The Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature
and Science, Volume 11, No. 24, March, 1873, by Various

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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 11, No. 24, March, 1873

Author: Various

Release Date: August 26, 2007 [EBook #22402]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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MARCH, 1873.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by J. B. Lippincott & Co., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Transcriber's notes: Minor typos have been corrected. Table of contents has been generated for HTML version.


Books Received.

[Pg 249]



A fact need not be a fixed fact to be a very positive one; and Kabylia, a region to whose outline no geographer could give precision, has long existed as the most uncomfortable reality in colonial France. Irreconcilable Kabylia, hovering as a sort of thunderous cloudland among the peaks of the Atlas Mountains, is respected for a capacity it has of rolling out storms of desperate warriors. These troops disgust and confound the French by making every hut and house a fortress: like the clansmen of Roderick Dhu, they lurk behind the bushes, animating each tree or shrub with a preposterous gun charged with a badly-moulded bullet. The Kabyle, when excited to battle, goes to his death as carelessly as to his breakfast: his saint or marabout has promised him an immediate heaven, without the critical formality of a judgment-day. He fights with more than feudal faithfulness and with undiverted tenacity. He is in his nature unconquerable. So that the French, though [Pg 250]they have riddled this thunder-cloud of a Kabylia with their shot, seamed it through and through with military roads, and established a beautiful fort national right in the middle of it, on the plateau of Souk-el-Arba, possess it to-day about as thoroughly as we Americans might possess a desirable thunder-storm which should be observed hanging over Washington, and which we should annex by means of electrical communications transpiercing it in every direction, and a resident governor fixed at the centre in a balloon. France has gorged Kabylia, with the rest of Algeria, but she has never digested it.


[Pg 251]

A trip through Algeria, such as we now propose, belongs, as a pleasure-excursion, only to the present age. In the last it was made involuntarily. Only sixty years ago the English spinster or spectacled lady's-companion, as she crossed over from the mouth of the Tagus to the mouth of the Tiber, or from Marseilles to Naples, looked out for capture by "the Algerines" as quite a reasonable eventuality. (Who can forget Töpfer's mad etchings for Bachelor Butterfly, of which this little episode forms the incident?) Her respectable mind was filled with speculations as to how many servants "a dey's lady" was furnished with, and what was the amount of her pin-money. A stout, sound-winded Christian gentleman, without vices and kind in fetters, sold much cheaper than a lady, being worth thirty pounds, or only about one-tenth the value of Uncle Tom.


The opening up of Algeria to the modern tourist and Murray's guide-books is in fact due to the American nation. So late as 1815 the Americans, along with the other trading nations, were actually paying to the dey his preposterous tribute for exemption from piratical seizure. In this year, however, we changed our mind and sent Decatur over. On the 28th of June he made his appearance at Algiers, having picked up and disposed of some Algerine craft, the frigate Mashouda and the brig Estido. The Algerines gave up all discussion with a messenger so positive in his manners, and in two days Decatur introduced our consul-general Shaler, who attended to the release of American captives and the positive stoppage of tribute.

The example was followed by other nations. Lord Exmouth bombarded Algiers in 1816, and reduced most of it to ashes. In 1827 the dey opened war with France by hitting the French consul with his fan. Charles X. retorted upon the fan with thirty thousand troops and a fleet. The fort of Algiers was exploded by the last survivor of its garrison, a negro of the deserts, who rushed down with a torch into the powder-cellar. Algeria collapsed. The dey went to Naples, the janizaries went to Turkey, and Algeria became French.

From this time the country became more or less open, according as France could keep it quiet, to the inroads of that modern beast of ravin, the tourist. The Kabyle calls the tourist Roumi (Christian), a form, evidently, of our word Roman, and referable to the times when the bishop of Hippo and such as he identified the Christian with the Romanist in the Moorish mind.

Modern Algiers, viewed from the sea, wears upon its luminous walls small trace of its long history of blood. As we contemplate its mosques and houses flashing their white profiles into the sky, it is impossible not to muse upon the contrast between its radiant and picturesque[Pg 252] aspect and its veritable character as the accomplice of every crime and every baseness known to the Oriental mind. To see that sunny city basking between its green hills, you would hardly think of it as the abode of bandits; yet two powerful tribes still exist, now living in huts which crown the heights of Boudjareah overlooking the sea, who formerly furnished the boldest of the pitiless corsairs. To the iron hooks of the Bab (or gate) of Azoun were hung by the loins our Christian brothers who would not accept the Koran; at the Bab-el-Oued, the Arab rebels, not confounded even in their deaths with the dogs of Christians, were beheaded by the yataghan; and in the blue depths we sail over, whose foam washes the bases of the temples, hapless women have sunk for ever, tied in a leather bag between a cat and a serpent.

The history, in truth, is the history—always a cruel one—of an overridden nation compelled to bear a part in the wickedness of its oppressors. This rubric of blood may be read in many a dismal page. Algeria was a slave before England was Christian. The greatest African known to the Church, Augustine, has left a pathetic description of the conquest of his country by the Vandals in the fifth century: it was attended with horrible atrocities, the enemy leaving the slain in unburied heaps, so as to drive out the garrisons by pestilence. When Spain overthrew the Moors she took the coast-cities of Morocco and Algeria. Afterward, when Aruch Barbarossa, the "Friend of the Sea," had seized the Algerian strongholds as a prize for the Turks, and his system of piracy was devastating the Mediterranean, Spain with other countries suffered, and we have a vivid picture of an Algerine bagnio and bagnio-keeper from the pen of the illustrious prisoner Cervantes. "Our spirits failed" (he writes) "in witnessing the unheard-of cruelties that Hassan exercised. Every day were new punishments, accompanied with cries of cursing and vengeance. Almost daily a captive was thrown upon the hooks, impaled or deprived of sight, and that without any other motive than to gratify the thirst of human blood natural to this monster, and which inspired even the executioners with horror."

While our fancy traces the figure of the author of Don Quixote, a plotting captive, behind the walls of Algiers, the steamer is withdrawing, and the view of the city becomes more beautiful at every turn of the paddles. We pass through a whole squadron of fishing-boats, hovering on their long lateen sails, and seeming like butterflies balanced upon the waves, which are blue as the petal of the iris. Algiers gradually becomes a mere impression of light. The details have been effaced little by little, and melted into a general hue of gold and warmth: the windowless houses and the walls extending in terraces confuse interchangeably their blank masses. The dark green hills of Boudjareah and Mustapha seem to have opened their sombre flanks to disclose a marble-quarry: the city, piled up with pale and blocklike forms, appears to sink into the mountains again as the boat retires, although the picturesque buildings of the Casbah, cropping out upon the summit, linger long in sight, like rocks of lime. As we pass Cape Matifou we see rising over its shoulder the summits of the Atlas range, among whose peaks we hope to be in a fortnight, after passing Bona, Philippeville and Constantina.

Sailing along this coast of the Mediterranean resembles an excursion on one of the Swiss lakes. Four hours after passing Algiers, in going eastwardly toward the port of Philippeville, we come in sight of Dellys, a little town of poor appearance, where the hussars of France first learned the peculiarities of Kabyle fighting. This warfare was something novel. In place of the old gusty sweeps of cavaliers on horseback, falling on the French battalions or glancing around them in whirlwinds, the soldiers had to extirpate the Kabyles hidden in the houses. It was not fighting—it was ferreting. Each house in Dellys was a fort which had to be taken by siege. Each garden concealed behind its palings the[Pg 253] "flower" of Kabyle chivalry, only to be uprooted by the bayonet. The women fought with fury.

We follow our course along these exquisite blue waters, and soon have a glimpse, at three miles distance, of an isolated, abrupt cone, trimmed at the summit into the proportions of a pyramid. It is the hill of Gouraya, an enormous mass of granite which lifts its scarped summit over the port of Bougie, called Salda by Strabo. We approach and watch the enormous rock seeming to grow taller and taller as we nestle beneath it in the beautiful harbor. Bougie lies on a narrow and stony beach in the embrace of the mountain, white and coquettish, spreading up the rocky wall as far as it can, and looking aloft to the protecting summit two thousand feet above it. We abstain from dismounting, but sweep the city with field-glasses from the deck of the ship, recollecting that Bougie was bombarded in the reign of the Merrie Monarch by Sir Edward Spragg. We trace the ravine of Sidi-Touati, which breaks the town in half as it splits its way into the sea. Here, in 1836, the French commandant, Salomon de Mussis, was treacherously shot while at a friendly conference with the sheikh Amzian, the pretext being the murder of a marabout by the French sentinels. The incident is worth mentioning, because it brought into light some of the nobler traits of Kabyle character. The sheikh, for killing a guest with whom he had just taken coffee, was reproached by the natives as "the man who murdered with one hand and took gifts with the other," and was forced by mere popular contempt from his sheikhship, to perish in utter obscurity.


Putting on steam again, we recede from Bougie, and passing Djigelly, with its overpoweringly large barracks and hospital, doubling Cape Bougarone and sighting the fishing-village of Stora, we arrive at the new port-city of Philippeville. This colony, a plantation of Louis Philippe's upon the site of the Roman Russicada, has only thirty-four years of[Pg 254] existence, and contains twenty Frenchmen for every Arab found within it. It differs, however, from our American thirty-year-old towns in the interesting respect of showing the traces of an older civilization. French savants here examine the ruins of the theatre and the immense Roman reservoirs in the hillside, and take "squeezes" of inscriptions marked upon the antique altar, column or cippus. On an ancient pillar was found an amusing grafita, the sketch of some Roman schoolboy, showing an aquarius (or water-carrier) loaded with his twin buckets. Philippeville, nursed among these glowing African hills, has the look of some bad melodramatic joke. Its European houses, streets laid out with the surveyor's chain, pompous church, and arcades like a Rue de Rivoli in miniature, make a foolish show indeed, in place of the walls, white, unwinking and mysterious, which ordinarily enclose the Eastern home or protect the Arab's wife behind their blinded windows.


If we leave Philippeville in the evening, we find ourselves next morning in the handsome roadstead of Bona. This, for the present, will terminate our examination of the coast, for, however fond we may be of level traveling, we cannot reasonably expect to get over the Atlas Mountains by hugging the shore. The harbor of Bona, though broad and beautiful, is somewhat dangerous, concealing numbers of rocks which lurk at about the surface of the water. Other rocks, standing boldly out at the entrance of the port, offer a singular aspect, being sculptured into strange forms by the sea. One makes a very good statue of a lion, lying before the city as its guard, and looking across the waves for an enemy as the foam caresses its monstrous feet.

Dismounting from shipboard, we become landsmen for the remainder of our journey, and wave adieu to the steamboat which has brought us as we linger a moment on the mole of Bona. This city is named from the ancient Hippo, out of whose ruins, a mile to the southward, it was largely built. The Arabs call it "the city of jujube trees"—Beled-el-Huneb. To the Roumi (or Christian) traveler the interest of the spot concentrates in one historic figure, that of Saint Augustine. In the basilica of Hippo, of which the remains are believed to have been identified in some recent excavations, the sainted bishop shook the air with his learned and penetrating eloquence. Here he exhorted the faithful to defend their religious liberty and their lives, uncertain if the Vandal hordes of Genseric were not about to sweep away the faith and the language of Rome. Here, where the forest of El Edoug spreads a shadow like that of memory over the scene of his walks and labors, he brought his grand life of expiation to a holy close, praying with his last breath for his disciples oppressed by the invaders. We reach the site of Hippo (or Hippone) by a Roman bridge, restored to its former solidity by the French, over whose arches the bishop[Pg 255] must have often walked, meditating on his youth of profligacy and vain scholarship, and over the abounding Divine grace which had saved him for the edification of all futurity.


Bona has a street named Saint Augustine, but it is, by one of the strange paradoxes which history is constantly playing us, owned entirely by Jews, and those of one sole family. This fact indicates how the thrifty race has prospered since the French occupancy. Formerly oppressed and ill-treated, taxed and murdered by the Turks, and only permitted to dress in the mournfulest colors, the Jew of Algeria hid himself as if life were something he had stolen, and for which he must apologize all his days. Now, treated with the same liberality as any other colonist, the Jew indulges in every ostentation of dress except as to the color of the turban, which, in small towns like Bona, still preserves the black hue of former days of oppression. On Saturdays the children of Jacob fairly blaze with gold and gay colors. On their working days they line the principal streets, eyeing the passers-by with a cool, easy indifference, but never losing a chance of business. In Algeria this race is generally thought to present a picture of arrogance, knavery and rank cowardice not equaled on the face of the globe. An English traveler saw an Arab, after maddening himself with opium and absinthe, run a-mok among the shopkeepers who lined the principal street of Algiers. Selecting the Hebrews, he drove before him a throng of twenty, dressed in all the colors of the rainbow, who allowed themselves to be knocked down with the obedience of ninepins. A Frenchman stopped the maniac after he had killed one Jew and wounded several, none of them making any effort at defence.

A few narrow streets, bordered with Moorish architecture, contain the native industry of Bona. It is about equally divided between the Jews and the M'zabites, who, like the Kabyles, are a remnant of the stiff-necked old Berber tribe. The M'zabites preserve the pure Arab dress—the haik, or small bornouse without hood, the broad breeches coming to the knee, the bare legs, and the turban[Pg 256] rolled up into a coil of ropes. Thus accoutred, and squatting in the ledges of their small booths, the jewelers, blacksmiths and tailors of Bona are found at their work.

Returning to Philippeville by land, and remaining as short a time as possible in this unedifying city, which is a bad and overheated imitation of a French provincial town, we concede only so much to its modern character as to hire a fine open carriage in which to proceed inland toward Constantina. This city is reached after a calm, meditative ride through sunny hills and groves. After so quiet a preparation the first view of Constantina is fairly astounding. Encircled by a grand curve of mountainous precipices, rises a gigantic rock, washed by a moat formed of the roaring cascades of the river Rummel. On the flat top of this naked rock, like the Stylites on his pillar, stands Constantina. The Arabs used to say that Constantina was a stone in the midst of a flood, and that, according to their Prophet, it would require as many Franks to raise that stone as it would of ants to lift an egg at the bottom of a milk-pot.


This city, under its old Roman name of Cirta, was one of the principal strongholds of Numidia. In 1837 it was one of the most hotly-defended strongholds of the Kabyles. The French have renamed, as "Gate of the Breach," the old Bab-el-Djedid, where Colonel Lamoricière entered at the head of his Zouaves. The city had to be conquered in detail, house by house. Lamoricière himself was wounded: the Kabyles, driven to their last extremity, evacuated the Casbah on the summit of the rock, and let down their women by ropes into the abyss; the ropes, overweighted by these human clusters, broke, piling the bodies and fragments of bodies in heaps beneath the precipice, while some of the natives descended the steep rock safely with the agility of goats.

Of all the large Algerian cities, Constantina is that which has best preserved its primitive signet. In most quarters it remains what it was under the Turks. These quarters are still undermined, rather than laid out, with close and crooked streets, where the rough white[Pg 257] houses are pierced with narrow windows, closed to the inquisitive eye of the Roumi. The roofs are of tile, for the winters on the hills are too severe to permit the flat, terraced roofs of Algiers or Bona. These white houses, roofed with brown, give a perfectly original aspect to the city as seen from any of the neighboring eminences. The plateau of Mansourah is connected with the town by a magnificent Roman bridge, two stories in height, restored by the French.


From this bridge, which is three hundred feet high by three hundred and fifteen feet in length, and has five arches, you look down into the bed of the Rummel, while the vultures and eagles scream around you, and you recite the words of the poet El Abdery, who called this river a bracelet which encircles an arm. The gorge opens out into a beautiful plain rich with pomegranates, figs and orange trees. The sea is forty-eight miles away.

The last bey of Constantina, not knowing that he was merely building for the occupancy of the French governors who were to come after him, decreed himself, some fifty years ago, a stately pleasure-dome, after the fashion of Kubla Khan. From the ruins of Constantina, Bona and Tunis, Ahmed Bey picked up whatever was most beautiful in the way of Roman marbles and carving. With these he built his halls, while the Rummel, through caverns measureless to[Pg 258] man, ran on below. Some Frenchman of importance will now-a-days give you the freedom of this curious piece of Turkish construction, where, among storks and ibises gravely perched on one stilt, you examine the relics of Roman history, preserved by its very destroyers, according to the grotesque providence that watches over the study of archæology.


[Pg 259]

You are told how Ahmed, wishing to adorn the walls of his gallery or loggia with frescoes, of which he had heard, but which he had no artist capable of executing, whether Arab, Moor or Jew, applied to a prisoner. The man was a French shoemaker, who had never touched a brush: he vainly tried to decline the honor, but the bey was inflexible: "You are a vile liar: all the Christians can paint. Liberty if you succeed, death if you disobey me."


Extremely nervous was the hand which the painter malgré lui applied to the unlooked-for task. From the laborious travail of his brain issued at length an odd mass of arabesques with which the walls were somehow covered. His invention exhausted, he awaited in an agony of fear the inspection of his Turkish master. He came, and was enchanted. The painter was free, and the bey observed: "The dog wanted to deceive me: I knew that all the Christians could paint."

You are amazed to find, in this nest of Islamite savagery and among these wild rocks, the uttermost accent of modern French politeness. Your presence is a windfall in quarters so retired, and you sit among orange plants and straying gazelles, while the military band throws softly out against the inaccessible crags the famous tower-scene from the fourth act of Il Trovatore. As night draws on, tired of your explorations, you seek a Moorish bath.

Let no tourist, experienced only in the effeminate imitations of the hummum to be found in New York or London, expect similar considerate treatment in Algeria. He will be more likely to receive the attention of the M'zabite bather after the fashion narrated in the following paragraph, which is a quotation from an English journalist in the land of the Kabyles:

"We were told to sit down upon a marble seat in the middle of the hall, which we had no sooner done than we[Pg 260] became sensible of a great increase of heat: after this each of us was taken into a closet of milder temperature, where, after placing a white cloth on the floor and taking off our napkins, they laid us down, leaving us to the further operations of two naked, robust negroes. These men, newly brought from the interior of Africa, were ignorant of Arabic; so I could not tell them in what way I wished to be treated, and they handled me as roughly as if I had been a Moor inured to hardship. Kneeling with one knee upon the ground, each took me by a leg and began rubbing the soles of my feet with a pumice stone. After this operation on my feet, they put their hands into a small bag and rubbed me all over with it as hard as they could. The distortions of my countenance must have told them what I endured, but they rubbed on, smiling at each other, and sometimes giving me an encouraging look, indicating by their gestures the good it would do me. While they were thus currying me they almost drowned me by throwing warm water upon me with large silver vessels, which were in the basin under a cock fastened in the wall. When this was over they raised me up, putting my head under the cock, by which means the water flowed all over my body; and, as if this was not sufficient, my attendants continued plying their vessels. Then, having dried me with very fine napkins, they each of them very respectfully kissed my hand. I considered this as a sign that my torment was over, and was going to dress myself, when one of the negroes, grimly smiling, stopped me till the other returned with a kind of earth, which they began to rub all over my body without consulting my inclination. I was as much surprised to see it take off all the hair as I was pained in the operation; for this earth is so quick in its effect that it burns the skin if left upon the body. This being finished, I went through a second ablution, after which one of them seized me behind by the shoulders, and setting his two knees against the lower part of my back, made my bones crack, so that for a time I thought they were entirely dislocated. Nor was this all, for after whirling me about like a top to the right and left, he delivered me to his comrade, who used me in the same manner: and then, to my no small satisfaction, opened the closet door."


[Pg 261]

This is the true Moorish bath. Meantime, the M'zabite or negro, as he dislocates your legs, cracks your spinal column or dances over you on his knees, drones forth a kind of native psalmody, which, melting into the steamy atmosphere of the place, seems to be the litany of happiness and of the pure in heart. Clean in body and soul as you never were before, skinned, depilated, dissected, you emerge for a new life of ideal perfection, feeling as if you were suddenly relieved of your body.


There is held every Friday at Constantina a grand assembly of the fire-eating marabouts, the fanatics who have given so much trouble to their French rulers. Every revolution among the Kabyles is a religious movement, set in motion by the wild enthusiasm of the "saints." The religious orders of Kabylia, all of them differing in various degrees from Turkish Mohammedanism, are of some half dozen varieties, adapted to minds of various cultivation. Some, as that of Sidi-Yusef-Hansali, are mild in their rites and of a purely didactic or religious nature. This latter sect originated in Constantina, comprises two thousand brothers or khouans, and was in 1865 under the authority of Hammo-el-Zouaoui, a direct descendant of Yusef-Hansali. An hour passed in the college of this order, where the whole formula of worship consists in saying a hundred times "God forgive!" then, a hundred other times, "Allah ill' Allah: Mohammed ressoul Allah!" may be monotonous, but it is not revolutionary. From this tautological brotherhood, through various degrees of emotional activity, you arrive at the wild doings of the fire-eaters, or followers of Mohammed-ben-Aissa. This Aissa was a native of Meknes in Morocco, where he died full of years and piety three hundred years ago. His legend states that being originally very poor, he attempted to support his family in the truly Oriental manner, not by working for them, but by spending his whole time at the mosque in prayer for their miraculous sustenance. His inertia and his faith were acceptable to Mohammed, who appeared to Aissa's wife with baskets of food, and to Aissa with the order to found a sect. The allegory expressed by the disgusting actions of the order would seem to be that anything is nourishment to the true believer. They therefore exhibit themselves as eating red-hot iron, scorpions and prickly cactus. Various travelers, some of them cool hands and accurate observers, have seen these khouans at their horrible[Pg 262] feasts without being able to explain the imposture. A British soldier, an experienced Indian officer, happened to be in Kabylia just before the breaking out of the great Sepoy rebellion in India, and was introduced to one of the fire-eating orgies by Major Deval at Tizi-ouzou, where our journey into Kabylia is to terminate. With his own eyes he saw a khouan, excited by half an hour's chanting and beating the tom-tom, drive a sword four inches deep

[Pg 263]


into his chest by[Pg 264] hitting it with a tile. The man marched around and exhibited it to the congregation as it quivered in his naked body. Another seared his face and hands with a large red-hot iron, holding it finally with his mouth without other support. Another chewed up an entire leaf of a cactus with its dangerous spikes, which sting one's hands severely and remain rankling in the flesh. Another filled his mouth with live coals from a brazier, and walked around blowing out sparks. Another swallowed a living scorpion, a small snake, broken glass and nails. The spectator was in the midst of these enthusiasts, being touched by them in their antics, yet he could detect no foul play, except that he imagined the sword in the first-named experiment to have been driven into an old wound or between the skin and the flesh. It was to counteract the influence of the fire-eating marabouts that the French government sent over Robert Houdin, the ingenious mechanician, but though he eclipsed their wonders by tricks of electricity and sleight, he has left but a lame explanation of the "juggleries" of the Algerine saints.


The worst attribute of these khouans is, that after having excited the ignorant Kabyles to many a losing war by their magnetism, they remain themselves behind the curtain, safe and sarcastic.

In the Moorish quarter of Constantina, where the streets are about five feet wide, you sit down to watch the perpetual come-and-go of the inhabitants. Taking a cup of fragrant coffee—which, as the reader knows, is in Eastern countries eaten at the same time that it is drunk—you sit on a stone bench of the coffee-house and contemplate mules, horses, asses, passengers, buyers, sellers, loungers, Arabs, Turks, Kabyles, Jews, Moors and spahis. On every side you hear the cry of "Balek! balek!" This means "Look out!" and the word is closely followed by the causative fact. The street is unpaved, the horse is unshod, the hoofs cannot be heard, and you have hardly time to efface yourself against a wall when a cavalier passes by like a careless torrent, scattering the white bornouses centrifugally from his pathway as he advances. The streets, as we observed, are very narrow. Each has its own manufacture. Here are the tailors; here, in this deafening alley, are the blacksmiths; farther on are the shoemakers, and you are driven mad with wonder at the quantities of slippers made for a people which goes eternally barefoot. Springing out of this dædal intricacy of booths and workshops rise the slender minarets of prayer, of which the principal one belongs to a mosque said to be the most beautiful in Algeria. The interior of this chief mosque is not deprived of ornament, having its columns of pink marble, its elliptical Moorish arches, and its tiles of painted fayence set in the walls. In the centre is the pulpit, coarsely painted red and blue, where the imaum recites his prayers. Three small, lofty windows are filled with carved lacework. The floor is spread with carpets for the knees of the rich, with matting for the poor. Over all rises the square, crescent-crowned minaret—no belfry, but a steeple where the chimes are rung by the human voice. Night and day, from the heights of their slender towers, the muezzins toll out their vibrating notes like a bell, inviting the faithful to prayers with the often-heard signal: "Allah ill' Allah: Mohammed resoul Allah!"


[Pg 265]



The offices of running water have afforded a fertile theme for the poet and the philosopher. In the ruder ages of the world the water-ways which carve their course over the face of the globe were regarded only in the light of natural barriers against hostile invasion; and thus arose the historic principle—

Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other.

But civilization has demonstrated that they subserve a much higher purpose,[Pg 266] that the rivers of a country are its great arteries and highways of trade, and that they fulfill functions as numerous and benign in the political economy as in the physical geography of the regions they furrow. In the Old World, the advancing streams of culture, science and commerce, and even the migrations of nations, have ebbed and flowed along the classic valleys of the Rhine, the Rhone and the Danube; and the banks of the Tigris, the Euphrates and the Nile are rich in memories of the world's mightiest and most splendid empires. In America the fertile watersheds of the Ohio, the Mississippi and the Missouri are fast becoming what their antitypes of the great continent have been in the past. The outspreading wave of civilization and population has already reached westward to the foot of the Rocky Mountains from the Gulf of Mexico to Montana and Idaho, while even the basin of the Columbia River is rapidly filling up with an active, thriving and busy people, who can smile at the poet's vision:

Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
Save its own dashings.

The water-courses of a country are not less valuable to it than the little Pactolus was to the ancient city of Sardis, through whose streets it ran freighted with gold. But these natural highways of human intercourse, like most of Nature's provisions, are capable of indefinite artificial extension and multiplication. Our finest modern canals are scarcely smaller, and certainly capable of more uninterrupted, safe and heavy navigation, than many of the rivers which have figured in history, and which Pascal so graphically described as "moving roads that carry us whither we wish to go."

Such considerations as these have a profound bearing on many of the great economic problems of the age, but on none more than upon the grand problem which is now agitating the national mind in the United States: How to connect its seaboard and central regions by water. A glance at the map of the Union shows that its vast interior lies ensconced between the two mountain-walls of the Rocky chain on its western side and the Appalachian chain on its eastern side. Hemmed in by these barriers is the immense expanse of the most prolific, populous and prosperous section on the continent, which, taking its name from "the Father of Waters," is geographically designated as the Mississippi Valley, estimated by Professor J. W. Foster of the Chicago University to contain an area of two million four hundred and fifty-five thousand square miles, equal to that of all Europe excepting Russia, Norway and Sweden. Unlike the inland basin of Asia, in which the vast, mountain-girt Desert of Gobi stretches out its seas of sand, stony, sterile and desolate, the inland basin of America is its garden-spot and granary. Swept by the vapor-bearing winds and rain-distilling clouds from the Gulf of Mexico, and blessed with an excellent climate, it contains all the physical elements of an empire within itself. Its position makes it the national strong-hold, so that with military men it has grown into an adage, "Whoever is master of the Mississippi is lord of the continent." It is yet but half developed, but no far-seeing mind can form any estimate of its future growth and opulence. "With a varied and splendid entourage—an imperial cordon of States—nothing," says Dr. John W. Draper of New York, "can prevent the Mississippi Valley from becoming in less than three centuries the centre of human power." The only wall of partition that shuts it off from the great marts of the world is formed by the chain of the Alleghanies, which stretch along the Atlantic seaboard, from south-west to north-east, for twelve hundred miles. This natural barrier, with a mean altitude of two thousand feet, is destitute of a central axis, and consists, as the two Rogerses, who have most fully explored its ridges, showed, of a series of convex and concave flexures, "giving them the appearance of so many colossal entrenchments." With a broad artificial channel cut through its sunken defiles and picturesque gorges, there would at once be opened a gateway for the flow[Pg 267] and reflow of the heavy commerce of the Western World.

In 1781 the practical and philosophic eye of Thomas Jefferson perceived the national necessity for a great trans-Alleghany water-line, and early in the year 1786, though still tossed on the wave of the Revolution, and not yet recovered from the shock of British invasion, the State which gave birth to the author of the "Declaration of Independence" declared for the enterprise. With all the means and energy at its command it pushed forward the work from year to year, and directed it, as Mr. Jefferson had proposed, so as to connect the head-waters of the James River, flowing from the Alleghany summits to the ocean, with the mountain-river known as the Great Kanawha, which rises near the fountains of the upper James and descends into the broad bosom of the Ohio. Although this undertaking was prosecuted slowly at first, it was permanently recognized as one that must go on; in 1832 and 1835 it received new impulses; and in 1840 it had reached the piedmont districts. In 1847 a powerful impetus was given to the work, and it was thenceforth, till 1856, forced rapidly westward up the eastern slopes of the Alleghanies, as a complete and working structure, above a point three hundred miles from the Atlantic capes, and two hundred miles from Richmond, leaving an unfinished gap to the upper or navigable part of Kanawha River of a little over one hundred and fifty miles. This enormous work was more than half finished at an outlay of $10,436,869—a sum which, during the economic period of its expenditure, went as far as nearly twice that amount would go now.

By recent legislation the State of Virginia proposes to turn over the entire property of the canal to the United States, on the sole condition of its being finished by the government and converted into a national water-highway for the good of the common country—in other words, upon the one condition of its nationalization.

It is sometimes contended that the day of canals has passed, and henceforward the railway must take their place. But this notion is opposed to the present economic necessities of the world, as well as to the provisions of Nature, which evidently point to the utilization of the hydraulic systems of the globe. The lavish and prodigal use of the coal-deposit of the earth, and the deforesting of vast tracts of soil to supply fuel for the locomotive and the stationary engine, have already wrought incalculable and almost irremediable evils. The past year has seen the prices of all English coals go up at least eighty per cent., and the coal-famine of Great Britain, foreseen some years ago, has already threatened to sap the vigor of her industrial systems and destroy her manufacturing supremacy, or, at any rate, place her at the mercy of the United States for the fuel with which to operate them. The denudation of the vast territories of the United States by the axe of emigration has already told in a marked degree upon the condition of its climate, and greatly affected its meteorology and rainfall; while the railroads, which have spread their Briarean arms over the whole country, by their immense consumption of wood for cross-ties, sills, fuel, snow-sheds, bridges, etc., have wellnigh stripped the land of its timber, leaving its bosom exposed to the biting blasts of winter and to the fiery blaze of the summer sun.

The problem of more rapid canal navigation is speedily approaching solution, and to give up the water-lines of the larger sections would be fatal to their commercial development. "The Erie Canal," said a distinguished citizen of New York a short time ago, "now conveys one-fourth of the whole export of that vast interior region I have described (the Mississippi drainage), and as much of it during its six months of uninterrupted navigation as all of the trunk railways together during the same time." "Every canal-boat," he added, "which comes to Albany with an average cargo is more than the average of the New York Central Railroad trains. In the busy canal season more than one[Pg 268] hundred and fifty such boats come daily to tide-water, and the New York Central Railroad traffic never reaches thirty trains a day." Such a canal traffic would make more than twenty miles of uninterrupted railroad-cars, which could not, by any possibility, be handled by the largest force of railroad employés with expedition or convenience. The furore which the steam-engine has excited and so long maintained in the mechanical world is decidedly abating. Engineers are everywhere at work studying the practicability of employing new forces. The solar heat, the wind-power, the water-power of rivers, and even the tidal energy of the sea, have been and are now being harnessed to the machineries of Europe. These reservoirs of force are kept perennially full by the sun and the moon, to whose action they are due, and at a future period, when men have prodigally squandered their heritage of coal and wood wealth, they will be invoked by the mechanic and manufacturer to furnish their chief motive-power. As an economist of the force-capital deposited by the sun's influence in the bowels of the earth during its carboniferous epoch, and as using, instead of it, the force-interest received annually from the sun through the medium of rain and wind, the water-way will and must become one of the most generally employed engines of the higher civilizations yet to be.

So long as the subject of trans-Alleghany water-communication was viewed as one merely affecting individual States, it possessed no national interest. But in its present aspect it is of vast moment, both national and international. While many overcrowded portions of the Old World are often confronted with both the spectre and the reality of gaunt famine, and their breadless thousands are looking wistfully to the fresh and prolific fields of the New, for relief, there are annually lost to the country and the world vast stores of corn, which the Western farmers cannot afford to send by railroad to the seaboard for foreign shipment, and freely use as a substitute for fuel. This fact is suggestive and significant. To understand its import we have only to look at the geographical position of the West and the Mississippi Valley, isolated in the heart of a continent.

There are three outlets for the commerce of these sections seeking New York, the emporium of the New World, and the chief trans-Atlantic markets: 1. By the Mississippi River to New Orleans, and thence by transhipment to New York and Europe. 2. By the northern lakes to the St. Lawrence Valley, or by the former to the Erie Canal. 3. By the costly transportation of railroads over the Alleghanies or along the lake-shores eastward.


The first of these routes is of course the longest, both in time and distance. It takes the merchandise by an extensive détour, which, from the mouth of the Ohio River, viâ the Gulf, to New York, exceeds three thousand miles. Although lying in the powerful current of the Gulf Stream, which is a propelling force speeding forward the vessel that trusts its warm, blue waters, this route is exposed to the most violent cyclonic storms, and navigators shun and evade it during the equinoctial or hurricane season. But, barring danger and distance, no country with such an outlet to the sea as the Mississippi River affords can be considered dependent upon any artificial communication. Notwithstanding the objections which exist to this long route (which is both expensive and long), its trade is rapidly increasing from the very exigencies of the case. The introduction of the barge-system on the great Western rivers has greatly facilitated and cheapened transportation. Steam-tugs, carrying neither passengers nor freight, are substituted for the steamboat. These tugs never stop except to coal and attach the barges, already loaded before their arrival at a city, and proceed with great despatch. Steaming steadily on, night and day, they make the trip from St. Louis to New Orleans almost as quickly as the oft-detained steamboat. The distance has been made between these cities by a tug, with ten heavily-freighted barges, in six days. The tugs plying on the Minnesota River[Pg 269] carry with good speed barges containing thirty thousand bushels of wheat, and the freight of a single trip would fill more than eighty railroad-cars. This transportation is cheap, because the tugs require less than one-fourth the expense for running and management required by the steamboats. The carriage of grain from Minnesota to New Orleans by this method costs no more than the freightage from the same point to Chicago by rail. A boatload of wheat from St. Paul, taking the river route, is not once handled until it is put aboard ship at the Crescent City. The mighty energy of the North-west—"the Germany of America," as it has been well called by Dr. Draper—has long since discovered that the Mississippi is the best existing route to European markets. Grain can be shipped by way of St. Louis and New Orleans to New York and Europe twenty cents a bushel cheaper than it can be carried by the other existing routes. As long ago as 1868 the Illinois Central Railroad took hold of the West India and Southern trade through the river route, and offered such commercial inducements to Western importers that "Havana sends her products by this route to the North-west, instead of by New York."[A] As the North-west expands and multiplies in resources and population, it will be compelled to transact its foreign and seaboard commerce through the noble navigable waters of the Mississippi, unless it can obtain a short and cheap transportation to New York by some trans-Alleghany water-line. In the event of the North-western trade being diverted southward along the great natural artery of the continent, where no tolls, no tariffs and no transhipments are required,[Pg 270] the loss will fall most heavily upon New York and the seaboard marts. The increasing stream of South American commerce, in the same event, must inevitably take the short, speedy and entirely inexpensive route to the North-west (through the broad and free highway of the "Father of Waters"), rather than encounter the delay, danger and expense of the Gulf-Stream route to New York, and thence by rail or the Lakes to its destination. The longer the present trade-status continues, and the mammoth corporations of the railroads force the transportation of the North-west, the West and the Mississippi Valley to take the river and Gulf route to the sea, the greater and more fixed becomes the diversion of this incalculable commerce from the great markets of the Middle and Eastern States. So far, therefore, from the far West being at the mercy of the East in this matter, the former has the advantage. The East, rather than allow the present tendency of the commercial current to set well in toward the Gulf, and wear a channel for itself, should strain every nerve to keep it steadily moving toward its own maritime cities. The great cities of the Atlantic seaboard can better afford to construct a water-line over the mountains at their own cost than to run the risk of the Mississippi River becoming the commercial avenue for its vast valley and drainage, and thus bearing the golden stream away from their harbors and streets.

The Utopian idea that Norfolk may become the rival of the great seaports and centres of capital, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, is without the field of discussion. It is not more possible than that a magnetized knife-blade should exert a more powerful attraction than the largest lodestone or the mightiest electro-magnet.

The Lake route from the Mississippi Valley to the East was made continuous and complete by the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. The day of the old flat-boats had not then closed, and the application of steam to river navigation was still in its infancy. The growth of the West—which has always outstripped its internal improvements—like an immense river long dammed up, bursting the barriers that confined it, forced its way toward the sea. Although it was said at first that the canal would never pay, "the opening of this work," as the Superintendent of the Census says, "was an announcement of a new era in the internal grain-trade of the United States. To the pioneer, the agriculturist and the merchant the grand avenue developed a new world. From that period do we date the rise and progress of the North-west." This splendid structure is to-day the great artery of Eastern wealth; and but for the fact that for six months in the year, when the vast sea of Western commerce would seek an outlet through its banks to the East, it is locked by ice, it would be widened into a ship-canal. It lies in the very track of the great north-westerly winds, which descend with torrential rush and polar cold over the Lakes, and thence through Northern New York. Last year, as late as the third of March, when the vegetation of the Middle States was beginning to spring forth in vernal beauty, the whole of the lower Lake region and Western and Northern New York were swept by these Arctic tempests; and this is the climatic rule rather than an exceptional case. Even in the season of open water the Lakes are exposed to the most violent storms, and within their narrow shores hundreds of vessels are annually lost. The mariner overtaken by what would be a moderate gale in a broad sea is in imminent peril for want of sea-room; and in a snow-storm, however light—whose winds elsewhere he would court to fill his sails and propel his craft—his course is beset with danger and difficulty. For more than half the year navigation is suspended by the thickening terrors of the tempest and the accumulated obstacles of ice.[B] And yet,[Pg 271] with all the obstacles which impair the utility of the Lake route while it is in operation, the volume of Western produce prefers it, or rather is forced by the necessities of the case to employ it. And these necessities will continue to increase. With the aid of all the railroads now or to be constructed, the rapid expansion of Western commerce has distanced the facilities of transport. The iron horse, as has been well said, has always stimulated industry and production beyond his power to carry it. It was the forcible remark of the English traveler Sir Morton Peto that the American railroads from West to East were "choked with traffic." So great is the inadequacy of all existing outlets for conveying the more than Amazonian streams of trans-Alleghany merchandise that it has long since become the interest of every great corporation, as well as of every citizen of the country, to open for them new and national highways.

From this digression, embracing facts and views which seemed essential to an intelligent discussion of the main subject, we pass on to examine the Appalachian outlet by which the great Western empire of America may find its way to the sea. The bird's-eye view here presented will show the Appalachian mountain-chain, and the waters which thread their way along its gentle slopes eastward to the Atlantic basin and westward to the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys. The Alleghanies bear a striking geographic resemblance to the Highlands of Scotland, so famed in song and story. Like the central Grampian Hills—those majestic buttresses in whose recesses the old Caledonians found secure and impregnable asylums from the Roman legions—except that they are richer in verdure and less lofty, they form the grand natural rampart of the American Union. To use the words of Lavallée, the French military historian and statistician, "Mountains play the principal part in military operations: true ramparts of states, they interrupt the development of strategic movements, and render the greatest efforts necessary for their passage and possession. They are the poetical part of the theatre of the art of war." If the day ever comes, as come it may, when the kingly powers of the world combine to crush the republican institutions of the United States, and swarm the harbors and bays of our Atlantic seaboard with their allied navies, the defiles of the Alleghanies will prove the Thermopylæs of the Union; and against their eastern base the surging wave of invasion must be stayed, if stayed at all. Like the Scottish peaks,

The grisly champions that guard
The infant rills of Highland Dee,

or the Spanish wall of the Pyrenean chain, on whose Sierras, in 1808, Wellington's blazing lines of Torres Vedras arrested Massena's march, the mountains that look out on our Atlantic sea-front must ever be of the highest military importance.

To throw across their central ridges a great aqueduct is no mean undertaking of merely local significance, but may take rank with the old Roman aqueducts, with the magnificent roads constructed by Napoleon over the Alps, and with the more modern and now triumphant tunnels through Mont Cenis and the Hoosac Mountains, and the rapidly-progressing railway over the Andes from Callao to the Amazon Valley.

The broad and national features of the proposed trans-Alleghany water-way have so strongly commended themselves to President Grant that in his last message he recommends preliminary Congressional action, and in a more recent address to a number of distinguished visitors at the Executive Mansion he used much stronger and bolder language in assuring them that "he hoped Congress would give such encouragement to the measure as to secure the completion of the canal." He has in these words only repeated the sentiments of his illustrious predecessors, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, in behalf of the value of the work. We have already alluded to Mr. Jefferson's early advocacy of a water-line by the James and Kanawha Rivers. The first idea of this enterprise seems to have been suggested to Washington[Pg 272] as early as the year 1753, after his celebrated trip from Jamestown to Fort Duquesne as an envoy of Governor Dinwiddie. At the close of the Revolutionary war he made an arduous and personal exploration of the country for many hundred miles. He kept a journal in which were minutely recorded his conversations with all intelligent persons he met respecting the facilities for internal navigation afforded by the rivers rising in the Alleghany Mountains and flowing either east or west. Returning to Mount Vernon October 4, 1784, he wrote, as the result of his observations, to the then governor of Virginia, the father of William Henry Harrison: "I shall take the liberty now, my dear sir, to suggest a matter which would (if I am not too short-sighted a politician) mark your administration as an important era in the annals of this country. It has been my decided opinion that the shortest, easiest and least expensive communication with the invaluable and extensive country back of us would be by one or both of the rivers of this State which have their sources in the Appalachian Mountains." General Washington, on the 26th of August, 1785, became the first president of the company authorized by the legislation which he had suggested previously to Governor Harrison. It is well known that the same views entertained by Washington and Jefferson were held and advocated by Mr. Madison, long before the most prescient statesman could descry the faintest image of that colossal empire of population, wealth and rapid development now lying west of the Alleghanies.

For the great future water-ways which are needed for the Western, the North-western and the Mississippi Valley trade there are several routes that have been demonstrated to be practicable. One of these is by a projected canal to connect the Coosa River with the Alabama River, and thence following that stream to the Gulf of Mexico. This, if ever carried out, as eventually it is probable will be the case, would avoid the bars and dangers of the navigation of the lower Mississippi, and in a measure obviate the necessity of the proposed sub-canals in Louisiana and other engineering expedients to remove or turn the very serious river-obstacles to an outlet south of New Orleans. Another proposal is to connect the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, and to run a canal from the latter to the Ocmulgee or Savannah River, and thence by the use of slack water to reach the harbors of Savannah and Charleston. This scheme has been clearly proved to be feasible, although the distance seems objectionable. The third (or central) water-line proposed is that so long agitated since the beginning of the present century, so often surveyed and re-surveyed by the most eminent engineers, and not long since by the United States Engineer Corps under the direction of General A. A. Humphreys, the chief engineer of the United States army. It is the shortest and most direct line, and has the advantage that it is, as we have seen, already nearly half completed, from the head of tide-water on the James River, above Lexington, to Buchanan, near the summit-level of the mountains. The engineers who have reported upon it—among whom are the late Colonel E. Lorraine, Benjamin H. Latrobe, Esq., and other eminent engineers—estimate that the largest sum required for its completion to the Kanawha River is $37,364,000, and the length of time required four years. "Of this large sum, however," they say, "it can be clearly shown that there will be no need of any other advance by government than the interest which will accumulate while the work is in progress, which, by issuing the bonds every six months, as required, will not reach the sum of six million dollars. And this is every cent that will ever be required to be advanced. Should the government undertake to make the work a fine one, it will of course cost the whole amount estimated, but this would be more than made up by its increased benefits to the whole country.

"The work when completed, even at a low rate of tolls—not over about half the rate charged on the Erie Canal—will return the advance, pay the interest and[Pg 274] redeem the principal in less than twenty years.


"In considering this question we are not left to mere conjecture. The wonderful history of the Erie Canal, and a comparison of the circumstances connected with the operations of that great work with those under which this enterprise will be inaugurated and accompanied, furnish sufficient data for reliable conclusions."

When we consider that the Erie Canal, though frozen up and useless for half the year, has not only long since paid for its construction out of its tolls, but makes a present of itself to the State, with about thirty millions of dollars of net profit, and that it does more than five times the business of the great New York Central Railroad, transporting annually over five million tons of cargo (which exceeds the total foreign commerce of New York City), and yet is "choked" and gorged with freight, the close figuring of the engineers does not appear to be questionable.

The immense saving in the cost of water-carriage as compared with that of railway-transportation is hardly conceived by the public mind. Many of the railroads carry produce at very low and reasonable rates, but they cannot afford to take it at much if any less than three times the amount charged by the canals. It appears from the report of the New York State Engineer for 1868 that the average receipts per ton per mile on the New York Central Railroad and the Erie Railway was 2.92 cents and 2.42 cents respectively; while on the New York State canals it was 1 cent only, tolls included. But a trans-Alleghany canal would, after getting fully into operation, be able to transport produce more cheaply than the New York canals, which are frozen over about five months of the year, and during the very period when the great tide of Western freightage and the ingathered crops is pressing most heavily for an outlet to the East.[C] There are many products of the West and the Mississippi Valley that will not bear the cost of transportation to the Eastern cities, either by rail, Gulf or Lake route, because they would consume in transitu for freight between sixty and seventy per cent. of their market value in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

These views have been ably and earnestly pressed time and again upon Congress by Eastern and Western statesmen, merchants and citizens of all classes, by the press of all parties, and by the boards of trade and commercial conventions. The surveys cover every foot of the proposed James River Canal extension to the Ohio Valley, which, by general consent, seems to be regarded as the most eligible because it is the most direct central route, and because the State of Virginia has most munificently offered to remand the half-completed work to the general government on the sole condition of its nationalization.

If, as history has always testified, it be true that

Mountains interposed
Make enemies of nations, which had else,
Like kindred drops, been mingled into one,

it would be difficult, as it is unnecessary, even to attempt to form an adequate estimate of this great trans-Alleghany highway as a benign and powerful agent in the political reconstruction and moral unification of the American States.

After leaving Buchanan, the proposed route for the extension of the James River and Kanawha Canal runs westward to the mouth of Fork Run, a small mountain-river, and ascends that stream to the summit-level, seventeen hundred feet above tide-water. It then pierces the main range of the Alleghanies, passing under Tuckahoe and Katis Mountains by a tunnel nearly eight miles long, and emerges into the valley of the Greenbrier River on the western mountain-slope. Its water-line pursues its course by slack-water navigation down the Greenbrier to New River, and down New River to Lyken's Shoals on the Kanawha, eighty-five miles above its mouth. The last distance of eighty-five miles will be[Pg 275] traversed by open navigation, as the Kanawha Valley permits it. Major W. B. Craighill of the Engineer Corps, in his able report to General A. A. Humphreys on this central water-line, says: "The recent completion of the Mont Cenis Tunnel in Europe, and the rapid progress made with the Hoosac Tunnel in this country, with the experience gained in these works, and the improved facilities daily coming into use for carrying on such operations, induce us to approach such an undertaking as the Lorraine tunnel not only without apprehension of failure, but with a feeling of assured certainty of success. It is no longer an extraordinary, but an ordinary, undertaking."

The practical capacity of the water-line when completed will be of almost unlimited extent, while the canal proper with its locks will have a capacity of from fifteen to twenty millions of tons annually. In the fall and early winter, after the harvests are over, and during the very season that the highway is most needed, and when the northern routes are blocked by ice, this trans-Alleghany water-way will be open.

The local trade in its path would alone justify its construction. It will penetrate the finest mineral lands of Virginia and West Virginia, which have been so long locked up from the world. The great Kanawha coal-fields and iron- and salt-mines are unsurpassed by any now known in any part of the globe. In the large demand from England and Europe for coal, which is finding expression in the large orders sent to Philadelphia and Baltimore for Pennsylvania and Maryland coal,[D] there is the best possible evidence that the local trade of the national canal would be enormous. So highly thought of is the Kanawha cannel coal that it is now shipped down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, and sent thence by sea to New York, where it brings per ton about three times the price of anthracite in that market. It is equal to the best English and Nova Scotia cannel, while the Kanawha bituminous and splint coals are unsurpassed by any others. The veins lie horizontally, and vary from three to fifteen feet in thickness, the aggregate thickness of the various strata amounting in some localities to forty or fifty feet of the solid carbon.

But, great as are the local interests and the trade of the water-line, they are entirely lost sight of in the national aspect of the question.

The population now demanding a direct and central highway for its great inland commerce, according to the best estimates (those of Poor), cannot fall short of fifteen millions, and most probably exceeds that number. It is now conclusively established that the centre of gravity of our national population has crossed the Appalachian chain. Professor Hilgard of the Coast Survey prepared a year ago, at the request of the Hon. J. A. Garfield of Ohio, a series of calculations to ascertain this centre of gravity by the four last censuses. Supposing a plane of the exact shape and size of the United States, exclusive of Alaska, loaded with the actual population, he determined the points on which it would balance. In the recently-published words[E] of Mr. Garfield we give the following results of Professor Hilgard's calculations: By this process he found that in 1840 the centre of gravity of the population was at a point in Virginia near the eastern foot of the Appalachian chain, and near the parallel of 39° N. latitude. In 1850 this centre had moved westward fifty-seven miles across the mountains, to a point nearly south of Parkersburg, Virginia. In 1860 it had moved westward eighty-two miles, to a point nearly south of Chillicothe, Ohio. In 1870 it had reached a point near Wilmington, Clinton county, Ohio, about forty-five miles north-east of Cincinnati. In no case had it widely departed from the thirty-ninth parallel. If the same rate be maintained during the next three decades, which I doubt, it will fall in the neighborhood of Bloomington, Indiana, by 1900. Professor[Pg 276] Hilgard also found that a line drawn from Lake Erie, at the north-eastern corner of Ohio, to Pensacola in Florida, would divide the population of the United States, as it stood in 1870, into two equal parts. This line is nearly parallel to the line of the Atlantic coast. From these calculations it will appear that both the "centre of gravity" and the line that divides the population in half are more than one hundred and fifty miles west of the Appalachian chain.

If these computations be correct, Poor's figures are too low by two or three millions at least. But, apart from the demand for an inter-continental canal by the population on the west of the Appalachian chain, the seaboard States and cities east of the Appalachians are, as we have already shown, as profoundly interested in such a national cheap thoroughfare as is the former section. Careful estimates have shown that the surplus produce[F] of the trans-Alleghany sections and the Mississippi Valley cannot be less than twenty-five million tons; and this would immediately seek an outlet through the Virginia water-line to the sea. The saving that would result to the West and to the whole country would be enormous; and at a very moderate calculation the amount would be an average of two dollars per ton on the river route, viâ New Orleans, and ten dollars per ton over the railroad routes. The completion of a comparatively short canal of eighty miles, to cover the gap from Buchanan to the upper Kanawha, would without the shadow of exaggeration save the West forty millions of dollars a year; and the central water-line would yield an interest of ten to fifteen per cent. on the capital invested, while opening a continuous water-road from Liverpool to Omaha, running nearly due west, fifty-nine hundred miles in length! By reducing the freights on the other present thoroughfares through the influence of wholesome competition, it would perhaps at once lessen the cost of inland transportation by nearly one hundred millions of dollars annually!

These considerations, and the added fact that for many years the chambers of commerce of the great Western cities, the many commercial conventions that have met, and the legislatures of the States bordering on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, have earnestly and unanimously memorialized Congress in behalf of the completion of this great inter-continental highway, fully establish the national character of the measure now pending in the national councils.

Thompson B. Maury.


[A] New York Times.

[B] From the 3d to the 6th of March, last year, the thermometer at Rochester was several degrees below zero; at Troy, New York, on the 5th it stood at -14° (below zero); at Ogdensburg, New York, at -32° (below zero); at Watertown, New York, -34° (below zero)! These intense colds recur as late as April.

[C] The average of twenty years shows that the James River and Kanawha Canal was closed annually by ice only fifteen days; the longest period in any one year was fifty-six days.

[D] A single English order for Cumberland coal, to be shipped by a Baltimore dealer last December, was for three hundred thousand tons.

[E] New York Nation, December 19, 1872.

[F] Last year's grain-yield in the Mississippi Valley was one billion and thirty-six millions of bushels. In many parts of the West, for want of transportation, corn is now sold for as little as eighteen and twenty cents per bushel, and the husks are worth, for fuel, nearly as much as the grain. One of the great newspapers of the West, the Chicago Inter-Ocean (January 8th) in discussing editorially "The Reason Farming does not Pay" in that country, forcibly says: "A charge of thirty cents per bushel for the carriage of corn, when the freight should be only fifteen cents, absorbs one-half the value of the crop; and this process, repeated from year to year during the whole period of a decade, exhausts what would otherwise become the surplus of the farmer, and finally impoverishes the entire agricultural community."

[Pg 277]





On a small headland of the distant island of Lewis an old man stood looking out on a desolate waste of rain-beaten sea. It was a wild and a wet day. From out of the louring south-west fierce gusts of wind were driving up volumes and flying rags of clouds, and sweeping onward at the same time the gathering waves that fell hissing and thundering on the shore. Far as the eye could reach the sea and the air and the sky seemed to be one indistinguishable mass of whirling and hurrying vapor, as if beyond this point there were no more land, but only wind and water, and the confused and awful voices of their strife.

The short, thick-set, powerfully-built man who stood on this solitary point paid little attention to the rain that ran off the peak of his sailor's cap or to the gusts of wind that blew about his bushy gray beard. He was still following, with an eye accustomed to pick out objects far at sea, one speck of purple that was now fading into the gray mist of the rain; and the longer he looked the less it became, until the mingled sea and sky showed only the smoke that the great steamer left in its wake. As he stood there, motionless and regardless of everything around him, did he cling to the fancy that he could still trace out the path of the vanished ship? A little while before it had passed almost close to him. He had watched it steam out of Stornoway harbor. As the sound of the engines came nearer and the big boat went by, so that he could have almost called to it, there was no sign of emotion on the hard and stern face, except, perhaps, that the lips were held firm and a sort of frown appeared over the eyes. He saw a tiny white handkerchief being waved to him from the deck of the vessel; and he said, almost as though he were addressing some one there, "My good little girl!"

But in the midst of that roaring of the sea and the wind how could any such message be delivered? And already the steamer was away from the land, standing out to the lonely plain of waters, and the sound of the engines had ceased, and the figures on the deck had grown faint and visionary. But still there was that one speck of white visible; and the man knew that a pair of eyes that had many a time looked into his own—as if with a faith that such intercommunion could never be broken—were now trying, through overflowing and blinding tears, to send him a last look of farewell.

The gray mists of the rain gathered within their folds the big vessel and all the beating hearts it contained, and the fluttering of that little token disappeared with it. All that remained was the sea, whitened by the rushing of the wind and the thunder of waves on the beach. The man, who had been gazing so long down into the south-east, turned his face landward, and set out to walk over a tract of wet grass and sand toward a road that ran near by. There was a large wagonette of varnished oak and a pair of small, powerful horses waiting for him there; and having dismissed the boy who had been in charge, he took the reins and got up. But even yet the fascination of the sea and of that sad farewell was upon him, and he turned once more, as if, now that sight could yield him no further tidings, he would send her one more word of good-bye. "My poor little Sheila!" That was all he said; and then he turned to the horses and sent them on, with his head down to escape the rain, and a look on his face like that of a dead man.

As he drove through the town of Stornoway the children playing within the shelter of the cottage doors called to[Pg 278] each other in a whisper, and said, "That is the King of Borva."

But the elderly people said to each other, with a shake of the head, "It iss a bad day, this day, for Mr. Mackenzie, that he will be going home to an empty house. And it will be a ferry bad thing for the poor folk of Borva, and they will know a great difference, now that Miss Sheila iss gone away, and there iss nobody—not anybody at all—left in the island to tek the side o' the poor folk."

He looked neither to the right nor to the left, though he was known to many of the people, as he drove away from the town into the heart of the lonely and desolate land. The wind had so far died down, and the rain had considerably lessened, but the gloom of the sky was deepened by the drawing on of the afternoon, and lay heavily over the deary wastes of moor and hill. What a wild and dismal country was this which lay before and all around him, now that the last traces of human occupation were passed! There was not a cottage, not a stone wall, not a fence, to break the monotony of the long undulations of moorland, which in the distance rose into a series of hills that were black under the darkened sky. Down from those mountains, ages ago, glaciers had slowly crept to eat out hollows in the plains below; and now in those hollows were lonely lakes, with not a tree to break the line of their melancholy shores. Everywhere around were the traces of the glacier-drift—great gray boulders of gneiss fixed fast into the black peat-moss or set amid the browns and greens of the heather. The only sound to be heard in this wilderness of rock and morass was the rushing of various streams, rain-swollen and turbid, that plunged down their narrow channels to the sea.

The rain now ceased altogether, but the mountains in the far south had grown still darker, and to the fisherman passing by the coast it must have seemed as though the black peaks were holding converse with the louring clouds, and that the silent moorland beneath was waiting for the first roll of the thunder. The man who was driving along this lonely route sometimes cast a glance down toward this threatening of a storm, but he paid little heed to it. The reins lay loose on the backs of the horses, and at their own pace they followed, hour after hour, the rising and falling road that led through the moorland and past the gloomy lakes. He may have recalled mechanically the names of those stretches of water—the Lake of the Sheiling, the Lake of the Oars, the Lake of the Fine Sand, and so forth—to measure the distance he had traversed; but he seemed to pay little attention to the objects around him, and it was with a glance of something like surprise that he suddenly found himself overlooking that great sea-loch on the western side of the island in which was his home.

He drove down the hill to the solitary little inn of Garra-na-hina. At the door, muffled up in a warm woolen plaid, stood a young girl, fair-haired, blue-eyed, and diffident in look.

"Mr. Mackenzie," she said, with that peculiar and pleasant intonation that marks the speech of the Hebridean who has been taught English in the schools, "it wass Miss Sheila wrote to me to Suainabost, and she said I might come down from Suainabost and see if I can be of any help to you in the house."

The girl was crying, although the blue eyes looked bravely through the tears as if to disprove the fact.

"Ay, my good lass," he said, putting his hand gently on her head, "and it wass Sheila wrote to you?"

"Yes, sir, and I hef come down from Suainabost."

"It is a lonely house you will be going to," he said absently.

"But Miss Sheila said I wass—I wass to—" But here the young girl failed in her effort to explain that Miss Sheila had asked her to go down to make the house less lonely. The elderly man in the wagonette seemed scarcely to notice that she was crying: he bade her come up beside him; and when he had got her into the wagonette he left some message with the innkeeper, who had come to the door, and drove off again.

They drove along the high land that[Pg 279] overlooks a portion of Loch Roag, with its wonderful network of islands and straits, and then they stopped on the lofty plateau of Callernish, where there was a man waiting to take the wagonette and horses.

"And you would be seeing Miss Sheila away, sir?" said the man; "and it wass Duncan Macdonald will say that she will not come back no more to Borva."

The old man with the big gray beard only frowned and passed on. He and the girl made their way down the side of the rocky hill to the shore, and here there was an open boat awaiting them. When they approached, a man considerably over six feet in height, keen-faced, gray-eyed, straight-limbed and sinewy in frame, jumped into the big and rough boat and began to get ready for their departure. There was just enough wind to catch the brown mainsail, and the King of Borva took the tiller, his henchman sitting down by the mast. And no sooner had they left the shore and stood out toward one of the channels of this arm of the sea, than the tall, spare keeper began to talk of that which made his master's eye grow dark. "Ah, well," he said, in the plaintive drawling of his race, "and it iss an empty house you will be going to, Mr. Mackenzie; and it iss a bad thing for us all that Miss Sheila hass gone away; and it iss many's ta time she will hef been wis me in this very boat—"

"—— —— —— —— you, Duncan Macdonald!" cried Mackenzie, in an access of fury, "what will you talk of like that? It iss every man, woman and child on the island will talk of nothing but Sheila! I will drive my foot through the bottom of the boat if you do not hold your peace!"

The tall gillie patiently waited until his master had exhausted his passion, and then he said, as if nothing had occurred, "And it will not do much good, Mr. Mackenzie, to tek ta name o' God in vain; and there will be ferry much more of that now since Miss Sheila iss gone away, and there will be much more of trinking in ta island, and it will be a great difference, mirover. And she will be so far away that no one will see her no more—far away beyond ta Sound of Sleat, and far away beyond Oban, as I hef heard people say. And what will she do in London, when she has no boat at all, and she will never go out to ta fishing? And I will hear people say that you will walk a whole day and never come to ta sea, and what will Miss Sheila do for that? And she will tame no more o' ta wild-ducks' young things, and she will find out no more o' ta nests in the rocks, and she will hef no more horns when the deer is killed, and she will go out no more to see ta cattle swim across Loch Roag when they go to ta sheilings. It will be all different, all different, now; and she will never see us no more. And it iss as bad as if you wass a poor man, Mr. Mackenzie, and had to let your sons and your daughters go away to America, and never come back no more. And she ta only one in your house! And it wass the son o' Mr. Macintyre of Sutherland he would hef married her, and come to live on ta island, and not hef Miss Sheila go away among strangers that doesna ken her family, and will put no store by her, no more than if she wass a fisherman's lass. It wass Miss Sheila herself had a sore heart tis morning when she went away; and she turned and she looked at Borva as the boat came away, and I said, Tis iss the last time Miss Sheila will be in her boat, and she will not come no more again to Borva."

Mr. Mackenzie heard not one word or syllable of all this. The dead, passionless look had fallen over the powerful features, and the deep-set eyes were gazing, not on the actual Loch Roag before them, but on the stormy sea that lies between Lewis and Skye, and on a vessel disappearing in the midst of the rain. It was by a sort of instinct that he guided this open boat through the channels, which were now getting broader as they neared the sea, and the tall and grave-faced keeper might have kept up his garrulous talk for hours without attracting a look or a word.

It was now the dusk of the evening, and wild and strange indeed was the scene around the solitary boat as it[Pg 280] slowly moved along. Large islands—so large that any one of them might have been mistaken for the mainland—lay over the dark waters of the sea, remote, untenanted and silent. There were no white cottages along these rocky shores; only a succession of rugged cliffs and sandy bays, but half mirrored in the sombre water below. Down in the south the mighty shoulders and peaks of Suainabhal and its sister mountains were still darker than the darkening sky; and when at length the boat had got well out from the network of islands and fronted the broad waters of the Atlantic, the great plain of the western sea seemed already to have drawn around it the solemn mantle of the night.

"Will you go to Borvabost, Mr. Mackenzie, or will we run her into your own house?" asked Duncan—Borvabost being the name of the chief village on the island.

"I will not go on to Borvabost," said the old man peevishly. "Will they not have plenty to talk about at Borvabost?"

"And it iss no harm tat ta folk will speak of Miss Sheila," said the gillie with some show of resentment: "it iss no harm tey will be sorry she is gone away—no harm at all, for it wass many things tey had to thank Miss Sheila for; and now it will be all ferry different—"

"I tell you, Duncan Macdonald, to hold your peace!" said the old man, with a savage glare of the deep-set eyes; and then Duncan relapsed into a sulky silence and the boat held on its way.

In the gathering twilight a long gray curve of sand became visible, and into the bay thus indicated Mackenzie turned his small craft. This indentation of the island seemed as blank of human occupation as the various points and bays they had passed, but as they neared the shore a house came into sight, about half-way up the slope rising from the sea to the pasture-land above. There was a small stone pier jutting out at one portion of the bay, where a mass of rocks was imbedded in the white sand; and here at length the boat was run in, and Mackenzie helped the young girl ashore.

The two of them, leaving the gillie to moor the little vessel that had brought them from Callernish, went silently toward the shore, and up the narrow road leading to the house. It was a square, two-storied substantial building of stone, but the stone had been liberally oiled to keep out the wet, and the blackness thus produced had not a very cheerful look. Then, on this particular evening the scant bushes surrounding the house hung limp and dark in the rain, and amid the prevailing hues of purple, blue-green and blue the bit of scarlet coping running round the black house was wholly ineffective in relieving the general impression of dreariness and desolation.

The King of Borva walked into a large room, which was but partially lit by two candles on the table and by the blaze of a mass of peats in the stone fireplace, and threw himself into a big easy-chair. Then he suddenly seemed to recollect his companion, who was timidly standing near the door, with her shawl still round her head.

"Mairi," he said, "go and ask them to give you some dry clothes. Your box it will not be here for half an hour yet." Then he turned to the fire.

"But you yourself, Mr. Mackenzie, you will be ferry wet—"

"Never mind me, my lass: go and get yourself dried."

"But it wass Miss Sheila," began the girl diffidently—"it wass Miss Sheila asked me—she asked me to look after you, sir—"

With that he rose abruptly, and advanced to her and caught her by the wrist. He spoke quite quietly to her, but the girl's eyes, looking up at the stern face, were a trifle frightened.

"You are a ferry good little girl, Mairi," he said slowly, "and you will mind what I say to you. You will do what you like in the house, you will take Sheila's place as much as you like, but you will mind this—not to mention her name, not once. Now go away, Mairi, and find Scarlett Macdonald, and she will give you some dry clothes; and you will tell her to send Duncan down to Borvabost, and bring up John the Piper and Alister-nan-Each, and the lads of the Nighean dubh, if[Pg 281] they are not gone home to Habost yet. But it iss John the Piper must come directly."

The girl went away to seek counsel of Scarlett Macdonald, Duncan's wife, and Mr. Mackenzie proceeded to walk up and down the big and half-lit chamber. Then he went to a cupboard, and put out on the table a number of tumblers and glasses, with two or three odd-looking bottles of Norwegian make, consisting of four semicircular tubes of glass meeting at top and bottom, leaving the centre of the vessel thus formed open. He stirred up the blazing peats in the fireplace. He brought down from a shelf a box filled with coarse tobacco, and put it on the table. But he was evidently growing impatient, and at last he put on his cap again and went out into the night.

The air blew cold in from the sea, and whistled through the bushes that Sheila had trained about the porch. There was no rain now, but a great and heavy darkness brooded overhead, and in the silence he could hear the breaking of the waves along the hard coast. But what was this other sound he heard, wild and strange in the stillness of the night—a shrill and plaintive cry that the distance softened until it almost seemed to be the calling of a human voice? Surely those were words that he heard, or was it only that the old, sad air spoke to him?—

For Lochaber no more, Lochaber no more,
Maybe to return to Lochaber no more.

That was the message that came to him out of the darkness, and it seemed to him as if the sea and the night and the sky were wailing over the loss of his Sheila. He walked away from the house and up the hill behind. Led by the sound of the pipes, that grew louder and more unearthly as he approached, he found himself at length on a bit of high table-land overlooking the sea, where Sheila had had a rude bench of iron and wood fixed into the rock. On this bench sat a little old man, humpbacked and bent, and with long white hair falling down to his shoulders. He was playing the pipes—not wildly and fiercely, as if he were at a drinking-bout of the lads come home from the Caithness fishing, nor yet gayly and proudly, as if he were marching at the head of a bridal-procession, but slowly, mournfully, monotonously, as though he were having the pipes talk to him.

Mackenzie touched him on the shoulder, and the old man started. "Is it you, Mr. Mackenzie?" he said in Gaelic. "It is a great fright you have given me."

"Come down to the house, John. The lads from Habost and Alister, and some more will be coming; and you will get a ferry good dram, John, to put wind in the pipes."

"It is no dram I am thinking of, Mr. Mackenzie," said the old man. "And you will have plenty of company without me. But I will come down to the house, Mr. Mackenzie—oh yes, I will come down to the house—but in a little while I will come to the house."

Mackenzie turned from him with a petulant exclamation, and went along and down the hill rapidly, as he could hear voices in the darkness. He had just got into the house when his visitors arrived. The door of the room was opened, and there appeared some six or eight tall and stalwart men, mostly with profuse brown beards and weatherbeaten faces, who advanced into the chamber with some show of shyness. Mackenzie offered them a rough and hearty welcome, and as soon as their eyes had got accustomed to the light bade them help themselves to the whisky on the table. With a certain solemnity each poured out a glass and drank "Shlainte!" to his host as if it were some funeral rite. But when he bade them replenish their glasses, and got them seated with their faces to the blaze of the peats, then the flood of Gaelic broke loose. Had the wise little girl from Suainabost warned these big men? There was not a word about Sheila uttered. All their talk was of the reports that had come from Caithness, and of the improvements of the small harbor near the Butt, and of the black sea-horse that had been seen in Loch Suainabhal, and of some more sheep having been found dead on the Pladda Isles, shot by the men of the[Pg 282] English smacks. Pipes were lit, the peats stirred up anew, another glass or two of whisky drunk, and then, through the haze of the smoke, the browned faces of the men could be seen in eager controversy, each talking faster than the other, and comparing facts and fancies that had been brooded over through solitary nights of waiting on the sea. Mackenzie did not sit down with them: he did not even join them in their attention to the curious whisky-flasks. He paced up and down the opposite side of the room, occasionally being appealed to with a story or a question, and showing by his answers that he was but vaguely hearing the vociferous talk of his companions. At last he said, "Why the teffle does not John the Piper come? Here, you men—you sing a song, quick! None of your funeral songs, but a good brisk one of trinking and fighting."

But were not nearly all their songs—like those of all dwellers on a rocky and dangerous coast—of a sad and sombre hue, telling of maidens whose lovers were drowned, and of wives bidding farewell to husbands they were never to see again? Slow and mournful are the songs that the northern fishermen sing as they set out in the evening, with the creaking of their long oars keeping time to the music, until they get out beyond the shore to hoist the red mainsail and catch the breeze blowing over from the regions of the sunset. Not one of these Habost fishermen could sing a brisk song, but the nearest approach to it was a ballad in praise of a dark-haired girl, which they, owning the Nighean dubh, were bound to know. And so one young fellow began to sing, "Mo Nighean dubh d'fhas boidheach dubh, mo Nighean dubh na treig mi,"[G] in a slow and doleful fashion, and the others joined in the chorus with a like solemnity. In order to keep time, four of the men followed the common custom of taking a pocket handkerchief (in this case an immense piece of brilliant red silk, which was evidently the pride of its owner) and holding it by the four corners, letting it slowly rise and fall as they sang. The other three men laid hold of a bit of rope, which they used for the same purpose. "Mo Nighean dubh," unlike most of the Gaelic songs, has but a few verses; and as soon as they were finished the young fellow, who seemed pleased with his performances, started another ballad. Perhaps he had forgotten his host's injunction, perhaps he knew no merrier song, but at any rate he began to sing the "Lament of Monaltrie." It was one of Sheila's songs. She had sung it the night before in this very room, and her father had listened to her describing the fate of young Monaltrie as if she had been foretelling her own, and scarcely dared to ask himself if ever again he should hear the voice that he loved so well. He could not listen to the song. He abruptly left the room, and went out once more into the cool night-air and the darkness. But even here he was not allowed to forget the sorrow he had been vainly endeavoring to banish, for in the far distance the pipes still played the melancholy wail of Lochaber.

Lochaber no more! Lochaber no more!

—that was the only solace brought him by the winds from the sea; and there were tears running down the hard gray face as he said to himself, in a broken voice, "Sheila, my little girl, why did you go away from Borva?"



"Why, you must be in love with her yourself!"

"I in love with her? Sheila and I are too old friends for that!"

The speakers were two young men seated in the stern of the steamer Clansman as she ploughed her way across the blue and rushing waters of the Minch. One of them was a tall young fellow of three-and-twenty, with fair hair and light blue eyes, whose delicate and mobile features were handsome enough in their way, and gave evidence of a nature at[Pg 283] once sensitive, nervous and impulsive. He was clad in light gray from head to heel—a color that suited his fair complexion and yellow hair; and he lounged about the white deck in the glare of the sunlight, steadying himself from time to time as an unusually big wave carried the Clansman aloft for a second or two, and then sent her staggering and groaning into a hissing trough of foam. Now and again he would pause in front of his companion, and talk in a rapid, playful, and even eloquent fashion for a minute or two; and then, apparently a trifle annoyed by the slow and patient attention which greeted his oratorical efforts, would start off once more on his unsteady journey up and down the white planks.

The other was a man of thirty-eight, of middle height, sallow complexion and generally insignificant appearance. His hair was becoming prematurely gray. He rarely spoke. He was dressed in a suit of rough blue cloth, and indeed looked somewhat like a pilot who had gone ashore, taken to study and never recovered himself. A stranger would have noticed the tall and fair young man who walked up and down the gleaming deck, evidently enjoying the brisk breeze that blew about his yellow hair, and the sunlight that touched his pale and fine face or sparkled on his teeth when he laughed, but would have paid little attention to the smaller, brown-faced, gray-haired man, who lay back on the bench with his two hands clasped round his knee, and with his eyes fixed on the southern heavens, while he murmured to himself the lines of some ridiculous old Devonshire ballad or replied in monosyllables to the rapid and eager talk of his friend.

Both men were good sailors, and they had need to be, for although the sky above them was as blue and clear as the heart of a sapphire, and although the sunlight shone on the decks and the rigging, a strong north-easter had been blowing all the morning, and there was a considerable sea on. The far blue plain was whitened with the tumbling crests of the waves, that shone and sparkled in the sun, and ever and anon a volume of water would strike the Clansman's bow, rise high in the air with the shock, and fall in heavy showers over the forward decks. Sometimes, too, a wave caught her broadside, and sent a handful of spray over the two or three passengers who were safe in the stern; but the decks here remained silvery and white, for the sun and wind speedily dried up the traces of the sea-showers.

At length the taller of the young men came and sat down by his companion: "How far to Stornoway yet?"

"An hour."

"By Jove, what a distance! All day yesterday getting up from Oban to Skye, all last night churning our way up to Loch Gair, all to-day crossing to this outlandish island, that seems as far away as Iceland;—and for what?"

"But don't you remember the moonlight last night as we sailed by the Cuchullins? And the sunrise this morning as we lay in Loch Gair? Were not these worth coming for?"

"But that was not what you came for, my dear friend. No. You came to carry off this wonderful Miss Sheila of yours, and of course you wanted somebody to look on; and here I am, ready to carry the ladder and the dark lantern and the marriage-license. I will saddle your steeds for you and row you over lakes, and generally do anything to help you in so romantic an enterprise."

"It is very kind of you, Lavender," said the other with a smile, "but such adventures are not for old fogies like me. They are the exclusive right of young fellows like you, who are tall and well-favored, have plenty of money and good spirits, and have a way with you that all the world admires. Of course the bride will tread a measure with you. Of course all the bridesmaids would like to see you marry her. Of course she will taste the cup you offer her. Then a word in her ear, and away you go as if it were the most natural thing in the world, and as if the bridegroom was a despicable creature merely because God had only given him five feet six inches. But you couldn't have a Lochinvar five feet six."[Pg 284]

The younger man blushed like a girl and laughed a little, and was evidently greatly pleased. Nay, in the height of his generosity he began to protest. He would not have his friend imagine that women cared only for stature and good looks. There were other qualities. He himself had observed the most singular conquests made by men who were not good-looking, but who had a certain fascination about them. His own experience of women was considerable, and he was quite certain that the best women, now—the sort of women whom a man would respect—the women who had brains—

And so forth and so forth. The other listened quite gravely to these well-meant, kindly, blundering explanations, and only one who watched his face narrowly could have detected in the brown eyes a sort of amused consciousness of the intentions of the amiable and ingenuous youth.

"Do you really mean to tell me, Ingram," continued Lavender in his rapid and impetuous way—"do you mean to tell me that you are not in love with this Highland princess? For ages back you have talked of nothing but Sheila. How many an hour have I spent in clubs, up the river, down at the coast, everywhere, listening to your stories of Sheila, and your praises of Sheila, and your descriptions of Sheila! It was always Sheila, and again Sheila, and still again Sheila. But, do you know, either you exaggerated or I failed to understand your descriptions; for the Sheila I came to construct out of your talk is a most incongruous and incomprehensible creature. First, Sheila knows about stone and lime and building; and then I suppose her to be a practical young woman, who is a sort of overseer to her father. But Sheila, again, is romantic and mysterious, and believes in visions and dreams; and then I take her to be an affected school-miss. But then Sheila can throw a fly and play her sixteen-pounder, and Sheila can adventure upon the lochs in an open boat, managing the sail herself; and then I find her to be a tom-boy. But, again, Sheila is shy and rarely speaks, but looks unutterable things with her soft and magnificent eyes; and what does that mean but that she is an ordinary young lady, who has not been in society, and who is a little interesting, if a little stupid, while she is unmarried, and who after marriage calmly and complacently sinks into the dull domestic hind, whose only thought is of butchers' bills and perambulators?"

This was a fairly long speech, but it was no longer than many which Frank Lavender was accustomed to utter when in the vein for talking. His friend and companion did not pay much heed. His hands were still clasped round his knee, his head leaning back, and all the answer he made was to repeat, apparently to himself, these not very pertinent lines:

"In Ockington, in Devonsheer,
My vather he lived vor many a yeer;
And I his son with him did dwell,
To tend his sheep: 'twas doleful well.

"You know, Ingram, it must be precious hard for a man who has to knock about in society, and take his wife with him, to have to explain to everybody that she is in reality a most unusual and gifted young person, and that she must not be expected to talk. It is all very well for him in his own house—that is to say, if he can preserve all the sentiment that made her shyness fine and wonderful before their marriage—but a man owes a little to society, even in choosing a wife."

Another pause.

"It happened on a zartin day
Four-score o' the sheep they rinned astray:
Says vather to I, 'Jack, rin arter 'm, du!'
Sez I to vather, 'I'm darned if I du!'

"Now you are the sort of a man, I should think, who would never get careless about your wife. You would always believe about her what you believed at first; and I dare say you would live very happily in your own house if she was a decent sort of woman. But you would have to go out into society sometimes; and the very fact that you had not got careless—as many men would, leaving their wives to produce any sort of impression they might—would make you vexed that the world could not off-hand[Pg 285] value your wife as you fancy she ought to be valued. Don't you see?"

This was the answer:

"Purvoket much at my rude tongue,
A dish o' brath at me he vlung,
Which so incensed me to wrath,
That I up an' knack un instantly to arth.

"As for your Princess Sheila, I firmly believe you have some romantic notion of marrying her and taking her up to London with you. If you seriously intend such a thing, I shall not argue with you. I shall praise her by the hour together, for I may have to depend on Mrs. Edward Ingram for my admission to your house. But if you only have the fancy as a fancy, consider what the result would be. You say she has never been to a school; that she has never had the companionship of a girl of her own age; that she has never read a newspaper; that she has never been out of this island; and that almost her sole society has been that of her mother, who educated her and tended her, and left her as ignorant of the real world as if she had lived all her life in a lighthouse. Goodness gracious! what a figure such a girl would cut in South Kensington!"

"My dear fellow," said Ingram at last, "don't be absurd. You will soon see what are the relations between Sheila Mackenzie and me, and you will be satisfied. I marry her? Do you think I would take the child to London to show her its extravagance and shallow society, and break her heart with thinking of the sea, and of the rude islanders she knew, and of their hard and bitter struggle for life? No. I should not like to see my wild Highland doe shut up in one of your southern parks among your tame fallow-deer. She would look at them askance. She would separate herself from them; and by and by she would make one wild effort to escape, and kill herself. That is not the fate in store for our good little Sheila; so you need not make yourself unhappy about her or me.

'Now all ye young men, of every persuasion,
Never quarl wi' your vather upon any occasion;
For instead of being better, you'll vind you'll be wuss,
For he'll kick you out o' doors, without a varden in your puss!

Talking of Devonshire, how is that young American lady you met at Torquay in the spring?"

"There, now, is the sort of woman a man would be safe in marrying!"

"And how?"

"Oh, well, you know," said Frank Lavender. "I mean the sort of woman who would do you credit—hold her own in society, and that sort of thing. You must meet her some day. I tell you, Ingram, you will be delighted and charmed with her manners and her grace, and the clever things she says; at least, everybody else is."

"Ah, well!"

"You don't seem to care much for brilliant women," remarked the other, rather disappointed that his companion showed so little interest.

"Oh yes, I like brilliant women very well. A clever woman is always a pleasanter companion than a clever man. But you were talking of the choice of a wife; and pertness in a girl, although it may be amusing at the time, may become something else by and by. Indeed, I shouldn't advise a young man to marry an epigrammatist, for you see her shrewdness and smartness are generally the result of experiences in which he has had no share."

"There may be something in that," said Lavender carelessly; "but of course, you know, with a widow it is different; and Mrs. Lorraine never does go in for the ingénue."

The pale blue cloud that had for some time been lying faintly along the horizon now came nearer and more near, until they could pick out something like the configuration of the island, its bays and promontories and mountains. The day seemed to become warmer as they got out of the driving wind of the Channel, and the heavy roll of the sea had so far subsided. Through comparatively calm water the great Clansman drove her way, until, on getting near the land and under shelter of the peninsula of Eye, the voyagers found themselves on a beautiful blue plain, with the spacious harbor of Stornoway opening out before them. There, on the one side, lay a white and[Pg 286] cleanly town, with its shops and quays and shipping. Above the bay in front stood a great gray castle, surrounded by pleasure-grounds and terraces and gardens; while on the southern side the harbor was overlooked by a semicircle of hills, planted with every variety of tree. The white houses, the blue bay and the large gray building set amid green terraces and overlooked by wooded hills, formed a bright and lively little picture on this fresh and brilliant forenoon; and young Lavender, who had a quick eye for compositions which he was always about to undertake, but which never appeared on canvas, declared enthusiastically that he would spend a day or two in Stornoway on his return from Borva, and take home with him some sketch of the place.

"And is Miss Sheila on the quay yonder?" he asked.

"Not likely," said Ingram. "It is a long drive across the island, and I suppose she would remain at home to look after our dinner in the evening."

"What? The wonderful Princess Sheila look after our dinner! Has she visions among the pots and pans, and does she look unutterable things when she is peeling potatoes?"

Ingram laughed: "There will be a pretty alteration in your tune in a couple of days. You are sure to fall in love with her, and sigh desperately for a week or two. You always do when you meet a woman anywhere. But it won't hurt you much, and she won't know anything about it."

"I should rather like to fall in love with her, to see how furiously jealous you would become. However, here we are."

"And there is Mackenzie—the man with the big gray beard and the peaked cap—and he is talking to the chamberlain of the island."

"What does he get up on his wagonette for, instead of coming on board to meet you?"

"Oh, that is one of his little tricks," said Ingram with a good-humored smile. "He means to receive us in state, and impress you, a stranger, with his dignity. The good old fellow has a hundred harmless ways like that, and you must humor him. He has been accustomed to be treated en roi, you know."

"Then the papa of the mysterious princess is not perfect?"

"Perhaps I ought to tell you now that Mackenzie's oddest notion is that he has a wonderful skill in managing men, and in concealing the manner of his doing it. I tell you this that you mayn't laugh and hurt him when he is attempting something that he considers particularly crafty, and that a child could see through."

"But what is the aim of it all?"

"Oh, nothing."

"He does not do a little bet occasionally?"

"Oh dear! no. He is the best and honestest fellow in the world, but it pleases him to fancy that he is profoundly astute, and that other people don't see the artfulness with which he reaches some little result that is not of the least consequence to anybody."

"It seems to me," remarked Mr. Lavender with a coolness and a shrewdness that rather surprised his companion, "that it would not be difficult to get the King of Borva to assume the honors of a papa-in-law."

The steamer was moored at last: the crowd of fishermen and loungers drew near to meet their friends who had come up from Glasgow—for there are few strangers, as a rule, arriving at Stornoway to whet the curiosity of the islanders—and the tall gillie who had been standing by Mackenzie's horses came on board to get the luggage of the young men.

"Well, Duncan," said the elder of them, "and how are you, and how is Mr. Mackenzie, and how is Miss Sheila? You have not brought her with you, I see."

"But Miss Sheila is ferry well, whatever, Mr. Ingram, and it is a great day, this day, for her, tat you will be coming to the Lewis; and it wass tis morning she wass up at ta break o' day, and up ta hills to get some bits o' green things for ta rooms you will hef, Mr. Ingram.[Pg 287] Ay, it iss a great day, tis day, for Miss Sheila."

"By Jove, they all rave about Sheila up in this quarter!" said Lavender, giving Duncan a fishing-rod and a bag he had brought from the cabin. "I suppose in a week's time I shall begin to rave about her too. Look sharp, Ingram, and let us have audience of His Majesty."

The King of Borva fixed his eye on young Lavender, and scanned him narrowly as he was being introduced. His welcome of Ingram had been most gracious and friendly, but he received his companion with something of a severe politeness. He requested him to take a seat beside him, so that he might see the country as they went across to Borva; and Lavender having done so, Ingram and Duncan got into the body of the wagonette, and the party drove off.

Passing through the clean and bright little town, Mackenzie suddenly pulled up his horses in front of a small shop, in the window of which some cheap bits of jewelry were visible. The man came out, and Mr. Mackenzie explained with some care and precision that he wanted a silver brooch of a particular sort. While the jeweler had returned to seek the article in question, Frank Lavender was gazing around him in some wonder at the appearance of so much civilization on this remote and rarely-visited island. There were no haggard savages, unkempt and scantily clad, coming forth from their dens in the rocks to stare wildly at the strangers. On the contrary, there was a prevailing air of comfort and "bienness" about the people and their houses. He saw handsome girls with coal-black hair and fresh complexions, who wore short and thick blue petticoats, with a scarlet tartan shawl wrapped round their bosom and fastened at the waist; stalwart, thick-set men, in loose blue jacket and trowsers and scarlet cap, many of them with bushy red beards; and women of extraordinary breadth of shoulder, who carried enormous loads in a creel strapped on their back, while they employed their hands in contentedly knitting stockings as they passed along. But what was the purpose of these mighty loads of fish-bones they carried—burdens that would have appalled a railway porter of the South?

"You will see, sir," observed the King of Borva in reply to Lavender's question, "there is not much of the phosphates in the grass of this island; and the cows they are mad to get the fish-bones to lick, and it iss many of them you cannot milk unless you put the bones before them."

"But why do the lazy fellows lounging about there let the women carry those enormous loads?"

Mr. Mackenzie stared: "Lazy fellows! They hef harder work than any you will know of in your country; and besides the fishing they will do the ploughing and much of the farm-work. And iss the women to do none at all? That iss the nonsense that my daughter talks; but she has got it out of books, and what do they know how the poor people hef to live?"

At this moment the jeweler returned with some half dozen brooches displayed on a plate, and shining with all the brilliancy of cairngorm stones, polished silver and variously-colored pebbles.

"Now, John Mackintyre, this is a gentleman from London," said Mackenzie, regarding the jeweler sternly, "and he will know all apout such fine things, and you will not put a big price on them."

It was now Lavender's turn to stare, but he good-naturedly accepted the duties of referee, and eventually a brooch was selected and paid for, the price being six shillings. Then they drove on again.

"Sheila will know nothing of this—it will be a great surprise for her," said Mackenzie, almost to himself, as he opened the white box and saw the glaring piece of jewelry lying on the white cotton.

"Good heavens, sir!" cried Frank Lavender, "you don't mean to say you bought that brooch for your daughter?"

"And why not?" said the King of Borva in great surprise.

The young man perceived his mistake,[Pg 288] grew considerably confused, and only said, "Well, I should have thought that—that some small piece of gold jewelry, now, would be better suited for a young lady."

Mackenzie smiled shrewdly: "I had something to go on. It wass Sheila herself was in Stornoway three weeks ago, and she wass wanting to buy a brooch for a young girl who has come down to us from Suainabost and is very useful in the kitchen, and it wass a brooch just like this one she gave to her."

"Yes, to a kitchen-maid," said the young man meekly.

"But Mairi is Sheila's cousin," said Mackenzie with continued surprise.

"Lavender does not understand Highland ways yet, Mr. Mackenzie," said Ingram from behind. "You know we in the South have different fashions. Our servants are nearly always strangers to us—not relations and companions."

"Oh, I hef peen in London myself," said Mackenzie in somewhat of an injured tone; and then he added with a touch of self-satisfaction, "and I hef been in Paris, too."

"And Miss Sheila, has she been in London?" asked Lavender, feigning ignorance.

"She has never been out of the Lewis."

"But don't you think the education of a young lady should include some little experience of traveling?"

"Sheila, she will be educated quite enough; and is she going to London or Paris without me?"

"You might take her."

"I have too much to do on the island now, and Sheila has much to do. I do not think she will ever see any of those places, and she will not be much the worse."

Two young men off for their holidays, a brilliant day shining all around them, the sweet air of the sea and the moorland blowing about them,—this little party that now drove away from Stornoway ought to have been in the best of spirits. And indeed the young fellow who sat beside Mackenzie was bent on pleasing his host by praising everything he saw. He praised the gallant little horses that whirled them past the plantations and out into the open country. He praised the rich black peat that was visible in long lines and heaps, where the townspeople were slowly eating into the moorland. Then all these traces of occupation were left behind, and the travelers were alone in the untenanted heart of the island, where the only sounds audible were the humming of insects in the sunlight and the falling of the streams. Away in the south the mountains were of a silvery and transparent blue. Nearer at hand the rich reds and browns of the moorland softened into a tender and beautiful green on nearing the margins of the lakes; and these stretches of water were now as fair and bright as the sky above them, and were scarcely ruffled by the moorfowl moving out from the green rushes. Still nearer at hand great masses of white rock lay embedded in the soft soil; and what could have harmonized better with the rough and silver-gray surface than the patches of rose-red bell-heather that grew up in their clefts or hung over their summits? The various and beautiful colors around seemed to tingle with light and warmth as the clear sun shone on them and the keen mountain-air blew over them; and the King of Borva was so far thawed by the enthusiasm of his companions that he regarded the far country with a pleased smile, as if the enchanted land belonged to him, and as if the wonderful colors and the exhilarating air and the sweet perfumes were of his own creation.

Mr. Mackenzie did not know much about tints and hues, but he believed what he heard; and it was perhaps, after all, not very surprising that a gentleman from London, who had skill of pictures and other delicate matters, should find strange marvels in a common stretch of moor, with a few lakes here and there, and some lines of mountain only good for sheilings. It was not for him to check the raptures of his guest. He began to be friendly with the young man, and could not help regarding him as a more cheerful companion than his neighbor Ingram, who would sit by your side for an hour at a time without breaking[Pg 289] the monotony of the horses' tramp with a single remark. He had formed a poor opinion of Lavender's physique from the first glimpse he had of his white fingers and girl-like complexion; but surely a man who had such a vast amount of good spirits and such a rapidity of utterance must have something corresponding to these qualities in substantial bone and muscle. There was something pleasing and ingenuous too about this flow of talk. Men who had arrived at years of wisdom, and knew how to study and use their fellows, were not to be led into these betrayals of their secret opinions; but for a young man—what could be more pleasing than to see him lay open his soul to the observant eye of a master of men? Mackenzie began to take a great fancy to young Lavender.

"Why," said Lavender, with a fine color mantling in his cheeks as the wind caught them on a higher portion of the road, "I had heard of Lewis as a most bleak and desolate island, flat moorland and lake, without a hill to be seen. And everywhere I see hills, and yonder are great mountains which I hope to get nearer before we leave."

"We have mountains in this island," remarked Mackenzie slowly as he kept his eye on his companion—"we have mountains in this island sixteen thousand feet high."

Lavender looked sufficiently astonished, and the old man was pleased. He paused for a moment or two, and said, "But this iss the way of it: you will see that the middle of the mountains it has all been washed away by the weather, and you will only have the sides now dipping one way and the other at each side o' the island. But it iss a very clever man in Stornoway will tell me that you can make out what wass the height o' the mountain, by watching the dipping of the rocks on each side; and it iss an older country, this island, than any you will know of; and there were the mountains sixteen thousand feet high long before all this country and all Scotland and England wass covered with ice."

The young man was very desirous to show his interest in this matter, but did not know very well how. At last he ventured to ask whether there were any fossils in the blocks of gneiss that were scattered over the moorland.

"Fossils?" said Mackenzie. "Oh, I will not care much about such small things. If you will ask Sheila, she will tell you all about it, and about the small things she finds growing on the hills. That iss not of much consequence to me; but I will tell you what is the best thing the island grows: it is good girls and strong men—men that can go to the fishing, and come back to plough the fields and cut the peat and build the houses, and leave the women to look after the fields and the gardens when they go back again to the fisheries. But it is the old people—they are ferry cunning, and they will not put their money in the bank at Stornoway, but will hide it away about the house, and then they will come to Sheila and ask for money to put a pane of glass in their house. And she has promised that to every one who will make a window in the wall of their house; and she is very simple with them, and does not understand the old people that tell lies. But when I hear of it, I say nothing to Sheila—she will know nothing about it—but I hef a watch put upon the people; and it wass only yesterday I will take back two shillings she gave to an old woman of Borvabost that told many lies. What does a young thing know of these old people? She will know nothing at all, and it iss better for some one else to look after them, but not to speak one word of it to her."

"It must require great astuteness to manage a primitive people like that," said young Lavender with an air of conviction; and the old man eagerly and proudly assented, and went on to tell of the manifold diplomatic arts he used in reigning over his small kingdom, and how his subjects lived in blissful ignorance that this controlling power was being exercised.

They were startled by an exclamation from Ingram, who called to Mackenzie[Pg 290] to pull up the horses just as they were passing over a small bridge.

"Look there, Lavender! did you ever see salmon jumping like that? Look at the size of them!"

"Oh, it iss nothing," said Mackenzie, driving on again. "Where you will see the salmon, it is in the narrows of Loch Roag, where they come into the rivers, and the tide is low. Then you will see them jumping; and if the water wass too low for a long time, they will die in hundreds and hundreds."

"But what makes them jump before they get into the rivers?"

Old Mackenzie smiled a crafty smile, as if he had found out all the ways and the secrets of the salmon: "They will jump to look about them—that iss all."

"Do you think a salmon can see where he is going?"

"And maybe you will explain this to me, then," said the king with a compassionate air: "how iss it the salmon will try to jump over some stones in the river, and he will see he cannot go over them; but does he fall straight down on the stones and kill himself? Neffer—no, neffer. He will get back to the pool he left by turning in the air: that is what I hef seen hundreds of times myself."

"Then they must be able to fly as well as see in the air."

"You may say about it what you will please, but that is what I know—that is what I know ferry well myself."

"And I should think there were not many people in the country who knew more about salmon than you," said Frank Lavender. "And I hear, too, that your daughter is a great fisher."

But this was a blunder. The old man frowned: "Who will tell you such nonsense? Sheila has gone out many times with Duncan, and he will put a rod in her hands: yes, and she will have caught a fish or two, but it iss not a story to tell. My daughter she will have plenty to do about the house, without any of such nonsense. You will expect to find us all savages, with such stories of nonsense."

"I am sure not," said Lavender warmly. "I have been very much struck with the civilization of the island, so far as I have seen it; and I can assure you I have always heard of Miss Sheila as a singularly accomplished young lady."

"Yes," said Mackenzie somewhat mollified, "Sheila has been well brought up: she is not a fisherman's lass, running about wild and catching the salmon. I cannot listen to such nonsense, and it iss Duncan will tell it."

"I can assure you, no. I have never spoken to Duncan. The fact is, Ingram mentioned that your daughter had caught a salmon or two—as a tribute to her skill, you know."

"Oh, I know it wass Duncan," said Mackenzie, with a deeper frown coming over his face. "I will hef some means taken to stop Duncan from talking such nonsense."

The young man, knowing nothing as yet of the child-like obedience paid to the King of Borva by his islanders, thought to himself, "Well, you are a very strong and self-willed old gentleman, but if I were you I should not meddle much with that tall keeper with the eagle beak and the gray eyes. I should not like to be a stag, and know that that fellow was watching me somewhere with a rifle in his hands."

At length they came upon the brow of the hill overlooking Garra-na-hina[H] and the panorama of the western lochs and mountains. Down there on the side of the hill was the small inn, with its little patch of garden; then a few moist meadows leading over to the estuary of the Black River; and beyond that an illimitable prospect of heathy undulations rising into the mighty peaks of Cracabhal, Mealasabhal and Suainabhal. Then on the right, leading away out to the as yet invisible Atlantic, lay the blue plain of Loch Roag, with a margin of yellow seaweed along its shores, where the rocks revealed themselves at low water, and with a multitude of large, variegated and verdant islands which hid from sight the still greater Borva beyond.

They stopped to have a glass of whisky at Garra-na-hina, and Mackenzie got[Pg 291] down from the wagonette and went into the inn.

"And this is a Highland loch!" said Lavender, turning to his companion from the South. "It is an enchanted sea: you could fancy yourself in the Pacific, if only there were some palm trees on the shores of the islands. No wonder you took for an Eve any sort of woman you met in such a paradise!"

"You seem to be thinking a good deal about that young lady."

"Well, who would not wish to make the acquaintance of a pretty girl, especially when you have plenty of time on your hands, and nothing to do but pay her little attentions, you know, and so forth, as being the daughter of your host?"

There was no particular answer to such an incoherent question, but Ingram did not seem so well pleased as he had been with the prospect of introducing his friend to the young Highland girl whose praises he had been reciting for many a day.

However, they drank their whisky, drove on to Callernish, and here paused for a minute or two to show the stranger a series of large so-called Druidical stones which occupy a small station overlooking the loch. Could anything have been more impressive than the sight of these solitary gray pillars placed on this bit of table-land high over the sea, and telling of a race that vanished ages ago, and left the surrounding plains and hills and shores a wild and untenanted solitude? But, somehow Lavender did not care to remain among those voiceless monuments of a forgotten past. He said he would come and sketch them some other day. He praised the picture all around, and then came back to the stretch of ruffled blue water lying at the base of the hill. "Where was Mr. Mackenzie's boat?" he asked.

They left the high plain, with its Tuir-sachan,[I] or Stones of Mourning, and descended to the side of the loch. In a few moments, Duncan, who had been disposing of the horses and the wagonette, overtook them, got ready the boat, and presently they were cutting asunder the bright blue plain of summer waves.

At last they were nearing the King of Borva's home, and Ingram began to study the appearance of the neighboring shores, as if he would pick out some feature of the island he remembered. The white foam hissed down the side of the open boat. The sun burned hot on the brown sail. Far away over the shining plain the salmon were leaping into the air, catching a quick glint of silver on their scales before they splashed again into the water. Half a dozen sea-pyes, with their beautiful black and white plumage and scarlet beaks and feet, flew screaming out from the rocks and swept in rapid circles above the boat. A long flight of solan geese could just be seen slowly sailing along the western horizon. As the small craft got out toward the sea the breeze freshened slightly, and she lay over somewhat as the brine-laden winds caught her and tingled on the cheeks of her passengers from the softer South. Finally, as the great channel widened out, and the various smaller islands disappeared behind, Ingram touched his companion on the shoulder, looked over to a long and low line of rock and hill, and said, "Borva!"

And this was Borva!—nothing visible but an indefinite extent of rocky shore, with here and there a bay of white sand, and over that a table-land of green pasture, apparently uninhabited.

"There are not many people on the island," said Lavender, who seemed rather disappointed with the look of the place.

"There are three hundred," said Mackenzie with the air of one who had experienced the difficulties of ruling over three hundred islanders.

He had scarcely spoken when his attention was called by Duncan to some object that the gillie had been regarding for some minutes back.

"Yes, it iss Miss Sheila," said Duncan.

A sort of flush of expectation passed over Lavender's face, and he sprang to his feet. Ingram laughed. Did the[Pg 292] foolish youth fancy he could see half as far as this gray-eyed, eagle-faced man, who had now sunk into his accustomed seat by the mast? There was nothing visible to ordinary eyes but a speck of a boat, with a single sail up, which was apparently, in the distance, running in for Borva.

"Ay, ay, ay," said Mackenzie in a vexed way, "it is Sheila, true enough; and what will she do out in the boat at this time, when she wass to be at home to receive the gentlemen that hef come all the way from London?"

"Well, Mr. Mackenzie," said Lavender, "I should be sorry to think that our coming had interfered in any way whatever with your daughter's amusements."

"Amusements!" said the old man with a look of surprise. "It iss not amusements she will go for: that is no amusements for her. It is for some teffle of a purpose she will go, when it iss the house that is the proper place for her, with friends coming from so great a journey."

Presently it became clear that a race between the two boats was inevitable, both of them making for the same point. Mackenzie would take no notice of such a thing, but there was a grave smile on Duncan's face, and something like a look of pride in his keen eyes.

"There iss no one, not one," he said, almost to himself, "will take her in better than Miss Sheila—not one in ta island. And it wass me tat learnt her every bit o' ta steering about Borva."

The strangers could now make out that in the other boat there were two girls—one seated in the stern, the other by the mast. Ingram took out his handkerchief and waved it: a similar token of recognition was floated out from the other vessel. But Mackenzie's boat presently had the better of the wind, and slowly drew on ahead, until, when her passengers landed on the rude stone quay, they found the other and smaller craft still some little distance off.

Lavender paid little attention to his luggage. He let Duncan do with it what he liked. He was watching the small boat coming in, and getting a little impatient, and perhaps a little nervous, in waiting for a glimpse of the young lady in the stern. He could vaguely make out that she had an abundance of dark hair looped up; that she wore a small straw hat with a short white feather in it; and that, for the rest, she seemed to be habited entirely in some rough and close-fitting costume of dark blue. Or was there a glimmer of a band of rose-red round her neck?

The small boat was cleverly run alongside the jetty: Duncan caught her bow and held her fast, and Miss Sheila, with a heavy string of lythe in her right hand, stepped, laughing and blushing, on to the quay. Ingram was there. She dropped the fish on the stones and took his two hands in hers, and without uttering a word looked a glad welcome into his face. It was a face capable of saying unwritten things—fine and delicate in form, and yet full of an abundance of health and good spirits that shone in the deep gray-blue eyes. Lavender's first emotion was one of surprise that he should have heard this handsome, well-knit and proud-featured girl called "little Sheila," and spoken of in a pretty and caressing way. He thought there was something almost majestic in her figure, in the poising of her head and the outline of her face. But presently he began to perceive some singular suggestions of sensitiveness and meekness in the low, sweet brow, in the short and exquisitely-curved upper lip, and in the look of the tender blue eyes, which had long black eyelashes to give them a peculiar and indefinable charm. All this he noticed hastily and timidly as he heard Ingram, who still held the girl's hands in his, saying, "Well, Sheila, and you haven't quite forgotten me? And you are grown such a woman now: why, I mustn't call you Sheila any more, I think. But let me introduce to you my friend, who has come all the way from London to see all the wonderful things of Borva."

If there was any embarrassment or blushing during that simple ceremony, it was not on the side of the Highland girl, for she frankly shook hands with him, and said, "And are you very well?"[Pg 293]

The second impression which Lavender gathered from her was, that nowhere in the world was English pronounced so beautifully as in the island of Lewis. The gentle intonation with which she spoke was so tender and touching—the slight dwelling on the e in "very" and "well" seemed to have such a sound of sincerity about it, that he could have fancied he had been a friend of hers for a lifetime. And if she said "ferry" for "very," what then? It was the most beautiful English he had ever heard.

The party now moved off toward the shore, above the long white curve of which Mackenzie's house was visible. The old man himself led the way, and had, by his silence, apparently not quite forgiven his daughter for having been absent from home when his guests arrived.

"Now, Sheila," said Ingram, "tell me all about yourself: what have you been doing?"

"This morning?" said the girl, walking beside him with her hand laid on his arm, and with the happiest look on her face.

"This morning, to begin with. Did you catch those fish yourself?"

"Oh no, there was no time for that. And it was Mairi and I saw a boat coming in, and it was going to Mevaig, but we overtook it, and got some of the fish, and we thought we should be back before you came. However, it is no matter, since you are here. And you have been very well? And did you see any difference in Stornoway when you came over?"

Lavender began to think that Styornoway sounded ever so much more pleasant than mere Stornoway.

"We had not a minute to wait in Stornoway. But tell me, Sheila, all about Borva and yourself: that is better than Stornoway. How are your schools getting on? And have you bribed or frightened all the children into giving up Gaelic yet? How is John the Piper? and does the Free Church minister still complain of him? And have you caught any more wild-ducks and tamed them? And are there any gray geese up at Loch-an-Eilean?"

"Oh, that is too many at once," said Sheila, laughing. "But I am afraid your friend will find Borva very lonely and dull. There is not much there at all, for all the lads are away at the Caithness fishing. And you should have shown him all about Stornoway, and taken him up to the castle and the beautiful gardens."

"He has seen all sorts of castles, Sheila, and all sorts of gardens in every part of the world. He has seen everything to be seen in the great cities and countries that are only names to you. He has traveled in France, Italy, Russia, Germany, and seen all the big towns that you hear of in history."

"That is what I should like to do if I were a man," said Sheila; "and many and many a time I wish I had been a man, that I could go to the fishing and work in the fields, and then, when I had enough money, go away and see other countries and strange people."

"But if you were a man, I should not have come all the way from London to see you," said Ingram, patting the hand that lay on his arm.

"But if I were a man," said the girl, quite frankly, "I should go up to London to see you."

Mackenzie smiled grimly, and said, "Sheila, it is nonsense you will talk."

At this moment Sheila turned round and said, "Oh, we have forgotten poor Mairi. Mairi, why did you not leave the fish for Duncan? They are too heavy for you. I will carry them to the house?"

But Lavender sprang forward, and insisted on taking possession of the thick cord with its considerable weight of lythe.

"This is my cousin Mairi," said Sheila; and forthwith the young, fair-faced, timid-eyed girl shook hands with the gentlemen, and said, just as if she had been watching Sheila, "And are you ferry well, sir?"

For the rest of the way up to the house Lavender walked by the side of Sheila; and as the string of lythe had formed the introduction to their talk, it ran pretty much upon natural history. In about five minutes she had told him[Pg 294] more about sea-birds and fish than ever he knew in his life; and she wound up this information by offering to take him out on the following morning, that he might himself catch some lythe.

"But I am a wretchedly bad fisherman, Miss Mackenzie," he said. "It is some years since I tried to throw a fly."

"Oh, there is no need for good fishing when you catch lythe," she said earnestly. "You will see Mr. Ingram catch them. It is only a big white fly you will need, and a long line, and when the fish takes the fly, down he goes—a great depth. Then when you have got him and he is killed, you must cut the sides, as you see that is done, and string him to a rope and trail him behind the boat all the way home. If you do not do that, it iss no use at all to eat. But if you like the salmon-fishing, my papa will teach you that. There is no one," she added proudly, "can catch salmon like my papa—not even Duncan—and the gentlemen who come in the autumn to Stornoway, they are quite surprised when my papa goes to fish with them."

"I suppose he is a good shot too," said the young man, amused to notice the proud way in which the girl spoke of her father.

"Oh, he can shoot anything. He will shoot a seal if he comes up but for one moment above the water; and all the birds—he will get you all the birds if you will wish to take any away with you. We have no deer on the island—it is too small for that—but in the Lewis and in Harris there are many, many thousands of deer, and my papa has many invitations when the gentlemen come up in the autumn; and if you look in the game-book of the lodges, you will see there is not any one who has shot so many deer as my papa—not any one whatever."

At length they reached the building of dark and rude stone-work, with its red coping, its spacious porch and its small enclosure of garden in front. Lavender praised the flowers in this enclosure: he guessed they were Sheila's particular care; but in truth there was nothing rare or delicate among the plants growing in this exposed situation. There were a few clusters of large yellow pansies, a calceolaria or two, plenty of wallflower, some clove-pinks, and an abundance of sweet-william in all manner of colors. But the chief beauty of the small garden was a magnificent tree-fuchsia which grew in front of one of the windows, and was covered with deep rose-red flowers set amid its small and deep-green leaves. For the rest, a bit of honeysuckle was trained up one side of the porch, and at the small wooden gate there were two bushes of sweetbrier that filled the warm air with fragrance.

Just before entering the house the two strangers turned to have a look at the spacious landscape lying all around in the perfect calm of a summer day. And lo! before them there was but a blinding mass of white that glared upon their eyes, and caused them to see the far sea and the shores and the hills as but faint shadows appearing through a silvery haze. A thin fleece of cloud lay across the sun, but the light was nevertheless so intense that the objects near at hand—a disused boat lying bottom upward, an immense anchor of foreign make, and some such things—seemed to be as black as night as they lay on the warm road. But when the eye got beyond the house and the garden, and the rough hillside leading down to Loch Roag, all the world appeared to be a blaze of calm, silent and luminous heat. Suainabhal and its brother mountains were only as clouds in the south. Along the western horizon the portion of the Atlantic that could be seen lay like a silent lake under a white sky. To get any touch of color, they had to turn eastward, and there the sunlight faintly fell on the green shores of Borva, on the narrows of Loch Roag, and the loose red sail of a solitary smack that was slowly coming round a headland. They could hear the sound of the long oars. A pale line of shadow lay in the wake of the boat, but otherwise the black hull and the red sail seemed to be coming through a plain of molten silver. When the young men turned to go into the house the hall seemed a cavern of impenetrable darkness, and there[Pg 295] was a flush of crimson light dancing before their eyes.

When Ingram had had his room pointed out, Lavender followed him into it and shut the door.

"By Jove, Ingram," he said, with a singular light of enthusiasm on his handsome face, "what a beautiful voice that girl has! I have never heard anything so soft and musical in all my life; and then when she smiles what perfect teeth she has! And then, you know, there is an appearance, a style, a grace about her figure—But, I say, do you seriously mean to tell me you are not in love with her?"

"Of course I am not," said the other impatiently, as he was busily engaged with his portmanteau.

"Then let me give you a word of information," said the younger man, with an air of profound shrewdness: "she is in love with you."

Ingram rose with some little touch of vexation on his face: "Look here, Lavender: I am going to talk to you seriously. I wish you wouldn't fancy that every one is in that condition of simmering love-making you delight in. You never were in love, I believe—I doubt whether you ever will be—but you are always fancying yourself in love, and writing very pretty verses about it, and painting very pretty heads. I like the verses and the paintings well enough, however they are come by; but don't mislead yourself into believing that you know anything whatever of a real and serious passion by having engaged in all sorts of imaginative and semi-poetical dreams. It is a much more serious thing than that, mind you, when it comes to a man. And, for Heaven's sake, don't attribute any of that sort of sentimental make-believe to either Sheila Mackenzie or myself. We are not romantic folks. We have no imaginative gifts whatever, but we are very glad, you know, to be attentive and grateful to those who have. The fact is, I don't think it quite fair—"

"Let us suppose I am lectured enough" said the other, somewhat stiffly. "I suppose I am as good a judge of the character of a woman as most other men, although I am no great student, and have no hard and dried rules of philosophy at my fingers' ends. Perhaps, however, one may learn more by mixing with other people and going out into the world than by sitting in a room with a dozen of books, and persuading one's self that men and women are to be studied in that fashion."

"Go away, you stupid boy, and unpack your portmanteau, and don't quarrel with me," said Ingram, putting out on the table some things he had brought for Sheila; "and if you are friendly with Sheila and treat her like a human being, instead of trying to put a lot of romance and sentiment about her, she will teach you more than you could learn in a hundred drawing-rooms in a thousand years."



He never took that advice. He had already transformed Sheila into a heroine during the half hour of their stroll from the beach and around the house. Not that he fell in love with her at first sight, or anything even approaching to that. He merely made her the central figure of a little speculative romance, as he had made many another woman before. Of course, in these little fanciful dramas, written along the sky-line, as it were, of his life, he invariably pictured himself as the fitting companion of the fair creature he saw there. Who but himself could understand the sentiment of her eyes, and teach her little love-ways, and express unbounded admiration of her? More than one practical young woman, indeed, in certain circles of London society, had been informed by her friends that Mr. Lavender was dreadfully in love with her; and had been much surprised, after this confirmation of her suspicions, that he sought no means of bringing the affair to a reasonable and sensible issue. He did not even amuse himself by flirting with her, as men would willingly do who could not be charged with any serious purpose whatever. His devotion was more mysterious[Pg 296] and remote. A rumor would get about that Mr. Lavender had finished another of those charming heads in pastel, which, at a distance, reminded one of Greuze, and that Lady So-and-so, who had bought it forthwith, had declared that it was the image of this young lady who was partly puzzled and partly vexed by the incomprehensible conduct of her reputed admirer. It was the fashion, in these social circles, to buy those heads of Lavender when he chose to paint them. He had achieved a great reputation by them. The good people liked to have a genius in their own set whom they had discovered, and who was only to be appreciated by persons of exceptional taste and penetration. Lavender, the uninitiated were assured, was a most cultivated and brilliant young man. He had composed some charming songs. He had written, from time to time, some quite delightful little poems, over which fair eyes had grown full and liquid. Who had not heard of the face that he painted for a certain young lady whom every one expected him to marry?

The young man escaped a great deal of the ordinary consequences of this petting, but not all. He was at bottom really true-hearted, frank and generous—generous even to an extreme—but he had acquired a habit of producing striking impressions which dogged and perverted his every action and speech. He disliked losing a few shilling at billiards, but he did not mind losing a few pounds: the latter was good for a story. Had he possessed any money to invest in shares, he would have been irritated by small rises or small falls; but he would have been vain of a big rise, and he would have regarded a big fall with equanimity, as placing him in a dramatic light. The exaggerations produced by this habit of his fostered strange delusions in the minds of people who did not know him very well: and sometimes the practical results, in the way of expected charities or what not, amazed him. He could not understand why people should have made such mistakes, and resented them as an injustice.

And as they sat at dinner on this still, brilliant evening in summer, it was Sheila's turn to be clothed in the garments of romance. Her father, with his great gray beard and heavy brow, became the King of Thule, living in this solitary house overlooking the sea, and having memories of a dead sweetheart. His daughter, the princess, had the glamour of a thousand legends dwelling in her beautiful eyes; and when she walked by the shores of the Atlantic, that were now getting yellow under the sunset, what strange and unutterable thoughts must appear in the wonder of her face! He remembered no more how he had pulled to pieces Ingram's praises of Sheila. What had become of the "ordinary young lady, who would be a little interesting, if a little stupid, before marriage, and after marriage sink into the dull, domestic hind"? There could be no doubt that Sheila often sat silent for a considerable time, with her eyes fixed on her father's face when he spoke, or turning to look at some other speaker. Had Lavender now been asked if this silence had not a trifle of dullness in it, he would have replied by asking if there were dullness in the stillness and the silence of the sea. He grew to regard her calm and thoughtful look as a sort of spell; and if you had asked him what Sheila was like, he would have answered by saying that there was moonlight in her face.

The room, too, in which this mystic princess sat was strange and wonderful. There were no doors visible, for the four walls were throughout covered by a paper of foreign manufacture, representing spacious Tyrolese landscapes and incidents of the chase. When Lavender had first entered this chamber his eye had been shocked by these coarse and prominent pictures—by the green rivers, the blue lakes and the snow-peaks that rose above certain ruddy chalets. Here a chamois was stumbling down a ravine, and there an operatic peasant, some eight or ten inches in actual length, was pointing a gun. The large figures, the coarse colors, the impossible scenes—all this looked, at first sight, to be in the[Pg 297] worst possible taste; and Lavender was convinced that Sheila had nothing to do with the introduction of this abominable decoration. But somehow, when he turned to the line of ocean that was visible from the window, to the lonely shores of the island and the monotony of colors showing in the still picture without, he began to fancy that there might be a craving up in these latitudes for some presentation, however rude and glaring, of the richer and more variegated life of the South. The figures and mountains on the walls became less prominent. He saw no incongruity in a whole chalet giving way, and allowing Duncan, who waited at table, to bring forth from this aperture to the kitchen a steaming dish of salmon, while he spoke some words in Gaelic to the servants at the other end of the tube. He even forgot to be surprised at the appearance of little Mairi, with whom he had shaken hands a little while before, coming round the table with potatoes. He did not, as a rule, shake hands with servant-maids, but was not this fair-haired, wistful-eyed girl some relative, friend or companion of Shiela's? and had he not already begun to lose all perception of the incongruous or the absurd in the strange pervading charm with which Sheila's presence filled the place?

He suddenly found Mackenzie's deep-set eyes fixed upon him, and became aware that the old man had been mysteriously announcing to Ingram that there were more political movements abroad than people fancied. Sheila sat still and listened to her father as he expounded these things, and showed that, although at a distance, he could perceive the signs of the times. Was it not incumbent, moreover, on a man who had to look after a number of poor and simple folks, that he should be on the alert?

"It iss not bekass you will live in London you will know everything," said the King of Borva, with a certain significance in his tone. "There iss many things a man does not see at his feet that another man will see who is a good way off. The International, now—"

He glanced furtively at Lavender.

"—I hef been told there will be agents going out every day to all parts of this country and other countries, and they will hef plenty of money to live like gentlemen, and get among the poor people, and fill their minds with foolish nonsense about a revolution. Oh yes, I hear about it all, and there iss many members of Parliament in it; and it iss every day they will get farther and farther, all working hard, though no one sees them who does not understand to be on the watch."

Here again the young man received a quiet, scrutinizing glance; and it began to dawn upon him, to his infinite astonishment, that Mackenzie half suspected him of being an emissary of the International. In the case of any other man he would have laughed and paid no heed, but how could he permit Sheila's father to regard him with any such suspicion?

"Don't you think, sir," he said boldly, "that those Internationalists are a lot of incorrigible idiots?"

As if a shrewd observer of men and motives were to be deceived by such a protest! Mackenzie regarded him with increased suspicion, although he endeavored to conceal the fact that he was watching the young man from time to time. Lavender saw all the favor he had won during the day disappearing, and moodily wondered when he should have a chance of explanation.

After dinner they went outside and sat down on a bench in the garden, and the men lit their cigars. It was a cool and pleasant evening. The sun had gone down in red fire behind the Atlantic, and there was still left a rich glow of crimson in the west, while overhead, in the pale yellow of the sky, some filmy clouds of rose-color lay motionless. How calm was the sea out there, and the whiter stretch of water coming into Loch Roag! The cool air of the twilight was scented with sweetbrier. The wash of the ripples along the coast could be heard in the stillness. It was a time for lovers to sit by the sea, careless of the future or the past.

But why would this old man keep prating of his political prophecies? Lavender asked of himself. Sheila had spoken scarcely a word all the evening;[Pg 298] and of what interest could it be to her to listen to theories of revolution and the dangers besetting our hot-headed youth? She merely stood by the side of her father, with her hand on his shoulder. He noticed, however, that she paid particular attention whenever Ingram spoke; and he wondered whether she perceived that Ingram was partly humoring the old man, at the same time that he was pleasing himself with a series of monologues, interrupted only by his cigar.

"That is true enough, Mr. Mackenzie," Ingram would say, lying back with his two hands clasped round his knee, as usual: "you've got to be careful of the opinions that are spread abroad, even in Borva, where not much danger is to be expected. But I don't suppose our young men are more destructive in their notions than young men always have been. You know every young fellow starts in life by knocking down all the beliefs he finds before him, and then he spends the rest of his life in setting them up again. It is only after some years he gets to know that all the wisdom of the world lies in the old commonplaces he once despised. He finds that the old familiar ways are the best, and he sinks into being a commonplace person, with much satisfaction to himself. My friend Lavender, now, is continually charging me with being commonplace. I admit the charge. I have drifted back into all the old ways and beliefs—about religion and marriage and patriotism, and what not—that ten years ago I should have treated with ridicule."

"Suppose the process continues?" suggested Lavender, with some evidence of pique.

"Suppose it does," continued Ingram carelessly. "Ten years hence I may be proud to become a vestryman, and have the most anxious care about the administration of the rates. I shall be looking after the drainage of houses and the treatment of paupers and the management of Sunday schools—But all this is an invasion of your province, Sheila," he suddenly added, looking up to her.

The girl laughed, and said, "Then I have been commonplace from the beginning?"

Ingram was about to make all manner of protests and apologies, when Mackenzie said, "Sheila, it wass time you will go in-doors, if you have nothing about your head. Go in and sing a song to us, and we will listen to you; and not a sad song, but a good merry song. These teffles of the fishermen, it iss always drownings they will sing about from the morning till the night."

Was Sheila about to sing in this clear, strange twilight, while they sat there and watched the yellow moon come up behind the southern hills? Lavender had heard so much of her singing of those fishermen's ballads that he could think of nothing more to add to the enchantment of this wonderful night. But he was disappointed. The girl put her hand on her father's head, and reminded him that she had had her big greyhound Bras imprisoned all the afternoon, that she had to go down to Borvabost with a message for some people who were leaving by the boat in the morning, and would the gentlemen therefore excuse her not singing to them for this one evening?

"But you cannot go away down to Borvabost by yourself, Sheila," said Ingram. "It will be dark before you return."

"It will not be darker than this all the night through," said the girl.

"But I hope you will let us go with you," said Lavender, rather anxiously; and she assented with a gracious smile, and went to fetch the great deerhound that was her constant companion.

And lo! he found himself walking with a princess in this wonder-land through that magic twilight that prevails in northern latitudes. Mackenzie and Ingram had gone on in front. The large deerhound, after regarding him attentively, had gone to its mistress's side, and remained closely there. Lavender could scarcely believe his ears that the girl was talking to him lightly and frankly, as though she had known him for years, and was telling him of all her troubles with the folks at Borvabost, and of those poor people whom she was now going to[Pg 299] see. No sooner did he understand that they were emigrants, and that they were going to Glasgow before leaving finally for America, than in quite an honest and enthusiastic fashion he began to bewail the sad fate of such poor wretches as have to forsake their native land, and to accuse the aristocracy of the country of every act of selfishness, and to charge the government with a shameful indifference. But Sheila brought him up suddenly. In the gentlest fashion she told him what she knew of these poor people, and how emigration affected them, and so forth, until he was ready to curse the hour in which he had blundered into taking a side on a question about which he cared nothing and knew less.

"But some other time," continued Sheila, "I will tell you what we do here, and I will show you a great many letters I have from friends of mine who have gone to Greenock and to New York and Canada. Oh yes, it is very bad for the old people: they never get reconciled to the change—never; but it is very good for the young people, and they are glad of it, and are much better off than they were here. You will see how proud they are of the better clothes they have, and of good food, and of money to put in the bank; and how could they get that in the Highlands, where the land is so poor that a small piece is of no use, and they have not money to rent the large sheep-farms? It is very bad to have people go away—it is very hand on many of them—but what can they do? The piece of ground that was very good for the one family, that is expected to keep the daughters when they marry, and the sons when they marry, and then there are five or six families to live on it. And hard work—that will not do much with very bad land and the bad weather we have here. The people get downhearted when they have their crops spoiled by the long rain, and they cannot get their peats dried; and very often the fishing turns out bad, and they have no money at all to carry on the farm. But now you will see Borvabost."

Lavender had to confess that this wonderful princess would persist in talking in a very matter-of-fact way. All the afternoon, while he was weaving a luminous web of imagination around her, she was continually cutting it asunder, and stepping forth as an authority on the growing of some wretched plants or the means by which rain was to be excluded from window-sills. And now, in this strange twilight, when she ought to have been singing of the cruelties of the sea or listening to half-forgotten legends of mermaids, she was engaged with the petty fortunes of men and girls who were pleased to find themselves prospering in the Glasgow police-force or educating themselves in a milliner's shop in Edinburgh. She did not appear conscious that she was a princess. Indeed, she seemed to have no consciousness of herself at all, and was altogether occupied in giving him information about practical subjects in which he professed a profound interest he certainly did not feel.

But even Sheila, when they had reached the loftiest part of their route, and could see beneath them the island and the water surrounding it, was struck by the exceeding beauty of the twilight; and as for her companion, he remembered it many a time thereafter as if it were a dream of the sea. Before them lay the Atlantic—a pale line of blue, still, silent and remote. Overhead, the sky was of a clear, pale gold, with heavy masses of violet cloud stretched across from north to south, and thickening as they got near to the horizon. Down at their feet, near the shore, a dusky line of huts and houses was scarcely visible; and over these lay a pale blue film of peat-smoke that did not move in the still air. Then they saw the bay into which the White Water runs, and they could trace the yellow glimmer of the river stretching into the island through a level valley of bog and morass. Far away, toward the east, lay the bulk of the island—dark green undulations of moorland and pasture; and there, in the darkness, the gable of one white house had caught the clear light of the sky, and was gleaming westward like a star. But all this was as nothing to the glory[Pg 300] that began to shine in the south-east, where the sky was of a pale violet over the peaks of Mealasabhal and Suainabhal. There, into the beautiful dome, rose the golden crescent of the moon, warm in color, as though it still retained the last rays of the sunset. A line of quivering gold fell across Loch Roag, and touched the black hull and spars of the boat in which Sheila had been sailing in the morning. That bay down there, with its white sands and massive rocks, its still expanse of water, and its background of mountain-peaks palely colored by the yellow moonlight, seemed really a home for a magic princess who was shut off from all the world. But here, in front of them, was another sort of sea and another sort of life—a small fishing-village hidden under a cloud of pale peat-smoke, and fronting the great waters of the Atlantic itself, which lay under a gloom of violet clouds.

"Now," said Sheila with a smile, "we have not always weather as good as this in the island. Will you not sit on the bench over there with Mr. Ingram, and wait until my papa and I come up from the village again?"

"May not I go down with you?"

"No. The dogs would learn you were a stranger, and there would be a great deal of noise, and there will be many of the poor people asleep."

So Sheila had her way; and she and her father went down the hillside into the gloom of the village, while Lavender went to join his friend Ingram, who was sitting on the wooden bench, silently smoking a clay pipe.

"Well, I have never seen the like of this," said Lavender in his impetuous way: "it is worth going a thousand miles to see. Such colors and such clearness! and then the splendid outlines of those mountains, and the grand sweep of this loch! This is the sort of thing that drives me to despair, and might make one vow never to touch a brush again. And Sheila says it will be like this all the night through."

He was unaware that he had spoken of her in a very familiar way, but Ingram noticed it.

"Ingram," he said suddenly, "that is the first girl I have ever seen whom I should like to marry."


"But it is true. I have never seen any one like her—so handsome, so gentle, and yet so very frank in setting you right. And then she is so sensible, you know, and not too proud to have much interest in all sorts of common affairs—"

There was a smile in Ingram's face, and his companion stopped in some vexation: "You are not a very sympathetic confidant."

"Because I know the story of old. You have told it me about twenty women, and it is always the same. I tell you, you don't know anything at all about Sheila Mackenzie yet: perhaps you never may. I suppose you will make a heroine of her, and fall in love with her for a fortnight, and then go back to London and get cured by listening to the witticisms of Mrs. Lorraine."

"Thank you very much."

"Oh, I didn't mean to offend you. Some day, no doubt, you will love a woman for what she is, not for what you fancy her to be; but that is a piece of good-fortune that seldom occurs to a youth of your age. To marry in a dream, and wake up six months afterward—that is the fate of ingenuous twenty-three. But don't you let Mackenzie hear you talk of marrying Sheila, or he'll have some of his fishermen throw you into Loch Roag."

"There, now, that is one point I can't understand about her," said Lavender eagerly. "How can a girl of her shrewdness and good sense have such a belief in that humbugging old idiot of a father of hers, who fancies me a political emissary, and plays small tricks to look like diplomacy? It is always 'My papa can do this,' and 'My papa can do that,' and 'There is no one at all like my papa.' And she is continually fondling him, and giving little demonstrations of affection, of which he takes no more notice than if he were an Arctic bear."

Ingram looked up with some surprise in his face. "You don't mean to say, Lavender," he said slowly, "that you[Pg 301] are already jealous of the girl's own father?"

He could not answer, for at this moment Sheila, her father and the big greyhound came up the hill. And again it was Lavender's good fortune to walk with Sheila across the moorland path they had traversed some little time before. And now the moon was still higher in the heavens, and the yellow lane of light that crossed the violet waters of Loch Roag quivered in a deeper gold. The night-air was scented with the Dutch clover growing down by the shore. They could hear the curlew whistling and the plover calling amid that monotonous plash of the waves that murmured all around the coast. When they returned to the house the darker waters of the Atlantic and the purple clouds of the west were shut out from sight, and before them there was only the liquid plain of Loch Roag, with its pathway of yellow fire, and far away on the other side the shoulders and peaks of the southern mountains, that had grown gray and clear and sharp in the beautiful twilight. And this was Sheila's home.

[To be continued.]


[G] "My black-haired girl, my pretty girl, my black-haired girl, don't leave me." Nighean dubh is pronounced Nyean du.

[H] Literally, Gearaidh-na'h-Aimhne—"the cutting of the river."

[I] Another name given by the islanders to these stones is Fir-bhreige, "false men." Both names, False Men and the Mourners, should be of some interest to antiquarians, for they will suit pretty nearly any theory.


The golden sunshine has fled away,
The clouds o'erhead hang heavy and gray,
The world is woefully sad to-day;
And I am thinking of you, dear, you.
The cold clay hides from the rain and dew
The tenderest heart that the world e'er knew.
Why should I think of you when the rain
Smiteth so sharply the window-pane,
And the wild winds round the old house 'plain?
You were so sweet and sunny and bright,
Ever your presence brought life and light,
And I recall you in storm and night.
When snow-shrouds hang on the corpse-cold trees,
When sharp frosts sting and the north winds freeze,
What has your mem'ry to do with these?
O fair lost love! O love that is dead!
The pleasant days from my life are fled,
The rosy morns and the sunsets red.
The light has faded from out my life,
Leaving the clouds and the stormy strife,
And the keen sharp cold that cuts like a knife.
The days and the months, how slow they glide,
Gray-robed and cold-breathed and frozen-eyed!
The summer died for me when you died.
O world of woe and of want and pain!
O heaven of clouds and storm and rain!
When shall I find my summer again?

Lucy H. Hooper.

[Pg 302]


A stranger visiting the national capital should begin by leaving it. He should cross the Anacostia River at the Navy-yard, climb the heights behind the village of Uniontown, be careful to find exactly the right path, and seat himself on the parapet of old Fort Stanton. His feeling of fatigue will be overcome by one of astonishment that the scene should contain so much that is beautiful in nature, so much that is exceedingly novel if not very good in art, and so much that has the deepest historical interest. From the blue hills of Prince George's county in Maryland winds the Anacostia, whose waters at his feet float all but the very largest vessels of our navy, while but six miles above they float nothing larger than a Bladensburg goose. To the left flows the Potomac, a mile wide. Between the rivers lies Washington. A vast amphitheatre, its green or gray walls cloven only by the two rivers, appears to surround the city. "Amphitheatre" is the word, for within the great circle, proportioned to it in size and magnificence, dwarfing all other objects, stands the veritable arena where our public gladiators and wild beasts hold their combats. This of course is the Capitol, whose white dome rises like a blossoming lily from the dark expanse below.

Along these summits are the remains of a chain of earthworks that completely enveloped the capital. They are all overgrown by verdure, and are fast disappearing; but whenever the site of one is relieved against the clear sky a grassy embrasure or a bit of rampart may yet be seen from a distance. Here stretched

The watchfires of a hundred circling camps,

whose light is in the "Battle-Hymn of the Republic," for it was a personal view of them, and of these altars built in the evening dews and damps, which gave form to the great lyric. Here in a few years, when more of the business-men of Washington shall have learned how to do business, or when her social development shall have detained the cultured and wealthy who now come and go, will be found a circle of beautiful villas and nearly all the luxuries of summer life.

Below the high bank opposite, where the Congressional Cemetery skirts the city, where some famous men are actually buried, and where Congress places cenotaphs that look like long rows of antiquated beehives for all who die while members of that body, a line of black dots crosses the Anacostia like the corks of a fisherman's seine. They are the piles that upheld a bridge in the summer of 1814. On the hills to the right the little army of five thousand redcoats made a feint toward this bridge, and caused the Americans to burn it. Away to the left, across the Potomac, stretches Long Bridge, which was also fired the next night by the British and by the fleeing inhabitants of the captured town.

The eight miles of Virginia shore visible from Washington contain really but three objects. Two or three dark chimneys and steeples and a few misty outlines are all one needs to see of Alexandria, which is six miles down the river, and appears about as ancient as its Egyptian namesake. Nearer, the monotony is broken by the tower of Fairfax Seminary; nearer still, among the oaks of Arlington, by the mansion of Custis-Lee, imposing, pillared and cream-colored; or it was the last in the days when cream had a color.

Descending from the old fort, the stranger should go at once to Georgetown and climb up into the little burying-ground of Holyrood. The view thence will give him all that was excluded from the other. He will now be prepared to examine Washington in detail, and as this is not a guide-book he shall go his way alone. But the "gentle[Pg 303] reader" is requested to linger an hour longer upon the natural walls and look down with me on the dark city.

Below is such a growth of beautiful and strange that we can understand it only by remembering that we look down on all the United States. Into that problem of squares and circles and triangles wise men from the East plunge and see Beacon street; wise men from the West plunge and see Poker Flat; and from the highest ground we can find we will try to see the whole of Washington. We cannot distinguish a friend's house from an enemy's. The lines are mingled and the colors blended by our distance. Individuals are lost to sight entirely. What would be such a conflict of sounds down there that we should never be certain of what we heard, is now so faint a hum that it does not disturb us or affect our speech. We have risen into a better atmosphere, and find that some things which were ugly have grown good and graceful.

To allude to all the noted and novel things in this complicated scene would be to fill a book, and enough pre-Raphaelites are already browsing there. Giving due attention to particulars in their places, we must yet give effects in sweeping strokes, steering as best we can between the Scylla of didactic details and the Charybdis of glittering generalities.

The candid observer wonders not that Washington is so far below what it ought to be, but that it exists as a city at all. It has suffered calamities that would have extinguished any other place. The vitality that could survive them would seem capable of surviving anything. Other towns have had to contend against natural disadvantages, but they have had the aid of citizens who knew what they wanted, and who used the public money and energy and brains for the public good. But here has been the novel sight of a city having every natural advantage, yet compelled to fight its own citizens for life; to see the public money and energy and brains—what little there were—used to kill not only the town, but the people in it; to support men of weight in the community who really did not want it polluted by trade or manufactures or any such vulgar things.

The Capitol, which now, like the Irishman's shanty, has the front door on the back side, was made to face the east because in that direction lay as fine a site as ever a town possessed, and there the city was to be built. To the westward the ground was such that men are living who as boys waded for reed-birds and caught catfish where now is the centre of business. The necessity of transforming this tract in the very beginning of trade retarded the general growth incalculably. The owners of the good ground didn't want to do anything themselves, and were too greedy to let anybody else. The Executive Mansion, a mile to the westward, attracted other public buildings about it; the people who had to support themselves bought real estate in the swamps; those who lived without business of their own followed them of course; and the fine plateau prepared by Nature has been touched only so far as improvement has been compelled by forces radiating from the other side of the Capitol. The life and trade that tend to crystallize around one centre are still much dissipated by the policy that ruined Capitol Hill; but as this can no longer endanger the general prosperity, it is now more a blessing than a calamity. It makes sure and speedy the reclamation of the waste places, while the improvement of all the good ones must take place at last. The owners of the barren sites which yet break the continuity of blocks in good localities can sit still and "hold on" if they please, but they must expect to see the "worthless" tracts—Swampoodle, Murder Bay and Hell's Bottom—fill with life and rise in value faster than their own.

Another calamity, which has grown with the city instead of being outgrown, is the changes that have been permitted to take place in the Potomac. Long Bridge, instead of being built so as to permit an uninterrupted flow of the stream, was composed for a great distance of an earthen road—a dam—arresting half the water of the river. This temporarily benefited the Georgetown[Pg 304] channel, no doubt, by forcing all the water into it. But a marsh is rising in the middle of the stream, creeping rapidly up to the Washington wharves, threatening the health of the city, and so crippling its commerce that an expensive remedy must be speedily applied. There is some difference of opinion as to the comparative injuries and benefits arising from the bridge, but the fact remains clear that this important river has suffered needless injury to a degree that is deplorable. In the past, however, the fault has been as much with the city as with Congress. That body cannot improve rivers where there is no commerce to be benefited, nor give new facilities to towns that do not make the most of what they have. But the gazer from Fort Stanton—glancing beyond the Navy-yard and the shot-battered monitors that lie there, across Greenleaf's Point and the Arsenal, made tragic by the death of many a British soldier and of the Lincoln-Seward assassins half a century later—overlooking the wharves of Washington and dimly descrying the masts at Georgetown, now sees a traffic that has earned a consideration it has not received. A few weeks ago we paused in an after-dinner walk, down there on the Arsenal boulevard, to watch the troubles of a crew and the labors of a tug which were altogether too suggestive. A senseless fellow of a captain came sailing up the river from a foreign port, his vessel laden with a valuable cargo, and attempted a landing at Washington. He knew no better than to suppose that the capital of this nation, on one of our finest rivers, possessing all its days a navy-yard, would permit itself to be approached by a merchantman. He stuck in the mud within a hundred yards of the wharf. There he spent three or four days in anxiety and chagrin, and finally got a tug to pull him back into navigable water. He swung about, made haste down the river and took his vessel to another port, uttering some natural oaths, no doubt, and wondering what kind of country he had got into. A small vessel going from Washington to Georgetown heads for Chesapeake Bay, passes up around the island of filth accumulated by the bridge, and sails four miles in ascending two.

Bordering the broad belt of grass and trees which we see sweeping gracefully through the heart of the city from the Capitol to the President's, where rise the towers of the Smithsonian, the roof of the Agricultural Bureau, and all that is built of the Washington Monument, there stretched another calamity, which existed some fifty years, which was at last extinguished during 1872 at an immense cost to the city, which was one of the "improvements" of the past, which once employed the public money and energy—we cannot repeat brains—to kill not only the town, but the people in it. This was the great pestiferous open sewer that stole into a filthy existence under the name of the Washington Canal.

But there was a greater misfortune than any of these. Slavery need only be mentioned. More of Washington's present defects are attributable to it in one way or another than to all else. Yet under this crowning calamity, added to the others, the undulating plain before us, which appears so sluggish from the height to which we have climbed, has within seventy-five years passed from a wilderness into a city of one hundred and eleven thousand inhabitants. Although the general government kept the breath of life in it during a period when perhaps nothing else could have done so, yet such a growth, under all the circumstances, cannot be accounted for without recognizing an inherent strength that has never been acknowledged by the multitudes who come to "see" Washington. It proves that she may have a significance of her own. The visitor should remember that New York and Boston are enjoying, and Philadelphia has nearly reached, the third century of their lives.

This scene from the heights is a fascinating one for the day-dreamer. Everything is in harmony with the past character of the capital. Everything is misty, vast, uncertain, grand and ill-defined. One does not see clearly the[Pg 305] boundaries—the city and country are one. Every street we trace in the distance, almost every building, almost every foot of ground, has gathered something of tradition from the lives of the statesmen, generals, jurists, diplomates who have lived and wrought here for three-quarters of a century. The visions that passed before the eyes of Washington as he stood on the Observatory Hill there, a subaltern under Braddock, contemplating the wilderness about him and imagining the future; the pictures that filled the fancy of the intractable L'Enfant as he defined the great mall and thought of the gardens between the Tuileries and the Chamber of Deputies; Andrew J. Downing giving his last days to such an arrangement of the trees and grass as would be worthy of the design; President Madison and his cabinet, with a useless little army at their heels, flying in despair from yonder bloody hillside; Admiral Cockburn derisively riding an old mare up Pennsylvania Avenue; the burning Capitol and White House lighting up the gloom of that hideous night; Stephen Decatur shot to death just round the bend of the Anacostia there; the conflicts by tongue and pen that have again and again gone on here till the whole country swayed; Gamaliel Bailey silencing a mob at his door; the histories that lie buried under the thirty thousand headboards that gleam like an army of ghosts among the trees of Arlington; Abraham Lincoln gasping his life away in that little Tenth street house; his assassin dashing in darkness across the bridge at our feet, over which we have just passed, and spurring almost into the shadow of the parapet where we stand;—all these things, and a hundred more as tempting to the dreamer, come crowding on the mind at every glance. Yet who stops to call Washington a romantic city? When the White House, just visible from those tree-tops, shall have ceased, as it soon must do, to be the home of the chief magistrate, what future magician shall summon down those cheerless stairways the ghostly procession of dead Presidents, as our first literary necromancer marshaled the shades of royal governors across the threshold of the Province House? We turn from all this to speak of the practical affairs of to-day which await us in the city, with a reluctance that delays our feet as we descend.

A phrase applied, we believe, by Dickens, when writing of the avenues here many years ago, and illustrating his remarkable faculty of telling the most truth when he exaggerated most, rises so constantly to mind when one considers what Washington has been, that we are tempted to make it a kind of text. He described the great houseless thoroughfares as "beginning nowhere and ending in nothing." That phrase sets old Washington before the reader as the literal truth could never do.

But the reader must now remember that old Washington is going—that a new Washington has come. The city is no longer disposed to make apologies, wait for generosity or beg for patronage. It is disposed—and has proved its disposition—to take off its seedy coat and go to work in its own way. Its waiting is now only for enlightened judgment from others, and its begging is only for justice.

The change of local government in 1871, when Congress gave the District of Columbia a legislature and a representative, was the particular event from which may be dated such innovations as make necessary a revision of the popular opinion. The visitors who come this month, and who have not been here since the last inauguration, will have to learn the capital anew. While the establishment of the territorial government and the organization of its outgrowths—particularly the Board of Public Works—mark the new departure by physical changes, all will understand that it was the first gun at Charleston, startling the stagnant pool here, which set in motion the successive waves that carried the city up to this departure. The public affairs of the city became practically unmanageable. A joint-stock company could not organize for the most trifling business without depending on the slow and uncertain action of Congress for a[Pg 306] charter. A few active men, who saw that the old order of things could be endured no longer, met quietly in 1870 at the house of an honored citizen on K street to see what further they could see. They continued to meet at each other's homes, lightening their interchange of thought for the public by such an extension of hospitality as drew into their circle many influential Congressmen, and converted them to the new idea that there was something in Washington besides the national service. The result was, that the city government was abolished; a legislative assembly was created; a governor was appointed by the President of the United States; and a delegate was sent to Congress, instead of a crowd of lobbyists, to represent the District of Columbia. This delegate is always to be a member of the committee on the District, Congress has the constitutional right of exclusive legislation, and the Assembly cannot impose taxes of any consequence without especial authority from the people.

The wisdom of the change was doubted at first by many real friends of progress, who thought they saw grave legal complications arising; who knew what popular government in a large city, with no restriction of the election franchise, might mean; who at times thought of New York with a shudder; who knew that as Washington was the centre of everything political, it was necessarily the centre of political corruption; that her alleys were crowded with ignorant freedmen; that her ward politicians were as unscrupulous and skillful as the same class in other cities; and who thought it safer to trust the average Congressman than the small political trader and his chattels. But Congress sits as a perpetual court of appeal on the spot where its members can judge from personal knowledge, ready to overrule any act of the Assembly that can be shown to be a bad one; and one house of the Assembly, with the governor and executive boards, is appointed by the President. The election of the larger house and of the delegate to Congress is sufficient security to the people, and Washington is to-day in most respects the best-governed city of its size in the United States. The powers of the little Assembly are very limited: the governor can veto its measures; Congress can override them both; the President can veto the acts of Congress; two-thirds of Congress can still surmount this veto. This complicated system may retard good measures, but it is not probable that any very bad one can long survive under it.

The Baron Haussmann here is the Board of Public Works. It is grading, filling, paving, planting, fencing, parking, and making the thoroughfares what they would never have become by ordinary means. At last we see what Washingtonians never saw before—vast public operations having a consistent and tangible shape; obeying a purpose that can be understood, defined and executed; beginning somewhere and ending in something. Within its sphere this Board has despotic power: it would be worthless with any less. It dares to strike without fear or favor, and hit whoever stands in the way: the way would never be cleared if it did not. It makes bitter enemies by its inexorable exactions: the public cannot be served except at the expense of the individual. A strong party has fought it by injunctions and failed: the same persons will no doubt continue to fight, while the Board will no doubt continue to vindicate itself and go on with its work. It made some mistakes which wrought hardships to individuals who wished it well, but such were the difficulties before it at the outset that it might have made greater mistakes and still been forgiven. It is to be hoped that it will have enemies enough to watch it closely, criticise it sharply and hold it to a strict accountability; but should it have enough to really interfere with its present course, then we shall have to add one more, and a great one, to the list of Washington's calamities. The new blood that created it is able to sustain it, while the air it has done so much to purify is already laden with blessings from the lips of strangers.

In the matter of public improvements an equitable adjustment of relations—always[Pg 307] heretofore uncertain and unsatisfactory—between the District and the general government still remains to be accomplished, and at this writing is impatiently awaited by the city. Congress should explicitly define for itself a course that can be depended upon, so that the city can go ahead and know what it ought to do. The general government, promising great things which began nowhere and ended in nothing, laid out the city for its own use, and gave more space to streets and ornamental grounds than to buildings. The plan was wise and good, but did not appear so until the liberal citizens, unable to endure the disgrace of such a city as the nation thrust upon them, taxing themselves six millions of dollars for street purposes, went generously to work, with their own money improved the immense fronts of the government property, which pays no taxes, evolved something tangible out of the old cloudy-magnificent plan, and gave the country, so far as they could, a decent capital.

There is another important matter for adjustment. The city has left nothing undone that money and labor could do to make the public schools the best in the United States. It is doubtful whether there has ever before been seen in any city or State an expenditure for public schools so generous, under all the circumstances, as that of Washington within the past few years. The best school-houses here are the best the Prussian commissioners, who lately came to inspect them, had ever seen. A very great number of the pupils educated by the city are the children of government servants whose homes are in the States, and who pay no considerable taxes here. Every State and Territory has received a liberal allotment of public land for school-purposes except the District of Columbia, which has probably done more for schools without the endowment, considering the time and taxable property at command, than any State has ever done with it.

Of course the city has received many benefits from the general government, but the considerable ones have been indirect. The excellent water-works, for instance, costing about three millions of dollars, were built with the nation's money and by army engineers, because the nation needed them, and show how entirely identical are the interests of both parties. Their respective duties, while they need defining anew, are so wedded that there is no room for serious difference. It is really a matter for congratulation that the general government held back and did not take more of the improvements into its own hands. The city's present claims are by so much stronger: the two governments can work in harmony, and any efforts that are now made will not be thrown away. Had Congress acted sooner we might have had more Washington canals, and Washington and Georgetown street-cars, and similar Congressional "improvements," beginning nowhere but in ignorance or selfishness, and ending in nothing but nuisances. The improvement of the interiors of the national grounds, however, by the general government, is now keeping pace with that of the exteriors by the city as nearly as is possible under present legislation, and their superintendence has become at last an office of some practical consequence to Washington. The general government owns about one-half of the property in the District, and during seventy years has expended for the improvement of the thoroughfares a little over one million of dollars. The city during the same time has expended for the same purpose nearly fourteen millions of dollars.

The old Washington idea seems to have consisted in finishing a city before it was begun. To use an architectural figure, the capital of the column has been well designed and partly carved, but the base is not yet laid. Those characteristics which the builders thought would be a sure foundation of greatness have proved insufficient in the past and will prove so in the future. The infusion of new blood has done wonders within ten years, but there is still needed the admixture of another current. Wealth and ideality—supposed to be possessed by all who are attracted hither—do not[Pg 308] raise a man above material wants or fail to multiply them. When Washington shall give her utmost attention to satisfying the vulgarest common wants of common people, she will have taken her first real step toward—anything. She has had enough of fog and moonshine. She wants for a proper period the most unmitigated materiality—not as an end, of course, but as the first means of making something else possible. She will be made our republican Paris, if made so at all, by the aid of the shops, the wonderful skilled labor, the economical living of poor people, on which rested, as well as on higher things, the splendors of the imperial Paris. The average American lady goes to that city to buy "things," as well as to visit the Louvre, and while the late emperor endeavored to make his capital the social centre of the world, he did not scorn to make it a fashionable market and foster a Palace of Industry.

That Washington is an admirable place for manufactures is clear to all who have sought the facts. Whether she will ever become a manufacturing city is a question that must be settled by the citizens themselves. Whoever doubts that the growth of skilled labor here will be an indispensable condition of the higher growth that is sought fails to understand modern civilization, and should not have survived the days when things began nowhere and ended in nothing. The old thoroughbred Washingtonian will never invest a dollar to build a railroad or a modern workshop, of course. He does not know anything about them, and does not want to. His idea of business is to get real estate, and "hold on" till somebody else makes it valuable. Gentlemen of new Washington, Hercules will stand idle till he sees your own shoulders at the wheel. When you shall have the faithful, enlightened manual labor of New England, you may expect such flowers as Yale and Harvard and the æsthetic fruits they enfold. You may be unable to see any intimate connection between such labor and such culture, but nevertheless it exists. Old Washington could not see it, and now you are compelled to bury old Washington out of sight. It is time for Mohammed to start if he wants his mountain.

There are a few business-men in Washington who are as enlightened, as liberal, as trustworthy as any in the country; and abundant is their reward. There are a few who deal only in good wares, who always sell them at a reasonable profit, who believe that any kind of deception is a blunder, who manage their establishments with economy, who are aware that the more money they permit their customers to make the more they will ultimately make themselves,—who, in short, have learned the principles of business and have the character to stand by them. But so many fall short—often through ignorance—in one or more of these respects that the average business character is low. If a lady wishes to spend twenty-five dollars in shopping, she can generally travel eighty miles—to Baltimore and back—and save enough of that small sum to pay her for going, besides being sure of finding what she wants. The Washington shopkeepers may really think that they cannot help this. They must help it, or consent to be soon shoved aside by those who can. Instead of being troubled by the sight of his best customers going as far as New York whenever they have anything of consequence to buy, the genuine old Washington retailer seems to take a calm satisfaction in putting such fastidious buyers to so much inconvenience. Here it is rather the exception than the rule for the man of small business to do just what he promises to do. He don't know the value of another's time, is used to disappointments himself, and somehow or other will manage to disarrange your most careful calculations. Unable himself to meet an engagement thoroughly and exactly, he seems determined that nobody else shall.

But you cease censuring the average business-man when you begin to deal with the average Washington mechanic. There are some good ones, but they are absorbed by the large and experienced dealers in labor, and are beyond the knowledge or reach of ordinary mortals.[Pg 309] You want a little job done at your house; you call on a "boss;" certainly—it shall be done instantly; a workman will be sent in a few minutes; two days afterward he comes and "looks at it;" the next day he returns with another man and they both look at it; another day passes, and an apprentice-boy, with a lame negro to wait on him, comes and makes your home hideous by pretending to begin; when they have given your family a proper amount of information, and torn things to pieces sufficiently, they go away. Two more days elapse, and you go again to the boss; he is surprised—he supposed the work had been done, for he had given "orders;" at the end of a week perhaps the job that should have consumed two hours of honest work is done; then, if you pay the boss no more than the work actually cost him, you know that the sum is twice as much as it should have cost him. As a generalization this is a true picture of Washington labor.

These things are trifles? They are just what determine the permanent residence of multitudes of valuable citizens. They are the trifles that in the aggregate make the difference between civilization and barbarism. For every broken promise or slighted piece of work the city suffers. Civilized people like to live smoothly and comfortably. Washington, thinking of something besides hotels and boarding-houses, and the people of leisure who come once a year to fill them for a few weeks, must provide for a permanent population of moderately poor people. The word of a merchant or banker is supposed to be as good as his bond; his occupation is gone when this ceases to be the case; his standing is reported in a business guide-book, and dealers with him act accordingly. Cannot some of the methods that enforce integrity in higher branches of business be more systematically applied by dealers in manual labor? The men who are reforming the city's outward appearance have an opportunity of doing something in this direction. A Northern mechanic who reverences his conscience, and makes the most of his opportunities to gain knowledge and character, cannot emigrate to a better place than Washington.

Yet when one looks into the past he thinks that perhaps labor is improving as fast as other things here. He is inclined to admire it when he remembers how much worse it used to be. John Adams was the first occupant of the White House, and this is what his wife said in a private letter just after moving into it: "To assist us in this great castle, and render less attendance necessary, bells are wholly wanting, not one single one being hung through the whole house, and promises are all you can obtain. If they put me up bells, and let me have wood enough to keep fires, I design to be pleased. But, surrounded with forests, can you believe that wood is not to be had, because people cannot be found to cut and cart it?" Seventy-two years ago the President's wife could get nothing but promises toward hanging a servant's bell! Washington was in a forest and couldn't furnish wood enough to warm the presidential hearthstone! The forests and people of that day are gone, but those eternal "promises" remain.

The recent building in Washington has been mostly that of dwellings, which the ordinary visitor, following the old routes between the Capitol and West End, will hardly notice, although they have covered many acres within the past four years. Since the Board of Public Works has settled—some would say unsettled—the foundations of things, we may expect to see the heavy building for business purposes, which must soon take place even if there be no change in the character of business, conducted with a little system and uniformity. The streets themselves have been made so fine that it will require some moral courage—a thing for which Washington is not noted—to disfigure them by the hideous jumbles that accorded so well with the old ways. Such splendid monstrosities as the Treasury—as a whole, the worst public building in the city, although good in parts, so situated that one must go down stairs from Pennsylvania Avenue to get into[Pg 310] the grand north entrance, without proportion, completeness or consistency—it will be impossible even for Congress to build.

Both the physical and moral appearance of Washington truly represent the civilization of the nation as a whole. Such is, after all, the only description that can be given; and so vast and heterogeneous is the nation that to many readers this will be no description at all. A farmer measures out a half bushel of wheat, "levels" it, and tells you truly that the only difference is in quantity between that in the measure and that which it came from in the bin: take the architecture, the people, the ideas of all these States, shake them together in a half bushel, "level" them, and you can truly say you have Washington. Any noteworthy character of its own is still lacking. So long as it is nothing more than a representative of the whole country, it will in many desirable things fall far below a dozen other cities, whose independence has enabled them to reach excellences toward which Washington vaguely aspires. As the capital it will not be the best and most enlightened, but will be the "average" city. As an independent one its destiny is now in its own hands, and facilities are thrown at its feet such as no other can hope to have. There have been good excuses for its shortcomings in the past. There are none now. Two years ago, Washington was a great boy who had grown up under the repressive guardianship of his Uncle Samuel; he had not been permitted to do anything for himself; he had no money except the few pennies which the old gentleman had grudgingly given him for menial services. He needed higher culture and better business habits than his uncle exhibited: the leading-strings were at last sufficiently cut. His guardian, still exercising a good deal of authority, has permitted him to go into business for himself; given him the use of the greatest library in the United States; surrounded him with specimens of architecture invaluable as models or as warnings; opened to him the treasures of the Smithsonian, the Coast Survey and a unique medical museum; given him the benefit of a fine observatory; placed at his disposal magnificent pleasure-grounds; set before him a botanical garden; put up for him some good statues and pictures; shown him models of all the mechanical inventions of the age; sent to him as associates the first statesmen, jurists and captains of the land; and brought to his door as guests the polished representatives of all civilized countries. What more does the boy want that he may make a man of himself? Nothing but a will of his own so to develop his natural resources that he can use these things. Will he now refuse to earn the necessary money to enjoy them, and insist on living, in shabby-genteel ignorance and idleness, exclusively on the pocket-money of the visitors to whom his uncle introduces him? If he does, shall we call him a gentleman?

Chauncey Hickox.


Forty days in the great desert of the sea—forty nights camped under cloud-canopies, with the salt dust of the waves drifting over us. Sometimes a Bedouin sail flashed for an hour upon the distant horizon, and then faded, and we were alone again; sometimes the west, at sunset, looked like a city with towers, and we bore down upon its glorified walls, seeking a haven; but a cold gray morning dispelled the illusion, and our hearts sank back into the illimitable[Pg 311] sea, breathing a long prayer for deliverance.

Once a green oasis blossomed before us—a garden in perfect bloom, girded about with creaming waves; within its coral cincture pendulous boughs trailed in the glassy waters; from its hidden bowers spiced airs stole down upon us; above all, the triumphant palm trees clashed their melodious branches like a chorus with cymbals; yet from the very gates of this paradise a changeful current swept us onward, and the happy isle was buried in night and distance.

In many volumes of adventure I had read of sea-perils: I was at last to learn the full interpretation of their picturesque horrors. Our little craft, the Petrel, had buffeted the boisterous waves for five long weeks. Fortunately, the bulk of her cargo was edible: we feared neither famine nor thirst. Moreover, in spite of the continuous gale that swept us out of our reckoning, the Petrel was in excellent condition, and, as far as we could judge, we had no reason to lose confidence in her. It was the gray weather that tried our patience and found us wanting: it was the unparalleled pitching of the ninety-ton schooner that disheartened and almost dismembered us. And then it was wasting time at sea. Why were we not long before at our journey's end? Why were we not threading the vales of some savage island, reaping our rich reward of ferns and shells and gorgeous butterflies?

The sea rang its monotonous changes—fair weather and foul, days like death itself, followed by days full of the revelations of new life, but mostly days of deadly dullness, when the sea was as unpoetical as an eternity of cold suds and blueing.

I cannot always understand the logical fitness of things, or, rather, I am at a loss to know why some things in life are so unfit and illogical. Of course, in our darkest hour, when we were gathered in the confines of the Petrel's diminutive cabin, it was our duty to sing psalms of hope and cheer, but we didn't. It was a time for mutual encouragement: very few of us were self-sustaining, and what was to be gained by our combining in unanimous despair?

Our weatherbeaten skipper—a thing of clay that seemed utterly incapable of any expression whatever, save in the slight facial contortion consequent to the mechanical movement of his lower jaw—the skipper sat, with barometer in hand, eyeing the fatal finger that pointed to our doom: the rest of us were lashed to the legs of the centre-table, glad of any object to fix our eyes upon, and nervously awaiting a turn in the state of affairs, that was then by no means encouraging.

I happened to remember that there were some sealed letters to be read from time to time on the passage out, and it occurred to me that one of the times had come, perhaps the last and only, wherein I might break the remaining seals and receive a sort of parting visit from the fortunate friends on shore.

I opened one letter and read these prophetic lines: "Dear child"—she was twice my age, and privileged to make a pet of me—"Dear child, I have a presentiment that we shall never meet again in the flesh."

That dear girl's intuition came near to being the death of me: I shuddered where I sat, overcome with remorse. It was enough that I had turned my back on her and sought consolation in the treacherous bosom of the ocean—that, having failed to find the spring of immortal life in human affection, I had packed up and emigrated, content to fly the ills I had in search of change; but that parting shot, below the water-line as it were, that was more than I asked for, and something more than I could stomach. I returned to watch with the rest of our little company, who clung about the table with a pitiful sense of momentary security, and an expression of pathetic condolence on every countenance, as though each were sitting out the last hours of the others.

Our particular bane that night was a crusty old sea-dog whose memory of wrecks and marine disasters of every conceivable nature was as complete as an encyclopædia. This "old man of the[Pg 312] sea" spun his tempestuous yarn with fascinating composure, and the whole company was awed into silence with the haggard realism of his narrative. The cabin must have been air-tight—it was as close as possible—yet we heard the shrieking of the wind as it tore through the rigging, and the long hiss of the waves rushing past us with lightning speed. Sometimes an avalanche of foam buried us for a moment, and the Petrel trembled like a living thing stricken with sudden fear: we seemed to be hanging on the crust of a great bubble that was, sooner or later, certain to burst and let us drop into its vast, black chasm, where in Cimmerian darkness we should be entombed for ever.

The scenic effect, as I then considered, was unnecessarily vivid: as I now recall it, it seems to me strictly in keeping and thoroughly dramatic. At any rate, you might have told us a dreadful story with almost fatal success.

I had still one letter left—one bearing this suggestive legend: "To be read in the saddest hour." Now, if there is a sadder hour in all time than the hour of hopeless and friendless death, I care not to know of it. I broke the seal of my letter, feeling that something charitable and cheering would give me strength. A few dried leaves were stored within it. The faint fragrance of summer bowers reassured me: somewhere in the blank world of waters there was land, and there Nature was kind and fruitful: out over the fearful deluge this leaf was borne to me in the return of the invisible dove my heart had sent forth in its extremity. A song was written therein, perhaps a song of triumph: I could now silence the clamorous tongue of our sea-monster, who was glutting us with tales of horror, for a jubilee was at hand, and here was the first note of its trumpets.

I read:

Beyond the parting and the meeting
I shall be soon:
Beyond the farewell and the greeting,
Beyond the pulse's fever-beating,
I shall be soon.

I paused. A night black with croaking ravens, brooding over a slimy hulk, through whose warped timbers the sea oozed—that was the sort of picture that arose before me. I looked farther for a crumb of comfort:

Beyond the gathering and the strewing
I shall be soon:
Beyond the ebbing and the flowing,
Beyond the coming and the going,
I shall be soon.

A tide of ice-water seemed rippling up and down my spinal column: the marrow congealed within my bones. But I recovered. When a man has supped full of horror, and there is no immediate climax, he can collect himself and be comparatively brave. A reaction restored my soul.

Once more the melancholy chronicler of the ill-fated Petrel resumed his lugubrious narrative. I resolved to listen, while the skipper eyed the barometer, and we all rocked back and forth in search of the centre of gravity, looking like a troupe of mechanical blockheads nodding in idiotic unison. All this time the little craft drifted helplessly, "hove to" in the teeth of the gale.

The sea-dog's yarn was something like this: He once knew a lonesome man who floated about in a waterlogged hulk for three months—who saw all his comrades starve and die, one after another, and at last kept watch alone, craving and beseeching death. It was the staunch French brig La Perle, bound south into the equatorial seas. She had seen rough weather from the first: day after day the winds increased, and finally a cyclone burst upon her with insupportable fury. The brig was thrown upon her beam-ends, and began to fill rapidly. With much difficulty her masts were cut away, she righted, and lay in the trough of the sea rolling like a log. Gradually the gale subsided, but the hull of the brig was swept continually by the tremendous swell, and the men were driven into the foretop cross-trees, where they rigged a tent for shelter and gathered what few stores were left them from the wreck. A dozen wretched souls lay in their stormy nest for three whole days in silence and despair. By this time their scanty stores were exhausted, and[Pg 313] not a drop of water remained: then their tongues were loosened, and they railed at the Almighty. Some wept like children, some cursed their fate: one man alone was speechless—a Spaniard with a wicked light in his eye, and a repulsive manner that had made trouble in the forecastle more than once.

When hunger had driven them nearly to madness they were fed in an almost miraculous manner. Several enormous sharks had been swimming about the brig for some hours, and the hungry sailors were planning various projects for the capture of them: tough as a shark is, they would willingly have risked life for a few raw mouthfuls of the same. Somehow, though the sea was still and the wind light, the brig gave a sudden lurch and dipped up one of the monsters, who was quite secure in the shallow aquarium between the gunwales. He was soon despatched, and divided equally among the crew: some ate a little, and reserved the rest for another day; some ate till they were sick, and had little left for the next meal. The Spaniard with the evil eye greedily devoured his portion, and then grew moody again, refusing to speak with the others, who were striving to be cheerful, though it was sad enough work.

When the food was all gone save a few mouthfuls that one meagre eater had hoarded to the last, the Spaniard resolved to secure a morsel at the risk of his life. It had been a point of honor with the men to observe sacredly the right of ownership, and any breach of confidence would have been considered unpardonable. At night, when the watch was sleeping, the Spaniard cautiously removed the last mouthful of shark hidden in the pocket of his mate, but was immediately detected and accused of theft. He at once grew desperate, struck at the poor wretch whom he had robbed, missed his blow, and fell headlong from the narrow platform in the foretop, and was lost in the sea. It was the first scene in the mournful tragedy about to be enacted on that limited stage.

There was less disturbance after the disappearance of the Spaniard: the spirits of the doomed sailors seemed broken: in fact, the captain was the only one whose courage was noteworthy, and it was his indomitable will that ultimately saved him.

One by one the minds of the miserable men gave way: they became peevish or delirious, and then died horribly. Two, who had been mates for many voyages in the seas north and south, vanished mysteriously in the night: no one could tell where they went nor in what manner, though they seemed to have gone together.

Somehow, these famishing sailors seemed to feel assured that their captain would be saved: they were as confident of their own doom, and to him they entrusted a thousand messages of love. They would lie around him—for few of them had strength to assume a sitting posture—and reveal to him the story of their lives. It was most pitiful to hear the confessions of these dying men. One said: "I wronged my friend; I was unkind to this one or to that one; I deserve the heaviest punishment God can inflict upon me;" and then he paused, overcome with emotion. But another took up the refrain: "I could have done much good, but I would not, and now it is too late." And a third cried out in his despair: "I have committed unpardonable sins, and there is no hope for me. Lord Jesus, have mercy!" The youngest of these perishing souls was a mere lad: he too accused himself bitterly. He began his story at the beginning, and continued it from time to time as the spirit of revelation moved him: scarcely an incident, however insignificant, escaped him in his pitiless retrospect. Oh the keen agony of that boy's recital! more cruel than hunger or thirst, and in comparison with which physical torture would have seemed merciful and any death a blessing.

While the luckless Perle drifted aimlessly about, driven slowly onward by varying winds under a cheerless sky, sickness visited them: some were stricken with scurvy; some had lost the use of their limbs and lay helpless, moaning and weeping hour after hour; vermin[Pg 314] devoured them, and when their garments were removed and cleansed in the salt water, there was scarcely sunshine enough to dry them before night, and they were put on again, damp, stiffened with salt, and shrunken so as to cripple the wearers, who were all blistered and covered with boils. The nights were bitter cold: sometimes the icy moon looked down upon them; sometimes the bosom of an electric cloud burst over them, and they were enveloped for a moment in a sheet of flame. Sharks lingered about them, waiting to feed upon the unhappy ones who fell into the sea overcome with physical exhaustion, or who cast themselves from that dizzy scaffold, unable longer to endure the horrors of lingering death. Flocks of sea-fowl hovered over them; the hull of the Perle was crusted with barnacles; long skeins of sea-grass knotted themselves in her gaping seams; myriads of fish darted in and out among the clinging weeds, sporting gleefully; schools of porpoises leaped about them, lashing the sea into foam; sometimes a whale blew his long breath close under them. Everywhere was the stir of jubilant life—everywhere but under the tattered awning stretched in the foretop of the Perle.

Days and weeks dragged on. When the captain would waken from his sleep—which was not always at night, however, for the nights were miserably cold and sleepless—when he wakened he would call the roll: perhaps some one made no answer; then he would reach forth and touch the speechless body and find it dead. He had not strength now to bury the corpses in the sea's sepulchre; he had not strength even to partake of the unholy feast of the inanimate flesh: he lay there in the midst of pestilence, and at night, under the merciful veil of darkness, the fowls of the air gathered about him and bore away their trophy of corruption.

By and by there were but two left of all that suffering crew—the captain and the boy—and these two clung together like ghosts, defying mortality. They strove to be patient and hopeful: if they could not eat, they could drink, for the nights were dewy, and sometimes a mist covered them—a mist so dense it seemed almost to drip from the rags that poorly sheltered them. A cord was attached to the shrouds, the end of it carefully laid in the mouth of a bottle slung in the rigging. Down the thin cord slid occasional drops: one by one they stole into the bottle, and by morning there was a spoonful of water to moisten those parched lips—sweet, crystal drops, more blessed than tears, for they are salt—more precious than pearls. A thousand prayers of gratitude seemed hardly to quiet the souls of the lingering ones for that great charity of Heaven.

There came a day when the hearts of God's angels must have bled for the suffering ones. The breeze was fresh and fair; the sea tossed gayly its foam-crested waves; sea-birds soared in wider circles, and the clouds shook out their fleecy folds, through which the sunlight streamed in grateful warmth: the two ghosts were talking, as ever, of home, of earth, of land. Land—land anywhere, so that it were solid and broad. Oh, to pace again a whole league without turning! Oh, to pause in the shadow of some living tree!—to drink of some stream whose waters flowed continually—flowed, though you drank of them with the awful thirst of one who has been denied water for weeks, and weeks, and weeks!—for three whole months—an eternity, as it seemed to them!

Then they pictured life as it might be if God permitted them to return to earth once more. They would pace K——street at noon, and revisit that capital restaurant where many a time they had feasted, though in those days they were unknown to one another; they would call for coffee, and this dish and that dish, and a whole bill of fare, the thought of which made their feverish palates grow moist again. They would meet friends whom they had never loved as they now loved them; they would reconcile old feuds and forgive everybody everything; they held imaginary conversations, and found life very beautiful[Pg 315] and greatly to be desired; and somehow they would get back to the little café and there begin eating again, and with a relish that brought the savory tastes and smells vividly before them, and their lips would move and the impalpable morsels roll sweetly over their tongues.

It had become a second nature to scour the horizon with jealous eyes: never for a moment during their long martyrdom had their covetous sight fixed upon a stationary object. But it came at last. Out of a cloud a sail burst like a flickering flame. What an age it was a-coming! how it budded and blossomed like a glorious white flower, that was transformed suddenly into a barque bearing down upon them! Almost within hail it stayed its course, the canvas fluttered in the wind; the dark hull slowly rose and fell upon the water; figures moved to and fro—men, living and breathing men! Then the ghosts staggered to their feet and cried to God for mercy. Then they waved their arms, and beat their breasts, and lifted up their imploring voices, beseeching deliverance out of that horrible bondage. Tears coursed down their hollow cheeks, their limbs quaked, their breath failed them: they sank back in despair, speechless and forsaken.

Why did they faint in the hour of deliverance when that narrow chasm was all that separated them from renewed life? Because the barque spread out her great white wings and soared away, hearing not the faint voices, seeing not the thin shadows that haunted that drifting wreck. The forsaken ones looked out from their eyrie, and watched the lessening sail until sight failed them, and then the lad with one wild cry leaped toward the speeding barque, and was swallowed up in the sea.

Alone in a wilderness of waters! Alone, without compass or rudder, borne on by relentless winds into the lonesome, dreary, shoreless ocean of despair, within whose blank and forbidding sphere no voyager ventures; across whose desolate waste dawn sends no signal and night brings no reprieve; but whose sun is cold, and whose moon is clouded, and whose stars withdraw into space, and where the insufferable silence of vacancy shall not be broken for all time.

O pitiless Nature! thy irrevocable laws argue rare sacrifice in the waste places of God's universe!...

The Petrel gave a tremendous lurch, that sent two or three of us into the lee corners of the cabin; a sea broke over us, bursting in the companion-hatch, and half filling our small and insecure retreat; the swinging lamp was thrown from its socket and extinguished; we were enveloped in pitch-darkness, up to our knees in salt water. There was a moment of awful silence: we could not tell whether the light of day would ever visit us again; we thought perhaps it wouldn't. But the Petrel rose once more upon the watery hilltops and shook herself free of the cumbersome deluge; and at that point, when she seemed to be riding more easily than usual, some one broke the silence: "Well, did the captain of the Perle live to tell the tale?"

Yes, he did. God sent a messenger into the lonesome deep, where the miserable man was found insensible, with eyes wide open against the sunlight, and lips shrunken apart—a hideous breathing corpse. When he was lifted in the arms of the brave fellows who had gone to his rescue, he cried "Great God! am I saved?" as though he couldn't believe it when it was true: then he fainted, and was nursed through a long delirium, and was at last restored to health and home and happiness.

Our cabin-boy managed to fish up the lamp, and after a little we were illuminated: the agile swab soon sponged out the cabin, and we resumed our tedious watch for dawn and fairer weather.

Somehow, my mind brooded over the solitary wreck that was drifting about the sea: I could fancy the rotten timbers of the Perle clinging together, by a miracle, until the Ancient Mariner was taken away from her, and then, when she was alone again, with nothing whatever in sight but blank blue sea and blank blue sky, she lay for an hour or[Pg 316] so, bearded with shaggy sea-moss and looking about a thousand years old. Suddenly it occurred to her that her time had come—that she had outlived her usefulness, and might as well go to pieces at once. So she yawned in all her timbers, and the sea reached up over her, and laid hold of her masts, and seemed to be slowly drawing her down into its bosom. There was not an audible sound, and scarcely a ripple upon the water, but when the waves had climbed into the foretop, there was a clamor of affrighted birds, and a myriad bubbles shot up to the surface, where a few waifs floated and whirled about for a moment. It was all that marked the spot where the Perle went down to her eternal rest.

"Ha, ha!" cried our skipper, with something almost like a change of expression on his mahogany countenance, "the barometer is rising!" and sure enough it was. In two hours the Petrel acted like a different craft entirely, and by and by came daybreak, and after that the sea went down, down, down, into a deep, dead calm, when all the elements seemed to have gone to sleep after their furious warfare. Like half-drowned flies we crawled out of the close, ill-smelling cabin to dry ourselves in the sun: there, on the steaming deck of the schooner, we found new life, and in the hope that dawned with it we grew lusty and jovial.

Such a flat, oily sea as it was then! So transparent that we saw great fish swimming about, full fathom five under us. A monstrous shark drifted lazily past, his dorsal fin now and then cutting the surface like a knife and glistening like polished steel, his brace of pilot-fish darting hither and thither, striped like little one-legged harlequins.

Flat-headed gonies sat high on the water, piping their querulous note as they tugged at something edible, a dozen of them entering into the domestic difficulty: one after another would desert the cause, run a little way over the sea to get a good start, leap heavily into the air, sail about for a few minutes, and then drop back on the sea, feet foremost, and skate for a yard or two, making a white mark and a pleasant sound as it slid over the water.

The exquisite nautilus floated past us, with its gauzy sail set, looking like a thin slice out of a soap-bubble; the strange anemone laid its pale, sensitive petals on the lips of the wave and panted in ecstasy: the Petrel rocked softly, swinging her idle canvas in the sun; we heard the click of the anchor-chain in the forecastle, the blessedest sea-sound I wot of; a sailor sang while he hung in the ratlines and tossed down the salt-stained shrouds. The afternoon waned: the man at the wheel struck two bells—it was the delectable dog-watch. Down went the swarthy sun into his tent of clouds; the waves were of amber; the fervid sky was flushed; it looked as though something splendid were about to happen up there, and that it could hardly keep the secret much longer. Then came the purplest twilight; and then the sky blossomed all over with the biggest, ripest, goldenest stars—such stars as hang like fruits in sun-fed orchards; such stars as lay a track of fire in the sea; such stars as rise and set over mountains and beyond low green capes, like young moons, every one of them; and I conjured up my spells of savage enchantment, my blessed islands, my reefs baptized with silver spray; I saw the broad fan-leaves of the banana droop in the motionless air, and through the tropical night the palms aspired heavenward, while I lay dreaming my sea-dream in the cradle of the deep.

Charles Warren Stoddard.

[Pg 317]


Mary Trigillgus tucked the money away in her purse. It was a very small sum, but it was the utmost that could be spared for the evening outfit: she and her mother had talked it all over, and such was the decision.

"Now, Mary," said her mother, "don't get a tarletan, or anything exclusively for evening wear: you so seldom go to parties that you can't afford such a dress. I would try to get a nice silk. Something that's a little out of style by being made up fashionably might answer very well."

Mary gave a sigh and turned her face toward the shops, feeling how difficult it would be to purchase a fashionable outfit with the scanty sum in her purse. And she sighed many another time that afternoon as she went from shop to shop. The goods were too expensive for her slender purse, or they were poor or old-fashioned. Twilight was settling down on the gay streets; window after window was flashing into light, revealing misty laces with gay ribbons and silks streaming like banners; the lamplighters on every hand were building their walls of flame; and yet Mary wandered from store to store, each moment more bewildered and undecided as to the best investment for her money.

She approached a brilliant store, passed it with lingering step, then paused, turned back, and stood looking down the glittering aisle. The large mirror at the farther end seemed scarcely broader than the little cracked bureau-glass in her humble room before which she dressed her hair in the mornings. The clerks were hurrying to and fro, eager and business-like, while fine ladies were coming and going, jostling her as she stood just outside the door. Among the hurrying forms her eye sought one familiar and loved: not a woman's, I need scarcely say, else why does she stand in the shadow there, with her veil half drawn over her face, trembling and frightened? Why else does her cheek glow with shame?

Poor Mary! You feel like a guilty thing in thus seeking a man who has never declared his love; but let me whisper a word in your ear: True love is woman's blue ribbon of honor: without it her nature is the rose tree without the rose—the dead egg among the cliffs: quickened by the grand passion, it is the eagle soaring to the stars. Your heart is a grander thing now than ever before. Next to loving God, the best thing for woman is to love a good man. Take the comfort of this thought, and leave the humiliation to the heart too hard or too light for loving.

Were I looking into your eyes, my reader, telling my story by word of mouth, I can fancy we might hold something like this dialogue: "Whom was Mary Trigillgus, this keeper of a small day-school—whom was she seeking in this brilliant store? One of the underclerks, perhaps?" "No." "The bookkeeper?" "No." "The confidential clerk?" "You must guess again." "The junior partner?" "No, it was Christian Van Pelt, the sole proprietor of that fine establishment, one of the merchant princes of the city." "But what right had Mary Trigillgus, this obscure school-teacher, to love this man of fortune? How did she ever come to his acquaintance?" And then I should tell you a very long story, and a tedious one perhaps, of two Hollanders, close friends, who settled in New Amsterdam; of how fortune had prospered the one until Christian Van Pelt, his lineal descendant, was among the leaders in the dry-goods trade of New York City; of how various disasters had befallen the family of the other, until the daughter of the house, and its only lineal descendant, Mary Trigillgus's mother, had married an intemperate spendthrift, who had at his death left her penniless, though the grandchild, Mary Trigillgus, had inherited[Pg 318] the small house in which mother and daughter found a home.

In the back parlor Mary kept a school for small children: the front chamber was let to a quiet man, who went down town at eight and returned at five, and whom they seldom saw except when he rapped at the sitting-room door on the first day of every month to hand in the three five-dollar bills which covered his rent. Besides these sources of revenue there were a few day-boarders, who sometimes paid for their keeping and sometimes did not.

An intercourse and a show of friendship had all along been maintained between the families of these Hollanders; and now Mrs. Van Pelt, the young merchant's mother, was to give a large party. Mary Trigillgus had been invited, and her mother had insisted on an acceptance of the invitation.

"They are quite friendly to you, Mary, and you can't afford to throw away such friends," the mother said.

So it was for Christian Van Pelt's broad, square figure that Mary's eager eyes were seeking; but in vain they sought: it was nowhere to be seen. A choking feeling of disappointment rose in her heart—a disappointment very unequal to the occasion, since she had meant nothing more than to get a sight of the loved figure and then to go on her way. Having satisfied herself that he was not in the store, a yearning desire possessed her to enter the place where he every day walked—a place to her invested with romance, haunted by his presence—a place to which her thoughts often wandered as some stupid child stood by her side in the little school-room spelling out his reading-lesson. She had not for months entered the store—not since that evening when, in her poor parlor, Christian Van Pelt, the rich young merchant, had looked into her eyes with a look that thrilled her for many a day, and spoken some nothings in tones that set her heart throbbing. Indeed, since that day she had avoided passing the store, lest she might seem, even to herself, to be seeking him. And yet her poor eyes and heart were ever seeking him in the countless throngs that passed up and down the busy streets.

"I'll get my dress from his store," she said mentally. "I shall wear it with the greater pleasure that he has handled it. My patronage will be to him but as the drop to the ocean," she said with a little bitterness, "but it will be a sweet thought to me that I have contributed even one drop to the flood of his prosperity."

So she entered Christian Van Pelt's trade-palace, and said, in answer to the smart clerk's look of inquiry, "I am looking for a silk that will do for the evening and also for the street—something a little out of style, perhaps, might answer."

"We have some bargains in such silks—elegant dress-patterns at a third of what they cost us in Paris. Step this way;" and Mary found herself going back and back through the spacious building, with her image advancing to meet her.

In a few seconds the counter was strewn with silks at most enticing figures, and the clerk showed them off to such advantage, gathering them so dexterously into elegant folds, shifting them so skillfully in the brilliant gas-light, persuading the lady, in the mean while, in such a clever, lawyer-like way: "These cost us in Paris three times the money I am offering them for, and they are but very little passé; there is an extraordinary demand for them; they are going like wildfire; country merchants are ordering them by the score; we sent eighty pieces to Chicago, to one house, yesterday, and fifty patterns to Omaha this morning; one hundred and ten we last week shipped to the South; the whole lot will perhaps be sold by to-morrow," etc.—that poor Mary felt like a speculator on the verge of a great chance. So she decided on a light-green brocade, and could not gainsay the smooth-tongued clerk as he assured her, while tying the bundle, that she had secured a very handsome and elegant dress at a great bargain.

The next day Mary and her mother spent in studying and discussing the latest fashion-plates, but the elaborate descriptions[Pg 319] of expensive costumes plunged the girl into another state of bewilderment and slough of despond. She heartily regretted having accepted the invitation. She began to dread the party as an execution—to shrink from exhibiting herself to Christian with the fine ladies and gentlemen who would form the company at Mrs. Van Pelt's. However, the dress was cut and made, and in this there was a fair degree of success, for necessity had taught these women considerable skill in the use of the scissors and needle. The dress was trimmed with some handsome old lace that had been in the mother's family for years. Mrs. Trigillgus pronounced the dress very handsome as she spread it on the bed and stepped off to survey it, and even the despondent Mary took heart, and as she surveyed her image in the mirror at the conclusion of her toilet for the important evening, she felt a degree of complacency toward herself—a feeling of admiration even.

"You look like a snowdrop, dear," said the mother fondly; and the comparison was not inapt, for the young girl's Saxon complexion and fair hair were in pretty contrast with the lace-decked silk of delicate green falling about her.

As she had no attendant, she went early to Mrs. Van Pelt's, feeling at liberty to be unceremonious; and she thought, with a beating heart, that Christian would be her escort home. Mrs. Van Pelt was not in the parlor when Mary entered, but Christian received her kindly, though with a slight embarrassment that embarrassed her. She tried to keep the love-flicker from her eyes and the love-tremor from her voice as she sat there alone with the man she loved, trying to reply indifferently to his indifferent remarks, and wondering if he could not hear the beating of her heart. She was greatly relieved at the entrance of Mrs. Van Pelt. When this lady had kissed her guest, she stepped off a few paces and looked the girl over.

"Your dress is very becoming, my dear," she said, "but why did you get a brocade? Don't you know that brocades are out of style? Nobody wears brocades; and they are not trimming with lace at all. I wish you had advised with me."

The blood rushed to Mary's face. Though she did not turn her eyes to Christian's, she knew that they were looking at her—that he was noting her confusion and comprehending its cause. "He knows why I have bought this brocade," was her thought, "and he knows that I am humiliated in having my poverty held up to his view. Of course Christian knows that I am poor, and he must know, as a consequence, that I wear poor clothes. I can endure that he should know this in a general way, while I shrink from having the details of my poverty revealed to him. I would not wish my patched gaiters and darned stockings held up for his inspection."

Mary hesitated a moment before replying to Mrs. Van Pelt's criticism. Then, with a feeling that it was better to acknowledge a poverty of which both her companions were cognizant than an ignorance of style, she said, with a slight kindling of the eye, "I decided on this dress from economical considerations, and the lace is some which my mother's great-grandmother brought from Holland.—I have reminded them, at least, that I had a grandfather," she thought.

As she finished speaking she lifted her eyes to Christian's. She could not understand the expression she saw there. But the poor girl's satisfaction in her dress was all gone. She was ready to reproach her mother for the reassuring words that had helped to generate it. "What if it is pretty? it is old-fashioned. No matter that the lace is rich, when nobody wears it. I must look as though I were dressed in my grandmother's clothes. I wish I was back in my poor home. There I am at least sheltered from criticism. I am a fool in daring to face fashion: I am the silly moth in the candle."

If these were Mary's thoughts as she sat there with her two friends, what must they have become as the regally-dressed ladies, one after another, were announced?[Pg 320] There were the majestic sweep of velvet, the floating of cloudlike gossamer, the flashing diamond, the starry pearl, the flaming ruby, the blazing carbuncle. There were marvelous toilets where contrast and harmony and picturesqueness—the effect of every color and ornament—had been patiently studied as the artist studies each shade and line on his canvas. And when the laugh and the jest and the wit were sounding all about her, and the intoxicating music came sweeping in from the dancing-room, there came over Mary a lost feeling amid the strange faces and voices—a bewildered, dizzy feeling, such as the semi-conscious opium-eater might have, half real, half dreaming. It was all so strange, so separate from her, as though, herself invisible, she was watching a festival among a different order of beings. Everybody was coming and going, continually varying his pastime, while she sat as unobserved as though invisible. Occasionally an eye-glass was leveled at her, or some lady accidentally placed beside her superciliously inspected the lace and green brocade.

Mrs. Van Pelt found her in the course of the evening, and insisted that she should go to the dancing-room and see the dancing. Mary begged to remain seated where she was. She dreaded any move that would render her more conspicuous, and dreaded especially being recalled to Christian's mind. But the hostess insisted, so the wretched girl crept out of her retreat, and with a dizzy step traversed the parlors and halls to the dancing-rooms. The band was playing a delicious waltz, and graceful ladies and elegant gentlemen were moving to its measures. Mary's eyes soon discovered Christian waltzing with a young girl in a rose-colored silk. She was not a marked beauty, but the face was refined and pretty, and was uplifted to Christian's with a look of listening interest. A pang of jealousy shot through Mary's heart as she saw this and noted the close embrace in which Christian held his partner, with his face bent down to hers. Soon they came whirling by.

"There is Christian with Miss Jerome," said Mrs. Van Pelt. "Her father is said to be worth four millions."

The next moment Mrs. Van Pelt was called away, and Mary was again left to her isolation. With a dread of having Christian see her there, old-fashioned and neglected, a stranger to every individual in the assemblage of wealth and fashion, she slipped quietly away into the library, where some elderly people were playing whist. She would have gone home, but she lived in an obscure street some distance away. With a sense of suffocation she now remembered that she would have to recall herself to Christian's mind, for she must depend upon him to see her home. "He has not thought of me once this evening," she said bitterly. Soon supper was announced. Gentlemen and ladies began to pair off, not one mindful of her. She was hesitating between remaining there in the library and going unattended to the refreshment-room, when a white-haired gentleman entered from the parlor. He glanced at Mary, and was passing on when he paused and looked again. A moment of hesitation ensued while the young girl and the old gentleman gazed at each other.

"Miss Trigillgus, I believe?" he said, finally. "My name is Ten Eyck. I knew your mother when she was a girl, and I knew her father. Allow me the pleasure of escorting you to supper."

Mary took the proffered arm with the feeling of one who unexpectedly encounters a friend in a foreign land.

As he reseated her in the library after supper he said, "Present me kindly to your mother: if ever I can serve her, I should be glad to do so."

At length the party was ended. Every guest had gone except Miss Trigillgus.

"I'm afraid I shall have to trouble you to see me home, Mr. Van Pelt," she said to Christian with a burning at her heart.

"Allow me the pleasure, you mean to say," replied Christian with a bow.

This was but a passing pleasantry, and Mary should not have allowed it to bring the color to her cheek, and that peculiar, half-disdainful look to her eye and lip.

"I fear you haven't had a pleasant[Pg 321] evening," said Mrs. Van Pelt as Mary took leave of her hostess.

"It was not to be expected that I should, being an entire stranger."

"Well, dear, come and spend a quiet evening with me soon; and give my love to your mother."

Mary went up to the dressing-room, and soon reappeared, looking demure and nun-like in her white hood and black-and-white plaid shawl. How she dreaded the ride home with Christian! and yet for a whole week she had been longing for this very thing. The thought of the party had always brought the throbbing anticipation of the ride with Christian after the party. How near he had seemed then, and ever since the memorable evening when they had sat together over that book of engravings! How happy she had been then! how hopeful of his love! But now, what a gulf there seemed between them! What had she to do with this atmosphere of wealth and luxury and fashion where Christian dwelt? He had been pleased to amuse himself for a brief space with looking into her eyes, with making some silly speeches, which he had straightway forgotten, but which she—poor fool!—had laid away in her heart.

Thus she was thinking as Christian handed her into the carriage. She wondered what he would talk about. For a time there was a constrained and painful silence, and Mary tried to think of something to say, that she might hide her aching heart from his merciless gaze. Finally she remarked that the streets were quiet, and he that the night was fine; and in such commonplaces the ride was passed.

Mary found her mother up, eager to learn her impressions of the first large party she had ever attended.

"I am very tired, mother," she said, determined to end the torturing inquisition, "and am aching to get to bed. I'll tell you about the party to-morrow. Don't call me early: let me have a good sleep."

With a feeling of sickening disgust she laid off the silk and lace and flowers which a few hours before had so pleased her. The pale face which met her as she stood before her mirror was very unlike the happy, expectant face she had seen there in the early evening. Turning from the piteous image, she hurriedly put the mean dress away, longing to have the sheltering darkness about her. Soon she had laid her head on the pillow, where, with eyes staring into the darkness, it throbbed for a weary while. "What am I to Christian Van Pelt?" This was the question the poor heart argued and re-argued. One sweet delicious evening stood over against this last, so full of heartache.

The next morning Mary felt weary with all the world. Her home seemed poorer and meaner than ever; the boarders disgusted her with their coarseness; teaching was unrelieved drudgery; everything was distasteful. To her mother's renewed inquiries about the party she replied wearily, "My dress was poor and mean, mother; and had I spent our year's income on my toilet, it would have still been poor, compared with those I saw last night. For such as I there is nothing in fashionable life but heart-burning and humiliation."

A few days after this there came from Mrs. Van Pelt to Miss Trigillgus an invitation to tea. She at once longed and dreaded to meet Christian; so the invitation was declined on the plea of indisposition. It was renewed two evenings, later, and she was obliged to accept it. Mary never looked better than on that evening. She wore a blue empress-cloth, which heightened the fairness of her complexion and of her bright hair. After tea she and Mrs. Van Pelt were looking at some old pictures. They were discussing an ambrotype of herself, taken when she was thirteen, when a servant announced guests in the parlor.

"You were a pretty child, my dear," said Mrs. Van Pelt, rising to go to the parlor, "and you are a handsome woman—a beautiful woman, I may say—your beauty ought to be a fortune to you—but you lack style. I must take you in hand," she continued, talking all the way to the door. "I shall need some amusement after Christian's marriage, to[Pg 322] keep me from being jealous of his little wife;" and she disappeared through the door, little dreaming of the arrow she had sent to the poor heart.

Mary caught her breath, and Christian saw her stagger at the shot. Taken by surprise, completely off his guard, he opened his arms and received the stricken girl in his bosom, and pressed his lips to hers. But Mary had not lost her consciousness. Quickly recovering, she disengaged herself and reached a chair. She was more self-possessed than he. He sat down beside her, quivering in every fibre.

"Mary! Mary!" he cried in passionate beseechment, "I never meant to win your love to betray it. We have both been surprised into a confession of our love for each other, and now let me lay open my heart to you. I do love you, as you must have seen, for I have not been always able to keep the love out of my eyes and voice. You will recall one evening—I know you must remember it—when I was near declaring my love and asking you to be my wife. I don't know why I did not—why I left my story but half told. I sometimes wish that I had declared myself fully, and that we were now pledged to each other. But the very next morning I sustained heavy losses in my business, and others soon followed, and to-day I am threatened with utter ruin. If I cannot raise a hundred thousand dollars this week, and as much in another week, I am a bankrupt. And now you will understand why in two days I am to marry Miss Jerome."

Mary started again. Was the execution, then, so near? She drew a long breath, as though gathering her strength for a hard struggle. "Christian," she said in a low tone that trembled with the energy underlying it, "my poor Christian, you are bewildered. These troubles have shut the light away from your path, and you have lost your way in the darkness. If this is true which you have told me, do you not see that when you have delivered yourself from this threatened bankruptcy, you are yet a bankrupt—a bankrupt in heart and happiness? How can you weigh wealth and position against the best good than can ever come to either of us? I am not afraid of poverty, for I have known nothing else; and surely you do not dread it for yourself. This love is the one good thing which God has permitted in my pitiless destiny. Am I unwomanly? If I plead for my life, who can blame me? And shall that which is more than life go from me without a word? Oh, I cannot smile and look cold as though I was not hurt: I am pierced and torn. Yet, Christian, for your sake, rather than for mine, I entreat. You would bring desolation into both our lives. I might endure it, but how could you bear through the years the memory of your deed? You are trampling on your manhood. You are giving to this woman's hungry heart a stone: you are buying with a lie the holiest thing in her womanhood."

"For four generations my house has withstood every financial storm. The honorable name which my ancestors bequeathed to me I will maintain at every hazard," Christian replied with gloomy energy.

"And you will marry Miss Jerome?"

"Yes: it is my only hope."

"Then God help you, Christian. Your lot is harder than mine. At the worst, my life shall be true: I shall hide no lie in my heart, to fester there." Her words, begun in tenderness, ended in a tone of scorn. "And now I must ask you to see me home."

She left the room, and soon returned cloaked and hooded, to find Christian waiting in overcoat and gloves and with hat in hand. With her arm in his they walked in perfect silence through the gay, bustling streets, passing God knows how many other spirits as sad as their own. When they came to the humble little house which was Mary's home, Christian stopped on the step as though he would say something, but Mary said "Good-night," and passed into the hall.

We magazine-writers have no chance in the space allotted to a short story for a quantitative analysis of emotions and situations, or for following the processes[Pg 323] by which marked changes come about in the human heart. We must content ourselves with informing the reader that certain changes or modifications ensued, trusting that he will receive the statement without requiring reasons or the modus operandi.

For a time it seemed to Mary Trigillgus that the sun would never shine for her again, but a certain admixture in her feeling of scorn and contempt for Christian prevented her from sinking into a total despondency. As she revolved day after day the strange separation of two lives which should have flowed on together, there grew in her heart a kind of bitterness toward the society which had demanded the separation. And then the diffused bitterness gathered, and was concentrated on the woman and the man who had robbed her of her happiness. Especially did her heart rise against Christian Van Pelt. Gold had won him from her: he had made his choice between gold and her love; and then she would chafe against the poverty which from her earliest recollection had fettered her tastes and aspirations, and at every step had been her humiliation. And then she would feel a wild, unreasoning longing to win gold. What a triumph to earn gold beyond what his wife had brought him—beyond what they would together possess! From the time this thought first occurred to her it never left her except for brief intervals. Day after day, hour after hour, it recurred to her, until she became possessed with it. It was in her dreams by night, and with the day she seized and revolved it, until her brain whirled with delirium. A hundred wild schemes and projects came and went in scurrying confusion. With hungry eyes she read the daily advertisements of "Business Chances," "Partners Wanted," etc., and in answering some of these was led into some strange discoveries and adventures.

"I am mad! I am losing my reason! More gold than their millions! I cannot even make a living for myself, lunatic!" she would say; and straightway in fancy would read in the papers the announcement of a fortune being left to Mary Trigillgus—of great and marvelous riches coming to her—and would thrill with her triumph over Christian Van Pelt. She would even pen these announcements to see how they looked, and read them aloud to study their sound.

Mrs. Trigillgus grew alarmed at her daughter's unaccountable moods. A physician was summoned, who decided that she was overworked, and advised a few months in the country. But Mary refused to leave the city, and continued to search for her "chance."

One day she was reading the New York Tribune, when her eye caught a little paragraph in relation to the eclipse of the sun which was to occur on the twentieth of August, and of the preparations that were being made in the scientific world for its observance—of the universal interest it was exciting, etc. etc.

Mary thought of the amount of smoked glass which would be prepared for the day, then of the soiled fingers, then of a remedy for this, and then—her chance flashed upon her.

For a time she sat there, with kindled eyes, with throbbing heart and brain, revolving and shaping her thought. Then she put on her hat and took the omnibus for Mr. Ten Eyck's office.

"Mr. Ten Eyck," she said, after the customary commonplaces, "you once said that you would be glad to serve my mother. Are you as willing to serve her daughter?"

"Certainly," replied Mr. Ten Eyck, growing a little uneasy; "that is, if I can, you understand."

"I have urgent need for money."

Mr. Ten Eyck began to fidget visibly.

"I own a house and lot on Thirty-second street. How much money can you lend me on it? It is a house of seven rooms."

"I know the house," answered Mr. Ten Eyck. "Your mother's father left it to you. There is no encumbrance on it?"


"Allow me to suggest, Miss Trigillgus,[Pg 324] as your mother's old friend, that this step should be well considered before it is decided upon. The necessity should be very urgent before you mortgage your home. As your mother's old friend, may I inquire how you intend using this money? Do not answer me if you have any hesitancy in giving me your confidence."

The old gentleman looked at her with such kindly, fatherly solicitude that, after a moment of confused hesitation, she answered: "I will give the confidence you invite, Mr. Ten Eyck. I have a plan by which I can make a fortune in a few days. I propose to manufacture glasses for the great eclipse—say three millions of eclipse-glasses—and distribute them throughout the United States and the Canadas."

Mr. Ten Eyck stared at her through his golden-bowed glasses: "What kind of glasses? Explain yourself more fully."

"I shall buy up all the common glass in New York and Pittsburg, and in other cities perhaps, at the lowest possible figure. Much of the refuse glass will answer my purpose. I shall have it cut, three inches by five, stain it, put two stained surfaces together, and bind with paper. At ten cents apiece the gross proceeds of three millions will be three hundred thousand dollars."

"And how will you distribute them?"

"Through the news agents," she answered promptly, "and on the same terms at which they push the newspapers. By this great system I shall secure a simultaneous distribution throughout the whole country."

Mr. Ten Eyck had laid off his glasses and assumed an attitude of deep attention: "Suppose it should rain on eclipse-day?"

"I have thought of that contingency. I should anticipate it by having the glasses in the market for two or three days preceding the eclipse. To give the glass additional value, I should paste on it a printed slip stating the hour when the eclipse will begin, the period of its duration, and the moment of total obscuration." Then she started and glowed with a sudden revelation that came flashing through her brain. "I will make the glasses an advertising medium," she continued eagerly. "I will make the advertisements pay all the expenses, and much more. Can I not find a man in New York City, or somewhere in the United States, who would pay a hundred thousand dollars to have three millions of people reading in one moment the merits of his wares or of his remedies! And if such a man cannot be found, one who will purchase the exclusive right to advertise with me, I'll parcel it out. Yes, I can pay all expenses with the advertisements; but I must have some ready money to begin with—to initiate the enterprise. Will you lend me the money on my house and lot?"

Mr. Ten Eyck resumed his glasses, and sat for a long time staring into a pigeon-hole of his desk in profound meditation.

"My dear Miss Trigillgus, allow me, as your mother's old friend, to speak plainly to you. You are planning an enterprise of such proportions that no woman could go through with it. In the most skillful hands great risk would attend it, even with abundance of money to back it; and let me assure you that a woman without business education and with cramped means could have no chance whatever in the arena of experts. Her defeat would be inevitable. I would gladly serve you, Miss Trigillgus, and I think, pardon me, that my surest way of doing this is to decline making the loan you ask, and to advise you, as your mother's old friend, to abandon this scheme."

"I shall consider your advice, Mr. Ten Eyck," said Miss Trigillgus, "and I thank you for it, whether I act upon it or not;" and she gave a cold bow that contradicted her words.

Mary made many other attempts to raise money, but all were unsuccessful. A few mornings after this her advertisement appeared in the Tribune, calling for a partner with ten thousand dollars to take a half interest in an enterprise which was sure to net a quarter of a million within a month. It had such an extravagant sound that it was set down[Pg 325] as a humbug, and few answered it. She had interviews with two young men of such suspicious appearance that she did not dare reveal her scheme to them. Day after day the card appeared with no satisfactory result; and Mary perceived with a kind of frenzy the short time in which her great work was to be accomplished growing shorter and shorter. She moved cautiously, lest her grand idea should be appropriated, but she left no stone unturned for raising the money. Finally, on the ninth of August, impatient, anxious, nervous, she had six thousand dollars in hand, and only ten days intervened before the day of the eclipse. She went immediately to an eminent solicitor of patents, who had influence at Washington, and made application for a patent for advertising on eclipse-glasses. The solicitor thought there was no doubt but that the patent could be secured, so that she might freely proceed with her enterprise. She next contracted with a glass-factory for five thousand dollars' worth of glass, and engaged one hundred men to cut and stain it and put up the eclipse-glasses. Then she made several endeavors to see the president of the news agency, and after repeated failures she opened a correspondence by letter with him, briefly outlining her plan, and asking him to undertake through the news agents the distribution of the glasses. The next morning she received in response, through the post-office, these lines:

"Miss Trigillgus: You have been anticipated in your enterprise. We are engaged to distribute eclipse-glasses for another party."

As Mary read the cruel words that ended all her hopes, she fell lifeless to the floor, and was thus discovered by her mother.

The following day there came a confirmatory note from the solicitor of patents, stating that she had been anticipated also in her application for a patent.

From this period Mary's moods became indescribable. From a state of unrelieved despondency she issued so merry, in such exhilaration, that her mother was glad to welcome back the shadowed mood which soon succeeded. The sagacity of physicians, of her most familiar acquaintances, of her mother, was all at fault. No one could decide whether or not her mind was unhinged, whether or not Mary Trigillgus was insane; for it must be remembered that her friends were ignorant of the events we have been narrating—her love for Christian Van Pelt, her disappointment, her grand scheme, the sacrifice of her home and the failure of her enterprise.

The nineteenth of August came, the day preceding the grand event of the century. Mary Trigillgus and her mother were lingering at the breakfast-table. The girl seemed wild and hawk-like, startling her mother with her unnatural merriment, commenting with weird brilliancy and grotesqueness and sparkle on the various items as Mrs. Trigillgus read them. At length she read a paragraph about the eclipse. "'And we would advise every reader,'" she continued, "'to furnish himself with an eclipse-glass, which he can procure at any of the news dépôts for the sum of ten cents. The glass is nicely finished, and is very perfect for the purpose intended. We understand that five millions of these glasses have been put into the market, for which the country is indebted to the genius and enterprise of our young fellow-citizen, Mr. Christian Van Pelt, assisted by Mr. W. V. Ten Eyck.'"

"He has done it! he has again stabbed me!" cried Mary Trigillgus, with the maniac's glare in her eyes. "The gold is his—his and hers! Piles of gold! and they have cut it out of my heart, dug it out of my brain! I have nothing left! Don't you see, mother, I am only an empty shell? Stab me here in the heart, where he has stabbed me: it won't hurt. There's nothing there! nothing! it's all hollow." There was no longer any doubt that Mary Trigillgus's mind was unhinged.

During all that day men and children were crying the eclipse-glasses in the street, selling them at every door.

"Hear them! hear them!" the poor[Pg 326] maniac would cry. "They are selling millions of them! they are piling the gold all about him and her! They are to have a palace of gold, and Mary's to have only the ashes. Poor Mary! poor Mary! All the good's for them, all the pain's for Mary!" and then she would weep herself into a quiet mood of despondency.

The next day, the day of the eclipse, Mary demanded one of the glasses, and would not be diverted from her desire. She read the advertisement on the eclipse-glass: "Babcock's Fire-Extinguisher will put out any fire! Get one!"

"Mother, get me one: I have a fire here;" and she pressed her hand to her brow. She examined the glass again and again, looking it over and over, and reading the advertisement aloud: "Babcock's Fire-Extinguisher will put out any fire! Get one!" All day long, at short intervals, she was running to the window and looking through the glass at the sun.

And when the grand hour arrived for the wonderful phenomenon, when the five million glasses were raised to witness the obscuration, and the weird twilight had settled over all nature, this young life too had passed into a total eclipse, from which it has never for a moment emerged.

The poor lunatic never rages. She is sweet and harmless as a child. She makes frequent visits to the glass-factories and to the news-rooms to inquire after the progress of her enterprise, and over and over again makes her contract to advertise the "Babcock Fire-Extinguisher," and comes back with promises to her mother of the boundless riches which are to flow in upon them.

As for Christian Van Pelt, his wrong to Mary had been unintentional, as he was ignorant of her connection with the eclipse-glass scheme. Though Mr. Ten Eyck had been honest in advising Miss Trigillgus to abandon her plans, under the persuasion that with her limited means and want of business training the result could not fail to be disastrous, he yet saw that with capital and energy to push it a grand success might be achieved. Having little loose capital, and his time being well occupied, he unfolded the scheme to Christian Van Pelt, and together they put the enterprise through. Mr. Ten Eyck argued that since Miss Trigillgus had abandoned the plan, as he really supposed had been the case, he was not wronging her by prosecuting it himself. He was one of that numerous class who fail to perceive that ideas have commercial value.

S. W. Kellogg.


"If," wrote Franklin, "you wish a separation to be always possible, take the utmost pains that the colonies shall never be incorporated with the mother-country. Do not let them share your liberties. Make use of their commerce, regulate their industry, tax them at your will, and spend at your caprice the wealth thus drawn from them, which costs you nothing. Take care to invest the general in charge of them with despotic power, and at the same time give him immunity from all colonial control. If the colonists protest, do not listen to them, but reply by charges of high treason and rebellion. Say that all such complaints are the invention of certain demagogues, and that if one could catch and hang these wretched fellows all would go well. If need be, arrest and hang them. By continuing such a policy you will infallibly arrive at your goal, and to a certainty be in a brief time disembarrassed of your colonies."

The above, wrote an accomplished Spaniard a few years ago, applies as[Pg 327] exactly to the Spanish colonies to-day as it did to those of England at the time of our struggle with her. In fact, the misrule in Cuba has been fifty times worse than the worst Anglo-Saxon misrule ever known. The island has been used by Spain simply as a gold-mine.[J] So far as those toiling in it are concerned, she has displayed an indifference similar to that which resulted in the destruction of her West Indian population three centuries ago. The Cubans have been taxed without representation, shot down if they remonstrated, and mocked by acts of the Cortes, granting relief which it was never intended to afford to them, but which for a time served in some degree to throw dust in the eyes of Europe.

And thus it came to pass that on the 10th of October, 1868, the Cubans, recognizing the truth of the poetic axiom, that

Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow,

and that Spain's difficulty should be Cuba's opportunity, issued a Declaration of Independence. The document, dated from Manzanillo, thus stated the case: "In arming ourselves against the tyrannical government of Spain, we must, according to precedent in all civilized countries, proclaim before the world the cause that impels us to take this step, which, though likely to entail considerable disturbance now, will ensure future happiness. It is well known that Spain governs this island with an iron and blood-stained hand, holding its inhabitants deprived of political, civil and religious liberty. Hence the unfortunate Cubans, illegally prosecuted, sent into exile and executed in time of peace by military commissions. Hence their being prohibited from attending public meetings, and forbidden to speak or write on affairs of state. Hence their remonstrances against the evils that afflict them being regarded as the proceedings of rebels, from the fact that they are expected to keep silent and obey. Hence the never-ending plague of hungry officials from Spain to devour the product of their industry and labor. Hence the restrictions to which public instruction with them is subjected, in order to keep them so ignorant as to render them unable to know and enforce their rights in any shape or form. Hence the navy and standing army kept in and about their country at an enormous expense (paid out of taxes levied on Cuba), to make them submit to the terrible yoke imposed....

"As we are in danger of losing our property, our lives and our honor under further Spanish domination; as we have reached a depth of degradation revolting to manhood; as great nations have sprung from revolt against a similar disgrace after exhausted pleadings for relief; as we despair of justice from Spain through reasoning, and cannot longer live deprived of the rights which other people enjoy,—we are constrained to appeal to arms, to assert our rights in the battle-field, cherishing the hope that our grievances will be a sufficient excuse for this last resort to redress them and secure our future welfare."

Ten days later the Cuban insurgent general Cespedes asked our own government to recognize the belligerent rights of his party, in a letter which detailed[Pg 328] the rapid success of the movement. On the 27th of December, 1868, Cespedes issued a proclamation of emancipation. In January, 1869, it would appear that Spain, herself in a very critical condition under a provisional government, thought that a sop must be thrown to Cuba, and accordingly the captain-general of Cuba issued one of those highflown addresses which come with such readiness from Spanish bureaus. Said this gallant and noble-minded governor: "I will brave every danger, accept every responsibility, for your welfare. The revolution has swept away the Bourbon dynasty, tearing up by the roots a plant so poisonous that it putrefied the air we breathe. To the citizen shall be returned his rights, to man his dignity." [An admission, by the way, that they had been bereft of both.] "You will receive all the reforms which you require. Cubans and Spaniards are all brothers. From this day Cuba will be considered as a province of Spain. Freedom of the press, the right of meeting in public, and representation in the national Cortes—the three fundamental principles of true liberty—are granted you. Speaking in the name of our mother, Spain, I adjure you to forget the past, hope for the future and establish union and fraternity."

These very fine words, however, seem to have utterly failed in buttering the Cuban parsnips. They were, in truth, calculated to carry about as much conviction to the mind of Cubans as Joseph Surface's sentiments after the discovery of Lady Teazle behind the screen do to her ladyship's husband.

The insurrection saw no abatement. A reinforcement of fifteen hundred men came from Spain, and within six weeks of all these blessings being promised by the captain-general, freedom of the press was abolished and trial by military commission established. On the 3d of March came a second reinforcement of a thousand men from Spain.

Meanwhile, Cespedes, the Cuban general, found his only available policy to be a sort of guerilla warfare until he could rally a sufficient force and collect arms for an encounter with the Spanish army; and on March 1, 1869, he again addressed our President, asking for the recognition of belligerent rights.

Up to this date no civil organization had existed among the insurgents, but in April, 1869, representatives from the several anti-Spanish districts met at Guaymazo, in the province of Puerto Principe, when Cespedes formally resigned his power into the hands of the House of Representatives, who thereupon proclaimed him president of the Cuban republic, and General Quesada commander of the forces.

During the summer of 1869 the war was carried on with indifferent success by the Spaniards, and in June General Dulce, captain-general, went home,[K] being, in fact, virtually deposed by the "volunteers," who were supposed to support the Spanish interest. These latter are, for the most part, a set of worthless men, the scum of Spain and other countries, who, with everything to gain and nothing to lose, consented to enlist in the service of the Spanish slave-dealing clique in Havana, and were furious at what they deemed too great clemency on the part of the captain-general.

Dulce was succeeded by De Rodas, who announced "a vigorous policy." During the autumn of 1869 no decisive step was taken on either side, but the insurgents, careful to prevent the enemy profiting by the confiscated property of the Cubans who had been compelled to abandon their plantations, set fire to the cane, and hundreds of valuable crops were thus destroyed. The year 1870 saw no abatement of the struggle.

Meanwhile, Peru and Chili formally and cordially recognized the independence of the insurgents, toward whom still warmer symptoms of sympathy from this quarter have been lately evinced, and widespread sympathy has also been expressed toward them in the United States; but the President in his message of December, 1869, intimated that he did not consider the position of the insurgents such as to warrant him in recognizing their belligerent rights.[Pg 329]

And thus matters have continued till to-day. For more than four years Cuba has been the scene of bloodshed, misery and ruin. Notwithstanding the strong feeling for Cuba in this country, it would appear that even now our cabinet deems it undesirable to recognize belligerent rights on the part of the Cubans, but at the same time Mr. Fish's letter to Mr. Sickles of the 29th of October last is couched in terms which clearly indicate a limit to this forbearance, when he says: "Sustained, as is the present ministry, by the large popular vote which has recently returned to the Cortes an overwhelming majority in its support, there can be no more room to doubt their ability to carry into operation the reforms of which they have given promise than there can be justification to question the sincerity with which the assurance was given. It seems, therefore, to be a fitting occasion to look back upon the relations between the United States and Spain, and to mark the progress which may have been made in accomplishing those objects in which we have been promised her co-operation. It must be acknowledged with regret that little or no advance has been made. The tardiness in this respect, however, cannot be said to be in any way imputable to a want of diligence, zeal or ability in the legation of the United States at Madrid. The department is persuaded that no person, however gifted with those qualities and faculties, could have better succeeded against the apparent apathy or indifference of the Spanish authorities, if, indeed, their past omission to do what we have expected should not be ascribable to other causes.

"The Spanish government, partly at our instance, passed a law providing for the gradual emancipation of slaves in the West India colonies. This law, so far as this department is aware, remains unexecuted, and it is feared that the recently-issued regulations, professedly for its execution, are wholly inadequate to any practical result in favor of emancipation, if they be not really in the interest of the slaveholder and of the continuance of the institution of slavery."

And after various stringent comments he concludes: "It is hoped that you will present the views above set forth, and the present grievances of which this government so justly complains, to the government to which you are accredited, in a way which, without giving offence, will leave a conviction that we are in earnest in the expression of those views, and that we expect redress; and that if it should not soon be afforded Spain must not be surprised to find, as the inevitable result of the delay, a marked change in the feeling and in the temper of the people and of the government of the United States. Believing that the present ministry of Spain is in a sufficiently confirmed position of power to carry out the measures which it announces and the reforms which have been promised, and to do justice by the removal of the causes of our well-founded complaints, and not doubting the sincerity of the assurances which have been given, the United States look confidently for the realization of those hopes, which have been encouraged by repeated promises, that all causes for estrangement or for the interruption of those friendly feelings which are traditional, as they are sincere, on the part of this government toward Spain, will be speedily and for ever removed."

The cry is now loudly raised for recognition of belligerent rights, with a view to independence and annexation by the United States. But, as we have said, the government of this country does not—wisely for American interests, in our opinion—appear inclined to hurry toward such a course, and we should like to see the experiment first tried of active mediation on its part between Spain and Cuba. A meeting of leading representatives of both parties of the island under a distinguished jurist at Washington might not impossibly assist the solution of the difficulty.

Although many Cubans, despairing of reconciliation, are disposed at this moment to declare that the time has quite gone by for a compromise, it is doubtful whether this be really the case. Cuba and Spain have been united for centuries, and notwithstanding fierce animosities[Pg 330] have yet many common ties. There are, too, not a few prudent men who, whilst strongly in favor of abolition, dread the sudden adoption of such a course, which would be the inevitable result of an entire break with Spain. They see in it nothing but ruin to the majority of whites, without corresponding advantage to the blacks. "Let abolition come," they say, "by all means, but not all at once. Look at Jamaica, look at your own South! Would it not have really been better for all parties if the abolition had been more gradual, or at least attended by such conditions as would have ensured less immediate depreciation of property?"

We believe that our government could not more effectually serve the interests of the Cubans than by a vigorous intercession[L] to secure them an independent government on the Anglo-colonial system, accompanied by the passage of an act of the Cortes freeing every slave within five years; and meantime enforcing rigorously protective measures for the enslaved, including payment of wages.

There seems no reason why a legislative system on the plan of the Australian colonies of Great Britain should not be attempted. Its failure in Jamaica is not sufficient ground against it. In Jamaica there were a few grains of whites to bushels of blacks: in Cuba there are some seven hundred thousand colored—of whom only four hundred thousand are slaves—to about one million four hundred thousand whites.

We can scarcely doubt that the Spanish government will feel constrained to hearken to the remonstrances of that of the United States. Spain is to-day in all but extent of territory a fourth-rate rather than a second-rate power. Her government is the least stable in Europe, except possibly that of France. Her exchequer is exhausted. Her credit is utterly gone. Assume a war: where is she to get money? There is not a people in Europe, save the Dutch and the English, who at this moment have anything to lend, and neither Dutch nor English are likely at present to send more money to Madrid. Spain has too amply proved herself the defaulter par excellence of the world.

Now, therefore, is the time for American mediation; and we sincerely hope that Mr. Fish will not let it pass, but will follow up vigorously his admirable despatch, and thus secure to Cubans the blessings of a free country.

For years Spain has been promising, and not performing. Performance seems with her the result only of compulsion; and if this really be so, she must be compelled. So far as Cuban affairs are concerned, she has had ample indulgence at the hands of ourselves and Great Britain. Every reasonable chance has been given her to mend her ways. She has failed to avail herself of her opportunities, and cannot complain if she suffer accordingly. It is not in the nature of things that this country should look calmly for all time on the just struggles of an enthralled and trodden-down people dwelling within a few hours of our own mainland.


[J] In September, 1872, Senator Benot made a remarkable speech in the Cortes in reference to the treatment of Cuba. "It is," he said, "the Spanish peninsula alone that is ignorant of events in Cuba. But it is not ignorance only of which I complain. From those remote possessions comes the blood of the negro converted into gold to pervert the public mind."

Referring to the horrid massacre of students in 1871, Senator Benot said: "Spain does not rule Cuba: if she did, innocent children would not be executed at the instance of the Spanish clique in Havana. Senators, you are parents. Suppose that your boys in the professors' absence were to run out to play in the adjoining cemetery. Suppose that for this lack of reverence a ferocious mob seized your sons, subjected them to a court-martial, charged them falsely with the demolition of sepulchres—sepulchres whose crystals are untouched even now. Imagine them brought before a court-martial and absolved, and then imagine these children dragged by the mob, disappointed of their prey, before another military council, who under terror condemned eight to death and the remainder to the galleys. There were forty-four children, and the kind council drew lots to decide which of them should be shot. Two brothers were drawn, but even the stony hearts of the so-called judges thought that it would be going rather too far to rob one father of his two sons; so one was discharged, and another substituted because older than the rest. This incredible, unprecedented crime yet goes unpunished."

[K] He died in the following November at Madrid.

[L] "I have, since the beginning of the present session of Congress, communicated to the House of Representatives, upon their request, an account of the steps which I had taken in the hope of securing to the people of Cuba the blessings and the right of independent self-government. These efforts failed, but not without an assurance from Spain that the good offices of this government might still avail for the objects to which they had been addressed. It is stated, on what I believe to be good authority, that Cuban bonds have been prepared to a large amount, whose payment is made dependent upon the recognition by the United States of either Cuban belligerency or independence. The object of making their value thus contingent upon the action of this government is a subject for serious reflection." (President Grant's message, June, 1870.) Suggestive statements, indicating how powerful the interference of our government may be! It would more than aught else give the Spanish cabinet strength in inducing the Cortes to endorse it in high-handed measures against the moneyed slave-holding, slave-dealing clique in Havana, which is the root of all evil there.

[Pg 331]





The house to which Spener's steps now turned was the sixth one below Loretz's, on the same narrow street facing the stream—the long white house with a deep porch in which young men might often be seen smoking. Spener had given it the name of "Brethren's House," rather in remembrance of the custom still existing in Moravian villages than because it was strictly the abode of unmarried men who sought there a home. It was the fact that many unmarried men did dwell there, but also it was true that the house was the one inn of the place, and at this time it was well filled, as Loretz had said to Leonhard when he opened for him his hospitable gate.

At the head of the long dining-table Albert Spener took his place, and room was made beside him for his guest; and truly it was a company of cheerful-hearted workers, on whom no director might look without a thrill of satisfaction.

"Stay a month with us as a probationer," said Spener suddenly, bringing his eyes to bear upon Leonhard, and there was kindly and powerful persuasion in them. "We can make you comfortable at least, and perhaps you may be brought to like us. I want to have a school-house built here: it is getting to be a necessity. You shall give us something ornamental in spite of ourselves, if you insist upon it. And it may be no difficult thing to compel me to put up houses on both those sites. But you are settled already, I suppose?"

"No," answered Leonhard: "I am much more unsettled than any man of my years ought to be. I am so unfortunate as to have two professions."

"Get into debt, and that will straighten you for a while," said Spener, laughing heartily. "When I had fairly left my employer and set this enterprise afoot, I gave up my sleeping habits. You will be obliged to part with something in order to convince yourself that you are in earnest. If you give up sleep, you will soon come to decisions."

"I owe enough," said Leonhard.

"I should not have guessed it. You sleep yet, though."

"Because I can't help it. Yes, I sleep."

"Then you will have to part with something of your free will—one of the professions, I suppose: you can't follow two very well. It is astonishing," Spener continued, not averse to talking about himself just now, when he was so much occupied with thoughts which concerned himself chiefly—"it is astonishing how different things look from the two sides of an action. Do your best, you cannot tell before you have taken a step how you will feel after it." On that remark he paused for a moment. Then he went on. It was a relief to talk with this young stranger: he had this advantage in the talk—it relieved him, and what he said, much or little, did not affect in the least the more that was left unsaid. There was nobody in Spenersberg to whom he could say as much as he was saying to Marten. Any Spenersberger would immediately proceed with the clew to the end. "My employer," he continued, "was a very cautious man, and I believe he thought me crazy when I told him what I was going to do, and asked him to lend me the money. Not a dollar would he lend, and I thank him for it. Go to the bank if you can find an endorser: it is best to feel that an institution is at your heels, and will be down on you if you are not up to time. An avalanche is a thing anybody in his senses will keep clear of."

"True," said Leonhard; and Spener went on eating his dinner, without suspecting that his talk had entirely appeased his companion's hunger.

The young men spent a part of the[Pg 332] afternoon walking about the garden alluded to where the willows were under cultivation. A scene of thrift and industry of which the eye could not soon tire was presented by these products of careful labor in every stage of growth.

At length Spener came to Leonhard and told him that he should be obliged to leave him till the next day. "I find that I must go to town this afternoon," he said, "but you are to stay until after the festival. That is decided. I must talk with you again, and arrange about those buildings."

It was easy now for Leonhard to decide that he would stay till after the festival—there was reason good why he should—and he promised to do so. Spener was so desirous that he should stay that after he had left the field he came back to urge it. But when he had looked again at Leonhard, he did not urge it in the way he had intended to do: "You must think whether it will be worth your while to stay or not. What is the profession you spoke about that keeps you unsettled, did you say?"



"But I am a builder of course—an architect and a builder," said poor Leonhard hurriedly.

"I like you," said Spener, drawing Leonhard's arm within his. "If you could make up your mind to stay, we might make it your interest to do so. As a probationer, you understand. There is a good deal to be done here, and I may throw open the farm up there to purchasers. The only difficulty is, that our people here might object. But it is quite clear to me—quite clear—that a little daylight wouldn't do any of us harm if it could be had, you know, by merely cutting away the dead underbrush and worthless timber."

He shook hands again with Leonhard, who said, "I will think about what you have said: I like the sound of it."

"There will be no end of work here for a skillful man of your business if the land is sold in lots. I have had a great many applications. I don't know of any such building-sites anywhere. My house will have to be over there on the slope, I think—a sort of guard to the valley and an assurance to Spenersbergers."

He now went away, looking back and nodding at Leonhard, confident that they understood each other.

"There's a man to envy!" thought our explorer; and he felt as if a strong staff had been wrenched out of his hand.

But the thoughts with which Albert Spener strode toward the station, a mile away, were not enviable thoughts. For a little while he went on thinking about Leonhard with great satisfaction, and he made many plans based on ground-lines traced for his new acquaintance; but as he went his way he passed first Mr. Wenck's small abode, and farther on the house where Elise lived, and his indignation was not lessened when he thought how trivial was the part he had allowed himself to act in the play which might end as a tragedy if Elise should prove obstinate.



Later in the afternoon, toward sunset, Leonhard left the gardens and walked slowly down the street, taking cognizance of all things in his way. He noticed that Taste had taken Haste in hand in many a place, and that already attempts were evident to repair and amend or construct anew. What might not be done toward making a paradise of such a place under the encouragement of a man like Albert Spener? But a probationer! That meant, Say that you will present yourself to Moravian brethren as a candidate for admission to their fellowship. He smiled at the thought, but when he considered the opportunities of work Spener would put in his way, he began to look grave. Of course he must give up his music: it was no profession for him, and he saw that it was folly and weakness to attempt the service of two masters; and yet he will go back and talk with Mrs. Anna about Herrnhut and old Leonhard Marten. Just here comes the sound of a trombone cleaving the air.[Pg 333]

It startles him, and it startles others also. "Who is gone?" he hears one man ask another from his place in the garden; and he understands that the trombone has made an announcement to the people of Spenersberg. How the notes wind along, a noble stream of solemn sound!

"Who is gone home?" he hears another ask, but again there is no answer.

He sees a group of children stopping in the midst of their play and looking at each other with scared faces—one little one suddenly hiding its face in its mother's apron, as if in the shrinking shyness and awe of apprehension.

As he approaches his destination a ghostlike face and figure startles Leonhard: he looks back and sees it is "our little minister, Wenck," whom Spener had pointed out to him in their morning walk. He is hurrying down the street, and it is not likely that any one will stop a man proceeding at such a rate, with questions.

Loretz stands on his piazza with his trombone in his hand: it is he who blows that blast which echoes through Spenersberg, announcing a death.

Doubting what the signal means, Leonhard, with a little hesitation, approaches his host and looks for the information he does not ask. Is it a calamity that has overtaken the house? One could hardly gather from a glance at Mr. Loretz. Evidently the stout little man has been moved by some powerful surprise: his eyes are full of agitation; his dress betokens it; he has been driven to and fro, distracted, within the hour. When he sees Leonhard his excitement exhibits itself in a new form: he lifts the trombone to his lips, and taking another key he sounds again; it is a note of solemn triumph, so prolonged that it would seem as if the desire was that all space should be filled with the echoes thereof.

Leonhard sits down on one of the large wooden chairs in the piazza to enjoy the music: then Loretz comes to him and says, "You have heard it?"

"I have heard it?" repeated Leonhard, interrogatively.

"Sister Benigna—"

"What is it, sir?" exclaimed Leonhard, starting to his feet.

"She has gone home."

"Good God!" exclaimed Leonhard. "Do you mean to say that she is dead?"

"We call it going home," answered Loretz.

"But gone home! When, why, how did she go?"

"It shocks you," said Loretz, finding perhaps not a little satisfaction in seeing this stranger so moved. He had himself been so horrified by Benigna's silent, unlooked-for departure, and to be shocked and horrified by death was so undesirable and so fought against among good Moravians, that Leonhard's emotion, and much more than emotion, seemed a real solace for the moment. "We don't know how it was," he continued. "My daughter was to go to practice the music with her in the hall after school, and when she went into the school-room she found Sister Benigna sitting at her desk with The Messiah open. But she was gone. We had in Doctor Hummel, and he says it was the heart. He has thought, he says, for a year or so, that there must be some feeble action of the valves. She went to him a twelvemonth since about it, and he told her his opinion; but he told her she might live fifty years yet, though she might go any day. She never mentioned it to us. But Hummel says when he told her she said it was good news. Yet, sir, you never saw a happier creature. You saw her last night and this morning. Well, sir, that's a fair sample—busy all the time, and happy as happy."

"But are you sure that nothing could be done for her?" exclaimed Leonhard, to whom the quiet and calm into which Loretz had talked himself was anything but composing.

"Perfectly sure. If you should look at her once you would see. But I must go back to my women. Will you make yourself at home within? We shall all be back in an hour or so."

Leonhard said he would go to the Brethren's House and spend the night there, but Loretz said hastily, "I was afraid you would be thinking of that,[Pg 334] sir. Stay with us: we want your company. We shall not bring Sister Benigna here. If she had—had died here, we should have carried her to the corpse-house this evening. It is but a short distance from the factory, and she will lie there to-night. And—I have been thinking—to-morrow evening we must celebrate our congregation festival with her funeral."

"Then if I had not come just when I did," thought Leonhard, "I should never have seen Sister Benigna. If the truth could be known, I don't believe the woman has known any greater pleasure in a long time than I gave her when I made those suggestions last evening. Only twenty-four hours, and it might be a year! She ought to have lived until after the festival. How she would have enjoyed it! I should like to look at Spener when he hears that the woman is actually out of the world. It would be a bad job for him if it had happened to be the other one. Jupiter! wouldn't I like to know whether it is better to be lamented by the community, so far as the community's principles will allow it to lament, or to spread devastation all around in the way this little Miss Elise couldn't help doing if she should be 'called home,' as they say! Musician answers one way, architect the other. Have you the nerve to go in and touch that piano, Probationer Marten?"

Rex tremendæ Majestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, Fons Pietatis!

What voice was this which made the house resound, and thrilled the hearts of the listeners at the gate as they stood there for a moment in the moonlight?

"I left Mr. Marten within," said Loretz to his wife and daughter.

"He is singing the Requiem," said Elise. They waited a moment longer, but just then Leonhard stepped over the window-sill, and began pacing the piazza with his arms folded on his breast, his head bent. The words he sang in fact had electrified him, and the rush of thoughts had driven him from the piano.

Salva me, Fons Pietatis!



Later in the evening, Mr. Wenck came to the house, not to talk about the event, but the funeral. In spite of the hint Loretz had dropped when talking with Leonhard, he seemed somewhat surprised when the minister proposed that the funeral should take place on the following evening. The good man made this proposal in the fewest words possible: it had evidently cost him a good deal to make it. He perhaps felt himself under constraint in the midst of this very select audience.

Loretz said, "I don't know that we can decide till Mr. Spener gets back. He went to town this afternoon."

"When will he come?" asked the minister.

"Some time to-morrow—toward night: he usually comes up at six or seven, unless he is detained."

"We might fix the funeral at six: the concert was to begin at seven. I think we may take it for granted that the hours would meet his approval. He would say, if he were here, that we had better decide on the hour ourselves."

"Yes, yes, he would say so, of course," said Loretz quickly, "and he would mean what he said, sir," he added, argumentatively. "Of course: let us then say at six o'clock the procession will move from—from the corpse-house to the church. She has been taken away just as she was in the midst of preparation for the festival; let us therefore observe it even as it would have been observed."

The voice which spoke these words was altogether under the speaker's control, but the pathos in it so moved the heart of dear little Dame Loretz that she exclaimed, "Let it be so, father: certainly, it must be. It would please Sister Benigna beyond anything to have all the little children there just as she had arranged. And who has done for the church more than she has? I am sure it is what—what everybody must see is the right thing. Mr. Wenck, I am very glad you came to talk about it: we were all beside ourselves—we didn't know what to think or what to do."[Pg 335]

"Shall it be so, Elise?" asked Loretz, turning to his daughter quietly after his wife had concluded her animated speech.

"I know it would be what she would wish," said Elise.

"Then it shall be. I have a mind to go to town for Mr. Spener. But he will come: he is always on time. He knows when he means to be here, if we don't, and we can't change that."

So it was decided, and Mr. Wenck went away, having declined the entreaty of Mrs. Loretz to fill a seat at their supper-table.

Slowly walking back to his lonely house, which had never seemed so lonely, so desolate to him, Mr. Wenck saw little Charles Hummel, who was going in the same direction and homeward. He had been looking for Charley, for he had heard one of the children say that he was in the school-room with the teacher last, and so he took the boy's hand, and they walked along together.

"Are you all prepared with your pieces, Charley?" the minister asked.

"Oh yes, sir, but now we shall not sing them."

"And why will you not sing them, my boy?"

"Because there will not be any celebration—will there, sir?"

"Certainly: why should there not?"

"What, sir! to-morrow night, just the same?"

"Do you think that Sister Benigna would approve of our having no congregation festival?"

"Why, sir, you know—don't you know? I saw them carrying her from the school-room. She—she—"

"Yes, I know all," said the minister: "she is gone home. But then she will know about our celebration: oh yes, just the same: it must be that she will hear all the sweet voices. It seems far away to us where she is: perhaps it has seemed so, but she brings heaven nearer: it is surely but a step to the Better Land."

It had appeared almost impossible for Mr. Wenck to speak in Loretz's house, but now words came so freely to his lips that he seemed even to find comfort in speech.

The boy had now reached his father's house, and would have gone in, but the minister with gentle force retained the small hand he held, and said, "Let us walk on a little farther, Charley. How beautiful the moon is to-night! Were you in the school-room to-day, my boy?"

"I was there this afternoon, sir," said the little lad, awed by the sound of his own voice's gentleness—so gently the minister spoke he could himself speak in no other way. But he would not have liked the boys to hear him, and he looked around as if to see if any one followed, and was a little startled when he saw his shadow and the shadow of Mr. Wenck following so close.

"When I come to speak to the congregation about her I shall want to tell them all about to-day," said Mr. Wenck, "if there is anything it would be pleasant for them to know. Do you remember anything she—she said or did, Charley?"

The boy thought a moment. "It was just the same as always," said he.

"Did you practice your songs this afternoon?"

"Yes, sir, we practiced them."

"For the last time, and you did not know it!" Would that little lad remember, when he came to manhood, this hour and these words? Would he from that noonday sun receive a light that could enlighten the mystery of this pallid, shadowy hour which filled his little being with such awe?

"But she said we sang beautifully," he said, moved by the spirit of obedience to stay and answer, and not shake off the hand that held him and run home affrighted, and dream of spirits and Mr. Wenck's pale face and his strange voice.

"Oh, then you pleased her?"

"She said it was the best singing, sir, she had ever heard, and that she was glad we had worked so hard and had been so attentive and patient. That was what she said, I remember now," said the little lad with spirit: "I thought there was something I forgot. She said when we sang our part in the festival all the people would know how hard we had tried to learn."[Pg 336]

"And when she dismissed you, was there anything more?"

"She—she kissed us: she always did," said the little fellow, bursting into sudden crying.

"Oh, Charley," said the minister—and he bent down and kissed the little boy, whose face was wet with tears—"we must not cry for her—not any of us. And God himself has wiped away her tears."

"And then when I was going out," said Charley, rallying again, "she asked me to bring her a pitcher of water from the spring before I went home. When I took it in she was reading her music, and she had some flowers in a glass. And I filled it with fresh water for her," he said proudly. And that was all he had to tell.

"You are a good boy to remember so much," said Mr. Wenck; and now he walked back with Charley to the doctor's gate, and kissing him again bade him "Good-night."

Long after every light was extinguished in Spenersberg homes, Mr. Wenck was walking up and down in front of his own house beneath the trees, pacing the grass, a noiseless sentinel. He had no duties now to perform: undisturbed his thoughts might wander whither they would. They could not wander far—too near was the magnet. The day had begun in a manner which he could not but think remarkable: the shadow of approaching calamity had disturbed him until the horror appeared. For, accustomed as he had been to teach and preach and to think of death as a friend, the conductor to a happier world, the enlightener and the life-giver, he could not regard the departure of Sister Benigna in such light. The loss to the community was almost irreparable, he began by saying to himself, but he ended by saying, "Hypocrite! do you mourn the community's loss, or your own?"

The tower-clock struck twelve as in his walk he approached the gate to his little garden: he hesitated, and then noiselessly opened it. Here were various fragrant flowers in blossom, and roses innumerable on the well-cared-for bushes, but he passed these, and gathered from the house wall a few ivy leaves, and climbing the fence in the rear of his house began to ascend the slope that led to the cemetery, that place of the people's constant resort. He did not enter it, but stood a long while on the peaceful plain, which was filled with moonlight. At last he slowly turned away and walked across the wooded knolls and fields until he came to the corpse-house, which only yesterday he had garnished with fresh boughs. He knew whither he went, and yet when he had come to the door of that resting-place the external calm disappeared—the props of consolation, the support of faith, gave way. He opened the door, entered, closed it behind him, and by the light of the lamp suspended from the whitewashed rafters saw Sister Benigna lying on the bier, dressed in white garments, with a rose in one white hand.

When he came forth again a cold fog was filling the valley, and morning approached. Who will wish to dwell even in imagination on the hours he had passed in that silent house, or care to guess the battle which perchance had been fought there, or the wild flow of tears which had for years been pent, or the groans which could not be uttered, which at last had utterance; or how at last the man died there, and the victor, as one who had been slain, came forth?



So the day passed in preparation for Sister Benigna's funeral, as well as for the congregation festival.

Mr. Spener had given out yesterday that the workers in the factory should have a half holiday, and, in conformity to his orders, at twelve o'clock Loretz dismissed the weavers for the day. The various performers met in the hall and rehearsed their several parts, and the programme, it was decided, should be carried out precisely as Sister Benigna had designed.

Leonhard looked on and listened, wondering. Mrs. Loretz, who had only to[Pg 337] sing in the choruses, had a little time on her hands during the day, and was glad that the young man was there to be talked to. True, he was busily at work over his drawing, which he wished to have ready to show Mr. Spener in the morning, but he was glad to listen, and the talk was in itself not uninteresting. Dame Anna had a great deal to say about Sister Benigna—not much to tell, really: the facts of her life as they were known to Mrs. Loretz were few. Benigna had come six years ago to Spenersberg, and had been an active member of the church there since that day. What everybody said was true: she had been the Genius of Music there, and in the true Moravian spirit had rallied every musical thought and all musical skill to the standard of religion. At first there had been a good deal of talk about founding a Sisters' House, but that had been given up: it was thought that the ends to be accomplished by it could be obtained at less cost and with less labor. She had lived in their house since the day she came: she was like a daughter to them, and a sister and more to Elise.

Then by and by the communicativeness of the good woman, as well as her confidence in Leonhard, increasing with her speech, she began to talk about Mr. Spener, and to hint his "intentions;" and she ended by telling this stranger what was not known outside her own family except to the minister. And when she had explained all it became clear to her that she must justify the method of proceeding in matrimonial affairs which had given to herself a good husband, and had been the means of establishing many happy households which she could name.

The only trouble that could possibly arise from the turn affairs had taken was a trouble that did look rather threatening, Leonhard thought. Spener had consented to abide by the decision of the lot, but now—would he?

After she had told all this, Mrs. Loretz asked Leonhard what he thought about it. He said he thought it was a hard case: he could feel for Mr. Spener. He was afraid that under the circumstances he should not behave well.

The good woman nodded her head as if she quite understood the force of his remarks, but, though it seemed hard, wasn't it better to be disappointed before marriage than after? Undoubtedly, he answered, yet he should prefer to feel that in an affair like that he could make his own choice, with consent of the lady.

Mrs. Loretz thought to herself he spoke as if he had already chosen for himself, and knew what he was talking about; and the cheerful fancies which she had entertained last night with regard to the beneficent care of Providence in sending Leonhard to Spenersberg disappeared like a wreath of mist. She must now mourn the loss of Sister Benigna more heavily than before, since she found herself without support on the highway of sorrow.

Had an unhappy marriage never come within her knowledge, Leonhard asked, which the lot had seemed to sanction?

She had been thinking of that, Mistress Anna acknowledged. There had, certainly—she could not deny it. But it was where the parties had not seriously tried to make the best of everything.

Was it necessary, then, he asked—even when the lot decided favorably—that people should put up with each other, and find it not easy to keep back sharp words which would edge their way out into hearing in spite of all efforts to keep them back? Must people providentially yoked together find themselves called upon, just like others, to make sacrifices of temper and taste and opinion all through life?

Wasn't that going on everywhere? she asked. Did he know of any people anywhere who agreed so well about everything that there was never a chance of dispute? And where was there such an abundance of everything that there was no occasion for self-sacrifice?

Leonhard laughed at these questions, and Mistress Anna looked wise, but she did not laugh. Leonhard might not be the providential substitute for a lover providentially removed, but at least he was a pleasant companion for a troubled[Pg 338] hour. He had thought so much on this subject, possibly he had some experimental knowledge. Had he a wife?—Not yet, he said. But he would have.—Oh, of course: what would a man do in this world without a wife? Perhaps it would not trouble him to think of the one he would like to marry if he might.—No, not in the least.—And he would be satisfied to decide for himself, and not ask any counsel?—Was he not the one who must live with the lady? and was it likely that anybody would know as well as himself what he wanted?—Only, she suggested, how could he feel certain that he would have what he wanted, after all?—What! hadn't a man eyes?—That can be trusted, my dear?—If he can't trust his own, will he trust another man's?—But can he feel sure that what he wants would be best for him?—Is the best he can imagine any too good for a man, if he can get it?

But she has been thinking, How happened it that father should have found his very name in the birthday book? She has been thinking of it nearly all the morning. When she first set eyes on him—did he know?—she felt sure that he belonged to them.

Leonhard did not know about the name. He felt very grateful to her for her kindness. He hoped the book had shown him the writing of his ancestor, but he did not know. His parents died when he was a little boy, and if he had any relatives alive, they were unknown to him. He should be glad to believe that the Herrnhuter was his grandfather or great-grandfather. But they must not ask him to run the risk of losing his chance if there should be a young lady whom he might wish to marry: he could not trust any voice in such a matter except hers.

"Loretz and I have had our share of trials," she answered solemnly. "It has helped us to bear them, I am sure, dear youth, to think that God had brought us together and united us, for the lot decided how it should be. There have been times when I knew not how I could have endured what was put upon me but for remembering—remembering that in the counsels of a better world our marriage was decreed. See, Sister Benigna brought the ink home with her this noon! Now write your name in Frederick's book, and think whether it would not be best to stay with us."

Leonhard appeared to be intent on his drawings: he bent over his work, but in truth his eyes could not see quite distinctly the lines which he drew. "I will not forget the book," he said: "as to staying in Spenersberg, I am only a probationer wherever I am."

"And who knows how happy you might be among us!" said Dame Anna, who was quite clear now on a point somewhat cloudy before. The stranger had brought with him some secret sorrow and trouble, poor dear!



As the day passed on, all thoughts were evidently directed toward the solemn scenes with which it was to close. It was pleasant to our friend to walk along the street toward the end of the afternoon, and look at the pretty cottages, each with its garden of flowers in front and its vine-encased windows and doors. Now and then he saw at door or window or in little garden young girls with flowers in their hands: were they weaving them into emblematic devices for the coffin and the grave? This little hamlet seemed to be the sanctuary of beautiful thoughts and things. Music was loved and served here, and he had never seen so many flowers as were crowded into these gardens.

Instead of entering the church at the hour appointed for the funeral, as Mrs. Loretz had advised him to do, Leonhard merely ascended the steps and looked within on the neat edifice, all the architectural points of which could be surveyed at a glance, for there was neither pulpit nor altar within, nor pointed window nor arched roof to gaze at, but merely a large square room well furnished with benches, and a table and the minister's chair; and then descending[Pg 339] the steps, he retired to a group of trees in the distance, beneath which he sat down to await the procession. He had not to wait long. Soon the sound of trombones came floating upon, encompassing, filling the air. A slight breeze was stirring; the sun was going down; the willow-covered plain was aglow with its golden light; among the hills the evening shadows were already gathering. Night was only awaiting its swift-coming opportunity.

A small company gathered around the corpse-house, the body was brought forth upon the bier, and the procession, which had silently and quickly gathered at the signal of the trombones, started on foot for the church.

When all had entered the edifice, Leonhard went in and sat down near the door. It was but his third night in Spenersberg, yet he was not among strangers, and how his heart was moved by all he saw and heard! An influence prevailed in this place which was fast mastering him.

As he sat down and looked upon the faces of the elders, the faces of the men and the women—of the people who had toiled, and whose toil had been blessed to them—who had suffered, and whose suffering had been sanctified to them—his heart was like wax. In the drive and hurry of life he had never seen such faces. When he watched the troop of children, dressed in white and walking hand in hand, he thought of his own lonely childhood, and sighed to think that he had come here too late. And the minister, whom Spener had spoken about with patronizing contempt—looking at him, Leonhard said to himself, "Here is a man who could counsel me. He has fought his fight, and for him there is a crown of victory and rejoicing."

The impression he had received when he glanced toward the minister's place was deepened as the services went forward, and he saw Mr. Wenck stand looking down upon the coffin, and from it toward the people.

The music for the congregation festival was sung. It was all as Benigna had arranged it: there was no omission of parts except her own and Elise's. Such voices, such trained voices, and such instrumental performances, Leonhard said to himself, and could say truly, he had never heard. He was dumb with wonder, and because he loved music he wept as though he had loved Benigna. It seemed indeed that the mourners—and the church was filled with mourners in spite of all the words of resignation and immortal hope upon their tongues—were all intent on doing honor to the woman whose life among them would never be forgotten.

In accordance with the usual custom—nothing could he omit that would do honor to her memory—the minister gave a slight biographical sketch of Benigna. He spoke of her childhood, and told the children that there was not one of them who had not been born in a happier home and to better fortunes than she. She had served music well because she loved it well, and they were all witnesses whether she had received any reward for faithfulness in that service. She had served her Master well because to her His service was the highest freedom, and she found in it the greatest joy. They had but to think upon, to look upon, her beautiful face if they would know whether she could have chosen another service in which she would have found such joy. Did she not appear to them—not because she had departed: would she not if she were still among them?—the most complete in excellences and virtues of any character they had known? Was she not farther on in the perfect life than any one of them? And how happy her life in Spenersberg had been! "Surely, surely," he concluded, "this heroic example of constancy to duty, of struggle against weakness, will not be lost on us! Never, on any battle-field of faith, fought a braver soldier. God has given her the victory. In a moment, at the close of a day of labor, in her school-room, right there in that blessed, that sacred place—just there where she would have chosen, with the kisses of her children on her face—just there she heard the summons. Can we doubt, O friends! that when our[Pg 340] day of labor is ended we shall see Sister Benigna again? Not if we resolve that with God's help we will prove ourselves worthy of the high honor of being called her friends on earth."

The silence which filled the house after the minister sat down was broken by the sounding of the trombones: then from beneath the trees Leonhard saw the beautiful procession again following the bier; and as he watched the flutter of garments between the dark-green cedar walls, it had been no difficult thing to see in that company not a company of mourners, but the ransomed sons and daughters of the New Jerusalem.

After the services at the grave the people assembled in the church again to partake of the love-feast. Leonhard still followed. No wonder if he walked as in a dream, and at times stood to ask himself where he was, and what all this might mean. A month ago, a week ago, he might have seen half his acquaintances hid away in darkness, and such feelings not have been stirred, such thoughts suggested, as were stirred and suggested here. So much human kindness he had never heard in human voices or seen in human faces. The fierce grasping at opportunity, the wild struggle for place, which his short experience had shown him was the world's way of living, made him wonder if it was possible that mortals could live so near heaven as these people lived. In that hour the sharp strain of life relaxed—his disappointments ceased to torment him—he almost forgot that he stood in the attitude of an absconding debtor. Around him flowed the isolating, soothing, life-renewing waters. He had passed rapids and cataract: could his humbled head receive the benediction of the hour? Could he drop his burdens here, and go forward on a new path and with a new ambition? What were all the honors of the world, its rewards, its pride, compared with the peace and satisfaction of this people? Home, work, friendship, holiness—could so much content him? All were to be had here. But why might he not find the same elsewhere—home, work, friendship, uprightness, honor, success—patience to do the work that offered and to wait for the ripening of the harvest which should rightfully be his? While the people sat at their love-feast, exchanging the grasp of friendship and the kiss of peace, these questions waited upon him. Then came thoughts that were like answers. He would write to Wilberforce: if Spener had spoken seriously he would undertake those buildings; and then he looked around, and his imagination transformed this room of the worshiping congregation into a temple all beautiful within; and somehow into tint and form the character of the Spenersbergers seemed so to enter that over the people as well as the house of worship he saw the wings of the Angel of the Covenant outspread.



Loretz invited Mr. Wenck to go home with him after the services: there was something he wished to speak about, he said. Mr. Wenck needed no urging: he wanted to see Elise one moment alone. But he did not find that moment, for while Loretz was talking about the work which should be done without delay in the cemetery, and saying that there could be no better time to call attention to it than the present, when so many would be going to visit Sister Benigna's grave, Spener came in. He had heard already all that could be told him with regard to Benigna's death, but his surprise had brought him straight to Loretz, and what he said was creditable to him, although he had made certain statements to Leonhard yesterday concerning Sister Benigna which neither of them would be likely to forget. It was perhaps the recollection of them just now which made him look at Leonhard and say, "I have been speaking to Mr. Marten about a school-building, and he has promised to give me a design for one. Shall we not call it Sister Benigna's monument?"

"Sister Benigna's monument should[Pg 341] be erected by the people," said the minister instantly. "She is in such regard among them all that it would be a most beautiful memorial."

"We will consider that," said Spener. He was not very well pleased by Wenck's remark, and perhaps there could be no better time than the present to express his thought in regard to such assistance as he would be likely to receive from Spenersberg in erecting a monument. "I dare say the parents would be pleased to contribute their mite, and the children also; but no doubt in the end it would be my lookout. And it would be my pleasure, certainly, to see that there was no debt on the building."

"Then, sir, pray do not call it her monument," said Mr. Wenck.

When Spener had spoken he felt a slight misgiving, as one who should look pitifully on the moth which he had crushed. The minister's words now amazed him, but he restrained his rising anger. Wenck must have something else to say: let him say it then.

"I judged the people by myself," Wenck said. "And that is saying a great deal more than I can express. It would be no pleasure, certainly, to see that her friends bore the least share in such expenses."

"But, dear Brother Wenck, we are all Sister Benigna's friends," said Spener with the expostulation of a master in his voice.

"Could we praise ourselves more highly, sir, than to say we are her friends? For myself, I feel that the glory of Spenersberg has passed away. I came here, Brother Loretz, to speak to you about her."

Loretz nodded: he was too much surprised by the minister's remarks to speak. They all seemed to feel that the only thing asked of them was a hearing.

"One week ago," Mr. Wenck continued, "I did not suppose that I could speak to you with such freedom as I feel I may use now. If I had said then what I now must, I might not have been able to convince anybody except of one thing. Perhaps I could not have felt certain about my own motives. But now I am above suspicion: I cannot suspect myself. She will not doubt my secret thought, and you will all bear me witness." The minister looked around him as he spoke, and Spener would never point him out to man again as yesterday he had called Leonhard's attention to the little minister. Leonhard sat uneasily on his chair, doubting whether to go or stay, but nobody thought of him, and he felt himself to be in the centre of a charmed circle, out of which he could not remove himself. Every one was looking at Mr. Wenck, who, pausing a second as if to assure himself again that all to whom he would speak were before him, went on, his voice becoming more calm and strong, and his whole bearing witnessing for him in his speech. "Before I heard of Spenersberg," he said—"before it had existence even in the brain of its honored founder—my acquaintance with Benigna began."

"Is it possible, Mr. Wenck?" exclaimed Dame Loretz, her voice breaking under the weight of her sympathy.

"Yes, and I was hoping that she and I were to spend our lives together. Dear Sister Loretz, you understand now why I could not take a wife."

"Why—why is that so, sir?" asked Loretz, doubting, and not very well pleased: "that's news, I'm sure."

"It is, I know. And the story would never be told by me but for—for your sake, my friends."

"Well, well, but—" said Loretz, afraid to hear what was coming; not that he guessed, but because Spener sat there with a face so—so inexplicable. Loretz could not make out its meaning when just now he glanced that way; and the face was full of meaning. What was passing in his mind?

"Let me tell the story, Mr. Loretz. I want you to know it. It will not take long. May I not go on?"

"Go on, sir, by all means!" exclaimed Spener. "Say what you have to say, and—" His voice sunk: he did not finish the sentence, audibly at least.

But Wenck still waited until Mrs. Loretz said, "Husband, surely you would like to know about dear Sister Benigna?"[Pg 342]

"Well," said Loretz, reluctant still because of his misgivings, "go on. It will be a comfort to you, I dare say, Mr. Wenck, to talk about her here."

"It is my duty, sir, to talk about her here, and my privilege. We were both toiling in our way to reach the time when our love for each other might be spoken and shown to be something short of unreasonable. When that time did come we were led to ascertain whether our union would be in accordance with the Divine will, in the manner of our fathers, which had been adhered to for generations in the village where we lived. We found that, according to the lot, our lives must be lived apart. It did not appear to me then that we did right to give each other up. But I did not attempt to persuade her—or—to assure myself that I had not made a mistake when I loved her."

"I believe that," was the comment on this statement which appeared on the scornful face of Spener.

"But I have often asked myself whether I should not have performed my duty in a better way, a more enlightened way, if I had tried to persuade Benigna to a step which has been taken by many of the most devout, God-fearing brethren."

"What! what!" exclaimed Loretz, aghast. This was the very thing he had feared from some quarter, and now he heard it whence he had least expected it to come.

"I told you before you resorted to the lot—and my inmost hope was that you would act upon it—that the lot is not now considered among the brethren essential in the decision of questions of this kind. Surely you have not forgotten."

"You mentioned it," said Spener reluctantly, in most ungenerous acknowledgment. "I recollect wishing that you would make a point of it."

"It was impossible," replied the minister. "But now I can speak. If I understand you, my friends, there is none of you that feels ready to resign his own will in this matter. In your own secret hearts you understand there is no submission. With such sacrifice God is not well pleased. Do you think He can be? You have but followed a fashion. It is a vain oblation. But"—he went on hurriedly, for he did not wish to provoke discussion, at least until he had told the brief tale to the end—"Benigna and I accepted the decision as final. When I came to Spenersberg and found her here, it was a great, an overwhelming surprise. Brother Loretz, you know by whose request I came."

"I have always felt proud of having brought you here, Brother Wenck: I stand by it yet. You have done the right thing always, so far as I know. Surely it was well to bring you here."

"When I found her here I thought I could not stay, but I finally accepted that too as a dispensation of the Divine will, thankful, sir, thankful that I might have the woman for my friend and co-worker. Has she worked with me? Oh, Benigna, thou art still and for ever my friend—for ever!—and the thought of thee will be an inspiration to my work till my work too is done! But, Mr. Spener, I do not think that this trial is set for you and Elise. Brother Loretz, I feel called upon to testify that I do not believe that this trial is appointed to Brother Spener and Elise. Think of it, and give me your consent, all of you, and I will immediately, with devout thanksgiving, in the presence of God, join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony."

Spener was first to break the silence which bound each amazed soul of this little company when Mr. Wenck ceased to speak. His face shone, he looked as if he could have embraced "our little minister" then and there. He had been, in spite of his pride and prejudice, converted wholly into faith in Wenck, but instead of manifesting his conversion at once, he strode across the room to Elise's mother. "This is a house of mourning," said he, "otherwise I would never consent that Elise's marriage should be a private one. I would wish all Spenersberg to see my bride: I would like all the people to see our happiness. But let it be now, let it be now, Loretz. Elise, let it be now. Surely you see the wisdom of it. Such a compliance as ours to a mere custom would be an insult to[Pg 343] our Father in heaven. Common sense is against it."

His voice was tremulous with emotion: he took Elise's hand. Who could stand against him? Her eyes were lifted as to the hills whence help had come to them.

Loretz was sadly disconcerted. Spener's instant acceptance of the minister's proposal completed the overthrow occasioned by Mr. Wenck's astonishing words. How true what he was always saying, that nobody could stand against that man!

"Surely, father, surely," said Spener, approaching him, and drawing Elise along with him—"surely you cannot fail to feel the force of what our good brother has said."

Loretz looked at his wife: it was not merely Albert, the man he revered most, but the child—yes, the child of his heart also was arrayed against him. How was it with Anna?

"Listen to the minister," said she. "He knows what is right."

"I have spoken in the fear of God," said Mr. Wenck. "I call no man master."

Spener looked down at these words: he understood their significance. The interview he had returned home intending to ask of Wenck was of a different character from this. "I think that no one could suspect you, sir, of tampering with another man's destiny or his conscience," he said. "I have never understood you till now, and for my misunderstanding I humbly ask your pardon." And indeed who that looked at him could suppose that this was a moment of proud rejoicing over a success won in spite of Church and household?

The minister silently gave him his hand. Spener did himself justice when he took the extended palm and held it a moment reverently in his.

"Father, we await your decision," he said to Loretz. He still held Elise's hand, and she would not have flown away had he held it less firmly.

Leonhard, quite forgotten, just here accidentally touched the piano with his elbow, and the sound that came forth was the keynote to Mendelssohn's "Wedding March." Forthwith he began to play it. Loretz looked at him, and seemed to feel suddenly reassured. A wavering light fell around him: he beckoned to the minister. "Do any of the folks around here know?" he asked.

"About the lot? Who would have told them? I should say no one."

"Then 'twill do them no harm: I am my brother's keeper. Go on. We won't make a balk of it this time."

"What, father!" exclaimed Dame Loretz. "How! Now?" It was her turn to offer herself as a stumbling-block, but, dear soul! she must always make poor work of such endeavor.

"If they are agreed, let it be. Albert Spener never gave his consent out and out to the testing; and look at our girl here! The Lord have mercy on us! If I can understand, though, it isn't Albert's doing."

"It is wholly Brother Wenck's," said Spener.

"It is Benigna's," said the minister. "Let us therefore celebrate this day of sorrow by a concluding special service;" and he drew from his pocket the manual from which he had read the burial service over Sister Benigna. "We will rejoice together, as she will rejoice if it is given her to know what the friends she loved do on the earth. Is it not as if she had given her life for her friends?"

When Leonhard took up the interrupted strain of the "Wedding March," bridegroom had saluted bride, and Loretz, by the light of his daughter's eyes, had taken one decided step toward conviction that he had consented in that hour not to the furtherance of his own will, but the will of Heaven.

Have we permitted Miss Elise to figure almost as a mute on this momentous occasion? But does the reader think it likely that she had much to say? She might perhaps have uttered one word that would have proved insurmountable, but Mr. Wenck had spoken as it were with Benigna's authority, and so to yield now was the most obvious duty.

The next morning saw Leonhard Marten on his way back to A——. He had[Pg 344] submitted to Spener his designs for the monument to be erected among the living to the memory of Sister Benigna, and for the houses to be built on those elected sites; and these all accepted, he had said to himself, "I am an architect and a builder as long as I live," though Spener had embraced him when he said, "I never heard such music, sir—never—as you gave us last night!"

He went away, promising to come back and bring with him a young lady to study music of the Spenersbergers, so soon as he should have despatched a letter to a friend who was about to travel abroad.

He promised with a young man's audacity, but he performed it all. If Marion was not to be abandoned at once and for ever to a false style of music and a false way of living, she must be converted, as he had been, out of all patience with the foolish falseness of their life. And then everything seemed so easy to him, and really was so easy, after he had decided that he could write his name down in that birthday book sacred to friendship in which Loretz had offered him a place.

And here is explanation ample of the fact that Wilberforce, about to travel abroad and in sore need of money, found a thousand dollars deposited to his credit when he expected five thousand, and in due time received a letter which satisfied him, in spite of its surprise, that Leonhard was the best friend he had and the most trustworthy man living, and that whoever she might be whom he had taken in holy matrimony for his life-companion, he was worthy of her.

Caroline Chesebro'.


In England the higher the rank the more affable and kind I found them. It is only the little people climbing up who are disagreeable.—Sully.

Not alone of English people can this be said. In "society" all over the world it is the same; for everywhere men and women born and bred ladies and gentlemen value their reputation as such too highly to risk it by any rudeness or uncourteousness. They may upon occasion be frigidly polite, but polite they will always be. But customs vary so much that some things which would be considered polite in one country would be looked upon in another as rude or intrusive. Take, for instance, one illustration among many which might be cited. A foreigner sent on a diplomatic mission to this country brought with him letters of introduction to several members of a large family. Having affairs of importance to attend to, he was remiss about delivering these letters on this occasion, but on a second visit, having more leisure, he made it a point to have himself presented at a ball to every member of the family who was present. After the ball he told a lady of the trouble he had given himself, and asked her congratulations upon having accomplished so much in one evening. She, being upon intimate terms with him, assured him that his politeness was not only unnecessary, but would in all probability be misunderstood. "According to the customs of our country," said the lady, "you ought to have waited until they asked to be presented to you." "How could I do that," he inquired indignantly, "when it was my duty to make myself known to them, out of respect for the writer of the letters as well as for those to whom she had written? Besides, one can never be too civil to ladies and gentlemen." The lady replied, "True; only you must first be sure that you are dealing with ladies and gentlemen[Pg 345] who understand all points of etiquette as you do." Before his return to his own country he learned his error by the result, for during a stay of some months he never received an invitation from any of the family. By following the customs of his own country, instead of adopting those of the country he was in, he had subjected himself to being looked upon as "a pushing foreigner," who valued their acquaintance so highly that he was determined to gain it, even at the sacrifice of the customs of good society.

Americans when abroad, unless in an official position, have very little opportunity of gaining a knowledge of such requirements of etiquette as had influenced this gentleman in making the overtures he had thought necessary; nor can we be expected to be acquainted with them. The rules of social etiquette are all so well understood and practiced in Europe that no opportunity presents itself for the miscomprehensions as to one's duties in society which prevail with us. There every detail is prescribed by the codes and usages of courts; and one might as well pass an acquaintance in the street without the usual salutation as neglect any one of these forms. Again to illustrate: A gentleman belonging at one time to the English legation in Washington passed a summer at one of our fashionable watering-places. His official position would have secured him the consideration to which he was entitled, even had he not been the general favorite that he was; but the men who left their cards from time to time upon him were not always particular in having themselves presented the first time they met him afterward at the club or at dinners; and looking upon this omission as he had been trained to do, it could not but seem to him an intentional rudeness on their part. The consequence was, he avoided the watering-place thereafter, and sought his summer recreation where there was less pretension at least, and where he doubtless became less exacting or more accustomed to such trifling breaches of etiquette.

For want of an exact code many points of etiquette are with us left open to discussion, and this without reference to foreign ideas. Thus the custom of inviting gentlemen to call when a married lady wishes to give them the entrée to her house seems to have become an obsolete one with a great many. Quite recently a discussion took place as to its propriety between several ladies of distinction in this city. One lady said that it was the Philadelphia custom for gentlemen to call where they wished, without waiting for an invitation, after they had made the acquaintance of any lady in the family; and more than one married woman asserted that they had never yet asked a gentleman to come to see them; while another insisted that gentlemen generally would not venture to make a call upon any married lady unless she had invited them, or they had first asked her permission. As a difference of opinion exists on this point, it would be well if it could be an understood thing that any gentleman wishing to make the acquaintance of a lady could, after having himself presented to her, leave his card at her house with his address upon it. Of course this applies only to comparative strangers, for any young man can commit his card to his mother or sister to leave for him at a house where either visits, if he wishes to be included in invitations. Unless his card is left in this way or in person, how can he expect to be remembered? Some years ago, a lady who gave a ball during the winter after her return from a residence abroad, omitted to send invitations to the young men who, having previously visited at her house, had not left their cards at her door since her arrival home, preferring to substitute gentlemen who had never been entertained by her to inviting those who were so remiss. For this reason she gave permission to several young ladies to name gentlemen among their friends whom they would like to have invited; and so agreeable to the hostess was the selection thus made that she placed permanently upon her inviting list the names of those who sufficiently appreciated her courtesy to remember afterward the slight duties[Pg 346] which their acceptance of her hospitality imposed upon them.

Still another illustration will show what unsettled ideas many hold in regard to points of etiquette which ought not to admit of any diversity of opinion. Ladies sometimes say to each other, after having been in the habit of meeting for years without exchanging visits, "I hope you will come and see me," and almost as frequently the answer is made, "Oh, you must come and see me first." One moment of reflection would prevent a lady from making that answer, unless she were much the older of the two, when she could with propriety give that as the reason. The lady who extends the invitation makes the first advance, and the one who receives it should at least say, "I thank you—you are very kind," even if she has no intention of availing herself of it. A lady in the fashionable circles of our largest metropolis once boasted that she had never made a first visit. She was not aware, probably, that in the opinion of those conversant with the duties of her position she stamped herself as being just as underbred as if she had announced that she did not wait for any one to call upon her. No lady surely is of so little importance in the circle in which she moves as never to be placed in circumstances where a first visit is requisite from her; nor does any one in our land so nearly approach the position of a reigning monarch as to decree that all, irrespective of age or priority of residence, should make the first call upon her.

One of the most reasonable rules of etiquette is that which requires prompt replies to invitations. The reason why an invitation to dine or to an opera-box should be answered as soon as received is so evident that it will not admit of questioning; but many who are punctilious in these particulars are remiss in sending promptly their acceptances or regrets for parties and balls. Most of those who neglect this duty do so from thoughtlessness or carelessness, but there are some who have the idea that it increases their importance to delay their reply, or that promptness gives evidence of eagerness to accept or to refuse. Others, again, are prevented from paying that direct attention to an invitation which politeness requires by the inconvenience of sending a special messenger with their notes. Where any doubt exists in reference to the ability of the person invited to be present at a soirée or ball, an acceptance should be sent at once; and if afterward prevented from going a short note of explanation or regret should be despatched. It is well known that a few words make all the difference between a polite and an impolite regret. "Mrs. Gordon regrets that she cannot accept Mrs. Sydney's invitation for Tuesday evening," is not only curt, but would be considered by many positively rude. The mistake arises, however, more frequently from ignorance than from intentional rudeness. "Mrs. Gordon regrets extremely that she cannot accept Mrs. Sydney's kind invitation for Tuesday evening," is all that is necessary. All answers to invitations given in the name of the lady and gentleman of the house are generally acknowledged to both in the answer, and the envelope addressed to the lady alone.

Some persons are in the habit of sending acceptances to invitations for balls even when they know that they are not going; but this is very unfair to the hostess, not only because she orders her supper for all who accept, but because she may wish to invite others in their places if she knows in time that they are not to be present. No house is so large but it has a limit to the number of people that can be comfortably entertained; and some ladies are compelled by the length of their visiting-list to give two or three entertainments in order to include all whom they wish to invite. When the invitations are sent out ten days in advance, if answered within three days the hostess is enabled to select from her other lists such of her friends as she would like to pay the compliment of inviting twice, in case the number of regrets which she receives will permit her to do so; but delaying the answers or accepting with no intention of going[Pg 347] puts it out of her power to send other invitations.

An invitation once given cannot be recalled, even from the best motives, without subjecting the one who recalls it to the charge of being either ignorant or regardless of all conventional rules of politeness. Some years ago a lady who had been invited with her husband to a musical entertainment given at the house of an acquaintance for a mutual friend of the inviter and the invited, received, after having accepted the invitation, a note requesting her not to come, on the ground that she had spoken slanderously of the lady for whom the soirée was to be given. Entirely innocent of the charge, she demanded an explanation, which resulted in completely exonerating her. The invitation was then repeated, but of course, as the withdrawal of it had been intended as a punishment, the rudeness was of too flagrant a character to overlook, and all visiting between the parties ceased from that day. The rule would not apply to a more recent case, where a lady gave a ball, and, in endeavoring to avoid a crush and make it agreeable for her guests, left out all young men under twenty-one years of age; but finding that she had received wrong information concerning the age of one whom she had invited, and that this one exception was much commented upon, causing her to appear inconsistent, she wrote a note asking permission to recall the invitation (having received no answer to it), and expressing her regret that she should be made to appear rude where no rudeness was intended. In this case the gentleman could, without compromising his dignity, have sent a courteous reply, assuring the lady that he perfectly understood her motives, and begging her not to give herself any uneasiness upon his account in having felt compelled to withdraw the invitation. By doing so he would have made the lady his firm friend, and had she appreciated his politeness as it would have deserved to be appreciated, she would have lost no opportunity of showing her sense of it.

There is no better test of ladies and gentlemen than the manner in which they receive being left out of a general invitation. They may feel ever so keenly the omission, but it should never betray itself in a shadow of change either in look or in tone. If the invitation is not a general one, why should any one feel hurt by being omitted? No one but the entertainer can know all the motives that influence her in her selections. And here might be mentioned several reasonable points of etiquette which may control her. When a first invitation has not been accepted, it is to be supposed that no other will be expected until the recipient of the invitation has returned the courtesy in some way, be it ever so simple. In cases where previous invitations have been accepted, even those who are not in the habit of balancing the exchange of hospitalities cannot continue to extend them year after year, however much they may wish to do so, when not the slightest disposition is shown to make any return. Then, too, many ladies are not willing to overlook the omission of leaving cards after their entertainments, and they very naturally feel that a distinction should be made between such young men as have shown an appreciation of their past courtesies and those who have not. And again, a lady may often be deterred from sending invitations to those whom she heartily wishes to invite, from her dislike of making any advance to persons who are older residents, or from a fear of being considered pushing or patronizing. A lady who never makes first calls upon those who have lived longer than herself in the city where she resides (unless in cases where age or infirmities upon the part of those inviting her makes it her province to do so), learned just before giving an entertainment that the wife of a gentleman from whom she had received assistance in the charitable labors which occupied some of her leisure hours was a native of another city; and in writing a note upon business to the gentleman she expressed her intention of calling upon his wife, explaining why she had not sooner done so. She received an immediate reply from the husband,[Pg 348] in which, after the business had been attended to, he informed her that he and his wife selected their own circle of friends, which was quite as large as they desired to make it. The lady as promptly sent back a note in answer, in which she expressed her regret for the mistake she had made, and thanked him for having corrected the impression which she had formed of him as a gentleman in her acquaintance with him solely in business relations. Such an experience would prevent a sensitive woman from ever placing herself in a position to receive such a rudeness again from any one and therefore no one whose duty it is to make a first call, and who has not made it, should ever feel hurt or offended at not being invited by such an acquaintance, no matter how general may have been the invitation.

Ladies who are the most apt to give offence are those who divide their lists, giving two parties in the course of the year, instead of the grand crush which is more popular. Some feel aggrieved because they are not invited to both, fancying that there are reasons why an exception should be made in their favor; while others prefer the party for which no invitation was sent. Those who send regrets for the first party sometimes expect to be invited to the second, but this in no way changes the relation between the inviter and the invited. It is the misfortune and not the fault of the lady who invites that such regrets are sent; and if she is able to repeat her invitations to any upon her first list, it will surely be to those who gave such reasons for regretting as illness or absence from the city. Certainly the entertainer must desire to make both parties equally pleasant, and must select her guests to this end; and yet there are those who, when left out, do not hesitate to show her by the change in their manner that they consider themselves more capable than she is of selecting her guests.

The question is frequently asked whether replies should be sent to invitations to wedding and other receptions, and to "at-home" cards. If one receives the great compliment of being invited to a marriage ceremony (not at church), an acceptance or regret would of course be immediately sent, for it is only in the case of the reception following that any doubt seems to exist. It is generally understood that no answers are expected; but as it is certainly very polite to send a regret when one is unable to accept, why is it not equally polite to send an acceptance? After receptions it is not considered necessary for those who have been present to call, but those who are prevented from going call in person as soon as is convenient. Sometimes, as in the case of wedding receptions, many are invited for the occasion, friends either of the bride or groom, whom the relative who gives the reception has never visited, and does not wish to visit in the future. Of course the visiting then ends with the call made after the reception; for if the cards left at the reception or afterward are not returned by those of the host or hostess, no matter how desirous the recipient of the civility may be to extend her hospitality in return, she ought not to do so unless under corresponding circumstances. Frequently those who are prevented from attending wedding-receptions send their cards, and these are returned by those of the bride and groom when they make their round of visits, except in cases where, after the reception, their cards are sent with a new address. Then, of course, those who receive them always pay the first visit. The gentleman sends his card alone (when there has been no reception) where he wishes to have his wife make the acquaintance of his friends whom she has not previously visited; and the sooner the call is made under such circumstances the more polite it is considered.

The reason why an invitation to an opera-box, like an invitation to dine, must be answered immediately is because the number of seats being limited it is necessary, when regrets are received, to send out other invitations at once, in order that all may be complimented alike by receiving them upon the same day. Gentleman not receiving any special invitation to a box, who chance to be in[Pg 349] the opera-house in a dress-suit, often pay visits of ten or fifteen minutes to the box of any lady with whom they are well acquainted. If a gentleman wishes to enter the box of some chaperone with whom he is not acquainted, he always requests some mutual acquaintance in the box to present him to the chaperone immediately upon entering. Unless invited by her to remain, he is careful not to prolong his visit beyond the time allowed. Young ladies are sometimes very thoughtless in urging young gentlemen to stay during an entire act, or even longer; but when the party is made up by the chaperone, she does not like to see the gentlemen whom she has invited incommoded by one whom she has not asked to her box.

The diversity of opinion that exists with us in reference to many points of etiquette is unfortunate; for where no fixed rules exist there must always be misapprehensions and misunderstandings; rudenesses suspected where none are intended, and sometimes resented, to the great perplexity of the offender as to the cause of the offence. It is not every one who knows how rude a thing people of the old school consider it to make use of a lady's house in calling upon a guest staying with her, and leaving no card for the hostess. This simple act of courtesy does not necessitate a continuance of visiting, inasmuch as the lady only feels obliged to return her card through her friend, leaving it to after circumstances to decide whether it will be mutually agreeable to make the acquaintance. To call upon strangers for whom dinners are given when invited to meet them is very polite, but it should not be construed into any intended impoliteness in this country if the call is not made; and it may even happen that one is unable to be presented to such guests where the dinner is large, though one should at least make the attempt. Nor is it generally understood how great is the discourtesy of permitting any person who has been shown into a house through the mistake of a servant when the ladies are engaged, to be shown out again without seeing any member of the family. The mistake having occurred, if no member of the family is able to make her appearance without considerable delay, a message should be sent down with an explanation, inquiring if the visitor will wait until one of the ladies can come down. The lady who finds herself admitted when out upon a round of calls will be without doubt only too glad of the excuse for departure; and even if calling upon matters that require an answer, her savoir faire would prevent her from waiting under such circumstances. Any hesitation upon the part of the servant who answers the bell, as to whether the ladies are at home or engaged, authorizes the persons calling to leave their cards without waiting to ascertain.

The etiquette in regard to bowing is so simple and reasonable that one would scarcely suppose it possible that any differences of opinion could exist, and yet there are some who think it a breach of politeness if one neglect to bow, although meeting half a dozen times on a promenade or in driving. Custom has made it necessary to bow only the first time in passing: after that exchange of salutations it is very properly not expected. The difference between a courteous and a familiar bow should be remembered by gentlemen who wish to make a favorable impression. A lady dislikes to receive from a man with whom she has but a slight acquaintance a bow accompanied by a broad smile, as though he were on the most familiar terms with her. It is far better to err on the other side, and to give one of those stiff, ungracious bows which some men indulge in. Those gentlemen who smile with their eyes instead of their mouths give the most charming bows. As for men who bow charmingly at one time, and with excessive hauteur at others, according as they feel in a good or bad humor, they need never be surprised if the person thus treated should cease speaking altogether; nor can any man who does not lift, or at least touch, his hat in speaking to a lady expect that she will continue her salutations.

The rules to which allusion has been made are all reasonable, but there are[Pg 350] others which, having only an imaginary foundation in the requirements of true politeness, might be disregarded with advantage. Such, for example, as that of sending answers to invitations by a special messenger. It is equally convenient to employ a man to deliver invitations or to send them by post. With the reply it is different. Each family receiving an invitation has to send out a servant with the answer. This not being always convenient, the reply is frequently delayed—sometimes until it is forgotten. But if the foreign custom of sending acceptances and regrets by post could be brought into general use, how much more sensible it would be! It was the occasion of many comments when a few years since some cards, not invitations, were thus sent by mistake, the servant posting those which he had forgotten to deliver before the wedding had taken place. But it only needs a few resolute persons to set the example, and persist in it, to have it as generally adopted as it is abroad.


Here is the ancient legend I was reading
From the black-letter vellum page last night:
Its yellow husk holds lessons worth the heeding,
If we unfold it right.
The tome is musty with dank superstition
From which we shrink recoiling, to th' extreme
Of an unfaith that with material vision,
Accounts as myth or dream
Problems too subtle for our clumsy fingers—
High truths that stretch beyond our reach as far
As o'er the fire-fly in the grass that lingers
Stretches yon quenchless star.
Give rather back the old hallucinations—
The visible spirits—the rapture, terror, grief
Of faith so human, than the drear negations
Of dumb, dead unbelief!
—But will you hear the story?
—In a forest,
Girt round by blacken'd tarns, a hermit dwelt:
And as one midnight, when the storm raged sorest,
Within his hut he knelt
In ghostly penance, sounds of fiendish laughter
Smote on the tempest's lull with sudden jar,
That sent the gibbering echoes shrilling after,
O'er weir and wold afar.[Pg 351]
"Christ ban ye now!"—he cried, the door wide flinging,
"Fare ye some whither with perdition's dole?"
—"We go"—out from the wrack a shriek came ringing—
"To seize the emperor's soul,
"Who lies this hour death-smitten." Execration
Thereat still fouler filled the sulphurous air:
Before the rood the hermit sank:—"Salvation
Grant, Lord! in his despair!"
And agonizing thus, with lips all ashen,
He prayed—till back, with ghastlier rage and roar,
The demon rout rushed, strung to fiercer passion,
And crashed his osier door.
"Speak, fiend!—I do adjure thee!—Came repentance
Too late?"—With wrathful curse was answer made:
—"Heaped high within the Judgment Scales for sentence,
The emperor's sins were laid;
"And downward, downward, with a plunge descended
Our scale, till we exulted!—when a moan,
—'Save, Christ, O save me!'—from his lips was rended
Out with his dying groan.
"Quick in the other scale did Mercy lay it,
Lo! it outweighed his guilt—"
—"Ha,—baffled! braved!"—
The hermit cried;—"Hence, fiends! nor dare gainsay it,
The emperor's soul is saved!"

Margaret J. Prestox.


François-Auguste de Chateaubriand, the illustrious author of the Génie du Christianisme, the poet, statesman, diplomatist, soldier, and traveler in the Old World and the New, was one of the two or three human beings who, at the commencement of the nineteenth century, disputed with the emperor Napoleon the attention of Europe. Sprung from an old family of the Breton nobility—a race preserving longer perhaps than any other in France the traditions of the monarchy—he reluctantly gave in his adhesion to the de facto government of Napoleon; but the execution of the duc d'Enghien outraged him profoundly, and sending back to Napoleon his commission as foreign minister, he abjured him for ever. Napoleon probably regretted the fact seriously. "Chateaubriand," said the emperor, "has received from Nature the sacred fire: his works attest it. His style is that of a prophet, and all that is grand and national appertains to his genius."

It would be out of place in the brief sketch here given to trace his long and adventurous career. By turns author, minister, ambassador, soldier, he saw, like his famous contemporary and associate, Talleyrand, revolution after revolution, dynasty after dynasty, Bonapartist, Bourbon and Orleanist, pass before him; and having in this long career enjoyed or suffered all the splendors and all the woes of life—now at the height of wealth and power, now a penniless and homeless wanderer—he came at the age of eighty, in 1848, to Paris to die, in wellnigh abject poverty.

Among the personal delineations of this celebrated man, the most characteristic and entertaining perhaps are those presented by Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas in their respective memoirs. Chateaubriand is there shown in undress, and the portrait drawn of him is vivid and interesting. Victor Hugo describes him as he appeared in 1819 at his fine hôtel in Paris, wealthy, influential and renowned. The author-to-be of Les Misèrables was then a mere youth, and his budding glories as an ultra-royalist poet conferred upon him the honor of an introduction to the great man. Hugo was ushered in, and saw before him, leaning in a stately attitude against the mantelpiece, the illustrious individual. M. de Chateaubriand, says Hugo, affected the bearing of a soldier: the man of the pen remembered the man of the sword. His neck was encircled by a black cravat, which hid the collar of his shirt: a black frockcoat, buttoned to the top, encased his small, bent body. The fine part about him was his head—out of proportion with his figure, but grave and noble. The nose was firm and imperious in outline, the eye proud, the smile charming; but this smile was a sudden flash, the mouth quickly resuming its severe and haughty expression.

"Monsieur Hugo," said Chateaubriand without moving, "I am delighted to see you. I have read your verses on La Vendeé and the death of the duc de Berri; and there are things in the latter more especially which no other poet of this age could have written. My years and experience give me, unfortunately, the right to be frank, and I say candidly that there are passages which I like less; but what is good in your poems is very good."

In the attitude, inflections of voice and intonation of the speaker's phrases there[Pg 352] was something sovereign, which rather diminished than exalted the young writer in his own eyes. Night came and lights were brought. The master of the mansion permitted the conversation to languish, and Hugo was much relieved when the friend who had introduced him rose to go. Chateaubriand, seeing them about to take their leave, invited Hugo to come and see him on any day between seven and nine in the morning, and the youth gained the street, where he drew a long breath.

"Well," said his friend, "I hope you are content?"

"Yes—to be out!"

"How! Why, M. de Chateaubriand was charming! He talked a great deal to you. You don't know him: he passes four or five hours sometimes without saying a word. If you are not satisfied, you are hard to please."

In response to Chateaubriand's general invitation, Hugo went soon afterward, at an early hour of the morning, to repeat his visit. He was shown into Chateaubriand's chamber, and found the illustrious personage in his shirt-sleeves, with a handkerchief tied around his head, seated at a table and looking over some papers. He turned round cordially, and said, "Ah! good-day, Monsieur Victor Hugo. I expected you. Sit down. Have you been working since I saw you? have you made many verses?"

Hugo replied that he wrote a few every day.

"You are right," said Chateaubriand. "Verses! make verses! 'Tis the highest department of literature. You are on higher ground than mine: the true writer is the poet. I have made verses, too, and am sorry I did not continue to do so, as my verses were worth more than my prose. Do you know that I have written a tragedy? I must read you a scene. Pilorge! come here: I want you."

An individual with red face, hair and moustaches entered.

"Go and find the manuscript of Moses," said Chateaubriand.

Pilorge was Chateaubriand's secretary, and the place was no sinecure. Besides manuscripts and letters which his master signed, Pilorge copied everything. The illustrious author, attentive to the demands of posterity, preserved with religious care copies of his most trifling notes. The tragedy which Chateaubriand read from with pomp and emphasis did not immensely impress Hugo, and the scene was interrupted by the entrance of a servant with an enormous vessel full of water for the bath. Chateaubriand proceeded to take off his head handkerchief and green slippers, and seeing Hugo about to retire, motioned to him to remain. He then continued to disrobe without ceremony, took off his gray pantaloons, shirt and flannel undershirt, and went into the bath, where his servant washed and rubbed him. He then resumed his clothes, brushed his teeth, which were beautiful, and of which he evidently took great care; and during this process talked with animation.

This morning seems to have been a fortunate exception, as Hugo declares that he found Chateaubriand on other occasions a man of freezing politeness, stiff, arousing rather respect than sympathy—a genius rather than a man. The royal carelessness of his character was shown in his financial affairs. He kept always on his mantelpiece piles of five-franc pieces, and when his servant brought him begging letters—a thing which took place constantly—he took a piece from the pile, wrapped it in the letter and sent it out by the servant. Money ran through his fingers. When he went to see Charles X. at Prague, and the king questioned him in reference to his affairs, his response was, "I am as poor as a rat."

"That will not do," said the king. "Come, Chateaubriand, how much would make you rich?"

"Sire," was the reply, "you are throwing away your time. If you gave me four millions this morning, I should not have a penny this evening."

It must be conceded that there was something imposing in this refusal of royal generosity; but the poet seems to have passed through life thus, with his[Pg 353] head carried superbly aloft, and his "grand air" ready on all occasions.

Hugo draws him at fifty, in his fine hôtel at Paris—a celebrity in politics and society. Dumas shows him in his old age, poor, self-exiled, and wellnigh forgotten by the world in which he had played so great a part. The brilliant and eccentric author of Henry III. was traveling in Switzerland in 1834, and on reaching Lucerne was informed that the hotel of The Eagle had the honor of sheltering no less a personage than one of his own literary idols—the great, the famous, the imposing M. de Chateaubriand. Dumas declares that genius in misfortune was always dearer to him than in its hours of greatest splendor, and the statement seems to have been honest. He determined to call and pay his respects to the great poet. He accordingly repaired to the hotel of The Eagle, asked for M. de Chateaubriand, and was informed by the waiter in a matter-of-fact voice that M. de Chateaubriand was not then at the hotel, as he had "gone to feed his ducks."

At this strange announcement Dumas stared. He suppressed his curiosity, nevertheless, left his name and address, and duly received on the next morning a polite note from Chateaubriand inviting him to come and breakfast with him at ten.

The invitation was gladly accepted, not, however, without a tremor of awe on the part of the youthful author. Even in old age, poverty, exile and forgotten by the world, Chateaubriand was to him the impersonation of grandeur. He trembled at the very thought of approaching this "mighty rock upon which the waves of envy had in vain beaten for fifty years"—this grand genius whose "immense superiority wellnigh crushed him." His demeanor, therefore, he declares, when shown into Chateaubriand's presence, must have appeared exceedingly awkward. Nevertheless, the cordial courtesy of the exile speedily restored his self-possession, and they proceeded to breakfast, conversing meanwhile upon political affairs, the news from France, and other topics of national interest to the old poet. Dumas represents him as simple, cordial, grave, yet unreserved. He was gray, but preserved his imposing carriage.

When breakfast was over, and they had conversed for some time upon French affairs, Chateaubriand rose and said with great simplicity, "Now let us go and feed my ducks."

At these words Dumas looked with surprise at his host, and after hesitating an instant essayed to reach a solution of the mystery.

"The waiter informed me yesterday," he said, "that you had gone out for that purpose. May I ask if you propose in your retirement to become a farmer?"

In reply to this question Chateaubriand said in his tranquil voice, "Why not? A man whose life has been, like mine, driven by caprice, adventure, revolutions and exile toward the four quarters of the world, would be happy, I think, to possess, not a chalet in these mountains—I do not like the Alps—but a country-place in Normandy or Brittany. Really, I think that this is the resource of my old age."

"Permit me to doubt it," returned Dumas. "You remember Charles V. at Yuste. You do not belong to the class of emperors who abdicate or kings who are dethroned, but to those princes who die under a canopy, and who are buried, like Charlemagne, their feet in their bucklers, swords at their sides, crowns on their heads and sceptres in their hands."

"Take care!" replied Chateaubriand. "It is long since I have been flattered, and it may overcome me. Come and feed my ducks."

The impressible visitor declares that he felt disposed to fall upon his knees before this grand and simple human being, but refrained. They went to the middle of a bridge thrown across an arm of the lake, and Chateaubriand drew from his pocket a piece of bread which he had placed there after breakfast. This he began to throw into the lake, when a dozen ducks darted forth from a sort of isle formed of reeds, and[Pg 354] hastened to dispute the repast prepared for them by the hand which had written René, The Genius of Christianity and The Martyrs. Whilst thus engaged, Chateaubriand leaned upon the parapet of the bridge, his lips contracted by a smile, but his eyes grave and sad. Gradually his movements became mechanical, his face assumed an expression of profound melancholy, the shadow of his thoughts passed across his large forehead like clouds of heaven; and there were among them recollections of his country, his family and his tender friendships, more sorrowful than all others. He moved, sighed, and, recalling the presence of his visitor, turned round.

"If you regret Paris," said Dumas, "why not return? Nothing exiles you—all recalls you."

"What could I do?" said Chateaubriand. "I was at Cauterets when the revolution of July took place. I returned to Paris. I saw one throne in blood, and another in the mud—lawyers making a constitution—a king shaking hands with rag-pickers: that was mortally sad; above all, when a man is filled as I am with the great traditions of the monarchy."

"I thought you recognized popular sovereignty?"

"Well, kings should go back from time to time to the source of their authority—election; but this time they have cut a branch from the tree, a link from the chain. They should have elected Henry V., not Louis Philippe."

"A sad wish for the poor child! The Henrys are unfortunate: they have been poisoned or assassinated."

"Well," said Chateaubriand, "it is better to die by the poniard than from exile: it is quicker, and you suffer less."

"You will not return to France?"

"Possibly, to defend the duchess de Berri if she is tried."

"And if not?"

"Then," said Chateaubriand, throwing bread into the water, "I shall continue to feed my ducks."

John Esten Cooke.

[Pg 355]



There died in November last a gentleman who, though not remarkable himself, was the head and representative of so famous a family and order that his death is an event deserving of some notice. This was Sir Henry Hickman Bacon, premier baronet of England. This gentleman was not the descendant of the great Francis Bacon, Baron Verulam, but head of the family whence that eminent man, a cadet of the house, sprung.

The origin[M] of this family is lost in the obscurity of centuries. Sir Nicholas, an eminent lawyer of England in the reign of Queen Mary, succeeded, when Elizabeth ascended the throne, to the lord-keepership of the great seal. He married twice, and had a numerous issue, and the baronet lately deceased is the direct representative of the lord-keeper's eldest son by his first marriage, who was the first person created—by James I., on May 22, 1611—a baronet.

And it is not a little remarkable that whilst of the baronetcies since created an immense percentage have become extinct, and only some half dozen of those created in 1611 remain, the first ever created has survived, and bids fair to do so for some time to come. The baronetcy of Hobart (earl of Buckinghamshire)—whose ancestral seat of Blickling, in Norfolk, passed some time since, with its magnificent collection of books, by marriage, into the Scotch family of Ker, and now belongs to the marquis of Lothian—and that of Shirley (held by Earl Ferrers), seem to be the only baronetcies now extant whose patents bear date the same day as that of Bacon.

The others left of the same year are Mordaunt, of which we heard so much in a trial in 1870; Gerard, an ancient Lancashire Catholic house; Monson (Lord Monson); Musgrave of Edenhall ("the luck of Edenhall" is the subject of one of Longfellow's poems); Gresley, Twysden, Temple and Houghton. The last became well known a few years ago in this country as the largest holder of Confederate bonds.

Francis Bacon, familiarly known as Lord Bacon, though in fact he never enjoyed that honor, his titles being Baron Verulam and Viscount St. Alban's, was second son of his father's second marriage, his mother being one of three sisters, the most eminent blue-stockings of the period, daughters of Sir Anthony Cooke, of Gidea Hall, Essex.

Another of Sir Anthony Cooke's daughters was Lady Burleigh, who had been governess to Edward VI., second wife of the famous lord-treasurer, and direct ancestress of the present talented marquis of Salisbury, vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, whose sister, Lady Mildred Beresford-Hope, wife of the well-known son of the author of Anastasius, bears the same name (Mildred) as her ancestress. Indeed, names are thus frequently transmitted for centuries in English families, and often thus serve as links in genealogical research. The Cooke family has long been extinct, and their stately seat was pulled down by a London alderman in the eighteenth century.

Another sister, Lady Hobby—whose husband resided at Bisham Abbey, a fine old place, maintained in admirable repair, near Windsor—was a terrible disciplinarian, and there is an ugly story of her having whipped a wretched son of hers into his grave, from exasperation at[Pg 356] his inability to make his "pothooks," when she was teaching him writing, without blots. Curiously enough, when, some years ago, improvements were being made at the Abbey, a number of copy-books of the style of writing common at the period in which Lady Hobby lived were discovered behind wainscoting, and all were blotted.

The manor of Gorhambury, the great Bacon's seat, was purchased by his father, whose other seat was Redgrave in Suffolk. Gorhambury is near the town of St. Alban's, renowned for its abbey, now in course of splendid rehabilitation.

Not far from St. Alban's once stood the celebrated Roman city of Verulam, called by Tacitus Verulamium, which Bacon, deeply imbued with Latin learning, appropriately selected for his first title. The plough has now for many centuries made furrows over it, and the only vestiges remaining are a few detached masses of the wall. Verulam was bounded on the south-west by the Roman Watling Street. Gorhambury was built by Sir Nicholas, and in the archbishop of Canterbury's library at Lambeth may be seen an interesting account of the expenses. It need scarcely be added that Queen Elizabeth paid her lord-keeper a visit there. Sir Nicholas Bacon left Gorhambury to Mr. Anthony Bacon, the eldest son of his second marriage, and he, dying unmarried, left the estate to his brother Francis.

Gorhambury now belongs to the earl of Verulam, whose family name is Grimston. It was left by the great Bacon to his friend, Sir Thomas Meautys, and thence, by a course of intricate successions, came to the present proprietor.

Bacon, like so many other famous men, had no children. He died in Lord Arundel's house at Highgate in 1626.

Sir Robert Bacon, fifth baronet, sold Redgrave, the family seat in Suffolk, to Lord Chief-Justice Holt toward the end of the seventeenth century. Holt, who died in London 5th of March, 1710, was buried there, and a grand monument to his memory may be seen in the church. It was erected by his brother and heir, for, like Bacon, he was childless.

Redgrave Hall, eighty-seven miles from London by the coach-road, is a large square mansion. The male line of the Holt family has long been extinct, but the present owner of the estate is descended from the great lord chief-justice's niece, who married Mr. Wilson, a younger son of an ancient Westmoreland family.

But to pass to the origin of the order of baronets. After one of the almost chronic Irish insurrections against British rule, James I. conceived in 1609 the idea of offering to English and Scotch settlers, known to be possessed of capital, a large portion of the forfeited estates in Ulster. The supposed necessity of a military force for the protection of the colonists suggested to Sir Antony Shirley a project of raising money for the king. He proposed the creation of a new honor, between those of knight and baron, and that it be conferred by patent at a fixed price for the support of the army in Ulster—that it should descend to heirs male, and be confined to two hundred gentlemen of three descents in actual possession of lands worth one thousand pounds a year—a sum equal to five thousand now.[N]

James I. approved of the scheme, as he would have done of any which seemed feasible for raising the wind, and the patents were offered at the price of ten hundred and ninety-five pounds, the estimated amount of the charge of thirty soldiers during three years. The purchasers did not prove so numerous as had been expected. In the first six years ninety-three patents were sold at £101,835. "It is unnecessary to add," says Doctor Lingard, "that the money never found its way to Ireland" in the shape of forces paid for by this process.[Pg 357]

There have been three or four creations of baronetesses in their own right, but nearly two centuries have elapsed since such a creation. James II. made a curious remainder clause in a patent, by creating a Dutchman a baronet with remainder to his mother. It has been a mooted question whether baronets are not entitled to a coronet, and a certain Sir Charles Lamb, who died a few years ago, was so determined to uphold their privileges on this score that he had this ensign worked into the ornamentation of his entrance gates at Beaufort, near Battle Abbey, Sussex; but he met with small encouragement in such notions from his brother-baronets. An old English gentleman was wont to declare that more of disagreeable eccentricity is to be found amongst members of the baronetage than amongst those of any other order of men. He chanced to be thrown early in life amongst several eccentric beings of the class, and took his ideas accordingly; but it is a fact that a very large number of stories about eccentric baronets are in circulation. A marked man of the kind was early in the last century an individual who, in consequence of his height, was called Long Sir Thomas Robinson. It was in allusion to him that the lines were penned:

Unlike to Robinson shall be my song—
It shall be witty, and it sha'n't be long.

This was the man to whom a Russian nobleman displayed the greatest anxiety to be introduced, under the impression that he was the real identical and unadulterated Robinson Crusoe.

Sir Thomas was a bore of the first magnitude, and an inveterate hanger-on about cabinet-ministers and other prominent persons. He was constantly worrying Lord Burlington and Lord Burlington's servants by his Paul-pry-like presence. On calling at Burlington House, and being told that his lordship had gone out, he would desire to be let in to look at the clock or to play with a monkey which was kept in the hall, and so at length get into his lordship's room. The servants, exasperated, preconcerted a scheme to be rid of the nuisance. So, one day, as soon as the porter opened the gate and found Sir Thomas outside, he said, "His lordship is gone out, the clock has stopped, the monkey is dead."[O]


The story of La Giulietta was told, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, by Luigi da Porto, a gentleman of Vicenza who had served in the army, and to whom it was narrated by one of his archers to beguile a solitary night-march. After passing through various translations the story was taken by Shakespeare as the groundwork of his wonderful tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, one of his earliest plays, and one of the most varied in passion and sentiment. Schlegel says of it: "It shines with the colors of the dawn of morning, but a dawn whose purple clouds already announce the thunder of a sultry day."

The stormy acting of the elder Kean in Richard III.—that epitome of ambition and bloodshed—was said to produce the effect of reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning: in Romeo and Juliet the first two acts are illumined only by the soft moonlight of love, and we are not startled by the lightning of tragedy until it gleams upon the bloody blade of Tybalt in the beginning of the third act: then Love and Death join hands, and move for a time with equal step across the stage. Finally come the poisoning and self-slaughters, and in the representation the curtain falls upon a corse-strewn graveyard, where Death reigns alone. Sad contrast to the lighted ball-room where the lovers first looked into each other's eyes—to the fair garden that lay at midnight "all Danaë to the stars"—to the moon-silvered balcony[Pg 358] from which Juliet leaned in her loveliness as she exchanged with Romeo her earliest vows!

Beneath Italian skies girls spring with sudden leap to womanhood, and the seed of the tender passion hardly drops into the heart before it buds and blooms, a perfect flower. Though the actual lapse of time represented in the play occupies only a few days, Juliet in that brief period must assume several distinct characters. We see her first the coy, heart-whole maiden, the cherished heiress of a patrician house: soon the blind bow-boy launches his shaft, and, quick as thought, she is passionately, impulsively, enduringly in love; then we see her but a few hours a bride, with black sorrow creeping already to darken her happiness; her kinsman is slain, Romeo banished, and the coy maiden is changed at once to the devoted wife, capable of any sacrifice that will enable her to rejoin her husband, then follow the fearful drinking of the philter, the miscarriage of the Friar's scheme, and the death of the lovers, who seek in the grave that union denied them on earth. What varied qualities and acts are clustered here!—simplicity, love, hope, fear, courage, despair, suicide. In the whole range of Shakespeare's female characters there is none so difficult to portray—none requiring such a combination of beauty and talent; and we need not marvel that the part of Juliet is rarely attempted, and still more rarely with success.

That Miss Neilson was successful during her recent short engagement at the Walnut Street Theatre may be inferred, not alone from the great audiences that thronged the theatre night after night—for people will often throng to see a very unworthy performance—but from the intellectual character of those audiences, and the manifest pleasure they derived from seeing the fair English actress.

In every criticism it should be borne in mind that she played under great disadvantage. She was unfortunately, with some few exceptions, very badly supported. It seems ungracious, therefore, to search for any flaw in the performance of such an admirable actress, who has left behind her so many charming memories; yet it must be admitted that her acting is not always as faultless as her face. In her Juliet there are striking inequalities perceptible: sometimes she seems to have just grasped perfection, then again she makes one wonder that she does no better. In portraying love-scenes she is unsurpassed: she is graceful and beautiful, has studied her parts thoroughly, has a sweet, penetrating voice, and seems herself to feel the sentiments she would convey to others. Her enunciation is remarkably distinct, and she has the power of mingling more or less pathos with the tones to express sorrow in greater or less degree: in one scene, where she thinks that Romeo has been murdered, her cheeks are wet with actual tears. At the close of the ball, when she learns that the fascinating young pilgrim is a Montague, the hereditary enemy of her house, she gives her first touch of pathos to the words—

My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!

But it is a pathos entirely different from that which later tinges her sad good-night to her mother and nurse when she has determined to counterfeit death:

Farewell!—God knows when we shall meet again.

Miss Neilson also possesses, in an eminent degree, the power to portray that sly humor without malice known as archness. In the earlier phases of Juliet's career, and throughout the whole impersonation of Rosalind in As You Like It, this accomplishment stands the actress in good stead: she undoubtedly owes to it much of her power to charm. It strikes one when she first comes on the stage as Juliet and gently checks the garrulous old Nurse, taking up the thread of the discourse—

And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I

again, in her witty word-fencing with the mock palmer at the ball—

For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss;

so too in the garden-scene, when she half rebukes herself, and all encourages her lover[Pg 359]

O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully;
Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
I'll frown, and be perverse, and say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.

And she shows it wonderfully in her coaxing, half-pettish behavior to the provoking old woman—talkative and reticent by fits and starts, now whining and now laughing—who has been to seek out Romeo, and brought back news of him. In As You Like It, Rosalind's bright humor ripples and laughs like a silver brook through the glades of Ardennes, and trickles gently even into the epilogue: in this lively comedy—so much lighter and easier than the heavy tragedy we are discussing too—love and despair never come to overlay and destroy the arch humor. If there be any defect in the performance of the banished princess, it must still remain, like Orlando's verses, tacked to some tree in the forest, but, unlike those verses, still unseen.

To return to the tragedy—for in the discussion of two plays in which the same faculties are exhibited by the same actress it is most convenient to pass at times from one play to the other—who that has seen Miss Neilson tread the stately minuet de la cour at the ball given in the palace of the Capulets will deny her the possession of marvelous grace? The long floating robe and abundant train, the high-heeled, pointed shoe of the period, instead of embarrassing her, seem but to give additional opportunity for displaying elegance of pose and gesture. In the garden-scene, when nightingales are whist, bright moonlight falls upon the balcony, and lights up the face of Juliet who leans there, certainly the fairest flower in that scenic paradise. As yet the course of love runs smooth for her: she does not dream of the dreadful gulf down which she is about to plunge, and her happy tones fall musically upon the air, "smoothing the raven down of darkness till it smiles." This happiness continues till her speedy and clandestine marriage. Soon after the Nurse comes home, and by her incoherent mutterings leads Juliet to suppose that Romeo is slain: then we have the first display of grief, but it is a grief so sudden and so violent that the blow stuns and almost silences the young wife. She is roused from this by learning at last that it is Tybalt who is dead, and that Romeo is exiled; which last causes her far greater grief than the loss of her cousin. Her sorrow, however, is at once displaced by rage when the Nurse speaks against her husband—

Shame come to Romeo!—
Blistered be thy tongue,
For such a wish! he was not born to shame.

The sorrow and anger here are well enacted, being neither overdone nor forced. It is here at least shown that Miss Neilson can, when she pleases, express great passions with that suppressed vehemence which carries the cultivated spectator away far more than violence of voice and gesture. Such suppression, with a view to producing greater effect by leaving much to the excited imagination of the beholder, is not practiced only by the tactful histrionic artist—it pervades all art. To take a single brief example: the greatest sculptors, knowing that the chisel could produce form, not color, have shrunk from indicating the pupil of the eye in their statues, and left the eyeball smooth, because the imagination was more pleased with entire absence of the organ than with its imperfect representation. So with ultra-clamorous passion and wild melodramatic action on the stage: both are better omitted than expressed. These remarks are made here in connection with Miss Neilson's first fair displays of passionate sorrow and sorrowful passion: presently they may be applied again, less favorably, to her Juliet. In her Rosalind, however—to refer to As You Like It once more—she gives another fine example of the power of suppressed, suggestive action accompanying the expression of hot wrath. When the tyrant duke informs her that she is banished from his court, she kneels before him in supplication and begs to know the reason of his harsh decree. But the instant he intimates that her father is a traitor, and she another as his daughter, she springs to her feet, and in an attitude of intense defiance,[Pg 360] but without a motion of her folded arms, flings back her scornful retort:

So was I when your highness took his dukedom;
So was I when your highness banished him:
Treason is not inherited, my lord;
Or, if we did derive it from our friends,
What's that to me? my father was no traitor.

Here again is a display of power without distortion or over-acting, such as must give the actress fair title to celebrity.

Let us return now to Juliet and her approaching doom. There is a sad scene in her chamber at early daybreak, for banished Romeo must leave her and haste to Mantua, lest sunrise betray him still lingering in Verona. Juliet at first lovingly detains him, then fearfully urges him to fly; then as he descends from the balcony would fain recall him, and sinks in a swoon when she finds he is really gone. The parents come in and announce their determination that she must marry Paris forthwith: finding her unwilling to comply, they leave her with fierce threats in case she continue disobedient, and even the time-serving, timid old Nurse, though aware of her marriage with Romeo, urges her to comply with their wishes. Thus left entirely to herself, Juliet determines to die rather than prove false to her husband. She hastens to the Friar who married them, and he gives her the philter, which she accepts joyfully and carries home in her bosom. Up to this point her acting is good, because it is natural. Love, grief, stern determination are here successively and skillfully developed by Miss Neilson. But in the next act, just before she drinks the philter alone in her chamber, she oversteps the modesty of nature. In her attempt to express extreme terror at the fearful visions that her excited imagination conjures up, she loses herself in a wild whirlwind of vociferation, accompanied by frantic looks and gestures. All the loud artillery of old melodrama seems at once to be unlimbered and brought into action, with so much noise and smoke that one can neither hear the signals of the bugle nor see the manœuvring of the guns. Of course, even to this part a superior actress like Miss Neilson can impart a certain dignity and interest which would be lacking in an inferior performer. She strikes a certain horror to the spectator by the very hideousness of her terror displayed. It is natural that a young girl about to be laid out alive in a tomb should be tormented with fearful imaginings; but then that young girl cherishes an all-pervading love for a living husband, whom she hopes to rejoin by means of her entombment: she expects that the gates of the mausoleum will open to admit her to life, not death, and she is urged by fear of a hateful second marriage; therefore it is unlikely—no matter what gloomy, blood-stained phantoms she may see—that she should shriek out her fears with such appalling clamor as would arouse any well-organized household, and thus defeat her prospects of success. As Miss Neilson has shown in former instances, a less violent announcement of her feelings would be far more forcible and far more natural. Besides, the actress has not yet reached the time when she wishes to depict her greatest misery: that climax is reached when she wakes in the vault and finds not only Tybalt "festering in his shroud," but her Romeo, her husband, a bloody corpse at her feet. If ever the ungovernable shriek of dying despair be allowable on the stage, it must be at such a time, when Juliet falls upon the still warm body. Even the effect of such a wild performance at the very climax and end of a tragedy may be questioned; but there can be little doubt that the great violence exerted before in describing her horrible suspicions merely, deprives the actress of power to throw increased stress into her performance as the play moves to its close, and she is confronted with a far more horrible reality.

As though she feels that her power of melodramatic declamation has been weakened, Miss Neilson in the graveyard seems to rely more on melodramatic action. And it is very melodramatic. She rises from Romeo's body, where she has flung herself, where it would be natural she should remain to kill herself, and standing at some distance from the corpse, stabs herself openly with a stage dagger, then falling,[Pg 361] drags herself slowly, accompanied by soft music, back to the body, and there at last expires. How much more effective would this part become if more were left to the beholder's imagination! Great artists generally avoid open stabbing on the stage, as it almost invariably produces the impression of trickery. We may see the gleaming blade and the arm descending to strike the blow, but it is best not to see the weapon pretending to enter the victim's body; and this can always be avoided by proper management. When Ristori as Medea murdered her children at the base of Saturn's statue, the other actors grouped around and screened the act from the view of the audience: when the crowd opened again, the bodies were discovered lying on the steps of the pedestal. The death of Juliet, instead of bringing tears to all eyes, as Miss Neilson undoubtedly could make it do, is thus rendered ineffective by over-acting; and when she drags herself six or eight feet along the stage, prostrate and stabbed,

Oh, 'tis dreadful there to see
A lady so richly clad as she,
Beautiful, exceedingly!

On the last evening of her engagement Miss Neilson appeared in the Lady of Lyons, and after the performance recited the following epilogue, suggested by Lord Lytton's recent death:

Fair Ladies and good Sirs: Since last this play
Was acted on this stage, has passed away
Its noble author from the gaze of men,
No more, alas! to wield his facile pen.
In Knébworth's ancient park, across the sea,
Lord Lytton sleeps, but not his witchery.
The dramatist, romancer, poet, still
Can touch our hearts and captivate our will;
For laureled genius has the power to brave
Death's fell advance, and lives beyond the grave:
Bear witness, this grand audience clustered here.
Your plaudits cannot reach dead Lytton's ear,
But no more sweet libation can you pour
To Lytton's memory, on this distant shore,
Than your prolonged applause, which now proclaims,
Though the great author's gone, his fame remains.
M. M.


An old lady who knew General R. E. Lee almost from childhood declared that when he was a young man he enjoyed fun and indulged in harmless frolics as much as anybody. Later in life, and after his sons became stout lads, it is said that he was fond of sleeping with them, in order that he might in the morning engage in a regular old-fashioned romp and pillow-fight with the boys. During the war, though habitually grave, as befitted a commanding officer, he relished an occasional joke very highly. When some of his staff mistook a jug of buttermilk that had been sent him for "good old apple-jack," and made wry faces in gulping it down, he did not attempt to conceal his merriment. So, too, when inquiring into the nature of "this new game, 'chuck-a-buck,' I think they call it," which had been introduced into his army, there was a sly twinkle in his eye that showed how shrewdly he guessed its real purport as a gambling game. So, again, it is reported that he appreciated fully the "sell" which a wag on his staff palmed off upon a reporter, who promptly inserted it in the papers. The reporter wanted to know General Lee's hour for dining.

"Six o'clock—exactly at six," was the reply.

"I infer, then, that it is rather a formal meal?"

"Decidedly formal—in fact, I may say it is a rigidly military dinner."

"Military! how military?"

"Well, you see General Lee sits at the head of the table, and Colonel Chilton at the foot, and everything is done in red-tape style."

"Red tape at table! I don't understand you. Please explain."

"Certainly. General Lee never carves and never helps—all that is left to Colonel Chilton—but General Lee asks the guests what they will have: they tell him, then he issues his orders, and Colonel Chilton executes them. That's all."

"Go on, go on!" opening his notebook: "give me an example—tell me exactly how it is done."

"Suppose, then, that we have beef—we generally have beef. Grace is said by the chaplain, then General Lee raps on the table with the handle of his knife and says, 'Attention!' Everybody is silent. Every eye is turned toward General Lee. He looks at one of us—me,[Pg 362] for example—and I rise and make a military salute. 'Captain C——, what will you be helped to?' says General Lee. I say 'Beef,' make another salute, and sit down. General Lee, fixing his eye on Colonel Chilton, says, 'Beef, for Captain C——.' My plate is passed, helped, and then Colonel Chilton, handing it to the servant, says,

'Beef for Captain C——,
By order of General Lee.
R. H. Chilton, A. A. G.'"

And this absurd story went the round of the Southern papers.

After the war, General Lee rarely smiled, and one may say never laughed outright. Yet he was neither sad nor unsociable. But there was that about him which made it wellnigh impossible to believe that he could ever have given completely away to feelings of mirth and indulged in a real fit of cachinnation. Such, however, was the fact, and it occurred at a time when, of all others, one would have least expected it—in the retreat to Appomattox—and General Henry A. Wise was the occasion of it.

On the second or third day of the retreat, General Wise, who had long desired an interview with General Lee, discovered him at a distance, and immediately hastened toward him. While he was yet a great way off, General Lee, who happened at the time to be alone, turned and began to stare in a way that was most unusual with him. As Wise drew nearer the stare became intense and mixed with wonderment. A few steps more, and still General Lee gazed and gazed wonderingly, as if he had never seen Wise in his life. Amazed and puzzled at General Lee's unmistakable ignorance of his identity, Wise advanced quite close to him and said rather stiffly, "Good-morning, General Lee." It was very early and very cool, too—a sharp spring morning.

As he said this, General Lee's intense gaze relaxed, a smile appeared in its place, the smile deepened, broadened, and, spreading from feature to feature, ended at last in a fit of the most immoderate and uncontrollable laughter.

Astounded beyond words, and indignant beyond measure at such a reception, it was some time before General Wise could demand an explanation. During all this time General Lee laughed as a mature man rarely ever laughs.

The explanation, given through tears of laughter not yet dried, was simple enough. General Lee had mistaken the general for a Comanche Indian. He had lost his hat or cap, a dirty blanket was thrown over his shoulders to protect him from the keen morning air, and his face, washed in a mud-puddle and hastily wiped, retained a ring of red mud around the borders, which made the resemblance to an Indian as exact as well could be—all the more so in consequence of Wise's strong features.

Barely sufficient at the time (so incensed was Wise), the explanation eventually proved ample, for General Wise now laughs at this incident as heartily as any one, and often relates it himself, while it may well be doubted whether ever again in life General Lee found either the occasion or the disposition to relax his wonted gravity.


A Southern correspondent sends the following incident from real life, which illustrates the well-known negro fondness for so-called lugubrious festivals:

A lady friend of mine was much beset a few days ago by her cook for permission to attend the funeral of some relative. The res angustæ forbade her leaving just at that time, but, to compensate her for the deprivation, her mistress said, "Rose, I really feel very sorry for you, but you shall lose nothing by staying at home. I promise that you shall go to the first party that is given by any of your friends, and stay all night long."

Rose, tossing her head, replied, "Law! Miss Susan, how kin you talk like dat? You know I don't set no vally on parties. Forty parties couldn't pay me for de sight of one corp!" She saw the "corp."


[M] The origin of the name of Bacon is thus explained by Richard Verstegan, famous for Saxon lore and historical research:

"Bacon, that is, 'of the beechen tree,' anciently called Bucon; and whereas swines' flesh is now called by the name of bacon, it grew only at the first unto such as were fatted with Bucon or beech-mast."

It is, as a writer in Notes and Queries points out, a curious authentication of this derivation that Collins, in his Baronetage, mentions that the first man of the name of Bacon of whom there is record in the Herald's College, bore for his arms "argent, a beech tree proper." Additional confirmation seems afforded by the fact that in certain places in England boys call beechen tops "bacons."

[N] "My father," says Thomas Shirley to the king, "being a man of excellent and working wit, did find out the device of making baronets, which brought to Your Majesty's coffers wellnigh one hundred thousand pounds, for which he was promised by the late Lord Salisbury (son of Miss Cooke, Bacon's aunt), lord-treasurer, a good recompense, which he never had." Ninety-three patents were sold within six years. It was promised in the patents that no new title of honor should be created between barons and baronets, and that when the number of two hundred had been filled up, no more should ever after be added. The first promise has been kept.

[O] This recalls a story of the Marquis of L——, Sydney Smith's friend, grandfather of the present peer. His lordship's gallantries were notorious, though most carefully concealed. On one occasion he went to visit a lady with whom he maintained very intimate relations. Not choosing to take a groom on such an occasion, he gave his horse to a boy in the street to hold. On coming out he looked up and down the street, but in vain, and at length had to go home steedless. On reaching L—— House, the groom, waiting at the door for his return, said, "Shall I go for the horse, my lord?" "The horse is dead," was the brief response. "Where shall I send for the saddle and bridle, my lord?" "Oh—a—a—h" (and then with emphasis), "they're dead too!"


As a knowledge of the circumstances under which a work of art is composed occasionally gives a clearer insight into[Pg 363] certain of its peculiarities, so perhaps an analysis of the individual elements which go to make up the present Assembly of Versailles may give the reader a clue to the reason of some of its legislative measures, as well as to its possibilities for the future and its political tendencies. Such an analysis is made by the Rappel of Paris in an elaborate article, from which we must only cite a few points. The Assembly, then, contains, it appears, 2 princes (the princes d'Orléans), 7 dukes, 30 marquises, 52 counts, 17 viscounts, 18 barons and 97 untitled nobles, or those "n'ayant que la particule;" which last phrase we may explain to mean having the de prefixed to their names, without other titular distinction. Next, it contains 163 great landed proprietors, including the richest in France; 155 advocates; 48 leading manufacturers; 45 officers or ex-officers of the army, chiefly of high rank; 35 magistrates or ex-magistrates; 25 engineers; 23 physicians; 21 professors; 19 notaries or ex-notaries; 16 wholesale merchants; 14 officers or ex-officers of the navy; 10 attorneys; 5 bankers; 2 druggists; 1 bishop; 1 curate; 1 Protestant minister; and 10 others of sundry occupations. The difference in composition between this republican Assembly and our own Congresses is in some respects remarkable; for, independently of the very large and indeed altogether disproportionate representation of the nobility or titled classes, we observe a very great preponderance of rich land-owners, representing in their own persons the agricultural and vine-growing interests. Very singular, also, is the small proportion of lawyers, only 155 being classed as advocates, and the magistrates and attorneys swelling the number only to 200. In an ordinary American Congress at least one-half, and usually two-thirds, of the members are or have been lawyers by profession. The clerical representation seems to reach a total of three, all told, Catholic and Protestant; and as trivial is that of the retail traders and mechanics, of whom there are but two or three in all. We may add that a full-blooded negro member, M. Pory-Papy, came as deputy from Martinique. The standard of intelligence and political experience is rather high: it is said, for example, that no less than 33 members have been ministers. Altogether, the Assembly may be considered as rather fortunately constituted.

During the session of the medical congress at Lyons one day was set apart for the study of alcoholic stimulants. On that occasion the physician of Sainte-Anne asylum, Dr. Magnan, comparing the chemical action of alcohol and absinthe on man, drew the conclusion that the former acts more slowly, gradually provoking delirium and digestive derangement, while absinthe rapidly results in epilepsy. Then, producing a couple of dogs, he treated one with alcohol and the other with essence of absinthe, this latter being the active principle of the absinthe liquor which is commonly drunk. The alcoholized brute could not stand up, became sleepy and stupid, and, when set on his legs, trembled in an inert mass: the other dog experienced at once frightful attacks of epilepsy. Analogous effects are produced in mankind. Surely the "absinthe duel" which is said to have taken place at Cannes, when both the combatants perished after drinking an extraordinary quantity, may be strictly denominated a duel with deadly weapons. In the south of France, it is said, one person sometimes invites another to partake of absinthe by the slang phrase, "Take a shovelful of earth;" as if an American bar-room lounger, recognizing with grim humor the deadly quality of his liquor, should say, "Come and get measured for your coffin." The French expression has certainly, in view of Dr. Magnan's disclosures, a melancholy picturesqueness. This subject has to France a national importance, since, if the recent report of Dr. Bergeron does not exaggerate, the absintism introduced amongst the French army in general by the Algerian officers did its part toward producing that inertness and lack of vigor which generals often complained of in their subordinates during the disastrous invasion of 1870.[Pg 364]

Richard II., in the play of that name, disheartened by his calamities, responds to all the encouraging words of his lords and followers with a bitter satire on the wretchedness of royalty:

For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground,
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
How some have been depos'd; some slain in war;
Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos'd;
Some poison'd by their wives; some sleeping kill'd;
All murther'd; for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court.

The unhappy monarch was destined to furnish in his own tragic fate one more illustration of his homily. His words come vividly to mind in reviewing the curious catalogue which a European statistician lately furnished of the number of sovereigns who have perished by violent deaths or been discrowned by disaster. The list, which must perforce be incomplete, embraces 2540 emperors or kings, who have ruled over 64 nations. Of these, 299 were dethroned; 151 were assassinated; 123 died in captivity; 108 were formally condemned and executed; 100 were killed in battle; 64 abdicated; 62 were poisoned; 25 died the death of martyrs; 20 committed suicide; and 11 died insane. Even these lists do not probably include all the unnatural deaths and dethronements that have occurred among the 2540 rulers thus tabulated, for it was often deemed politic to conceal the circumstances of a monarch's death, and history mentions many such instances in which the cause of death is doubtful; so that, for example, the 11 insane and the 20 suicides and the 62 poisoned doubtless do not comprise the whole number of deaths which ought to be included under those descriptions. Nevertheless, taking these figures as they are, they furnish a striking comment on King Richard's melancholy words; which, by the way, Richard's own conqueror and successor almost paralleled in his lamentations over the anxieties and perils that encompass the kingly state. We may add that the death of Napoleon III. at Chiselhurst has now, by one more name, increased the number of sovereigns dying in exile, while giving the whole subject a fresh interest.

The authority of Professor Godebski of St. Petersburg is given for the extraordinary statement that the Russian authorities in Poland have prohibited the contemplated erection of a monument to Chopin in his native Warsaw, on the ground that it might become an occasion for a political manifestation. M. Godebski was to have executed the statue, a plan had been submitted and accepted, musical admirers of Chopin had favored the project, Prince Orloff, Princess Czartoryska and many ladies of the Polish nobility had contributed the necessary funds, when the whole scheme was vetoed by Count von Berg, on the pretext already stated. Surely this was pushing caution to extremes, even in Poland. It was Chopin's fate to be driven from his country in 1836 by revolutionary disorders; but the very composition of the monumental committee, which was under the direction of Madame Mouchanoff, an ardent admirer of the master, indicated that the enterprise was an artistic, not a political one. Chopin, reposing between Bellini and Cherubini in the Père la Chaise, his chosen burial-place, has long since passed from the narrow confines of his Polish nationality to the worldwide and immortal realm of art. In pretending, thirty years after his death, that the genius of the artist is of less account than the accident of his birthplace, and in reviving against this memorial project the entirely secondary facts of the revolutionary epoch (when Chopin's career was not in politics, but in art), the Russian authorities are wondrously sensitive, to say the least. A chagrined friend of the sculptor has proposed that a piece of ground should be bought, a temporary wooden house built on it, the statue set up as if in a private courtyard or gallery, and the doors then thrown open to the public, while, after some days or months, the building could be taken down, leaving the statue substantially on a public square. But the prohibition which vetoed the original project would of course cover this stratagem also, and besides, it would be rather too petty a device to engage in.[Pg 365]


Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life. By George Eliot. Vol. II. New York: Harper & Brothers.

As a "study of provincial life" Middlemarch appeals to a class of readers who might have little taste for the psychological studies in which the book abounds, and which give it a much deeper import. Its variety, spirit and truth of local color are Hogarthian, while it shows a figure, in the heroine, of far higher beauty and belonging to the great circle of epic characters. Dorothea, with her loveliness and her history of divine blunders, is fit to stand with any queen of song or story. This volume begins with the closing scenes in her scholar-husband's life. The character is a curious, and, after all, a pathetic one. What Philadelphia reader, at least, can pursue the narrative of poor Casaubon's misplaced study and ill-judged bequest without being reminded of another career of futile scholarship near home? Like him, as it will seem to the curious annalist, Richard Rush was a student without an audience, and like him a mistaken testator. Locking up his mind from the public amidst a company of ideas imbibed in the day when his city was the great book-producing city of the country, Rush prosecuted his barren researches in a moral prison, saw domestic life only through a grating woven from his own prejudices, and died in the confidence falsely sustaining him that the inefficiency of a lifetime would be amended by the bequests of an impracticable will. Rush, too, was wealthy, of influential family, studious, sterile, and apt to put off present action in the hope that the grave would one day co-operate with his motives; and Rush, like the imagined author of the Key to all Mythologies, finds the grave a treacherous trustee. The heroine of Middlemarch, in her action over her husband's testament, behaves as every true and lovable woman, obeying the emotions, will behave while the world lasts: a flippant, easy, youthful censor has told her, in a boudoir in the Via Sistina at Rome, that her husband's labor was thrown away because the Germans had taken the lead in historical inquiries, and that they laughed at those who groped about in woods where they had made good roads. The censor is agreeable, curly, and has engaging ways of lying about on hearth-rugs and giving his arm to quaint old maids: his criticism is therefore securely effective against all the conclusions of a life of dry labor; and so it comes that Dorothea writes on her husband's posthumous schedule: "I could not use it. Do you not see now that I could not submit my soul to yours by working hopelessly at what I have no belief in?" That is the way in which schemes of more or less erudition will for ever be lost to the world when entrusted to those who reason as Nature imperiously teaches them to do, through their affinity with blooming cheeks, curled locks and versatile intellects. It is inevitable that Dorothea must sink, from her dreams of emulating Saint Theresa, to comradeship with the glossy occupant of the hearth-rug. George Eliot, as a true artist, sees what is faulty in the catastrophe, but she will not unsex her creation. Another of her characters, Rosamond, she pursues with a minute, withering, one would say vindictive, contempt. It is the beautiful, distinguished young creature who marries Lydgate on account of his high connections, and who trains him to do up her plaits of hair for her, and allows him to talk the "little language" of affection, which Rosamond, though not returning it, "accepted as if she had been a serene and lovely image, now and then miraculously dimpling toward her votary." How such a creature can become the cool blighting Nemesis of a hopeful home, ruining it by extravagance, and taking credit to herself for every act of calm revolt, until her wretched husband, who had meant to be another Vesalius, compares her to Boccaccio's basil, that flourished upon the brains of a massacred man, the author sees only too plainly, and shows forth in some of the most cutting scenes she has ever written. Her "Study of Provincial Life," while it reveals her warm poet's love for a lofty nature defeated by its conditions, shows still plainer her intimate and personal dread of the cold thin nature that kills by its commonplace. The last she rewards contemptuously with a carriage in the Park and a rich second match: the first[Pg 366] she punishes with exquisite Junonine tenderness by giving her a little boy in the bride-chamber of the home of the clever young politician whom the local editor has called a "violent energumen."

In laying down the book the reader is conscious of a different feeling from that with which he ordinarily parts with a work of fiction which has gratified his artistic tastes and furnished him with a high intellectual pleasure. Comparing the productions of George Eliot with those of other novelists, we are tempted to think of these as trivial fond records, which might well be blotted from the tablets of the memory, leaving the inscription she has placed there to live alone in ineffaceable characters. It is not that they show her to be endowed with a larger measure of those gifts which constitute the artist. In each of these she has perhaps been equaled or surpassed by one or another of her predecessors. As a painter of manners, of all that belongs to the surface of life, she is rivaled in fidelity, if not in breadth and force, by Fielding, Thackeray and Miss Austen. Her observation is less keen than theirs, her portraiture less vivid, her humor less cordial and abundant. Her conceptions have not the intensity of Charlotte Bronté's, nor her great scenes the dramatic fire of Scott's. In the minor matters of invention and plot she sometimes has recourse to shifts that betray the deficiencies they are intended to conceal. The quality in which she is supreme is one that lies beyond the strict domain of art. It is the power of penetrating to the roots of human character and action—a power which seems to be something more than insight, but for which sympathy would be a still less adequate term, indicating as it does a nature harmonious and complete, one in which intellect and feeling are resolved into an element that overflows and envelops its object without effort or repulsion. In other novelists we admire a subtlety that winds through the intricacies of motives, unmasking deceptions, revealing weaknesses and flaws but half suspected, or delicacies and beauties but half appreciated: George Eliot drops a plummet that sinks straight and steadily, through turbid waves and calm under-current, reaching depths before unexplored. We can claim no part in her discoveries, however our faculties may be exercised in grasping or in testing them. They more often correct than confirm our impressions; they make large additions to our knowledge; they suggest the necessity of reconstructing our theories and placing them on a new and wider base.

A Memorial of Alice and Phœbe Cary. By Mary Clemmer Ames. New York: Hurd & Houghton.

Alice Cary was a poetess of feeling, tender, prolific, overworked, unhealthy, and cooked to desiccation in a New York "elegant residence" that was but one enormous stove. Phœbe, working less, was amusing, plump, gay and original. Alice, obediently grinding out her sweet morning poem for the Ledger before she went to market, died at her desk, and then Phœbe died of loneliness. It is a gentle and a thoroughly American history. In the eyes of both these Ohio women, New York was the market where they could easiest sell their wares, and their poems were commodities from which they were determined to derive as comfortable an existence as possible. Any strict idea of duty to their art, as the responsibility committed to them above all things on earth, seems never to have crossed the mind of either sister, though Alice, who wrote a great many volumes, would occasionally complain—not, however, more feelingly than all sincere authors do—that she knew her labors were overtaxing her faculty. They arranged, at their handsome residence on Twentieth street, a salon of Sunday evenings, where Mr. Greeley, Robert Bonner and Whitelaw Reid used to meet and converse kindly with the minor literati, and which were believed to have much of the pleasantness and life of French conversaziones. Alice Cary has left a profusion of pensive poetry: the following is the most beautiful extract she affords:

The fisher droppeth his net in the stream,
And a hundred streams are the same as one;
And the maiden dreameth her lovelit dream;
And what is it all when all is done?
The net of the fisher the burden breaks,
And always the dreaming the dreamer wakes.

Phœbe, who was reckoned less clever than Alice, excites a great deal more sympathy, quietly accepting a position of admiring secondariness, and yielding occasional good things in wit or poetry: she was famed among her friends as a punster and parodist, and once answered at a dinner to a question what wine they used, "Oh, we drink Heidsick, but we keep mum." An irresistibly[Pg 367] taking and womanly remark of hers, disposing in its own way of whole schemes of Calvinistic theology, was her reply to the argument for endless punishment: "Well, if God ever sends me into such misery, I know He will give me a constitution to bear it." Again, as the least laborious of the sisters, her talent had moments of greater felicity than that of Alice, and she has left one hymn which has all the promise of a lasting favorite. The sacred lyric, "One sweetly solemn thought comes to me o'er and o'er," is sung, as it deserves to be, wherever Christianity is known, and there is an attested story of its having aroused a pair of gamblers in China to repentance and permanent reform. It is imprudent to predict a permanent place for even the best of Alice Carey's gentle songs; but Phœbe's utterance may very possibly be quoted, from her unpretending station as adviser and alleviator of every-day life, after her name shall be forgotten and her religion shall have become impersonal.

How I Found Livingstone. By Henry M. Stanley. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co.

This book, the circumstances of its writing considered, is a literary curiosity. It contains seven hundred and twenty pages octavo, and it was composed in an incredibly short time, while the stomach of its author was digesting a series of stout English dinners, and his attention dissipating among speech-makings and speech-listenings, feasts, meetings and visits. Only a New York reporter could have achieved the feat. The faculty acquired by men of Mr. Stanley's trade, of acting with the intense decision and energy of great military captains, and then relating the action with the voluble unction of bar-rooms or political stumps, is a strange mixed faculty, and is found to perfection in the reporters' rooms of the New York Herald. The tale has the Herald's well-known style, and is a correspondent's letter in a state of amplification. It is always energetic, often tinged with real heroism and romance, and adorned sometimes with an ambition of classical allusions that resemble Egyptian jewels worn by a Nubian savage. It has not the least self-restraint or good taste, but it sounds fresh, genuine and sincere. It brings out with fine distinctness the feudal fidelity of a reporter-errant, whose whole soul is dyed with belief in the great establishment whose behest he obeys—one of the last refuges in which mediæval humility is to be found. As a part of the same habit of mind, Mr. Stanley shows a fine, literal, unquestioning championship of the object of his quest, Dr. Livingstone; but he seems to admire the doctor, after all, rather as an ornamental possession of the New York Herald. The great traveler's good-nature to Mr. Bennett, as a voluntary correspondent and coadjutor by brevet with the journal, disarms and enchants him: beginning with a prejudice, he ends by saying, "I grant he is not an angel, but he approaches to that being as near as the nature of a living man will allow." In every trait Stanley shows himself whole-souled, ignorant of half measures, unscrupulous, cruel on occasion, driving, positive, and furnished with a sure instinct of success. The book, from its hasty construction, admits many inconsistencies, the worst of which is its long tirade against the Geographical Society, nullified finally by gracious thanks for their medal; but it has the energetic virtue of a book written while memory was fresh, and is often truly dramatic and pictorial. It is the garrulous appendage of a strange and solid achievement, the feather-end of the arrow, which advertises the hit of the steel.

The Minnesinger of Germany. By A. E. Kroeger. New York: Hurd & Houghton.

Mr. Kroeger appears to have an antiquarian's thoroughness in his subject, and he has made it an interesting one to Western readers. But he has not succeeded in his translations, partly because he does not respect the usage and associations of the English words he rivets incompatibly together, and partly because success, even for a more poetical translator, is impossible in the premises. The authors of the Minnelay, in their elaborate rhyme-caprice, must have remained harmonious and lyrical, which is not the case with a version like this:

I look so Esau-like, perdu,
My hair hangs rough and unkempt. Hu!
Gentle Summer, where are you?
Ah, were the world no more so dhu!
Rather than bide in this purlieu,
Longer to stay I'll say, Adieu!
And go as monk to Toberlu.

Or like this, which Mr. Kroeger, without the fear of Maud's author before his eyes, compares to Tennyson:[Pg 368]

Rosy-colored meadows
To shadows we see vanish everywhere,
Wood-birds' warbling dieth,
Sore-trieth them the snow of wintry year.
Woe, woe! what red mouth's glow
Hovers now o'er the valley?
Ah, ah, the hours of woe!
Lovers it doth rally
No more; yet its caress seems cosy.

These studies of intricate rhymes concealed in and terminating the lines are at least as hard for the reader as for the writer; yet we hope Mr. Kroeger will not lose his readers before they arrive at the historical and critical parts of the work, which are really valuable. The narrative of Ulrich von Lichtenstein of the thirteenth century, who sent one of his fingers to an exacting lady-love, and paraded through Europe on her quests disguised variously as King Arthur, Queen Venus or as a leper, is one which makes the maddest deeds of Quixote seem sane, although he was a true singer and an admired chevalier of his period. Gottfried von Strassburg, whose excellent poem of Tristan and Isolde inspires the writer with his least unhappy translation, leads the subject away from the mere love-carolers toward the authors of the metrical romances, the bards of Germany. It is at this point that he introduces some forcible criticisms on Tennyson's poetry of that character, and makes it evident that the Laureate might have improved his Idyls by extending his readings among the German chanters of Arthurian legend. The following seems practical and just: "If Tennyson was determined to make the love-passion the chief theme of his work, rather than the religious element of the St. Graal, he had at hand in one of his legends that very same relation between the sexes which existed between Queen Guinevere and Launcelot, and yet deprived in the essential point of all disgusting characteristics. It seems strange that the impropriety of making this adulterous connection between the king and queen the chief theme of his song should not have struck Tennyson when he dedicated his legends to the husband of Queen Victoria, even in that dedication drawing comparisons: strange that he should have taken no means to hide it, by at least bringing the king into some position of interest, whereas he is made so little of that he seems a mild, inoffensive, gentle soul, who is ready even to shake hands with the seducer of his wife." In this connection it will repay the reader to peruse, even if the version has not much charm, the long extract from Gottfried's Tristan, with an eye to the noble and knightly way in which the legend is conceived and taken up. Mr. Kroeger, who can give it no grace in translation, is a warm partisan in matters of melody and rhythm, appreciating Coleridge and Swinburne. Altogether, he is a sincere and useful interpreter between our public—rather careless of musty poetry—and the fine old German singers.

Books Received.

History of English Literature. By H. A. Taine. Abridged from the translation of H. van Laun, by John Fiske, Assistant Librarian of Harvard University. New York: Holt & Williams.

The Polytechnic: A Collection of Music for Schools, Classes and Clubs. Arranged and Written by U. C. Burnap and Dr. W. J. Wetmore. New York: J. W. Schermerhorn.

The Athenæum: A Collection of Part Songs. Arranged and Written by U. C. Burnap and Dr. W. J. Wetmore. New York: J. W. Schermerhorn & Co.

Joseph Noirel's Revenge. By Victor Cherbuliez. Translated from the French by William F. West, A. M. New York: Holt & Williams.

A New Theory of the Origin of Species. By B. G. Ferris. New Haven, Connecticut: C. C. Chatfield & Co.

Johnson's Natural Philosophy. By Frank G. Johnson, A.M., M.D. New York: J. W. Schermerhorn & Co.

The Ordeal for Wives. By the author of "Ought We to Visit Her?" New York: Sheldon & Co.

The Higher Ministry of Nature. By John Leifchild, A.M. New York: G. P. Putnam & Sons.

A Manual of Pottery and Porcelain. By John H. Treadwell. New York: G. P. Putnam & Sons.

The Outcast, and Other Poems. By J. W. Watson. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson & Brothers.

The Catholic Family Almanac for 1873. New York: The Catholic Publication Society.

Off the Skelligs. By Jean Ingelow. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular
Literature and Science, Volume 11, No. 24, March, 1873, by Various


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