The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 121,
November, 1867, by Various

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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 121, November, 1867

Author: Various

Release Date: March 9, 2009 [EBook #28285]

Language: English

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[Pg 513]



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


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by Ticknor and Fields, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected and footnotes moved to the end of the article. Table of contents has been created for the HTML version.






Lawyer Penhallow was seated in his study, his day's work over, his feet in slippers, after the comfortable but inelegant fashion which Sir Walter Scott reprobates, amusing himself with a volume of old Reports. He was a knowing man enough, a keen country lawyer, but honest, and therefore less ready to suspect the honesty of others. He had a great belief in his young partner's ability, and, though he knew him to be astute, did not think him capable of roguery.

It was at his request that Mr. Bradshaw had undertaken his journey, which, as he believed,—and as Mr. Bradshaw had still stronger evidence of a strictly confidential nature which led him to feel sure,—would end in the final settlement of the great land claim in favor of their client. The case had been dragging along from year to year, like an English chancery suit; and while courts and lawyers and witnesses had been sleeping, the property had been steadily growing. A railroad had passed close to one margin of the township, some mines had been opened in the county, in which a village calling itself a city had grown big enough to have a newspaper and Fourth of July orations. It was plain that the successful issue of the long process would make the heirs of the late Malachi Withers possessors of an ample fortune, and it was also plain that the firm of Penhallow and Bradshaw were like to receive, in such case, the largest fee that had gladdened the professional existence of its members.

Mr. Penhallow had his book open before him, but his thoughts were wandering from the page. He was thinking of his absent partner, and the probable results of his expedition. What would be the consequence if all this property came into the possession of Silence Withers? Could she have any liberal intentions with reference to Myrtle Hazard, the young girl who had grown up with her, or was the common impression true, that she was bent on endowing an institution, and thus securing for herself a [Pg 514]favorable consideration in the higher courts, where her beneficiaries would be, it might be supposed, influential advocates? He could not help thinking that Mr. Bradshaw believed that Myrtle Hazard would eventually come to a part at least of this inheritance. For the story was, that he was paying his court to the young lady whenever he got an opportunity, and that he was cultivating an intimacy with Miss Cynthia Badlam. "Bradshaw wouldn't make a move in that direction," Mr. Penhallow said to himself, "until he felt pretty sure that it was going to be a paying business. If he was only a young minister now, there'd be no difficulty about it. Let any man, young or old, in a clerical white cravat, step up to Myrtle Hazard, and ask her to be miserable in his company through this wretched life, and Aunt Silence would very likely give them her blessing, and add something to it that the man in the white cravat would think worth even more than that was. But I don't know what she'll say to Bradshaw. Perhaps he'd better have a hint to go to meeting a little more regularly. However, I suppose he knows what he's about."

He was thinking all this over when a visitor was announced, and Mr. Byles Gridley entered the study.

"Good evening, Mr. Penhallow," Mr. Gridley said, wiping his forehead. "Quite warm, isn't it, this evening?"

"Warm!" said Mr. Penhallow, "I should think it would freeze pretty thick to-night. I should have asked you to come up to the fire and warm yourself. But take off your coat, Mr. Gridley,—very glad to see you. You don't come to the house half as often as you come to the office. Sit down, sit down."

Mr. Gridley took off his outside coat and sat down. "He does look warm, doesn't he?" Mr. Penhallow thought. "Wonder what has heated up the old gentleman so. Find out quick enough, for he always goes straight to business."

"Mr. Penhallow," Mr. Gridley began at once, "I have come on a very grave matter, in which you are interested as well as myself, and I wish to lay the whole of it before you as explicitly as I can, so that we may settle this night before I go what is to be done. I am afraid the good standing of your partner, Mr. William Murray Bradshaw, is concerned in the matter. Would it be a surprise to you, if he had carried his acuteness in some particular case like the one I am to mention beyond the prescribed limits?"

The question was put so diplomatically that there was no chance for an indignant denial of the possibility of Mr. Bradshaw's being involved in any discreditable transaction.

"It is possible," he answered, "that Bradshaw's keen wits may have betrayed him into sharper practice than I should altogether approve in any business we carried on together. He is a very knowing young man, but I can't think he is foolish enough, to say nothing of his honesty, to make any false step of the kind you seem to hint. I think he might on occasion go pretty near the line, but I don't believe he would cross it."

"Permit me a few questions, Mr. Penhallow. You settled the estate of the late Malachi Withers, did you not?"

"Mr. Wibird and myself settled it together."

"Have you received any papers from any of the family since the settlement of the estate?"

"Let me see. Yes; a roll of old plans of the Withers Place, and so forth,—not of much use, but labelled and kept. An old trunk with letters and account-books, some of them in Dutch,—mere curiosities. A year ago or more, I remember that Silence sent me over some papers she had found in an odd corner,—the old man hid things like a magpie. I looked over most of them,—trumpery not worth keeping,—old leases and so forth."

"Do you recollect giving some of them to Mr. Bradshaw to look over?"

"Now I come to think of it, I believe I did; but he reported to me, if I remember right, that they amounted to nothing."[Pg 515]

"If any of those papers were of importance, should you think your junior partner ought to keep them from your knowledge?"

"I need not answer that question, Mr. Gridley. Will you be so good as to come at once to the facts on which you found your suspicions, and which lead you to put these questions to me?"

Thereupon Mr. Gridley proceeded to state succinctly the singular behavior of Murray Bradshaw in taking one paper from a number handed to him by Mr. Penhallow, and concealing it in a volume. He related how he was just on the point of taking out the volume which contained the paper, when Mr. Bradshaw entered and disconcerted him. He had, however, noticed three spots on the paper by which he should know it anywhere. He then repeated the substance of Kitty Fagan's story, accenting the fact that she too noticed three remarkable spots on the paper which Mr. Bradshaw had pointed out to Miss Badlam as the one so important to both of them. Here he rested the case for the moment.

Mr. Penhallow looked thoughtful. There was something questionable in the aspect of this business. It did obviously suggest the idea of an underhand arrangement with Miss Cynthia, possibly involving some very grave consequences. It would have been most desirable, he said, to have ascertained what these papers, or rather this particular paper, to which so much importance was attached, amounted to. Without that knowledge there was nothing, after all, which it might not be possible to explain. He might have laid aside the spotted paper to examine for some object of mere curiosity. It was certainly odd that the one the Fagan woman had seen should present three spots so like those on the other paper, but people did sometimes throw treys at backgammon, and that which not rarely happened with two dice of six faces might happen if they had sixty or six hundred faces. On the whole, he did not see that there was any ground, so far, for anything more than a vague suspicion. He thought it not unlikely that Mr. Bradshaw was a little smitten with the young lady up at The Poplars, and that he had made some diplomatic overtures to the duenna, after the approved method of suitors. She was young for Bradshaw,—very young,—but he knew his own affairs. If he chose to make love to a child, it was natural enough that he should begin by courting her nurse.

Master Byles Gridley lost himself for half a minute in a most discreditable inward discussion as to whether Laura Penhallow was probably one or two years older than Mr. Bradshaw. That was his way,—he could not help it. He could not think of anything without these mental parentheses. But he came back to business at the end of his half-minute.

"I can lay the package before you at this moment, Mr. Penhallow. I have induced that woman in whose charge it was left to intrust it to my keeping, with the express intention of showing it to you. But it is protected by a seal, as I have told you, which I should on no account presume to meddle with."

Mr. Gridley took out the package of papers.

"How damp it is!" Mr. Penhallow said; "must have been lying in some very moist neighborhood."

"Very," Mr. Gridley answered, with a peculiar expression which said, "Never mind about that."

"Did the party give you possession of these documents without making any effort to retain them?" the lawyer asked.

"Not precisely. It cost some effort to induce Miss Badlam to let them go out of her hands. I hope you think I was justified in making the effort I did, not without a considerable strain upon my feelings, as well as her own, to get hold of the papers?"

"That will depend something on what the papers prove to be, Mr. Gridley. A man takes a certain responsibility in doing just what you have done. If, for instance, it should[Pg 516] prove that this envelope contained matters relating solely to private transactions between Mr. Bradshaw and Miss Badlam, concerning no one but themselves,—and if the words on the back of the envelope and the seal had been put there merely as a protection for a package containing private papers of a delicate but perfectly legitimate character—"

The lawyer paused, as careful experts do, after bending the bow of an hypothesis, before letting the arrow go. Mr. Gridley felt very warm indeed, uncomfortably so, and applied his handkerchief to his face. Couldn't be anything in such a violent supposition as that,—and yet such a crafty fellow as that Bradshaw,—what trick was he not up to? Absurd! Cynthia was not acting,—Rachel wouldn't be equal to such a performance!—"why then, Mr. Gridley," the lawyer continued, "I don't see but what my partner would have you at an advantage, and, if disposed to make you uncomfortable, could do so pretty effectively. But this, you understand, is only a supposed case, and not a very likely one. I don't think it would have been prudent in you to meddle with that seal. But it is a very different matter with regard to myself. It makes no difference, so far as I am concerned, where this package came from, or how it was obtained. It is just as absolutely within my control as any piece of property I call my own. I should not hesitate, if I saw fit, to break this seal at once, and proceed to the examination of any papers contained within the envelope. If I found any paper of the slightest importance relating to the estate, I should act as if it had never been out of my possession.

"Suppose, however, I chose to know what was in the package, and, having ascertained, act my judgment about returning it to the party from whom you obtained it. In such case I might see fit to restore, or cause it to be restored, to the party, without any marks of violence having been used being apparent. If everything is not right, probably no questions would be asked by the party having charge of the package. If there is no underhand work going on, and the papers are what they profess to be, nobody is compromised but yourself, so far as I can see, and you are compromised at any rate, Mr. Gridley, at least in the good graces of the party from whom you obtained the documents. Tell that party that I took the package without opening it, and shall return it, very likely, without breaking the seal. Will consider of the matter, say a couple of days. Then you shall hear from me, and she shall hear from you. So. So. Yes, that's it. A nice business. A thing to sleep on. You had better leave the whole matter of dealing with the package to me. If I see fit to send it back with the seal unbroken, that is my affair. But keep perfectly quiet, if you please, Mr. Gridley, about the whole matter. Mr. Bradshaw is off, as you know, and the business on which he is gone is important,—very important. He can be depended on for that; he has acted all along as if he had a personal interest in the success of our firm beyond his legal relation to it."

Mr. Penhallow's light burned very late in the office that night, and the following one. He looked troubled and absent-minded, and, when Miss Laura ventured to ask him how long Mr. Bradshaw was like to be gone, answered her in such a way that the girl who waited at table concluded that he didn't mean to have Miss Laury keep company with Mr. Bradshaw, or he'd never have spoke so dreadful hash to her when she ahst about him.



A day or two after Myrtle Hazard returned to the village, Master Byles Gridley, accompanied by Gifted Hopkins, followed her, as has been already[Pg 517] mentioned, to the same scene of the principal events of this narrative. The young man had been persuaded that it would be doing injustice to his talents to crowd their fruit prematurely upon the market. He carried his manuscript back with him, having relinquished the idea of publishing for the present. Master Byles Gridley, on the other hand, had in his pocket a very flattering proposal from the same publisher to whom he had introduced the young poet, for a new and revised edition of his work, "Thoughts on the Universe," which was to be remodelled in some respects, and to have a new title not quite so formidable to the average reader.

It would be hardly fair to Susan Posey to describe with what delight and innocent enthusiasm she welcomed back Gifted Hopkins. She had been so lonely since he was away! She had read such of his poems as she possessed—duplicates of his printed ones, or autographs which he had kindly written out for her—over and over again, not without the sweet tribute of feminine sensibility, which is the most precious of all testimonials to a poet's power over the heart. True, her love belonged to another,—but then she was so used to Gifted! She did so love to hear him read his poems,—and Clement had never written that "little bit of a poem to Susie," which she had asked him for so long ago! She received him therefore with open arms,—not literally, of course, which would have been a breach of duty and propriety, but in a figurative sense, which it is hoped no reader will interpret to her discredit.

The young poet was in need of consolation. It is true that he had seen many remarkable sights during his visit to the city; that he had got "smarted up," as his mother called it, a good deal; that he had been to Mrs. Clymer Ketchum's party, where he had looked upon life in all its splendors; and that he brought back many interesting experiences, which would serve to enliven his conversation for a long time. But he had failed in the great enterprise he had undertaken. He was forced to confess to his revered parent, and his esteemed friend Susan Posey, that his genius, which was freely acknowledged, was not thought to be quite ripe as yet. He told the young lady some particulars of his visit to the publisher, how he had listened with great interest to one of his poems,—"The Triumph of Song,"—how he had treated him with marked and flattering attention; but that he advised him not to risk anything prematurely, giving him the hope that by and by he would be admitted into that series of illustrious authors which it was the publisher's privilege to present to the reading public. In short, he was advised not to print. That was the net total of the matter, and it was a pang to the susceptible heart of the poet. He had hoped to have come home enriched by the sale of his copyright, and with the prospect of seeing his name before long on the back of a handsome volume.

Gifted's mother did all in her power to console him in his disappointment.—There was plenty of jealous people always that wanted to keep young folks from rising in the world. Never mind, she didn't believe but what Gifted could make jest as good verses as any of them that they kept such a talk about.—She had a fear that he might pine away in consequence of the mental excitement he had gone through, and solicited his appetite with her choicest appliances,—of which he partook in a measure which showed that there was no immediate cause of alarm.

But Susan Posey was more than a consoler,—she was an angel to him in this time of his disappointment. "Read me all the poems over again," she said,—"it is almost the only pleasure I have left, to hear you read your beautiful verses." Clement Lindsay had not written to Susan quite as often of late as at some former periods of the history of their love. Perhaps it was that which had made her look paler[Pg 518] than usual for some little time. Something was evidently preying on her. Her only delight seemed to be in listening to Gifted as he read, sometimes with fine declamatory emphasis, sometimes in low, tremulous tones, the various poems enshrined in his manuscript. At other times she was sad, and more than once Mrs. Hopkins had seen a tear steal down her innocent cheek, when there seemed to be no special cause for grief. She ventured to speak of it to Master Byles Gridley.

"Our Susan's in trouble, Mr. Gridley, for some reason or other that's unbeknown to me, and I can't help wishing you could jest have a few words with her. You're a kind of a grandfather, you know, to all the young folks, and they'd tell you pretty much everything about themselves. I calc'late she isn't at ease in her mind about somethin' or other, and I kind o' think, Mr. Gridley, you could coax it out of her."

"Was there ever anything like it?" said Master Byles Gridley to himself. "I shall have all the young folks in Oxbow Village to take care of at this rate! Susan Posey in trouble, too! Well, well, well, it's easier to get a birch-bark canoe off the shallows than a big ship off the rocks. Susan Posey's trouble will be come at easily enough; but Myrtle Hazard floats in deeper water. We must make Susan Posey tell her own story, or let her tell it, for it will all come out of itself."

"I am going to dust the books in the open shelves this morning. I wonder if Miss Susan Posey wouldn't like to help for half an hour or so," Master Gridley remarked at the breakfast-table.

The amiable girl's very pleasant countenance lighted up at the thought of obliging the old man who had been so kind to her and so liberal to her friend, the poet. She would be delighted to help him; she would dust them all for him, if he wanted her to. No, Master Gridley said, he always wanted to have a hand in it; and, besides, such a little body as she was could not lift those great folios out of the lower shelves without overstraining herself; she might handle the musketry and the light artillery, but he must deal with the heavy guns himself. "As low down as the octavos, Susan Posey, you shall govern; below that, the Salic law."

Susan did not know much about the Salic law; but she knew he meant that he would dust the big books and she would attend to the little ones.

A very young and a very pretty girl is sometimes quite charming in a costume which thinks of nothing less than of being attractive. Susan appeared after breakfast in the study, her head bound with a kerchief of bright pattern, a little jacket she had outgrown buttoned, in spite of opposition, close about her up to the throat, round which a white handkerchief was loosely tied, and a pair of old gauntlets protecting her hands, so that she suggested something between a gypsy, a jaunty soubrette, and the fille du regiment.

Master Gridley took out a great volume from the lower shelf,—a folio in massive oaken covers with clasps like prison hinges, bearing the stately colophon, white on a ground of vermilion, of Nicholas Jenson and his associates. He opened the volume,—paused over its blue and scarlet initial letter,—he turned page after page, admiring its brilliant characters, its broad, white marginal rivers, and the narrower white creek that separated the black-typed twin-columns,—he turned back to the beginning and read the commendatory paragraph, "Nam ipsorum omnia fulgent tum correctione dignissima, tum cura imprimendo splendida ac miranda," and began reading, "Incipit proemium super apparatum decretalium ..." when it suddenly occurred to him that this was not exactly doing what he had undertaken to do, and he began whisking an ancient bandanna about the ears of the venerable volume. All this time Miss Susan Posey was catching the little books by the[Pg 519] small of their backs, pulling them out, opening them, and clapping them together, 'p-'p-'p! 'p-'p-'p! and carefully caressing all their edges with a regular professional dusting-cloth, so persuasively that they yielded up every particle that a year had drifted upon them, and came forth refreshed and rejuvenated. This process went on for a while, until Susan had worked down among the octavos, and Master Gridley had worked up among the quartos. He had got hold of Calmet's Dictionary, and was caught by the article Solomon, so that he forgot his occupation again. All at once it struck him that everything was very silent,—the 'p-'p-'p! of clapping the books had ceased, and the light rustle of Susan's dress was no longer heard. He looked up and saw her standing perfectly still, with a book in one hand and her duster in the other. She was lost in thought, and by the shadow on her face and the glistening of her blue eyes he knew it was her hidden sorrow that had just come back to her. Master Gridley shut up his book, leaving Solomon to his fate, like the worthy Benedictine he was reading, without discussing the question whether he was saved or not.

"Susan Posey, child, what is your trouble?"

Poor Susan was in the state of unstable equilibrium which the least touch upsets, and fell to crying. It took her some time to get down the waves of emotion so that speech would live upon them. At last it ventured out,—showing at intervals, like the boat rising on the billow, sinking into the hollow, and climbing again into notice.

"O Mr. Grid—ley—I can't—I can't—tell you or—any—body—what's the mat—mat—matter.—My heart will br—br—break."

"No, no, no, child," said Mr. Gridley, sympathetically stirred a little himself by the sight of Susan in tears and sobbing and catching her breath, "that mustn't be, Susan Posey. Come off the steps, Susan Posey, and stop dusting the books,—I can finish them,—and tell me all about your troubles. I will try to help you out of them, and I have begun to think I know how to help young people pretty well. I have had some experience at it."

But Susan cried and sobbed all the more uncontrollably and convulsively. Master Gridley thought he had better lead her at once to what he felt pretty sure was the source of her troubles, and that, when she had had her cry out, she would probably make the hole in the ice he had broken big enough in a very few minutes.

"I think something has gone wrong between you and your friend, the young gentleman with whom you are in intimate relations, my child, and I think you had better talk freely with me, for I can perhaps give you a little counsel that will be of service."

Susan cried herself quiet at last. "There's nobody in the world like you, Mr. Gridley," she said, "and I've been wanting to tell you something ever so long. My friend—Mr. Clem—Clement Lindsay doesn't care for me as he used to,—I know he doesn't. He hasn't written to me for—I don't know but it's a month. And O Mr. Gridley! he's such a great man, and I am such a simple person,—I can't help thinking—he would be happier with somebody else than poor little Susan Posey!"

This last touch of self-pity overcame her, as it is so apt to do those who indulge in that delightful misery, and she broke up badly, as a horse-fancier would say, so that it was some little time before she recovered her conversational road-gait.

"O Mr. Gridley," she began again, at length, "if I only dared to tell him what I think,—that perhaps it would be happier for us both—if we could forget each other! Ought I not to tell him so? Don't you think he would find another to make him happy? Wouldn't he forgive me for telling him he was free? Were we not too young to know each other's hearts when we promised each other that we would love as long as we lived? Sha'n't I write him a letter this very day and tell him[Pg 520] all? Do you think it would be wrong in me to do it? O Mr. Gridley, it makes me almost crazy to think about it. Clement must be free! I cannot, cannot hold him to a promise he doesn't want to keep."

There were so many questions in this eloquent rhapsody of Susan's that they neutralized each other, as one might say, and Master Gridley had time for reflection. His thoughts went on something in this way:—

"Pretty clear case! Guess Mr. Clement can make up his mind to it. Put it well, didn't she? Not a word about our little Gifted! That's the trouble. Poets! how they do bewitch these school-girls! And having a chance every day, too, how could you expect her to stand it?" Then aloud: "Susan Posey, you are a good, honest little girl as ever was. I think you and Clement were too hasty in coming together for life before you knew what life meant. I think if you write Clement a letter, telling him that you cannot help fearing that you two are not perfectly adapted to each other, on account of certain differences for which neither of you is responsible, and that you propose that each should release the other from the pledge given so long ago,—in that case, I say, I believe he will think no worse of you for so doing, and may perhaps agree that it is best for both of you to seek your happiness elsewhere than in each other."

The book-dusting came to as abrupt a close as the reading of Lancelot. Susan went straight to her room, dried her tears so as to write in a fair hand, but had to stop every few lines and take a turn at the "dust-layers," as Mrs. Clymer Ketchum's friend used to call the fountains of sensibility. It would seem like betraying Susan's confidence to reveal the contents of this letter, but the reader may be assured that it was simple and sincere and very sweetly written, without the slightest allusion to any other young man, whether of the poetical or cheaper human varieties.

It was not long before Susan received a reply from Clement Lindsay. It was as kind and generous and noble as she could have asked. It was affectionate, as a very amiable brother's letter might be, and candidly appreciative of the reasons Susan had assigned for her proposal. He gave her back her freedom,—not that he should cease to feel an interest in her, always. He accepted his own release, not that he would ever think she could be indifferent to his future fortunes. And within a very brief period of time after sending his answer to Susan Posey, whether he wished to see her in person, or whether he had some other motive, he had packed his trunk, and made his excuses for an absence of uncertain length at the studio, and was on his way to Oxbow Village.



The spring of 1861 had now arrived,—that eventful spring which was to lift the curtain and show the first scene of the first act in the mighty drama which fixed the eyes of mankind during four bloody years. The little schemes of little people were going on in all our cities and villages without thought of the fearful convulsion which was soon coming to shatter the hopes and prospects of millions. Our little Oxbow Village, which held itself by no means the least of human centres, was the scene of its own commotions, as intense and exciting to those concerned as if the destiny of the nation had been involved in them.

Mr. Clement Lindsay appeared suddenly in that important locality, and repaired to his accustomed quarters at the house of Deacon Rumrill. That worthy person received him with a certain gravity of manner, caused by his recollection of the involuntary transgression into which Mr. Lindsay had led him by his present of Ivanhoe. He was, on the whole, glad to see him, for his finances were not yet wholly recovered from the injury inflicted on them[Pg 521] by the devouring element. But he could not forget that his boarder had betrayed him into a breach of the fourth commandment, and that the strict eyes of his clergyman had detected him in the very commission of the offence. He had no sooner seen Mr. Clement comfortably installed, therefore, than he presented himself at the door of his chamber with the book, enveloped in strong paper and very securely tied round with a stout string.

"Here is your vollum, Mr. Lindsay," the Deacon said. "I understand it is not the work of that great and good mahn who I thought wrote it. I did not see anything immoral in it as fur as I read, but it belongs to what I consider a very dangerous class of publications. These novels and romances are awfully destructive to our youth. I should recommend you, as a young mahn of principle, to burn the vollum. At least I hope you will not leave it about anywhere unless it is carefully tied up. I have written upon the paper round it to warn off all the young persons of my household from meddling with it."

True enough, Mr. Clement saw in strong black letters on the back of the paper wrapping his unfortunate Ivanhoe,—

"Dangerous reading for Christian youth.
"Touch not the unclean thing."

"I thought you said you had Scott's picture hung up in your parlor, Deacon Rumrill," he said, a little amused with the worthy man's fear and precautions.

"It is the great Scott's likeness that I have in my parlor," he said; "I will show it to you if you will come with me."

Mr. Clement followed the Deacon into that sacred apartment.

"That is the portrait of the great Scott," he said, pointing to an engraving of a heavy-looking person whose phrenological developments were a somewhat striking contrast to those of the distinguished Sir Walter.

"I will take good care that none of your young people see this volume," Mr. Clement said; "I trust you read it yourself, however, and found something to please you in it. I am sure you are safe from being harmed by any such book. Didn't you have to finish it, Deacon, after you had once begun?"

"Well,—I—I—perused a consid'able portion of the work," the Deacon answered, in a way that led Mr. Clement to think he had not stopped much short of Finis. "Anything new in the city?"

"Nothing except what you've all had,—Confederate States establishing an army and all that,—not very new either. What has been going on here lately, Deacon?"

"Well, Mr. Lindsay, not a great deal. My new barn is pretty nigh done. I've got as fine a litter of pigs as ever you see. I don't know whether you're a judge of pigs or no. The Hazard gal's come back, spilt, pooty much, I guess. Been to one o' them fashionable schools,—I've heerd that she's learnt to dance. I've heerd say that that Hopkins boy's round the Posey gal,—come to think, she's the one you went with some when you was here,—I'm gettin' kind o' forgetful. Old Doctor Hurlbut's pretty low,—ninety-four year old,—born in '67,—folks ain't ginerally very spry after they're ninety, but he held out wonderful."

"How's Mr. Bradshaw?"

"Well, the young squire, he's off travellin' somewhere in the West, or to Washin'ton, or somewhere else,—I don't jestly know where. They say that he's follerin' up the courts in the business about old Malachi's estate. I don' know much about it."

The news got round Oxbow Village very speedily that Mr. Clement Lindsay, generally considered the accepted lover of Miss Susan Posey, had arrived in that place. Now it had come to be the common talk of the village that young Gifted Hopkins and Susan Posey were getting to be mighty thick with each other, and the prevailing idea[Pg 522] was that Clement's visit had reference to that state of affairs. Some said that Susan had given her young man the mitten, meaning thereby that she had signified that his services as a suitor were dispensed with. Others thought there was only a wavering in her affection for her lover, and that he feared for her constancy, and had come to vindicate his rights.

Some of the young fellows, who were doubtless envious of Gifted's popularity with the fair sex, attempted in the most unjustifiable manner to play upon his susceptible nature. One of them informed him that he had seen that Lindsay fellah raound taown with the darndest big stick y' ever did see. Looked kind o' savage and wild like. Another one told him that perhaps he'd better keep a little shady; that are chap that had got the mittin was praowlin' abaout with a pistil,—one o' them Darringers abaout as long as your thumb, an' 'll fire a bullet as big as a potato-ball,—a fellah carries one in his breeches-pocket, an' shoots y' right threugh his own pahnts, withaout ever takin' on it aout of his pocket. The stable-keeper, who it may be remembered once exchanged a few playful words with Mr. Gridley, got a hint from some of these unfeeling young men, and offered the resources of his stable to the youth supposed to be in peril.

"I've got a faäst colt, Mr. Hopkins, that'll put twenty mild between you an' this here village, as quick as any four huffs'll dew it in this here caounty, if you should want to git away suddin. I've heern tell there was some lookin' raound here that wouldn't be wholesome to meet,—jest say the word, Mr. Hopkins, an' I'll have ye on that are colt's back in less than no time, an' start ye off full jump. There's a good many that's kind o' worried for fear something might happen to ye, Mr. Hopkins,—y' see fellahs don't like to have other chaps cuttin' on 'em aout with their gals."

Gifted Hopkins had become excessively nervous by this time. It is true that everything in his intimacy with Susan Posey so far might come under the general head of friendship; but he was conscious that something more was in both their thoughts. Susan had given him mysterious hints that her relations with Clement had undergone a change, but had never had quite courage enough, perhaps had too much delicacy, to reveal the whole truth.

Gifted was walking home, deeply immersed in thoughts excited by the hints which had been thus wantonly thrown out to inflame his imagination, when all at once, on lifting his eyes, he saw Clement Lindsay coming straight towards him. Gifted was unarmed, except with a pair of blunt scissors, which he carried habitually in his pocket. What should he do? Should he fly? But he was never a good runner, being apt to find himself scant o' breath, like Hamlet, after violent exercise. His demeanor on the occasion, did credit to his sense of his own virtuous conduct and his self-possession. He put his hand out, while yet at a considerable distance, and marched up towards Clement, smiling with all the native amiability which belonged to him.

To his infinite relief, Clement put out his hand to grasp the one offered him, and greeted the young poet in the most frank and cordial manner.

"And how is Miss Susan Posey, Mr. Hopkins?" asked Clement, in the most cheerful tone. "It is a long while since I have seen her, and you must tell her that I hope I shall not leave the village without finding time to call upon her. She and I are good friends always, Mr. Hopkins, though perhaps I shall not be quite so often at your mother's as I was during my last visit to Oxbow Village."

Gifted felt somewhat as the subject of one of those old-fashioned forms of argument, formerly much employed to convince men of error in matters of religion, must have felt when the official who superintended the stretching-machine said, "Slack up!"

He told Mr. Clement all about Susan, and was on the point of saying[Pg 523] that if he, Mr. Clement, did not claim any engrossing interest in her, he, Gifted, was ready to offer her the devotion of a poet's heart. Mr. Clement, however, had so many other questions to ask him about everybody in the village, more particularly concerning certain young persons in whom he seemed to be specially interested, that there was no chance to work in his own revelations of sentiment.

Clement Lindsay had come to Oxbow Village with a single purpose. He could now venture to trust himself in the presence of Myrtle Hazard. He was free, and he knew nothing to show that she had lost the liberty of disposing of her heart. But after an experience such as he had gone through, he was naturally distrustful of himself, and inclined to be cautious and reserved in yielding to a new passion. Should he tell her the true relations in which they stood to each other,—that she owed her life to him, and that he had very nearly sacrificed his own in saving hers? Why not? He had a claim on her gratitude for what he had done in her behalf, and out of this gratitude there might naturally spring a warmer feeling.

No, he could not try to win her affections by showing that he had paid for them beforehand. She seemed to be utterly unconscious of the fact that it was he who had been with her in the abyss of waters. If the thought came to her of itself, and she ever asked him, it would be time enough to tell her the story. If not, the moment might arrive when he could reveal to her the truth that he was her deliverer, without accusing himself of bribing her woman's heart to reward him for his services. He would wait for that moment.

It was the most natural thing in the world that Mr. Lindsay, a young gentleman from the city, should call to see Miss Hazard, a young lady whom he had met recently at a party. To that pleasing duty he addressed himself the evening after his arrival.

"The young gentleman's goin' a courtin', I calc'late," was the remark of the Deacon's wife when she saw what a handsome figure Mr. Clement was making at the tea-table.

"A very hahnsome young mahn," the Deacon replied, "and looks as if he might know consid'able. An architect, you know,—a sort of a builder. Wonder if he hasn't got any good plans for a hahnsome pigsty. I suppose he'd charge somethin' for one, but it couldn't be much, an' he could take it out in board."

"Better ask him," his wife said; "he looks mighty pleasant; there's nothin' lost by askin', an' a good deal got sometimes, grandma used to say."

The Deacon followed her advice. Mr. Clement was perfectly good-natured about it, asked the Deacon the number of snouts in his menagerie, got an idea of the accommodations required, and sketched the plan of a neat and appropriate edifice for the Porcellarium, as Master Gridley afterwards pleasantly christened it, which was carried out by the carpenter, and stands to this day a monument of his obliging disposition, and a proof that there is nothing so humble that taste cannot be shown in it.

"What'll be your charge for the plan of the pigsty, Mr. Lindsay?" the Deacon inquired with an air of interest,—he might have been involved more deeply than he had intended. "How much should you call about right for the picter an' figgerin'?"

"O, you're quite welcome to my sketch of a plan, Deacon. I've seen much showier buildings tenanted by animals not very different from those your edifice is meant for."

Mr. Clement found the three ladies sitting together in the chill, dim parlor at The Poplars. They had one of the city papers spread out on the table, and Myrtle was reading aloud the last news from Charleston Harbor. She rose as Mr. Clement entered, and stepped forward to meet him. It was a strange impression this young man produced upon her,—not through the common channels of the intelligence,—not[Pg 524] exactly that "magnetic" influence of which she had had experience at a former time. It did not overcome her as at the moment of their second meeting. But it was something she must struggle against, and she had force and pride and training enough now to maintain her usual tranquillity, in spite of a certain inward commotion which seemed to reach her breathing and her pulse by some strange, inexplicable mechanism.

Myrtle, it must be remembered, was no longer the simple country girl who had run away at fifteen, but a young lady of seventeen, who had learned all that more than a year's diligence at a great school could teach her, who had been much with girls of taste and of culture, and was familiar with the style and manners of those who came from what considered itself the supreme order in the social hierarchy. Her natural love for picturesque adornment was qualified by a knowledge of the prevailing modes not usual in so small a place as Oxbow Village. All this had not failed to produce its impression on those about her. Persons who, like Miss Silence Withers, believe, not in education, inasmuch as there is no healthy nature to be educated, but in transformation, worry about their charges up to a certain period of their lives. Then, if the transformation does not come, they seem to think their cares and duties are at an end, and, considering their theories of human destiny, usually accept the situation with wonderful complacency. This was the stage which Miss Silence Withers had reached with reference to Myrtle. It made her infinitely more agreeable, or less disagreeable, as the reader may choose one or the other statement, than when she was always fretting about her "responsibility." She even began to take an interest in some of Myrtle's worldly experiences, and something like a smile would now and then disarrange the chief-mourner stillness of her features, as Myrtle would tell some lively story she had brought away from the gay society she had frequented.

Cynthia Badlam kept her keen eyes on her like a hawk. Murray Bradshaw was away, and here was this handsome and agreeable youth coming in to poach on the preserve of which she considered herself the gamekeeper. What did it mean? She had heard the story about Susan's being off with her old love and on with a new one. Ah ha! this is the game, is it?

Clement Lindsay passed not so much a pleasant evening, as one of strange, perplexed, and mingled delight and inward conflict. He had found his marble once more turned to flesh and blood, and breathing before him. This was the woman he was born for; her form was fit to model his proudest ideal from,—her eyes melted him when they rested for an instant on his face,—her voice reached those hidden sensibilities of his inmost nature, which never betray their existence until the outward chord to which they vibrate in response sends its message to stir them. But was she not already pledged to that other,—that cold-blooded, contriving, venal, cynical, selfish, polished, fascinating man of the world, whose artful strategy would pass with nine women out of ten for the most romantic devotion?

If he had known the impression he made, he would have felt less anxiety with reference to this particular possibility. Miss Silence expressed herself gratified with his appearance, and thought he looked like a good young man,—he reminded her of a young friend of hers who—[It was the same who had gone to one of the cannibal islands as a missionary,—and stayed there.] Myrtle was very quiet. She had nothing to say about Clement, except that she had met him at a party in the city, and found him agreeable. Miss Cynthia wrote a letter to Murray Bradshaw that very evening, telling him that he had better come back to Oxbow Village as quickly as he could, unless he wished to find his place occupied by an intruder.

In the mean time, the country was watching the garrison in Charleston[Pg 525] Harbor. All at once the first gun of the four years' cannonade hurled its ball against the walls of Fort Sumter. There was no hamlet in the land which the reverberations of that cannon-roar did not reach. There was no valley so darkened by overshadowing hills that it did not see the American flag hauled down on the 13th of April. There was no loyal heart in the North that did not answer to the call of the country to its defenders which went forth two days later. The great tide of feeling reached the locality where the lesser events of our narrative were occurring. A meeting of the citizens was instantly called. The venerable Father Pemberton opened it with a prayer that filled every soul with courage and high resolve. The young farmers and mechanics of that whole region joined the companies to which they belonged, or organized in squads and marched at once, or got ready to march, to the scene of conflict.

The contagion of warlike patriotism reached the most peacefully inclined young persons.

"My country calls me," Gifted Hopkins said to Susan Posey, "and I am preparing to obey her summons. If I can pass the medical examination, which it is possible I may, though I fear my constitution may be thought too weak, and if no obstacle impedes me, I think of marching in the ranks of the Oxbow Invincibles. If I go, Susan, and if I fall, will you not remember me ... as one who ... cherished the tenderest ... sentiments ... towards you ... and who had looked forward to the time when ... when...."

His eyes told the rest. He loved!

Susan forgot all the rules of reserve to which she had been trained. What were cold conventionalities at such a moment? "Never! never!" she said, throwing her arms about his neck and mingling her tears with his, which were flowing freely. "Your country does not need your sword,... but it does need ... your pen. Your poems will inspire ... our soldiers.... The Oxbow Invincibles will march to victory, singing your songs.... If you go ... and if you ... fall.... O Gifted!... I ... I ... yes I ... shall die too!"

His love was returned. He was blest!

"Susan," he said, "my own Susan, I yield to your wishes, at every sacrifice. Henceforth they will be my law. Yes, I will stay and encourage my brave countrymen to go forward to the bloody field. My voice shall urge them on to the battle-ground. I will give my dearest breath to stimulate their ardor.... O Susan! My own, own Susan!"

While these interesting events had been going on beneath the modest roof of the Widow Hopkins, affairs had been rapidly hastening to a similar conclusion under the statelier shadow of The Poplars. Clement Lindsay was so well received at his first visit that he ventured to repeat it several times, with so short intervals that it implied something more than a common interest in one of the members of the household. There was no room for doubt who this could be, and Myrtle Hazard could not help seeing that she was the object of his undisguised admiration. The belief was now general in the village that Gifted Hopkins and Susan Posey were either engaged, or on the point of being so; and it was equally understood that, whatever might be the explanation, she and her former lover had parted company in an amicable manner.

Love works very strange transformations in young women. Sometimes it leads them to try every mode of adding to their attractions,—their whole thought is how to be most lovely in the eyes they would fill so as to keep out all other images. Poor darlings! We smile at their little vanities, as if they were very trivial things compared with the last Congressman's speech or the great election sermon; but Nature knows well what she is about. The maiden's ribbon or ruffle means a great deal more for her than the judge's wig or the priest's surplice.

It was not in this way that the gentle[Pg 526] emotion awaking in the breast of Myrtle Hazard betrayed itself. As the thought dawned in her consciousness that she was loved, a change came over her such as the spirit that protected her, according to the harmless fancy she had inherited, might have wept for joy to behold, if tears could flow from angelic eyes. She forgot herself and her ambitions,—the thought of shining in the great world died out in the presence of new visions of a future in which she was not to be her own,—of feelings in the depth of which the shallow vanities which had drawn her young eyes to them for a while seemed less than nothing. Myrtle had not hitherto said to herself that Clement was her lover, yet her whole nature was expanding and deepening in the light of that friendship which any other eye could have known at a glance for the great passion.

Cynthia Badlam wrote a pressing letter to Murray Bradshaw. "There is no time to be lost; she is bewitched, and will be gone beyond hope if this business is not put a stop to."

Love moves in an accelerating ratio; and there comes a time when the progress of the passion escapes from all human formulæ, and brings two young hearts, which had been gradually drawing nearer and nearer together, into complete union, with a suddenness that puts an infinity between the moment when all is told and that which went just before.

They were sitting together by themselves in the dimly lighted parlor. They had told each other many experiences of their past lives, very freely, as two intimate friends of different sex might do. Clement had happened to allude to Susan, speaking very kindly and tenderly of her. He hoped this youth to whom she was attached would make her life happy. "You know how simple-hearted and good she is; her image will always be a pleasant one in my memory,—second to but one other."

Myrtie ought, according to the common rules of conversation, to have asked, What other? but she did not. She may have looked as if she wanted to ask,—she may have blushed or turned pale,—perhaps she could not trust her voice; but whatever the reason was, she sat still, with downcast eyes. Clement waited a reasonable time, but, finding it was of no use, began again.

"Your image is the one other,—the only one, let me say, for all else fades in its presence,—your image fills all my thought. Will you trust your life and happiness with one who can offer you so little beside his love? You know my whole heart is yours."

Whether Myrtle said anything in reply or not,—whether she acted like Coleridge's Genevieve,—that is, "fled to him and wept," or suffered her feelings to betray themselves in some less startling confession, we will leave untold. Her answer, spoken or silent, could not have been a cruel one, for in another moment Clement was pressing his lips to hers; after the manner of accepted lovers.

"Our lips have met to-day for the second time," he said, presently.

She looked at him in wonder. What did he mean? The second time! How assuredly he spoke! She looked him calmly in the face, and awaited his explanation.

"I have a singular story to tell you. On the morning of the 16th of June, now nearly two years ago, I was sitting in my room at Alderbank, some twenty miles down the river, when I heard a cry for help coming from the river. I ran down to the bank, and there I saw a boy in an old boat—"

When it came to the "boy" in the old boat, Myrtle's cheeks flamed so that she could not bear it, and she covered her face with both her hands. But Clement told his story calmly through to the end, sliding gently over its later incidents, for Myrtle's heart was throbbing violently, and her breath a little catching and sighing, as when she had first lived with the new life his breath had given her.

"Why did you ask me for myself, when you could have claimed me?" she said.[Pg 527]

"I wanted a free gift, Myrtle," Clement answered, "and I have it."

They sat in silence, lost in the sense of that new life which had suddenly risen on their souls.

The door-bell rang sharply. Kitty Fagan answered its summons, and presently entered the parlor and announced that Mr. Bradshaw was in the library, and wished to see the ladies.


During the summer of 1833, several professional gentlemen, clergymen, lawyers, and educators were spending their vacation at Saratoga Springs. Among them was Dr. Nott. He was then regarded as a veteran teacher, whose long experience and acknowledged wisdom gave a peculiar value to his matured opinions. The younger members of this little circle of scholars, taking their ease at their inn, purposely sought to "draw out" the Doctor upon those topics in which they felt an especial interest. They were, therefore, in their leisure moments, constantly hearing and asking him questions. One of them, then a tutor in Dartmouth College, took notes of the conversations, and the following dialogue is copied from his manuscript:—

Mr. C. "Doctor, how long have you been at the head of Union College?"

Dr. N. "Thirty years. I am the oldest president in the United States, though not the oldest man in office. I cannot drop down anywhere in the Union without meeting some one of my children."

Mr. C. "And that, too, though so many of them are dead! I believe that nearly half of my class are dead!"

Dr. N. "Indeed! That is a large proportion to die so soon. I think it remarkable that so few deaths have occurred among the members of the college since I have been connected with it. I can distinctly recollect all the individuals who have died at college, and during thirty years there have been but seven. The proportion has been less than one third of one per cent. Very many have died, however, very soon after leaving college. Two or three in almost every class have died within a year after they have graduated. I have been at a loss as to the cause of this marked difference. I can assign no other than the sudden change which then takes place in the student's whole manner and habits of living, diet, &c."

Mr. C. "How do the students generally answer the expectations they have raised during their college course?"

Dr. N. "I have been rarely disappointed. I have found my little anticipatory notes generally fulfilled. I recollect, however, one class, which graduated four or five years ago, in regard to which I have been very happily disappointed. It had given us more trouble, and there were more sceptics in it than in any other class we ever had. But now every one of those infidels except one is studying for the ministry."

Mr. C. "What course do you take with a sceptical student?"

Dr. N. "I remember a very interesting case I had several years ago. There was a young man in college of fine talents, an excellent and exemplary student, but an atheist. He roomed near me. I was interested in him; but I feared his influence. It was very injurious in college, and yet he did nothing worthy of censure. I called him[Pg 528] one day to my study. I questioned him familiarly and kindly in relation to his speculative views. He said he was not an atheist, but had very serious doubts and difficulties on the subject, and frankly stated them to me. I did not talk with him religiously, but as a philosopher. I did not think he would bear it. I told him that I felt a peculiar sympathy with young men in his state of mind; for once, during the French Revolution, I had been troubled with the same difficulties myself. I had been over that whole ground; and would gladly assist his inquiries, and direct him to such authors as I thought would aid him in his investigations after truth. As he left my study, I said, 'Now, I expect yet to see you a minister of the Gospel!' He returned to his room; he paced it with emotion; said he to his room-mate (these facts his room-mate communicated to me within a year), 'What do you think the President says?' 'I don't know.' 'He says he expects yet to see me a minister. I a minister! I a minister!'—and he continued to walk the room, and reiterate the words. No immediate effect on his character was produced. But the prophetic words (for so he seemed to regard them) clung to him as a magic talisman, and would never leave his mind; and he is now a pious man, and a student in divinity."

Mr. C. "Doctor, we have been seeking amusement and profit by some exercises in elocution. Mr. G—— and myself have been trying to read Shakespeare a little; but some gentlemen here have had some qualms of conscience as to the propriety of it, and have condemned the reading of Shakespeare as demoralizing. What is your opinion, sir?"

Dr. N. "Why, as to that matter, sir, I always say to my young men, 'Gentlemen, if you wish to get a knowledge of the world and of human nature, read the Bible. The Bible is the first and best book that can be studied for the exhibition of human character; and the man who goes out into the world expecting to find men just such as Moses and Paul have represented them will never be disappointed. If you are contented to read nothing but your Bibles, well, you have it all there. But if you will read any other books, read Homer and Shakespeare. They come nearer, in my estimation, to Moses and Paul, in their delineations of human character, than any other authors I am acquainted with. I would have every young man read Shakespeare. I have always taught my children to read it.' Ministers, as a class, know less practically of human nature than any other class of men. As I belong to the fraternity, I can say this without prejudice. Men are reserved in the presence of a respectable clergyman. I might live in Schenectady, and discharge all my appropriate duties from year to year, and never hear an oath, nor see a man drunk; and if some one should ask me, 'What sort of a population have you in Schenectady? Are they a moral people? Do they swear? Do they get drunk?' for aught that I had seen or heard, I might answer, 'This is, after all, a very decent world. There is very little vice in it. People have entirely left off the sin of profaneness; and, as to intemperance, there is very little of that.' But I can put on my old great-coat, and an old slouching hat, and in five minutes place myself amid the scenes of blasphemy and vice and misery, which I never could have believed to exist if I had not seen them. So a man may walk along Broadway, and think to himself, 'What a fine place this is! How civil the people are! What a decent and orderly and virtuous city New York is!'—while, at the same time, within thirty rods of him are scenes of pollution and crime such as none but an eyewitness can adequately imagine. I would have a minister see the world for himself. It is rotten to the core. Ministers ordinarily see only the brighter side of the world. Almost everybody treats them with civility; the religious, with peculiar kindness and attention. Hence they are apt to think too well of the world. [Pg 529]Lawyers, on the other hand, think too ill of it. They see only, or for the most part, its worst side. They are brought in contact with dishonesty and villany in their worst developments. I have observed, in doing business with lawyers, that they are exceedingly hawk-eyed, and jealous of everybody. The omission of a word or letter in a will, they will scan with the closest scrutiny; and while I could see no use for any but the most concise and simple terms to express the wishes of the testator, a lawyer would be satisfied with nothing but the most precise and formal instrument, stuffed full of legal caveats and technicalities."

Mr. C. "Which do you think excels in eloquence, the bar or the pulpit?"

Dr. N. "The bar."

Mr. C. "To what causes do you ascribe the superiority?"

Dr. N. "The superior influence of things of sight over those of faith. The nearness of objects enhances their importance. The subjects on which the lawyer speaks come home to men's business and bosoms. Some present, immediate object is to be gained. The lawyer feels, and he aims to accomplish something. But ministers have plunged into the metaphysics of religion, and gone about to inculcate the peculiarities of a system, and have neither felt themselves, nor been able to make others feel. It has long been a most interesting question to me, Why is the ministry so inefficient? It has seemed to me, that, with the thousands of pulpits in this country for a theatre to act on, and the eye and ear of the whole community thus opened to us, we might overturn the world. Some ascribe this want of efficiency to human depravity. That is not the sole cause of it. The clergy want knowledge of human nature. They want directness of appeal. They want the same go-ahead common-sense way of interesting men which lawyers have."

Mr. C. "Ought they not to cultivate elocution?"

Dr. N. "It seems to me that at those institutions where they pay the most attention to elocution they speak the worst. I have no faith in artificial eloquence. Teach men to think and feel, and, when they have anything to the purpose to say, they can say it. I should about as soon think of teaching a man to weep, or to laugh, or to swallow, as to speak when he has anything to say."

Mr. C. "How, then, do you account for the astonishing power of some tragedians?"

Dr. N. "Ah! the speaking in the theatre is all overacted. There is no nature in it. Those actors, placed in a public assembly, and called upon to address men on some real and momentous occasion, would utterly fail to touch men's hearts, while some plain country-man, who had never learned a rule of art, would find his way at once to the fountains of feeling and action within them. The secret of the influence which is felt in the acting of the teatre is not that it is natural. Let a real tragedy be acted, and let men believe that a real scene is before them, and the theatre would be deserted. No audience in this country could bear the presentation of a natural and real tragedy. Men go to the theatre to be amused. The scenery, the music, the attitudes, the gesticulations, all unite to fix attention and amuse; but the eloquence, so called, of the theatre, is all factitious, and is no more adapted to the real occasions of life than would be the recitative in singing, and it pleases on the same principle that this does."

Mr. C. "But, Doctor, why was it that, when Cooke or Kean appeared on the stage, he engrossed all eyes and ears, and nothing was heard or seen or thought of but himself? The acting of Kean was just as irresistible as the whirlwind. He would take up an audience of three thousand in his fist, as it were, and carry them just where he pleased, through every extreme of passion."

Dr. N. "because these actors were great men. Cooke, as far as I have[Pg 530] been able to learn, (I never saw him,—I had once an engagement to meet him in Philadelphia, but he was drunk at the time, and disappointed me,) was perfectly natural. So I suppose Kean to have been. So Garrick was, and Talma. And the secret of the influence of these men was, that they burst the bonds of art and histrionic trick, and stood before their audience in their untrammelled natural strength. Garrick, at his first appearance, could not command an audience. It was first necessary for him entirely to revolutionize the English stage.

"Ministers have, very often, a sanctimonious tone, which by many is deemed a symbol of goodness. I would not say it is a symbol of hypocrisy, as many very pious men have it. One man acquires a tone, and those who study with him learn to associate it with his piety, and come to esteem it an essential part of ministerial qualification. But, instead of its being to me evidence of feeling, it evinces, in every degree of it, want of feeling; and whenever a man rises in his religious feelings sufficiently high, he will break away from the shackles of his perverse habit, and speak in the tone of nature.

"The most eloquent preacher I have ever heard was Dr. L——. General Hamilton at the bar was unrivalled. I heard his great effort in the case of People versus Croswell, for a libel upon Jefferson. There was a curious changing of sides in the position of the advocates. Spencer, the Attorney-General, who had long been climbing the ladder of democracy, managed the cause for the people; and Hamilton, esteemed an old-school Federalist, appeared as the champion of a free press. Of course, it afforded the better opportunity of witnessing the professional skill and rhetorical power of the respective advocates.

"Spencer, in the course of his plea, had occasion to refer to certain decisions of Lord Mansfield, and embraced the opportunity of introducing a splendid ad captandum eulogium on his Lordship,—'A name born for immortality; whose sun of fame would never set, but still hold its course in the heavens, when the humble names of his antagonist and himself should have sunk beneath the waves of oblivion.'

"Hamilton was evidently nettled at this invidious and unnecessary comparison, and cast about in his mind how he might retort upon Spencer. I do not know that my conjecture is right; but it has always seemed to me that his reason for introducing his repartee to Spencer in the odd place where he did, just after a most eloquent and pathetic peroration, was something as follows—'I have now constructed and arranged my argument, and the thread of it must not be broken by the intervention of any such extraneous matter. Neither will it do to separate my peroration from the main body of my argument. I must, then, give up the opportunity of retorting at all, or tack it on after the whole, and take the risk of destroying the effect of my argument.'

"He rose, and went through his argument, which was a tissue of the clearest, most powerful, and triumphant reasoning. He turned every position of his opponent, and took and dismantled every fortification. But his peroration was inimitably fine. As he went on to depict the horrors consequent upon a muzzled press, there was not a dry eye in the court-house. It was the most perfect triumph of eloquence over the passions of men I ever witnessed.

"When he had thus brought his speech to its proper, and what would have been a perfect close, he suddenly changed his tone, and, in a strain of consummate and powerful irony, began to rally his antagonist. He assented to the gentleman's eulogium upon Lord Mansfield. It was deserved. He acknowledged the justice of his remarks in relation to himself (Hamilton) and his ephemeral fame; but he did not see why the gentleman should have included himself in the same oblivious sentence. His course hitherto in the race of fame had been as successful, for[Pg 531] aught he knew, as was ever his Lordship's. His strides had been as long and as rapid. His disposition, too, to run the race was as eager, and he knew no reason why he might not yet soar on stronger pinions, and reach a loftier height, than his Lordship had done.

"During the whole reply, the audience were in a titter; and he sat down amidst a burst of incontrollable laughter. Said Spencer to him frowningly, (I sat by the side of the judges on the bench, and both Hamilton and Spencer were within arm's length of me,) 'What do you mean, sir?' Said Hamilton, with an arch smile, 'Nothing but a mere compliment.' 'Very well, sir, I desire no more such compliments.'"

Mr. C. "What was the difference between the oratory of Hamilton and that of Burr?"

Dr. N. "Burr, above all men whom I ever knew, possessed the most consummate tact in evading and covering up the arguments of his opponent. His great art was to throw dust in the eyes of the jury, and make them believe that there was neither force nor sense nor anything else in the arguments of the opposite counsel. He never met a position, nor answered an argument, but threw around them the mist of sophistry, and thus weakened their force. He was the prince of plausibilities. He was always on the right side (in his own opinion), and always perfectly confident.

"Hamilton, on the other hand, allowed to the arguments of his opponent all the weight that could ever be fairly claimed for them, and attacked and demolished them with the club of Hercules. He would never engage in a cause unless he believed he was on the side of justice; and he often threw into the scale of his client the whole weight of his personal character and opinion. His opponents frequently complained of the undue influence he thus exerted upon the court."

Mr. C. "You have heard Webster, I suppose."

Dr. N. "I have never heard him speak. I have the pleasure of a slight personal acquaintance with him, and, from what I know of him, should think he would have less power over the passions of men than Hamilton. He is a giant, and deals with great principles rather than passions.

"Bishop McIlvaine will always be heard. He has an elegant form, a fine voice, and a brilliant imagination, and he can carry an audience just where he pleases."

Mr. C. "You, of course, have heard Dr. Cox."

Dr. N. "Yes, often. He is an original, powerful man, unequal in his performances: sometimes he hits, sometimes he misses; sometimes he rises to the sublimity of powerful speaking, and at others sinks below the common level."

Mr. C. "Have you read his book on Quakerism?"

Dr. N. "As much of it as I can. Some Presbyterians like it. For my part, I confess I do not. He carries his anti-Quaker antipathies too far. It is perfectly natural he should do so. Men who go over from one denomination to another always stand up more than straight, and for two reasons;—first, to satisfy their new friends that they have heartily renounced their former error; secondly, to convince their former friends that they had good reasons for desertion. Baptists who have become such from Presbyterians are uniformly the most bigoted, and vice versa.

"I am disgusted and grieved with the religious controversies of the present age. The divisions of schools, old school and new school, and the polemical zeal and fury with which the contest is waged, are entirely foreign from the true spirit of Christianity. The Christianity of the age is, in my view, most unamiable. It has none of those lovely, mellow features which distinguished primitive Christianity. If Christianity as it now exists should be propagated over the world, and thus the millennium be introduced, we should need two or three more millenniums[Pg 532] before the world would be fit to live in."

Mr. C. "Why do you judge so, Doctor?"

Dr. N. "By the style of our religious periodicals. If I had suddenly dropped down here, and wished to ascertain at a bird's-eye view the religious and moral state of the community, I would call for the papers and magazines, and when I had glanced at them I should pronounce that community to be in a low moral and religious state which could tolerate such periodicals. A bad paper cannot live in a good community.

"I have been especially grieved and offended with the recent Catholic controversy. I abhor much in the Catholic religion; but, nevertheless, I believe there is a great deal of religion in that Church. I do not like the condemnation of men in classes. I would not, in controversy with the Catholics, render railing for railing. They cannot be put down so. They must be charmed down by kindness and love."

Mr. C. "I have been much amused by reading that controversy."

Dr. N. "My dear sir, I am sorry to hear you say so. You cannot have read that controversy with pleasure, without having been made a worse man by it."

Mr. C. "Why, I was amused by it, I suppose, just as I should be amused by seeing a gladiator's show."

Dr. N. "Just so; a very good comparison,—a very accurate comparison! It is a mere gladiatorial contest; and the object of it, I fear, is not so much truth as victory."

Mr. C. "But Luther fought so, Doctor."

Dr. N. "I know it; and I have no sympathy with that trait in the character of Luther. The world owes more, perhaps, to Martin Luther than to any other man who has ever lived; and as God makes the wrath of man to praise him, and restrains the remainder, so he raised up Luther as an instrument adapted to his age and the circumstances of the times. But Luther's character in some of its features was harsh, rugged, and unlovely; and in these it was not founded upon the Gospel.

"Compare him with St. Paul. Once they were placed in circumstances almost identically the same. Luther's friends were endeavoring to dissuade him from going to Worms, on account of apprehended danger. Said Luther, 'If there were as many devils at Worms as there are tiles on the roofs of the houses, I would go.'

"When Paul's friends at Cæsarea wept, and besought him not to go up to Jerusalem, knowing the things which would befall him there, 'What mean ye,' said he, 'to weep, and break my heart? For I am ready, not to be bound only, but to die also at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.'

"Many a bold, reckless man of the world could have said what Luther said. None but a Christian could have uttered the words of Paul."

Mr. C. "Was it not in part a constitutional difference? Peter and Paul were very different men; so, if Luther had not been a Christian, he would have exhibited the same rugged features of character."

Dr. N. "That is just the point, sir. These traits in his character were no part of his Christianity. They existed, not in consequence, but in spite, of his religion. I want to see, in Christian character, the rich, deep, mellow tint of the Scriptures."

[Pg 533]




It was by a happy chance that my first acquaintance with Crete and the Cretans was made just previous to the outbreak of the insurrection which has just now brought the island so strongly to the attention of the world, and which will prevent any future traveller of this generation from seeing it, as I saw it, at the highest point of that comparative material prosperity which thirty-five years of such peace as Christian lands enjoy under Turkish rule had created, and before the beginning of that course of destruction which has now made the island one expanse of poverty and ruin. It was in the beginning of the last year of the administration of Ismael Pacha, in August, 1865, that, blockaded a month in Syra by cholera, I finally got passage on a twenty-ton yacht belonging to an English resident of that place, and made a loitering three days' run to Canea.

Crete, though never visited by cholera, was in quarantine at all Greek ports, and intercourse with the great world was limited to occasional voyages of the little caïques of the island to Syra, where they endured two weeks' quarantine, and whence they brought back the mails and a cargo of supplies, so that any arrival was an event to the Cydonians, and that of a yacht flying the English and American flags at once was enough to turn out the entire population. The fitful northerly breeze had kept us the whole afternoon in sight of the port; and it was only as sunset closed the doors of the health-office that we dropped anchor in the middle of the little harbor,—the wondering centre of attraction to a wondering town, whose folk came to assist at the sunsetting and our arrival. Lazy soldiers, lying at full length on the old bronze cannon of the batteries, looked out at us, only raising their heads from their crossed arms; grave Turks, smoking their nargiles in front of the cafés that open on the Marina, turned their chairs round to look at us without stopping their hubble-bubbling; and all about us, where nothing else was, a line of motley humanity—Greek, Turk, Egyptian, Nubian, Abyssinian, under hats, caps, tarbouches, turbans, hats Persian and ecclesiastical, and no hats at all—half circled us with mute and mostly stupid admiration.

It was my first experience of a Turkish town, and perhaps I was more struck with the dilapidation and evident decay than I ought to have been. The sea-wall of the massive Venetian fortification seemed crumbling and carious; the earth-work above it was half washed away; the semicircle of houses on the Marina looked seedy and tottering; the Marina itself was in places under-cut and falling into the water; and above us, overtopping the whole city, the Pacha's palace, built on the still substantial, though time-worn and neglected walls of the old Venetian citadel, reared a lath-and-plaster shabbiness against the glow of the western sky, reminding one of an American seaside hotel in the last stages of popularity and profitable tenancy,—great gaps in the plaster showing the flimsiness of the construction, while a coating of unmitigated whitewash almost defied the sunset glow to modify it. On the western point of the crescent of the Marina, under the height on which stands the palace, is a domed mosque,—one large central dome surrounded by little ones,—with a not ugly minaret, slightly cracked by earthquakes, standing at one side in a little cemetery, among whose turbaned tombstones grow a palm and an olive tree, and beyond which the khan (also serving as custom-house), a two-story house of the Venetian days, relieves the dreary white with a wash of ochre, stained and streaked to any tint almost.[Pg 534] A little nearer the bottom of the port is an old Venetian gate, which once shut the Marina in at night while the custom-house guard slept, and over the keystone of which the Lion of St. Mark's still turns his mutilated head to the sea.

On the whole, the look of the thing was not unpicturesque, except for the hopeless whiteness and shabbiness of the principal architectural features, and especially the "Konak" (palace), which was, beyond all disguise of light or circumstance, an eyesore and a nuisance, the more so that its foundations were fine old brown stone masonry, delicious in color, solid, and showing at one end a pointed arched vault, with its portward end fallen down to show the interior, and crowned with an enormous mass of cactus. On the south side, invisible from the port, are three fine Gothic windows, now filled up, but preserving the traceries. The palace could scarcely have had a nobler site, or the site a more ignoble occupancy.

Too late for pratique, we had nothing to do but turn in early, and get ready to go ashore at sunrise.

Once landed, I began to wish that the comparison I had drawn for the Konak was a more just one, and that inside its card-board classicalism could be found the slightest approach to American hospitality. Not an inn of any kind exists in Canea: a dirty, dingy restaurant, which called itself "The Guest-House of the Spheres," offered one small bedroom, which the filth of the place, with its suggestions of bugs and fleas, forbade the title of a sleeping-room. While the yacht stayed I had a bed; but after that it was a dreary prospect for a man who had intended living at his ease in his inn the rest of the summer. And here let me, once for all, give due credit to Crete, and say that, though there is not from one end of the island to the other an inn, the stranger will never wait long, even in the smallest village, to know where he may sleep, and will rarely find a greater difficulty than to reconcile the rival claims to the honor of his presence. In my case, I had no greatly prolonged anxiety, and accepted the proffered hospitality of Mr. Alexis, then Vice-Consul of the United States of America, and now Dutch Consul, to whom most of the few travellers in Crete are more or less under obligations.

I thoroughly enjoyed some days of careless loafing about Canea. I have intimated my slight experience of Turkish towns; and if the critic should think it worth while to remark that I should have seen Constantinople and Cairo, Smyrna and Salonica, before attempting to describe one, I admit the justice of the criticism, and pass over readily all that is Turkish in Canea, the more that it is mainly of negative or destructive character. What remains of interest in Canea is Venetian, though of that there is almost nothing which represents the great period of the sea-republic, except the fine, and in most parts well-conditioned walls. Here and there a double-arched window, with a bit of fine carving in the capitals, peeps out from the jutting uglinesses of seraglio windows, close latticed and mysterious; one or two fine doorways, neglected and battered as to their ornamentation, some coats of arms, three or four arched gateways, and as many fountains, are all that will catch the eye of the artist inside the walls, unless it be the port, with its quaint and picturesque boats of antique pattern.

Canea had its west-end in what is now known as the Castelli,—the slight elevation on which, most probably, the ancient city was built, and on which stood the Venetian citadel, and the aristocratic quarter, enclosed and gated with an interior wall, whose circuit may still be traced in occasional glimpses of the brown stone above and between the Turkish houses. The Castelli of to-day is the principal street of this quarter, running through its centre, and guarded by the gates whose arches remain, valueless and without portcullis, but showing in their present state how strong a defence was needed to assure the patricians in their slumbers against any importunate[Pg 535] attempts of their malcontent subjects and fellow-townsmen to clear off the score which the infamous government of the Republic accumulated. One doorway in this street struck me particularly, from the exquisite ornamentation of its stone doorway; but the palace to which it opened is abandoned, and in ruins. Most of the better class of these houses are in the same state, modern repair being only a shabby patching up and whitewashing. The quarter is inhabited almost entirely by Mussulmans; and, though habitable houses are greatly in demand in the business parts of Canea, and many of these old palaces could be made available at a small cost, their owners have so little energy, or so great an aversion to new-comers and Christians, that none of them are put under repairs.

On the walls of the city are many old bronze guns of both Venetian and Turkish manufacture. The former still bear the Lion of St. Mark's, and one long nine-pounder is exquisitely ornamented with a reticulation of vines cast in relief over the whole length of it. It bears the name of Albergetti, its founder. The only modern guns I saw were half a dozen heavy cast-iron thirty-two-pounders of Liege, and a few light bronze guns on the battery commanding the entrance of the harbor. The whole circuit of the walls is still furnished with the ancient bronze guns, of which several are of about twelve-inch calibre, with their stone balls still lying by them.

The harbor of Canea approximates in form to a clumsy L, the bottom of the letter forming the basin in the centre of which our yacht was moored, with a longer recess running eastward from the entrance, and divided from the open sea only by a reef on which the mole is built, following the direction of the coast at this part of the island. The narrow entrance is at the exterior angle of the L, between the water-battery and the lighthouse; and in the interior angle are the Castelli, Konak, &c. Along the inner side of the eastern recess, and across its extremity, is a line of galley-houses,—the penitential offering, it is said, of a patrician exiled here, to purchase his repatriation. Earthquakes have rent their walls, decay has followed disuse, for the harbor has now become so filled up that only a small boat can get into the furthermost of the arches, and the greater part of the galley-houses have dry land out to their entrances, and the ship-yard of to-day is in the vacant space left by the fall of two or three of them.

As might be expected, Canea is a very dull city. Out of the highway of Eastern trade or travel, whoever visits it must do so for itself alone, for the arts of amusing idlers and luring travellers are unknown to it. The only amusements for summer are a nargile on the Marina, studying primitive civilization the while, during the twilight hours, and the afternoon circuit of the ramparts, where every day at five o'clock an execrable band tortures the most familiar arias with clangor of discordant brass. From the ramparts we overlooked the plain, bounded by Mount Malaxa, above which loomed the Aspravouna, showing late in summer strips of snow in the ravines that furrowed the bare crystalline peaks, brown and gray and parched with the drought of three months. The Cretan summer runs rainless from June to October; and the only relief to the aridity of the landscape is formed by the olive-orchards, covering nearly the whole expanse between the sea sands and the treeless ridge of Malaxa with so luxuriant a green, that, accustomed to the olive of Italy, I could scarcely believe these to be the same trees. This I at first supposed to be owing to some peculiarity of the plain, but subsequently found it to be characteristic of the Cretan olive; and I remember hearing Captain Brine of the Racer express the same surprise I myself felt on first seeing the olive here. The trees are like river-side willows in early summer.

To get a clear comprehension of the position of Canea and the ancient advantages of Cydonia, its local predecessor, and at the same time of the[Pg 536] whole northwestern district of Crete, one must ascend the hills of the Akroteri,—at least the first ridge, from which the view is superb. The Aspravouna towers higher: we look into the gorges of the Malaxa ridge, and up the ravine of Theriso, to the mountains about Laki,—an immemorial strong-hold of the Cretans, behind which, a sure and impregnable refuge to brave men, is the great plain of Omalos. Farther on are the hills of Selinos and Kisamos, sending off northward two long parallel ridges of considerable altitude, the peninsula of Grabusa, the ancient Corycus, the western land of Crete, and, from where we look, visible in portions above the nearer ridge of Cape Spada, the Dictynnian peninsula, which divides the plain of Cydonia from that of Kisamon and Polyrrhenia, and, but for the glimpses of Corycus above it, shutting in our view, as it bounds the territory dependent on the ancient city.

No site in Crete is more distinctly recognizable from the indications of the ancient geographers than Cydonia. It had "a port with shoals outside," and from this elevation one looks directly down the longer fork of the harbor, and can see how the mole is built on a black reef, whose detached masses extend from the lighthouse eastward to the corner of the city wall, which is built out to meet it, and then descends to the mole, with which it is continuous. Beyond the entrance of the harbor, the reef again appears, gradually nearing the shore; and beyond this, as far as the eye can reach, are no rocks,—no Other nook where a galley could have taken refuge.

How the hearts of the Pelasgian wanderers must have bounded when their exploring prows pushed into this nook, which offered them shelter from all winds that blow! It was a site to gladden the eyes of those builders of cities. Up above them, the bluff rock waiting for the layers of huge stones,—the eastern nook of the port more perfectly protected than the southern, which receives more or less the swell from the northerly winds, and whose inner shore of hard sand tempted the weary keels,—while all around stretched a wide, fertile, and then probably forest-clad plain, doubtless abounding in the stags for which the district was long famous. Here the restless race "located," and seem to have prospered in the days of those brave men who lived before Agamemnon, to whom and to whose allies in the Trojan war they seem to have given much the same trouble that their reputed descendants, the Sphakiotes, did to the Cretan Assembly of 1866, not being either then or now over-devoted to Panhellenism, though never averse to a comfortable fight.

Pashley quotes a Latin author to show that Cydonia was one of the most ancient, if not the most ancient, of Cretan cities,—"Cnossus and Erythræa, and, as the Greeks say, Cydonia, mother of cities." The alleged foundation of the city by Agamemnon was clearly, if anything, only a revival of the more ancient city; and after him successive colonizations rolled their waves in on this beautiful shore, obedient to its irresistible attraction. Dorian, Samiote, Roman, followed, adding new blood, and perhaps new wealth; and when finally, in the degradation of the Byzantine empire, Venice took possession of Crete, Cydonia had so far passed into insignificance, that, "seeking a place to build a fortress to quell the turbulent Greeks," she refounded Cydonia, and called it Canea,—an evident corruption of the old name. With all this building and rebuilding, nothing remains, of the ancient city. A mass of masonry near the Mussulman cemetery, which Chevalier in 1699 saw covered with a mosaic pavement, is still visible, but is Roman work, rubble and mortar. As Pashley says, the modern walls of Canea would have been sufficient to consume all vestiges of the ancient building. The citations he gives ought to put at rest all question, of the identity of Canea with Cydonia, and we shall presently see the only serious objection which has been raised against it disappear under an examination[Pg 537] of the geological character of the plain.[A]

Looking from our hill-top southwestwardly across the plain, the eye is carried between two low ranges of hills into a valley which seems a continuation of this plain. Here runs the Iardanos, along which, according to Homer, the Cydonians dwelt. But it is now in no point of its course nearer than ten miles to Canea. This discrepancy troubled the early travellers, who were finally inclined to solve the riddle by supposing Cydonia to have been a district, and not a city merely. But study the plain a little, or Spratt's chart of it, and we shall see that from that far-off river-bed an almost unbroken and very gentle inclination leads through the plain, by the rear of the city, to the bay of Suda, a considerable ridge rising between it and the sea.

Suppose the mountains reclothed with forests, the hillsides pierced with perennial springs, and the flowing of the waters, not, as now, fitful and impetuous, but copious and constant. Then dam up the narrow opening the river has cut through the coast line of hills, in its direct course from the mountains to the sea, with a smaller and similar one cut by a stream coming down from Theriso, and you have the whole water sheet of the north side of the Aspravouna emptying into the bay of Suda. In this supposed route of the Iardanos (now the Platanos), just where it commences its cutting through the hills, is a large marsh, the remnant of what was once a lake of a mile or more in width, when the Iardanos, then a gentle, bounteous river, turned from its present course to run eastward, and deposit its washings where they made the marshes of Tuzla, and the shallows at the head of Suda Bay. Civilization, ship-building, commerce, carried away the forests; and, thus changed[B] into a furious mountain torrent,—three months a roaring flood which no bridge can stride, and the rest of the year almost a dry pebbled bed,—the Iardanos made a straight cut for the sea, drained its lake, forgot its old courses, and changed, in time, its name; and so it happens that the Cydonians no longer dwell along the Iardanos.

While we are on our look-out, let us try to study out another puzzle, which even Spratt left in doubt, i. e. the site of Pergamos. We know that it was near both Cydonia and Achaia, and Spratt pretty conclusively fixes the latter on the Dictynnian peninsula; so that it must have been in our present field of view. Looking this over, we can see but one point of land which offers the indispensable requisites for a city of the heroic ages, and that is the site of the modern Platania, midway between Canea and the peninsula,—a bold hill with a nearly perpendicular face to the north and east, and so abrupt on the west as to be easily fortified, and connected with the hills on the south by a narrow neck of hill,—such a site, in fact, as any one familiar with Pelasgic remains would seek at once in a country where any such remains existed. The fact that no remains exist to show that an ancient city stood here proves no more than at Canea; while the fact that none of the possible sites in the neighborhood show any such remains is conclusive against them, as no modern cities are there to consume the ancient masonry. In our researches in the island, we shall almost invariably find that, where there are remains of ancient cities, there is no modern town, and that, where a modern town stands on an ancient site determined, there are few, if any, antique vestiges. The reason is evident,—the ruins serve as quarry. The change of name even proves more for our hypothesis than[Pg 538] against it. The plane-tree was not in ancient times so rare in the island as now, and would hardly have then given a name to a city, while now it not only names Platania, but the river even,—a grove of plane-trees occupying the valley between the city and the mouth of the river. The probability is, then, that the names of both are synchronous; and it would be useless to look for any Platania in ancient times, or any vestige of the name "Pergamos" in modern times, while, if the ancient city stood on a site now abandoned, we should in all probability find both ruins and name to indicate the locality.

The conjecture of Spratt, that Pergamos was near Pyrgos Pori is only a conjecture, Pyrgos being too common a name for any strongly situated village or ruin to have any significance. A city at that locality would, moreover, have been cut off from all sea approach by the Iardanos in its ancient course; and as Pergamos was one of those cities founded by the wanderers from Troy,—either, they say, by Agamemnon or Æneas,—it would probably not have been founded on an inland site, or even on a river navigable, as the Iardanos must have been, for small craft, the access to which would be commanded by Aptera, Minoa, and Cydonia. So far as conjecture goes, it seems to me much more likely that Hagia Irene—which Spratt supposes the ancient city—was Achaia, the location of which he avoids by supposing it a district, rather than a city, forgetting that in those days no one dwelt outside of city walls. My hypothesis, coupled with that of the identity of Platania with Pergamos, would satisfy all the exigencies of the case, which that of neither Spratt nor Pashley does. For the rest, Pergamos is mainly interesting as the burial-place of Lycurgus.

From our point of view on the Akroteri, we see the whole domain of Cydonia,—as at our left Suda Bay terminates the view, (on the first plateau eastward of the bay Aptera presided,) while the Dictynnian hills divide it from the plain of Kisamos to the west, and the mountains rise abruptly to the south;—a little kingdom well defined, one of the most perfectly beautiful territories the tourist can find, and still fertile,—though the hills have forgotten their fruit and the plain its river,—and capable of sustaining a much larger population than it now supports, if the Mohammedan blight were off it.

Almost at the foot of the ridge where we stand is a beautiful example of a Venetian fortified country-house,—a little castle, turreted and loop-holed, with a drawbridge thrown from a tower rising opposite the doorway, and still in excellent preservation. Other similar houses may be seen, but I have nowhere in the island found one so fine as this. At the farther edge of the plain, lying along under the hills, is a succession of white villages,—Zukalaria, Nerokouro (running water), Murnies, celebrated for its oranges and the brutal and gratuitous massacre by Mustapha Pacha (late Imperial Commissioner), in 1833, Boutzounaria (dripping water), first place of assembling of the Cretan malcontents in 1866, Perivolia, Galatas, Hagia Marina, and Platania, by the sea.

Off Platania is the island of St. Theodore, whose fortress, defended by the Venetian mercenaries against the Turks, showed one of those examples of heroic constancy we so generally and erroneously attribute to patriotic courage; for, defying the enemy to the last, the garrison defended the castle until the Turks had stormed and filled it with their numbers, and then blew it up, destroying every one within the walls. The foundations still remain, but level with the cemented floor; everything is razed cleanly, while the fragments lie along the slopes like the ejections of a volcano.

Midway between the Akroteri and Canea lies Kalepa, a suburb where most of the foreign consuls reside in summer, with many of the wealthier Khaniotes, and the only place in the vicinity where the summer can be passed in comfort. A few houses are[Pg 539] fitted with European improvements, but the greater part are the simple and cheerless residences of the Cretan peasant, furnished with the merest necessities of existence. Even here, in the most prosperous of the villages I have been in, life is, for most of the people, only a struggle against poverty, thrift being impossible where every surplus meets a new impost. Many houses are still in ruins from the devastations of 1821-1830, showing how incompletely the island had recovered from that war before being plunged into another more destructive still. From the ravages of this, however, Kalepa is saved so far,—thanks to a few consular residents,—but saved alone of all the villages of the plain country.

If it be true that civilization is determined by natural advantages, it must be that Cydonia was the "mother of cities," at least of all the Hellenic realm, for no more enchanting or tempting site have I ever known through travel or description. With its climate of paradisiacal softness and healthfulness, and the beauty of its framing hills,—fanned in summer by the north winds from the Ægean and by south winds tempered by the snows of the Aspravouna,—with a winter in which vegetation never ceases and frost never comes,—with its garden-like plain and its old-time river, and its port unexceptionable in ancient times,—nothing was wanting to render prosperity and security complete in former days, as nothing but freedom is wanting now to restore both, and make the city the most attractive place in the classical world. Hitherto, its charms have but tempted invasion, and its fertility has only grown harvests for the sword. Here began the Cretan conquest by Metellus; here began the movements which, one after the other, have shaken the Ottoman chain only to make it heavier; and here began the latest struggle, which, so long and gallantly upheld, may finally bring back to Crete the civilization born on her shores, but for so many centuries an exile.



Not to make one's first excursion from Canea to the Akroteri, with its convent of the Hagia Triada (Holy Trinity), and its sacred Grotto of St. John, would be lesa maestà to the Khaniotes, who regard a pilgrimage to the latter as entitling one to a Hadjiship.

The ride (or walk, which I recommend, in preference, to good pedestrians) is a delightful one in early summer; and, even after the heats of August have browned the plain of the Akroteri, an early start from Canea will leave a memory of breezy upland with wide expanse of mountain and sea,—including some of the most picturesque views to be found in Crete,—and of the rich odors of many aromatic herbs and flowers, through whose rifled sweets the Akroteri is famous for its honey. A three hours' ride—first up the zigzag road that climbs the ridge above Kalepa, and then over an undulating plain sparsely dotted with hamlets and clouded here and there with olive-orchards—brings one, with a sufficient appreciation of good cheer, and clean, cool rooms, shade, and quiet, into the cloistered court of Hagia Triada, a semi-military building of the Venetian days. Still unfinished, the Turkish conquest having interrupted its progress, with all other in the seventeenth century. In the centre of the quadrangle, round which are the rooms of the monks and the guest-rooms, stands the church, an edifice nondescript as to style, with a façade of a species of Venetian Doric, fronting a building whose plan is a Latin cross, and whose roof observes Byzantine tradition. On the entablature over the doorway are the dedicatory Greek capitals, ΒΓΥΘΠ,—the meaning of which none of the priests could tell me, though a duplicate inscription in Latin and Greek beside the door told by whom the convent was built; and the Hegoumenos added the tradition, that the two founders, being converted by an extraordinary illumination[Pg 540] from the Latin to the Greek Church, gave an edifying proof of their devotion to their new creed by erecting this convent.

The Hegoumenos was a Sphakiote, a very shrewd, clear-headed and energetic man, and, though betraying no great familiarity with books or dogmas, showed that he was a better fisher in those waters where men are to be caught than most of his confrères of any creed. He had that manner of innate authority which never fails to impose itself on the indecisions and self-distrusts of the mass of men, and which in a wider circle of ambition would certainly have won him a larger place. Like the Hegoumenos of every other Greek convent, he was elected by the monks, and, though completely in the hands of his brethren, and at any time liable to be removed by another election, the subordination to him was perfect as could have been imagined. It was a curious exemplification of the force of democracy. Yet not only in Hagia Triada, but in other Cretan convents, I have seen how the mass of men find their governors as surely and wisely, and often more fitly, than if they had had men born to the place, or appointed by some superior hierarchy.

In Italy I had always been accustomed to find the convents posted on the hill-tops, and almost inaccessible; but in Crete the loveliest valleys are almost certain to have been chosen as their locations. The convent of the Hagia Triada is indeed on a plain, but at the foot of the range of hills which skirts the Akroteri to the north, and is thus almost shut in from two sides, while to the south the plain extends to Suda Bay, which is hidden in the chasm between the Akroteri and Mount Malaxa, and beyond which the mountains of Sphakia rise in picturesque and alluring redundance of ravine and massive rock. All the nearer plain is green with the olive-orchards, and the road which approaches the front entrance is flanked with two lines of cypresses, and carob-trees grow up the rocky heights overlooking the convent, where no other tree will grow. The hum of bees filled the air, and mingled with the notes of nightingales (poetically fabled to sing only by night), the chirping of multitudinous sparrows, wrens, and linnets, and the twittering of swallows. At the outer gate sat two or three aged monks, picturesque and sculpturesque at once, like enchanted porters at the doors of some spellbound palace, their long, gray beards and sunken, listless eyes according with their own and the convent's external dilapidation.

The beauty and quiet of the place were almost enchantment enough to account for the gray-headed porters, their immobility and longevity, and I longed to draw the charm over me. But I was one of a party which had come under the inspiration of the most inane motive of travel,—the desire to see all there was to be seen; and so, after a half-hour's repose, and the usual refreshments,—preserved fruits and a glass of water, followed by coffee,—we enlisted the Hegoumenos in our party, and set out for the grotto, taking in the way Hagios Joannes, a still more incomplete and still more secluded convent than Hagia Triada, among the hills between the latter and the sea. The road which we followed would be called by no means a bad road for Crete, but anywhere else would be execrable,—a mere bridle-path through a gorge in a range of hills from which all the soil seems to have been washed with most of the small stones, and where, with much precaution, your beast goes picking his way as if in a laborious, slow-paced minuet. The convent stands in an opening of the hills, on a little bit of comparatively plain land,-a half-finished battlemented square pile, offering defence against a slight attack; but the monks said that the Turks always found the road so bad that they never came to attack them during any of the island wars, though Hagia Triada was twice pillaged. The comparative[Pg 541] poverty of Hagios Joannes may have had something to do with its exemption, but the road would defend it from my encroachments forever; and, in fact, visitors only pass it on the way to the grottoes and convent of Katholikon, which lie near the opening of the gorge, where it becomes a wild glen, and approaches the sea. The path, descending, led us to the Cave of the Bear, where we had arranged to lunch, and the bounties of Canea, spread on the ground in the mouth of the cave, went to repair the wear and tear of body and temper caused by the badness of the road. The cave derives its name from a mass of stalactite which has a traceable resemblance to a bear, but it had no further interest than being our lunching-place. Here the road became so bad that even a donkey could not follow it, and we clambered down on foot by zigzag and rock stair to the mouth of the Cave of St. John. Caves per se have no kind of attraction to me. Stalactite and stalagmite are pretty much the same: so, half the way in, I made excuse of the fatigue of some of the ladies, and, determining to go no farther, proved my gallantry by stopping to keep them company, thus abandoning my Hadjiship, which can only be claimed when the inner chamber is attained. If, then, the reader would know more, he must consult the guide-book, when there is one; and meanwhile let me assure him, on the authority of Pashley, that the cave is four hundred and seventy feet deep, and, on that of my more persevering fellow-visitors, that at the bottom is a chamber, very fine and imposing by torchlight, where is a couch of natural formation on which died the saint, leaving his name with his bones and the odor of his sanctity. The story is that this St. John—neither the Baptist nor the Evangelist, but a hermit of Crete—centuries ago made his abode here, and lived many years without seeing the face of another man. Lest he should in daylight chance upon his abhorred and outcast brethren, or any of them, he only ventured out at night, and lived on what he could find in other people's gardens or orchards. Happening one night to be discovered in the act of laying in a provision of corn, he was mistaken for a thief, and received an arrow from the owner of the provision. He crawled back, mortally wounded, to his grotto, and never came out again except in the shape of relics.

The convent of Katholikon, long abandoned, did not invite entrance: a Venetian bridge spans the ravine, and gave access to the chapel for the hermits whose little dens still remain on the other side, the denizens having long since deserted them. Down by the sea are some Venetian ruins, a boat-house, and some masonry of a landing. I advise travellers who will visit Katholikon, its cave and hermitages, to order a boat round from Canea to meet them at this place, and then go home in comfort,—the only point to be gained from going back by land being a more thorough experience of Cretan roads. To those who intend seeing the rest of the island, opportunities will not lack for this; to others, the knowledge is superfluous. A careful horse will make his way down, but he ought to be strong to get up. Mine was not; and, in climbing, his force or his footing failed him, and over he went backwards, and I narrowly escaped being crushed under him. Stunned and half bewildered by the fall,—for I had struck on my back amongst sharp stones, with one of which my head had made intimate acquaintance,—I managed, I know not how, to extricate myself from the flourish of legs; the horse lying more helpless than myself in the narrow path between two slopes of stone, and vainly plunging to get over on his side. He finally completed his somerset, to the confusion of the line of equestrians behind, the nearest of whom were speedily dismounted; and the chances of a kicking match among the quadrupeds were good for a moment, until two prompt Arabs, in attendance on Miss T——, restored the disorderly elements[Pg 542] to peace. Sore, bleeding, and faint, I lay awhile on a bed of wild thyme, until I began to feel the good effects of a cordial administered by the patéras, and we resumed our file, most of the party returning directly to Canea,—myself, with a companion who served as guide and interpreter, passing the night at the convent, the good Hegoumenos being urgent in his entreaties that the whole company would likewise honor his roof. None of the ladies felt inclined to do so, and perhaps it was just as well for their repose that they did not; for, clean as the rooms of the convent were, and white as was the linen, there were discomforts which, though infinitely small, were infinitely numerous, and, by the law of majorities, our tormentors turned us out of bed to pass the night in the open air,—a change always safe, and even delightful at this season, in Crete.

The Greek convent is a true hostel; no one is refused admission and hospitality,—no restrictions on the gentler sex make it impossible for real parties of pleasure to visit its beautiful valley,—no Pharisaic rigidity of self-denial makes it imperative to refuse visitors good cheer, though the community observe their long and trying fasts with a severity which puts to shame abstinence in Catholic countries. (The Greek fasts two hundred and forty-six days out of three hundred and sixty-five, and most of this time not even fish is allowed, while part of the time oil, milk, and shell-fish are also forbidden.) And the welcome is no mere show of kindliness; the longer you stay at the convent, the better the monks are pleased, and staying longer than you intended is the highest compliment you can pay them. What change a larger acquaintance with the world will produce, of course I cannot say, or how much the spirit of hospitality will diminish by an increase of the calls on it; but now no English country-house makes you more at home than a Cretan convent.

In the morning, the patéras guided us to a peak, near the northeastern point of the Akroteri, whence we could overlook, not only the peninsula and Suda Bay, but the Apokorona, the coast from Cape Spada to Cape Stavros, the Rhiza as far as the mountains of Kisamos, Mount Ida, and the mountains of Sphakia, Lampe, and even, in the dim distance, Lassithe. Included in the field of view were the sites of seven of the Cretan cities of early days, not counting Minoa and Canea, hidden from view. On the north, we had the Greek islands Cerigotto, Cerigo, Milo, Santorini, and others less prominent. It was my intention to return by the shore of Suda Bay, in order to visit Minoa, but the badness of the roads, and the utter want of interest in the intermediate distance, determined me to visit that part of the Akroteri by boat at a later period.

Returning to the convent, we had not long to wait for a capital dinner,—soup, a boiled chicken, mutton stewed with artichokes and beans, new honey, and rice prepared with milk, sugar, and spices, with a dessert of figs and grapes. The wine of the convent had a bitter taste, from an herb steeped in it, which was preferable to the pitch of Greek wines, but still not a desirable addition. One of the monks, who had a small property close by the convent, brought us a bottle of wine of his own production, which was one of the best I have ever tasted in the East, and to my mind better than that of Cyprus. With coffee and cigarettes we stretched ourselves on the sofas before the windows, through which the east wind blew the odors extorted from the fragrant herbs and flowers by the overpowering sun. No other sound than the hum of the bees darting past with unwearying haste, and the chirping of a few birds amongst the olives, disturbed the air, and the monks left us to dream or doze as we pleased. The charm of the place was complete, and it would not have been a penance to make the convent a summer's abode. The fleas were a drawback, surely; but nowhere in Crete can one get away from that plague, and at Hagia Triada they were less offensive,[Pg 543] as I learned by later experience, than in many other convents, and even in most private houses.

When, the sun cooling his fires, we ordered our steeds out, and prepared to return, the whole personnel of the convent came to assist, with the inhabitants of a little village adjoining, which finds protection and Christian charity from the convent. The monks, excepting two or three, seemed of an ignorant and boorish quality, but hard-working and kind-hearted. Here, evidently, a certain kind of bliss was in ignorance, and the most learned were not wise enough to be accused of much folly. The Hegoumenos, in bidding us good by, begged us warmly to come again and stay long,—a month at least. All joined in the kindly wish; and we rode back through the lengthening olive shadows, which never had fitter accompaniment than in the peace and content which the convent promised us, and I am sure not vainly. Not that I am a believer in the peace that does not come of fighting,—the retreat before battle,—or think that quiet and laziness are one. Content is a piggish virtue and one which no earnest soul can abide in, and unsleeping ambition is the only Jacob's ladder; but when my reader is tired of struggling, and must repose, I am sure that he (or she, even) would find in Hagia Triada such peace and content as may be healthfully known, and no begrudging of the solace and satisfaction to heretics. It seems to me that only those who have no right to a quiet life envy it in others, and, as our monks earn their right to be charitable, they are not envious, even with sinners.


[A] As I shall have constant occasion to draw from Pashley information and quotations which my own classical reading, time, and library facilities do not permit me even to verify, I shall, once for all, confess indebtedness for almost all the classical knowledge I possess of the island, as well as for almost all the topographical information and direction in my visits to antique sites, to either him or Spratt, without whose invaluable researches the half of Crete would still be in a measure terra incognita. What I hope to add to the knowledge of Crete will be in a different vein from theirs.

[B] Consult Marsh's "Man and Nature."



(ΦΒΚ—Cambridge, 1867.)

You bid me sing,—can I forget
The classic ode of days gone by,—
How belle Fifine and jeune Lisette
Exclaimed, "Anacreōn, gerōn ei"?
"Regardez donc," those ladies said,—
"You're getting bald and wrinkled too:
When summer's roses all are shed,
Love's nullum ite, voyez-vous!"
In vain ce brave Anacreon's cry,
"Of Love alone my banjo sings"
(Erōta mounon). "Etiam si,—
Eh b'en?" replied the saucy things,—
"Go find a maid whose hair is gray,
And strike your lyre,—we sha'n't complain;
But parce nobis, s'il vous plait,—
Voilà Adolphe! Voilà Eugène!"
[Pg 544]
Ah, jeune Lisette! Ah, belle Fifine!
Anacreon's lesson all must learn;
'O kairos oxūs; Spring is green;
But Acer Hyems waits his turn!
I hear you whispering from the dust,
"Tiens, mon cher, c'est toujours so,—
The brightest blade grows dim with rust,
The fairest meadow white with snow!"
You do not mean it! Not encore?
Another string of playday rhymes?
You've heard me—nonne est?—before,
Multoties,—more than twenty times;
Non possum,—vraiment,—pas du tout,
I cannot! I am loath to shirk;
But who will listen if I do,
My memory makes such shocking work?
Ginōsko, Scio. Yes, I'm told
Some ancients like my rusty lay,
As Grandpa Noah loved the old
Red-sandstone march of Jubal's day
I used to carol like the birds,
But time my wits has quite unfixed,
Et quoad verba,—for my words,—
Ciel! Eheu! Whe-ew!—how they're mixed!
Mehercle! Zeu! Diable! how
My thoughts were dressed when I was young
But tempus fugit! see them now
Half clad in rags of every tongue!
O philoi, fratres, chers amis!
I dare not court the youthful Muse,
For fear her sharp response should be,
"Papa Anacreon, please excuse!"
Adieu! I've trod my annual track
How long!—let others count the miles,—
And peddled out my rhyming pack
To friends who always paid in smiles.
So, laissez-moi! some youthful wit
No doubt has wares he wants to show;
And I am asking, "Let me sit,"
Dum ille clamat, "Dos pou sto!"

[Pg 545]



"It was a Sunday evening that was coming on, you see, and there was a full moon, and all the willagers would be out to church, because there was a rewival a-going on, and, thinks says I, he'll walk into his sleep, like as not, and he'll be wisible to one and he'll be wisible to all, and I must adopt the adwice that's been adwised me, whether it's quite adwisable or not; so I gets the clothes-line, and I cuts off about five yards, and I slips it under my piller before I goes to—before I retires to rest. The clothes-line was a new hempen one, and strong as could be. Well, he was no sooner asleep than up I riz, and slips the line from under my piller, and I ties my arm to his'n with a knot that couldn't be ontied easy. And now, thinks says I to myself, you get away and walk into your sleep if you can! But you'll see directly that I was adwised bad.

"Just as the meetin' folks was a-goin' home, I, bein' about half asleep, feels somethin' pullin' and pullin' onto my arm, and says I, 'Let go!' and nothin' answered, and then says I, 'Let go, I tell you!' and, bless you! I had no more than got the words out of my mouth when down I comes onto the floor, piller and all! I knowed then, right away, what was the matter,—he was a-walkin' into his sleep. 'O, stop,' says I, 'just for a minute, till I ontie myself!'

"'Divel a bit!' says he, and with that he strode off, and me headlong at his heels!"

"My little wentersome one!" says John; and finding that that but very inadequately expressed what he felt, he repeated it, with slight alteration, "My wentersome little one!" at the same time lifting his eyes to heaven and shaking his finger in a menacing way at the air.

"Me—your own—headlong at his heels," whispered the widow, softly. And then she boxed his ear with the tips of her fingers, and then he said he would love to have her a-boxin' on 'em forever, and then she laughed incredulously, and then she went on:—

'Stop, you willain, till I ontie myself,' says I.

"'Ontie me, you wixen!' says he, 'who cares whether you are ontied or not?' and he histed the winder,—a two-story winder it was,—and out he went!"

"My brain is a-reelin'!" cries John. "You poor dewoted dove!"

"Dewoted, sure enough," says the widow, "and dewoted you'd 'a' thought if you'd 'a' seen me; for up he hists the winder, and out he goes. Now there was the framework of a new house—a great skeleton like—standin' alongside of us, and into that he waults, and I waults after him,—for what could I do but wault?—and away he goes from beam to beam, and from jice to jice, and from scantlin' to scantlin', waultin' up and up, and me waultin' after,—for what could I do but wault?—and cryin' with all my might, 'You willain!' and he a-cryin' back, 'You wixen!' and the moon a-shinin' like a blaze, and the meetin' folks goin' by, and my night-gownd a-floppin', and both of us plain wisible!

"'Help! murder!' I cries, for my salwation depended on it, and, seein' the meetin' folks adwance, he just waulted from the timber onto which we stood right into the thin and insupportable air—"

"And dragged you after him? Lord 'a' mercy!" cried John.

"No," says the widow, speaking with great calmness; "my presence of mind never forsook me,—I was an undertaker's daughter, and adwantage of birth prewailed over the disadwantage[Pg 546] of position,—I waulted down the tother side; and there we hung balanced into the air, and there we would have hung all night but for the accident of the rewival.

"When they cut us down,—which one of the rewival folks did with his jack-knife,—I woluntarily fainted away, and was carried in for dead, and didn't rewive, and wouldn't rewive, for hours and hours. La me! I was so ashamed!"

"I wish it had been my forten to carry you into the house," says John.

"So do I," says the widow; "but let us be thankful that the wicissitudes of life have driv us together at last."

"At last, sure enough," says John; "you speak wisdom when you don't know on 't, you dove of doves!"

She bent her eyes upon him in tender inquiry, in answer to which he said, "At last it is, sweetheart, for you don't know that I loved you when I was a youngster not more 'n a dozen year old!"

"Loved me, captain! It isn't creditable! Tell me all about it. Are you sure?"

"Just as sure on 't as I be of anything; just as sure as I be that I love you now."

"Tell me all about it, I'm dying to know; it seems like some wild novelty, to be sure."

"Yes, you're right, it is like a novelty if it was only writ out, and it don't seem creditable, but it's true; I'm just as sure on 't as I be of anything,—just as sure as I be that I love you now!"

"O captain!"

"Yes, my own Rose, I loved you when I was a little lad,—loved you just as I did the mornin' star,—loved you and worshipped you from far away. What a spry little thing you was, a-hoppin' about among the mahogany and walnut stuff like a young sparrer! O, how I've watched and follered you with my eyes when you didn't dream on 't!"

"But, John, my nerves are a woman's, remember, and you mustn't keep them a-strain so long; they're wery much weakened by all this."

"Ay, to be sure," says John; "your nerves be a woman's, to say nothin' of your curosity bein' a woman's!"

And he laughed with as much heartiness at her expense as though she had been his wife already.

"John!" This with tender reproach, and he resumed, in a tone of respectful and lover-like humility.

"Wa'n't your name Rose Rollins afore you was jined to the vagabond,—wagabond, that is to say,—afore you was dethroned; and didn't you live in Fust Street, opposite them old tenement housen knowed as Baker's Row?"

"Of course I did, John, in the yaller brick with the shop in the corner, and the entrance embellished with a beautiful sign,—three coffins, with their leds turned back so as to reweal the satin linin's, and my father's name in letters that represented silver screws! A stroke of genius that design was!—the sign of the three coffins, two of them sideways and one end; my father's name—Farewell Rollins, wery appropriate to his business as it turned out—in letters that they was modelled after silver screws."

"Three on 'em, two sideways and one end?" says John; "and the name, Farewell Rollins, shaped arter silver screws! Why, as you be a livin' cretur, you're the very—wery—little gal I was in love with; and many a day, dark enough otherwise with poverty and sorrer, you've lighted up with your purty golden head!" And then he tells her, by way of illustrating the depth and sincerity of his early attachment, that it once happened to him to have an orange given him at Christmas time; and that, although he had never tasted an orange in all his born days, except through a confectioner's window-glass, he without hesitation tossed it over the wall into her father's yard, hoping that she, who ate oranges every day, might possibly have his added to the rest. And he concluded with, "Such was the nater of my feelin's for you even then."

"And the nater of your feelin's, John, was not only wergin' close upon[Pg 547] the feelin's of love," says the milliner, deeply touched, "but they was love,—love of the wiolentest kind!"

And then she says that, if she can only find in the town an orange as big as the full moon, she'll buy it, let it cost what it will, and give it to him.

And then she says, playfully tapping his chin, "I only wish them feelin's had hild."

"You wish them feelin's had hild!" says John, leaning his face still lower to the touches of her pretty hands; and then in his reverence he addressed her in the third person, saying, "How sweetly prowokin' she is!"

Then, very earnestly, "They hev hild all these years, them feelin's hev, and they hev been rewived this day in all their wiolence; and the beautiful curls that used to shine down all the daffodils are just as soft and as golden as ever!" Here he ventured to touch the ends of the long-admired tresses; but he did not see that they were both thin and faded, and that the parting was very, very wide. "Ay, it's the same bright head," he went on, "that's been a-shinin' all these years so far away that I never expected to put my rough hand on 't,—not, anyhow, afore I'd crossed the dark ferry, and got refined into a spirit. And now, just think! here you be, a-sailin' in my little wessel, that I'd christened 'The Rose Rollins' for your memory's sake,—a-sailin' by my side in all the freshness and bloom of your perfect beauty!"

The milliner laughed, well pleased with the compliment, and said that, when one charm wanished, another took its place sometimes; so that, if we only kept up our witality, we didn't look much the worse for all our years. "Now you, for instance, could never have been handsomer than you are to-day!" she concluded, pointing her theory with that kindly method so characteristic of women.

His face had been drawing nearer to hers all the while she spoke, so that his eyes were quite looking into hers now. "I'm broke a leetle," says he, "I know it; but when I see myself in these lovely lookin'-glasses I do look right nice, for all." And then he went on with his story.

"I was a'most forgettin' on 't," he said; "but what wonder!

"My father was a sailor; and the last time he ever went out was as one of the crew of the Dauphin, of Nantucket, Captain Griscom,—how well I remember it! though I was a little chap then,—about seven year old, I guess. The Dauphin was a whaler, you must know, and Captain Griscom as rough and hard as the sea-rocks themselves. I seen him once; and I've got a picter in my mind of his furrered, weather-beat face, and eyes that was more like the bulb of some pison plant than anything else,—so blue, and dull, and lackin' all human expression. His ear was like a dry knot,—seemed as if 't would break off if you touched it, and his nose wa' n't much better. He wa' n't a man that any child would ever go nigh,—anyhow I couldn't. My father was high-sperited,—too high-sperited for his sitooation, as'll be showed by an' by.

"My mother was a little, pale woman, with blue eyes, and hair as soft as flax. You've seen her, I dare say, for she took in washin', and used to hang the things on the ruf, and I would go up with her under pertence of helpin', but more, I'm afeard, because I could the better see into your door-yard, and maybe get a glimpse o' you. Well, my father used to tell her, 'Katura,' he would say, 'arter one more voyage I'll leave the sea, for then I shall be rich enough to buy an acre o' ground somewheres where I can hear the waters a-lappin' on the sand; and we'll build a snug little house, and send our boy to school, and you sha' n't wash no more, for you ain't strong, Katura,—not nigh so strong as you used to be,—I can see that plain enough.' Then the tears would come to my mother's eyes; for a tender word was always touchin' to her, and seein' on 'em my father would make haste to say, pattin' of her cheek, that, although[Pg 548] some o' the airly roses was gone, she wa' n't a mite less purty than she used to be! and then she'd wipe her eyes and smile agin, and arter a little smoothin' up of her hair, or carefuller pinnin' of her handkerchief, light his pipe for him, and fetch the big chair out of the corner; and then she'd set herself to darnin' of his socks, or patchin' of his jackets, and so they'd pass an evenin' happy as could be,—my father singin' a sea-song, or a love-song, maybe, first or last.

"We lived in the last house o' the Row,—the housen was all poor enough, you mind, but ourn was the very poorest on 'em, and then we had the top floor,—one room and a pantry bein' all, exceptin' the ruf, which was flat, and which we had the privilege on for a yard, in consideration of a dollar extra a month. 'Have the ruf, be sure, Katura!' my father would say. 'What's a dollar?' and he'd slap his hand down as though 't was full o' dollars, but 't wa' n't, and mother always paid the extra dollar out of her own airnin's, but feelin' all the time a'most as if he'd paid it, just because of the generous way he had o' speekin'. I remember the last time father sailed with the Dauphin, as I was sayin' afore,—remember it just as though it was yesterday. It was a mornin' in winter,—the twenty-third o' December, and snow a-lyin' on the ground. I could see his tracks along the walk for a week arter he was gone, and then the snow begun to melt; thawin' and freezin' together at first, and then a clean thaw, so the tracks filled up with water, and arter another week I couldn't find no trace on 'em.

"'Take good care o' your mother, my lad!' he said, 'take the best o' care on her! I'll be home afore long, for good and all, to take care on her myself; it won't be but two or three year at the outside,'—and he give my shoulder a little shake, and then he slipped a quarter-dollar into my hand. And then he turned to her. 'Three year ain't long, Katura,' he says; 'why, they'll fly round just like so many hours, a'most, and fust thing you know you'll hear my step a-comin' up the stair! Have everything you want, good wife, and don't work hard; you know its agin my will that you should,—these pale cheeks make me a little afeard; but, arter all, you'll come round with the daisies, I guess.' And with that he turned from her, and writ a little with his finger on the table, and then he chirked up like, and buttoned his jacket quick, and went out the door just as though he wa' n't a-goin' no furder than across the street.

"The minute follerin', mother went up to the house-ruf. She wanted to see arter the washed things, she said, how they was a-dryin' and all; but I knowd well enough she wanted to see arter him, and didn't pull at her skirt and foller, as I generally did. I stayed down stairs, and, to kind o' break up my sorrer, I chucked my head aginst the knob that was atop o' the andiron! A curus way to git relief; but my diversions, them times, was somewhat limited.

"When my mother came down agin, there wa' n't no tears in her eyes, but they had a kind of a fur-reachin' look, as if they was a-gazin' clear across the salt seas; and they never lost that look arterwards. It was wofuller than tears, that look was,—'cause it seemed as if it was arter somethin' that wa'n't to be found on this airth.

"I hung round her, and when she did n't say nothin' I told her I was goin' to be the best boy that ever was, and build all the fires, and help her to keep things snug; and that I could make my old shoes last three year, till father would come home. I was sure on 't, with one new pair o' half-soles, and one new pair o' toe-caps, anyhow.

"Then she took me on her knee, and leaned her face agin mine, and said I was the best child in all the world, and she hoped yet to see the time that I'd hev as nice shoes and other things as I deserved. I slipped the ring up and down her finger, as she held me so, a-talkin' to me, and at last I said, 'This[Pg 549] ring is too big, mother; what made you get such a big one?' And then she said, 'Your father give it to me long ago, my child, and it wa'n't none too big at fust; it's the fault of the finger,—that is getting too thin'; and then she took the ring off,—it was a leetle slim thing,—and put it in an old teapot that was kept on the top shelf of the cupboard. She was afeared she'd either lose it off her hand, she said, or break it on the washboard. She didn't say nothin' furder, but I see she thought that the losin' on 't would be the dreadfullest misfortin that could happen to her.

"It would take too long, and wear out your patience, I calculate, if I was to tell you of all the troubles we hed arter the sailin' of the Dauphin, and troubles ain't interestin' to hear on, nohow; so I'll pass 'em by, trustin' your lively imagination to picter on 'em out.

"Well, when the three year was purty near up, she used to say to me every day, 'Where do you 'spose poor father is? And what will he think of his little boy when he sees him?' And then she would answer her own question, and say, 'He'll think he's a little man,—that 's what he'll think.' And with such like talk she seemed to get a sort of comfort, somehow. From her, more than from anything I knowed myself, I got a fine notion o' my father; among other things, I thought he was the biggest man in the world, and I used to spekilate as to whether Mr. Farewell Rollins had a coffin in his shop that would be long enough for him, if he should happen to die at home. I didn't s'pose he had, and the thought of what it would cost to get one big enough caused me a good deal of sorrer. More 'n this, I thought he must have wonderful powers, and that he could make me a kite that would fly to the moon, or, if he chose, dip all the water out o' the sea with mother's long-handled gourd.

"These thoughts give me a good deal o' satisfaction, but there was times that nothin' I could git out o' myself could chirk me up; and them times I always betook myself to the andirons, and bobbed my head agin the top on 'em, and that was sure to fetch me round.

"I longed for my father to come back, as much, maybe, that Rose Rollins might see what a big man he was, as for anything else. I guessed she'd begin to notice of us some when the Dauphin come in! Hows'ever, the three year went by, and no Dauphin come in; and then the eyes o' my mother began to look, not only as if they was a-gazin' away across the salt sea, but clean into eternity. Her cheeks fell in like a pie that has been sot in a cellar for a week arter the bakin' on't, and her arm showed in her sleeve no bigger than a broomstick. I was a'most afeared on her sometimes, her forehead come to look so like yaller glass, and as if I could see right into it, if I only tried; and them times I thumped my head uncommon hard on the knobs of the andirons,—they was a blessin', Rose,—and I used to spekilate as to what folks did that wa' n't rich enough to hev 'em. My mother got so weak, arter a while, that she would sometimes sit by the side o' the tub and wash; and it was astonishin' to me to see what great sheets and bed-quilts she could wring dry them times; and it was astonishin', too, that she could keep her hands in freezin' water, day arter day, and be none the wuss for it; but she always said she wa' n't,—in, fact, she used to tell me she thought it done her good; and, happy enough for me! I never thought o' doubtin' of her for many a long day arterwards.

"Many a time she give me the last bit o' bread, and said she wa' n't hungry, and once when I broke my slice in two, and offered her part back, she said, 'No, Johnny, I don't think I feel so well for eatin'. Rich food,' she said, 'didn't suit her constitution. And so, if we happened to hev meat or butter, she put it all on my plate. When it come to be my share to work without eatin', then I understood.

"Many a time o' nights I heard her a-turnin' and moanin' in her sleep, as if[Pg 550] soul and body was clean wore out; and at last I went to the lady that lived in the house with the painted door, and fitted young ladies with corsets, and sold them pomatum that made the hair grow to their heels,—so she said,—and told how my mother moaned in the night as if she was a-bein' drownded in the sea; and she told me it was a nasty habit some folks had,—mostly because they slept too sound,—and that, if I would give her a rough shake, she guessed she would come out all right. I tried to believe her on account o' the pomatum and the painted door, partly; but it wa'n't in the heart o' me to give the rough shake, and I never done it, thank the Lord!

"Sometimes the fine lady would come in with her sewin'-work to bring us a little sunshine, she used to say, and I'm sure she never brought nothin' else, nor that neither, that anybody could see; and I always noticed that my mother felt a good deal less cheerful arter one o' these visits.

"'Why don't you ride out, Mrs. Chidlaw?' she would say, 'and why don't you call the doctor? and why don't you wear warm flannels?' and then why didn't she do a thousand things that wa'n't to be thought on, 'cause they wa'n't in the nater o' the case; and then she would go away, sayin' she would run in another time and bring more sunshine!

"My mother generally cried for a spell arter one o' these bright mornin's; and I didn't wonder, for it seemed to me as if the scent o' the pomatum was pison, and all the air was heavy like, arter one o' the visits.

"She used to set up o'nights, a-workin', my mother did, long beyond midnight sometimes. 'What makes you, mother?' I would say. 'O, 'cause I like it, John!' she 'd answer, so lively like; and then she 'd begin to hum a tune, maybe, as if she was overflowin' with sperits.

"She didn't seem to need sleep no more, she said, and, besides, she wanted to be wide awake when father come. So night arter night she would set by our one taller candle, a-mendin' of my jackets, and a-darnin' of my stockin's, and a-straightenin' and a stiffenin' up of the run-down heels of my old shoes.

"'I don't care nothin' about 'em, mother,' I would say. 'I 'd just as lives be a wearin' on 'em ragged as not, and you 've chores enough without a-mindin' of me so much.' But she always said that, whether or not I cared for myself, she cared for me, and that she wanted I should look as smart as anybody's boy, so that father would be proud on me when he come home; concludin' with 'He must sartainly come now afore long.'

"Many a time I've waked up of a winter night and found her woollen petticoat spread onto my bed, and she ashiverin' by the dyin' fire. One mornin' she surprised me uncommon by holdin' of a cap afore my eyes. 'A new one made of the old one,' says she, 'but you 'd never dream on 't, would you, Johnny?'

"I hung it on the chair-post, and then I stood off, fairly dazzled, so gret was my admiration on 't. It was my old cap, be sure; but then it was all brushed up and pressed into shape, and lined anew with one o' the sleeves of my mother's silk weddin'-gown.. It wa' n't to be wore no longer every day, so she said, but must be put on the upper shelf o' the cupboard with her ring and her Sunday shawl, and kep' nice agin the time father should come home. I suffered, on givin' on 't up, the most tormentin' pangs, and had to bob my head agin the andirons considerable longer than common afore I come round. I was bent on wearin' on't in the sight of Rose Rollins,—that's you,—and forcin' on her to see the silk linin' some ways, and I planned out warious stratagems to that end. But mother said, 'No, Johnny, keep it nice just a leetle bit, till poor father comes.' And arter that she pacified me by takin' on 't down from time to time and allowin' of me to wear it as much as two or three minutes sometimes. The linin' was pea-green; and I've often thought since it was a leetle too fine for the tother part,[Pg 551] which was seal-skin, and wore tolerable bare,—I havin' wore it, not off and on, but steady on, from the time I left off my bunnet that was made of the end of my cradle-quilt; but I didn't calculate it was too fine then, and I made a pint o' standin' on a chair afore the lookin'-glass, or else afore the winder towards your 'us, all the whilst I was a-wearin' on 't. It worried me a good deal, them times, to decide which I 'd rather do,—look at myself, or hev you look at me!

"I used to tease mother to put the white shawl round her shoulders. 'Just for a minute,' I would say; but she always answered, 'One of these days, Johnny; it 's all wrapt up with camp-phire, and I don't want to be gettin' on 't down!' I understood well enough that it was to be got out when the great day come.

"'Suppose, Johnny,' says she, one day, 'we cut off some of our luxuries, and save up to buy somethin' nice for poor father agin he comes home!' I was struck favorable with the idee of the present, but what luxuries was to be cut off I didn't see clear.

"There's the candle, for one thing!' says mother. 'Taller's taller, at the best o' times; and the few chores I do at night I can do just as well by the light of a pine-knot.'

"Butter, she said, wa' n't healthy for her, nor milk, nor meat, nor sugar, nor no such things, so it would all be easy enough for her. She only hesitated on my account. But I spoke up ever so brave. 'I don't mind,' says I; 'it'll be good fun, in fact, just to see how leetle we can live on!' And I think yet my mind was some expanded by that experience,—it driv me to such curus devices. At fust I took leetle bites off my cake, and leetle sips of my porridge; but I found a more effective plan afore long, for looks goes a good ways, and even when we deceive ourselves it kind o' helps us. Well, I took to hevin' my porridge in a shaller plate, so that there seemed twice as much on 't as there really was, and to hollerin' my cake out from the under side, so that, when it was reduced to a mere shell, it still represented what it wa' n't; a trick that I found to work very slick, especially when I imagined Rose a-lookin' at my shaller plate, and not knowin' how deep it was.

"'Won't we hev a beautiful surprise, though, for poor father!' my mother would say, when my spoon touched bottom, and it always touched bottom premature; and then we would talk of what we should buy, and I would be carried away like, and forget myself.

"A fur hat was talked on in our fust wild enthusiasm, but that idee was gin up arter we'd gone about among the stores; and we settled final on 't a pair o' square-toed brogans, with nails in the heels on 'em.

"'Let 'em be good sewed shoes, and not peg,' says my mother, when she give the shoemaker his order, 'and make 'em up just as soon as possible. You see my husband may be here any day now; and we mean to hev a great surprise for him,—Johnny and me.'

"The shoemaker, to my surprise,—for I expected him to enter into it with as much enthusiasm as we,—hesitated, said he was pressed heavy with work just then, and that he thought she had best go to some other shop! I didn't understand the meanin' on 't at all; but my mother did, and told him she could pay him aforehand, if he wanted it; at which he brightened up, and said, come to think on 't, he could make the brogans right away.

"Sure enough, they was finished at the appinted time, and I carried 'em home, with the money that come back in change inside o' one on 'em.

"'Why, Johnny,' says mother, when she counted it, her face all a-glowin', 'here's enough left to buy a handkerchief for your father!'

"Then she counted it agin, and said there was enough, she was a'most sure on 't. It mightn't get a silk one, not pure silk, but if she could only find somethin' with a leetle mixter o' cotton in 't, why it would look nearly as well,—the difference would never be knowed across the house.[Pg 552]

"She wanted a new gingham apron for herself; but that wa' n't bought, and all the money, as I have guessed sence, went into the handkerchief. And a purty one it was, too,—yaller-colored, with a red border, and an anchor worked in one corner on 't with blue-silk yarn.

"So the fine presents was put away on the top shelf o' the cupboard, with the cap and the ring and the shawl, and there they stayed, week in and week out, and still the Dauphin didn't come in. I could see that my mother was a-growin' uneasy, more and more, though she never said nothin' to me that was discouragin'. She'd set sometimes for an hour a-lookin' straight into the air, and then she went up to the ruf more 'n common to look arter the things a-dryin' there.

"One day there come on snow and sleet, but for all that she stayed aloft, just as though the sun had been a-shinin'; and at last, when the dusk had gathered so that she couldn't see no longer, she come down with a gret heap o' wet things, in her arms, and all of a shiver.

"Her hand shook as she sot down to bind shoes,—she had took to bindin' of shoes some them times, not bein' so strong as she used to be for the washin'; but arter a while she fell of a tremble all over. 'It's no use,' says she, 'I ain't good for nothin' no more,' and she put away the bindin' and cowered close over the ashes.

"I wanted to lay on a big stick, but she said no, she'd go to bed, and get warm there; but she didn't get warm, not even when I had piled all the things I could rake and scrape over the bed-quilt, for I could see them tremblin' together like a heap o' dry leaves.

"I went to the lady with the painted door, and she promised to come in and see my mother early in the mornin'; but in the mornin', when I went agin, she said she had so many corsets to fit that it wa' n't possible,—that I must tell my mother she sent a great deal o' love, and hoped she'd be better very soon.

"I didn't go arter her no more, and all that day and the next my poor mother lay, now a-burnin' and now a-freezin', but by and by she got better, and sot up in bed some, havin' my little chair agin her back; and so she finished bindin' o' the shoes, and I carried on 'em home, she a-chargin' me twenty times afore I sot out to take care and not lose the money I got for bindin' on 'em. 'And don't forget to stop at the store,' she said, 'and buy me a quarter o' tea, as you come back, Johnny.'

"But, after all, I went home without the tea, or the money either.

"In the fust place, the shoemaker said my mother had disappinted him in not sendin' the work home when she promised; and when I said she was sick, he answered that that wa 'n't his look-out; and then he eyed the work sharply, sayin', at last, that he couldn't pay for them sort o' stitches, and he wouldn't give out no more bindin' neither, and that I might go with a hop, skip, and jump, and tell my mother so; and he waved his hand, with a big boot-last in it, as though, if I didn't hop quick, he'd be glad to help me for'a'd himself.

"'Never mind, Johnny,' says mother, as I leaned my head on her piller, a-cryin', and told her what the shoemaker had said, 'it'll all be right when father comes back.'

"She didn't mind about the tea, she said, water would serve just as well; and then, arter pickin' at the bed-clothes a leetle, she said she felt sleepy, and turned her face to the wall.

"All winter long she was sick, and there was heart-breakin' things all the while comin' to pass; but I'd rather not tell on 'em.

"Spring come round at last,—as come it will, whether them that watch for its comin' are cryin' or laughin',—and the sun shined in at the south winder and made a patch o' gold on the floor,—all we had, to be sure,—when one day comes the news we had been a-lookin' for so long,—the Dauphin was a-comin' in!

"'And me here in bed!' says my mother; 'that'll never do. How good-for-nothin' I be!'[Pg 553]

"Then she told me to run and fetch her best gown out of the chest, and she was out o' bed the next minute; and though she looked as pale as the sheet she managed somehow to dress herself. Then she told me to fetch her the lookin'-glass where she sot by the bedside; and when she seen her face the tears came to her eyes, and one little low moan, that seemed away down in her heart, made me shudder. 'I don't care for my own sake,' she said, puttin' her arm across my neck; 'but what will your father think o' me?'

"Then she sot the glass up afore her, and combed her hair half a dozen different ways, but none on 'em suited. She didn't look like herself, she said, nohow; and then she told me to climb to the upper shelf and git down the fine shawl, and see if that would mend matters any.

"I fetched the ring too; but it wouldn't stay on a single finger; and so she give it to me, smilin', and sayin' I might wear it till she got well.

"I sot the house in order myself, with her a-tellin' on me some about things. The two silver teaspoons was burnished up, and stuck for show into the edge of the dresser; the three glass tumblers was sot forth in full view; and the tin coffee-pot, so high and so narrer at the top, was turned sideways on the shelf, so as to make the most on 't; and the little brown earthen-ware teapot was histed atop o' that. We had a dozen eggs we had been a-savin', for we kep' a hen on the ruf, and them I took and sot endwise in the sand-bowl, so that, to all appearance, the whole bowl was full of eggs; and I raly thought the appintments, one and all, made us look considerable like rich folks.

"'Do go up to the ruf, Johnny, my child,' says my mother, at last, 'and see what you will see.'

"She had sot two hours, with her shawl held just so across her bosom, and was a-growin' impatient and faint like.

"She looked at me so eager, when I come down, I could hardly bear to tell her that I could only just see the Dauphin a-lyin' out, and that she looked black and ugly, and that I couldn't see nothin' furder. But I did tell it, and then come another o' them little low moans away down in her heart. Directly, though, she smiled agin, and told me to go to the chest and open the till, and get the table-cloth and the pewter platter that I would find there. 'We must have our supper-table shine its best to-night,' she said.

"Agin and agin I went up to the ruf, but I didn't see nothin' no time except the whaler a-lyin' a little out, and lookin' black and ugly, as if there wa'n't no good a-comin' with her.

"At last evenin' fell, and then my mother crept to the winder, and got her face agin the pane, and such a look of wistfulness come to her eyes as I had never seen in 'em afore.

"She didn't say nothin' no more, and I didn't say nothin'; it was an awful silence, but somethin' appeared to keep us from breakin' on 't.

"The shadders had gathered so that the street was all dusky; for there wa'n't no lamps at our end o' the street,—when all at once mother was a-standin' up, and holdin' out her arms. The next minute she says, 'Run to the door, Johnny; I ain't quite sure whether or not it's him!' And she sunk down, tremblin', and all of a heap.

"I could hear the stairs a creakin' under the tread of heavy steps, and when I got to the door there was two men a comin' up instead o' one. 'It's him! mother! it's him!' I shouted with all my might, for I see a sailor's cap and jacket, and took the rest for granted. I swung the door wide, and stood a-dancin' in it, and yet I didn't like the looks o' neither on 'em; only I thought I ought to be glad, and so I danced for pertended joy. 'Get out o' the way! you sassy lad!' says one o' the men, and he led the tother right past me into the house, I follerin' along behind, but neither on 'em noticin' of me in the least; and there sot my mother, dead still on her chair, just as if she was froze into stone. 'Here he[Pg 554] is,' says the man that was leadin' of him,—'here's John Chidlaw, what there is left on him!' Then he give me a push toward him, and nodded to my mother like, a-drawin' his mouth into such queer shapes that I couldn't tell whether he was a-laughin' or cryin', and I didn't know which I ought to do neither.

"By this time the man that I partly took to be my father was a-backin' furder and furder from us, and at last he got clean agin the jamb o' the chimney, and then he looked up wild, as if he was a looking at the sky, and directly he spoke. 'This'll be a stiff blow,' says he. 'We're struck aft, and we'll be in the trough of the sea in a minute! God help us all!' And with that he began to climb up the shelves o' the cupboard, as though he was a climbin' into a ship's riggin'.

"Next thing I seen, mother had got to him, somehow, and was a-holdin' round his neck, and talkin' to him in tones as sweet and coaxin' as though he had been a sick baby. 'Don't you know me, John?' she says,—'your own Katura, that you left so long ago!' He didn't answer her at all; he didn't seem to see her, but kep' right on, a-talkin' about the ship not bein' able to lift herself, and about the rudder bein' tore away, and a leak som'er's, and settin' of a gang o' hands at the pumps, and gettin' of the cargo up, and the dear knows what all! I didn't understand a word on 't, and, besides that, I was afeard on him.

"'Tell 'em about the last whale we ketched, Jack,—that big bull that so nigh upsot us all. Come, that's a story worth while!' It was the man that had led him in who said this; and he laughed loud, and slapped him on the shoulder as he said it; and then he looked at my mother and winked, and drawed his mouth queer agin.

"My father kind o' come to himself like now, and seatin' himself astride a chair, and with his face to the back on 't, he began:—

"We was a cruisin' about in the South Pacific, when, between three and four in the afternoon of an August day, we bein' in latitude forty at the time, the man on the look-out at the fore-topmast-head cried out that a whale had broke water in plain view of our ship, and on her weather bow.

"'Where away, sir? and what do you call her?' shouts the captain, hailin' the mast-head.

"'Sperm whale, sir, three pints on the weather-bow, and about two miles off!'

"'Keep a sharp eye, and sing out when the ship heads for her!'

"'Ay, ay, sir.'

"The captain went aloft with his spy-glass. 'Keep her away!' was his next order to the man at the helm.

"'Steady!' sung out the mast-head.

"'Steady it is!' answered the wheel.

"'Square in the after-yards, and call all hands!'

"'Ay, ay, sir.'

"'Forward there! Haul the mainsail up, and square the yards!'

"'Steady, steady!' sings out the mast-head.

"'Steady it is!' answers the wheel.

"'Call all hands!' shouts the captain, in a voice like a tempest.

"The main hatches was off, and the men mostly in the blubber-room, engaged, some on 'em, in mincin' and pikin' pieces of blanket and horse from one tub to another, and some was a-tendin' fires, and some a-fillin' casks with hot ile from the cooler; but quick as lightnin' all the deck is thronged, like the street of a city when there is a cry of fire.

"'There she blows! O, she's a beauty, a regular old sog!' sings the mast-head.

"'Slack down the fires! Quick, by G—!' shouts the captain in a voice like thunder.

"'She peaks her flukes, and goes down!' cries the mast-head.

"'A sharp eye, sir! Mind where she comes up!'

"'Ay, ay, sir!'

"'Get your boats ready, lads, and stand by to lower away!'

"The men work as for life,—the boat-bottoms are tallered, the boat-tackle-falls[Pg 555] laid down, so as to run clear, the tub o' line and the harpoons got in, the gripes cast clear, and each boat's crew by the side o' their boat.

"'Hoist and swing! Lower away!'

"In a moment we're off, bendin' to our oars, every man on us, eager to see who will be up first. The whale was under half an hour; but at last we get sight o' the signal at the main, which tells us that she's up agin.

"'Down to your oars, lads! Give way hard!' says the captain.

"I got the palm o' my hand under the abaft oar, so as with each stroke to throw a part of my weight agin it, and our boat leapt for'a'd across the water, spring arter spring, like a tiger,—her length and twice her length afore the others in a minute.

"'She's an eighty-barrel! right ahead! Give way, my boys!' cries the captain, encouragin' on us. And all our strength was put to the oar.

"'Spring harder, boys! Harder! If she blows agin, some on you'll have an iron into her afore five minutes!' Then to the whale,—a-standin' with his legs wide, and bendin' for'a'd like,—'O, you're a beauty! Ahoy! ahoy! and let us fasten!'

"We was nearly out of sight of our ship now, but we could see the smoke of her try-works still standin' black above her, though the fires had been slacked so long.

"All at once the whale blowed agin; and we could see her plain now, lyin' like a log, not more 'n twenty rods ahead. A little more hard pullin', and 'Stand up!' says the Captain, and then, 'Give me the first chance at her!' I was a-steerin' and I steered him steady, closer, closer, alongside a'most, and give his iron the best chance possible; but it grazed off, and she settled quietly under, all but her head.

"'That wa'n't quite low enough,' says he. 'Another lance!'

"This failed too, and she settled clean under. Every man was quiverin' with excitement; but I watched calmly, and, as soon as I spied her whitenin' under water, I sent my lance arter her without orders, and by good forten sunk it into her very life—full length.

"She throwed out a great spout o' blood, and dashed furiously under.

"'God help us! She'll come up so as to upset our boat!' cries the captain. 'Every man here at her, when she comes in sight!'

"He had hardly done speakin' when I felt a great knock, and at the same time seen somethin' a-flyin' through the air. She had just grazed us, shovin' our boat aside as a pig shoves his trough, and was breakin' water not a stone's throw ahead.

"The captain had gone overboard; but we obeyed his last words before we looked arter him, and had a dozen irons into her afore you could 'a' said Jack Robinson! Down she went agin, pullin' the line arter her, coil on coil; but the pain wouldn't allow her to stay down long, and directly she was out agin, thrashin' the water with her flukes till it was all churned up like blubbers o'blood,—for her side was bristlin' with harpoons, and the life pourin' out on her like rain out of a thunder-cloud.

"Meantime the captain had been hauled aboard, and as he sunk down on an oar,—for he couldn't stand,—all his shirt and hair a-drippin' red, his cold, spiteful eye shot into me like a bullet, and says I to the mate, 'I'm a doomed man.'"

"Then my father began ramblin' wildly about goin' overboard himself, and how he seen a stream o' fire afore his eyes as he sunk into the cold and dark; and how there came an awful pressure on his brain, and a roarin' in his ears; and how the strength went out of his thighs, and was as if the marrer was cut,—how he heard a gurglin', and felt suffocation, and then clean lost himself!"

At this point John Chidlaw ceased to be master of his voice, and all at once hid his face in his arms. When the woman who had been listening so attentively, getting one of his rough hands upon her knee, stroked it gently,[Pg 556] without a word, and by and by he returned her a little pressure, and then, steadying himself up, he said: "It ain't no use to think on't, Rose,—it's all over now, and they've met beyond the seas o' time, my poor father and mother, for they both crossed long ago,—met, and knowed each other, I hope, but the one never come to himself here, nor recognized the other. My mother took straight to her bed; and when she wore the white shawl agin, and had it drawed across her bosom, it was for that journey from which none on us come back."

"Dear John," says Rose, very softly,—all the coquette gone,—only the woman left. And presently he was strong enough to go on.

"It was a good many year," he said, "not till I was a'most a man, before I came to understand rightly what it was that sot my father crazy. The captain had been agin him all along on account of his too much sperit, and that capterin' o' the whale finished up the business, and pinted his fate. It wa'n't long arter this till Captain Griscom found occasion to treat him very hardly, which bein' resented only by a look, he ordered him down below to be flogged! This, Rose, was what broke the spirit on him; he was never himself arterwards, never knowed nothin' at all clear, exceptin' about the takin' o' that whale; and that he told over and over a hundred times, arter that fust time, just as I've told it to you, but all before it and all behind it was shadders, till the great shadder of all came over him.

"When I come to hear on 't, I said I hoped my father would meet that 'ere captain som'er's on the seas of eternity, and flog him within an inch of his life; and I ha'n't repented the sayin' on't yet."

The tide had come up while John Chidlaw was telling his story, and his little boat slid off the bar directly, when, taking up the oars, he soon brought her to land.

"Bless your dear heart, John!" says Rose, pointing back to the boat's name, as he handed her ashore, "would you believe I was so stupid as not to see that the name o' your wessel was the same as my own? I read it the Rose Rolling, to be sure!"

But John maintained that she was not stupid a single bit nor mite, but, on the contrary, smart altogether beyond the common. "To come so nigh the truth," says he, "and yet not get hold on 't, arter all, is a leetle the slickest thing yet!"

And then he told, as they walked home together,—he with three bandboxes in one arm, and her on the other,—all about his weary years of hardship and poverty, and all about the beginning of his good fortune, the running away of the horse and of the little girl who drew him after her, because she reminded him so much of Rose herself as she used to be when he looked down upon her so fondly from the roof in Baker's Row,—told her of the child's father, and how he set him up in business,—of his prosperity since, ending with her taking passage with him, which he said was the best fortune of all.

"That was luck," says he, "that no words can shadder forth!" And then he said, "I oughtn't to call it luck, my dear; it was just an intervention of Divine Providence!" Then he corrected himself. "An interwention o' Diwine Providence," says he,—"that's what it was!" And he hugged the very bandboxes till he fairly stove them in.

About a month after this blessed luck, the milliner's shop was closed one day at an unusually early hour, and the white-muslin curtains at the parlor windows above might have been noticed to nutter and sway, as with some gay excitement indoors. And so indeed there was. John had taken his Rose for good and all, and the little parlor was full of glad hearts and merry feet. All the milliner's apprentices and sewing-girls of the neighborhood were there, bright as so many butterflies, laughing, and nodding, and whispering one another, and dropping their eyes before the young sailors, and teamsters,[Pg 557] and other fine fellows, who were serving them with a generosity that was only equalled by their admiration. Coffee, cakes, cheese, chowder, bottled beer, fruits, and hot bannocks,—the lasses had them all at once, and the lads would have been glad to give them even more.

And John, grown ten years younger that day, kept all the while (being forced to turn his head away now and then to receive congratulations) one foot under the table, and against the soft slipper and silken stocking of Rose, lest at any moment she might be caught up into heaven, and so vanish out of his sight; and she, in turn, kept fond watch of him, pressing the oranges upon him with almost importunate solicitude. Perhaps she remembered that one which he had parted with for her sake, when he used to look down upon her from the roof of Baker's Row with such hopeless and helpless admiration.

[Pg 558]


Each day when the glow of sunset
Fades in the western sky,
And the wee ones, tired of playing,
Go tripping lightly by,
I steal away from my husband,
Asleep in his easy-chair,
And watch from the open doorway
Their faces fresh and fair.
Alone in the dear old homestead
That once was full of life,
Ringing with girlish laughter,
Echoing boyish strife,
We two are waiting together;
And oft, as the shadows come,
With tremulous voice he calls me,
"It is night! are the children home?"
"Yes, love!" I answer him gently,
"They're all home long ago";—
And I sing, in my quivering treble,
A song so soft and low,
Till the old man drops to slumber,
With his head upon his hand,
And I tell to myself the number
Home in the better land.
Home, where never a sorrow
Shall dim their eyes with tears!
Where the smile of God is on them
Through all the summer years!
I know!—yet my arms are empty,
That fondly folded seven,
And the mother heart within me
Is almost starved for heaven.
Sometimes, in the dusk of evening,
I only shut my eyes,
And the children are all about me,
A vision from the skies:
The babes whose dimpled fingers
Lost the way to my breast,
And the beautiful ones, the angels,
Passed to the world of the blessed.
With never a cloud upon them,
I see their radiant brows:
My boys that I gave to freedom,—
The red sword sealed their vows!
In a tangled Southern forest,
Twin brothers, bold and brave,
They fell; and the flag they died for,
Thank God! floats over their grave.
A breath, and the vision is lifted
Away on wings of light,
And again we two are together,
All alone in the night.
They tell me his mind is failing,
But I smile at idle fears;
He is only back with the children,
In the dear and peaceful years.
And still as the summer sunset
Fades away in the west,
And the wee ones, tired of playing,
Go trooping home to rest,
My husband calls from his corner,
"Say, love! have the children come?"
And I answer, with eyes uplifted,
"Yes, dear! they are all at home!"

[Pg 559]


If the wick of the big oil lamp had been cut straight, I don't believe it would ever have happened.

Where is the poker, Johnny? Can't you push back that for'ard log a little? Dear, dear! Well, it doesn't make much difference, does it? Something always seems to ail your Massachusetts fires; your hickory is green, and your maple is gnarly, and the worms eat out your oak like a sponge. I haven't seen anything like what I call a fire,—not since Mary Ann was married, and I came here to stay. "As long as you live, father," she said; and in that very letter she told me I should always have an open fire, and how she wouldn't let Jacob put in the air-tight in the sitting-room, but had the fireplace kept on purpose. Mary Ann was a good girl always, if I remember straight, and I'm sure I don't complain. Isn't that a pine-knot at the bottom of the basket? There! that's better.

Let me see; I began to tell you something, didn't I? O yes; about that winter of '41. I remember now. I declare, I can't get over it, to think you never heard about it, and you twenty-four year old come Christmas. You don't know much more, either, about Maine folks and Maine fashions than you do about China,—though it's small wonder, for the matter of that, you were such a little shaver when Uncle Jed took you. There were a great many of us, it seems to me, that year, I 'most forget how many;—we buried the twins next summer, didn't we?—then there was Mary Ann, and little Nancy, and—well, coffee was dearer than ever I'd seen it, I know, about that time, and butter selling for nothing; we just threw our milk away, and there wasn't any market for eggs; besides doctor's bills and Isaac to be sent to school; so it seemed to be the best thing, though your mother took on pretty badly about it at first. Jedediah has been good to you, I'm sure, and brought you up religious,—though you've cost him a sight, spending three hundred and fifty dollars a year at Amherst College.

But, as I was going to say, when I started to talk about '41,—to tell the truth, Johnny, I'm always a long while coming to it, I believe. I'm getting to be an old man,—a little of a coward, maybe, and sometimes, when I sit alone here nights, and think it over, it's just like the toothache, Johnny. As I was saying, if she had cut that wick straight, I do believe it wouldn't have happened,—though it isn't that I mean to lay the blame on her now.

I'd been out at work all day about the place, slicking things up for to-morrow; there was a gap in the barn-yard fence to mend,—I left that till the last thing, I remember,—I remember everything, some way or other, that happened that day,—and there was a new roof to put on the pig-pen, and the grape-vine needed an extra layer of straw, and the latch was loose on the south barn door; then I had to go round and take a last look at the sheep, and toss down an extra forkful for the cows, and go into the stall to have a talk with Ben, and unbutton the coop door to see if the hens looked warm,—just to tuck 'em up, as you might say. I always felt sort of homesick—though I wouldn't have owned up to it, not even to Nancy—saying good by to the creeturs the night before I went in. There, now! it beats all, to think you don't know what I'm talking about, and you a lumberman's son. "Going in" is going up into the woods, you know, to cut and haul for the winter,—up, sometimes, a hundred miles deep,—in in the fall and out in the spring; whole gangs of us shut up there sometimes for six months, then down with the freshets[Pg 560] on the logs, and all summer to work the farm,—a merry sort of life when you get used to it, Johnny; but it was a great while ago, and it seems to me as if it must have been very cold.—Isn't there a little draft coming in at the pantry door?

So when I'd said good by to the creeturs,—I remember just as plain how Ben put his great neck on my shoulder and whinnied like a baby,—that horse knew when the season came round and I was going in, just as well as I did,—I tinkered up the barn-yard fence, and locked the doors, and went in to supper.

I gave my finger a knock with the hammer, which may have had something to do with it, for a man doesn't feel very good-natured when he's been green enough to do a thing like that, and he doesn't like to say it aches either. But if there is anything I can't bear it is lamp-smoke; it always did put me out, and I expect it always will. Nancy knew what a fuss I made about it, and she was always very careful not to hector me with it I ought to have remembered that, but I didn't. She had lighted the company lamp on purpose, too, because it was my last night. I liked it better than the tallow candle.

So I came in, stamping off the snow, and they were all in there about the fire,—the twins, and Mary Ann, and the rest; baby was sick, and Nancy was walking back and forth with him, with little Nancy pulling at her gown. You were the baby then, I believe, Johnny; but there always was a baby, and I don't rightly remember. The room was so black with smoke, that they all looked as if they were swimming round and round in it. I guess coming in from the cold, and the pain in my finger and all, it made me a bit sick. At any rate, I threw open the window and blew out the light, as mad as a hornet.

"Nancy," said I, "this room would strangle a dog, and you might have known it, if you'd had two eyes to see what you were about. There, now! I've tipped the lamp over, and you just get a cloth and wipe up the oil."

"Dear me!" said she, lighting a candle, and she spoke up very soft, too. "Please, Aaron, don't let the cold in on baby. I'm sorry it was smoking, but I never knew a thing about it; he's been fretting and taking on so the last hour, I didn't notice anyway."

"That's just what you ought to have done," says I, madder than ever. "You know how I hate the stuff, and you ought to have cared more about me than to choke me up with it this way the last night before going in."

Nancy was a patient, gentle-spoken sort of woman, and would bear a good deal from a fellow; but she used to fire up sometimes, and that was more than she could stand. "You don't deserve to be cared about, for speaking like that!" says she, with her cheeks as red as peat-coals.

That was right before the children. Mary Ann's eyes were as big as saucers, and little Nancy was crying at the top of her lungs, with the baby tuning in, so we knew it was time to stop. But stopping wasn't ending; and folks can look things that they don't say.

We sat down to supper as glum as pump-handles; there were some fritters—I never knew anybody beat your mother at fritters—smoking hot off the stove, and some maple molasses in one of the best chiny teacups; I knew well enough it was just on purpose for my last night, but I never had a word to say, and Nancy crumbed up the children's bread with a jerk. Her cheeks didn't grow any whiter; it seemed as if they would blaze right up,—I couldn't help looking at them, for all I pretended not to, for she looked just like a pictur. Some women always are pretty when they are put out,—and then again, some ain't; it appears to me there's a great difference in women, very much as there is in hens; now, there was your aunt Deborah,—but there, I won't get on that track now, only so far as to say that when she was flustered[Pg 561] up she used to go red all over, something like a piny, which didn't seem to have just the same effect.

That supper was a very dreary sort of supper, with the baby crying, and Nancy getting up between the mouthfuls to walk up and down the room with him; he was a heavy little chap for a ten-month-old, and I think she must have been tuckered out with him all day. I didn't think about it then; a man doesn't notice such things when he's angry,—it isn't in him. I can't say but she would if I'd been in her place. I just eat up the fritters and the maple molasses,—seems to me I told her she ought not to use the best chiny cup, but I'm not just sure,—and then I took my pipe, and sat down in the corner.

I watched her putting the children to bed; they made her a great deal of bother, squirming off of her lap and running round barefoot. Sometimes I used to hold them and talk to them and help her a bit, when I felt good-natured, but I just sat and smoked, and let them alone. I was all worked up about that lamp-wick, and I thought, you see, if she hadn't had any feelings for me there was no need of my having any for her,—if she had cut the wick, I'd have taken the babies; she hadn't cut the wick, and I wouldn't take the babies; she might see it if she wanted to, and think what she pleased. I had been badly treated, and I meant to show it.

It is strange, Johnny, it really does seem to me very strange, how easy it is in this world to be always taking care of our rights. I've thought a great deal about it since I've been growing old, and there seems to me a good many things we'd better look after fust.

But you see I hadn't found that out in '41, and so I sat in the corner, and felt very much abused. I can't say but what Nancy had pretty much the same idea; for when the young ones were all in bed at last, she took her knitting and sat down the other side of the fire, sort of turning her head round and looking up at the ceiling, as if she were trying her best to forget I was there. That was a way she had when I was courting, and we went along to huskings together, with the moon shining round.

Well, I kept on smoking, and she kept on looking at the ceiling, and nobody said a word for a while, till by and by the fire burnt down, and she got up and put on a fresh log.

"You're dreadful wasteful with the wood, Nancy," says I, bound to say something cross, and that was all I could think of.

"Take care of your own fire, then," says she, throwing the log down and standing up as straight as she could stand. "I think it's a pity if you haven't anything better to do, the last night before going in, than to pick everything I do to pieces this way, and I tired enough to drop, carrying that great crying child in my arms all day. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Aaron Hollis!"

Now if she had cried a little, very like I should have given up, and that would have been the end of it, for I never could bear to see a woman cry; it goes against the grain. But your mother wasn't one of the crying sort, and she didn't feel like it that night.

She just stood up there by the fireplace, as proud as Queen Victory,—I don't blame her, Johnny,—O no, I don't blame her; she had the right of it there, I ought to have been ashamed of myself; but a man never likes to hear that from other folks, and I put my pipe down on the chimney-shelf so hard I heard it snap like ice, and I stood up too, and said—but no matter what I said, I guess. A man's quarrels with his wife always make me think of what the Scripture says about other folks not intermeddling. They're things, in my opinion, that don't concern anybody else as a general thing, and I couldn't tell what I said without telling what she said, and I'd rather not do that. Your mother was as good and patient-tempered a woman as ever lived, Johnny, and she didn't mean it,[Pg 562] and it was I that set her on. Besides, my words were worst of the two.

Well, well, I'll hurry along just here, for it's not a time I like to think about; but we had it back and forth there for half an hour, till we had angered each other up so I couldn't stand it, and I lifted up my hand,—I would have struck her if she hadn't been a woman.

"Well," says I, "Nancy Hollis, I'm sorry for the day I married you, and that's the truth, if ever I spoke a true word in my life!"

I wouldn't have told you that now if you could understand the rest without. I'd give the world, Johnny,—I'd give the world and all those coupon bonds Jedediah invested for me if I could anyway forget it; but I said it, and I can't.

Well, I've seen your mother look 'most all sorts of ways in the course of her life, but I never saw her before, and I never saw her since, look as she looked that minute. All the blaze went out in her cheeks, as if somebody had thrown cold water on it, and she stood there stock still, so white I thought she would drop.

"Aaron—" she began, and stopped to catch her breath, "Aaron—" but she couldn't get any farther; she just caught hold of a little shawl she had on with both her hands, as if she thought she could hold herself up by it, and walked right out of the room. I knew she had gone to bed, for I heard her go up and shut the door. I stood there a few minutes with my hands in my pockets, whistling Yankee Doodle. Your mother used to say men were queer folks, Johnny; they always whistled up the gayest when they felt the wust. Then I went to the closet and got another pipe, and I didn't go up stairs till it was smoked out.

When I was a young man, Johnny, I used to be that sort of fellow that couldn't bear to give up beat. I'd acted like a brute, and I knew it, but I was too spunky to say so. So I says to myself, "If she won't make up first, I won't, and that's the end on't." Very likely she said the same thing, for your mother was a spirited sort of woman when her temper was up; so there we were, more like enemies sworn against each other than man and wife who had loved each other true for fifteen years,—a whole winter, and danger, and death perhaps, coming between us, too.

It may seem very queer to you, Johnny,—it did to me when I was your age, and didn't know any more than you do,—how folks can work themselves up into great quarrels out of such little things; but they do, and into worse, if it's a man who likes his own way, and a woman that knows how to talk. It's my opinion, two thirds of all the divorce cases in the law-books just grow up out of things no bigger than that lamp-wick.

But how people that ever loved each other could come to hard words like that, you don't see? Well, ha, ha! Johnny, that amuses me, that really does amuse me, for I never saw a young man nor a young woman either,—and young men and young women in general are very much like fresh-hatched chickens, to my mind, and know just about as much of the world, Johnny,—well, I never saw one yet who didn't say that very thing. And what's more, I never saw one who could get it into his head that old folks knew better.

But I say I had loved your mother true, Johnny, and she had loved me true, for more than fifteen years; and I loved her more the fifteenth year than I did the first, and we couldn't have got along without each other, any more than you could get along if somebody cut your heart right out. We had laughed together and cried together; we had been sick, and we'd been well together; we'd had our hard times and our pleasant times right along, side by side; we'd christened the babies, and we'd buried 'em, holding on to each other's hand; we had grown along year after year, through ups and downs and downs and ups, just like one person, and there wasn't any more dividing of us. But for all that we'd been put[Pg 563] out, and we'd had our two ways, and we had spoken our sharp words like any other two folks, and this wasn't our first quarrel by any means.

I tell you, Johnny, young folks they start in life with very pretty ideas,—very pretty. But take it as a general thing, they don't know any more what they're talking about than they do about each other, and they don't know any more about each other than they do about the man in the moon. They begin very nice, with their new carpets and teaspoons, and a little mending to do, and coming home early evenings to talk; but by and by the shine wears off. Then come the babies, and worry and wear and temper. About that time they begin to be a little acquainted, and to find out that there are two wills and two sets of habits to be fitted somehow. It takes them anywhere along from one year to three to get jostled down together. As for smoothing off, there's more or less of that to be done always.

Well, I didn't sleep very well that night, dropping into naps and waking up. The baby was worrying over his teeth every half-hour, and Nancy getting up to walk him off to sleep in her arms,—it was the only way you would be hushed up, and you'd lie and yell till somebody did it.

Now, it wasn't many times since we'd been married that I had let her do that thing all night long. I used to have a way of getting up to take my turn, and sending her off to sleep. It isn't a man's business, some folks say. I don't know anything about that; maybe, if I'd been broiling my brain in book learning all day till come night, and I was hard put to it to get my sleep anyhow, like the parson there, it wouldn't; but all I know is, what if I had been breaking my back in the potato-patch since morning? so she'd broken her's over the oven; and what if I did need nine hours' sound sleep? I could chop and saw without it next day, just as well as she could do the ironing, to say nothing of my being a great stout fellow,—there wasn't a chap for ten miles round with my muscle,—and she with those blue veins on her forehead. Howsomever that may be, I wasn't used to letting her do it by herself, and so I lay with my eyes shut, and pretended that I was asleep; for I didn't feel like giving in, and speaking up gentle, not about that nor anything else.

I could see her though, between my eyelashes, and I lay there, every time I woke up, and watched her walking back and forth, back and forth, up and down, with the heavy little fellow in her arms, all night long.

Sometimes, Johnny, when I'm gone to bed now of a winter night, I think I see her in her white nightgown with her red-plaid shawl pinned over her shoulders and over the baby, walking up and down, and up and down. I shut my eyes, but there she is, and I open them again, but I see her all the same.

I was off very early in the morning; I don't think it could have been much after three o'clock when I woke up. Nancy had my breakfast all laid out overnight, except the coffee, and we had fixed it that I was to make up the fire, and get off without waking her, if the baby was very bad. At least, that was the way I wanted it; but she stuck to it she should be up,—that was before there'd been any words between us.

The room was very gray and still,—I remember just how it looked, with Nancy's clothes on a chair, and the baby's shoes lying round. She had got him off to sleep in his cradle, and had dropped into a nap, poor thing! with her face as white as the sheet, from watching.

I stopped when I was dressed, halfway out of the room, and looked round at it,—it was so white, Johnny! It would be a long time before I should see it again,—five months were a long time; then there was the risk, coming down in the freshets, and the words I'd said last night. I thought, you see, if I should kiss it once,—I needn't wake her up,—maybe I should go off feeling better. So I stood there looking: she was lying so still, I couldn't[Pg 564] see any more stir to her than if she had her breath held in. I wish I had done it, Johnny,—I can't get over wishing I'd done it, yet. But I was just too proud, and I turned round and went out, and shut the door.

We were going to meet down at the post-office, the whole gang of us, and I had quite a spell to walk. I was going in on Bob Stokes's team. I remember how fast I walked with my hands in my pockets, looking along up at the stars,—the sun was putting them out pretty fast,—and trying not to think of Nancy. But I didn't think of anything else.

It was so early, that there wasn't many folks about to see us off; but Bob Stokes's wife,—she lived nigh the office, just across the road,—she was there to say good by, kissing of him, and crying on his shoulder. I don't know what difference that should make with Bob Stokes, but I snapped him up well, when he came along, and said good morning.

There were twenty-one of us just, on that gang, in on contract for Dove and Beadle. Dove and Beadle did about the heaviest thing on woodland of anybody, about that time. Good, steady men we were, most of us,—none of your blundering Irish, that wouldn't know a maple from a hickory, with their gin-bottles in their pockets,—but our solid, Down-East Yankee heads, owning their farms all along the river, with schooling enough to know what they were about 'lection day. You didn't catch any of us voting your new-fangled tickets when we had meant to go up on Whig, for want of knowing the difference, nor visa vussy. To say nothing of Bob Stokes, and Holt, and me, and another fellow,—I forget his name,—being members in good and reg'lar standing, and paying in our five dollars to the parson every quarter, charitable.

Yes, though I say it that shouldn't say it, we were as fine a looking gang as any in the county, starting off that morning in our red uniform,—Nancy took a sight of pains with my shirt, sewing it up stout, for fear it should bother me ripping, and I with nobody to take a stitch for me all winter. The boys went off in good spirits, singing till they were out of sight of town, and waving their caps at their wives and babies standing in the window along on the way. I didn't sing. I thought the wind blew too hard,—seems to me that was the reason,—I'm sure there must have been a reason, for I had a voice of my own in those days, and had led the choir perpetual for five years.

We weren't going in very deep; Dove and Beadle's lots lay about thirty miles from the nearest house; and a straggling, lonely sort of place that was too, five miles out of the village, with nobody but a dog and a deaf old woman in it. Sometimes, as I was telling you, we had been in a hundred miles from any human creature but ourselves.

It took us two days to get there though, with the oxen; and the teams were loaded down well, with so many axes and the pork-barrels;—I don't know anything like pork for hefting down more than you expect it to, reasonable. It was one of your ugly gray days, growing dark at four o'clock, with snow in the air, when we hauled up in the lonely place. The trees were blazed pretty thick, I remember, especially the pines; Dove and Beadle always had that done up prompt in October. It's pretty work going in blazing while the sun is warm, and the woods like a great bonfire with the maples. I used to like it, but your mother wouldn't hear of it when she could help herself, it kept me away so long.

It's queer, Johnny, how we do remember things that ain't of no account; but I remember, as plainly as if it were yesterday morning, just how everything looked that night, when the teams came up, one by one, and we went to work spry to get to rights before the sun went down.

There were three shanties,—they don't often have more than two or three in one place,—they were empty, and the snow had drifted in; Bob[Pg 565] Stokes's oxen were fagged out, with their heads hanging down, and the horses were whinnying for their supper. Holt had one of his great brush-fires going,—there was nobody like Holt for making fires,—and the boys were hurrying round in their red shirts, shouting at the oxen, and singing a little, some of them low, under their breath, to keep their spirits up. There was snow as far as you could see,—down the cart-path, and all around, and away into the woods; and there was snow in the sky now, setting in for a regular nor'easter. The trees stood up straight all around without any leaves, and under the bushes it was as black as pitch.

"Five months," said I to myself,—"five months!"

"What in time's the matter with you, Hollis?" says Bob Stokes, with a great slap on my arm; "you're giving that 'ere ox molasses on his hay!"

Sure enough I was, and he said I acted like a dazed creatur, and very likely I did. But I couldn't have told Bob the reason. You see, I knew Nancy was just drawing up her little rocking-chair—the one with the green cushion—close by the fire, sitting there with the children to wait for the tea to boil. And I knew—I couldn't help knowing, if I'd tried hard for it—how she was crying away softly in the dark, so that none of them could see her, to think of the words we'd said, and I gone in without ever making of them up. I was sorry for them then. O Johnny, I was sorry, and she was thirty miles away. I'd got to be sorry five months, thirty miles away, and couldn't let her know.

The boys said I was poor company that first week, and I shouldn't wonder if I was. I couldn't seem to get over it any way, to think I couldn't let her know.

If I could have sent her a scrap of a letter, or a message, or something, I should have felt better. But there wasn't any chance of that this long time, unless we got out of pork or fodder, and had to send down,—which we didn't expect to, for we'd laid in more than usual.

We had two pretty rough weeks' work to begin with, for the worst storms of the season set in, and kept in, and I never saw their like, before or since. It seemed as if there'd never be an end to them. Storm after storm, blow after blow, freeze after freeze; half a day's sunshine, and then at it again! We were well tired of it before they stopped; it made the boys homesick.

However, we kept at work pretty brisk,—lumbermen aren't the fellows to be put out for a snow-storm,—cutting and hauling and sawing, out in the sleet and wind. Bob Stokes froze his left foot that second week, and I was frost-bitten pretty badly myself. Cullen—he was the boss—he was well out of sorts, I tell you, before the sun came out, and cross enough to bite a ten-penny nail in two.

But when the sun is out, it isn't so bad a kind of life, after all. At work all day, with a good hot dinner in the middle; then back to the shanties at dark, to as rousing a fire and tiptop swagan as anybody could ask for. Holt was cook that season, and Holt couldn't be beaten on his swagan.

Now you don't mean to say you don't know what swagan is? Well, well! To think of it! All I have to say is, you don't know what's good then. Beans and pork and bread and molasses,—that's swagan,—all stirred up in a great kettle, and boiled together; and I don't know anything—not even your mother's fritters—I'd give more for a taste of now. We just about lived on that; there's nothing you can cut and haul all day on like swagan. Besides that, we used to have doughnuts,—you don't know what doughnuts are here in Massachusetts; as big as a dinner-plate, those doughnuts were, and—well, a little hard, perhaps. They used to have it about in Bangor that we used them for clock pendulums, but I don't know about that.

I used to think a great deal about Nancy nights, when we were sitting up by the fire,—we had our fire right[Pg 566] in the middle of the hut, you know, with a hole in the roof to let the smoke out. When supper was eaten, the boys all sat up around it, and told stories, and sang, and cracked their jokes; then they had their backgammon and cards; we got sleepy early, along about nine or ten o'clock, and turned in under the roof with our blankets. The roof sloped down, you know, to the ground; so we lay with our heads in under the little eaves, and our feet to the fire,—ten or twelve of us to a shanty, all round in a row. They built the huts up like a baby's cob-house, with the logs fitted in together. I used to think a great deal about your mother, as I was saying; sometimes I would lie awake when the rest were off as sound as a top, and think about her. Maybe it was foolish, and I'm sure I wouldn't have told anybody of it; but I couldn't get rid of the notion that something might happen to her or to me before five months were out, and I with those words unforgiven.

Then, perhaps, when I went to sleep, I would dream about her, walking back and forth, up and down, in her nightgown and little red shawl, with the great heavy baby in her arms.

So it went along till come the last of January, when one day I saw the boys all standing round in a heap, and talking.

"What's the matter?" says I.

"Pork's given out," says Bob, with a whistle. "Beadle got that last lot from Jenkins there, his son-in-law, and it's sp'ilt. I could have told him that beforehand. Never knew Jenkins to do the fair thing by anybody yet."

"Who's going down?" said I, stopping short. I felt the blood run all over my face, like a woman's.

"Cullen hasn't made up his mind yet," says Bob, walking off.

Now you see there wasn't a man on the ground who wouldn't jump at the chance to go; it broke up the winter for them, and sometimes they could run in home for half an hour, driving by; so there wasn't much of a hope for me. But I went straight to Mr. Cullen.

"Too late! Just promised Jim Jacobs," said he, speaking up quick; it was just business to him, you know.

I turned off, and I didn't say a word. I wouldn't have believed it, I never would have believed it, that I could have felt so cut up about such a little thing. Cullen looked round at me sharp.

"Hilloa, Hollis!" said he. "What's to pay?"

"Nothing, thank you, sir," says I, and walked off, whistling.

I had a little talk with Jim alone. He said he would take good care of something I'd give him, and carry it straight. So when night came I went and borrowed Mr. Cullen's pencil, and Holt tore me off a bit of clean brown paper he found in the flour-barrel, and I went off among the trees with it alone. I built a little fire for myself out of a huckleberry-bush, and sat down there on the snow to write. I couldn't do it in the shanty, with the noise and singing. The little brown paper wouldn't hold much; but these were the words I wrote,—I remember every one of them,—it is curious now I should, and that more than twenty years ago:—

"Dear Nancy,"—that was it,—"Dear Nancy, I can't get over it, and I take them all back. And if anything happens coming down on the logs—"

I couldn't finish that anyhow, so I just wrote "Aaron" down in the corner, and folded the brown paper up. It didn't look any more like "Aaron" than it did like "Abimelech," though; for I didn't see a single letter I wrote,—not one.

After that I went to bed, and wished I was Jim Jacobs.

Next morning somebody woke me up with a push, and there was the boss.

"Why, Mr. Cullen!" says I, with a jump.

"Hurry up, man, and eat your breakfast," said he; "Jacobs is down sick with his cold."

"Oh!" said I.

"You and the pork must be back[Pg 567] here day after to-morrow,—so be spry," said he.

I rather think I was, Johnny.

It was just eight o'clock when I started; it took some time to get breakfast, and feed the nags, and get orders. I stood there, slapping the snow with my whip, crazy to be off, hearing the last of what Mr. Cullen had to say.

They gave me the two horses,—we hadn't but two,—oxen are tougher for going in, as a general thing,—and the lightest team on the ground; it was considerably lighter than Bob Stokes's. If it hadn't been for the snow, I might have put the thing through in two days, but the snow was up to the creatures' knees in the shady places all along; off from the road, in among the gullies, you could stick a four-foot measure down anywhere. So they didn't look for me back before Wednesday night.

"I must have that pork Wednesday night sure," says Cullen.

"Well, sir," says I, "you shall have it Wednesday noon, Providence permitting; and you shall have it Wednesday night anyway."

"You will have a storm to do it in, I'm afraid," said he, looking at the clouds, just as I was whipping up. "You're all right on the road, I suppose?"

"All right," said I; and I'm sure I ought to have been, for the times I'd been over it.

Bess and Beauty—they were the horses, and of all the ugly nags that ever I saw Beauty was the ugliest—started off on a round trot, slewing along down the hill; they knew they were going home just as well as I did. I looked back, as we turned the corner, to see the boys standing round in their red shirts, with the snow behind them, and the fire, and the shanties. I felt a mite lonely when I couldn't see them any more; the snow was so dead still, and there were thirty miles of it to cross before I could see human face again.

The clouds had an ugly look,—a few flakes had failed already,—and the snow was purple, deep in as far as you could see under the trees. Something made me think of Ben Gurnell, as I drove on, looking along down the road to keep it straight. You never heard about it? Poor Ben! Poor Ben! It was in '37, that was; he had been out hunting up blazed trees, they said, and wandered away somehow into the Gray Goth, and went over,—it was two hundred feet; they didn't find him not till spring,—just a little heap of bones; his wife had them taken home and buried, and by and by they had to take her away to a hospital in Portland,—she talked so horribly, and thought she saw bones round everywhere.

There is no place like the woods for bringing a storm down on you quick; the trees are so thick you don't mind the first few flakes, till, first you know, there's a whirl of 'em, and the wind is up.

I was minding less about it than usual, for I was thinking of Nannie,—that's what I used to call her, Johnny, when she was a girl, but it seems a long time ago, that does. I was thinking how surprised she'd be, and pleased. I knew she would be pleased. I didn't think so poorly of her as to suppose she wasn't just as sorry now as I was for what had happened. I knew well enough how she would jump and throw down her sewing with a little scream, and run and put her arms about my neck and cry, and couldn't help herself.

So I didn't mind about the snow, for planning it all out, till all at once I looked up, and something slashed into my eyes and stung me,—it was sleet.

"Oho!" said I to myself, with a whistle,—it was a very long whistle, Johnny; I knew well enough then it was no play-work I had before me till the sun went down, nor till morning either.

That was about noon,—it couldn't have been half an hour since I'd eaten my dinner; I eat it driving, for I couldn't bear to waste time.[Pg 568]

The road wasn't broken there an inch, and the trees were thin; there'd been a clearing there years ago, and wide, white level places wound off among the trees; one looked as much like a road as another, for the matter of that. I pulled my visor down over my eyes to keep the sleet out,—after they're stung too much they're good for nothing to see with, and I must see, if I meant to keep that road.

It began to be cold. You don't know what it is to be cold, you don't, Johnny, in the warm gentleman's life you've lived. I was used to Maine forests, and I was used to January, but that was what I call cold.

The wind blew from the ocean, straight as an arrow. The sleet blew every way,—into your eyes, down your neck, in like a knife into your cheeks. I could feel the snow crunching in under the runners, crisp, turned to ice in a minute. I reached out to give Bess a cut on the neck, and the sleeve of my coat was stiff as pasteboard before I bent my elbow up again.

If you looked up at the sky, your eyes were shut with a snap as if somebody'd shot them. If you looked in under the trees, you could see the icicles a minute, and the purple shadows. If you looked straight ahead, you couldn't see a thing.

By and by I thought I had dropped the reins; I looked at my hands, and there I was holding them tight. I knew then that it was time to get out and walk.

I didn't try much after that to look ahead; it was of no use, for the sleet was fine, like needles, twenty of 'em in your eye at a wink; then it was growing dark. Bess and Beauty knew the road as well as I did, so I had to trust to them. I thought I must be coming near the clearing where I'd counted on putting up overnight, in case I couldn't reach the deaf old woman's.

There was a man just out of Bangor the winter before, walking just so beside his team, and he kept on walking, some folks said, after the breath was gone, and they found him frozen up against the sleigh-poles. I would have given a good deal if I needn't have thought of that just then. But I did, and I kept walking on.

Pretty soon Bess stopped short. Beauty was pulling on,—Beauty always did pull on,—but she stopped too. I couldn't stop so easily, so I walked along like a machine, up on a line with the creaturs' ears. I did stop then, or you never would have heard this story, Johnny.

Two paces,—and those two hundred feet shot down like a plummet. A great cloud of snow-flakes puffed up over the edge. There were rocks at my right hand, and rocks at my left. There was the sky overhead. I was in the Gray Goth!

I sat down, as weak as a baby. If I didn't think of Ben Gurnell then, I never thought of him. It roused me up a bit, perhaps, for I had the sense left to know that I couldn't afford to sit down just yet, and I remembered a shanty that I must have passed without seeing; it was just at the opening of the place where the rocks narrowed, built, as they build their light-houses, to warn folks to one side. There was a log or something put up after Gurnell went over, but it was of no account, coming on it suddenly. There was no going any farther that night, that was clear; so I put about into the hut, and got my fire going, and Bess and Beauty and I, we slept together.

It was an outlandish name to give it, seems to me, anyway. I don't know what a Goth is, Johnny; maybe you do. There was a great figger up on the rock, about eight feet high; some folks thought it looked like a man. I never thought so before, but that night it did kind of stare in through the door as natural as life.

When I woke up in the morning I thought I was on fire. I stirred and turned over, and I was ice. My tongue was swollen up so I couldn't swallow without strangling. I crawled up to my feet, and every bone in me was stiff as a shingle.[Pg 569]

Bess was looking hard at me, whinnying for her breakfast. "Bess," says I, very slow, "we must get home—to-night—any—how."

I pushed open the door. It creaked out into a great drift, and slammed back. I squeezed through and limped out. The shanty stood up a little, in the highest part of the Goth. I went down a little,—I went as far as I could go. There was a pole lying there, blown down in the night; it came about up to my head. I sunk it into the snow, and drew it up.

Just six feet.

I went back to Bess and Beauty, and I shut the door. I told them I couldn't help it,—something ailed my arms,—I couldn't shovel them out to-day. I must lie down and wait till to-morrow.

I waited till to-morrow. It snowed all day, and it snowed all night. It was snowing when I pushed the door out again into the drift. I went back and lay down. I didn't seem to care.

The third day the sun came out, and I thought about Nannie. I was going to surprise her. She would jump up and run and put her arms about my neck. I took the shovel, and crawled out on my hands and knees. I dug it down, and fell over on it like a baby.

After that, I understood. I'd never had a fever in my life, and it's not strange that I shouldn't have known before.

It came all over me in a minute, I think. I couldn't shovel through. Nobody could hear. I might call, and I might shout. By and by the fire would go out. Nancy would not come. Nancy did not know. Nancy and I should never kiss and make up now.

I struck my arm out into the air, and shouted out her name, and yelled it out. Then I crawled out once more into the drift.

I tell you, Johnny, I was a stout-hearted man, who'd never known a fear. I could freeze. I could burn up there alone in the horrid place with fever. I could starve. It wasn't death nor awfulness I couldn't face,—not that, not that; but I loved her true, I say,—I loved her true, and I'd spoken my last words to her, my very last; I had left her those to remember, day in and day out, and year upon year, as long as she remembered her husband, as long as she remembered anything.

I think I must have gone pretty nearly mad with the fever and the thinking. I fell down there like a log, and lay groaning, "God Almighty! God Almighty!" over and over, not knowing what it was that I was saying, till the words strangled in my throat.

Next day, I was too weak so much as to push open the door. I crawled around the hut on my knees, with my hands up over my head, shouting out as I did before, and fell, a helpless heap, into the corner; after that I never stirred.

How many days had gone, or how many nights, I had no more notion than the dead. I knew afterwards; when I knew how they waited and expected and talked and grew anxious, and sent down home to see if I was there, and how she—But no matter, no matter about that.

I used to scoop up a little snow when I woke up from the stupors. The bread was the other side of the fire; I couldn't reach round. Beauty eat it up one day; I saw her. Then the wood was used up. I clawed out chips with my nails from the old rotten logs the shanty was made of, and kept up a little blaze. By and by I couldn't pull any more. Then there were only some coals,—then a little spark. I blew at that spark a long while,—I hadn't much breath. One night it went out, and the wind blew in. One day I opened my eyes, and Bess had fallen down in the corner, dead and stiff. Beauty had pushed out of the door somehow and gone. I shut up my eyes. I don't think I cared about seeing Bess,—I can't remember very well.

Sometimes I thought Nancy was there in the plaid shawl, walking round the ashes where the spark went out. Then again I thought Mary Ann was there, and Isaac, and the baby. But they[Pg 570] never were. I used to wonder if I wasn't dead, and hadn't made a mistake about the place that I was going to.

One day there was a noise. I had heard a great many noises, so I didn't take much notice. It came up crunching on the snow, and I didn't know but it was Gabriel or somebody with his chariot. Then I thought more likely it was a wolf.

Pretty soon I looked up, and the door was open; some men were coming in, and a woman. She was ahead of them all, she was; she came in with a great spring, and had my head against her neck, and her arm holding me up, and her cheek down to mine, with her dear, sweet, warm breath all over me; and that was all I knew.

Well, there was brandy, and there was a fire, and there were blankets, and there was hot water, and I don't know what; but warmer than all the rest I felt her breath against my cheek, and her arms about my neck, and her long hair, which she had wrapped all in, about my hands.

So by and by my voice came. "Nannie!" said I.

"O don't!" said she, and first I knew she was crying.

"But I will," says I, "for I'm sorry."

"Well, so am I," says she.

Said I, "I thought I was dead, and hadn't made up, Nannie."

"O dear!" said she; and down fell a great hot splash right on my face.

Says I, "It was all me, for I ought to have gone back and kissed you."

"No, it was me," said she, "for I wasn't asleep, not any such thing. I peeked out, this way, through my lashes, to see if you wouldn't come back. I meant to wake up then. Dear me!" says she, "to think what a couple of fools we were, now!"

"Nannie," says I, "you can let the lamp smoke all you want to!"

"Aaron—" she began, just as she had begun that other night, "Aaron—" but she didn't finish, and—Well, well, no matter; I guess you don't want to hear any more, do you?

But sometimes I think, Johnny, when it comes my time to go,—if ever it does,—I've waited a good while for it,—the first thing I shall see will be her face, looking as it looked at me just then.



Of all working systems, the Mind seems most pertinacious in concealing the method of its operations. "No admittance" is inscribed upon the door of the laboratories of the brain. Approaching a psychological inquiry is like entering a manufactory: curious to observe its ingenious processes, we find that, though we may penetrate its court-yard and ware-rooms, every precaution is taken by its polite proprietors to prevent our interrogating its workmen or understanding its methods. The intellect often displays proudly her works; she has the assurance to attempt to answer questions about all things else in heaven and earth; but when her life is the subject of inquiry, that life seems to elude her own observation. We see in the evening sky stars so dim that the eye cannot fix upon them; we only catch glimpses of them when we are looking at some other point aside; the moment we turn the eye full upon them, they are lost to our sight. This covert and transient vision is the best which men have ever yet caught of the Mind, which they have[Pg 571] studied so long to know. The metaphysicians look directly at it, and to them it is invisible, and they cannot agree what it is, nor how it moves. And when we look aside at the anatomy and physiology of the human frame, or, on the other hand, at the complex and endless variety of human actions and human experience, we catch only a partial and unsatisfactory glimpse of the soul which is beyond.

Thought, as we have suggested, will uncover to us almost anything sooner than the secrets of its own power. It has explained much about the conditions of rapid vegetation, and how to procure profitable crops from the earth; but how little has it yet disclosed of the conditions which secure vigorous thinking, and best promote the development of truth!

But some one may say: "I supposed that the conditions of mental activity were well known; they are quiet, peace of mind, neither too much nor too little food, and a subject which interests the feelings, or effectually calls forth the powers of the mind."

Though you know all this, you are in ignorance still. Truly a savage might profess the art of agriculture in this fashion; for all this is only as if one were to say that the conditions of success in farming were to be where there were no earthquakes or avalanches, that is, to be quiet; to have the ground cleared of trees, that is, to have the mind free from cares and the shadows of sorrows; to have neither too much nor too little sunshine and rain, that is, to be properly fed; and to have good seed to put into the ground, that is, to engage the mind with a topic which it will expand and reproduce. After all these things have been secured, it is only a sort of barbaric husbandry that we have practised. The common and rude experience of men, laboring without thinking about their labor, teaches these things, and the very beginnings of the art and science of Intellectual Economy come beyond and after these.

What shall we say of those moods which every student passes through, which turn and return upon the mind, irresistible and mysterious? What are the causes of those strange and delightful exaltations of mind in which thought runs like a clock when the pendulum is off, and crowds a week of existence into an hour of time? Whence are those dull days which come so unexpectedly, and sometimes lead a troop of dull followers, to interrupt our life's work for a week at a time? Where are we to search for obstructions in the channels of the mind when ideas will not flow? How is it that, after a period of clearness and activity in thought, the brain grows indolent, and, without a feeling of illness, or even of fatigue, work lags and stops? By what right is it that, at times, each faculty in our possession seems to grow independent, and refuses to return to its task at our call? What are the secret psychological conditions which influence the mental powers as strangely as if there were a goblin who had power to mesmerize Fancy and put it to sleep, to lock up Imagination in a dreary den of commonplaces, to blindfold Attention and make sport of his vain groping, and to send sober Reason off on foolish errands, so that Mistress Soul has not a servant left?

Such variations of mental power, which we call moods of mind, are often caused, doubtless, by ill-health, or by fatigue, or by some irregularity of habit, or by anxiety of mind; but the experience of every student will probably attest the existence of such variations where none of these causes can be assigned. There are moods which we cannot trace to illness, or weariness, or external circumstances. Men are prone to regard them as whims, which sometimes they struggle against and sometimes they yield to, but at all times wonder at.

The connection of the mind and body, and the dependence of the mind upon the health and vigor of the body, have been much dwelt upon; and we cannot be too deeply sensible of the debt which the student owes to those[Pg 572] who have made this truth prominent to him. But, after all, it is wonderful with how much independence of bodily suffering—and even of suffering in the brain—the mind carries itself, and this fact seems worthy of more distinct recognition than it has received. It significantly confirms our belief in the existence of an immaterial principle, or soul, superior to the mere functions of the brain. Great and healthful mental activity often exists in a disordered body; and biographical literature is full of illustrations of the power of a strong will to accomplish brilliant results while the system is agitated by physical distress.

Campbell, the poet, pursued his regular habit of writing every day, even under the pressure of much bodily pain.

Cowper never, when it was possible to perform his task, excused his frail and desponding body from attendance in his little summer-house, morning and afternoon, until his forty lines of Homer were arrayed in English dress. The ballad of "John Gilpin" originated during one of his illnesses. With the hope of diverting his mind during an unusually severe attack of gloom, Lady Austen related to him the history of the renowned citizen, which she had heard in her childhood. The tale made a vivid impression, and the next morning he told her that the ludicrous incident had convulsed him with laughter during the night, and that he had embodied the whole into a ballad.

Paley's last, and perhaps, for his day, his greatest work,—his "Natural Theology,"—was principally composed during the period in which he was subject to attacks of that terribly malady, nephralgia.

So great was the delicacy of John Locke's constitution, that he was not capable of a laborious application to the medical art, which was his profession; and it is not improbable that his principal motive in studying it was that he might be qualified, when necessary, to act as his own physician. His difficulty was a lung complaint, or asthma; but his biographer says: "It occasioned disturbance to no person but himself, and persons might be with him without any other concern than that created by seeing him suffer." Notwithstanding this permanent suffering, his works are alike laborious and voluminous.

Robert Hall, in the period when his intellectual power was most vigorous, pursued his daily studies almost regardless of the pain which was his companion through life. Dr. Gregory pursued a course of study with him in metaphysics and in mathematics; and he writes: "On entering his room in the morning, I could at once tell whether or not his night had been refreshing; for if it had, I found him at the table, the books to be studied ready, and a vacant chair set for me. If his night had been restless, and the pain still continued, I found him lying on the sofa, or, more frequently, upon three chairs, on which he could obtain an easier position. At such seasons, scarcely ever did a complaint issue from his lips; but, inviting me to take the sofa, our reading commenced.... Sometimes, when he was suffering more than usual, he proposed a walk in the fields, where, with the appropriate book as our companion, we could pursue the subject. If he was the preceptor, as was commonly the case in these peripatetic lectures, he soon lost the sense of pain, and nearly as soon escaped from our author, whoever he might be, and expatiated at large upon some train of inquiry or explication which our course of reading had suggested. As his thoughts enkindled, both his steps and his words became quicker, until erelong it was difficult to say whether the body or the mind were brought most upon the stretch in keeping up with him."

Hannah More, who wrote many volumes, and accumulated a fortune of nearly a hundred and fifty thousand dollars from them, was an invalid. In her early life, as well as in her declining[Pg 573] years, she was subject to successive illnesses, which threw great impediments in the way of her intellectual exertions. Morning headaches prevented her from rising early. She used to say that her frequent attacks of illness were a great blessing to her, independently of the prime benefit of cheapening life and teaching patience; for they induced a habit of industry not natural to her, and taught her to make the most of her well days. She laughingly added, it had taught her also to contrive employments for her sick ones; that from habit she had learned to suit her occupations to every gradation of the measure of capacity she possessed. "I never," she said, "afford a moment of a healthy day to transcribe, or put stops, or cross t's or dot my i's. So that I find the lowest stage of my understanding may be turned to some account, and save better days for better things. I have learned from it also to avoid procrastination, and that idleness which often attends unbroken health."

Baxter, one of the most voluminous of English writers, was an invalid. After speaking of his multifarious labors as pastor, preacher, and also surgeon to the poor in general, he says these were but his relaxation; his writing was his chief labor, which went slowly on, for he had no amanuensis, and his weakness took up so much of his time. "All the pains that my infirmities ever brought on me," he adds, "were never half so grievous and afflictive as the unavoidable loss of time which they occasioned. I could not bear, through the weakness of my stomach, to rise before seven, and afterwards not till much later; and some infirmities I labored under made it above an hour before I could be dressed. An hour I must have of necessity to walk before dinner, and another before supper, and after supper I could seldom study." He is described as one of the most diseased men that ever reached the full limit of human life, entering upon mature life diseased and sore from head to foot, and with the symptoms of old age. His "Saint's Rest" was written as his meditation in a severe illness, and after he had been given up by his physicians.

Lindley Murray commenced his work as a grammarian, and his other writings, after disease had fixed upon his declining years. Having successively engaged in the practice of law, and in mercantile pursuits, and having retired from the latter with some property, he fell into ill-health, which compelled him to go abroad, and kept him an exile through the remainder of his long life. The disease with which he was afflicted was a weakness in the lower limbs, which precluded him from walking, and, after a time, from taking any exercise whatever. He was thus imprisoned, as it were, in a country-seat, near York, in England; and here he commenced those literary labors, which, so far from being forbidden by his illness, did much to alleviate his sufferings. He says: "In the course of my literary labors, I found that the mental exercise which accompanied them was not a little beneficial to my health. The motives which excited me to write, and the objects which I hoped to accomplish, were of a nature calculated to cheer the mind, and to give the animal spirits a salutary impulse. I am persuaded that, if I had suffered my time to pass away with little or no employment, my health would have been still more impaired, my spirits depressed, and perhaps my life considerably shortened."

Of Lord Jeffrey, who was a very hard-working man, it is said that one of his cures for a headache was to sit down and clear up a deep legal question.

The cases of Pascal, Dr. Johnson, Channing, and others, will doubtless occur to the reader. It will suffice here to mention one more,—that of William of Orange, whose vigorous, comprehensive, and untiring intellect through a long course of years wielded and shaped the destinies of England, and enabled him, if not to make a more brilliant page in history, yet to leave[Pg 574] a more enduring monument in human institutions than any other man of his age. Macaulay thus graphically describes him: "The audacity of his spirit was the more remarkable, because his physical organization was unusually delicate. From a child he had been weak and sickly. In the prime of manhood, his complaints had been aggravated by a severe attack of small-pox. He was asthmatic and consumptive. His slender frame was shaken by a constant hoarse cough. He could not sleep unless his head was propped by several pillows, and could scarcely draw his breath in any but the purest air. Cruel headaches frequently tortured him. Exertion soon fatigued him. The physicians constantly kept up the hopes of his enemies by fixing some date beyond which, if there were anything certain in medical science, it was impossible that his broken constitution could hold out. Yet, through a life which was one long disease, the force of his mind never failed, on any great occasion, to bear up his suffering and languid body."

Let the weak and feeble of body, therefore, take courage of heart; and let the robust student be admonished that he cannot excuse all his inactive days upon the ground of indisposition.

Fatigue is an enemy which every hard-working brain knows of; but it is an enemy, not of the workman, but only of the taskmaster. The student may resort to what healthful contrivances he pleases to avoid fatigue; but when it appears, he should not excuse himself, but yield to its impulse. He should learn to distinguish indolence, and other counterfeits, from that genuine weariness which makes the sleep of a laboring man sweet. Weariness is the best friend of labor, just as the toothache is the best friend of sound teeth. Weariness is an angel. When the proper end of your day has come, she hovers over your desk, and, if you are careless of the time, she breathes a misty breath upon your eyelids, and loads your pen with an invisible weight; the shadow of her gray wings dims your page, and her throbbing hand upon your forehead admonishes you of her presence. Let her visits be few and far between, and it is well; but you will never regret that you entertained her even unawares. You may avoid, but never resist her. She comes from Heaven to save life.

But comes there never into your study a little imp of darkness,—of intellectual darkness, we mean,—whose efforts to imitate the gentle interference of fatigue are as grotesque as they are vexatious, and who does not succeed in deceiving, however readily one may sometimes fall in with his humor? The heavy pen, the dull page, the wandering thoughts, sometimes interrupt the most successful currents of labor, in those morning hours, and in the fresh days after vacations, when we cannot find the excuse of weariness. There is an indisposition to continuous labor, which is utterly different from fatigue.

John Foster declared: "I have no power of getting fast forward in any literary task; it costs me far more labor than any other mortal who has been in the habit so long. I have the most extreme and invariable repugnance to all literary labors of any kind, and almost all mental labor. When I have anything of the kind to do, I linger hours and hours before I can resolutely set about it, and days and weeks if it is some task more than ordinary."

Dr. Humphrey recommends that the unwilling thoughts be frightened to their task by the same means which Lord Jeffrey used to drive out a headache. He says, in his letters to his son: "When you sit down to write, you sometimes will, no doubt, find it difficult to collect your scattered thoughts at the moment, and fix them upon the subject. If, in these cases, you take up a newspaper, or whatever other light reading may happen to be at hand, with the hope of luring the truants back, you will be disappointed. Nothing but stern and decided measures[Pg 575] will answer. I would advise you to resort at once to geometry or conic sections, or some other equally inexorable discipline to settle the business. I have myself often called in the aid of Euclid for a few moments, and always with good success. A little wholesome schooling of the mind upon lines and angles and proportions, when it is not in the right mood for study, will commonly make it quite willing to exchange them for the labor of composition, as the easier task of the two."

There is sound philosophy perhaps in this recommendation. Many persons have observed that the preliminary process of "composing the thoughts" is one which requires a little time and effort, especially where one comes to his subject from a period of exercise, or repose, or any other condition in which the brain has not been active. The functional activity of the brain depends on the copious supply of the arterial blood, its activity varying with that supply, increasing as that supply is greater, and relaxing when it is diminished. But unlike other organs of the body, the brain is densely packed in an unyielding cavity, and there must be room made for this increased volume of circulation whenever it takes place. This is accomplished, physiologists tell us, in the cerebro-spinal fluid, the quantity of which has been estimated at two ounces. This fluid is readily absorbed and as readily reproduced, and thus its quantity varies in a certain inverse proportion to the volume of the circulation of blood in the brain; and by this means an equality of pressure is secured throughout all the variations in the force of the circulation. The act of adjustment between this balancing fluid and the blood requires a little period for its completion, and therefore the brain cannot instantaneously be brought to its maximum action.

Hence, where the circulation has been diverted from the brain, and the proposed mental effort requires it to be vigorously revived in the brain, time must be allowed for this process of adjustment, and room must be made for the needed supply of blood; and perhaps a familiar demonstration in mathematics, which fixes the attention, and will instantly detect any delinquency of that faculty, may often be one of the best modes of employing this transition period, and aiding the change.

We may observe here the singular paradox, which we believe that the philosophy of the mind and the experience of the scholar equally establish, that what are usually called the heaviest or severest subjects of thought are the least exhausting to the thinker. How many students, like Chief-Justice Parsons, have been accustomed, when fatigued with the labor of deep research, or exhausted by continued train of thought upon one subject, to relax the mind with arithmetical or geometrical problems. Isaac Newton could, month after month, spend in the profoundest problems of pure mathematics twice as many hours in the day as Walter Scott could give to the composition of what we call light reading; and it will be found that mathematicians, theologians, and metaphysicians have been able to sustain more protracted labor, and with less injury, than have poets and novelists. There are not wanting reasons which aid us to understand this paradox, but we will not enter upon them here.

Irregularities of habit will doubtless disturb the action of the mind. The mental power that is thrown away and wasted by recklessness in this respect is incalculable. But there are variations in mental power in the midst of health, in the absence of fatigue, and under the most regular habits. Perhaps few authors have more carefully adapted their habits to their work, or ordered their method of life with a more quiet equality, than did Milton. He went to bed uniformly at nine o'clock.[C] He rose in the summer generally at four, and in winter at five. When, contrary to his usual custom, he indulged[Pg 576] himself with longer rest, he employed a person to read to him from the time of his waking to that of his rising. The opening of his day was uniformly consecrated to religion. A chapter of the Hebrew Scriptures being read to him as soon as he was up, he passed the subsequent interval till seven o'clock in private meditation. From seven till twelve he either studied, listened while some author was read to him, or dictated as some friendly hand supplied him with its pen. At twelve commenced his hour of exercise, which before his blindness was usually passed in his garden or in walking, and afterward for the most part in the swing which he had contrived for the purpose of exercise. His early and frugal dinner succeeded, and when it was finished he resigned himself to the recreation of music, by which he found his mind at once gratified and restored. He played on the organ, and sang, or his wife sang for him. From his music he returned with fresh vigor to his books or his composition. At six he admitted the visits of his friends; he took his abstemious supper, of olives or some light thing, at eight; and at nine, having smoked a pipe and drank a glass of water, he retired. Yet in the midst of this clock-like regularity his labors were broken by frequent unfruitful seasons. Symmons says of him, that "he frequently composed in the night, when his unpremeditated verse would sometimes flow in a torrent, tinder the impulse, as it were, of some strange poetical fury; and in these peculiar moments of inspiration, his amanuensis, who was generally his daughter, was summoned by the bell to arrest the verses as they came, and to commit them to the security of writing.... Some days would elapse undistinguished by a verse, while on others he would dictate thirty or forty lines.... Labor would often be ineffectual to obtain what often would be gratuitously offered to him; and his imagination, which at one instant would refuse a flower to his most strenuous cultivation, would at another time shoot up into spontaneous and abundant vegetation." He seldom wrote any in the summer.

Cowper said that he composed best in winter, because then he could find nothing else to do but think; and he contrasted himself in this respect with other poets, who have found an inspiration in the attractive scenes of the more genial seasons.

The biographer of Campbell has given us the following anecdote with respect to the oft-quoted lines,

"'T is the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before."

The happy thought first presented itself to his mind during a visit at Minto. He had gone early to bed, and, still meditating on "Lochiel's Warning," fell fast asleep. During the night he suddenly awoke, repeating, "Events to come cast their shadows before"! This was the very thought for which he had been hunting the whole week. He rang the bell more than once with increasing force. At last, surprised and annoyed by so unseasonable a peal, the servant appeared. The poet was sitting with one foot in the bed, and the other on the floor, with an air of mixed impatience and inspiration. "Sir, are you ill?" inquired the servant. "Ill! never better in my life. Leave me the candle, and oblige me with a cup of tea as soon as possible." He then started to his feet, seized hold of his pen, and wrote down the happy thought, but as he wrote changed the words "events to come" into "coming events," as it now stands in the text. Looking at his watch he observed that it was two o'clock, the right hour for a poet's dream; and over his cup of tea he completed his first sketch of "Lochiel."

Nor is this capriciousness exclusively the attribute of the poetic Muse.

Calvin, who studied and wrote in bed, if he felt his facility of composition quitting him, as not unfrequently he did, gave up writing and composing, and went about his out-door duties for days, weeks, and months together.[Pg 577] But as soon as he felt the inspiration again, he went back to his bed, and his secretary set to work forthwith.

Dr. Edward Robinson was always under the necessity of waiting upon his moods in composition. He wondered at the men who can write when they will. Sometimes for days together he could make no headway in his higher tasks.

There are avocations, like those of the advocate, the preacher, the journalist, which must be pursued continuously, well or ill, and in spite of such variations of feeling. In these labors men doubtless learn to disregard in some degree these moods of mind; but the variable quality of the productions of one man on different days confirms what testimony we have of their existence.

The zeal or the indifference, the clearness or the dulness, the quickness or the sluggishness of thought, are doubtless to some degree determined by the methods of labor into which the person falls, and by the incidental habits and circumstances of his life. It is wonderful what a vast fund of information and suggestion upon these and kindred points of mental phenomena is found in the experience of the great industrial class of the intellectual world recorded in biographical and historical literature. Let us then visit some of the busiest and most successful scholars, philosophers, poets, writers, and preachers; let us peep through the window of biography into the library, the cabinet, and the office. Let us watch the habits of some of these busy-brained men, these great masters of the intellectual world. Let us note what helps and what hindrances they have found; how they have driven their work, or how they have been driven by it, and what is the nature and degree of the systems which they have adopted in ordering their hours of labor and of relaxation.

We will visit them as we find them, without looking for examples of excellence or warnings of carelessness, and will leave the reader to make his own inferences.

The poet Southey, who is said to have been, perhaps, more continually employed than any other writer of his generation, was habitually an early riser, but he never encroached upon the hours of the night. He gives the following account of his day, as he employed it at the age of thirty-two: "Three pages of history after breakfast (equivalent to five in small quarto printing), then to transcribe and copy for the press, or to make my selections and biographies, or what else suits my humor, till dinner-time. From dinner till tea, I write letters, read, see the newspaper, and very often indulge in a siesta, for sleep agrees with me, and I have a good substantial theory to prove that it must; for as a man who walks much requires to sit down and rest himself, so does the brain, if it be the part most worked, require its repose. Well, after tea I go to poetry, and correct and rewrite and copy till I am tired, and then turn to anything else till supper." At the age of fifty-five, his life varied but little from this sketch. When it is said that his breakfast was at nine, after a little reading, his dinner at four, tea at six, and supper at half past nine, and that the intervals, except the time regularly devoted to a walk, between two and four, and a short sleep before tea, were occupied with reading and writing, the outline of his day during those long seasons when he was in full work will have been given. After supper, when the business of the day seemed to be over, though he generally took a book, he remained with his family, and was ready to enter into conversation, to amuse and to be amused. During the several years that he was partially employed upon the life of Dr. Bell, he devoted two hours before breakfast to it in the summer, and as much time as there was daylight for during the winter months, that it might not interfere with the usual occupations of the day. Of himself, at the age of sixty, at a time when he was thus engaged every morning at work away from his home, he says: "I get out of bed as the clock[Pg 578] strikes six, and shut the house door after me as it strikes seven. After two hours' work, home to breakfast; after which my son engages me till about half past ten, and, when the post brings no letters that interest or trouble me, by eleven I have done with the newspaper, and can then set about what is properly the business of the day. But I am liable to frequent interruptions, so that there are not many mornings in which I can command from two to three unbroken hours at the desk. At two I take my daily walk, be the weather what it may, and when the weather permits, with a book in my hand. Dinner at four, read about half an hour, then take to the sofa with a different book, and after a few pages get my soundest sleep, till summoned to tea at six. My best time during the winter is by candlelight; twilight interferes with it a little, and in the season of company I can never count upon an evening's work. Supper at half past nine, after which I read an hour, and then to bed. The greatest part of my miscellaneous work is done in the odds and ends of time."

Shelley rose early in the morning, walked and read before breakfast, took that meal sparingly, wrote and studied the greater part of the morning, walked and read again, dined on vegetables (for he took neither meat nor wine), conversed with his friends (to whom his house was ever open), again walked out, and usually finished with reading to his wife till ten o'clock, when he went to bed. This was his daily existence. His book was generally Plato, or Homer, or one of the Greek tragedians, or the Bible, in which last he took a great interest. Out of twenty-four hours he frequently read sixteen. "He wrote his Prometheus," says Willis, "in the baths of Caracalla, near the Coliseum." It was his favorite haunt in Rome.

The poet Campbell thus describes his labors, when in London, at the age of fifty-five: "I get up at seven, write letters for the Polish Association, until half past nine, breakfast, go to the club and read the newspapers till twelve. Then I sit down to my studies, and, with many interruptions, do what I can till four. I then walk round the Park and generally dine out at six. Between nine and ten I return to chambers, read a book or write a letter, and go to bed always before twelve." "His correspondence," says his biographer, "occupied four hours every morning, in French, German, and Latin. He could seldom act with the moderation necessary for his health. Whatever object he once took in hand, he determined to carry out, and found no rest until it was accomplished." Whatever he wrote during his connection with the New Monthly and the Metropolitan was written hurriedly. If a subject was proposed for the end of a month, he seldom gave it a thought until it was no longer possible to delay the task. He would then sit down in the quietest corner of his chambers, or, if quiet was not to be found in town, he would start off to the country, and there, shut in among the green fields, complete his task. When sixty-two years old, he says: "I am only six hours out of the twenty-four in bed. I study twelve, and walk six. Oranges, exercise, and early rising serve to keep me flourishing."

"Procter (Barry Cornwall) usually writes," says Willis, "in a small closet adjoining his library. There is just room enough in it for a desk and two chairs, and his favorite books, miniature likenesses of authors, manuscripts, &c., piled around in true poetical confusion." He confines his labors to the daytime, eschewing evening work. In a letter to a friend, some years ago, he wrote: "I hope you will not continue to give up your nights to literary undertakings. Believe me (who have suffered bitterly for this imprudence) that nothing in the world of letters is worth the sacrifice of health and strength and animal spirits which will certainly follow this excess of labor."

Cowper, at the age of fifty-three, and at a busy period of his life, says: "The morning is my writing time, and[Pg 579] in the morning I have no spirits. So much the worse for my correspondents. Sleep, that refreshes my body, seems to cripple me in every other respect. As the evening approaches I grow more alert, and when I am retiring to bed am more fit for mental occupation than at any other time. So it fares with us whom they call nervous."

He was very assiduous in labor. While he was translating Homer, he says: "As soon as breakfast is over, I retire to my nutshell of a summer-house, which is my verse manufactory, and here I abide seldom less than three hours, and not often more." This little summer-house, which he called his boudoir, was not much bigger than a sedan-chair; the door of it opened into the garden, which was covered with pinks, roses, and honeysuckles. The window opened into his neighbor's orchard. He says: "It formerly served an apothecary, now dead, as a smoking-room; and under my feet is a trapdoor, which once covered a hole in the ground where he kept his bottles. At present, however, it is dedicated to sublimer uses. Having lined it with garden mats, and furnished it with a table and two chairs, here I write all that I write in summer-time, whether to my friends or to the public.... In the afternoon I return to it again, and all the daylight that follows, except what is sometimes devoted to a walk, is given to Homer." In the evening he devoted himself to transcribing, so that his mornings and evenings were, for the most part, completely engaged. He read also, but less than he wrote; "for I must have bodily exercise," he said, "and therefore never let a day pass without it." His walk was usually in the afternoon.

Lord Byron, who used to sit up at night writing "Don Juan," (which he did under the influence of gin and water,) rose late in the morning. Leigh Hunt thus describes him: "He breakfasted, read, lounged about, singing an air, generally out of Rossini, and in a swaggering style, though in a voice at once small and veiled; then took a bath and was dressed, and coming down stairs, was heard, still singing, in the court-yard, out of which the garden ascended at the back of the house. The servants at the same time brought out two or three chairs. We then lounged about, or sat and talked. In the course of an hour or two, being an early riser, I used to go in to dinner. Lord Byron either stayed a little longer, or went up stairs to his books and his couch. When the heat of the day declined we rode out, either on horseback or in a barouche, generally towards the forest. He was a good rider, graceful, and kept a firm seat. In the evening I seldom saw him. He recreated himself in the balcony, or with a book; and at night, when I went to bed, he was just thinking of setting to work with 'Don Juan.' His favorite reading was history and travels. His favorite authors were Bayle and Gibbon. His favorite recreation was boating." Byron had prodigious facility of composition. He was fond of suppers, and in London, after supping at Rogers's and eating heartily, he would go home and throw off sixty or eighty verses, which he would send to press the next morning.

Goldsmith's desultory habits are quite characteristic. Irving says: "It was his custom during the summer-time, when pressed by a multiplicity of literary jobs, or urged to the accomplishment of some particular task, to take country lodgings a few miles from town, generally on the Harrow or Edgeware road, and bury himself there for weeks and months together. Sometimes he would remain closely occupied in his room, at other times he would stroll out along the lanes and hedgerows, and, taking out paper and pencil, note down thoughts to be expanded and corrected at home." Though he engaged to board with the family, his meals were generally sent to him in his room, in which he passed the most of his time, negligently dressed, with his shirt-collar open, busily engaged in writing. Sometimes, probably when in moods of composition, he would[Pg 580] wander into the kitchen, without noticing any one, stand musing with his back to the fire, and then hurry off again to his room, no doubt to commit to paper some thought which had struck him. He was subject to fits of wakefulness, and read much in bed; if not disposed to read, he still kept the candle burning; if he wished to extinguish it, and it was out of his reach, he flung his slipper at it, which would be found in the morning near the overturned candlestick, daubed with grease. He is said to have considered four lines of poetry a day good work.

He commenced his poem of "The Traveller" in Switzerland, but long kept it back from publication, till Johnson's praise of it induced him to prepare it for the press. It is said that, while for two years previous to its publication he was employed in the drudgery of laborious compilations for the booksellers, his few vacant hours were fondly devoted to the patient revisal and correction of this his greatest poem; pruning its luxuriances, or supplying its defects, till it appeared at length finished with exactness and polished into beauty. While writing his History of England, he would read Hume, Rapin-Thoyras, Carte, and Kennet, in the morning, make a few notes, ramble with a friend into the country about the skirts of "Merry Islington," return to a temperate dinner and cheerful evening, and, before going to bed, write off what had arranged itself in his head from the studies of the morning. In this way he took a more general view of the subject, and wrote in a more free and fluent style than if he had been mousing at the time among authorities. The influence of this way of composing history is plainly seen in the entertaining, but not immortal, volumes it produced.

Douglas Jerrold's day of labor may be sketched thus. At eight o'clock he breakfasts on cold new milk, toast, bacon, watercresses, and perhaps strawberries. Then he makes long examination of the papers, cutting out bits of news. The study is a snug room filled with books and pictures; its furniture is of solid oak. There work begins. If it be a comedy, he will now and then walk rapidly up and down the room, talking wildly to himself, and laughing as he hits upon a good point. Suddenly the pen will be put down, and through a little conservatory, without seeing anybody, he will pass out into the garden for a little while, talking to the gardeners, walking, &c. In again, and vehemently to work. The thought has come; and, in letters smaller than the type in which they shall be set, it is unrolled along the little blue slips of paper. A crust of bread and glass of wine are brought in, but no word is spoken. The work goes rapidly forward, and halts at last suddenly. The pen is dashed aside, a few letters, seldom more than three lines in each, are written and despatched to the post, and then again into the garden, visits to the horse, cow, and fowls, then another long turn around the lawn, and at last a seat with a quaint old volume in the tent under the mulberry-tree. Friends come,—walks and conversation. A very simple dinner at four. Then a short nap—forty winks—upon the great sofa in the study; another long stroll over the lawn while tea is prepared. Over the tea-table are jokes of all kinds, as at dinner. In the later years of his life, Jerrold seldom wrote after dinner; and his evenings were usually spent alone in his study, reading, writing letters, &c. Sometimes he would join the family circle for half an hour before going to bed at ten; but his rule was a solitary evening in the study with his books.

Dickens's favorite time for composition is said to be in the morning. Powell, in his "Notices of Living Authors of England," says that he writes till about one or two o'clock, when he lunches, and afterwards takes a walk for a couple of hours; returns to dinner, and gives the evening to his own or a friend's fireside. Sometimes his method of labor is much more intense and unremitting. Of his delightful little Christmas book, "The Chimes," the[Pg 581] author says, in a letter to a friend, that he shut himself up for one month close and tight over it. "All my affections and passions got twined and knotted up in it, and I became as haggard as a murderer long before I wrote, 'The End.' When I had done that, like 'The Man of Thessaly,' who, having scratched his eyes out in a quickset hedge, plunged into a bramble-bush to scratch them in again, I fled to Venice to recover the composure I had disturbed." When his imagination begins to outline a new novel, with vague thoughts rife within him, he goes "wandering about at night into the strangest places," he says, "seeking rest and finding none."

Bulwer accomplishes his voluminous productions in about three hours a day, usually from ten until one, and seldom later, writing all with his own hand. Composition was at first very laborious to him, but he gave himself sedulously to mastering its difficulties; and is said to have rewritten some of his briefer productions eight or nine times before publication. He now writes very rapidly, averaging, it is said, twenty octavo pages a day. He says of himself in a letter to a friend: "I literatize away the morning, ride at three, go to bathe at five, dine at six, and get through the evening as I best may, sometimes by correcting a proof."

Charles Anthon, so well known to the classical students of this generation, was accustomed, for many years at least, constantly to retire at ten and rise at four, so that a large part of his day's work was done by breakfast-time; and it was this untiring industry that enabled him, despite his incessant labors both in college and in school, to produce some fifty volumes.

Gibbon always studied with his pen in hand, and for the purpose of his history he practised laboriously the formation of his style of writing. The first chapter of his history he rewrote three times, and the second and third chapters twice, before he was satisfied with them; but after thus getting under way, the greater part of his manuscript was sent to the press in the first rough draft, without any intermediate copy being made. After completing his great history, he congratulated himself upon having accomplished a long, but temperate labor, without fatiguing either the mind or the body. "Happily for my eyes," he said, "I have always closed my studies with the day and commonly with the morning." When he had accomplished the labors of the morning in the library, he preferred recreation and social enjoyments rather than any exercise of mind. He gives the following account of his sensations on accomplishing his great work. "It was on the day, or rather night, of June 27, 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page in a summer-house in my garden. After laying down my pen, I took several turns in a covered walk of acacias. I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind by the idea that I had taken an everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion."

This reminds us of the emotions which Noah Webster describes as overwhelming him when he reached the close of his dictionary. "When I finished my copy," says Dr. Webster, "I was sitting at my table in Cambridge, England, January, 1825. When I arrived at the last word, I was seized with a tremor that made it difficult to proceed. I, however, summoned up my strength to finish the work, and then, walking about the room, I soon recovered."

Buckle, even more systematically and laboriously than ever did Gibbon, devoted himself to the formation of his style of writing as a special preparation for entering upon the composition of his history. In his later years he abandoned the custom of writing at night, and it was his usual practice to lay aside his pen by three o'clock in the afternoon. When at home in London, he spent an hour or so at noon in walking about the city, frequently dined out,[Pg 582] and read an hour after coming home. He went to dinner-parties exclusively, it is said, because they took less time than others.

Sir William Jones while in India began his studies with the dawn, and in seasons of intermission from professional duty continued them throughout the day; meditation retraced and confirmed what reading had collected or investigation discovered. With respect to the division of his time, he wrote on a small piece of paper these lines:—

"Sir Edward Coke.
"Six hours in sleep, in law's grave study six,
Four spend in prayer,—the rest on nature fix."
"Seven hours to law, to soothing slumber seven,
Ten to the world allot,—and all to heaven."

Of Chief-justice Parsons of Massachusetts, his son says: "It is literally true that for fifty years he was always reading or writing when not obliged to be doing something else. He had, fortunately for himself, many interruptions, but he avoided them as far as he could; and there were weeks, and I believe consecutive months, when he passed nearly two thirds of his day with books and papers.... He very seldom took exercise for exercise' sake. Excepting an infrequent walk of some minutes in the long entry which ran through the middle of his house, he almost never walked for mere exercise, until an attack of illness. After that he sometimes, though rarely, took a walk about the streets or on the Common.... His office was always in his dwelling-house. There he sat all the day, but his evenings were invariably spent in the large common sitting-room. He had his chair by the fireside, and a small table near it on which the evening's supply of books was placed. There he sat, always reading, (seldom writing in the evening or out of his office,) but never disturbed by any noise or frolic which might be going on. If anybody, young or old, appealed to him, he was always ready to answer; and sometimes, though not very often, would join in a game or play, and then return to his books.... I have never known him wholly unoccupied at any time whatsoever. He was always doing something, with books, pen, or instrument, or engaged in conversation."

Judge Story arose at seven in summer and at half past seven in winter,—never earlier. If breakfast was not ready, he went at once to his library, and occupied the interval, whether it was five minutes or fifty, in writing. When the family assembled, he was called, and breakfasted with them. After breakfast he sat in the drawing-room, and spent from half to three quarters of an hour in reading the newspapers of the day. He then returned to his study, and wrote until the bell sounded for his lecture at the Law School. After lecturing for two, and sometimes three hours, he returned to his study, and worked until two o'clock, when he was called to dinner. To his dinner—which on his part was always simple—he gave an hour, and then again betook himself to his study, where in the winter time he worked as long as the daylight lasted, unless called away by a visitor, or obliged to attend a moot-court. Then he came down and joined the family, and work for the day was over. During the evening he was rarely without company; but if alone he read some new publication, sometimes corrected a proof-sheet, listened to music, talked with the family, or played backgammon. In the summer afternoons he left his library towards twilight. Generally the summer afternoon was varied three or four times a week in fair weather by a drive of about an hour in the country in an open chaise. At ten or half past he retired for the night, never varying a half-hour from this time. The exercise he took was almost entirely incidental to his duties, and consisted in driving to Boston to hold his court, or attend to other business, and in walking to and from the Law School. His real exercise was in talking. His diet was exceedingly simple. His lectures were wholly extemporary, or delivered without minutes, and no record was ever made of them by himself. After an interruption[Pg 583] of hours, and even of days, he could take up the pen and continue a sentence which he had left half-written, without reading back, going on with the same certainty and rapidity as if he had never been stopped.

While Lord Jeffrey was judge, during the sittings of the court, the performance of his official duties exhausted nearly his whole day, the evenings especially; and his spare time, whether during his sittings or in vacation, was given to society, to correspondence, to walking, to lounging in his garden, and to reading.

John C. Calhoun was an arduous student, and very simple in his habits. He avoided all stimulants. When at home, he rose at daybreak, and, if weather permitted, took a walk over his farm. He breakfasted at half past seven, and then retired to his office, which stood near his house, where he wrote till dinner-time, or three o'clock. After dinner he read or conversed with his family till sunset, when he took another walk. His tea hour was eight. He then joined the family, and read or talked till ten, when he retired.

Dr. Arnold of Rugby began lessons at seven; and, with the interval of breakfast, they lasted till nearly three. Then he would walk with his pupils, and dine at half past five. At seven he usually had some lessons on hand; and "it was only when they were all gathered up in the drawing-room after tea," says Mr. Stanley, "amidst young men on all sides of him, that he would commence work for himself in writing his sermons or Roman History." In a letter Dr. Arnold said: "from about a quarter before nine till ten o'clock every evening I am at liberty, and enjoy my wife's company fully; during this time I read aloud to her,—I am now reading to her Herodotus, translating as I go on,—or write my sermons, or write letters." His favorite recreations were horseback-riding, walking, and playing with his children.

Florence Nightingale, in advising that the sick be not suddenly interrupted so as to distract their attention, says that the rule applies to the well quite as much as to the sick. She adds: "I have never known persons who exposed themselves for years to constant interruptions who did not muddle away their intellects by it at last." Dr. Arnold seems to be an exception.

The elder Alexander, the Princeton theologian, was another exception to Florence Nightingale's rule. It was his peculiarity that he seemed incapable of being interrupted. Except in hours of devotion, his study was always free to his children, even the youngest; noise made no difference; their books and toys were on his floor, and two or three would be clambering upon him while he was handling a folio or had the pen in his hand. Nor was this while engaged in the mechanical part of an author's work. His door was always open to the children; they burst in freely without any signal, and he always looked up with a smile of welcome; and he declared that he often could think to most purpose when there was a clatter of little voices around him. His voluminous works, which he commenced to publish late in life, do not indicate that he underwent a "muddling" process.

Johnson used to assert that a man could write just as well at one time as another, and as well in one place as another, if he would only set himself doggedly about it.

Dr. Channing's habits of labor when at home in Boston are thus described. "The sun is just rising, and the fires are scarcely lighted, when, with a rapid step, Dr. Channing enters his study. He has been watchful during many hours, his brain teeming, and under the excitement of his morning bath he longs to use the earliest hours for work.... His first act is to write down the thoughts which have been given in his vigils; next he reads a chapter or more in Griesbach's edition of the Greek Testament, and, after a quick glance over the newspapers of the day, he takes his light repast.[Pg 584] Morning prayers follow, and then he retires to his study-table. If he is reading, you will at once notice this peculiarity, that he studies pen in hand, and that his book is crowded with folded sheets of paper, which continually multiply as trains of thought are suggested. These notes are rarely quotations, but chiefly questions and answers, qualifications, condensed statements, germs of interesting views; and when the volume is finished, they are carefully selected, arranged, and under distinct heads placed among other papers in a secretary. If he is writing, unless making preparation for the pulpit or for publication, the same process of accumulating notes is continued, which, at the end of each day or week, are filed. The interior of the secretary is filled with heaps of similar notes, arranged in order, with titles over each compartment. When a topic is to be treated at length in a sermon or essay, these notes are consulted, reviewed, and arranged. He first draws up a skeleton of his subject, selecting with special care and making prominent the central principle that gives it unity, and from which branch forth correlative considerations. Until perfectly clear in his own mind as to the essential truth of this main view, he cannot proceed. Questions are raised, objections considered, etc., the ground cleared, in a word, and the granite foundation laid bare for the cornerstone. And now the work goes rapidly forward. With flying pen he makes a rough draft of all that he intends to say, on sheets of paper folded lengthwise, leaving half of each page bare. He then reads over what he has written, and on the vacant half-page supplies defects, strikes out redundances, indicates the needless qualification, and modifies expressions. Thus sure of his thought and aim, conscientiously prepared, he abandons himself to the ardor of composition.... By noon his power of study is spent, and he walks, visits, etc. After dinner he lies for a time upon the sofa, and walks again, or drives into the country. Sunset he keeps as a holy hour. During the winter twilight he likes to be silent and alone.... At tea he listens to reading for an hour or more, leading conversation, etc. Evenings he gives up to social enjoyments."

Mr. Buckle's method of making his researches, and preserving memoranda of the results for subsequent use in composition, was similar to Dr. Channing's, as we may infer from a note in his History. Dr. Channing spent his vacations at Newport, where his time was thus allotted:—Rose very early, walked, etc. Breakfasted on coarse wheat-bread and cream, with a cup of tea. Then went to his study. Every hour or half-hour, more or less, he threw his gown around him, and took a turn in the garden for a few minutes. After a few hours of work he was exhausted for the day, and read and conversed till dinner. The afternoon was given up to excursions, and the evening to society.

Dr. Doddridge, in reference to his work, "The Paraphrase on the New Testament," said that its being written at all was owing to the difference between rising at five and at seven o'clock in the morning. "A remark similar to this," says Albert Barnes, "will explain all that I have done. Whatever I have accomplished in the way of commenting on the Scriptures is to be traced to the fact of rising at four in the morning, and to the time thus secured, which I thought might properly be employed in a work not immediately connected with my pastoral labors. That habit I have now pursued for many years.... All my Commentaries on the Scriptures have been written before nine o'clock in the morning. At the very beginning, now more than thirty years ago, I adopted a resolution to stop writing on these Notes when the clock struck nine. This resolution I have invariably adhered to, not unfrequently finishing my morning task in the midst of a paragraph, and sometimes even in the midst of a sentence.... In the recollection[Pg 585] now of the past, I refer to these morning hours, to the stillness and quiet of my room in this house of God, when I have been permitted to 'prevent the dawning of the morning' in the study of the Bible, while the inhabitants of the great city were slumbering round about me, and before the cares of the day and its direct responsibilities came upon me,—I refer to these scenes as among the happiest portions of my life.... Manuscripts, when a man writes every day, even though he writes but little, accumulate. Dr. Johnson was once asked how it was that the Christian Fathers, and the men of other times, could find leisure to fill so many folios with the productions of their pens. 'Nothing is easier,' said he; and he at once began a calculation to show what would be the effect, in the ordinary term of a man's life, if he wrote only one octavo page in a day; and the question was solved.... In this manner manuscripts accumulated on my hands until I have been surprised to find that, by this slow and steady process, I have been enabled to prepare eleven volumes of Commentary on the New Testament, and five on portions of the Old Testament."

Isaac Barrow was a very early riser, and with two exceptions very temperate in his habits. He indulged greatly in all kinds of fruit; alleging that, if the immoderate use of it killed hundreds in autumn, it was the means of preserving thousands throughout the year. But he was fonder still of tobacco. He believed that it helped to compose and regulate his thoughts. (He died, we may add, from the use of opium.) It was his plan, in whatever he was engaged, to prosecute it till he had brought it to a termination. He said he could not easily draw his thoughts from one thing to another. The morning was his favorite time for study. He kept a tinder-box in his apartment, and, during all of the winter and some of the autumn months, rose before it was light. He would sometimes rise at night, burn out his candle, and return to bed.

Zwingli is described as indefatigable in study. From daybreak until ten o'clock he used to read, write, and translate. After dinner he listened to those who had any news to give him, or who required his advice; he then would walk out with some of his friends, and visit his flock. At two o'clock he resumed his studies. He took a short walk after supper, and then wrote his letters, which often occupied him until midnight. He always worked standing, and never permitted himself to be disturbed except for some very important cause.

Melancthon was usually in his study at two or three o'clock in the morning, both in summer and winter. "It was during these early hours," says D'Aubigné, "that his best works were written." During the day he read three or four lectures, attended to the conferences of the professors, and after that labored till supper-time. He retired about nine. He would not open any letters in the evening, in order that his sleep might not be disturbed. He usually drank a glass of wine before supper. He generally took one simple meal a day, and never more than two, and always dined regularly at a fixed hour. He enjoyed but few healthy days in his life, and was frequently troubled with sleeplessness. His manuscripts usually lay on the table, exposed to the view of every visitor, so that he was robbed of several. When he had invited any of his friends to his house, he used to beg one of them to read, before sitting down to table, some small composition in prose or verse.

There is an interest of a peculiar nature in thus visiting the haunts and witnessing the labors of scholars, philosophers, and poets, which arises from the stimulus it affords us in turning again to our own humbler but kindred work. Whatever brings us into sympathy with the great and the noble thinkers enlarges and lifts our thoughts.


[C] In his youth he studied till midnight; but, warned by the early decay of sight and his disordered health, he afterwards changed his hours.

[Pg 586]




I solemnly believe that I should have continued to succeed in the virtuous practice of my profession, if it had not happened that fate was once more unkind to me, by throwing in my path one of my old acquaintances. I had had a consultation one day with the famous homœopath, Dr. Zwanzig; and as we walked away we were busily discussing the case of a poor consumptive fellow who had previously lost a leg. In consequence of this defect, Dr. Zwanzig considered that the ten-thousandth of a grain of Aur.[D] would be an over-dose, and that it must be fractioned so as to allow for the departed leg, otherwise the rest of the man would be getting a leg-dose too much. I was particularly struck with this view of the case, but I was still more, and less pleasingly, impressed with the sight of my quondam patient, Stagers, who nodded to me familiarly from the opposite pavement.

I was not at all surprised when, that evening quite late, I found this worthy seated waiting in my office. I looked around uneasily, which was clearly understood by my friend, who retorted, "Ain't took nothin', Doc. You don't seem right awful glad to see me. You needn't be afraid,—I've only fetched you a job, and a right good one too."

I replied, that I had my regular business, that I preferred he should get some one else, and pretty generally made Mr. Stagers conscious that I had had enough of him.

I did not ask him to sit down, and, just as I supposed him about to leave, he seated himself with a grin, remarking, "No use, Doc. Got to go into it this one time."

At this I naturally enough grew angry, and used several rather violent phrases.

"No use, Doc," remarked Stagers.

Then I softened down, and laughed a little, treated the thing as a joke, whatever it was, for I dreaded to hear.

But Stagers was fate. Stagers was inevitable. "Won't do, Doc,—not even money wouldn't get you off."

"No?" said I interrogatively, and as coolly as I could, contriving at the same time to move towards the window. It was summer, the sashes were up, the shutters drawn in, and a policeman whom I knew was lounging opposite, as I had noticed when I entered. I would give Stagers a scare anyhow; charge him with theft,—anything but get mixed up with his kind again.

He must have understood me, the scoundrel, for in an instant I felt a cold ring of steel against my ear, and a tiger clutch on my cravat. "Sit down," he said; "what a fool you are. Guess you've forgot that there coroner's business." Needless to say, I obeyed. "Best not try that again," continued my guest. "Wait a moment,"—and, rising, he closed the windows.

There was no resource left but to listen; and what followed I shall condense, rather than relate it in the language employed by my friend Mr. Stagers.

It appeared that another acquaintance, Mr. File, had been guilty of a cold-blooded and long-premeditated murder, for which he had been tried and convicted. He now lay in jail awaiting his execution, which was to take place at Carsonville, Ohio, one month after the date at which I heard of him anew. It seemed that, with Stagers and others, he had formed a band of counterfeiters in the West,[Pg 587] where he had thus acquired a fortune so considerable that I was amazed at his having allowed his passions to seduce him into unprofitable crime. In his agony he unfortunately thought of me, and had bribed Stagers largely in order that he might be induced to find me. When the narration had reached this stage, and I had been made fully to understand that I was now and hereafter under the sharp eye of Stagers and his friends, that, in a word, escape was out of the question, I turned on my tormentor.

"And what does all this mean?" I said; "what does File expect me to do?"

"Don't believe he exactly knows," said Stagers; "something or other to get him clear of hemp."

"But what stuff!" I replied. "How can I help him? What possible influence could I exert?"

"Can't say," answered Stagers imperturbably; "File has a notion you're most cunning enough for anything. Best try somethin', Doc."

"And what if I won't do it?" said I. "What does it matter to me, if the rascal swings or no?"

"Keep cool. Doc," returned Stagers, "I'm only agent in this here business. My principal, that's File, he says, 'Tell Sandcraft to find some way to get me clear. Once out, I give him ten thousand dollars. If he don't turn up something that'll suit, I'll blow about that coroner business, and break him up generally.'"

"You don't mean," said I, in a cold sweat,—"you don't mean that, if I can't do this impossible thing, he will inform on me?"

"Just so," returned Stagers. "Got a cigar, Doc?"

I only half heard him. What a frightful position. I had been leading a happy and an increasingly comfortable life,—no scrapes, and no dangers; and here, on a sudden, I had presented to me the alternative of saving a wretch from the gallows, or of spending unlimited years in a State penitentiary. As for the money, it became as dead leaves for this once only in my life. My brain seemed to be spinning in its case; lights came and went before my eyes. In my ears were the sounds of waters. I grew weak all over.

"Cheer up a little," said Stagers. "Here, take a nip of whiskey. Things ain't at the worst, by a good bit. You just get ready, and we'll start by the morning train. Guess you'll try out something smart enough, as we travel along. Ain't got a heap of time to lose."

I was silent. A great anguish had me in its grip. I might writhe and bite as I would, it was to be all in vain. Hideous plans arose to my ingenuity, born of this agony of terror and fear. I could murder Stagers, but what good would that do. As to File, he was safe from my hand. At last I became too confused to think any longer. "When do we leave?" I said, feebly.

"At six to-morrow," he returned.

How I was watched and guarded, and how hurried over a thousand miles of rail to my fate, little concerns us now. I find it dreadful to recall it to memory. Above all, an aching eagerness for revenge upon the man who had caused me these sufferings predominated in my mind. Could I not fool the wretch and save myself? On a sudden an idea came to my consciousness, like a sketch on an artist's paper. Then it grew, and formed itself, became possible, probable, it seemed to me sure. "Ah," said I, "Stagers, give me something to eat and drink." I had not tasted food for two days.

Within a day or two after my arrival, I was enabled to see File in his cell,—on the plea of being a clergyman from his native place.

I found that I had not miscalculated my danger. The man did not appear to have the least idea as to how I was to help him. He only knew that I was in his power, and he used his control to insure that something more potent than friendship should be enlisted on his behalf. As the days went by, this behavior grew to be a frightful thing to witness. He threatened, flattered,[Pg 588] implored, offered to double the sum he had promised, if I would but save him. As for myself, I had gradually become clear as to my course of action, and only anxious to get through with the matter. At last, a few days before the time appointed for the execution, I set about explaining to File my plan of saving him. At first I found this a very difficult task; but as he grew to understand that any other escape was impossible, he consented to my scheme, which I will now briefly explain.

I proposed, on the evening before the execution, to make an opening in the man's windpipe, low down in the neck, and where he could conceal it by a loose cravat. As the noose would be above this point, I explained that he would be able to breathe through the aperture, and that, even if stupefied, he could easily be revived if we should be able to prevent his being hanged too long. My friend had some absurd misgivings lest his neck should be broken by the fall; but as to this I was able to reassure him, upon the best scientific authority. There were certain other and minor questions, as to the effects of sudden, nearly complete cessation of the supply of blood to the brain; but with these physiological refinements I thought it needlessly cruel to distract a man in his peculiar position. Perhaps I shall be doing injustice to my own intellect if I do not hasten to state that I had not the remotest belief in the efficacy of my plan for any purpose except to extricate me from a very uncomfortable position.

On the morning of the day before the execution, I made ready everything that I could possibly need. So far our plans, or rather mine, had worked to a marvel. Certain of File's old accomplices succeeded in bribing the hangman to shorten the time of suspension. Arrangements were made also to secure me two hours alone with the prisoner, so that nothing seemed to be wanting. I had assured File that I would not see him again previous to the operation, but during the morning I was seized with a feverish impatience, which luckily prompted me to visit him once more. As usual, I was admitted readily, and nearly reached his cell, when I became aware from the sound of voices heard through the grating in the door that there was a visitor in the cell. "Who is with him?" I inquired of the warden.

"The doctor," he replied.

"Doctor?" I said. "What doctor?"

"O, the jail physician," he returned. "I was to come back in half an hour and let him out; but he's got a quarter to stay as yet. Shall I admit you, or will you wait?"

"No," I replied. "It is hardly right to interrupt them. I will walk in the corridor for ten minutes or so, and then you can send the turnkey to let me in."

"Very good," he returned, and left me.

As soon as I was alone, I cautiously advanced up the entry, and stood alongside of the door, through the barred grating of which I was able readily to hear what went on within. The first words I caught were these:—

"And you tell me, Doctor, that, even if a man's windpipe was open, the hanging would kill him,—are you sure?"

"Yes," returned the other, "I believe there would be no doubt of it. I cannot see how escape would be possible; but let me ask you," he went on more gravely, "why you have sent for me to ask all these singular questions. You cannot have the faintest hope of escape, and least of all in such a manner as this. I advise you to think rather on the fate which is inevitable. You must, I fear, have much to reflect upon."

"But," said File, "if I wanted to try this plan of mine, couldn't some one be found to help me, say if he was to make twenty thousand or so by it?"

"If you mean me," answered the doctor, "some one cannot be found, neither for twenty nor for fifty thousand dollars. Besides, if any one were wicked enough to venture on such an attempt, he would only be deceiving[Pg 589] you with a hope which would be utterly vain."

I understood all this, with an increasing fear in my mind. The prisoner was cunning enough to want to make sure that I was not playing him false.

After a pause, he said, "Well, Doctor, you know a poor devil in my fix will clutch at straws. Hope I haven't offended you."

"Not the least!" returned the doctor. "Shall I send to Mr. Smith?" This was my present name,—in fact I was known as the Rev. Mr. Eliphalet Smith.

"I would like it," answered File; "but as you go out, tell the warden I want to see him immediately about a matter of great importance."

At this stage, I began to conceive very distinctly that the time had arrived when it would be wiser for me to make my escape, if this step were yet possible. Accordingly I waited until I heard the doctor rise, and at once stepped quietly away to the far end of the corridor, which I had scarcely reached when the door which closed it was opened by a turnkey who had come to relieve the doctor. Of course my own peril was imminent. If the turnkey mentioned my near presence to the prisoner, immediate disclosure and arrest would follow. If time were allowed for the warden to obey the request from File, that he would visit him at once, I might gain thus half an hour, but hardly more. I therefore said to the officer: "Tell the warden that the doctor wishes to remain an hour longer with the prisoner, and that I shall return myself at the end of that time."

"Very good, sir," said the turnkey, allowing me to pass out, and relocking the door; "I'll tell him."

In a few moments I was outside of the jail gate, and saw my fellow-clergyman, Mr. Stagers, in full broadcloth and white tie, coming down the street towards me. As usual he was on guard; but this time he had to deal with a man grown perfectly desperate, with everything to win, and nothing to lose. My plans were made, and, wild as they were, I thought them worth the trying. I must evade this man's terrible watch. How keen it was, you cannot imagine; but it was aided by three of the infamous gang to which File had belonged, for without these spies no one person could possibly have sustained so perfect a system.

I took Stagers's arm. "What time," said I, "does the first train start for Dayton?"

"At twelve," said the other; "what do you want?"

"How far is it?" I continued.

"About fifteen miles," he replied.

"Good; I can get back by eight o'clock to-night."

"Easily," said Stagers, "if you go. What is it you want?"

"I want," said I, "a smaller tube, to put in the windpipe. Must have it, in fact."

"Well, I don't like it," said he, "but the thing's got to go through somehow. If you must go, I will go along myself. Can't lose sight of you, Doc, just at present. You're monstrous precious. Did you tell File?"

"Yes," said I. "He's all right. Come. We've no time to lose." Nor had we. Within twenty minutes we were seated in the last car of a long train, and running at the rate of twenty miles an hour towards Dayton. In about ten minutes I asked Stagers for a cigar.

"Can't smoke here," said he.

"No," I answered; "I'll go forward into the smoking-car."

"Come along, then," said he, and we went through the train accordingly. I was not sorry he had gone with me when I found in the smoking-car one of the spies who had been watching me so constantly. Stagers nodded to him and grinned at me, and we sat down together.

"Chut," said I, "dropped my cigar. Left it on the window-ledge, in the hindmost car. Be back in a moment." This time, for a wonder, Stagers allowed me to leave unaccompanied. I hastened through to the back car, and gained the[Pg 590] platform at its nearer end, where I instantly cut the signal cord. Then I knelt down, and, waiting until the two cars ran together, I removed the connecting pin. The next moment I leaped to my feet, and screwed up the brake wheel, so as to check the pace of the car. Instantly the distance widened between me and the flying train. A few moments more, and the pace of my own car slackened, while the hurrying train flew around a distant curve. I did not wait for my own car to stop entirely before I slipped down off the steps, leaving the other passengers to dispose of themselves as they might until their absence should be discovered and the rest of the train return.

As I wish rather to illustrate my very remarkable professional career, than to amuse by describing its mere incidents, I shall not linger to tell how I succeeded, at last, in reaching St. Louis. Fortunately, I had never ceased to anticipate a moment when escape from File and his friends would be possible, so that I always carried about with me the funds with which I had hastily provided myself upon leaving. The whole amount did not exceed a hundred dollars; but with this, and a gold watch worth as much more, I hoped to be able to subsist until my own ingenuity enabled me to provide more liberally for the future. Naturally enough, I scanned the papers closely, to discover some account of File's death, and of the disclosures concerning myself which he was only too likely to have made. I met with a full account of his execution, but with no allusion to myself, an omission which I felt fearful was due only to a desire on the part of the police to avoid alarming me in such a way as to keep them from pouncing upon me on my way home. Be this as it may, from that time to the present hour I have remained ignorant as to whether or not the villain betrayed my part in that curious coroner's inquest.

Before many days I had resolved to make another and a bold venture. Accordingly appeared in the St. Louis papers an advertisement to the effect that Dr. Von Ingenhoff, the well-known German physician, who had spent two years on the plains acquiring a knowledge of Indian medicine, was prepared to treat all diseases by vegetable remedies alone. Dr. Von Ingenhoff would remain in St. Louis for two weeks, and was to be found at the Grayson House every day from ten until two o'clock.

To my delight I got two patients the first day. The next I had twice as many; when at once I hired two connecting rooms, and made a very useful arrangement, which I may describe dramatically in the following way.

There being two or three patients waiting while I finish my cigar and morning julep, there enters a respectable looking old gentleman, who inquires briskly of the patients if this is really Dr. Von Ingenhoff's. He is told it is.

"Ah," says he, "I shall be delighted to see him; five years ago I was scalped on the plains, and now"—exhibiting a well-covered head—"you see what the Doctor did for me. 'T isn't any wonder I've come fifty miles to see him. Any of you been scalped, gentlemen?"

To none of them had this misfortune arrived as yet; but, like most folks in the lower ranks of life and some in the upper ones, it was pleasant to find a genial person who would listen to their account of their own symptoms. Presently, after hearing enough, the old gentleman pulls out a large watch. "Bless me! it's late. I must call again. May I trouble you, sir, to say to the Doctor that his old friend, Governor Brown, called to see him, and will drop in again to-morrow. Don't forget: Governor Brown of Arkansas." A moment later the Governor visited me by a side-door, with his account of the symptoms of my patients. Enter a tall Hoosier,—the Governor having retired. "Now, Doc," says Hoosier, "I've been handled awful these two years back." "Stop," I exclaim, "open your eyes. There now, let me see," taking his[Pg 591] pulse as I speak. "Ah, you've a pain there, and you can't sleep. Cocktails don't agree any longer. Weren't you bit by a dog two years ago?" "I was," says the Hoosier, in amazement. "Sir," I reply, "you have chronic hydrophobia. It's the water in the cocktails that disagrees with you. My bitters will cure in a week, sir."

The astonishment of my friend at these accurate revelations may be imagined. He is allowed to wait for his medicine in the ante-room, where the chances are in favor of his relating how wonderfully I had told all his symptoms at a glance.

Governor Brown of Arkansas was a small but clever actor, whom I met in the billiard-room, and who, day after day, in varying disguises and modes, played off the same trick, to our great mutual advantage.

At my friend's suggestion, we very soon added to our resources by the purchase of two electro-magnetic batteries. This special means of treating all classes of maladies has advantages which are altogether peculiar. In the first place, you instruct your patient that the treatment is of necessity a long one. A striking mode of putting it is to say, "Sir, you have been six months getting ill, it will require six months for a cure." There is a correct sound about such a phrase, and it is sure to satisfy. Two sittings a week, at three dollars a sitting, pays pretty well. In many cases the patient gets well while you are electrifying him. Whether or not the electricity cures him is a thing I shall never know. If, however, he begins to show signs of impatience, you advise him that he will require a year's treatment, and suggest that it will be economical for him to buy a battery and use it at home. Under this advice he pays you twenty dollars for an instrument which cost you ten, and you are rid of a troublesome case.

If the reader has followed me closely, he will have learned that I am a man of large views in my profession, and of a very justifiable ambition. The idea had often occurred to me of combining in one establishment all the various modes of practice which are known as irregular. This, as will be understood, is merely a more liberal rendering of the same idea which prompted me to unite in my own business homœopathy and the ordinary practice of medicine. I proposed to my partner, accordingly, to combine with our present business that of spiritualism, which I knew had been very profitably turned to account in connection with medical practice. As soon as he agreed to this plan, which, by the way, I hoped to enlarge, so as to include all the available isms, I set about making such preparations as were necessary. I remembered to have read somewhere, that a Doctor Schiff had shown that you could produce remarkably clever knockings, so called, by voluntarily dislocating the great toe and then forcibly drawing it back again into its socket. A still better noise could be made by throwing the tendon of the peroneus longus muscle out of the hollow in which it lies, alongside of the ankle. After some effort I was able to accomplish both feats quite readily, and could occasion a remarkable variety of sounds, according to the power which I employed or the positions which I occupied at the time. As to all other matters, I trusted to the suggestions of my own ingenuity, which, as a rule, has rarely failed me.

The largest success attended the novel plan which my lucky genius had devised; so that soon we actually began to divide large profits, and to lay by a portion of our savings. It is, of course, not to be supposed that this desirable result was attained without many annoyances and some positive danger. My spiritual revelations, medical and other, were, as may be supposed, only more or less happy guesses; but in this, as in predictions as to the weather and other events, the rare successes always get more prominence in the minds of men than the numerous failures.[Pg 592] Moreover, whenever a person has been fool enough to resort to folks like myself, he is always glad to be able to defend his conduct by bringing forward every possible proof of skill on the part of the man he has consulted. These considerations, and a certain love of mysterious or unusual means, I have commonly found sufficient to secure an ample share of gullible individuals; while I may add, that, as a rule, those who would be shrewd enough to understand and expose us are wise enough to keep away altogether. Such as did come were, as a rule, easy enough to manage, but now and then we hit upon some utterly exceptional patient, who was both fool enough to consult me and clever enough to know he had been swindled. When such a fellow made a fuss, it was occasionally necessary to return his money, if it was found impossible to bully him into silence. In one or two instances, where I had promised a cure upon prepayment of two or three hundred dollars, I was either sued or threatened with suit, and had to refund a part or the whole of the amount; but most folks preferred to hold their tongues, rather than expose to the world the extent of their own folly.

In one case I suffered personally to a degree which I never can recall without a distinct sense of annoyance, both at my own want of care and at the disgusting consequences which it brought upon me.

Early one morning an old gentleman called, in a state of the utmost agitation, and explained that he desired to consult the spirits as to a heavy loss which he had experienced the night before. He had left, he said, a sum of money in his pantaloons-pocket, upon going to bed. In the morning he had changed his clothes, and gone out, forgetting to remove the notes. Returning in an hour in great haste, he discovered that the garment still lay upon the chair where he had thrown it, but that the money was missing. I at once desired him to be seated, and proceeded to ask him certain questions, in a chatty way, about the habits of his household, the amount lost, and the like, expecting thus to get some clew which would enable me to make my spirits display the requisite share of sagacity in pointing out the thief. I learned readily that he was an old and wealthy man, a little close too, I suspected; and that he lived in a large house, with but two servants, and an only son about twenty-one years old. The servants were both elderly women, who had lived in the household many years, and were probably innocent. Unluckily, remembering my own youthful career, I presently reached the conclusion that the young man had been the delinquent. When I ventured to inquire a little as to his character and habits, the old gentleman cut me very short, remarking that he came to ask questions, and not to be questioned, and that he desired at once to consult the spirits. Upon this I sat down at a table, and, after a brief silence, demanded in a solemn voice if there were present any spirits. By industriously cracking my big-toe joint, I was enabled to represent at once the presence of a numerous assembly of these worthies. Then I inquired if any one of them had been present when the robbery was effected. A prompt double-knock replied in the affirmative. I may say here, by the way, that the unanimity of the spirits as to their use of two knocks for yes, and one for no, is a very remarkable point; and shows, if it shows anything, how perfect and universal must be the social intercourse of the respected departed. It is worthy of note, also, that if the spirit, I will not say the medium, perceives, after one knock, that it were wiser to say yes, he can conveniently add the second tap. Some such arrangement in real life would, it appears to me, be very desirable.

To return to the subject. As soon as I explained that the spirit who answered had been a witness of the theft, the old man became strangely agitated. "Who was it?" said he. At once the[Pg 593] spirit indicated a desire to use the alphabet. As we went over the letters, (always a slow method, but useful when you want to observe excitable people,) my visitor kept saying, "Quicker. Go quicker." At length the spirit spelt out the words, "I know not his name." "Was it," said the gentleman,—"was it a—was it one of my household?" I knocked yes, without hesitation; who else could it have been? "Excuse me," he went on, "if I ask you for a little wine." This I gave him. He continued, "Was it Susan, or Ellen? answer instantly."


"Was it—" He paused. "If I ask a question mentally, will the spirits reply?" I knew what he meant. He wanted to ask if it was his son, but did not wish to speak openly.

"Ask," said I.

"I have," he returned.

I hesitated. It was rarely my policy to commit myself definitely; yet here I fancied, from the facts of the case, and his own terrible anxiety, that he suspected or more than suspected his son as the guilty person. I became sure of this as I studied his face. At all events it would be easy to deny or explain, in case of trouble; and after all, what slander was there in two knocks! I struck twice as usual.

Instantly the old gentleman rose up, very white, but quite firm. "There," he said, and cast a bank-note on the table, "I thank you";—and bending his head on his breast, walked, as I thought with great effort, out of the room.

On the following morning, as I made my first appearance in my outer room, which contained at least a dozen persons awaiting advice, who should I see standing by the window but the old gentleman with sandy-gray hair. Along with him was a stout young man, with a decided red head, and mustache and whiskers to match. Probably the son, thought I,—ardent temperament, remorse,—come to confess, etc. Except as to the temper, I was never more mistaken in my life. I was about to go regularly through my patients, when the old gentleman began to speak.

"I called, Doctor," said he, "to explain the little matter about which I—about which I—"

"Troubled your spirits yesterday," added the youth jocosely, pulling his mustache.

"Beg pardon," I returned. "Had we not better talk this over in private? Come into my office," I added, touching the lad on the arm.

Would you believe it?—he took out his handkerchief, and dusted the place I had touched. "Better not," he said. "Go on, father; let us get done with this den."

"Gentlemen," said the elder person, addressing the patients, "I called here yesterday, like a fool, to ask who had stolen from me a sum of money, which I believed I left in my room on going out in the morning. This doctor here and his spirits contrived to make me suspect my only son. Well, I charged him at once with the crime, as soon as I got back home; and what do you think he did. He said, 'Father, let us go up stairs and look for it, and—'"

Here the young man broke in with "Come, father, don't worry yourself for nothing"; and then, turning, added, "To cut the thing short, he found the notes under his candlestick, where he had left them on going to bed. This is all of it. We came here to stop this fellow" (by which he meant me) "from carrying a slander further. I advise you, good people, to profit by the matter, and to look up a more honest doctor, if doctoring be what you want."

As soon as he had ended, I remarked solemnly: "The words of the spirits are not my words. Who shall hold them accountable?"

"Nonsense," said the young man. "Come, father," and they left the room.

Now was the time to retrieve my character. "Gentlemen," said I, "you have heard this very singular account. Trusting the spirits utterly and entirely as I do, it occurs to me that there is no reason why they may not after all have been right in their suspicions[Pg 594] of this young person. Who can say that, overcome by remorse, he may not have seized the time of his father's absence to replace the money?"

To my amazement up gets a little old man from the corner. "Well, you are a low cuss," said he; and, taking up a basket beside him, hobbled out of the room. You maybe sure I said some pretty sharp things to him, for I was out of humor to begin with, and it is one thing to be insulted by a stout young man, and quite another to be abused by a wretched old cripple. However, he went away, and I supposed, for my part, that I was done with the whole business.

An hour later, however, I heard a rough knock at my door, and, opening it hastily, saw my red-headed young man with the cripple.

"Now," said the former, catching me by the collar, and pulling me into the room among my patients, "I want to know, my man, if this doctor said that it was likely I was the thief, after all?"

"That's what he said," replied the cripple; "just about that, sir."

I do not desire to dwell on the after conduct of this hot-headed young man. It was the more disgraceful, as I offered but little resistance, and endured a beating such as I would have hesitated to inflict upon a dog. Nor was this all; he warned me that, if I dared to remain in the city after a week, he would shoot me. In the East I should have thought but little of such a threat, but here it was only too likely to be practically carried out. Accordingly, with much grief and reluctance, I collected my whole fortune, which now amounted to at least seven thousand dollars, and turned my back upon this ungrateful town. I am sorry to say that I also left behind me the last of my good luck, as hereafter I was to encounter only one calamity after another.

Travelling slowly eastward, my spirits began at last to rise to their usual level, and when I arrived in Boston I set myself to thinking how best I could contrive to enjoy life, and at the same time to increase my means.

On former occasions I was a moneyless adventurer; now I possessed sufficient capital, and was able and ready to embark in whatever promised the best returns with the smallest personal risk. Several schemes presented themselves as worthy the application of industry and talent, but none of them altogether suited my tastes. I thought at times of travelling as a Physiological Lecturer, combining with it the business of a practitioner. Scare the audience at night with an enumeration of symptoms which belong to ten out of every dozen of healthy people, and then doctor such of them as are gulls enough to consult me next day. The bigger the fright, the better the pay. I was a little timid, however, about facing large audiences, as a man will be naturally if he has lived a life of adventure, so that, upon due consideration, I gave up the idea altogether.

The patent-medicine business also looked well enough, but it is somewhat overdone at all times, and requires a heavy outlay, with the possible result of ill-success. Indeed, I believe fifty quack remedies fail for one that succeeds; and millions must have been wasted in placards, bills, and advertisements, which never returned half their value to the speculator. If I live, I think I shall beguile my time with writing the lives of the principal quacks who have met with success. They are few in number, after all, as any one must know who recalls the countless remedies which are puffed awhile on the fences, and disappear to be heard of no more.

Lastly, I inclined for a while to undertake a private insane asylum, which appeared to me to offer facilities for money-making; as to which, however, I may have been deceived by the writings of certain popular novelists. I went so far, I may say, as actually to visit Concord for the purpose of finding a pleasant locality and a suitable atmosphere; but, upon due reflection, abandoned my plan as involving too much personal labor to suit one of my easy frame of mind.[Pg 595]

Tired at last of idleness and of lounging on the Common, I engaged in two or three little ventures of a semi-professional character, such as an exhibition of laughing-gas; advertising to cure cancer; send ten stamps by mail to J. B., and receive an infallible receipt, etc. I did not find, however, that these little enterprises prospered well in New England, and I had recalled to me very forcibly a story which my grandfather was fond of relating to me in my boyhood. It briefly narrated how certain very knowing flies went to get molasses, and how it ended by the molasses getting them. This, indeed, was precisely what happened to me in all my little efforts to better myself in the Northern States, until at length my misfortunes climaxed in total and unexpected ruin.

The event which deprived me of the hard-won earnings of years of ingenious industry was brought about by the baseness of a man who was concerned with me in purchasing drugs for exportation to the Confederate States. Unluckily, I was obliged to employ as my agent a long-legged sea-captain from Maine. With his aid, I invested in this enterprise about six thousand dollars, which I reasonably hoped to quadruple. Our arrangements were cleverly made to run the blockade at Charleston, and we were to sail on a certain Thursday morning in September, 1863. I sent my clothes on board, and went down the evening before to go on board, but found that the little schooner had been hauled out from the pier. The captain, who met me at this time, endeavored to get a boat in order to ferry us to the ship, but the night was stormy, and we were obliged to return to our lodgings. Early next day I dressed and went to the captain's room, which proved to be empty. I was instantly filled with doubt, and ran frantically to the foot of Long Wharf, where, to my horror, I could see no signs of schooner or captain. Neither have I ever again set eyes on them from that time to this. I immediately lodged information with the police as to the unpatriotic designs of the rascal who had swindled me, but whether or not justice ever overtook him I am unable to say.

It was, as I perceived, such utterly spilt milk as to be little worth lamenting; and I therefore set to work with my accustomed energy to utilize on my own behalf the resources of my medical education, which so often before had saved me from want. The war, then raging at its height, appeared to me to offer numerous opportunities to men of talent. The path which I chose myself was apparently a humble one, but it enabled me to make very agreeable use of my professional knowledge, and afforded rapid and secure returns, without any other investment than a little knowledge cautiously employed. In the first place, I deposited my small remnant of property in a safe bank, and then proceeded to Providence, where, as I had heard, patriotic persons were giving very large bounties in order, I suppose, to insure to the government the services of better men than themselves. On my arrival I lost no time in offering myself as a substitute, and was readily accepted, and very soon mustered into the Twentieth Rhode Island. Three months were passed, in camp, during which period I received bounties to the extent of six hundred and fifty dollars, with which I tranquilly deserted about two hours before the regiment left for the field. With the product of my industry I returned to Boston, and deposited all but enough to carry me to New York, where within a month I enlisted twice, earning on each occasion four hundred dollars.

My next essay was in Philadelphia, which I approached, even after some years of absence, with a good deal of doubt. It was an ill-omened place for me; for although I got nearly seven hundred dollars by entering the service as a substitute for an editor,—whose pen, I presume, was mightier than his sword,—I was disagreeably surprised by being hastily forwarded to the front[Pg 596] under a foxy young lieutenant, who brutally shot down a poor devil in the streets of Baltimore for attempting to desert. At this point I began to make use of my medical skill, for I did not in the least degree fancy being shot, either because of deserting or of not deserting. It happened, therefore, that a day or two later, while in Washington, I was seized in the street with a fit, which perfectly imposed upon the officer in charge, and caused him to leave me at the Douglas Hospital. Here I found it necessary to perform fits about twice a week; and as there were several real epileptics in the wards I had a capital chance of studying their symptoms, which finally I learned to imitate with the utmost cleverness.

I soon got to know three or four men, who, like myself, were personally averse to bullets, and who were simulating other forms of disease with more or less success. One of them suffered with rheumatism of the back, and walked about bent like an old man; another, who had been to the front, was palsied in the left arm; and a third kept open an ulcer on the leg, by rubbing in a little antimonial ointment, which I sold him at five dollars a box, and bought at fifty cents.

A change in the hospital staff brought all of us to grief. The new surgeon was a quiet, gentlemanly person, with pleasant blue eyes and clearly cut features, and a way of looking you through without saying much. I felt so safe myself that I watched his procedures with just that kind of enjoyment which one clever man takes in seeing another at work.

The first inspection settled two of us, "Another back case," said the ward surgeon to his senior.

"Back hurt you?" says the latter, mildly.

"Yes, sir; run over by a howitzer; ain't never been straight since."

"A howitzer!" says the surgeon. "Lean forward, my man, so as to touch the floor,—so. That will do." Then, turning to his aid, he said, "Prepare this man's discharge papers."

"His discharge, sir?"

"Yes, I said that. Who's next?"

"Thank you, sir," groaned the man with the back. "How soon, sir, do you think it will be?"

"Ah, not less than a month," replied the surgeon, and passed on.

Now as it was unpleasant to be bent like a letter V, and as the patient presumed that his discharge was secure, he naturally took to himself a little relaxation in the way of becoming straighter. Unluckily, those nice blue eyes were everywhere at all hours; and, one fine morning, Smithson was appalled at finding himself in a detachment bound for the field, and bearing on his descriptive list an ill-natured endorsement about his malady.

The surgeon came next on O'Callahan. "Where's your cap, my man?"

"On my head, yer honor," said the other, insolently. "I've a paralytics in my arm."

"Humph!" cried the surgeon. "You have another hand."

"An' it's not rigulation to saloot with yer left," said the Irishman, with a grin, while the patients around us began to laugh.

"How did it happen?" said the surgeon.

"I was shot in the shoulder," answered the patient, "about three months ago, sir. I haven't stirred it since."

The surgeon looked at the scar.

"So recently?" said he. "The scar looks older; and, by the way, doctor," to his junior, "it could not have gone near the nerves. Bring the battery, orderly."

In a few moments the surgeon was testing, one after another, the various muscles. At last he stopped. "Send this man away with the next detachment. Not a word, my man. You are a rascal, and a disgrace to these good fellows who have been among the bullets."

The man muttered something, I did not hear what.

"Put this man in the guard-house," cried the surgeon; and so passed on, without smile or frown.[Pg 597]

As to the ulcer case, to my amusement he was put in bed, and his leg locked up in a wooden splint, which effectually prevented him from touching the part diseased. It healed in ten days, and he too went as food for powder.

As for myself, he asked me a few questions, and, requesting to be sent for during my next fit, left me alone.

I was of course on my guard, and took care to have my attacks only in his absence, or to have them over before he arrived.

At length, one morning, in spite of my care, he chanced to be in the ward, when I fell at the door. I was carried in and laid on a bed, apparently in strong convulsions. Presently I felt a finger on my eyelid, and as it was raised, saw the surgeon standing beside me. To escape his scrutiny, I became more violent in my motions. He stopped a moment, and looked at me steadily. "Poor fellow!" said he, to my great relief, as I felt at once that I had successfully deceived him. Then he turned to the ward doctor and remarked: "Take care he does not hurt his head against the bed; and, by the by, doctor, do you remember the test we applied in Smith's case? Just tickle the soles of his feet, and see if it will cause those backward spasms of the head."

The aid obeyed him, and, very naturally, I jerked my head backwards as hard as I could.

"That will answer," said the surgeon, to my horror. "A clever rogue. Send him to the guard-house when he gets over it."

"Happy had I been if my ill-luck had ended here; but, as I crossed the yard, an officer stopped me. To my disgust it was the captain of my old Rhode Island company.

"Halloa!" said he; "keep that fellow safe. I know him."

To cut short a long story; I was tried, convicted, and forced to refund the Rhode Island bounty, for by ill luck they found my bank-book among my papers. I was finally sent to Fort Mifflin for a year, and kept at hard labor, handling and carrying shot, policing the ground, picking up cigar-stumps, and other like unpleasant occupations.

Upon my release, I went at once to Boston, where I had about two thousand dollars in bank. I spent nearly all of the latter sum before I could prevail upon myself to settle down to some mode of making a livelihood; and I was about to engage in business as a vender of lottery policies, when I first began to feel a strange sense of lassitude, which soon increased so as quite to disable me from work of any kind. Month after month passed away, while my money lessened, and this terrible sense of weariness still went on from bad to worse. At last one day, after nearly a year had elapsed, I perceived on my face a large brown patch of color, in consequence of which I went in some alarm to consult a well-known physician. He asked me a multitude of tiresome questions, and at last wrote off a prescription, which I immediately read. It was a preparation of iron.

"What do you think," said I, "is the matter with me, doctor?"

"I am afraid," said he, "that you have a very serious trouble,—what we call Addison's disease."

"What's that?" said I.

"I do not think you would comprehend it," he replied. "It is an affection of the supra-renal capsules."

I dimly remembered that there were such organs, and that nobody knew what they were meant for. It seemed the doctors had found a use for them at last.

"Is it a dangerous disease?" I said.

"I fear so," he answered.

"Don't you know," I asked, "what's the truth about it?"

"Well," he returned gravely, "I am sorry to tell you it is a very dangerous malady."

"Nonsense," said I, "I don't believe it,"—for I thought it was only a doctor's trick, and one I had tried often enough myself.

"Thank you," said he, "you are a[Pg 598] very ill man, and a fool besides. Good morning." He forgot to ask for a fee, and I remembered not to offer one.

Several months went by; my money was gone; my clothes were ragged, and, like my body, nearly worn out; and I am an inmate of a hospital. To-day I feel weaker than when I first began to write. How it will end I do not know. If I die, the doctor will get this pleasant history; and if I live, I shall burn it, and, as soon as I get a little money, I will set out to look for my little sister, about whom I dreamed last night. What I dreamed was not very agreeable. I thought I was walking up one of the vilest streets near my old office, when a girl spoke to me,—a shameless, worn creature, with great sad eyes, not so wicked as the rest of her face. Suddenly she screamed aloud, "Brother! Brother!" and then, remembering what she had been,—with her round, girlish, innocent face, and fair hair,—and seeing what she was, I awoke, and cursed myself in the darkness for the evil I had done in the days of my youth.


[D] Aurum, used in religious melancholy (see Jahr,) and not a bad remedy, it strikes me.


Many years ago—now more than two hundred and fifty—some one in England wrote a short poem bearing the above emphatic title, which deservedly holds a place in the collections of old English poetry at the present day. It is a striking production, familiar, no doubt, to most lovers of ancient verse, and, although numbering only about a dozen stanzas, has outlasted many a ponderous folio.

I say, indefinitely enough, that this little poem was written by some one, and strange as it may appear, the name of that one is still in doubt. Its authorship was attributed, by Bishop Percy and others, to Sir Walter Raleigh, and sometimes with the fanciful addition, that he wrote it the night before his execution. The piece, however, was extant many years before the world was disgraced by that deed of wickedness.

After a while it began to be questioned whether the verses were really written by Sir Walter. Some old-poetry mouser appears to have lighted on an ancient folio volume, the work of Joshua Sylvester, and found among its contents a poem called "The Soul's Errand," which, it would seem, was thought to be the same that had been credited to Sir Walter Raleigh under the title of "The Lie."

Joshua Sylvester was in his day a writer of some note. Colley Cibber, in his "Lives of the Poets," is quite lavish in his praise, and says his brethren in the sacred art called him the "Silver-tongued." The same phrase has been applied to others.

In his "Specimens of Early English Poets," Ellis "restores" the poem, with the title of "The Soul's Errand," to Sylvester, as its "ancient proprietor, till a more authorized claimant shall be produced."

Chambers, in his "Cyclopædia of English Literature," prints the poem, with the title of "The Soul's Errand," and he also gives it to Sylvester, "as the now generally received author of an impressive piece, long ascribed to Raleigh."

Sir Egerton Brydges, in his "Censura Literaria," doubts Percy's right to credit Sir Walter with the poem of "The Lie," of which he says there is a "parody" in the folio edition of Sylvester's works, where it is entitled "The Soul's Errand."

The veteran J. Payne Collier, the emendator of Shakespeare, has recently put forth a work, in four volumes, entitled[Pg 599] "A Bibliographical and Critical Account of the Rarest Books in the English Language." In this work he claims the authorship of "The Lie," "otherwise called 'The Soul's Errand,'" for Sir Walter Raleigh, and rests his authority on a manuscript copy "of the time," headed, "Sir Walter Wrawly his Lye." He quotes the poem at length, beginning,

"Hence, soule, the bodies guest."

All other copies that I have seen read, "Go, soul," which I think will be deemed the more fitting word.

Collier does not allude to Sylvester in connection with this poem, but introduces him in another article, and treats him somewhat cavalierly, as "a mere literary adventurer and translating drudge." "When he died," Collier says, "is not precisely known." He might have known, since there were records all round him to show that Sylvester died in Holland, in September, 1618. His great contemporary, Sir Walter Raleigh, was beheaded in October, one month after.

(By the way, Payne Collier holds out marvellously. Here is his new work, dated 1866, and I have near me his "Poetical Decameron," published in 1820, forty-six years ago.)

Ritson, a noted reaper in the "old fields," supposes, that "The Lie" was written by Francis Davison; and in Kerl's "Comprehensive Grammar," among many poetical extracts, I find two stanzas of the poem quoted as written by Barnfield,—probably Richard. These two writers were of Raleigh's time, but I think their claims may be readily dismissed. Supposing that "The Lie" was written by either Joshua Sylvester or Sir Walter Raleigh, I shall try to show that it was not written by Sylvester, and that he has wrongfully enjoyed the credit of its authorship.

Critics and collators have for years been doubting about the authorship of this little poem, written over two centuries and a half ago; and, so far as I can ascertain, not one of them has ever discovered, what is the simple fact, that there were two poems instead of one, similar in scope and spirit, but still two poems,—"The Lie" and "The Soul's Errand."

I have said that Sir Egerton Brydges alludes to a "parody" of "The Lie," in Sylvester's volume, there called "The Soul's Errand." In that volume I find what Sir Egerton calls a "parody." It is, in reality, another poem, bearing the title of "The Soul's Errand," consisting of twenty stanzas, all of four lines each, excepting the first stanza, which has six. "The Lie" consists of but thirteen stanzas, of six lines each, the fifth and sixth of which may be termed the refrain or burden of the piece. I annex copies of the two poems; Sir Walter's (so called) is taken from Percy's "Reliques," and Sylvester's is copied from his own folio.

On comparing the two pieces, it will be seen that they begin alike, and go on nearly alike for a few stanzas, when they diverge, and are then entirely different from each other to the end. I do not find that this difference has ever been pointed out, and am therefore left to suppose that it never was discovered. At this late day conjectures are not worth much, but it would appear that, the opening stanzas of the two poems being similar, their identity was at some time carelessly taken for granted by some collector, who read only the initial stanzas, and thus ignorantly deprived Sir Walter of "The Lie," and gave it to Sylvester, with the title of "The Soul's Errand."

This, however, is certain: "The Soul's Errand," so called, of thirteen stanzas, given to us by Ellis and by Chambers as Sylvester's, is not the poem that Sylvester wrote under that title, and we have his own authority for saying so. His poem of twenty stanzas, bearing that title, does not appear to have ever been reprinted, and it is believed cannot now be found anywhere out of his own book. Ellis, it is plain, is not to be trusted. Professing[Pg 600] to be exact, he refers for his authority to page 652 of Sylvester's works, and then proceeds to print a poem as his which is not there. Had he read the page he quotes so carefully, he would have seen that "The Lie" and "The Soul's Errand" were two separate productions, alike only in the six stanzas taken from the former and included in the latter.

We learn that Sir Walter Raleigh's poems were never all collected into a volume, and, further, we learn that "The Lie," as a separate piece, was attributed to him at an early period. Payne Collier, as I have said, prints it as his, from a manuscript "of the time"; and in an elaborate article on Raleigh, in the North British Review, copied into Littell's Living Age, of June 9, 1855, the able reviewer refers particularly to "The Lie," "saddest of poems," as Sir Walter's, and adds in a note that "it is to be found in a manuscript of 1596." This would make the piece two hundred and seventy years old. When and by whom it was first taken from Sir Walter and given to Sylvester, with the altered title, and why Sylvester incorporated into his poem of "The Soul's Errand" six stanzas belonging to "The Lie," can now, of course, never be known.

I find that I have been indulging in quite a flow of words about a few old verses; but then they are verses, and such as one should not be robbed of. They have lived through centuries of time, and outlived generations of ambitious penmen, and the true name of the author ought to live with them. Long ago, when a school-boy, I used to read and repeat "The Lie," and it was then the undoubted work of Sir Walter Raleigh. In after years, on looking into various volumes of old English poetry, I was told that "The Lie" was not "The Lie," and was not written by Sir Walter Raleigh; that the true title of the piece was "The Soul's Errand," and that the real author of it was a certain Joshua Sylvester. Unwilling to displace the brave knight from the niche he had graced so long, I hunted up Sylvester's old folio, and the result of my search may be found in these imperfect remarks.

Frankly, I would fain believe that "The Lie" was written by Sir Walter. It is true I am not able to prove it, but I think I prove that it was not written by Sylvester. He wrote another poem, "The Soul's Errand," and he is welcome to it; that is, he is welcome to fourteen of its twenty stanzas,—the other six do not belong to him. Give him also, painstaking man! due laudation for his version of the "Divine Du Bartas," of which formidable work anyone who has the courage to grapple with its six hundred and fifty-odd folio pages may know where to find a copy.

But Sir Walter Raleigh,—heroic Sir Walter,—he is before me bodily, running his fingers along the sharp edge of the fatal axe, and calmly laying his noble head on the block.

"The good Knight is dust,
And his sword is rust";

but I want to feel that he left behind him, as the offspring of his great brain, one of the most impressive poems of his time,—ay, and indeed of any time.



Goe, soule, the bodies guest,
Upon a thanklesse arrant;
Feare not to touche the best,
The truth shall be thy warrant:
Goe, since I needs must dye,
And give the world the lye.
Goe tell the court, it glowes
And shines like rotten wood;
Goe tell the church it showes
What's good, and doth no good:
If church and court reply,
Then give them both the lye.
Tell potentates they live
Acting by others actions:
Not lov'd unlesse they give,
Not strong but by their factions:
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lye.
[Pg 601]
Tell men of high condition,
That rule affairs of state,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practise only hate;
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lye.
Tell them that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who in their greatest cost
Seek nothing but commending:
And if they make reply,
Spare not to give the lye.
Tell zeale, it lacks devotion;
Tell love, it is but lust;
Tell time, it is but motion;
Tell flesh, it is but dust;
And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lye.
Tell age, it daily wasteth;
Tell honour, how it alters;
Tell beauty, how she blasteth;
Tell favour, how she falters;
And as they shall reply,
Give each of them the lye.
Tell wit, how much it wrangles
In tickle points of nicenesse;
Tell wisedome, she entangles
Herselfe in over-wisenesse:
And if they do reply,
Straight give them both the lye.
Tell physicke of her boldnesse;
Tell skill, it is pretension;
Tell charity of coldness;
Tell law, it is contention;
And as they yield reply,
So give them still the lye.
Tell fortune of her blindnesse;
Tell nature of decay;
Tell friendship of unkindnesse;
Tell justice of delay:
And if they dare reply,
Then give them all the lye.
Tell arts, they have no soundnesse,
But vary by esteeming;
Tell schooles they want profoundnesse,
And stand too much on seeming:
If arts and schooles reply,
Give arts and schooles the lye.
Tell faith, it's fled the citie;
Tell how the countrey erreth;
Tell, manhood shakes off pitie;
Tell, vertue least preferreth;
And, if they doe reply,
Spare not to give the lye.
So, when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing,
Athough to give the lye
Deserves no less than stabbing,
Yet stab at thee who will,
No stab the soule can kill.



Goe Soule, the bodies guest,
Upon a thanklesse Errand,
Feare not to touch the best,
The Truth shall be thy warrant:
Goe thou, since I must die,
And give the world the lye.
Goe tell the Court it glowes,
And shines like rotten wood;
Say to the Church it showes
What's good, but doth not good.
Tell Potentates they live,
Acting by others Action,
Not lov'd unlesse they give,
Not strong, but by a faction.
Tell men of high condition,
That in Affaires of State
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate.
Goe tell the young Nobility,
They doe degenerate,
Wasting their large ability,
In things effeminate.
Tell those that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
And, in their greatest cost,
Seeke but a self-commending.
Tell Zeale it wants Devotion,
Tell Love it is but Lust,
Tell Priests they hunt Promotion,
Tell Flesh it is but Dust.
Say Souldiers are the Sink
Of Sinne to all the Realme;
Given all to whores and drink,
To quarrell and blaspheme.
Tell Townesmen, that because that
They pranck their Brides so proud,
Too many times it drawes that
Which makes them beetle-brow'd.[Pg 602]
Goe tell the Palace-Dames
They paint their parboil'd faces,
Seeking by greater shames
To cover lesse disgraces.
Say to the City-wives,
Through their excessive brav'ry,
Their Husband hardly thrives,
But rather lives in Slav'ry.
Tell London Youths that Dice,
Faire Queanes, fine Clothes, full Bouls,
Consume the cursed price
Of their dead-Fathers Soules.
Say Maidens are too coy
To them that chastely seeke them,
And yet are apt to toy
With baser Jacks that like them.
Tell Poets of our dayes
They doe profane the Muses,
In soothing Sin with praise,
That all the world abuses.
Tell Tradesmen waight and measure
They craftily abuse,
Thereby to heap-up treasure,
Though Heav'n thereby they lose.
Goe tell the vitious rich,
By usury to gaine
Their fingers alwaies itch,
To soules and bodies paine.
Yea tell the wretched poore
That they the wealthy hate,
And grudge to see at doore
Another in their state.
Tell all the world throughout
That all's but vanity,
Her pleasures doe but flout
With sly security.
Tell Kings and Beggars base,
Yea tell both young and old,
They all are in one case,
And must all to the mould.
And now kinde Host adieu,
Rest thou in earthly Tombe,
Till Christ shall all renew,
And then I'll thee resume.


Coming up from one of the Brooklyn ferries, after dark, on a sultry summer evening, I take my way through the close-built district of New York City still known as "The Swamp." The narrow streets of the place are deserted by this time, but they have been lively enough during the day with the busy leather-dealers and their teams; for this is the great hide and leather mart of the city, as any one might guess even now in the gloom by the pungent odors that arise on every side. The heavy iron doors and window-shutters of the buildings have been locked and barred for the night; and the thick atmosphere of the place appears to affect the gas-lights, which burn sickly and dim in the street lanterns. Nobody lives here at night. The footfalls of the solitary policeman give out a hollow sound as he paces the narrow trottoir of Ferry Street, in the heart of "The Swamp." Over two hundred years ago, when Governor Peter Stuyvesant pastured his flocks and herds hereabouts, the wayfarer would have been more likely to mark a solitary heron than a solitary policeman; for it was really a swamp then, and much earth-work must have been expended in making the solid ground whereon the buildings now stand. Neither is it probable that, even on the most sultry of summer nights, the nose of old Mynheer Stuyvesant would have been saluted with odors of morocco leather, such as fill the air of "The Swamp" to-night. The wild swamp-flowers, though, gave out some faint perfumes to the night[Pg 603] air in those olden times; but the place could hardly have been so still of a summer night as it is now, for the booming of the bullfrog and the piping of his lesser kin must have made night resonant here, and it is reasonable to surmise that owls hooted in the cedar-trees that hung over the tawny sedges of the swamp. "Jack-o'-Lantern" was the only inhabitant who burned gas hereabouts in those times, and he manufactured his own. The nocturnal raccoon edged his way through the alders here, in the old summer nights, and the muskrat built his house among the reeds. Not a raccoon nor a muskrat is the wayfarer likely to meet with here to-night; but the gray rat of civilization is to be dimly discerned, as he lopes along the gutters in his nightly prowl.

There is something very bewildering to the untutored mind in the announcements on the dim, stony door-posts of the stores. Here it is set forth that "Kids and Gorings" are the staple of the concern. Puzzling though the inscription is to me, yet I recognize in it something that is pastoral and significant; for there were kids that skipped, probably, and bulls that gored, when the grass was green here. "Oak and Hemlock Leather," on the next door-post, reads well, for it is redolent of glades that were old before the masonry that now prevails here had been dreamed of. Here we have an announcement of "Russet Roans"; and the next merchant, who is apparently a cannibal or a ghoul, deliberately notifies the public that he deals in "Hatters' Skins." Many of the door-posts announce "Findings" and "Skivers"; and upon one of them I note the somewhat remarkable intimation of "Pulled Wool." Gold Street, also, is redolent of all these things, as I turn into it, nor is there any remission of the pungent trade-stenches of the district until I have gained a good distance up Spruce Street, toward the City Hall Park. Here the Bowery proper, viewed as a great artery of New York trade and travel, may be said to begin. The first reach of it is called Chatham Street; and, having plunged into this, I have nothing before me now but Bowery for a distance of nearly two miles.

Leaving behind me, then, the twinkling lights of the newspaper buildings and those of the City Hall Park northward along Chatham Street I bend my loitering steps. Israel predominates here,—Israel, with its traditional stock in trade of cheap clothing, and bawbles that are made to wear, but not to wear long. The shops here are mostly small, and quite open to the street in front, which gives the place a bazaar-like appearance in summer. Economy in space is practised to the utmost. It is curious to observe how closely crowded the goods (bads might be a more appropriate term for most of them) are outside the shops, as well as inside. The fronts of the houses are festooned with raiment of all kinds, until they look like tents made of variegated dry-goods. Here is a stall so confined that the occupant, rocking in his chair near the farther end of it, stretches his slippered feet well out upon the threshold. It is near closing time now, and many of the dealers, with their wives and children, are sitting out in front of their shops, and, if not under their own vines and fig-trees, at least under their own gaudy flannels and "loud-patterned" cotton goods, which are waving overhead in the sluggish evening breeze. Nothing can be more suggestive of lazily industrious Jewry than this short, thick-set clothier, with the curved nose, and spiral, oily hair, who sits out on the sidewalk and blows clouds from his meerschaum pipe. The women who lounge here are generally stoutish and slatternly, with few clothes on, but plenty of frowzy hair. Here and there one may see a pretty face among the younger girls; and it is sad to reflect that these little Hebrew maids will become stout and slatternly by and by, and have hooked noses like their mothers, and double chins. The labels on the ready-made clothing are curious in their way. Here a pair of trousers in glaring brown and yellow[Pg 604] stripes is ticketed with the alluring word, "Lovely." Other garments are offered to the public, with such guaranties as "Original," "Genteel," "Excelsior," and "Our Own." There is not an article among them but has its ticket of recommendation, and another card affixed to each sets forth the lowest price for which it is to be had. The number and variety of hats on show along this queer arcade are very characteristic of the people, with whom hats have long been a traditional article of commerce. Dimly-lighted cellars, down precipitous flights of narrow, dirty steps, up which come fumes of coffee and cooked viands, are to be seen at short intervals, and these restaurants are supported mainly by the denizens of the street. Shops in the windows of which blazes much cheap jewelry abound, and there are also many tobacconists on a small scale.

The lights of Chatham Square twinkle out now; and here I pause before a feature very peculiar to the Bowery,—one of those large, open shops in which vociferous salesmen address from galleries a motley crowd of men and women. One fellow in dirty shirt-sleeves and a Turkish cap flourishes aloft something which looks like a fan, but proves, on closer inspection, to be a group composed of several pocket-combs, a razor, and other small articles, constituting in all a "lot." This he offers, with stentorian utterances, for a price "a hundred per cent less, you bet, than you kin buy 'em for on Broadway." Other salesmen lean furiously over the gallery railing, flourishing shirts, stockings, and garments of every kind, mentionable and unmentionable, in the faces of the gaping loafers below. Sometimes a particular "lot" will attract the attention of a spectator, and he will chaffer about it for a while; but the sales do not often appear to be very brisk. The people one sees in these places are very characteristic of the Bowery. Many of them are what the police call "hard cases,"—men, with coarse, bulldog features, their mustaches trimmed very close, and dyed with something that gives them a foxy-black hue. Women, many of them with children in their arms, have come to look out for bargains. Near the entrance, which is quite open to the street, there stands a man with a light cane in his hand, which he lays every now and then over the shoulders of some objectionable youth marked by him in the crowd. The objectionable youth is a pickpocket, or a "sneak-thief," or both, and the man with the cane is the private detective attached to the place. He is well acquainted with the regular thieves of these localities, and his business is to "spot" them, and keep them from edging in among the loose articles lying about the store. He says that there area great many notorious pickpockets in the crowd, and he looks like one who knows.

Here and there along the Bowery small, shrivelled Chinamen stand by rickety tables, on which a few boxes of cheap cigars are exposed for sale. These foreigners look uneasy in their Bowery clothes, which are of the cheapest quality sold at the places just mentioned. Some of them wear the traditional queue, but they wind it very closely round their heads, probably to avoid the derision of the street boys, to whom a Chinaman's "tail" offers a temptation not to be resisted. Others have allowed their hair to grow in the ordinary manner. They are not communicative when addressed, which may be due, perhaps, to the fact, that but few of them possess more of the English language than is necessary for the purposes of trade. Fireworks and tobacco are the principal articles in which these New York Chinamen deal.

Everybody who passes through the Bowery, and more especially at night, must have observed the remarkable prevalence of small children there. Swarms of well-clad little boys and girls, belonging to the shop-keepers, sport before the doors until a late hour at night. Here is a group of extremely diminutive ones, dancing an elf-like measure to the music of an itinerant[Pg 605] organist. Darting about, here, there, and everywhere, are packs of ragged little urchins. They paddle along in the dirty gutter, the black ooze from which they spatter over the passers on the sidewalk, and run with confiding recklessness against the legs of hurrying pedestrians. Ragged and poor as they certainly are, they do not often ask for alms, but continually give themselves up, with wild abandon, to chasing each other in and out between the obstacles on the sidewalk. Boys of a better class carry on business here. Watch this one selling fans: he is so well dressed, and so genteel in appearance, that it is easy to see his livelihood does not altogether hang upon a commercial venture so small as the one in which he is at present engaged. That boy has evidently a mercantile turn, and may be a leading city man yet. Farther on, four smart-looking youngsters are indulging in some very frothy beverage at a street soda-water bar. High words are bandied about concerning the quality of the "stamps" offered by them in change, the genuine character of which has been challenged by a boy of their own size, who seems to be in charge of the concern. Numbers of these cheap soda-water stalls are to be seen in the Bowery; and they appear to drive a good business generally, notwithstanding the lager-beer saloons that so generally abound. Many larger establishments for the sale of temperance drinks are open here during the summer months. I notice a good number of people going to and from a large one, the entrance of which is so wide and high that it realizes the idea of "open house," and within which there are a great number of taps from which soda-water, ready mingled with all the various kinds of syrups, is drawn.

Let us cross over the Bowery, and take a look at Division Street, which diverges from it at the neck of Chatham Square, and is one of the curiosities of the district. It is a narrow street, very brilliantly lighted up on one side by the show-windows of the milliners' shops; and a marvellously long row of milliners it is, never ending until it runs against a druggist just where Bayard Street makes an angle with Division. Every window and every show-case by the thresholds is filled with a curious variety of infinitesimally small bonnets and hats, some in a skeleton state, others bedizened in all the fancy modes of the season. Division Street may be termed the milliners' quarter of New York City. Most of the goods displayed here are of a "sensation" character, but that is just what pays on the east side. Yet I would not be understood here as meaning to disparage the west side; and indeed I have been told that ladies from the most fashionable quarters of the city are not above buying their millinery in Division Street. Numbers of young girls are passing to and fro here, pausing ever and anon to gaze in at the windows with longing eyes. If there be "sermons in stones," so are there also in show-cases, and many a sad romance of won and lost grows out of the latter too. The shop-girls have nearly got through their work now, and they lean against the door-posts or stand out on the sidewalk, gossiping in groups of twos and threes. You will observe that there is not a single milliner's shop on the other side of the street. The dealers there are mostly in the hardware and grocery lines, or they represent commerce as tobacconists, confectioners, and such like; but they have nearly all shut up for the night, and the glory of the gas is on the milliner side of the way alone. All along the Bowery the same order of things may be observed to prevail,—the west side being chiefly devoted to the dry-goods trade, while the hardware dealers, grocers, restaurateurs, and numerous other tradespeople occupy the east side.

And now again up the Bowery,—where the lights appear to stretch away into almost endless space. The numerous lines of horse-cars pass and[Pg 606] repass each other in long perspective, their lights twinkling like constellations on the rampage, as they run to and fro. The jingle of their harness-bells is pleasant of a sultry night, recalling the sleigh-bells of bracing winter. And the bells have something suggestive in them, too, of the old Bowery pastures, where the flocks and herds roamed at large, and the cow-bells rang bass to the shrill treble that came from the bell-wethers of the flock. But here we have something that is hardly so pastoral in its associations. Out from the portals of a large theatre issues a crowd of roughs, who elbow and jostle each other in their anxiety to reach the nearest place where bad liquor can be had. To-night the theatre has been given over to the gymnasts of the "prize-ring," and they have had a sparring exhibition there. Three or four interesting English pugilists, lately arrived in the city, have been showing their mettle with the gloves on; and, although a dollar a head is the usual admission fee on such occasions, the entertainment is always sure to bring together an immense crowd of the rough class. A little later, and another dense throng will emerge from the Old Bowery Theatre, just over the way. It will be a very mixed crowd of men, women, and children,—the street-boys, with their wondrous variety of sharp faces, owlish faces, wicked faces, and ragged clothes, being constant patrons of this popular east-side theatre. Not far from this are the most dangerous corners and lurking-places to be found anywhere in the Bowery. Here thieves and rowdies of the worst description hang about the doors of the low bar-rooms in the neighborhood, in gangs of five or six, all ready at a signal to concentrate their forces for a rescue, a robbery, or a row of any sort in which plunder may be secured. There are policemen in the Bowery, of course; but in many cases the tactics of the thieves prove to be too much for these guardians of the public peace. One night, for instance, in the merry month of May of this year, a gang of about a dozen armed ruffians boarded a Third Avenue horse-car somewhere in these latitudes, knocked down the conductor with a slung-shot, robbed and otherwise maltreated several of the passengers, and got clear away before the first policeman had made his appearance. Such incidents are by no means uncommon in the Bowery and its purlieus at night. It is quite different now, remember, from the Bowery it was when old Peter Stuyvesant used to dot its cow-paths with the tip of his wooden leg.

Everywhere within the limits of the sidewalk, and sometimes out upon the pavement beyond, stand fruit-stalls loaded with oranges, apples, nuts, and all such fruits as are seasonable and plenty. There are tables on which pink, pulpy melons, flecked with the jet-black seeds, are set forth in slices, to tempt thirsty passengers; tables upon which large rocks of candy are broken up into nuggets to suit customers; and tables upon which bananas alone are exposed for sale. The lamps upon all these flame and smoke in the fitful whiffs of night air. The weighing-machine man is here, with a blazing light suspended in front of his brazen disk; and, as I pass on, I notice that the man who exhibits the moon is dismounting his big telescope, for the night is clouding fast, and his occupation is gone. Two small girls are scraping doleful strains from the sad catgut of violins nearly as big as themselves. They have long been frequenters of the Bowery at night, and were much smaller than their fiddles when I first saw them here. Off the sidewalk, upon the pavement of the street, there is a crowd of men and boys, closely grouped around something in the way of a show. As I approach, old voices of the once familiar woodlands and farm-yards greet my ear. I listen to them, for a brief moment, rapt. Alas! they are spurious. They emanate from a dirty man, who stands in the centre of the group, with a small wooden box slung before[Pg 607] him. By his side stands his torch-bearer, who illuminates him with a lamp suspended from a long pole. The performer takes something from his mouth, and, having made a laudatory address regarding its merits, replaces it between his teeth, and resumes his imitations of many birds and quadrupeds. His mocking-bird is very fair; his thrush, passable; but his canary less successful, being rather too reedy and harsh. Farm-yard sounds are thrown off with considerable imitative power. His pig is so good, indeed, that it invites a purchaser, who puts one of the calls into his mouth, and frightfully distorts his features in his wretched efforts to produce the desired grunts and squeaks. The crowing of cocks, the neighing of horses, the lowing of cows, and the bleating of sheep follow in succession,—sounds so appropriate to the memories of the Bowery that was, that one is tempted to applaud the rascal in spite of the swindle he is practising on the crowd. Of course, with the exception of the bird-songs, none of these sounds are produced by the aid of the calls, but are simply the fruit of long and assiduous practice on the part of the gifted performer.

On, on, still up the Bowery, of which the end is not yet. Great numbers of people are passing to and fro, an excess of the feminine element being generally observable. The sidewalks are cumbered with rough wooden cases. As in Chatham Street, the shop-keepers—or "merchants," if they insist on being so designated—are sitting, mostly, outside their doors. Garlands of hosiery and forests of hoop-skirts wave beneath the awnings,—for most of the Bowery shops have awnings,—making the sidewalk in front of them a sort of arcade for the display of their goods. But the time has come now for taking in all these waving things for the night, and the young men and girls of the shops are unhooking them with long poles, or handing them down from step-ladders planted in the middle of the sidewalk. Ranged outside the larger establishments are rows of headless dummies, intended to represent the female form divine, and to show off on their inanimate busts and shoulders the sweetest assortments ever seen of new things in summer fashions. These headless dummies of the Bowery have a very ghastly look at night. They suggest a procession of the ghosts of Bluebeard's wives, who, true to their instincts while in life, nightly revisit the "ladies' furnishing establishments" here, to rummage among scarfs and ribbons, and don for the brief hour before cock-crow the valuable stuffs and stuffings that are yet so dear to them.

Yonder is a group curious for color, and one well worth the consideration of a painter who has a fancy for striking effects. A negro girl with hot corn for sale stands just outside the reflection from a druggist's window, the bars of red and green light from the colored jars in which fall weirdly on the faces of two men who are buying from her. The trade in boots and shoes is briskly carried on, even at this late hour of the night. In the Bowery this trade is very extensive. Long strings of boots and shoes hang from the door-posts. Trays of the same articles are displayed outside, and it seems an easy matter for any nocturnal prowler to help himself, en passant, from the boxes full of cordwainers' work that stand on the edge of the footway next the street. On the eastern side of the way, there are fewer lights to be seen now than there were an hour ago. The tradespeople over there, generally, have put up their shutters, and the time for closing the drinking-saloons is at hand; but lights are yet lingering in the pawnbroker's establishments, for the Mont de Piété is an institution of an extremely wakeful, not to say wide-awake, kind.

Now the Bowery widens gradually to the northward, and may be likened to a river that turns to an estuary ere it joins the waters of the main. The vast and hideous brown-stone delta of the Cooper Institute divides it into two channels,—Third Avenue to the right, Fourth Avenue to the left. Properly[Pg 608] the Bowery may be said to end here; but only a few blocks farther on, at the corner of Third Avenue and Thirteenth Street, is marked the spot where stood the gateway leading to the original Bouwery, the old mansion in which Peter Stuyvesant dwelt when New Amsterdam was, but as yet no New York. And here, till within a few months, stood the traditional Stuyvesant pear-tree, said to have been brought from Holland, and planted by the hands of the old Dutch Governor himself. Spring-time after spring-time, until within a year or two past, the Stuyvesant pear-tree used to blossom, and its blossoms run to fruit. It lived, in a very gnarled and rheumatic condition, until the 26th of February last, when it sank quietly down to rest, and nothing but the rusty old iron railing is left to show where it stood.


Thirty-six years ago a young man, about twenty-five years of age, of a commanding height,—six feet full, the heels of his boots not included in the reckoning,—and dressed in scrupulous keeping with the fashion of the time, might have been seen sauntering idly along one of the principal streets of Cincinnati. To the few who could claim acquaintance with him he was known as an actor, playing at the time referred to a short engagement as light comedian in a theatre of that city. He does not seem to have attained to any noticeable degree of eminence in his profession, but he had established for himself a reputation among jolly fellows in a social way. He could tell a story, sing a song, and dance a hornpipe, after a style which, however unequal to complete success on the stage, proved, in private performance to select circles rendered appreciative by accessory refreshments, famously triumphant always. If it must be confessed that he was deficient in the more profound qualities, it is not to be inferred that he was destitute of all the distinguishing, though shallower, virtues of character. He had the merit, too, of a proper appreciation of his own capacity; and his aims never rose above that capacity. As a superficial man he dealt with superficial things, and his dealings were marked by tact and shrewdness. In his sphere he was proficient, and he kept his wits upon the alert for everything that might be turned to professional and profitable use. Thus it was that, as he sauntered along one of the main thoroughfares of Cincinnati, as has been written, his attention was suddenly arrested by a voice ringing clear and full above the noises of the street, and giving utterance, in an unmistakable dialect, to the refrain of a song to this effect:—

"Turn about an' wheel about do jis so,
An' ebery time I run about I jump Jim Crow."

Struck by the peculiarities of the performance, so unique in style, matter, and "character" of delivery, the player listened on. Were not these elements—was the suggestion of the instant—which might admit of higher than mere street or stable-yard development? As a national or "race" illustration, behind the footlights, might not "Jim Crow" and a black face tickle the fancy of pit and circle, as well as the "Sprig of Shillalah" and a red nose? Out of the suggestion leaped the determination; and so it chanced that the casual hearing of a song trolled by a negro stage-driver, lolling lazily on the box of his vehicle, gave origin to a school of music destined to excel in[Pg 609] popularity all others, and to make the name of the obscure actor, W. D. Rice, famous.

As his engagement at Cincinnati had nearly expired, Rice deemed it expedient to postpone a public venture in the newly projected line until the opening of a fresh engagement should assure him opportunity to share fairly the benefit expected to grow out of the experiment. This engagement had already been entered into; and accordingly, shortly after, in the autumn of 1830, he left Cincinnati for Pittsburg.

The old theatre of Pittsburg occupied the site of the present one, on Fifth Street. It was an unpretending structure, rudely built of boards, and of moderate proportions, but sufficient, nevertheless, to satisfy the taste and secure the comfort of the few who dared to face consequences and lend patronage to an establishment under the ban of the Scotch-Irish Calvinists. Entering upon duty at the "Old Drury" of the "Birmingham of America," Rice prepared to take advantage of his opportunity. There was a negro in attendance at Griffith's Hotel, on Wood Street, named Cuff,—an exquisite specimen of his sort,—who won a precarious subsistence by letting his open mouth as a mark for boys to pitch pennies into, at three paces, and by carrying the trunks of passengers from the steamboats to the hotels. Cuff was precisely the subject for Rice's purpose. Slight persuasion induced him to accompany the actor to the theatre, where he was led through the private entrance, and quietly ensconced behind the scenes. After the play, Rice, having shaded his own countenance to the "contraband" hue, ordered Cuff to disrobe, and proceeded to invest himself in the cast-off apparel. When the arrangements were complete, the bell rang, and Rice, habited in an old coat forlornly dilapidated, with a pair of shoes composed equally of patches and places for patches on his feet, and wearing a coarse straw hat in a melancholy condition of rent and collapse over a dense black wig of matted moss, waddled into view. The extraordinary apparition produced an instant effect. The crash of peanuts ceased in the pit, and through the circles passed a murmur and a bustle of liveliest expectation. The orchestra opened with a short prelude, and to its accompaniment Rice began to sing, delivering the first line by way of introductory recitative:—

"O, Jim Crow's come to town, as you all must know,
An' he wheel about, he turn about, he do jis so,
An' ebery time he wheel about he jump Jim Crow."

The effect was electric. Such a thunder of applause as followed was never heard before within the shell of that old theatre. With each succeeding couplet and refrain the uproar was renewed, until presently, when the performer, gathering courage from the favorable temper of his audience, ventured to improvise matter for his distiches from familiarly known local incidents, the demonstrations were deafening.

Now it happened that Cuff, who meanwhile was crouching in dishabille under concealment of a projecting flat behind the performer, by some means received intelligence, at this point, of the near approach of a steamer to the Monongahela Wharf. Between himself and others of his color in the same line of business, and especially as regarded a certain formidable competitor called Ginger, there existed an active rivalry in the baggage-carrying business. For Cuff to allow Ginger the advantage of an undisputed descent upon the luggage of the approaching vessel would be not only to forfeit all "considerations" from the passengers, but, by proving him a laggard in his calling, to cast a damaging blemish upon his reputation. Liberally as he might lend himself to a friend, it could not be done at that sacrifice. After a minute or two of fidgety waiting for the song to end, Cuff's patience could endure no longer, and, cautiously hazarding a glimpse of his profile beyond the edge of the flat, he called in a hurried[Pg 610] whisper: "Massa Rice, Massa Rice, must have my clo'se! Massa Griffif wants me,—steamboat's comin'!"

The appeal was fruitless. Massa Rice did not hear it, for a happy hit at an unpopular city functionary had set the audience in a roar in which all other sounds were lost. Waiting some moments longer, the restless Cuff, thrusting his visage from under cover into full three-quarter view this time, again charged upon the singer in the same words, but with more emphatic voice: "Massa Rice, Massa Rice, must have my clo'se! Massa Griffif wants me,—steamboat's comin'!"

A still more successful couplet brought a still more tempestuous response, and the invocation of the baggage-carrier was unheard and unheeded. Driven to desperation, and forgetful in the emergency of every sense of propriety, Cuff, in ludicrous undress as he was, started from his place, rushed upon the stage, and, laying his hand upon the performer's shoulder, called out excitedly: "Massa Rice, Massa Rice, gi' me nigga's hat,—nigga's coat,—nigga's shoes,—gi' me nigga's t'ings! Massa Griffif wants 'im,—steamboat's comin'!!"

The incident was the touch, in the mirthful experience of that night, that passed endurance. Pit and circles were one scene of such convulsive merriment that it was impossible to proceed in the performance; and the extinguishment of the footlights, the fall of the curtain, and the throwing wide of the doors for exit, indicated that the entertainment was ended.

Such were the circumstances—authentic in every particular—under which the first work of the distinct art of Negro Minstrelsy was presented.

Next day found the song of Jim Crow, in one style of delivery or another, on everybody's tongue. Clerks hummed it serving customers at shop counters, artisans thundered it at their toils to the time-beat of sledge and of tilt-hammer, boys whistled it on the streets, ladies warbled it in parlors, and house-maids repeated it to the clink of crockery in kitchens. Rice made up his mind to profit further by its popularity: he determined to publish it. Mr. W. C. Peters, afterwards of Cincinnati, and well known as a composer and publisher, was at that time a music-dealer on Market Street in Pittsburg. Rice, ignorant himself of the simplest elements of musical science, waited upon Mr. Peters, and solicited his co-operation in the preparation of his song for the press. Some difficulty was experienced before Rice could be induced to consent to the correction of certain trifling informalities, rhythmical mainly, in his melody; but, yielding finally, the air as it now stands, with a pianoforte accompaniment by Mr. Peters, was put upon paper. The manuscript was put into the hands of Mr. John Newton, who reproduced it on stone with an elaborately embellished title-page, including a portrait of the subject of the song, precisely as it has been copied through succeeding editions to the present time. It was the first specimen of lithography ever executed in Pittsburg.

Jim Crow was repeated nightly throughout the season at the theatre; and when that was ended, Scale's Long Room, at the corner of Third and Market streets, was engaged for rehearsals exclusively in the Ethiopian line. "Clar de Kitchen" soon appeared as a companion piece, followed speedily by "Lucy Long," "Sich a Gittin' up Stairs," "Long-Tail Blue," and so on, until quite a repertoire was at command from which to select for an evening's entertainment.

Rice remained in Pittsburg some two years. He then visited Philadelphia, Boston, and New York, whence he sailed for England, where he met with high favor in his novel character, married, and remained for some time. He then returned to New York, and shortly afterwards died.

With Rice's retirement his art seems to have dropped into disuse as a feature of theatrical entertainment, and thenceforward,[Pg 611] for many years, to have survived only in the performances of circuses and menageries. Between acts the extravaganzaist in cork and wool would appear, and to the song of "Coal-Black Rose," or "Jim along Joe," or "Sittin' on a Rail," command, with the clown and monkey, full share of admiration in the arena. At first he performed solus, and to the accompaniment of the "show" band; but the school was progressive; couples presently appeared, and, dispensing with the aid of foreign instruments, delivered their melodies to the more appropriate music of the banjo. To the banjo, in a short time, were added the bones. The art had now outgrown its infancy, and, disdaining a subordinate existence, boldly seceded from the society of harlequin and the tumblers, and met the world as an independent institution. Singers organized themselves into quartet bands; added a fiddle and tambourine to their instruments—perhaps we should say implements—of music; introduced the hoe-down and the conundrum to fill up the intervals of performance; rented halls, and, peregrinating from city to city and from town to town, went on and prospered.

One of the earliest companies of this sort was organized and sustained under the leadership of Nelson Kneass, who, while skilful in his manipulations of the banjo, was quite an accomplished pianist besides, as well as a favorite ballad-singer. He had some pretensions as a composer, but has left his name identified with no work of any interest. His company met with such success in Pittsburg, that its visits were repeated from season to season, until about the year 1845, when Mr. Murphy, the leading caricaturist, determining to resume the business in private life which he had laid aside on going upon the stage, the company was disbanded.

Up to this period, if negro minstrelsy had made some progress, it was not marked by much improvement. Its charm lay essentially in its simplicity, and to give it full development, retaining unimpaired meanwhile such original excellences as Nature in Sambo shapes and inspires, was the task of the time. But the task fell into bungling hands. The intuitive utterance of the art was misapprehended or perverted altogether. Its naïve misconceits were construed into coarse blunders; its pleasing incongruities were resolved into meaningless jargon. Gibberish became the staple of its composition. Slang phrases and crude jests, all odds and ends of vulgar sentiment, without regard to the idiosyncrasies of the negro, were caught up, jumbled together into rhyme, and, rendered into the lingo presumed to be genuine, were ready for the stage. The wit of the performance was made to consist in quibble and equivoke, and in the misuse of language, after the fashion, but without the refinement, of Mrs. Partington. The character of the music underwent a change. Original airs were composed from time to time, but the songs were more generally adaptations of tunes in vogue among Hard-Shell Baptists in Tennessee and at Methodist camp-meetings in Kentucky, and of backwoods melodies, such as had been invented for native ballads by "settlement" masters and brought into general circulation by stage-drivers, wagoners, cattle—drovers, and other such itinerants of earlier days. Music of the concert-room was also drafted into the service, and selections from the inferior operas, with the necessary mutilations of the text, of course; so that the whole school of negro minstrelsy threatened a lapse, when its course of decline was suddenly and effectually arrested.

A certain Mr. Andrews, dealer in confections, cakes, and ices, being stirred by a spirit of enterprise, rented, in the year 1845, a second-floor hall on Wood Street, Pittsburgh supplied it with seats and small tables, advertised largely, employed cheap attractions,—living statues, songs, dances, &c.,—a stage, hired a piano, and, upon the dissolution of his band, engaged[Pg 612] the services of Nelson Kneass as musician and manager. Admittance was free, the ten-cent ticket required at the door being received at its cost value within towards the payment of whatever might be called for at the tables. To keep alive the interest of the enterprise, premiums were offered, from time to time, of a bracelet for the best conundrum, a ring with a ruby setting for the best comic song, and a golden chain for the best sentimental song. The most and perhaps only really valuable reward—a genuine and very pretty silver cup, exhibited night after night, beforehand—was promised to the author of the best original negro song, to be presented before a certain date, and to be decided upon by a committee designated for the purpose by the audience at that time.

Quite a large array of competitors entered the lists; but the contest would be hardly worthy of mention, save as it was the occasion of the first appearance of him who was to prove the reformer of his art, and to a sketch of whose career the foregoing pages are chiefly preliminary.

Stephen Collins Foster was born in Alleghany, Pennsylvania, on the 4th of July, 1826. He was the youngest child of his father, William B. Foster,—originally a merchant of Pittsburg, and afterwards Mayor of his native city, member of the State Legislature, and a Federal officer under President Buchanan, with whom he was closely connected by marriage. The evidences of a musical capacity of no common order were apparent in Stephen at an early period. Going into a shop, one day, when about seven years old, he picked up a flageolet, the first he had ever seen, and comprehending, after an experiment or two, the order of the scale on the instrument, was able in a few minutes, uninstructed, to play any of the simple tunes within the octave with which he was acquainted. A Thespian society, composed of boys in their higher teens, was organized in Alleghany, into which Stephen, although but in his ninth year, was admitted, and of which, from his agreeable rendering of the favorite airs of the day, he soon became the leading attraction.

At thirteen years of age, he made his first attempt at composition, producing for a public occasion at the seminary in Athens, Ohio, where he was a student at the time, the "Tioga Waltz," which, although quite a pretty affair, he never thought worthy of preservation. In the same year, shortly afterwards, he composed music to the song commencing, "Sadly to mine heart appealing," now embraced in the list of his publications, but not brought out until many years later.

Stephen was a boy of delicate constitution, not addicted to the active sports or any of the more vigorous habits of boys of his age. His only companions were a few intimate friends, and, thus secluded, his character naturally took a sensitive, meditative cast, and his growing disrelish for severer tasks was confirmed. As has been intimated, he entered as a pupil at Athens; but as the course of instruction in that institution was not in harmony with his tastes, he soon withdrew, applying himself afterwards to the study of the French and German languages (a ready fluency in both of which he finally acquired), and especially to the art dearer than all other studies. A recluse, owning and soliciting no guidance but that of his text-book, in the quiet of the woods, or, if that were inaccessible, the retirement of his chamber, he devoted himself to this art.

At the age of sixteen he composed and published the song, "Open thy Lattice, Love," which was admired, but did not meet with extraordinary success. In the year following he went to Cincinnati, entering the counting-room of his brother, and discharging the duties of his place with faithfulness and ability. His spare hours were still devoted, however, to his favorite pursuit, although his productions were chiefly preserved in manuscript, and kept for the private entertainment of[Pg 613] his friends. He continued with his brother nearly three years.

At the time Mr. Andrews of Pittsburg offered a silver cup for the best original negro song, Mr. Morrison Foster sent to his brother Stephen a copy of the advertisement announcing the fact, with a letter urging him to become a competitor for the prize. These saloon entertainments occupied a neutral ground, upon which eschewers of theatrical delights could meet with the abetters of play-house amusements,—a consideration of ruling importance in Pittsburg, where so many of the sterling population carry with them to this day, by legitimate inheritance, the stanch old Cameronian fidelity to Presbyterian creed and practice. Morrison, believing that these concerts would afford an excellent opportunity for the genius of his brother to appeal to the public, persisted in urging him to compete for the prize, until Stephen, who at first expressed a dislike to appear under such circumstances, finally yielded, and in due time forwarded a melody entitled, "'Way down South, whar de Corn grows." When the eventful night came, the various pieces in competition were rendered to the audience by Nelson Kneass to his own accompaniment on the piano. The audience expressed by their applause a decided preference for Stephen's melody; but the committee appointed to sit in judgment decided in favor of some one else, himself and his song never heard of afterwards, and the author of "'Way down South" forfeited the cup. But Mr. Kneass appreciated the merit of the composition, and promptly, next morning, made application at the proper office for a copyright in his own name as author, when Mr. Morrison Foster, happening in at the moment, interposed, and frustrated the discreditable intention.

This experiment of Foster's, if it fell short of the expectation of his friends, served, notwithstanding, a profitable purpose, for it led him to a critical investigation of the school of music to which it belonged. This school had been—was yet—unquestionably popular. To what, then, was it indebted for its captivating points? It was to its truth to Nature in her simplest and most childlike mood.

Settled as to theory, Foster applied himself to the task of its exemplification. Two attempts were made while he yet remained in Cincinnati, the pencil-drafts of which, however, were laid aside for the time being in his portfolio. His shrinking nature held timidly back at the thought of a venture before the public; and so the case stood until he reappeared in Pittsburg.

The Presidential campaign of 1844 was distinguished by political song-singing. Clubs for that purpose were organized in all the cities and towns and hamlets,—clubs for the platform, clubs for the street, clubs for the parlor, Whig clubs, Democratic clubs. Ballads innumerable to airs indefinite, new and old, filled the land,—Irish ballads, German ballads, Yankee ballads, and, preferred over all, negro ballads. So enthusiastic grew the popular feeling in this direction, that, when the November crisis was come and gone, the peculiar institution would not succumb to the limitation, but lived on. Partisan temper faded out; the fires of strife died down, but clubs sat perseveringly in their places, and in sounds, if not in sentiment, attuned to the old melodies, kept up the practice of the mad and merry time.

Among other organizations that thus lingered on was one, composed of half a dozen young men, since grown into graver habits, with Foster—home again, and a link once more in the circle of his intimates—at its head. The negro airs were still the favorites; but the collection, from frequent repetition, at length began to grow stale. One night, as a revival measure for the club, and as an opportunity for himself, Foster hinted that, with their permission, he would offer for trial an effort of his own. Accordingly he set to work; and at their next meeting laid before them a song entitled "Louisiana Belle." The piece elicited unanimous applause. Its success in the club-room[Pg 614] opened to it a wider field, each member acting as an agent of dissemination outside, so that in the course of a few nights the song was sung in almost every parlor in Pittsburgh. Foster then brought to light his portfolio specimens, since universally known as "Uncle Ned," and "O Susanna!" The favor with which these latter were received surpassed even that rewarding the "Louisiana Belle." Although limited to the one slow process of communication,—from mouth to ear,—their fame spread far and wide, until from the drawing-rooms of Cincinnati they were introduced into its concert-halls, and there became known to Mr. W. C. Peters, who at once addressed letters requesting copies for publication. These were cheerfully furnished by the author. He did not look for remuneration. For "Uncle Ned," which first appeared (in 1847), he received none; "O Susanna!" soon followed, and "imagine my delight," he writes, "in receiving one hundred dollars in cash! Though this song was not successful," he continues, "yet the two fifty-dollar bills I received for it had the effect of starting me on my present vocation of song-writer." In pursuance of this decision, he entered into arrangements with new publishers, chiefly with Firth, Pond, & Co. of New York, set himself to work, and began to pour out his productions with astonishing rapidity.

Out of the list, embracing about one hundred and fifty of his songs, the most flatteringly received among his negro melodies were those already enumerated, followed by "Nelly was a Lady," in 1849; "My Old Kentucky Home," and "Camptown Races," in 1850; "Old Folks at Home," in 1851; "Massa's in the Cold Ground," in 1852; "O Boys, carry me 'long," in 1853; "Hard Times come again no more," in 1854; "'Way down South," and "O Lemuel," in 1858; "Old Black Joe," in 1860; and (noticeable only as his last in that line) "Don't bet your Money on the Shanghai," in 1861.

In all these compositions Foster adheres scrupulously to his theory adopted at the outset. His verses are distinguished by a naïveté characteristic and appropriate, but consistent at the same time with common sense. Enough of the negro dialect is retained to preserve distinction, but not to offend. The sentiment is given in plain phrase and under homely illustration; but it is a sentiment nevertheless. The melodies are of twin birth literally with the verses, for Foster thought in tune as he traced in rhyme, and traced in rhyme as he thought in tune. Of easy modulation, severely simple in their structure, his airs have yet the graceful proportions, animated with the fervor, unostentatious but all-subduing, of certain of the old hymns (not the chorals) derived from our fathers of a hundred years ago.

That he had struck upon the true way to the common heart, the successes attending his efforts surely demonstrate. His songs had an unparalleled circulation. The commissions accruing to the author on the sales of "Old Folks" alone amounted to fifteen thousand dollars. For permission to have his name printed on its title-page, as an advertising scheme, Mr. Christy paid five hundred dollars. Applications were unceasing from the various publishers of the country for some share, at least, of his patronage, and upon terms that might have seduced almost any one else; but the publishers with whom he originally engaged had won his esteem, and Foster adhered to them faithfully. Artists of the highest distinction favored him with their friendship; and Herz, Sivori, Ole Bull, Thalberg, were alike ready to approve his genius, and to testify that approval in the choice of his melodies as themes about which to weave their witcheries of embellishment. Complimentary letters from men of literary note poured in upon him; among others, one full of generous encouragement from Washington Irving, dearly prized and carefully treasured to the day of Foster's death. Similar missives reached him from across the seas,—from strangers and from travellers in[Pg 615] lands far remote; and he learned that, while "O Susanna!" was the familiar song of the cottager of the Clyde, "Uncle Ned" was known to the dweller in tents among the Pyramids.

Of his sentimental songs, "Ah, may the Red Rose live alway!" "Maggie by my Side," "Jennie with the Light-Brown Hair," "Willie, we have missed you," "I see her still in my Dreams," "Wilt thou be gone, Love" (a duet, the words adapted from a well-known scene in Romeo and Juliet), and "Come where my Love lies dreaming" (quartet), are among the leading favorites. "I see her still in my Dreams" appeared in 1861, shortly after the death of his mother, and is a tribute to the memory of her to whom he was devotedly attached. The verses to most of these airs—to all the successful ones—were of his own composition. Indeed, he could seldom satisfy himself in his "settings" of the stanzas of others. If the metrical and symmetrical features of the lines in hand chanced to disagree with his conception of the motion and proportion befitting in a musical interpretation; if the sentiment were one that failed, whether from lack of appreciation or of sympathy on his part, to command absolute approval; or if the terms employed were not of a precise thread and tension,—if they were wanting, however minutely, in vibratory qualities,—of commensurate extent would be the failure attending the translation.

The last three years of his life Mr. Foster passed in New York. During all that time, his efforts, with perhaps one exception, were limited to the production of songs of a pensive character. The loss of his mother seems to have left an ineffaceable impression of melancholy upon his mind, and inspired such songs as "I dream of my Mother," "I'll be Home To-morrow," "Leave me with my Mother," and "Bury me in the Morning." He died, after a brief illness, on the 13th of January, 1864. His remains reached Pittsburg on the 20th, and were conveyed to Trinity Church, where on the day following, in the presence of a large assembly, appropriate and impressive ceremonies took place, the choral services being sustained by a company of his former friends and associates. His body was then carried to the Alleghany Cemetery, and, to the music of "Old Folks at Home," finally committed to the grave.

Mr. Foster was married, on the 22d of July, 1850, to Miss Jane D. McDowell of Pittsburg, who, with her daughter and only child, Marian, twelve years of age at the date of his death, still survives him. He was of rather less than medium height, of slight frame, with parts well proportioned, and showing to advantage in repose, although not entirely so in action. His shoulders were marked by a slight droop,—the result of a habit of walking with his eyes fixed upon the ground a pace or two in advance of his feet. He nearly always when he ventured out, which was not often, walked alone. Arrived at the street-crossings, he would frequently pause, raise himself, cast a glance at the surroundings, and if he saw an acquaintance nod to him in token of recognition, and then, relapsing into the old posture, resume his way. At such times,—indeed, at any time,—while he did not repel, he took no pains to invite society. He was entertaining in conversation, although a certain hesitancy, from want of words and not from any organic defect, gave a broken style to his speech. For his study he selected a room in the topmost story of his house, farthest removed from the street, and was careful to have the floor of the apartment, and the avenues of approach to it, thickly carpeted, to exclude as effectually as possible all noises, inside as well as outside of his own premises. The furniture of this room consisted of a chair, a lounge, a table, a music-rack, and a piano. From the sanctum so chosen, seldom opened to others, and never allowed upon any pretence to be disarranged, came his choicest compositions. His disposition was naturally amiable, although, from the tax[Pg 616] imposed by close application to study upon his nervous system, he was liable to fits of fretfulness and scepticism that, only occasional and transient as they were, told nevertheless with disturbing effect upon his temper. In the same unfortunate direction was the tendency of a habit grown insidiously upon him,—a habit against the damning control of which (as no one better than the writer of this article knows) he wrestled with an earnestness indescribable, resorting to all the remedial expedients which professional skill or his own experience could suggest, but never entirely delivering himself from its inexorable mastery.

In the true estimate of genius, its achievements only approximate the highest standard of excellence as they are representative, or illustrative, of important truth. They are only great as they are good. If Mr. Foster's art embodied no higher idea than the vulgar notion of the negro as a man-monkey,—a thing of tricks and antics,—a funny specimen of superior gorilla,—then it might have proved a tolerable catch-penny affair, and commanded an admiration among boys of various growths until its novelty wore off. But the art in his hands teemed with a nobler significance. It dealt, in its simplicity, with universal sympathies, and taught us all to feel with the slaves the lowly joys and sorrows it celebrated.

May the time be far in the future ere lips fail to move to its music, or hearts to respond to its influence, and may we who owe him so much preserve gratefully the memory of the master, Stephen Collins Foster.

[Pg 617]


The fair Earth smiled and turned herself and woke,
And to the Sun with nuptial greeting said:—
"I had a dream, wherein it seemed men broke
A sovran league, and long years fought and bled,
Till down my sweet sides ran my children's gore,
And all my beautiful garments were made red,
And all my fertile fields were thicket-grown,
Nor could thy dear light reach me through the air;
At last a voice cried, 'Let them strive no more!'
Then music breathed, and lo! from my despair
I wake to joy,—yet would not joy alone!
"For, hark! I hear a murmur on the meads,—
Where as of old my children seek my face,—
The low of kine, the peaceful tramp of steeds,
Blithe shouts of men in many a pastoral place,
The noise of tilth through all my goodliest land;
And happy laughter of a dusky race
Whose brethren lift them from their ancient toil,
Saying: 'The year of jubilee has come;
Gather the gifts of Earth with equal hand;
Henceforth ye too may share the birthright soil,
The corn, the wine, and all the harvest-home.'
"O, my dear lord, my radiant bridegroom, look!
Behold their joy who sorrowed in my dreams,—
The sword a share, the spear a pruning-hook;
Lo, I awake, and turn me toward thy beams
Even as a bride again! O, shed thy light
Upon my fruitful places in full streams!
Let there be yield for every living thing;
The land is fallow,—let there be increase
After the darkness of the sterile night;
Ay, let us twain a festival of Peace
Prepare, and hither all my nations bring!"
The fair Earth spake: the glad Sun speeded forth,
Hearing her matron words, and backward drave
To frozen caves the icy Wind of the North,—
And bade the South Wind from the tropic wave
Bring watery vapors over river and plain,—
And bade the East Wind cross her path, and lave
The lowlands, emptying there her laden mist,—
And bade the Wind of the West, the best wind, blow
After the early and the latter rain,—
And beamed himself, and oft the sweet Earth kissed,
While her swift servitors sped to and fro.
Forthwith the troop that, at the beck of Earth,
Foster her children, brought a glorious store
Of viands, food of immemorial worth,
Her earliest gifts, her tenderest evermore.
First came the Silvery Spirit, whose marshalled files
Climb up the glades in billowy breakers hoar,
Nodding their crests,—and at his side there sped
The Golden Spirit, whose yellow harvests trail
Across the continents and fringe the isles,
And freight men's argosies where'er they sail:
O, what a wealth of sheaves he there outspread!
Came the dear Spirit whom Earth doth love the best,
Fragrant of clover-bloom and new-mown hay,
Beneath whose mantle weary ones find rest,
On whose green skirts the little children play:
She bore the food our patient cattle crave.
Next, robed in silk, with tassels scattering spray,
Followed the generous Spirit of the Maize,—
And many a kindred shape of high renown
Bore in the clustering grape, the fruits that wave
On orchard branches or in gardens blaze,
And those the wind-shook forest hurtles down.
Even thus they laid a great and marvellous feast,
And Earth her children summoned joyously,
Throughout that goodliest land wherein had ceased
The vision of battle, and with glad hands free
[Pg 618] These took their fill, and plenteous measures poured,
Beside, for those who dwelt beyond the sea;
Praise, like an incense, upward rose to Heaven
For that full harvest,—and the autumnal Sun
Stayed long above,—and ever at the board,
Peace, white-robed angel, held the high seat given,
And War far off withdrew his visage dun.


It is the misfortune of American biography that it must needs be more or less provincial, and that, contrary to what might have been predicted, this quality in it predominates in proportion as the country grows larger. Wanting any great and acknowledged centre of national life and thought, our expansion has hitherto been rather aggregation than growth; reputations must be hammered out thin to cover so wide a surface, and the substance of most hardly holds out to the boundaries of a single State. Our very history wants unity, and down to the Revolution the attention is wearied and confused by having to divide itself among thirteen parallel threads, instead of being concentred on a single clew. A sense of remoteness and seclusion comes over us as we read, and we cannot help asking ourselves, "Were not these things done in a corner?" Notoriety may be achieved in a narrow sphere, but fame demands for its evidence a more distant and prolonged reverberation. To the world at large we were but a short column of figures in the corner of a blue-book, New England exporting so much salt-fish, timber, and Medford rum, Virginia so many hogshead of tobacco, and buying with the proceeds a certain amount of English manufactures. The story of our early colonization had a certain moral interest, to be sure, but was altogether inferior in picturesque fascination to that of Mexico or Peru. The lives of our worthies, like that of our nation, are bare of those foregone and far-reaching associations with names, the divining-rods of fancy, which the soldiers and civilians of the Old World get for nothing by the mere accident of birth. Their historians and biographers have succeeded to the good-will, as well as to the long-established stand, of the shop of glory. Time is, after all, the greatest of poets, and the sons of Memory stand a better chance of being the heirs of Fame. The philosophic poet may find a proud solace in saying,

"Avia Pieridum peragro loca nullius ante
Trita solo";

but all the while he has the splendid centuries of Greece and Rome behind him, and can begin his poem with invoking a goddess from whom legend derived the planter of his race. His eyes looked out on a landscape saturated with glorious recollections; he had seen Cæsar, and heard Cicero. But who shall conjure with Saugus or Cato Four Corners,—with Israel Putnam or Return Jonathan Meigs? We have been transplanted, and for us the long hierarchical succession of history is broken. The Past has not laid its venerable hands upon us in consecration, conveying to us that mysterious influence whose force is in its continuity. We are to Europe as the Church of England to her of Rome. The latter old lady may be the Scarlet Woman, or the Beast with ten horns, if you will,[Pg 619] but hers are all the heirlooms, hers that vast spiritual estate of tradition, nowhere yet everywhere, whose revenues are none the less fruitful for being levied on the imagination. We may claim that England's history is also ours, but it is a de jure, and not a de facto property that we have in it,—something that may be proved indeed, yet is a merely intellectual satisfaction, and does not savor of the realty. Have we not seen the mockery crown and sceptre of the exiled Stuarts in St. Peter's? the medal struck so lately as 1784 with its legend, Hen IX Mag Brit et Hib Rex, whose contractions but faintly typify the scantness of the fact?

As the novelist complains that our society wants that sharp contrast of character and costume which comes of caste, so in the narrative of our historians we miss what may be called background and perspective, as if the events and the actors in them failed of that cumulative interest which only a long historical entail can give. Relatively, the crusade of Sir William Pepperell was of more consequence than that of St. Louis, and yet forgive us, injured shade of the second American baronet, if we find the narrative of Joinville more interesting than your despatches to Governor Shirley. Relatively, the insurrection of that Daniel whose Irish patronymic Shea was euphonized into Shays, as a set-off for the debasing of French chaise into shay, was more dangerous than that of Charles Edward; but for some reason or other (as vice sometimes has the advantage of virtue) the latter is more enticing to the imagination, and the least authentic relic of it in song or story has a relish denied to the painful industry of Minot. Our events seem to fall short of that colossal proportion which befits the monumental style. Look grave as we will, there is something ludicrous in Counsellor Keane's pig being the pivot of a revolution. We are of yesterday, and it is to no purpose that our political augurs divine from the flight of our eagles that to-morrow shall be ours, and flatter us with an all-hail hereafter. Things do really gain in greatness by being acted on a great and cosmopolitan stage, because there is inspiration in the thronged audience, and the nearer match that puts men on their mettle. Webster was more largely endowed by nature than Fox, and Fisher Ames not much below Burke as a talker; but what a difference in the intellectual training, in the literary culture and associations, in the whole social outfit, of the men who were their antagonists and companions! It should seem that, if it be collision with other minds and with events that strikes or draws the fire from a man, then the quality of those might have something to do with the quality of the fire,—whether it shall be culinary or electric. We have never known the varied stimulus, the inexorable criticism, the many-sided opportunity of a great metropolis, the inspiring reinforcement of an undivided national consciousness. In everything but trade we have missed the invigoration of foreign rivalry. We may prove that we are this and that and the other,—our Fourth-of-July orators have proved it time and again,—the census has proved it; but the Muses are women, and have no great fancy for statistics, though easily silenced by them. We are great, we are rich, we are all kinds of good things; but did it never occur to you that somehow we are not interesting, except as a phenomenon? It may safely be affirmed that for one cultivated man in this country who studies American, there are fifty who study European history, ancient or modern.

Till within a year or two we have been as distant and obscure to the eyes of Europe as Ecuador to our own. Every day brings us nearer, enables us to see the Old World more clearly, and by inevitable comparison to judge ourselves with some closer approach to our real value. This has its advantage so long as our culture is, as for a long time it must be, European; for we shall be little better than apes and parrots till we are forced to measure our muscle[Pg 620] with the trained and practised champions of that elder civilization. We have at length established our claim to the noblesse of the sword, the first step still of every nation that would make its entry into the best society of history. To maintain ourselves there, we must achieve an equality in the more exclusive circle of culture, and to that end must submit ourselves to the European standard of intellectual weights and measures. That we have made the hitherto biggest gun might excite apprehension (were there a dearth of iron), but can never exact respect. That our pianos and patent reapers have won medals does but confirm us in our mechanic and material measure of merit. We must contribute something more than mere contrivances for the saving of labor, which we have been only too ready to misapply in the domain of thought and the higher kinds of invention. In those Olympic games where nations contend for truly immortal wreaths, it may well be questioned whether a mowing-machine would stand much chance in the chariot-races,—whether a piano, though made by a chevalier, could compete successfully for the prize of music.

We shall have to be content for a good while yet with our provincialism, and must strive to make the best of it. In it lies the germ of nationality, and that is, after all, the prime condition of all thorough-bred greatness of character. To this choicest fruit of a healthy life, well rooted in native soil, and drawing prosperous prices thence, nationality gives the keenest flavor. Mr. Lincoln was an original man, and in so far a great man; yet it was the Americanism of his every thought, word, and act which not only made his influence equally at home in East and West, but drew the eyes of the outside world, and was the pedestal that lifted him where he could be seen by them. Lincoln showed that native force may transcend local boundaries, but the growth of such nationality is hindered and hampered by our division into so many half-independent communities, each with its objects of county ambition, and its public men great to the borders of their district. In this way our standard of greatness is insensibly debased. To receive any national appointment, a man must have gone through precisely the worst training for it; he must have so far narrowed and belittled himself with State politics as to be acceptable at home. In this way a man may become chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, because he knows how to pack a caucus in Catawampus County, or sent ambassador to Barataria, because he has drunk bad whiskey with every voter in Wildcat City. Should we ever attain to a conscious nationality, it will have the advantage of lessening the number of our great men, and widening our appreciation to the larger scale of the two or three that are left,—if there should be so many. Meanwhile we offer a premium to the production of great men in a small way, by inviting each State to set up the statues of two of its immortals in the Capitol. What a niggardly percentage! Already we are embarrassed, not to find the two, but to choose among the crowd of candidates. Well, seventy-odd heroes in about as many years is pretty well for a young nation. We do not envy most of them their eternal martyrdom in marble, their pillory of indiscrimination. We fancy even native tourists pausing before the greater part of the effigies, and, after reading the names, asking desperately, "Who was he?" Nay, if they should say, "Who the devil was he?" it were a pardonable invocation, for none so fit as the Prince of Darkness to act as cicerone among such palpable obscurities. We recall the court-yard of the Uffizj at Florence. That also is not free of parish celebrities; but Dante, Galileo, Michael Angelo, Macchiavelli,—shall the inventor of the sewing-machine, even with the button-holing improvement, let us say, match with these, or with far lesser than these? Perhaps he was more practically useful than any one of these, or all of them together, but the soul is[Pg 621] sensible of a sad difference somewhere. These also were citizens of a provincial capital; so were the greater part of Plutarch's heroes. Did they have a better chance than we moderns,—than we Americans? At any rate they have the start of us, and we must confess that

"By bed and table they lord it o'er us,
Our elder brothers, but one in blood."

Yes, one in blood; that is the hardest part of it. Is our provincialism then in some great measure due to our absorption in the practical, as we politely call it, meaning the material,—to our habit of estimating greatness by the square mile and the hundredweight? Even during our war, in the midst of that almost unrivalled stress of soul, were not our speakers and newspapers so enslaved to the vulgar habit as to boast ten times of the thousands of square miles it covered with armed men, for once that they alluded to the motive that gave it all its meaning and its splendor? Perhaps it was as well that they did not exploit that passion of patriotism as an advertisement in the style of Barnum or Perham. "I scale one hundred and eighty pounds, but when I'm mad I weigh two ton," said the Kentuckian, with a true notion of moral avoirdupois. That ideal kind of weight is wonderfully increased by a national feeling, whereby one man is conscious that thirty millions of men go into the balance with him. The Roman in ancient, and the Englishman in modern times, have been most conscious of this representative solidity, and wherever one of them went there stood Rome or England in his shoes. We have made some advance in the right direction. Our civil war, by the breadth of its proportions and the implacability of its demands, forced us to admit a truer valuation, and gave us, in our own despite, great soldiers and sailors, allowed for such by all the world. The harder problems it has left behind may in time compel us to have great statesmen, with views capable of reaching beyond the next election. The criticism of Europe alone can rescue us from the provincialism of an over or false estimate of ourselves. Let us be thankful, and not angry, that we must accept it as our touchstone. Our stamp has so often been impressed upon base metal, that we cannot expect it to be taken on trust, but we may be sure that true gold will be equally persuasive the world over. Real manhood and honest achievement are nowhere provincial, but enter the select society of all time on an even footing.

Spanish America might be a good glass for us to look into. Those Catharine-wheel republics, always in revolution while the powder lasts, and sure to burn the fingers of whoever attempts intervention, have also their great men, as placidly ignored by us as our own by jealous Europe. The following passage from the life of Don Simon Bolivar might allay many motus animorum, if rightly pondered. Bolivar, then a youth, was travelling in Italy, and his biographer tells us that "near Castiglione he was present at the grand review made by Napoleon of the columns defiling into the plain large enough to contain sixty thousand men. The throne was situated on an eminence that overlooked the plain, and Napoleon on several occasions looked through a glass at Bolivar and his companions, who were at the base of the hill. The hero Cæsar could not imagine that he beheld the liberator of the world of Columbus!" And small blame to him, one would say. We are not, then, it seems, the only foundling of Columbus, as we are so apt to take for granted. The great Genoese did not, as we supposed, draw that first star-guided furrow across the vague of waters with a single eye to the future greatness of the United States. And have we not sometimes, like the enthusiastic biographer, fancied the Old World staring through all its telescopes at us, and wondered that it did not recognize in us what we were fully persuaded we were going to be and do?[Pg 622]

Our American life is dreadfully barren of those elements of the social picturesque which give piquancy to anecdote. And without anecdote, what is biography, of even history, which is only biography on a larger scale? Clio, though she take airs on herself, and pretend to be "philosophy teaching by example," is, after all, but a gossip who has borrowed Fame's speaking-trumpet, and should be figured with a teacup instead of a scroll in her hand. How much has she not owed of late to the tittle-tattle of her gillflirt sister Thalia? In what gutters has not Macaulay raked for the brilliant bits with which he has put together his admirable mosaic picture of England under the last two Stuarts? Even Mommsen himself, who dislikes Plutarch's method as much as Montaigne loved it, cannot get or give a lively notion of ancient Rome, without running to the comic poets and the anecdote-mongers. He gives us the very beef-tea of history, nourishing and even palatable enough, excellently portable for a memory that, must carry her own packs, and can afford little luggage; but for our own part, we prefer a full, old-fashioned meal, with its side-dishes of spicy gossip, and its last relish, the Stilton of scandal, so it be not too high. One volume of contemporary memoirs, stuffed though it be with lies, (for lies to be good for anything must have a potential probability, must even be true so far as their moral and social setting is concerned,) will throw more light into the dark backward of time than the gravest Camden or Thuanus. If St. Simon is not accurate, is he any the less essentially true? No history gives us so clear an understanding of the moral condition of average men after the restoration of the Stuarts as the unconscious blabbings of the Puritan tailor's son, with his two consciences, as it were,—an inward, still sensitive in spots, though mostly toughened to India-rubber, and good rather for rubbing out old scores than retaining them, and an outward, alert, and termagantly effective in Mrs. Pepys. But we can have no St. Simons or Pepyses till we have a Paris or London to delocalize our gossip and give it historic breadth. All our capitals are fractional, merely greater or smaller gatherings of men, centres of business rather than of action or influence. Each contains so many souls, but is not, as the word "capital" implies, the true head of a community and seat of its common soul.

Has not life itself perhaps become a little more prosaic than it once was? As the clearing away of the woods scants the streams, may not our civilization have dried up some feeders that helped to swell the current of individual and personal force? We have sometimes thought that the stricter definition and consequent seclusion from each other of the different callings in modern times, as it narrowed the chance of developing and giving variety to character, lessened also the interest of biography. Formerly arts and arms were not divided by so impassable a barrier as now. There was hardly such a thing as a pékin. Cæsar gets up from writing his Latin Grammar to conquer Gaul, change the course of history, and make so many things possible,—among the rest our English language and Shakespeare. Horace had been a colonel; and from Æschylus, who fought at Marathon, to Ben Jonson, who trailed a pike in the Low Countries, the list of martial civilians is a long one. A man's education seems more complete who has smelt hostile powder from a less æsthetic distance than Goethe. It raises our confidence in Sir Kenelm Digby as a physicist, that he is able to illustrate some theory of acoustics in his Treatise of Bodies by instancing the effect of his guns in a sea-fight off Scanderoon. One would expect the proportions of character to be enlarged by such variety and contrast of experience. Perhaps it will by and by appear that our own civil war has done something for us in this way. Colonel Higginson comes down from his pulpit to draw on his jackboots, and thenceforth rides in our imagination alongside of John Bunyan and Bishop Compton. To have stored[Pg 623] moral capital enough to meet the drafts of Death at sight, must be an unmatched tonic. We saw our light-hearted youth come back with the modest gravity of age, as if they had learned to throw out pickets against a surprise of any weak point in their temperament. Perhaps that American shiftiness, so often complained of, may not be so bad a thing, if, by bringing men acquainted with every humor of fortune and human nature, it puts them in fuller possession of themselves.

But with whatever drawbacks in special circumstances, the main interest of biography must always lie in the amount of character or essential manhood which the subject of it reveals to us, and events are of import only as means to that end. It is true that lofty and far-seen exigencies may give greater opportunity to some men, whose energy is more sharply spurred by the shout of a multitude than by the grudging Well done! of conscience. Some theorists have too hastily assumed that, as the power of public opinion increases, the force of private character, or what we call originality, is absorbed into and diluted by it. But we think Horace was right in putting tyrant and mob on a level as the trainers and tests of a man's solid quality. The amount of resistance of which one is capable to whatever lies outside the conscience, is of more consequence than all other faculties together; and democracy, perhaps, tries this by pressure in more directions, and with a more continuous strain, than any other form of society. In Josiah Quincy we have an example of character trained and shaped, under the nearest approach to a pure democracy the world has ever seen, to a firmness, unity, and self-centred poise that recall the finer types of antiquity, in whom the public and private man was so wholly of a piece that they were truly everywhere at home, for the same sincerity of nature that dignified the hearth carried also a charm of homeliness into the forum. The phrase "a great public character," once common, seems to be going out of fashion, perhaps because there are fewer examples of the thing. It fits Josiah Quincy exactly. Active in civic and academic duties till beyond the ordinary period of man, at fourscore and ten his pen, voice, and venerable presence were still efficient in public affairs. A score of years after the energies of even vigorous men are declining or spent, his mind and character made themselves felt as in their prime. A true pillar of house and state, he stood unflinchingly upright under whatever burden might be laid upon him. The French Revolutionists aped what was itself but a parody of the elder republic, with their hair à la Brutus and their pedantic moralities à la Cato Minor, but this man unconsciously was the antique Roman they laboriously went about to be. Others have filled places more conspicuous, few have made the place they filled so conspicuous by an exact and disinterested performance of duty.

In the biography of Mr. Quincy by his son, there is something of the provincialism of which we have spoken as inherent in most American works of the kind. His was a Boston life in the strictest sense. But provincialism is relative, and where it has a flavor of its own, as in Scotland, it is often agreeable in proportion to its very intensity. The Massachusetts in which Mr. Quincy's habits of thought were acquired was a very different Massachusetts from that in which we of later generations have been bred. Till after he had passed middle life, Boston was more truly a capital than any other city in America, before or since, except possibly Charleston. The acknowledged head of New England, with a population of wellnigh purely English descent, mostly derived from the earlier emigration, with ancestral traditions and inspiring memories of its own, it had made its name familiar in both worlds, and was both historically and politically more important than at any later period. The Revolution had not interrupted, but rather given a freer current to the tendencies of its past. Both by its history and position, the town had what the[Pg 624] French call a solidarity, an almost personal consciousness, rare anywhere, rare especially in America, and more than ever since our enormous importation of fellow-citizens to whom America means merely shop, or meat three times a day. Boston has been called the "American Athens." Æsthetically, the comparison is ludicrous, but politically it was more reasonable. Its population was homogeneous, and there were leading families; while the form of government by town-meeting, and the facility of social and civic intercourse, gave great influence to popular personal qualities and opportunity to new men. A wide commerce, while it had insensibly softened the asperities of Puritanism and imported enough foreign refinement to humanize not enough foreign luxury to corrupt, had not essentially qualified the native tone of the town. Retired sea-captains (true brothers of Chaucer's Shipman), whose exploits had kindled the imagination of Burke, added a not unpleasant savor of salt to society. They belonged to the old school of Gilbert, Hawkins, Frobisher, and Drake, parcel-soldiers all of them, who had commanded armed ships and had tales to tell of gallant fights with privateers or pirates, truest representatives of those Vikings who, if trade in lumber or peltry was dull, would make themselves Dukes of Dublin or Earls of Orkney. If trade pinches the mind, commerce liberalizes it; and Boston was also advantaged with the neighborhood of the country's oldest College, which maintained the wholesome traditions of culture,—where Homer and Horace are familiar there is a certain amount of cosmopolitanism,—and would not allow bigotry to become despotism. Manners were more self-respectful, and therefore more respectful of others, and personal sensitiveness was fenced with more of that ceremonial with which society armed itself when it surrendered the ruder protection of the sword. We had not then seen a Governor in his chamber at the State-House with his hat on, a cigar in his mouth, and his feet upon the stove. Domestic service, in spite of the proverb, was not seldom an inheritance, nor was household peace dependent on the whim of a foreign armed neutrality in the kitchen. Servant and master were of one stock; there was decent authority and becoming respect; the tradition of the Old World lingered after its superstition had passed away. There was an aristocracy such as is healthful in a well-ordered community, founded on public service, and hereditary so long as the virtue which was its patent was not escheated. The clergy, no longer hedged by the reverence exacted by sacerdotal caste, were more than repaid by the consideration willingly paid to superior culture. What changes, many of them for the better, some of them surely for the worse, and all of them inevitable, did not Josiah Quincy see in that wellnigh secular life which linked the war of independence to the war of nationality! We seemed to see a type of them the other day in a colored man standing with an air of comfortable self-possession while his boots were brushed by a youth of catholic neutral tint, but whom nature had planned for white. The same eyes that had looked on Gage's red-coats, saw Colonel Shaw's negro regiment march out of Boston in the national blue. Seldom has a life, itself actively associated with public affairs, spanned so wide a chasm for the imagination. Oglethorpe's offers a parallel,—the aide-de-camp of Prince Eugene calling on John Adams, American Ambassador to England. Most long lives resemble those threads of gossamer, the nearest approach to nothing unmeaningly prolonged, scarce visible pathway of some worm from his cradle to his grave; but Quincy's was strung with seventy active years, each one a rounded bead of usefulness and service.

Mr. Quincy was a Bostonian of the purest type. Since the settlement of the town, there had been a colonel of the Boston regiment in every generation of his family. He lived to see a grandson brevetted with the same title for gallantry in the field. Only child of one among the most eminent advocates[Pg 625] of the Revolution, and who but for his untimely death would have been a leading actor in it, his earliest recollections belonged to the heroic period in the history of his native town. With that history his life was thenceforth intimately united by offices of public trust, as Representative in Congress, State Senator, Mayor, and President of the University, to a period beyond the ordinary span of mortals. Even after he had passed ninety, he would not claim to be emeritus, but came forward to brace his townsmen with a courage and warm them with a fire younger than their own. The legend of Colonel Goffe at Deerfield became a reality to the eyes of this generation. The New England breed is running out, we are told! This was in all ways a beautiful and fortunate life,—fortunate in the goods of this world,—fortunate, above all, in the force of character which makes fortune secondary and subservient. We are fond in this country of what are called self-made men (as if real success could ever be other); and this is all very well, provided they make something worth having of themselves. Otherwise it is not so well, and the examples of such are at best but stuff for the Alnaschar dreams of a false democracy. The gist of the matter is not where a man starts from, but where he comes out. We are glad to have the biography of one who, beginning as a gentleman, kept himself such to the end,—who, with no necessity of labor, left behind him an amount of thoroughly done work such as few have accomplished with the mighty help of hunger. Some kind of pace may be got out of the veriest jade by the near prospect of oats; but the thorough-bred has the spur in his blood.

Mr. Edmund Quincy has told the story of his father's life with the skill and good taste that might have been expected from the author of "Wensley." Considering natural partialities, he has shown a discretion of which we are oftener reminded by missing than by meeting it. He has given extracts enough from speeches to show their bearing and quality,—from letters, to recall bygone modes of thought and indicate many-sided friendly relations with good and eminent men; above all, he has lost no opportunity to illustrate that life of the past, near in date, yet alien in manners, whose current glides so imperceptibly from one generation into another that we fail to mark the shiftings of its bed or the change in its nature wrought by the affluents that discharge into it on all sides,—here a stream bred in the hills to sweeten, there the sewerage of some great city to corrupt. We cannot but lament that Mr. Quincy did not earlier begin to keep a diary. "Miss not the discourses of the elders," though put now in the Apocrypha, is a wise precept, but incomplete unless we add, "Nor cease from recording whatsoever thing thou hast gathered therefrom,"—so ready is Oblivion with her fatal shears. The somewhat greasy heap of a literary rag-and-bone-picker, like Athenæus, is turned to gold by time. Even the Virgilium vide tantum of Dryden about Milton, and of Pope again about Dryden, is worth having, and gives a pleasant fillip to the fancy. There is much of this quality in Mr. Edmund Quincy's book, enough to make us wish there were more. We get a glimpse of President Washington, in 1795, who reminded Mr. Quincy "of the gentlemen who used to come to Boston in those days to attend the General Court from Hampden or Franklin County, in the western part of the State. A little stiff in his person, not a little formal in his manners, not particularly at ease in the presence of strangers. He had the air of a country-gentleman not accustomed to mix much in society, perfectly polite, but not easy in his address and conversation, and not graceful in his gait and movements." Our figures of Washington have been so long equestrian, that it is pleasant to meet him dismounted for once. In the same way we get a card of invitation to a dinner of sixty covers at John Hancock's, and see the rather light-weighted great man wheeled round the room (for he had adopted Lord[Pg 626] Chatham's convenient trick of the gout) to converse with his guests. In another place we are presented, with Mr. Merry, the English Minister, to Jefferson, whom we find in an unofficial costume of studied slovenliness, intended as a snub to haughty Albion. Slippers down at the heel and a dirty shirt become weapons of diplomacy and threaten more serious war. Thus many a door into the past, long irrevocably shut upon us, is set ajar, and we of the younger generation on the landing catch peeps of distinguished men, and bits of their table-talk. We drive in from Mr. Lyman's beautiful seat at Waltham (unique at that day in its stately swans and half-shy, half-familiar deer) with John Adams, who tells us that Dr. Priestley looked on the French monarchy as the tenth horn of the Beast in Revelations,—a horn that has set more sober wits dancing than that of Huon of Bordeaux. Those were days, we are inclined to think, of more solid and elegant hospitality than our own,—the elegance of manners, at once more courtly and more frugal, of men who had better uses for wealth than merely to display it. Dinners have more courses now, and, like the Gascon in the old story, who could not see the town for the houses, we miss the real dinner in the multiplicity of its details. We might seek long before we found so good cheer, so good company, or so good talk as our fathers had at Lieutenant-Governor Winthrop's or Senator Cabot's.

We shall not do Mr. Edmund Quincy the wrong of picking out in advance all the plums in his volume, leaving to the reader only the less savory mixture that held them together,—a kind of filling unavoidable in books of this kind, and too apt to be what boys at boarding-school call stick-jaw, but of which there is no more than could not be helped here, and that light and palatable. But here and there is a passage where we cannot refrain, for there is a smack of Jack Horner in all of us, and a reviewer were nothing without it. Josiah Quincy was born in 1772. His father, returning from a mission to England, died in sight of the dear New England shore three years later. His young widow was worthy of him, and of the son whose character she was to have so large a share in forming. There is something very touching and beautiful in this little picture of her which Mr. Quincy drew in his extreme old age.

"My mother imbibed, as was usual with the women of the period, the spirit of the times. Patriotism was not then a profession, but an energetic principle beating in the heart and active in the life. The death of my father, under circumstances now the subject of history, had overwhelmed her with grief. She viewed him as a victim in the cause of freedom, and cultivated his memory with veneration, regarding him as a martyr, falling, as did his friend Warren, in the defence of the liberties of his country. These circumstances gave a pathos and vehemence to her grief, which, after the first violence of passion had subsided, sought consolation in earnest and solicitous fulfilment of duty to the representative of his memory and of their mutual affections. Love and reverence for the memory of his father was early impressed on the mind of her son, and worn into his heart by her sadness and tears. She cultivated the memory of my father in my heart and affections, even in my earliest childhood, by reading to me passages from the poets, and obliging me to learn by heart and repeat such as were best adapted to her own circumstances and feelings. Among others, the whole leave-taking of Hector and Andromache, in the sixth book of Pope's Homer, was one of her favorite lessons, which she made me learn and frequently repeat. Her imagination, probably, found consolation in the repetition of lines which brought to mind and seemed to typify her own great bereavement.

'And think'st thou not how wretched we shall be,—
A widow I, a helpless orphan he?'

These lines, and the whole tenor of Andromache's address and circumstances, she identified with her own sufferings, which seemed relieved by the tears my repetition of them drew from her."[Pg 627]

Pope's Homer is not Homer, perhaps; but how many noble natures have felt its elation, how many bruised spirits the solace of its bracing, if monotonous melody! To us there is something inexpressibly tender in this instinct of the widowed mother to find consolation in the idealization of her grief by mingling it with those sorrows which genius has turned into the perennial delight of mankind. This was a kind of sentiment that was healthy for her boy, refining without unnerving, and associating his father's memory with a noble company unassailable by time. It was through this lady, whose image looks down on us out of the past, so full of sweetness and refinement, that Mr. Quincy became of kin with Mr. Wendell Phillips, so justly eminent as a speaker. There is something nearer than cater-cousinship in a certain impetuous audacity of temper common to them both.

When six years old, Mr. Quincy was sent to Phillips Academy at Andover, where he remained till he entered college. His form-fellow here was a man of thirty, who had been a surgeon in the Continental Army, and whose character and adventures might almost seem borrowed from a romance of Smollett. Under Principal Pearson, the lad, though a near relative of the founder of the school, seems to have endured all that severity of the old a posteriori method of teaching which still smarted in Tusser's memory when he sang,

"From Paul's I went, to Eton sent,
To learn straightways the Latin phrase,
Where fifty-three stripes given to me
At once I had."

The young victim of the wisdom of Solomon was boarded with the parish minister, in whose kindness he found a lenitive for the scholastic discipline he underwent. This gentleman had been a soldier in the Colonial service, and Mr. Quincy afterwards gave as a reason for his mildness, that, "while a sergeant at Castle William, he had seen something of mankind." This, no doubt, would be a better preparative for successful dealing with the young than is generally thought. However, the birch was then the only classic tree, and every round in the ladder of learning was made of its inspiring wood. Dr. Pearson, perhaps, thought he was only doing justice to his pupil's claims of kindred by giving him a larger share of the educational advantages which the neighboring forest afforded. The vividness with which this system is always remembered by those who have been subjected to it would seem to show that it really enlivened the attention, and thereby invigorated the memory, nay, might even raise some question as to what part of the person is chosen by the mother of the Muses for her residence. With an appetite for the classics quickened by "Cheever's Accidence," and such other preliminary whets as were then in vogue, young Quincy entered college, where he spent the usual four years, and was graduated with the highest honors of his class. The amount of Latin and Greek imparted to the students of that day was not very great. They were carried through Horace, Sallust, and the De Oratoribus of Cicero, and read portions of Livy, Xenophon, and Homer. Yet the chief end of classical studies was perhaps as often reached then as now, in giving young men a love for something apart from and above the more vulgar associations of life. Mr. Quincy, at least, retained to the last a fondness for certain Latin authors. While he was President of the College, he told a gentleman, from whom we received the story, that, "if he were imprisoned, and allowed to choose one book for his amusement, that one should be Horace."

In 1797, Mr. Quincy was married to Miss Eliza Susan Morton of New York, a union which lasted in unbroken happiness for more than fifty years. His case might be cited among the leading ones in support of the old poet's axiom, that

"He never loved, that loved not at first sight";

for he saw, wooed, and won in a week. In later life he tried in a most amusing way to account for this rashness, and[Pg 628] to find reasons of settled gravity for the happy inspiration of his heart. He cites the evidence of Judge Sedgwick, of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Wolcott, of the Rev. Dr. Smith, and others, to the wisdom of his choice. But it does not appear that he consulted them beforehand. If love were not too cunning for that, what would become of the charming idyl, renewed in all its wonder and freshness for every generation? Let us be thankful that in every man's life there is a holiday of romance, an illumination of the senses by the soul, that makes him a poet while it lasts. Mr. Quincy caught the enchantment through his ears, a song of Burns heard from the next room conveying the infection,—a fact still inexplicable to him after lifelong meditation thereon, as he "was not very impressible by music"! To us there is something very characteristic in this rapid energy of Mr. Quincy, something very delightful in his naïve account of the affair. It needs the magic of no Dr. Heidegger to make these dried roses, that drop from between the leaves of a volume shut for seventy years, bloom again in all their sweetness. Mr. Edmund Quincy tells us his mother was "not handsome"; but those who remember the gracious dignity of her old age will hardly agree with him. She must always have had that highest kind of beauty which grows more beautiful with years, and keeps the eyes young, as if with a sort of partial connivance of Time.

We do not propose to follow Mr. Quincy closely through his whole public life, which, beginning with his thirty-second, ended with his seventy-third year. He entered Congress as the representative of a party privately the most respectable, publicly the least sagacious, among all those which under different names have divided the country. The Federalists were the only proper tones our politics have ever produced, whose conservatism truly represented an idea, and not a mere selfish interest,—men who honestly distrusted democracy, and stood up for experience, or the tradition which they believed for such, against empiricism. During his Congressional career, the government was little more than an attaché of the French legation, and the opposition to which he belonged a helpless revenant from the dead and buried Colonial past. There are some questions whose interest dies the moment they are settled; others, into which a moral element enters that hinders them from being settled, though they may be decided. It is hard to revive any enthusiasm about the Embargo, though it once could inspire the boyish Muse of Bryant, or in the impressment quarrel, though the Trent difficulty for a time rekindled its old animosities. The stars in their courses fought against Mr. Quincy's party, which was not in sympathy with the instincts of the people, groping about for some principle of nationality, and finding a substitute for it in hatred of England. But there are several things which still make his career in Congress interesting to us, because they illustrate the personal character of the man. He prepared himself honestly for his duties, by a thorough study of whatever could make him efficient in them. It was not enough that he could make a good speech; he wished also to have something to say. In Congress, as everywhere else, quod voluit valde voluit; and he threw a fervor into the most temporary topic, as if his eternal salvation depended upon it. He had not merely, as the French say, the courage of his opinions, but his opinions became principles, and gave him that gallantry of fanaticism which made him always ready to head a forlorn hope,—the more ready, perhaps, that it was a forlorn hope. This is not the humor of a statesman,—no, unless he holds a position like that of Pitt, and can charge a whole people with his own enthusiasm, and then we call it genius. Mr. Quincy had the moral firmness which enabled him to decline a duel without any loss of personal prestige. His opposition to the Louisiana purchase illustrates that Roman quality in him[Pg 629] to which we have alluded. He would not conclude the purchase till each of the old thirteen States had signified its assent. He was reluctant to endow a Sabine city with the privilege of Roman citizenship. It is worth nothing, that while in Congress, and afterwards in the State Senate, many of his phrases became the catchwords of party politics. He always dared to say what others deemed it more prudent only to think, and whatever he said he intensified with the whole ardor of his temperament. It is this which makes Mr. Quincy's speeches good reading still, even when the topics they discussed were ephemeral. In one respect he is distinguished from the politicians, and must rank with the far-seeing statesmen of his time. He early foresaw and denounced the political danger with which the slave power threatened the Union. His fears, it is true, were aroused for the balance of power between the old States, rather than by any moral sensitiveness, which would, indeed, have been an anachronism at that time. But the Civil War justified his prescience.

It was as Mayor of his native city that his remarkable qualities as an administrator were first called into requisition and adequately displayed. He organized the city government, and put it in working order. To him we owe many reforms in police, in the management of the poor, and other kindred matters,—much in the way of cure, still more, in that of prevention. The place demanded a man of courage and firmness, and found those qualities almost superabundantly in him. His virtues lost him his office, as such virtues are only too apt to do in peaceful times, where they are felt more as a restraint than a protection. His address on laying down the mayoralty is very characteristic. We quote the concluding sentences:—

"And now, gentlemen, standing as I do in this relation for the last time in your presence and that of my fellow-citizens, about to surrender forever a station full of difficulty, of labor and temptation, in which I have been called to very arduous duties, affecting the rights, property, and at times the liberty of others; concerning which the perfect line of rectitude—though desired—was not always to be clearly discerned; in which great interests have been placed within my control, under circumstances in which it would have been easy to advance private ends and sinister projects;—under these circumstances, I inquire, as I have a right to inquire,—for in the recent contest insinuations have been cast against my integrity,—in this long management of your affairs, whatever errors have been committed,—and doubtless there have been many,—have you found in me anything selfish, anything personal, anything mercenary? In the simple language of an ancient seer, I say, 'Behold, here I am; witness against me. Whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? At whose hands have I received any bribe?'

"Six years ago, when I had the honor first to address the City Council, in anticipation of the event which has now occurred, the following expressions were used: 'In administering the police, in executing the laws, in protecting the rights and promoting the prosperity of the city, its first officer will be necessarily beset and assailed by individual interests, by rival projects, by personal influences, by party passions. The more firm and inflexible he is in maintaining the rights and in pursuing the interests of the city, the greater is the probability of his becoming obnoxious to the censure of all whom he causes to be prosecuted or punished, of all whose passions he thwarts, of all whose interests he opposes.'

"The day and the event have come. I retire—as in that first address I told my fellow-citizens, 'If, in conformity with the experience of other republics, faithful exertions should be followed by loss of favor and confidence,' I should retire—'rejoicing, not, indeed, with a public and patriotic, but with a private[Pg 630] and individual joy'; for I shall retire with a consciousness weighed against which all human suffrages are but as the light dust of the balance."

Of his mayoralty we have another anecdote quite Roman in color. He was in the habit of riding early in the morning through the various streets that he might look into everything with his own eyes. He was once arrested on a malicious charge of violating the city ordinance against fast driving. He might have resisted, but he appeared in court and paid the fine, because it would serve as a good example "that no citizen was above the law."

Hardly had Mr. Quincy given up the government of the city, when he was called to that of the College. It is here that his stately figure is associated most intimately and warmly with the recollections of the greater number who hold his memory dear. Almost everybody looks back regretfully to the days of some Consul Plancus. Never were eyes so bright, never had wine so much wit and good-fellowship in it, never were we ourselves so capable of the various great things we have never done. Nor is it merely the sunset of life that casts such a ravishing light on the past, and makes the western windows of those homes of fancy we have left forever tremble with a sentiment of such sweet regret. We set great store by what we had, and cannot have again, however indifferent in itself, and what is past is infinitely past. This is especially true of college life, when we first assume the titles without the responsibilities of manhood, and the President of our year is apt to become our Plancus very early. Popular or not while in office, an ex-president is always sure of enthusiastic cheers at every college festival. Mr. Quincy had many qualities calculated to win favor with the young,—that one above all which is sure to do it, indomitable pluck. With him the dignity was in the man, not in the office. He had some of those little oddities, too, which afford amusement without contempt, and which rather tend to heighten than diminish personal attachment to superiors in station. His punctuality at prayers, and in dropping asleep there, his forgetfulness of names, his singular inability to make even the shortest offhand speech to the students,—all the more singular in a practised orator,—his occasional absorption of mind, leading him to hand you his sand-box instead of the leave of absence he had just dried with it,—the old-fashioned courtesy of his, "Sir, your servant," as he bowed you out of his study,—all tended to make him popular. He had also a little of what is somewhat contradictorily called dry humor, not without influence in his relations with the students. In taking leave of the graduating class, he was in the habit of paying them whatever honest compliment he could. Who, of a certain year which shall be nameless, will ever forget the gravity with which he assured them that they were "the best-dressed class that had passed through college during his administration"? How sincerely kind he was, how considerate of youthful levity, will always be gratefully remembered by whoever had occasion to experience it. A visitor not long before his death found him burning some memoranda of college peccadilloes, lest they should ever rise up in judgment against the men eminent in Church and State who had been guilty of them. One great element of his popularity with the students was his esprit de corps. However strict in discipline, he was always on our side as respected the outside world. Of his efficiency, no higher testimony could be asked than that of his successor, Dr. Walker. Here also many reforms date from his time. He had that happiest combination for a wise vigor in the conduct of affairs,—he was a conservative with an open mind.

One would be apt to think that, in the various offices which Mr. Quincy successively filled, he would have found enough to do. But his indefatigable activity overflowed. Even as a man of letters, he occupies no inconsiderable place. His "History of Harvard College"[Pg 631] is a valuable and entertaining treatment of a subject not wanting in natural dryness. His "Municipal History of Boston" his "History of the Boston Athenæum," and his "Life of Colonel Shaw" have permanent interest and value. All these were works demanding no little labor and research, and the thoroughness of their workmanship makes them remarkable as the by-productions of a busy man. Having consented, when more than eighty, to write a memoir of John Quincy Adams, to be published in the "Proceedings" of the Massachusetts Historical Society, he was obliged to excuse himself. On account of his age? Not at all, but because the work had grown to be a volume under his weariless hand. Ohne Hast ohne Rast, was as true of him as of Goethe. We find the explanation of his accomplishing so much in a rule of life which he gave, when President, to a young man employed as his secretary, and who was a little behindhand with his work: "When you have a number of duties to perform, always do the most disagreeable one first." No advice could have been more in character.

Perhaps the most beautiful part of Mr. Quincy's life was his old age. What in most men is decay, was in him but beneficent prolongation and adjournment. His interest in affairs unabated, his judgment undimmed, his fire unchilled, his last years were indeed "lovely as a Lapland night." Till within a year or two of its fall, there were no signs of dilapidation in that stately edifice. Singularly felicitous was Mr. Winthrop's application to him of Wordsworth's verses:—

"The monumental pomp of age
Was in that goodly personage."

Everything that Macbeth foreboded the want of, he had in deserved abundance,—the love, the honor, the obedience, the troops of friends. His equanimity was beautiful. He loved life, as men of large vitality always do, but he did not fear to lose life by changing the scene of it. Visiting him in his ninetieth year with a friend, he said to us, among other things: "I have no desire to die, but also no reluctance. Indeed, I have a considerable curiosity about the other world. I have never been to Europe, you know." Even in his extreme senescence there was an April mood somewhere in his nature "that put a spirit of youth in everything." He seemed to feel that he could draw against an unlimited credit of years. When eighty-two, he said smilingly to a young man just returned from a foreign tour, "Well, well, I mean to go myself when I am old enough to profit by it." We have seen many old men whose lives were mere waste and desolation, who made longevity disreputable by their untimely persistence in it; but in Mr. Quincy's length of years there was nothing that was not venerable. To him it was fulfilment, not deprivation; the days were marked to the last for what they brought, not for what they took away.

The memory of what Mr. Quincy did will be lost in the crowd of newer activities; it is the memory of what he was that is precious to us. Bonum virum facile crederes, magnum libenter. If John Winthrop be the highest type of the men who shaped New England, we can find no better one of those whom New England has shaped than Josiah Quincy. It is a figure that we can contemplate with more than satisfaction,—a figure of admirable example in a democracy as that of a model citizen. His courage and high-mindedness were personal to him; let us believe that his integrity, his industry, his love of letters, his devotion to duty, go in some sort to the credit of the society which gave him birth and formed his character. In one respect he is especially interesting to us, as belonging to a class of men of whom he was the last representative, and whose like we shall never see again. Born and bred in an age of greater social distinctions than ours, he was an aristocrat in a sense that is good even in a republic. He had the sense of a certain personal dignity inherent in him, and which could not be alienated by any whim of the[Pg 632] popular will. There is no stouter buckler than this for independence of spirit, no surer guaranty of that courtesy which, in its consideration of others, is but paying a debt of self-respect. During his presidency, Mr. Quincy was once riding to Cambridge in a crowded omnibus. A colored woman got in, and could nowhere find a seat. The President instantly gave her his own, and stood the rest of the way, a silent rebuke of the general rudeness. He was a man of quality in the true sense,—of quality not hereditary, but personal. Position might be taken from him, but he remained where he was. In what he valued most, his sense of personal worth, the world's opinion could neither help nor hinder. We do not mean that this was conscious in him; if it had been, it would have been a weakness. It was an instinct, and acted with the force and promptitude proper to such. Let us hope that the scramble of democracy will give us something as good; anything of so classic dignity we shall not look to see again.

Josiah Quincy was no seeker of office; from first to last he and it were drawn together by the mutual attraction of need and fitness, and it clung to him as most men cling to it. The people often make blunders in their choice; they are apt to mistake presence of speech for presence of mind; they love so to help a man rise from the ranks, that they will spoil a good demagogue to make a bad general; a great many faults may be laid at their door, but they are not fairly to be charged with fickleness. They are constant to whoever is constant to his real self, to the best manhood that is in him, and not to the mere selfishness, the antica lupa so cunning to hide herself in the sheep's fleece even from ourselves. It is true, the contemporary world is apt to be the gull of brilliant parts, and the maker of a lucky poem or picture or statue, the winner of a lucky battle, gets perhaps more than is due to the solid result of his triumph. It is time that fit honor should be paid also to him who shows a genius for public usefulness, for the achievement of character, who shapes his life to a certain classic proportion, and comes off conqueror on those inward fields where something more than mere talent is demanded for victory. The memory of such men should be cherished as the most precious inheritance which one generation can bequeath to the next. However it might be with popular favor, public respect followed Mr. Quincy unwaveringly for seventy years, and it was because he had never forfeited his own. In this, it appears to us, lies the lesson of his life, and his claim upon our grateful recollection. It is this which makes him an example, while the careers of so many of our prominent men are only useful for warning. As regards history, his greatness was narrowly provincial; but if the measure of deeds be the spirit in which they are done, that fidelity to instant duty, which, according to Herbert, makes an action fine, then his length of years should be very precious to us for its lesson. Talleyrand, whose life may be compared with his for the strange vicissitude which it witnessed, carried with him out of the world the respect of no man, least of all his own; and how many of our own public men have we seen whose old age but accumulated a disregard which they would gladly have exchanged for oblivion! In Quincy the public fidelity was loyal to the private, and the withdrawal of his old age was into a sanctuary,—a diminution of publicity with addition of influence.

"Conclude we, then, felicity consists
Not in exterior fortunes....
Sacred felicity doth ne'er extend
Beyond itself....
The swelling of an outward fortune can
Create a prosperous, not a happy man."

[Pg 633]


The people of the United States now have the mortification of standing before the world in the attitude of a swindled democracy. Their collective will is crossed by the will of one individual, whose only title to such autocracy is in the fact that he has cheated and betrayed those who elected him. There might be some little compensation for this outrage, if the man himself possessed any of those commanding qualities of mind and disposition which ordinarily distinguish usurpers; but it is the peculiarity of Mr. Johnson that the indignation excited by his claims is only equalled by the contempt excited by his character. He is despised even by those he benefits, and his nominal supporters feel ashamed of the trickster and apostate, while condescending to reap the advantages of his faithlessness. No party in the South or in the North thinks of selecting him as its candidate, for the vices and weaknesses which make an excellent accomplice and tool are not those which any party would consider desirable in a leader. Whatever office-seekers, partisans, traitors, and public enemies may find in Mr. Johnson, it is certain that they find in him nothing to respect. He is cursed with that form of moral disease which sometimes renders a man ridiculous, sometimes infamous, but which never renders him respectable,—namely, vanity of will. Other men may be vain of their talents and accomplishments, but he is vain of the personal pronoun itself, utterly regardless of what it covers and includes. Reason, conscience, understanding, have no impersonality to him. When he uses the words, he uses them as synonymes of his determinations, or as decorative terms into which it pleases him to translate the rough vernacular of his wilfulness and caprices. The "Constitution," also, a word constantly profaned by his lips, is not so much, as he uses it, the Constitution of the United States as the moral and mental constitution of Andrew Johnson, which, in his view, is the one primary fact to which all other facts must be subordinate. His gross inconsistencies of opinion and policy, his shameless betrayal of his party, his incapacity to hold himself to his word, his hatred of a cause the moment its defenders cease to flatter him, his habit of administering laws he has vetoed, on the principle that they do not mean what he vetoed them for meaning, his delight in little tricks of low cunning,—in short, all the immoral and unreasonable acts of his administration have their central source in a passionate sense of self-importance, inflaming a mind of extremely limited capacity.

Such a person, whose mere presence in the executive chair of a constitutional country is itself "a high crime and misdemeanor," is of course the natural prey of demagogues, and he now appears to be surrounded by demagogues of the most desperate class. His advisers are conspirators, and they have so wrought on his vulgar and malignant nature that the question of his impeachment has now come to be merged in the more momentous question whether he will submit to be impeached. Constitutionally, there is no limit to the power of Congress in this respect but that which Congress may itself impose. The power is plain, and there can be no revision of the judgment of the Senate by any other power in the government. But Mr. Johnson thinks, or says he thinks, that Congress itself, as at present constituted, is unconstitutional. He believes, or says he believes, that the defeated Rebel States whose representatives Congress now excludes are as much States in the Union, and as much entitled to representation, as New York or Ohio. As he specially represents the defeated Rebel States, it is hardly to be supposed that he will consent to be punished for crimes committed[Pg 634] in their behalf by a Congress from which their representatives are excluded; and it is also to be presumed that the measures he is now taking to obstruct the operation of the laws of Congress relating to reconstruction are but preliminary to a design to resist Congress itself.

The madness of such a scheme leads judicious people to disbelieve in its possibility; but in respect to Mr. Johnson it has been found that the only way to prevent the occurrence of mischief is to diffuse extensively among the people the suspicion that it is meditated. Judicious and dispassionate persons are often poor judges of what men of fierce passions and distempered minds will do; for they unconsciously attribute to such men some of their own ideas of honesty, propriety, and regard for the public welfare. The legislators whom Louis Napoleon outwitted were overthrown, because, bad as their opinion of him was, it was not so bad as events proved it ought to have been. In the case of Mr. Johnson, there is not the same excuse for misconception, since his cunning is utterly divorced from sagacity, and he has not the intelligence to conceal what his impulses prompt him to attempt. The kind of man he is would seem to be obvious to the most superficial observer; the natural inference is, therefore, that he will act after his kind; but this is an inference which dispassionate statesmen have hesitated fully to draw. They have been continually surprised at acts which they should have foreseen. They were surprised that, during the months he was left to his own devices and to the counsels of Southern politicians, he matured his policy of reconstruction. They were surprised that he would not abandon his policy rather than break with the Republican party. They were surprised when they learned that he meditated a coup d'état on the assembling of the Fortieth Congress. They were surprised when they found that no law could be made which would bind him according to its intent. They were surprised when, as soon as Congress adjourned, he began to take measures which can have no other intelligible purpose than that of making him master of Congress when it reassembles. And to crown all, though it has been apparent since February, 1866, that he was the enemy of the country, they have still had technical reasons for retaining him as the proper executive of its laws.

It would then seem that, in dealing with such a man as Andrew Johnson, it is the part of wisdom to suspect the worst. Without any special knowledge of the treasonable intrigue now going on in Washington, it is still possible to fathom the President's designs, and to understand the resources on which he relies. In the first place, his conceit makes him believe that he is the first man in the nation, and that he is not only adored at the South, but popular at the North. The slightest sign of reaction in Northern and Western elections he considers a testimony to his individual merit, and an indorsement of his policy. In case he refuses to recognize the present Congress, turns its members by military power out of their seats, and appeals for support to the white population of the Rebel as well as Loyal States, he will count on being sustained by the nation. The Democratic party agrees with him as far as regards the constitutionality of the laws which he will, in the name of the Constitution, be compelled to disregard in order to get possession of the military power of the country; and he thinks that party will support him in resuming those functions as commander-in-chief of which he has been deprived by a "usurping" Congress. The army and navy, with all Republican officers removed, including, of course, General Grant and Admiral Farragut, he thinks will obey his orders. The South, he supposes, will rally round him to a man. The thoroughly Rebel military organization in Maryland, controlled by a Governor after his own heart, will interpose obstacles to the passage of troops from the Northern States to Washington. The Democrats[Pg 635] in those States will do all they can to prevent troops from being sent. Before there could be any efficient military organization in the Loyal States brought to bear on his dictatorship, he expects to have a Congress of "the whole nation" around him, of which at least a majority will be defeated Rebels and Copperheads. The whole thing is to be done in the name of the Constitution; and the Proclamation he has issued to all officers of the United States, civil and military, telling them to obey the Constitution (i. e. Mr. Johnson), may be considered the first step in the development of the scheme.

It is needless to say that such a scheme could only find hospitable reception in the head of a spiteful, inflated, and unprincipled egotist, for such an egotist Mr. Johnson assuredly is. It is needless to say that it would break down through the refusal of General Grant to give up his command, and through the refusal of the great body of the army to obey the President; for the danger is not so much the success of the attempt as the convulsion which, the mere attempt would occasion. That the danger is a serious one, provided the October and November elections show a considerable Republican loss, is evident from a consideration of the President's position. He has already gone far enough in his course to exasperate Congress, and unite its Republican members, conservative and radical, in favor of his impeachment. Without going over the long list of delinquencies and usurpations which would justify that measure, it is sufficient to name the recent Proclamation of Amnesty as an act which promises to secure it. That Proclamation is a plain violation of the Constitution as the Constitution is understood by Congress; and it is upon the Congressional interpretation of the Constitution that, in the matter of impeachment, the President must stand or fall. Congress, by giving the power of granting amnesty to Mr. Lincoln, evidently conceived that it was not a power given to him by the Constitution; by taking it away from Mr. Johnson, it as evidently conceived that it could not be exercised by him except by usurpation. In usurping this power, Mr. Johnson must have known that his act belonged, in the opinion of Congress, to the class of "high crimes and misdemeanors," for the commission of which the Constitution expressly provides that Presidents may be impeached; and he must also have known that Congress, in judging of his infractions of the Constitution, would be bound neither by his individual opinion of his constitutional powers nor by the opinion of the Supreme Court, but was at perfect liberty to act on its own interpretation of his constitutional duty. It is not therefore to be supposed that he intended to limit his defiance of Congress to the mere issuing of the Amnesty Proclamation, especially as the principle on which that Proclamation was issued would cover his refusal to carry out the whole Congressional plan of reconstruction. His conviction or assertion that Congress has no right to withhold from him the power to pardon defeated rebels and public enemies by the wholesale, is certainly not greater or more emphatic than his conviction or assertion that, in its plan of reconstruction, Congress has granted to subordinates powers which constitutionally belong to him. If he can exalt his will over Congress in the one case, there is no reason why he should not do it in the other.

Indeed, in the Proclamation of Amnesty, Mr. Johnson practically claims that his power to grant pardons extends to a dispensing power over the laws. But it is evident that the Constitution, in giving the President the power to pardon criminals, does not give him the power to dispense with the laws against crime. At one period, Mr. Johnson seems to have done this in respect to the crime of counterfeiting, by his repeated pardons extended to convicted counterfeiters.—Still there is a broad line of distinction between the abuse of this power to pardon criminals after conviction, and the assumption of power to restore to[Pg 636] whole classes of traitors and public enemies their forfeited rights of citizenship. By the pardon of murderers and counterfeiters, the President cannot much increase the number of his political supporters; by the pardon of traitors and public enemies, he may build up a party to support him in his struggle against the legislative department of the government. The reasons which have induced Mr. Johnson to dispense with the laws against treason are political reasons, and bear no relation to his prerogative of mercy. Nobody pretends that he pardoned counterfeiters because they were his political partisans; everybody knows he pardons traitors and public enemies in order to gain their influence and votes. A public enemy himself, and leagued with public enemies, he has the impudence to claim that he is constitutionally capable of perverting his power to pardon into a power to gain political support in his schemes against the loyal nation.

But it is not probable that the President will limit his usurpations to a measure whose chief significance consists in its preliminary character. Before Congress meets in November, he will doubtless have followed it up by others which will make his impeachment a matter of certainty. The only method of preventing him from resisting impeachment by force, is an awakening of the people to the fact that the final battle against reviving rebellion is yet to be fought at the polls. Any apathy or divisions among Republicans in the State elections in October and November, resulting in a decrease of their vote, will embolden Mr. Johnson to venture his meditated coup d'état. He never will submit to be impeached and removed from office unless Congress is sustained by a majority of the people so great as to frighten him into submission. Elated by a little victory, he can only be depressed by a ruinous defeat; and such a defeat it is the solemn duty of the people to prepare for him. Even into his conceited brain must be driven the idea that his contemplated enterprise is hopeless, and that, in attempting to commit the greatest of political crimes, he would succeed only in committing the most enormous of political blunders.

Still, it is not to be concealed that there are circumstances in the present political condition of the country which may give the President just that degree of apparent popular support which is all he needs to stimulate him into open rebellion against the laws. It is, of course, his duty to recognize the people of the United States in their representatives in the Fortieth Congress; but, on the other hand, it is the character of his mind to regard the people as multiplied duplicates of himself, and a mob yelling for "Andy" under his windows is to him more representative of the people than the delegates of twenty States. In the autumn elections only two Representatives to Congress will be chosen; the political strife will relate generally to local questions and candidates; and it is to be feared that the Republicans will not be sufficiently alive to the fact, that divisions on local questions and candidates will be considered at Washington as significant of a change in the public mind on the great national question which it is the business of the Fortieth Congress to settle. That Congress needs the moral support of a great Republican vote now, and will obtain it provided the people are roused to a conviction of its necessity. But a large and influential portion of the Republican party is composed of business men, whose occupations disconnect them from politics except in important exigencies, and who can with difficulty be made to believe that politics is a part of their business, as long as the safety of their business is not threatened by civil disorders. They think the reconstruction question is practically settled, and when you speak to them of plots such as are now hatching in Washington, and which seem as preposterous as the story of a sensational novel, their incredulity confirms them in the notion that it is safe[Pg 637] to allow things to take their course. Their very good sense makes them blind to the designs of such a Bobadil-Cromwell as Andrew Johnson. The great body of the Republican party, indeed, shows at present a little of the exhaustion which is apt to follow a series of victories, and exhibits altogether too much of the confidence which so often attends an incompleted triumph.

The Democratic party, on the contrary, is all alive, and is preparing for one last desperate attempt to recover its old position in the nation. Its leaders fear that, if the Congressional plan of reconstruction be carried out, it will result in republicanizing the Southern States. This would be the political extinction of their party. In fighting against that plan, they are, therefore, fighting for life, and are accordingly more than usually profligate in the character of the stimulants they address to whatever meanness, baseness, dishonesty, lawlessness, and ignorance there may be in the nation. Taxation presses hard on the people, and they have not hesitated to propose repudiation of the public debt as the means of relief. The argument is addressed to ignorance and passion, for Mirabeau hit the reason of the case when he defined repudiation as taxation in its most cruel and iniquitous form. But the method of repudiation which the Democratic leaders propose to follow is of all methods the worst and most calamitous. They would make the dollar a mere form of expression by the issue of an additional billion or two of greenbacks, and then "pay off" the debt in the currency they had done all they could to render worthless. In other words they would not only swindle the public creditor, but wreck all values. A party which advocates such a scheme as this, to save it from the death it deserves, would have no hesitation in risking a civil convulsion for the same purpose. Indeed, the reopening of the civil war would not produce half the misery which would be created by the adoption of their project to dilute the currency.

Now, if by apathy on the part of Republicans and audacity on the part of Democrats the autumn elections result unfavorably, it will then be universally seen how true was Senator Sumner's remark made in January last, that "Andrew Johnson, who came to supreme power by a bloody accident, has become the successor of Jefferson Davis in the spirit by which he is governed, and in the mischief he is inflicting on the country"; that "the President of the Rebellion is revived in the President of the United States." What this man now proposes to do has been impressively stated by Senator Thayer of Nebraska, in a public address at Cincinnati: "I declare," he said, "upon my responsibility as a Senator of the United States, that to-day Andrew Johnson meditates and designs forcible resistance to the authority of Congress. I make this statement deliberately, having received it from an unquestioned and unquestionable authority." It would seem that this authority could be none other than the authority of the Acting Secretary of War and General of the Army of the United States, who, reticent as he is, does not pretend to withhold his opinion that the country is in imminent peril, and in peril from the action of the President. But it is by some considered a sufficient reply to such statements, that, if Mr. Johnson should overturn the legislative department of the government, there would be an uprising of the people which would soon sweep him and his supporters from the face of the earth. This may be very true, but we should prefer a less Mexican manner of ascertaining public sentiment. Without leaving their peaceful occupations, the people can do by their votes all that it is proposed they shall do by their muskets. It is hardly necessary that a million or half a million of men should go to Washington to speak their mind to Mr. Johnson, when a ballot-box close at hand will save them the expense and trouble. It will, indeed, be infinitely disgraceful to the nation if Mr. Johnson dares to put his purpose into act, for his courage to violate his own duty will come from the[Pg 638] neglect of the people to perform theirs. Let the great uprising of the citizens of the Republic be at the polls this autumn, and there will be no need of a fight in the winter. The House of Representatives, which has the sole power of impeachment, will in all probability impeach the President. The Senate, which has the sole power to try impeachments, will in all probability find him guilty, by the requisite two thirds of its members, of the charges preferred by the House. And he himself, cowed by the popular verdict against his contemplated crime, and hopeless of escaping from the punishment of past delinquencies by a new act of treason, will submit to be removed from the office he has too long been allowed to dishonor.


The New Life of Dante Alighieri. Translated by Charles Eliot Norton. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

In "The New Life" Dante tells how first he met Beatrice and loved her; but how he feigned that it was another lady he loved, making a defence of her and others still that his real passion might not be known; how Beatrice would not salute him, believing him false and inconstant with these ladies, her friends; how being at a banquet where she was, he was so visibly stricken with love that some of the ladies derided him; how Beatrice's father died, and how Dante himself fell ill; how Beatrice quitted the city, and soon after the world; and how Dante was so grateful to another lady who pitied his affliction that his heart turned toward her in love, but he restrained it, and remained true to Beatrice forever. Part of this is told as the experience of children in years, Dante being nine at the time he first sees his love, and she of "a very youthful age"; but the narrative then extends over the course of sixteen years. The incidents of the slight history furnish occasion for sonnets and canzonets, which often repeat the facts and sentiments of the prose, and which are again elaborately expounded.

Such is "The New Life,"—a medley of passionate feeling, of vaguest narrative, of scholastic pedantry. It is readily conceivable that to transfer such a work to another tongue with verbal truth, and without lapse from the peculiar spirit of the original, is a labor of great and unusual difficulty. The slightest awkwardness in the translation of these mystical passages of prose and rhyme connected by a thread of fact so fragile and so subtle that we must seem to have done it violence in touching it, would be almost fatal to the reader's enjoyment, or even patience. Their version demands deep knowledge, not only of the language in which they first took form, but of all the civil and intellectual conditions of the time and country in which they were produced, as well as the utmost fidelity, and exquisite delicacy of taste. It appears to us that Mr. Norton has met these requirements, and executed his task with signal grace and success.

The translator of the "Vita Nuova" has not departed from the principle which Mr. Longfellow's translation of the "Commedia" is to render sole in the version of poetry. Indeed, there was a greater need, if possible, of literalness in rendering the less than the greater work, while the temptations to "improvement" and modification of the original must have been even more constant. Yet there is a very notable difference between Mr. Longfellow's literality and Mr. Norton's, which strikes at first glance, and which goes to prove that within his proper limits the literal translator can always find room for the play of individual feeling. Mr. Longfellow seems to have developed to its utmost the Latin element in our poetical diction, and to have found in words of a kindred stock the best interpretation of the Italian, while Mr. Norton instinctively chooses for the rendering of Dante's tenderness and simplicity[Pg 639] a diction almost as purely Saxon as that of the Bible. This gives the prose of "The New Life" with all its proper archaic quality; and those who read the following sonnet can well believe that it is not unjust to the beauty of the verse:—

"So gentle and so modest doth appear
My lady when she giveth her salute,
That every tongue becometh, trembling, mute;
Nor do the eyes to look upon her dare.
Although she hears her praises, she doth go
Benignly vested with humility;
And like a thing come down, she seems to be,
From heaven to earth, a miracle to show.
So pleaseth she whoever cometh nigh,
She gives the heart a sweetness through the eyes,
Which none can understand who doth not prove.
And from her countenance there seems to move
A spirit sweet, and in Love's very guise,
Who to the soul is ever saying, Sigh!"

Mr. Norton has in all cases kept to the metres of the original, but in most of the canzonets has sacrificed rhyme to literality,—a sacrifice which we are inclined to regret, chiefly because the translator has elsewhere shown that the closest fidelity need not involve the loss of any charm of the original. "We have not room here to make any general comparison of Mr. Norton's version with the Italian, but we cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of giving the following sonnet, so exquisite in both tongues, for the better proof of what we say in praise of the translator:—

"Negli occhi porta la mia donna Amore;
Per che si fa gentil ciocch' ella mira:
Ove ella passa, ogni uom ver lei si gira,
E cui saluta fa tremar to core.
Sicchè bassando 'l viso tutto smuore,
Ed ogni suo difetto allor sospira:
Fugge dinanzi a lei superbia ed ira.
Aiutatenmi, donne, a farle onore.
Ogni dolcezza, ogni pensiero umile
Nasce nel core, a chi parlar la sente,
Onde è laudato chi prima la vide.
Quel, ch' ella par, quando un poco sorride,
Non si puo dicer, nè tenerc a mente;
Si è nuovo miracolo, e gentile."
*       *       *       *
"Within her eyes my lady beareth Love,
So that whom she regards as gentle made;
All toward her turn, where'er her path is laid,
And whom she greets, his heart doth trembling move;
So that with face cast down, all pale to view,
For every fault of his he then doth sigh;
Anger and pride away before her fly:—
Assist me, dames, to pay her honor due.
All sweetness truly, every humble thought,
The heart of him who hears her speak doth hold;
Whence he is blessed who hath her seen erewhile.
What seems she when a little she doth smile
Cannot be kept in mind, cannot be told,
Such strange and gentle miracle is wrought."

The poems are of course rendered with varying degrees of felicity, and this we think one of the happiest versions; though few in their literality lack that ease and naturalness of movement supposed to be the gift solely of those wonder-workers who render the "spirit" of an author, while disdaining a "slavish fidelity" to his words,—who as painters would portray a man's expression without troubling themselves to reproduce his features.

It appears to us that generally the sonnets are translated better than the canzonets, and that where Mr. Norton has found the rhyme quite indispensable, he has all the more successfully performed his task. In the prose there is naturally less inequality, and here, where excellence is quite as important as in the verse, the translator's work is irreproachable. His vigilant taste seems never to have failed him in the choice of words which should keep at once all the dignity and all the quaintness of the original, while they faithfully reported its sense.

The essays appended to the translation assemble from Italian and English writings all the criticism that is necessary to the enjoyment of "The New Life," and include many valuable and interesting comments by the translator upon the work itself, and the spirit of the age and country in which it was written.

The notes, which, like the essays, are pervaded by Mr. Norton's graceful and conscientious scholarship, are not less useful and attractive.

We do not know that we can better express our very high estimate of the work as a whole, than by saying that it is the fit companion of Mr. Longfellow's unmatched version of the "Divina Commedia," with which it is likewise uniform in faultless mechanical execution.

The Bulls and the Jonathans; comprising John Bull and Brother Jonathan, and John Bull in America. By James K. Paulding. Edited by William I. Paulding. New York: Charles Scribner and Company.

"John Bull and Brother Jonathan" is an allegory, conveying in a strain of fatiguing drollery the history of the relations between Great Britain and the United[Pg 640] States previous to the war of 1812, and reflecting the popular feeling with regard to some of the English tourists who overran us after the conclusion of peace. In this ponderous travesty John Bull of Bullock is England, and Brother Jonathan the United States; Napoleon figures as Beau Napperty, Louis XVI. as Louis Baboon, and France as Frogmore. It could not have been a hard thing to write in its day, and we suppose that it must once have amused people, though it is not easy to understand bow they could ever have read it through.

"John Bull in America" is a satire, again, upon the book-making tourists, and the ideas of our country generally accepted from them in England. It is in the form of a narrative, and probably does not exaggerate the stories told of us by Captain Ashe, Mr. Richard Parkinson, Farmer Faux, Captain Hamilton, Captain Hall, and a tribe of now-forgotten travellers, who wrote of adventure in the United States when, as Mr. Dickens intimates, one of the readiest means of literary success in England was to visit the Americans and abuse them in a book. Mr. Paulding's parody gives the idea that their lies were rather dull and foolish, and that the parodist's work was not so entirely a diversion as one might think. He wrote for a generation now passing away, and it is all but impossible for us to enter into the feeling that animated him and his readers. For this reason, perhaps, we fail to enjoy his book, though we are not entirely persuaded that we should have found it humorous when it first appeared.

The Life and Death of Jason. A Poem. By William Morris. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Whether the reader shall enjoy and admire this poem or not, depends almost solely upon the idea with which he comes to its perusal. If he expects to find it a work of genius, with an authentic and absolute claim upon his interest, he will be disappointed. If he is prepared to see in it a labor of the most patient and wonderful ingenuity, to behold the miracle of an Englishman of our day writing exactly in the spirit of the heroic ages, with no thought or feeling suggested by the experience of the last two thousand years, it will fully answer his expectations. The work is so far Greek as to read in many parts like Chapman's translation of the Odyssey; though it must be confessed that Homer is, if not a better Pagan, at least a greater poet than Mr. Morris. Indeed, it appears to us that Mr. Morris's success is almost wholly in the reflected sentiment and color of his work, and it seems, therefore, to have no positive value, and to add nothing to the variety of letters or intellectual life. It is a kind of performance in which failure is intolerably offensive, and triumph more to be wondered at than praised. For to be more or less than Greek in it is to be ridiculous, and to be just Greek is to be what has already perfectly and sufficiently been. If one wished to breathe the atmosphere of Greek poetry, with its sensuous love of beauty and of life, its pathetic acceptance of events as fate, its warped and unbalanced conscience, its abhorrence of death, and its conception of a future sad as annihilation, we had already the Greek poets; and does it profit us that Mr. Morris can produce just their effects and nothing more in us?

We are glad to acknowledge his transcendent talent, and we have felt in reading his poem all the pleasure that faultless workmanship can give. He is alert and sure in the management of his materials; his descriptions of sentiment and nature are so clever, and his handling of a familiar plot so excellent, that he carries you with him to the end, and leaves you unfatigued, but sensible of no addition to your stock of ideas and feelings.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No.
121, November, 1867, by Various


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