  Now I can see that Voltaire and his followers were quite in the right in warring on terrible and immediate abuses which oppressed mankind; but I had learned from Spinoza to believe that every form of faith was good in its way or according to its mission or time, and that it was silly to ridicule Christianity because the tale of Balaam’s ass was incredible.  Paine was to me just what a Positivist now is to a Darwinian or Agnostic, and such preaching against “infidels” seemed to me like pouring water on a drowned mouse.  There had always been in Mr. Furness’s teaching a very decided degree of Rationalism, and I had advanced far more boldly on the track.  I remember reading translations from Schleiermacher and buying Strauss’s “Life of Jesus” before I went to Princeton—p. 87I saw Strauss himself in after years at Weinsberg, in Germany—but at Princeton the slightest approach to explaining the most absurd story in the Old Testament was regarded as out-and-out atheism.  It had all happened, we were told, just as it is described.

I may as well note here the fact that for many years in my early life such a thing as only reading a book through once rarely happened, when I could obtain it long enough.  Even the translations of the Neo-Platonists, with Campanella, Vanini, or the Italian naturalists, were read and reread, while the principal English poets, and such books as I owned, were perused daily.

And here in this great infant arithmetic school I was in due time set down to study Paley’s “Evidences of Christianity” and Locke on the Understanding—like Carlyle’s young lion invited to a feast of chickweed.  Apropos of the first, I have a droll reminiscence.  There had been in Philadelphia two years before a sale of a fine library, and I had been heart-broken because my means had not permitted me to buy the works of Sir Kenelm Digby.  However, I found them in the Princeton College Library.  The first thing I came to in Paley was his famous simile of the watch—taken bodily and without acknowledgment from Digby.  The theft disgusted me.  “These be your Christian champions!” I thought—

“Would any of the stock of infidels
Had been my evidence ere such a Christian!”

And, moreover, Paley forgets to inform us what conclusion the finder might draw if he had picked up a badly made watch which did not keep good time—like this our turnip of a world at times!

As we were obliged to attend divine service strictly on Sunday, I was allowed to go to the Episcopal church in the village, which agreed very well with my parents’ views.  I quite fell into the sentiment of the sect, and so went to Professor Dodd to ask for permission from the Faculty to change p. 88my religion.  When he asked me how it was that I had renegaded into Trinitarianism, I replied that it was due to reflection on the perfectly obvious and usual road of the Platonic hypostases eked out with Gnosticism.  I had found in the College Library, and read with great pleasure almost as soon as I got there, Cudworth’s “Intellectual System” (I raided a copy as loot from a house in Tennessee in after years, during the war), and learned from it that “it was a religious instinct of man to begin with a Trinity, in which I was much aided by Schelling, and that there was no trace of a Trinity in the Bible, or rather the contrary, yet that it ought consistently to have been there”—a sentiment which provoked from Professor Dodd a long whistle like that of Uncle Toby with Lilliburlero.  “For,” as I ingeniously represented, “man or God consists of the Monad from which developed spirit or intellect and soul; for toto enim in mundo lucet Trias cujus Monas est princeps, as the creed of the Rosicrucians begins (which is taken from the Zoroastrian oracles)”—here there was another long subdued whistle—“and it is set forth on the face of every Egyptian temple as the ball, the wings of the spirit which rusheth into all worlds, and the serpent, which is the Logos.”  Here the whistle became more sympathetic, for Egypt was the professor’s great point in his lectures on architecture.  And having thus explained the true grounds of the Trinity to the most learned theologian of the Presbyterian sect, I took my leave, quite unconscious that I had said anything out of the common, for all I meant was to give my reasons for going back to the Episcopal Church.  As for Professor Dodd, he had given me up from the very first interview to follow my idols as I pleased, only just throwing in argument enough to keep me well going.  He would have been the last man on earth to throw down such a marvellous fairy castle, goblin-built and elfin-tenanted, from whose windows rang Æolian harps, and which was lit by night with undying Rosicrucian lamps, to erect on its ruin a plain brick, Old School Presbyterian slated p. 89chapel.  I was far more amusing as I was, and so I was let alone.

I had passed my examination about the end of June, and I was to remain in Princeton until the autumn, reading under a tutor, in the hope of being able to join the Sophomore class when the college course should begin.  There I was utterly alone, and rambled by myself in the woods.  I believed myself to be a very good Christian in those days; but I was really as unaffected and sincere a Poly-Pantheist or Old Nature heathen as ever lived in Etrusco-Roman or early German days.  A book very dear to my heart at that time was the Curiositez Inouyes of Gaffarel (Trollope was under the impression that he was the only man in Europe who ever read it), in which there is an exquisite theory that the stars of heaven in their courses and the lines of winding rivers and bending corn, the curves of shells and minerals, rocks and trees, yes, of all the shapes of all created things, form the trace and letters of a stupendous writing or characters spread all over the universe, which writing becomes little by little legible to the one who by communion with Nature and earnest faith seeks to penetrate the secret.  I had found in the lonely woods a small pond by a high rock, where I often sat in order to attain this blessed illumination, and if I did not get quite so far as I hoped, I did in reality attain to a deep unconscious familiarity with birds and leafy shades, still waters, and high rising trees; in short, with all the sweet solemnity of sylvan nature, which has ever since influenced all my life.  I mean this not in the second-hand way in which it is so generally understood, but as a real existence in itself, so earnestly felt that I was but little short of talking with elfin beings or seeing fairies flitting over flowers.  Those who explain everything by “imagination” do not in the least understand how actual the life in Nature may become to us.  Reflect for a minute, thou whose whole soul is in gossip and petty chronicles of fashion, and “sassiety,” that in that life thou wert a million years ago, and in it thou wilt be a million p. 90years hence, ever going on in all forms, often enough in rivers, rock, and trees, and yet canst not realise with a sense of awe that there are in these forms, passing to others—ever, ever on—myriads of men and women, or at least their lifehow we know not, as what we know not—only this, that the Will or creative force of the Creator or Creating is in it all.  This was the serious yet unconscious inspiration of my young life in those days, in even more elaborate or artistic form, which all went very well hand in hand with the Euclid and Homer or Demosthenes and Livy with which my tutor Mr. Schenk (pronounce Skánk) was coaching me.

My reading may seem to the reader to have been more limited than it was, because I have not mentioned the historians, essayists, or belletrists whose works are read more or less by “almost everybody.”  It is hardly worth while to say, what must be of course surmised, that Sterne, Addison, Goldsmith, Johnson, Swift, and Macaulay—in fine, the leading English classics—were really well read by me, my ambition being not to be ignorant of anything which a literary man should know.  Macaulay was then new, and I devoured not only his works, but a vast amount by him suggested.  I realised at an early age that there was a certain cycle of knowledge common to all really cultivated minds, and this I was determined to master.  I had, however, little indeed of the vanity of erudition, having been deeply convinced and constantly depressed or shamed by the reflection that it was all worse than useless, and injurious to making my way in life.  When I heard that Professor Dodd had said that at seventeen there were not ten men in America who had read so much, while Professor Joseph Henry often used words to this effect, and stern James Alexander in his lectures would make deeply learned allusions intended for me alone—as, for instance, to Kant’s “Æsthetik”—I was anything but elated or vain in consequence.  I had read in Sartor Resartus, “If a man reads, shall he not be learned?” and I knew too well that reading was with me an unprofitable, perhaps pitiable, p. 91incurable mania-amusement, which might ruin me for life, and which, as it was, was a daily source of apprehension between me and my good true friends, who feared wisely for my future.

I absolutely made James Alexander smile for once in his life—’twas sunshine on the grim Tarpeian rock.  I had bought me a nice English large type Juvenal, and written on the outside in quaint Elizabethan character form—I forget now the name of the author—the following:—

“Ay, Juvenall, thy jerking hande is good,
Not gently laying on, but bringing bloude.
Oh, suffer me amonge so manye men
To treade aright the traces of thy penne,
And light my lamp at thy eternal flame!”

We students in the Latin class had left our books on a table, when I saw grim and dour James Alexander pick up my copy, read the inscription, when looking up at me he smiled; it was a kind of poetry which pleased him.

I remember, too, how one day, when in Professor Dodd’s class of mathematics, I, instead of attending to the lecture, read surreptitiously Cardanus de Subtilitate in an old vellum binding, and carelessly laid it on the table afterwards, where Professor Dodd found it, and directed at me one of his half-laughing Mephistophelian glances.  Reading of novels in lectures was not unknown; but for Dodd to find anything so caviare-like as Cardanus among our books was unusual.  George Boker remarked once, that while Professor Dodd was a Greek, Professor James Alexander was an old Roman, which was indeed a good summary of the two.

I have and always had a bad memory, but I continued to retain what I read by repetition or reviewing and by collocation, which is a marvellous aid in retaining images.  For, in the first place, I read entirely by groups; and if I, for instance, attacked Blair’s “Rhetoric,” Longinus and Burke Promptly followed; and if I perused “Rambles in the Footsteps of Don Quixote,” I at once, on principle, followed it up p. 92with “Spain in 1830,” and a careful study of Ford’s Guide-Book for Spain, and perhaps a score of similar books, till I had got Spain well into me.  And as I have found by years of observation and much research, having written a book on Education partly based on this principle, ten books on any subject read together, profit more than a hundred at intervals.  And I may here add, that if this record of what I read be dull, it is still that of my real youthful life, giving the clue to my mind as it was formed.  Books in those days were the only events of my life.

Long before I went to college I had an attack of Irish antiquities, which I relieved by reading O’Brien, Vallancey, the more sensible Petrie, and O’Somebody’s Irish grammar, aided by old Annie Mooney, who always remained by us.  In after years I discovered an Ogham inscription and the famed Ogham tongue, or Shelta, “the lost language of the bards,” according to Kuno Meyer and John Sampson.

During my first half-year a college magazine was published, and I, a Freshman, was requested to contribute to the first number.  I sent in an article on the history of English poetry.  Before I wrote it, the great man among the senior students asked leave to be allowed to write it with me.  I did not quite like the idea, but reflecting that the association would give me a certain prestige, I accepted his aid.  So it appeared; but it was regarded as mine.  Professor Dodd said something to me about the inexpediency of so young a person appearing in print.  I could have told him that I had already published several poems, &c., in Philadelphian newspapers, but reflecting that it was not kind to have the better of him, I said nothing.  From that time I published something in every number.  My second article was an essay on Spinoza, and I still think it was rather good for a boy of sixteen.

There was the College and also a Society library, out of which I picked a great deal of good reading.  One day I asked Professor John MacLean, the college librarian, for the p. 93works of Condorcet.  His reply was, “Vile book! vile book! can’t have it.”  However, I found in the Society library Urquhart’s translation of “Rabelais,” which I read, I daresay, as often as any mortal ever did.  And here I have a word to say to the wretched idiots who regard “the book called Rabelais” as “immoral” and unfit for youth.  Many times did I try to induce my young friends to read “Rabelais,” and some actually mastered the story of the goose as a torche-cul, and perhaps two or three chapters more; but as for reading through or enjoying it, “that was not in their minds.”  All complained, or at least showed, that they “did not understand it.”  It was to them an aggravating farrago of filth and oddity, under which they suspected some formal allegory or meaning which had perished, or was impenetrable.  Learn this, ye prigs of morality, that no work of genius ever yet demoralised a dolt or ignoramus.  Even the Old Testament, with all its stores of the “shocking,” really does very little harm.  It requires mind for mind in reading, and vice becomes unattractive even to the vicious when they cannot understand it.  I did understand Rabelais, and the Moyen de Parvenir, and the Cymbalum Mundi, and Boccaccio (I owned these books), and laughed over them, yet was withal as pure-minded a youth as could well be imagined without being a simpleton.  For, with all such reading, I best loved such a book as Bromley’s “Sabbath of Rest,” or sweet, strange works of ancient Mysticism, which bore the soul away to the stars or into Nature.  Such a combination is perfectly possible when there is no stain of dishonesty or vulgarity in the character, and I had escaped such influences easily enough.

A droll event took place in the spring.  It had been usual once a year—I forgot on what occasion—to give to all the classes a holiday.  This year it was abolished, and the Sophomore, junior, and senior classes quietly acquiesced.  But we, the Freshmen, albeit we had never been there before, rebelled at such infringement of “our rights,” and absented ourselves from recitation.  I confess that I was a leader in the movement, p. 94because I sincerely believed it to be a sin to “remove old landmarks,” and that the students required more rest and holidays than were allowed them; in which I was absolutely in the right, for our whole life, except Saturday afternoons, was “one demnition grind.”

The feeling which was excited by this “Freshman’s rebellion” was one of utter amazement, or awful astonishment tempered with laughter, not unmingled with respect.  It was the terrier flying at the lion, when the great mastiff, and bloodhound, and Danish dog had quietly slunk aside.  There were in the class beside myself several youths of marked character, and collectively we had already made an impression, to which my intimacy with George Boker, and Professor Dodd, and the very élite of the seniors, added not a little force.  We were mysterious.  Hitherto a Freshman had been the greenest of the green, a creature created for ridicule, a sort of “leathery fox” or mere tyro (ty—not a ty-pographical error—pace my kind and courteous reviewer in the Saturday)—and here were Freshmen of a new kind rising in dignity above all others.

Which reminds me of a merry tale.  It was usual for Freshmen to learn to smoke for the first time after coming to college, and for more advanced students to go to their rooms, or find them in others, and smoke them sick or into retreating.  I, however, found a source of joy in this, that I could now sit almost from morning till night, and very often on to three in the morning, smoking all the time, being deeply learned in Varinas, Kanaster, and the like; for I smoked nothing but real Holland tobacco, while I could buy it.  A party of Sophomores informed George Boker that they intended to smoke me out.  “Smoke him out!” quoth George; “why, he’d smoke the whole of you dumb and blind.”  However, it came to pass that one evening several of them tried it on; and verily they might as well have tried it on to Niklas Henkerwyssel, who, as the legend goes, sold his soul to the devil for the ability to smoke all the time, to whom my p. 95father had once compared me.  So the cigars and tobacco were burned, and I liked it extremely.  Denser grew the smoke, and the windows were closed, to which I cheerfully assented, for I liked to have it thick; and still more smoke and more, and the young gentlemen who had come to smother me grew pale, even as the Porcupines grew pale when they tried to burn out the great Indian sorcerer, who burned them!  But I, who was beginning to enjoy myself amazingly in such congenial society, only filled Boker’s great meerschaum with Latakia, and puffed away.  One by one the visitors also “puffed away,” i.e., vanished through the door into the night.

“Shall I open the window?” asked George.

“Not on my account,” I replied.  “I rather enjoy it as it is.”

“I begin to believe,” replied my friend, “that you would like it in Dante’s hell of clouds.  Do you know what those men came here for?  It was to smoke you out.  And you smoked them out, and never knew it.”  Which was perfectly true.  As for smoking, my only trouble was to be able to buy cigars and tobacco.  These were incredibly cheap in those days, and I always dressed very respectably, but my smoking always cost me more than my clothing.

When we Freshmen had rebelled, we were punished by being rusticated or sent into the country to board.  I went to Professor Dodd to receive my sentence, and in a grave voice, in which was a faint ring as of irony, and with the lurking devil which always played in his great marvellous mysterious black eyes, he said, “If you were any other student, I would not send you to the city, and so reward your rebellion with a holiday.  But as I know perfectly well that you will go into the Philadelphia Library, and never stop reading till it is time to return, I will send you there.”

My parents were then absent with my younger sisters in New England, but I had unlimited credit at Congress Hall Hotel, which was kept by a Mr. John Sturdevant, and where p. 96I was greatly respected as the son of the owner of the property.  So I went there, and fared well, and, as Professor Dodd prophesied, read all the time.  One night I went into an auction of delightful old books.  My money had run low; there only remained to me one dollar and a half.

Now, of all books on earth, what I most yearned for in those days were the works of Jacob Behmen.  And the auctioneer put up a copy containing “The Aurora or Morning Rednesse,” English version (circa 1636), and I bid.  One dollar—one dollar ten cents—twenty—twenty-five; my heart palpitated, and I half fainted for fear lest I should be outbid, when at the very last I got it with my last penny.

The black eyes of Professor Dodd twinkled more elfishly than ever when I exhibited to him my glorious treasure.  He evidently thought that my exile had been to me anything but a punishment, and he was right.  For a copy of Anthroposophos Theomagicus or the works of Robert Fludd I would have got up another rebellion.

It was quite against the college regulations for students to live in the town, but as I never touched a card, was totally abstemious and “moral,” and moreover in rather delicate health, I was passed over as an odd exception.  Once or twice it was proposed to bring me in, but Professor Dodd interfered and saved me.  While in Princeton for more than four years, I never once touched a drop of anything stronger than coffee, which was a great pity!  Exercise was not in those days encouraged in any way whatever—in fact, playing billiards and ten-pins was liable to be punished by expulsion; there was no gymnasium, no boating, and all physical games and manly exercises were sternly discouraged as leading to sin.  Now, if I had drunk a pint of bitter ale every day, and played cricket or “gymnased,” or rowed for two hours, it would have saved me much suffering, and to a great degree have relieved me from reading, romancing, reflecting, and smoking, all of which I carried to great excess, having an inborn impulse to be always doing something.  That I did not grapple with p. 97life as a real thing, or with prosaic college studies or society, was, I can now see, a disease, for which, as my peculiar tastes had come upon me from nervous and Unitarian and Alcottian evil influences, I was not altogether responsible.  I was a precocious boy, and I had fully developed extraordinary influences, which, like the seed of Scripture, had in my case fallen on more than fertile ground; it was like the soil of the Margariten Island, by Budapest, which is so permeated by hot springs in a rich soil that everything comes to maturity there in one-third of the time which it does elsewhere.  I was the last child on earth who should ever have fallen into Alcott’s hands, or listened to Dr. Channing or Furness, or have been interested in anything “ideal”; but fate willed that I should drink the elfin goblet to the dregs.

George H. Boker had a great influence on me.  We were in a way connected, for my uncle Amos had married his aunt, and my cousin, Benjamin Godfrey, his cousin.  He was exactly six feet high, with the form of an Apollo, and a head which was the very counterpart of the bust of Byron.  A few years later N. P. Willis described him in the Home Journal as the handsomest man in America.  He had been from boyhood as precociously a man of the world as I was the opposite.  He was par éminence the poet of our college, and in a quiet, gentlemanly way its “swell.”  I passed a great deal of my time in his rooms reading Wordsworth, Shelley, and Byron, the last named being his ideal.  He ridiculed the Lakers, whom I loved; and when Southey’s last poem, “On Gooseberry Pie,” appeared, he declared that the poor old man was in his dotage, to which I assented with sorrow in my heart.  Though only one year older than I, yet, as a Junior, and from his superior knowledge of life, I regarded him as being about thirty.  He was quite familiar, in a refined and gentlemanly way, with all the dissipation of Philadelphia and New York; nor was the small circle of his friends, with whom I habitually associated, much behind him in this respect.  Even during this Junior year he was offered p. 98the post of secretary to our Ambassador at Vienna.  From him and the others I acquired a second-hand knowledge of life, which was sufficient to keep me from being regarded as a duffer or utterly “green,” though in all such “life” I was practically as innocent as a young nun.  Now, whatever I heard, as well as read, I always turned over and over in my mind, thoroughly digesting it to a most exceptional degree.  So that I was somewhat like the young lady of whom I heard in Vienna in after years.  She was brought up in the utmost moral and strict seclusion, but she found in her room an aperture through which she could witness all that took place in the neighbouring room of a maison de passe; but being a great philosopher, she in time regarded it all as the “butterfly passing show” of a theatre, the mere idle play of foolish mortal passions.

Even before I began my Freshman year there came into my life a slight but new and valuable influence.  Professor Dodd, when I arrived, had just begun his course of lectures on architecture.  To my great astonishment, but not at all to that of George Boker, I was invited to attend the course, Boker remarking dryly that he had no doubt that Dodd thanked God for having at last got an auditor who would appreciate him.  Which I certainly did.  I in after years listened to the great Thiersch, who trained Heine to art, and of whom I was a special protégé, and many great teachers, but I never listened to any one like Albert Dodd.  It was not with him the mere description of styles and dates; it was a deep and truly æsthetic feeling that every phase of architecture mirrors and reciprocally forms its age, and breathes its life and poetry and religion, which characterised all that he said.  It was in nothing like the subjective rhapsodies of Ruskin, which bloomed out eight years later, but rather in the spirit of Vischer and Taine, which J. A. Symonds has so beautifully and clearly set forth in his Essays [98]p. 99—that is, the spirit of historical development.  Here my German philosophy enabled me to grasp a subtle and delicate spirit of beauty, which passed, I fear, over the heads of the rest of the youthful audience.  His ideas of the correspondence of Egyptian architecture to the stupendous massiveness of Pantheism and the appalling grandeur of its ideas, were clear enough to me, who had copied Hermes Trismegistus and read with deepest feeling the Orphic and Chaldean oracles.  The ideas had not only been long familiar to me, but formed my very life and the subject of the most passionate study.  To hear them clearly expressed with rare beauty, in the deep, strange voice of the professor, was joy beyond belief.  And as it would not be in human nature for a lecturer not to note an admiring auditor, it happened often enough that something was often introduced for my special appreciation.

For I may here note—and it was a very natural thing—that just as Gypsy musicians always select in the audience some one who seems to be most appreciative, at whom they play (they call it dé o kān), so Professors Dodd and James Alexander afterwards, in their æsthetic, or more erudite disquisitions, rarely failed to fiddle at me—Dodd looking right in my eyes, and Alexander at the ceiling, ending, however, with a very brief glance, as if for conscience’ sake.  I feel proud of this, and it affects me more now than it did then, when it produced no effect of vanity, and seemed to me to be perfectly natural.

I heard certain mutterings and hoots among the students as I went out of the lecture-room, but did not know what it meant.  George Boker informed me afterwards that there had been great indignation expressed that “a green ignorant Freshman” had dared to intrude, as I had done, among his intellectual superiors and betters, but that he had at once explained p. 100that I was a great friend of Professor Dodd, and a kind of marvellous rara avis, not to be classed with common little Freshmen; so that in future I was allowed to go my way in peace.

A man of culture who had known Coleridge well, declared that as a conversationalist on varied topics Professor Albert Dodd was his superior.  When in the pulpit, or in the lengthened “addresses” of lecturing, there was a marvellous fascination in his voice—an Italian witch, or red Indian, or a gypsy would have at once recognised in him a sorcerer.  Yet his manner was subdued, his voice monotonous, never loud, a running stream without babbling stones or rapids; but when it came to a climax cataract he cleared it with grandeur, leaving a stupendous impression.  In the ordinary monotony of that deep voice there was soon felt an indescribable charm.  In saying this I only repeat what I have heard in more or less different phrase from others.  There was always in his eyes (and in this as in other points he resembled Emerson) a strange indefinable suspicion of a smile, though he, like the Sage of Concord, rarely laughed.  Owing to these black eyes, and his sallow complexion, his sobriquet among the students was “the royal Bengal tiger.”  He was not unlike Emerson as a lecturer.  I heard the latter deliver his great course of lectures in London in 1848—including the famous one on Napoleon—but he had not to the same perfection the music of the voice, nor the indefinable mysterious charm which characterised the style of Professor Dodd, who played with emotion as if while feeling he was ever superior to it.  He was a great actor, who had gone far beyond acting or art.

Owing, I suppose, to business losses, my father and family lived for two years either at Congress Hall Hotel or en pension.  I spent my first vacation at the former place.  There lived in the house a Colonel John Du Solle, the editor of a newspaper.  He was a good-natured, rather dissipated man, who kept horses and had a fancy for me, and took me out p. 101“on drives,” and once introduced me in the street to a great actress, Susan Cushman, [101] and very often to theatres and coffee-houses and reporters, and printed several of my lucubrations.  Du Solle was in after years secretary to P. T. Barnum, whom I also knew well.  He was kind to me, and I owe him this friendly mention.  Some people thought him a rather dangerous companion for youth, but I was never taken by him into bad company or places, nor did I ever hear from him a word of which my parents would have disapproved.  But I really believe that I could at that time, or any other, have kept company with the devil and not been much harmed: it was not in me.  Edgar A. Poe was often in Du Solle’s office and at Congress Hall.

In the summer we all went to Stonington, Connecticut, where we lived at a hotel called the Wadawanuc House.  There I went out sailing—once on a clam-bake excursion in a yacht owned by Captain Nat. Palmer, who had discovered Palmer’s Land—and sailed far and wide.  That summer I also saw on his own deck the original old Vanderbilt himself, who was then the captain of a Sound steamboat; and I bathed every day in salt-water, and fished from the wharf, and smoked a great deal, and read French books; and after a while we went into Massachusetts and visited the dear old villages and Boston, and so on, till I had to return to Princeton.  Soon after my father took another house in Walnut Street, the next door above the one where we had lived.  This one was rather better, for though it had less garden, it had larger back-buildings.

Bon an, mal an, the time passed away at Princeton for four years.  I was often very ill.  In the last year the physician p. 102who tested my lungs declared they were unsound in two places; and about this time I was believed to have contracted an incurable stoop in the shoulders.  One day I resolved that from that minute I would always hold myself straight upright; and I did so, and in the course of time became as straight as an arrow, and have continued so, I believe, ever since.

I discovered vast treasures of strange reading in the library of the Princeton Theological College.  There was in one corner in a waste-room at least two cart-loads of old books in a cobwebbed dusty pile.  Out of that pile I raked the thirteenth known copy of Blind Harry’s famed poem, a black-letter Euphues Lely, an Erra Pater (a very weak-minded friend actually shamed me out of making a copy of this great curiosity, telling me it was silly and childish of me to be so pleased with old trash), and many more marvels, which were so little esteemed in Princeton, that one of the professors, seeing me daft with delight over my finds, told me I was quite welcome to keep them all; but I, who better knew their great value, would not avail myself of the offer, reflecting that a time would come when these treasures would be properly valued.  God knows it was a terrible temptation to me, and such as I hope I may never have again—ne inducas nos in temptationem!

The time for my graduation was at hand.  I had profited very much in the last year by the teaching and friendly counsel of Professor Joseph Henry, whose lectures on philosophy I diligently attended; also those on geology, chemistry and botany by Professor Torrey, and by the company of Professor Topping.  I stood very high in Latin, and perhaps first in English branches.  Yet, because I had fallen utterly short in mathematics, I was rated the lowest but one in the class—or, honestly speaking, the very last, for the one below me was an utterly reckless youth, who could hardly be said to have studied or graduated at all.  There were two honours usually awarded for proficiency in study.  One was the First Honour, p. 103and he who received it delivered the Valedictory Oration; the second was the Poem; and by an excess of kindness and justice for which I can never feel too grateful, and which was really an extraordinary stretch of their power under the circumstances, the Poem was awarded to me!

I was overwhelmed at the honour, but bitterly mortified and cut to my heart to think how little I had deserved it; for I had never done a thing save read and study that which pleased me and was easy.  I wrote the poem (and I still think it was a good one, for I put all my soul into it), and sent it in to the Faculty, with a letter stating that I was deeply grateful for their extreme kindness, but that, feeling I had not deserved it, I must decline the honour.  But I sent them my MS. as a proof that I did not do so because I felt myself incapable, and because I wished to give them some evidence that they had not erred in regarding me as a poet.

Very foolish and boyish, the reader may say, and yet I never regretted it.  The Faculty were not to blame for the system pursued, and they did their utmost in every way for four years to make it easy and happy for one of the laziest and most objectionable students whom they had ever had.  I have never been really able to decide whether I was right or wrong.  At liberal Cambridge, Massachusetts, neither I nor the professors would ever have discovered a flaw in my industry.  At the closely cramped, orthodox, hide-bound, mathematical Princeton, every weakness in me seemed to be developed.  Thirty years later I read in the Nassau Monthly, which I had once edited, that if Boker and I and a few others had become known in literature, we had done so in spite of our education there.  I do not know who wrote it; whoever he was, I am much obliged to him for a very comforting word.  For, discipline apart, it was literally “in spite of our education” that we learned anything worth knowing at Princeton—as it then was.

* * * * *

From this point a new phase of life begins.  Prominent p. 104in it and as its moving power was the great kindness of my father.  That I had graduated at all under any conditions was gratifying, and so was the fact that it was not in reality without the so-called Second Honour, despite my low grade.  And the pitiable condition of my health was considered.  During the last year I had taken lessons in dancing and fencing, which helped me a little, and I looked as if I might become strong with a change of life.  So my father took my mother and me on a grand excursion.  We went to Stonington, New York, and Saratoga, where I attended a ball—my first—and then on to Niagara.  On the way we stopped at Auburn, where there was a great State-prison, which I visited alone.  There was among its attractions a noted murderer under sentence of death.  There were two or three ladies and gentlemen who were shown by the warder with me over the building.  He expressed some apprehension as to showing us the murderer, for he was a very desperate character.  We entered a large room, and I saw a really gentlemanly-looking man heavily ironed, who was reading a newspaper.  While the others conversed with him, I endeavoured to make unobserved a sketch of his face.  The warder noticing this, called me to the front to make it boldly, and the prisoner, smiling, told me to go on with it; which I did, and that not so badly—at least, the sitter approved of it.

So we went up the beautiful Hudson, which far surpasses the Rhine, and yields the palm only to the Danube, stopping at Poughkeepsie and Albany, and so on to Niagara Falls.  On the way we passed through a burning forest.  My awe at this wonderful sight amused some one present to whom it was a familiar thing.  Which reminds me that about the time when I first went to college, but while staying at Congress Hall, I there met a youth from Alabama or Mississippi, who was on his way to Princeton to join our ranks.  To him I of course showed every attention, and by way of promoting his happiness took him to the top of the belfry of the State House, whence there is a fine view.  While there I casually p. 105remarked what a number of ships there were in the river, whereupon he eagerly cried, “Oh, show me one!  I never saw a ship in all my life!”  I gazed at him in utter astonishment, as if I would say, “What manner of man art thou?” and then recalling myself, said, “Well, we are just equal, for you never saw a ship, and I never saw a cotton-field.”  The young man smiled incredulously, and replied, “Now I know that you are trying to humbug me, for how could you grow up without ever seeing cotton-fields?”

We arrived at Niagara about noon, and I at once went to see the Falls.  There was a very respectable-looking old gentleman, evidently from the far South, with two young ladies, one a great beauty, advancing just before.  I heard him say, “Now, keep your eyes closed, or look down till you can have a full view.”  I did the same, and when he cried “Look up!” did so.  It was one of the great instants of my life.

I know not how it was, but that first glance suggested to me something chivalric.  It may have been from Byron’s simile of the tail of the white horse and the cataract, and the snow-white steed of that incarnation of nobility, Crescentius, and there rang in my memory a mystical verse—

“My eye bears a glance like the gleam of a lance
   When I hear the waters dash and dance;
And I smile with glee, for I love to see
   The sight of anything that’s free!”

But it was a mingled sense of nobility, and above all of freedom, which impressed me in that roaring mist of waters, in the wild river leaping as in reckless sport over the vast broad precipice.  It is usual, especially for those who have no gift of description, to say that Niagara is “utterly indescribable,” and the Visitors’ Book has this opinion repeated by the American Philistine on every page.  But that is because those who say so have no proper comprehension of facts stated, no poetic faculty, and no imagination.  Of course no mere description, however perfect, would give the same conception of even a pen or a button as would the sight thereof; p. 106but it is absurd and illogical to speak as if this were peculiar to a great thing alone.  For my part, I believe that the mere description to a poet, or to one who has dwelt by wood and wold and steeped his soul in Nature, of a tremendous cataract a mile in breadth and two hundred feet high, cleft by a wooded island, and rushing onward below in awful rocky rapids with a mighty roar, would, could, or should convey a very good idea of the great sight.  For I found in after years, when I came to see Venice and the temples on the Nile, that they were picturesquely or practically precisely what I had expected to see, not one shade or nuance of an expression more or less.  As regards Rome and all Gothic cathedrals, I had been assured so often, or so generally, by all “intelligent tourists,” that they were all wretched rubbish, that I was amazed to find them so beautiful.  And so much as to anticipations of Niagara, which I have thrice visited, and the constant assertion by cads unutterable that it is “indescribable.”

While at Niagara for three days, I walked about a great deal with a young lady whose acquaintance we had made at the hotel.  As she was, I verily believe, the very first, not a relative, with whom I had ever taken a walk, or, I may almost say, formed an acquaintance, it constituted an event in my life equal to Niagara itself in importance.  I was at this time just twenty-one, and certain I am that among twenty-one thousand college graduates of my age in America, of the same condition of life, there was not another so inexperienced in worldly ways, or so far behind his age, or so “docile unto discipline.”  I was, in fact, morally where most boys in the United States are at twelve or thirteen; which is a very great mistake where there is a fixed determination that the youth shall make his own way in life.  We cannot have boys good little angels at home and devils in business abroad.—Horum utrum magis velim, mihi incertum est.


Passage in a sailing ship—Gibraltar—Marseilles—Smugglers and a slaver—Italy—Life in Rome—Torlonia’s balls and the last great Carnival of 1846—Navone, the chief of police—Florence—Venice—How I passed the Bridge of Sighs—The Black Bait—Slavery—Crossing the Simplon—Switzerland—Pleasing introduction to Germany—Student life at Heidelberg—Captain Medwin—Justinus Kerner—How I saw Jenny Lind—Munich—Lola Montez—Our house on fire—All over Germany—How I was turned out of Poland—Paris in 1847—The Revolution of 1848—I become conspirator and captain of barricades—Taking of the Tuileries—The police bow me out of Prance—A season in London—Return to America.

After our return to Philadelphia something of great importance to me began to be discussed.  My cousin Samuel Godfrey, who was a few years older than I, finding himself threatened with consumption, of which all his family died, resolved to go to Marseilles on a voyage, and persuaded my father to let me accompany him.  At this time I had, as indeed for many years before, such a desire to visit Europe that I might almost have died of it.  So it was at last determined that I should go with “Sam,” and after all due preparations and packing, I bade farewell to mother and Henry and the dear little twin sisters, and youngest Emily, our pet, and went with my father to New York, where I was the guest for a few days of my cousin, Mrs. Caroline Wight, whom the reader may recall as the one who used to correct my French exercises in Dedham.

We were to sail in a packet or ship for Marseilles.  My p. 108father saw me off.  He was wont to say in after years, that as I stood on the deck at the last moment and looked affectionately at him, there was in my eyes an expression of innocence or goodness and gentleness which he never saw again.  Which was, I am sure, very true; the great pity being that that look had not utterly disappeared years before.  If it only had vanished with boyhood, as it ought to have done, my father would have been spared much sorrow.

At this time I was a trifle over six feet two in height, and had then and for some time after so fair a red and white complexion, that the young ladies in Philadelphia four years later teased me by spreading the report that I used rouge and white paint!  I was not as yet “filled out,” but held myself straightly, and was fairly proportioned.  I wore a cap a l’étudiant, very much over my left ear, and had very long, soft, straight, dark-brown hair; my dream and ideal being the German student.  I was extremely shy of strangers, but when once acquainted soon became very friendly, and in most cases made a favourable impression.  I was “neat and very clean-looking,” as a lady described me, for the daily bath or sponge was universal in Philadelphia long ere it was even in England, and many a time when travelling soon after, I went without a meal in order to have my tub, when time did not permit of both.  I was very sensitive, and my feelings were far too easily pained; on the other hand, I had no trace of the common New England youth’s vulgar failing of nagging, teasing, or vexing others under colour of being “funny” or “cute.”  A very striking, and, all things considered, a remarkable characteristic was that I hated, as I still do, with all my soul, gossip about other people and their affairs; never read even a card not meant for my eyes, and detested curiosity, prying, and inquisitiveness as I did the devil.  I owe a great development of this to a curious incident.  It must have been about the time when I first went to college, that I met at Cape May a naval officer, who roomed with me in a cottage, a farm-house near a hotel, and whom I greatly admired p. 109as a man of the world and a model of good manners.  To him one day I communicated some gossip about somebody, when he abruptly cut me short, and when I would go on informed me that he never listened to such talk.  This made a very deep impression on me, which never disappeared; nay, it grew with my growth and strengthened with my strength.  Now the New England people, especially Bostonians, are inordinately given to knowing everything about everybody, and to “tittle-tattle,” while the Southerners are comparatively free from it and very incurious.  Two-thirds of the students at Princeton were of the first families in the South, and there my indifference to what did not personally concern one was regarded as a virtue.  But there is a spot in this sun—that he who never cares a straw to know about the affairs of other people, will, not only if he live in Boston, but almost anywhere else—Old England not at all excepted—be forced, in spite of himself, and though he were as meek and lowly as man may be, into looking down on and feeling himself superior unto those people who will read a letter not meant for their eyes, or eavesdrop, or talk in any way about anybody in a strain to which they would not have that person listen.  Which reminds me that in after years I got some praise in the newspapers for the saying that a Yankee’s idea of hell was a place where he must mind his own business.  It came about in this way.  In a letter to Charles Astor Bristed I made this remark, and illustrated it with a picture of Virgil taking a Yankee attired in a chimney-pot hat and long night-gown into the Inferno, over whose gate was written—

“Badate a vostri affari voi che intrate!”
(Mind your own business ye who enter here!)

One day soon after my arrival at Princeton, George Boker laid on the table by me a paper or picture with its face down.  I took no notice of it.  After a time he said, “Why don’t you look at that picture?”  I replied simply, “If you wanted me to see it you would have turned it face up.”  To which he p. 110remarked, “I put it there to see whether you would look at it.  I thought you would not.”  George was a “deep, sagacious file,” who studied men like books.

My cousin who accompanied me had as a boy “run away and gone to sea” cod-fishing on the Grand Banks.  If I had gone with him it would have done me good.  Another cousin, Benjamin Stimson, did the same; he is the S. often mentioned in Dana’s “Two Years Before the Mast.”  Dana and Stimson were friends, and ran away together.  It was quite the rule for all my Yankee cousins to do this, and they all benefited by it.  In consequence of his nautical experience Sam was soon at home among all sailors, and not having my scruples as to knowing who was who or their affairs, soon knew everything that was going on.  Our captain was a handsome, dissipated, and “loud” young man, with rather more sail than ballast, but good-natured and obliging.

“Come day, go day,” we passed the Gulf Stream and the Azores, and had long sunny calms, when we could not sail, and lay about on deck, warm and lazy, and saw the Azores, and so on, till we were near the Spanish coast.  One evening there clipped right under our lee a fisherman’s smack.  “I say, Leland, hail that fellow!” said the captain.  So I called in Spanish, “Adonde venga usted?”

“Da Algesiras,” was the reply, which thrilled out of my heart the thought that, like the squire in Chaucer—

“He had been at the siege of Algecir.”

So I called, in parting, “Dios vaya con usted!”

Sam informed me that the manner in which I hailed the fisherman had made a great impression on the captain, who lauded me highly.  It also made one on me, because it was the first time I ever spoke to a European in Europe!

Anon we were boarded by an old weather-beaten seadog of a Spanish pilot, unto whom I felt a great attraction; and greeting him in Malagan Spanish, such as I had learned from Manuel Gori, as Hermano! and offering him with ceremonious p. 111politeness a good cigar, I also drew his regards; all Spaniards, as I well knew, being extremely fond, beyond all men on earth, of intimacy with gentlemen.  We were delayed for two days at Gibraltar.  I may here remark, by the way, that this voyage of our ship is described in a book by Mrs. Fanny Kemble Butler, entitled “A Year of Consolation Abroad.”  She was on board, but never spoke to a soul among the passengers.

I was never acquainted with Mrs. Butler, as I easily might have been, for we had some very intimate friends in common; but as a boy I had been “frightened of her” by certain anecdotes as to her temper, and perhaps the influence lasted into later years.  I have, however, heard her lecture.  She was a very clever woman, and Mr. Henry James, in Temple Bar for March, 1893, thus does justice to her conversational power:

“Her talk reflected a thousand vanished and present things; but there were those of her friends for whom its value was, almost before any other, documentary.  The generations move so fast and change so much, that Mrs. Kemble testified even more than she affected to do, which was much, to ancient manners and a close chapter of history.  Her conversation swarmed with people and with criticism of people, with the ghosts of a dead society.  She had, in two hemispheres, seen every one and known every one, had assisted at the social comedy of her age.  Her own habits and traditions were in themselves a survival of an era less democratic and more mannered.  I have no room for enumerations, which, moreover, would be invidious; but the old London of her talk—the direction I liked is best to take—was, in particular, a gallery of portraits.  She made Count d’Orsay familiar, she made Charles Greville present; I thought it wonderful that she could be anecdotic about Miss Edgeworth.  She reanimated the old drawing-rooms, relighted the old lamps, retuned the old pianos.  The finest comedy of all, perhaps, was that of her own generous whimsicalities.  She was superbly willing to amuse, and on any terms; and her temper could do it as well as her wit.  If either of these had failed, her eccentricities were always there.  She had more ‘habits’ than most people have room in life for, and a theory that to a person of her disposition they were as necessary as the close meshes of a strait-waistcoat.  If she had not lived by rule (on her showing) she would have lived infallibly by riot.  Her rules and her riots, her reservations and her concessions, p. 112all her luxuriant theory and all her extravagant practice; her drollery, that mocked at her melancholy; her imagination, that mocked at her drollery; and her wonderful manners, all her own, that mocked a little at everything: these were part of the constant freshness which made those who loved her love her so much.  ‘If my servants can live with me a week, they can live with me for ever,’ she often said; ‘but the first week sometimes kills them.’  A domestic who had been long in her service quitted his foreign home the instant he heard of her death, and, travelling for thirty hours, arrived travel-stained and breathless, like a messenger in a romantic tale, just in time to drop a handful of flowers into her grave.”

There came on board of our boat a fruit-dealer, and the old pilot, seeing that I was about to invest a real in grapes, said, “Let me buy them for you”; which he did, obtaining half-a-peck of exquisite large grapes of a beautiful purple colour.

There was a middle-aged lady among the passengers, of whom the least I can say was, that she had a great many little winning ways of making herself disagreeable.  She imposed frightfully on me while on board, getting me to mark her trunks for her, and carry them into the hold, &c. (the sailors disliked her so much that they refused to touch them), and then cut me dead when on shore.  This ancient horror, seeing me with so many grapes, and learning the price, concluded that if a mere boy like me could get so many, she, a lady, could for four reals lay in a stock which would last for life, more or less.  So she obtained a bushel-basket, expecting to get it heaped full; but what was her wrath at only getting for her silver half-dollar just enough to hide the bottom thereof!  Great was her rage, but rage availed her nought.  She did not call old pilots “Brother,” or give them cigars, or talk Malagano politely.  She was not even “half-Spanish,” and therefore, as we used to say at college of certain unpopular people, was “a bad smoke.”

We went on shore on Sunday, which in those days always made Gibraltar literally like a fancy ball.  The first person whom I met was a pretty young lady in full, antique, rich p. 113Castilian costume, followed by a servant bearing her book of devotion.  Seeing my gaze of admiration, she smiled, at which I bowed, and she returned the salute and went her way.  Such an event had never happened to me before in all my life.  I accepted it philosophically as one of a new order of things into which I was destined to enter.  Then I saw men from every part of Spain in quaint dresses, Castilians in cloaks, Andalusians in the jaunty majo rig, Gallegos, Moors from the Barbary coast, many Greeks, old Jews in gabardines, Scotch Highland soldiers, and endless more—concursus splendidusnon possum non mirari.

I felt myself very happy and very much at home in all this.  I strolled about the streets talking Spanish to everybody.  Then I met with a smuggler, who asked me if I wanted to buy cigars.  I did.  In New York my uncle George had given me a box of five hundred excellent Havanas, and these had lasted me exactly twenty days.  I had smoked the last twenty-five on the last day.  So I went and bought at a low enough figure a box of the worst cigars I had ever met with.  But youth can smoke anything—except deceit.

Entrance to the galleries was strictly forbidden in those days, but an incorruptible British sergeant, for an incorruptible dollar or two, showed us over them.  There was, too, a remarkable man, a ship-chandler named Felipe, to whom I was introduced.  Felipe spoke twenty-four languages.  He boarded every ship and knew everybody.  Gibraltar was then a vast head-quarters of social evils, or blessings, and Felipe, who was a perfect Hercules, mentioned incidentally that he had had a new maja, or moza, or muger, or puta, every night for twenty years! which was confirmed by common report.  It was a firm principle with him to always change.  This extraordinary fact made me reflect deeply on it as a psychological phenomenon.  This far surpassed anything I had ever heard at Princeton.  Then this and that great English dignitary was pointed out to me—black eyes ogled me—everybody p. 114was polite, for I had a touch of the Spanish manner which I had observed in the ex-Capitan-General and others whom I had known in Philadelphia; and, in short, I saw more that was picturesque and congenial in that one day than I had ever beheld in all my life before.  I had got into “my plate.”

From Gibraltar our ship sailed on to Marseilles.  The coasts were full of old ruins, which I sketched.  We lay off Malaga for a day, but I could not go ashore, much as I longed to.  At Marseilles, Sam and the captain and I went to a very good hotel.

Now it had happened that on the voyage before a certain French lady—the captain said she was a Baroness—having fallen in love with the said captain, had secreted herself on board the vessel, greatly to his horror, and reappeared when out at sea.  Therefore, as soon as we arrived at Marseilles, the injured husband came raging on board and tried to shoot the captain, which made a great scandal.  And, moved by this example, the coloured cook of our vessel, who had a wife, shot the head-waiter on the same day, being also instigated by jealousy.  Sam Godfrey chaffed the captain for setting a bad moral example to the niggers—which was all quite a change from Princeton.  Life was beginning to be lively.

There had come over on the vessel with us, in the cabin, a droll character, an actor in a Philadelphia theatre, who had promptly found a lodging in a kind of maritime boarding-house.  Getting into some difficulty, as he could not speak French he came in a great hurry to beg me to go with him to his pension to act as interpreter, which I did.  I found at once that it was a Spanish house, and the resort of smugglers.  The landlady was a very pretty black-eyed woman, who played the guitar, and sang Spanish songs, and brought out Spanish wine, and was marvellously polite to me, to my astonishment, not unmingled with innocent gratitude.

There I was at home.  At Princeton I had learned to play the guitar, and from Manuel Gori, who had during all his p. 115boyhood been familiar with low life and smugglers, I had learned many songs and some slang.  And so, with a crowd of dark, fierce, astonished faces round me of men eagerly listening, I sang a smuggler’s song—

“Yo que soy contrabandista,
Y campo a me rispeto,
A todos mi desafio,
Quien me compra hilo negro?
   Ay jaleo!
   Muchachas jaleo!
Quien me compra hilo negro!”

Great was the amazement and thundering the applause from my auditors.  Let the reader imagine a nun of fourteen years asked to sing, and bursting out with “Go it while you’re young!”  Then I sang the Tragala, which coincided with the political views of my friends.  But my grand coup was in reserve.  I had learned from Borrow’s “Gypsies in Spain” a long string of Gitano or Gypsy verses, such as—

“El eray guillabela,
   El eray obusno;
Que avella romanella,
   No avella obusno!”

“Loud sang the gorgio to his fair,
   And thus his ditty ran:—
‘Oh, may the Gypsy maiden come,
   And not the Gypsy man!’”

And yet again—

“Coruncho Lopez, gallant lad,
   A smuggling he would ride;
So stole his father’s ambling prad,
And therefore to the galleys sad
   Coruncho now I guide.”

This was a final coup.  How the diabolo I, such an innocent stranger youth, had ever learned Spanish Gypsy—the least knowledge of which in Spain implies unfathomable iniquity p. 116and fastness—was beyond all comprehension.  So I departed full of honour amid thunders of applause.

From the first day our room was the resort of all the American ship-captains in Marseilles.  We kept a kind of social hall or exchange, with wine and cigars on the side-table, all of which dropping in and out rather reminded me of Princeton.  My friend the actor had pitched upon a young English Jew, who seemed to me to be a doubtful character.  He sang very well, and was full of local news and gossip.  He, too, was at home among us.  One evening our captain told us how he every day smuggled ashore fifty cigars in his hat.  At hearing this, I saw a gleam in the eyes of the young man, which was a revelation to me.  When he had gone, I said to the captain, “You had better not smuggle any cigars to-morrow.  That fellow is a spy of the police.”

The next day Captain Jack on leaving his ship was accosted by the douaniers, who politely requested him to take off his hat.  He refused, and was then told that he must go before the préfet.  There the request was renewed.  He complied; but “forewarned, forearmed”—there was nothing in it.

Captain Jack complimented me on my sagacity, and scolded the actor for making such friends.  But he had unconsciously made me familiar with one compared to whom the spy was a trifle.  I have already fully and very truthfully described this remarkable man in an article in Temple Bar, but his proper place is here.  He was a little modest-looking Englishman, who seemed to me rather to look up to the fast young American captains as types or models of more daring beings.  Sometimes he would tell a mildly-naughty tale as if it were a wild thing.  He consulted with me as to going to Paris and hearing lectures at the University, his education having been neglected.  He had, I was told, experienced a sad loss, having just lost his ship on the Guinea coast.  One day I condoled with him, saying that I heard he had been ruined.

p. 117“Yes,” replied the captain, “I have.  Something like this: My mother once had a very pretty housemaid who disappeared.  Some time after I met her magnificently dressed, and I said, ‘Sally, where do you live now?’  She replied, ‘Please, sir, I don’t live anywhere now; I’ve been ruined.’”

Sam explained to me that the captain had a keg of gold-dust and many diamonds, and having wrecked his vessel intentionally, was going to London to get a heavy insurance.  He had been “ruined” to his very great advantage.  Then Sam remarked—

“You don’t know the captain.  I tell you, Charley, that man is an old slaver or pirate.  See how I’ll draw him out.”

‘The next day Sam began to talk.  He remarked that he had been to sea and had some money which he wished to invest.  His health required a warm climate, such as the African coast.  We would both, in fact, like to go into the Guinea business.  [Bozales—“sacks of charcoal,” I remarked in Spanish slaver-slang.]  The captain smiled.  He had apparently heard the expression before.  He considered it.  He had a great liking for me, and thought that a trip or two under the black flag would do me a great deal of good.  So he noted down our address, and promised that as soon as he should get a ship we should hear from him.

After that the captain, regarding me as enlisted in the fraternity, and only waiting till ’twas “time for us to go,” had no secrets from me.  He was very glad that I knew Spanish and French, and explained that if I would learn Coromantee or Ebo, it would aid us immensely in getting cargoes.  By the way, I became very well acquainted in after years with King George of Bonney, and can remember entertaining him with a story how a friend of mine once (in Cuba) bought thirty Ebos, and on entering the barracoon the next morning, found them all hanging by the necks dead, like a row of possums in the Philadelphia market—they having, with magnificent pluck, and in glorious defiance of Buckra civilisation, resolved to go back to Africa.  I have found other blacks p. 118who believed that all good darkies when they die go to Guinea, and one of these was very touching and strange.  He had been brought as a slave-child to South Carolina, but was always haunted by the memory of a group of cocoa-palms by a place where the wild white surf of the ocean bounded up to the shore—a rock, sunshine, and sand.  There he declared his soul would go.  He was a Voodoo, and a man of marvellous strange mind.

Day by day my commander gave me, as I honestly believe, without a shadow of exaggeration, all the terrific details of a slaver’s life, and his strange experiences in buying slaves in the interior.  Compared to the awful massacres and cruelties inflicted by the blacks on one another, the white slave trade seemed to be philanthropic and humane.  He had seen at the grand custom in Dahomey 2,500 men killed, and a pool made of their blood into which the king’s wives threw themselves naked and wallowed.  “One day fifteen were to be tortured to death for witchcraft.  I bought them all for an old dress-coat,” said the captain.  “I didn’t want them, for my cargo was made up; it was only to save the poor devils’ lives.”

If a slaver could not get a full cargo, and met with a weaker vessel which was full, it was at once attacked and plundered.  Sometimes there would be desperate resistance, with the aid of the slaves.  “I have seen the scuppers run with blood,” said the captain.  And so on, with much more of the same sort, all of which has since been recorded in the “Journal of Captain Canot,” from which latter book I really learned nothing new.  I might add the “Life of Hobart Pacha,” whom I met many times in London.  A real old-fashioned slaver was fully a hundred times worse than an average pirate, because he was the latter whenever he wished to rob, and in his business was the cause of far more suffering and death.

The captain was very fond of reading poetry, his favourite being Wordsworth.  This formed quite a tie between us.  He was always rather mild, quiet, and old-fashioned—in fact, muffish.  Once only did I see a spark from him which showed p. 119what was latent.  Captain Jack was describing a most extraordinary run which we had made before a gale from Gibraltar to Cape de Creux, which was, indeed, true enough, he having a very fast vessel.  But the Guinea captain denied that such time had ever been made by any craft ever built.  “And I have had to sail sometimes pretty fast in my time,” he added with one sharp glance—no more—but, as Byron says of the look of Gulleyaz, ’twas like a short glimpse of hell.  Pretty fast!  I should think so—now and then from an English cruiser, all sails wetted down, with the gallows in the background.  But as I had been on board with Sam, the question was settled.  We had made a run which was beyond all precedent.

I fancy that the captain, if he escaped the halter or the wave, in after years settled down in some English coast-village, where he read Wordsworth, and attended church regularly, and was probably regarded as a gentle old duffer by the younger members of society.  But take him for all in all, he was the mildest-mannered man that ever scuttled ship or cut a throat, and he always behaved to me like a perfect gentleman, and never uttered an improper word.

We had to wait one month till my cousin could get certain news from America.  We employed the time in travelling in the south, visiting Arles, Nismes, Montpellier, and other places.  An English gentleman named Gordon, whom I had met in Marseilles, had given me a letter of introduction to M. Saint René Taillandier in the latter place.  I knew nothing at all then about this great man, or that he was the first French critic of German literature, but I presented my letter, and he kindly went with me about the town to show me its antiquities.  I can remember discussing Gothic tracery with him; also, that I told him I was deeply interested in the Troubadours.  He recommended Raynouard and several other books, when finding that I was familiar with them all, he smiled, and said that he believed he could teach me nothing more.  I did not know it then, but that word p. 120from him would have been as good as a diploma for me in Paris.

As for old Roman ruins and Gothic churches, and cloisters grey, and the arrowy Rhone, and castellated bridges—everything was in a more original moss-grown, picturesque condition then than it now is—I enjoyed them all with an intensity, a freshness or love, which passeth all belief.  I had attended Professor Dodd’s lectures more than once, and illuminated manuscripts, and had bought me in Marseilles Berty’s “Dictionary of Gothic Architecture,” and got it by heart, and began to think of making a profession of it, which, if I had known it, was the very wisest thing I could have done.  And that this is no idle boast is clear from this, that I in after years made a design according to which a “store,” which cost £30,000, was built, my plan being believed by another skilled architect to have been executed by a “professional.”  This was really the sad slip and escape of my lifetime.

In those days, really good red wine was given to every one at every table; savoury old-fashioned dishes, vegetables, and fruits were served far more freely and cheaply than they now are, when every dainty is sent by rail to Paris or London, and the drinking of Bordeaux and Burgundy did me much good.  Blessed days of cheapness and good quality, before chicory, the accursed poison, had found its way into coffee, or oleomargarine was invented, or all things canned—the world will never see ye more!  I have now lived for many months in a first-class Florence hotel, and in all the time have not tasted one fresh Italian mushroom, or truffle, or olive—nothing but tasteless abominations bottled in France!

It was settled that my cousin should return from Marseilles to the United States, while I was to go on alone to Italy.  It was misgivingly predicted at home by divers friends that I would be as a lamb set loose among wolves, and lose all my money at the outstart.  Could they have learned that within a week after my arrival I had been regarded by p. 121Spanish smugglers as a brother, and tripped up a spy of the police, and been promised a situation as a slaver’s and pirate’s assistant, they might have thought that I had begun to learn how to take care of myself in a hurry.  As for losing my money, I, by a terrible accident, doubled it, as I will here describe.

Before leaving home, a lady cousin had made for Samuel and me each a purse, and they were exactly alike.  Now by a purse I mean a real purse, and not a pocket-book, or a porte-monnaie, or a wallet—that is, I mean a long bag with a slit and two rings, and nothing else.  And my cousin having often scolded me for leaving mine lying about in our room, I seeing it, as I thought, just a few minutes before my departure, lying on the table, pocketed it, thanking God that Sam had not found it, or scolded me.

I went on board the steamboat and set sail towards Italy.  I was sea-sick all night, but felt better the next day.  Then I had to pay out some money, and thought I would look over my gold.  To my utter amazement, it was doubled!  This I attributed to great generosity on Sam’s part, and I blessed him.

But, merciful heavens! what were my sensations at finding in the lower depth of my pocket another purse also filled with Napoleons in rouleaux!  Then it all flashed upon me.  Samuel, the careful, had left his purse lying on the table, and I had supposed it was mine!  I felt as wretched as if I had lost instead of won.

When I got to Naples I found a letter from my cousin bewailing his loss.  He implored me, if I knew nothing about it, not to tell it to a human soul.  There was a M. Duclaux in Marseilles, with whom we had had our business dealings, and from him Sam had borrowed what he needed.  I at once requested Captain Olive, of the steamer, to convey the purse and its contents to M. Duclaux, which I suppose was done secundem ordinem.

Poor Sam!  I never met him again.  He died of consumption p. 122soon after returning home.  He was one of whom I can say with truth that I never saw in him a fault, however trifling.  He was honour itself in everything, as humane as was his grandfather before him, ever cheerful and kind, merry and quaint.

The programme of the steamboat declared that meals were included in the fare, “except while stopping at a port.”  But we stopped every day at Genoa or Leghorn, or somewhere, and stayed about fifteen hours, and as almost every passenger fell sea-sick after going ashore, the meals were not many.  On board the first day, I made the acquaintance of Mr. James Temple Bowdoin, of Boston, and Mr. Mosely, of whom I had often heard as editor of the Richmond Whig.  Mr. Bowdoin was a nephew of Lady Temple, and otherwise widely connected with English families.  He is now living (1892), and I have seen a great deal of him of late years.  With these two I joined company, and travelled with them over Italy.  Both were much older than I, and experienced men of the world; therefore I was in good hands, and better guides, philosophers, mentors, pilots, and friends I could hardly have found.  Left to myself, I should probably ere the winter was over have been the beloved chief of a gang of gypsies, or brigands, or witches, or careering the wild sea-wave as a daring smuggler, all in innocence and goodness of heart; for truly in Marseilles I had begun to put forth buds of such strange kind and promise as no friend of mine ever dreamed of.  As it was, I got into better, if less picturesque, society.

We came to Naples, and went to a hotel, and visited everything.  In those days the beggars and pimps and pickpockets were beyond all modern conception.  The picturesqueness of the place and people were only equalled by the stinks.  It was like a modern realistic novel.  We went a great deal to the opera, also to the Blue Grotto of Capri, and ascended Mount Vesuvius, and sought Baiæ, and made, in fact, all the excursions.  As there were three, and sometimes p. 123half-a-dozen of our friends on these trips, we had, naturally, with us quite a cortége.  Among these was an ill-favoured rascal called “John,” who always received a dollar a day.  One evening some one raised the question as to what the devil it was that John did.  He did not carry anything, or work to any account, or guide, or inform, yet he was always there, and always in the way.  So John, being called up, was asked what he did.  Great was his indignation, for by this time he had got to consider himself indispensable.  He declared that he “directed, and made himself generally useful.”  We informed him that we would do our own directing, and regarded him as generally useless.  So John was discarded.  Since then I have found that “John” is a very frequent ingredient in all societies and Government offices.  There are Johns in Parliament, in the army, and in the Church.  His children are pensioned into the third and fourth and fortieth generation.  In fact, I am not sure that John is not the great social question of the age.

There was in Philadelphia an Academy of Fine Arts, or Gallery, of which my father had generously presented me with two shares, which gave me free entrance.  There were in it many really excellent pictures, even a first-class Murillo, besides Wests and Allstons.  Unto this I had, as was my wont, read up closely, and reflected much on what I read, so that I was to a certain degree prepared for the marvels of art which burst on me in Naples.  And if I was, and always have been, rather insensible to the merits of Renaissance sculpture and architecture, I was not so to its painting, and not at all blind to the unsurpassed glories of its classic prototypes.  Professor Dodd had indeed impressed it deeply and specially on my mind that the revival of a really pure Greek taste in England, or from the work of Stewart and Revett, was contemporary with that for Gothic architecture, and that the appreciation of one, if true, implies that of the other.  As I was now fully inspired with my new resolution to become an architect, I read all that I could get on the subject, and p. 124naturally examined all remains of the past far more closely and critically than I should otherwise have done.  And this again inspired in me (who always had a mania for bric-à-brac and antiquity, which is certainly hereditary) a great interest in the characteristic decoration of different ages, which thing is the soul and life of all æsthetic archæology and the minor arts; which latter again I truly claim to have brought, I may say, into scientific form and made a branch of education in after years.

I think that we were a month in Naples.  I kept a journal then, and indeed everywhere for three years after.  The reader may be thankful that I have it not, for I foresee that I shall easily recall enough to fill ten folios of a thousand pages solid brevier each, at this rate of reminiscences.  As my predilection for everything German and Gothic came out more strongly every day, Mr. Mosely called me familiarly Germanicus, a name which was indeed not ill-bestowed at that period.

From Naples we went to Rome by vettura, or in carriages.  We were two days and two nights on the route.  I remember that when we entered Rome, I saw the douanier who examined my trunk remove from it, as he thought unperceived, a hair-brush, book, &c., and slyly hide them behind another trunk.  I calmly walked round, retook and replaced them in my trunk, to the discomfiture, but not in the least to the shame, of the thief, who only grinned.

And here I may say, once for all, that one can hardly fail to have a mean opinion of human common-sense in government, when we see this system of examining luggage still maintained.  For all that any country could possibly lose by smuggling in trunks, &c., would be a hundred-fold recompensed by the increased amount of travel and money imported, should it be done away with, as has been perfectly and fully proved in France; the announcement a year ago that examination would be null or formal having had at once the effect of greatly increasing travel.  And as there is not a p. 125custom-house in all Europe where a man who knows the trick cannot pull through his luggage by bribery—the exceptions being miraculously rare—the absurdity and folly of the system is apparent.

We went to the Hotel d’Allemagne, where I fell ill, either because I had a touch of Neapolitan malaria in me (in those days the stench of the city was perceptible three miles out at sea, and might have risen unto heaven above and been smelt by the angels, had they and their home been as near to earth as was believed by the schoolmen), or because the journey had been too much for me.  However, an English physician set me up all right in two or three days (he wanted to sell us pictures which would have cured any one—of a love of art), and then there began indeed a glorious scampering and investigating, rooting and rummaging—

“’Mid deathless lairs in solemn Rome.”

Galleries and gardens, ruins and palaces, Colosseum and temples, churches and museums—ye have had many a better informed and many a more inspired or gifted visitor than I, but whether from your first Sabine days you ever had a happier one, or one who enjoyed you more with the simple enjoyment of youth and hope gratified, I doubt.  Sometimes among moss-grown arches on a sunny day, as the verd-antique lizards darted over the stones from dark to light, while far in the distance tinkled bells, either from cows or convents, and all was calm and sweet, I have often wondered if it could indeed be real and not a dream.  Life often seemed to me then to be too good to be true.  And there was this at least good in my Transcendentalism and Poly-Pantheism, that it quite unconsciously or silently gave me many such hours; for it had sunk so deeply into my soul, and was so much a real part thereof, that it inspired me when I never thought of it, in which I differed by a heaven’s width from the professional Yankee Transcendentalists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Æsthetes, and other spiritualists or sorcerers, p. 126who always kept their blessed belief, as a holy fugleman, full in sight, to give them sacred straight tips, or as a Star-spangled Bannerman who waved exceedingly, while my spirit was a shy fairy, who dwelt far down in the depths of the all too green sea of my soul, where it seemed to me she had ever been, or ever a storm had raised a wave on the surface.  Antiquely verdant green I was, no doubt.  And even to this day the best hours of my life are when I hear her sweet voice ’mid ivy greens or ruins grey, in wise books, hoar traditions.  Be it where it will, it is that, and not the world of men or books, which gives the charm.

It was usual for all who drew from Torlonia’s bank not less than £20 to be invited to his soirées.  To ensure the expenses, the footman who brought the invitation called the day after for not less than five francs.  But the entertainment was well worth the money, and more.  There was a good supper—Thackeray has represented a character in “Vanity Fair” as devouring it—and much amusement.

Now I had written my name Chas., which being mistaken for Chev., I in due time, received an invitation addressed to M. le Chevalier Godfrey de Leland.  And it befell that I once found a lost decoration of the Order of the Golden Spur, which in those days was actually sold to anybody who asked for it for ten pounds, and was worth “nothing to nobody.”  This caused much fun among my friends, and from that day I was known as the Chevalier Germanicus, or the Knight of the Golden Spur, to which I assented with very good grace as a joke.  There were even a few who really believed that I had been decorated, though I never wore it, and one day I received quite a severe remonstrance from a very patriotic fellow-countryman against the impropriety of my thus risking my loss of citizenship.  Which caused me to reflect how many there are in life who rise to such “honours,” Heaven only knows how, in a back-stairs way.  I know in London a very great man of science, nemini secundus, who has never been knighted, although the tradesman who p. 127makes for him his implements and instruments has received the title and the accoladeFie at justitia!

I saw at one of the Torlonia entertainments a marvellously beautiful and strange thing, of which I had read an account in Mme. de Staël’s Corinne.  There was a stage, on which appeared a young girl, plainly dressed, and bearing a simple small scarf.  She did not speak or dance, or even assume “artistic positions”; what she did was far more striking and wonderful.  She merely sat or stood or reclined in many ways, every one of which seemed to be perfectly natural or habitual, and all of which were incredibly graceful.  I have forgotten how such women were called in Italy.  I am sure that this one had never been trained to it, for the absolute ease and naturalness with which she sat or stood could never have been taught.  If it could, every woman in the world would learn it.  Ristori was one of these instinctive Graces, and it constituted nearly all the art there was in her.

This was in 1846.  The Carnival of that year in Rome was the last real one which Italy ever beheld.  It was the very last, for which every soul saved up all his money for months, in order to make a wild display, and dance and revel and indulge in

      “Eating, drinking, masking,
And other things which could be had for asking.”

Then all Rome ran mad, and rode in carriages full of flowers, or carts, or wheelbarrows, or triumphal chariots, or on camels, horses, asses, or rails—n’importe quoi—and merrily cast confetti of flour or lime at one another laughing, while grave English tourists on balconies laboriously poured the same by the peck from tin scoops on the heads of the multitude, under the delusion that they too were enjoying themselves and “doing” the Carnival properly.  It was the one great rule among Italians that no man should in the Carnival, under any provocation whatever, lose his temper.  And here John Bull often tripped up.  On the last night of p. 128the last Carnival—that great night—there was the Senza Moccolo or extinguishment of lights, in which everybody bore a burning taper, and tried to blow or knock out the light of his neighbour.  Now, being tall, I held my taper high with one hand, well out of danger, while with a broad felt hat in the other I extinguished the children of light like a priest.  I threw myself into all the roaring fun like a wild boy, as I was, and was never so jolly.  Observing a pretty young English lady in an open carriage, I thrice extinguished her light, at which she laughed, but at which her brother or beau did not, for he got into a great rage, even the first time, and bade me begone.  Whereupon I promptly renewed the attack, and then repeated it, “according to the rules of the game,” whereat he began to curse and swear, when I, in the Italian fashion of rebuke (to the delight of sundry Italians), pointed my finger at him and hissed; which constituted the winning point d’honneur in the game.

There, too, was the race of wild horses, right down through the Corso or Condotti, well worth seeing, and very exciting, and game suppers o’nights after the opera, and the meeting with many swells and noted folk, and now it all seems like some memory of a wild phantasmagoria or hurried magic-lantern show—galleries and ruins by day, and gaiety by night.  Even so do all the scenes of life roll up together at its end, often getting mixed.

Yet another Roman memory or two.  We had taken lodgings in the Via Condotti, where we had a nice sitting-room in common and a good coal-fire.  Our landlady was lady-like and spoke French, and had long been a governess in the great Borghese family.  As for her husband, there were thousands of Liberals far and wide who spoke of him as the greatest scoundrel unhung, for he was at the head of the Roman police, and I verily believe knew more iniquity than the Pope himself.  It would have been against all nature and precedent if I had not become his dear friend and protégé, which I did accordingly, for I liked him very much p. 129indeed, and Heaven knows that such a rum couple of friends as Giuseppe Navone and myself, when out walking together, could not at that time have been found in Europe.

It may here be observed that I was decidedly getting on in the quality of my Mentors, for, as regarded morals and humanity, my old pirate and slaver friend was truly as a lamb and an angel of light compared to Navone.  And I will further indicate, as this book will prove, that if I was not at the age of twenty-three the most accomplished young scoundrel in all Europe, it was not for want of such magnificent opportunities and friends as few men ever enjoyed.  But it was always my fate to neglect or to be unable to profit by advantages, as, for instance, in mathematics; nor in dishonesty did I succeed one whit better, which may be the reason why the two are somehow dimly connected in my mind.  Here I think I see the unfathomable smile in the eye of Professor Dodd (it never got down to his lips), who was the incarnate soul of purity and honour.  But then the banker, E. Fenzi, who swindled me out of nearly 500 francs, was an arithmetician, and I write under a sense of recent wrong.  How this loss, and Fenzi’s failure, flight, and the fuss which it all caused in Florence, were accurately foretold me by a witch, may be read in detail in my “Etrusco-Roman Remains in Tuscan Tradition.”  London: T. Fisher Unwin.

My landlady was a very zealous Catholic, and tried to convert me.  This was a new experience, and I enjoyed it.  I proved malleable.  So she called in a Jesuit priest to perfect the work.  I listened with deep interest to his worn-out fade arguments, made a few points of feeble objection for form’s sake, yielded, and met him more than half way.  But somehow he never called again.  Latet anguis in herba—my grass was rather too green, I suppose.  I was rather sorry, for I expected some amusement.  But I had been too deep for the Jesuit—and for myself.

The time came for my departure.  I was to go alone on to Florence, in advance of my friends.  Navone arranged p. 130everything nicely for me: I was to go by diligence on to Civita Vecchia, where I was to call on a relative of his, who kept a bric-à-brac shop.  I did not know how or why it was that I was treated with such great respect, as if with fear, by the conductor, and by all on the road.  I was en route all night, and in the morning, very weary, I went to a hotel, called a commissionaire, and bade him get my passport from the police, and have it visée, and secure me a passage on the boat to Leghorn.  He returned very soon, and said with an air of bewilderment, “Signore, you sent me on a useless errand.  Here is your passport put all en règle, and your passage is all secured!”

I saw it at once.  The kind fatherly care of the great and good Navone had done it all!  He had watched over me invisibly and mysteriously all the time during the night; on the road I was a pet child of the Roman police!  The Vehmgericht had endorsed me with three crosses!  Therefore the passport and the passage were all right, and the captain was very deferential, and I got to Florence safely.

In Florence I went to the first hotel, which was then in what is now known as the Palazzo Feroni, or Viesseux’s, the great circulating library of Italy.  It is a fine machicolated building, which was in the Middle Ages the prison of the Republic.  From my window I had a fine view of the Via Tornabuoni—in which I had coffee since I concluded the last line.  There were but three or four persons the first evening at the table-d’hôte.  One was a very beautiful Polish countess, who spoke French perfectly.  She was very fascinating, and, when she ate a salad, smeared her lovely mouth and cheeks all round with oil to her ears.  Some one said something to her about the manner in which the serfs were treated in Poland, whereupon she replied with great vivacity that the Polish serfs were even more degraded and barbarous than those of Russia.  Which remark inspired in me certain reflections, which were amply developed in after years by the perusal of Von Moltke’s work on Poland, and more recently p. 131of that very interesting novel called “The Deluge.”  If freedom shrieked when Kosciusko fell, it was probably, from a humanitarian point of view, with joy.

There was, however, at the same hotel a singular man, a Lithuanian Pole named Andrékovitch, with whom I became very intimate, and whom I met in after years in Paris and in America.  He had been at a German university, where he had imbibed most liberal and revolutionary ideas.  He subsequently took part in one or two revolutions, and was exiled.  He had read about Emerson in a French magazine, and was enthusiastic over him.  In strange contrast to him was a handsome young man from the Italian Tyrol, who was, like the Pole and myself, full of literary longings, but who was still quite a Roman Catholic.  He knew about as much, or as little, of the world as I did, and was “gentle and bland.”  When we bade farewell, he wept, and kissed me.  Andrékovitch was eccentric, wild, and Slavonian-odd to look at at any time.  One evening he came into my room clad in scarlet dressing-gown, and having altogether the appearance of a sorcerer just out of a Sabbat.  The conversation took a theological turn.  Andrékovitch was the ragged remnant of a Catholic, but a very small one.  He sailed close to the wind, and neared Rationalism.

“But the Pope! . . .” exclaimed the Tyrolese.

Andrékovitch rose, looking more sorcerer or Zamiel-like than ever, and exclaiming, “The Pope be—!” left the room.  The last word was lost in the slam of the door.  It was a melodramatic departure, and as such has ever been impressed on my memory.

My father, while a merchant, and also my uncle, had done a very large business in Florentine straw goods, and I had received letters to several English houses who had corresponded with them.  I heard, long after, that my arrival had caused a small panic in Florence in business circles, it being apprehended that I had come out to establish a rival branch, or to buy at head-quarters for the American “straw-market.”  p. 132I believe that their fears were appeased when I interviewed them.  One of these worthy men had been so long in Italy that he had caught a little of its superstition.  He wished to invest in lottery tickets, and asked me for lucky numbers, which I gave him.

As I write these lines in Florence, I have within half-an-hour called for the first time on an old witch or strega, whom I found surrounded by herbs and bottles, and a magnificent cat, who fixed his eyes on me all the time, as if he recognised a friend.  I found, however, that she only knew the common vulgar sorceries, and was unable to give me any of the higher scongiurazioni or conjurations; and as I left, the old sorceress said respectfully and admiringly, “You come to me to learn, O Maestro, but it is fitter that I take lessons from you!”  Then she asked me for “the wizard blessing,” which I gave her in Romany.  So my first and last experiences in the deep and dark art come together!

I became acquainted in Florence with Hiram Powers, which reminds me that I once in Rome dined vis-à-vis to Gibson and several other artists, with whom I became intimate as young men readily do.  I contrived to study architecture, and made myself very much at home in a few studios.  The magnificent Fiorara, or flower-girl, whom so many will remember for many years, was then in the full bloom of her beauty.  She and others gave flowers to any strangers whom they met, not expecting money down, but when a man departed the flower-girls were always on hand to solicit a gratuity.  Twenty years later this same Fiorara, still a very handsome woman, remembered me, and gave my wife a handsome bouquet on leaving.

I studied Provençal and Italian poetry in illuminated MSS. in the Ambrosian or Laurentian Library, and took my coffee at Doney’s, and saw more of Florence in a few weeks’ time than I have ever done since in any one of my residences here, though some of them have been for six and nine months.  As is quite natural.  Who that lives in London ever goes to p. 133see the Tower?  All things in Europe were so new and fresh and beautiful and wonderful to me then, and I had been yearning for them so earnestly for so many years, and this golden freedom followed so closely on the deadly ennui of Princeton, that I could never see enough.

If any of my readers want to know something of sorcery, I can tell them that among its humblest professors it is perfectly understood that pleasure or enjoyment is one of its deepest mysteries or principles, as an integral part of fascination.  So I can feel an enchantment, sometimes almost incredible, in gazing on a Gothic ruin in sunshine, or a beautiful face, a picture by Carpaccio, Norse interlaces, lovable old books, my amethyst amulet, or a garden.  For if you could sway life and death, and own millions, or walk invisible, you could do no more than enjoy; therefore you had better learn to enjoy much without such power.  Thus endeth the first lesson!

I arrived in Venice.  There had been a time in America when, if I could have truthfully declared that I had ever been in a gondola, I should have felt as if I held a diploma of nobility in the Grand Order of Cosmopolites.  Having been conveyed in one to my hotel on the Grand Canal, I felt that I at last held it!  Now I had really mastered the three great cities of Italy, which was the first and greatest part of all travel in all the world of culture and of art.  Fate might hurl me back to America, or even into New Jersey, but I had “swum in a gondola.”

I very soon made the acquaintance of two brothers from New York named Seymour, somewhat older than myself, and men of reading and culture.  With them I “sight-saw” the city.  I had read Venice up rather closely at Princeton, and had formed a great desire to go on the Bridge of Sighs.  For some reason this was then very strictly forbidden.  Our Consul, who was an enterprising young man, told me that he had been for months trying to effect it in vain.  It at once became apparent to me as a piece of manifest destiny that I must do it.

p. 134One day I had with me a clever fellow, a commissionaire or guide, and consulted him.  He said, “I think it may be done.  You look like an Austrian, and may be taken for an officer.  Walk boldly into the chief’s office, and ask for the keys of the bridge; only show a little cheek.  You may get them.  Give the chief’s man two francs when you come out.  At the worst, he can only refuse to give them.”

It was indeed a very cheeky undertaking, but I ventured on it with the calmness of innocence.  I went into the office, and said, “The keys to the bridge, if you please!” as if I were in an official hurry on State business.  The official stared, and said—

“Do I understand that you formally demand the keys?”

Ja wohl, certainly; at once, if you please!”

They were handed over to me, and I saw the bridge and gave the two francs, and all was well.  But it gave me no renown in Venice, for the Consul and all my friends regarded it as a fabulous joke of mine, inspired by poetic genius.  But I sometimes think that the official who yielded up the keys, and the man whom he sent with me, and perhaps the commissionaire, all had a put-up job of it among them on those keys, and several glasses all round out of those two francs.  Quien sabeVive la bagatelle!

We went on an excursion to Padua.  What I remember is, that what impressed me most was a placard here and there announcing that a work on Oken had just appeared!  This rather startled me.  Whether it was for or against the great German offshoot from Schelling, it proved that somebody in Italy had actually studied him!  Eppure si muove, I thought.  It cannot be true that—

“Padua! the lamp of learning
In thy halls no more is burning.”

I have been there several times since.  All that I now recall is that the hotel was not very good the last time.

I met in Venice a young New Yorker named Clark, who p. 135had crossed with me on the ship.  He was a merry companion.  Sailing with him one morning in a gondola along the Grand Canal, we saw sitting before a hotel its porter, who was an unmistakable American man of full colour.  Great was Clark’s delight, and he called out, “I say, Buck! what the devil are you doing here?”

With a delighted grin, the man and brother replied in deep Southern accent—

“Dey sets me hyar fo’ a bait to ’tice de Americans with.”

I heard subsequently that he had come from America with his mistress, and served her faithfully till there came into the service a pretty French girl.  Great was the anger of the owner of the man to find that he had unmistakably “enticed” the maid.  To which he replied that it was a free country; that he had married the damsel—she was his wife; and so the pair at once packed up and departed.

We used to hear a great deal before the war from Southerns about the devotion of their slaves, but there were a great many instances in which the fidelity did not exactly hold water.  There was an old Virginia gentleman who owned one of these faithful creatures.  He took him several times to the North, and as the faithful one always turned a deaf ear to the Abolitionists, and resisted every temptation to depart, and refused every free-ticket offered for a journey on “the underground railway,” and went back to Richmond, he was of course trusted to an unlimited extent.  When the war ended he was freed.  Some one asked him one day how he could have been such a fool as to remain a slave.  He replied—

“Kase it paid.  Dere’s nuffin pays like being a dewoted darkey.  De las’ time I went Norf wid massa I made ’nuff out of him to buy myself free twice’t over.”

Doubtless there were many instances of “pampered and petted” household servants who had grown up in families who had sense to know that they could never live free in the freezing North without hard work.  These were the only p. 136devoted ones of whom I ever heard.  The field-hands, disciplined by the lash, and liable to have their wives or children or relatives sold from them—as happened on an average once at least in a life—were all to a man quite ready to forsake “ole massa” and “dear ole missus,” and flee unto freedom.  And what a vile mean wretch any man must be who would sacrifice his freedom to any other living being, be it for love or feudal fidelity—and what a villain must the man be who would accept such a gift!

I had never thought much of this subject before I left home.  I did not like slavery, nor to think about it.  But in Europe I did like such thought, and I returned fully impressed with the belief that slavery was, as Charles Sumner said, “the sum of all crimes.”  In which summation he showed himself indeed a “sumner,” as it was called of yore.  Which cost me many a bitter hour and much sorrow, for there was hardly a soul whom I knew, except my mother, to whom an Abolitionist was not simply the same thing as a disgraceful, discreditable malefactor.  Even my father, when angry with me one day, could think of nothing bitterer than to tell me that I knew I was an Abolitionist.  I kept it to myself, but the reader can have no idea of what I was made to suffer for years in Philadelphia, where everything Southern was exalted and worshipped with a baseness below that of the blacks themselves.

For all of which in after years I had full and complete recompense.  I lived to see the young ladies who were ready to kneel before any man who owned “slä-äves,” detest the name of “South,” and to learn that their fathers and friends were battling to the death to set those slaves free.  I lived to see the roof of the “gentlemanly planter,” who could not of yore converse a minute with me without letting me know that he considered himself as an immeasurably higher being than myself, blaze over his head amid yell and groan and sabre-stroke—

“And death-shots flying thick and fast,”

p. 137while he fled for life, and the freed slaves sang hymns of joy to God.  I saw the roads, five miles wide, level, barren, and crossed with ruts, where Northern and Southern armies had marched, and where villages and plantations had once been.  I saw countless friends or acquaintances, who had once smiled with pitying scorn at me, or delicately turned the conversation when Abolition was mentioned in my presence, become all at once blatant “nigger-worshippers,” abundant in proof that they had always had “an indescribable horror of slavery”—it was, in fact, so indescribable that (until it was evident that the North would conquer) none of them ever succeeded in giving anybody the faintest conception of it, or any idea that it existed.  I can still recall how gingerly and cautiously—“paw by paw into the water”—these dough faces became hard-baked Abolitionists, far surpassing us of the Old Guard in zeal.  I lived to see men who had voted against Grant and reviled him become his most intimate friends.  But enough of such memories.  It is characteristic of the American people that, while personally very vindictive, they forgive and forget political offences far more amicably—very far—than do even the English.  However, in the case of the Rebellion, this was a very easy thing for those to do who had not, like us old Abolitionists, borne the burden and heat of the day, and who, coming in at the eleventh hour, got all the contracts and offices!  It never came into the head of any man to write a Dictionnaire des Girouettes in America.  These late converts had never known what it was to be Abolitionists while it was “unfashionable,” and have, as it were, live coals laid on the quivering heart—as I had a thousand times during many years—all for believing the tremendous and plain truth that slavery was a thousand times wickeder than the breach of all the commandments put together.  It was so peculiar for any man, not a Unitarian or Quaker, to be an Abolitionist in Philadelphia from 1848 until 1861, that such exceptions were pointed out as if they had been Chinese—“and d---d bad Chinese at that,” as a p. 138friend added to whom I made the remark.  So much for man’s relations with poor humanity.

My old friend, B. P. Hunt, was one of these few exceptions.  His was a very strange experience.  After ceasing to edit a “selected” magazine, he went to and fro for many voyages to Haïti, where, singular as it may seem, his experiences of the blacks made of him a stern Abolitionist.  He married a connection of mine, and lived comfortably in Philadelphia, I think, until the eighties.

I travelled with Mr. Clark from Venice to Milan, where we made a short visit.  I remember an old soldier who spoke six languages, who was cicerone of the roof of the Cathedral, and whom I found still on the roof twenty years later, and still speaking the same six tongues.  I admired the building as a beautiful fancy, exquisitely decorated, but did not think much of it as a specimen of Gothic architecture.  It is the best test of æsthetic culture and knowledge in the world.  When you hear anybody praise it as the most exquisite or perfect Gothic cathedral in existence, you may expect to hear the critic admire the designs of Chippendale furniture or the decoration of St. Peter’s.

So we passed through beautiful Lombardy and came to Domo d’Ossola, where a strange German-Italian patois was spoken.  It was in the middle of April, and we were warned that it would be very dangerous to cross the Simplon, but we went on all night in a carriage on sleigh-runners, through intervals of snowstorm.  Now and then we came to rushing mountain-torrents bursting over the road; far away, ever and anon, we heard the roar of a lauwine or avalanche; sometimes I looked out, and could see straight down below me a thousand feet into an abyss or on a headlong stream.  We entered the great tunnel directly from another, for the snow lay twenty feet deep on the road, and a passage had been dug under it for several hundred feet, and so two tunnels were connected.  Just in the worst of the road beyond, and in the bitterest cold, we met a sleigh, in which were an English p. 139gentleman and a very beautiful young lady, apparently his daughter, going to Italy.  “I saw her but an instant, yet methinks I see her now”—a sweet picture in a strange scene.  Poets used to “me-think” and “me-seem” more in those days, but we endured it.  Then in the morning we saw Brieg, far down below us in the valley in green leaves and sunshine, and when we got there then I realised that we were in a new land.

We had a great giant of a German conductor, who seemed to regard Clark and me as under his special care.  Once when we had wandered afar to look at something, and it was time for the stage or Eilwagen to depart, he hunted us up, scolded us “like a Dutch uncle” in German, and drove us along before him like two bad boys to the diligence, “pawing up” first one and then the other, after which, shoving us in, he banged and locked the door with a grunt of satisfaction, even as the Giant Blunderbore locked the children in the coffer after slamming down the lid.  Across the scenes and shades of forty years, that picture of the old conductor driving us like two unruly urchins back to school rises, never to be forgotten.

We went by mountains and lakes and Gothic towns, rocks, forests, old chateaux, and rivers—the road was wild in those days—till we came to Geneva.  Thence Clark went his way to Paris, and I remained alone for a week.  I had, it is true, a letter of introduction to a very eminent Presbyterian Swiss clergyman, so I sent it in with my card.  His wife came out on the balcony, looked coolly down at me, and concluding, I suppose from my appearance, that I was one of the ungodly, went in and sent out word that her husband was out, and would be gone for an indefinite period, and that she was engaged.  The commissionaire who was with me—poor devil!—was dreadfully mortified; but I was not very much astonished, and, indeed, I was treated in much the same manner, or worse, by a colleague of this pious man in Paris, or rather by his wife.

p. 140I believe that what kept me a week in Geneva was the white wine and trout.  At the end of the time I set out to the north, and on the way met with some literary or professional German, who commended to me the “Pfisterer-Zunft” or Bakers’ Guild as a cheap and excellent hostelry.  And it was curious enough, in all conscience.  During the Middle Ages, and down to a very recent period, the Zünfte or trade-guilds in the Swiss cities carried it with a high hand.  Even the gentlemen could only obtain rights as citizens by enrolling themselves as the trade of aristocrats.  I had heard of the boy who thought he would like to be bound apprentice to the king; in Berne he might have been entered for a lower branch of the business.  These guilds had their own local taverns, inns, or Herbergs, where travelling colleagues of the calling might lodge at moderate rates, but nobody else.  However, as time rolled by, these Zünfte or guild-lodgings were opened to strangers.  One of the last which did so was that of the Pfister or bakers (Latin, pistor), and this had only been done a few weeks ere I went there.  As a literary man whom I met on the ramparts said to me, “That place is still strong in the Middle Age.”  It was a quaint old building, and to get to my room I had to cross the great guild-hall of the Ancient and Honourable Society of Bakers.  There were the portraits of all the Grand Masters of the Order from the fourteenth or fifteenth century on the walls, and the concentrated antique tobacco-smoke of as many ages in the air, which, to a Princeton graduate, was no more than the scent of a rose to a bee.

I could speak a little German—not much—but the degree to which I felt, sympathised with, and understood everything Deutsch, passeth all words and all mortal belief.  Sit verbo venia!  But I do not believe that any human being ever crossed the frontier who had thought himself down, or rather raised himself up, into Teutonism as I had on so slight a knowledge of the language, even as a spider throweth up an invisible thread on high, and then travels on it.  Which p. 141thing was perceived marvellously soon, and not without some amazement, by the Germans, who have all at least this one point in common with Savages, New Jerseymen, Red Indians, Negroes, Gypsies, and witches, that they by mystic sympathy know those who like them, and take to them accordingly, guided by some altogether inexplicable clue or Hexengarn, even as deep calleth unto deep and star answereth star without a voice.  Whence it was soon observed at Heidelberg by an American student that “Leland would abuse the Dutch all day long if he saw fit, but never allowed anybody else to do so.”  The which thing, as I think, argues the very ne plus ultra of sympathy.

I found my way to Strasburg, where I went to the tip-top outside of the cathedral, and took the railway train for Heidelberg.  And here I had an adventure, which, though trifling to the last degree, was to me such a great and new experience that I will describe it, let the reader think what he will.  I went naturally enough first-class, so uncommon a thing then in Germany that people were wont to say that only princes, Englishmen, and asses did so.  There entered the same carriage a very lady-like and pretty woman.  The guard, seeing this, concluded that—whatever he concluded, he carefully drew down all the curtains, looking at me with a cheerful, genial air of intense mystery, as if to say, “I twig; it’s all right; I’ll keep your secret.”

It is a positive fact that all this puzzled me amazingly.  There were many things in which I, the friend and pupil of Navone, was as yet as innocent as a babe unborn.  The lady seemed to be amused—as well she might.  Sancta simplicitas!  I asked her why the conductor had drawn the curtains.  She laughed, and explained that he possibly thought we were a bridal pair or lovers.  Common sense and ordinary politeness naturally inspired the reply that I wished we were, which declaration was so amiably received that I suggested the immediate institution of such an arrangement.  Which was so far favourably received that it was sealed with p. 142a kiss.  However, the seal was not broken.  I think the lady must have been very much amused.  It is not without due reflection that I record this.  Kissing went for very little in Germany in those days.  It was about as common in Vienna as shaking hands.  But this was my first experience in it.  So I record it, because it seems as if some benevolent fairy had welcomed me to Germany; it took place just as we crossed the frontier.  However, I found out some time after, by a strange accident, that my fairy was the wife of a banker who lived beyond Heidelberg; and at Heidelberg I left her and went to the first hotel in the town.

I had formed no plans, and had no letters to anybody.  I had read Howitt’s “Student Life in Germany” through and through, so I thought I would study in Heidelberg.  But how to begin?  That was the question.  I went into a shop and bought some cigars.  There I consulted with the shopkeeper as to what I should do.  Could he refer me to some leading authority in the University, known to him, who would give me advice?  He could, and advised me to consult with the Pedell Capelmann.

Now I didn’t know it, but Pedell—meaning beadle, commonly called Poodle by the students—was the head-constable of the University.  In honest truth I supposed he must be the President or Pro-Rector.  So I went to Pedell Capelmann.  His appearance did not quite correspond to my idea of a learned professor.  He was an immensely burly, good-natured fellow, who came in in his shirt-sleeves, and who, when he learned what I wanted, burst out into a Her’r’r’ Gottsdonerrwetter! of surprise, as he well might.  But I knew that the Germans were a very sans façon bourgeois people, and still treated him with deep respect.  He suggested that, as there were a great many American students there, I had better call on them.  He himself would take me to see the Herr O—, with whom, as I subsequently learned, he had more than once had discussions relative to questions of University-municipal discipline.  As for the startling peculiarity p. 143which attended my introduction to University life, it is best summed up in the remark which the Herr O. (of Baltimore) subsequently made.

“Great God, fellows! he made his first call on old Capelmann!!”

He took me to the Herr O. and introduced me.  I was overwhelmed with my cordial reception.  There was at once news sent forth that a new man and a brother fellow-countryman had come to join the ranks.  “And messengers through all the land sought Sir Tannhäuser out.”  I was pumped dry as to my precedents, and as I came fresh from Princeton and had been through Italy, I was approved of.  The first thing was a discussion as to where I was to live.  The Frau Directorinn Louis in the University Place had two fine rooms which had just been occupied by a prince.  So we went and secured the rooms, which were indeed very pleasant, and by no means dear as it seemed to me.  I was to breakfast in my rooms, dine with the family at one o’clock, and sup about town.

Then there was a grand council as to what I had better study, and over my prospects in life; and it was decided that, as the law-students were the most distinguished or swell of all, I had better be a lawyer.  So it was arranged that I should attend Mittermayer’s and others’ lectures; to all of which I cheerfully assented.  The next step was to give a grand supper in honour of my arrival.  After the dinner and the wine, I drank twelve schoppens of beer, and then excused myself on the plea of having letters to write.  I believe, however, that I forgot to write the letters.  And here I may say, once for all, that having discovered that, if I had no gift for mathematics, I had a great natural talent for Rheinwein and lager, I did not bury that talent in a napkin, but, like the rest of my friends, made the most of it, firstly, during two semesters in Heidelberg:

“Then I bolted off to Munich,
   And within the year,
p. 144Underneath my German tunic
   Stowed whole butts of beer;
For I drank like fifty fishes,
   Drank till all was blue,
For whenever I was vicious
   I was thirsty too.”

The result of which “dire deboshing” was that, having come to Europe with a soul literally attenuated and starved for want of the ordinary gaiety and amusement which all youth requires, my life in Princeton having been one continued strain of a sobriety which continually sank into subdued melancholy, and a body just ready to yield to consumption, I grew vigorous and healthy, or, as the saying is, “hearty as a buck.”  I believe that if my Cousin Sam had gone on with me even-pace, that he would have lived till to-day.  When we came abroad I seemed to be the weakest; he returned, and died in a few months from our hereditary disease.  How many hecatombs of young men have been murdered by “seriousness” and “total abstinence,” miscalled temperance, in our American colleges, can never be known; perhaps it is as well that it never will be; for if it were, there would be a rush to the other extreme, which would “upset society.”  And here be it noted that, with all our inordinate national or international Anglo-Saxon sense of superiority to everybody and everything foreign, we are in the main thing—that is, the truly rational enjoyment of life and the art of living—utterly inferior to the German and Latin races.  We are for the most part either too good or too bad—totally abstemious or raving drunk—always in a hurry after excitement or in a worry over our sins, or those of our neighbours.  “Rest, rest, perturbed Yankee, rest!”

My rooms were on the ground-floor, the bedroom looking into the University Square and my study into a garden.  Next door to me dwelt Paulus, the king of the Rationalists.  He was then, I believe, ninety-four years of age.  He remained daily till about twelve or one in a comatose condition, p. 145when he awoke and became lively till about three, when he sank into sleep again.  His days were like those of a far Northern winter, lit by the sun at the same hours.

The next morning a very gentlemanly young man knocked at my door, and entered and asked in perfect English for a Mr. Bell, who lived in the same house.  I informed him that Mr. Bell was out, but asked him to enter my room and take a chair, which he did, conversing with me for half an hour, when he departed, leaving a card on a side-table.  In a few minutes later, O., who was of the kind who notice everything, entered, took up the card, and read on it the name and address of the young Grand Duke of Baden, who was naturally by far the greatest man in the country, he being its hereditary ruler.

“Where the devil did you get this?” asked O., and all, in amazement.

“Oh,” I replied, “it’s only the Duke.  He has just been in here making a call.  If you fellows had come five minutes sooner you’d have seen him.  Have some beer!”

The impression that I was a queer lot, due to my making my first call on Capelmann et cetera, was somewhat strengthened by this card, until I explained how I came by it.  But as Dr. Johnson in other words remarked, there are people to whom such queer things happen daily, and others to whom they occur once a year.  And there was never yet a living soul who entered into my daily life who did not observe that I belong to the former class.  If I have a guardian angel, it must be Edgar A. Poe’s Angel of the Odd.  But he generally comes to those who belong to him!

It was a long time before I profited much by my lectures, because it was fearful work for me to learn German.  I engaged a tutor, and worked hard, and read a great deal, and talked it con amore; but few persons would believe how slowly I learned it, and with what incredible labour.  How often have I cursed up hill and down dale, the Tower of Babel, which first brought the curse of languages upon the p. 146world!  And what did I ever have to do with that Tower?  Had I lived in those days, I would never have laid hand to the work in merry, sunny, lazy Babylon, nor contributed a brick to it.  By the way, it was a juvenile conjecture of mine that the Tower of Babel was destroyed for being a shot-tower, in which ammunition was prepared to be used by the heathen.  Which theory might very well have been inspired by a verse from the old Puritanical rendering of the Psalms:—

“Ye race itt is not alwayes gott
   By him who swiftest runns,
Nor ye Battell by ye Peo-pel
   Who shoot with longest gunnes.”

Even before I had gone to Princeton I had read and learned a great deal relative to Justinus Kerner, the great German supernaturalist, mystic, and poet, firstly from a series of articles in the Dublin University Magazine, and later from a translation of “The Seeress of Prevorst,” and several of the good man’s own romances and lyrics.  I suppose that, of all men on the face of the earth, I should have at that time preferred to meet him.  Wherefore, as a matter of course, it occurred that one fine morning a pleasant gentlemanly German friend of mine, who spoke English perfectly, and whose name was Rücker, walked into my room, and proposed that we should take a two or three days’ walk up the Neckar with our knapsacks, and visit the famous old ruined castle of the Weibertreue.  My mother had read me the ballad-legend of it in my boyhood, and I had learned it by heart.  Indeed, I can still recall it after sixty years:—

“Who can tell me where Weinsberg lies?
   As brave a town as any;
It must have sheltered in its time
   Brave wives and maidens many:
If e’er I wooing have to do,
Good faith, in Weinsberg I will woo!”

“And then, when we are there,” said Rücker, “we will call p. 147on an old friend of my father’s, named Justinus Kerner.  Did you ever hear of him?”

Did a Jew ever hear of Moses, or an American of General Washington?  In five minutes I convinced my friend that I knew more about Kerner than he himself did.  Whereupon it was decided that we should set forth on the following morning.

Blessed, beautiful, happy summer mornings in Suabia—green mounts and grey rocks with old castles—peasants harvesting hay—a Kirchweih, or peasant’s merry-making, with dancing and festivity—till we came to Weinsberg, and forthwith called on the ancient sage, whom we found with the two or three ladies and gentlemen of his family.  I saw at a glance that they had the air of aristocracy.  He received us very kindly, and invited us to come to dinner and sup with him.

The Weibertreue is an old castle which was in or at the end of Dr. Kerner’s garden.  Once, when all the town had taken refuge in it from the Emperor Conrad, the latter gave the women leave to quit the fort, and also permission to every one to carry with her whatever was unto her most valuable, precious, or esteemed.  And so the dames went forth, every one bearing on her back her husband.

In the tower of the castle, or in its wall, which was six feet thick, were eight or ten windows, gradually opening like trumpets, through which the wind blew all the time, and pleasantly enough on a hot summer day.  In each of these the Doctor had placed an Æolian harp, and he who did not believe in fairies or the gentle spirit of a viewless sound should have sat in that tower and listened to the music as it rose and fell, as in endless solemn glees or part-singing; one harp stepping in, and pealing out richly and strangely as another died away, while anon, even as the new voice came, there thrilled in unison one or two more Ariels who seemed to be hurrying up to join the song.  It was a marvellous strange thing of beauty, which resounded, indeed, all over Germany, for men spoke of it far and wide.

p. 148Quite as marvellous, in the evening, was the Doctor’s own performance on the single and double Jew’s harp.  From this most unpromising instrument he drew airs of such exquisite beauty that one could not have been more astonished had he heard the sweet tones of Grisi drawn from a cat by twisting its tail.  But we were in a land of marvels and wonders, or, as an English writer described it, “Weinsberg, a place on the Neckar, inhabited partly by men and women—some in and some out of the body—and partly by ghosts.”  There were visions in the air, and dreams sitting on the staircases; in fact, when I saw the peasants working in the fields, I should not have been astonished to see them vanish into mist or sink into the ground.

And yet from the ruined castle of the Weibertreue Kerner pointed out to us a man walking along the road, and that man was the very incarnation of all that was sober, rational, and undream-like; for it was David Strauss, author of the “Life of Jesus.”  And at him too I gazed with the awe due to a great man whose name is known to all the cultured world; and to me much more than the name; for I had read, as before mentioned, his “Life of Jesus” when I first went to Princeton.

Dr. Kerner took to me greatly, and said that I very much reminded him, in appearance and conversation, of what his most intimate friend, Ludwig Uhland, had been at my age; and as he repeated this several times, and spoke of it long after to friends, I think it must have been true, although I am compelled to admit that people who pride themselves on looking like this or that celebrity never resemble him in the least, mentally or spiritually, and are generally only mere caricatures at best.

On our return we climbed into an old Gothic church-tower, in which I found a fifteenth-century bell, bearing the words, Vivas voco, mortuos plango, fulgura frango, and much more—

“The dead I knell, the living wake,
And the power of lightning break!”

p. 149which caused me to reflect on the vast degree to which all the minor uses and observances of the Church—which are nine-tenths of all their religion to the multitude—were only old heathen superstitious in new dresses.  The bell was a spell against the demons of lightning in old Etrurian days; to this time the Tuscan peasant bears one in the darkening twilight-tide to drive away the witches flitting round: in him and them “those evening bells” inspired a deeper sentiment than poetry.

In a village, Rücker, finding the beer very good, bought a cask of it, which was put on board the little Neckar steamboat on which we returned to Heidelberg.  And thus provided, the next evening he gave a “barty” up in the old castle, among the ruins by moonlight, where I “assisted,” and the lager was devoured, even to the last drop.

I soon grew tired of the family dinners with the Frau Inspectorinn and the Herr Inspector with the one tumbler of Neckar wine, which I was expected not to exceed; so I removed my dining to the “Court of Holland,” a first-class hotel, where O. and the other Americans met, and where the expectation was not that a man should by any means limit himself to one glass, but that, taking at least one to begin with, he should considerably exceed it.  This hotel was kept by a man named Spitz, who looked his name to perfection.

“Er spitzt betrübt die Nase,”

as Scheffel wrote of him in his poem, Numero Acht, the scene of which is laid in the “Court of Holland.”  Here a word about Scheffel.  During the following semester he was for months a daily table-companion of mine at the Bremer-Eck, where a small circle of students—quorum pars fui—met every evening to sup and kneip, or to drink beer and smoke and sing until eleven.  Little did I dream in those days that he would become the great popular poet of his time, or that I should ever translate his Gaudeamus.  I owe the “Court of Holland” to this day for a dinner and a bottle of wine.  p. 150It is the only debt I owe, to my knowledge, to anybody on earth.

It was resolved among the Americans that we should all make a foot-excursion with knapsacks down the Rhine to Cologne.  It was done.  So we went gaily from town to town, visiting everything, making excursions inland now and then.  We had a bottle or two of the best Johannisberg in the very Schloss itself—omne cum prætio—and meeting with such adventures as befell all wandering students in those old-fashioned, merry times.  The Rhine was wild as yet, and not paved, swept, garnished and full of modern villas and adornment, as now.  I had made, while in America, a manuscript book of the places and legends of and on the Rhine, with many drawings.  This, and a small volume of Snow’s and Planché’s “Legends of the Rhine,” I carried with me.  I was already well informed as to every village and old ruin or tower on the banks.

So we arrived at Cologne, and saw all the sights.  The cathedral was not then finished, and the town still boasted its two-and-seventy stinks, as counted by Coleridge.  Then we returned by steamer to Mainz, and thence footed it home.

Little by little I rather fell away from my American friends, and began to take to German or English associates, and especially to the company of two Englishmen.  One was named Leonard Field, who is now a lawyer in Lincoln’s Inn Fields; the other was Ewan P. Colquhoun, a younger brother of Sir Patrick Colquhoun, whom I knew well, and as friend, in after years, until his recent death.  I always, however, maintained a great intimacy with George Ward, of Boston, who became long after a banker and Baring’s agent in America.  In one way and another these two twined into my life in after years, and led to my making many acquaintances or friends.

I walked a great deal all about Heidelberg to many very picturesque places, maintaining deep interest in all I saw by much loving reading of Des Knaben Wunderhorn and p. 151Uhland’s collection of old German songs—his own poems I knew long before—the Nibelungen and Hero-Book, and a great variety of other works.  I had dropped the Occulta, and for a year or two read nothing of the kind except casually the works of Eckhartshausen and Justinus Kerner.  I can now see that, as I became healthy and strong, owing to the easy, pleasant existence which I led, it was best for me after all.  “Grappling with life” and earnestly studying a profession then might have extinguished me.  My mental spring, though not broken, was badly bent, and it required a long time to straighten it.

Colquhoun was only eighteen, but far beyond his years in dissipation, and well-nigh advanced to cool cynicism.  With him I made many an excursion all about the country.  Wherever a Kirclweih or peasants’ ball was to be held, he always knew of it, and there we went.  One morning early he came to my rooms.  There was to be a really stunning duel fought early between a Senior and some very illustrious Schläger, and he had two English friends named Burnett who would go with us.  So we went, and meeting with Rücker at the Pawkboden, it was proposed that we should go on together to Baden-Baden.  To which I objected that I had only twenty florins in my pocket, and had no time to return home for more.  “Never mind,” said Colquhoun; “Rücker has plenty of money; we can borrow from him.”

We went to Baden and to the first hotel, and had a fine dinner, and saw the Burnetts off.  Then, of course, to the gaming-table, where Colquhoun speedily lost all his money, and I so much that I had but ten florins left.  “Never mind; we’ll pump on Rücker,” said Colquhoun.

We went up to visit the old castle.  While there, Rücker took off his overcoat, in which he had his pocket-book, and laid it over a chair.  When we returned to the hotel the pocket-book was gone!  There we were, with a hotel-bill to pay and never a cent wherewith to pay it.  I had, however, still ten florins.  Colquhoun suddenly remembered that he p. 152had seen something in the town, price ten florins, which he must buy.  It was something which he had promised to buy for a relative in England.  It was a very serious case of necessity.

I doubted my dear friend, but having sworn him by all his gods that he would not gamble with the money, I gave it to him.  So he, of course, went straight to the gaming-table, and, having luck, won enough to pay our debt and take us home.

I should mention that Rücker went up to the castle and found his pocket-book with all the money.  “For not only doth Fortune favour the bold,” as is written in my great unpublished romance of “Flaxius the Immortal,” “but, while her hand is in, also helps their friends with no unsparing measure, as is marvellously confirmed by Machiavelli.”

Vacation came.  My friends scattered far and wide.  I joined with three German friends and one Frenchman, and we strapped on our knapsacks for a foot-journey into Switzerland.  First we went to Freiburg in Baden, and saw the old Cathedral, and so on, singing, and stopping to drink, and meeting with other students from other universities, and resting in forests, amid mountains, by roaring streams, and entering cottages and chatting with girls.  Hurra! frei ist der bursch!

One afternoon we walked sixteen miles through a rain which was like a waterfall.  I was so drenched that it was with difficulty I kept my passport and letter of exchange from being ruined.  When we came out of the storm there were six of us!  Another student had, unseen, joined our party in the rain, and I had never noticed it!

We came to a tavern at the foot of the Rigiberg.  My pack was soaked.  One friend lent me a shirt, another a pair of drawers, and we wrapped ourselves in sheets from the beds and called for brandy and water hot—a pleasing novelty to the Germans—and so went to bed.  The next day p. 153we ascended the Rigi; found many students there; did not see the sun rise in the morning, but still a mighty panorama, wondrous fair, and so walked down again.  And receiving my carpet-bag at Lucerne, whither I had had the precaution to send one, I dressed myself again in clean linen and went back to Germany.  I meant to travel more in Switzerland, but it was very rainy that year, and, as it proved, I did wisely.

I returned to Spitz, but his house was full of English, and he informed me, rather exultantly and foolishly, that he had no room for me, and could not tell me where to go, “every place was full.”  As I had spent money freely with him I did not like it.  The head-waiter followed me out and recommended the Black Eagle, kept by Herr Lehr.  There I went, got a good room, and for months after dined daily at its table-d’hôte.  I sent friends there, and returned to the house with my wife twenty years later.  My brother also went there long after, and endeared himself to all, helping Herr Lehr to plant his vines.  In after years Herr Lehr had forgotten me, but not my brother.  Lehr’s son was a gentlemanly young fellow, well educated.  He became a captain, and was the first officer killed in the Franco-German war.

Vacation passed, and the students returned and lectures were resumed.  There was a grand Commers or students’ supper meeting at which I was present; and again the duelling-ground rang with the sound of blades, and all was merry as before.  Herr Zimmer, the University dancing-master, gave lessons and cotillion or waltzing-parties thrice a week, and these I regularly attended.  Those who came to them were the daughters of the humbler professors and respectable shopkeepers.  During the previous session I had taken lessons from a little old Frenchman, who brought his fiddle and a pretty daughter twice a week to my room, where, with Ward, we formed a class of three.

This gentleman was a perfect type—fit to be staged without a touch of change—of the old emigré, who has now vanished, even from among the French.  His bows, his wit—la p. 154grace extra’ordinaire—the intonations of his voice, and his vivacity, were beyond the art of any actor now living.  There were many more peculiar and marked types of character in the last generation than now exist, when Everybody is becoming Everybody else with such fearful rapidity.

There were four great masked balls held in Heidelberg during the winter, each corresponding to a special state of society.  That at the Museum or great University Club was patronised by the elite of nobility and the professors and their families.  Then came the Harmonie—respectable, but not aristocratic.  Then another in a hotel, which was rather more rowdy than reputable; not really outrageous, yet where the gentlemen students “whooped it up” in grand style with congenial grisettes; and, finally, there was a fancy ball at the Waldhorn, or some such place, or several of them, over the river, where peasants and students with maids to match could waltz once round the vast hall for a penny till stopped by a cordon of robust rustics.  We thought it great fun with our partners to waltz impetuously and bump with such force against the barrier as to break through, in which case we were not only greatly admired, but got another waltz gratis.  We had wild peasant-dancing in abundance, and the consumption of wine and beer was something awful.

One morning a German student named Grüner, who had been at Jena, came to my room with a brilliant proposition.  We should go to Frankfort and hear Jenny Lind sing in her great rôle of Norma.  I had already heard her sing in concert in Heidelberg—where, by the way, the students rushed into her room as soon as she had left, and tore to strips the bed in which she had slept, and carried them away for souvenirs, to the great amazement of an old Englishman who had just been put into the room.  (N.B.—I was not in the party.)  I objected that it was getting to the end of the month, and that I had not money enough for such an outing.  To which he replied, that we could go on to Homburg, and make money enough at rouge-et-noir to cover all expenses.  p. 155This obvious and admirable method of raising funds had not occurred to me, so I agreed to go.

We went to Frankfort, and heard the greatly overrated Jenny Lind, and the next day proceeded to Hamburg, and at once to the green table.  Here I lost a little, but Grüner made so much, that on returning to the table I took from it a sufficient sum to cover all our expenses, and told him that, come what might, it must remain untouched, and gave him the remainder.  That afternoon I played for five-franc pieces, and at one time had both my side-pockets so full that they weighed very heavily.  And these again I lost.  Then Grüner lost all his, and came imploring me for more, but I would not give him a kreutzer.  Matters were beginning to look serious.  I had a reserved fund of perhaps fifty napoleons, which I kept for dire need or accidents.  That evening I observed a man who had great luck, winning twice out of three times.  I watched his play, and as soon as he lost I set a napoleon—by which I won enough to clear my expenses, and buy me, moreover, a silver-headed cane, a gold watch-chain, and two Swiss watches.  I may mention by the way, that since that day I have never played at anything, save losing a ten-franc piece in after years at Wiesbaden.

There dined very often at our table-d’hôte in the Adler an old German lady named Helmine von Chézy, who had a reputation as a poetess.  With her I sometimes conversed.  One day she narrated in full what she declared was the true story of Caspar Häuser.  Unto her Heine had addressed the epigram—

“Helmine von Chézy,
Geborene Klencke,
Ich bitte Sie, geh’ Sie
Mit ihrer Poésie,
Sonst kriegt Sie die Kränke!”

“Helmine von Chézy,
Born Klencke, I pray
With your pestilent poems
You’ll hasten away.”

p. 156There was also an elderly and very pleasant Englishman, with whom I became rather intimate, and who was very kind to me.  This was the well-known Captain Medwin, who had known so well Byron, Shelley, Trelawny, and their compeers.  He was full of anecdotes, which I now wish that I had recorded.  He introduced me to Lady Caroline de Crespigny, who was then living permanently in Heidelberg.  This lady, who was said to be then fifty years of age, was still so young-looking and beautiful, that I cannot remember in all my life to have ever seen such an instance of time arrested.  I also made the acquaintance of Professor Creutzer, author of the Symbolik, a work of vast learning. [156]  And I went to balls, one at Professor Gervinus’s.

I entered myself with the great Leopold Gmelin for a course of lectures on chemistry, and worked away every morning with the test-tubes at analytical chemistry under Professor Posselt, at which I one day nearly poisoned myself by tasting oxalic acid, which I did not recognise under its German name of Kleesäure.  I read broad and wide in German literature, as I think may be found by examining my notes to my translation of Heine’s works, and went with Field several times to Frankfort, to attend the theatre, and otherwise amuse ourselves.  There I once made the acquaintance of the very famous comic actor Hasselt.  He was a grave, almost melancholy man when off the stage, very fond of archæology and antiquities.

The winter drew to an end.  I had long felt a deep desire to visit Munich, to study art, and to investigate fundamentally the wonderful and mysterious science of Æsthetics, of which I had heard so much.  So I packed up and paid my bills, and passing through one town where there was in the hotel where I stopped, the last wolf ever killed in Germany, p. 157and freshly killed (I believe he has been slain two or three times since), and at another where I was invited to see a criminal beheaded by the sword—which sight I missed by over-sleeping myself—I came through Stuttgart, Ulm, and Augsburg to the German Athens.

I went to the Hôtel Maulick, where I stayed a week.  Opposite to me at table every day sat the famous Saphir, the great Vienna wit and licensed joker.  Of course I soon became acquainted with some students, and was entered at the University, and got the card which exempted me from being arrested by any save the University beadles.  I believe that we even had our own hangman, but as none of my friends ever had occasion for his services I did not inquire.  The same ticket also entitled me to attend the opera at half-price, and if it had only included tobacco and beer gratis, it would have been the means of vast economies.

I entered myself for a course of lectures by Professor Friedrich Thiersch on Æsthetics.  He it was who had trained Heine to art, and I venture to say that in my case the seed fell on good ground.  I took in every thought.  His system agreed, on the whole, perfectly with that advanced in after years by Taine, and marvellously well with that set forth in the “Essays, Speculative and Suggestive,” of J. A. Symonds—that is, it was eclectic and deductive from historical periods, and not at all “rhapsodical” or merely subjective.  I bought the best works, such as Kugler’s, for guides, and studied hard, and frequented the Pinacothek and Glyptothek, and I may say really educated myself well in the history of art and different schools of æsthetics.  My previous reading, travel, and tastes fitted me in every way to easily master such knowledge.  I also followed Becker’s course on Schelling, but my heart was not in it, as it would have been two years before.  The lectures of Professor Henry and Gmelin and true Science had caused in me a distrust of metaphysics and psychological systems and theories.  I began to see that they were all only very ingenious shufflings and combinations and p. 158phases of the same old cards of Pantheism, which could be made into Theism, Pietism, Atheism, or Materialism to suit any taste.  I was advancing rapidly to pure science, though Evolution was as yet unknown by the name, albeit the Okenites and others with their Natur-philosophie were coming closely to it.

In fact, I think it may be truly said that, as regarded deducing man and all things from a prima materia or protoplasm by means of natural selection and vast study of differentiation, they were exactly where Darwin, and Wallace, and Huxley were when we began to know the latter.  I do not agree with Max Müller in his very German and very artfully disguised and defended theory that the religious idea originated in a vague sense of the Infinite in the minds of savages; for I believe it began with the bogeys and nightmares of obscure terror, hunger, disease, and death; but the Professor is quite right in declaring that Evolution was first created or developed in the German Natur-philosophie, the true beginning of which was with the Italian naturalists, such as Bruno and De Cusa.  What is to be observed is this, yet few understand it, nor has even Symonds cleared the last barrier—that when a Pantheist has got so far as to conceive an identity between matter and spirit, while on the other hand a scientific materialist rises to the unity of spirit and matter, there is nothing to choose between them.  Only this is true, that the English Evolutionists, by abandoning reasoning based on Pantheistic poetic bases, as in Schelling’s case, or purely logical, as in Hegel’s, and by proceeding on plainly prosaic, merely material, simply scientific grounds after the example of Bacon, swept away so much rubbish that people no longer recognised the old temple of Truth, and really thought it was a brand new workshop or laboratory.  But I can remember very distinctly that to me Evolution did not come as if I had received a new soul, or even a new body, but had merely had a bath, and put on new garments.  And as I became an English Evolutionist in due time, I had this great advantage, that p. 159by beginning so young I succeeded in doing very thoroughly what Symonds and Maudsley and many more clearly understand is most difficult—that is, not merely to accept the truth, but to get rid of the old associations of the puzzle of a difference between spirit and matter, which thing caused even the former to muddle about “God,” and express disgust at “Materialism,” and declare that there is “an insoluble problem,” which is all in flat contradiction to pure Evolution, which does not meddle with “the Unknowable.”

There was a Jewish professor named Karl Friedrich Neumann, who was about as many-sided a man as could be found even in a German university.  He was a great Chinese scholar—had been in China, and also read on mathematics and modern history.  I attended these lectures (not the mathematics) and liked them: so we became acquainted.  I found that he had written a very interesting little work on the visit recorded in the Chinese annals of certain Buddhist monks to Fusang—probably Mexico—in the fifth century.  I proposed to translate it, and did so, he making emendations and adding fresh matter to the English version.

Professor Neumann was a vigorous reader, but he soon found that I was of the same kind.  One day he lent me a large work on some Indian subject, and the next I brought it back.  He said that I could not have read it in the time.  I begged him to examine me on it, which he did, and expressed his amazement, for he declared that he had never met with anything like it in all his life.  This from him was praise indeed.  Long after, in America, George Boker in closer fashion tested me on this without my knowing it, and published the result in an article.

I became acquainted with a learned writer on art named Foerster, who had married a daughter of Jean Paul Richter, and dined once or twice at his house.  I also saw him twenty years later in Munich.  George Ward came in from Berlin to stay some weeks in Munich.  I saw Taglioni several times at the opera, but did not make her acquaintance till 1870.  The p. 160great, tremendous celebrity at that time in Munich was also an opera-dancer, though not on the stage.  This was Lola Montez, the King’s last favourite.  He had had all his mistresses painted, one by one, and the gallery was open to the public.  Lola’s was the last, and there was a blank space still left for a few more.  I thought that about twenty-five would complete the collection.

Lola Montez had a small palace, and was raised to be the Countess of Landsfeldt, but this was not enough.  She wished to run the whole kingdom and government, and kick out the Jesuits, and kick up the devil, generally speaking.  But the Jesuits and the mob were too much for her.  I knew her very well in later years in America, when she deeply regretted that I had not called on her in Munich.  I must have had a great moral influence on her, for, so far as I am aware, I am the only friend whom she ever had at whom she never threw a plate or book, or attacked with a dagger, poker, broom, chair, or other deadly weapon.  We were both born at the same time in the same year, and I find by the rules of sorcery that she is the first person who will meet me when I go to heaven.  I always had a great and strange respect for her singular talents; there were very few indeed, if any there were, who really knew the depths of that wild Irish soul.  Men generally were madly fascinated with her, then as suddenly disenchanted, and then detracted from her in every way.

There were many adventuresses in later years who passed themselves about the world for Lola Montez.  I have met with two friends, whom I am sure were honest gentlemen, who told me they had known her intimately.  Both described her as a large, powerful, or robust woman.  Lola was in reality very small, pale, and thin, or fréle, with beautiful blue eyes and curly black hair.  She was a typical beauty, with a face full of character, and a person of remarkably great and varied reading.  One of her most intimate friends was wont to tell her that she and I had many very strange characteristics in common, which we shared with no one else, p. 161while we differed utterly in other respects.  It was very like both of us, for Lola, when defending the existence of the soul against an atheist, to tumble over a great trunk of books of the most varied kind, till she came to an old vellum-bound copy of Apuleius, and proceed to establish her views according to his subtle Neo-Platonism.  But she romanced and embroidered so much in conversation that she did not get credit for what she really knew.

I once met with a literary man in New York who told me he had long desired to make my acquaintance, because he had heard her praise me so immeasurably beyond anybody else she had ever known, that he wanted to see what manner of man I could be.  I heard the same from another, in another place long after.  Once she proposed to me to make a bolt with her to Europe, which I declined.  The secret of my influence was that I always treated her with respect, and never made love or flirted.

An intimate of both of us who was present when this friendly proposal was made remarked with some astonishment, “But, Madame, by what means can you two live?”  “Oh,” replied Lola innocently and confidingly, “people like us” (or “who know as much as we”) “can get a living anywhere.”  And she rolled us each a cigarette, with one for herself.  I could tell a number of amusing tales of this Queen of Bohemia, but Space, the Kantean god, forbids me more.  But I may say that I never had more really congenial and wide-embracing conversations with any human being in my life than with Her Majesty.  There was certainly no topic, within my range, at least, on which she could not converse with some substance of personal experience and reading.  She had a mania for meeting and knowing all kinds of peculiar people.

I lived in the main street near the Karlsthor, opposite a tavern called the Ober-Pollinger, which was a mediæval tavern in those days.  My landlady was a nice old soul, and she had two daughters, one of whom was a beauty, and as p. 162gentle and Germanly good as a girl could be.  Her face still lives in a great picture by a great artist.  We lived on the third floor; on the ground was a shop, in which cutlery and some fireworks were sold.  It befell that George Ward and I were very early in the morning sitting on a bench before the Ober-Pollinger, waiting for a stage-coach, which would take us to some place out of town; when bang! bang! crack! I heard a noise in the firework shop, and saw explosions puffing smoke out of the bursting windows.  Great God! the front shop was on fire; it was full of fireworks, such as rockets and crackers, and I knew there was a barrel of gunpowder in the back-shop!  I had found it out a few days before, when I went there to buy some for my pistols.  And the family were asleep.  In an instant I tore across the street, rushed screaming upstairs, roused them all out of bed, howling, “It burns!—there’s gunpowder!”  Yet, hurried as I was, I caught up a small hand-bag, which contained my money, as I got the girls and their mother downstairs.  I was just in time to see a gigantic butcher burst open the two-inch door with an axe, and roll out the barrel containing two hundred pounds of gunpowder, as the flames were licking it.  I saw them distinctly.

It was the awful row which I made which had brought the people out betimes, including the butcher and his axe.  But for that, there would have been a fearful blow-up.  But the butcher showed himself a man of gold on this occasion, for he it was who really saved us all.  A day or two after, when I was jesting about myself as a knightly rescuer of forlorn damsels, in reply to some remark on the event, George Ward called me to order.  There was, as he kindly said, too much that he respected in that event to make fun of it.

George Ward is deeply impressed on my memory.  He was a sedate young fellow, with a gift of dry humour, now and then expressed in quaint remarks, a gentleman in every instinct, much given to reading and reflecting.  When he p. 163said anything, he meant it, and this remark of his struck me more than the event itself had done.

And to think that I quite forgot, in narrating my Princeton experiences, to tell of something very much like this incident.  It was in my last year, and my landlady had just moved into a new house, when, owing to some defect in the building, it caught fire, but was luckily saved after it had received some damage.  I awoke in the night, flames bursting into my room, and much smoke.  It happened that the day before a friend in Alabama had sent me eleven hundred dollars wherewith to pay for him certain debts.  My first thought was for this money, so I hurried to get the key of the secretary in which it was—keys never can be found in a hurry—and when found, I could not find the right one in the bunch.  And then it stuck in the lock and would not open it, till finally I succeeded and got the money out.  And then, not finding myself quite dead, I in a hurry turned the contents of three drawers in my bureau and my linen on to the bed, threw on it my coats and trousers, tied the four corners of a sheet together in one bundle, caught up my boots, fencing-foils, &c., to make another, and so rescued all I had.  I verily believe I did it all in one minute.  That day the President, old Dr. Carnahan, when I plead “not prepared” for failing at recitation, excused me with a grim smile.  I had really that time some excuse for it.  During the Munich incident I thought of the sheets.  But I had gunpowder and two girls to look after in the latter place, and time and tide—or gunpowder and girls—wait for no man.

And so, with study and art and friends, and much terrible drinking of beer and smoking of Varinas-Kanaster, and roaming at times in gay greenwoods with pretty maids alway, and music and dancing, the Munich semester came to an end.  I proposed to travel with an English friend named Pottinger to Vienna, and thence by some adventurous route or other through Germany to Paris; which was a great deal more to undertake in those days than it now is, entailing several p. 164hundred per cent. more pain and sorrow, fasting, want of sleep and washing, than any man would encounter in these days in going round the world and achieving la grande route; or the common European tour, to boot.  For it befell me ere I reached my journey’s end to pass eighteen nights in one month in Eilwagen or waggons, the latter being sometimes without springs.  And once or twice or thrice I was so utterly worn and wearied that I slept all night, though I was so tossed about that I awoke in the morning literally bruised from head to foot, with my chimney-pot hat under my feet; which was worse than even a forced march on short commons—as I found in after years—or driving in a Russian telega, or jackassing in Egypt, or any other of the trifles over which pampered tourists make such heart-rending howls now-a-days.

So we went to Prague, and thence to Vienna, which, in the year 1847, was a very different place indeed to what it is at present; for an unbounded gaiety and an air of reckless festivity was apparent then all the time to everybody everywhere.  Under it all lurked and rankled abuses, municipal, social, and political, such as would in 1893 be deemed incredible if not unnatural (as may be read in a clever novel called Die schöne Wienerinn), but on the surface all was brilliant foam and sunshine and laughing sirens.  What new thing Strauss would play in the evening was the great event of the day.  I saw and heard the great Johann Strauss—this was the grandfather—and in after years his son, and the schöne Edie his grandson.  Everywhere one heard music, and the Prater was a gay and festive paradise indeed.  There was no business; the town lived on the Austrian, Hungarian, Bohemian, Russian, and other nobility, who in those days were extravagant and ostentatious to a degree now undreamed of, and on strangers.  As for free and easy licentiousness, Paris was a trifle to it, and the police had strict orders to encourage everything of the kind; the result being that the seventh commandment in all its phases was treated like pie-crust, as p. 165a thing made to be broken, the oftener the better.  Even on our first arriving at our hotel, our good-natured landlord, moved by the principle that it was not good for a young man to be alone, informed us that if we wished to have damsels in our rooms no objection would be interposed.  “Why not?” he said; “this is not a church”; the obvious inference being that to a Viennese every place not a church must necessarily be a temple to Venus.  And every Wiener, when spoken to, roared with laughter; and there were minstrels in the streets, and musicians in every dining-place and café, and great ringing of bells in chimes, and ’twas merry in hall when beards wagged all, and “the world went very well in those days.”  Vienna is a far finer town now, but it is a Quaker meeting-house compared to what it was for gaiety forty years ago.

This change of life and manners has spread, and will continue to spread, all over the world.  In feudal times the people were kept quiet by means of holidays, carnivals, processions, fairs, fairy-tales, treats, and indulgences; even the common childish instinct for gay dress and picturesqueness of appearance was encouraged, and at high tides everybody was fed and given to drink: so that if the poor toiled and fasted and prayed, it might be for months, they had their joyous revellings to anticipate, when there were free tables even for strangers.  In those days—

“A Christmas banquet oft would cheer
A poor man’s heart for half the year.”

This Middle Age lasted effectively until the epoch of the Revolution and railroads, or, to fix a date, till about 1848.  And then all at once, as at a breath, it all disappeared, and now lives, so to speak, only in holes and corners.  For as soon as railroads came, factories sprang up and Capital began to employ Labour, and Labour to plot and combine against Capital; and what with scientific inventions and a sudden stimulus to labour, and newspapers, the multitude got beyond fancy dresses and the being amused to keep them quiet like p. 166children, and so the juventus mundi passed away.  “It is a perfect shame!” say the dear young lady tourists, “that the peasantry no longer wear their beautiful dresses; they ought to be obliged to keep them up.”  “But how would you like, my dear, if you were of the lower orders, to wear a dress which proclaimed it?”  Here the conversation ceaseth, for it becomes too deep for the lady tourist to follow.

How it was we wandered I do not distinctly remember, but having visited Nuremberg, Prague, and Dresden, we went to Breslau, where a fancy seized us to go to Cracow.  True, we had not a special visé from a Russian minister to enter the Muscovite dominions, but the police at Breslau, who (as I was afterwards told) loved to make trouble for those on the frontier, bade us be of good cheer and cheek it out, neither to be afraid of any man, and to go ahead bravely.  Which we did.

There was a sweet scene at the frontier station on the Polish-Russian line at about three o’clock in the morning, when the grim and insolent officials discovered that our passports had only the police visé from Breslau!  I was asked why I had not in my native country secured the visé of a Russian minister; to which I replied that in America the very existence of such a country as Russia was utterly unknown, and that I myself was astonished to find that Russians knew what passports were.  Also that I always supposed that foreigners conferred a great benefit on a country by spending their money in it; but that if I could not be admitted, that was an end of it; it was a matter of very trifling consequence, indeed, for we really did not care twopence whether we saw Russia or not; a country more or less made very little difference to such travellers as we were.

Cheek is a fine thing in its way, and on this occasion I developed enough brass to make a pan, and enough “sass” to fill it; but all in vain.  When I visited the Muscovite realm in after years I was more kindly received.  On this occasion we were closely searched and re-searched, although p. 167we were not allowed to go on into Russia!  Every square inch of everything was examined as with a microscope—even the small scraps of newspaper in which soap or such trifles were wrapped were examined, a note made as to each, and all put under paper-weights; and whatever was suspected—as, for instance, books or pamphlets—was confiscated, although, as I said, we were turned back!  And this robbery accomplished, we were informed that the stage-coach, or rather rough post-waggon, in which we came, would return at five o’clock p.m., and that we could in it go back to Dresden, and might pass the time till then on a bench outside the building—reflecting on our sins!  I had truly some papers about me which I did not care to have examined, but these were in my cravat, and even Russian ingenuity had not at that time got beyond picking pockets and feeling the linings of coats.  It has since been suggested to me by something which I read that I was under suspicion.  I had in Munich aided a Swiss student who was under police surveillance for political intriguing to escape, by lending him money to get away.  It is probable that for this my passport was marked in a peculiar manner.  My companion, Pottinger, was not much searched; all suspicion seemed to fall on me.

The stage went on, and Pottinger and I sat on the bench in a mild drizzle at half-past three in the morning, with as miserable a country round about as mortal man ever beheld.  By-and-bye one of the subs., a poor Pole, moved by compassion and the hope of reward, cautiously invited us to come into his den.  He spoke a very little German and a little Latin (Pottinger was an Oxford man, and knew several heavy classics, Greek and Latin, perfectly by heart).  The Pole had a fire, and we began to converse.  He had heard of America, and that Polish exiles had been well treated there.  I assured him that Poles were admired and cherished among us like pet lambs among children, and the adored of the adored.  Then I spoke of Russian oppression, and the Pole, in utmost secrecy, produced a sabre which had been borne under Kosciusko, p. 168and showed us a silver coin—utterly prohibited—which had been struck during the brief period of the Polish revolution.

The Pole began to prepare his coffee—for one.  I saw that something must be done to increase the number of cups.  He took up his book of prayers and asked of what religion we were.  Of Pottinger I said contemptuously, “He is nothing but a heretic,” but that as for myself, I had for some time felt a great inclination towards the Panna—Holy Virgin—and that it would afford me great pleasure to conform to the Polish Catholic Church, but that unfortunately I did not understand the language.  To which he replied, that if he were to read the morning service in Polish and I would repeat it word by word, that the Panna would count it to my credit just as if I had.  And as I was praying in good earnest for a breakfast, I trust that it was accepted.  Down on our knees we went and began our orisons.

“Leland! you --- humbug!” exclaimed Pottinger.

“Go away, you infernal heretic, and don’t disturb Christians at their devotions!” was my devout reply.  So, prayers concluded, there was coffee and rolls for three.  And so in due time the coach returned.  I rewarded our host with a thaler, and we returned to Breslau, of which place I noted that the natives never ate anything but sweet cakes for their first morning meal.

We stopped at Görlitz, where I asked a woman standing in the half-doorway of the house of Jacob Böhme if that was his house.  But she had never heard of such a man!

Dresden we thoroughly explored, and were at Leipzig during the great annual fair.  These fairs, in those days, were sights to behold.  Now they are succeeded by stupendous Expositions, which are far finer and inconceivably greater, yet which to me lack that kind of gypsy, side-show, droll, old-fashioned attraction of the ancient gatherings, even as Barnum’s Colossal Moral Show of half-a-dozen circuses at once and twenty-five elephants does not amuse anybody p. 169as the old clown in the ring and one elephant did of yore.

Thence to Berlin, where we were received with joy by the American students, who knew all about one another all over Germany.  I very much enjoyed the great art gallery, and the conversation of those who, like myself, followed lectures on Æsthetics and the history of art.  Thence to Magdeburg and Hanover, Dusseldorf—to cut it short, Holland and the chief cities in Belgium.

I noted one little change of custom in Berlin.  In South Germany it was a common custom for students, when calling on a friend, to bring and leave generally a small bouquet.  When I did this in Berlin my friends were astonished at it.  This was an old Italian custom, as we may read in the beautiful One Hundred and Fifty Brindisi or Toasts of Minto.

“Porto a voi un fior novello,
Ed, oh come vago e bello!”

In 1847 even a very respectable hotel in Holland was in any city quite like one of two centuries before.  You entered a long antiquely-brown room, traversed full length by a table.  Before every chair was placed a little metallic dish with hot coals, and a churchwarden pipe was brought to every visitor at once without awaiting orders.  The stolid, literal, mechanical action of all the people’s minds was then wonderful.  An average German peasant was a genius compared to these fresh, rosy-fair, well-clad Hollanders.  It was to me a new phase of human happiness in imbecility, or rather in undisturbed routine; for it is written that no bird can fly like a bullet and doze or sleep sweetly at the same time.  Yet, as from the Huns, the most hideous wretches in the world, there arose by intermixture the Hungarians, who are perhaps the handsomest, so from the Knickerbocker Dutch sprang the wide-awake New Yorkers!  The galleries in Holland and Belgium were to me joys unutterable and as the glory of life itself.  Munich and Thiersch still inspired me; p. 170I seemed to have found a destiny in æsthetics or art, or what had been wanting in Princeton; that is, how the beautiful entered into life and was developed in history and made itself felt in all that was worth anything at all.  Modern English writers on this subject—with exceptions like that of J. A. Symonds, whose Essays I cannot commend too highly—are in the same relation to its grand truth and higher inspiration as Emerson and Carlyle to Pantheism in its mightiest early forms.  For several years the actual mastery of æsthetics gave me great comfort, and advanced me marvellously in thought to wider and far higher regions.

I forget where I parted with Pottinger; all that I can remember was, that early in November I arrived alone in Paris, going to some small hotel or other, and that as all the fatigues of the past many weeks of weary travel seemed to come upon me all at once, I went to bed, and never left the house till four o’clock p.m. the next day.  On the next I found my way into the Latin Quarter, and secured a not very superior room in the Place Saint-Michel, near the Ecole de Médecine, to which I moved my luggage.

I was very much astonished, while sitting alone and rather blue and overcast in my room, at the sudden entrance of a second cousin of mine named Frank Fisher, who was studying medicine in Paris.  He had by some odd chance seen my name registered in the newspapers as having arrived at the hotel, and lost no time in looking me up.  He lived on the other side of the Seine in the Boule Rouge, near the Rue Helder, a famous happy hunting-ground for les biches—I mean kids or the very dear.  I must go forthwith to his quarters and dine, which I did, and so my introduction to Paris was fairly begun.

I attended at the Collége Louis le Grand, and at the Sorbonne, all or any lectures by everybody, including a very dull series on German literature by Philarete Châsles.  I read books.  Inter alia, I went through Dante’s “Inferno” in Italian aided by Rivarol’s translation, of which I possessed p. 171the very copy stamped with the royal arms, and containing the author’s autograph, which had been presented to the King.  I picked it up on the Quai for a franc, for which sum I also obtained a first edition of Melusine, which Mr. Andrew Lang has described as such a delightful rarity.  And I also ran a great deal about town.  I saw Rachel, and Frédéric Lemaitre, and Mlle. Déjazet, and many more at the great theatres, and attended assiduously at Bobinot’s, which was a very small theatre in the Quartier Latin, frequented entirely by students and grisettes.  I went to many a ball, both great and small, including the masked ones of the Grand Opera, and other theatres, at which there was dissipation and diablerie enough to satisfy the most ardent imagination, ending with the grande ronde infernale.  I made many acquaintances, and if they were not by any means all highly respectable, they were at least generally very singular or notorious.  One day I would dine at a place outside the Barrier, where we had a plain but fairly good dinner for a franc, vin compris, and where the honoured guest at the head of the table was the chef des claqueurs or head of the paid applauders at all the theatres.  Then it would be at a private table-d’hôte of lorettes, where there was after dinner a little private card-playing.  I heard afterwards that two or three unprincipled gamblers found their way into this nest of poor little innocents and swindled them out of all their money.  When I was well in funds I would dine at Magny’s, where, in those days, one could get such a dinner for ten francs as fifty would not now purchase.  When au sec, I fed at Flictoteau’s—we called him l’empoisonneur—where hundreds of students got a meal of three courses with half a bottle of ordinaire, and not so bad either, for thirty sous.

It happened one night at Bobinot’s that I sat in the front row of the stage-box, and by me a very pretty, modest, and respectable young girl, with her elder relations or friends.  How it happened I do not know, but they all went out, leaving the young lady by me, and I did not speak to her.

p. 172Which “point” was at once seized by the house.  The pit, as if moved by one diabolical inspiration, began to roar, “Il l’embrassera!” (He will kiss her), to which the gallery replied, “Il ne l’embrassera pas.”

So they kept it up and down alternately like see-sawing, to an intonation; and be it remarked, by the way, that in French such a monotonous bore is known as a scie or saw, as may be read in my romance in the French tongue entitled Le Lutin du Château, which was, I regret to say, refused by Hachette the publisher on account of its freedom from strait-laced, blue-nosed, Puritanical conventionalism, albeit he praised its literary merit and style, as did sundry other French scholars, if I may say it—who should not!

I saw that something must be done; so, rising, I waved my glove, and there was dead silence.  Then I began at the top of my voice, in impassioned style in German, an address about matters and things in general, intermingled with insane quotations from Latin, Slavonian, anything.  A change came o’er the spirit of the dream of my auditors, till at last they “took,” and gave me three cheers.  I had sold the house!

There was in the Rue de la Harpe a house called the Hôtel de Luxembourg.  It was the fragment of a very old palace which had borne that name.  It had still a magnificent Renaissance staircase, which bore witness to its former glory.  Washington Irving, in one of his earlier tales, describes this very house and the rooms which I occupied in it so accurately, that I think he must have dwelt there.  He tells that a student once, during the Revolution, finding a young lady in the street, took her home with him to that house.  She had a black ribbon round her neck.  He twitched it away, when—off fell her head.  She had been guillotined, and revived by sorcery.

I soon removed to this house, where I had two very good-sized rooms.  In the same establishment dwelt a small actress or two, and divers students, or men who were extremely busy p. 173all the winter in plotting a revolution.  It was considered as a nest of rather doubtful and desperate characters, and an American carabin or student of medicine told me of another who had fled from the establishment after a few days’ experience, “for fear lest he should have his throat cut.”  But this was very silly, for none of us would have cut anybody’s throat for any consideration.  Some time ago I read the “Memoirs of Claude,” who was the head of police in Paris during my time, and I was quite startled to find how many of the notorieties chronicled in his experiences had been known to me personally.  As, for instance, Madame Marie Farcey, who he declares had a heart of gold, and with whom I had many a curious conversation.  She was a handsome, very ladylike, suave sort of a person, who was never known to have an intrigue with any man, but who was “far and away” at the very head of all the immorality in Paris, as is well known to everybody who was deeply about town in the Forties.  Claude himself I never knew, and it was to his possible great loss; for there came a time when I could, had I chosen, have given him information which would have kept him in office and Louis Philippe on the throne, and turned the whole course of the events of 1848, as I will now clearly and undeniably prove.

I did not live in the Hôtel de Luxembourg for nothing, and I knew what was going on, and what was coming, and that there was to be the devil to pay.  Claude tells us in his “Memoirs” that the revolution of February 24 took him so much by surprise that he had only three hours’ previous notice of it, and really not time to remove his office furniture.  Now, one month before it burst out I wrote home to my brother that we were to have a revolution on the 24th of February, and that it would certainly succeed.  Those who would learn all the true causes and reasons of this may find them in my forthcoming translation of “Heine’s Letters from Paris,” with my notes.  The police of Paris were very clever, but the whole organisation was in so few hands, and p. 174we managed so well, that they never found us out.  It was beyond all question the neatest, completest, and cheapest revolution ever executed.  Lamartine himself was not allowed to know anything about it till he was wanted for President.  And all over the Latin Quarter, on our side of the river, in cafés and balls and in shops, and talking to everybody, went the mysterious dwellers of the Hôtel de Luxembourg, sounding public opinion and gathering signs and omens, and making recruits and laying trains, which, when fired, caused explosions all over Europe, and sounds which still live in history.  And all the work was duly reported at head-quarters.  The great secret of the success of the revolution was that it was in the hands of so few persons, who were all absolutely secret and trustworthy.  If there had been a few more, the police would have found us out to a certainty.  One who was suspected was “squared.”

At last the ball opened.  There was the great banquet, and the muttering storm, and angry mobs, and small émeutes.  There is a mere alley—I forget its name—on the right bank, which runs down to the Seine, in which it is said that every Paris revolution has broken out.  Standing at its entrance, I saw three or four shots fired and dark forms with guns moving in the alley, and then came General Changarnier with his cavalry and made a charge, before which I fled.  I had to dodge more than one of these charges during the day.  Before dark the rioting was general, and barricades were going up.  The great storm-bell of Nôtre Dame rung all night long.

The next morning I rose, and telling Leonard Field, who lived in the same hotel with me, that I was going to work in earnest, loaded a pair of duelling-pistols, tied a sash round my waist en révolutionnaire, and with him went forth to business.  First I went to the Café Rotonde, hard by, and got my breakfast.  Then I sallied forth, and found in the Rue de la Harpe a gang of fifty insurgents, who had arms and a crowbar, but who wanted a leader.  Seeing that I was one of p. 175them, one said to me, “Sir, where shall we make a barricade?”  I replied that there was one already to the right and another farther down, but that a third close at hand was open.  Without a word they handed me the crowbar, and I prized up the stones out of the pavement, while they undertook the harder work of piling them up.  In a few minutes we had a solid wall eight feet high.  Field had on light kid gloves, which formed an amusing contrast to his occupation.  Then remembering that there was a defenceless spot somewhere else, I marched my troop thither, and built another barricade—all in grim earnest without talking.

I forgot to say that on the previous day I had witnessed a marvellously dramatic scene in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, by the market-house.  There was across it an immense barricade, made of literally everything—old beds, waggons, stones, and rubbish—and it was guarded by a dense crowd of insurgents, armed or unarmed, of whom I was one.  All around were at least three thousand people singing the Marseillaise and the Chant des Girondins.  There was a charge of infantry, a discharge of muskets, and fifteen fell dead, some almost touching me, while the mob around never ceased their singing, and the sounds of that tremendous and terrible chorus mingled with the dying groans and cries of the victims and the great roar of the bell of Notre Dame.  It was like a scene in the opera.  This very barricade has been described by Victor Hugo in detail, but not all which took place there, the whole scene being, in fact, far more dramatic or picturesque than he supposed it to have been.

It seemed to be predestined that I should see every great event in that drama, from the charge of Changarnier down to the very end, and I hereby declare that on my honour I set forth exactly what I saw with my own eyes, without a shade of colour off the truth.

There was a garçon named Edouard, who always waited on me in the Café Rotonde.  While I was working for life at my second barricade, he came out holding a napkin, and p. 176examining my labour critically, waved it, exclaimed approvingly, “Très bien, Citoyen Charlestrès bien!”  It was his little joke for some days after to call me Citoyen Charles.

Returning down the Rue de la Harpe before our house my landlady exclaimed to me in alarm, “Hide your pistols! there is a mouchard (spy of the police) following you.”  I believe that I, my blood being up, said something to the effect that if she would point him out I would shoot him forthwith, but the mouchard had vanished.  We had all got into cool earnestness by that time as regards shooting, having been in it constantly for three days.

Over the barricade came sprawling a tall ungainly red-haired Yankee, a student of medicine, whom I had met before, and who began to question me as to what I was doing.  To which I replied, “What the devil do you want here, anyhow?” not being in a mood to be trifled with.  To which he replied, “Nawthin’, only a kinder lookin’ reound.  But what on airth—”  “But are you for us, or against?” I cried.  “Wäll, I ain’t on no side.”  “See here!” I cried in a rage; “those who are not for us are against us.  Any one of those fellows you see round here would shoot you at once if I told him to, and if you don’t clear out in double quick time, by God I will!”  And at this he made himself scarce forthwith, “nor does he come again into this story.”

Then I went down the street, and as a large supply of ammunition came to us from our friends, with the aid of a student of the Ecole Polytechnique, I distributed it to the mob.  I had principally boxes of percussion-caps to give.  I mention this because that young man has gone into history for it, and I have as good a right to a share in this extremely small exploit as he.  Besides, though not wounded by the foe, I got a bad cut on my hand from a sharp paving-stone, and its scar lasted for many years.

I had that day many a chance to knock over a piou-piou or shoot a soldier, as Field said, but I must confess that I felt an invincible repugnance to do so.  The poor devils p. 177were, after all, only fighting unwillingly against us, and I well knew that unless they came over to our side all would be up with us.  Therefore it was our policy to spare them as much as possible.  I owe it to Field to state that through all the stirring scenes of the Revolution he displayed great calmness and courage.

All at once we heard a terrible outcry down the street.  There was a tremendous massing of soldiers there, and to defend that barricade meant death to all defenders.  I confess that I hesitated one instant, and than rushed headlong to join the fight.  Merciful God! the troops had fraternised with us, and they were handing over their muskets to the mob, who were firing them in the air.

The scene was terribly moving.  My men, who a minute before had expected to be shot, rushed up, embraced and kissed the soldiers, wept like children—in short, everybody kissed and embraced everybody else, and all my warriors got guns, and therewith I dismissed them, for I knew that the war was now about at an end.

There was a German-French student named Lenoir, and he, with Field and I, hearing that there was sharp work at the Tuileries, started thither in haste.  And truly enough, when we got there, the very devil was loose, with guns firing and the guard-house all in a blaze.  The door was burst open, and Field and I were among the very first who entered.  We behaved very well, and did not steal anything.  I remember that there was a great pile of plate and jewellery soon laid by the door.

I went into the throne-room.  There was a great silver inkstand on the table, paper and pens, and we wrote, “Respect Property!”  “Liberty for Italy and Hungary!” and hung the papers up around the room.  I wrote one or two myself, and touched the inkstand for luck, in case I should ever write about the event.

It was a great and indeed a very touching and beautiful sight, for all present were inspired with a feeling like that p. 178of men who have passed a terrible, racking crisis.  Nous avons vaincu!  Yes, we had conquered.  And the Revolution had marched sternly on through years of discontent unto the year of aggravation, Forty-Eight, when there was thunder all round in Europe—and after all, France at one desperate bound had again placed herself in the van!  And it was first decided by the taking of the Tuileries!

Let me dwell an instant on some minor incidents.  Many of the insurgents had been all night without food.  The royal dinner was cooking in the kitchen, and it was droll to see the men helping themselves and walking off with the chickens and joints on their bayonets.  I had never seen a royal kitchen before.  Soon all along the street loafers were seen with jars of preserved cherries, &c., emptying them into their caps.  I went into the burning guard-house.  A savage fellow offered me a great tin pail, containing about two gallons of wine, which he offered me to drink.  I was very thirsty, but I had a scruple against plunder.  Grasping his sword, he cried, “Buvez, citoyen; c’est du vin royal.”  Not wishing to have a duel à l’outrance with a fellow-patriot, and, as I said, being thirsty, I took a good long pull.  We mutually winked and smiled.  He took a pull also to my health and Liberty.  We both “pulled.”

I forgot to mention how my cohort had partially armed themselves that morning.  They burst into every house and carried off all the arms they could find, and then wrote in chalk over the doors—“Armes données.”  The Musée Cluny was very near my hotel and I saw it plundered.  Such a sight!  I saw one vagabond on a fine stolen horse, with a mediæval helmet on his head, a lance in his hand, and a six-feet double-handed sword or flamberg hanging behind his back.  He appeared to be quite drunk, and reared about in eccentric gambades.  This genius of Freedom reappeared at the Tuileries.  Mortal man was never under such temptation to steal as I was—just one fifteenth-century poignard as a souvenir—from that Museum—in fact, it was my duty at p. 179that instant to do so, whispered the tempter in my ear.  But I resisted; and lo! it came to pass in later years that I became possessed, for a mere trifle, in Dresden, of the court dagger, in exquisite carved ivory, which was originally made for Francis II. of France, and which has been declared by competent authority to be authentic.  Owing to his short reign there are very few relics of this monarch.

Some of the blackguards in the mob drew out the royal carriages, set fire to them, and rolled them gaily along the quai.

A noble-looking very old gentleman in military costume spoke to me before the Tuileries, and saying that he had seen all of the old Revolution and Napoleon’s wars, actually with tears in his eyes implored me to use my influence to prevent any plundering.  “Respectez la properté.”  There were very few gentlemen indeed among the insurgents.  I only observed two or three in our quarter, and they were all from our hotel, or rather lodgings.  But the next day every swell in Paris came out as an insurgent.  They had all worked at barricades—so they said.  I certainly had not seen any of them at work.

That afternoon I strolled about with Field.  We came to a barricade.  A very pretty girl guarded it with a sword.  She sternly demanded the parole or countersign.  I caught hold of her and kissed her, and showed my pistols.  She laughed.  As I was armed with dirk and pistols, wore a sash, and was unmistakably a Latin Quarter étudiant, as shown by long hair, rakish cap on one side, red neck-tie, and single eyeglass, I was everywhere treated as a man and brother, friend and equal, warrior, and—by the girls—almost like a first-cousin.  Field shared the glory, of course.  And we made a great deal out of it, and were thought all the more of in consequence.  Vive la jeunesse!

Coming to a corner, we heard three or four musket-shots.  We turned the corner, and saw a man lying dead or dying in the last quiver, while at his head there was at once placed a p. 180stick with a paper on it, on which was written with lead-pencil, “Mort aux voleurs!”

The day before, one insurgent had offered me a beautiful old silver-mounted sword for one of my pistols, fire-arms being so much in demand, but I declined the offer.

The day after, I went into a café.  There were some students there who had laid their arms on a table.  There was a very notorious little lorette, known as Pochardinette, who was so called because she was always half-tipsy.  She was even noted in a popular song as—

“La Pochardinette,
Qui ne sait refuser
Ni la ponche a pleine verre,
Ni sa bouohe à baiser.”

Pochardinette picked up a horse-pistol, when its owner cried, “Let that be!  That is not the kind of weapon which you are accustomed to manage!”  I stared at him with respect, for he had actually translated into French an epigram by Jacopo Sannazar, word for word!

I should here mention that on the 24th there was actually a period of two hours during which France had no Government—that is, none that it knew of.  Then there appeared on the walls all at once small placards giving the list of names of the Gouvernement Provisoire.  Now, during this period of suspense there appeared at the Hôtel de Ville a mysterious stranger; a small, bustling, active individual, who came in and announced that a new Government had been formed, that he himself had been appointed Minister, that France expected every man to do his duty, and that no one should lose their places who conformed to his orders.  “I appoint,” he said, “So-and-so to take command of Vincennes.  Here, you—Chose! notify him at once and send orders.  I believe that Tel-et-tel had better take Marseilles.  Do any of you fellows know of a good governor for Mauritius?”  So he governed France for half-an-hour and then disappeared, and nobody ever knew to this day who this stupendous joker was.  p. 181A full account of it all appeared some time after, and the cream of the joke was that some of his appointed ones contrived to keep their places.  This brief dynasty has not been recorded in any work save this!

It was a droll fact that I had, the year before, at Heidelberg, drawn a picture of myself as an insurgent at a barricade, and written under it, “The Boy of the Barricades.”  I had long had a strange presentiment as to this event.  I gave the picture to Peter A. Porter, then a student, and owner of a singular piece of property—that is, Niagara Falls, or at least Goat Island and more or less of the American side.  Some time after the 24th he showed me this picture in Paris.  He himself, I have heard, died fighting bravely in our Civil War.  His men were so much attached to him that they made, to recover his body, a special sally, in which twelve of them were killed.  He was bon compagnon, very pleasant, and gifted with a very original, quaint humour.

If our ungrateful temporary stepmother, France, did not know it, at least the waiters in the cafés, shopkeepers, and other people in the Latin Quarter were aware that Field and I were among the extremely small and select number of gentlemen who had operated at the barricades for the health of Freedom, and for some time we never entered a restaurant without hearing admiring exclamations from the respectful waiters of “Ces sont les Américains!” or “Les Anglais.”  And indeed, to a small degree, I even made a legendary local impression; for a friend of mine who went from Philadelphia to Paris two years later, reported that I was still in the memory of the Quarter as associated with the Revolution and life in general.  One incident was indeed of a character which French students would not forget.  I had among my many friends, reputable and demi-reputable, a rather remarkable lorette named Maria, whose face was the very replica of that of the Laughing Faun of the Louvre—or, if one can conceive it, of a very pretty “white nigger.”  This young lady being either ennuyée or frightened by the roar of musketry—p. 182probably the former—and knowing that I was a Revolutionist and at work, conceived the eccentric idea of hiring a coach, just when the fighting was at the worst, and driving over from the Rue Helder to visit me.  Which she actually did.  When she came to a barricade, she gave five francs to the champions of liberty, and told them she was bearing important political orders to one of their leaders.  Then the warriors would unharness the horses, lift the carriage and beasts somehow over the barricade, re-harness, hurrah, and “Adieu, madameVive la liberté!”  And so, amid bullets and cheers, and death-stroke, and powder-smoke—hinc et inde mors et luctus—Maria came to my door in a carriage, and found me out with a vengeance—for I was revelling at the time in the royal halls of the Bourbons, or at least drinking wine out of a tin pail in the guard-house, whereby I escaped the expense of a truffled champagne dinner at Magny’s—while the young lady was about fifty francs out of pocket by her little drive, probably the only one taken that day in Paris.  But she had a fearfully jolly time of it, and saw the way that guns were fired to perfection.  This, too, became one of the published wonders of the day, and a local legend of renown.

Of course all these proceedings put an end to lectures and study for the time.  Then Mr. Goodrich, our Consul, as I have before said, organised a deputation of Americans in Paris to go and congratulate the new Gouvernement Provisoire on the new Republic, of which I was one, and we saw all the great men, and Arago made us a speech.  Unfortunately all the bankers stopped paying money, and I had to live principally on credit, or sailed rather close to it, until I could write to my father and get a draft on London.

But when the Revolution of June was coming, I determined to leave Paris.  I had no sympathy for the Socialists, and I knew very well that neither the new Government, nor the still newer Louis Napoleon, who was looming up so dangerously behind it, needed my small aid.  There was a regulation p. 183in those days that every foreign resident on leaving Paris must give twenty-four hours’ notice to the police before he could obtain his passport.  But when I applied for mine, it was handed out at once “over the counter,” with a smile and a wink, as if unto one who was merrily well known, with an intimation that they were rather glad that I was going, and would do everything to facilitate my departure.  I suspect that my dossier must have been interesting reading!  M. Claude, or his successor, was probably of the same mind regarding me as the old black preacher in Philadelphia regarding a certain convert, “De Lawd knows we don’ want no sitch bredderin in dis congregation!”

So I went to Rouen and saw the cathedral and churches—it was a very quaint old town then—and thence to Havre, where I took passage on a steamboat for London.  The captain had a very curious old Gnostic-Egyptian ring, with a gem on which were four animal heads in one, or a chimæra.  I explained what it was, and that it meant the year.  But the captain could not rest till he had got the opinion of a fussy old Frenchman, who, as a doctor, was of course supposed to know more than I.  He looked at it, and, with a great air, remarked, “C’est grecque!”  Then the captain was quite satisfied.  It was Greek!

I went in London to a very modest hotel, where I was, however, very comfortable.  In those days a bottle of the very vilest claret conceivable, and far worse than “Gladstone,” cost four or five shillings; therefore I took to pale ale.  Ewan Colquhoun soon found me out, and, under his guidance, and that of two or three others whom I had met, I soon explored London.  Firstly, he took me daily to his house in St. James Street, where I can recall his mother, Mrs. Colquhoun, and father, and brothers, Patrick and James.  Patrick was a remarkable young man.  He had graduated at Cambridge and Heidelberg and filled diplomatic capacities in the East, and was familiar with many languages from Arabic to Gaelic, and was the first amateur p. 184light-weight boxer in England, and first sculler on the Thames, and had translated and annotated the principal compendium of Roman law.  He took me to see a grand rowing match, where we were in the Leander barge.  So here and there I was introduced to a great many people of the best society.  Meanwhile, with Ewan, I visited the Cider Cellars, Evans’, the Judge and Jury Club, Cremorne, and all the gay resorts of those days, not to mention the museums, Tower, and everything down to Madame Tussaud’s.  I went down in a diving-bell in the Polytechnic, and over Barclay and Perkins’ Brewery.

One night Colquhoun and I went to Drury Lane, and, after hearing Grisi, Mario, and Lablache together, saw the great pas de quatre which became a historical marvel.  For it was danced by Taglioni, Cerito, Carlotta Grisi, and Lucile Grahn.  In after years, when I talked with Taglioni about it, she assured me that night I had witnessed what the world had never seen since, the greatest and most perfect execution conceivable.  For the four great artists, moved by rivalry, were inspired to do their best before such an audience as was seldom seen.  Colquhoun kept pointing out one celebrity after another to me; I verily believe that I saw most of the great men and women of the time.  And afterwards I saw a great number in Parliament.

There was a rather distinguished-looking Frenchman very much about town in London while I was there.  He was always alone, and always dressed in a long, light overcoat.  Wherever I went, to Cremorne or the Park, there he was.  When Louis Napoleon came up in the world and I saw his photograph, I at once recognised my Frenchman.

There roomed next to me in our hotel a German from Vienna named Becker.  He was an opera-singer, and the newspapers said that he was fully equal to the first baritone of the day.  I forget who that was: was it Pischek?  I liked him very much; he was always in my room, and always singing little bits, but I was not much impressed by them, and p. 185once told him that I believed that I could sing as loudly as he.  He never said a word, but at once let out his whole voice in a tremendous aria.  I clapped my hands to my ears; I verily believed that he would shatter the windows!  I have heard of a singer who actually broke a goblet by vibration, and I now believe that it is possible.  I was once shown in the Hague Museum a goblet which rang marvellously in accompaniment when one sang to it, and have met with others like it.

I was invited by a young friend named Hunt (a son of the great Chartist), who had been a friend of mine in Heidelberg, where he had taken his degree as doctor of Philosophy, to pass a week in the country at a charming old Elizabethan place, said to have been the original Bleak House.  Everything there was perfectly delightful.  There were two or three charming young ladies.  I remember among them a Miss Oliphaunt.  There was a glorious picnic, to which I and all walked eight miles and back.  I admired on this occasion for the first time the pedestrian powers of English girls.

I visited Verulamium and St. Alban’s Abbey, not then “restored,” and other beautiful places.  It all seemed like a fairy-tale, for the charm of my early reading came over me like enchantment.  One night Hunt and I went into a little wayside inn.  There were assembled a number of peasants—hedgers and ditchers, or such like.  We treated them to ale, and they sang many strange old songs.  Then I was called on, and I sang “Sir Patrick Spens,” which was well received.

I returned to London, and found, to my dismay, that I had not enough money to take me home!  I had received a bill of exchange on a merchant in London, and, in my innocence, never dreamed that it constituted no claim on him whatever for a further supply.  I called at his office, saw his son, who naturally informed me that they could advance me no more money, but referred me to his father.  The old gentleman seemed to be amused, and questioned me all about p. 186myself.  When he found that his Philadelphia correspondent was very well known to my father, and that the son of the correspondent was a fellow-student of mine at Heidelberg and Paris, he asked me how much I wanted.  When I replied, “Only enough to pay my passage,” he replied, “Is that all?” and at once gave me the money.  Then he questioned me as to my friends in London, and said, “You have seen something of the aristocracy, I would like you to see some of the business people.”  So he invited me to a dinner at the Reform Club, to meet a few friends.  Among these was a Mr. Birch, son of the celebrated Alderman Birch.  He had directed the dinner, being a famous gourmet, and Soyer had cooked it.  That dinner cost my host far more than he had made out of me.  We had six kinds of choicest wines, which impressed me then.

Mr. Birch was a man of literary culture, and we went deeply into books.  The next day he sent me a charming work which he had written on the religious belief of Shakespeare, in which it was fairly proved that the immortal bard had none.  And I was so well pleased with England, that I liked it better than any country I had ever visited.

In 1870, when I came to London, and found my character of “Hans Breitmann” on three stages at once, I received, of course, a great deal of attention.  Somebody said to me, “Oh, of course; you come here well known, and are made a great deal of.”  I replied, “Twenty years ago I came to London without a single letter of introduction, and had only two or three student friends, and received just as much kind hospitality.”  I think that like generally finds its like, so long as it is honest and can pay its bills.

I left Portsmouth for New York in a sailing-vessel or packet.  I could have returned by steamer, but preferred the latter, as I should now, if there were any packets crossing the ocean.  In old times travel was a pleasure or an art; now it is the science of getting from place to place in the shortest time possible.  Hence, with all our patent Pullman cars and p. 187their dentist’s chairs, Procrustean sofas, and headlong passages, we do not enjoy ourselves as we did when the coach went on the road so slowly as to allow us to see the country, when we halted often and long, many a time in curious old villages.  But “the idea of dragging along in that way!”  Well, and what, O tourist, dost thou travel for?

There was on the vessel in which I sailed, among the few passengers, Mrs. and Mr. John Gilbert, a well-known dramatic couple, who were extremely agreeable and genial, the husband abounding in droll reminiscences of the stage; a merry little German musician named Kreutzer, son of the great composer; and a young Englishwoman with a younger brother.  I rather doubted the “solidity” of this young lady.  By-and-bye it was developed that the captain was in love with her.  Out of this, I have heard, came a dreadful tragedy; for the love drove him mad, the insanity developing itself on the return voyage.  The captain had to be imprisoned in his own state-room, where he committed suicide in a terrible manner by tearing his throat open with the point of a candlestick or sconce.  The second mate, who was as coarse a brute as a common sailor could be, took command, and as he at once got drunk, and kept so, the passengers rose, confined him, and gave the command to the third, who was very young.

“Thus woman is the cause of fearful deeds.”

However, I freely admit that this incident resulted from a long voyage, for we were thirty-five days in going from port to port.  In only a week, with three or four days’ preliminary sea-sickness, there is hardly time for “flirtation and its consequences.”  Nor was it so much a stormy trip as one with long sunny calms.  Then we hauled up Gulf-weed with little crabs—saw Portuguese men-of-war or sea-anemones sailing along like Cleopatra’s barges with purple sails, or counted flying-fish.  Apropos of this last I have something to say.  During my last trip I once devoted an afternoon to closely observing these bird-like creatures, and very distinctly p. 188saw two cases in which the fish turned and flew against the wind or tacked—a fact which has been denied.

One day I saw a few rudder-fish playing about the stern.  They weigh perhaps some six or seven pounds; so, standing on velvet cushions in the cabin, I fished out of the stern-window.  Then came a bite, and in a second I had my fish flapping about on the carpet under the table, to the great amazement of the steward, who had probably never had a live fish jump so promptly before into his hands.  And we had it for dinner.  One day a ship made to us a signal of distress, and sent a boat, saying that they were completely out of fuel; also that their passengers consisted entirely of the celebrated Ravel troupe of acrobats and actors.  It would have been an experience to have crossed in that packet with their chief, Gabriel!

Gabriel Ravel—it is one of my brother’s published tales—was a good boxer as well as a marvellous acrobat, and he could look like what he pleased.  One morning a muscular and vain New York swell saw in a gymnasium one whom he supposed to be a very verdant New Jersey rustic gaping about.  The swell exhibited with great pride his skill on the parallel bars, horizontal pole, et cetera, and seeing the countryman absolutely dumbfounded with astonishment, proposed to the latter to put on the gloves.  “Jersey” hardly seemed to know what gloves were, but with much trouble he was got into form and set to milling.  But though he was as awkward as a blind cow, the swell pugilist could not for a very long time get in a blow.  Jersey dodged every hit “somehow” in a manner which seemed to be miraculous.  At last one told on his chest, and it appeared to be a stunner, for it knocked him into the air, where he turned a double somersault, and then fell on his feet.  And it seemed as if, during this flight, he had been suddenly inspired with a knowledge of the manly art, for on descending, he went at the swell and knocked him from time.  It was Gabriel Ravel.

We saw an iceberg far away, and lay off on the Grand p. 189Banks (where our steerage passengers caught cod-fish), and beheld a water-spout—I once saw two at a time in the Mediterranean—and whales, which were far commoner then than now, it being rumoured that the one, and no more, which is regularly seen by passengers now is a tame one belonging to the White Star or some other line, which keeps him moored in a certain place on exhibition; also that what Gulf-weed there is left is grown near New York and scattered by night from certain boats.  It may be so—this is an artificial age.  All that remains is to learn that the flying-fish are No. 3 salt mackerel set with springs, and I am not sure that I should doubt even that.

p. 190IV.  THE RETURN TO AMERICA.  1848-1862.

Home—Studying law with John Cadwallader—Philadelphia as I found it—Richard B. Kimball—“Fusang”—Literal reporting in German—First experiences in magazines and newspapers—Father Matthew—Dr. Rufus Griswold—Engaged to be married—A journey North—Colonel Cotl and pistol-practice with him—Alfred Jaell—Editor of Barnum’s Illustrated News—Dr. Griswold and his MS.—Bixby’s—Mr. Barnum—My first books—New York society in the early Fifties—Alice and Phœbe Carey—Washington Irving—Bayard Taylor—N. P. Willis—J. G. Saxe—H. C. Carey—Emily Schaumberg—I become assistant-editor of the Bulletin—George H. Boker—Cremation—Editorial life—Paternal enterprise—My father renews his fortune—I am married—The Republican Convention—First great dissension with the South—Translating Heine—The lady in the burning hotel—The writing of “Hans Breitmann’s Barty”—Change to New York—Appletons’ Cyclopædia—G. W. Ripley and Charles A. Dana—Foreign editing of New York Times—“Vanity Fair”—The Bohemians—Artemus Ward—Lincoln’s election—The Civil War—My political work in the Knickerbocker—Emancipation—I become sole editor of the Continental Magazine—What I did in 1862 and 1863 in aid of the Union cause.

So we arrived in New York, and within an hour or two after my arrival I was in the train en route for Philadelphia.  On the way, I intrusted a newsboy with an English shilling to go and get me change.  I still await that change.  And in Philadelphia the hackman who drove me to my father’s house, as soon as the trunks were removed, departed suddenly, carrying away with him a small hand-bag containing several valuable objects, which I never recovered.  I began to think that if the object of travel be to learn to keep one’s p. 191eyes open and avoid being swindled, that I had better have remained at home.

My father had removed to another house in Walnut Street, below Twelfth Street.  After this he only changed dwellings once more before his death.  This constant change from one rented house to another, like the changes from school to school, is very unfortunate, as I have before said, for any family.  It destroys all the feeling and unity of character which grow up in a settled home.

I pass over the joy of again seeing my parents, the dear sisters, and brother Henry.  I was soon settled down, soon visiting friends, going to evening parties, making morning or afternoon calls, and after a little while was entered as a law-student in the office of John Cadwallader in Fourth Street.

I cannot pass over the fact, for it greatly influenced my after life, that though everybody was very kind to me, and I was even in a small way a kind of lion, the change from my late life was very hard to bear.  I have read a wonderful story of a boy who while at a severe school had a marvellous dream.  It seemed to last for years, and while it lasted, he went to the University, graduated, passed into diplomatic life, was a great man and beloved; when all at once he awoke and found himself at school again and birchable.  After the freedom of student life in Heidelberg and Munich and Paris, and having been among the few who had carried out a great revolution, and much familiarity with the most cosmopolite type of characters in Europe, and existing in literature and art, I was settled down to live, move, and have all being henceforth and perhaps for ever in Philadelphia!  Of which city, at that time, there was not one in the world of which so little evil could be said, or so much good, yet of which so few ever spoke with enthusiasm.  Its inhabitants were all well-bathed, well-clad, well-behaved; all with exactly the same ideas and the same ideals.  A decided degree of refinement was everywhere perceptible, and they were so fond of p. 192flowers that I once ascertained by careful inquiry that in most respectable families there was annually much more money expended for bouquets than for books.  When a Philadelphian gave a dinner or supper, his great care was to see that everything on the table was as good or perfect as possible.  I had been accustomed to first considering what should be placed around it on the chairs as the main item.  The lines of demarcation in “society” were as strongly drawn as in Europe, or more so, with the enormous difference, however, that there was not the slightest perceptible shade of difference in the intellects, culture, or character of the people on either side of the line, any more than there is among the school-boys on either side of the mark drawn for a game.  Very trifling points of difference, not perceptible to an outsider, made the whole difference between the exclusives and the excluded; just as the witch-mark no larger than a needle-point indicates to the judge the difference between the saved and the damned.

I had not been long engaged in studying law when I made the acquaintance of Richard B. Kimball, a lawyer of New York, who had written a few novels which were very popular, and are still reprinted by Tauchnitz.  He knew everybody, and took a great interest in me, and opened the door for me to the Knickerbocker Magazine.  To this I had contributed articles while at Princeton.  I now sent it my translation of Professor Neumann’s “Chinese in Mexico in the Fifth Century.”  I forget whether this was in 1849 or 1850.  In after years I expanded it to a book, of which a certain Professor said, firstly in a paper read before the American Asiatic Society, and secondly in a pamphlet, that there was nothing of any importance in it which had not already appeared in Bancroft’s work on the Pacific.  I wrote to him, pointing out the fact that Bancroft’s work did not appear till many years after my article in the Knickerbocker.  To which the Sinologist replied very suavely and apologetically indeed that he was “very sorry,” but had never seen the article in p. 193the Knickerbocker, &c.  But he did not publish the correction, as he should have done.  For which reason I now vindicate myself from the insinuated accusation that I borrowed from Bancroft.  I had, indeed, almost forgotten this work, “Fusang,” when, in 1890, Prince Roland Bonaparte, at a dinner given by him to the Congrès des Traditions Populaires, startled me by recurring to it and speaking of it with great praise.  For it vindicates the claim of the French that Desguignes first discovered the fact that the Chinese were the first to discover America.  If any one doubts this, let him read the truly great work of Vinton on the whole.  Prince Roland had been in China and earnestly studied the subject.  Von Eichthal had endorsed my views, and wrote to me on Fusang.  I have been for many years well acquainted with his nephew, Baron von Eichthal, and his remarkably accomplished wife, who is expert in all the minor arts.

My father’s resources became about this time limited, and I, in fact, realised that he had taxed himself more than I had supposed to maintain me abroad.  His Congress Hall property did not pay much rent.  For my position in the world, friends, studies, and society, I found myself very much and very often in great need of money.  As at that time we were supposed to be much richer than we really were, this was an additional source of trial.  I began to see clearly that in the law, as in all business or professions, I should have to wait for years ere I could make a living.  For the instances are very few and far between in which a young man, who has not inherited or grown up to a practice, can make one himself at once.

More than this, I was not fitted for law at all.  From my birth I had absolutely one of those peculiar temperaments which really disqualify men for “business.”  If I had entered a law-office in which there was much office-work or practice, I might have acquired a practical interest in the profession, but of this there was in ours literally none whatever.  I had a great fondness for copying deeds, &c., but Mr. p. 194Cadwallader, though he very much admired my quaint round hand, being the very soul of honour, observing that I was eager for such work, would not give me much of it though it would have been to his profit, because, as he said, “students who paid should not be employed as clerks only, much less as copying machines.”  As it had always been deeply impressed on my mind by every American friend that I had “no business capacity,” and, moreover, as I greatly dreaded speaking in court, I had from the beginning a great fear that I could never live by the law.  I mention this because there are many thousands of young men who suffer terribly from such apprehension, and often ruin life by it.  A few months’ practice in a mercantile college will go far to relieve the first apprehension, while as regards stage fright, it can be easily educated out of anybody, as I have since those days educated it out of myself, so that rising to debate or speak inspires in me a gaudium certaminis, which increases with the certainty of being attacked.  Let the aspirant begin by reading papers before, let us say, a family or school, and continue to do so frequently and at as short intervals as possible before such societies or lyceums as will listen to him.  Then let him speak from memory or improvise and debate.  This should form a part of all education whatever, and it should be thorough.  It is specially needed for lawyers and divines, yet a great proportion of both are most insufficiently trained in it; and while I was studying law it was never mentioned to me.  I was never so much as once taken into court or practically employed in any manner whatever.

I remember an amusing incident in the office.  Mr. Cadwallader asked me one day to call, returning from my lunch, on a certain Mr. Dimpfel, one of his clients, leave a certain message and his request as follows:—“I want you, Mr. Leland, to be very careful.  I have observed that you are sometimes inaccurate in such matters, therefore be sure that you give me Mr. Dimpfel’s very words.”  Mr. Cadwallader knew French and Spanish perfectly, but not German, and was p. 195not aware that I always conversed with Mr. Dimpfel in the latter language.  When I returned my teacher said—

“Now, Mr. Leland, can you repeat accurately word for word what Mr. Dimpfel said?” I replied:

“Yes.  Der Herr Dimpfel lässt sich grüssen und meldet das er Montag kommen wird um halb dreiUnd er sagt weiter . . . ”

“That will do,” cried Mr. Cadwallader; “you must give it in English.”

“I beg your pardon,” was my grave reply, “but you asked for his very words.”

I began to write for publication in 1849.  Mr. John Sartain, a great engraver, established a magazine, to which I contributed several articles on art subjects, subsequently many more on all subjects, and finally every month a certain number of pages of humorous matter.  A man named Manuel Cooke established in Philadelphia a Drawing-Room Journal.  For this I wrote a great deal for a year or two.  It paid me no money, but gave me free admission to theatres, operas, etc., and I learned a great deal as to the practical management of a newspaper.

The first summer after my return we went to Stonington, and thence to visit our friends in New England, as of yore.  At Dedham I had an attack of cholera; my uncle, Dr. Stimson, gave me during the night two doses of laudanum of fifty drops each, which cured me.  Father Matthew came to Dedham.  I went with a very pretty young cousin of mine named Marie Lizzie Fisher, since deceased, to hear him preach.  After the address, meeting the Father, I went boldly up and introduced myself to him, and then Miss Fisher.  I think that his address must have deeply affected me, since I was obliged to stop on my way home to take a drink to steady my nerves.  It was against the law at that time to sell such “poison,” so the hotel-keeper took me and my paternal uncle, George, who treated, down into the cellar, where he had concealed some Hollands.  I can remember that that pleasant p. 196summer in Dedham I, one Sunday morning in the church during service, composed a poem, which in after years even found its way into “The Poets and Poetry of America.”  It began with the words—

“O’er an old ruined doorway
   Philosophus hung,
And madly his bell-cap
   And bauble he swung.”

It was a wild mixture of cosmopolitanism and Hamletism, and it indicates accurately the true state of my cor cordium at that time.  Earnest thought, or a yearning for truth, and worldly folly, were playing a game of battledore and shuttlecock, and I was the feathered cork.  There is a song without words by Mendelssohn, which sets forth as clearly as Shakespeare or Heine could have done in words, deep melancholy or unavoidable suffering expressing itself merrily and gaily in a manner which is both touching and beautiful, or sweet and sad.  Without any self-consciousness or display of sentimentalism, I find deep traces of this in many little poems or sketches which I wrote at that time, and which have now been forgotten.  I had been in Arcadia; I was now in a very pleasant sunny Philistia; but I could not forget the past.  And I never forgot it.  Once in Paris, in the opera, I used in jest emphatically the Russian word harrascho, “good,” when a Russian stranger in the next box smiled joyously, and rising, waved his glove to me.  Once in a brilliant soirée in Philadelphia there was a Hungarian Count, an exile, and talking with him in English, I let fall for a joke “Bassama terem-tete!”  He grasped my hand, and, forgetting all around, entered into a long conversation.  It was like the American who, on finding an American cent in the streets in Paris, burst into tears.  So from time to time something recalled Europe to me.

I went now and then to New York, which I liked better than Philadelphia.  I was often a guest of Mr. Kimball.  He introduced me to Dr. Rufus Griswold, a strange character p. 197and a noted man of letters.  He was to his death so uniformly a friend to me, and so untiring in his efforts to aid me, that I cannot find words to express his kindness nor the gratitude which I feel.  He became the editor of a literary magazine which was really far in advance of the time.  It did not last long; while it endured I supplied for it monthly reviews of foreign literature.

There were not many linguists on the American press in those days, and my reviews of works in half-a-dozen languages induced some one to pay a high compliment to the editor.  It was Bayard Taylor, I believe, who, hearing this, declared honestly, and as a friend, that I alone deserved the credit.  This was repeated by some one to Dr. Griswold in such a form that he thought I had been talking against him, though I had never spoken to a soul about it.  The result was that the Doctor promptly dismissed me, and I felt hurt.  Mr. Kimball met me and laughed, saying, “The next time you meet the Doctor just go resolutely at him and replace yourself.  Don’t allow him a word.”  So, meeting Dr. Griswold a few days after in Philadelphia, I went boldly up and said, “You must come at once with me and take a drink—immediately!”  The Doctor went like a lamb—not to the slaughter, but to its milk—and when he had drunk a comforting grog, I attacked him boldly, and declared that I had never spoken a word to a living soul as to the authorship of the reviews—which was perfectly true, for I never broke the golden rule of “contributorial anonymity.”  So the Doctor put me on the staff again.  But to the end of his life I was always with him a privileged character, and could take, if I chose, the most extraordinary liberties, though he was one of the most irritable and vindictive men I ever met, if he fancied that he was in any way too familiarly treated.

Kossuth came to America, and I was almost squeezed to death—right against a pretty German girl—in the crowd at his reception in Philadelphia.  At the dinner in New York p. 198I met at Kimball’s house Franz Pulszky, and sat by his wife.  I have since seen him many times in Buda-Pest.

There lived in Philadelphia a gentleman named Rodney Fisher.  He had been for many years a partner in an English house in Canton, and also lived in England.  He had long been an intimate friend of Russel Sturgis, subsequently of “Baring Brothers.”  He was a grand-nephew of Cæsar Rodney, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and a son of Judge Fisher, of Delaware.  He was a man of refined and agreeable manners and an admirable relater of his innumerable experiences in Europe and the East.  His wife had been celebrated for her beauty.  When I first met her in her own house she seemed to me to be hardly thirty years of age, and I believed at first she was one of her own daughters.  She was without exception the most amiable, I may say lovable person whom I ever met, and I never had a nuance or shade of difference of opinion with her, or know an instant during which I was not devoted to her.  I visited his house and fell in love with his daughter Belle, to whom I became, after about a year, engaged.  We were not, however, married till five years after.  Thackeray, whom I knew well, said to a Mr. Curtis Raymond, of Boston, not long before leaving for England, that she was the most beautiful woman whom he had seen in America.  I cannot help recording this.

I need not say that, notwithstanding my terrible anxiety as to my future, from this time I led a very happy life.  There was in Philadelphia a very wealthy lady called its Queen.  This was Mrs. James Rush.  She had built the finest house in our city, and placed in it sixty thousand dollars’ worth of furniture.  “E un bel palazzo!” said an Italian tenor one evening to me at a reception there.  This lady, who had read much, had lived long in Europe and “knew cities and men.”  To say that she was kind to me would feebly express her kindness.  It is true that we were by much mutual knowledge rendered congenial.  She invited p. 199me to attend her weekly receptions, &c., with Miss Fisher.  There we met and were introduced to all the celebrated people who passed through Philadelphia.  One evening I had there, for instance, a conversation in German with Mme. Sontag, the great singer, as with Jerome Bonaparte, the nephew.

When the summer came I joined Mr. Fisher and his two daughters—the second was named Mary—in a tour.  We went to New York, thence up the Hudson, and eastward to Boston.  After a day’s travel we came to a town on the frontier line, where we had to stop for two hours.  Mr. Fisher and I, being very thirsty and fatigued, went into a saloon in which were two bars or counters.  Advancing to the second of these, I asked for brandy.  “We don’t sell no brandy here,” replied the man.  “This is in Massachusetts: go to the other bar—that is in New York.”  In an instant we left New England for the Middle States, and refreshed ourselves.  Thence we went to Springfield and saw the armoury, where guns are made.  Thence to Boston, where we stopped at a hotel.  I went with Miss Belle Fisher for a day’s excursion to Dedham, where my mother and sisters were on a visit.  It was very pleasant.

From Boston we went to Newport, and stayed at the Ocean House.  There I found Milton Sanford, a connection of mine and a noted character.  He had lived in Florence and known Browning and his wife.  He was, I believe, uncle of Miss Kate Field.  He introduced me to Colonel Colt, the celebrated inventor or re-discoverer of the revolver; to Alf. Jaell, a very great pianist; and Edward Marshall, a brother of Humphrey Marshall.  Sanford, Colt, Marshall, and I patronised the pistol-gallery every day, nor did we abstain from mint-juleps.  I found that, in shooting, Colonel Colt could beat me at the word, but that I always had the best of it at a deliberate “take-your-time” shot.  There, too, were the two brothers Burnett, whom I had met long before in Heidelberg.  What with p. 200drives and balls and other gaiety, the time passed pleasantly enough.

As I spoke German, I became intimate with Jaell.  He could not sing at all.  Once I suggested to him that he should compose variations on an air, a German popular song.  For a day or two he hummed it as well as he could.  On the third morning he took me into a room where there was a piano, and asked me to sing while he played accompaniments.  All at once he said, “Stop! I have got it!” and then he played the air with marvellously beautiful variations.  He was a great genius, but I never heard him play in public as he played then.  He was in a “high hour.”  It was wonderful.  I may here say that in after years, while living at a hotel, I became well acquainted with Thalberg, and especially with Ole Bull, the violinist, who told me much about Heine.

So time rolled on for three years.  I passed my examination and took an office in Third Street, with a sign proclaiming that I was attorney-at-law and Avokat.  During six months I had two clients and made exactly three pounds.  Then, the house being wanted, I left and gave up law.  This was a very disheartening time for me.  I had a great many friends who could easily have put collecting and other business in my hands, but none of them did it.  I felt this very keenly.  Quite apart from a young man’s pushing himself, despite every obstacle, there is the great truth that sometimes the obstacles or bad luck become insuperable.  Mine did at this time.

The author of “Gossip of the Century” has well remarked that “it has been said that however quickly a clever lad may have run up the ladder, whether of fame or fortune, it will always be found that he was lucky enough to find some one who put his foot on the first rung.”  Which is perfectly true, as I soon found, if not in law, at least in literature.

I went more than once to New York, hoping to obtain literary employment.  One day Dr. Rufus Griswold came to p. 201me in great excitement.  Mr. Barnum—the great showman—and the Brothers Beech were about to establish a great illustrated weekly newspaper, and he was to be the editor and I the assistant.  It is quite true that he had actually taken the post, for which he did not care twopence, only to provide a place for me, and he had tramped all over New York for hours in a fearful storm to find me and to announce the good news.

Then work began for me in tremendous earnest.  Let the reader imagine such a paper as the London Illustrated News with one editor and one assistant!  Three men could not have read our exchanges, and I was expected to do that and all the minor casual writing for cuts, or cutting down and occasional outside work.  And yet even Mr. Barnum, who should have had more sense, one day, on coming in, expressed his amazement on seeing about a cartload of country exchanges which I had not opened.  But there was something in Philadelphia which made all work seem play to me, and I long laboured from ten in the morning till midnight.  My assiduity attracted attention.

Dr. Griswold was always a little “queer,” and I used to scold and reprove him for it.  He had got himself into great trouble by his remarks on Edgar A. Poe.  Mr. Kimball and others, who knew the Doctor, believed, as I do, that there was no deliberate evil or envy in those remarks.  Poe’s best friends told severe stories of him in those days—me ipso teste—and Griswold, naught extenuating and setting down naught in malice, wrote incautiously more than he should.  These are the words of another than I.  But when Griswold was attacked, then he became savage.  One day I found in his desk, which he had committed to me, a great number of further material collected to Poe’s discredit.  I burnt it all up at once, and told the Doctor what I had done, and scolded him well into the bargain.  He took it all very amiably.  There was also much more matter to other men’s discredit—ascensionem expectans—awaiting publication, all of which I p. 202burned.  It was the result of long research, and evidently formed the material for a book.  Had it ever been published, it would have made Rome howl!  But, as I said, I was angry, and I knew it would injure Dr. Griswold more than anybody.  It is a pity that I had not always had the Doctor in hand—though I must here again repeat that, as regards Poe, he is, in my opinion, not so much to blame as a score of writers have made out.  The tales, which were certainly most authentic, or at least apparently so, during the life of the latter, among his best friends regarding him, were, to say the least, discreditable, albeit that is no excuse whatever for publishing them.  I have always much disliked the popular principle of judging men’s works entirely by their lives, and deciding against the literary merit of Sartor Resartus because Carlyle put his wife’s money to his own account in banco.

And it is, moreover, cruel that a man, because he has been a poet or genius or artist, must needs have every weakness (real or conjectured) in his life served up and grinned at and chatted over, as if he forsooth were a clergyman or some kind of make-believe saint.  However, the more vulgar a nature is the more it will gloat on gossip; and herein the most pretentious of the higher classes show themselves no better than the basest.

I lived at Dan Bixby’s, at the corner of Park Place and Broadway, where I came very near being shot one night by a man who mistook me, or rather my room, for that of the one below, in which his wife was, or had been, with another person.  Being very tipsy, the injured individual went one storey too high, and tried to burst in to shoot me with a revolver, but I repelled him after a severe struggle, in which I had sharp work to avoid being shot.  I would much rather fight a decent duel any time than have such a “hog-fight.”  I only had a loaded cane.  The worst of it was that the injured husband, having traced his wife, as he erroneously thought, to my room, went to Bixby and the clerk, and asked who lived in it.  But as they were my friends, they dismissed p. 203him gruffly, yet believed all the same that I had “a petticoat in my wardrobe.”  Hence for a week all my friends kept making cruel allusions in my presence to gay deceivers and Don Juan et cetera, until in a rage I asked what the devil it all meant, when there was an explanation by a clergyman, and I swore myself clear.  But I thought it was hard lines to have to stand the revolver, endure all the scandal for a week, and be innocent all the time withal!  That was indeed bitter in the cup!

Apropos of this small affair, I can recall a droll scene, de eodem genere, which I witnessed within a week of the other.  There was a rather first-class saloon, bar, and restaurant on Broadway, kept by a good-looking pugilistic-associated individual named George Shurragar.  As he had black eyes, and was a shoulder-hitter, and as the name in Romany means “a captain,” I daresay he was partly gypsy.  And, when weary with editorial work, I sometimes dropped in there for refreshment.  One night an elderly, vulgar individual, greatly exalted by many brandies, became disorderly, and drawing a knife, made a grand Malay charge on all present, à la mok.  George Shurragar promptly settled him with a blow, disarmed him, and “fired him out” into outer darkness.  Then George exhibited the knife.  It was such a dirty, disreputable-looking “pig-sticker,” that we were all disgusted, and George cast it with contempt into the street.  Does the reader remember the scene in “The Bohemian Girl” in which the dandy Count examines the nasty knife left behind by the gypsy Devilshoof?  It was the very counterpart of this, the difference being that in this case it was the gypsy who despised the instrument.

Such trivial amusing incidents and rencontres as these were matters of almost daily occurrence to me in those days, and I fear that I incur the reproach of padding by narrating these.  Yet, as I write this, I have just read in the “Life of Benvenuto Cellini” that he too omits the description of a lot of exactly such adventures, as being, like the darkey’s imprisonments p. 204for stealing, “not worf mentionin’”—and confess I felt great regret that he did so; for there is always a great deal of local and temporal colour in anything whose proper finale should be in a police-court.

Hawthorne used to stay at Bixby’s.  He was a moody man, who sat by the stove and spoke to no one.  Bixby had been a publisher, and was proud that he had first issued Hayward’s “Faust” in America.  He was also proud that his hotel was much frequented by literary men and naval officers.  He was very kind to me.  Once when I complained to the clerk that the price of my rooms was too high, he replied, “Mr. Leland, the prices of all the rooms in the house, excepting yours, were raised long ago, and Mr. Bixby charged me strictly not to let you know it.”  Uncle Daniel was a gentleman, and belonged to my club—the Century.  When he grew older he lived on an annuity, and was a great and privileged favourite among actresses and singers.  Thirty years later I called with him in New York on Ada Cavendish.

After a fortnight or so, Dr. Griswold began to be very erratic.  He had a divorce case going on in Philadelphia.  He went off, assuring me that everything was in order, and never returned.  The foreman came to me saying that there was no copy, and nothing ready, and everything needed.  Here was indeed a pretty kettle of fish!  For I at that time absolutely distrusted my own ability to do all the work.  I flew to Kimball, who said, “Just put it through by strong will, and you’ll succeed.”

Then I went to Mr. Barnum—Uncle Barnum—who was always “as good as gold” to me.  I burst out into a statement of my griefs, mentioning incidentally that I really could not go on as full editor, and do such fearful work on the salary of an office-boy.  He listened to it all, I am sure with amusement, and placing his hand kindly on my shoulder as we walked up and down the hall of the Museum, said, “You sha’n’t go.  Don’t get into a funk.  I know that you p. 205can do the work, and do it well.  And the salary shall be doubled—certainly!”

So the paper was brought out after all.  I had great trouble for some time to learn to write editorials.  I used to go to the office of a Sunday morn, and sit sometimes from ten till two turning over the exchanges, and seeking for ideas.  It was a dreadful ordeal.  In fact, in after times it was several years before I could seize a pen, rattle up a subject and dash off a leader.  Now I can write far more easily than I can talk.  And it is a curious fact that soon after I became really skilled at such extempore work in the opinion of the best judges, such as Raymond, I no longer had any opportunity to practice it.

I had worked only a week or two when a rather queer, tall, roughish Yankee was brought into the office.  He worked for a while, and in a day or two took possession of my desk and rudely informed me that he was my superior editor and master there.  He had, as many men do, mistaken amiable politeness for humility.  I replied, knowing that Mr. Beech, out of sight, was listening to every word, that there was no master there but Mr. Beech, and that I should keep my desk.  We became affable; but I abode my time, for I found that he was utterly incompetent to do the work.  Very soon he told me that he had an invitation to lecture in Philadelphia.  I told him that if he wished to go I would do all his work for him.  So he went, and Mr. Beech coming in, asked where Mr. --- was.  I replied that he had gone away to lecture, and that I was to do his work during his absence.  This was really too much, and the Yankee was dismissed “in short order,” the Beeches being men who made up their minds promptly and acted vigorously.  As for me, I never, shirked work of any kind.  A gentleman on a newspaper never does.  The more of a snob a man is, the more afraid he is of damaging his dignity, and the more desirous of being “boss” and captain.  But though I have terribly scandalised my chief or proprietor by reporting a fire, p. 206I never found that I was less respected by the typos, reporters, and subs.

I had before leaving Philadelphia published two books.  One was “The Poetry and Mystery of Dreams,” which I dedicated to my fiancée, Miss Belle Fisher.  The other was an odd mélange, which had appeared in chapters in the Knickerbocker Magazine.  It was titled Meister Karl’s Sketch-Book.  It had no great success beyond attaining to a second edition long after; yet Washington Irving praised it to everybody, and wrote to me that he liked it so much that he kept it by him to nibble ever and anon, like a Stilton cheese or a paté de foie gras; and here and there I have known men, like the late Nicolas Trübner or E. L. Bulwer, who found a strange attraction in it, but it was emphatically caviare to the general reader.  It had at least a style of its own, which found a few imitators.  It ranks, I think, about pari passu with Coryatt’s “Crudities,” or lower.

There were two or three salons in New York where there were weekly literary receptions, and where one could meet the principal writers of the time.  I often saw at Kimball’s and other places the Misses Wetherell, who wrote the “Wide, Wide World” and “Queechy.”  They were elderly, and had so very little of the “world” in their ways, that they occurred to me as an example of the fact that people generally write most on what they know least about.  Thus a Lowell factory-girl likes to write a tale of ducal society in England; and when a Scotchman has less intelligence of “jocks” and “wut” than any of his countrymen, he compiles, and comments on, American humorists.

Once there was a grand publishers’ dinner to authors where I went with Alice and Phœbe Carey, who were great friends of mine.  There I met and talked with Washington Irving; I remember Bryant and N. P. Willis, et tous les autres.  Just at that time wine, &c., could only be sold in New York “in the original packages as imported.”  Alice or Phœbe Carey lamented that we were to have none at the p. 207banquet.  There was a large dish of grapes before her, and I said, “Why, there you have plenty of it in the original packages!”

At that time very hospitable or genial hosts used to place a bottle of brandy and glass in the gentlemen’s dressing-room at an evening’s reception, and I remember it was considered a scandalous thing when a certain old retired naval officer once emptied the whole bottle single-handed.

Of course I was very intimate with Clark of the Knickerbocker, Fred Cozzens, John Godfrey Saxe, and all the company of gay and festive humorists who circled about that merry magazine.  There was never anything quite like the Knickerbocker, and there never will be again.  It required a sunny, genial social atmosphere, such as we had before the war, and never after; an easy writing of gay and cultivated men for one another, and not painfully elaborating jocosities or seriosities for the million as in—But never mind.  It sparkled through its summer-time, and oh! how its readers loved it!  I sometimes think that I would like to hunt up the old title-plate with Diedrich Knickerbocker and his pipe, and issue it again every month to a few dozen subscribers who loved quaint odds and ends, till I too should pass away!

It was easy enough to foresee that a great illustrated weekly, with actually one young man, and generally no more, to do all the literary work could not last long.  And yet the New York Times, or some such journal, said that the work was very well done, and that the paper did well until I left.  Heaven knows that I worked hard enough on it, and, what was a great deal to boast of in those days, never profited one farthing beyond free tickets to plays, which I had little time to use.  And yet my pay was simply despicably small.  I had great temptations to write up certain speculative enterprises, and never accepted one.  Our circulation sometimes reached 150,000.  And if the publishers (excepting Barnum) had ever shown me anything like thanks or kindness for gratuitous zeal and interest which I took, I could p. 208have greatly aided them.  One day, for instance, I was asked to write a description of a new ferry.  I went there, and the proprietor intimated that he would pay a large sum for an article which would point out the advantage or profit which would accrue from investing in his lots.  I told him that if it were really true that such was the case, I would do it for nothing, but that I never made money behind my salary.  I began to weary of the small Yankee greed and griping and “thanklessness” which I experienced.  There were editors in New York who, for less work, earned ten times the salary which I received.  I was not sorry when I heard that some utterly inexperienced New England clergyman had been engaged to take my place.  So I returned to Philadelphia.  The paper very soon came to grief.  I believe that with Barnum alone I could have made it a great success.  We had Frank Leslie for chief engraver, and he was very clever and ambitious.  I had a knowledge of art, literature, and foreign life and affairs, which could have been turned, with Leslie’s co-operation, to great advantage.  I needed an office with a few books for reference, at least three or four literary aids, and other ordinary absolutely necessary facilities for work.  All that I literally had was a space half-portioned off from the engine-room, where a dozen blackguard boys swore and yelled as it were at my elbow, a desk, a chair, and a pair of scissors, ink, and paste.  This wretched scrimping prevailed through the whole business, and thus it was expected to establish a great first-class American illustrated newspaper.  It is sometimes forgotten in the United States that to make a vast success, something is requisite beyond enterprise and economy, and that it is a very poor policy to screw your employés down to the last cent, and overwork them, and make business needlessly irksome, when they have it in their power to very greatly advance your interests.  I dwell on this because it is a common error everywhere.  I have in my mind a case in which an employer, who lived “like a prince,” boasted to me how little he paid his men, and how in the p. 209long-run it turned out bitterly to his loss in many ways.  Those who had no principle robbed him, while the honest, who would have made his interests their own, left him.  I have seen business after business broken up in this way.  While the principal is in vigour and life, he may succeed with mere servants who are poorly paid; then, after a time, some younger partner, who has learned his morals from the master, pushes him out, or he dies, and the business is worthless, because there is not a soul in it who cares for it, or who has grown up with any common sense of interest with the heirs.

I remember one day being obliged in New York to listen to a conversation between two men of business.  One owed the other a large sum, honestly enough—of that there was no question between them; but he thought that there was a legal way to escape payment, while the other differed from him.  So they argued away for a long time.  There was not a word of reproach; the creditor would have cheated the debtor in the same way if he could; the only point of difference was whether it could be done.  An employé who can remain in such surroundings and be honest must be indeed a miracle of integrity, and, if he do not over-reach them in the long-run, one of stupidity.  I might have made “house and land” out of the newspaper had I been so disposed.

Of all the men whom I met in those days in the way of business, Mr. Barnum, the great American humbug, was by far the honestest and freest from guile or deceit, or “ways that were dark, or tricks that were vain.”  He was very kind-hearted and benevolent, and gifted with a sense of fun which was even stronger than his desire for dollars.  I have talked very confidentially with him many times, for he was very fond of me, and always observed that to engineer some grotesque and startling paradox into tremendous notoriety, to make something immensely puzzling with a stupendous sell as postscript, was more of a motive with him than even the main chance.  He was a genius like Rabelais, but one p. 210who employed business and humanity for material instead of literature, just as Abraham Lincoln, who was a brother of the same band, employed patriotism and politics.  All three of them expressed vast problems, financial, intellectual, or natural, by the brief arithmetic of a joke.  Mr. Barnum was fearfully busy in those days; what with buying elephants, wooing two-headed girls for his Grand Combination, laying out towns, chartering banks, and inventing unheard-of wonders for the unrivalled collection of one hundred and fifty million unparalleled moral marvels; but he always found time to act as unpaid contributor to a column of humorous items which I always published.  I have said that I had no assistant; I forgot that I always had Mr. Barnum as assistant humorous editor for that department.  All at once, when least expected, he would come smiling in with some curiosity of literature such as the “reverse”—

“Lewd did I live & evil I did dwel,”

or a fresh conundrum or joke, with all his heart and soul full of it, and he would be as delighted over the proof as if to see himself in print was a startling novelty.  We two had “beautiful times” over that column, for there was a great deal of “boy” still left in Barnum; nor was I by any means deficient in it.  One thing I set my face against firmly: I never would in any way whatever write up, aid, or advertise the great show or museum, or cry up the elephant.  I was resolved to leave the paper first.

On that humorous column Barnum always deferred to me, even as a small school-boy defers to an elder on the question of a game of marbles or hop-scotch.  There was no affectation or play in it; we were both quite in earnest.  I think I see him now, coming smiling in like a harvest-moon, big with some new joke, and then we sat down at the desk and “edited.”  How we would sit and mutually and admiringly read to one another our beautiful “good things,” the world forgetting, by the world forgot!  And yet I declare p. 211that never till this instant did the great joke of it all ever occur to me—that two men of our experiences could be so simply pleased!  Those humorous columns, collected and republished in a book, might truly bear on the title-page, “By Barnum and Hans Breitmann.”  And we were both of the opinion that it really would make a very nice book indeed.  We were indeed both “boys” over it at play.

The entire American press expected, as a matter of course, that the Illustrated News would be simply an advertisement for the great showman, and, as I represented to Mr. Barnum, this would ere long utterly ruin the publication.  I do not now really know whether I was quite right in this, but it is very much to Mr. Barnum’s credit that he never insisted on it, and that in his own paper he was conspicuous by his absence.  And here I will say that, measured by the highest and most refined standard, there was more of the gentleman in Phineas T. Barnum than the world imagined, and very much more than there was in a certain young man in good society who once expressed in my hearing disgust at the idea of even speaking to “the showman.”

Henry Ward Beecher was a great friend of Barnum and the Beaches, of which some one wrote—

“No wonder Mr. Alfred Beach
   Prefers, as noblest preacher,
A man who is not only Beach,
   But even more so—Beecher.”

He came very frequently into our office; but I cannot recall any saying of his worth recording.

There was also a brother of H. W. Longfellow, a clergyman, who often visited me, of whom I retain a most agreeable recollection.

The newsboys who clustered round the outer door were divided in opinion as to me.  One party thought I was Mr. Barnum, and treated me with profound respect.  The other faction cried aloud after me, “Hy! you --- ---!”

Mr. Barnum wanted me to write his Life.  This would p. 212have been amusing work and profitable, but I shrunk from the idea of being identified with it.  I might as well have done it, for I believe that Dr. Griswold performed the task, and the public never knew or cared anything about it.  But my jolly companions at Dan Bixby’s used to inquire of me at what hour we fed the monkeys, and whether the Great Gyascutus ever gave me any trouble; and I was sensitive to such insinuations.

At this time Mr. Barnum’s great moral curiosity was a bearded lady, a jolly and not bad-looking Frenchwoman, whose beard was genuine enough, as I know, having pulled it.  My own beard has been described by a French newspaper as une barbe de Charlemagne, a very polite pun, but hers was much fuller.  It was soft as floss silk.  After a while the capillary attraction ceased to draw, and Mr. Barnum thought of an admirable plan to revive it.  He got somebody to prosecute him for false pretences and imposture, on the ground that Madame was a man.  Then Mr. Barnum had, with the greatest unwillingness and many moral apologies, a medical examination; they might as sensibly have examined Vashishta’s cow to find out if it was an Irish bull.  Then came the attack on the impropriety of the whole thing, and finally Mr. Barnum’s triumphant surrebutter, showing he had most unwillingly been goaded by the attacks of malevolent wretches into an unavoidable course of defence.  Of course, spotless innocence came out triumphant.  Mr. Barnum’s system of innocence was truly admirable.  When he had concocted some monstrous cock-and-bull curiosity, he was wont to advertise that “it was with very great reluctance that he presented this unprecedented marvel to the world, as doubts had been expressed as to its genuineness—doubts inspired by the actually apparently incredible amount of attraction in it.  All that we ask of an enlightened and honest public is, that it will pass a fair verdict and decide whether it be a humbug or not.”  So the enlightened public paid its quarters of a dollar, and decided that it was a humbug, and Barnum abode by their p. 213decision, and then sent it to another city to be again decided on.

I returned to Philadelphia, and to my father’s house, and occupied myself with such odds and ends of magazine and other writing as came in my way, and always reading and studying.  I was very much depressed at this time, yet not daunted.  My year in New York had familiarised me with characteristic phases of American life and manners; my father thought I had gone through a severe mill with rather doubtful characters, and once remarked that I should not judge too harshly of business men, for I had been unusually unfortunate in my experience.

A not unfrequent visitor at our house in Philadelphia was our near neighbour, Henry C. Carey, the distinguished scholar and writer on political economy, who had been so extensively robbed of ideas by Bastiat, and who retook his own, not without inflicting punishment.  He was a handsome, black-eyed, white-haired man, with a very piercing glance.  During the war, when men were sad and dull, and indeed till his death, Mr. Carey’s one glorious and friendly extravagance was to assemble every Sunday afternoon all his intimates, including any distinguished strangers, at his house, round a table, in rooms magnificently hung with pictures, and give everybody, ad libitum, hock which cost him sixteen shillings a bottle.  I occasionally obliged him by translating for him German letters, &c., and he in return revised my pamphlet on Centralization versus State Rights in 1863.  H. C. Baird, a very able writer of his school, was his nephew.  The latter had two or three sisters, whom I recall as charming girls while I was a law-student.  There were many beauties in Philadelphia in those days, and prominent at the time, though as yet a schoolgirl, was the since far-famed Emily Schaumberg, albeit I preferred Miss Belle Fisher, a descendant maternally of the famous Callender beauties, and by her father’s side allied to Miss Vining, the American Queen of Beauty during the Revolution at Washington’s republican court.  There was also a p. 214Miss Lewis, whose great future beauty I predicted while as yet a child, to the astonishment of a few, “which prophecy was marvellously fulfilled.”  Also a Miss Wharton, since deceased, on whom George Boker after her death wrote an exquisite poem.  The two were, each of their kind, of a beauty which I have rarely, if ever, seen equalled, and certainly never surpassed, in Italy.  How I could extend the list of those too good and fair to live, who have passed away from my knowledge!—Miss Nannie Grigg—Miss Julia Biddle!—Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?

Thus far my American experiences had not paid well.  I reflected that if I had remained in Paris I should have done far better.  When I left, I knew that the success of Louis Napoleon was inevitable.  Three newspapers devoted to him had appeared on the Boulevards in one day.  There was money at work, and workmen such as lived in the Hôtel de Luxembourg, gentlemen who could not only plan barricades but fight at them, were in great demand, as honest men always are in revolutions.  Louis Napoleon was very anxious indeed to attach to him the men of February, and many who had not done one-tenth or one-twentieth of what I had, had the door of fortune flung wide open to them.  My police-dossier would have been literally a diploma of honour under the new Empire, for, after all, the men of February, Forty-eight, were the ones who led off, and who all bore the highest reputation for honour.  All that I should have required would have been some ambitious man of means to aid—and such men abound in Paris—to have risen fast and high.  As it turned out, it was just as well in the end that I neither went in as a political adventurer under Louis Napoleon, nor wrote the Life of Barnum.  But no one knew in those days how Louis would turn out.

I have but one word to add to this.  The secret of the Revolution of February had been in very few hands, which was the secret of its success.  Any one of us could have secured fortune and “honours,” or at least “orders,” by betraying p. 215it.  But we would as soon have secured orders for the pit of hell as done so.  This was known to Louis Napoleon, and he must have realised who these men of iron integrity were for he was very curious and inquiring on this subject.  Now, I here claim it as a great, as a surpassing honour for France, and as something absolutely without parallel in history, that several hundred men could be found who could not only keep this secret, but manage so very wisely as they did.  Louis Blanc was an example of these honest, unselfish men.  I came to know him personally many years after, during his exile in London.

One morning George H. Boker came to me and informed me that there was a writing editor wanted on the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.  Its proprietor was Alexander Cummings.  The actual editor was Gibson Bannister Peacock, who was going to Europe for a six months’ tour, and some one was wanted to take his place.  Mr. Peacock, as I subsequently found, was an excellent editor, and a person of will and character.  He was skilled in music and a man of culture.  I retain grateful remembrances of him.  I was introduced and installed.  With all my experience I had not yet quite acquired the art of extemporaneous editorial composition.  My first few weeks were a severe trial, but I succeeded.  I was expected to write one column of leader every day, review books, and “paragraph” or condense articles to a brief item of news.  In which I succeeded so well, that some time after, when a work appeared on writing for the press, the author, who did not know me at all, cited one of my leaders and one of my paragraphs as models.  It actually made little impression on me at the time—I was so busy.

I had been at work but a short time, when one day Mr. Cummings received a letter from Mr. Peacock in Europe, which he certainly had hardly glanced at, which he threw to me to read.  I did so, and found in it a passage to this effect: “I am sorry that you are disappointed as to Mr. Leland, but I am confident that you will find him perfectly capable in p. 216time.”  This gave me a bitter pang, but I returned it to Mr. Cummings, who soon after came into the office and expressed frankly his great regret, saying that since he had written to Mr. Peacock he had quite changed his opinion.

I enjoyed this new life to the utmost.  Mr. Cummings, to tell the truth, pursued a somewhat tortuous course in politics and religion.  He was a Methodist.  One day our clerk expressed himself as to the latter in these words:—“They say he is a Jumper, but others think he has gone over to the Holy Rollers.”  The Jumpers were a sect whose members, when the Holy Spirit seized them, jumped up and down, while the Holy Rollers under such circumstances rolled over and over on the floor.  We also advocated Native Americanism and Temperance, which did not prevent Mr. Peacock and myself and a few habitués of the office from going daily at eleven o’clock to a neighbouring lager-beer Wirthschaft for a refreshing glass and lunch.  One day the bar-tender, Hermann, a very nice fellow, said to me, “I remember when you always had a bottle of Rudesheimer every day for dinner.  That was at Herr Lehr’s, in Heidelberg.  I always waited on you.”

Whoever shall write a history of Philadelphia from the Thirties to the end of the Fifties will record a popular period of turbulence and outrages so extensive as to now appear almost incredible.  These were so great as to cause grave doubts in my mind whether the severest despotism, guided by justice, would not have been preferable to such republican license as then prevailed in the city of Penn.  I refer to the absolute and uncontrolled rule of the Volunteer Fire Department, which was divided into companies (each having clumsy old fire apparatus and hose), all of them at deadly feud among themselves, and fighting freely with pistols, knives, iron spanners, and slung shot, whenever they met, whether at fires or in the streets.  Of these regular firemen, fifty thousand were enrolled, and to these might have been added almost as many more, who were known as runners, p. 217bummers, and hangers-on.  Among the latter were a great number of incendiaries, all of whom were well known to and encouraged by the firemen.  Whenever the latter wished to meet some rival company, either to test their mutual skill or engage in a fight, a fire was sure to occur; the same always happened when a fire company from some other city visited Philadelphia.

This gave occasion to an incredible amount of blackmailing, since all house-owners were frequently called on to contribute money to the different companies, sometimes as a subscription for ball-tickets or repairs.  It was well understood, and generally pretty plainly expressed, that those who refused to pay might expect to be burned out or neglected.  The result of it all was a general fear of the firemen, a most degrading and contemptible subservience to them by politicians of all kinds, a terrible and general growth and spread of turbulence and coarse vulgarity among youth, and finally, such a prevalence of conflagration that no one who owned a house could hear the awful tones of the bell of Independence Hall without terror.  Fires were literally of nightly occurrence, and that they were invariably by night was due to the incendiary “runner.”  A slight examination of the newspapers and cheap broadside literature of that time will amply confirm all that I here state.  “Jakey” was the typical fireman; he was the brutal hero of a vulgar play, and the ideal of nineteen youths out of twenty.  For a generation or more all society felt the degrading influences of this rowdyism in almost every circle—for there were among the vast majority of men not very many who respected, looked up to, or cared for anything really cultured or refined.  I have a large collection of the popular songs of Philadelphia of that time, in all of which there is a striving downwards into blackguardism and brutality, vileness and ignorance, which has no parallel in the literature of any other nation.  The French of the Père Duchêne school may be nastier, and, as regards aristocrats, as bloody, but for general all-round vulgarity, the state p. 218of morals developed among the people at the time of which I speak was literally without its like.  It is very strange that Pliny also speaks of the turbulence or rowdyism of the firemen of Rome.

I remember that even in Walnut Street, below Thirteenth Street, before my father’s house (this being then by far the most respectable portion of Philadelphia), it happened several nights in succession that rival fire-companies, running side by side, fought as they ran, with torches and knives, while firing pistols.  There was a young lady named Mary Bicking, who lived near us.  I asked her one day if she had ever seen a man shot; and when she answered “No,” I replied, “Why don’t you look out of your window some night and see one?”

The southern part of the city was a favourite battleground, and I can remember hearing ladies who lived in Pine Street describe how, on Sunday summer afternoons, they could always hear, singly or in volleys, the shots of the revolvers and shouts of the firemen as they fought in Moyamensing.

Every effort to diminish these evils, or to improve the fire department in any way whatever, was vigorously opposed by the rowdies, who completely governed the city.  The first fire-alarm electric telegraphs were a great offence to firemen, and were quietly destroyed; the steam-engines were regarded by them as deadly enemies.  But the first great efficient reform in the Philadelphia fire department, and the most radical of all, was the establishment of a fire-detective department under a fire-marshal, whose business it was to investigate and punish all cases of incendiarism.  For it was simply incendiarism, encouraged and supported by the firemen themselves, which caused nineteen-twentieths of all these disasters; it was the fires which were the sole support of the whole system.

I was much indebted for understanding all this, and acting on it boldly, as I did, to the city editor and chief reporter p. 219on the Evening Bulletin, Caspar Souder.  The Mayor of the city was Richard Vaux, a man of good family and education, and one who had seen in his time cities and men, he having once in his youth, on some great occasion, waltzed with the Princess—now Queen—Victoria.  Being popular, he was called Vaux populi.  I wrote very often leaders urging Mayor Vaux by name to establish a fire-detective department.  So great was the indignation caused among the firemen, that I incurred no small risk in writing them.  But at last, when I published for one week an article every day clamouring for a reform, Mayor Vaux—as he said directly to Mr. Souder, “in consequence of my appeals”—vigorously established a fire-marshal with two aids.  By my request, the office was bestowed on a very intelligent and well-educated person, Dr. Blackburne, who had been a surgeon in the Mexican war, then a reporter on our journal, and finally a very clever superior detective.  He was really not only a born detective, but to a marked degree a man of scientific attainments and a skilled statistician.  His anecdotes and comments as to pyromaniacs of different kinds were as entertaining and curious as anything recorded by Gaboriau.  Some of the most interesting experiences of my life were when I went with Dr. Blackburne from place to place where efforts had been made to burn houses, and noted the unerring and Red-Indian skill with which he distinguished the style of work, and identified the persons and names of the incendiaries.  One of these “fire-bugs” was noted for invariably setting fire to houses in such a manner as to destroy as many inmates as possible.  If there were an exit, he would block it up.  Dr. Blackburne took me to a wooden house in which the two staircases led to a very small vestibule about three feet square before the front door.  This space had been filled with diabolical ingenuity with a barrel full of combustibles, so that every one who tried to escape by the only opening below would be sure to perish.  Fortunately, the combustibles in the barrel went out after being ignited.  “I know p. 220that fellow by his style,” remarked the Doctor, “and I shall arrest him at four o’clock this afternoon.”

This fire-detective department and the appointment of Blackburne was the real basis and beginning of all the reforms which soon followed, leading to the abolition of the volunteer system and the establishment of paid employés.  And as I received great credit for it then, my work being warmly recognised and known to all the newspaper reporters and editors in the city, who were the best judges of it, as they indeed are of all municipal matters, I venture to record it here as something worth mentioning.  And though I may truly say that at the time I was so busy that I made no account of many such things, they now rise up from time to time as comforting assurances that my life has not been quite wasted.

This reminds me that I had not been very long on the newspaper, and had just begun to throw out editorials with ease, when Mr. Cummings said to me one day that I did not realise what a power I held in my hand, but that I would soon find it out.  Almost immediately after, in noticing some article or book which was for sale at No. 24 Chestnut Street, I inadvertently made reference to 24 Walnut Street.  Very soon came the proprietor of the latter place, complaining that I had made life a burden to him, because fifty people had come in one day to buy something which he had not.  I reflected long and deeply on this, with the result of observing that to influence people it is not at all necessary to argue with them, but simply be able to place before their eyes such facts as you choose.  It is very common indeed to hear people in England, who should have more sense, declare that “nobody minds what the newspapers say.”  But the truth is, that if any man has an eye to read and memory to retain, he must, willy-nilly, be influenced by reading, and selection from others by an able editor is often only a most ingenious and artful method of arguing.  It has very often happened to me, when I wanted to enforce some important point, to p. 221clothe it as an anecdote or innocent “item,” and bid the foreman set it in the smallest type in the most obscure corner.  And the reader is influenced by it, utterly unconsciously, just as we all are, and just as surely as all reflection follows sensation—as it ever will—into the Ages!

There was much mutual robbing by newspapers of telegraphic news in those days.  Once it befell that just before the Bulletin went to press a part of the powder-mills of Dupont Brothers in Delaware blew up, and we received a few lines of telegram, stating that Mr. Dupont himself had saved the great magazine by actually walking on a burning building with buckets of water, and preventing the fire from extending, at a most incredible risk of his life.  Having half-an-hour’s time, I expanded this telegram into something dramatic and thrilling.  A great New York newspaper, thinking, from the shortness of time which elapsed in publishing, that it was all telegraphed to us, printed it as one of its own from Delaware, just as I had written it out—which I freely forgive, for verily its review of my last work but one was such as to make me inquire of myself in utter amazement, “Can this be I?”—“so gloriously was I exalted to the higher life.”  The result of this review was a sworn and firm determination on my part to write another book of the same kind, in which I should show myself more worthy of such cordial encouragement; which latter book was the “Etruscan Legends.”  I ought indeed to have dedicated it to the New York Tribune, a journal which has done more for human freedom than any other publication in history.

I do not know certainly whether the brave Dupont whom I mentioned was the Charley Dupont who went to school with me at Jacob Pierce’s, nor can I declare that a very gentlemanly old Frenchman who came to see him in 1832 was his father or grandfather, the famous old Dupont de l’Eure of the French Revolution.  But I suppose it was the latter who carried and transformed the art of manufacturing moral gunpowder in France to the making material explosives p. 222in America.  Yes, moral or physical, we are all but gunpowder and smoke—pulvis et umbra sumus!

There was a morning paper in Philadelphia which grieved me sore by pilfering my news items as I wrote them.  So I one day gave a marvellous account of the great Volatile Chelidonian or Flying Turtle of Surinam, of which a specimen had just arrived in New York.  It had a shell as of diamonds blent with emeralds and rubies, and bat-like wings of iridescent hue surpassing the opal, and a tail like a serpent.  Our contemporary, nothing doubting, at once published this as original matter in a letter from New York, and had to bear the responsibility.  But I did not invest my inventiveness wisely; I should have shared the idea with Barnum.

There was in Philadelphia at this time a German bookseller named Christern.  It was the thought of honourable and devoted men which recalled him to my mind.  I had made his acquaintance long before in Munich, where he had been employed in the principal bookseller’s shop of the city.  His “store” in Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, became a kind of club, where I brought such of my friends as were interested in German literature.  We met there and talked German, and examined and discussed all the latest European works.  He had a burly, honest, rather droll assistant named Ruhl, who had been a student in Munich, then a Revolutionist and exile, and finally a refugee to America.  To this shop, too, came Andrékovitch, whom I had last known in Paris as a speculator on the Bourse, wearing a cloak lined with sables.  In America he became a chemical manufacturer.  When at last an amnesty was proclaimed, his brother asked him to return to Poland, promising a support, which he declined.  He too was an honourable, independent man.  About this time the great—I forget his name; or was it Schöffel?—who had been President of the Frankfort Revolutionary Parliament, opened a lager-beer establishment in Race Street.  I went there several times with Ruhl.

George Boker and Frank Wells, who subsequently succeeded p. 223me on the Bulletin, would drop in every day after the first edition had gone to press, and then there would be a lively time.  Frank Wells was, par éminence, the greatest punster Philadelphia ever produced.  He was in this respect appalling.  We had a sub-editor or writer named Ernest Wallace, who was also a clever humorist.  One day John Godfrey Saxe came in.  He was accustomed among country auditors and in common sanctums to carry everything before him with his jokes.  In half-an-hour we extinguished him.  Having declared that no one could make a pun on his name, which he had not heard before, Wallace promptly replied, “It’s axing too much, I presume; but did you ever hear that?”  Saxe owned that he had not.

George H. Boker, whose name deserves a very high place in American literature as a poet, and in history as one who was of incredible service, quietly performed, in preserving the Union during the war, was also eminently a wit and humorist.  We always read first to one another all that we wrote.  He had so trained himself from boyhood to self-restraint, calmness, and the nil admirari air, which, as Dallas said, is “the Corinthian ornament of a gentleman” (I may add especially when of Corinthian brass), that his admirable jests, while they gained in clearness and applicability, lost something of that rattle of the impromptu and headlong which renders Irish and Western humour so easy.  I recorded the bon mots and merry stories which passed among us all in the sanctum in articles for our weekly newspaper, under the name of “Social Hall Sketches” (a social hall in the West is a steamboat smoking-room).  Every one of us received a name.  Mr. Peacock was Old Hurricane, and George Boker, being asked what his pseudonym should be, selected that of Bullfrog.  These “Social Hall Sketches” had an extended circulation in American newspapers, some for many years.  One entirely by me, entitled “Opening Oysters,” is to be found in English almanacs, &c., to this day.

It was, I think, or am sure, in 1855 that some German in p. 224Pennsylvania, instead of burying his deceased wife, burned the body.  This called forth a storm of indignant attack in the newspapers.  It was called an irreligious, indecent act.  I wrote an editorial in which I warmly defended it.  According to Bulwer in the “Last Days of Pompeii,” the early Christians practised it.  Even to this day Urns and torches are common symbols in Christian burying-grounds, and we speak of “ashes” as more decent than mouldering corpses.  And, finally, I pointed out the great advantage which it would be to the coal trade of Pennsylvania.  A man of culture said to me that it was the boldest editorial which he had ever read.  Such as it was, I believe that it was the first article written in modern times advocating cremation.  If I am wrong, I am willing to be corrected.

To those who are unfamiliar with it, the life in an American newspaper office seems singularly eventful and striking.  A friend of mine who visited a sanctum (ours) for the first time, said, as he left, that he had never experienced such an interesting hour in his life.  Firstly, came our chief city reporter, exulting in the manner in which he had circumvented the police, and, despite all their efforts, got, by ways that were dark, at all the secrets of a brand-new horrible murder.  Secondly, a messenger with an account of how I, individually, had kicked up the very devil in the City Councils, and set the Mayor to condemning us, by a leader discussing certain municipal abuses.  Thirdly, another, to tell how I had swept one-half the city by an article exposing its neglect, and how the sweepers and dirt-carts were busy where none had been before for weeks, and how the contractor for cleaning wanted to shoot me.  Fourthly, a visit from some great dignitary, who put his dignity very much à l’abri in his pocket, to solicit a puff.  Fifthly, a lady who, having written a very feeble volume of tales which had merely been gently commended in our columns, came round in a rage to shame me by sarcasm, begging me as a parting shot to at least read a few lines of her work.  Sixthly, a communication from a p. 225great New York family, who, having been requested to send a short description of a remarkable wedding-cake, sent me one hundred and fifty pages of minute history of all their ancestors and honours, with strict directions that not a line should be omitted, and the article printed at once most conspicuously. [225]  Seventhly, . . . but this is a very mild specimen of what went on all the time during office-hours.  And on this subject alone I could write a small book.

Now, at this time there came about a very great change in my life, or an event which ultimately changed it altogether.  My father had, for about two years past, fallen into a very sad state of mind.  His large property between Chestnut and Bank Streets paid very badly, and his means became limited.  I was seriously alarmed as to his health.  My dear mother had become, I may say, paralytic; but, in truth, the physicians could never explain the disorder.  To the last she maintained her intellect, and a miraculous cheerfulness unimpaired.

All at once a strange spirit, as of new life, came suddenly over my father.  I cannot think of it without awe.  He went to work like a young man, shook off his despair, financiered with marvellous ability, borrowed money, collected old and long-despaired of debts, tore down the old hotel and the other buildings, planned and bargained with architects—it was then that I designed the façade before described—and built six stores, two of them very handsome granite buildings, on the old site.  In short, he made of it a very valuable estate.  And as he superintended with great skill and ability the smallest details of the building, which was for that time remarkably well executed, I thought I recognised whence it was that I derived the strongly developed tendency for architecture which I have always possessed.  I have since made 400 copies of old churches in England.

This was a happy period, when life was without a cloud, p. 226excepting my mother’s trouble.  As my father could now well afford it, he made me an allowance, which, with my earnings from the Bulletin and other occasional literary work, justified me in getting married.  I had had a long but still very happy engagement.  So we were married by the Episcopal ceremony at the house of my father-in-law in Tenth Street, and a very happy wedding it was.  I remember two incidents.  Before the ceremony, the Reverend Mr., subsequently Bishop Wilmer, took me, with George Boker, into a room and explained to me the symbolism of the marriage-ring.  Now, if there was a subject on earth which I, the old friend of Creuzer of Heidelberg, and master of Friedrich’s Symbolik, and Durandus, and the work “On Finger-Rings,” knew all about, it was that; and I never shall forget the droll look which Boker threw at me as the discourse proceeded.  But I held my peace, though sadly tempted to set forth my own archæological views on the subject.

The second was this: Philadelphia, as Mr. Philipps has said, abounds in folk-lore.  Some one suggested that the wedding would be a lucky one because there was only one clergyman present.  But I remarked that among our coloured waiters there was one who had a congregation (my wife’s cousin, by the way, had a coloured bishop for coachman).  However, this sable cloud did not disturb us.

We went to New York, and were visited by many friends, and returned to Philadelphia.  We lived for the first year at the La Pierre Hotel, where we met with many pleasant people, such as Thackeray, Thalberg, Ole Bull, Mr. and Mrs. Choteau, of St. Louis, and others.  Of Thalberg I have already remarked, in my notes to my translation of Heine’s Salon, that he impressed me as a very gentlemanly, dignified, and quietly remarkable man, whom it would be difficult to readily or really understand.  “He had unmistakably the manner peculiar to many great Germans, which, as I have elsewhere observed, is perceptible in the maintien and features of Goethe, Humboldt, Bismarck,” and Brugsch, of p. 227Berlin (whom I learned to know in later years).  Thalberg gave me the impression, which grew on me, of a man who knew many things besides piano-playing, and that he was born to a higher specialty.  He was dignified but affable.  I remember that one day, when he, or some one present, remarked that his name was not a common one, I made him laugh by declaring that it occurred in two pieces in an old German ballad:—

“Ich that am Berge stehen,
   Und sohaute in das Thal;
Da hab’ ich sie gesehen,
   Zum aller letzten mal.”

“I stood upon the mountain,
   And looked the valley o’er;
There I indeed beheld her,
   But saw her never more.”

Thalberg’s playing was marvellously like his character or himself: Heine calls it gentlemanly.  Thackeray was marked in his manner, and showed impulse and energy in small utterances.  I may err, but I do not think he could have endured solitude or too much of himself.  He was eminently social, and rather given at times to reckless (not deliberate or spiteful), sarcastic or “ironic” sallies, in which he did not, with Americans, generally come off “first best.”  There was a very beautiful lady in Boston with whom the great novelist was much struck, and whom he greatly admired, as he sent her two magnificent bronzes.  Having dined one evening at her house, he remarked as they all entered the dining-room, “Now I suppose that, according to your American custom, we shall all put our feet up on the chimney-piece.”  “Certainly,” replied his hostess, “and as your legs are so much longer than the others, you may put your feet on top of the looking-glass,” which was about ten feet from the ground.  Thackeray, I was told, was offended at this, and showed it; he being of the “give but not take” kind.  One day he said to George Boker, when both were looking at Dürer’s etching p. 228of “Death, Knight, and the Devil,” of which I possess a fine copy, “Every man has his devil whom he cannot overcome; I have two—laziness, and love of pleasure.”  I remarked, “Then why the devil seek to overcome them?  Is it not more noble and sensible to yield where resistance is in vain, than to fight to the end?  Is it not a maxim of war, that he who strives to defend a defenceless place must be put to death?  Why not give in like a man?”

I had just published my translation of Heine’s Reisebilder, and Bayard Taylor had a copy of it.  He went in company with Thackeray to New York, and told me subsequently that they had read the work aloud between them alternately with roars of laughter till it was finished; that Thackeray praised my translation to the skies, and that his comments and droll remarks on the text were delightful.  Thackeray was a perfect German scholar, and well informed as to all in the book.

Apropos of Heine, Ole Bull had known him very well, and described to me his brilliancy in the most distinguished literary society, where in French the German wit bore away the palm from all Frenchmen.  “He flashed and sprayed in brilliancy like a fountain.”  Ole Bull by some chance had heard much of me, and we became intimate.  He told me that I had unwittingly been to him the cause of great loss.  I had, while in London, become acquainted with an odd and rather scaly fish, a German who had been a courier, who was the keeper of a small café near Leicester Square, and who enjoyed a certain fame as the inventor of the poses plastiques or living statues, so popular in 1848.  This man soon came over to America, and called on me, wanting to borrow money, whereupon I gave him the cold shoulder.  According to Ole Bull, he went to the great violinist, represented himself as my friend and as warmly commended by me, and the heedless artist, instead of referring to me directly, took him as impresario; the result being that he ere long ran away with the money, and, what was quite as bad, Ole Bull’s prima-donna, who was, as I understood, specially dear to him.  Ole p. 229Bull’s playing has been, as I think, much underrated by certain writers of reminiscences.  There was in it a marvellous originality.

While I was there, in the La Pierre Hotel, the first great meeting was held at which the Republican party was organised.  Though not an appointed delegate from our State, I, as an editor, took some part in it.  Little did we foresee the tremendous results which were to ensue from that meeting!  It was second only to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and on it was based the greatest struggle known to history.  I could have, indeed, been inscribed as a constitutional member of it for the asking or writing my name, but that appeared to me and others then to be a matter of no consequence compared to the work in hand.  So the Bulletin became Republican; Messrs. Cummings and Peacock seeing that that was their manifest destiny.

From that day terrible events began to manifest themselves in American politics.  The South attempted to seize Kansas with the aid of border ruffians; Sumner was caned from behind while seated; the Southern press became outrageous in its abuse of the North, and the North here and there retaliated.  All my long-suppressed ardent Abolition spirit now found vent, and for a time I was allowed to write as I pleased.  A Richmond editor paid me the compliment of saying that the articles in the Bulletin were the bitterest and cleverest published in the North, but inquired if it was wise to manifest such feeling.  I, who felt that the great strife was imminent, thought it was.  Mr. Cummings thought differently, and I was checked.  For years there were many who believed that the fearfully growing cancer could be cured with rose-water; as, for instance, Edward Everett.

While on the Bulletin I translated Heine’s Pictures of Travel.  For it, poetry included, I was to receive three shillings a page.  Even this was never paid me in full; I was obliged to take part of the money in engravings and books, p. 230and the publisher failed.  It passed into other hands, and many thousands of copies were sold; from all of which I, of course, got nothing.  I also became editor of Graham’s Magazine, which I filled recklessly with all or any kind of literary matter as I best could, little or nothing being allowed for contributions.  However, I raised the circulation from almost nothing to 17,000.  For this I received fifty dollars (£10) per month.  When I finally left it, the proprietors were eighteen months in arrears due, and tried to evade payment, though I had specified a regular settlement every month.  Finally they agreed to pay me in monthly instalments of fifty dollars each, and fulfilled the engagement.

Talking of the South, I forget now at what time it was that Barnum’s Museum in Philadelphia was burned, but I shall never forget a droll incident which it occasioned.  Opposite it was a hotel, and the heat was so tremendous that the paint on the hotel was scorched, and it had begun to burn in places.  By the door stood a friend of mine in great distress.  I asked what was the matter.  He replied that in the hotel was a Southern lady who would not leave her trunks, in which there were all her diamonds and other valuables, and that he could not find a porter to bring them down.  I was strong enough in those days.  “What is the number of her room?”  “No. 22.”  I rushed up—it was scorching hot by this time—burst into No. 22, and found a beautiful young lady in dire distress.  I said abruptly, “I come from Mr. --- ---; where are your trunks?”  She began to cry confusedly, “Oh, you can do nothing; they are very heavy.”

Seeing the two large trunks, I at once, without a word, caught one by each handle, dragged them after me bumping downstairs, the lady following, to the door, where I found my friend, who had a carriage in waiting.  From the lady’s subsequent account, it appeared that I had occasioned her much more alarm than pleasure.  She said that all at once a great tall gentleman burst into her room, seized her trunks without a word of apology, and dragged them downstairs like a giant; p. 231she was never so startled in all her life!  It was explained to me that, as in the South only negroes handle trunks, the lady could not regard me exactly as a gentleman.  She was within a short ace of being burnt up, trunks and all, but could not forget that she was from the “Sa-outh,” and must needs show it.

Apropos of this occurrence, I remember something odd which took place on the night of the same day.  There was a stylish drinking-place, kept by a man named Guy, in Seventh Street.  In the evening, when it was most crowded, there entered a stranger, described as having been fully seven feet high, and powerful in proportion, who kept very quiet, but who, on being chaffed as the giant escaped from Barnum’s Museum, grew angry, and ended by clearing out the barroom—driving thirty men before him like flies.  Aghast at such a tremendous feat, one who remained, asked, “Who in God’s wrath are you?—haven’t you a name?”

“Yes, I have a name,” replied the Berserker; “I’m Charles Leland!” saying which he vanished.

The next day it was all over Philadelphia that I had cleared out John Guy’s the night before, sans merci.  True, I am not seven feet high, but some men (like stories) expand enormously when inflated or mad; so my denial was attributed to sheer modesty.  But I recognised in the Charles Leland a mysterious cousin of mine, who was really seven feet high, who had disappeared for many years, and of whom I have never heard since.

While editing Graham’s Magazine, I had one day a space to fill.  In a hurry I knocked off “Hans Breitmann’s Barty” (1856).  I gave it no thought whatever.  Soon after, Clark republished it in the Knickerbocker, saying that it was evidently by me.  I little dreamed that in days to come I should be asked in Egypt, and on the blue Mediterranean, and in every country in Europe, if I was its author.  I wrote in those days a vast number of such anonymous drolleries, many of them, I daresay, quite as good, in Graham’s Magazine and p. 232the Weekly Bulletin, &c., but I took no heed of them.  They were probably appropriated in due time by the authors of “Beautiful Snow.”

I began to weary of Philadelphia.  New York was a wider field and more congenial to me.  Mr. Cummings had once, during a financial crisis, appealed to my better feelings very touchingly to let my salary be reduced.  I let myself be touched—in the pocket.  Better times came, but my salary did not rise.  Mr. Cummings, knowing that my father was wealthy, wanted me to put a large sum into his paper, assuring me that it would pay me fifteen per cent.  I asked how that could be possible when he could only afford to pay me so very little for such hard work.  He chuckled, and said, “That is the way we make our money.”  Then I determined to leave.

Mr. George Ripley and Charles A. Dana, of the Tribune, were then editing in New York Appletons’ Cyclopædia.  Mr. Ripley had several times shown himself my friend; he belonged to the famous old band of Boston Transcendentalists who were at Brook Farm.  I wrote to him asking if I could earn as much at the Cyclopædia as I got from the Bulletin.  He answered affirmatively; so we packed up and departed.  I had a sister in New York who had married a Princeton College-mate named Thorp.  We went to their house in Twenty-second Street near Broadway, and arranged it so as to remain there during the winter.

In the Cyclopædia rooms I found abundance of work, though it was less profitable than I expected.  For after an article was written, it passed through the hands of six or seven revisers, who revised not always wisely, and frequently far too well.  They made their objections in writing, and we, the writers, made ours.  I often gained a victory, but the victory cost a great deal of work, and of time which was not paid for.  Altogether, I wrote about two hundred articles, great and small, for the Cyclopædia.  On the other hand, there was pleasant and congenial society among my fellow-workmen, p. 233and the labour itself was immensely instructive.  If any man wishes to be well informed, let him work on a cyclopædia.  As I could read several languages, I was additionally useful at times.  The greatest conciseness of style is required for such work.  In German cyclopædias this is carried to a fault.

After a while I began to find that there was much more money to be made outside the Cyclopædia than in it.  William H. Hurlbut, whom I had once seen so nearly shot, had been the “foreign editor” of the New York Times.  Mr. Henry Raymond, its proprietor, had engaged a Mr. Hammond to come after some six months to take his place, and I was asked to fill it ad interim.  I did so, so much to Mr. Raymond’s satisfaction, that he much regretted when I left that he had not previously engaged me.  He was always very kind to me.  He said that now and then, whenever he wanted a really superior art criticism, I should write it.  He was quite right, for there were not many reporters in New York who had received such an education in æsthetics as mine.  When Patti made her début in opera for the first time, I was the only writer who boldly predicted that she would achieve the highest lyrical honours or become a “star” of the first magnitude.  Apropos of Hurlbut, I heard many years after, in England, that a certain well-known litterateur, who was not one of his admirers, having seen him seated in close tête-à-tête with a very notorious and unpopular character, remarked regretfully, “Just to think that with one pistol-bullet both might have been settled!”  Hurlbut was, even as a boy, very handsome, with a pale face and black eyes, and extremely clever, being facile princeps, the head of every class, and extensively read.  But there was “a screw loose” somewhere in him.  He was subject, but not very frequently, to such fits of passion or rage, that he literally became blind while they lasted.  I saw him one day in one of these throw his arms about and stamp on the ground, as if unable to behold any one.  I once heard a young lady in New York profess p. 234unbounded admiration for him, because “he looked so charmingly like the devil.”  For many years the New York Herald always described him as the Reverend Mephistopheles Hurlbut.  There was another very beautiful lady who afterwards died a strange and violent death, as also a friend of mine, an editor in New York, both of whom narrated to me at very great length “a grotesque Iliad of the wild career” of this remarkable man.

It never rains but it pours.  Frank Leslie, who had been with me on Barnum’s Illustrated News, was now publishing half-a-dozen periodicals and newspapers, and offered me a fair price to give him my mornings.  I did so.  Unfortunately, my work was not specified, and he retained his old editors, who naturally enough did not want me, although they treated me civilly enough.  One of these was Thomas Powell, who had seen a great deal of all the great English writers of the last generation.  But there was much rather shady, shaky Bohemianism about the frequenters of our sanctum, and, all things considered, it was a pity that I ever entered it.

Und noch weiter.  There was published in New York at that time (1860) an illustrated comic weekly called Vanity Fair.  There was also in the city a kind of irregular club known as the Bohemians, who had been inspired by Murger’s novel of that name to imitate the life of its heroes.  They met every evening at a lager-beer restaurant kept by a German named Pfaff.  For a year or two they made a great sensation in New York.  Their two principal men were Henry Clapp and Fitz-James O’Brien.  Then there were Frank Wood and George Arnold, W. Winter, C. Gardette, and others.  Wood edited Vanity Fair, and all the rest contributed to it.  There was some difficulty or other between Wood and Mr. Stephens, the gérant of the weekly, and Wood left, followed by all the clan.  I was called in in the emergency, and what with writing myself, and the aid of R. H. Stoddard, T. B. Aldrich, and a few more, we made a very creditable p. 235appearance indeed.  Little by little the Bohemians all came back, and all went well.

Now I must here specify, for good reasons, that I held myself very strictly aloof from the Bohemians, save in business affairs.  This was partly because I was married, and I never saw the day in my life when to be regarded as a real Bohemian vagabond, or shiftless person, would not have given me the horrors.  I would have infinitely preferred the poorest settled employment to such life.  I mention this because a very brilliant and singular article entitled “Charles G. Leland l’ennemi des Allemands” (this title angered me), which appeared in the Revue des Deux Mondes in 1871, speaks of me by implication as a frequenter of Pfaff’s, declaring that I there introduced Artemus Ward to the Bohemian brotherhood, and that it was entirely due to me that Mr. Browne was brought out before the American World.  This is quite incorrect.  Mr. Browne had made a name by two or three very popular sketches before I had ever seen him.  But it is very true that I aided him to write, and suggested and encouraged the series of sketches which made him famous, as he himself frankly and generously declared, for Charles Browne was at heart an honest gentleman, if there ever was one; which is the one thing in life better than success.

Mr. Stephens realising that I needed an assistant, and observing that Browne’s two sketches of the Showman’s letter and the Mormons had made him well known, invited him to take a place in our office.  He was a shrewd, naïf, but at the same time modest and unassuming young man.  He was a native of Maine, but familiar with the West.  Quiet as he seemed, in three weeks he had found out everything in New York.  I could illustrate this by a very extraordinary fact, but I have not space for everything.  I proposed to him to continue his sketches.  “Write,” I said, “a paper on the Shakers.”  He replied that he knew nothing about them.  I had been at Lenox, Massachusetts, where I had often gone to New Lebanon and seen their strange worship and dances, p. 236and while on the Illustrated News had had a conference with their elders on an article on the Shakers.  So I told him what I knew, and he wrote it, making it a condition that I would correct it.  He wrote the sketch, and others.  He was very slow at composition, which seemed strange to me, who was accustomed to write everything as I now do, currente calamo (having written all these memoirs, so far, within a month—more or less, and certainly very little more).  From this came his book.

When he wrote the article describing his imprisonment, there was in it a sentence, “Jailor, I shall die unless you bring me something to eat!”  In the proof we found, “I shall die unless you bring me something to talk.”  He was just going to correct this, when I cried, “For Heaven’s sake, Browne, let that stand!  It’s best as it is.”  He did so, and so the reader may find it in his work.

Meanwhile the awful storm of war had gathered and was about to burst.  I may here say that there was a kind of literary club or association of ladies and gentlemen who met once a week of evenings in the Studio Buildings, where I had many friends, such as Van Brunt, C. Gambrell, Hazeltine, Bierstadt, Gifford, Church, and Mignot.  At this club I constantly met General Birney, the great Abolitionist, whose famous charge at Gettysburg did so much to decide the battle.  Constant intercourse with him and with C. A. Dana greatly inspired me in my anti-slavery views.  The manager of Vanity Fair was very much averse to absolutely committing the journal to Republicanism, and I was determined on it.  I had a delicate and very difficult path to pursue, and I succeeded, as the publication bears witness.  I went several times to Mr. Dana, and availed myself of his shrewd advice.  Browne, too, agreed pretty fairly with me.  I voted for Abraham Lincoln at the first election in New York.  I voted on principle, for I confess that every conceivable thing had been said and done to represent him as an ignorant, ungainly, silly Western Hoosier, and even the Republican press had p. 237little or nothing to say as to his good qualities.  Horace Greeley had “sprung him” on the Convention at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute as the only available man, and he had been chosen as our candidate to defeat Douglas.

Let me here relate two anecdotes.  When my brother heard of Lincoln’s “candidacy” he said—

“I don’t see why the people shouldn’t be allowed to have a President for once.”

A Copperhead friend of mine, who was always aiming at “gentility,” remarked to me with an air of disgust on the same subject—

“I do wisht we could have a gentleman for President for oncet.”

The said Copperhead became in due time a Republican office-holder, and is one yet.

Lincoln was elected.  Then came the storm.  Our rejoicings were short.  Sumter was fired on.  Up to that time everybody, including President Lincoln, had quite resolved that, if the South was resolved to secede, it must be allowed to depart in peace.  There had been for many years a conviction that our country was growing to be too large to hold together.  I always despised the contemptible idea.  I had been in correspondence with the Russian Iskander or Alexander Herzen, who was a century in advance of his time.  He was the real abolisher of serfdom in Russia, as history will yet prove.  I once wrote a very long article urging the Russian Government to throw open the Ural gold mines to foreigners, and make every effort to annex Chinese territory and open a port on the Pacific.  Herzen translated it into Russian (I have a copy of it), and circulated twenty thousand copies of it in Russia.  The Czar read it.  Herzen wrote to me: “It will be pigeon-holed for forty years, and then perhaps acted on.  The Pacific will be the Mediterranean of the future.”  With such ideas I did not believe in the dismemberment of the United States. [237]

p. 238But Sumter was fired on, and the whole North rose in fury.  It was the silliest act ever committed.  The South, with one-third of the votes, had two-thirds of all the civil, military, and naval appointments, and every other new State, and withal half of the North, ready to lick its boots, and still was not satisfied.  It could not go without giving us a thrashing.  And that was the drop too much.  So we fought.  And we conquered; but how?  It was all expressed in a few words, which I heard uttered by a common man at a Bulletin board, on the dreadful day when we first read the news of the retreat at Bull Run: “It’s hard—but we must buckle up and go at it again.”  It is very strange that the South never understood that among the mud-sills and toiling slaves and factory serfs of the North the spirit which had made men enrich barren New England and colonise the Western wilderness would make them buckle up and go at it again boldly to the bitter end.

One evening I met C. A. Dana on Broadway.  War had fairly begun.  “It will last,” he said, “not less than four years, but it may extend to seven.”

Trouble now came thick and fast.  Vanity Fair was brought to an end.  Frank Leslie found that he no longer required my services, and paid my due, which was far in arrears, in his usual manner, that is, by orders on advertisers for goods which I did not want, and for which I was charged double prices.  Alexander Cummings had a very ingenious method of “shaving” when obliged to pay his debts.  His friend Simon Cameron had a bank—the Middleton—which, if not a very wild cat, was far from tame, as its notes were always five or ten per cent. below par, to our loss—for we were always paid in Middleton.  I have often known the clerk to take a handful of notes at par and send out to buy Middleton wherewith to pay me.  I am sorry to say that such tricks were universal among the very great majority of proprietors with whom I had dealings.  To “do” the employés to the utmost was considered a matter of course, especially when p. 239the one employed was a “literary fellow” of any kind or an artist.

I should mention that while in New York I saw a great deal of Bayard Taylor and his wife.  I had known him since 1850 and was intimate with him till his death.  He occupied the same house with the distinguished poet R. H. Stoddard.  I experienced from both much kindness.  We had amusing Saturday evenings there, where droll plays were improvised, and admirable disguises made out of anything.  In after years, in London, Walter H. Pollock, Minto (recently deceased), and myself, did the same.  One night, in the latter circle, we played Hamlet, but the chief character was the Sentinel, who stared at the Ghost with such open-jawed horror—“bouche béante, rechignez!”—and so prominently, that poor Hamlet was under a cloud.  Pollock’s great capuchon overcoat served for all kinds of mysterious characters.  We were also kindly entertained many a time and oft in New York by Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Dana.

My engagement expired on the Times—where, by the way, I was paid in full in good money—and I found myself without employment in a fearful financial panic.  During the spring and early summer we had lived at the Gramercy Park Hotel; we now went to a very pleasant boarding-house kept by Mrs. Dunn, on Staten Island.  My old friend, George Ward, and G. W. Curtis, well known in literature and politics (who had been at Mr. Greene’s school), lived at no great distance from us.  The steamboats from New York to Staten Island got to racing, and I enjoyed it very much, but George Ward and some of the milder sort protested against it, and it was stopped; which I thought rather hard, for we had very little amusement in those dismal days.  I was once in a steamboat race when our boat knocked away the paddle-box from the other and smashed the wheel.  From the days of the Romans and Norsemen down to the present time, there was never any form of amusement discovered so daring, so dangerous, and so exciting as a steamboat p. 240race, and nobody but Americans could have ever invented or indulged in it.

The old Knickerbocker Magazine had been for a long time running down to absolutely nothing.  A Mr. Gilmore purchased it, and endeavoured to galvanise it into life.  Its sober grey-blue cover was changed to orange.  Mr. Clark left it, to my sorrow; but there was no help for it, for there was not a penny to pay him.  I consented to edit it for half ownership, for I had an idea.  This was, to make it promptly a strong Republican monthly for the time, which was utterly opposed to all of Mr. Clark’s ideas.

I must here remark that the financial depression in the North at this time was terrible.  I knew many instances in which landlords begged it as a favour from tenants that they would remain rent-free in their houses.  A friend of mine, Mr. Fales, one day took me over two houses in Fifth Avenue, of which he had been offered his choice for $15,000 each.  Six months after the house sold for $150,000.  Factories and shops were everywhere closing, and there was a general feeling that far deeper and more terrible disasters were coming—war in its worst forms—national disintegration—utter ruin.  This spirit of despair was now debilitating everybody.  The Copperheads or Democrats, who were within a fraction as numerous as the Republicans, continually hissed, “You see to what your nigger worship has brought the country.  This is all your doing.  And the worst is to come.”  Then there was soon developed a class known as Croakers, who increased to the end of the war.  These were good enough Union people, but without any hope of any happy issue in anything, and who were quite sure that everything was for the worst in this our most unfortunate of all wretched countries.  Now it is a law of humanity that in all great crises, or whenever energy and manliness is needed, pessimism is a benumbing poison, and the strongest optimism the very elixir vitæ itself.  And by a marvellously strange inspiration (though it was founded on cool, far-sighted calculation), p. 241I, at this most critical and depressing time, rose to extremest hope and confidence, rejoicing that the great crisis had at length come, and feeling to my very depths of conviction that, as we were sublimely in the right, we must conquer, and that the dread portal once passed we should find ourselves in the fairy palace of prosperity and freedom.  But that I was absolutely for a time alone amid all men round me in this intense hope and confidence, may be read as clearly as can be in what I and others published in those days, for all of this was recorded in type.

Bayard Taylor had been down to the front, and remarked carelessly to me one day that when he found that there was already a discount of 40 per cent. on Confederate notes, he was sure that the South would yield in the end.  This made me think very deeply.  There was no reason, if we could keep the Copperheads subdued, why we should not hold our own on our own territory.  Secondly, as the war went on we should soon win converts.  Thirdly, that the North had immense resources—its hay crop alone was worth more than all the cotton crop of the South.  And fourthly, that when manufacturing and contract-making for the army should once begin, there would be such a spreading or wasting of money and making fortunes as the world never witnessed, and that while we grew rich, the South, without commerce or manufactures, must grow poor.

I felt as if inspired, and I wrote an article entitled, “Woe to the South.”  At this time, “Woe to the North” was the fear in every heart.  I showed clearly that if we would only keep up our hearts, that the utter ruin of the South was inevitable, while that for us there was close at hand such a period of prosperity as no one ever dreamt of—that every factory would soon double its buildings, and prices rise beyond all precedent.  I followed this article by others, all in a wild, enthusiastic style of triumph.  People thought I was mad, and the New York Times compared my utterances to the outpourings of a fanatical Puritan in the time of Cromwell.

p. 242But they were fulfilled to the letter.  There is no instance that I know of in which any man ever prophesied so directly in the face of public opinion and had his predictions so accurately fulfilled.  I was all alone in my opinions.  At all times a feeling as of awe at myself comes over me when I think of what I published.  For, with the exception of Gilmore, who had a kind of vague idea that he kept a prophet—as Moses the tailor kept a poet—not a soul of my acquaintance believed in all this.

Then I went a step further.  I found that the real block in the way of Northern union was the disgust which had gathered round the mere name of Abolitionist.  It became very apparent that freeing the slaves would, as General Birney once said to me, be knocking out the bottom of the basket.  And people wanted to abolitionise without being “Abolitionists”; and at this time even the New York Tribune became afraid to advocate anti-slavery, and the greatest fanatics were dumb with fear.

Then I made a new departure.  I advocated emancipation of the slaves as a war measure only, and my cry was “Emancipation for the sake of the White Man.”  I urged prompt and vigorous action without any regard to philanthropy.  As publishing such views in the Knickerbocker was like pouring the wildest of new wine into the weakest of old bottles, Gilmore resolved to establish at once in Boston a political monthly magazine to be called the Continental, to be devoted to this view of the situation.  It was the only political magazine devoted to the Republican cause published during the war.  That it fully succeeded in rapidly attracting to the Union party a vast number of those who had held aloof owing to their antipathy to the mere word abolition, is positively true, and still remembered by many. [242]  Very speedily p. 243indeed people at large caught at the idea.  I remember the very first time when one evening I heard Governor Andrews say of a certain politician that he was not an Abolitionist but an Emancipationist; and it was subsequently declared by my friends in Boston, and that often, that the very bold course taken by the Continental Magazine, and the creation by it of the Emancipationist wing, had hastened by several months the emancipation of the slaves by Abraham Lincoln.  It was for this alone that the University of Cambridge, Massachusetts, afterwards, through its president, gave me the degree of A. M., “for literary services rendered to the country during the war,” which is as complete a proof of what I assert as could be imagined, for this was in very truth the one sole literary service which I performed at that time, and there were many of my great literary friends who declared their belief in, and sympathy with, the services which I rendered to the cause.  But I will now cite some facts which fully and further confirm what I have said.

The Continental Magazine was, as I may say, a something more than semi-official organ.  Mr. Seward contributed to it two anonymous articles, or rather their substance, which were written out and forwarded to me by Oakey Hall, Esq., of New York.  We received from the Cabinet at Washington continual suggestions, for it was well understood that the Continental was read by all influential Republicans.  A contributor had sent us a very important article indeed, pointing out that there was all through the South, from the Mississippi to the sea, a line of mountainous country in which there were few or no slaves, and very little attachment to the Confederacy.  This article, which was extensively republished, attracted great attention.  It gave great strength and encouragement p. 244to the grand plan of the campaign, afterwards realised by Sherman.  By official request, to me directed, the author contributed a second article on the subject.  These articles were extensively circulated in pamphlet form or widely copied by the press, and created a great sensation, forming, in fact, one of the great points made in influencing public opinion.  Another of the same kind, but not ours, was the famous pamphlet by Charles Stille, of Philadelphia, “How a Free People Conduct a Long War,” in which it was demonstrated that the man who can hold out longest in a fight has the best chance, which simple truth made, however, an incredible popular impression.  Gilmore and our friends succeeded, in fact, in making the Continental Magazine “respected at court.”  But I kept my independence and principles, and thundered away so fiercely for immediate emancipation that I was confidentially informed that Mr. Seward once exclaimed in a rage, “Damn Leland and his magazine!”  But as he damned me only officially and in confidence, I took it in the Pickwickian sense.  And at this time I realised that, though I was not personally very much before the public, I was doing great and good work, and, as I have said, a great many very distinguished persons expressed to me by letter or in conversation their appreciation of it; and some on the other side wrote letters giving it to me per contra, and one of these was Caleb Cushing.  Cushing in Chinese means “ancient glory,” but Caleb’s renown was extinguished in those days.

I may add that not only did H. W. Longfellow express to me his sympathy for and admiration of my efforts to aid the Union cause, but at one time or another all of my literary friends in Boston, who perfectly understood and showed deep interest in what I was doing.  Which can be well believed of a city in which, above all others in the world, everybody sincerely aims at culture and knowledge, the first principle of which—inspired by praiseworthy local patriotism—is to know and take pride in what is done in Boston by its natives.


Boston in 1862—Kind friends—Literary circles—Emerson, O. W. Holmes, Lowell, E. P. Whipple, Agassiz, &c.—The Saturday dinners—The printed autograph—The days of the Dark Shadow—Lowell and Hosea Biglow—I am assured that the Continental Magazine advanced the period of Emancipation—I return to Philadelphia—My pamphlet on “Centralisation versus States Rights”—Its Results—Books—Ping-Wing—The Emergency—I enter an artillery company—Adventures and comrades—R. W. Gilder—I see rebel scouts near Harrisburg—The shelling of Carlisle—Incidents—My brother receives his death-wound at my side—Theodore Fassitt—Stewart Patterson—Exposure and hunger—The famous bringing-up of the cannon—Picturesque scenery—The battle of Gettysburg—The retreat of Lee—Incidents—Return home—Cape May—The beautiful Miss Vining—Solomon the Sadducee—General Carrol Tevis—The Sanitary Fair—The oil mania—The oil country—Colonel H. Olcott, the theosophist—Adventures and odd incidents in Oil-land—Nashville—Dangers of the road—A friend in need—I act as unofficial secretary and legal adviser to General Whipple—Freed slaves—Inter arma silent leges—Horace Harrison—Voodoo—Captain Joseph R. Paxton—Scouting for oil and shooting a brigand—Indiana in winter—Charleston, West Virginia—Back and forth from Providence to the debated land—The murder of A. Lincoln—Goshorn—Up Elk River in a dug-out—A charmed life—Sam Fox—A close shot—Meteorological sorcery—A wild country—Marvellous scenery—I bore a well—Robert Hunt—Horse adventures—The panther—I am suspected of being a rebel spy—The German apology—Cincinnati—Niagara—A summer at Lenox, Mass.—A MS. burnt.

We went to Boston early in December, 1861, and during that winter lived pleasantly at the Winthrop House on the p. 246Common.  I had already many friends, and took letters to others who became our friends.  We were very kindly received.  Among those whom we knew best were Mrs. and Mr. H. Ritchie, Mrs. and Mr. T. Perkins, Mrs. H. G. Otis, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Ward—but I must really stop, for there was no end to the list.  Among my literary friends or acquaintances, or “people whom I have very often met,” were Emerson, Longfellow, Dr. O. W. Holmes, J. R. Lowell, E. P. Whipple, Palfrey, G. Ticknor, Agassiz, E. Everett—in a word, all that brilliant circle which shone when Boston was at its brightest in 1862.  I was often invited to the celebrated Saturday dinners, where I more than once sat by Emerson and Holmes.  As I had been editor of the free lance Vanity Fair, and was now conducting the Continental with no small degree of audacity, regardless of friend or foe, it was expected—and no wonder—that I would be beautifully cheeky and New Yorky; and truly my education and antecedents in America, beginning with my training under Barnum, were not such as to inspire faith in my modesty.  But in the society of the Saturday Club, and in the very general respect manifested in all circles in Boston for culture or knowledge in every form—in which respect it is certainly equalled by no city on earth—I often forgot newspapers and politics and war, and lived again in memory at Heidelberg and Munich, recalling literature and art.  I heard, a day or two after my first Saturday, that I had passed the grand ordeal successfully, or summa cum magna laude, and that Dr. Holmes, in enumerating divers good qualities, had remarked that I was modest.  Every stranger coming to Boston has a verdict or judgment passed on him—he is numbered and labelled at once—and it is really wonderful how in a few days the whole town knows it.

I had met with Emerson many years before in Philadelphia, where I had attracted his attention by remarking in Mrs. James Rush’s drawing-room that a vase in a room was like a bridge in a landscape, which he recalled twenty years p. 247later.  With Dr. Holmes I had corresponded.  Lowell! “that reminds me of a little story.”

There was some “genius of freedom”—i.e., one who takes liberties—who collected autographs, and had not even the politeness to send a written request.  He forwarded to me this printed circular:

Dear Sir: As I am collecting the autographs of distinguished Americans, I would be much obliged to you for your signature.  Yours truly, --- ---”

While I was editing Vanity Fair I received one of these circulars.  I at once wrote:—

Dear Sir: It gives me great pleasure to comply with your request.  Charles G. Leland.”

I called the foreman, and said, “Mr. Chapin, please to set this up and pull half-a-dozen proofs.”  It was done, and I sent one to the autograph-chaser.  He was angry, and answered impertinently.  Others I sent to Holmes and Lowell.  The latter thought that the applicant was a great fool not to understand that such a printed document was far more of a curiosity than a mere signature.  I met with Chapin afterwards, when in the war.  He had with him a small company of printers, all of whom had set up my copy many a time.  Printers are always polite men.  They all called on me, and having no cards, left cigars, which were quite as acceptable at that time of tobacco-famine.

Amid all the horrors and anxieties of that dreadful year, while my old school-mate, General George B. McClellan, was delaying and demanding more men—mas y mas y mas—I still had as many happy hours as had ever come into any year of my life.  If I made no money, and had to wear my old gloves (I had fortunately a good stock gathered from one of Frank Leslie’s debtors), and had to sail rather close to the wind, I still found the sailing very pleasant, and the wind fair and cool, though I was pauper in ære.

Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis held a ladies’ sewing-circle to make garments for the soldiers, at which my wife worked zealously.  p. 248There were many social receptions, readings, etc., where we met everybody.  It was very properly considered bad form in those early days of the war to dance or give grand dinners or great “parties.”  It was, in fact, hardly decent for a man to dress up and appear as a swell at all anywhere.  Death was beginning to strike fast into families through siege and battle, and crape to blacken the door-bells.  There was a dark shadow over every life.  I had been assured by an officer that my magazine was doing the work of two regiments, yet I was tormented with the feeling that I ought to be in the war, as my grandfather would surely have been at my age.  The officer alluded to wrote to me that he on one occasion had read one of my articles by camp-fire to his regiment, who gave at the end three tremendous cheers, which were replied to by the enemy, who were not far away, with shouts of defiance.  As for minor incidents of the war-time, I could fill a book with them.  One day a young gentleman, a perfect stranger, came to my office, as many did, and asked for advice.  He said, “Where I live in the country we have raised a regiment, and they want me to be colonel, but I have no knowledge whatever of military matters.  What shall I do?”  I looked at him, and saw that he “had it in him,” and replied, “New York is full of Hungarian and German military adventurers seeking employment.  Get one, and let him teach you and the men; but take good care that he does not supplant you.  Let that be understood.”  After some months he returned in full uniform to thank me.  He had got his man, had fought in the field—all had gone well.

I remember, as an incident worth noting, that one evening while visiting Jas. R. Lowell at his house in Cambridge, awaiting supper, there came a great bundle of proofs.  They were the second series of the Biglow Papers adapted to the new struggle, and as I was considered in Boston at that time as being in my degree a literary political authority or one of some general experience, he was anxious to have my opinion of them, and had invited me for that purpose.  He read them p. 249to me, manifested great interest as to my opinion, and seemed to be very much delighted or relieved when I praised them and predicted a success.  I do not exaggerate in this in the least; his expression was plainly and unmistakably that of a man from whom some doubt had been banished.

My brother Henry had at once entered a training-school for officers in Philadelphia, distinguished himself as a pupil, and gone out to the war in 1862.  The terrible ill-luck which attended his every effort in life overtook him speedily, and, owing to his extreme zeal and over-work, he had a sunstroke, which obliged him to return home.  He was a first-lieutenant.  The next year he went as sergeant, and was again invalided.  What further befell him will appear in the course of my narrative.

The Continental Magazine had done its work and was evidently dying.  I had never received a cent from it, and it had just met the expenses of publication.  It had done much good and rendered great service to the Union cause.  Gilmore had very foolishly yielded half the ownership to Robert J. Walker, of whom I confess I have no very agreeable recollections.  So it began to die.  But I have the best authority for declaring that, ere it died, it had advanced the time of the Declaration of Emancipation, which was the turning-point of the whole struggle, and all my friends in Boston were of that opinion.  This I can fully prove.

The summer of 1862 I passed in Dedham, going every day to my office in Boston.  We lived at the Phœnix Hotel, and occupied the same rooms which my father and mother had inhabited thirty-five years before.  We had many very kind and hospitable friends.  I often found time to roam about the country, to sit by Wigwam Lake, to fish in the river Charles, and explore the wild woods.  I have innumerable pleasant recollections of that summer.

I returned in the autumn with my wife to Philadelphia, and to my father’s house in Locust Street.  The first thing which I did was to write a pamphlet on “Centralisation p. 250versus States Rights.”  In it I set forth clearly enough the doctrine that the Constitution of the United States could not be interpreted so as to sanction secession, and that as the extremities or limbs grew in power, so there should be a strengthening of the brain or greater power bestowed on the central Government.  I also advocated the idea of a far greater protection of general and common industries and interests being adopted by the Government.

There was in the Senate a truly great man, of German extraction, named Gottlieb Orth, from Indiana.  He was absolutely the founder of the Bureaus of Education, &c., which are now nourishing in Washington.  He wrote to me saying that he had got the idea of Industrial bureaus from my pamphlet.  In this pamphlet I had opposed the commonly expressed opinion that we must do nothing to “aggravate the South.”  That is, we should burn the powder up by degrees, as the old lady did who was blown to pieces by the experiment.  “Do not drive them to extremes.”  I declared that the South would go to extremes in any case, and that we had better anticipate it.  This brought forth strange fruit in after years, long after the war.

While I was in Boston in 1862, I published by Putnam in New York a book entitled “Sunshine in Thought,” which had, however, been written long before.  It was all directed against the namby-pamby pessimism, “lost Edens and buried Lenores,” and similar weak rubbish, which had then begun to manifest itself in literature, and which I foresaw was in future to become a great curse, as it has indeed done.  Only five hundred copies of it were printed.

I was very busy during the first six months of 1863.  I wrote a work entitled “The Art of Conversation, or Hints for Self-Education,” which was at once accepted and published by Carleton, of New York.  It had, I am assured, a very large sale indeed.  I also wrote and illustrated, with the aid of my brother, a very eccentric pamphlet, “The Book of Copperheads.”  When Abraham Lincoln died two books p. 251were found in his desk.  One was the “Letters of Petroleum V. Nasby,” by Dr. R. Locke, and my “Book of Copperheads,” which latter was sent to me to see and return.  It was much thumbed, showing that it had been thoroughly read by Father Abraham.

I also translated Heine’s “Book of Songs.”  Most of these had already been published in the “Pictures of Travel.”  I restored them to their original metres.  I also translated the “Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing” from the German, and finished up, partially illustrated, and published two juvenile works.  One of these was “Mother Pitcher,” a collection of original nursery rhymes for children, which I had written many years before expressly for my youngest sister, Emily, now Mrs. John Harrison of Philadelphia.  In this work occurs my original poem of “Ping-Wing the Pieman’s Son.”  Of this Poem Punch said, many years after, that it was “the best thing of the kind which had ever crossed the Atlantic.”  Ping-Wing appeared in 1891 as a full-page cartoon by Tenniel in Punch, and as burning up the Treaty.  I may venture to say that Ping-Wing—once improvised to amuse dear little Emily—has become almost as well known in American nurseries as “Little Boy Blue,” at any rate his is a popular type, and when Mrs. Vanderbilt gave her famous masked ball in New York, there was in the Children’s Quadrille a little Ping-Wing.  Ping travelled far and wide, for in after years I put him into Pidgin-English, and gave him a place in the “Pidgin-English Ballads,” which have always been read in Canton, I daresay by many a heathen Chinese learning that childlike tongue.  I also translated the German “Mother Goose.”

And now terrible times came on, followed, for me, by a sad event.  The rebels, led by General Lee, had penetrated into Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia was threatened.  This period was called the “Emergency.”  I could easily have got a command as officer.  I had already obtained for my brother an appointment as major with secretary’s duty on Fremont’s staff, which he promptly declined.  But it was no p. 252time to stand on dignity, and I was rather proud, as was my brother, to go as “full private” in an artillery company known as “Chapman Biddle’s,” though he did not take command of it on this occasion. [252]  Our captain was a dealer in cutlery named Landis.

After some days’ delay we were marched forth.  Even during those few days, while going about town in my private’s uniform, I realised in a droll new way what it was to be a common man.  Maid-servants greeted me like a friend, other soldiers and the humbler class talked familiarly to me.  I had, however, no excuse to think myself any better than my comrades, for among the hundred were nearly twenty lawyers or law-students, and all were gentlemen as regards position in society.  Among them was R. W. Gilder, now the editor of the Century, who was quite a youth then, and in whose appearance there was something which deeply interested me.  I certainly have a strange Gypsy faculty for divining character, and I divined a genius in him.  He was very brave and uncomplaining in suffering, but also very sensitive and emotional.  Once it happened, at a time when we were all nearly starved to death and worn out with want of sleep and fatigue, that I by some chance got a loaf of bread and some molasses.  I cut it into twelve slices and sweetened them, intending to give one to every man of our gun.  But I could only find eleven, and, remembering Gilder, went about a long mile to find him; and when I gave it to him he was so touched that the tears came into his fine dark eyes.  Trivial as the incident was, it moved me.  Another was Theodore Fassitt, a next-door neighbour of mine, whose mother had specially commended him to me, and who told me that once p. 253or twice he had stolen ears of maize from the horses to keep himself alive.  Also Edward Penington, and James Biddle, a gentleman of sixty; but I really cannot give the roll-call.  However, they all showed themselves to be gallant gentlemen and true ere they returned home.  The first night we slept in a railroad station, packed like sardines, and I lay directly across a rail.  Then we were in camp near Harrisburg for a week—dans la pluie et la misère.

We knew that the rebels were within six miles of us, at Shooter’s Hill—in fact, two of our guns went there.  Penington was with them, and had a small skirmish, wherein two of the foemen were slain, the corporal being, however, called off before he could secure their scalps.  That afternoon, as I was on guard, I saw far down below a few men who appeared to be scouting very cautiously, and hiding as they did so.  They seemed mere specks, but I was sure they were rebels.  I called on Lieutenant Perkins, who had a glass, but neither he nor others present thought they were of the enemy.  Long after, this incident had a droll sequel.

Hearing that the rebels were threatening Carlisle, we were sent thither on a forced march of sixteen miles.  They had been before us, and partially burned the barracks.  We rested in the town.  There was a large open space, for all the world like a stage.  Ladies and others brought us refreshments; the scene became theatrical indeed.  The soldiers, wearied with a long march, were resting or gossipping, when all at once—whizz-bang—a shell came flying over our heads and burst.  There were cries—the ladies fled like frightened wild-fowl!  The operatic effect was complete!

About ten thousand rebel regulars, hearing that we had occupied Carlisle, had returned, and if they had known that there were only two or three thousand raw recruits, they might have captured us all.  From this fate we were saved by a good strong tremendous lie, well and bravely told.  There was a somewhat ungainly, innocent, rustic-looking youth in our company, from whose eyes simple truth peeped p. 254out like two country girls at two Sunday-school windows.  He, having been sent to the barracks to get some fodder, with strict injunction to return immediately, of course lay down at once in the hay and had a good long nap.  The rebels came and roused him out, but promised to let him go free on condition that he would tell the sacred truth as to how many of us Federal troops were in Carlisle.  And he, moved by sympathy for his kind captors, and swearing by the Great Copperhead Serpent, begged them to fly for their lives; “for twenty regiments of regulars, and Heaven only knew how many, volunteers, had come in that afternoon, and the whole North was rising, and trains running, and fresh levies pouring in.”

The rebels believed him, but they would not depart without giving us a touch of their quality, and so fired shell and grape in on us till two in the morning.  There were two regiments of “common fellows,” or valiant city roughs, with us, who all hid themselves in terror wherever they could.  But our company, though unable to fire more than a few shots, were kept under fire, and, being all gentlemen, not a man flinched.

I did not, to tell the truth, like our captain; but whatever his faults were, and he had some, cowardice was not among them.  Some men are reckless of danger; he seemed to be absolutely insensible to it, as I more than once observed, to my great admiration.  He was but a few feet from me, giving orders to a private, when a shell burst immediately over or almost between them.  Neither was hurt, but the young man naturally shied, when Landis gruffly cried, “Never mind the shells, sir; they’ll not hurt you till they hit you.”

I was leaning against a lamp-post when a charge of grape went through the lamp.  Remembering the story in “Peter Simple,” and that “lightning never strikes twice in the same place,” I remained quiet, when there came at once another, smashing what was left of the glass about two feet above my head.

p. 255Long after the war, when I was one day walking with Theodore Fassitt, I told him the tale of how I had awakened the family at the fire in Munich.  And Theodore dolefully exclaimed, “I don’t see why it is that I can never do anything heroic or fine like that!”  Then I said, “Theodore, I will tell you a story.  Once upon a time there was a boy only eighteen years of age, and it happened in the war that he was in a town, and the rebels shelled it.  Now this boy had charge of four horses, and the general had told him to stay in one place, before a church; and he obeyed.  The shells came thick and fast—I saw it all myself—and by-and-bye one came and took off a leg from one of the horses.  Then he was in a bad way with his horses, but he stayed.  After a while the general came along, and asked him ‘why the devil he was stopping there.’  And he replied, ‘I was ordered to, sir!’  Then the general told him to get behind the church at once.”

“Why!” cried Theodore in amazement, “I was that boy!”

“Yes,” I replied; “and the famous Roman sentinel who remained at his post in Pompeii was no braver, and I don’t think he had so hard a time of it as you had with that horse.”

I was put on guard.  The others departed or lay down to sleep on the ground.  The fire slackened, and only now and then a shell came with its diabolical scream like a dragon into the town.  All at last was quiet, when there came shambling to me an odd figure.  There had been some slight attempt by him to look like a soldier—he had a feather in his hat—but he carried his rifle as if after deer or raccoons, and as if he were used to it.

“Say, Cap!” he exclaimed, “kin you tell me where a chap could get some ammynition?”

“Go to your quartermaster,” I replied.

“Ain’t got no quartermaster.”

“Well, then to your commanding officer—to your regiment.”

p. 256“Ain’t got no commanding officer nowher’ this side o’ God, nor no regiment.”

“Then who the devil are you, and where do you belong?”

“Don’t belong nowher’.  I’ll jest tell you, Cap, how it is.  I live in the south line of New York State, and when I heard that the rebs had got inter Pennsylvany, forty of us held a meetin’ and ’pinted me Cap’n.  So we came down here cross country, and ’rived this a’ternoon, and findin’ fightin’ goin’ on, went straight for the bush.  And gettin’ cover, we shot the darndest sight of rebels you ever did see.  And now all our ammynition is expended, I’ve come to town for more, for ther’s some of ’em still left—who want killin’ badly.”

“See here, my friend,” I replied.  “You don’t know it, but you’re nothing but a bushwhacker, and anybody has a right to hang or shoot you out of hand.  Do you see that great square tent?”  Here I pointed to the general’s marquee.  “Go in there and report yourself and get enrolled.”  And the last I saw of him he was stumbling over the sticks in the right direction.  This was my first experience of a real guerillo—a character with whom I was destined to make further experience in after days.

An earlier incident was to me extremely curious.  There was in our battery a young gentleman named Stewart Patterson, noted for his agreeable, refined manners.  He was the gunner of our cannon No. Two.  We had brass Napoleons.  At the distance of about one mile the rebels were shelling us.  Patterson brought his gun to bear on theirs, and the two exchanged shots at the same instant.  Out of the smoke surrounding Patterson’s gun I saw a sword-blade fly perhaps thirty feet, and then himself borne by two or three men, blood flowing profusely.  The four fingers of his right hand had been cut away clean by a piece of shell.

At the instant I saw the blade flash in its flight, I recalled seeing precisely the same thing long before in Heidelberg.  There was a famous duellist who had fought sixty or seventy times and never received a scratch.  One day he was acting p. 257as second, when the blade of his principal, becoming broken at the hilt by a violent blow, flew across the room, rebounded, and cut the second’s lip entirely open.  It was remarkable that I should twice in my life have seen such a thing, in both instances accompanied by wounds.  Long after I met Patterson in Philadelphia, I think, in 1883.  He did not recognise me, and gave me his left hand.  I said, “Not that hand, Patterson, but the other.  You’ve no reason to be ashamed of it.  I saw the fingers shot off.”

But on that night there occurred an event which, in the end, after years of suffering, caused the deepest sorrow of my life.  As we were not firing, I and the rest of the men of the gun were lying on the ground to escape the shells, but my brother, who was nothing if not soldierly and punctilious, stood upright in his place just beside me.  There came a shell which burst immediately, and very closely over our heads, and a piece of it struck my brother exactly on the brass buckle in his belt on the spine.  The blow was so severe that the buckle was bent in two.  It cut through his coat and shirt, and inflicted a slight wound two inches in length.  But the blow on the spine had produced a concussion or disorganisation of the brain, which proved, after years of suffering, the cause of his death.  At first he was quite senseless, but as he came to, and I asked him anxiously if he was hurt, he replied sternly, “Go back immediately to your place by the gun!”  He was like grandfather Leland.

A day or two after, while we were on a forced march to intercept a party of rebels, the effect of the wound on my brother’s brain manifested itself in a terrible hallucination.  He had become very gloomy and reserved.  Taking me aside, he informed me that as he had a few days before entered a country-house, contrary to an order issued, to buy food, he was sure that Captain Landis meant as soon as possible to have him shot, but that he intended, the instant he saw any sign of this, at once to attack and kill the captain!  Knowing his absolute determined and inflexibly truthful character, p. 258and seeing a fearful expression in his eyes, I was much alarmed.  Reflecting in the first place that he was half-starved, I got him a meal.  I had brought from Philadelphia two pounds of dried beef, and this, carefully hoarded, had eked out many a piece of bread for a meal.  I begged some bread, gave my brother some beef with it, and I think succeeded in getting him some coffee.  Then I went to Lieutenant Perkins—a very good man—and begged leave to take my brother’s guard and to let him sleep.  He consented, and my brother gradually came to his mind, or at least to a better one.  But he was never the same person afterwards, his brain having been permanently affected, and he died in consequence five years after.

I may note as characteristic of my brother, that, twelve years after his death, Walt Whitman, who always gravely spoke the exact truth, told me that there was one year of his life during which he had received no encouragement as a poet, and so much ridicule that he was in utter despondency.  At that time he received from Henry, who was unknown to him, a cheering letter, full of admiration, which had a great effect on him, and inspired him to renewed effort.  He sent my brother a copy of the first edition of his “Leaves of Grass,” with his autograph, which I still possess.  I knew nothing of this till Whitman told me of it.  The poet declared to me very explicitly that he had been much influenced by my brother’s letter, which was like a single star in a dark night of despair, and I have indeed no doubt that the world owes more to it than will ever be made known.

During the same week in which this occurred my wife’s only brother, Rodney Fisher, a young man, and captain in the regular cavalry, met with a remarkably heroic death at Aldie, Virginia.  He was leading what was described as “the most magnificent and dashing charge of the whole campaign,” when he was struck by a bullet.  He was carried to a house, where he died within a week.  He was of the stock of the Delaware Rodneys, and of the English Admiral’s, or p. 259of the best blood of the Revolution, and well worthy of it.  It was all in a great cause, but these deaths entered into the soul of the survivors, and we grieve for them to this day.

Our sufferings as soldiers during this Emergency were very great.  I heard an officer who had been through the whole war, and through the worst of it in Virginia, declare that he had never suffered as he did with us this summer.  And our unfortunate artillery company endured far more than the rest, for while pains were taken by commanding officers of other regiments, especially the regulars, to obtain food, our captain, either because they had the advance on him, or because he considered starving us as a part of the military drama, took little pains to feed us, and indeed neglected his men very much.  As we had no doctor, and many of our company suffered from cholera morbus, I, having some knowledge of medicine, succeeded in obtaining some red pepper, a bottle of Jamaica ginger, and whisky, and so relieved a great many patients.  One morning our captain forbade my attending to the invalids any more.  “Proper medical attendance,” he said, “would be provided.”  It was not; only now and then on rare occasions was a surgeon borrowed for a day.  What earthly difference it could make in discipline (where there was no show or trace of it) whether I looked after the invalids or not was not perceptible.  But our commander, though brave, was unfortunately one of those men who are also gifted with a great deal of “pure cussedness,” and think that the exhibiting it is a sign of bravery.  Although we had no tents, only a miserably rotten old gun-cover, and not always that, to sleep under (I generally slept in the open air, frequently in the rain), and often no issue of food for days, we were strictly prohibited from foraging or entering the country houses to buy food.  This, which was a great absurdity, was about the only point of military discipline strictly enforced.

At one time during the war, when men were not allowed to sleep in the country houses (to protect their owners), the p. 260soldiers would very often burn these houses down, in order that, when the family had fled, they might use the fireplace and chimney for cooking; and so our men, forbidden to enter the country houses to buy or beg food, stole it.

I can recall one very remarkable incident.  We had six guns, heavy old brass Napoleons.  One afternoon we had to go uphill—in many cases it was terribly steep—by a road like those in Devonshire, resembling a ditch.  It rained in torrents and the water was knee-deep.  The poor mules had to be urged and aided in every way, and half the pulling and pushing was done by us.  All of us worked like navvies.  So we went onwards and upwards for sixteen miles!  When we got to the top of the hill, out of one hundred privates, Henry, I, and four others alone remained.  R. W. Gilder was one of these, besides Landis and Lieutenant Perkins—that is to say, we alone had not given out from fatigue; but the rest soon followed.  This exploit was long after cited as one of the most extraordinary of the war—and so it was.  We were greatly complimented on it.  Old veterans marvelled at it.  But what was worse, I had to lie all night on sharp flints—i.e., the slag or débris of an iron smeltery or old forge out of doors—in a terrible rain, and, though tired to death, got very little sleep; nor had we any food whatever even then or the next day.  Commissariat there was none, and very little at any time.

From all that I learned from many intimate friends who were in the war, I believe that we in the battery suffered to the utmost all that men can suffer in the field, short of wounds and death.  Yet it is a strange thing, that had I not received at this time most harassing and distressing news from home, and been in constant fear as regards my brother, I should have enjoyed all this Emergency like a picnic.  We often marched and camped in the valley of the Cumberland and in Maryland, in deep valleys, by roaring torrents or “on the mountains high,” in scenery untrodden by any artist or tourist, of marvellous grandeur and beauty.  One day we p. 261came upon a scene which may be best described by the fact that my brother and I both stopped, and both cried out at once, “Switzerland!”  The beauty of Nature was to me a constant source of delight.  Another was the realisation of the sense of duty and the pleasure of war for a noble cause.  It was once declared by a reviewer that in my Breitmann poems the true gaudium certaminis, or enjoyment of battle, is more sincerely expressed than by any modern poet, because there is no deliberate or conscious effort to depict it seriously.  And I believe that I deserved this opinion, because the order to march, the tramp and rattle and ring of cavalry and artillery, and the roar of cannon, always exhilarated me; and sometimes the old days of France would recur to me.  One day, at some place where we were awaiting an attack and I was on guard, General Smith, pausing, asked me something of which all I could distinguish was “Fire—before.”  Thinking he had said, “Were you ever under fire before?” and much surprised at this interest in my biography, I replied, “Yes, General—in Paris—at the barricades in Forty-eight.”  He looked utterly amazed, and inquired, “What the devil did you think I said?”  I explained, when he laughed heartily, and told me that his question was, “Has there been any firing here before?”

Two very picturesque scenes occur to me.  One was a night before the battle of Gettysburg.  The country was mountain and valley, and the two opposing armies were camped pretty generally in sight of one another.  There was, I suppose, nearly half a cord of wood burning for every twelve men, and these camp-fires studded the vast landscape like countless reflections of the stars above, or rather as if all were stars, high or low.  It was one of the most wonderful sights conceivable, and I said at the time that it was as well worth seeing as Vesuvius in eruption.

Henry had studied for eighteen months in the British Art School in Rome, and passed weeks in sketching the Alhambra, and, till he received his wound, took great joy in the picturesque p. 262scenery and “points” of military life.  But it is incredible how little we ate or got to eat, and how hard we worked.  It is awful to be set to digging ditches in a soil nine-tenths stone, when starving.

As we were raw recruits, we were not put under fire at Gettysburg, but kept in Smith’s reserve.  But on the night after the defeat, when Lee retreated in such mad and needless haste across the Potomac, we were camped perhaps the nearest of any troops to the improvised bridge, I think within a mile.  That night I was on guard, and all night long I heard the sound of cavalry, the ring and rattle of arms, and all that indicates an army in headlong flight.  I say that they went in needless haste.  I may be quite in the wrong, but I have always believed that Meade acted on the prudent policy of making a bridge of gold for a retreating enemy; and I always believed, too, that at heart he did not at all desire to inflict extreme suffering on the foe.  Had he been a General Birney, he would have smote them then and there hip and thigh, and so ended the war “for good and all,” like a Cromwell, with such a slaughter as was never seen.  I base all this on one fact.  At two o’clock on the afternoon before that night I went to a farmhouse to borrow an axe wherewith to cut some fuel; and I was told that the rebels had carried away every axe in great haste from every house, in order to make a bridge.  Now, if I knew that at two o’clock, General Meade, if he had any scouts at all, must have known it.  But—qui vult decipi, decipiatur.

That ended the Emergency.  The next day, I think, we received the welcome news that we were no longer needed and would soon be sent home.  On the way we encamped for a week at some place, I forget where.  There was no drill now—we seldom had any—no special care of us, and no “policing” or keeping clean.  Symptoms of typhoid fever soon appeared; forty of our hundred were more or less ill.  My brother and I knew very well that the only way to avert this was to exercise vigorously.  On waking in the morning we all p. 263experienced languor and lassitude.  Those who yielded to it fell ill.  Henry was always so ready to work, that once our sergeant, Mr. Bullard, interposed and gave the duty to another, saying it was not fair.  I always remembered it with gratitude.  But this feverish languor passed away at once with a little chopping of wood, bringing water, or cooking.

One more reminiscence.  Our lieutenant, Perkins, was a pious man, and on Sunday mornings held religious service, which we were obliged to attend.  One day, when we had by good fortune rations of fresh meat, it was cooked for dinner and put by in two large kettles.  During the service two hungry pigs came, and in our full sight overturned the kettles, and, after rooting over the food, escaped with large pieces.  I did not care to dine, like St. Antonio, on pigs’ leavings.  My brother finding me, asked why I looked so glum.  I replied that I was hungry.  “Is that all?” he replied.  “Come with me!”  We went some distance until we came to a farmhouse in the forest.  He entered, and, to my amazement, was greeted as an old friend.  He had been there in the campaign of the previous year.  I was at once supplied with a meal.  My brother was asked to send them newspapers after his return.  He never sought for mysteries and despised dramatic effects, but his life was full of them.  Once, when in Naples, he was accustomed to meet by chance every day, in some retired walk, a young lady.  They spoke, and met and met again, till they became like friends.  One day he saw her in a court procession, and learned for the first time that she was a younger daughter of the King.  But he never met her again.

There were two or three boys of good family, none above sixteen, who had sworn themselves in as of age—recruiting officers were not particular—and who soon developed brilliant talents for “foraging,” looting, guerilla warfare, horse-stealing, pot-hunting rebels, and all those little accomplishments which appear so naturally and pleasingly in youth when in the field.  For bringing out the art of taking care of yourself, p. 264a camp in time of war is superior even to “sleeping about in the markets,” as recommended by Mr. Weller.  Other talents may be limited, but the amount of “devil” which can be developed out of a “smart” boy as a soldier is absolutely infinite.  College is a Sunday-school to it.  One of these youths had “obtained” a horse somewhere, which he contrived to carry along.  Many of our infantry regiments gradually converted themselves into cavalry by this process of “obtaining” steeds; and as the officers found that their men could walk better on horses’ legs, they permitted it.  This promising youngster was one day seated on a caisson or ammunition waggon full of shells, &c., when it blew up.  By a miracle he rose in the air, fell on the ground unhurt, and marching immediately up to the lieutenant and touching his hat, exclaimed, “Please, sir, caisson No. Two is blown to hell; please appoint me to another!”  That oath was not recorded.  Poor boy! he died in the war.

There was one man in our corps, a good-natured, agreeable person, a professional politician, who astonished me by the fact that however starved we might be, he had always a flask of whisky wherewith to treat his friends!  Where or how he always got it I never could divine.  But in America every politician always has whisky or small change wherewith to treat.  Always.  Money was generally of little use, for there was rarely anything to buy anywhere.  I soon developed here and there an Indian-like instinct in many things, and this is indeed deep in my nature.  I cannot explain it, but it is there.  I became expert when we approached a house at divining, by the look of waggons or pails or hencoops, whether there was meal or bread or a mill anywhere near.  One day I informed our lieutenant that a detachment of rebel cavalry had recently passed.  He asked me how I knew it.  I replied that rebel horses, being from mountainous Virginia, had higher cocks and narrower to their shoes, and one or two more nails than ours, which is perfectly true.  And where did I learn that?  Not from anybody.  I had p. 265noticed the difference as soon as I saw the tracks, and guessed the cause.  One day, in after years in England, I noticed that in coursing, or with beagles, the track of a gypsy was exactly like mine, or that of all Americans—that is, Indian-like and straight-forward.  I never found a Saxon-Englishman who had this step, nor one who noticed such a thing, which I or an Indian would observe at once.  Once, in Rome, Mr. Story showed me a cast of a foot, and asked me what it was.  I replied promptly, “Either an Indian girl’s or an American young lady’s, whose ancestors have been two hundred years in the country.”  It was the latter.  Such feet lift or leap, as if raised every time to go over entangled grass or sticks.  Like an Indian, I instinctively observe everybody’s ears, which are unerring indices of character.  I can sustain, and always could endure, incredible fasts, but for this I need coffee in the morning.  “Mark Twain”—whom I saw yesterday at his villa, as I correct this proof—also has this peculiar Indian-like or American faculty of observing innumerable little things which no European would ever think of.  There is, I think, a great deal of “hard old Injun” in him.  The most beautiful of his works are the three which are invariably bound in silk or muslin.  They are called “The Three Daughters, or the Misses Clemens.”

It occurred to me, after I had recorded the events of our short but truly vigorous and eventful campaign, to write to R. W. Gilder and ask him—quid memoriæ datum est—“what memories he had of that great war, wherein we starved and swore, and all but died.”  There are men in whose letters we are as sure to find genial life as a spaccio di vino or wine-shop in a Florentine street, and this poet-editor is one of them.  And he replied with an epistle not at all intended for type, which I hereby print without his permission, and in defiance of all the custom or courtesy which inspires gentlemen of the press.

p. 266May 8th, 1893.
Editorial Department, The Century Magazine,
Union Square, New York.

My Dear Leland: How your letter carries me back!  Do you know that one night when I was trudging along in the dark over a road-bed where had been scattered some loose stones to form a foundation, I heard you and another comrade talking me over in the way to which you refer in your letter?  Well, it was either you or the other comrade who said you had given me something to eat, and I know that I must have seemed very fragile, and at times woe-begone.  I was possibly the youngest in the crowd.  I was nineteen, and really enjoyed it immensely notwithstanding.

“I remember you in those days as a splendid expressor of our miseries.  You had a magnificent vocabulary, wherewith you could eloquently and precisely describe our general condition of starvation, mud, ill-equippedness, and over-work.  As I think of those days, I hear reverberating over the mountain-roads the call, ‘Cannoneers to the wheels!’ and in imagination I plunge knee-deep into the mire and grab the spokes of the caisson. [266a]

“Do you remember the night we spent at the forge?  I burnt my knees at the fire out-doors, while in my ears was pouring a deluge from the clouds.  I finally gave it up, and spent the rest of the night crouching upon the fire-bed of the forge itself, most uncomfortably.

“You will remember that we helped dig the trenches at the fort on the southern side of the river from Harrisburg, [266b] and that one section p. 267of the battery got into a fight near that fort; nor can you have forgotten when Stuart Patterson’s hand was shot off at Carlisle.  As he passed me, I heard him say, ‘My God, I’m shot!’  That night, after we were told to retire out of range of the cannon, while we were lying under tree near one of the guns, an officer called for volunteers to take the piece out of range.  I stood up with three others, but seeing and hearing a shell approach, I cried out, ‘Wait a moment!’—which checked them.  Just then the shell exploded within a yard of the cannon.  If we had not paused, some of us would surely have been hit.  We then rushed out, seized the cannon, and brought it out of range.

“By the way, General William F. Smith (Baldy Smith) has since told me that he asked permission to throw the militia (including ourselves) across one of Lee’s lines of retreat.  If he had been permitted to do so, I suppose you and I would not have been in correspondence now.

“You remember undoubtedly the flag of truce that came up into the town before the bombardment began.  The man was on horseback and had the conventional white flag.  The story was that Baldy Smith sent word ‘that if they wanted the town they could come and take it.’ [267]  I suppose you realise that we were really a part of Meade’s p. 268right, and that we helped somewhat to delay the rebel left wing.  Do you not remember hearing from our position at Carlisle the guns of that great battle—the turning-point of the war? [268]

“I could run on in this way, but your own memory must be full of the subject.  I wish that we could sometime have a reunion of the old battery in Philadelphia.  I have a most distinct and pleasant remembrance of your brother—a charming personality indeed, a handsome refined face and dignified bearing.  I remember being so starved as to eat crackers that had fallen on the ground; and I devoured, too, wheat from the fields rubbed in the hands to free it from the ear. . . .

R. W. Gilder.

P.S.—I could write more, but you will not need it from me.”

Truly, I was that other comrade whom Gilder overheard commending him, and it was I who gave him something to eat, I being the one in camp who looked specially after two or three of the youngest to see that they did not starve, and who doctored the invalids.

I here note, with all due diffidence, that Mr. Gilder chiefly remembers me as “a splendid expressor of our miseries, with a magnificent vocabulary” wherewith to set forth fearful adversities.  I have never been habitually loquacious in life; full many deem me deeply reticent and owl-like in my taciturnity, but I “can hoot when the moon shines,” nor is there p. 269altogether lacking in me in great emergencies a certain rude kind of popular eloquence, which has—I avow it with humility—enabled me invariably to hold my own in verbal encounters with tinkers, gypsies, and the like, among whom “chaff” is developed to a degree of which few respectable people have any conception, and which attains to a refinement of sarcasm, originality, and humour in the London of the lower orders, for which there is no parallel in Paris, or in any other European capital; so that even among my earliest experiences I can remember, after an altercation with an omnibus-driver, he applied to me the popular remark that he was “blessed if he didn’t believe that the gemman had been takin’ lessons in language hof a cab-driver, and set up o’ nights to learn.”  But the ingenious American is not one whit behind the vigorous Londoner in “de elegant fluency of sass,” as darkies term it, and it moves my heart to think that, after thirty years, and after the marvellous experiences of men who are masters of our English tongue which the editor of the Century must have had, he still retains remembrance of my oratory!

At last we were marched and railroaded back to Philadelphia.  I need not say that we were welcome, or that I enjoyed baths, clean clothes, and the blest sensation of feeling decent once more.  Everything in life seemed to be luxurious as it had never been before.  Luxuries are very conventional.  A copy of Prætorius, for which I paid only fifteen shillings, was to me lately a luxury for weeks; so is a visit to a picture gallery.  For years after, I had but to think of the Emergency to realise that I was actually in all the chief conditions of happiness.

Feeling that, although I was in superb health and strength, the seeds of typhoid were in me, I left town as soon as possible, and went with my wife, her sister, and two half-nieces, or nieces by marriage, and child-nephew, Edward Robins, to Cape May, a famous bathing-place by the ocean.  One of the little girls here alluded to, a Lizzie Robins, then six years of age, is now well known as Elizabeth Robins Pennell, and “a p. 270writer of books,” while Edward has risen in journalism in Philadelphia.  There as I walked often eighteen or twenty miles a day by the sea, when the thermometer was from 90° to 100° in the shade, I soon worked away all apprehension of typhoid and developed muscle.  One day I overheard a man in the next bathing-house asking who I was.  “I don’t know,” replied the other, “but if I were he, I’d go in for being a prize-fighter.”

Everybody was poor in those days, so we went to a very cheap though respectable hotel, where we paid less than half of what we had always given at “The Island,” and where we were in company quite as happy or comfortable as we ever had been anywhere, though the death of her brother weighed sadly on my poor wife, and her dear good mother, whom I always loved tenderly, and with whom I never had a shade of difference of opinion nor a whisper of even argument, and to whom I was always devoted.  I seem to have been destined to differ from other mortals in a few things: one was, that I always loved my mother-in-law with whole heart and soul, and never considered our ménage as perfect unless she were with us.  She was of very good and rather near English descent, a Callender, and had been celebrated in her youth for extraordinary beauty.  Her husband was related to the celebrated beauty Miss Vining, whom Maria Antoinette, from the fame of her loveliness, invited to come and join her court.  At the beginning of this century no great foreigner travelled in America without calling on Miss Vining in Delaware.  There is a life of her in Griswold’s “Republican Court.”  It is without any illustrative portrait.  I asked Dr. Griswold why he had none.  He replied that none existed.  I said to him severely, “Let this be a lesson to you never to publish anything without submitting it first to me.  I have a photograph of her miniature.”  The Doctor submitted!

This summer at Cape May I made the acquaintance of a very remarkable man named Solomon.  He was a Jew, and we became intimate.  One evening he said to me: “You p. 271know so much about the Jews that I have even learned something from you about them.  But I can teach you something.  Can you tell the difference between the Aschkenazim and the Sephardim by their eyes?  No!  Well, now, look!”  Just then a Spanish-looking beauty from New Orleans passed by.  “There is Miss Inez Aguado; observe that the corners of her eyes are long with a peculiar turn.  Wait a minute; now, there is Miss Löwenthal—Levi, of course—of Frankfort.  Don’t you see the difference?”

I did, and asked him to which of the classes he belonged.  He replied—

“To neither.  I am of the sect of the ancient Sadducees, who took no part in the Crucifixion.”

Then I replied, “You are of the Karaim.”

“No; that is still another sect or division, though very ancient indeed.  We never held to the Halacha, and we laugh at the Mishna and Talmud and all that.  We do not believe or disbelieve in a God—Yahveh, or the older Elohim.  We hold that every man born knows enough to do what is right; and that is religion enough.  After death, if he has acted up to this, he will be all right should there be a future of immortality; and if he hasn’t, he will be none the worse off for it.  We are a very small sect.  We call ourselves the Neu Reformirte.  We have a place of worship in New York.”

This was the first agnostic whom I had ever met.  I thought of the woman in Jerusalem who ran about with the torch to burn up heaven and the water to extinguish hell-fire.  Yes, the sect was very old.  The Sadducees never denied anything; they only inquired as to truth.  Seek or Sikh!

I confess that Mr. Solomon somewhat weakened the effect of his grand free-thought philosophy by telling me in full faith of a Rabbi in New York who was so learned in the Cabala that by virtue of the sacred names he could recover stolen goods.  Whether, like Browning’s sage, he also received p. 272them, I did not learn.  But c’est tout comme chez nous autres.  The same spirit which induces a man to break out of orthodox humdrumness, induces him to love the marvellous, the forbidden, the odd, the wild, the droll—even as I do.  It is not a fair saying that “atheists are all superstitious, which proves that a man must believe in something.”  No; it is the spirit of nature, of inquiry, of a desire for the new and to penetrate the unknown; and under such influence a man may truly be an atheist as regards what he cannot prove or reconcile with universal love and mercy, and yet a full believer that magic and ghosts may possibly exist among the infinite marvels and mysteries of nature.  It is admitted that a man may believe in God without being superstitious; it is much truer that he may be “superstitious” (whatever that means) without believing that there is an anthropomorphic bon Dieu.  However this may be, Mr. Solomon made me reflect often and deeply for many a long year, until I arrived to the age of Darwin.

I also made at Cape May the acquaintance of a very remarkable man, whom I was destined to often meet in other lands in after years.  This was Carrol (not as yet General) Tevis.  We first met thus.  The ladies wanted seats out on the lawn, and there was not a chair to be had.  He and I were seeking in the hotel-office; all the clerks were absent, and all the chairs removed; but there remained a solid iron sofa or settee, six feet long, weighing about 600 pounds.  Tevis was strong, and a great fencer; there is a famous botte which he invented, bearing his name; perhaps Walter H. Pollock knows it.  I gave the free-lance or condottiero a glance, and proposed to prig the iron sofa and lay waste the enemy.  It was a deed after his Dugald Dalgetty heart, and we carried it off and seated the ladies.

In the autumn there was a vast Sanitary Fair for the benefit of the army hospitals held in Philadelphia.  I edited for it a daily newspaper called Our Daily Fare, which often kept me at work for eighteen hours per diem, and in doing p. 273which I was subjected to much needless annoyance and mortification.  At this Fair I saw Abraham Lincoln.

It was about this time that the remarkable oil fever, or mania for speculating in oil-lands, broke out in the United States.  Many persons had grown rich during the war, and were ready to speculate.  Its extent among all classes was incredible.  Perhaps the only parallel to it in history was the Mississippi Bubble or the South Sea speculations, and these did not collectively employ so much capital or call out so much money as this petroleum mania.  It had many strange social developments, which I was destined to see in minute detail.

My first experience was not very pleasant.  A publisher in New York asked me to write him a humorous poem on the oil mania.  It was to be large enough to make a small volume.  I did so, and in my opinion wrote a good one.  It cost me much time and trouble.  When it was done, the publisher refused to take it, saying that it was not what he wanted.  So I lost my labour or oleum perdidi.

I had two young friends named Colton, who had been in the war from the beginning to the end, and experienced its changes to the utmost.  Neither was over twenty-one.  William Colton, the elder, was a captain in the regular cavalry, and the younger, Baldwin, was his orderly.  It was a man in the Captain’s company, named Yost, who furnished the type of Hans Breitmann as a soldier.  The brothers told me that one day in a march in Tennessee, not far from Murfreesboro’, they had found petroleum in the road, and thought it indicated the presence of oil-springs.  I mentioned this to Mr. Joseph Lea, a merchant of Philadelphia.  He was the father of Mrs. Anna Lea Merritt, who has since become a very distinguished artist, well known in England, being the first lady painter from whom the British Government ever bought a picture.  Mr. Lea thought it might be worth some expense to investigate this Tennessee oil.  I volunteered to go, if my expenses were paid, and it was agreed to.  It is difficult at p. 274the present day to give any reader a clear idea of the dangers and trouble which this undertaking involved, and I was fully aware beforehand what they would be.  The place was on the border, in the most disorganised state of society conceivable, and, in fact, completely swarming with guerillas or brigands, sans merci, who simply killed and stripped everybody who fell into their hands.  All over our border or frontier there are innumerable families who have kept up feuds to the death, or vendettas, in some cases for more than a century; and now, in the absence of all civil law, these were engaged in wreaking their old grudges without restraint, and assuredly not sparing any stranger who came between them.

I had a friend in C. A. Dana, the Assistant-Secretary of War, and another in Colonel Henry Olcott, since known as the theosophist.  The latter had just come from the country which I proposed to visit.  I asked him to aid me in getting military passes and introductions to officers in command.  He promised to do so, saying that he would not go through what I had before me for all the oil in America. [274]  And, indeed, one could not take up a newspaper without finding full proof that Tennessee was at that time an inferno or No-man’s Land of disorder.

I went to it with my eyes wide open.  After so many years of work, I was as poor as ever, and the seven years of harvest which I had prophesied had come, and I was not gathering a single golden grain.  My father regarded me as p. 275a failure in life, or as a literary ne’er-do-weel, destined never to achieve fortune or gain an état, and he was quite right.  My war experience had made me reckless of life, and speculation was firing every heart.  I bought myself a pair of long, strong, overall boots and blanket, borrowed a revolver, arranged money affairs with Mr. Lea, who always acted with the greatest generosity, intelligence, and kindness, packed my carpet-bag, and departed.  It was midwinter, and I was destined for a wintry region, or Venango County, where, until within the past few months, there had been many more bears and deer than human beings.  For it was in Venango, Pennsylvania, that the oil-wells were situated, and Mr. Lea judged it advisable that I should first visit them and learn something of the method of working, the geology of the region, and other practical matters.

My brother accompanied me to the station, and I left at about 8 p.m.  After a long, long, weary night and day, I arrived at an oil town, whose name I now forget.  By great good fortune I secured a room, and by still greater luck I got acquainted the next morning at breakfast with three or four genial and gentlemanly men, all “speculators” like myself, who had come to spy into the plumpness and oiliness of the land.  We hired a sleigh and went forth on an excursion among the oil-wells.  It was in some respects the most remarkable day I ever spent anywhere.

For here was oil, oil, oil everywhere, in fountains flowing at the rate of a dollar a second (it brought 70 cents a gallon), derricks or scaffoldings at every turn over wells, men making fortunes in an hour, and beggars riding on blooded horses.  I myself saw a man in a blue carter’s blouse, carrying a black snake-whip, and since breakfast, for selling a friend’s farm, he had received 1250,000 as commission (i.e., £50,000).  When we stopped to dine at a tavern, there stood behind us during all the meal many country-fellows, all trying to sell oil-lands; every one had a great bargain at from thirty or forty thousand dollars downwards.  The lowest in the lot was p. 276a boy of seventeen or eighteen, a loutish-looking youth, who looked as if his vocation had been peddling apples and lozenges.  He had only a small estate to dispose of for $15,000 (£3,000), but he was very small fry indeed.  My companions met with many friends; all had within a few days or hours made or lost incredible sums by gambling in oil-lands, borrowing recklessly, and failing as recklessly.  Companies were formed here on the spot as easily as men get up a game of cards, and of this within a few days I witnessed many instances.  Two men would meet.  “Got any land over?” (i.e., not “stocked”).  “Yes, first-rate; geologer’s certificate; can you put it on the market?”  “That’s my business.  I’ve floated forty oil stocks already, terms half profits.”  So it would be floated forthwith.  Gambling by millions was in the air everywhere; low common men held sometimes thirty companies, all their own, in one pocket, to be presently sprung in New York or elsewhere.  And in contrast to it was the utterly bleak wretchedness and poverty of every house, and the miserable shanties, and all around and afar the dismal, dark, pine forests covered with snow.

I heard that day of a man who got a living by spiritually intuiting oil.  “Something told him,” some Socratic demon or inner impulse, that there was “ile” here or there, deep under the earth.  To pilot to this “ile” of beauty he was paid high fees.  One of my new friends avowed his intention of at once employing this oil-seer as over-seer.

We came to some stupendous tanks and to a well which, as one of my friends said enviously and longingly, was running three thousand dollars a day in clear greenbacks.  Its history was remarkable.  For a very long time an engineer had been here, employed by a company in boring, but bore he never so wisely, he could get nothing.  At last the company, tired of the expenditure and no returns, wrote to him ordering him to cease all further work on the next Saturday.  But the engineer had become “possessed” with the idea that he must succeed, and so, unheeding orders, he bored away p. 277all alone the next day.  About sunset some one going by heard a loud screaming and hurrahing.  Hastening up, he found the engineer almost delirious with joy, dancing like a lunatic round a fountain of oil, which was “as thick as a flour-barrel, and rising to the height of a hundred feet.”  It was speedily plugged and made available.  All of this occurred only a very few days before I saw it.

That night I stopped at a newly-erected tavern, and, as no bed was to be had, made up my mind to sleep in my blanket on the muddy floor, surrounded by a crowd of noisy speculators, waggoners, and the like.  I tell this tale vilely, for I omitted to say that I did the same thing the first night when I entered the oil-country, got a bed on the second, and that this was the third.  But even here I made the acquaintance of a nice Scotchman, who found out another very nice man who had a house near by, and who, albeit not accustomed to receive guests, said he would give us two one bed, which he did.  However, the covering was not abundant, and I, for all my blanket, was a-cold.  In the morning I found a full supply of blankets hanging over the foot-board, but we had retired without a light, and had not noticed them.  Our breakfast being rather poor, our host, with an apology, brought in a great cold mince-pie three inches thick, which is just the thing which I love best of all earthly food.  That he apologised for it indicated a very high degree of culture indeed in rural America, and, in fact, I found that he was a well-read and modest man.

It was, I think, at a place called Plummer that I made the acquaintance of two brothers named B---, who seemed to vibrate on the summit of fortune as two golden balls might on the top of the oil-fountain to which I referred.  One spoke casually of having at that instant a charter for a bank in one pocket, and one for a railroad in the other.  They bought and sold any and all kinds of oil-land in any quantity, without giving it a thought.  While I was in their office, one man exhibited a very handsome revolver.  “How much p. 278did it cost?” asked B.  “Fifty dollars” (£10).  “I wish,” replied B., “that when you go to Philadelphia you’d get me a dozen of them for presents.”  A man came to the window and called for him.  “What do you want?”  “Here are the two horses I spoke about yesterday.”  Hardly heeding him, and talking to others, B. went to the window, cast a casual glance at the steeds, and said, “What was it you said that you wanted for them?”  “Three thousand dollars.”  “All right! go and put ’em in the stable, and come here and get the money.”

From Plummer I had to go ten miles to Oil City.  If I had only known it, one of my very new friends, who was very kind indeed to a stranger, would have driven me over in his sleigh.  But I did not know it, and so paid a very rough countryman ten dollars (£2) to take me over on a jumper.  This is the roughest form of a sledge, consisting of two saplings with the ends turned up, fastened by cross-pieces.  The snow on the road was two feet deep, and the thermometer at zero.  But the driver had two good horses, and made good time.  I found it very difficult indeed to hold on to the vehicle and also to keep my carpet-bag.  Meanwhile my driver entertained me with an account of a great misfortune which had just befallen him.  It was as follows:—

“Before this here oil-fever came along I had a little farm that cost me $150, and off that, an’ workin’ at carpentrin’, I got a mighty slim livin’.  I used to keep all my main savin’s to pay taxes, and often had to save up the cents to get a prospective drink of whisky.  Well, last week I sold my farm for forty thousand dollars, and dern my skin ef the feller that bought it didn’t go and sell it yesterday for a hundred and fifty thousand!  Just like my derned bad luck!”

“See here, my friend,” I said; “I have travelled pretty far in my time, but I never saw a country in which a man with forty thousand dollars was not considered rich.”

“He may be rich anywhere else with it,” replied the p. 279nouveau riche contemptuously, “but it wouldn’t do more than buy him a glass of whisky here in Plummer.”

Having learned what I could of oil-boring, I went to Cincinnati, and then to Nashville by rail.  It may give the reader some idea of what kind of a country and life I was coming into when I tell him that the train which preceded mine had been stopped by the guerillas, who took from it fifty Federal soldiers and shot them dead, stripping the other passengers; and that the one which came after had a hundred and fifty bullets fired into it, but had not been stopped.  We passed by Mammoth Cave, but at full speed, for it was held by the brigands.  All of which things were duly chronicled in the Northern newspapers, and read by all at home.

I got to Nashville.  It had very recently been taken by the Federal forces under General Thomas, who had put it under charge of General Whipple, who was, in fact, the ruling or administrative man of the Southwest just then.  I went to the hotel.  Everything was dismal and dirty—nothing but soldiers and officers, with all the marks of the field and of warfare visible on them—citizens invisible—everything proclaiming a city camp in time of war—sixty thousand men in a city of twenty thousand, more or less.  I got a room.  It was so cold that night that the ice froze two inches thick in my pitcher in my room.

I expected to find the brothers Colton in Nashville.  I went to the proper military authority, and was informed that their regiment was down at the front in Alabama, as was also the officer who had the authority to give them leave of absence.  I was also informed that my only chance was to go to Alabama, or, in fact, into the field itself, as a civilian!  This was a dreary prospect.  However, I made up my mind to it, and was walking along the street in a very sombre state of mind, for I was going to a country like that described in “Sir Grey Stele”—

“Whiche is called the Land of Doubte.”

p. 280And doubtful indeed, and very dismal and cold and old, did everything seem on that winter afternoon as I, utterly alone, went my way.  What I wanted most of all things on earth was a companion.  With my brother I would have gone down to the front and to face all chances as if it were to a picnic.

When ill-fortune intends to make a spring, she draws back.  But good fortune, God bless her! does just the same.  Therefore si fortuna tonat, caveto mergi—if fortune frowns, do not for that despond.  Just as I was passing a very respectable-looking mansion, I saw a sign over its office-door bearing the words: “Captain Joseph R. Paxton, Mustering-in and Disbursing Officer.”

Joseph R. Paxton was a very intimate friend of mine in Philadelphia.  He was still a young man, and one of the most remarkable whom I have ever known.  He was a great scholar.  He was more familiar with all the rariora, curiosa, and singular marvels of literature than any body I ever knew except Octave Delepierre, with whose works he first made me acquainted.  He had translated Ik Marvel’s “Reveries of a Bachelor” into French, and had been accepted by a Paris publisher.  He had been a lawyer, an agent for a railroad, and had long edited in Philadelphia a curious journal entitled Bizarre, and written a work on gems.  His whole soul, however, was in the French literature of the eighteenth century, and he always had a library which would make a collector’s mouth water.  Had he lived in London or Paris, he would have made a great reputation.  And he was kind-hearted, genial, and generous to a fault.  He had always some unfortunate friend living on him, some Bohemian of literature under a cloud.

I entered the office and found him, and great was his amazement!  “Que diable, mon ami, faistu ici dans cette galère?” was his greeting.  I explained the circumstances in detail.  He at once exclaimed, “Come and live here with me.  General Whipple is my brother-in-law, and he will be p. 281here in a few days and live with us.  He’ll make it all right.”  “Here, Jim!” he cried to a great six-foot man of colour—“run round to the hotel and bring this gentleman’s luggage!”

There I remained for a very eventful month.  Paxton had entered with the conquerors, and had just seized on the house.  I may indeed say that we seized on it, as regards any right—I being accepted as hail-fellow-well-met, and as a bird of the same feather.  In it was a piano and a very good old-fashioned library.  It was like Paxton to loot a library.  He had had his pick of the best houses, and took this one, “niggers included,” for the servants, by some odd freak, preferred freedom with Paxton to slavery with their late owner.  This gentleman was a Methodist clergyman, and Paxton found among his papers proofs that he had been concerned in a plot to burn Cincinnati by means of a gang of secret incendiaries.

Whenever the blacks realised the fact that a Northern man was a gentleman—they all have marvellous instincts for this, and a respect for one beyond belief—they took to him with a love like that of bees for a barrel of syrup.  I have experienced this so often, and in many cases so touchingly, that I cannot refrain from recording it.  Among others who thus took to me was the giant Jim, who was unto Paxton and me as the captive of our bow and spear, albeit an emancipated contraband.  When the Southerners defied General Butler to touch their slaves, because they were their “property” by law, the General replied by “confiscating” the property by what Germans call Faustrecht (or fist-right) as “contraband of war.”

This Jim, the general waiter and butler, was a character, shrewd, clever, and full of dry humour.  When I was alone in the drawing-room of an evening, he would pile up a great wood-fire, and, as I sat in an arm-chair, would sit or recline on the floor by the blaze and tell me stories of his slave life, such as this:—

p. 282“My ole missus she always say to me, ‘Jim, don’ you ever have anything to do with dem Yankees.  Dey’re all pore miserable wile wretches.  Dey lib in poverty an’ nastiness and don’ know nothin’.’  I says to her, ‘It’s mighty quare, missus.  I can’t understan’ it.  Whar do all dem books come from?  Master gits em from de Norf.  Who makes all our boots an’ clothes and sends us tea an’ everythin’?  Dey can’t all be so pore an’ ignoran’ ef dey writes our books an’ makes everythin’ we git.’  ‘Jim,’ she says, ‘you’re a fool, an’ don’ understan’ nothin’.’  ‘Wery good, missus,’ says I, but I thinked it over.  All we do is to raise cotton, an’ dey make it into cloff, which we hav’n’t de sense to do.”

I believe that I give this word for word.  And Jim, as I found, was a leading mind among the blacks.

I had a letter of introduction from Mr. Lea to Horace Harrison, who was the State Attorney for Tennessee.  At this time his power was very great, for he had in his hands the disposition of all the estates of all the rebels in Tennessee.  He was the type of a Southwestern gentleman.  He reminded me very much of my old Princeton friends, and when I was in his office smoking a pipe, I felt as if I were in college again.  I liked him very much.  One morning I called, and after some deliberation he said, “You are a lawyer, are you not?” I replied that I had studied law under Judge Cadwallader.

“Then I should like to consult with you as a lawyer.  I have a very difficult case to deal with.  There is a law declaring that all property belonging to rebels shall be seized and held for one year.  Now, here is a man whose estate I have held for six months, who has come in and declared his allegiance, and asks for his lands.  And I believe that before long, unless he comes in now, they will be almost ruined.  What shall I do?”

“It appears to me,” I replied, “that if the disposal of these lands is in your hands, you must be supposed to exert p. 283some will and discretion.  Stat pro ratione voluntas is a good axiom here.  We are not at all in statu quo ante bellum—in fact, the war is not at an end, nor decided.  Your duty is to act for the good of the country, and not simply to skin the enemy like a bushwhacker, but to pacify the people.  Victor volentes per populos dat jura—laws should always be mildly interpreted.  In your case, considering the very critical condition of the country, I should in equity give the man his property, and take his oath of allegiance.  Severe measures are not advisable—quod est violentum, non est durabile.”

This is, I believe, pretty accurately what I said.  That evening, as I was sitting with General Whipple, he amazed me by addressing me exactly as Mr. Harrison had done in the morning.

“I say, Leland, you’re a lawyer, and I want your advice.  There are six warehouses here, and I want them badly for military stores.  But Horace Harrison says that I can’t have them, because he holds them for the United States.  What am I to do?”

“General Whipple,” I replied, “is this town under military occupation in time of war, or is it not?”

“Most decidedly it is.”

“So I should think from the way your patrols bother me.  And if such is the case, all things must yield to military wants.  Where we have no legal principles or courts to decide, we must fall back on legal axioms.  And here the law is clear and explicit, for it says, Inter arma leges silent—the laws are suspended in warfare.”

“A magnificent saying!” exclaimed the General admiringly.  “Ah! you ought to be in the Supreme Court.”  And seizing a pen he wrote to the State Attorney:—

Sir: This town, being but recently captured from the enemies of the United States, is, of course, under military occupation, which renders absolutely necessary for military purpose many temporary seizures and uses, such as that of the six warehouses referred to in our late correspondence.  p. 284As regards legal precedent and principle, I need not remind one of your learning that—(I say, Leland, how do you spell that Latin?—I-n-t-e-r—yes, I’ve got it)—Inter arma silent leges.”

I am afraid that Horace Harrison, when he got that letter, suspected that I had been acting as counsel for both sides.  However, as I took no fee, my conscience was at rest.  I think that I was of great use to General Whipple at that time, and, as he said one day, an unofficial secretary.  Great and serious matters passed through our hands (for the General and Harrison were taking the lead in virtually reforming the whole frontier or debatable land), and these grand affairs were often hurried through “like hot cakes.”  My slender legal attainments were several times in requisition on occasions when the head of the Supreme Court would have been a more appropriate referee.  I discovered, however, that there was really a department of law in which I might have done good work.  Questions of very serious importance were often discussed and disposed of among us three with very great economy of time and trouble.  And here I may say—“excuse the idle word”—that I wonder that I never in all my life fell into even the most trifling diplomatic or civil position, when, in the opinion of certain eminent friends, I possess several qualifications for such a calling—that is, quickness in mastering the legal bearings of a question, a knowledge of languages and countries, readiness in drawing up papers, and an insatiable love of labour, which latter I have not found to be always possessed by the accomplished gentlemen whom our country employs abroad.

I may here narrate a curious incident which touched and gratified me.  When all the slaves in Nashville were set free by the entrance of our troops, the poor souls, to manifest their joy, seized a church (nobody opposing), and for three weeks held heavy worship for twenty-four hours per diem.  But not a white soul was allowed to enter—the real and deeply-concealed reason being that Voodoo rites (which p. 285gained great headway during the war) formed a part of their devotion.  However, I was informed that an exception would be made in my case, and that I was free to enter.  And why?  Had Jim surmised, by that marvellous intuition of character which blacks possess, that I had in me “the mystery”?  Now, to-day I hold and possess the black stone of the Voodoo, the possession of which of itself makes me a grand-master and initiate or adept, and such an invitation would seem as natural as one to a five-o’clock tea elsewhere; but I was not known to any one in Nashville as a “cunjerer,” and the incident strikes me as very curious.

Apropos of marvels, many of the blacks can produce in their throats by some strange process sounds, and even airs, resembling those of the harmonicon, or musical box, one or the other or both.  One evening in Nashville, in a lonely place, I heard exquisite music, which I thought must be that of a superior hand-organ from afar.  But, to my amazement, I could discover none; there were only two black boys in the street.  Alexis Paxton, the son of my host, explained to me that what I heard was unquestionably music made by those ebony flutes of boys, and that there were some wonderful performers in the city.  I have listened to the same music at a public exhibition.  I greatly wonder that I have never heard of this kind of music in Europe or the East.  It is distinctly instrumental, not vocal in its tones.  It has the obvious recommendation of economy, since by means of it a young lady could be performer and pianoforte all in one, which was indeed the beginning of the invention in Syrinx, who was made into a pan-pipe, which as a piano became the great musical curse (according to Heine) of modern times, and by which, as I conjecture, the fair Miss Reed or Syrinx revenges herself on male humanity.  By the way, the best singer of “Che faro senza Euridice” whom I ever heard was a Miss Reed, a sister of Mrs. Paran Stevens.

I had a very pleasant time with Paxton, and I know right well that I was no burden on him, but a welcome friend.  p. 286Au reste, there was plenty of room in the house, and abundant army stores to be had for asking, and one or two rare acquaintances.  One of these was a Southern officer, now a general, who had come over to our side and fought, as the saying was, with a rope round his neck.  He was terribly hated by the rebels, which hate he returned with red-hot double compound interest—for a renegade is worse than ten Turks.  He was the very type of a grim, calm old Border moss-trooper.  He lived in his boots, and never had an ounce of luggage.  One evening General Whipple (always humane and cultivated, though as firm as an iron bar) said to him before me, “I really don’t know what to do with many of my rebel prisoners.  They dress themselves in Federal uniforms for want of other clothes; they take them from the dead on the battlefield, and try to pass themselves off for Federals.  It is very troublesome.”

“No trouble to me,” replied the other.

“And how do you do with them?”

“Shoot them as spies.  Why, only last week I got four dozen of them, and in less than four minutes I had them all laid out stiff in the road.”

The reader need not imagine that the general here romanced or exaggerated.  At that very moment the massacres and murders which were going on within three miles of us were beyond belief.  The bands of guerillas or bushwhackers which swept the country murdered in cold blood all who fell into their hands, and the Confederate soldiers often did the same.  There resulted, of course, a deadly hatred on both sides, and the most unscrupulous retaliation.

I could fill a book with the very interesting observations which I made in Nashville.  And here I call attention to a very strange coincidence which this recalls.  During the previous year I had often expressed a great desire to be in some State during its transition from Confederacy to Unionism, that I might witness the remarkable social and political paradoxes and events which would result, and I had often p. 287specified Tennessee as the one above all others which I should prefer to visit for this purpose.  And I had about as much idea that I should go to the moon as there.  But prayers are strangely granted at strange hours—plus impetravi quam fuissem ausus—and I was placed in the very centre of the wheel.  This very remarkable fulfilment of a wish, and many like it, though due to mere chance, naturally made an impression on me, for no matter how strong our eyesight may be, or our sense of truth, we are all dazed when coming out of darkness into light, and all the world is in that condition now.  No matter how completely we exchange the gloom of supernaturalism for the sunlight of science, phantoms still seem to flit before our eyes, and, what is more bewildering still, we do not as yet know but what these phantoms may be physical facts.  Perhaps the Voodoo stone may have the power to awaken the faith which may move the vital or nervous force, which may act on hidden subtler forms of electricity and matter, atoms and molecules.  Ah! we have a great deal to learn!

Through General Whipple’s kind aid the brothers Colton were at once brought up from the front.  With them and Captain Paxton we went to Murfreesboro, and at once called on the general in command, whose name I have forgotten.  He struck me as a grim, brave old commander, every inch a soldier.  While we conversed with him a sergeant entered, a man who looked as if he lived in the saddle, and briefly reported that a gang of guerillas were assembled at a certain place some miles away—I forget how far, but the distance was traversed in an incredibly short time.  The general issued orders for a hundred cavalry to go at once and “get” them.  They “got” them, killing many, and the next morning, on looking from my window, I saw the victors ride into the courtyard, many of them with their captives tied neck and heels, like bags of corn, over the cruppers of the horses.  A nice night’s ride they must have had!  But the choice was between death and being cruppered, and they preferred the p. 288latter to coming a cropper.  Strange that the less a man has to live for the more he clings to life.

The general thought that if he gave us a corporal and four men, and if we were well armed, that we might go out on the Bole Jack road and return unharmed, “unless we met with any of the great gangs of bushwhackers.”  But he evidently thought, as did General Whipple, who did not heed a trifle by any means, that we were going into the lion’s jaws.  So the next morning, equo iter ingredi, I rode forth.  I had some time before been appointed aide-de-camp to Governor Pollock, of Pennsylvania, with the rank of colonel, and had now two captains and a corporal with his guard.  It was a rather small regiment.

We heard grim stories that morning as to what had taken place all around us within almost a few hours.  Three Federal pickets had been treacherously shot while on guard the night before; the troops had surprised a gang of bushwhackers holding a ball, and firing through the windows, dropped ten of them dead while dancing; two men had been murdered by --- --- and his gang.  This was a noted guerilla, who was said to have gone south with the Confederate army, but who was more generally believed to have remained in hiding, and to have committed most of the worst outrages and murders of late.

At the first house where we stopped in the woods there lay a wounded man, one of the victims of the dance the night before.  The inmates were silent, but not rude to us.  I offered a man whisky, but he replied, “I don’t use it.”  We rode on.  Once there was an alarm of “bushwhackers.”  I should have forgotten it but for the memory of the look of Baldwin Colton’s eyes, the delighted earnestness of a man or of a wild creature going to fight.  He and his brother had hunted and fought guerillas a hundred times, perhaps much oftener, for it was a regular daily service at the front.  Once during a retreat, Baldwin (eighteen or nineteen years of age) fell out of rank so often to engage in hand-to-hand sword p. 289conflicts with rebel cavalrymen, that his brother detached four to take him prisoner and keep him safe.  Daring spirits among our soldiers often became very fond of this kind of duelling, in which the rebs were not a whit behind them, and two of the infantry on either side would, under cover of the bushes, aim and pop away at one another perhaps for hours, like two red Indians.

I have forgotten whether it was with extra whisky, coffee, or money that we specially gratified our corporal and guard; but Baldwin, who was “one of ’em,” informed me that they enjoyed this little outing immensely, just like a picnic, and had a good time.  From which it may be inferred that men’s ideas of enjoyment are extremely relative.  It could not have been in the dodging of guerillas—to that they were accustomed; perhaps it was the little extra ration, or the mystery of the excursion, for they were much puzzled to know what I wanted, why I examined the road and rocks, and all so strangely, and went into the very worst place in all the land to do so.  Baldwin Colton himself had been so knocked about during the war, and so starved as a prisoner in Southern hands, that he looked back on a sojourn in that ergastulum, Libby Prison, as rather an oasis in his sad experiences.  “It wasn’t so bad a place as some, and there was good company, and always something to eat.”  The optimist of Candide was a Mallock in mourning compared to this.

That night we came to somebody’s plantation.  I forget his name, but he was a Union man, probably a very recent acquisition, but genial.  He had read the Knickerbocker, and knew my name well, and took good care of us.  In the morning I offered him ten dollars for our night’s lodging, which was, in the opinion of my two captains, stupendously liberal, as soldiers never paid.  Our host declined it like a Southern planter, on the ground that he never sold his hospitality.  So I put the money into the hand of one of his pretty children as a present.  But as we rode forth we were called back, and reminded that we had forgotten to pay for p. 290the soldiers!  I gave another five-dollar greenback and rode away disgusted.  And at the gate a negro girl begged us to give her a “dalla” (dollar) to buy a fish-line.  It all came from my foolish offer to pay.  Gratitude is a sense of further benefits to be bestowed.

The place where the oil had been seen was near a conical rocky hill called Grindstone Knob.  We examined carefully and found no trace of it.  The geology of the country was unfavourable, much flint and conglomerate, if I remember, and wanting in the signs of coal, shales, &c., and “faults” or ravines.  I may be quite wrong, but such was my opinion.  No one who lived thereabout had ever heard of “ile.”  Once I asked a rustic if any kind of oil was found in the neighbourhood in springs.  His reply was, “What! ile come up outer the ground like water!  H---!  I never heard of sitch a thing.”  There was no oil.

At the foot of Grindstone Knob was a rather neat, small house, white, with green blinds.  We were somewhat astonished to learn from a negro boy, who spoke the most astonishingly bad English, that this was the home of Mas’ --- ---.  Yes, this was the den of the wolf himself, and I had no doubt that he was not far off.  There was a small cotton plantation round about.

We entered, and were received by a good-looking, not unladylike, but rather fierce-eyed young woman and her younger sister.  It was Mrs. ---.  The two had been to a lady’s seminary in Nashville, and played the piano for us.  I felt that we were in a strange situation, and now and then walked to the window and looked out, listening all the time suspiciously to every sound.  It was easy enough for Mrs. ---, the brigand’s wife, to perceive from my untanned complexion that I had not been in the field, and was manifestly no soldier.  “You look like an officer,” she said to Captain Colton, “and so does that one, but what is he?” meaning me by this last.  We had dinner—roast kid—and when we departed I gave the dame five dollars, having p. 291the feeling that I could not be indebted to thieves for a dinner.

We had gone but a little distance when we saw two bushwhackers with guns, and gave chase, but they disappeared in the bushes, much to the grief of our men, who would have liked either to shoot them or to bring them in.  Then the corporal told us that while we were at dinner’s “faithful blacks” had informed his men that “Mas’ had been at home ever since Crismas”; that at eleven o’clock every night they assembled at the house and thence went out marauding and murdering.

I paused, astonished and angry.  It was almost certain that the bushwhacker had been during dinner probably in the cellar under our feet.  The guerillas had great fear of our regular soldiers; two of the latter were a match at any time for half-a-dozen of the former, as was proved continually.  Should I go back and hang --- up over his own door?  I was dying to do it, but we had before us a very long ride through the Cedar Barrens, the sun was sinking in the west, and we had heard news which made it extremely likely that a large band of guerillas would be in the way.

That resolve to go actually saved our lives, for I heard the next day that a hundred and fifty of these free murderers had gone on our road just after us.  This fact was at once transferred to the Northern newspapers, that “on --- a hundred and fifty bushwhackers passed over the Bole Jack road.”  Which was read by my wife and father, who knew that on that very day I was on that road, to their great apprehension.

I never shall forget the dismal appearance of the Cedar Barrens.  The soil was nowhere more than two inches deep, and the trees which covered it by millions had all died as soon as they attained a height of fifteen or twenty feet.  Swarms of ill-omened turkey-buzzards were the only living creatures visible “like foul lemurés flitting in the gloom.”

Riding over the battlefield the Coltons and Paxton p. 292pointed out many things, for they had all been in it severely.  At one place, Major Rosengarten, a brother of my old Paris fellow-student, had had a sabre-fight with a rebel, and they told me how Rosengarten’s sword, being one of the kind which was issued by contract in the earlier days of the war, bent and broke like a piece of tin.  Hearing a ringing sound Baldwin jumped from his horse, picked up a steel ramrod and gave it to me for a cane.

As we approached Murfreesboro’ I met a genial, daring soldier, one Major Hill, whom I had seen before.  He had with him a hundred and fifty cavalry.  “Where are you going so late by night?” I said.

He replied, “I am after that infernal scoundrel, --- ---.  My scouts have found out pretty closely his range.  I am going to divide my men into tens and scatter them over the country and then close in.”

“Major,” I replied, “I will tell you just where to lay your hand at once, heavy on him.  Do you know Grindstone Knob and a white house with green windows at its foot?”

“I do.”

“Well, be there at exactly eleven to-night, and you’ll get him.  I have been there and learned it from the niggers.”

“Well, I declare that you are a good scout, Mr. Leland!” cried the Major in amazement.  “What can I do to thank you?”

“Well, Major Hill,” I said, “I have one thing to request: that is, if you get ---, don’t parole him.  Shoot him at once; he is a red-handed murderer.”

“I will shoot him,” said the Major, and rode forth into the night with his men.  But whether he ever got --- I never knew, though according to the calculations of the Coltons, who were extremely experienced in such matters, “Massa ---” had not more than one chance in a thousand to escape, and Hill was notoriously a good guerilla-hunter and a man of his word.

I believe that at the plantation our men had camped out.  p. 293At Murfreesboro’ we returned them to the general, and I took the Coltons to a hotel, which was so very rough that I apologised for it, while Baldwin said it seemed to him to be luxurious beyond belief, and that it was the first night for eighteen months in which he had slept in a bed.  In the morning I wanted a spur, having lost one of mine, and there was brought to me a large boxful of all kinds of spurs to choose from, which had been left in the house at one time or another during the war.

I did not remain long in Nashville after returning thither.  I had instructions to go to Louisville, Kentucky, and there consult with a certain merchant as to certain lands.  General Whipple accompanied me to the “depôt,” which was for the time and place as much of an honour as if Her Majesty were to come to see me off at Victoria Station.  There was many and many a magnate in those days and there, who would have given thousands to have had his ear as Paxton and I had it.

One night we were in the side private box at the theatre in Nashville.  Couldock, whom I had known well many years before, was on the stage.  The General was keeping himself deeply in the shade to remain unseen.  He remarked to Paxton that he wanted a house for his family, who would soon arrive, and could not find one, for they were all occupied.  This one remark shows the man.  I wonder how long General Butler would have hesitated to move anybody!

Captain Paxton knew everything and everybody.  With a quick glance from his keen dark eyes he exclaimed—

“I’ve got it!  Do you see that fat man laughing so heartily in the pit?  He has a splendid house; it would just suit you; and he’s a d---d old rebel.  I know enough about him to hang him three times over.  He has” (here followed a series of political iniquities).  “Voilà votre affaire.”

“And how is it that he has kept his house?” asked the General.

p. 294“He sent the quartermaster a barrel of whisky, or something of that sort.”

The General looked thoughtfully at the fat man as the latter burst into a fresh peal of laughter.  I thought that if he had known what was being said in our box that laugh would have died away.

I do not know whether the General took the house.  I think he did.  I left for Louisville.  There I saw the great merchant, who invited me to his home to supper and consulted with me.  His daughters were rebels and would not speak to me.  He had a great deal of property in Indiana, which might be oil-lands.  If I would visit it and report on it, he would send his partner with me to examine it.  I consented to go.

This partner, Mr. W., was a young man of agreeable, easy manners.  With him I went to Indianapolis, and thence by “stages,” waggons, or on horseback through a very dismal country in gloomy winter into the interior of the State.  I can remember vast marshy fields with millions of fiddler crabs scuttling over them, and more mud than I had ever seen in my life.  The village streets were six inches deep in soft mud up to the doors and floors of the houses.  At last we reached our journey’s end at a large log-house on a good farm.

I liked the good man of the house.  He said to us, after a time, that at first he thought we were a couple of stuck-up city fellows, but had found to his joy that we were old-fashioned, sensible people.  There was no sugar at his supper-table, but he had three substitutes for it—“tree-sweetnin’, bee-sweetnin’, and sorghum”—that is, maple sugar, honey, and the molasses made from Chinese maize.  Only at a mile’s distance there was a “sugar-camp,” and we could see the fires and hear the shouts of the people engaged night and day in making sugar from the trees.

He told me that on the hills in sight a mysterious light often wandered.  During the Revolutionary war some one p. 295had buried a barrelful of silver plate and money, and over it flitted the quivering silver flame, but no one could ever find the spot.

The next day I examined the land.  There was abundance of fossiliferous limestone, rich in petrifactions of tertiary shells, also cartloads of beautiful geodes or round flint balls, which often rattled, and which, when broken, were encrusted with white or purple amethystine crystals.  I decided that there were places where oil might be found, though there was certainly no indication of it.  I believe that my conjecture subsequently proved to be true, and that Indiana has shown herself to be a wise virgin not without oil.

On the afternoon of the next day, riding with my guide, I found that I had left my blanket at a house miles behind.  I offered the man a large price to return and bring it, which he did.  While waiting by the wood, in a dismal drizzle, I saw a log cabin and went to it for shelter.  Its only inmate was a young woman, who, seeing me coming, hastily locked the door and rushed into the neighbouring woods.  When the guide returned I expressed some astonishment at the flight; he did not.  With a very grave expression he asked me, “Don’t the gals in your part of the country allays break for the woods when they see you a-coming?”  “Certainly not,” I replied.  To which he made answer, “Thank God, our gals here hev got better morrils than yourn.”

We returned to St. Louis.  There I was shown the immensely long tomb of Porter the Kentucky giant.  This man was nine feet in height!  I had seen him alive long before in Philadelphia.  I made several interesting acquaintances in St. Louis, the Athens of the West.  But I must hurry on.

I went to Cincinnati, where I found orders to wait for Mr. Lea.  A syndicate had been formed in Providence, Rhode Island, which had purchased a great property in Cannelton, West Virginia.  This consisted of a mountain in which there was an immense deposit of cannel coal.  Cannelton was very p. 296near the town of Charleston, which is at the junction of the Kanawha (a tributary of the Ohio) and Elk rivers.

I waited a week at the hotel in Cincinnati for Mr. Lea.  It was a weary week, for I had no acquaintances and made none.  Never in my life before did I see so many Sardines, or Philistines of the dullest stamp as at that hotel.  But at last Mr. Lea came with a party of ladies and gentlemen.  A small steamboat was secured, and we went up the Ohio.  The voyage was agreeable and not without some incidents.  There was a freshet in the river, and one night, taking a short cut over a cornfield, the steamboat stuck fast—like Eve—in an apple-tree.

One day one of the party asked me what was the greatest aggregate deposit of coal known in England.  I could not answer.  A few hours after we stopped at a town in Kentucky.  There I discovered by chance some old Patent Office reports, and among them all the statistics describing the coal mines in England.  When we returned to the boat I told my informant that the largest deposit in England was just half that of Cannelton, and added many details.  Mr. Lea was amazed at my knowledge.  I told him that I deserved no credit, for I had picked it up by chance.  “Yes,” he replied, “and how was it that you chanced to read that book?  None of us did.  Such chances come to inquiring minds.”

It also chanced that this whole country abounded in signs of petroleum.  It was found floating on springs.  The company possessed rights of royalty on thousands of acres on Elk River, which was as yet in the debatable land, harassed by rebels.  These claims, however, were “run out,” and needed to be renewed by signatures from the residents.  They were in the hands of David Goshorn, who kept the only “tavern” or hotel in Charleston, and he asked $5,000 for his rights.  There was another party in the field after them.

I verily believe that David Goshorn sold the right to me because he played the fiddle and I the guitar, and because he did not like the rival, who was a Yankee, while I was a congenial p. 297companion.  Many a journey had we together, and as I appreciated him as a marked character of odd oppositions, we got on admirably.

In Cannelton I went down into a coal mine and risked my life strangely in ascending a railway.  The hill is 1,500 feet in height, and on its face is a railway which ascends at an angle of 15°, perhaps the steepest in America.  I ascended in it, and soon observed that of the two strands of the iron cable which drew it one was broken.  The very next week the other broke, and two men were killed by an awful death, they and the car falling a thousand feet to the rocks below.

The next week we returned to Cincinnati, and thence to Philadelphia.  On my way from New York to Providence I became acquainted in the train with a modest, gentlemanly man, who told me he was a great-grandson or descendant of Thomson who wrote the “Seasons.”  I thought him both great and grand in an incident which soon occurred.  A burly, bull-necked fellow in the car was attacked with an epileptic fit.  He roared, kicked, screamed like a wildcat; and among fifty men in the vehicle, I venture to say that only Thomson and I, in a lesser degree, showed any plain common sense.  I darted at the epileptic, grappled with him, held him down by what might be called brutal kindness, for I held his head down, while I sat on his arm and throttled him sans merci—I avow it—and tore off in haste his neckcloth (his neck was frightfully swelled), while Thomson brought cold water from the “cooler,” with which we bathed his face freely, and chafed his pulse and forehead.  Little by little he recovered.  The other passengers, as usual, did nothing, and a little old naval officer, who had been fifty years in service (as Thomson told me), simply kicked and screamed convulsively, “Take him away! take him away!”  The epileptic was George Christy, the original founder of the Christy Minstrels.  I can never think of this scene without exclaiming, “Vive Thomson!” for he was the only man among us who displayed quiet self-possession and savoir faire.  As for me, my p. 298“old Injun” was up, and I had “sailed in” for a fight by mere impulse.  Vive Thomson!  Bon sang ne peut mentir.

I went to Providence, where I was empowered to return to Cannelton to pay Goshorn $5,000, and renew the leases on Elk River.  I should have to travel post to anticipate the Yankee.  It was not concealed from me that even if I succeeded, I had before me a very dangerous and difficult task.  But after what I had already gone through with I was ready for anything.  I was really developing rapidly a wild, reckless spirit—the “Injun” was coming out of me.  My old life and self had vanished like dreams.  Only now and then, in the forests or by torrents, did something like poetry revisit me; literature was dead in me.  Only once did I, in a railway train, compose the “Maiden mit nodings on.”  I bore it in my memory for years before I wrote it out.

I arrived in Philadelphia.  The next morning I was to rise early and fly westward.  No time to lose.  Before I rose, my sister knocked at the door and told us the awful news that President Lincoln had been murdered!

As I went to the station I saw men weeping in the streets, and everybody in great grief, conversing with strangers, as if all had lost a common relation.  Everywhere utter misery!  I arrived in Pittsburg.  It was raining, and the black pall of smoke which always clothes the town was denser than ever, and the long black streamers which hung everywhere as mourning made the whole place unutterably ghastly.  In the trains nothing but the murder was spoken of.  There was a young man who had been in the theatre and witnessed the murder, which he described graphically and evidently truthfully.

I reached Cincinnati, and as soon as possible hurried on board the steamboat.  We went along to Charleston, and it will hardly be believed that I very nearly missed the whole object of my journey by falling asleep.  We had but one more very short distance to go, when, overcome by fatigue, I dropped into a nap.  Fortunately I was awakened by the last p. 299ringing of the bell, and, seizing my carpet-bag, ran ashore just as the plank was to be withdrawn.

I went directly to Goshorn’s hotel.  He was a stout, burly man, shrewd in his way, good-natured, but not without temper and impulses.  He looked keenly after business, played the fiddle, and performed a few tricks of legerdemain.  He had a ladylike wife, and both were very kind to me, especially after they came to know me pretty well.  The lady had a nice, easy horse, which ere long was lent me freely whenever I wanted to ride.  One day it was missing.  The master grieved.  They had named it after me in compliment.  “Goshorn,” I said, “in future I shall call you Horse-gone.”  But he was not pleased with the name.  However, it was recovered by a miracle, for the amount of horse-stealing which went on about us then was fabulous.

After a few days Goshorn and I prepared to go up Elk River, to renew the leases of oil and coal lands.  Now I must premise that at all times the man who was engaged in “ile” bore a charmed life, and was venerated by both Union men and rebels.  He could pass the lines and go anywhere.  At one time, when not a spy could be got into or out of Richmond to serve us, Goshorn seriously proposed to me to go with him into the city!  I had a neighbour named Fassit, an uncle of Theodore.  He had oil-wells in Virginia, and when the war begun work on them was stopped.  This dismayed the natives.  One morning there came to Mr. Fassit a letter imploring him to return: “Come back, o come agin and bore us some more wels.  We wil protec you like a son.  We dont make war on Ile.”  And I, being thus respected, went and came from the Foeman’s Land, and joined in the dreadful rebel-ry and returned unharmed, leading a charmed if not particularly charming life all winter and the spring, to the great amazement and bewilderment of many, as will appear in the sequence.

The upper part of Elk River was in the debatable land, or rather still in Slave-ownia or rebeldom, where a Union p. 300man’s life was worth about a chinquapin.  In fact, one day there was a small battle between me and home—with divers wounds and deaths.  This going and coming of mine, among and with rebels, got me into a droll misunderstanding some time after.  But I think that the real cause lay less in oil than in the simple truth that these frank, half-wild fellows liked me.  One said to me one day, “You’re onlike all the Northern men who come here, and we all like you.  What’s the reason?”  I explained it that he had only met with Yankees, and that as Pennsylvania lay next to Virginia, of course we must be more alike as neighbours.  But the cause lay in the liking which I have for Indians, gypsies, and all such folk.

Goshorn began by buying a dug-out poplar canoe sixty-four feet in length, and stocking it with provisions.  “Money won’t be of much use,” he said; “what we want chiefly is whisky and blue beads for presents.”  He hired two men who had been in the Confederate army, but who had absented themselves since the proceedings had become uninteresting.  These men took to me with a devotion which ended by becoming literally superstitious.  I am quite sure that, while naturally intelligent, anything like a mind stored with varied knowledge was something utterly unknown to them.  And as I, day by day, let fall unthinkingly this or that scrap of experience or of knowledge, they began to regard me as a miracle.  One day one of them, Sam Fox, said to me meaningly, that I liked curious things, and that he knew a nest where he could get me a young raven.  The raven is to an Indian conjuror what a black cat is to a witch, and I suppose that Sam thought I must be lonely without a familiar.  Which recalls one of the most extraordinary experiences of all my life.

During my return down the river, it was in a freshet, and we went headlong.  This is to the very last degree dangerous, unless the boatmen know every rock and point, for the dugout canoe goes over at a touch, and there is no life to be p. 301saved in the rapids.  Now we were flying like a swallow, and could not stop.  There was one narrow shoot, or pass, just in the middle of the river, where there was exactly room to an inch for a canoe to pass, but to do this it was necessary to have moonlight enough to see the King Rock, which rose in the stream close by the passage, and at the critical instant to “fend off” with the hand and prevent the canoe from driving full on the rock.  A terrible storm was coming up, thunder was growling afar, and clouds fast gathering in the sky.

The men had heard me talking the day before as to how storms were formed in circles, and it had deeply impressed them.  When Goshorn asked them what we had better do, they said, “Leave it all to Mr. Leland; he knows everything.”  I looked at the moon and saw that the clouds were not driving dead against it, but around while closing in, and I know not by what strange inspiration I added, “You will have just time to clear King Rock!”

It was still far away.  I laid down my paddle and drew my blanket round me, and smoked to the storm, and sang incantations to myself.  It was a fearful trial, actually risking death, but I felt no fear—only a dull confidence in fate.  Closer grew the clouds—darker the sky—when during the very last second of light King Rock came in sight.  Goshorn was ready with his bull-like strength and gave the push; and just as we shot clear into the channel it became dark as pitch, and the rain came down in a torrent.  Goshorn pitched his hat high into the air—aux moulins—and hurrahed and cried in exulting joy.

“Now, Mr. Leland, sing us that German song you’re always so jolly with—lodle yodle tol de rol de rol!”

From that hour I was Kchee-Bo-o-in or Grand Pow-wow to Sam Fox and his friends.  He believed in me, even as I believe in myself when such mad “spells” come over me.  One day he proved his confidence.  It was bright and sunshiny, and we were paddling along when we saw a “summer p. 302duck” swimming perhaps fifty yards ahead.  Sam was sitting in the bow exactly between me and the duck.  “Fire at it with your revolver!” cried Sam.

“It is too far away,” I replied, “and you are right in the way.”

Sam bent over sideways, glaring at me with his one strange eye.  It was just about as close a shot as was William Tell’s at the apple.  But I knew that reputation for nerve depended on it, so I fired.  As the duck rose it dropped a feather.

“I knew you’d hit!” cried Sam triumphantly.  And so I had, but I should not like to try that shot again.

Reflex action of the brain and secondary automatism!  It must be so—Haeckel, thou reasonest well.  But when the “old Injun” and my High-Dutch ancestor are upon me, I reason not at all, and then I see visions and dream dreams, and it always comes true, without the least self-deception or delusion.

It is a marvellous thing that in these canoes, which tip over so easily, men will pass over mill-dams ten or twelve feet high, as I myself have done many a time, without upsetting.  The manner of it is this.  The canoe is a log hollowed out.  This is allowed to pass over till it dips like a seesaw, or falls into the stream below.  It is a dangerous, reckless act, but generally succeeds.  One day Sam Fox undertook to shoot our dug-out over a fall.  So he paddled hard, and ran the canoe headlong to edge, he being in the bow.  But it stuck halfway, and there was my Samuel, ere he knew it, high in the air, paddling in the atmosphere, into which thirty feet of canoe was raised.

Meanwhile, the legal business and renewal of the leases and the payment of money was performed accurately and punctually.  Talk about manna in the wilderness! money in the wilderness came to the poor souls impoverished by the war as a thousandfold nicer.  But over and above that, half a pound of coffee or a drink of whisky would cause a thrill p. 303of delight.  One day, stopping at a logger’s camp, I gave a decent-looking man a tin cup full of whisky.  The first thing he did was to put it to the mouth of a toddling two-year-old child and it took a good pull.  I remonstrated with him for it, when he replied, “Well, you see, sir, we get it so seldom, that whisky is a kind o’ delicacy with us.”

Sometimes the log huts were twenty miles apart.  In such isolation there is no rivalry of ostentation, and men care only to live.  One day we came to a log house.  The occupant had several hundred acres of very good land, and only a half acre under cultivation.  He was absent at a county court for amusement.  All that I could see in the cabin was a rude seat, an iron pot and spoon, and a squirrel-gun.  There were two cavities or holes in the bare earth floor, in which the old man and his wife slept, each wrapped in a blanket.  Even our boatman said that such carelessness was unusual.  But all were ignorant of a thousand refinements of life of which the poorest English peasant knows something, yet every one of these people had an independence or pride far above all poverty.

One night we stopped at the house of a man who was said to possess $150,000 (£30,000) worth of land.  The house was well enough.  His two bare-legged daughters, girls of seventeen or eighteen, lounged about smoking pipes.  I gave one a cigar.  She replied, “I don’t keer if I do try it.  I’ve allays wanted to know what a cigar smokes like.”  But she didn’t like it.  Apropos of girls, I may say that there is a far higher standard of morals among these people than among the ignorant elsewhere.

It was indeed a wild country.  One day Goshorn showed me a hill, and a hunter had told him that when standing on it one summer afternoon he had seen in a marshy place the very unusual spectacle of forty bears, all wallowing together in the mud and playing at once.  Also the marks of a bear’s claws on a tree.  Game was plenty in this region.  All the time that I stayed with Goshorn we had every day at his p. 304well-furnished table bear’s meat, venison, or other game, fish, ham, chickens, &c.

There was a great deal of very beautiful scenery on Elk River, and some of its “incidents” were marvellously strange.  The hard sandstone rocks had worn into shapes resembling castles and houses, incredibly like buildings made by man.  One day I saw and copied a vast square rock through which ran to the light a perfect Gothic archway sixty feet high, with a long wall like the side of a castle, and an immense square tower.  There are the most natural-looking houses and Schlösser imaginable rising all alone in the forest.  Very often the summits of the hills were crowned with round towers.  On the Ohio River there is a group of these shaped like segments of a truncated cone, and “corniced” with another piece reversed, like this:

Round tower

These are called “Devil’s Tea-tables.”  I drew them several times, but could never give them the appearance of being natural objects.  It is very extraordinary how Nature seems to have mocked man in advance in these structures.  In Fingal’s Cave there is an absolutely original style of architecture.

The last house which we came to was the best.  In it dwelt a gentlemanly elderly man with two ladylike daughters.  His son, who was dressed in “store clothes,” had been a delegate to the Wheeling Convention.  But the war had p. 305borne hard on them, and for a long time everything which they used or wore had been made by their own hands.  They had a home-made loom and spinning-wheel—I saw several such looms on the river; they raised their own cotton and wool and maple sugar, and were in all important details utterly self-sustaining and independent.  And they did not live rudely at all, but like ladies and gentlemen, as really intelligent people always can when they are free.  The father had, not long before, standing in his own door, shot a deer as it looked over the garden gate at him.  Goshorn, observing that I attached some value to the horns (a new idea to him), secured them for himself.

A day or two after, while descending the river, we stopped to see an old hunter who lived on the bank.  He was a very shrewd, quaint old boy, “good for a novel.”  He examined Goshorn’s spectacles with so much interest, that I suspect it was really the first time in his life that he ever fully ascertained the “true inwardness and utilitarianism” of such objects.  He expressed great admiration, and said that if he had them he could get twice as many deer as he did.  I promised to send him a pair.  I begged from him deer-horns, which he gave me very willingly, expressing wonder that I wanted such rubbish, and at my delight.  And seeing that my companion had a pair, he said scornfully:

“Dave Goshorn, what do you know about such things?  What’s set you to gittin’ deer’s horns?  Give ’em to this here young gentleman, who understands such things that we don’t, and who wants ’em fur some good reason.”

I will do Goshorn the justice to say that he gave them to me for a parting present.  My room at his house was quite devoid of all decoration, but by arranging on the walls crossed canoe-paddles, great bunches of the picturesque locust-thorn, often nearly a foot in length, and the deer’s horns, I made it look rather more human.  But this arrangement utterly bewildered the natives, especially the maids, who naively asked me why I hung them old bones and thorns up in my room.  p. 306As this thorn is much used by the blacks in Voodoo, I suppose that it was all explained by being set down to my “conjurin’.”

The maid who attended to my room was a very nice, good girl, but one who could not have been understood in England.  I found that she gathered up and treasured many utterly worthless trifling bits of pen-drawing which I threw away.  She explained that where she came from on Coal River, anything like a picture was a great curiosity; also that her friends believed that all the pictures in books, newspapers, &c., were drawn by hand.  I explained to her how they were made.  When I left I offered her two dollars.  She hesitated, and then said, “Mr. Leland, there have been many, many gentlemen here who have offered me money, but I never took a cent from any man till now.  And I will take this from you to buy something that I can remember you by, for you have always treated me kindly and like a lady.”  In rural America such girls are really lady-helps, and not “servants,” albeit those who know how to get on with them find them the very best servants in the world; but they must be treated as friends.

I went up Elk River several times on horse or in canoe to renew leases or to lease new land, &c.  The company sent on a very clever and intelligent rather young man named Sandford, who had been a railroad superintendent, to help me.  I liked him very much.  We had a third, a young Virginian, named Finnal.  At or near Cannelton I selected a spot where we put up a steam-engine, and began to bore for oil.  It was very near the famous gas-well which once belonged to General Washington.  This well gave forth every week the equivalent of one hundred and fifty tons of coal.  It was utilised in a factory.  After I sunk our shaft it gave out; but I do not believe that we stopped it, for no gas came into our well.  Finnal was the superintendent of the well.  One day he nearly sat down—nudo podice—on an immense rattlesnake.  He had a little cottage and a fine horse.  He p. 307kept the latter in a stable and painted the door white, so that when waking in the night he could see if any horse-thief had opened it.  Many efforts were made to rob him of it.

At this time Lee’s army was disbanded, and fully one-half came straggling in squads up the valley to Charleston to be paroled.  David Goshorn’s hotel was simply crammed with Confederate officers, who slept anywhere.  With these I easily became friends; they seemed like Princeton Southern college mates.  Now I have to narrate a strange story.  One evening when I was sitting and smoking on the portico with some of these bons compagnons I said to one—

“People say that your men never once during the war got within sight of Harrisburg or of a Northern city.  But I believe they did.  One day when I was on guard I saw five men scout on the bank in full sight of it.  But nobody agreed with me.”

The officer laughed silently, and cried aloud to a friend with a broken arm in a sling, who lay within a room on a bed, “Come out here, L---.  Here is something which will interest you more than anything you ever heard before.”

He came out, and, having heard my story, said—

“Nobody ever believed your story, nor did anybody ever believe mine.  Mine is this—that when we were at Sporting Hill a corporal of mine came in and declared that he and his men had scouted into within full sight of Harrisburg.  I knew that the man told the truth, but nobody else would believe that any human being dared to do such a thing, or could do it.  And now you fully prove that it was done.”

There came to Goshorn’s three very interesting men with whom I became intimate.  One was Robert Hunt, of St. Louis.  He was of a very good Virginia family, had been at Princeton College, ran away in his sixteenth year, took to the plains as a hunter, and for twenty-three years had ranged the Wild West from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific.  At the end of the time an uncle in the Fur Company had helped him on, and he was now rich.  He was one of the p. 308most genial, gay, and festive, reckless yet always gentlemanly men I ever knew.  He expressed great astonishment, as he learned gradually to know me, at finding we were so congenial, and that I had so much “real Injun” in me.  His eyes were first opened to this great fact by a very singular incident, of which I can never think without pleasure.

Hunt, with two men who had been cavalry captains all through the war, and his friend Ross, who had long been an Indian trader, and I, were all riding up Elk Valley to look at lands.  We paused at a place where the road sloped sideways and was wet with rain.  As I was going to remount, I asked a German who stood by to hold my horse’s head, and sprang into the saddle.  Just at this critical instant—it all passed in a second—as the German had not heard me, my horse, feeling that he must fall over on his left side from my weight, threw himself completely over backward.  As quick as thought I jumped up on his back, put my foot just between the saddle and his tail, and took a tremendous flying leap so far that I cleared the horse.  I only muddied the palms of my gloves, on which I fell.

The elder cavalry captain said, “When I saw that horse go over backwards, I closed my eyes and held my breath, for I expected the next second to see you killed.”  But Robert Hunt exclaimed, “Good as an Injun, by God!”  And when I some time after made fun of it, he shook his head gravely and reprovingly, as George Ward did over the gunpowder, and said, “It was a magnificent thing!”

That very afternoon Hunt distinguished himself in a manner which was quite as becoming an aborigine.  I was acting as guide, and knowing that there was a ford across a tributary of the Elk, sought and thought I had found it.  But I was mistaken, and what was horrible, we found ourselves in a deep quicksand.  On such occasions horses become, as it were, insane, trying to throw the riders and then jump on them for support.  By good luck we got out of it soon, but there was an awful five minutes of kicking, plunging, p. 309splashing, and “ground and lofty” swearing.  I got across dry by drawing my legs up before me on the saddle, à la tailor, but the others were badly wet.  But no sooner had we emerged from the stream than Robert Hunt, bursting into a tremendous “Ho! ho!” of deep laughter, declared that he had shown more presence of mind during the emergency than any of us; for, brandishing his whisky flask, he declared that while his horse was in the flurry it occurred to him that the best thing he could do was to lighten the load, and he had therefore, with incredible presence of mind, drunk up all the whisky!

However, he afterwards confessed to me that the true reason was that, believing death was at hand, and thinking it a pity to die thirsty, he had drained the bottle, as did the old Indian woman just as she went over the Falls of Niagara.  Anyhow, the incorrigible vaurien had really emptied his flask while in the “quick.”

Though I say it, I believe that Hunt and I were a pretty well matched couple, and many a wild prank and Indian-like joke did we play together.  More than once he expressed great astonishment that I, a man grown up in cities and to literary pursuits, should be so much at home where he found me, or so congenial.  He had been at Princeton, and, ex pede Herculem, had a point whence to judge me, but it failed. [309]  His friend Ross was a quiet, sensible New Englander, who reminded me of Artemus Ward, or Charles Browne.  He abounded in quaint anecdotes of Indian experiences.

As did also a Mr. Wadsworth, who had passed half his life in the Far West as a surveyor among the Chippeways.  He had written a large manuscript of their legends, of which Schoolcraft made great use in his Algic book.  I believe that much of Longfellow’s Hiawatha owed its origin thus indirectly p. 310to Mr. Wadsworth.  In after years I wrote out many of his tales, as told to me, in articles in Temple Bar.

The country all about Charleston was primitively wild and picturesque, rocky, hilly, and leading to solitary life and dreams of sylvani and forest fairies.  There were fountained hills, and dreamy darkling woods, and old Indian graves, and a dancing stream, across which lay a petrified tree, and everywhere a little travelled land.  I explored it with Goshorn, riding far and wide into remote mountain recesses, to get the signatures in attestation of men who could rarely write, but on the other hand could “shoot their mark” with a rifle to perfection, and who would assuredly have placed such signature on me had I not been a holy messenger of Ile, and an angel of coming moneyed times.

One day we stopped at a farm-house in a wild, lonely place.  There was only an old woman there—one of the stern, resolute, hard-muscled frontier women, the daughters of mothers who had fought “Injuns”—and a calf.  And thereby hung a tale, which the three men with me fully authenticated.

The whole country thereabouts had been for four years so worried, harried, raided, raked, plundered, and foraged by Federals and Confederates—one day the former, the next the latter; blue and grey, or sky and sea—that the old lady had nothing left to live on.  Hens, cows, horses, corn, all had gone save one calf, the Benjamin and idol of her heart.

One night she heard a piteous baaing, and, seizing a broom, rushed to the now henless hen-house, in which she kept the calf, to find in it a full-grown panther attacking her pet.  By this time the old lady had grown desperate, and seizing the broom, she proceeded to “lam” the wild beast with the handle, and with all her heart; and the fiend of ferocity, appalled at her attack, fled.  I saw the calf with the marks of the panther’s claws, not yet quite healed; I saw the broom; and, lastly, I saw the old woman, the mother in Ishmael; whose face was a perfect guarantee of the truth of the story.  One of us suggested that the old lady should have p. 311the calf’s hide tanned and wear it as a trophy, like an Indian, which would have been a strange reversal of Shakespeare’s application of it, or to

“Hang a calf-skin on those recreant limbs.”

Then there came the great spring freshet in Elk River, which rose unusually high, fifty feet above its summer level.  It had come to within an inch or two of my floor, and yet I went to bed and to sleep.  By a miracle it rose no more, for I had a distinct conviction it would not, which greatly amazed everybody.  But many were drowned all about us.  The next day a man who professed bone-setting and doctoring, albeit not diplomaed, asked me to go with him and act as interpreter to a German patient who had a broken thigh.  While felling a tree far away in the forest, it thundered down on him, and kept him down for two or three days till he was discovered.  To get to him we went in a small canoe, and paddled ourselves with shingles or wooden tiles, used to cover roofs.  On the way I saw a man on a roof fiddling; only a bit of the roof was above water.  He was waiting for deliverance.  Many and strange indeed were all the scenes and incidents of that inundation, and marvellous the legends which were told of other freshets in the days of yore.

I never could learn to play cards.  Destiny forbade it, and always stepped in promptly to stop all such proceedings.  One night Sandford and friends sat down to teach me poker, when bang, bang, went a revolver outside, and a bullet buried itself in the door close by me.  A riotous, evil-minded darkey, who attended to my washing, had got into a fight, and was forthwith conveyed to the Bull-pen, or military prison.  I was afraid lest I might lose my shirts, and so “visited him” next day and found him in irons, but reading a newspaper at his ease.  From him I learned the address of “the coloured lady” who had my underclothing.

The Bull-pen was a picturesque place—a large log enclosure, full of strange inmates, such as wild guerillas in p. 312moccasins, grey-back Confederates and blue-coat Federals guilty of many a murder, arson, and much horse-stealing, desolate deserters, often deserving pity—the débris of a four years’ war, the crumbs of the great loaf fallen to the dirt.

Warm weather came on, and I sent to Philadelphia for a summer suit of clothes.  It came, and it was of a light grey colour.  At that time Oxford “dittos,” or a suit pareil partout, were unknown in West Virginia.  I was dressed from head to foot in Confederate grey.  Such a daring defiance of public opinion, coupled with my mysterious stealing into the rebel country, made me an object of awe and suspicion—a kind of Sir Grey Steal!

There was at that time in Charleston a German artillery regiment which really held the town—that is to say, the height which commanded it.  I had become acquainted with its officers.  All at once they gave me the cold shoulder and cut me.  My friend Sandford was very intimate with them.  One evening he asked their Colonel why they scorned me.  The Colonel replied—

“Pecause he’s a tamned repel.  Aferypody knows it.”

Sandford at once explained that I was even known at Washington as a good Union man, and had, moreover, translated Heine, adding other details.

“Gott verdammich—heiss!” cried the Colonel in amazement.  “Is dot der Karl Leland vot dranslate de Reisebilder?  Herr je!  I hafe got dat very pook here on mein table!  Look at it.  Bei Gott! here’s his name!  Dot is der crate Leland vot edit de Continental Magazine!  Dot moost pe a fery deep man.  Und I dink he vas a repel!”

The next morning early the Colonel sent his ambulance or army waggon to my hotel with a request that I would come and take breakfast with him.  It was a bit of Heidelberg life over again.  We punished Rheinwein and lager-beer in quantities.  There were old German students among the officers, and I was received like a brother.

At last Sandford and I determined to return to the East.  p. 313There was in the hotel a coloured waiter named Harrison.  He had been a slave, but “a gentleman’s gentleman,” was rather dignified, and allowed no ordinary white man to joke with him.  On the evening before my departure I said to him—

“Well, Harrison, I hope that you haven’t quite so bad an opinion of me as the other people here seem to have.”

He manifested at once a really violent emotion.  Dashing something to the ground, he cried—

“Mr. Leland, you never did anything contrary to a gentleman.  I always maintained it.  Now please tell me the truth.  Is it true that you’re a great friend of Jeff Davis?”

“Damn Jeff Davis!”  I replied.

“And you ain’t a major in the Confederate service?”

“I’m a clear-down Abolitionist, and was born one.”

“And you ain’t had no goings on with the rebels up the river to bring back the Confederacy here?”

“Devil a dealing.”

And therewith I explained how it was that I went unharmed up into the rebels’ country, and great was the joy of Harrison, who, as I found, had taken my part valiantly against those who suspected me.

There was a droll comedy the next day on board the steamboat on which I departed.  A certain Mr. H., who had been a rebel and recanted at the eleventh hour and become a Federal official, requested everybody on board not to notice me.  Sandford learned it all, and chuckled over it.  But the captain and mate and crew were all still rebels at heart.  Great was my amazement at being privately informed by the steward that the captain requested as a favour that I would sit by him at dinner and share a bottle of wine.  I did so, and while I remained on board was treated as an honoured guest.

And now I would here distinctly declare that, apart from my political principles, from which I never swerved, I always found the rebels—that is, Southern and Western men with p. 314whom I had had intimate dealings—without one exception personally the most congenial and agreeable people whom I had ever met.  There was not to be found among them what in England is known as a prig.  They were natural and gentlemanly, even down to the poorest and most uneducated.

One day Sam Fox came to me and asked me to use my influence with the Cannelton Company to get him employment at their works.

“Sam,” I replied, “I can’t do it.  It is only three weeks now, when you were employed at another place, that you tried to stuff the overseer into the furnace, and if the men had not prevented, you would have burned him up alive.”

“Yes,” replied Sam, “but he had called me a -- son --- of ---.”

“Very good,” I answered; “and if he had called me that, I should have done the same.  But I don’t think, if I had done it, I should ever have expected to be employed again on another furnace.  You see, Samuel, my son, that these Northern men have very queer notions—very.”

Sam was quite convinced.

At Cincinnati a trifling but droll incident occurred.  I do not set myself up for a judge of wines, but I have naturally a delicate sense of smell or flair, though not the extraordinary degree in which my brother possessed it, who never drank wine at all.  He was the first person who ever, in printed articles or in lectures, insisted that South New Jersey was suitable for wine-growing.  At the hotel Sandford asked me if I could tell any wine by the taste.  I replied No, but I would try; so they gave me a glass of some kind, and I said that honestly I could only declare that I should say it was Portugal common country wine, but I must be wrong.  Then Sandford showed the bottle, and the label declared it to be grown in Ohio.  The next day he came to me and said, “I believe that after all you know a great deal about wine.  I told the landlord what you said, and he laughed, arid said, ‘I had not the American wine which you called for, and so I p. 315gave you a cheap but unusual Portuguese wine.’”  This wine is neither white nor red, and tastes like sherry and Burgundy mixed.

At Cincinnati, Sandford proposed that we should return by way of Detroit and Niagara.  I objected to the expense, but he, who knew every route and rate by heart, explained to me that, owing to the competition in railway rates, it would only cost me six shillings ($1.50) more, plus $2.50 (ten shillings) from New York to Philadelphia.  So we departed.  In Detroit I called on my cousin, Benjamin Stimson (the S. of “Two Years before the Mast”), and found him a prominent citizen.  So, skirting along southern Canada, we got to Niagara, and thence to Albany and down the Hudson to New York, and so on to Philadelphia.

It seems to me now that at this time all trace of my former life and self had vanished.  I seemed to be only prompt to the saddle, canoe-paddle, revolver, steamboat, and railroad.  My wife said that after this and other periods of Western travel I was always for three weeks as wild as an Indian, and so I most truly and unaffectedly was.  I did not act in a foolish or disorderly manner at all, but Tennessee and Elk River were in me.  Robert Hunt and Sam Fox and many more had expressed their amazement at the amount of extremely familiar and congenial nature which they had found in me, and they were quite right.  Sam and Goshorn declared that I was the only Northern man whom they had ever known who ever learned to paddle a dug-out correctly; but as I was obliged to do this sometimes for fifteen hours a day nolens volens, it is not remarkable that I became an expert.

As regards the real unaffected feeling of wildness born to savage nature, life, and association, it is absolutely as different from all civilised feeling whatever as bird from fish; and it very rarely happens that an educated man ever knows what it is.  What there is of it in me which Indians recognise is, I believe, entirely due to hereditary endowment.

p. 316“Zum Wald, zum Wald, steht mir mein Sinn.
   So einzig, ach! so einzig hin.
Dort lebt man freundlich, lebt man froh,
   Und nirgends, nirgends lebt man so.”

It does not come from reading or culture—it comes of itself by nature, or not at all; nor has it over-much to do with thought.  Only in something like superstition can it find expression, but that must be childlike and sweet and sincere, and without the giggling with which such subjects are invariably received by ladies in society.

I went with my wife and her mother and sister to pass some time at Bethlehem, in Pennsylvania, which we did very pleasantly at a country inn.  It is a very interesting town, where a peculiar German dialect is generally spoken.  There was a very respectable wealthy middle-aged lady, a Pennsylvanian by birth, who avoided meeting us at table because she could not speak English.  And when I was introduced to her, I made matters worse by speaking to her naturally in broad South German, whereupon she informed me that she spoke Hoch-Deutsch!  But I made myself popular among the natives with my German, and our landlord was immensely proud of me.  I wasn’t “one of dem city fellers dat shames demselfs of de Dutch,” not I.  “Vy, I dells you vot, mein Gott! he’s proud of it!”

I ended the summer at beautiful Lenox, in Massachusetts, in the charming country immortalised in “Elsie Venner”; of which work, and my letter on it to Dr. Holmes, and my conversation with him thereanent, I might fill a chapter.  But “let us not talk about them but pass on.”  I returned to Philadelphia and to my father’s house, where I remained one year.

I had for a long time, at intervals, been at work on a book to be entitled the “Origin of American Popular Phrases.”  I had scissored from newspapers, collected from negro minstrels and Western rustics, and innumerable New England friends, as well as books and old songs and comic almanacs p. 317and the like, a vast amount of valuable material.  This work, which had cost me altogether a full year’s labour, had been accepted by a New York publisher, and was in the printer’s hands.  I never awaited anything with such painful anxiety as I did this publication, for I had never been in such straits nor needed money so much, and it seemed as if the more earnestly I sought for employment the more it evaded me.  And then almost as soon as my manuscript was in the printer’s hands his office was burned, and the work perished, for I had not kept a copy.

It was a great loss, but from the instant when I heard of it to this day I never had five minutes’ trouble over it, and more probably not one.  I had done my very best to make a good book and some money, and could do no more.  When I was a very small boy I was deeply impressed with the story in the “Arabian Nights” of the prisoner who knew that he was going to be set free because a rat had run away with his dinner.  So I, at the age of seven, announced to my father that I believed that whenever a man had bad luck, good was sure to follow, which opinion he did not accept.  And to this day I hold it, because, reckoning up the chances of life, it is true for most people.  At any rate, I derived some comfort from the fact that the accident was reported in all the newspapers all over the Union.

About the 1st of July, 1866, we left my father’s house to go to Cape May, where we remained for two months.  In September we went to a very good boarding-house in Philadelphia, kept by Mrs. Sandgren.  She possessed and showed me Tegner’s original manuscript of “Anna and Axel.”  I confess that I never cared over-much for Tegner, and that I infinitely prefer the original Icelandic Saga of Frithiof to his sago-gruel imitation of strong soup.

p. 318VI.  LIFE ON THE PRESS.  1866-1869.

I become managing editor of John W. Forney’s Press—Warwick the King-maker—The dead duck—A trip to Kansas in the old buffalo days—Miss Susan Blow, of St. Louis—The Iron Mountain of Missouri—A strange dream—Rattlesnakes—Kaw Indians—I am adopted into the tribe—Grand war-dance and ceremonies—Open-air lodgings—Prairie fires—In a dangerous country—Indian victims—H. M. Stanley—Lieutenant Hesselberger—I shoot a buffalo—Wild riding—In a herd—Indian white men—Ringing for the carriage with a rifle—Brigham the driver—General and Mrs. Custer—Three thousand miles in a railway car—How “Hans Breitmann’s” ballads came to be published—The publisher thinks that he cannot sell more than a thousand of the book—I establish a weekly newspaper—Great success—Election rioting—Oratory and revolvers—How the meek and lowly Republicans revolvered the Democrats—The dead duck and what befell him who bore it—I make two thousand German votes by giving Forney a lesson in their language—Freiheit und Gleichheit—The Winnebago Indian chief—Horace Greeley—Maretzek the Bohemian—Fanny Janauschek and the Czech language—A narrow escape from death on the Switchback—Death of my father—Another Western railway excursion—A quaint old darkey—Chicago—I threaten to raise the rent—General influence of Chicago—St. Paul, Minnesota—A seven days’ journey through the wilderness—The Canadian—Smudges—Indians—A foot journey through the woods—Indian pack-bearers—Mayor Stewart—I rifle a grave of silver ornaments—Isle Royale—My brother, Henry Perry Leland—The press—John Forney carries Grant’s election, and declares that I really did the work—The weekly press and George Francis Train—Grant’s appointments—My sixth introduction to the General—Garibaldi’s dagger.

We had not lived at Mrs. Sandgren’s more than a week when George Boker, knowing my need, spoke to Colonel p. 319John Forney, who was at that time not only Secretary of the Senate of the United States, but the proprietor of the Chronicle newspaper in Washington, of the Press in Philadelphia, “both daily,” as the Colonel once said, which very simple and commonplace expression became a popular by-word.  Colonel Forney wanted a managing editor for the Press, and, as I found in due time, not so much a man of enterprise and a leader—that he supplied—nor yet one to practically run the journal—that his son John, a young man of eighteen, supplied—so much as a steady, trustworthy, honest pivot on which the compass could turn during his absences—and that I supplied.  I must, to explain the situation, add gently that John, who could not help it considering his experiences, was, to put it mildly, a little irregular, rendering a steady manager absolutely necessary.  It was a great pity, for John the junior was extremely clever as a practical managing editor, remembering everything, and knowing—what I never did or could—all the little tricks, games, and wiles of all the reporters and others employed.

Colonel Forney was such a remarkable character, and had such a great influence for many years in American politics, that as I had a great deal to do with him—very much more than was generally known—at a time when he struck his greatest political coup, in which, as he said, I greatly aided him, I will here dwell on him a space.  Before I knew him I called him Warwick the King-maker, for it was generally admitted that it was to his intense hatred of Buchanan, added to his speech-making, editing, and tremendously vigorous and not always over-scrupulous intriguing, that “Ten-cent Jimmy” owed his defeat.  At this time, in all presidential elections, Pennsylvania turned the scale, and John Forney could and did turn Pennsylvania like a Titan; and he frankly admitted that he owed the success of his last turn to me, as I shall in time relate.

Forney’s antipathies were always remarkably well placed.  He hated Buchanan; also, for certain personal reasons, he p. 320hated Simon Cameron; and finally it came to pass that he hated Andrew Johnson with a hatred of twenty-four carats—an aquafortis detestation—and for a most singular cause.

One night when this “President by the pistol, and smallest potato in the American garden of liberty,” was making one of his ribald speeches, after having laid out Horace Greeley, some one in the crowd cried—

“Now give us John Forney!”

With an air of infinite contempt the President exclaimed—

“I don’t waste my powder on dead ducks.”

He had better have left that word unsaid, for it ruined him.  It woke Colonel John Forney up to the very highest pitch of his fighting “Injun,” or, as they say in Pennsylvania, his “Dutch.”  He had always been to that hour a genial man, like most politicians, a little too much given to the social glass.  But from that date of the dead duck he became “total abstinence,” and concentrated all his faculties and found all his excitement in vengeance hot and strong, without a grain of sugar.  In which I gladly sympathised and aided, for I detested Johnson as a renegade Copperhead, or rather venomous toad to the South, who wished with all his soul to undo Lincoln’s work and bring in the Confederacy.  And I believe, on my life and soul, that if John Forney had not defeated him, we should have had such disasters as are now inconceivable, the least of them being a renewal of the war.  Johnson had renegaded from the Confederacy because, being only a tailor, he had ranked as a “low white,” or something despised even by “quality” negroes.  The Southern aristocracy humbugged him by promising that if he would betray the Union he should be regarded as one of themselves, by which very shallow cheat he was—as a snob would be—easily caught, and in due time cast off.

I had been but a few weeks on the Press, and all was going on well, when one morning the Colonel abruptly asked me if I could start in the morning for Fort Riley, of which p. 321all I knew was that it constituted an extreme frontier station in Kansas.  There was to be a Kansas Pacific railway laid out, and a large party of railroad men intended to go as far as the last surveyor’s camp.  Of course, a few editors had been invited to write up the road, and these in turn sent some one in their place.  I knew at once that I should have something like the last year’s wild life over again, and I was delighted.  I borrowed John Forney’s revolver, provided an agate-point and “manifold paper” for duplicate letters to our “two papers, both daily,” and at the appointed hour was at the railway station.  There had been provided for us the director’s car, a very large and extremely comfortable vehicle, with abundance of velvet “settees” or divan sofas, with an immense stock of lobster-salad, cold croquettes, game, with “wines of every fineness,” and excellent waiters.  The excursion, indeed, cost £1,000; but it was made to pay, and that to great profit.

We were all a very genial, congenial party of easy-going geniuses.  There was Hassard, the “day editor” of the New York Tribune, who had been with me on the Cyclopædia, and to whom I was much attached, for he was a gentlemanly scholar, and withal had seen enough of life on the Tribune to hold his own with any man; and Captain William Colton, who had been with me in Tennessee; Robert Lamborn, who had studied science in Germany, and was now a railroad man, and many more who are recorded in my pamphlet, “Three Thousand Miles in a Railway Car,” and my old associate, Caspar Souder, of the Bulletin.  This excursion was destined, in connection with this pamphlet, to have a marvellous effect on my future life.

In every town where we paused—and our pauses were frequent, as we travelled very much on the “go-as-you-please” plan—we were received by the authorities with honour and speeches and invited to dinners or drinks.  Our conductors were courtesy itself.  One afternoon one of them on a rough bit of road said, “Gentlemen, whenever you wish to open a p. 322bottle of champagne, please to pull the cord and stop the train.  You can then drink without spilling your wine.”

So we went to Chicago and St. Louis, where we were entertained by Mr. Blow, and where I became acquainted with his daughter Susan.  She was then a beautiful blonde, and, as I soon found, very intelligent and cultured.  She was long years afterwards busy in founding philanthropic schools in St. Petersburg, Russia, when I was there—a singularly noble woman.  However, at this time neither of us dreamed of the school-keeping which we were to experience in later years.  At this soirée, and indeed for the excursion the next day, we had as a guest Mr. Walter, of the London Times.

The next day we had a special train and an excursion of ladies and gentlemen to visit the marvellous Knob or Iron Mountain.  This is an immense conical hill with a deep surrounding dale, beyond which rise other hills all of nearly solid iron.  Returning that evening in the train, a very strange event took place.  There was with us a genial, pleasant, larky young fellow, one of the famous family of the MacCooks.  When the war came on he was at college—went into the army, fought hard—rose to be captain, and then after the peace went back to the college and finished his studies.  This was the “event.”  We were telling stories of dreams; when it came to my turn I said:—

“In 1860 I had never been in Ohio, nor did I know anything about it.  One night—it was at Reading, Pennsylvania—I fell asleep, I dreamed that I woke up, rose from the bed, went to the match-box, struck a light, and while it burned observed the room, which was just the same as when I had retired.  The match went out.  I lit another, when what was my amazement to observe that everything in the room had changed its colour to a rich brown!  Looking about me, I saw on a kind of étagère scores of half-burned candles in candlesticks, as if there had been a ball.  I lighted nearly all of them.  Hearing a sound as of sweeping and the knocking of a broom-handle without, I went into the next room, which p. 323was the hall where the dance had been held.  A very stupid fellow was sweeping it out.  I asked him where I was.  He could not reply intelligently.  There came into the hall a bustling, pleasant woman, rather small, who I saw at a glance was the housekeeper.  She said something to the man as to the room’s being dark.  I remarked that there was light enough in my room, for I had lit all the candles.  She cried, laughing, ‘What extravagance!’  I answered, ‘My dear little woman, what does a candle or two signify to you?  Now please tell me where I am.  Last night I went to sleep in Reading, Pennsylvania.  Where am I now?’  She replied (and of this word I was not sure), ‘In Columbus, Ohio.’  I asked if there was any prominent man in the place who was acquainted with Philadelphia, and who might aid me to return.  She reflected, and said that Judge Duer and his two daughters (of whom I had never heard) had just returned from the East.”

Here MacCook interrupted me eagerly: “You were not in Columbus, but in Dayton, Ohio.  And it was not Judge Duer, but Judge Duey, with his two daughters, who was that summer in the East.”  I went on:—

“I left the room and went into the hall.  I came to the front door.  Far down below me I saw a winding river and a steamboat.”

Here MacCook spoke again: “That was surely Dayton.  I know the house and the view.  But it could not have been Columbus.”  I went on:—

“I went downstairs too far by mistake into the cellar.  There I found a man sawing wood.  I went up again.  [Pray observe that a year after, when I went West, this very incident occurred one morning in Cincinnati, Ohio.]  I found in the bar-room three respectable-looking men.  I told them my story.  One said to the others, ‘He is always the same old fellow!’  I stared at him in amazement.  He held out one hand and moved the other as if fiddling.  Monotonous creaking sounds followed, and I gradually awoke.  The same p. 324sounds continued, but they were caused by the grasshoppers and tree-toads, who pipe monotonously all night long in America.”

Nothing ever came of the dream, but it all occurred exactly as I describe it.  I have had several quite as strange.  Immediately after I had finished my narration, some one, alluding to our party, asked if there was any one present who could sing “Hans Breitmann’s Barty,” and I astonished them not a little by proclaiming that I was the author, and by singing it.

We went on to Leavenworth, where we had a dinner at the hotel which was worthy of Paris.  We had, for example, prairie pullets or half-grown grouse, wild turkeys and tender venison.  Thence to Fort Riley, and so on in waggons to the last surveyor’s camp.  I forget where it was on the route that we stopped over-night at a fort, where I found some old friends and made new ones.  A young officer—Lieutenant Brown, I think—gave me a bed in his cabin.  His ceiling was made of canvas.  For weeks he had heard a great rattlesnake moving about on it.  One day he had made a hole in the ceiling and put into it a great fierce tom-cat.  The cat “went for” the snake and there was an awful row.  After a time the cat came out looking like a devil with every hair on end, made straight for the prairie, and was never heard of again.  Neither was the snake.  They had finished one another.  On another occasion, when sitting in a similar cabin, my gentle hostess, an officer’s wife, whom I had known a few years before as a beauty in society, remarked that she had two large rattlesnakes in her ceiling, and that if we would be silent we might hear them crawling about.  They could not be taken out without rebuilding the roof.

Captain Colton had just recovered from a very bad attack of fever and ague, and, being young, had the enormous appetite which follows weeks of quinine.  I saw him this day eat a full meal of beefsteaks, and then immediately after devour another, at Brown’s, of buffalo-meat.  The air of the Plains p. 325causes incredible hunger.  We all played a good knife and fork.

About twilight-tide there came in a very gentlemanly Catholic priest.  I was told that he was a roving missionary.  He led a charmed life, for he went to visit the wildest tribes, and was everywhere respected.  I conversed with him in French.  After a while he spread his blanket, lay down on the floor and slept till morning, when he read his prayers and departed.

The next day the fort square was full of Kaw Indians, all in savage array, about to depart for their autumnal buffalo-hunt.  I met one venerable heathen with his wife and babe, with whom I made genial acquaintance.  I asked the wife the name for a whip; she replied B’meergashee; a pony was shoonga, the nose hin, and a woman shimmy-shindy!  I bought his whip for a dollar.  The squaw generously offered to throw in the baby, which I declined, and we all laughed and parted.

I went to the camp, and there the whole party, seeing my curious whip, went at the Kaws to buy theirs.  Bank-bills were our only currency then, and the Indians knew there were such things as counterfeits.  They consulted together, eyed us carefully, and then every man as he received his dollar brought it to me for approval.  By chance I knew the Pawnee word for “good” (Washitaw), and they also knew it.  Then came a strange wild scene.  I spoke to the chief, and pointing to my whip said, “B’meergashee” and indicating a woman and a pony, repeated, “Shimmy-shindy, shoonga-hin,” intimating that its use was to chastise women and ponies by hitting them on the nose.  Great was the amazement and delight of the Kaws, who roared with laughter, and their chief curiously inquired, “You Kaw?”  To which I replied, “O, nitchee, me Kaw, washitá good Injun me.”  He at once embraced me with frantic joy, as did the others, to the great amazement of my friends.  A wild circular dance was at once improvised to celebrate my reception into the tribe; at which p. 326our driver Brigham dryly remarked that he didn’t wonder they were glad to get me, for I was the first Injun ever seen in that tribe with a whole shirt on him.  This was the order of proceedings:—I stood in the centre and sang wildly the following song, which was a great favourite with our party, and all joining in the chorus:—

I slew the chief of the Muscolgee;
I burnt his squaw at the blasted tree!
By the hind-legs I tied up the cur,
He had no time to fondle on her.


Hoo! hoo! hoo! the Muscolgee!
Wah, wah, wah! the blasted tree!

A faggot from the blasted tree
Fired the lodge of the Muscolgee;
His sinews served to string my bow
When bent to lay his brethren low.


Hoo! hoo! hoo! the Muscolgee!
Wah, wah, wah! the blasted tree!

I stripped his skull all naked and bare,
And here’s his skull with a tuft of hair!
His heart is in the eagle’s maw,
His bloody bones the wolf doth gnaw.


Hoo! hoo! hoo! the Muscolgee!
Wah, wah, wah! the blasted tree!

The Indians yelled and drummed at the Reception Dance.  “Now you good Kaw—Good Injun you be—all same me,” said the chief.  Hassard and Lamborn cracked time with their whips, and, in short, we made a grand circular row; truly it was a wondrous striking scene!  From that day I was called the Kaw chief, even by Hassard in his letters to the Tribune, in which he mentioned that in scenes of excitement I rode and whooped like a savage.  It may be so—I never noticed it; perhaps he exaggerated, but I must admit that I do like p. 327Indians, and they like me.  We took ambulances or strong covered army-waggons and pushed on.  We were now well out on the plains.  All day long we passed prairie-dog villages and saw antelopes bounding afar.  At night we stopped at the hotel Alla Fresca, or slept in the open air.  It was perfectly delightful, though in November.  Far in the distance many prairie fires stretched like miles of blazing serpents over the distance.  I thought of the innumerable camp-fires before the battle of Gettysburg, and determined that the two were among the most wonderful sights of my life.  We rose very early in the morning, by grey light, and after a drink of whisky pushed on.  I may here mention that from 1863 for six years I very rarely indeed tasted any intoxicant.

So we went on till we reached the last surveyor’s camp.  We had not been there half an hour before a man came in declaring that he had just saved his scalp, having seen a party of Apaches in their war-paint, but luckily hid himself before they discovered him.  It was evident that we had now got beyond civilisation.  Already, on the way, we had seen ranches which had been recently burned by the Indians, who had killed their inmates.  One man, observing my Kaw whip, casually remarked that as I was fond of curiosities he was sorry that he had not kept six arrows which he had lately pulled out of a man whom he had found lying dead in the road, and who had just been shot by the Indians.

Within this same hour after our arrival there came in a Lieutenant Hesselberger, bringing with him a Mrs. Box and her two daughters, one about sixteen and the other twelve.  The Indians had on the Texas frontier murdered and scalped her husband before her eyes, burned their home, and carried the three into captivity, where for six months they were daily subjected to such incredible outrages and cruelty that it was simply a miracle that they survived.  As it was, they looked exactly like corpses.  Lieutenant Hesselberger, with bravery beyond belief, having heard of these captives, went alone to the Indians to ransom them.  Firstly, they fired guns unexpectedly p. 328close to his head, and finding that he did not start, brought out the captives and subjected them to the extremes of gross abuse before his eyes, and repeatedly knocked them down with clubs, all of which he affected to disregard.  At last the price was agreed on and he took them away.

In after years, when I described all this in London to Stanley, the African explorer, he said, “Strange!  I, too, was there that very day, and saw those women, and wrote an account of it to the New York Herald.”  I daresay that I met and talked to him at the time among those whom we saw.

Not far from our camp there was a large and well-populated beaver-dam, which I studied with great interest.  It was more like a well regulated town than is many a western mining village.  I do not wonder that Indians regard Quahbeet, the beaver, as a human being in disguise.  N.B.—The beaver always, when he cuts a stick, sharpens it like a lead-pencil—which indicates an artistic nature.

It was now resolved that a number of our party should go into the Smoky Hill country to attend a very great Indian council, while the rest returned home.  So I joined the adventurers.  The meeting was not held, for I believe the Indians went to war.  But we rode on.  One morning I saw afar a few black specks, and thought they were cattle.  And so they were, but the free cattle of the plains, or buffaloes.  That evening, as we were out of meat, Colton and others went out to hunt them, and had a fine chase, but got nothing.

The next morning Colton kindly gave me his chance—that is, he resigned to me a splendid black horse used to the business—and most of us went to the field.  After a while, or a four miles’ run, we came up with a number.  There was a fine cow singled out and shot at, and I succeeded in putting a ball in just behind the shoulder.  Among us all she became beef, and an expert hunter with us, whose business it was to supply the camp with meat, skinned and butchered her and p. 329cooked a meal for us on the spot.  The beef was deliciously tender and well flavoured.

Now, before this cooking, in the excitement of the chase, I had ridden on like an Indian, as Hassard said in his letter, whooping like one all alone after the buffalo, and in my joy forgot to shake the spent cartridge out of my Spenser seven-shooter carbine.  All at once I found myself right in the herd, close by a monstrous bull, whose height at the instant when he turned on me to gore me seemed to be about a hundred and fifty feet.  But my horse was used to this, and swerved with incredible tact and swiftness, while I held on.  I then had a perfectly close shot, not six feet off, under the shoulder, and I raised the carbine and pulled trigger, when it—ticked!  I had forgotten the dead cartridge, and was not used to the arm which I carried.  I think that I swore, and if I did not I am sorry for it.  Before I could arrange my charge the buffaloes were far away.

Stairs of rock

However, we had got our cow, and that was more than we really needed.  At any rate, I had shot a buffalo and had a stupendous run.  And here I must mention that while racing and whooping, I executed the most insanely foolish thing I ever did in all my life, which astonished the hunter and all present to the utmost.  I was at the top of a declivity p. 330from which there descended a flight of natural stairs of rock, but every one very broad, like the above sketch.

And being inspired by the devil, and my horse not objecting at all, I clattered down over it at full speed à la Putnam.  I have heard that Indians do this very boldly, declaring that it is perfectly safe if the rider is not afraid, and I am quite sure that mine must have been an Indian horse.  I hope that no one will think that I have put forward or made too much of these trifling boyish tricks of recklessness.  They are of daily occurrence in the Wild West among men who like excitement, and had Robert Hunt been among us there would have been fun indeed.

So we turned homewards, for the Indian Conference had proved a failure.  We had for our driver a man named Brigham, to whom I had taken a great liking.  He had lived as a trader among the wildest Indians, spoke Spanish fluently, and knew the whole Western frontier like his pocket.  The day after we had seen Mrs. Box come in, I was praising the braveness of Lieutenant Hesselberger in venturing to rescue her.

“It isn’t all bravery at all,” said Brigham.  “He’s brave as a panther, but there’s more in it than that.  There is about one man in a hundred, and not more, who can go among the most God-forsaken devils of Injuns and never get hurt.  The Injuns take to them at a glance and love ’em.  I’m such a man, and I’ve proved it often enough, God knows!  Lieutenant Hesselberger is one, and,” he added abruptly, “Mr. Leland, you’re another.”

“What makes you think so?” I said, greatly surprised.

“’Cause I’ve watched you.  You’ve got Injun ways that you don’t know of.  Didn’t I notice the other day, when the gentlemen were buying the whips from the Kaws, that every Injun took a squint, and then came straight to you?  Why didn’t they go to one of the other gentlemen?  Because they’ve got an instinct like a dog for their friends, and for such as we.”

p. 331We were coming to Fort Harker.  I forget how it all came about, but we found ourselves afoot, with a mile or two to walk, carrying our guns, carpet-bags, and petites bagages, while about fifty yards ahead or more there was Brigham driving on merrily to the fort, under the impression that we had secured other conveyance.

Captain Colton fired his carbine.  It made about as much noise as a percussion-cap, and the wind was from Brigham toward us.  Carried away by an impulse, I caught Colonel Lamborn’s light rifle out of his hand.

“Great God!” he cried, “you don’t mean to shoot at him?”

“If you’ll insure the mules,” I said, “I will the driver.”  My calculation was to send a bullet so near to Brigham that he could hear it whizz, but not to touch him.  It was not so dangerous as the shot I had fired over Sam Fox, and the “spirit” was on me!

But I did not know that in the covered waggon sat Hassard talking with Brigham, their faces being, as Hassard declared, just about six inches apart.  I fired, and the bullet passed just between their noses!

Hassard heard the whizz, and cried, “What’s that?”

Injuns, by God!” roared Brigham, forgetting that we had left the Indian country two days behind us.  “Lie down in the waggon while I drive.”  And drive he did, till out of gunshot, and then putting his face out, turned around, and gave in full desperate cry the taunting war-whoop of the Cheyennes.  It was a beautiful sight that of Brigham’s broad red face wild with rage—and his great gold earrings and Mexican sombrero—turning round the waggon at us in defiance like Marmion!

But when he realised that we had fired at him, just as a pack of d---d Apaches might have done, for fun, to stop the waggon, his expression became one of utter bewilderment.  As I came up I thought there might be a shindy.

p. 332“Brigham,” I said in Spanish, “es la mano o el navajo?”  [Is it to be hand, or knife?]

Brigham was proud of his Spanish; it was his elegant accomplishment, and this was a good scene.  Grasping my hand cordially, he said, “La mano.”  Like a true frontiersman, he felt in a minute the grandeur of the joke.  There was, if I may so vulgarly express myself, an Indian-uity in it which appealed to his deepest feelings.  There was a silence for several minutes, which he broke by exclaiming—

“I’ve driven waggons now this twelve years on the frontier, but I never heard before of tryin’ to stop the waggon by shootin’ at the driver.”

There was another long silent pause, when he resumed—

“I wish to God there was a gulch (ravine) between here and the fort!  I’d upset this crowd into it d---d quick!”

That evening I took leave of Brigham.  I drank healths with him in whisky, and shook hands, and said—

“I did a very foolish and reckless thing to-day, Brigham, when I shot at you, and I am sorry for it, and I beg your pardon.  Here is a dagger which I have had for twenty-five years.  I carried it all over Europe.  I have nothing better to give you; please take it.  And when you stick a Greaser (Mexican) with it, as I expect you will do some day, then think of me.”

The tears rose to his eyes, and he departed.  I never met him again, but “well I wot” he ever had kindly remembrance of me.  We were to be guests of General Custer at the fort, and I was rather shy of meeting the castellan after firing at his driver!  But he greeted me with a hearty burst of laughter, and said—

“Mr. Leland, you have the most original way of ringing a bell when you want to call a carriage that I ever heard of.”

As for Hassard, when he witnessed my parting with Brigham, he said—

“This is all mighty fine! daggers and whisky, and all p. 333kinds of beautiful things flying around for Brigham, but what am I to have?”

“And what dost thou expect, son Hassard?” I replied.

Holding out both his hands, he replied—

“Much tobacco! much tobacco!”

This was in allusion to a story told us by Lieutenant Brown.  Not long before, the Lieutenant, seeing, as he thought, a buffalo, had fired at it.  But the buffalo turned out to be an Indian on a pony; and the Indian riding fiercely at the Lieutenant, cried aloud for indemnity or the “blood-fine” in the words, “Much tobacco!”  And so I stood cigars.

Life is worth living for—or it would be—if it abounded more in such types as Mrs. General Custer and her husband.  There was a bright and joyous chivalry in that man, and a noble refinement mingled with constant gaiety in the wife, such as I fear is passing from the earth.  Her books have shown that she was a woman of true culture, and that she came by it easily, as he did, and that out of a little they could make more than most do from a life of mere study.  I fear that there will come a time when such books as hers will be the only evidences that there were ever such people—so fearless, so familiar with every form of danger, privation, and trial, and yet joyous and even reckless of it all.  Good Southern blood and Western experiences had made them free of petty troubles.  The Indians got his scalp at last, and with him went one of the noblest men whom America ever brought forth. [333]

That evening they sent for a Bavarian-Tyroler soldier, who played beautifully on the cithern.  As I listened to the Jodel-lieder airs I seemed to be again in his native land.  It was a pleasure to me to hear from him the familiar dialect.

p. 334At St. Louis we were very kindly entertained in several distinguished houses.  At one they gave us some excellent Rhine wine.

“What do you think of this?” said Hassard, who was a good Latinist.

I replied, “Vinum Rhenense decus et gloria mense.”

In the next we had Moselle wine.  “And what of this?”

I answered, “Vinuin Moslanum fuit omne tempore sanum.”

And here I would say that every memory which I have of Missouri (and there are more by far than this book indicates), as of Missourians, is extremely pleasant.  The State is very beautiful, and I have found among my friends there born such culture and kindness and genial hospitality as I have never seen surpassed.  To the names of Mary A. Owen, [334]  Blow, Mark Twain, and the Choteaus I could add many more.

So we jogged on homeward.  I resumed my work.  I had written out all the details of our trip in letters to the Press.  They had excited attention.  The Pennsylvania Railroad Company suggested that they should be published in a pamphlet.  I did so, and called it “Three Thousand Miles in a Railroad Car.”  They offered to pay me a very good sum for my trouble in so doing.  I declined it, because I felt that I had been amply paid by the pleasure which I had derived from the journey.  But I received grateful recognition subsequently in another form.  The pamphlet was most singular of its kind.  It was a full report of all the statistics and vast advantages of the Kansas Pacific Road.  It contained very valuable facts and figures; and it was all served up with jokes, songs, buffalo-hunting, Indians, and Brigham.  It was a marvellous farrago, and it “took.”  It was sent to every member of Congress and “every other man.”

p. 335Before it appeared, a friend of mine named Ringwalt, who was both a literary man and owner of a printing-office, offered me $200 if I would secure him the printing of it.  I said that I would not take the money, but that I would get him the printing, which I easily did; but being a very honourable man, he was led to discharge the obligation.  One day he said to me, “Why don’t you publish your ‘Breitmann Ballads?’  Everybody is quoting them now.”  I replied, “There is not a publisher in America who would accept them.”  And I was quite right, for there was not.  He answered, “I will print them for you.”  I accepted the offer, but when they were set up an idea occurred to me by which I could save my friend his expenses.  I went to a publisher named T. B. Peterson, who said effectively this—“The book will not sell more than a thousand copies.  There will be about a thousand people who will buy it, even for fifty cents, so I shall charge that, though it would be, as books go, only as a twenty-five cent work.”  He took it and paid my friend for the composition.  I was not to receive any money or share in the profits till all the expenses had been paid.

Mr. Peterson immediately sold 2,000—4,000—I know not how many thousands—at fifty cents a copy.  It was republished in Canada and Australia, to my loss.  An American publisher who owned a magazine asked me, through his editor, to write for it a long Breitmann poem.  I did so, making, however, an explicit verbal arrangement that it should not be republished as a book.  It was, however, immediately republished as such, with a title to the effect that it was the “Breitmann Ballads.”  I appealed to the editor, and it was withdrawn, but I know not how many were issued, to my loss.

I had transferred the whole right of publication in England to my friend Nicolas Trübner, whom I had met when he had visited America, and I wrote specially for his edition certain poems.  John “Camden” Hotten wrote to me modestly asking me to give him the sole right to republish the work.  He said, “I hardly know what to say about the price.  p. 336Suppose we say ten pounds!”  I replied, “Sir, I have given the whole right of publication to Mr. Trübner, and I would not take it from him for ten thousand pounds.”  Hotten at once published an edition which was a curiosity of ignorance and folly.  There was a blunder on an average to every page.  He had annotated it!  He explained that Knasterbart meant “a nasty fellow,” and that the French garce was gare, “a railway station!”  Trübner had sold 5,000 copies before this precious affair appeared.  After Hotten’s death the British public were informed in an obituary that he had “first introduced me” to their knowledge!

Hans Breitmann became a type.  I never heard of but one German who ever reviled the book, and that was a Democratic editor in Philadelphia.  But the Germans themselves recognised that the pen which poked fun at them was no poisoned stiletto.  Whenever there was a grand German procession, Hans was in it—the indomitable old Degen hung with loot—and he appeared in every fancy ball.  Nor were the Confederates offended.  One of the most genial, searching, and erudite reviews of the work, which appeared in a Southern magazine (De Bow’s), declared that I had truly written the Hudibras of the Civil War.  What struck this writer most was the fact that I had opened a new field of humour.  And here he was quite right.  With the exception of Dan Rice’s circus song of “Der goot oldt Sherman shentleman,” and a rather flat parody of “Jessie, the Flower of Dumblane,” I had never seen or heard of any specimen of Anglo-German poetry.  To be merely original in language is not to excel in everything—a fact very generally ignored—else my Pidgin-English ballads would take precedence of Tennyson’s poems!  On the other hand, very great poets have often not made a new form.  The Yankee type, both as regards spirit and language, had become completely common and familiar in prose and poetry, before Lowell revived it in the clever Biglow Papers.  Bret Harte’s “Heathen Chinee,” and several other poems, are, however, both original p. 337and admirable.  Whatever the merits or demerits of mine were—and it was years ere I ever gave them a thought—the public, which is always eager for something new, took to them at once.

I say that for years I never gave them a thought.  All of the principal poems except the “Barty” and “Breitmann as a Politician,” were merely written to fill up letters to C. A. Bristed, of New York, and I kept no copies of them—in fact, utterly forgot them.  Weingeist was first written in a letter to a sister of Captain Colton, with the remark that it was easier to write such a ballad than any prose.  But Bristed published them à mon insu in a sporting paper.  Years after I learned that I published one called “Breitmann’s Sermon” in Leslie’s Magazine.  This I have never recovered.  If I write so much about these poems now, I certainly was not vain of them when written.  The public found them out long before I did, and it is not very often that it gets ahead of a poet in appreciating his own works.

However, I was “awful busy” in those days.  I had hardly begun on the Press ere I found that it had a weekly paper, made up from the daily type transferred, which only just paid its expenses.  Secondly, I discovered that there was not a soul on the staff except myself who had had any experience of weekly full editing.  I at once made out a schedule, showing that by collecting and grouping agricultural and industrial items, putting in two or three columns of original matter, and bringing in a story to go through the daily first, the weekly could be vastly improved at very little expense.

Colonel Forney admired the scheme, but asked “who was to carry it out.”  I replied that I would.  He remonstrated, very kindly, urging that I had all I could do as it was.  I answered, “Colonel Forney, this is not a matter of time, but method.  There is always time for the man who knows how to lay it out.”  So I got up a very nice paper.  But for a very long time I could not get an agent to solicit advertisements p. 338who knew the business.  The weekly paid its expenses and nothing more.  But one day there came to me a young man named M. T. Wolf.  He was of Pennsylvania German stock.  He had lost a small fortune in the patent medicine business and wanted employment badly.  I suggested that, until something else could be found, he should try his hand at collecting “advers.”

Now, be it observed, as Mozart was born to music, and some men have a powerful instinct to study medicine, and others are so unnatural as to take to mathematics, Wolf had a grand undeveloped genius beyond all belief for collecting advertisements.  He had tried many pursuits and failed, but the first week he went into this business he brought in $200 (£40), which gave him forty dollars, and he never afterwards fell below it, but often rose above.  “Advers.” for him meant not adversity.  It was very characteristic of Colonel Forney, who was too much absorbed in politics to attend much to business, that long after the Weekly Press was yielding him $10,000 a year clear profit, he said to me one day, “Mr. Leland, you must not be discouraged as to the weekly; the clerks tell me in the office that it meets its expenses!”

There was abundance of life and incident on the newspaper in those days, especially during election times in the autumn.  I have known fights, night after night, to be going on in the street below, at the corner of Seventh and Chestnut, between Republicans and Democrats, with revolver shots and flashes at the rate of fifty to a second, when I was literally so occupied with pressing telegrams that I could not look out to see the fun.  One night, however, when there were death-shots falling thick and fast, I saw a young man make a most incredible leap.  He had received a bullet under the shoulder, and when a man or a deer is hit there he always leaps.  I heard afterwards that he recovered, though this is a vital place.

It happened once that for a week the Republicans were kept from resisting or retaliating by their leaders, until the p. 339Democrats began to disgrace themselves by excesses.  Then all at once the Republicans boiled over, thrashed their foes, and attacking the Copperhead clubs, threw their furniture out of the window, and—inadvertently perhaps—also a few Copperheads.  Just before they let their angry passions rise in this fashion there came one night a delegation to serenade Colonel Forney at the office.  The Colonel was grand on such occasions.  He was a fine, tall, portly man, with a lion-like mien and a powerful voice.  He began—

“My friends, fellow-citizens and Republicans, you have this week acted nobly.”

Cries from the crowd, “We hev! we hev!”

“You, when smitten on the right cheek, turned unto the oppressor the left.”

“We did! we did!”

“You are beyond all question models—I may say with truth, paragons of patience, long-suffering, and humility.  You are—Christian gentlemen!”  “We air! we air!”

While this was passing, a great gloomy thundercloud of the Democratic enemy gathered on the opposite sidewalk, and as the Colonel lifted his voice again, there came a cry—

“Shut up, you d---d old Republican dead-duck!”

That word was a spell to raise the devil withal.  Bang! bang! bang! went the revolvers of the Union men in a volley, and the Democrats fled for their lives down Seventh Street, pursued by the meek, lowly, and long-suffering Christians—like rabbits before wolves.

The enemy at last resolved to attack the Press and burn the building.  Then we had one hundred and fifty policemen sent to garrison and guard.  There was a surging, howling mob outside, and much guerilla-shooting, but all I can remember is my vexation at having so much to disturb me in making up the paper.

I never went armed in my life when I could help it, for I p. 340hate impedimenta in my pockets.  All of us in the office hung up our coats in a dark place outside.  Whenever I sent an assistant to get some papers from mine, he said that he always knew my coat because there was no pistol in it.

Scenes such as these, and quite as amusing, were of constant occurrence in those days in Philadelphia.  “All night long in that sweet little village was heard the soft note of the pistol and the dying scream of the victim.”  Now, be it noted, that a stuffed dead duck had become the gonfalon or banner of the Republicans, and where it swung there the battle was fiercest.  There was a young fellow from South Carolina, who had become a zealous Union man, and who made up for a sinful lack of sense by a stupendous stock of courage.  One morning there came into the office an object—and such an object!  His face was all swathed and hidden in bloody bandages; he was tattered, and limped, and had his arm in a sling.

“In the name of Heaven, who and what are you?” I exclaimed.  “And who has been passing you through a bark-mill that you look so ground-up?”

In a sepulchral voice he replied, “I’m ---, and last night I carried the dead duck!”

Till I came on the Press there was, it may be said, almost no community between the Germans of North Philadelphia and the Americans in our line.  But I had become intimate with Von Tronk, a Hanoverian of good family, a lawyer, and editor, I believe, of the Freie Presse.  I even went once or twice to speak at German meetings.  In fact, I was getting to be considered “almost as all de same so goot ash Deutsch,” and very “bopular.”  One day Von Tronk came with a request.  There was to be an immense German Republican Massenversammlung or mass-meeting in a great beer-garden.  “If Colonel Forney could only be induced to address them!”  I undertook to do it.  It was an entirely new field to him, but one wondrous rich in votes.  Now Colonel Forney, though from Lancaster County and of German-Swiss extraction, p. 341knew not a word of the language, and I undertook to coach him.

“You will only need one phrase of three words,” I said, “to pull you through; but you must pronounce them perfectly and easily.  They are Freiheit und Gleichheit, ‘freedom and equality.’  Now, if you please, fry-height.”

The Colonel went at his lesson, and being naturally clever, with a fine, deep voice, in a quarter of an hour could roar out Freiheit und Gleichheit with an intonation which would have raised a revolution in Berlin.  We came to the garden, and there was an immense sensation.  The Colonel had winning manners, with a manly mien, and he was duly introduced.  When he rose to speak there was dead silence.  He began—

“Friends and German Fellow-citizens:—Yet why should I distinguish the words, since to me every German is a friend.  I am myself, as you all know, of unmingled German extraction, and I am very, very proud of it.  But there is one German sentiment which from a child has been ever in my heart, and from infancy ever on my lips, and that sentiment, my friends, is Freiheit und Gleichheit!”

If ever audience was astonished in this world it was that of the Massenversammlung when this burst on their ears.  They hurrahed and roared and banged the tables in such a mad storm of delight as even Colonel Forney had never seen surpassed.  Rising to the occasion, he thundered on, and as he reached the end of every sentence he repeated, with great skill and aptness, Freiheit und Gleichheit.

“You have made two thousand votes by that speech, Colonel,” I said, as we returned.  “Von Tronk will manage it at this crisis.”  After that, when the Colonel jested, he would called me “the Dutch vote-maker.”  This was during the Grant campaign.

Droll incidents were of constant occurrence in this life.  Out of a myriad I will note a few.  One day there came into our office an Indian agent from the West, who had brought p. 342with him a Winnebago who claimed to be the rightful chief of his tribe.  They were going to Washington to enforce the claim.  While the agent conversed with some one the Indian was turned over to me.  He was a magnificent specimen, six feet high, clad in a long trailing scarlet blanket, with a scarlet straight feather in his hair which continued him up ad infinitum, and he was straight as a lightning rod.  He was handsome, and very dignified and grave; but I understood that.  I can come it indifferent well myself when I am “out of my plate,” as the French, say, in strange society.  He spoke no English, but, as the agent said, knew six Indian languages.  He was evidently a chief by blood, “all the way down to his moccasins.”

What with a few words of Kaw (I had learned about a hundred words of it with great labour) and a few other phrases of other tongues, I succeeded in interesting him.  But I could not make him smile, and I swore unto myself that I would.

Being thirsty, the Indian, seeing a cooler of ice-water, with the daring peculiar to a great brave, went and took a glass and turned on the spicket.  He filled his glass—it was brim-full—but he did not know how to turn it off.  Then I had him.  As it ran over he turned to me an appealing helpless glance.  I said “Neosho.”  This in Pottawattamie means an inundation or overflowing of the banks, and is generally applied to the inundation of the Mississippi.  There is a town on the latter so called.  This was too much for the Indian, and he laughed aloud.

“Great God! what have you been saying to that Indian?” cried the agent, amazed.  “It is the first time he has laughed since he left home.”

“Only a little pun in Pottawattamie.  But I really know very little of the language.”

“I have no knowledge of the Indian languages,” remarked our city editor, MacGinnis, a genial young Irishman, “least of all, thank God! of Pottawattamie.  But I have always p. 343understood that when a man gets so far in a tongue as to make puns in it, it is time for him to stop.”

Years after this I was one evening in London at an opening of an exhibition of pictures.  There were present Indian Hindoo princes in gorgeous array, English nobility, literary men, and fine ladies.  Among them was an unmistakable Chippeway in a white Canadian blanket-coat, every inch an Indian.  I began with the usual greeting, “Ho nitchi!” (Ho, brother!), to which he gravely replied.  I tried two or three phrases on him with the same effect.  Then I played a sure card.  Sinking my voice with an inviting wink, I uttered “Shingawauba,” or whisky.  “Dot fetched him.”  He too laughed.  Gleich mit gleich, gesellt sich gern.

While living in New York, and during my connection with the Press, I often met and sometimes conversed with Horace Greeley.  Once I went with him from Philadelphia to New York, and he was in the car the observed of all observers to an extraordinary degree.  He sat down, took out an immense roll of proof, and said, “Lead pencil!”  One was immediately handed to him by some stranger, who was by that one act ennobled, or, what amounts to the same thing in America, grotesquely charactered for life.  He was the man who gave Horace Greeley a lead pencil!  I, as his companion, was also regarded as above ordinary humanity.  When the proof was finished “Horace” said to me—

“How is John Forney getting on?”

“Like Satan, walking to and fro upon the face of the earth, going from the Chronicle in Washington one day to the Press in Philadelphia on the next, and filling them both cram full of leaders and letters.”

“Two papers, both daily!  I tell Forney that I find it is all I can do to attend to one.  Tell him not to get too rich—bad for the constitution and worse for the country.  Any man who has more than a million is a public nuisance.”

Finally, we walked together from the ferry to the corner of Park Place and Broadway, and the philosopher, after p. 344minutely explaining to me which omnibus I was to take, bade me adieu.  I do not think we ever met again.

In the summer Colonel Forney went to Europe with John the junior.  When he left he said, “I do not expect you to raise the circulation of the Press, but I hope that you will be able to keep it from falling in the dead season.”  I went to work, and what with enlarging the telegraphic news, and correspondence, and full reports of conventions, I materially increased the sale.  It cost a great deal of money, to be sure, but the Colonel did not mind that.  At this time there came into our office as associate with me Captain W. W. Nevin.  He had been all through the war.  I took a great liking to him, and we always remained intimate friends.  All in our office except myself were from Lancaster County, the birthplace, I believe, of Fitch and Fulton.  It is a Pennsylvania German county, and as I notoriously spoke German openly without shame ours was called a Dutch office.  Once when Colonel Forney wrote a letter from Holland describing the windmills, the Sunday Transcript unkindly remarked that “he had better come home and look after his own Dutch windmill at the corner of Seventh and Chestnut Streets.”

I had at this time a great deal to do with the operas and theatres, and often wrote the reviews.  After a while, as Captain Nevin relieved me of a great deal of work, and I had an able assistant named Norcross, I devoted myself chiefly to dramatic criticism and the weekly, and such work as suited me best.  As for the dignity of managership, Captain Nevin and I tossed it from one to the other like a hot potato in jest, but between us we ran the paper very well.  There was an opera impresario named Maurice Strakosch, of whom I had heard that he was hard to deal with and irritable.  I forget now who the prima donna in his charge was, but there had appeared in our paper a criticism which might be interpreted in some detail unfavourably by a captious critic.  One afternoon there came into the office, where I was alone, a gentlemanly-seeming man, who began to manifest anger in regard p. 345to the criticism in question.  I replied, “I do not know, sir, what your position in the opera troupe may be, but if it be anything which requires a knowledge of English, I am afraid that you are misplaced.  There was no intention to offend in the remarks, and so far as the lady is concerned I shall only be too glad to say the very best I can of her.  Comprenez, monsieur, c’est une bagatelle.”  He laughed, and we spoke French, then Italian, then German, and of Patti and Sontag and Lind.  Then I asked him what he really was, and he replied, “I do not believe that you even know the name of my native tongue.  It is Czech.”  I stared at him amazed, and said—

“Veliky Bog!  Rozprava pochesky?  Nekrasneya rejece est.”

The Bohemian gentleman drew a handsomely bound book from his pocket.  “Sir,” he said, “this is my album.  It is full of signatures of great artists, even of kings and queens and poets.  There is not a name in it which is not that of a distinguished person, and I do not know what your name is, but I beg that you will write it in my book.”

Nearly the same scene was repeated soon after, with the same words, when the great actress Fanny Janauschek came to Philadelphia.  At that time she played only in German.  Her manager, Grau, introduced me to her, and she complimented me on my German, and praised the language as the finest in the world.

“Yes,” I replied, “it is certainly very fine.  But I know a finer, which goes more nearly to the heart, and with which I can move you more deeply.”

“And what is that?” cried the great artist astonished.

“It is,” I replied, in her native tongue, “Bohemian.  That is the language for me.”

Madame Janauschek was so affected that she burst out crying, though she was a woman of tremendous nerve.  We became great friends, and often met again in after years in England.

p. 346I have seen Ristori play for thirty nights in succession, [346] and Rachel and Sarah Bernhardt; but as regards true genius, Janauschek in her earlier days was incomparably their superior; for these all played from nerves and instinct, but Janauschek from her brain and intellect.  I often wondered that she did not write plays.  It is said of Rachel that there was once a five-act play in which she died at the end of the fourth act.  After it had had a long run she casually asked some one how it ended.  She had never read the fifth act.  Such a story could never have been told of Janauschek.

In the summer there were one or two railroad excursions to visit new branch roads in Pennsylvania.  While on one of these I visited the celebrated Mauch Chunk coal mines, and rode on the switchback railway, where I had a fearfully narrow escape from death.  This switchback is a montagne Russe coming up and down a hill, and six miles in length.  Yet, though the rate of speed is appalling, the engineer can stop the car in a few seconds’ time with the powerful brake.  We were going down headlong, when all at once a cow stepped out of the bushes on the road before us, and if we had struck her we must have gone headlong over the cliff and been killed.  But by a miracle the engineer stopped the car just as we got to the cow.  We were saved by a second.  Something very like it had occurred to my wife and to me in 1859.  We were going to Reading by rail, when the train ran off the track and went straight for an embankment where there was a fall of 150 feet.  It was stopped just as the locomotive protruded or looked over the precipice.  Had there been the least trifle more of steam on at that instant we must all have perished.

In November of this my second year on the Press my father died.  One thing occurred on this sad bereavement which alleviated it a little.  I had always felt all my p. 347life that he had never been satisfied with my want of a fixed career or position.  He did not, I think, very much like John Forney, the audacious, reckless politician, but he still respected his power and success, and it astonished him a little, and many others quite as much, to find that I was in many respects Forney’s right-hand man, and manager of a bold political paper which had a great influence.  A day or two before he died my father expressed himself kindly to the effect that I had at last done well, and that he was satisfied with me.  At last, after so many years, he felt that I had état—a calling, a definite position.  In fact, in those days it was often said that Forney could make himself President, as he indeed might have done but for certain errors, no greater than have been committed by more successful men, and a stroke of ill-luck such as few can resist.

The winter passed quietly.  I was extremely fond of my life and work.  Summer came, and with it a great desire for a change and wild life and the West, for I had worked very hard.  A very great railway excursion, which was destined to have a great effect, was being organised, and both my wife and I were invited to join it.  Mr. John Edgar Thompson, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Mr. Hinckley, of the Baltimore road, President Felton, Professor Leidy, Robert Lamborn, and a number of other notables, were to go to Duluth, on Lake Superior, and decide on the terminus of the railroad as a site for a city.  Mrs. John E. Thompson had her own private car, which was seventy feet in length, and fitted up with every convenience and luxury.  To this was added the same directors’ car in which I had travelled to Minnesota.  There were to be in all ten or twelve gentlemen and ten ladies.  There was such efficient service that one young man, a clerk, was detailed especially to look after our luggage.  As we stopped every night at some hotel, he would inquire what we required to be taken to our rooms, and saw that it was brought back in the morning.  I went off in such a hurry that I forgot my Indian blanket, nor had p. 348I any revolver or gun, all of which, especially the blanket, I sadly missed ere I returned.  I got, before I left, a full white flannel or fine white cloth suit, which was then a startling novelty, and wore it to the Falls of the Mississippi.  Little did I foresee that ere it gave out I should also have it on at the Cataracts of the Nile!

So we started and after a few hours’ travel, stopped at Altona.  There I was very much amused by an old darkey at the railway-station hotel, who had, as he declared, “specially the kyar of de ladies an’ quality.”  He had been a slave till the war broke out, and had been wondrously favoured by visions and revelations which guided him to freedom.  “De Lawd he ’pear to me in a dream, an’ I hyar a vi’ce which cry, ‘Simon, arise an’ git out of dis, an’ put fo’ de Norf as fass as you kin travel, fo’ de day of de ’pressor is at an end, an’ you is to be free.’  So I rosed an’ fled, hardly a-waitin’ to stuff my bag wid some corn-dodgers an’ bacon, an’ foller de Norf Star till I git confused an’ went to sleep agin, wen, lo, an angel expostulated hisself befo’ my eyes in a wision, an’ say, ‘Simon, beholdes’ dou dat paff by de riber?  Dat’s de one fo’ you to foller, ole son!’  So I follers it till I git on de right trail.  Den I met anoder nigger a-’scapin’ from the bon’s of captivity, an’ carryin’ a cold ham, an’ I jined in wid him—you bet—an’ so we come to de Lawd’s country.”

And so gaily on to Chicago.  We went directly to the first hotel, and as soon as I had toiletted and gone below, I saw on the opposite building a sign with the words Chicago Tribune.  This was an exchange of ours, so I crossed over, and meeting the editor by chance in the doorway, was welcomed and introduced to Governor Desbrosses, who stood by.  Then I went to a telegraph office and sent a despatch to the Press.  The man wanted me to pay.  I told him to C. O. D., “collect on delivery.”  He declined.  I said, “Your principal office is in Philadelphia, is it not?—Third and Chestnut Streets.  Just send a telegram and ask the name of your landlord.  It’s Leland, and I’m the man.  If you make me p. 349pay, I’ll raise your rent.”  He laughed heartily and let me off, but not without a parting shot: “You see, Mr. Leland, there are so many scallawags [349] from the East come here, that we are obliged to be a little particular.”

I returned to the hotel, and was immediately introduced to some one having authority.  I narrated my late experience.  He looked at me and said, “How long have you been in Chicago?”  I replied, “About thirty minutes.”  He answered gravely, “I think you’d better stay here.  You’ll suit the place.”  I was beginning to feel the moral influence of the genial air of the West.  Chicago is emphatically what is termed “a place,” and a certain amount of calm confidence in one’s self is not in that city to any one’s discredit.  Once there was an old lady of a “hard” type in the witness-box in an American city.  She glared round at the judge, the jury, and the spectators, and then burst out with, “You needn’t all be staring at me in that way.  I don’t keer a --- for you all.  I’ve lived eleven years in Chicago, and ain’t affeard of the devil.”  Chicago is said in Indian to mean the place of skunks, but calling a rose a skunk-cabbage don’t make it one.

Walking on the edge of the lake near the city, the waters cast up a good-sized living specimen of that extraordinary fish-lizard, the great menobranchus, popularly known as the hell-bender from its extreme ugliness.  Owing to the immense size of its spermatozoa, it has rendered great aid to embryology, a science which, when understood au fond, will bring about great changes in the human race.  We were taken out in a steamboat to the end of the great aqueduct, which was, when built, pronounced, I think by the London Times, to be the greatest engineering work of modern times.

In due time we came to St. Paul, Minnesota.  We went to a very fair hotel and had a very good dinner.  In the West it is very common among the commonalty to drink coffee and milk through dinner, and indeed with all meals, p. 350instead of wine or ale, but the custom is considered as vulgar by swells.  Having finished dessert, I asked the Irish waiter to bring me a small cup of black coffee and brandy.  Drawing himself up stiffly, Pat replied, “We don’t serve caafy at dinner in this hotel.”  There was a grand roar of laughter which the waiter evidently thought was at my expense, as he retreated smiling.

We were kindly received in St. Paul by everybody.  There is this immense advantage of English or American hospitality over that of all other countries, that it introduces us to the home, and makes us forget that we are strangers.  When we were at the end of the fearfully wearisome great moral circus known as the Oriental Congress, held all over Scandinavia in 1890, there came to me one evening in the station a great Norseman with his friends.  With much would-be, ox-like dignity he began, “You ha-ave now experienced de glorious haspitality off our country.  You will go oom and say—”

“Stop a minute there!” I exclaimed, for I was bored to death with a show which had been engineered to tatters, and to half defeating all the work of the Congress, in order to glorify the King and Count Landberg.  “I have been here in your country six weeks, and I had letters of introduction, and have made no end of acquaintances.  I have been shown thousands of fireworks, which blind me, and offered dozens of champagne, which I never touch, and public dinners, which I did not attend.  But during the whole time I have never once seen the inside of a Swedish or Norwegian house.”  Which was perfectly true, nor have I ever seen one to this day.  There is a kind of “hospitality” which consists of giving yourself a grand treat at a tavern or café, and inviting your strangers to it to help you to be glorified.  But to very domestic people and utter Philistines, domestic life lacks the charm of a brass band, and the mirrors and gilding of a restaurant or hotel; therefore, what they themselves enjoy most, they, with best intent, but most unwisely, inflict on p. 351more civilised folk.  But in America and England, where home-life is worth living and abounding in every attraction, and public saloons are at a discount, the case is reversed.  And in these Western towns, of which many were, so to speak, almost within hearing of the whoop of the savage or the howl of the wolf (as Leavenworth really was), we experienced a refinement of true hospitality in homes—kindness and tact such as I have never known to be equalled save in Great Britain.  One evening I was at a house in St. Paul, where I was struck by the beauty, refined manners, and agreeableness of our hostess, who was a real Chippeway or Sioux Indian, and wife of a retired Indian trader.  She had been well educated at a Canadian French seminary.

We were taken over to see the rival city of Minneapolis, of which word my brother Henry said it was a vile grinding up together of Greek and Indian.  Minne means water; Minne-sota, turbid water, and Minne-haha does not signify “laughing,” but falling water.  This we also visited, and I found it so charming, that I was delighted to think that for once an Indian name had been kept, and that the young ladies of the boarding-schools of St. Paul or Minneapolis had not christened or devilled it “Diana’s Bath.”

We were received kindly by the Council of the city of Minneapolis.  Half of them had come from the East afflicted with consumption, and all had recovered.  But it is necessary to remain there to live.  My wife’s cousin, Mr. Richard Price, who then owned the great saw-mill next the Fall of St. Anthony, came with this affliction from Philadelphia, and got over it.  After six years’ absence he returned to Philadelphia, and died in six weeks of consumption.  Strangely enough, consumption is the chief cause of death among the Indians, but this is due to their careless habits, wearing wet moccasins and the like.

Now a great question arose.  It was necessary for the magnates of our party to go to Duluth, and to do this they must make a seven days’ journey through the wilderness, p. 352either on a very rough military road cut through the woods during the war, or sometimes on no road at all.  Houses or post-stations, often of only one or two rooms, were sometimes a day’s journey apart.  The question was whether delicate ladies, utterly unaccustomed to anything like hard travel could take this trip, during which they must endure clouds of mosquitos, put up with camp-cooking, or often none, and otherwise go through privations such as only an Indian or a frontiersman would care to experience?  The entire town of St. Paul, and all the men of our party, vigorously opposed taking the ladies, while I, joining the latter, insisted on it that they could go; for, as I said to all assembled, where the devil is afraid to go he sends a woman; and I had always observed that in travelling, long after men are tired out women are generally all right.  They are never more played out than they want to be.

“Femme plaint, femme deult,
Femme est malade quand elle veult,
Et par Sainte Marie!
Quand elle veult elle est guerye.”

And of course we carried the day.  Twelve men, even though backed up by a city council, have no chance against any ten women.  To be sure women, like all other savages, require a male leader—I mean to say, just as Goorkha troops, though brave as lions, must have an English captain—so they conquered under my guidance!

Having had experience in fitting out for the wilderness, I was requested to see to the stores—so many hams to so many people for so many days, so much coffee, and so forth.  I astonished all by insisting that there should be one tin cup to every traveller.  “Every glass you have will soon be broken,” I said.  And so it was, sooner than I expected.  As tin cups could not be found in St. Paul, we bought three or four dozen small tin basins of about six inches diameter at the rim, and when champagne was served out it was, faute de mieux, drunk from these eccentric goblets.

p. 353In the first waggon were Mr. and Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. Leland.  Their driver was a very eccentric Canadian Frenchman named Louis.  He was to the last degree polite to the ladies, but subject to attacks of Indian rage at mere trifles, when he would go aside, swear, and destroy something like a lunatic in a fury, and then return quite happy and serene.  I was in the second waggon with three ladies, a man being wanted in every vehicle.  Our driver was named George, and he was altogether like Brigham, minus the Mexican-Spanish element.  George had, however, also lived a great deal among Indians, and been at the great battle of the Chippeways and Sioux, and was full of interesting and naïve discourse.

Of course, we of the two leading waggons all talked to Louis in French, who gave himself great airs on it.  One morning George asked me in confidence, “Mr. Leland, you’re not all French, are you?”  “Certainly not,” I replied; “we’re from Philadelphia.”  “Well,” replied George, “so I told Louis, but he says you are French, like him, and shut me up by askin’ me if I hadn’t heard you talkin’ it.  Now what I want to know is, if you’re not French, how came the whole of you to know it?”  I explained to George, to his astonishment, that in the East it was usual for all well-educated persons, especially ladies, to learn it.  I soon became as intimate with George as I had been with Brigham, and began to learn Chippeway of him, and greet the Indians whom we met.  One day George said—

“Of course you have no Indian blood in you, Mr. Leland; but weren’t you a great deal among ’em when you were young?”


“Because you’ve got queer little old Injun ways.  Whenever you stop by the roadside to talk to anybody and sit down, you always rake the small bits of wood together and pull out a match and make a smudge” (a very smoky fire made by casting dust on it), “just like an Indian in an Injun kind of way.”  (In after years I found this same habit of p. 354making fires of small bits of wood peculiar to old English gypsies.)

The smudge is the great summer institution of Minnesota.  It is the safeguard against mosquitos.  They are all over the State in such numbers that they constitute a plague.  We all wore all the time over our faces and necks a kind of guard or veil, shaped exactly like an Egyptian fanous or folding lantern.  It is cylindrical, made of tulle or coarse lace, with rings.  At every house people sat in the porticos over a tin bucket, in which there was a smudge—that is to say, in smoke.  In the evening some one goes with a tin or iron pail containing a smudge, and fills the bedrooms with dense smoke.  One evening Mr. Hinckley and another of our party went fishing without veils.  They returned with their necks behind swollen up as if with goitres or Kröpfe.  I knew a young Englishman who with friends, somewhere beyond Manitoba, encountered such a storm of mosquitos that their oxen were killed, and the party saved themselves by riding away on horseback.  So he told me.

At the stations—all log-houses—the ladies collected pillows and buffalo blankets, and, making a great bed, all slept in one room.  We men slept in waggons or under a tent, which was not quite large enough for all.  The Indian women cut spruce twigs and laid them over-lapping on the ground for our bed.  By preference I took the outside, al fresco.  One night we stayed at a house which had an upper and a lower storey.  The ladies camped upstairs.  In the morning, when we men below awoke, all took a drink of whisky.  There entered a very tall Indian, clad in a long black blanket, who looked on very approvingly at the drinking.  I called to my wife above to hand me down my whisky flask.  “There is a big Indian here who wants a drink,” I remarked.  “I think I know,” she replied, “who that big Indian is,” but handed down the flask.  “Don’t waste whisky on an Indian” said one of my companions.  But I filled the cup with a tremendous slug, and handed it p. 355to the Objibway.  He took it down like milk, and never a word spoke he, but when it was swallowed he looked at me and winked.  Such a wink as that was!  I think I see it now—so inspired with gratitude and humour as to render all words needless.  He had a rare sense of tact and gratitude.  Soon after I was sitting out of doors among a few ladies, when the Indian, who had divined that I was short of Chippeway and wished to learn, stalked up, and pointing to our beauty, said gravely, squoahi.e., woman.  Then he indicated several other articles, told me the Indian name for each and walked away.  It was all he could do.  The ladies, who could not imagine why this voluntary lesson was given to me, were much amused at it.  But I understood it; he had seen the Injun in me at a glance, and knew what I wanted most!

One night we stopped at a place called Kettle River.  It was very picturesque.  Over the rushing stream the high rocky banks actually overhung the water.  I got into a birch canoe with my wife, and two Indian boys paddled us, while others made a great fire on the cliff above, which illuminated the scene.  Other Indian youths jumped into the water and swam about and skylarked, whooping wildly.  It reminded me strangely of the Blue Grotto of Capri, where our boatmen jumped in and swam in a sulphur-azure glow, only that this was red in the firelight.

Our whisky ran short—it always does on all such excursions—and our drivers in consequence became very “short” also, or rather unruly.  But bon chemin, mal chemin, we went on, and the ladies, as I had predicted, pulled through merrily.

One day, at a halt, I found, with the ladies, in the woods by a stream, a pretty sight.  It was a wigwam, which was very open, and which had been made to look like a bower with green boughs.  When I was in the artillery I was the only person who ever thus adorned our tent in Indian style.  It is very pleasant on a warm day, and looks artistic.  In the wigwam p. 356sat a pretty Indian woman with a babe.  The ladies were, of course, at once deeply interested, but the Indian could not speak English.  One of the ladies had a common Japanese fan, with the picture of a grotesque god, and I at once saw my way to interest our hostess.

I once read in the journal of a missionary’s wife in Canada that she had a curious Malay or Cingalese dagger, with a curved blade and wooden sheath, while on the handle was the figure of an idol.  One day she showed this to an Indian, and the next day he came with five more, and these again with fifteen, till it seemed as if the whole country had gone wild over it.  Very much alarmed at such heathenism, the lady locked it up and would show it no more.  Ere she did so, she asked an old Indian how it was possible to make a scabbard of one piece of wood, with a hole in it to fit the blade.  This man, who had been one of the most devoted admirers of the deity on the handle, saw no puzzle in this.  He explained that the hole was burned in by heating the blade.

I showed the god on the fan to the Indian woman, and said, “Manitūktchee manitū” (“a god—a great god”).  She saw at once that it was heathen, and her heart went out unto it with great delight.  With a very few Chippeway words and many signs I explained to her that forty days’ journey from us was the sea, and forty days beyond another country where the people had this manitou.  I believe that the lady gave her the fan, and it may be that she worships it to this day.  How absurd it is to try to force on such people Catholic or Protestant forms, which they do not understand and never will, while their souls take in with joy the poly-pantheistic developments of supernaturalism, and that which suits their lives.  Like the little boy who thought he would like to have a Testament, but knew he wanted a squirt, the Indian, unable to rise to the grandeur of monotheistic trinitarianism, is delighted with goblins, elves, and sorcery.  He can manage the squirt.

p. 357At Fond-du-Lac I became acquainted with a Mr. Duffy, a very genial and clever man, a son of a former governor of Rhode Island.  He had an Indian wife and family, and was looked up to by the Indians as Kitchimōkomon, “the white man.”  That he was a gentleman will appear from the following incident.  There was one of our party who, to put it mildly, was not remarkable for refinement.  A trader at Fond-du-Lac had a very remarkable carved Indian pipe, for which he asked me fifteen dollars.  It certainly was rather a high price, so I offered ten.  Immediately the man of whom I spoke laid down fifteen dollars and took the pipe.  He was dans son droit, but the action was churlish.  It seemed so to Duffy, who was standing by.  After I had returned to Philadelphia, Mr. Duffy sent me a very handsome pipe for a present, which he assured me had been smoked at two grand councils.  He was indeed a “white man.”

There was an old Indian here whose name in Indian meant “He who changes his position while sitting,” but white people called him Martin “for short.”  He was wont to smoke a very handsome pipe.  One day, seeing him smoking a wretched affair rudely hewn, I asked him if he had not a better.  He replied, “I had, but I sold it to the kcheemo-komon iqueh”—the long-knife woman (i.e., to a white lady).  Inquiry proved that the “long-knife woman” was Miss Lottie Foster, a very beautiful and delicate young lady from Philadelphia, to whom such a barbaric term seemed strangely applied.  As for me, because I always bought every stone pipe which I could get, the Indians called me Poaugun or Pipe.  Among the Algonkin of the East in after-days I had a name which means he who seeks hidden things (i.e., mysteries).

We came to Duluth.  There were in those days exactly six houses and twenty-six Indian wigwams.  However, we were all accommodated somehow.  Here there were grand conferences of the railroad kings with the authorities of Duluth and Superior City, which was a few miles distant, and p. 358as the Dulutherans outbid the Father Superiors, the terminus of the road was fixed at Duluth.

It was arranged that the ladies should remain at Duluth while we, the men, were to go through the woods to examine a situation a day’s march distant.  We had Indians to carry our luggage.  Every man took a blanket and a cord, put his load into it, turned the ends over the cord, and then drew it up like a bag.  They carried very easily from 150 to 250 lbs. weight for thirty miles a day over stock and stone, up and down steep banks or amid rotten crumbling trees and moss.  Though a good walker, I could not keep up with them.

I had with me a very genial and agreeable man as walking companion.  His name was Stewart, and he was mayor, chief physician, and filled half-a-dozen other leading capacities in St. Paul.  Our fellow-travellers vanished in the forest.  Mayor Stewart and I with one Indian carrier found ourselves at two o’clock very thirsty indeed.  The view was beautiful enough.  A hundred yards below us by the steep precipice rushed the St. Lawrence, but we could not get at it to drink.

Stewart threw himself on the grass in despair.  “Yes,” he cried, “we’re lost in the wilderness, and I’m going to die of thirst.  Remember me to my family.”  “I say,” he suddenly cried, “ask that Injun the name of that river.”

I asked of the Indian, “Wa go nin-iu?” (“How do you call that?”)  Thinking I wanted to know the name for a stream, he replied, “Sebe.”  This is the same as sipi in Missis-sippi.

“I knew it,” groaned Stewart.  “There is no such river as the Sebe laid down on the map.  We’re lost in an unknown region.”

“It occurs to me,” I said, “that this is a judgment on me.  When I think of the number of times in my life when I have walked past bar-rooms and neglected to go in and take a drink, I must think that it is a retribution.”

“And I say,” replied Stewart, “that if you ever do get p. 359back to civilisation, you’ll be the old --- toper that ever was.”

When we came to the camp we found there by mere chance a large party of surveyors.  As there were thirty or forty of us, it was resolved, as so many white men had never before been in that region, to constitute a township and elect a member to the Legislature, or Congress, or something—I forget what; but it appeared that it was legal, and it was actually done—I voting with the rest as a settler.  I, too, am a Minnesot.

We railroad people formed one party and sat at our evening meal by ourselves, the surveyors made another, and the Indians a third table-d’hôte.  An open tin of oysters was before us, and somebody said they were not good.  One only needs say so to ruin the character of an oyster—and too often of “a human bivalve,” as the Indiana orator said.  We were about to pitch it away, when I asked the attendant to give it to the Indians.  It was gravely passed by them from man to man till it came to the last, who lifted it to his mouth and drank off the entire quart, oysters and all, as if it had been so much cider.  Amazed at this, I asked what it meant, but the only explanation I could get was, “He like um oyster.”

This was a charming excursion, all through the grene wode wilde, and I enjoyed it.  I had Indian society, and learned Indian talk, and bathed in charming rushing waters, and saw enormous pine trees 300 feet high, and slept al fresco, and ate ad libitum.  To this day its remembrance inspires in me a feeling of deep, true poetry.

I think it was at Duluth that one morning there was brought in an old silver cross which had just been found in an Indian grave on the margin of the lake, not very far away.  I went there with some others.  It was evidently the grave of some distinguished man who had been buried about a hundred years ago.  There were the decayed remains of an old-fashioned gun, and thousands of small beads adhering, still p. 360in pattern, to the tibiæ.  I dug up myself—in fact they almost lay on the surface, the sand being blown away—several silver bangles, which at first looked exactly like birch-bark peelings, and, what I very much prized, two or three stone cylinders or tubes, about half an inch in diameter, with a hole through them.  Antiquaries have been much puzzled over these, some thinking that they were musical instruments, others implements for gambling.  My own theory always was that they were used for smoking tobacco, and as those which I found were actually stuffed full of dried semi-decayed “fine cut,” I still hold to it.  I also purchased from a boy a red stone pipe-head, which was found in the same grave.  I should here say that the pipe which had been bought away from me by the man above mentioned had on it the carving of a reindeer, which rendered it to me alone of living men peculiarly valuable, since I have laboured hard, and subsequently set forth in my “Algonkin Legends” the theory that the Algonkin Indians went far to the North and there mingled with the Norsemen of Greenland and Labrador.  The man who got the pipe promised to leave it to me when he died, but he departed from life and never kept his word.  A frequent source of grief to me has been to see objects of great value, illustrating some point in archæology, seized as “curiosities” by ignorant wealthy folk.  The most detestable form of this folly is the buying of incunabula, first editions or uncut copies, and keeping them from publication or reading, and, in short, of worshipping anything, be it a book or a coin, merely because it is rare.  Men never expatiate on rariora in literature or in china, or talk cookery and wines over-much, without showing themselves prigs.  It is not any beauty in the thing, but the delightful sense of their own culture or wealth which they cultivate.  When there is nothing in a thing but mere rarity and cost to commend it, it is absolutely worthless, as is the learning and connoisseurship thereupon dependent.

Business concluded, we took a steamboat, and were very p. 361sea-sick on Lake Superior for twenty-four hours.  Then we went to the Isle Royale, and saw the mines, which had been worked even by the ancient Mexicans; also an immense mass of amethysts.  The country here abounds in agates.  At Marquette there was brought on board a single piece of pure virgin copper from the mine which weighed more than 4,000 pounds.  There it was, I think, that we found our cars waiting, and returned in them to Philadelphia.

It was at this time that my brother Henry died, and his loss inflicted on me a terrible mental blow, which went far, subsequently, to bring about a great crisis in my health.  My dear brother was the most remarkable illustration of the fact that there are men who, by no fault of their own, and who, despite the utmost honour or integrity, deep intelligence, good education, and varied talents, are overshadowed all their lives by sorrow, and meet ill-luck at every turn.  He went at sixteen as employé into a Cuban importing house, where he learned Spanish.  His principal failed, and thence he passed to a store in New York, where he worked far too hard for $600 a year.  His successor, who did much less, was immediately paid $2,500 per annum.  Finding that his employer was being secretly ruined by his partner, he warned the former, but only with the result of being severely reprimanded by the merchant and my father as a mischief-maker.  After a while this merchant was absolutely ruined and bankrupted by his partner, as he himself declared to me, but, like many men, still kept his rancune against my poor brother.  By this time the eyesight and health of Henry quite gave out for some time.  Every effort which he made, whether to get employment, to become artist or writer, failed.  He published two volumes of tales, sporting sketches, &c., with Lippincott, in Philadelphia, which are remarkable for originality.  One of them was subsequently written out by another distinguished author in another form.  I do not say it was after my brother’s, for I have known another case in which two men, having heard a story from Barnum, both published it, p. 362ignorant that the other had done so.  But I would declare, in justice to my brother, that he told this story, which I am sure the reader knows, quite as well as did the other.

He travelled a great deal, was eighteen months in Rome and its vicinity, visited Algeria, Egypt, and Cuba and the West, always spending so little money that my father expressed his amazement at it.  I regret to say that in my youth I never astonished him in this way.  But this morbid conscientiousness or delicacy as to being dependent did him no good, for he might just as well have been thoroughly comfortable, and my father would never have missed it.  The feeling that he could get no foothold in life, which had long troubled me, became a haunting spectre which followed him to the grave.  His work “Americans in Rome” is one of the cleverest, most sparkling, and brilliant works of humour, without a trace of vulgarity, ever written in America.  It had originally some such title as “Studios and Mountains,” but the publisher, thinking that the miserable clap-trap title of “Americans in Rome” would create an impression that there was “gossip,” and possibly scandal, in it, insisted on that.  It was published in the weary panic of 1862 in the war, and fell dead from the press.  Though he never really laughed, and was generally absolutely grave, my brother had an incredibly keen sense of fun, and in conversation could far outmaster or “walk over the head” of any humorist whom I ever met.  He was very far, however, from showing off or being a professional wit.  He was very fond, when talking with men who considered themselves clever, of making jests or puns in such a manner and in such an unaffected ordinary tone of voice that they took no note of the quodlibets.  He enjoyed this much more than causing a laugh or being complimented.  But taking his life through, he was simply unfortunate in everything, and his worst failures were when he made wisely directed energetic efforts to benefit himself or others.  He rarely complained or grieved, having in him a deep fond of what I, for want of a better term, call Indian nature, or p. 363stoicism, which is common in Americans, and utterly incomprehensible to, or rarely found in, a European.

The death of my father left me a fifth of his property, which was afterwards somewhat augmented by a fourth share of my poor brother’s portion.  For one year I drew no money from the inheritance, but went on living as before on my earnings, so that my wife remarked it really took me a year to realise that I had any money.  After some months I bought a house in Locust Street, just opposite to where my father had lived, and in this house I remained six months previously to going to Europe in 1869.  We had coloured servants, and I never in all my life, before or since, lived so well as during this time.  The house was well furnished; there was even the great luxury of no piano, which is a great condition of happiness.

This year I was fearfully busy.  As I had taken the dramatic criticism in hand, for which alone we had always employed a man, I went during twelve months 140 times to the opera, and every evening to several theatres, et cetera.  Once I was caught beautifully.  There had been an opera bouffe, the “Grande Duchesse” or something, running for two or three weeks, and I had written a criticism on it.  This was laid over by “press of matter,” but as the same play was announced for the next night with the same performers, we published the critique.  But it so chanced that the opera by some accident was not played!  The Evening Bulletin, my old paper, rallied me keenly on this blunder, and I felt badly.  John Forney, jun., however, said it was mere rubbish of no consequence.  He was such an arrant Bohemian and hardened son of the press, that he regarded it rather as a joke and a feather in our caps, indicating that we were a bounding lot, and not tied down to close observances.  Truly this is a very fine spirit of freedom, but it may be carried too far, as I think it was by a friend of mine, who had but one principle in life, and that was never to write his newspaper correspondence in the place from which it was dated.  It p. 364came to pass that about three weeks after this retribution overtook the Bulletin, for it also published a review of an opera which was not sung, but I meanly passed the occurrence by without comment.  When a man hits you, it is far more generous, manly, and fraternal to hit him back a good blow than to degrade him by silent contempt.

The Presidential campaign between Grant and Johnson was beginning to warm up.  Colonel Forney was in a cyclone of hard work between Washington, Pennsylvania, and New York, carrying on a thousand plots and finely or coarsely drawn intrigues, raising immense sums, speaking in public, and, not to put it too finely, buying or trading votes in a thousand tortuous or “mud-turtlesome and possum-like ways”—for non possumus was not in his Latin.  Never shall I forget the disgust and indignation with which the great Republican champion entered the office one evening, and, flinging himself on a chair, declared that votes in New Jersey had gone up to sixty dollars a head!  And I was forced to admit that sixty dollars for a Jerseyman did seem to be an exorbitant price.  So he went forth on the war-path with fresh paint and a sharp tomahawk.

It often happened to me in his absence to have very curious and critical decisions in my power.  One of these is the “reading in” or “reading out” of a man from his party.  This is invariably done by a leading political newspaper.  I remember, for instance, a man who had been very prominent in politics, and gone over to the Democrats, imploring me to readmit him to the fold; but, as I regarded him as a mere office-hunter, I refused to do it.  Excommunicatus sit!

There was a very distinguished and able man in a very high position.  To him I had once addressed a letter begging a favour which would have been nothing at all to grant, but which was of great importance to me, and he had taken no notice of it.  It came to pass that we had in our hands to publish certain very damaging charges against this great man.  He found it out, and, humiliated, I may say agonised p. 365with shame and fear, he called with a friend, begging that the imputations might not be published.  I believe from my soul that if I had not been so badly treated by him I should have refused his request, but, as it was, I agreed to withdraw the charges.  It was the very best course, as I afterwards found.  I am happy to say that, in after years, and in other lands, he showed himself very grateful to me.  I am by nature as vindictive as an unconverted Indian, and as I am deeply convinced that it is vile and wicked, I fight vigorously against it.  In my Illustrated News days in New York I used to keep an old German hymn pasted up before me in the sanctum to remind me not to be revengeful.  Out of all such battling of opposing principles come good results.  I feel this in another form in the warring within me of superstitious feelings and scientific convictions.

It became apparent that on Pennsylvania depended the election of President.  The State had only been prevented from turning Copperhead-Democrat—which was the same as seceding—by the incredible exertions of the Union League, led by George H. Boker, and the untiring aid of Colonel Forney.  But even now it was very uncertain, and in fact the election—on which the very existence of the Union virtually depended—was turned by only a few hundred votes; and, as Colonel Forney and George H. Boker admitted, it would have been lost but for what I am going to narrate.

There were many thousand Republican Clubs all through the State, but they had no one established official organ or newspaper.  This is of vast importance, because such an organ is sent to doubtful voters in large numbers, and gives the keynote or clue for thousands of speeches and to men stumping or arguing.  It occurred to me early to make the Weekly Press this organ.  I employed a young man to go to the League and copy all the names and addresses of all the thousands of Republican clubs in the State.  Then I had the paper properly endorsed by the League, and sent a copy to p. 366every club at cost price or for nothing.  This proved to be a tremendous success.  It cost us money, but Colonel Forney never cared for that, and he greatly admired the coup.  I made the politics hot, to suit country customers.  I found the gun and Colonel Forney the powder and ball, and between us we made a hit.

One day Frank Wells, of the Bulletin (very active indeed in the Union League), met me and asked if I, since I had lived in New York, could tell them anything as to what kind of a man George Francis Train really was.  “He has come over all at once,” he said, “from the Democratic party, and wishes to stump Pennsylvania, if we will pay him his expenses.”  I replied—

“I know Train personally, and understand him better than most men.  He is really a very able speaker for a popular American audience, and will be of immense service if rightly managed.  But you must get some steady, sensible man to go with him and keep him in hand and regulate expenses, &c.”

It was done.  After the election I conversed with the one who had been the bear-leader, and he said—

“It was an immense success.  Train made thousands of votes, and was a most effective speaker.  His mania for speaking was incredible.  One day, after addressing two or three audiences at different towns, we stopped at another to dine.  While waiting for the soup, I heard a voice as of a public speaker, and looking out, saw Train standing on a load of hay, addressing a thousand admiring auditors.”

There are always many men who claim to have carried every Presidential election—the late Mr. Guiteau was one of these geniuses—but it is also true that there are many who would by not working have produced very great changes.  Forney was a mighty wire-puller, if not exactly before the Lord, at least before the elections, and he opined that I had secured the success.  There were certainly other men—e.g., Peacock, who influenced as many votes as the Weekly Press, p. 367and George Francis Train—without whose aid Pennsylvania and Grant’s election would have been lost, but it is something to have been one of the few who did it.

When General Grant came in, he resolved to have nothing to do with “corrupt old politicians,” even though they had done him the greatest service.  So he took up with a lot of doubly corrupt young ones, who were only inferior to the veterans in ability.  Colonel Forney was snubbed cruelly, in order to rob him.  Whatever he had done wrongly, he had done his work rightly, and if Grant intended to throw his politicians overboard, he should have informed them of it before availing himself of their services.  His conduct was like that of the old lady who got a man to saw three cords of wood for her, and then refused to pay him because he had been divorced.

I had never in my life asked for an office from anybody.  Mr. Charles A. Dana once said that the work I did for the Republican party on Vanity Fair alone was worth a foreign mission, and that was a mere trifle to what I did with the Continental Magazine, my pamphlet, &c.  When Grant was President, I petitioned that a little consulate worth $1,000 (£200) might be given to a poor Episcopal clergyman, but a man accustomed to consular work, who spoke French, and who had been secretary to two commodores.  It was for a small French town.  It was supported by Forney and George H. Boker; but it was refused because I was “in Forney’s set,” and the consulate was given to a Western man who did not know French.

If John Forney, instead of using all his immense influence for Grant, had opposed him tooth and nail, he could not have been treated with more scornful neglect.  The pretence for this was that Forney had defaulted $40,000!  I know every detail of the story, and it is this:—While Forney was in Europe, an agent to whom he had confided his affairs did take money to that amount.  As soon as Forney learned this, he promptly raised $40,000 by mortgage on his property, p. 368and repaid the deficit.  Even his enemy Simon Cameron declared he did not believe the story, and the engine of his revenge was always run by “one hundred Injun power.”

I had “met” Grant several times, when one day in London I was introduced to him again.  He said that he was very happy to make my acquaintance.  I replied, “General Grant, I have had the pleasure of being introduced to you six times already, and I hope for many happy renewals of it.”  A week or two after, this appeared in Punch, adapted to a professor and a duchess.

When the Sanitary Fair was held in Philadelphia in 1863, a lady in New York wrote to Garibaldi, begging him for some personal souvenir to be given to the charity.  Garibaldi replied by actually sending the dagger which he had carried in every engagement, expressing in a letter a hope that it might pass to General Grant.  But a warm partisan of McClellan so arranged it that there should be an election for the dagger between the partisans of Grant and McClellan, every one voting to pay a dollar to the Fair.  For a long time the McClellanites were in a majority, but at the last hour Miss Anna M. Lea, now Mrs. Lea Merritt, very cleverly brought down a party of friends, who voted for Grant, secured the dagger for him, and so carried out the wish of Garibaldi.  Long after an amusing incident occurred relative to this.  In conversation in London with Mrs. Grant, I asked her if the dagger had been received.  She replied, “Oh, yes,” and then added naïvely, “but wasn’t it really alt a humbug?”

The death of my father and brother within a year, the sudden change in my fortunes, the Presidential campaign, and, above all, the working hard seven days in the week, had been too much for me.  I began to find, little by little, that I could not execute half the work to which I was accustomed.  Colonel Forney was very kind indeed, and never said a word.  But I began to apprehend that a break-down in my health was impending.  I needed change of scene, and so resolved, finding, after due consideration, that I had enough to live on, p. 369to go abroad for a long rest.  It proved to be a very wise resolve.  So I rented my house, packed my trunks, and departed, to be gone “for a year or two.”

I would say, in concluding this chapter, that Colonel John Forney was universally credited, with perfect justice, as having carried Grant’s election.  When Grant was about to deliver his inaugural speech, a stranger who stood by me, looking at the immense expectant crowd, remarked to a friend, “This is a proud day for John Forney!”  “Yes,” replied the other, “the Dead Duck has elected Grant.”  But Forney cheerfully and generously declared that it was the Weekly Press which had carried Pennsylvania, and that I had managed it entirely alone.  All these things were known to thousands at the time, but we lived in such excitement that we made but little account thereof.  However, there are men of good repute still living who will amply confirm all that I have said of my work on the Continental Magazine; and that Abraham Lincoln himself did actually credit me with this is proved by the following incident.  Because I had so earnestly advocated Emancipation as a war measure at a time when even the most fiery and advanced Abolition papers, such as the Tribune, were holding back and shouting pas trop de zèle—and as it proved wisely, by advocating it publicly—merely as a war measure—the President, at the request of George H. Boker, actually signed for me fifty duplicate very handsome copies of the Proclamation of Emancipation on parchment paper, to every one of which Mr. Seward also added his signature.  One of these is now hanging up in the British Museum as my gift.  I perfectly understood and knew at the time, as did all concerned, that this was a recognition, and a very graceful and appropriate one, of what I had done for Emancipation—Harvard having A.M.’d me for the same.  The copies I presented to the Sanitary Fair to be sold for its benefit, but there was not much demand for them; what were left over I divided with George Boker.

p. 370VII.  EUROPE REVISITED.  1869-1870.

Voyage on the Pereire—General Washburne—I am offered a command in another French Revolution—Paris—J. Meredith Read and Prevost Paradol—My health—Spa—J. C. Hotten—Octave Delepierre—Heidelberg—Dresden—Julian Hawthorne and G. Lathrop—Verona—Venice—Rome—W. W. Story—Florence—Lorimer Graham—“Breitmann” in the Royal Family—Tuscany.

We sailed on the famed Pereire from New York to Brest in May, 1869.  We had not left port before a droll incident occurred.  On the table in the smoking-room lay a copy of the “Ballads of Hans Breitmann.”  A fellow-passenger asked me, “Is that your book?”  I innocently replied, “Yes.”  “Excuse me, sir,” cried another, “it is mine.”  “I beg your pardon,” I replied, “but it is really mine.”  “Sir, I bought it.”  “I don’t care if you did,” I replied; “it is mine—for I wrote it.”  There was a roar of laughter, and we all became acquainted at once.

General Washburne was among the passengers.  He had been appointed Minister to France and was going to Paris, where he subsequently distinguished himself during the siege by literally taking the place of seven foreign Ministers who had left, and kindly caring for all their protégés.  It never occurred to the old frontiersman to leave a place or his duties because fighting was going on.  I had a fine twelve-feet blue Indian blanket, which I had bought somewhere beyond Leavenworth of a trader.  When sitting on deck wrapped in it, the General would finger a fold lovingly, and say, “Ah! the Indians always have good blankets!”

p. 371We arrived in Brest, and Mrs. Leland, who had never before been in Europe, was much pleased at her first sight, early in the morning, of a French city; the nuns, soldiers, peasants, and all, as seen from our window, were indeed very picturesque.  We left that day by railway for Paris, and on the road a rather remarkable incident occurred.  There was seated opposite to us a not very amiable-looking man of thirty, who might be of the superior class of mechanics, and who evidently regarded us with an evil eye, either because we were suspected Anglais or aristocrats.  I resolved that he should become amicable.  Ill-tempered though he might be, he was still polite, for at every stopping-place he got out to smoke, and extinguished his cigar ere he re-entered.  I said to him, “Madame begs that you will not inconvenience yourself so much—pray continue to smoke in here.”  This melted him, as it would any Frenchman.  Seeing that he was reading the Rappel, I conversed “liberally.”  I told him that I had been captain of barricades in Forty-eight, and described in full the taking of the Tuileries.  His blood was fired, and he confided to me all the details of a grand plot for a Revolution which he was going up to Paris to attend to, and offered me a prominent place among the conspirators, assuring me that I should have a glorious opportunity to fight again at the barricades!  I was appalled at his want of discretion, but said nothing.  Sure enough, there came the émeute of the plebiscite, as he had predicted, but it was suppressed.  George Boker wrote to me: “When I heard of a revolution in Paris, I knew at once that you must have arrived and had got to work.”  And when I told him that I knew of it in advance, and had had a situation offered me as leader, he dryly replied, “Oh, I suppose so—as a matter of course.”  It was certainly a strange coincidence that I left Paris in Forty-eight as a Revolutionary suspect, and re-entered it in 1870 in very nearly the same capacity.

We found agreeable lodgings at the Rond Point of the Champs Elysées.  The day after our arrival I determined to p. 372arrange the terms of living with our landlord.  He and his wife had the reputation of being fearful screws in their “items.”  So he, thinking I was a newly arrived and perfectly ignorant American, began to draw the toils, and enumerate so much for the rooms, so much for every towel, so much, I believe, for salt and every spoon and fork.  I asked him how much he would charge for everything in the lump.  He replied, “Mais, Monsieur, nous ne faisons pas jamais comme cela à Paris.”  Out of all patience, I burst out into vernacular: “Sacré nom de Dieu et mille tonnerres, vieux galopin! you dare to tell me, a vieux carabin du Quartier Latin, that you cannot make arrangements!  Et depuisse-quand, s’il vous plait?” [372]  He stared at me in blank amazement, and then said with a smile: “TiensMonsieur est donc de nous!”  “That I am,” I replied, and we at once made a satisfactory compromise.

We had pleasant friends, and saw the sights and shopped; but I began to feel in Paris for the first time that the dreaded break-down or collapse which I had long apprehended was coming over me.  There was a very clever surgeon and physician named Laborde, who was called Nelaton’s right-hand man.  I met him several times, and he observed to a mutual friend that I was evidently suffering seriously from threatening nervous symptoms, and that he would like to attend me.  He did so, and gave me daily a teaspoonful of bromide of potassium.  This gave me sleep and appetite; but, after some weeks or months, the result was a settled, mild melancholy and tendency to rest.  In fact, it was nearly eighteen months before I recovered so that I could write or work, and live as of old.

I had inherited from both parents, and suffered all my life fearfully at intervals, from brachycephalic or dorsal neuralgia.  Dr. Laborde made short work of this by giving me appallingly strong doses of tincture of aconite and sulphate p. 373of quinine.  Chemists have often been amazed at the prescription.  But in due time the trouble quite disappeared, and I now, laus Deo! very rarely ever have a touch of it.  As many persons suffer terribly from this disorder, which is an aching in the back of the head and neck accompanied by “sick headache,” I give the ingredients of the cure; the proper quantity must be determined by the physician. [373]

We dined once with Mr. Washburne, who during dinner showed his extreme goodness of heart in a very characteristic manner.  Some foolish American had during the émeute—in which I was to have been a leader, had I so willed—got himself into trouble, not by fighting, but through mere prying Yankee “curiosity” and mingling with the crowd.  Such people really deserve to be shot more than any others, for they get in the way and spoil good fighting.  He was deservedly arrested, and sent for his Minister, who, learning it, at once arose, drove to the prefecture, and delivered his inquisitive compatriot.  On another occasion we were the guests of J. Meredith Read, then our Minister to Athens, where we met Prevost Paradol.  But at this time there suddenly came over me a distaste for operas, theatres, dinners, society—in short, of crowds, gaslight, and gaiety in any form, from which I have never since quite recovered.  I had for years been fearfully overdoing it all in America, and now I was in the reaction, and longed for rest.  I was in that state when one could truly say that life would be tolerable but for its amusements.  It is usual for most people to insist in such cases that what the sufferer needs is “excitement” and “distraction of the mind,” change of scene or gaiety, when in reality the patient should be most carefully trained to repose, which is not always easily done, for so very little attention has been p. 374paid to this great truth, that even medical science as yet can do very little towards calming nervous disorders.  In most cases the trouble lies in the presence, or unthinking heedless influence, of other people; and, secondly, in the absence of interesting minor occupations or arts, such as keep the mind busy, yet not over-excited or too deeply absorbed.  An important element in such cases is to interest deeply the patient in himself as a vicious subject to be subdued by his own exertions.  No one who has never had the gout severely can form any conception of the terribly arrogant irritability which accompanies it.  I say arrogant, because it is independent of any voluntary action of the mind.  I have often felt it raging in me, and laughed at it, as if it were a chained wild beast, and conversed with perfect serenity.  Unfortunately, even our dearest friends, generally women, cannot, to save their very lives and souls, refrain from having frequent piquant scenes with such tempting subjects; while, on the other hand, the subjects are often led by mere vanity into exhibiting themselves as something peculiar.  Altogether, I believe that where there is no deeply seated hereditary or congenital defect, or no displacement or injury from violence or disease, there is always a cure to be hoped for, or at least possible; but this cure depends in many cases so very much upon the wisdom and patience of friends and physicians, that it is only remarkable that we find so many recoveries as we do.  Where the patient and friends are all really persons of superior intelligence, almost miraculous cures may be effected.  But unfortunately, if it be not born in us, it requires a great deal of genius to acquire properly the real dolce far niente.

From Paris we went to Spa in the Ardennes.  In this very beautiful place, in a picturesque land of legends, I felt calmer and more relieved.  I think it was there that for the first time I got an inkling that my name was becoming known in Europe.  There was a beautiful young English lady whom I occasionally met in an artist’s studio, who one day asked me with some interest whom the Leland could be p. 375of whom one heard sometimes—“he writes books, I think.”  I told her that I had a brother who had written two or three clever works, and she agreed with me that he must be the man; still she inclined to think that the name was not Henry, but Charles.

Mr. Nicolas Trübner, whom I had not seen since 1856, came with his wife and daughter to Spa, and this was the beginning of a great intimacy which lasted to his death.  Which meeting reminds me of something amusing.  I had written the first third of “Breitmann as a Politician,” which J. “Camden” Hotten had republished, promising the public to give them the rest before long.  This I prevented by copyrighting the two remaining thirds in England!  Being very angry at this, Hotten accused me in print of having written this conclusion expressly to disappoint and injure him!  In fact, he really seemed to think that Mr. Trübner and I were only a pair of foreign rogues, bound together to wrong Mr. J. C. Hotten out of his higher rights in “Breitmann.”  I wrote a pamphlet in which I said this and some other things very plainly.  Mr. Trübner showed this to his lawyer, who was of the opinion that it could not be published because it bore on libel, though there was nothing in it worse than what I have here said.  However, Mr. Trübner had it privately printed, and took great joy, solace, and comfort for a very long time in reading it to his friends after dinner, or on other occasions, and as he had many, it got pretty well about London.  I may here very truly remark that Mr. Hotten, in the public controversy which he had with Mr. Trübner on the subject of my “Ballads,” displayed an effrontery absolutely without parallel in modern times, apropos of which Punch remarked—

“The name of Curll will never be forgotten,
And neither will be thine, John Camden Hotten.”

From Spa we went to Brussels, where I remember to have seen many times at work in the gallery the famous artist p. 376without arms who painted with his toes.  What was quite a remarkable was the excellence of his copies from Rembrandt.  Nature succeeded in his case in “heaping voonders oopen voonders,” as Tom Hood says in his “Rhine.”  I became well acquainted with Tom Hood the younger in after years, and to this day I contribute something every year to Tom Hood’s Annual.  At Brussels we stayed at a charming old hotel which had galleries one above the other round the courtyard, exactly like those of the White Hart Inn immortalised in “Pickwick.”  There was in Philadelphia a perfect specimen of such an inn, which has of late years been rebuilt as the Bingham House.  While in Spa I studied Walloon.

From Brussels to Ghent, which I found much modernised from what it had been in 1847, when it was still exactly as in the Middle Age, but fearfully decayed, and, like Ferrara, literary with grass-grown streets.  Und noch weiter—to Ostend, where for three weeks I took lessons in Flemish or Dutch from a young professor, reading “Vondel” and “Bilderdijk,” who, if not in the world of letters known, deserves to be.  I had no dictionary all this time, and the teacher marvelled that I always knew the meaning of the words, which will not seem marvellous to any one who understands German and has studied Anglo-Saxon and read “Middle or Early English.”  Then back to Spa to meet Mr. and Mrs. Trübner and her father Octave Delepierre, who was a great scholar in rariora, curiosa, and old French, and facile princeps the greatest expert in Macaronic poetry who ever wrote.  May I here venture to mention that he always declared that my later poem of “Breitmann and the Pope” was the best Macaronic poem which he had ever read?  His reason for this was that it was the most reckless and heedless or extravagant combination of Latin and modern languages known to him.  I had, however, been much indebted to Mr. Oscar Browning for revising it.  And so the truth, which long in darkness lay, now comes full clearly to the light of day.

p. 377Thence to Liége, Amsterdam, the Hague, Haarlem, and Leyden, visiting all the great galleries and many private collections.  At Amsterdam we saw the last grand kermess or annual fair ever held there.  It was a Dutch carnival, so wild and extravagant that few can comprehend now to what extremes “spreeing” can be carried.  The Dutch, like the Swedes, have or had the strange habit of bottling up their hilarity and letting it out on stated occasions in uproarious frolics.  I saw carmagnoles in which men and women, seized by a wild impulse, whirled along the street in a frantic dance to any chance music, compelling every bystander to join.  I heard of a Prince from Capua, who, having been thus carmagnoled, returned home in rags.

In Leyden I visited the Archæological Museum, where I by chance became acquainted with the chief or director, who was then engaged in rearranging his collections, and who, without knowing my name, kindly expressed the wish that I would remain a week to aid him in preparing the catalogue.  As there are few works on prehistoric relics which I do not know, and as I had for many years studied with zeal innumerable collections of the kind, I venture to believe that his faith in my knowledge was not quite misplaced.  Even as I write I have just received the Catalogue of Prehistoric Works in Eastern America, by Cyrus Thomas—a work of very great importance.

Thence we went to Cologne, where it was marvellous to find the Cathedral completed, in spite of the ancient legend which asserts that though the devil had furnished its design he had laid a curse upon it, declaring that it should never be finished.  Thence up the Rhine by castles grey and smiling towns, recalling my old foot-journey along its banks; and so on to Heidelberg, where I stayed a month at the Black Eagle.  Herr Lehr was still there.  He had grown older.  His son was taking dancing lessons of Herr Zimmer, who had taught me to waltz twenty years before.  One day I took my watch to a shop to be repaired, when the proprietor p. 378declared that he had mended it once before in 1847, and showed me the private mark which he put on it at the time.

There were several American students, who received me very kindly.  I remember among them Wright, Manly, and Overton.  When I sat among them smoking and drinking beer, and mingling German student words with English, it seemed as if the past twenty years were all a dream, and that I was a Bursch again.  Overton had the reputation of being par éminence the man of men in all Heidelberg, who could take off a full quart at one pull without stopping to take breath—a feat which I had far outdone at Munich, in my youth, with the horn, and which I again accomplished at Heidelberg “without the foam,” Overton himself, who was a very noble young fellow, applauding the feat most loudly.  But I have since then often done it with Bass or Alsopp, which is much harder.  I need not say that the “Breitmann Ballads,” which had recently got among the Anglo-American students, and were by them greatly admired, did much to render me popular.

I found or made many friends in Heidelberg.  One night we were invited to a supper, and learned afterwards that the two children of our host, having heard that we were Americans, had peeped at us through the keyhole and expressed great disappointment at not finding us black.

In November we went to Dresden.  We were so fortunate as to obtain excellent rooms and board with a Herr and Madame Röhn, a well-to-do couple, who, I am sure, took boarders far more for the sake of company than for gain.  Herr Röhn had graduated at Leipzig, but having spent most of his life in Vienna, was a man of exuberant jollity—a man of gold and a gentleman, even as his wife was a truly gentle lady.  As I am very tall, and detest German small beds, I complained of mine, and Herr Röhn said he had another, of which I could not complain.  And I certainly could not, for when it came I found it was at least eight feet in length.  It seems that they had once had for a boarder a German baron p. 379who was more than seven feet high, and had had this curiosity constructed; and Herr Röhn roared with laughter as I gazed on it, and asked if I would have it lengthened.

We remained in Dresden till February, and found many friends, among whom there was much pleasant homelike hospitality.  Among others were Julian Hawthorne and sisters, and George Parsons Lathrop.  They were young fellows then, and not so well known as they have since become, but it was evident enough that they had good work in them.  They often came to see me, and were very kind in many ways.  I took lessons in porcelain-painting, which art I kept up for many years, and was, of course, assiduous in visiting the galleries, Green Vault, and all works of art.  I became well acquainted with Passavant, the director.  I was getting better, but was still far from being as mentally vigorous as I had been.  I now attribute this to the enormous daily dose of bromide which I continued to take, probably mistaking its influence for the original nervous exhaustion itself.  It was not indeed till I got to England, and substituted lupulin in the form of hops—that is to say, pale ale or “bitter”—in generous doses, that I quite recovered.

So we passed on to Prague, which city, like everything Czech, always had a strange fascination for me.  There I met a certain Mr. Vojtech Napristek (or Adalbert Thimble), who had once edited in the United States a Bohemian newspaper with which I had exchanged, and with whom I had corresponded, but whom I had never before seen.  He had established in Prague, on American lines, a Ladies’ Club of two hundred, which we visited, and was, I believe, owing to an inheritance, now a prosperous man.  Though I am not a Thimble, it also befell me, in later years, to found and preside over a Ladies’ Art Club of two hundred souls.  At that time the famous legendary bridge, with the ancient statue of St. John Nepomuk, still existed as of yore.  No one imagined that a time would come when they would be washed away through sheer neglect.

p. 380So on to Munich, where, during a whole week, I saw but one Riegelhaube, a curious head-dress or chignon-cover of silver thread, once very common.  Even the old Bavarian dialect seemed to have almost vanished, and I was glad to hear it from our porter.  Many old landmarks still existed, but King Louis no longer ran about the streets—I nearly ran against him once; people no longer were obliged by law to remove cigars or pipes from their mouths when passing a sentry-box.  Lola Montez had vanished.  Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?

So we went over the Brenner Pass, stopped at Innspruck, and saw the church described by Heine in his Reisebilder, and came to Verona, the Bern of the Heldenbuch.  “Ich will gen Bern ausreiten, sprach Meister Hildebrand.”

It was a happy thought of the Italians to put picturesque Verona down as the first stopping-place for Northern travellers, and I rather like Ruskin’s idea of buying the town and keeping it intact as a piece of bric-à-brac.  He might have proposed Rome while he was about it; “anything there can be had for money,” says Juvenal.

When we arrived at the station I alone was left to encounter the fierce douaniers.  One of them, inquisitive as to tobacco, when I told him I had none, laid his finger impressively on the mouthpiece of my pipe, remarking that where the tail of the fox was seen the fox could not be far off.  To which I replied that I indeed had no tobacco, but wanted some very badly, and that I would be much obliged to him if he would give me a little to fill my pipe.  So all laughed.  My wife entering at this instant, cried in amazement, “Why, Charles! where did you ever learn to talk Italian?”  Which shows that there can be secrets even between married people; though indeed my Italian has always been of such inferior quality that it is no wonder that I never boasted of it even in confidence.  It is, in fact, the Hand-organo dialect flavoured with Florentine.

There was an old lady who stood at the door of a curiosity-shop in Verona, and she had five pieces of bone-carvings p. 381from some old scatola or marriage-casket.  She asked a fabulous price for them, and I offered five francs.  She scorned the paltry sum with all the vehemence of a susceptible soul whose tenderest feelings have been outraged.  So I went my way, but as I passed the place returning, the old lady came forth, and, graciously courtesying and smiling, held forth to me the earrings neatly wrapped in paper, and thanked me for the five francs!  Which indicated to me that the good small folk of Italy had not materially changed since I had left the country.

We came to Venice, and went to a hotel, where we had a room given to us which, had we wished to give a ball, would have left nothing to be desired.  I counted in it twenty-seven chairs and seven tables, all at such a distance from one another that they seemed not to be on speaking terms.  I do not think I ever got quite so far as the upper end of that room while I inhabited it—it was probably somewhere in Austria.  I have spoken of having met Mr. Wright at Heidelberg.  He was from Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania.  The next day after my arrival I found among the names of the departed, “Signore Wright-Kilkes, from Barre, Pennsylvania, America.”  This reminded me of the Anglo-American who was astonished at Rome at receiving invitations and circulars addressed to him as “Illustrissimo Varanti Solezer.”  It turned out that an assistant, reading aloud to the clerk the names from the trunks, had mistaken a very large “Warranted Sole Leather” for the name of the owner.

And this on soles reminds me that there was a femme sole or lone acrimonious British female at our hotel, who declared to me one evening that she had never in all her life been so insulted as she was that day at a banker’s; and the insult consisted in this, that she, although quite unknown to him, had asked him to cash a cheque on London, which he had declined to do.  I remarked that no banker who did business properly ever ought to cash a cheque from a total stranger.

“Sir,” said the lady, “do I look like an impostor?”

p. 382“Madame,” I replied, “I have seen thieves and wretches of the vilest type who could not have been distinguished from either of us as regards respectability of appearance.  You do not appear to know much about such people.”

“I am happy to say, sir,” replied the lady with intense acidity, “that I do not.”  But she added triumphantly, “What do you say when I tell you that I had my cheque-book?  How could I have possessed it if I had not a right to draw?”

“Any scamp,” I replied, “can deposit a few pounds in a bank, buy a cheque-book, and then draw his money.”

But the next day she came to me in radiant sneering triumph.  She had found another banker, who was a gentleman, with a marked emphasis, who had cashed her cheque.  How many people there are in this world whose definition of a gentleman is “one who does whatever pleases us!”

In Florence we went directly to the Hotel d’Europe in the Via Tuornabuoni, where my Indian blanket vanished even while entering the hotel, and surrounded only by the servants to whom the luggage had been confided.  As the landlord manifested great disgust for me whenever I mentioned such a trifle, and as the porter and the rest declared that they would answer soul and body for one another’s honesty, I had to grin and bear it.  I really wonder sometimes that there are not more boarders, who, like Benvenuto Cellini, set fire to hotels or cut up the bedclothes before leaving them.  That worthy, having been treated not so badly as I was at the Hotel d’Europe and at another in Florence, cut to pieces the sheets of his bed, galloped away hastily, and from the summit of a distant hill had the pleasure of seeing the landlord in a rage.  Now people write to the Times, and “cut up” the whole concern.  It all comes to the same thing.

In Florence I saw much of an old New York friend, the now late Lorimer Graham.  When he died, Swinburne wrote a poem on him.  He was a man of great culture and refined manner.  There was something sympathetic in him which p. 383drew every one irresistibly into liking.  It was his instinct to be kind and thoughtful to every one.  He gave me letters to Swinburne, Lord Houghton, and others.

I made an acquaintance by chance in Florence whom I can never forget: for he was a character.  One day while in the Uffizi Gallery engaged in studying the great Etruscan vase, now in the Etruscan Museum, a stranger standing by me said, “Does not this seem to you like a mysterious book written in forgotten characters?  Is not a collection of such vases like a library?”

“On that hint I spake.”  “I see,” I replied, “you refer to the so-called Etruscan Library which an Englishman has made, and which contains only vases and inscriptions in that now unknown tongue of Etruria.  And indeed, when we turn over the pages of Inghirami, Gherard, and Gori, Gray, or Dennis, it does indeed really seem—But what do you really think the old Etruscan language truly was?”

“Look here, my friend,” cried the stranger in broad Yankee, “I guess I’m barkin’ up the wrong tree.  I calculated to tell you something, but you’re ahead of me.”

We both laughed and became very good friends.  He lived at our hotel, and had been twenty-five years in Italy, and knew every custode in every gallery, and could have every secret treasure unlocked.  He was perfectly at home about town—would stop and ask a direction of a cab-driver, and was capable of going into an umbrella-shop when it rained.

We went on to Rome, and I can only say that as regards what we saw there, my memory is confused literally with an embarras de richesses.  The Ecumenical Council was being held, at which an elderly Italian gentleman, who possibly did not know oxygen from hydrogen, or sin from sugar, was declared to be infallible in his judgment of all earthly things.

While in Rome we saw a great deal of W. W. Story, the sculptor, and his wife and daughter, Edith, for whom Thackeray wrote his most beautiful tale, and I at my humble p. 384distance the ballad of “Breitmann in Rome,” which contained a remarkable prophecy, of the Franco-German war.  At their house we met Odo Russell and Oscar Browning, and many more whose names are known to all.  It was there also that a lady of the Royal English household amused us very much one evening by narrating how the “Breitmann Ballads,” owing to their odd mixture of German and English, were favourite subjects for mutual reading and recitation among the then youthful members of the Royal family, and what haste and alarm there was to put the forbidden book out of the way when Her Majesty the Queen was announced as coming.  I also met in Rome the American poet and painter T. Buchanan Read, who gave me a dinner, and very often that remarkable character General Carroll Tevis, who, having fought under most flags, and been a Turkish bey or pacha, was now a chamberlain of the Pope.  In the following year he fought for the French, behaved with great bravery in Bourbaki’s retreat, and was decorated on the field of battle.  Then again, when I was in Egypt, Tevis was at the head of the military college.  He had fairly won his rank of general in the American Civil War, but as there was some disinclination or other to give it to him, I had used my influence in his favour with Forney, who speedily secured it for him.  He was a perfect type of the old condottiero, but with Dugald Dalgetty’s scrupulous faith to his military engagements.  The American clergyman in Rome was the Rev. Dr. Nevin, a brother of my friend Captain Nevin.  There was also Mrs. John Grigg, an old Philadelphia friend (now residing in Florence), to whom we were then, as we have continually been since, indebted for the most cordial hospitality.

Through the kind aid of General Tevis we were enabled to see all the principal ceremonies of the Holy Week and Easter.  This year, owing to the Council, everything was on a scale of unusual magnificence.  I can say with Panurge that I have seen three Popes, but will not add with him, “and p. 385little good did it ever do me,” for Mrs. Leland at least was much gratified with a full sight and quasi-interview with His Holiness.

There was a joyous sight for a cynic to be seen in Rome in those days—in fact, it was only last year (1891) that it was done away with.  This was the drawing of the lottery by a priest.  There was on a holy platform a holy wheel and a holy little boy to draw the holy numbers, and a holy old priest to oversee and bless the whole precious business.  The blessing of the devil would have been more appropriate, for the lotteries are the curse of Italy.  What the Anglo-American mechanic puts into a savings bank, the Italian invests in lotteries.  In Naples there are now fourteen tickets sold per annum for the gross amount of the population, and in Florence twelve.

One day I took a walk out into the country with Briton Rivière and some other artists.  I had a cake or two of colour, and Rivière, with wine for water, at a trattoria where we lunched, made a picture of the attendant maid.  He pointed out to me on the road a string of peasants carrying great loaves of coarse bread.  They had walked perhaps twenty miles to buy it, because in those days people were not allowed to bake their own bread, but must buy it at the public forno, which paid a tax for the privilege.  So long as Rome was under Papal control, its every municipal institution, such as hospitals, prisons, and the police, were in a state of absolutely incredible inhuman vileness, while under everything ran corruption and dishonesty.  The lower orders were severely disciplined as to their sexual morals, because it was made a rich source of infamous taxes, as it now is in other cities of Europe; but cardinals and the wealthier priests kept mistresses, almost openly, since these women were pointed out to every one as they flaunted about proudly in their carriages.

From Rome we passed into Pisa, Genoa, Spezzia, and Nice, over the old Cornici road, and so again to Paris, where p. 386we remained six weeks, and then left in June, 1870, just before the war broke out.  While in the city we saw at different times in public the Emperor and Empress, also the Queen of Spain.  The face of Louis Napoleon was indeed somewhat changed since I saw him in London in 1848, but it had not improved so much as his circumstances, as he was according to external appearances and popular belief now extremely well off.  But appearances are deceptive, as was soon proved, for he was in reality on the verge of a worse bankruptcy than even his uncle underwent, for the nephew lost not only kingdom and life, but also every trace of reputation for wisdom and honesty, remaining to history only as a brazen royal adventurer and “copper captain.”

In Rome our dear old friend Mrs. John Grigg showed us, as I said, many kind attentions, which she has, in Florence, continued to this day.  This lady is own aunt to my old school friend General George B. McClellan.  At an advanced age she executes without glasses the most exquisite embroidery conceivable, and her heart and intellect are in keeping with her sight.

p. 387VIII.  ENGLAND.  1870.

The Trübners—George Eliot and G. H. Lewes—Heseltine—Edwards—Etched by Bracquemond and Legros—Jean Ingelow—Tennyson—Hepworth Dixon—Lord Lytton the elder—Lord Houghton—Bret Harte—France, Alsace, and Lorraine—Samuel Laing—Gypsies—The Misses Horace Smith—Brighton and odd fish—Work and books—Hunting—Doré—Art and Nature—Taglioni—Chevalier Wykoff—Octave Delepierre—Breitmann—Thomas Carlyle—George Borrow—A cathedral tour round about England—Salisbury, Wells, and York.

It is pleasant being anywhere in England in June, and the passing from picturesque Dover to London through laughing Kent is a good introduction to the country.  The untravelled American, fresh from the “boundless prairies” and twenty-thousand-acre fields of wheat, sees nothing in it all but the close cultivation of limited land; but the tourist from the Continent perceives at once that, with most careful agriculture, there are indications of an exuberance of wealth, true comfort, and taste rarely seen in France or Germany.  The many trees of a better quality and slower growth than the weedy sprouting poplar and willow of Normandy; the hedges, which are very beautiful and ever green; the flowerbeds and walks about the poorest cottage; the neatly planted, prettily bridged side roads, all indicate a superiority of wealth or refinement such as prevails only in New England, or rather which did prevail, until the native population, going westward, was supplanted by Irish or worse, if any worse there be at turning neatness into dirty disorder.

p. 388That older American population was deeply English, with a thousand rural English traditions religiously preserved; and the chief of these is clean neatness, which, when fully carried out, always results in simple, unaffected beauty.  This was very strongly shown in the Quaker gardens, once so common in Philadelphia—and in the people.

We arrived in London, and went directly to the Trübners’, No. 29 Upper Hamilton Terrace, N.W.  The first person who welcomed me was Mr. Delepierre, an idol of mine for years; and the first thing I did was to borrow half-a-crown of him to pay the cab, having only French money with me.  It was a charming house, with a large garden, so redolent of roses that it might have served Chriemhilda of old for a romance.  For twenty years that house was destined to be an occasional home and a dwelling where we were ever welcome, and where every Sunday evening I had always an appointed place at dinner, and a special arm-chair for the never-failing Havannah.  Mrs. Trübner had, in later years, two boxes of Havannahs of the best, which had belonged to G. H. Lewes, and which George Eliot gave her after his death.  I have kept two en souvenir.  I knew a man once who had formed a large collection of such relics.  There was a cigar which he had received from Louis Napoleon, and one from Bismarck, and so forth.  But, alas! once while away on his travels, the whole museum was smoked up by a reckless under-graduate younger brother.  In fumo exit.

How many people well known to the world—or rather how few who were not—have I met there—Edwin Arnold, G. H. Lewes, H. Dixon, M. Van der Weyer, Frith the artist, Mrs. Trübner’s uncle Lord Napier of Magdala, Pigott, Norman Lockyer, Bret Harte, “and full many more,” scholars, poets, editors, and, withal, lady writers of every good shade, grade, and quality.  How many of them all have passed since then full silently into the Silent Land, where we may follow, but return no more!  How many a pleasant smile and friendly voice and firm alliances and genial acquaintances, often carried p. 389out in other lands, date their beginning in my memory to the house in Hamilton Terrace!  How often have I heard by land or sea the familiar greeting, “I think I met you once at the Trübners’!”  For it was a salon, a centre or sun with many bright and cheering rays—a civilising institution!

Mrs. Trübner was the life of this home.  Anglo-Belgian by early relation and education, she combined four types in one.  When speaking English, she struck me as the type of an accomplished and refined British matron; in French, her whole nature seemed Parisienne; in Flemish, she was altogether Flamande; and in German, Deutsch.  If Cerberus was three gentlemen in one, Mrs. Trübner was four ladies united.  Very well read, she conversed not only well on any subject, but, what is very unusual in her sex, with sincere interest, and not merely to entertain.  If interrupted in a conversation she resumed the subject!  This is a remarkable trait!

The next day after our arrival Mrs. Trübner took Mrs. Leland, during a walk, to call on George Eliot, and that evening G. H. Lewes, Hepworth Dixon, and some others came to a reception at the Trübners’.  Both of these men were, as ever, very brilliant and amusing in conversation.  I met them very often after this, both at their homes and about London.  I also became acquainted with George Eliot or Mrs. Lewes, who left on me the marked impression, which she did on all, of being a woman of genius, though I cannot recall anything remarkable which I ever heard from her.  I note this because there were most extraordinary reports of her utterances among her admirers.  A young American lady once seriously asked me if it were true that at the Sunday afternoon receptions in South Bank one could always see rows of twenty or thirty of the greatest men in England, such as Carlyle, Froude, and Herbert Spencer, all sitting with their note-books silently taking down from her lips the ideas which they subsequently used in their writings!  There seemed, indeed, to be afloat in America among certain folk an idea that something enormous, p. 390marvellous, and inspired went on at these receptions, and that George Eliot posed as a Pythia or Sibyl, as the great leading mind of England, and lectured while we listened.  There is no good portrait, I believe, of her.  She had long features and would have been called plain but for her solemn, earnest eyes, which had an expression quite in keeping with her voice, which was one not easily forgotten.  I never detected in her any trace of genial humour, though I doubt not that it was latent in her; and I thought her a person who had drawn her ideas far more from books and an acquaintance with certain types of humanity whom she had set herself deliberately to study—albeit with rare perception—than from an easy intuitive familiarity with all sorts and conditions of men.  But she worked out thoroughly what she knew by the intuition of genius, though in this she was very far inferior to Scott.  Thus she wrote the “Spanish Gypsy,” having only seen such gypsies two or three times.  One day she told me that in order to write “Daniel Deronda,” she had read through two hundred books.  I longed to tell her that she had better have learned Yiddish and talked with two hundred Jews, and been taught, as I was by my friend Solomon the Sadducee, the art of distinguishing Fräulein Löwenthal of the Ashkenazim from Senorita Aguado of the Sephardim by the corners of their eyes!

I had read more than once Lewes’s “Life of Goethe,” his “History of Philosophy and Physiology,” and even “written him” for the Cyclopædia.  With him I naturally at once became well acquainted.  I remember here that Mr. Ripley had once reproved me for declaring that Lewes had really a claim to be an original philosopher or thinker; for Boston intellect always frowned on him after Margaret Fuller condemned him as “frivolous and atheistic.”  I remember that Tom Powell had told me how he had dined somewhere in London, where there was a man present who had really been a cannibal, owing to dire stress of shipwreck, and how Lewes, who was there, was so fascinated with the man-eater that he p. 391could think of nothing else.  Lewes told me that once, having gone with a party of archæologists to visit a ruined church, he found on a twelfth-century tombstone some illegible letters which he persuaded the others to believe formed the name Golias, probably having in mind the poems of Walter de Mapes.  When I returned from Russia I delighted him very much by describing how I had told the fortunes by hand of six gypsy girls.  He declared that telling fortunes to gypsies was the very height of impudence!

“A hundred jests have passed between us twain,
Which, had I space, I’d gladly tell again.”

A call which I have had, since I wrote that last line, from John Postle Heseltine, Esq., reminds me that he was one of the first acquaintances I made in London.  Mr. E. Edwards, a distinguished etcher and painter, gave me a dinner at Richmond, at which Mr. Heseltine was present.  In Edwards’ studio I met with Bracquemond and Legros, both of whom etched my portrait on copper.  Mr. Heseltine is well known as a very distinguished artist of the same kind, as well as for many other things.  Edwards was very kind to me in many ways for years.  Legros I found very interesting.  There was in Edwards’ studio the unique complete collection of the etchings of Méryon, which we examined.  Legros remarked of the incredibly long-continued industry manifested in some of the pictures, that lunatics often manifested it to a high degree.  Méryon, as is known, was mad.  I had etched a very little myself and was free of the fraternity.

Within a few days Mr. Strahan, the publisher, took me to Mr. (now Lord) Tennyson’s reception, where I met with many well-known people.  Among them were Lady Charlotte Locker and Miss Jean Ingelow.  These ladies, with great kindness, finding that I was married, called on Mrs. Iceland, and invited us to dine.  I became a constant visitor for years at Miss Ingelow’s receptions, where I have met Ruskin, Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall (whom I had seen in 1848), p. 392Calverly, Edmund Gosse, Hamilton Aïdé, Mr. and Mrs Alfred Hunt.  I conversed with Tennyson, but little passed between us on that occasion.  I got to know him far better “later on.”

I here anticipate by several years two interviews which I had with Tennyson in 1875, who had ad interim been deservedly “lauded into Lordliness,” and which, to him at least, were amusing enough to be recalled.  The first was at a dinner at Lady Franklin’s, and her niece Miss Cracroft.  And here I may, in passing, say a word as to the extraordinary kindly nature of Lady Franklin.  I think it was almost as soon as we became acquainted that she, learning that I suffered at times from gout, sent me a dozen bottles of a kind of bitter water as a cure.

There were at the dinner as guests Mr. Tennyson, Sir Samuel and Lady Baker, Dr. Quain, and myself.  There was no lack of varied anecdote, reminiscences of noted people and of travel; but by far the most delightful portion of it all was to watch the gradual unfreezing of Tennyson, and how from a grim winter of taciturnity, under the glowing influence of the sun of wine, as the Tuscan Redi hath it—

“Dell’ Indico Oriente
Domator glorioso il Dio di Vino . . .
Di quel Sol, che in Ciel vedete . . .”—

he passed into a glorious summer of genial feeling.  I led unto it thus:—My friend Professor Palmer and I had projected a volume of songs in English Romany or Gypsy, which is by far the sweetest and most euphonious language in Europe.  My friend had translated “Home they brought her warrior dead,” by Tennyson, into this tongue, and I had the MS. of it in my pocket.  Tennyson was very much pleased at the compliment, and asked me to read the poem, which I did.  The work was by permission dedicated to him.  At last, when dinner was over, Tennyson, who had disposed of an entire bottle of port, rose, and approaching me, took me p. 393gaily-gravely by both sides, as if he would lift me up, and drawing himself up to his full height, said, “I like to see a poet a full-sized substantial man,” or “tall and strong,” or words to that effect.  I replied that it was very evident from the general appearance of Shakespeare’s bust that he was a very tall man, but that though the thunder of height had hit twice—the Poet Laureate being the second case—that I had been very slightly singed, tall as I was.  Enfin, some days after, Tennyson in a letter invited me to call and see him should I ever be in the Isle of Wight; which took place by mere chance some time after—in fact, I did not know, when I was first at the hotel in Freshwater, that Tennyson lived at a mile’s distance.

I walked over one afternoon and sent in my card.  Mr. Hallam Tennyson, then a very handsome young man of winsome manner, came out and said that his father was taking his usual siesta, but begged me to remain, kindly adding, “Because I know, Mr. Leland, he would be very sorry to have missed you.”  After a little time, however, Tennyson himself appeared, and took me up to his den or studio, where I was asked to take a pipe, which I did with great good-will, and blew a cloud, enjoying it greatly, because I felt with my host, as with Bulwer, that we had quickly crossed acquaintanceship into the more familiar realm where one can talk about whatever you please with the certainty of being understood and getting a sympathetic answer.  There are lifelong friends with whom one never really gets to this, and there are acquaintances of an hour at table-d’hôtes, who “come like shadows, so depart,” who talk with a touch to our hearts.  Bulwer and Tennyson were such to me, and apré miro zī, as the gypsies say—on my life-soul!—if I had talked with them, as I did, without knowing who they were, I should have recalled them with quite as much interest as I now do, and see them again in dreams.  And here I may add, that the common-place saying that literary men are rarely good talkers, and generally disappointing, is not at all confirmed by my experiences.

p. 394After burning our tobacco, in Indian fashion, to better acquaintance (I forgot to say that the poet had two dozen clay pipes ranged in a small wooden rack), we went forth for a seven miles’ walk on the Downs.  And at last, from the summit of one, I pointed down to a small field below, and said—

But first I must specify that the day before I had gone with a young lady of fourteen summers named Bee or Beatrice Fredericson, both of us bearing baskets, to pick blackberries for tea, and coming to a small field which was completely surrounded by a hedge, we saw therein illimitable blackberries glittering in the setting sunlight, and longed to enter.  Finding a gap which had been filled by a dead thorn-bush, I removed the latter, and, going in, we soon picked a quart of the fruit.  But on leaving we were met by the farmer, who made a to-do, charging us with trespassing.  To which I replied, “Well, what is to pay?”  He asked for two shillings, but was pacified with one; and so we departed.

Therefore I said to Tennyson, “I went into that field yesterday to pick your blackberries, and your farmer caught us and made me pay a shilling for trespassing.”

And he gravely replied, though evidently delighted—“Served you right!  What business had you to come over my hedge into my field to steal my blackberries?”

Mea culpa,” I answered, “mea maxima culpa.”

“Mr. Leland,” pursued Tennyson, as gravely as ever, grasping all the absurdity of the thing with evident enjoyment, “you have no idea how tourists trespass here to get at me.  They climb over my gate and look in at my windows.  It is a fact—one did so only last week.  But I declare that you are the very first poet and man of letters who ever came here—to steal blackberries!”  Here he paused, and then added forcibly—

“I do believe you are a gypsy, after all.”

Then we talked of the old manor-houses in the neighbourhood, and of the famous Mortstone, a supposed Saxon rude p. 395monolith near by.  I thought it prehistoric, because I had dug out from the pile of earth supporting and coeval with it (and indeed only with a lead-pencil) a flint flake chipped by hand and a bit of cannel coal, which indicate dedication.  My host listened with great interest, and then told me a sad tale: how certain workmen employed by him to dig on his land had found a great number of old Roman bronze coins, but, instead of taking them to him, had kept them, though they cared so little for them that they gave a handful to a boy whom they met.  “I told them,” said Tennyson, “that they had been guilty of malappropriation, and though I was not quite sure whether the coins belonged to me or to the Crown, that they certainly had no right to them.  Whereupon their leader said that if I was not satisfied they would not work any longer for me, and so they went away.”  I had on this occasion a long and interesting discussion with Mr. Tennyson relative to Walt Whitman, and involving the principles or nature of poetry.  According to the poet-laureate, poetry, as he understood it, consisted of elevated or refined, or at least superior thought, expressed in melodious form, and in this latter it seemed to him (for it was very modestly expressed) that Whitman was wanting.  Wherein he came nearer to the truth than does Symonds, who overrates, as it seems to me, the value, as regards art and poetry, of simply equalising all human intelligences.  Though I never met Symonds, there was mutual knowledge between us, and when I published my “Etrusco-Roman Remains in Popular Traditions,” which contains the results of six years’ intimacy with witches and fortune-tellers, he wrote a letter expressing enthusiastic admiration of it to Mr. T. Fisher Unwin.  Now all three of these great men are dead.  I shall speak of Whitman anon, for in later years for a long time I met him almost daily.

I can remember that during the conversation Tennyson expressed himself, rather to my amazement, with some slight indignation at a paltry review abusing his latest work; to which I replied—

p. 396“If there is anything on earth for which I have envied you, even more than for your great renown as a poet, it has been because I supposed you were completely above all such attacks and were utterly indifferent to them.”  Which he took amiably, and proceeded to discuss ripe fruit and wasps—or their equivalent.  Yet I doubt whether I was quite in the right, since those who live for fame honourably acquired must ever be susceptible to stings, small or great.  An editor who receives abusive letters so frequently that he ends by pitching them without reading into the waste-basket, and often treats ribald attacks in print in the same manner—as I have often done—has so many other affairs on his mind that he becomes case-hardened.  But I have observed from long experience that there is a Nemesis who watches those who arrogate the right to lay on the rod, and gives it to them with interest in the end.

It was very soon after my arrival in London that I was invited to lunch at Hepworth Dixon’s to meet Lord Lytton, or Bulwer, the great writer.  His works had been so intensely and sympathetically loved by me so long, that it seemed as if I had been asked to meet some great man of the past.  I found him, as I expected, quite congenial and wondrous kind.  I remember a droll incident.  Standing at the head of the stairs, he courteously made way and asked me to go before.  I replied, “When Louis XIV. asked Crillon to do the same, Crillon complied, saying, ‘Wherever your Majesty goes, be it before or behind, is always the first place or post of honour,’ and I say the same with him,” and so went in advance at once.  I saw by his expression that he was pleased with the quotation.

We were looking at a portrait of Shakespeare which Dixon had found in Russia.  Lord Lytton asked me if I thought it an original or true likeness.  I observed that the face was full of many fine seamy lines, which infallibly indicate great nervous genius of the highest order—noting at the same time that Lord Lytton’s countenance was very much p. 397marked in a like manner.  The observation was new to him, and he seemed to be interested in it, as he always was in anything like chiromancy or metoscopy.  A few days later I was invited to come and pass nearly a week with Hepworth Dixon at Knebworth, Lord Lytton’s country seat.  It is a very picturesque château, profusely adorned with fifteenth-century Gothic grotesques, with a fine antique hall, stained glass windows, and gallery.  There is in it a chamber containing a marvellous and massive carved oak bedstead, the posts of which are human figures the size of life, and in it and in the same room Queen Elizabeth is said to have slept when she heard of the destruction of the Spanish Armada.  It was the room of honour, and it had been kindly assigned to me.  It all seemed like a dream.

There was in the family of the late Lord Lytton his son, who made a most favourable impression on me.  I think the first coup was my finding that he knew the works of Andreini, and that it had occurred to him as well as to me that Euphues Lily’s book had been modelled on them.  There was also his wife, a magnificent and graceful beauty; Lord Lytton’s nephew, Mr. Bulwer; and several ladies.  The first morning we all fished in the pond, and, to my great amazement, Lord Lytton pulled out a great one-eyed perch!  I almost expected to see him pull out Paul Clifford or Zanoni next!  In the afternoon we were driven out to Cowper Castle to see a fine gallery of pictures, our host acting as cicerone, and as he soon found that I was fairly well educated in art, and had been a special pupil of Thiersch in Munich, and something more than an amateur, we had many interesting conversations.  I think I may venture to say that he did not expect to find a whilom student of æsthetics, art-history, and Philosophy in the author of “Hans Breitmann.”  What was delightful was his exquisite tact in never saying as much; but I could detect it in the sudden interest and involuntary compliment implied in his tone of conversation.  In a very short time he began to speak to me on all literary or artistic p. 398subjects without preliminary question, taking it for granted that I understood them and chimed in with him.  I was with every interview more and more impressed with his culture—I mean with what had resulted from his reading—his marvellous tact of kindness in small things to all, and his quick and vigorous comparing and contrasting of images and drawing conclusions.  But there was evidently enough a firm bed-rock or hard pan under all this gold.  I was amazed one day when a footman, who had committed some bévue or blunder, or apprehended something, actually turned pale and stammered with terror when Lord Lytton gravely addressed a question to him.  I never in my life saw a man so much frightened, even before a revolver.

But Lord Lytton was beyond all question really interested when he found me so much at home in Rosicrucian and occult lore, and that I had been with Justinus Kerner in Weinsberg, and was familiar with the forgotten dusky paths of mysticism.  He had in his house the famous Earl Stanhope crystal, and wished me to sleep with it under my pillow, but I was so afraid lest the precious relic should be injured, that I resolutely declined the honour, for which I am now sorry, for I sometimes have dreams of a most extraordinary character.  This Stanhope crystal is not, however, the great mirror of Dr. Dee, though it has been said to be so.  The latter belonged to a gentleman in London, who also offered to lend it to me.  It is made of cannel coal.  That Lord Lytton made a very remarkable impression on me is proved by the fact that I continued to dream of him at long intervals after his death; and I am quite sure that such feeling is, by its very nature, always to a certain slight degree reciprocal.  He had a natural and unaffected voice, yet one with a marked character; something like Tennyson’s, which was even more striking.  Both were far removed from the now fashionable intonation, which is the admiration and despair of American swells.  It is only the fin de siècle form of the p. 399demnition dialect of the Forties and the La-ard and Lunnon of an earlier age.

Lord Lytton was generally invisible in the morning, sometimes after lunch.  In the evening he came out splendidly groomed, fresh as a rose, and at dinner and after was as interesting as any of his books.  He had known “everybody” to a surprising extent, and had anecdotes fresh and vivid of every one whom he had met.  He loved music, and there was a lady who sang old Spanish ballads with rare taste.  I enjoyed myself incredibly.

I may be excused for mentioning here that I sent a copy of the second edition of my “Meister Karl’s Sketch-Book” to Lord Lytton.  No one but Irving and Trübner had ever praised it.  When Lord Lytton published afterwards “Kenelm Chillingly,” I found in it three passages in which I recognised beyond dispute others suggested by my own work.  I do not in the least mean that there was any borrowing or taking beyond the mere suggestion of thought.  Why I think that Lord Lytton had these hints in his mind is that he gave the name of Leland to one of the minor characters in the book.

When I published a full edition of “Breitmann’s Poems,” he wrote me a long letter criticising and praising the work, and a much longer and closely written one, of seven pages, relating to my “Confucius and Other Poems.”  I was subsequently invited to receptions at his house in London, where I first met Browning, and had a long conversation with him.  I saw him afterwards at Mrs. Proctor’s.  This was the wife of Barry Cornwall, whom I also saw.  He was very old and infirm.  I can remember when the “Cornlaw Rhymes” rang wherever English was read.

As I consider it almost a duty to record what I can remember of Bulwer, I may mention that one evening, at his house in London, he showed me and others some beautiful old brass salvers in repoussé work, and how I astonished him by describing the process, and declaring that I could produce p. 400a facsimile of any one of them in a day or two; to which assertion hundreds to whom I have taught the art, as well as my “Manual of Repoussé,” and another on “Metal Work,” will, I trust, bear witness.  And this I mention, not vainly, but because Lord Lytton seemed to be interested and pleased, and because, in after years, I had much to do with reviving the practice of this beautiful art.  It was practising this, and a three years’ study of oak-wood carving, which led me to write on the Minor Arts.  Mihi æs et triplex robur.

Lord Lytton had the very curious habit of making almost invisible hieroglyphics or crosses in his letters—at least I found them in those to me, as it were for luck.  It was a very common practice from the most ancient Egyptian times to within two centuries.  Lord Lytton’s were evidently intended to escape observation.  But there was indeed a great deal in his character which would escape most persons, and which has not been revealed by any writer on him.  This I speedily divined, though, of course, I never discovered what it all was.

Lord Houghton, “Richard Monckton Milnes,” to whom I had a letter of introduction from Lorimer Graham, was very kind to me.  I dined and lunched at his house, where I met Odo Russell or Lord Ampthill, the Duke of Bedford, the Hon. Mrs. Norton, W. W. Story, and I know not how many more distinguished in society, or letters.  At Lord Lytton’s I made the acquaintance of the Duke of Wellington.  I believe, however, that this meeting with Lord Houghton and the Duke was in my second year in London.

The first English garden-party which I ever attended was during this first season, at the villa of Mr. Bohn, the publisher, at Twickenham.  There I made the acquaintance of George Cruikshank, whom I afterwards met often, and knew very well till his death.  He was a gay old fellow, and on this occasion danced a jig with old Mr. Bohn on the lawn, and joked with me.  There, too, we met Lady Martin, who had been the famed Helen Faucit.  Cruikshank was always p. 401inexhaustible in jokes, anecdotes, and reminiscences.  At his house I made the acquaintance of Miss Ada Cavendish.

To revert to Mr. Trübner’s, I may say that one evening after dinner, when, genial though quiet, Bret Harte was one of the guests, he was asked to repeat the “Heathen Chinee,” which he could not do, as he had never learned it—which is not such an unusual thing, by the way, as many suppose.  But I, who knew it, remarked, “Ladies and gentlemen, it is nothing to merely write a poem.  True genius consists in getting it by or from heart [from Bret Harte, for instance], and repeating it.  This genius nature has denied to the illustrious poet before you—but not to me, as I will now illustrate by declaiming the ‘Heathen Chinee.’”  Which performance was received with applause, in which Harte heartily joined.  But my claim to possess genius would hardly have borne examination, for it was years before I ever learned “Hans Breitmann’s Barty,” nor would I like to risk even a pound to one hundred that I can do it now without mixing the verses or committing some error.

Once during the season I went with my wife and Mr. W. W. Story to Eton, where we supped with Oscar Browning.  We were taken out boating on the river, and I enjoyed it very much.  There is a romance about the Thames associated with a thousand passages in literature which goes to the very heart.  I was much impressed by the marked character of Mr. Browning and his frank, genial nature; and I found some delightful old Latin books in his library.  May I meet with many such men!

This year, what with the German war and the Trübner-Hotten controversy, my “Breitmann Ballads” had become, I may say, well known.  The character of Hans was actually brought into plays on three stages at once.  Boucicault, whom I knew well of yore in America, introduced it into something.  I had found Ewan Colquhoun—the same old sixpence—and one night he took me to the Strand Theatre to see a play in which my hero was a prominent part.  I was p. 402told afterwards that the company having been informed of my presence, all came to look at me through the curtain-hole.  There were some imitations of my ballads published in Punch and the Standard, and the latter were so admirably executed—pardon the vain word!—that I feared, because they satirised the German cause, that they might be credited to me; therefore I wrote to the journal, begging that the author would give some indication that I had not written them, which was kindly done.  Finally, a newspaper was started called Hans Breitmann, and the Messrs. Cope, of Liverpool, issued a brand of Hans Breitmann cigars.  Owing to the resemblance between the words Bret and Breit there was a confusion of names, and my photograph was to be seen about town, with the name of Bret Harte attached to it.  This great injustice to Mr. Harte was not agreeable, and I, or my friends, remonstrated with the shop-folk with the to-be-expected result, “Yes-sir, yes-sir—very sorry, sir—we’ll correct the mistake, sir!”  But I don’t think it was ever corrected till the sale ceased.

I was sometimes annoyed with many imitations of my poems by persons who knew no German, which were all attributed to me.  A very pious Presbyterian publication, in alluding to something of the kind, said that “Mr. Leland, because he is the author of Bret Harte, thinks himself justified in publishing any trash of this description.”  I thought this a very improper allusion for a clergyman, not to say libellous.  In fact, many people really believed that Bret Harte was a nom de plume or the title of a poem.  And I may here say by the way that I never “wrote under” the pseudonym of Hans Breitmann in my life, nor called myself any such name at any time.  It is simply the name of one of many books which I have written.  An American once insisting to me that I should be called so from my work, I asked him if he would familiarly accost Mr. Lowell as “Josh Biglow.”  If there is anything in the world which denotes a subordinate position in the social scale or defect in education, it is the p. 403passion to call men “out of their names,” and never feel really acquainted with any one until he is termed Tom or Jack.  It is doubtless all very genial and jocose and sociable, but the man who shows a tendency to it should not complain when his betters put him in a lower class or among the “lower orders.”

Once at a reception at George Boughton’s, the artist, there was, as I heard, an elderly gentleman rushing about asking to see or be introduced to Hart Bretmann, whose works he declared he knew by heart, and with whom he was most anxious to become acquainted.  Whether he ever discovered this remarkable conglomerate I do not know.

I once made the acquaintance of an American at the Langham Hotel who declared that I had made life a burden to him.  His name was H. Brightman, and being in business in New York, he never went to the Custom-House or Post-Office but what the clerks cried “Hans Brightman! of course.  Yes, we have read about you, sir—in history.”

But even in this London season I found more serious work to attend to than comic ballads or society.  Mr. Trübner was very anxious to have me write a pamphlet vindicating the claim of Germany to Alsace and Lorraine, and I offered to do it gladly, if he would provide all the historical data or material.  The result of this was the brochure entitled “France, Alsace, and Lorraine,” which had a great success.  It at once reappeared in America, and even in Spanish in South America.  The German Minister in London ordered six copies, and the Times made the work, with all its facts and figures, into an editorial article, omitting, I regret to say, to mention the source whence it was derived; but this I forgive with all my heart, considering the good words which it has given me on other occasions.  For the object of the work was not at all to glorify the author, but to send home great truths at a very critical time; and the article in the Times, which was little else but my pamphlet condensed, caused a great sensation.  But the principal result from it was this: p. 404I had in the work discussed the idea, then urged by the French and their friends, that, to avoid driving France to “desperation,” very moderate terms should be accepted in order to conciliate.  For the French, as I observed in effect, will do their very worst in any case, and every possible extreme should be anticipated and assumed.  This same argument had previously been urged in my “Centralisation versus States Rights.”

When Prince Bismarck conversed with the French Commissioners to arrange terms of peace, he met this argument of not driving the French to extremes with a phrase so closely like the one which I had used in my pamphlet, that neither Mr. Trübner nor several others hesitated to declare to me that it was beyond all question taken from it.  Bismarck had certainly received the pamphlet, which had been recognised by the Times, and in many other quarters, as a more than ordinary paper, and Prince Bismarck, like all great diplomatists, prend son bien où il le trouve.  In any case this remains true, that that which formed the settling argument of Germany, found at the time expression in my pamphlet and in the Chancellor’s speech.

We made soon after a visit to the Rev. Dean and Mrs. Carrington, in Bocking, Essex.  They had a fair daughter, Eva, then quite a girl, who has since become well known as a writer, and is now the Countess Cesaresco Martinengro—an Italian name, and not Romany-Gypsy, as its terminations would seem to indicate.  There is in the village of Bocking, at a corner, a curious and very large grotesque figure of oak, which was evidently in the time of Elizabeth a pilaster in some house-front.  My friend Edwards, who was wont to roam all over England in a mule-waggon etching and sketching, when in Bocking was informed by a rustic that this figure was the image of Harkilés (Hercules), a heathen god formerly worshipped in the old Catholic convent upon the hill, in the old times!

From London we went in August, 1870, to Brighton, staying p. 405at first at the Albion Hotel.  There, under the influence of fresh sea-air, long walks and drives in all the country round, I began to feel better, yet it was not for many weeks that I fairly recovered.  A chemist named Phillips, who supplied me with bromide of potass, suggested to me, to his own loss, that I took a great deal too much.  I left it off altogether, substituting pale ale.  Finding this far better, I asked Mr. Phillips if he could not prepare for me lupulin, or the anodyne of hops.  He laughed, and said, “Do you find the result required in ale?”  I answered, “Yes.”  “And do you like ale?”  “Yes.”  “Then,” he answered, “why don’t you drink ale?”  And I did, but before I took it up my very vitality seemed to be well-nigh exhausted with the bromide.

Samuel Laing, M.P., the chairman of the Brighton Railway, had at that time a house in Brighton, with several sons and daughters, the latter of whom have all been very remarkable for beauty and accomplishments.  In this home there was a hospitality so profuse, so kind, so brilliant and refined, that I cannot really remember to have ever seen it equalled, and as we fully participated in it at all times in every form, I should feel that I had omitted the deepest claim to my gratitude if I did not here acknowledge it.  Mr. Laing was or is of a stock which deeply appealed to my sympathies, for he is the son of the famous translator of the Heimskringla, a great collection of Norse sagas, which I had read, and in which he himself somewhat aided.  Of late years, since he has retired from more active financial business, Mr. Laing has not merely turned his attention to literature; he has deservedly distinguished himself by translating, as I may say, into the clearest and most condensed or succinct and lucid English ever written, so as to be understood by the humblest mind, the doctrines of Darwin, Huxley, and the other leading scientific minds of the day.  Heine in his time received a great deal of credit for having thus acted as the flux and furnace by which the ore of German philosophy was p. 406smelted into pure gold for general circulation; but I, who have translated all that Heine wrote on this subject, declare that he was at such work as far inferior to Samuel Laing as a mere verbal description of a beautiful face is inferior to a first-class portrait.  This family enters so largely into my reminiscences and experiences, that a chapter would hardly suffice to express all that I can recall of their hospitality for years, of the dinners, hunts, balls, excursions, and the many distinguished people whom I have met under their roof.  It is worth noting of Mr. Laing’s daughters, that Mary, now Mrs. Kennard, is at the head of the sporting-novel writers; that the beautiful Cecilia, now Mrs. MacRae, was pronounced by G. H. Lewes, who was no mean judge, to be the first amateur pianiste in England; while the charming “Floy,” or Mrs. Kennedy, is a very able painter.  With their two very pretty sisters, they formed in 1870 as brilliant, beautiful, and accomplished a quintette as England could have produced.

One day Mr. Laing organised an excursion with a special train to Arundel Castle.  By myself at other times I found my way to Lewes and other places rich in legendary lore.  Of this latter I recall something worth telling.  Harold, the conquered Saxon king, had a son, and the conqueror William had a daughter, Gundrada.  The former became a Viking pirate, and in his old age a monk, and was buried in a church, now a Presbyterian chapel.  There his epitaph may be read in fine bold lettering, still distinct.  That man is dear to me.

Gundrada married, died, and was buried in a church with a fine Norman tombstone over her remains.  The church was levelled with the ground, but the slab was preserved here and there about Lewes as a relic.  When the railway was built, about 1849, there was discovered, where the church had been, the bones of Gundrada and her husband in leaden coffins distinctly inscribed with their names.  A very beautiful Norman chapel was then built to receive the p. 407coffins, and over them is placed the original memorial in black marble.  There is also in Lewes an archæological museum appropriately bestowed in an old Gothic tower.  All of which things did greatly solace me.  As did also the Norman or Gothic churches of Shoreham, Newport, the old manor of Rottingdean, and the marvellous Devil’s Dyke, which was probably a Roman fort, and from which it is said that fifty towns or villages may be seen “far in the blue.”

One day I went with my wife and two ladies to visit the latter.  The living curiosity of the place was a famous old gypsy woman named Gentilla Cooper, a pure blood or real Kalorat Romany.  I had already in America studied Pott’s “Thesaurus of Gypsy Dialects,” and picked up many phrases of the tongue from the works of Borrow, Simson, and others.  The old dame tackled us at once.  As soon as I could, I whispered in her ear an improvised rhyme:—

   “The bashno and kāni,
   The rye and the rāni,
Hav’d akai ’pré o boro lon pāni.”

Which means that the cock and the hen, the gentleman and the lady, came hither across the great salt water.  The effect on the gypsy was startling; she fairly turned pale.  Hustling the ladies away to one side to see a beautiful view, she got me alone and hurriedly exclaimed, “Rya—master! be you one of our people?” with much more.  We became very good friends, and this little incident had in time for me great results, and many strange experiences of gypsy life.

There live in Brighton two ladies, Miss Horace Smith and her sister Rosa, who were and are well known in the cultured world.  They are daughters of Horace Smith, who, with his brother James, wrote the “Rejected Addresses.”  Their reminiscences of distinguished men are extremely varied and interesting.  The elder sister possesses an album to which Thackeray contributed many verses and pen-sketches.  p. 408Their weekly receptions were very pleasant; at them might be seen most of the literary or social celebrities who came to Brighton.  A visit there was like living a chapter in a book of memoirs and reminiscences.  I have had, if it be only a quiet, and not very eventful or remarkable, at least a somewhat varied life, and the Laings and Smiths, with their surroundings, form two of its most interesting varieties.  I believe they never missed an opportunity to do us or any one a kindly act, to aid us to make congenial friends, or the like.  How many good people there really are in the world!

Of these ladies the author of “Gossip of the Century” writes:—

“Horace Smith’s two daughters are still living, and in Brighton.  Their very pleasant house is frequented by the best and most interesting kind of society, affording what may be called a salon, that rare relic of ancient literary taste and cementer of literary intimacies—a salon which the cultivated consider it a privilege to frequent, and where these ladies receive with a grace and geniality which their friends know how to appreciate.  It is much to be regretted that gatherings of this description seem to be becoming rarer every year, for as death disturbs them society seems to lack the spirit or the good taste, or the ability, to replace them.”

Brighton is a very pleasant place, because it combines the advantages of a seaside resort with those of a clean and cheerful city.  Walking along the front, you have a brave outlook to the blue sea on one hand, and elegant shop-windows and fine hotels on the other.  A little back in the town on a hill is the fine old fifteenth-century church of St. Nicholas, in which there is perhaps the most curious carved Norman font in England; but all this is known to so few visitors, that I feel as if I were telling a great secret in letting it out.  Smith’s book-store on the Western Road, and Bohn’s near the station, are kept by very well-informed and very courteous men.  I have been much indebted to the former p. 409in many ways, and found by his aid many a greatly needed and rare work.

When I first went to Brighton there was one evening a brilliant aurora borealis.  As I looked at it, I heard an Englishman say, to my great amazement, it was the first time he had ever seen one in his life!  I once saw one in America of such extraordinary brilliancy and duration, that it prolonged the daylight for half an hour or more, till I became amazed, and then found it was a Northern Light.  It lasted till sunrise in all its splendour.  I have taken down from Algonkin Indians several beautiful legends relating to them.  In one, the Milky Way is the girdle of a stupendous deity, and the Northern Lights the splendid gleams emitted by his ball when playing.  In another, the narrator describes him as clad in an ineffable glory of light, and in colours unknown on earth!

And this reminds me further that I have just read in the newspapers of the death of Edwin Booth, who was born during the famous star shower of 1833, which phenomenon I witnessed from beginning to end, and remember as if it were only yesterday.  Now, I was actually dreaming that I was in a room in which cigars were flying about in every direction, when my father came and woke me and my brother Henry, to come and see an exceeding great marvel.  There were for a long time many thousands of stars at once in the sky, all shooting, as it were, or converging towards a centre.  They were not half so long as the meteors which we see; one or two had a crook or bend in the middle, e.g.

The meteor pattern

The next day I was almost alone at school in the glory of having seen it, for so few people were awake in sober Philadelphia at three in the morning that one of the newspapers ridiculed the whole story.

I can distinctly recall that the next day, at Mr. Alcott’s, I read through a very favourite work of mine, a translation of the German Das Mährchen ohne Ende—“The Story without an End.”

p. 410All kinds of odd fish came to Brighton, floating here and there; but two of the very oddest were encountered by me in it on my last visit.  I was looking into a chemist’s window, when two well-dressed and decidedly jolly feminines, one perhaps of thirty years, and the other much younger and quite pretty, paused by me, while the elder asked—

“Are you looking for a hair-restorer?”

“I am not, though I fear I need one much more than you do.”

“The search for a good hair-restorer,” she replied in Italian, “is as vain as the search for happiness.”

“True,” I answered in the same tongue, “and unless you have the happiness in you, or a beautiful head of hair like yours already growing on you, you will find neither.”

“What we forget,” added the younger in Spanish, “is the best part of our happiness.”

Señorita, parece que no ha olvidado su Español—The young lady appears not to have forgotten her Spanish—I replied.  (Mine is not very good.)

“There is no use asking whether you talk French,” said the elder.  “Können Sie auch Deutsch sprechen?”

Ja wohl!  Even worse than German itself,” I answered.

Just then there came up to us a gypsy girl whom I knew, with a basket of flowers, and asked me in Gypsy to buy some; but I said, “Parraco pen, jā vrī, mandy kāms kek ruzhia kedívvus”—Thank you, sister, no flowers to-day—and she darted away.

“Did you understand that?” I inquired.

“No; what was it?”


“But how in Heaven’s name,” cried the girl, “could she know that you spoke Gitano?”

“Because I am,” I replied slowly and grimly, “the chief of all the gypsies in England, the boro Romany rye and President of the Gypsy Society.  Subscription one pound per annum, which entitles you to receive the journal for one year, p. 411and includes postage.  Behold in me the gypsy king, whom all know and fear!  I shall be happy to put your names down as subscribers.”

At this appalling announcement, which sounded like an extract from a penny dreadful, my two romantic friends looked absolutely bewildered.  They seemed as if they had read in novels how mysterious gypsy chiefs cast aside their cloaks, revealing themselves to astonished maidens, and as I had actually spoken Gitano to a gypsy in their hearing, it must be so.  They had come for wool with all their languages, poor little souls! and gone back shorn.  The elder said something about their having just come to Brighton for six hours’ frolic, and so they departed.  They had had their spree.

I have often wondered what under the sun they could have been.  Attachés of an opera company—ladies’-maids who had made the grand tour—who knows?  A mad world, my masters!

I can recall of that first year, as of many since at Brighton, long breezy walks on the brow of the chalk cliffs, looking out at the blue sea white capped, or at the downs rolling inland to Newport, sometimes alone, at times in company.  On all this chalk the grass does not grow to more than an inch or so in length, and as the shortest, tenderest food is best for sheep, it is on this that they thrive—I believe by millions—yielding the famous South Downs mutton.  In or on this grass are incredible numbers of minute snails, which the sheep are said to devour; in fact, I do not see how they could eat the grass without taking them in, and these contribute to give the mutton its delicate flavour.  Snails are curious beings.  Being epicene, they conduct their wooings on the mutual give and take principle, which would save human beings a great deal of spasmodic flirtation, and abolish the whole femme incomprise business, besides a great many bad novels, if we could adopt it.  When winter comes, half-a-dozen of them retire into a hole in a bank, connect themselves firmly into a loving band like a bunch of grapes by the tenderest ties, and p. 412stay there till spring.  Finally, in folk-lore the snail is an uncanny or demoniac being, because it has horns.  Its shell is an amulet, and the presentation of one by a lady to a gentleman is a very decided declaration of love, especially in Germany.  Sed mittamus hæc.

At this time, and for some time to come, I was engaged in collecting and correcting a book of poems of a more serious character than the “Breitmann Ballads.”  This was “The Music Lesson of Confucius and other Poems.”  Of which book I can say truly that it had a succès d’estime, though it had a very small sale.  There were in it ten or twelve ballads only which were adapted to singing, and all of these were set to music by Carlo Pinsutti, Virginia Gabriel, or others.  There was in it a poem entitled “On Mount Meru.”  In this the Creator is supposed to show the world when it was first made to Satan.  The adversary finds that all is fit and well, save “the being called Man,” who seems to him to be the worst and most incongruous.  To which the Demiurgus replies that Man will in the end conquer all things, even the devil himself.  And at the last the demon lies dying at the feet of God, and confesses that “Man, thy creature hath vanquished me for ever—Vicisti Galilæe!”  Some years after I read a work by a French writer in which this same idea of God and the devil is curiously carried out and illustrated by the history of architecture.  And as in the case of the letter from Lord Lytton Bulwer, warm praise from other persons of high rank in the literary world and reviews, I had many proofs that these poems had made a favourable impression.  The only exception which I can recall was a very sarcastic review in the Athenæum, in which the writer declared his belief that the poems or Legends of Perfumes in the book were originally written as advertisements of some barber or tradesman, and being by him rejected as worthless, had been thrown back on my hands!  Other works by me it treated kindly—so it goes in this world—like a recipe for a cement which I have just copied into my great work on “Mending p. 413and Repairing”—in which vinegar is combined with sugar.

While at Brighton we met Louis Blanc, whom we had previously seen several times at the Trübners’, in London.  In Brighton he heard the news of the overthrow of the Empire and departed for Paris.  At Christmas we went to London to visit the Trübners, and thence to the Langham Hotel, where we remained till July.  I recall very little of what I witnessed or did beyond seeing the Queen prorogue Parliament and translating Scheffel’s Gaudeamus, a little volume of German humorous poems.  Scheffel, as I have before written, was an old Mitkneipant, or evening-beer companion of mine in Heidelberg.

In July we made up a travelling party with Mrs. S. Laing and her daughters Cecilia and Floy, and departed for a visit to the Rhine—that is to say, these ladies preceded us, and we joined them at the Hotel des Quatre Saisons in Homburg.  It was a very brilliant season, for the German Emperor, fresh with the glory of his great victory, was being fêted everywhere, and Homburg the brilliant was not behind the German world in this respect.  I saw the great man frequently, near and far, and was much impressed with his appearance.  Punch had not long before represented him as Hans Breitmann in a cartoon, deploring that he had not squeezed more milliards out of the French, and I indeed found in the original very closely my ideal of Hans, who always occurs to me as a German gentleman, who drinks, fights, and plunders, not as a mere rowdy, raised above his natural sphere, but as a rough cavalier.  And that the great-bearded giant Emperor Wilhelm did drink heavily, fight hard, and mulct France mightily, is matter of history.  This was the last year of the gaming-tables at Homburg.  Apropos of these, the roulette-table was placed in the Homburg Museum, where it may be seen amid many Roman relics.  Two or three years ago, while I was in the room, there came in a small party of English or Yankee looking or gazing tourists, to whom the attendant p. 414pointed out the roulette-table.  “And did the old Romans really play at roulette, and was that one of their tables?” said the leader of the visitors.  This ready simple faith indicates the Englishman.  The ordinary American is always possessed with the conviction that everything antique is a forgery.  Once when I was examining the old Viking armour in the Museum of Copenhagen, a Yankee, in whose face a general vulgar distrust of all earthly things was strongly marked, came up to me and asked, “Do you believe that all these curiosities air genooine?”  “I certainly do,” I replied.  With an intensely self-satisfied air he rejoined, “I guess you can’t fool me with no such humbug.”

There was a great deal of cholera that year in Germany, and I had a very severe attack of it either in an incipient form or something thereunto allied: suffice it to say that for twelve hours I almost thought I should die of pure pain.  I took in vain laudanum, cayenne pepper, brandy, camphor, and kino—nothing would remain.  At last, at midnight, when I was beginning to despair, or just as I felt like being wrecked, I succeeded in keeping a little weak laudanum and water on my stomach, and then the point was cleared.  After that I took the other remedies, and was soon well.  But it was a crisis of such fearful suffering that it all remains vividly impressed on my memory.  I do not know whether any sensible book has ever been written on the moral influence of pain, but it is certain that a wonderful one might be.  So far as I can understand it, I think that in the vast majority of cases it is an evil, or one of Nature’s innumerable mistakes or divagations, not as yet outgrown or corrected; and it is the great error of Buddhistic-Christianity that it accepts pain not merely as inevitable, but glorifies and increases it, instead of making every conceivable exertion to diminish it.  Herein clearly lies the difference between Science and Religion.  Science strives in every way to alleviate pain and suffering; erroneous “Religion” is based on it.  During the Middle Ages, the Church did all in its power to hinder, if not destroy, the p. 415healing art.  It made anatomy of the human body a crime, and carried its precautions so far that, quite till the Reformation, the art of healing (as Paracelsus declares) was chiefly in the hands of witches and public executioners.  Torturers, chiefly clergymen such as Grillandus, were in great honour, while the healing leech was disreputable.  It was not, as people say, “the age” which caused all this—it was the result of religion based on crucifixion and martyrdoms and pain—in fact, on that element of torture which we are elsewhere taught, most inconsistently, is the special province of the devil in hell.  The cant of this still survives in Longfellow’s “Suffer and be strong,” and in the pious praise of endurance of pain.  What the world wants is the hope held out to it, or enforced on it as a religion or conviction, that pain and suffering are to be diminished, and that our chief duty should consist in diminishing them, instead of always praising or worshipping them as a cross!

We left our friends and went for a short time to Switzerland, where we visited Lucerne, Interlaken, Basle, and Berne.  Thence we returned to London and the Langham Hotel.  This was at that time under the management of Mr. John Sanderson, an American, whom I had known of old.  He was a brother of Professor Sanderson, of Philadelphia, who wrote a remarkably clever work entitled The American in Paris.  John Sanderson himself had contributed many articles to Appletons’ Cyclopædia, belonged to the New York Century Club, and, like all the members of his family, had culture in music and literary taste.  While he managed the Langham it was crowded during all the year, as indeed any decent hotel almost anywhere may be by simple proper liberal management.  This is a subject which I have studied au fond, having read Das Hotel wesen der Gegenwart, a very remarkable work, and passed more than twenty years of my life in hotels in all countries.

I can remember that during the first year of my residence in England I tried to persuade a chemist to import from p. 416South America the coca leaf, of which not an ounce was then consumed in Europe.  Weston the walker brought it into fashion “later on.”  I had heard extraordinary and authentic accounts of its enabling Indian messengers to run all day from a friend who had employed them.  Apropos of this, “I do recall a wondrous pleasant tale.”  My cousin, Godfrey Davenport, a son of the Uncle Seth mentioned in my earlier life, owned what was regarded as the model plantation of Louisiana.  My brother Henry visited him one winter, and while there was kindly treated by a very genial, hospitable neighbouring planter, whom I afterwards met at my father’s house in Philadelphia.  He was a good-looking, finely-formed man, lithe and active as a panther—the replica of Albert Pike’s “fine Arkansas gentleman.”  And here I would fain disquisit on Pike, but type and time are pressing.  Well, this gentleman had one day a difference of opinion with another planter, who was, like himself, a great runner, and drawing his bowie knife, pursued him on the run, twenty-two miles, ere he “got” his victim.  The distance was subsequently measured and verified by the admiring neighbours, who put up posts in commemoration of such an unparalleled pedestrian feat.

When I returned to Brighton, after getting into lodgings, I began to employ or amuse myself in novel fashion.  Old Gentilla Cooper, the gypsy, had an old brother named Matthias, a full-blood Romany, of whom all his people spoke as being very eccentric and wild, but who had all his life a fancy for picking up the old “Egyptian” tongue.  I engaged him to come to me two or three times a week, at half-a-crown a visit, to give me lessons in it.  As he had never lived in houses, and, like Regnar Lodbrog, had never slept under a fixed roof, unless when he had taken a nap in a tavern or stable, and finally, as his whole life had been utterly that of a gypsy in the roads, at fairs, or “by wood and wold as outlaws wont to do,” I found him abundantly original and interesting.  And as on account of his eccentricity and amusing p. 417gifts he had always been welcome in every camp or tent, and was watchful withal and crafty, there was not a phase, hole, or corner of gypsy life or a member of the fraternity with which or whom he was not familiar.  I soon learned his jargon, with every kind of gypsy device, dodge, or peculiar custom, and, with the aid of several works, succeeded in drawing from the recesses of his memory an astonishing number of forgotten words.  Thus, to begin with, I read to him aloud the Turkish Gypsy Dictionary of Paspati.  When he remembered or recognised a word, or it recalled another, I wrote it down.  Then I went through the vocabularies of Liebrich, Pott, Simson, &c., and finally through Brice’s Hindustani Dictionary and the great part of a much larger work, and one in Persian.  The reader may find most of the results of Matty’s teaching in my work entitled “The English Gypsies and their Language.”  Very often I went with my professor to visit the gypsies camped about Brighton, far or near, and certainly never failed to amuse myself and pick up many quaint observations.  In due time I passed to that singular state when I could never walk a mile or two in the country anywhere without meeting or making acquaintance with some wanderer on the highways, by use of my newly-acquired knowledge.  Thus, I needed only say, “Seen any of the Coopers or Bosvilles lately on the drum?” (road), or “Do you know Sam Smith?” &c., to be recognised as one of the grand army in some fashion.  Then it was widely rumoured that the Coopers had got a rye, or master, who spoke Romany, and was withal not ungenerous, so that in due time there was hardly a wanderer of gypsy kind in Southern England who had not heard of me.  And though there are thousands of people who are more thoroughly versed in Society than I am, I do not think there are many so much at home in such extremely varied phases of it as I have been.  I have sat in a gypsy camp, like one of them, hearing all their little secrets and talking familiarly in Romany, and an hour after dined with distinguished people; and this life had many p. 418other variations, and they came daily for many years.  My gypsy experiences have not been so great as those of Francis H. Groome (once a pupil and protégé of Benfey), or the Grand Duke Josef of Hungary, or of Dr. Wlislocki, but next after these great masters, and as an all-round gypsy rye in many lands, I believe that I am not far behind any aficionado who has as yet manifested himself.

To become intimate, as I did in time, during years in Brighton, off and on, with all the gypsies who roamed the south of England, to be beloved of the old fortune-tellers and the children and mothers as I was, and to be much in tents, involves a great deal of strangely picturesque rural life, night-scenes by firelight, in forests and by river-banks, and marvellously odd reminiscences of other days.  There was a gypsy child who knew me so well that the very first words she could speak were “O ’omany ’i” (O Romany rye), to the great delight of her parents.

After a little while I found that the Romany element was spread strangely and mysteriously round about among the rural population in many ways.  I went one day with Francis H. Groome to Cobham Fair.  As I was about to enter a tavern, there stood near by three men whose faces and general appearance had nothing of the gypsy, but as I passed one said to the other so that I could hear—

Dikk adovo rye, se o Romany rye, yuv, tàcho!”  (Look at that gentleman; he is a gypsy gentleman, sure!)

I naturally turned my head hearing this, when he burst out laughing, and said—

“I told you I’d make him look round.”

Once I was startled at hearing a well-dressed, I may say a gentlemanly-looking man, seated in a gig with a fine horse stopping by the road, say, as I passed with my wife—

Dikk adovo gorgio adoi!” (Look at that Gentile, of no-gypsy!)

Not being accustomed to hear myself called a gorgio, I glanced up at him angrily, when he, perceiving that I understood p. 419him and was of the mysterious brotherhood, smiled, and touched his hat to me.  One touch of nature makes the whole world grin.

But the drollest proposal ever made to me in serious earnest came from that indomitable incarnate old gypssissimus Tsingarorum, Matthew Cooper, who proposed that I should buy a donkey.  He knew where to get one for a pound, but £2 10s. would buy a “stunner.”  He would borrow a small cart and a tent, and brown my face and hands so that I would be dark enough, and then on the drum—“over the hills.”  As for all the expenses of the journey, I need not spend anything, for he could provide a neat nut-brown maid, who would not only do all our cooking, but earn money enough by fortune-telling to support us all.  I would be expected, however, to greatly aid by my superior knowledge of ladies and gentlemen; and so all would go merrily on, with unlimited bread and cheese, bacon and ale, and tobacco—into the blue away!

I regret to say that Matthew expected to inherit the donkey.

About this time, as all my friends went hunting once or twice a week, I determined to do the same.  Now, as I had never been a good rider, and had anything but an English seat in the saddle, I went to a riding-school and underwent a thorough course both on the pig-skin and bare-backed.  My teacher, Mr. Goodchild, said eventually of me that I was the only person whom he had ever known who had at my time of life learned to ride well.  But to do this I gave my whole mind and soul to it; and Goodchild’s standard, and still more that of his riding-master, who had been a captain in a cavalry regiment, was very high.  I used to feel quite as if I were a boy again, and one under pretty severe discipline at that, when the Captain was drilling me.  For his life he could not treat his pupils otherwise than as recruits.  “Sit up straighter, sir!  Do you call that sitting up?  That’s not the way to hold your arms!  Knees in!  p. 420Why, sir, when I was learning to ride I was made to put shillings between my knees and the side, and if I dropped one I forfeited it!”

Then in due time came the meets, and the fox and hare hunting, during which I found my way, I believe, into every village or nook for twenty miles round.  By this time I had forgotten all my troubles, mental or physical, and after riding six or seven hours in a soft fog, would come home the picture of health.

I remember that one very cold morning I was riding alone to the meet on a monstrous high black horse which Goodchild had bought specially for me, when I met two gypsy women, full blood, selling wares, among them woollen mittens—just what I wanted, for my hands were almost frozen in Paris kids.  The women did not know me, but I knew them by description, and great was the amazement of one when I addressed her by name and in Romany.

Pen a mandy, Priscilla Cooper, sa buti me sosti del tute for adovo pustini vashtini?”  (Tell me, Priscilla Cooper, how much should I give you for those woollen gloves?)

“Eighteen pence, master.”  The common price was ninepence.

“I will not give you eighteen pence,” I replied.

“Then how much will you give, master?” asked Priscilla.

Four shillings will I give, and not a penny less—miri pen—you may take it or leave it.”

I went off with the gloves, while the women roared out blessings in Romany.  There was something in the whole style of the gift, or the manner of giving it, which was specially gratifying to gypsies, and the account thereof soon spread far and wide over the roads as a beautiful deed.

The fraternity of the roads is a strange thing.  Once when I lived at Walton there was an old gypsy woman named Lizzie Buckland who often camped near us.  A good and winsome young lady named Lillie Doering had taken a liking p. 421to the old lady, and sent her a nice Christmas present of clothing, tea, &c., which was sent to me to give to the Egyptian mother.  But when I went to seek her, she had flown over the hills and far away.  It made no difference.  I walked on till I met a perfect stranger to me, a woman, but “evidently a traveller.”  “Where is old Liz?” I asked.  “Somewhere about four miles beyond Moulsey.”  “I’ve got a present for her; are you going that way?”  “Not exactly, but I’ll take it to her; a few miles don’t signify.”  I learned that it had gone from hand to hand and been safely delivered.  It seems a strange way to deliver valuables, to walk forth and give them to the first tramp whom you meet; but I knew my people.

I may here say that during this and the previous winter I had practised wood-carving.  In which, as in studying Gypsy, I had certain ultimate aims, which were fully developed in later years.  I have several times observed in this record that when I get an idea I cherish it, think it over, and work it up.  Out of this wood-carving and repoussé and the designing which it involved I in time developed ideas which led to what I may fairly call a great result.

We remained at Brighton until February, when we went to London and stayed at the Langham Hotel.  Then began the London life of visits, dinners, and for me, as usual, of literary work.  In those days I began to meet and know Professor E. H. Palmer, Walter Besant, Walter H. Pollock, and many other men of the time of whom I shall anon have more to say.  I arranged with Mr. Trübner as to the publication of “The English Gypsies.”  I think it was at this time that I dined one evening at Sir Charles Dilke’s, where a droll incident took place.  There was present a small Frenchman, to whom I had not been introduced, and whose name therefore I did not know.  After dinner in the smoking-room I turned over with this gentleman a very curious collection of the works of Blake, which were new to him.  Finding that he evidently knew something about art, I explained to him that p. 422Blake was a very strange visionary—that he believed that the spirits of the dead appeared to him, and that he took their portraits.

C’était donc un fou,” remarked the Frenchman.

Non, Monsieur,” I replied, “he was not a madman.  He was almost a genius.  Indeed, c’était un Doré manqué” (he was all but a Doré).

There was a roar of laughter from all around, and I, innocently supposing that I had said something clever unawares, laughed too.

After all had departed, and I was smoking alone with Sir Charles, he said—

“Well, what did you think of Doré?”

“Doré!” I replied astonished, “why, I never saw Doré in all my life.”

“That was Doré to whom you were talking,” he answered.

“Ah! well,” was my answer, “then it is all right.”

I suppose that Doré believed that I knew at the time who he was.  Had he been aware that I did not know who he was, the compliment would have seemed much stronger.

I have either been introduced to, conversed with, or been well acquainted at one time or another with Sir John Millais, Holman Hunt, the Rossettis, Frith, Whistler, Poynter, Du Maurier, Charles Keene, Boughton, Hodges, Tenniel (who set my motive of “Ping-Wing,” as I may say, to music in a cartoon in Punch), the Hon. John Collier, Rivière, Walter Crane, and of course many more—or less—here and there in the club, or at receptions.  Could I have then foreseen or imagined that I should ever become—albeit in a very humble grade—an artist myself, and that my works on design and the minor arts would form the principal portion of my writings and of my life’s work, I should assuredly have made a greater specialty of such society.  But at this time I could hardly draw, save in very humble fashion indeed, and little dreamed that I should execute for expensive works illustrations which p. 423would be praised by my critics, as strangely happened to my “Gypsy Sorcery.”  But we never know what may befall us.

“Oh, little did my mother think,
   The day she cradled me,
The lands that I should travel in,
   Or the sights that I should see;
Or gae rovin’ about wi’ gypsy carles,
   And sic like companie.”

As the Noctes varies it.  For it actually came to pass that a very well-known man of letters, while he, with the refined politeness characteristic of his style, spoke of mine as “rigmarole,” still praised my pictures.

In April we went to Leamington to pay a visit to a Mr. Field, where we also met his brother, my old friend Leonard Field, whom I had known in Paris in 1848.  During this, journey we visited Kenilworth, the town and castle of Warwick, Stratford-on-Avon, and all therewith connected.  At the Easter spring-tide, when primroses first flush by running waters, and there are many long bright sunny days in the land, while birdes’ songs do ripple in the aire, it is good roaming or resting in such a country, among old castles, towers, and hamlets quaint and grey.  To him who can think and feel, it is like the reading of marvellously pleasant old books, some in Elizabethan type, some in earlier black letter, and hearing as we read sweet music and far-distant chimes.  And apropos of this, I would remark that while I was at Princeton an idea fixed itself so firmly in my mind that to this day I live on it and act on it.  It is this:—There is a certain stage to be reached in reading and reflection, especially if it be aided by broad æsthetic culture and science, when every landscape, event, or human being is or may be to us exactly the same as a book.  For everything in this world which can be understood and felt can be described, and whatever can be described may be written and printed.  For ordinary people, no ideas are distinct or concentrated or “literary” till they are in black and white; but the scholar or artist in p. 424words puts thoughts into as clear a form in his own mind.  Having deeply meditated on this idea for forty years, and been constantly occupied in realising it, I can say truly that I often compose or think books or monographs which, though not translated into type, are as absolutely literature to me as if they were.  There is so much more in this than will at first strike most readers, that I can not help dwelling on it.  It once happened to me in Philadelphia, in 1850, to pass all the year—in fact, nearly two years—“in dusky city pent,” and during all that time I never got a glimpse of the country.  As a director of the Art Union, I was continually studying pictures, landscapes by great artists, and the like.  The second year, when I went up into Pennsylvania, I found that I had strangely developed what practically amounted to a kind of pseudophia.  Every fragment of rural scenery, every rustic “bit,” every group of shrubs or weeds, everything, in fact, which recalled pictures, or which could itself be pictured, appeared to me to be a picture perfectly executed.  This lasted as a vivid or real perception for about a week, but the memory of it has been in my mind ever since.  It was not so much the beautiful in all Nature which I saw, as that in Nature which was within the power of the skilled artist to execute.  In like manner the practised reflector and writer reads books in everything to a degree which no other person can understand.  Wordsworth attained this stage, and the object of the “Excursion” is to teach it.

In the “Letters of James Smetham” there is a passage to the effect that he felt extremely happy among English hedgerows, and found inexhaustible delight in English birds, trees, flowers, hills, and brooks, but could not appreciate his little back-garden with a copper-beech, a weeping-ash, nailed-up rose trees, and twisting creepers.  After I had made a habit, till it became a passion, of seeking decorative motives, strange and novel curves—in short, began to detect the transcendent alphabet or written language of beauty and mystery in every plant whatever (of which the alphabet may p. 425be found in the works of Hulme), I found in every growth of every kind, yes, in every weed, enough to fill my soul with both art and poetry; I may say specially in weeds, since in them the wildest and most graceful motives are more abundant than in garden flowers.  Unto me now anything that grows is, in simple truth, more than what any landscape once was.  This began in youth in much reading of, and long reflection on, the signatures, correspondences, and mystical fancies of the Paracelsian writers—especially of Gaffarel, of whom I have a Latin version by me as I write—and of late years I have carried its inspiration into decorative art.  I have said so much of this because, as this is an autobiography, I cannot omit from it something which, unseen in actions, still forms a predominant motive in my life.  It is something which, while it perfectly embraces all landscaping or picture-making or dainty delicate cataloguing in poetry, à la Morris at times, or like the Squyre of Lowe Degre, in detail, also involves a far more earnest feeling, and one which combines thought or religion with emotion, just as a melody which we associate with a beautiful poem is worth more to us than one which we do not.  Burne Jones is a higher example of this.

During this season we met at Mrs. Inwood Jones’—who was a niece of Lady Morgan and had many interesting souvenirs of her aunt—several people of note, among whom was Mme. Taglioni, now a very agreeable and graceful though naturally elderly lady.  I was charmed with her many reminiscences of well-known characters, and as I had seen her as well as Ellsler and all the great ballerine many times, we had many conferences.  Somebody said to her one day, “So you know Mr. Leland?”  “Yes,” replied Taglioni in jest, “he was one of my old lovers.”  This was reported to me, when I said, “I wish she had told me that thirty years sooner.”  In 1846 Taglioni owned three palaces in Venice, one of them the Ca’ d’oro, and in 1872 she was giving lessons in London.  At Mrs. Frank Hill’s I made the acquaintance of the marvellously p. 426clever Eugene Schuyler, and at Mr. Smalley’s of the equally amazingly cheeky and gifted “Joaquin” Miller.  Somewhere else I met several times another curious celebrity whom I had known in America, the Chevalier Wykoff.  Though he was almost the type and proverb of an adventurer, I confess that I always liked him.  He was gentlemanly and kind in his manner, and agreeable and intelligent in conversation.  Though he had been Fanny Ellsler’s agent or secretary, and written those two curiously cool works, “Souvenirs of a Roving Diplomatist” (he had been employed by Palmerston) and “My Courtship and its Consequences” (in reference to his having been imprisoned in Italy for attempting to carry off an elderly heiress), he was also the author of a really admirable work on the political system of the United States, which any man may read to advantage.  A century ago or more he would have been a great man in his way.  He knew everybody.  I believe that as General Tevis formed his bold ideal of life from much reading of condottieri or military adventurers, and Robert Hunt from Cooper’s novels, so Wykoff got his inspiration for a career from studying and admiring the diplomatic parvenus of Queen Anne’s time.  These Bohémiens de la haute volée, who drew their first motives from study, are by far more interesting and tolerable than those of an illiterate type.

One summer when I was at Bateman’s, near Newport, with G. H. Boker, Robert Leroy, and our wives, Leroy reported one day that he had seen Wykoff, Hiram Fuller, a certain very dashing prima donna, and two other notorieties sitting side by side in a row on the steps of the Ocean House.  I remarked that if there had only been with them the devil and Lola Montez, the party would have been complete.  Leroy was famous for his quaint mots, in which he had a counterpart in “Tom Appleton,” of Boston, whom I also knew very well.  The Appletoniana and Leroyalties which were current in the Sixties would make a lively book.

I remember that one evening at a dinner at Trübner’s in p. 427this year there were present M. Van der Weyer, G. H. Lewes, and M. Delepierre.  I have rarely heard so much good talk in the same time.  Thoughts so gay and flashes so refined, such a mingling of choice literature, brilliant anecdote, and happy jests, are seldom heard as I heard them.  Tempi passati!

Apropos of George H. Boker and Leroy, I may here remark that they were both strikingly tall and distingué men, but that when they dressed themselves for bass-fishing, and “put on mean attire,” they seemed to be common fisher-folk.  One day, while fishing on the rocks, there came up the elegant prima donna referred to, who, seeing that they had very fine lobsters, ordered them to be taken to the hotel for her.  “Can’t do it, ma’am,” answered Leroy brusquely; “we want them for bait.”  The lady swept away indignantly.  To her succeeded Ralph Waldo Emerson, who did not know them personally, and who began to put to Mr. Boker questions as to his earnings and his manner of life, to all of which Mr. Boker replied with great naïveté.  Mr. B., however, had on his pole a silver reel, which had cost £30 ($150), and at last Mr. Emerson’s eye rested on that, and word no more spoke he, but, with a smile and bowing very politely, went his road.  Ultimam dixit salutem.

One evening I was sitting in the smoking-room of the Langham Hotel, when an American said to me, “I hear that Charles Leland, who wrote ‘Breitmann,’ is staying here.”  “Yes, that is true,” I replied.  “Could you point him out to me?” asked the stranger.  “I will do so with pleasure—in fact, if you will tell me your name, I think I can manage to introduce you.”  The American was very grateful for this, and asked when it would be.  “Now is the time,” I said, “for I am he.”  On another occasion another stranger told me, that having heard that Mr. Leland was in the smoking-room, he had come in to see him, and asked me to point him out.  I pointed to myself, at which he was much astonished, and then, apologetically and half ashamed, said, “Who do p. 428you really suppose, of all the men here present, I had settled on as being you?”  I could not conjecture, when he pointed to a great broom-bearded, broad-shouldered, jovial, intemperate, German-looking man, and said, “There!  I thought that must be the author of ‘Hans Brietmann.’”  Which suggested to me the idea, “Does the public, then, generally believe that poets look like their heroes?”  One can indeed imagine Longfellow as Poor Henry of the “Golden Legend,” but few would expect to find the counterpart of Biglow in a Lowell.  And yet this belief or instinct is in every case a great compliment, for it testifies that there is that in the poem which is inspired by Nature and originality, and that it is not all mere art-work or artificial.  And it is true that by some strange law, name, body, and soul generally do preserve some kind of unity in the realm of literature.  There has never been, as yet, a really great Gubbins or Podgers in poetry, or Boggs in romance; and if literature has its Hogg, let it be remembered that the wild boar in all Northern sagas and chronicles, like the Eber in Germany, or the Wolf, was a name of pride and honour, as seen in Eberstein.  The Whistler of St. Leonard’s is one of the most eccentric and original of Scott’s characters, and the Whistler of St. Luke’s, or the patron saint of painting, is in no respect deficient in these noble qualifications.  The Seven Whistlers who fly unseen by night, ever piping a wild nocturne, are the most uncanny of birds, while there is, to my mind, something absolutely grotesquely awful (as in many of “Dreadful Jemmy’s” pictures) in the narration that in ancient days the immense army of the Mexican Indians marched forth to battle all whistling in unison—probably a symphony in blood-colour.  Fancy half a million of Whistlers on the war-path, about to do battle to the death with as many Ruskins—I mean red-skins!  Nomen est omen.

One of the most charming persons whom I ever met in my life was the Hon. Mrs. Caroline Norton, and one of the most delightful dinners at which my wife and I were ever p. 429present was at her house.  As I had been familiar with her poems from my boyhood, I was astonished to find her still so beautiful and young—if my memory does not deceive me, I thought her far younger looking than myself.  I owe her this compliment, for I can recall her speaking with great admiration of Mrs. Leland to Lord Houghton and “Bulwer.”

Mrs. Norton had not only a graceful, fascinating expression of figure and motion, but narrated everything so well as to cast a peculiar life and interest into the most trifling anecdote.  I remember one of the latter.

“Lord Houghton,” she said, “calls you, Mr. Leland, the poet of jargons.”  (He indeed introduced me to all his guests once by this term.)  “Jargon is a confusion of language, and I have a maid who lives in a jargon of ideas—as to values.  The other day she broke to utter ruin an antique vase”—(I do not accurately recall what the object was)—“which cost four hundred pounds, and when I said that it was such a grief to me to lose it, she replied, while weeping, ‘Oh, do not mind it, my lady; I’ll buy you just such another,’ as if it were worth tenpence.”

Mrs. Norton had marvellously beautiful and expressive eyes, such as one seldom meets thrice in a life.  As a harp well played inspires tears or the impulse to dance, so her glances conveyed, almost in the same instant, deep emotion and exquisite merriment.  I remember that she was much amused with some of my American jests and reminiscences, and was always prompt to respond, eodem genere.  So nightingale the wodewale answereth.

During this season in London I met Thomas Carlyle.  Our mutual friend, Moncure Conway, had arranged that I should call on the great writer at the house of the latter in Chelsea.  I went there at about eleven in the morning, and when Mr. Carlyle entered the room I was amazed—I may say almost awed—by something which was altogether unexpected, and this was his extraordinary likeness to my late p. 430father.  A slight resemblance to Carlyle may be seen in my own profile, but had he been with my father, the pair might have passed for twins; and in iron-grey grimness and the never-to-be-convinced expression of the eyes they were identity itself.

I can only remember that for the first twenty or thirty minutes Mr. Carlyle talked such a lot of skimble-skamble stuff and rubbish, which sounded like the very débris and lees of his “Latter-Day Pamphlets,” that I began to suspect that he was quizzing me, or that this was the manner in which he ladled out Carlyleism to visitors who came to be Carlyled and acted unto.  It struck me as if Mr. Tennyson, bored with lion-hunting guests, had begun to repeat his poetry to them out of sheer sarcasm, or as if he felt, “Well, you’ve come to see and hear me—a poet—so take your poetry, and be d---d to you!”  However, it may be I felt a coming wrath, and the Socratic demon or gypsy dook, which often rises in me on such occasions, and never deceives me, gave me a strong premonition that there was to be, if not an exemplary row, at least a lively incident which was to put a snapped end to this humbugging.

It came thus.  All at once Mr. Carlyle abruptly asked me, in a manner or with an intonation which sounded to me almost semi-contemptuous, “And what kind of an American may you be?”  (I think he said “will you be?”)  “German, or Irish, or what?”

To which I replied, not over amiably:—

“Since it interests you, Mr. Carlyle, to know the origin of my family, I may say that I am descended from Henry Leland, whom the tradition declares to have been a noted Puritan, and active in the politics of his time,’ and who went to America in 1636.”

To this Mr. Carlyle replied:—

“I doubt whether any of your family have since been equal to your old Puritan great-grandfather” (or “done anything to equal your old Puritan grandfather”).  With this p. 431something to the effect that we had done nothing in America since Cromwell’s Revolution, equal to it in importance or of any importance.

Then a great rage came over me, and I remember very distinctly that there flashed through my mind in a second the reflection, “Now, if I have to call you a d---d old fool for saying that, I will; but I’ll be even with you.”  When as quickly the following inspiration came, which I uttered, and I suspect somewhat energetically:—

“Mr. Carlyle, I think that my brother, Henry Leland, who got the wound from which he died standing by my side in the war of the rebellion, fighting against slavery, was worth ten of my old Puritan ancestors; at least, he died in a ten times better cause.  And” (here my old “Indian” was up and I let it out) “allow me to say, Mr. Carlyle, that I think that in all matters of historical criticism you are principally influenced by the merely melodramatic and theatrical.”

Here Mr. Carlyle, looking utterly amazed and startled, though not at all angry, said, for the first time, in broad Scotch—

“Whot’s thot ye say?”

“I say, Mr. Carlyle,” I exclaimed with rising wrath, “that I consider that in all historical judgments you are influenced only by the melodramatic and theatrical.”

A grim smile as of admiration came over the stern old face.  Whether he really felt the justice of the hit I know not, but he was evidently pleased at the manner in which it was delivered, and it was with a deeply reflective and not displeased air that he replied, still in Scotch—

“Na, na, I’m nae thot.”

It was the terrier who had ferociously attacked the lion, and the lion was charmed.  From that instant he was courteous, companionable, and affable, and talked as if we had been long acquainted, and as if he liked me.  It occurred to me that the resemblance of Carlyle to my father during the row was appalling, the difference being that my father never p. 432gave in.  It would have been an awful sight to see and a sound to hear if the two could have “discussed” some subject on which they were equally informed—say the American tariff or slavery.

After a while Mr. Froude the historian came in, and we all went out together for a walk in the Park.  Pausing on the bridge, Mr. Carlyle called my attention to the very rural English character of a part of the scenery in the distance, where a church-spire rises over ranges of tree-tops.  I observed that the smoke of a gypsy fire and a tent by a hedge was all that was needed.  Then we began to talk about gypsies, and I told Mr. Carlyle that I could talk Romany, and ran on with some reminiscences, whereat, as I now recall, though I did not note it then, his amusement at or interest in me seemed to be much increased, as if I had unexpectedly turned out to be something a little out of the ordinary line of tourist interviewers; and truly in those days Romany ryes were not so common as they now are.  Then Mr. Carlyle himself told a story, how his father—if I remember rightly—had once lent a large sum to or trusted a gypsy in some extraordinary manner.  It befell in after days that the lender was himself in sore straits, when the gypsy took him by night to a hut, and digging up or lifting the hard-stane or hearth-stone, took out a bag of guineas, which he transferred to his benefactor.

We parted, and this was the only time I ever conversed with Mr. Carlyle, though I saw him subsequently on more than one occasion.  He sent word specially by Mr. Conway to me that he would be pleased to have me call again; but “once bitten twice shy,” and I had not so much enjoyed my call as to wish to repeat it.  But I believe that what Mr. Carlyle absolutely needed above all things on earth was somebody to put on the gloves with him metaphorically about once a day, and give and take a few thumping blows; nor do I believe that he would have shrunk from a tussle à la Choctaw, with biting, gouging, tomahawk and scalper, for he had p. 433an uncommonly dour look about the eyes, and must have been a magnificent fighter when once roused.  But though I had not his vast genius nor wit, I had the great advantage of having often had very severe differences with my father, who was, I believe, as much Carlyled by Nature as Carlyle himself, if not more so, whereas it is morally impossible that the Sage of Chelsea could ever have found any one like himself to train under.  But to Carlyle people in conversation requires constant practice with a master—consuetudine quotidiana cum aliquo congredi—and he had for so long a time knocked everybody down without meeting the least resistance, that victory had palled upon him, and he had, so to speak, “vinegared” on himself.  With somebody to “sass him back,” Carlyle would have been cured of the dyspepsia, and have lived twenty years longer.

Carlyle’s was and ever will be one of the greatest names in English literature, and it is very amusing to observe how the gossip-makers, who judge of genius by tittle-tattle and petty personal defects, have condemned him in toto because he was not an angel to a dame who was certainly a bit of a diablesse.  Thus I find in a late very popular collection the remark that—

“It is curious to note in the ‘Life and Correspondence of Lord Houghton’ the high estimation in which Carlyle was held by him.  His regard and admiration cannot but seem exaggerated, now that we know so much of the Chelsea philosopher’s real character.”

This is quite the moral old lady, who used to think that Raphael was a good painter “till she read all about that nasty Fornarina.”

There was another hard old character with whom I became acquainted in those days, and one who, though not a Carlyle, still, like him, exercised in a peculiar way a great influence on English literature.  This was George Borrow.  I was in the habit of reading a great deal in the British Museum, where he also came, and there I was introduced to him.

p. 434He was busy with a venerable-looking volume in old Irish and made the remark to me that he did not believe there was a man living who could read old Irish with ease (which I now observe to myself was “fished” out of Sir W. Betham).  We discussed several gypsy words and phrases.  I met him in the same place several times.  He was a tall, large, fine-looking man, who must have been handsome in his youth.  I knew at the time in London a Mr. Kerrison, who had been as a very young man, probably in the Twenties, very intimate with Borrow.  He told me that one night Borrow acted very wildly, whooping and vociferating so as to cause the police to follow him, and after a long run led them to the edge of the Thames, “and there they thought they had him.”  But he plunged boldly into the water and swam in his clothes to the opposite shore, and so escaped.

“For he fled o’er to t’other side,
   And so they could not find him;
He swam across the flowing tide,
   And never looked behind him.”

About this time (1826?) George Borrow published a small book of poems which is now extremely rare.  I have a copy of it.  In it there is a lyric in which, with his usual effrontery, he describes a very clever, tall, handsome, accomplished man, who knows many languages and who can drink a pint of rum, ending with the remark that he himself was this admirable person.  As Heine was in England at this time, it is not improbable that he met with this poem; but in any case, there is a resemblance between it and one of his own in the Buch der Lieder, which runs thus:—

“Brave man, he got me the food I ate,
His kindness and care I can never forget,
Yet I cannot kiss him, though other folk can,
For I myself am this excellent man!”

It came to pass that after a while I wrote my book on “The English Gypsies and their Language,” and sent a note p. 435to Mr. Borrow in which I asked permission to dedicate it to him.  I sent it to the care of Mr. Murray, who subsequently assured me that Mr. Borrow had actually received it.  Now Mr. Borrow had written thirty years before some sketches and fragments on the same subject, which would, I am very certain, have remained unpublished to this day but for me.  He received my note on Saturday—never answered it—and on Monday morning advertised in all the journals his own forthcoming work on the same subject.

Now, what is sincere truth is, that when I learned this I laughed.  I thought very little of my own work, and if Mr. Borrow had only told me that it was in the way of his I would have withdrawn it at once, and that with right goodwill, for I had so great a respect for the Nestor of gypsyism that I would have been very glad to have gratified him with such a small sacrifice.  But it was not in him to suspect or imagine so much common decency in any human heart, and so he craftily, and to my great delight and satisfaction, “got ahead” of me.  For, to tell the truth of truth, I was pleased to my soul that I had caused him to make and publish the work.

I have said too hastily that it was written thirty years before.  What I believe is, that Mr. Borrow had by him a vocabulary, and a few loose sketches, which he pitchforked together, but that the book itself was made and cemented into one with additions for the first time after he received my note.  He was not, take him altogether, over-scrupulous.  Sir Patrick Colquhoun told me that once when he was at Constantinople, Mr. Borrow came there, and gave it out that he was a marvellous Oriental scholar.  But there was great scepticism on this subject at the Legation, and one day at the table-d’hôte, where the great writer and divers young diplomatists dined, two who were seated on either side of Borrow began to talk in Arabic, speaking to him, the result being that he was obliged to confess that he not only did not understand what they were saying, but did not even know p. 436what the language was.  Then he was tried in Modern Greek, with the same result.  The truth was that he knew a great deal, but did all in his power to make the world believe it was far more—like the African king, or the English prime minister, who, the longer his shirts were made, insisted on having the higher collars, until the former trailed on the ground and the latter rose above the top of his head—“when they came home from the wash!”

What I admire in Borrow to such a degree that before it his faults or failings seem very trifling, is his absolutely vigorous, marvellously varied originality, based on direct familiarity with Nature, but guided and cultured by the study of natural, simple writers, such as Defoe and Smollett.  I think that the “interest” in or rather sympathy for gypsies, in his case as in mine, came not from their being curious or dramatic beings, but because they are so much a part of free life, of out-of-doors Nature; so associated with sheltered nooks among rocks and trees, the hedgerow and birds, river-sides, and wild roads.  Borrow’s heart was large and true as regarded English rural life; there was a place in it for everything which was of the open air and freshly beautiful.  He was not a view-hunter of “bits,” trained according to Ruskin and the deliberate word-painting of a thousand novels and Victorian picturesque poems; but he often brings us nearer to Nature than they do, not by photography, but by casually letting fall a word or trait, by which we realise not only her form but her soul.  Herein he was like Washington Irving, who gives us the impression of a writer who was deeply inspired with calm sweet sunny views of Nature, yet in whose writings literal description is so rarely introduced, that it is a marvel how much the single buttercup lights up the landscape for a quarter of a mile, when a thousand would produce no effect whatever.  This may have possibly been art in Irving—art of the most subtle kind—but in Borrow it was instinct, and hardly intentional.  In this respect he was superior even to Whitman.

p. 437And here I would say, apropos of Carlyle, Tennyson, Irving, Borrow, Whitman, and some others whom I have met, that with such men in only one or two interviews, one covers more ground and establishes more intimacy than with the great majority of folk whom we meet and converse with hundreds of times.  Which fact has been set forth by Wieland in his work on Democritus or the Abderites so ingeniously, as people expressed it a century ago, or so cleverly, as we now say, or so sympathetically, as an Italian would say, that my pen fails to utter the thoughts which arise in me compared to what he has written.

When the summer came, or on the 1st of August, we started on a grand tour about England.  First we went to Salisbury.  I was deeply interested in the Cathedral there, because it is possibly the only great Gothic structure of the kind in Europe which was completed in a single style during a single reign.  Stonehenge was to me even more remarkable, because it is more mysterious.  Its stupendous barbarism or archaic character, involving a whole lost cycle of ideas, contrasts so strangely with the advanced architectural skill displayed in the cutting and fitting of the vast blocks, that the whole seems to be a mighty paradox.  This was the work of many thousands of men—of very well directed labour under the supervision of architects who could draw and measure skilfully with a grand sense of proportion or symmetry, who had, however, not attained to ornament—a thing without parallel in humanity.  This is absolutely bewildering, as is the utter want of all indication as to its real purpose.  The old British tradition that the stones were brought by magic from Africa, coupled with what Sir John Lubbock and others declare as to similar remains on the North African coast, suggest something, but what that was remains to be discovered.  Men have, however, developed great works of the massive and simple order in poetry, as well as in architecture.  The Nibelungen Lied is a Stonehenge.  There are in it only one or two similes or decorations.  “Simplicity is its sole ornament.”

p. 438From Salisbury we went to Wells.  The cathedrals of England form the pages of a vast work in which there is written the history of a paradox or enigma as marvellous as that of Stonehenge; and it is this—that the farther back we go, even into a really barbarous age, almost to the time when Roman culture had died and the mediæval had not begun, the more exquisite are the proportions of buildings, the higher their tone, and, as in the case of Early and Decorated English, the more beautiful their ornament.  That is to say, that exactly in the time when, according to all our modern teaching and ideas, there should have been no architectural art, it was most admirably developed, while, on the contrary, in this end of the nineteenth century, when theory, criticism, learning, and science abound, it is in its lowest and most depraved state, its highest flights aiming at nothing better than cheap imitation of old examples.  The age which produced the Romanesque architecture, whether in northern Italy, along the Rhine as the Lombard, or in France and England as Norman, was extremely barbarous, bloody, and illiterate; and yet in the noblest and grandest conceptions of architectural art it surpassed all the genius of this our time as the sun surpasses a star.  While we know that man has advanced, it still remains true that the history of architecture alone for the past thousand years indicates a steady retrogression and decay in art, and this constitutes the stupendous paradox to which I have alluded.  But Milton has fully explained to us that when the devils in hell built the first great temple or palace—Pandemonium—they achieved the greatest work of architecture ever seen!

York Cathedral made on me a hundred times deeper and more sympathetic impression than St. Peter’s of Rome.  There is a grandeur of unity and a sense of a single cultus in it which the Renaissance never reached in anything.  Even from the days of Orcagna there is an element of mixed motives and incoherence in the best of Italian architecture and sculpture.  It requires colour to effect that which Norman p. 439or Gothic art could produce more grandly and impressively with shade alone.  It is the difference between a garden and a forest.  This is shown in the glorious mediæval grisaille windows, in which such art proves its absolute perfection.  While I was looking at these in rapt admiration, an American friend who did not lack a certain degree of culture asked me if I did not find in them a great want of colour!

I made in York the acquaintance of a youth named Carr, son of a former high sheriff, who, by the way, showed us very great hospitality whenever we visited the city.  This young man had read Labarthe and other writers on archæology, and was enthusiastic in finding relics of the olden time.  He took me into a great many private houses.  I visited every church, and indeed saw far more than do the great majority of even the most inquiring visitors.  The Shambles was then and is still perhaps one of the most curious specimens of a small mediæval street in the world.  I felt as if I could pass a life in the museum and churches, and I did, in fact, years after, remain there, very busy, for three weeks, sketching innumerable corbels, gargoyles, goblins, arches, weather-worn saints and sinners.  And in the Cathedral I found the original of the maid in the garden a-hanging out the clothes.  She is a fair sinner, and the blackbird is a demon volatile, who, having lighted on her shoulder, snaps her by the nose to get her soul.  The motive often occurs in Gothic sculpture.

We may trace it back—vide the “Pharaohs, Fellahs, and Explorers” of Amelia B. Edwards (whom I have also met at an Oriental Congress)—to Roman Harpies and the Egyptian Ba, depicted in the “Book of the Dead” or the “Egyptian Bible.”

the end.


[1]  As I was very desirous of learning more about this celebrated fireplace, I inserted a request in the Public Ledger for information regarding it, which elicited the following from some one to me unknown, to whom I now return thanks:—

Mr. City-Editor of the Public Ledger,—In your edition of this date, I notice a communication headed ‘To Local Antiquarians.’  Without any well-founded pretensions to the designation ‘Antiquarian,’ as I get older I still take a great interest in the early history of our beloved city.  I remember distinctly the fact, but not the date, of reading a description of the ‘mantelpiece.’  It was of wood, handsomely carved on the pillars, and under the shelf, and on the centre between the pillars, was the following quaint and witty hieroglyphic inscription:—

When the grate is M. T. put:
When it is . putting:

which is a little puzzling at first sight, but readily translated by converting the punctuation points into written words.


Frankford, May 24, 1892.”

I can add to this, that the chimney-piece was originally made for wood-fires, and that long after a grate was set in and the inscription added.

[13]  Also given as Delaund or Dellaund in one copy.  De Quincey was proud of his descent from De la Laund.  I may here say that John Leyland, who is a painstaking and conscientious antiquarian and accomplished genealogist, has been much impressed with the extraordinary similarity of disposition, tastes, and pursuits which has characterised the Lelands for centuries.  Any stranger knowing us would think that he and I were nearly related.  It is told of the manor of Leyland that during the early Middle Ages it was attempted to build a church there in a certain place, but every morning the stones were found to be removed.  Finally, it was completed, but the next dawn beheld the whole edifice removed to the other spot, while a spirit-voice was heard to call (one account says that the words were found on a mystic scroll):

“Here shall itt bee,
And here shall itt stande;
And this shall bee called:
Ye Churche of Leyland.”

[16]  A similar incident is recorded in Kenelm Chillingly.  I had long before the publication of the work conversed with Lord Lytton on the subject—which is also touched on in my Sketch-Book of Meister Karl, of which the illustrious author had a copy.

[56]  Since writing the foregoing, and by a most appropriately odd coincidence or mere chance, I have received with delight a copy of this work from Jesse Jaggard, a well-known dealer in literary curiosities in Liverpool, who makes a specialty of hunting up rarities to order, which is of itself a quaint business.  The book is entitled “Curiosities for the Ingenious, Selected from the Most Authentic Treasures of Nature, Science and Art, Biography, History, and General Literature.  London: Thomas Boys, Ludgate Hill, 1821.”  Boys was the publisher of the celebrated series of “The Percy Anecdotes.”  I should here, in justice to Mr. Jaggard, mention that I am indebted to him for obtaining for me several rare and singular works, and that his catalogues are remarkably well edited.

[98]  May I be pardoned for here mentioning that Mr. Symonds, not long before his death, wrote a letter to one of our mutual friends, in which he spoke “most enthusiastically” of my work on “Etruscan Roman Traditions in Popular Tradition.”  “For that alone would I have writ the book.”

[101]  “Susan Cushman was extremely pretty, but was not particularly gifted; in personal appearance she was altogether unlike Charlotte; . . . the latter was a large, tall woman” (“Gossip of the Century,” vol. ii.).  John Du Solle took me for the first time to see Charlotte Cushman, and then asked me what I thought she looked like.  And I replied, “A bull in black silk.”

[156]  He was the real head, and the most sensible, of that vast array of wild antiquaries, among whom are Faber, Godfrey Higgins, Inman, Bryant, and several score more whom I in my youth adored and devoured with a delight surpassing words.

[225]  (Here I forgot myself—this occurred in New York.)

[237]  Herzen once sent me a complete collection of all his books.

[242]  Abraham Lincoln once remarked of the people who wanted emancipation, but who did not like to be called Abolitionists, that they reminded him of the Irishman who had signed a temperance pledge and did not like to break it, yet who sadly wanted a “drink.”  So going to an apothecary he asked for a glass of soda-water, adding, “an’, docther dear, if yees could put a little whisky into it unbeknownst to me, I’d be much obliged to yees.”  I believe that I may say that as Mr. Lincoln read all which I published (as I was well assured), I was the apothecary here referred to, who administered the whisky of Abolition disguised in the soda-water of Emancipation.

[252]  Chapman Biddle himself was a very remarkable man as a lawyer, and a person of marked refinement and culture.  He became my friend in after years, as did his son Walter.  Both are now departed.  I wrote and publicly read an “In Memoriam” address and poem on his death, in delivering which I had great pains to refrain from weeping, which was startling to me, not being habitually expressive of emotion.

[266a]  In reference to “heaving out” by main force, cannon from some deep slough, perhaps of stiff clay, which holds like glue, or, what I think far more wearisome, urging them along for miles over the heaviest roads or broken ways, when the poor exhausted mules have almost given out.  Though, as he says, he was only nineteen and seemed very fragile, the indomitable pluck and perseverance of Gilder in all such trials were such as to call special commendation from my brother Henry, who was not habitually wasteful of praise.

[266b]  “Well do I remember” also what accursed work it was, the ground consisting chiefly of broken stone, and how a number of Paddies, who were accustomed to such labour, assembled above and around us to enjoy the unusual sight of “jontlemen” digging like “canawlers,” and how I, while at my spade, excited their hilarity and delight by casting at them scraps of “ould Eerish,” or Irish.  The fight of the section here alluded to was, I believe, rather of the nature of an improvised rencontre, albeit two or three rebels were killed in the artillery duel.  Corporal Penington was, I believe, as usual, the inspiring Mephistopheles of the affair.

[267]  This reply, which is much better in every respect than that of “The old guard dies but never yields,” was made in the face of far more overwhelming numbers, and has few parallels for sheer audacity, all things considered, in the history of modern warfare.  It passed into a very widely-spread popular mot in America.  It is more than an on dit, for I was nearly within ear-shot when it was uttered, and it was promptly repeated to me.  Yet, if my memory serves me right, there is something like this, “Come and take it!” recorded in the early Tuscan wars in Villari’s introduction to the “Life of Machiavelli,” translated by his accomplished wife.  I have, as I write this note, just had the pleasure of meeting with the Minister and Madame Villari at a dinner at Senator Comparetti’s in Florence, which is perhaps the reason why I recall the precedent.  And I may also recall as a noteworthy incident, that at this dinner Professor Milani, the great Etruscologist and head of the Archæological Museum, congratulated me very much on having been the first and only person who ever discovered an old Etruscan word still living in the traditions of the people—i.e., Intial, the Spirit of the Haunting Shadow.  This is a little discursive—mais je prends mon bien où je le trouve, and it is all autobiographic!  “It is all turkey,” as the wolf said when he ate the claws.

The proposal of General Smith to resist with us alone the tremendous maddened rush of half of Lee’s veterans has its re-echo in my ballad, where Breitmann attempts with his Bummers to stem the great army of the South.  The result would have probably been the same—that is, we should have been “gobbled up.”  But he would have undoubtedly tried it without misgiving.  I have elsewhere narrated my only interview with him.

[268]  The thunder of the artillery at Gettysburg was indeed something to be long and well remembered.  It was so awful that on the field wild rabbits, appalled by the sound, ran to the gunners and soldiers and tried to take refuge in their bosoms.  Those who have only heard cannon fired singly, or a single discharge of cannon, can have no conception of what such sounds when long sustained are like.

[274]  Apropos of Olcott he did good and noble work in the war, in the field, and also out of it as a Government detective, and I am very far from being ashamed to say that I aided him more than once in the latter capacity.  There was a lady in Philadelphia who availed herself of a distinguished position in society so as to go and come from Richmond and act as spy and carry letters between rebel agents.  I knew this and told Olcott of it, who put a stop to her treason.  I also learned that a rascally contractor had defrauded Government with adulterated chemicals.  Olcott had him heavily fined.

[309]  The reader may find some interesting references to Robert Hunt in the Introduction by me to the Life of James Beckwourth, the famous chief of the Crow Indians.  London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1893.

[333]  “Custer was the life and soul of the greatest hand-to-hand victory ever gained over the Indians of the Plains—except Patsy Connor’s Bear River Fight.”—The Masked Venus, by Richard Henry Savage.

[334]  Miss Owen is well known to all folk-lorists as the first living authority on Voodoo.

[346]  I am revising this MS. in the beautiful palazzo built for Ristori, 22 Lung Arno Nuovo, Florence.  It is now the Pensione Pellini.  On the ground floor are statues representing Ristori in different parts.

[349]  Scallawag, from the Gaelic scallag, a vagabond.—D. MacRitchie.

[372]  For depuisse-quand, vide Paul de Kock.

[373]  On due reflection, I believe that I have here had a slip of memory.  I was not till after a year, when returning from Italy, that these incidents occurred.  But as it is all strictly true in every detail, I let it remain, as of little consequence.


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