The Project Gutenberg EBook of McClure's Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3, August,
1893, by Various

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Title: McClure's Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3, August, 1893

Author: Various

Release Date: March 18, 2011 [EBook #35610]

Language: English

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McClure’s Magazine

August, 1893.

Vol. I. No. 3

Copyright, 1893, by S. S. McClure, Limited. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents


A Dialogue Between Eugene Field and Hamlin Garland. Recorded by Hamlin Garland. 195
The Shadow Boatswain. By Bliss Carman. 205
The Slapping Sal. By Conan Doyle. 206
“Human Documents.” 213
Some Professional Adventures of Karl Hagenbeck. By Raymond Blathwayt. 219
The Story I Heard on the Cars. By Mrs. E. V. Wilson. 224
Mrs. Gladstone and Her Good Works. By Mary G. Burnett. 235
A Boys’ Republic. By Alfred Balch. 242
The Happy Life. By Sir Henry Wotton. 254
Edwin Booth. On and Off the Stage. By Adam Badeau. 255
Burglars Three. By James Harvey Smith. 268
Stranger Than Fiction. By Dr. William Wright. 277



The Old Homestead at Fayetteville, Vermont. 196
Eugene Field’s Home at Buena Park, Chicago. 197
The Hall. 198
A Bit of Library. 199
The Dining-Room. 199
The Drawing-Room. 201
Field’s “Treasures.” 203
Hairy Hudson. 206
Captain Johnson and Mr. Wharton. 207
The Action. 209
Aboard the “Leda.” 210
Oliver Wendell Holmes. 214
J. J. Ingalls. 216
Jules Verne. 218
Karl Hagenbeck’s Father and His First Show in Berlin. 220
The Scramble in Munich. 223
The Old and New Castle of Hawarden. 236
Miss Glynne (Mrs. Gladstone), 1838. 237
The Orphanage, Hawarden. 237
The Inmates of Woodsford Hall in the Forest. 239
The Annual Lunch Party of the Notting Hill School Girls. 240
Mrs. Gladstone To-day. 241
The Chapel. 243
The Camp on March. 249
A Halt for Supper. 250
The Barge. 250
Captain Cairn’s House. 253
The Death Mask of Edwin Booth. 267
“I Ain’t No Missionary!” 269
“Excellent Claret,” Said Harry. 271
“No Violence, Jim!” 272
“What Is Your Annual Income as a Burglar?” 273


Recorded by Hamlin Garland.

One afternoon quite recently two men sat in an attic study in one of the most interesting homes in the city of Chicago. A home that was a museum of old books, rare books, Indian relics, dramatic souvenirs and bric-a-brac indescribable, but each piece with a history.

It was a beautiful June day, and the study window looked out upon a lawn of large trees where children were rioting. It was a part of Chicago which the traveler never sees, green and restful and dignified, the lake not far off.

The host was a tall, thin-haired man with a New England face of the Scotch type, rugged, smoothly shaven, and generally very solemn—suspiciously solemn in expression. His infrequent smile curled his wide, expressive mouth in fantastic grimaces which seemed not to affect the steady gravity of the blue-gray eyes. He was stripped to his shirt-sleeves and sat with feet on a small stand. He chewed reflectively upon a cigar during the opening of the talk. His voice was deep but rather dry in quality.

The other man was a rather heavily built man with brown hair and beard cut rather close. He listened, mainly, going off into gusts of laughter occasionally as the other man gave a quaint turn to some very frank phrase. The tall host was Eugene Field, the interviewer a Western writer by the name of Garland.

“Well now, brother Field,” said Garland, interrupting his host as he was about to open another case of rare books. “You remember I’m to interview you to-day.”

Field scowled savagely.

“O say, Garland, can’t we put that thing off?”

“No. Must be did,” replied his friend decisively. “Now there are two ways to do this thing. We can be as literary and as deliciously select in our dialogue as Mr. Howells and Professor Boyesen were, or we can be wild and woolly. How would it do to be as wild and woolly as those Eastern fellers expect us to be?”

“All right,” said Field, taking his seat well upon the small of his back. “What does it all mean anyway? What you goin’ to do?”

“I’m goin’ to take notes while we talk, and I’m goin’ to put this thing down pretty close to the fact, now, you 196 bet,” said Garland, sharpening a pencil.

“Where you wan’to begin?”

“Oh, we’ll have to begin with your ancestry, though it’s a good deal like the introductory chapter to the old-fashioned novels. We’ll start early, with your birth for instance.”

“Well, I was born in St. Louis.”


“Is that so?” the interviewer showed an unprofessional surprise. “Why, I thought you were born in Massachusetts?”

“No,” said Field, reflectively. “No, I’m sorry of course, but I was born in St. Louis; but my parents were Vermont people.” He mentioned this as an extenuating circumstance, evidently. “My father was a lawyer. He was a precocious boy,—graduated from Middlebury College when he was fifteen, and when he was nineteen was made States-Attorney by special act of the legislature; without that he would have had to wait till he was twenty-one. He married and came West, and I was born in 1850.”

“So you’re forty-three? Where does the New England life come in?”

“When I was seven years old my mother died, and father packed us boys right off to Massachusetts and put us under the care of a maiden cousin, a Miss French,—she was a fine woman too.”

Garland looked up from his scratchpad to ask, “This was at Amherst?”

“Yes. I stayed there until I was nineteen, and they were the sweetest and finest days of my life. I like old Amherst.” He paused a moment, and his long face slowly lightened up. “By the way, here’s something you’ll like. When I was nine years old father sent us up to Fayetteville, Vermont, to the old homestead where my grandmother lived. We stayed there seven months,” he said with a grim curl of his lips, “and the old lady got all the grandson she wanted. She didn’t want the visit repeated.”

He sat a moment in silence, and his face softened and his eyes grew tender. “I tell you, Garland, a man’s got to have a layer of country experience somewhere in him. My love for nature dates from that visit, because I had never lived in the country before. Sooner or later a man rots if he lives too far away from the grass and the trees.”

“You’re right there, Field, only I didn’t know you felt it so deeply. I supposed you hated farm life.”

“I do, but farm life is not nature. I’d like to live in the country without the effects of work and dirt and flies.”

The word “flies” started him off on a side-track. “Say! You should see my boys. I go up to a farm near Fox Lake and stay a week every year, suffering all sorts of tortures, in order to give my boys a chance to see farm life. I sit there nights trying to read by a vile-smelling old kerosene lamp, the flies trooping in so that you can’t keep the window down, you know, and those boys lying there all the time on a hot husk bed, faces spattered with mosquito bites and sweating like pigs—and happy as angels. The roar of the flies and mosquitoes is sweetest lullaby to a tired boy.”

“Well, now, going back to that visit,” said the interviewer with persistency to his plan.

“Oh, yes. Well, my grandmother was a regular old New England Congregationalist. Say, I’ve got a sermon I wrote when I was nine. The old lady used to give me ten cents for every sermon I’d write. Like to see it?”



“Well, I should say. A sermon at nine years! Field, you started in well.”

“Didn’t I?” he replied, while getting the book. “And you bet it’s a corker.” He produced the volume, which was a small bundle of note-paper bound beautifully. It was written in a boy’s formal hand. He sat down to read it:

“I would remark secondly that conscience makes the way of transgressors hard; for every act of pleasure, every act of Guilt his conscience smites him. The last of his stay on earth will appear horrible to the beholder. Some times, however, he will be stayed in his guilt. A death in a family of some favorite object or be attacked by Some disease himself is brought to the portals of the grave. Then for a little time perhaps he is stayed in his wickedness, but before long he returns to his worldly lust. Oh, it is indeed bad for sinners to go down into perdition over all the obstacles which God has placed in his path. But many I am afraid do go down into perdition, for wide gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be that go in thereat.”

He stopped occasionally to look at Garland gravely, as he read some particularly comical phrase: “‘I secondly remark’—ain’t that great?—‘that the wise man remembers even how near he is to the portals of death.’ ‘Portals of death’ is good. ‘One should strive to walk the narrow way and not the one which leads to perdition.’ I was heavy on quotations, you notice.”

“Is this the first and last of your sermons?” queried Garland, with an amused smile.

“The first and last. Grandmother soon gave me up as bad material for a preacher. She paid me five dollars for learning the Ten Commandments. I used to be very slow at ‘committing to memory.’ I recall that while I was thus committing the book of Acts, my brother committed that book and the Gospel of Matthew, part of John, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians and the Westminster Catechism. I would not now exchange for any amount of money the acquaintance with the Bible that was drummed into me when I was a boy. At learning ‘pieces to speak’ I was, however, unusually quick, and my favorites were: ‘Marco Bozzaris,’ ‘Psalm of Life,’ Drake’s ‘American Flag,’ Longfellow’s ‘Launching of the Ship,’ Webster’s ‘Action,’ Shakspeare’s ‘Clarence’s Dream’ (Richard III.), and ‘Wolsey to Cromwell,’ ‘Death of Virginia,’ ‘Horatius at the Bridge,’ ‘Hymn of the Moravian Nuns,’ ‘Absalom,’ ‘Lochiel’s Warning,’ ‘Maclean’s Revenge,’ Bulwer’s translation of Schiller’s ‘The Diver,’ ‘Landing of the Pilgrims,’ Bryant’s ‘Melancholy Days,’ ‘Burial of Sir John Moore,’ and ‘Hohenlinden.’”

“I remember when I was thirteen, our cousin said she’d give us a Christmas tree. So we went down into Patrick’s swamp—I suppose the names are all changed now—and dug up a little 198 pine tree, about as tall as we were, and planted it in a tub. On the night of Christmas Day, just when we were dancing around the tree, making merry and having a high-old-jinks of a time, the way children will, grandma came in and looked at us. ‘Will this popery never cease?’ was all she said, and out she flounced.”

“Yes, that was the old Puritan idea of it. But did live——”

“Now hold on,” he interrupted. “I want to finish. We planted that tree near the corner of Sunset Avenue and Amity Street, and it’s there now, a magnificent tree. Sometime when I’m East I’m going to go up there with my brother and put a tablet on it—‘Pause, busy traveller, and give a thought to the happy days of two Western boys who lived in old New England, and make resolve to render the boyhood near you happier and brighter,’ or something like that.”

“That’s a pretty idea,” Garland agreed. He felt something fine and tender in the man’s voice which was generally hard and dry but wonderfully expressive.


“Now, this sermon I had bound just for the sake of old times. If I didn’t have it right here, I wouldn’t believe I ever wrote such stuff. I tell you, a boy’s a queer combination,” he ended, referring to the book again.

“You’ll see that I signed my name, those days, ‘E. P. Field.’ The ‘P.’ stands for Phillips.

“As I grew old enough to realize it, I was much chagrined to find I had no middle name like the rest of the boys, so I took the name of Phillips. I was a great admirer of Wendell Phillips, am yet, though I’m not a reformer. You’ll see here,”—he pointed at the top of the pages,—“I wrote the word ‘sensual.’ Evidently I was struck with the word, and was seeking a chance to ring it in somewhere, but failed.” They both laughed over the matter while Field put the book back.

“Are you a college man?” asked Garland. “I’ve noticed your deplorable tendency toward the classics.”

“I fitted for college when I was sixteen. My health was bad, or I should have entered right off. I had pretty nearly everything that was going in the way of diseases,” this was said with a comical twist voice, “so I didn’t get to Williams till I was eighteen. My health improved right along, but I’m sorry to say that of the college did not.” He smiled again, a smile that meant a very great deal.

“What happened then?”

“Well, my father died, and I returned West. I went to live with my guardian, Professor Burgess, of Knox College. This college is situated at Galesburg, Illinois. This is the college that has lately conferred A. M. upon me. The Professor’s guardianship was merely nominal, however. I did about as I pleased.

“I next went to the State University 199 at Columbia, Missouri. It was an old slave-holding town, but I liked it. I’ve got a streak of Southern feeling in me.” He said abruptly, “I’m an aristocrat. I’m looking for a Męcenas. I have mighty little in common with most of the wealthy, but I like the idea of wealth in the abstract.” He failed to make the distinction quite clear, but he went on as if realizing that this might be a thin spot of ice.

“At twenty-one, I came into sixty thousand dollars, and I went to Europe, taking a friend, a young fellow of about my own age, with me. I had a lovely time!” he added, and again the smile conveyed vast meaning.

Garland looked up from his pad.

“You must have had. Did you ‘blow in the whole business’?”

“Pretty near. I swatted the money around. Just think of it!” he exclaimed, warming with the recollection. “A boy of twenty-one, without father or mother, and sixty thousand dollars. Oh, it was a lovely combination! I saw more things and did more things than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio,” he paraphrased, looking at his friend with a strange expression of amusement, and pleasure, and regret. “I had money. I paid it out for experience—it was plenty. Experience was laying around loose.”

“Came home when the money gave out, I reckon?”


“Yes. Came back to St. Louis, and went to work on the ‘Journal,’ I had previously tried to ‘enter journalism’ as I called it then. About the time I was twenty-one, I went to Stilson Hutchins, and told him who I was, and he said:

“‘All right. I’ll give you a chance, but we don’t pay much.’ Of course, I told him pay didn’t matter.


“‘Well!’ he said, ‘go down to the Olympia, and write up the play there to-night,’ I went down, and I brought most of my critical acumen to bear upon an actor by the name of Charley Pope, who was playing Mercutio for Mrs. D. P. Bowers. His wig didn’t fit, and all my best writing centred about that wig. I sent the critique in, blame fine as I thought, with illuminated initial letters, and all that. Oh, it was lovely! and the next morning I was deeply pained and disgusted to find it mutilated,—all that about the wig, the choicest part, was cut out. I thought I’d quit journalism forever. I don’t suppose Hutchins connects Eugene Field with the —— fool that wrote that critique. I don’t myself,” he added with a quick half-smile, lifting again the corner of his solemn mouth. It was like a ripple on a still pool.

“Well, when did you really get into the work?” his friend asked, for he seemed about to go off into another by-path.

“Oh, after I came back from Europe I was busted, and had to go to work. I met Stanley Waterloo about that time, and his talk induced me to go to work for the ‘Journal’ as a 200 reporter. I soon got to be city editor, but I didn’t like it. I liked to have fun with people. I liked to have my fun as I went along. About this time I married the sister of the friend who went with me to Europe, and feeling my new responsibilities, I went up to St. Joseph as city editor.” He mused for a moment in silence. “It was terrific hard work, but I wouldn’t give a good deal for those two years.”

“Have you ever drawn upon them for material?” asked Garland with a novelist’s perception of their possibilities.

“No, but I may some time. Things have to get pretty misty before I can use ’em. I’m not like you fellows,” he said, referring to the realists. “I got thirty dollars a week; wasn’t that princely?”

“Nothing else, but you earned it, no doubt.”

“Earned it? Why, Great Scott! I did the whole business except turning the handle of the press.

“Well, in 1877 I was called back to the ‘Journal’ in St. Louis, as editorial writer of paragraphs. That was the beginning of my own line of work.”

“When did you do your first work in verse?” asked Garland.

The tall man brought his feet down to the floor with a bang and thrust his hand out toward his friend. “There! I’m glad you said verse. For heaven’s sake don’t ever say I call my stuff poetry. I never do. I don’t pass judgment on it like that.” After a little he resumed. “The first that I wrote was ‘Christmas Treasures.’ I wrote that one night to fill in a chink in the paper.”

“Give me a touch of it?” asked his friend.

He chewed his cigar in the effort to remember. “I don’t read it much. I put it with the collection for the sake of old times.” He read a few lines of it, and read it extremely well, before returning to his history.


I count my treasures o’er with care,—

The little toy my darling knew,

A little sock of faded hue,

A little lock of golden hair.

Long years ago this holy time,

My little ones—my all to me—

Sat robed in white upon my knee,

And heard the merry Christmas chime.

“Tell me, my little golden-head,

If Santa Claus should come to-night,

What shall he bring my baby bright,—

What treasure for my boy?” I said.

Then he named this little toy,

While in his round and mournful eyes

There came a look of sweet surprise,

That spake his quiet, trustful joy.

And as he lisped his evening prayer,

He asked the boon with childish grace,

Then, toddling to the chimney-place,

He hung this little stocking there.

That night, while lengthening shadows crept,

I saw the white-winged angels come

With singing to our lowly home,

And kiss my darling as he slept.

They must have heard his little prayer,

For in the morn with rapturous face,

He toddled to the chimney-place,

And found this little treasure there.

They came again one Christmas-tide,—

That angel host, so fair and white!

And singing all that glorious night,

They lured my darling from my side.

A little sock, a little toy,

A little lock of golden hair,

The Christmas music on the air,

A watching for my baby boy!

But if again that angel train

And golden head come back to me,

To bear me to Eternity,

My watching will not be in vain!

“I went next to the Kansas City ‘Times’ as managing editor. I wrote there that ‘Little Peach,’ which still chases me round the country.”


A little peach in the orchard grew,

A little peach of emerald hue;

Warmed by the sun and wet by the dew,

It grew.

One day, passing that orchard through,

That little peach dawned on the view

Of Johnny Jones and his sister Sue,

Them two.

Up at that peach a club they threw,

Down from the stem on which it grew,

Fell that peach of emerald hue.

Mon Dieu!


John took a bite and Sue a chew,

And then the trouble began to brew,

Trouble the doctor couldn’t subdue.

Too true!

Under the turf where the daisies grew,

They planted John and his sister Sue,

And their little souls to the angels flew,

Boo hoo!

What of that peach of the emerald hue,

Warmed by the sun, and wet by the dew?

Ah, well, its mission on earth is through.



“I went to the ‘Denver Tribune’ next, and stayed there till 1883. The most conspicuous thing I did there, was the burlesque primer series. ‘See the po-lice-man. Has he a club? Yes he has a club,’ etc. These were so widely copied and pirated that I put them into a little book which is very rare, thank heaven. I hope I have the only copy of it. The other thing which rose above the level of my ordinary work was a bit of verse, ‘The Wanderer,’ which I credited to Modjeska, and which has given her no little annoyance.”


Upon a mountain height, far from the sea,

I found a shell,

And to my listening ear the lonely thing

Ever a song of ocean seemed to sing,

Ever a tale of ocean seemed to tell.

How came the shell upon that mountain height?

Ah, who can say

Whether there dropped by some too careless hand,

Or whether there cast when Ocean swept the Land,

Ere the Eternal had ordained the day?

Strange, was it not? Far from its native deep,

One song it sang,

Sang of the awful mysteries of the tide,

Sang of the misty sea, profound and wide,

Ever with echoes of the ocean rang.

And as the shell upon the mountain height

Sings of the sea,

So do I ever, leagues and leagues away,

So do I ever, wandering where I may,

Sing, O my home! sing, O my home! of thee.

“That brings you up to Chicago, doesn’t it?”

“In 1883 Melville Stone asked me to join him on the ‘News,’ and I did. Since then my life has been uneventful.”

“I might not think so. Did you establish the column ‘Sharps and Flats’ at once?”

“Yes. I told Stone I’d write a good deal of musical matter, and the name seemed appropriate. We tried to change it several times, but no go.”

“I first saw your work in the ‘News.’ I was attracted by your satirical studies of Chicago. I don’t always like what you write, but I liked your war against sham.”


Field became serious at once, and leaned towards the other man in an attitude of great earnestness. The deepest note in the man’s voice came out. “I hate a sham or a fraud; not so much a fraud, for a fraud means brains very often, but a sham makes me mad clear through,” he said savagely. His fighting quality came out in the thrust of the chin. Here was the man whom the frauds and shams fear.

“That is evident. But I don’t think the people make the broadest application of your satires. They apply them to Chicago. There is quite a feeling. I suppose you know about this. They say you’ve hurt Chicago art.”

“I hope I have, so far as the bogus art and imitation culture of my city is concerned. As a matter of fact the same kind of thing exists in Boston and New York, only they’re used to it there. I’ve jumped on that crowd of faddists, I’ll admit, as hard as I could, but I don’t think anyone can say I’ve ever willingly done a real man or woman an injury. If I have, I’ve always tried to square the thing up.” Here was the man’s fairness, kindliness of heart, coming to the surface in good simple way.

The other man was visibly impressed with his friend’s earnestness, but he pursued his course. “You’ve had offers to go East, according to the papers.”

“Yes, but I’m not going—why should I? I’m in my element here. They haven’t any element there. They’ve got atmosphere there, and it’s pretty thin sometimes, I call it.” He uttered “atmosphere” with a drawling attenuated nasal to express his contempt. “I don’t want literary atmosphere. I want to be in an element where I can tumble around and yell without falling in a fit for lack of breath.”

The interviewer was scratching away like mad—this was his chance.

Field’s mind took a sudden turn now, and he said emphatically: “Garland, I’m a newspaper man. I don’t claim to be anything else. I’ve never written a thing for the magazines, and I never was asked to, till about four years ago. I never have put a high estimate upon my verse. That it’s popular is because my sympathies and the public’s happen to run on parallel lines just now. That’s all. Not much of it will live.”

“I don’t know about that, brother Field,” said Garland, pausing to rest. “I think you underestimate some of that work. Your reminiscent boy-life poems and your songs of children are thoroughly American, and fine and tender. They’ll take care of themselves.”

“Yes, but my best work has been along lines of satire. I’ve consistently made war upon shams. I’ve stood always in my work for decency and manliness and honesty. I think that’ll remain true, you’ll find. I’m not much physically, but morally I’m not a coward.”

“No, I don’t think anybody will rise up to charge you with time-serving. By the way, what a rare chance you have in the attitude of the Chicago people toward the Spanish princess!”

The tall man straightened up. His whole nature roused at this point, and his face grew square. His Puritan grandfather looked from his indignant eyes and set jaw as he said:

“I don’t know what’s coming upon us.”

“Aha!” Garland exulted, “even you are bitten with the same.”

He flung his hand out in quick deprecation.

“Oh, I don’t pretend to be a reformer. I leave that to others. I hate logarithms. I like speculative astronomy. I am naturally a lover of romance. My mind turns toward the far past or future. I like to illustrate the foolery of these society folks by stories which I invent. The present don’t interest me—at least not taken as it is. Possibilities interest me.”

“That’s a good way to put it,” said the other man. “It’s a question of the impossible, the possible, and the probable. I like the probable. I like the near-at-hand. I feel the most vital interest in the average fact.”

“I know you do, and I like it after you get through with it, but I don’t care to deal with the raw material myself. I like the archaic.”


“Yet some of your finest things, I repeat, are your reminiscent verses of boy-life,” pursued Garland, who called himself a veritist and enjoyed getting his friend as nearly on his ground as possible.


“Yes, that’s so, but that’s in the far past,” Field admitted. Garland took the thought up.

“Time helps you then. Time is a romancer. He halves the fact, but we veritists find the present fact haloed, with significance if not beauty.”

Field dodged the point.

“Yes, I like to do those boy-life verses. I like to live over the joys and tragedies—because we had our tragedies.”

“Didn’t we! Weeding the onion-bed on circus day, for example.”

“Yes, or gettin’ a terrible strappin’ for goin’ swimming without permission. Oh, it all comes back to me, all sweet and fine somehow. I’ve forgotten all the unpleasant things. I remember only the best of it all. I like boy-life. I like children. I like young men. I like the buoyancy of youth and its freshness. It’s a God’s pity that every young child can’t get a taste of country life at some time. It’s a fund of inspiration to a man.” Again the finer quality in the man came out in his face and voice.

“Your life in New England and the South, and also in the West, has been of great help to you, I think.”

“Yes, and a big disadvantage. When I go East, Stedman calls me a typical Westerner, and when I come West they call me a Yankee—so there I am!”


“There’s no doubt of your being a Westerner.”

“I hope not. I believe in the West. I tell you, brother Garland, the West is the coming country. We ought to have a big magazine to develop the West. It’s absurd to suppose we’re going on always being tributary to the East!”

Garland laid down his pad and lifted his big fist in the air like a maul. His enthusiasm rose like a flood.

“Now you touch a great theme. You’re right, Field. The next ten years will see literary horizons change mightily. The West is dead sure to be in the game from this time on. A man can’t be out here a week without feeling the thrill of latent powers. The West is coming to its manhood. The West is the place for enthusiasm. Her history is making.”

Field took up the note. “I’ve got faith in it. I love New England for her heritage to you. I like her old stone walls and meadows, but when I get back West—well, I’m home, that’s all. My love for the West has got blood in it.”

Garland laughed in sudden perception of their earnestness. “We’re both talking like a couple of boomers. It might be characteristic, however, to apply the methods of the boomers of town lots to the development of art and literature. What say?”

“It can be done. It will come in the course of events.”

“In our enthusiasm we have skated away from the subject. You are forty-three, then—you realize there’s a lot of work before you, I hope.”

“Yes, yes, my serious work is just begun. I’m a man of slow development. I feel that. I know my faults and my weaknesses. I’m getting myself in hand. Now, Garland, I’m with you in your purposes, but I go a different way. You go into things direct. I’m naturally allusive. My work is almost always allusive, if you’ve noticed.”

“Do you write rapidly?”

“I write my verse easily, but my prose I sweat over. Don’t you?”

“I toil in revision even when I have what the other fellows call an inspiration.”

“I tell you, Garland, genius is not in it. It’s work and patience, and staying with a thing. Inspiration is all right and pretty and a suggestion, but it’s when a man gets a pen in his hand and sweats blood, that inspiration begins to enter in.”

“Well, what are your plans for the future—your readers want to know that?”

His face glowed as he replied, “I’m going to write a sentimental life of Horace. We know mighty little of him, but what I don’t know I’ll make up. I’ll write such a life as he must have lived. The life we all live when boys.”

The younger man put up his notes, and they walked down and out under the trees with the gibbous moon shining through the gently moving leaves. They passed a couple of young people walking slow—his voice a murmur, hers a whisper.

“There they go. Youth! Youth!” said Field.

Note.—A series of portraits of Mr. Field at different ages will be printed among the “Human Documents” in the September number.



By Bliss Carman.

Don’t you know the sailing orders?

It is time to put to sea,

And the stranger in the harbor

Sends a boat ashore for me.

With the thunder of her canvas,

Coming on the wind again,

I can hear the Shadow Boatswain

Piping to his shadow men.

Is it firelight or morning

That red flicker on the floor?

Your good-bye was braver, Sweetheart,

When I sailed away before.

Think of this last lovely summer!

Love, what ails the wind to-night?

What’s he saying in the chimney

Turns your berry cheek so white?

What a morning! How the sunlight

Sparkles on the outer bay,

Where the brig lies waiting for me

To trip anchor and away.

That’s the Doomkeel. You may know her

By her clean run aft; and, then,

Don’t you hear the Shadow Boatswain

Piping to his shadow men?

Off the freshening sea to windward,

Is it a white tern I hear

Shrilling in the gusty weather

Where the far sea-line is clear?

What a morning for departure!

How your blue eyes melt and shine!

Will you watch us from the headland

Till we sink below the line?

I can see the wind already

Steer the scruf marks of the tide,

As we slip the wake of being

Down the sloping world, and wide.

I can feel the vasty mountains

Heave and settle under me,

And the Doomkeel veer and tremor,

Crumbling on the hollow sea.

There’s a call, as when a white gull

Cries and beats across the blue;

That must be the Shadow Boatswain

Piping to his shadow crew.

There’s a boding sound, like winter,

When the pines begin to quail;

That must be the gray wind moaning

In the belly of the sail.

I can feel the icy fingers

Creeping in upon my bones;

There must be a berg to windward

Somewhere in these border zones.

Stir the fire.... I love the sunlight,

Always loved my shipmate sun.

How the sunflowers beckon to me

From the dooryard one by one!

How the royal lady-roses

Strew this summer world of ours.

There’ll be none in Lonely Haven,

It is too far north for flowers.

There, Sweetheart! And I must leave you.

What should touch my wife with tears?

There’s no danger with the Master,

He has sailed the sea for years.

With the sea-wolves on her quarter,

And the white bones in her teeth,

He will steer the shadow cruiser,

Dark before and doom beneath,

Down the last expanse till morning

Flares above the broken sea,

And the midnight storm is over,

And the isles are close alee.

So some twilight, when your roses

Are all blown, and it is June,

You will turn your blue eyes seaward,

Through the white dusk of the moon.

Wondering, as that far sea-cry

Comes upon the wind again,

And you hear the Shadow Boatswain

Piping to his shadow men.



By Conan Doyle.



It was in the days when France’s power was already broken upon the seas, and when more of her three-deckers lay rotting in the Medway than were to be found in Brest Harbor. But her frigates and corvettes still scoured the ocean, closely followed ever by those of her rival. At the uttermost ends of the earth these dainty vessels, with sweet names of girls or of flowers, mangled and shattered each other for the honor of the four yards of bunting that flapped from their gaffs.

It had blown hard in the night, but the wind had dropped with the dawning, and now the rising sun tinted the fringe of the storm wrack as it dwindled into the west, and glinted on the endless crests of the long green waves. To north and south and west lay a sky-line which was unbroken, save by the spout of foam when two of the great Atlantic seas dashed each other into spray. To the east was a rocky island, jutting out into craggy points, with a few scattered clumps of palm-trees, and a pennant of mist streaming out from the bare conical hill which capped it. A heavy surf beat upon the shore, and at a safe distance from it the British 32-gun frigate “Leda,” Captain A. P. Johnson, raised her black, glistening side upon the crest of a wave, or swooped down into an emerald valley, dipping away to the nor’ard under easy sail. On her snow-white quarter-deck stood a stiff, little, brown-faced man, who swept the horizon with his glass.

“Mr. Wharton,” he cried, with a voice like a rusty hinge.

A thin, knock-kneed officer shambled across the poop to him.

“Yes, sir.”

“I’ve opened the sealed orders, Mr. Wharton.”

A glimmer of curiosity shone upon the meagre features of the first lieutenant. The “Leda” had sailed with her consort the “Dido” from Antigua the week before, and the admiral’s orders had been contained in a sealed envelope.

“We were to open them on reaching the deserted island of Sombriero, lying in north latitude eighteen, thirty-six, west longitude sixty-three, twenty-eight. Sombriero bore four miles to the northeast from our port bow when the gale cleared, Mr. Wharton.”


The lieutenant bowed stiffly. He and the captain had been bosom friends from childhood. They had gone to school together, joined the navy together, fought again and again together, and married into each other’s families; but as long as their feet were on the poop the iron discipline of the service struck all that was human out of them, and left only the superior and the subordinate. Captain Johnson took a blue paper from his pocket, which crackled as he unfolded it.

“The 32-gun frigates, ‘Leda’ and ‘Dido’ (Captains A. P. Johnson and James Munro), are to cruise from the point at which these instructions are read to the mouth of the Caribbean Sea, in the hope of encountering the French frigate ‘La Gloire’ (48), which has recently harassed our merchant ships in that quarter. H. M. frigates are also directed to hunt down the piratical craft known sometimes as the ‘Slapping Sal’ and sometimes as the ‘Hairy Hudson,’ which has plundered the British ships as per margin, inflicting barbarities upon their crews. She is a small brig carrying ten light guns, with one twenty-four pound carronade forward. She was last seen upon the 23d ult., to the northeast of the island of Sombriero.”


James Montgomery,


H. M. S. “Colossus,” Antigua.

“We appear to have lost our consort,” said Captain Johnson, folding up his instructions and again sweeping the horizon with his glass. “She drew away after we reefed down. It would be a pity if we met this heavy Frenchman without the ‘Dido,’ Mr. Wharton, eh?”

The lieutenant twinkled and smiled.

“She has eighteen-pounders on the main and twelves on the poop, sir,” said the captain. “She carries four hundred to our two hundred and thirty-one. Captain de Milon is the smartest man in the French service. O Bobby, boy, I’d give my hopes of my flag to rub my side up against her!” He turned on his heel, ashamed of his momentary lapse. “Mr. Wharton,” said he, looking back sternly over his shoulder, “get those square sails shaken out, and bear away a point more to the west.”

“A brig on the port bow,” came a voice from the forecastle.

“A brig on the port bow,” said the lieutenant.


The captain sprang up on the bulwarks, and held on by the mizzen shrouds, a strange little figure with flying skirts and puckered eyes. The lean lieutenant craned his neck and whispered to Smeaton, the second, while officers and men came popping up from below and clustered along the weather-rail, shading their eyes with their hands, for the tropical sun was already clear of the palm trees. The strange brig lay at anchor in the throat of a curving estuary, and it was already obvious that she could not get out without passing under the guns of the frigate. A long rocky point to the north of her held her in.

“Keep her as she goes, Mr. Wharton,” said the captain. “Hardly worth while clearing for action, Mr. Smeaton, but the men can stand by the guns in case she tries to pass us. Cast loose the bowchasers, and send the small arm men on to the forecastle.”

A British crew went to its quarters in those days with the quiet serenity of men on their daily routine. In a 208 few minutes, without fuss or sound, the sailors were knotted round their guns, the marines were drawn up and leaning on their muskets, and the frigate’s bowsprit pointed straight for her little victim.

“Is it the ‘Slapping Sal,’ sir?”

“I have no doubt of it, Mr. Wharton.”

“They don’t seem to like the look of us, sir. They’ve cut their cable and are clapping on sail.”

It was evident that the brig meant struggling for her freedom. One little patch of canvas fluttered out above another, and her people could be seen working like mad men in the rigging. She made no attempt to pass her antagonist, but headed up the estuary. The captain rubbed his hands.

“She’s making for shoal water, Mr. Wharton, and we shall have to cut her out, sir. She’s a footy little brig, but I should have thought a fore-and-after would have been more handy.”

“It was a mutiny, sir.”

“Ah, indeed!”

“Yes, sir, I heard of it at Manilla—a bad business, sir. Captain and two mates murdered. This Hudson, or Hairy Hudson, as they call him, led the mutiny. He’s a Londoner, sir, but a cruel villain as ever walked.”

“His next walk will be to Execution Dock, Mr. Wharton. She seems heavily manned. I wish I could take twenty topmen out of her, but they would be enough to corrupt the crew of the ark, Mr. Wharton.”

Both officers were looking through their glasses at the brig. Suddenly the lieutenant showed his teeth in a grin, while the captain flushed to a deeper red.

“That’s Hairy Hudson on the afterrail, sir.”

“The low, impertinent blackguard! He’ll play some other antics before we are done with him. Could you reach him with the long eighteen, Mr. Smeaton?”

“Another cable length will do it, sir.”

The brig yawed as they spoke, and as she came round, a spurt of smoke whiffed out from her quarter. It was a pure piece of bravado, for the gun could scarce carry half way. Then with a jaunty swing the little ship came into the wind again and shot round a fresh curve of the winding channel.

“The water’s shoaling rapidly, sir,” reported the second lieutenant.

“There’s six fathoms, by the chart.”

“Four, by the lead, sir.”

“When we clear this point we shall see how we lie. Ha! I thought as much! Lay her to, Mr. Wharton. Now we have got her at our mercy.”

The frigate was quite out of sight of the sea now, at the head of this river-like estuary. As she came round the curve the two shores were seen to converge at a point about a mile distant. In the angle, as near shore as she could get, the brig was lying with her broadside towards her pursuer, and a wisp of black cloth streaming from her mizzen. The lean lieutenant, who had reappeared upon deck with a cutlass strapped to his side and two pistols rammed into his belt, peered curiously at the ensign.

“Is it the ‘Jolly Roger,’ sir?” he asked.

But the captain was furious. “He may hang where his breeches are hanging before I have done with him,” said he. “What boats will you want, Mr. Wharton?”

“We should do it with the launch and the jolly-boat.”

“Take four and make a clean job of it. Pipe away the crews at once, and I’ll work her in and help you with the long eighteens.”

With a rattle of ropes and a creaking of blocks the four boats splashed into the water. Their crews clustered thickly into them—bare-footed sailors, stolid marines, laughing middies, and in the sheets of each the senior officers with their stern, schoolmaster faces. The captain, his elbows on the binnacle, still watched the distant brig. Her crew were tricing up the boarding netting, dragging round the starboard guns, knocking new portholes for them, and making every preparation for a desperate resistance. In the thick of it all a huge man, bearded to the eyes, with a red night-cap upon his head, was straining and stooping and hauling. The captain 209 watched him with a sour smile, and then snapping up his glass he turned upon his heel. For an instant he stood staring.

“Call back the boats!” he cried, in his thin, creaking voice. “Clear away for action there! Cast loose those main-deck guns. Brace back the yards, Mr. Smeaton, and stand by to go about when she has weigh enough.”

Round the curve of the estuary was coming a huge vessel. Her great yellow bowsprit and white-winged figure-head were jutting out from the cluster of palm-trees, while high above them towered three immense masts, with the tricolor flag floating superbly from the mizzen. Round she came, the deep-blue water creaming under her fore-foot, until her long, curving, black side, her line of shining copper beneath, and of snow-white hammocks above, and the thick clusters of men who peered over her bulwarks were all in full view.

Her lower yards were slung, her ports triced up, and her guns run out all ready for action. Lying behind one of the promontories of the island the look-out men of the “Gloire” upon the shore had seen the cul-de-sac into which the British frigate had headed, so that Captain de Milon had observed the “Leda” as Captain Johnson had the “Slapping Sal.”


But the splendid discipline of the British service was at its best in such a crisis. The boats flew back, their crews clustered aboard, they were swung up at the davits, and the fall-ropes made fast. Hammocks were brought up and stowed, bulkheads sent down, ports and magazines opened, the fires put out in the galley, and the drums beat to quarters. Swarms of men set the head-sails and brought the frigate round, while the gun-crews threw off their jackets and shirts, tightened their belts, and ran out their eighteen-pounders, peering through 210 the open portholes at the stately Frenchman. The wind was very light. Hardly a ripple showed itself upon the clear blue water, but the sails blew gently out as the breeze came over the wooded banks. The Frenchman had gone about also, and both ships were now heading slowly for the sea under fore-and-aft canvas, the “Gloire” a hundred yards in advance. She luffed up to cross the “Leda’s” bows, but the British ship came round also, and the two rippled slowly on in such a silence that the ringing of the ramrods, as the French marines drove home their charges, clanged quite loudly upon the ear.

“Not much sea room, Mr. Wharton,” remarked the captain.

“I have fought actions in less, sir.”

“We must keep our distance, and trust to our gunnery. She is very heavily manned, and if she got alongside we might find ourselves in trouble.”

“I see the shakoes of soldiers aboard of her—two companies of light infantry from Martinique. Now we have her! Hard a port, and let her have it as we cross her stern!”

The keen eye of the little commander had seen the surface ripple which told of a passing breeze. He had used it to dart across behind the big Frenchman and to rake her with every gun as he passed. But, once past her, the “Leda” had to come back into the wind to keep out of shoal water. The manœuvre brought her on the starboard side of the Frenchman, and the trim little frigate seemed to heel right over under the crashing broadside which burst from the gaping ports. A moment later her topmen were swarming aloft to set her topsails and royals, and she strove to cross the “Gloire’s” bows and rake her again. The French captain, however, brought his frigate’s head round, and the two rode side by side within easy pistol shot, pouring broadsides into each other in one of those murderous duels which, could they all be recorded, would mottle our charts with blood.


In that heavy tropical air, with so faint a breeze, the smoke formed a thick bank round the two vessels, from which the topmasts only protruded. Neither could see anything of its enemy save the throbs of fire in the darkness, and the guns were sponged and trained and fired into a dense wall of vapor. On the poop and the forecastle the marines, in two little red lines, were pouring in their volleys, but neither they nor the seamen-gunners could see what effect their fire was having. Nor, indeed, could they tell how far they 211 were suffering themselves, for standing at a gun one could but hazily see that upon the right and left. But above the roar of the cannon came the sharper sound of the piping shot, the crashing of riven planks, and the occasional heavy thud as spar or block came hurtling onto the deck. The lieutenants paced up and down behind the line of guns, while Captain Johnson fanned the smoke away with his cocked hat, and peered eagerly out.

“This is rare, Bobby,” said he, as the lieutenant joined him. Then, suddenly restraining himself, “What have we lost, Mr. Wharton?”

“Our main-topsail yard and our gaff, sir.”

“Where’s the flag?”

“Gone overboard, sir.”

“They’ll think we’ve struck. Lash a boat’s ensign on the starboard arm of the mizzen cross jack-yard.”

“Yes, sir.”

A round shot dashed the binnacle to pieces between them. A second knocked two marines into a bloody, palpitating mass. For a moment the smoke rose, and the English captain saw that his adversary’s heavier metal was producing a horrible effect. The “Leda” was a shattered wreck. Her deck was strewed with corpses. Several of her portholes were knocked into one, and one of her eighteen-pounder guns had been thrown right back onto her breech, and pointed straight up to the sky. The thin line of marines still loaded and fired, but half the guns were silent, and their crews were piled thickly around them.

“Stand by to repel boarders!” yelled the captain.

“Cutlasses, lads, cutlasses!” roared Wharton.

“Hold your volley till they touch!” cried the captain of marines.

The huge loom of the Frenchman was seen bursting through the smoke. Thick clusters of boarders hung upon her sides and shrouds. A final broadside leapt from her ports, and the mainmast of the “Leda,” snapping short off a few feet above the deck, spun into the air and crashed down upon the port guns, killing ten men and putting the whole battery out of action. An instant later the two ships scraped together, and the starboard bower anchor of the “Gloire” caught the mizzen chains of the “Leda” upon the port side. With a yell the black swarm of boarders steadied themselves for a spring.

But their feet were never to reach that blood-stained deck. From somewhere there came a well-aimed whiff of grape, and another, and another. The English marines and seamen, waiting with cutlass and musket behind the silent guns, saw with amazement the dark masses thinning and shredding away. At the same time the port broadside of the Frenchman burst into a roar.

“Clear away the wreck!” roared the captain. “What the devil are they firing at?”

“Get the guns clear!” panted the lieutenant. “We’ll do them yet, boys!”

The wreckage was torn and hacked and splintered until first one gun and then another roared into action again. The Frenchman’s anchor had been cut away, and the “Leda” had worked herself free from that fatal hug. But now suddenly there was a scurry up the shrouds of the “Gloire,” and a hundred Englishmen were shouting themselves hoarse.

“They’re running! They’re running! They’re running!”

And it was true. The Frenchman had ceased to fire, and was intent only upon clapping on every sail that she could carry.

But that shouting hundred could not claim it all as their own. As the smoke cleared, it was not difficult to see the reason. The ships had gained the mouth of the estuary during the fight, and there, about four miles out to sea, was the “Leda’s” consort bearing down under full sail to the sound of the guns. Captain de Milon had done his part for one day, and presently the “Gloire” was drawing off swiftly to the north, while the “Dido” was bowling along at her skirts, rattling away with her bowchasers, until a headland hid them both from view.

But the “Leda” lay sorely stricken, with her mainmast gone, her bulwarks 212 shattered, her mizzen topmast and gaff shot away, her sails like a beggar’s rags, and a hundred of her crew dead and wounded. Close beside her a mass of wreckage floated upon the waves. It was the stern post of a mangled vessel, and across it, in white letters on a black ground, was printed “The Slapping Sal.”

“By the Lord, it was the brig that saved us!” cried Mr. Wharton. “Hudson brought her into action with the Frenchman, and was blown out of the water by a broadside.”

The little captain turned on his heel and paced up and down the deck. Already his crew were plugging the shot-holes, knotting and splicing and mending. When he came back the lieutenant saw a softening of the stern lines about his mouth and eyes.

“Are they all gone?”

“Every man. They must have sunk with the wreck.”

The two officers looked down at the sinister name and at the stump of wreckage which floated in the discolored water. Something black washed to and fro beside a splintered gaff and a tangle of halyards. It was the outrageous ensign, and near it a scarlet cap was floating.

“He was a villain, but he was a Briton,” said the captain at last. “He lived like a dog, but, by God, he died like a man!”



“For of the soule the bodie forme doth take,

For soule is forme and doth the bodie make.”

—From “An Hymne in Honour of Beautie.”—Spenser.


Oliver Wendell Holmes was born eighty-four years ago on the 29th of August, 1809. He was educated at the Phillips Andover Academy, and graduated at Harvard in 1829, and was one of the founders of the ΦΒΚ Society of that university. His first general reception as a poet was gained by his successful lyrical effort to save the old frigate, “The Constitution,” from being broken up. He graduated in medicine in 1836 (after studying law in the Cambridge Law School), and in the same year published his first volume of verse. In 1839 he was made Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Dartmouth, and in 1847 he filled the same position at Harvard. He has published several volumes of poems, and the famous books known, respectively, as “The Autocrat,” “The Poet,” and the “Professor at the Breakfast Table.” He has written many medical works, and of his novels, “Elsie Venner” and “The Guardian Angel” are best known.

John James Ingalls was born in Middleton, Massachusetts, on December 29th, 1833. He graduated at Williams College in 1855. He then studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1857. Going to Atchison, Kansas, in the following year, he there practised his profession, and from that time to the present has been closely connected with the development of his adopted State and that of the country. In 1862 he was elected a Senator in the State of Kansas, and in 1863 and 1864 was defeated for the Lieut.-Governorship. For some years he was editor of the Atchison “Champion.” In 1873 he was chosen United States Senator, and served without interruption until 1889.

Jules Verne was born at Nantes in France on February 8, 1828, and was educated there. After leaving school he studied law in Paris, but, while still very young, he became known as a popular writer of dramas, comedies and burlesques for the Parisian theatres. “Les Pailles Rompues” was produced at the Gymnase Theatre in 1850, when Jules was but twenty-two years old, and “Onze Jours de Siége” shortly afterwards. He first became known as a writer of highly imaginative stories with a strong current of science in them in 1863, when his “Five Weeks in a Balloon” made a great success. Since then he has produced more than sixty novels of the same class, the most noted of which are “The Voyage to the Moon,” “20,000 Leagues under the Sea,” and “Michael Strogoff.” Many of his works have been successfully dramatized, and he has been translated into almost every modern language, including Arabic and Japanese.





MARCH, 1869. AGE 60.

AUGUST, 1874. AGE 65.

ABOUT 1882. AGE 73.

NOVEMBER, 1891. AGE 82.



1847. AGE 14.

1853. AGE 20.

1865. AGE 32.


1873. AGE 40.

1877. AGE 44.




1848. AGE 20.

1858. AGE 30.

1868. AGE 40.

1886. AGE 58.



By Raymond Blathwayt.

As Karl Hagenbeck stood with me, in his Hamburg Wild Beast Emporium, before the great cage of the boa constrictors and pythons, he naturally fell to relating some of the curious adventures that have befallen him with snakes and other brutes.

There was a great ugly looking boa constrictor coiled up in a corner by itself, a most repulsive looking animal.

“He’s a beauty, isn’t he?” said Mr. Hagenbeck, looking fondly on him. “He swallowed four whole sheep in one day, and only nine days after that he got another, and seemed to enjoy it as much as if he had been fasting for months. Come and look at this cage, where you can see a revengeful member of the species. He once had a companion, but now he’s alone through his own fault. He and his companion were peculiarly fond of rabbits, and we threw one into their cage one day. They both darted for it, and, while the poor little shivering animal crept into a corner in a fright, the snakes quarrelled as to whose ‘bonne bouche’ the rabbit was to be. The smaller one won, and this great wretch retired to a corner and watched his foe devour the rabbit, and then lie down in that state of repleteness which it is the highest ambition of these great snakes to attain. The big fellow then, seeing his rival’s helpless condition, roused himself, and a moment afterwards he vigorously attacked the creature that lay gorged in the corner. We all rushed to see what would happen, and I declare to you, that in a very short time the big snake had swallowed the small snake, rabbit and all.”

“Would you like to see them in action?” said Mr. Hagenbeck to me, and, as he spoke, he opened a cage door and boldly stepped in amongst a number of big sleepy reptiles. He coolly began lifting them up by their enormous coils, just as one would lift up great coils of rope, and there was soon a mighty stirring amongst the previously inert masses. They writhed to and fro, their scales glittering in the pale light of the winter sun, and with a great hissing, an irritated rearing back of their heads and a constant projection of their long forked tongues, they began to move about the cage—a hideous, mixed-up mass of repulsive life, that made one involuntarily step back from their bars.

“You don’t like the look of them,” said Mr. Hagenbeck, with a smile, as he stepped out and rejoined me. “They are queer fellows, certainly, and gave me a big fright once.”

“I should have imagined more than once,” I said, as we turned from the ugly mass of twisted snakes.

“Well, perhaps,” said Mr. Hagenbeck, “but this particular once was something to remember. In one cage I had eight full-grown pythons, which I wanted to put into one huge box to send them off to a menagerie. I handled the first six all right enough, 220 catching them, as is usual, by the back of the neck and dropping them into the box. Then I went for number seven, but as soon as I entered the cage she, the lady of the flock, flew at me with open mouth. Seeing her coming I took off my hat and thrust it at her. She bit her teeth into it. I then seized her with the right hand at the back of her neck, and I dragged her down into the lower partition of the cage. Just when I was going to fetch her out she reared her head to attack me again. I then made a cautious movement forward, and at the same moment she darted her head at me. I met the second attack with my hat in the same way that I had the first. With a quick dart I grabbed her by the back of the neck, only to find, to my horror, that I couldn’t let her go if I wanted to, as she had coiled herself firmly round my legs. One of my assistants, standing near, heard me yell, and he came rushing up to me with all the speed he could, for I fancy my shout told everybody within hearing that I had to do with a matter of life and death. I managed, however, to retain my nerve, and gave the order to the helper to try and uncoil the serpent, which with great difficulty and my assistance he at last managed to do.”

Mr. Hagenbeck laughed a little as he recalled the experience, but I confess I didn’t feel like laughing much. The horror of having those massive coils pressing tightly on your legs and bruising your muscles with irresistible strength seemed very real to me.

“I wasn’t done even then,” Mr. Hagenbeck resumed, “for just as I thought that I could get the big snake safely in the cage, another python, and really an enormous fellow, attacked me. I had just time to shout to my man to throw a blanket over it, and this he luckily managed to do. At the same moment I moved backwards out of the cage and got free of it altogether, and then I had a little rest. My men tried to dissuade me from going back, each of them saying he would do it. I felt very exhausted, but my temper was fairly up, and I determined I wouldn’t be beaten. So, after a few moments, I stepped again into the cage, caught them both round the backs of their necks, dragged them as quickly as I could to the edge of the cage, and then, all helping, we flung them into the box waiting for them. Had not my assistant been near me, nothing could have saved me from being squeezed to death.”

The wild-beast tamer then motioned me away from the serpent cages, and we went to those of their cousins, the crocodiles and alligators. We passed by an aviary of very great size, where parrots and other beautifully plumed birds chattered, laughed, quarrelled, and made love in a long, ear-piercing enjoyment of their captivity; and further on we came to a large tank, in which were slowly paddling round some spiteful-looking alligators—huge-jawed, soulless-eyed, each one a waiting, watching destroyer of life.


We looked at them for a little while, and then Mr. Hagenbeck said: “Once I had to pack sixteen of these fellows up for the Düsseldorf Zoölogical Gardens. I grappled hold of the first one and was pulling him ashore, when he gave me a frightful blow with his tail 221 and knocked me into the tank, where, for a brief moment, I was alone with fifteen alligators. Those who were standing by told me that as soon as I splashed in a number of them made a rush, but I was out again like an India-rubber ball. The swirl of the water and the open jaws of the disappointed beasts told me that I had not been one second too smart. This was a very narrow escape, as, if one of the crocodiles had happened to get hold of me, all the rest would have attacked me, snapping and biting at me at one and the same moment, until there would have been little, if anything, left of me at all. They are the most determined fighters even amongst themselves. Six of them, each about fourteen feet long, had a fight amongst themselves once, and so desperately did they set to, that within fourteen days they were all dead. Three of them had their jaws broken, and in some cases their legs were torn right out of their bodies. This occurred at night, and one of the keepers, happening to hear the frightful noise which was made by the clashing of their jaws, rushed off to tell me what was happening. We lit our lanterns and hurried to the scene of action, but, beyond trying to separate them with long poles, it was little we could do. When we managed to part them for a time they only renewed the fight with greater fierceness than ever, and so terribly were they wounded, that, as I said, they were all dead in a fortnight. Nowadays, when I get a new consignment of alligators I always muzzle them for four days with a rope. They then calm down, and I cut the rope off; otherwise, if I did not do that they would begin fighting as soon as they came out of the box, for the first sight of day-light after the long journey always seems to excite them. A fight amongst the snakes, also, is a terrible thing. I had once five big pythons in one cage. One of the keepers flung a dead rabbit amongst them, and two of them, being very hungry, attacked it at once. At the same moment the other four flew for the prey, and in one moment all the six were in one big writhing lump. The keepers fetched me, and I at once attempted to uncoil them. I succeeded, but hardly had I done so when the fight began again between the first two. The larger one threw his tail round the small one’s neck and squeezed it with such force against the wall that it lost all power. Then the bigger snake got hold of the rabbit and swallowed it, after which it gradually loosened its hold of the smaller snake. The little one then sought revenge, and flew at the big python, which was rendered almost helpless by its huge meal, bit it in the back, coiled round and round it, 222 and squeezed it till it could hardly breathe, although it screamed as I had never heard any living creature scream before. The funny thing was that when I went to see them next morning they were all right and perfectly good friends.

“Talking of fights, I was once turned out of bed at one o’clock in the morning by one of my keepers, who came in with the news that the big kangaroo had jumped a six-foot fence into the next stable, in which there was a large hippopotamus. When I came down there was the queerest kind of a duel going on. The kangaroo stood up to his belly in water, whilst the hippopotamus, with wide-open jaws, snapped at him right and left. However, the kangaroo managed to ‘get in’ a good right and left with his front legs, and scratched the hippopotamus in the face tremendously. When the amphibian came to close quarters, the kangaroo jumped up, gave him a tremendous blow with his hind legs, and then managed to get on to dry land. I caught the kangaroo with a big net, and after all the fighting there wasn’t so very much harm done.”

Just as Mr. Hagenbeck finished talking, the Polar bear at our rear began growling. Mr. Hagenbeck went up to soothe and pet him. Then he said:

“I expect I am pretty well the only man in the world who can say that he ever cut the toe nails of a Polar bear. It was this very beast, and I will tell you how it all happened. The poor beast’s nails had grown into its foot, causing it a great deal of pain. We tried to get the feet into a sling and pull them through the bars, but this proved to be too awkward an arrangement. So I got him into a narrow cage which had an iron barred front, and this I turned upside down so that the bear had to stand on the bars of the cage, which we lifted up about four feet above the ground. I went underneath with a sharp pair of pincers, and, as he stood there with his toes pressed through the bars, I managed to pull the nails out. Then I stood him in water to wash and cool his wounds, and in a few days he was all right. On yet another occasion a 223 royal Bengal tiger was suffering very much from toothache, so two of my men held him by the collar and, whilst one of my attendants opened his mouth, my brother-in-law and I took some pincers and pulled out the teeth which had been giving him so much pain, and which, indeed, had grown so badly that they had hindered him from biting his food properly.

“The most risky thing, however, that ever occurred to me happened in Munich during the Centennial Fźte in 1888. I was passing in the long procession with eight elephants, and the streets were very much crammed. It chanced that we had to pass a great big iron dragon, which, by some mechanical contrivance, began to spit fire as soon as we got near it. Four of the elephants at once took fright and ran away, which was only natural, and the other four followed suit. The people rushed after them with sticks and loud cries, which of course only made matters worse. I managed to get between two of them, and caught hold of them, but it was of no use, as they ran with me for at least a mile. I was badly hurled from side to side and, indeed, at one moment I was very nearly crushed to death by them against the walls of a house. At last two other elephants came up, and I managed to persuade the lot of them to stand still; just as I had done so the stupid crowd again came rushing up, and away the elephants went again. I was too tired to do anything more. All four of them rushed into a house; the bottom gave way and the excited creatures fell into the cellar. A new house has now been built there which is called to this day ‘The four wild elephants.’ A lot of people were hurt, some indeed were killed, but, as the Police President had seen all that had happened, I was held free of blame. That was, however, the worst trouble with my captive friends I ever have had, and how I escaped being crushed to death then I cannot understand to this day.”




By Mrs. E. V. Wilson.

It was very tiresome riding on the cars all day, with the same monotonous stretch of prairie to be seen from the window; so I am sure it was pardonable in me to listen to the conversation of my fellow-passengers.

Just in front of me (their bundles on a seat before them) sat two elderly women, old friends, it seemed, who had chanced to meet in their journeying; and it was a sentence or two of their talk that caught my attention, and presently I became so interested that I no longer felt my weariness.

“And so,” said one, “you say they are livin’ all alone in that big house of their’n! I knowed the girls was all married an’ gone, but I heerd Jim had tuk a wife home to live with the old folks, and I said to Simon, says I, ‘Well, it’ll take more’n a mortal woman to live with Mary Ann Curtis onless she’s mightily changed sence I use ter know her,’ says I.”

“Well,” said the other voice, and a sweet, patient-sounding voice it was—so sweet, indeed, that I glanced over to look at its owner. She was a little, quaint old woman, with soft brown eyes and a pathetic, lovable face. I fell in love with her at once. Her companion was a younger woman, with shrewd, black, observing eyes and sharp nose 225 and chin. From appearances and manner, I judged both were wives of well-to-do farmers.

“Well,” said the sweet voice, “Jim did marry a mortal woman, but Mary Ann soon made a angel out of her. I knowed Jim Curtis’s wife as well as if she’d ben my own child; and no wonder, seein’ as she boarded with me and Jonathan nigh on to a year. You see, she was left an orphan, and her uncle that raised her, not bein’ well off, give her what schoolin’ he could, an’ then when she was about sixteen year old he got her first the summer school in our deestric, and then, as she suited the folks, the d’rectors they let her have it fur the winter. I was sort o’ feared for her to tackle the winter school, seein’ as some of the big boys, and girls, too, for that matter, ’s pritty obstreperous; but Rhody she laughed and tossed her head an’ said, ‘I’ll get along, Aunt Nancy!’ (You know everybody in the neighborhood calls me Aunt Nancy, and Rhody she picked it up as natral as could be.)

“Well, she did manage somehow, an’ never had a bit of trouble. An’ I use ter watch o’ evenin’s for her to come, allus smilin’, and with somethin’ funny to tell about the scholars. I declare to you, Mis’ Johnson, if she’d ben our own, Jonathan an’ me couldn’t a sot more by her. Why, whenever it was rainy or snowy the ole man would saddle a horse an’ go for her, an’ she’d look that cute, settin’ behin’ on ole Molly an’ holdin’ on to the ole man!

“One cold evenin’ (it was a Friday evenin’, too—I’ll never forgit it), jist as Jonathan got the saddle on the mare, we heard sleigh-bells, for I was out at the fence talkin’ to the ole man, an’ who should come sailin’ up the road, large as life, but Jim Curtis in his new sleigh, with our Rhody, smilin’ and rosy, beside him. ‘There, ole man,’ says I, ‘your cake’s dough.’ And I declare fur it, ef he warn’t that cut up he could scarce be civil to the youngsters.

“Of course you know how it was after that—no needcessity fur the ole man botherin’ any more; not ’at it was bother, for he allus liked goin’ fur Rhody; but laws! Jim was allus on hand, no matter how the weather was, an’ he tuk her to her uncle’s two or three times, an’ to meetin’ Sundays, an’ I up an’ tole her one day that I b’lieved I’d ask Jim to board with us, an’ her face got mighty red, an’ she stepped up an’ put both arms roun’ my neck, she was such a lovin’ leetle critter, an’ she says, ‘You aint mad, Aunt Nancy, are you? You like Jim, don’t you?’

“‘Well,’ says I, ‘ef I don’t, somebody 226 else does; but I’d like to know what this deestric’s goin’ to do fur a teacher.’

“‘Oh,’ she says, blushin’ more ’an ever, ‘I am goin’ to teach my school out.’

“‘An’ then what?’ says I.

“‘Then I’ll tell you,’ she says, and run off laughin’.

“So I says to the ole man that night, after we’d gone to bed, says I, ‘Jonathan, Rhody is goin’ to marry Jim Curtis, an’ I dunno whether to be glad or sorry.’

“An’ he laughed till the bed shuk, an’ says he, ‘Why, whot on ’arth is ther’ to be sorry ’bout?’ says he; ‘ther’ aint a likelier feller’n the neighborhood than Jim, an’ as for Rhody, pshaw! she’s good enough an’ purty ’nough for anybody.’

“‘Oh,’ says I, ‘’tain’t that—they’re both well ’nough; but how’s our little girl goin’ to git along with Mis’ Curtis?’”

“Yes,” interrupted Mrs. Johnson, appreciatively, “that was a question. What did you let ’em go there to live for? That’s what I want to know, Nancy Riley.”

“Well,” sighed Aunt Nancy, “I did try to prevent it. I talked to Rhody, but she thought she could surely git along with Jim’s mother—said she loved her already, pore thing! Then I tuk Jim to task, an’ he said the ole folks weren’t willin’ fur him to leave ’em; his father was gittin’ old, an’ ther’ were lots ’o rooms in the house, an’ his mother was glad he was goin’ to marry an’ bring his wife there, she was so lonesome now all her girls was gone, an’ a heap more sich stuff.”

“Lonesome, indeed!” snapped Mrs. Johnson. “She was glad to git rid of her girls, so she was! Laws! don’t I mind what times them poor girls had to git decent clothes? She jist grudged ’em everything, an’ kep’ ’em workin’ like—I was goin’ to say darkys, but no darky ever worked like old Mis’ Curtis made her girls. No wonder they up an’ tuk the first feller ’at came along an’ asked ’em. But I stopped you, Aunt Nancy—excuse me—for I knowed Mis’ Curtis so well. The idea of her a-bein’ lonesome! She wanted somebody to help with the work, she did. Her own girls got 227 away soon’s they could. That Jim must ’a’ been a fool!”

“Oh, no, he wasn’t,” went on the soft voice. “It’s mighty little a young feller like him knows about housework, an’ his mother’s work never bothered him. So as soon as Rhody’s school was out in the spring they was married. You see, her uncle thought for a pore girl she was doin’ purty well, an’ I ’low she was ef she had been jes’ marryin’ Jim Curtis, but she warn’t—she was a tyin’ of herself to his mother.”

“More fool Jim!” snarled Mrs. Johnson.

“Now, Mis’ Johnson,” said Aunt Nancy, “Jim meant well, an’ he worshipped the very ground Rhody walked on; but, you see, old Mis’ Curtis she didn’t believe in young folks makin’ simpletons of theirselves, and when she see Jim slip his arm ’roun’ Rhody, or her run her hand through his curly hair, she’d snap out something sort o’ hateful; so Rhody she got afraid of her, an’ there’s where the trouble begun, in my ’pinion, fur if my pore child had let Jim see how she was imposed on, he certingly’d have made a change, but to keep peace she jist made believe she was happy ’nough. I use’ ter go over sometimes, though I knowed Mis’ Curtis set no store by my comin’, but Rhody was allus that glad, and I tell you it riled me to see how she was treated. It was: ‘Rhody, bring the milk out of the suller’; ‘Rhody, fetch some wood’; ‘Rhody, set the table,’ till I wondered she didn’t drop.

“One awful hot day I was there, an’ 228 Rhody she was ironin’ in the back porch, an’ Mis’ Curtis she was makin’ pies; she was a master-hand at cookin’; you’ll ’low that, Mis’ Johnson.”

“Oh, yes,” snapped Mrs. Johnson, “Mary Ann Curtis was a master at anything she put her hand to.”

“As I was sayin’,” went on Aunt Nancy meekly, “Rhody was ironin’; and sich a pile of clothes!—white winder-curtains starched like boards, an’ table-cloths, let alone shirts and other things—an’ I was thinkin’ how pale she was, an’ peaked-lookin’, when Mis’ Curtis calls out, ‘Rhody, the fire’s goin’ down. I wonder if you ’spect to iron with cold irons. Ef you do, you kin quit, for I don’t have my ironin’ done that way, if some folks does.’

“Rhody never said a word, but jist went to the wood-pile for more wood, an’ I says to Mis’ Curtis, says I, ‘Ef I was you, I’d hev some of the men-folks bring in the wood. Rhody don’t look well.’

“You oughter seen her look at me; her eyes fairly scared me. ‘Our men-folks,’ says she, ‘’s tired enough when they come in, ’thout havin’ women’s work to do. Ef they was shiftless as some I knows, that’s all they’d be fit fur.’

“I tell you, that sort o’ riled me,” went on the gentle voice; “but Rhody came in with a big armful of wood, so I didn’t say anything.”

“As if you would have said anything, you good soul!” said Mrs. Johnson.

“You don’t know me,” said Aunt Nancy. “Jonathan says I am right smart when I get riled—scares him;” and a mellow laugh rippled over her thin lips, which sounded so sweet that more than one passenger turned to see the laugher. Mrs. Johnson joined in the merriment, and I smiled too—the idea of that voice scolding was so absurd. And now it went on again:

“I thought I’d say something to Jim about Rhody, for I felt oneasy about her; an’ so when he was helpin’ me on my horse in the evenin’ (Rhody couldn’t come to the fence, ’cause Mis’ Curtis called her back when she started), I says to him, ‘Jim,’ says I, ‘Rhody looks mighty bad; I’m feered she’s doin’ too much this hot weather.’ You see, it was September, an’ you know what tirin’ weather we sometimes have in September.

“‘Oh, she’s all right,’ says Jim.

“‘No, she ain’t,’ says I.

“Jim laughed, and his face reddened up, and says I,

“‘You better take good care of her, Jim; she’s not a strong woman like your mother; she can’t stand everything,’ an’ no more she couldn’t, pore little thing.

“Well, the very nex’ Sunday, here came Jim and Rhody to see us. An’ I tell you the ole man an’ me was that glad he would have Rhody sing for us, an’ she sang some of the songs he liked, but not many; she said she hadn’t sung any fur so long it tired her.

“‘Why don’t you sing, Rhody?’ says the ole man; ‘you used to sing like a bird.’

“‘I guess I’m not like a bird any more, Uncle Jonathan,’ she says. An’ then she sighed, but catchin’ Jim lookin’ at her, she lightened up and says, ‘I am an old married woman now.’

“After a while Jim an’ the ole man they went out to the stable, and then the pore little darlin’ says,

“‘Oh, Aunt Nancy, I’d be the happiest woman in the world if Jim and me was livin’ by ourselves! Mother Curtis is a good woman, but somehow I can’t please her, an’ I try so hard. Sometimes I’m so tired I can’t sleep or eat, an’ she thinks I’m puttin’ on airs, she calls it, an’ she’s allus saying she pities a man with a do-nothin’, whiny wife.’

“‘It’s a shame!’ says I; ‘why don’t you tell Jim, and coax him to get another place?’

“‘Oh, Aunt Nancy,’ she says, wipin’ her purty eyes, ‘I can’t bear to make trouble, and what would Pap Curtis do? He’s awful good to us. He brings me candy and sometimes oranges from town, and gives ’em to me when she don’t see him, and he often helps me, too; gets wood and water and milks the cows—but there’s Jim with the buggy,’ and off she went.

“I made up my mind to have another talk with Jim Curtis, but laws! we never can tell. The ole man he 229 took the bed with rheumatiks in October, and I never seen anybody much fur three months, and then our Sarah’s baby was born, and I was over there awhile, an’ my own worriments drove other people’s clean out of my head, till one day ’long the last of February Jonathan came in (he’d be’n to town for somethin’ or other), an’ says he,

“‘Nancy, Rhody’s got a boy!’

“Laws! I was jist as s’prised as ef I’d never thought of sich a thing, an’ says I, ‘Who tole you?’

“‘Ole man Curtis,’ says he, ‘an’ he’s that sot up he wants you to come right over.’

“‘An’ so I will,’ says I. ‘The blessed darlin’; an’ it’s a boy, an’ our Sarah’s is a boy, too. Well, that beats me.’ An’ I ’low ’twas odd, Mis’ Johnson;” and Mrs. Johnson “’lowed” it was, too, and the story went on:

“In a day or two I managed to go over to the Curtis place, an’ though Mary Ann Curtis didn’t seem over-pleased to see me, I’ll say that for her, she treated me well enough, and asked me right up stairs to see Rhody and the baby. My! but my girl was glad to see me!

“‘Aunt Nancy,’ she says, ‘is Sarah’s baby bigger’n mine?’ and she turned down the kiver and showed me the littlest mite of a boy, with such a wrinkled old face! I wonder what does make a pore weakly baby look so much like old folks, anyhow. Did you ever notice it, Mis’ Johnson?”

“Oh, yes, often,” said Mrs. Johnson. “There was my Silas, looked just like his Grandfather Johnson when he was born. But was her baby weakly?”

“I saw it was in a minute,” said Aunt Nancy, “but I never let on. I looked at the baby an’ praised it all I could—said it wasn’t as big as Sary’s, but size was nothin’.

“Mis’ Curtis she sniffed sort o’ scornful, an’ says she, ‘The child might have been bigger ef its mother’d knowed how to take keer of herself;’ an’ then she says, ‘Well, I ain’t no time to be a-foolin’. I must go to work.’

“‘I suppose you’ve got a girl?’ says I.

“‘No, I ain’t,’ says she; ‘an’ what’s more, I don’t want one. I never seen one yet that they didn’t eat an’ waste more than their work came to, let alone their wages;’ an’ off she went down-stairs.

“Rhody said nothing for a minute, an’ I didn’t, either. We just looked at the baby, an’ it begun to pucker its face and cry a little, ’bout as loud as a young kitten. I thought of Sary’s squaller of a boy, but I didn’t say anything, and when it was quiet Rhody says:

“‘Aunt Nancy, is my baby like Sary’s 230 baby?’ and she looked so pitiful I felt as if I could cry.

“‘Well,’ I says, ‘Sary’s is bigger. Why do you ask that?’

“Her lips quivered, an’ she says:

“‘Everybody ’at sees it says, “What an old-fashioned baby! Poor little thing! Re’ly it’s so odd-looking.” Is it odd, Aunt Nancy? An’ is there fashions in babies? I thought babies were all alike;’ an’ she tried to smile while tears rolled down her white face.

“I tried to cheer her up. She was a baby herself—only a little over eighteen, you know; an’ I went down and made her some toast and tea, and then fed the baby and got it to sleep, an’ left her feelin’ pretty cheerful.

“After that I went over as often as ever I could, and sometimes carried a little somethin’ I cooked to Rhody, but I saw Mis’ Curtis didn’t thank me. Once she’s good as said so—said her victuals was good ’nough for anybody. Says I, ‘Sick folks like strange cookin’ sometimes, Mis’ Curtis, an’ Rhody allus liked my ways.’ Which was an unfortunate thing for me to say, fur Mis’ Curtis she flew all to pieces, and said I put mischief in Rhody’s head.

“‘Here,’ she says, ‘is her baby three weeks old, an’ her barely settin’ up. Your Sary was at work afore her baby was that old, an’ I know it; an’ if Mis’ Rhody can’t wait on herself now, she can go ’thout waitin’ on for all of me,’ she says.

“‘Mis’ Curtis,’ says I, ‘my Sary’s a different woman from Rhody.’

“‘I guess she is,’ says Mis’ Curtis, mad as fire.

“‘An,’ says I, ‘Jim ought to get somebody to help wait on Rhody and take care of the baby,’ says I, ‘or else it’s my ’pinion he won’t have ’em long; fur,’ says I, ‘Rhody’s gettin’ weaker instead of stronger, and she ain’t got milk fur that pore baby.’

“Then Mis’ Curtis she jes’ let loose, an’ I ketched it. She said it was all my doin’s that Jim married that pore no-’count, stuck-up school-mistress, an’ brought her there to be waited on, an’ she knowed it all along, and now I needn’t come a-tryin’ to make out as Rhody wasn’t treated well, fur she had wore herself out trottin’ up and down 231 stairs, an’ she didn’t mean to do it any longer.

“Just then the kitchen door was opened, and old Mr. Curtis came in.

“‘Why, howdy, Aunt Nancy?’ says he as cheerful, though I knowed he must have seen somethin’ was up.”

“Yes,” interrupted Mrs. Johnson angrily, “that’s the way people do, and call it keepin’ peace. I despise sich ways. Why didn’t he make her behave herself? Suppose there was a fuss; ef she’d found he was goin’ to be boss, she’d soon give up.”

“I guess not, Mis’ Johnson,” said the other; “she had sich a temper.”

“As if I didn’t know that! an’ I know when folks give up to sich tempers they make ’em worse. Wouldn’t it been better if ole man Curtis had jes’ let her see from the first that he didn’t care for her temper? Why, she jesso natrally drove her girls to marry; and think of poor Molly tied to that drunken, shiftless Ned Pelton, and Betsy married to a old widower with seven or eight children, and him nearly as old as her father! I tell you, Aunt Nancy, Curtis is to blame.”

“Well,” said the old lady gently, “I went up-stairs and found Rhody looking better’n I expected, with that midget of a baby with its eyes wide open on her lap. She was glad to see me.

“‘O Aunt Nancy!’ she cried before I got my bunnit off, ‘Jim has rented the old Duncan place, and as soon as I am able we are going there to live. He is over there now, fixing up.’

“‘Aha!’ thought I, ‘that’s what’s up!’ but I said I was glad, and that I had brought her some sponge cake and other things; an’ I ’mused the baby while she et a little—a mighty little, I was sorry to see; but she went on to tell me Jim had been to the doctor about her, an’ he said she needed tonics, and he sent her some, an’ she was goin’ to take the med’cin’ an’ would soon be well and strong, an’ so happy! ‘But, Aunt Nancy,’ she says, ‘baby don’t grow a bit. I’m afraid he is too old-fashioned. Mother Curtis says I don’t stir ’round enough to get an appetite. Do you think that’s it—that baby don’t get enough to make him grow because I can’t eat?’ She looked so weak and pitiful.

“I says, ‘Well, it ain’t your fault; I reckon you can’t make yourself eat.’

“She laughed a little. ‘You are such a comfort, auntie!’ she says; ‘but that wonderful tonic’ll set me up again.’

“An’ so I left her an’ went home, promising to be back in a day or two an’ take her home with me for a little visit if she was strong enough. You’d jes’ oughter to seen her face when I said that; it jes’ lit up.

“‘Mother Curtis?’ she whispered.

“‘Oh,’ says I, ‘she’ll be glad to get rid of you for a while,’ an’ I went off plannin’ how I’d see Jim and make him bring her over. But it did seem as if there was a spite to be worked out agin me, for that very evenin’ it set in to rain, an’ that stiffened the ole man up bad, an’ for days he could not move hisself, an’ I was kep’ close at home for three weeks, hearin’ from the neighbors every once in a while that Rhody was gainin’ slowly, but the baby wasn’t right somehow.

“Well, Jonathan got able to hobble round again, an’ a purty spell of weather sot in, but there was garden to make, an’ soap to bile, an’ another week slipped away, an’ I says to Jonathan, says I, ‘As sure as I live I am going to see Rhody to-morrer ef old Mis’ Curtis’ll let me in;’ an’ the words wasn’t hardly out of my mouth when somebody knocked at the door. ‘Come in,’ says I, and who was it but old man Curtis, looking like a ghost. ‘What’s the matter?’ says I. He r’al’y couldn’t speak for a minit, an’ then he got out somethin’ ’bout Rhody an’ the baby, and comin’, but I sensed it all, an’ in less’n a minit I was ready an’ in the buggy with him.

“From what I could make out as we druv as fast as we could, Jim had been away from home over to the Duncan place from airly in the mornin’ till about five o’clock that afternoon. When he got home he run right up to Rhody’s room, an’ found her a-settin’ there with the baby in her arms, asleep he thought, but when he spoke to Rhody she began to scream, so that he was scared an’ tuk hold of the baby an’ it was dead.


“‘Then he hollered,’ said the old man, ‘an’ me an’ Mary Ann an’ Tom (that’s the hired man) ran up there, fur we was jes’ settin’ down to supper, an’ when we saw what it was Tom went for the doctor and I came for you.’

“An’ oh, Mis’ Johnson, I never want to see such sights agin! The baby was dead, sure enough, poor little thing, an’ out of its misery, but Rhody, she jes’ went out o’ one faint into another till the doctor came, an’ then we worked over her a long time, an’ when she quit faintin’ she was ravin’ in a high fever. Dangerous, the doctor said, an’ turned everybody but Jim an’ me out o’ the room. Such an awful time! Rhody would scream, ‘Oh, do come, Mother! Mother! Mother! Baby’s dyin’!’ till she couldn’t scream any more, an’ then she’d ask for the baby, an’ lie still, waitin’ like, an’ then scream again.

“It was midnight before the doctor got her quiet, and then she lay in a stupor like, with Jim settin’ watchin’ her. Then I thought of the pore baby an’ went to see about it, but some of the other neighbors hed come in, an’ I found they had it laid out nice in the parlor.

“Mis’ Curtis was settin’ by the kitchen stove, fur it was a cool evenin’, an’ I says to her, ‘Mary Ann,’ says I, ‘what ailed the child? It was tuk suddent, wasn’t it?’

“She looked at me. I knowed she was mad as well as feelin’ bad, but she didn’t want to show it then, an’ she says,

“‘Yes, I reckon you might say it was, ’though I never spected the child to live from the first. What’d Jim marry that no-’count spindly girl fur? He might ’a ’knowed.’

“‘Mis’ Curtis,’ says I, ‘Rhody’ll not trouble you long; and it’s my belief,’ says I, ‘you’ve hurried her into her grave.’

“‘It’s no sich thing,’ says she. ‘I waited on her as good as if she was my own; but I had lots to do to-day, an’ I tole her this mornin’ I was done packin’ victuals up stairs for a lazy trollop like her, an’ she could come down to dinner if she wanted any. She’s plenty able to, Nancy Riley, an’ it’s my ’pinion she didn’t take half care of that baby. An’ she set Jim agin me. He’s fixin’ to go off to live by hisself.’

“I jes’ turned round and left her, an’ she bounced up an’ says to one of the women, ‘I spect you’re all hungry, an’ I’ll get supper’; an’ in spite of all they could do, to work she went.”

“Oh, yes,” said Mrs. Johnson, “the madder she got the harder she’d work, an’ a mighty good worker, too, she was; but how did that poor Rhody get along?”

“Well, she lay quiet all that mornin’, but about the middle of the afternoon she roused up and seemed to know me an’ Jim, an’ asked for the baby.


“‘It’s down stairs, Rhody,’ says I.

“She looked at me so queer.

“‘Is it?’ she said. ‘Mother was mad, Jim, an’ wouldn’t come up stairs; an’ baby was so sick, an’ I tried to call her, an’ I couldn’t make her hear, an’ then I tried to go down stairs an’ I couldn’t, an’ baby got so stiff and cold, an’ I couldn’t get him warm.’ An’ then, O Mis’ Johnson, she began to scream again. It was awful, but after a while she was still again for several hours, an’ I tried to get Jim to lay down, but he wouldn’t leave her; an’ his mother come up for him to get him to go down an’ eat somethin’, but he jes’ looked at her, an’ she went an’ left him.

“It was night when Rhody roused up agin’, an’ she looked so much better out of her eyes that I felt sort a cheered.

“‘Jim,’ she says, whispering, ‘is that Aunt Nancy?’

“‘Yes, dear,’ he says.

“‘An’ has she got the baby?’ she went on.

“Well, Jim didn’t say nothin’, pore feller, an’ she says,

“‘Aunt Nancy, when Jim an’ me’s keepin’ house you’ll come an’ see us?’

“‘Yes, dear,’ I says. ‘Now go to sleep, like a good girl.’

“‘All right,’ she says, ‘you keep the baby, an’, Jim, kiss me good night. I love you—Jim. We’ll be—so happy—by—ourselves.’

“The last words were a long time comin’, an’ Jim, after he kissed her, looked at me an’ whispered, ‘Send for the doctor.’ I hurried out, but before the doctor came he was not needed. Rhody had said her last good night.”

“How did Mary Ann take it?” said Mrs. Johnson, wiping her eyes.

“Laws, she tuk on like all possessed, 234 cried and hollered till I thought she’d go inter fits; but somehow I felt sorrier for the ole man. He’d stan’ an’ look at the pore thing after she was laid out, an’ the big tears’d run down his wrinkled face, an’ he says to me, ‘She’s too good fur this world, Nancy, Rhody was.’”

Just then the brakeman shouted the name of the town at which I was to stop, and I must gather up my traps. I leaned over and whispered to “Aunt Nancy,” “What did poor Jim do?”

The old lady’s face flushed. “Was you a-listenin’?” says she.

“I couldn’t help it,” I said. “Poor Rhoda! But what about Jim, Aunt Nancy?”

“This way, Madam,” said the conductor briskly. “Let me have your valise.”

“Jim?” she whispered excitedly, “he like to went wild, but he was mighty quiet, an’ soon’s the funeral was over he sold everything he had and went to Californy.”

“Did he forgive his mother?” I asked, but the conductor took my arm and marched me out, and to this day I am wondering about “Jim” and his mother and “ole man Curtis.” If I knew where “Aunt Nancy” lived, I would write to her.



By Mary G. Burnett.

The mistress of Hawarden Castle is something more than the devoted wife of the great statesman who sways the destinies of Great Britain. She has a notable personality of her own, worthy in its energy and sagacity of him with whom her life is linked. While the husband’s career has always been interwoven with the highest affairs of state, the wife has shown her genius for administration by the charitable enterprises in which she has taken so active a part. Most things come about naturally as the effect of growth; and it is interesting to go back to the childhood of Mrs. Gladstone to trace the influences which directed her mind to deeds of beneficence. Things have changed since Mrs. Gladstone was a little girl, living with her sister and brothers at Hawarden Castle, nearly eighty years ago.

Mrs. Gladstone’s father, Sir Stephen Glynne, died young, when his eldest daughter Catherine (Mrs. Gladstone) was scarcely five years old. Tradition remembers him as a very handsome, lively-minded man, and it is said that Catherine Glynne grew up very like her father. One of Mrs. Gladstone’s first vivid impressions is of the fright she got by seeing the “mutes,” then the fashion at important funerals, standing about the castle while her dead father lay in state. It gave her a life-long horror of elaborate and expensive funerals. Her father was succeeded in the baronetcy and estates by his eldest son, Stephen Richard, then but a little boy of eight. Lady Glynne, a daughter of Lord Brabrooke, was left with the sole charge of the property and the children. She was a beautiful woman of strong character. Fortunately about this time her brother, the Honorable George Neville, came to be rector of Hawarden parish. The castle and rectory were within a quarter hour’s walk of each other, and it was a precious boon for Lady Glynne to have her brother’s judicious help in the management of the large estates, and in the education of her two boys and her two girls.

This was about the year 1813. At that date Hawarden, in common with a village in Cheshire, had the deserved reputation of being the most wicked place in all the country round. Mr. Neville, with Lady Glynne’s consent, closed the worst of the public houses, and inaugurated a system of education for the parish, setting up schools in Hawarden village and in the districts round.


It was a serious problem at the outset to obtain either teachers or scholars. It was necessary to employ bribery to get the mothers to send their children to school, and the aid of Lady Glynne and her young girls was brought to bear, in the first place, to talk the mothers over; and, secondly, to prepare a store of frocks, coats, cloaks, and other useful garments. These were given away as Christmas prizes, to recompense the mothers for remitting the services of their little girls, and the pence which the boys could pick up at scaring crows and such like juvenile occupations.

It was a matter of still greater difficulty to find teachers who knew anything of the art of instruction; this was long before the day of colleges for elementary teachers. An old woman at Hawarden boasted to me that she had received for many years a Christmas prize for regular attendance at school. Naturally the question was asked: “How was it, then, Mrs. Catheral, you never learned either to read or write?”


“Oh, I never wanted to,” said she. “I never tried. But I liked the pretty frock or warm cloak the Miss Glynnes always gave us for prizes at Christmas time, if we went to school regular.” Then she added, “Bless you! you should have seen the prizes in those days! They were worth looking at; none of your books and rubbish, like what children get in these days.” In such an atmosphere did the children of Lady Glynne grow up, systematically trained to assist their mother and uncle in everything they projected for the parish good. Then came the full tide of the Oxford movement, which swept like a wave of light and heat through the sluggish heart of English religious and social reform, though it landed some of its brightest lights afterwards in Romanism. The names of Pusey, Keble, Manning, and Newman were household words at Hawarden Castle. Catherine’s brothers were then at Christ Church, Oxford; and, in the midst of it all, intimate with the leaders of the movement, amongst whom were young Gladstone and many other brilliant young men, destined to be friends through life of those two bright and beautiful young girls at Hawarden.


Thus a happy childhood matured into womanhood, under revolutionary influences. The breezes of intellectual and spiritual awakening stirred the air. Theirs never was a life of mere social excitement which so often plunges the débutante into a whirl of pleasure without feeding the better life. They entered, it is true, into all the pleasures of London seasons, their beauty and bright minds fitting them to enjoy these to the full. But behind and above it all was the intelligence which kept them in touch with the movement of their day—a movement which, when turned into practical channels, brought about, for example, the great work of Florence Nightingale, who re-created the hospital-nursing service. The same potency inspired the establishment of 237 homes and refuges and many of the philanthropic schemes which have made the last forty years so notable. Certain it is that Catherine Glynne came under the influence of the Oxford movement, and was predisposed by it to take a leading part in the philanthropic work of the day.



In 1839 she married William Ewart Gladstone, whose great genius already foreshadowed his future eminence. The same day her younger sister married Lord Lyttleton. Those who were eye-witnesses of that double wedding, and all the wonderful festivities in the village, are becoming few, indeed. In her married life Mrs. Gladstone found occupation to the full. She was always the true and careful mother who would not give over her duties to another, even to the best of nurses. She was devoted to her husband in his incessant political toils. She did not need to look around her for work. Still her assistance was from the first prompt to the furtherance of any schemes where a helping hand was needed.

Mrs. Gladstone soon became a centre for philanthropic work of all kinds. She and Mr. Gladstone started Newport Market Refuge, which is now carried on at Westminster, with an industrial school attached. Begun in Soho in 1863, it was Mr. Gladstone’s idea, for he saw many friendless wanderers as he went at night between the House of Commons and his home. Mrs. Gladstone threw herself into his scheme, and the work was started with an efficient committee. From the beginning Mr. Gladstone has been president and his wife a regular visitor. The object of the refuge is to give shelter to persons out of work and in temporary distress, to enable them to tide over their difficulties, and to find fresh employment. It does not take in the practised casual, or loafer, but weary, sore-footed travellers, who have walked far in search of work and found none. Such are always admitted as far as room permits, and have the assurance of a week’s lodging free, with the prospect of an extension of time if the committee see a reasonable chance of their getting work.


In the course of a single year about thirteen thousand nights’ lodgings and thirty thousand rations have been granted, and three hundred and nine men and women have obtained employment, or else have been sent home to their friends.

It need scarcely be said to those who have kept pace with recent events that the most vital feature of General Booth’s great work in London follows closely the model set by the Gladstone institution.

It was soon found advisable to add a Boys’ Industrial School to the work of the Refuge. Many lads in distress were constantly being discovered, who would certainly drift into a life of idleness and dishonesty if not taken in hand. So the managers of the Refuge determined to try this novel combination—refuge and school—which, hazardous as it was at its commencement, has proved an entire success.

In 1866 a sharp epidemic of cholera reached England, and the East End of London was severely attacked. Mrs. Gladstone came in contact with it, in 238 her regular visits to the London hospital. Whole families were brought in together, some to die, others to recover. Parents dying left their children behind them, friendless and helpless. Mrs. Gladstone carried away many of the poor little wretches virtually in her arms. They were naked, for their only clothing had to be burned, but she found cloaks and blankets to wrap them in, and took them with her to her own house or to lodgings which she had provided.

She induced her friends to furnish fresh garments without delay, and she rented an empty house at Clapton, wherein to lodge her orphans. She set about raising money to provide for their needs and those of other cholera patients. She wrote a letter to the “Times,” asking subscriptions for this object, and speedily five thousand pounds rolled in. With this she was able to keep her little cholera orphans in comfort. One who saw the sight, when she accompanied Mrs. Gladstone to Clapton, says she can never forget it. As soon as the door was opened she was surrounded by the little ones, who clung to her and almost overwhelmed her in their eagerness to obtain a caress from the one they loved so dearly.


Her Free Convalescent Home had its genesis in the necessities of the sick poor, brought to light by this cholera epidemic. It was forced upon her notice that many, who had passed safely through the dangers of acute disease, relapsed into serious, and sometimes fatal, illness for lack of that timely change of air, wholesome food and comfortable lodging which they were unable to find at home. There were convalescent establishments in operation, but it was found that they were already full, or else admission was hampered by such conditions of privileged tickets, weekly payments, and distance, that, before these could be complied with, the evils sought to be averted had actually occurred.

Mrs. Gladstone determined to establish a Convalescent Home, where admission could be quickly arranged, free of cost. She called to her aid a committee of ladies and gentlemen, qualified by business experience, professional knowledge, or familiarity with the needs of the poor, to coöperate with her. Such confidence did she inspire, that a beginning was quickly made in a house at Snaresbrook, the remainder of the lease being made over to Mrs. Gladstone and her committee. When the lease came to an end, the convalescents were transferred for a short time to the houses which Mrs. Gladstone had at Clapton, but in 1868 a freehold property, known as Woodsford Hall, most healthily situated in Essex, was bought by the committee. Here this good work has been carried on ever since. It is a charming house close to the forest, surrounded by lawns and trees and flowers. In fine weather the house is nearly empty all day long. The invalids from the squalid city lanes spend their time in the forest, gathering wild flowers, and drinking in the perfumed air which pours rich draughts of health and strength into their wasted bodies.

When in London, Mrs. Gladstone has for nearly a quarter of a century gone down to the London Hospital every Monday morning, to examine into the circumstances of those who apply to go down to Woodsford. The clergy and ministers of all denominations in the parishes around the London Hospital have a right to send their sick poor with a note of recommendation, but those who are recovering in the London Hospital have the special claim. The business is carefully supervised by Mrs. Gladstone and her assistants, even to the day of going, and the train. Attention is always directed to the express object of the home—as a resort solely for those who have been ill, are slowly recovering, and require, for complete restoration to health, change of air, good food, rest, and kindly treatment.

Every year more than a thousand men, women, and children enjoy the benefit of this retreat. One report gives the numbers at six hundred and thirty-nine men, three hundred and 239 sixty-nine women, seventy boys, and forty girls. The large excess of men and boys over women and girls has revealed the fact that working men are much more liable than are women, not only to accidents, but to disease. This holds good among the children, as more sickness rages among the boys than among the girls. In this great undertaking Mrs. Gladstone has been ably assisted by many friends, among whom may be specially mentioned her niece, Lady Frederick Cavendish, whose terribly imposed sorrow has always found relief in works of love and charity. It is impossible, too, to say good-by to the Free Convalescent Home at Woodsford without mentioning Miss Simmons, the superintendent for many years—an ideal mother for such a home. To see her play games with the patients is something one remembers, for the humor with which it is done and the mirth it creates. Mrs. Gladstone herself delights the patients on her visits by playing dance music to them. Her country dances and Sir Roger de Coverely are special favorites.


Another prominent feature of her charities is the orphanage at Hawarden, which arose out of the American war of 1862, and the subsequent cotton famine in Lancashire.

Mrs. Gladstone’s brother, Sir Stephen Glynne, was alive, and Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone lived at Hawarden Castle with him. When the distress was most severe, Mr. Gladstone collected a number of men who were idle in Lancashire, and found them employment in cutting 240 foot-paths through the park and woods of Hawarden—as he could not give them work which would displace any of the permanent laborers on the estates. At the same time Mrs. Gladstone sent for some of their young daughters, and her brother, Sir Stephen, gave her the use of a nice old house which stood in the courtyard, formerly the dower house belonging to the Ravenscrofts, who in time past had owned Hawarden Castle, then called “Broad Lane Hall.” (The heiress of the Ravenscrofts had married Mrs. Gladstone’s great-grandfather, Sir John Glynne.) This dower house Mrs. Gladstone converted into a training home for the girls, under the charge of a very charming nurse of her own children, who had lately married. The experiment proved a great success. The girls had all worked in the mills, but they learned quickly something of domestic work. Then Mrs. Gladstone found them places amongst her own friends in the neighborhood, whereupon she was able to send for more girls to be similarly assisted. Some of them were lovely young women, and most of them married extremely well while in service.


In the autumn of 1867 Mrs. Gladstone brought down about a dozen of her orphans from Clapton and lodged them in another small house, which her brother had lent to her. These she put under the care of a widow with a little boy of her own. There they dwelt happily, going every day up to the village to attend the infant school. When the Lancashire distress was quite over, and all need of the old dower house at an end for the mill girls, Mrs. Gladstone transferred her Clapton orphans there, and added to their number other children whose fathers and mothers had died in the London Hospital. When the orphanage was properly established in the larger house, it accommodated comfortably about thirty children. Experience taught Mrs. Gladstone that poor parents found it more difficult to provide for and manage their boys than their girls. So the Hawarden orphanage has come to be filled by boys. They attend the parish schools till they are old enough to be apprenticed to trades. There is now a whole army of well-doing young men who have been brought up in the Hawarden Castle orphanage. It is still in full tide of the 241 work it has carried on for over twenty-five years.

About 1880 a home for training young women for service was opened at Notting Hill, London, under the management of a committee of ladies. The object of the home was to take girls under its protection who had bad homes, and were therefore likely to be totally neglected and to drift into a life of uselessness and vice. Mrs. Gladstone was asked to become the president, and consented. It is organized on a small scale, a fact much in favor of its purpose. Not more than fifteen girls are there at one time, and a few lady boarders are taken in, as this works well for training the girls in the various branches of domestic service. The proud characteristic of the school is its determination never to despair of any pupil, however discouraging she may be in her first trial of service. The reward seems great when a girl, who has failed in several places, at last finds a mistress who understands her and draws out the best in her, when she receives praise as a good servant instead of the fault-finding hitherto her portion. There are now numbers of respectable, well-doing servants who have been trained here, and the institution has proved a boon to employers as well as the employed.



Mrs. Gladstone gives the girls who are in service an annual treat every summer down at the Convalescent Home at Woodsford. About a year ago a party of them enjoyed luncheon and tea on the lawn there, under the shadow of a rare kind of sycamore which their hostess had brought in a flower-pot, as a little seedling, from an old tree which spreads its ample branches close to her orphanage at Hawarden. Mrs. Gladstone told the girls that, when she planted it, she never thought to live so long as to see it large enough to shelter a party of forty in the shadow of its foliage. Such works of beneficence as have just been sketched are only a few of those forming a crown of honor and glory for the head of the great Premier’s wife. She was in that early band who began penitentiary work at Clewer before it took shape under Mrs. Monsel’s management. That must have been soon after her marriage. To that early time, too, belong the beginnings of the House of Charity for distressed persons in London, which is carried on at Soho, and rejoices in its forty-sixth annual report. This is to help persons a little higher than the working-class, who have fallen into temporary distress from sickness or other vicissitudes.

As for the deeds of private kindness, it can truly be said that Mrs. Gladstone has sown them on all sides, and it is characteristic of that noble woman’s nature that she is loyal to the last to those who need her help, even if it be for a lifetime.



By Alfred Balch.

There is an island in Big Asquam Lake, New Hampshire, lying almost under the shadow of Mount Chocorua, and on it there are many buildings, rough but weather-tight; paths which have been carefully built to grade; a boat-yard, with ways leading to the water; a long wharf projecting out toward a swimming raft which is floating where there is depth for diving; a sea wall of heavy stone, against which the ice is powerless. Down by the water’s edge, and squatting on a wooden stage within easy reach, a group of boys are washing dishes. From time to time one of them, who while working as hard as any, keeps his eye on the others, gives a short order which is instantly obeyed. Other boys are sitting on the porch, polishing lantern and lamps, while yet others are sweeping up the litter which disfigures the open space. There are buildings to the right and left, there are canvas canoes and boats floating near the wharf, and a great flat boat—somewhat rudely made—is moored in front of the sea wall. With each group of boys is a young man, busily employed in the same work, but it is noticeable that he gives no orders.

From the island itself the view is exquisitely beautiful. To the north the White Mountains rest like a mighty barrier, walling in the valley at their feet. The lake itself lies smiling under the sunlight of the perfect day, or darkening under the shadow of the drifting cloud. The breeze is barely enough to fill the sails of the white canoe outside there, while the scarlet cap of the boy sailing it makes a patch of color. There are other islands with long vistas of water between them, relieving the vivid green of the trees which cover them with foliage, and coming toward the wharf is a boat filled with girls; in the stillness their gay laughter sounds pleasantly. Everywhere is the beauty of the mountains and the lake, and the voices of the boys at work fill the very air with life.

Big Asquam Lake was more picturesque during the summers from 1881 to 1889, because Camp Chocorua was there, than it has been since. The camp was founded by Mr. Ernest Berkeley Balch as a summer camp for boys, in which they could have plenty of outdoor sport, a reasonable amount of work, and abundant opportunity to enjoy themselves in their own way. Starting with five boys and a small 243 frame shanty in 1881, it grew into one of the oddest institutions that may be imagined. It was different in many ways from anything else of the kind, and its great success was due to the fact that it was modelled on real life as men see it. The motive underlying all of its pleasant features and most quaint customs was twofold: first, responsibility, personally and for others; and, second, work—not only the work which each one must do for himself, but also that extra work which brings with it a tangible reward. The boys were encouraged in everything that would tend to develop them physically, to make them strong and healthy, but they also found themselves members of a little world that had a high standard of honor, a world in which the laws governing the conflicting interests of men were recognized and obeyed. How this was done, how Camp Chocorua was governed and run, and why the boys who were there still look on it so affectionately is not an uninteresting story.

“The Camp,” as it is always called by those who were there, took in all of the space on the island. In 1889, the last year, the buildings included the office; the big dormitory—in the upper story of which was the library, with a large room below, having at one end the great fireplace, where the camp-fire blazed and burned; the dining-house—an open shed; the cook-house, with the ice-house at its back; the store-house and faculty quarters—the upper story of this was the hospital; and the carpenter’s shop, down by the boat-yard. There were many paths built carefully to grade, and one of these led to the grove of silver birches, in the midst of which was the chapel. I think this was one of the prettiest places I ever saw. The walls were the living trees, the seats were rustic benches, and the reading-desk was a rock, oddly fashioned, of the stone of the Granite State, into the form of a lectern. Every Sunday afternoon when it was fair weather the service was held here.

It is not, however, in the buildings, on the island, nor in the trees that one can find the interest of Camp Chocorua. It was in the life led by the boys, in their customs and laws, in their courts and contracts, that this resides.


One of the fundamental rules of the place was that every boy or man there should do his own work and his share of the common work of the camp. Many of the boys who came had never in their lives done anything for themselves, and the first thing demanded of them, that they should make up their 244 own beds and take care of their own clothes, came very hard. The boy was careless, he lost his waterproof, he could not put on his shoes, or could not remember to put away his clothes. There was no punishment for his fault; he was simply ranked as an “Incapable.” An Incapable was a boy who did no work of any kind, who belonged to no crew, who had no part in the busy life of the camp except that of a spectator. More than this, an Incapable was forbidden to refuse assistance from any member of a crew, and as it speedily became the fashion to help an Incapable, he had no lack of such assistance. Any one who can remember the scorn a boy feels for another who, he thinks, is less manly than himself will understand the sort of blistering sore applied to an Incapable. It was not without a pathetic side, the way in which these little chaps would work to learn how to dress themselves and lace their own shoes, and the anxiety they showed to keep their clothes and bed in order; and as an Incapable had the right to an examination, by a member of the faculty, at any time, as to his capability, few there were who were not assigned to a crew within two weeks.

The supreme power in Camp Chocorua resided in the founder, although he could not, except in extreme cases, traverse one of the customs of the camp, for these were, in fact, unwritten laws. Associated with him were the members of the faculty, generally four in number, and it was their duty to oversee and watch the boys. One of the faculty was always with a crew, and he had the right to give general orders and to inspect the work done, as a whole. He had no power, however, over the individual members of that crew, for this resided wholly in the stroke, or, in his absence, in the sub-stroke. To compare one thing with another, the member of the faculty was the general commanding the brigade, and the stroke was the colonel in command of a regiment. The general could give his orders and comment on how they were carried out, but it was the colonel who decided on details. The member of the faculty with a crew worked as they worked, taking such part of the labor as he saw fit, or doing that which the stroke asked him to. The boys in the camp were divided into four crews, and at the beginning of the camp year the strokes were appointed by the faculty. As soon as a stroke was named, he had the power of appointing his sub-stroke, or second in command of the crew, on the principle that as he was responsible for all the sub-stroke did, it was but fair he should have his choice.

The crews did all the routine work of the camp, three being on duty every 245 day and one off. These three were the kitchen crew, which supplied the cook’s boy to prepare vegetables and run errands, and which cleaned all the pots, pans, and kitchen utensils; the police crew, which cleaned the lamps, swept the rooms, and removed all litter from the grounds; and the dish crew, which washed all the larger dishes used on the table, as well as the plate, cup, knife, fork, and spoon of any guest for the first three days of his stay on the island. After that the guest did his own work. The dish crew supplied the inspector of dishes—generally the sub-stroke—and visitors, I remember, got useful lessons on what constituted cleanliness as they stood meekly before him. It was safe to say that any article passing inspection was in a condition to be used again. Each crew in turn became kitchen, police, and dish, during three days, and on the fourth, the off crew. This was expected to do any work outside of the regular duties of the day, such as manning a boat for visitors, handling express matter or supplies, or, in short, anything not done by the others. The milk boat was manned by the kitchen crew, and the mail boat by the police. Practically speaking, each crew worked about five hours a day.

It was a cardinal principle in Camp Chocorua that the boys should govern the boys. The strokes were to all intents and purposes supreme over their crews, and under no circumstances did a member of the faculty give an order to a member of a crew. The order was given to the stroke or sub-stroke in command, and he carried it out as he saw fit. The stroke was expected not only to rule his crew and see they did the work, he must also set them an example by doing as much or more than any one of them. In point of fact, the stroke and sub-stroke were generally the two most efficient boys in a crew. But in such a system as this, that a member of a crew might be disobedient, or a stroke might be tyrannical, was not lost sight of. The stroke had no power to punish, but he could, were his orders disobeyed, direct a boy to report to the faculty. On the other hand, although the presence of a member of the faculty prevented any open bullying, it was within the power of a stroke to “work” a boy, and that boy had an appeal to the faculty. As in Camp Chocorua in proportion to the power was the responsibility, the appeal was a much more serious thing than the report. When the latter was made by order of a stroke, the boy might be reprimanded, given a good talking, or be shifted into another crew. In extreme cases he might be declared an Incapable—than which nothing was 246 more detested. If it were found that a boy could not get along with any stroke he might be sent home, because this meant he refused to submit to the discipline of the camp.

The position of stroke was the most sought for in Camp Chocorua. It was understood the stroke had to get the work done perfectly, rule his crew justly and without friction, and personally be a model of a camp boy. If he failed in either of these, the inference was obvious—he was unfit for the position; the faculty had made a mistake in putting him into it. If a complaint of tyranny was proved, there was but one thing to do—the stroke was reduced in rank. He lost all the privileges of his position, and in the eyes of all, men and boys alike, he was disgraced; he was officially declared to be unfit to govern others. It is difficult to find among the possible experiences of men anything equal in severity, and the boys in the camp dreaded such punishment as they dreaded nothing else. It was bad enough when a sub-stroke was reduced, but to a stroke it was terrible. The system, however, was in itself almost enough to prevent this punishment. A stroke was expected to keep his crew happy and contented, and there were keen eyes watching him all the while, and kindly men ready to give a hint.

Under its curious double government by faculty and boys, Camp Chocorua prospered and grew. The personal and routine work was done, the boys played baseball or tennis, they swam and dived, and went sailing, rowing and paddling. No ambition was greater in the mind of a camp boy than that of owning a canoe, and as many of them were not rich enough to buy, the boat-yard was established in the cove. Here was the carpenter shop, with a full set of tools and a bench, and outside its open door were the ways on which the canoes were built. At one time the yard was full of the pretty little boats in all stages, from the keel with its newly joined ribs to the completed canoe on whose canvas cover the paint was slowly drying. Exceedingly good canoe builders some of the boys turned out to be, and their models were not only fast but safe. Here, too, was the floor on which they cut their sails, or sat and talked as they stitched in the leach lines or fastened the reef points in place. Many of the canoes were the work of their owners’ hands in every part—hull, paddle, sails, and rigging. When the fleet came in, paddling in open order, I never saw anything prettier in my life than the white hulls gliding so easily over the placid water, the boys singing and keeping stroke, while beyond lay the green islands, casting the long shadows from their trees under the setting sun. It was in this yard that the great flatboat was built in which the whole camp moved about the lake, ten oars on a side, and every boy tugging for all he knew. An unwieldy craft, in which one earned his passage. It was in this yard, too, that the best canoe designers earned much money from their less skilful comrades.

The financial system of Camp Chocorua 247 was as odd, when one thinks of it as applied to boys from eight to fourteen years, as were many other things about the place. Each boy had an allowance of twenty-five cents a week paid by the camp, and no boy, no matter what the wealth of his parents, was allowed to bring money given him to the camp. His outfit might include fishing-tackle, but a canoe was barred. If, as was generally the case, he wanted more money than his allowance, he could get it by working during his own time. While the boys did the routine work of the camp as a part of their duty, they had nothing to do with permanent improvements, yet there were many of these made during the nine years. These were paid for by the camp, and it was a cardinal principle that when work of this kind was to be done, the boys should earn the money if they chose. Out of this rose the system of contracts. The work to be done was announced beforehand, and then sold to the lowest bidder, who was required to sign a contract. This was printed in legal form, with the camp as party of the first part, and the contractor as party of the second, the price to be paid and the time being duly entered. The book of contracts is one of the most curious things to study. One of the pages reads “building one yard on the chapel path to grade,” price five cents, and time one week. “Removing a stump in front of the office and filling the hole,” is another, price twenty-five cents. Some of the contracts were taken by firms and others by companies. “The Goodwill Contract Company” takes a contract to do the washing of the camp, and the president’s signature is affixed. If a contract was performed, the price was credited to the contractor in the bank. It might be that, owing to circumstances, the time was extended, or the contract might be forfeited for non-performance. In the latter case it was sold again to the 248 lowest bidder, and the difference—if any—between the original contract price and the sum charged to finish the work was charged to the contractor. It was very rarely that an old camp boy either underestimated the amount of work necessary or the time required, and the forfeitures were for the most part among the new boys. They learned quickly, however. Under this contract system the paths were made, the wharf built, and, in fact, the majority of the permanent improvements carried out. The contracts were not always with the camp. The boys made them with each other, as in the building of canoes, and as the boys had no power to put up a forfeited contract at auction, the courts became necessary. The camp, the men or the boys were all alike subordinate to the courts; either could sue or be sued, and each was bound by the result.

In the court of first instance one of the faculty presided as judge, and there might or might not be a jury. The parties to the cause could argue their own cases, or they could appear by counsel chosen from the boys or the faculty. In case plaintiff or defendant chose, he could appeal from the decision, providing he deposited a check for the full amount of damages and costs. The Appellate Court consisted of a majority of the members of the faculty—not less than three—and in this there was no jury. It must be acknowledged that in appeal cases the judges took cognizance of the facts as well as the law. But the law of the camp was so well known to every boy there, and it was so simple, that no boy could fail to see the justice of the decision. It must be remembered when these courts are considered that to the boys they were very real. It cost five cents to bring a suit, and fifteen for an appeal, and the sums sued for were lost or won in reality. The costs went to the officers of the court, excluding the judges, who served for honor. If counsel were employed they had to be paid, unless they volunteered, and it came to be naturally understood that a plaintiff or defendant in the wrong could not get volunteer counsel. The verdict—when there was a jury—was that of the boys themselves; they condemned 249 or approved of what other boys had done. As the boys were trusted to rule each other, so they were the guardians of each other’s rights, while the power of appeal made it impossible that any wave of temporary unpopularity should bring injustice to any boy. Camp Chocorua was builded on this idea of the boys managing themselves, but there was ever present the superior authority to prevent wrong being done, and the very existence of this authority made it rarely called on.


The keenness in business of these boys is well illustrated by the story of the Soda-Water Trust. Whenever the boys went to the store in Holderness they generally bought soda-water. This went on until some one suggested the apparatus could be bought and the soda-water made in the camp. Two firms—one of three boys and the other of two—each firm having a bank account large enough to purchase the apparatus and supplies, were formed at once. But the privileges or monopolies in the camp were always sold for the benefit of the Charity Fund, 250 and it was promptly announced the soda-water franchise would be put up at auction. The two firms were rich, but they were not willing to enter a contest of this kind. The members got together and talked matters over at length, finally resolving to form a trust. When the time came the trust bid one cent for the franchise, and there being no other bid it was sold at this price. When their apparatus came the trust did a rushing business.



In the Camp Chocorua bank, each man and boy had an account. Payments of all kinds were made by check. The allowance was added to the account each week, and as the boys made money the credits grew larger. At the end of the camp season the depositor could either draw out his balance or have it carried over to the next summer. During the winter he was allowed to earn money by work, provided he received no more for it than would have been paid to anyone else, and this money could be added to the bank account. One boy brought nine dollars and seventy-five cents as the result of shovelling snow, but the canoe his father gave him could only be kept when he showed himself able to pay for it. This he could only do by borrowing from the bank the necessary balance; but his credit was good, and the summer was not half over before he had paid back the loan. I have often laughed when I have thought of the feeling with which that father must have looked on his son’s check, and realized what it meant. If the boys in Camp Chocorua learned anything, they learned not to be ashamed of labor in any form. The dignity of work was silently taught them, even as they were taught to expect the tangible rewards.

It was towards the middle of the second term of the camp that the sports took place. For days before, the boys were at work cleaning the camp up, and the cooks—two of the 251 boys—were busy getting the lunch ready. To the sports all the friends and relations of the boys were invited, and there were usually many grown people present. There was a game at baseball, some sets at tennis; there were sailing, rowing, and paddling matches, swimming and diving contests, foot races, and the like. The prizes were simple enough, bits of ribbons with the name of the camp, the contest, and the date painted on, yet they were valued very highly. Splendid work the boys did in these sports, and conclusive was the evidence of their thorough training during the summer. Those who attended the sports once were always glad to come again, for long as the days were, they were filled with fun and frolic. In the evening the boys and their visitors gathered around the great fireplace in the dormitory building, and there, in the light of the camp fire, joined in the camp songs. The last song of all was “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” the verses being sung as a solo, and the chorus by everyone present; and it was with the grand old melody still ringing in their ears that the guests took the boats which carried them home.

There was one prize awarded at the sports which might come to any boy. This was the “C. C.” pin in silver. Those who won it were the boys who had in their own way shown themselves to have got the greatest good out of the camp, and who had done the most good to others. The pins were not common; two or three, perhaps, were given in a summer, and sometimes none at all. It is most difficult to define the conditions under which the pin was given; it came as the result of a unanimous feeling in the faculty that it had been won, rather than as the result of rules obeyed. A conscious effort to win it was enough to prevent success. The boy had to show the manliness, justice, truth, conscientiousness in him, not for reward, but because he had them in him; and then the reward, or rather the recognition, came. Intrinsically these little pins 252 are worth nothing; but those who have them value them as they value few things, and they are right.

The cruise which marked the end of the summer’s camp life was one of the most picturesque things imaginable. An ox-cart with four oxen carried the blankets, dishes, and stores; Porgus, the great, slobbering bloodhound, was fastened to the rear axle, the Infant—the youngest boy in camp—mounted the donkey, and with faculty and boys on foot, the camp set out. The routes taken during the nine cruises included all the best known roads in the White Mountains. Generally, those boys who wished to made up a separate party, and climbed some one of the great peaks, while the rest confined themselves to lower levels. At night they all slept in some barn. The routine work of the cooks and crews went on as usual, and the whole thing was pick-nicking on a grand scale. Sometimes the ox-cart would stall, or the oxen be unable to haul it up a hill, and then the rope was fastened on, and the whole camp toiled on and pulled. It was an experience to pass them at this time, to listen to the orders of the strokes, to hear the chaff flying back and forward, and to watch the crowd, all clad in gray knickerbockers and jackets, gray stockings and flannel shirts, and wearing the scarlet knit Scotch caps which completed the camp uniform.

There is a story about Porgus, the big bloodhound, which is worth telling. When they first got him everyone supposed he was exceedingly fierce, and, lest he should bite, he was tied up on another island, and his food taken to him twice a day. Suddenly, one day, Porgus was seen swimming towards Chocorua, and, the alarm being given, everyone except the man who knew him took refuge in the house. The dog was taken back and tied up, but as he could gain nothing by howling he broke away once more. The fact of the matter was, that Porgus was lonely, and that so far from being 253 fierce, he was one of the most good-natured beasts in the world. This having been found out, he was added to the list of camp pets. These at various times included a flying squirrel that had a habit of jumping on your shoulder as you passed his tree; a black sheep called Billy, who learned to butt anyone in the neighborhood; the donkey, and the kyuse—the latter a mustang pony. All of these in their time were important members of the camp. Old Captain Cairns, too, a man who lived alone in a most curious house on one of the islands, was one of the greatest friends of the boys, and always came to the sports. The captain was a curiosity in his way, and he never got tired of telling yarns about the places he had been to or the people he had seen.


The story of Camp Chocorua, of the healthy, open-air life, of the high standards so rigidly lived up to, of the fun they had, of the work they did, and of the lessons in manliness they so unconsciously learned, is really written in the memories of the boys who, during those nine summers, spent their time on that little island. This article is but a brief account of the methods through which so much was done. The place now belongs to the founder, and a custodian is kept there to look after it. The buildings are open to the old camp boys, and many of them spend their vacation time there. For the most part, they are men in the world now, but none the less do they look back at the camp with pleasant memories, feeling and realizing, as they never did then, all that 254 the camp life meant to them. Everything is ready for them; they have but to hang up the great Chinese gong on which the hours were struck, and the camp is open. They can sail, row, and swim, and at night, sitting before the “camp fire,” they can bring back the days when they were boys; they can tell their stories of the contracts and the trials, the sports and the cruises; they can laugh over half-forgotten jokes, or speak in lower tones of the boys who are now dead. For although Camp Chocorua has ceased to be, Camp Chocorua lives in the memories of the camp boys.


By Sir Henry Wotton.


How happy is he, born and taught,

That serveth not another’s will,

Whose armor is his honest thought,

And simple truth his utmost skill.

Whose passions not his masters are;

Whose soul is still prepared for death,

Untied unto the worldly care

Of public fame or private breath!

Who envies none that chance doth raise,

Or vice; who never understood

How deepest wounds are given by praise,

Nor rules of state, but rules of good.

Who hath his life from humors freed,

Whose conscience is his strong retreat;

Whose state can neither flatterers feed,

Nor ruin make accusers great.

Who God doth late and early pray

More of his grace than gifts to lend,

And entertains the harmless day

With a well-chosen book or friend.

This man is freed from servile bands

Of hope to rise, or fear to fall—

Lord of himself, though not of lands;

And having nothing yet hath all.


Personal Recollections.

By Adam Badeau.

The Friday before Booth was taken ill, I spent two or three hours with him in his rooms at the Players’ Club, and while there it occurred to me that a picture, not of the actor merely, but of the man whom I had known for more than thirty years, in the glow of youth and the prime of manhood, down to the weary invalid, stricken before his time, in the characters that were not assumed—of husband, father, brother, son, and friend—would have an interest far beyond any critical analysis of his performances or historical account of his engagements. He did not object to my painting him as I had known him in the most intimate relations of his life—an actor is always used to being described and criticised—and he gave me incidents and information, all that I sought. Thus in what I have to say there will be nothing second-hand, nothing that he has not himself told me at one time or another, or that I have not observed in the friendship of a lifetime.

I first met him when he was twenty-three, and I only twenty-five years old, and from that time till his marriage and my own entrance into the army we were as intimate as it is possible for two young men to be. I have the right, therefore, to tell what I shall unfold, for he gave it to me, and I have a further right in the certainty that nothing I can tell will depreciate his fame. If I portray all that I know, no one who reads will fail to think more highly and tenderly of the nature that was cloaked under Richard and Iago, suggested perhaps by points in Othello and Lear, but only really indicated in Hamlet, the melancholy, moody, dreamy, filial, tender Dane.

He was born in 1833, in the night of the historical meteoric display—the “star-shower,” he always called it. His father was a famous actor in the parts which the son so often played. I never saw the elder, but others assured me he possessed a tragic genius perhaps at times even more tremendous than that of the Booth I knew. He was an Englishman, and the rival of Edmund Kean. The family tradition is that he was driven from London by a cabal of Kean’s admirers, and came to America in 1821, almost immediately after his marriage.

Junius Brutus Booth must have been an extraordinary person off the stage; erratic almost to insanity, gloomy, given to fits of passion, but full of warm affections; a man with a temper almost uncontrollable, yet more often morose than violent, who refused to play, even when announced, unless he was in the vein, and walked the streets for hours after acting, and sometimes before. His wife for years accompanied him to the theatre, acting as dresser, and Edwin was taken with them. He thus received his first impressions of the stage when he was three or four years old. The wife remained in the dressing-room during the play, and when the child grew sleepy he was put to bed in a chest of drawers that held his father’s wardrobe. If he wakened he had the theatrical wigs and paint-pots for his toys. A few years later he took his mother’s place and dressed his father for the stage.


From photo by F. Gutekunst.

Copyright by F. Gutekunst, Philadelphia.

There were several children, and three 257 of the sons became actors. I asked him whether he was the favorite, but he said no: his father always preferred John Wilkes. Yet Edwin had the greatest influence with the tragedian when the gloomy fits came on, and followed him many a night through the streets to see that he got no harm. He could prevail on him to act when no other could, and often told me of his attempts to direct their wanderings so that they might reach the stage-door in time. He himself was melancholy and moody, and lived very much in the imagination. It must have been a strange spectacle—this erratic genius and his anxious child, both slightly formed, with the same wonderful piercing eyes, stumbling about the streets at dark, the boy trying to persuade the father, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing altogether.

The story of Edwin’s first appearance on any stage has often been told. It was as Tressel to his father’s Richard III. He was not yet sixteen and received no encouragement nor sign of approval from his strangely constituted parent, but a little later the two were walking in Broadway, when they met a Mr. Conway, an English actor well known to play-goers of the last generation. Booth stopped to talk, and Conway, who was pompous in speech, inquired rather elaborately:

“Upon which of your sons do you intend to confer your mantle?”

The great player did not reply in words, but laid his hand on Edwin’s head with a sort of solemnity, perhaps suggested by Conway’s tone. The lad attached little significance to the action at the moment, but afterward felt certain that his father meant all that the gesture implied. I asked him how old he was when this occurred. “Only a stripling,” he said, “about as high as the top of that candle,” and he pointed to the mantelpiece.

“Why,” I exclaimed, “you are not as high as that now.”

“Ah! but I wore a hat,” he replied; “and my father had to reach up to put his hand on me. I was taller than he.”

He first played Richard III. at the old Chatham Street Theatre in New York, as a substitute for his father, who either could not be found or refused to act. When the manager learned this fact he said to Edwin: “Then you must play Richard.” The lad, just seventeen, was naturally unwilling, but he knew the text from having heard his father so often in the part, and their figures were not unlike. The assistants dressed him in his father’s clothes, and he made up his face as like as possible to the great actor in Richard III. The audience was surprised when he appeared, but allowed him to go on, and he must have played with a certain degree of power, for he was called out at the end of the first act, and went through the entire exacting tragedy. When the play was over he hastened home and found his father, who offered neither comment nor inquiry. In this way the strange pair went on, leading a life as curious as any of the mimic ones they portrayed on the stage; for Edwin now played at times, even in prominent parts, but made no especial mark, being dwarfed, of course, by his father’s superlative ability.

In 1852 they went to California, but the wayward elder remained only a few months, then suddenly returned to the Atlantic States, leaving Edwin behind with his brother Junius, also an actor of some prominence. The brothers played together occasionally, but the times were rough and their success was small. Edwin was soon reduced to the hard straits of a strolling player’s life: borrowing a few dollars now and then, walking hungry through mountain snows, living sometimes in a ranch, sometimes on the pittance of a stock-actor’s salary, but sometimes making a hit, drawing crowded houses and filling his purse for a while.

In November, 1852, he got word of the death of his father, a terrible blow to him, whose relations with the great actor were so peculiar. Throughout his life he retained the liveliest memories of his father’s character and presence. He liked to talk of him, and spent hours with me describing the peculiarities that left so profound an impression on him. But though he saw their strangeness, the reverent tone in 258 which he told of them was always marked.

Doubtless he inherited the dramatic genius and some of the temperament of his parent. He was not so wildly passionate on the stage, and his temper was never so uncontrollable, but his brooding melancholy, the sensitiveness of his nature, the depth of his affections, the quaint humor so strange in a tragic actor, his vivid imagination—many, indeed, of his especial gifts and faults—were unquestionably transmitted with his blood by him who was at once the author of his physical being and the begetter of his genius. The likeness extended to feature and gesture. I have a picture of the father given me by the son, which might easily be taken for one of Edwin in Richard III.; and older play-goers always declared that in the great tragic scenes the son recalled, in tone and look and power, the peculiar magnetic quality that made the elder so remarkable. I have thought sometimes that the awful bursts of passion of his younger days were more effective even than the elaborate manner of his later art. He told me more than once that his life-long friend and comrade, Joseph Jefferson, often warned him against refining away his power, and thought the classic finish hardly compensated for the natural intensity which it replaced.

His feeling for his father certainly added to the power of his performance of Hamlet. His greatest scenes in this tragedy were those with the ghost, and when Booth addressed the shade, and exclaimed:

“I’ll call thee Hamlet,

King, Father, royal Dane,”

there was a pathos in the word “father” which those who ever heard him utter it must recall. He dropped on one knee as he spoke it, and bowed his head, not in terror, but in awe and love, and tender memory of the past; he had a feeling that he was actually in the presence of that weird shade whom he had known on earth, and he was not afraid.

The fatherless son remained in California, playing with varied success, sometimes as leading-man with Miss Heron, Laura Keene, or Mrs. Forrest Sinclair, sometimes as a star, sometimes in the stock company of those days, taking any part to which he was assigned. The experience was doubtless valuable to him, and he acknowledged that he owed to it much of his ease on the stage, his familiarity with the business, his self-possession under all circumstances, and his readiness in emergencies.

During his stay on the Pacific Coast he once visited the Sandwich Islands, and with an impromptu company gave a few performances. He had great trouble in announcing his plays, for the boys who were employed to post the bills ate up all the paste; but the houses were full, and the audience included the king. The court, however, was in mourning, and His Majesty could not be seen in front, so a chair was draped with theatrical robes behind the scenes, and there the real king applauded the mimic one in “Richard III.” The throne was needed for the coronation scene, and Kamehameha kindly abdicated for that occasion. In 1851 young Booth, as he was now called, returned to the Eastern States and played in Baltimore, Richmond, Boston—everywhere with great success. He was at once recognized as the dramatic descendant of his father, and the future head of the American stage.

In May, 1857, he entered upon his first engagement in New York, and on one of the earlier nights I strolled into the theatre while he was playing Richard III. I had seen his name in the bills, but he was heralded as the “Hope of the Living Drama,” and I had no great expectations from such an announcement. But I was struck at once with his dramatic fire, his grace, his expressive eye and mobile mouth, his natural elocution, and the decided genius he displayed. I remember even now, after the lapse of thirty-six years, the prodigious effect in the fourth act, when Richard exclaims:

“What do they in the North

When they should serve their sovereign in the West?”


His whole face and form were ablaze with expression—literally transfigured; and his voice embodied a majestic terrible rage that electrified the listeners. Men rose in all parts of the house and shouted with delight. I had seen Rachel and Forrest and Cushman and Grisi then, and I have seen Bernhardt and Irving and Salvini and Ristori since, but I never saw or heard on the stage anything more tremendous than the picture he presented and the passion he portrayed in his youth in Richard III.

I went the next night and the next, and found the fascination increase. I saw him in Petruchio, Brutus, Hamlet, Richelieu, Lear, Iago, Claude Melnotte, Sir Giles Overreach, Romeo, and Pescara. He was uneven and fitful in everything, but in every part he played he did something that no other actor could rival. His youth, too, had a charm; the very crudeness of his acting gave a certain interest—it left room for anticipation. I was very much attracted by the stage at that time, so I called on young Booth and told him what I thought of his acting. He had plenty of admirers, but my enthusiasm seemed to touch him, and we struck up a friendship at once. At the end of a week he consented to spend Sunday with me; and from that time dated a peculiar intimacy. I had a good deal of leisure and could pass my days as well as nights in his company, and I knew no greater pleasure than he gave me, either on or off the stage. He was not then a finished scholar, nor by any means the great artist that he afterward became, and I was anxious that he should be both. I used to hunt up books and pictures about the stage, the finest criticisms, the works that illustrated his scenes, the biographies of great actors, and we studied them together. We visited the Astor Library and the Society Library to verify costumes, and every picture or picture-gallery in New York, public or private, that was accessible. He discussed his parts with me, and with the conceit of youth I often ventured to differ with him on points in his art where he should have been an authority. Often we quarrelled all day about an interpretation or a rendering, and I went to the theatre at night to be convinced that he was right and I was wrong. Sometimes he gave me a private box, and I took notes of the performance, and of the criticisms or changes that occurred to me. Next day we went over them together, and at night he would play Richard or Iago according to my suggestions—perhaps as much to gratify me as because he thought my judgment correct.

Oftener I went to his dressing-room. It was very fascinating to watch the face of the character he was to play grow and vary beneath his hand. The character itself seemed to grow at the same time. When we entered at the stage door he was my friend—“Ned,” I always called him; but as the paint and the cotton eyebrows, the wig and the tights, were put on, the stage personage appeared; and when Hamlet or Romeo was ready his manner assumed all the grace and dignity of the Prince or the Montagu. After he had played a scene or two the transformation was complete, and lasted till the stage clothes were taken off.

How completely he personated the characters that he assumed I can testify from comparison with what may be called his originals, the actual Hotspurs and Hamlets, the soldiers and princes, of the real world. One night in Louisiana before a battle I was with General T. W. Sherman while he was giving orders to his officers and aides-de-camp. It was nearly midnight, and there was to be an attack at dawn. First came in one messenger, then another, next the leader of the advance, last the captain of the reserves. The night was warm and the tent was thrown open; a candle burned on a table within, while the general paced up and down in the darkness outside. There was a hush and a bustle combined, a subdued intensity and a dramatic haste, as the commander gave his different orders and received his successive subordinates, that brought to my mind at the moment the tent scene in “Richard III.” I thought, just then, “How like all this is to what I have 260 seen on the stage.” Yet Booth had never witnessed actual war.

In the same way in Europe: I often thought of him when princes and sovereigns were holding levees or processions, receiving homage or conferring honors; no Guelph or Bourbon of them all went through his part with greater dignity or grace than the young American who had never been at court; and sometimes the magic of genius arrayed him in a majesty which all the reality of their grandeur could not inspire.

There was one character, however, that he could not play—the lover. He was the poorest of Romeos, and he knew it. He looked the part, of course, in his youth; the women always wanted to see him play it, and the actresses all wanted to be Juliet; but there was a lack of tenderness in his eye, and of ardor in his tone; even the gestures were tame. He was not anxious or persuasive enough; he was too confident, or too indifferent. The only point in the play where he rose to his usual level was in the fight with Tybalt; but then there was killing to be done, and this was passion of a different sort—this was tragedy. Then he became inspired, and looked for a moment like one of the demi-gods in Homer’s battles. But in the scenes with the friar and with Juliet, even in the balcony scene, he was comparatively spiritless. Whether he was not actually a good lover, or whether he felt a certain delicacy about love-making in public, the fact remains that he was always more effective in parts that represent harsh or violent emotions than in tender ones with women.

So, too, though he had a keen sense of humor, and was full of jokes and funny stories off the stage, and told them with a genuine comic power, he could not act a comic part. I once saw him in “Little Toddlekins,” in white trousers and a high hat, and I never wanted to see him in farce again. Even in high comedy he was not so interesting as in tragedy. Benedick himself was not to his taste, and his nearest approach to success in comedy was as Don Cęsar de Bazan; but there the fascination was in his superb appearance and irresistible grace quite as much as in dramatic power. His Don Cęsar, however, was a wonderful picture, an embodied romance. He delighted in the caustic speeches of Shylock or Hamlet, or the irony of Iago, but these can hardly be called comedy. His Petruchio was a game of romps; but it was Donatello romping with Miriam, or Bacchus with Ariadne.

Yet, I repeat, he was bubbling over with a grim sort of humor in real life, like that which Shakespeare sprinkles over his tragedies. Behind the scenes he would mock and gibe at himself, had odd remarks to make about his face or his costume, and was alive with waggeries and witticisms. I once pulled aside his robes in Richelieu as he sat smoking between the acts, and he shrank back and screamed, “How dare you, sir?” in a shrill tone, exactly like a woman. The next moment he was the stately cardinal again.

I was very anxious that Booth should receive a social recognition. Thirty years ago actors had not overleaped the barriers which had existed for centuries, to anything like the extent we know at present, and I wanted him to meet people of distinction, to hold the position which Garrick once occupied in England; but he hardly shared my ambition for him. If people wanted him they had to seek him, and even then were not sure of getting him. Social attentions sometimes gratified, but quite as often bored him. But his genius was so positive and so attractive, that the most prominent people all over the country courted his society. I had the pleasure of putting up his name at the Century Club, where he was more than cordially welcomed. The wits, the scholars, artists, authors, all were glad to know the man who had given them so refined a pleasure. Bancroft, Bryant, Curtis, and their families, Sumner, Mrs. Ward Howe, men and women of the first social position, as well as cultivation, were his personal friends, even at that early day. But he seemed indifferent to his fame.

He had no trace of personal vanity. He said to me once he only cared for his good looks as the tools of his trade. Hundreds of women flung themselves 261 at him in those days; they sent him notes in verse and prose, flowers, presents of jewels, shawls, feathers, to wear on the stage; they asked for appointments; they invited him to their houses, they offered to go to his; but he cared nothing for any of them. Sometimes they amused, but more often disgusted him. More than once he saved some foolish child from what might have been disgrace, and sent her home to her family. And he never injured a pure woman in his life. Off the stage he had no care for his looks; even in his youth his dress was more than plain; he was positively indifferent to his appearance.

He always continued to have fits of sadness and silence; a feeling that evil was hanging over him, that he could not come to good. These moods would pass, but would return. Still, when he inclined to talk he was profoundly interesting. He had a wonderful fund of stories, and recollected the most minute and the most salient circumstances, showing the actor’s power of observation. He studied character incessantly; not deliberately, but because he could not help seeing peculiar traits of character or peculiar circumstances. He acted all his stories, comic or tragic, without meaning to do it, and often just as well off as on the stage. I used to get him to make the faces he did on the stage, to look like Richelieu in the “curse of Rome,” or Richard in “What do they in the North?” But it was only when he was in a very good humor that he would do this. Once or twice he painted his face to assume his father’s appearance.

But he hated to act off the stage, and even at rehearsal seldom raised his voice above the conversational tone, or struck an attitude. I often went to rehearsal with him and wondered at the calmness of his tones when he struck down Iago, or smothered Desdemona. One morning in Buffalo I missed him when we started, and followed him to the theatre; I entered at the stage door and went to the wings, looking for him. It was a minute or two before I recognized him, with a high hat and a cane, reciting passages from “Macbeth.” But that night he was more tremendous than ever. His first entrance in the play he made by leaping from the rocks, as he exclaimed, “So foul and fair a day I have not seen”; and it was the very Highland thane that came upon the scene—full of his future dignity and oppressed by the feeling of Fate that fills this tragedy as it does the plays of Euripides. That feeling, indeed, almost illustrates the depression that settled over his nature at intervals, and seemed a premonition of some awful future. It was appalling to witness, and must have been still more appalling to endure. Doubtless he inherited it from his father. It was like a veil that shrouded him from other mortals, and he walked behind it, apart. He strove to describe his emotions at such times to me, for he wanted me to know all he felt; but the effort was like those sad ones of his later days, when he attempted to utter words and gave only inarticulate sounds. I cannot portray him unless I make this sadness apparent; it was so strange and weird.

And yet this introspective, distant man, so old when he was young, so cold though gifted with every personal charm—was a warmly affectionate son, devoted to his mother, and generous to his family; he lived with his mother and sister for years, and provided for them after his marriage; he lent money not only to his brothers, but to hosts of friends, actors and others, for his profession brought him in large sums, and he gave away much in charity, especially to actors. His friendships, though steadfast, were not usually ardent or demonstrative. He who was gifted with such wonderful power to express the emotions of others was often unable or unwilling to give utterance to his own. When he was called out after the play, the man who had just enthralled an audience as Richard or Othello, or hurled the imprecations of Richelieu or Lear, stood modest and shrinking, only able to stammer a few words of thanks in his own person, on the very boards where he was most at home.

He was not a good hater; when he was injured he felt it keenly, and I am 262 not sure that he ever forgave a wrong, but the memory of it was not always keen, and I doubt if he ever revenged himself—he relented when it came to inflicting pain. In his business relations he more than once fell into foul hands, and he had himself little business faculty; but he was slow in making reprisals, even if opportunity offered. For he had a noble, gentle nature; I never knew him do a mean or vulgar thing. He was no backbiter; he refrained, even with me, from hostile criticism of other actors. I sometimes drew out opinions that were not favorable, but he never offered them, and always seemed to utter them unwillingly, as if he would not refuse to tell me what he thought, and yet was loath to speak severely of a brother artist.

No one ever charged him with desertion of a friend or backwardness in time of need; and I have known of sacrifices that he made for others, greater than most men are capable of. He submitted to much from some members of his family, because he deemed it his duty, or from affectionate pity, and endured even cruel wrongs rather than resent them publicly. He was most averse to bringing his private affairs before the world, and disliked to extend the publicity of the stage to his every-day life. His friendships in his youth were almost confined to members of his own profession. Joseph Jefferson, and John Sleeper Clarke, who married his sister, were always very close to him, and in later years, Barrett. In time, however, he had many associates among artists and cultivated men, who naturally sought his company, and some of these he regarded as personal friends.[1]


His three executors, Messrs. Benedict, Bispham, and McGonigle, were, I suppose, as intimate with him as any one in later years; he certainly showed them the most absolute confidence in his will, and for years had consulted them on the management of his affairs. Mr. McGonigle married the sister of his first wife.

I once visited with him the place where he was born. It was a farmhouse twenty-five or thirty miles from Baltimore. We drove out in a one-horse vehicle, and he was Phaėton. The house was partly furnished but unoccupied, and an old negro in an outbuilding gave us the keys. His father’s library remained, and a part of his stage wardrobe, and we spent hours ransacking them both, studying old play-bills, even English ones of his father, examining rare copies of Shakespeare, and trying on trappings of Shylock or Lear. I made him put on a wig and act the parts for a single auditor. He was very complaisant that day, or night rather, for we sat up till late into the morning, and then made beds out of Cęsar’s mantle and Macbeth’s robes. He picked out three volumes of Shakespeare which he had used in playing, full of his own stage directions written in, and variations of the text, and gave them to me as a memento of the visit, inscribing some lines from one of the sonnets. It was Verplanck’s illustrated edition, and some of the plates were marked: “Form this picture.” I remember afterward noticing that he made the picture on the stage.

Many a night in those days we sat together till morning, for he had the actor’s habit of turning night into day. Playing till nearly midnight, and supping still later, the excitement of the stage kept him awake afterward, and he never wanted to go to bed. He was never more animated in thought and look and gesture than after acting. Of course, he rose late, and during an engagement his only leisure hours were one or two in the afternoon; for in those early days he went regularly to rehearsal. That was before the era of long runs, and he played a range of parts in each engagement, changing them nearly every night. He sometimes slept after his early dinner, so as to be refreshed and ready for evening.

Then there were the painters and sculptors and photographers, always one or two in every town, who wanted to take him, either in a popular part, or “in his habit as he lived.” He never dined out while he was playing, except on Sundays, and a walk or a drive was almost his only exercise or amusement; there was not time for more; he had to reserve himself for the night. For he had to work when other men played; his work was their amusement. It was a life utterly unlike that of other men, and it is not strange that his character was unlike theirs. He was exposed to 263 the temptations of youth, and he had his peculiar faults, but no gross vices, and he did no harm or wrong to man or woman—ever, that I knew. Of how many can this be said?

In 1860 he married Miss Mary Devlin, a young actress, who retired from the stage as soon as she became engaged to him. She was a sweet gentle woman, of great natural refinement, and every way fit to be his wife. A year before he had told me he meant to marry, and I encouraged this intention. I thought he would be happier, that he needed the constant companionship and solace of a wife’s society, though I knew that marriage must, to a certain extent, disturb the intimacy which I valued and enjoyed so highly. No man could be so intimate with two people at once as he had been with me. They were married at the clergyman’s house on the afternoon of July 7. He and I went together to the simple ceremony; there were no other witnesses except his wife’s sister and her husband and John Wilkes Booth. After it was over, Wilkes threw his arms about Edwin’s neck and kissed him.

In a week Booth wrote to me and wanted me to join them at Niagara. They had a cottage on the Canada side, and there I spent two weeks of his honeymoon with my friend. He was most anxious to show me that his marriage had made no difference in his feeling toward me, and his wife was quite as anxious that I should perceive none. In the autumn Booth played in New York, and I was with him almost as much as ever. We sat up late into the night as of old, and Mrs. Booth was often so good as to leave us together. I had the pleasure of accompanying them to distinguished houses, for Mrs. Booth was much invited, as well as he, and bore herself with quiet grace and modest dignity, as “to the manner born.” We continued our studies, too. Mrs. Booth was as anxious as I for the artistic success of her husband; she and I went to the play together and discussed his performances. Their union was complete and their happiness unalloyed.

But the currents of our lives ran different ways. In 1861 I entered the army and Booth went to England. His success in London at this time was not marked; he could not obtain the theatre he wanted, and English feeling just then was hostile to Americans. He played only a short engagement, and it was not until the second or third week that he made any impression. Then his Richelieu created a sensation, but it was late in the season, and he only acted a few nights afterward. In December his only child, Edwina, was born at Fulham, England.

He returned to America early in 1862, and in September I was passing through New York and went to see them. I found the same dear friend I had known of old, with a sweet tender woman by his side, and a child of nine months playing on the floor. Mrs. Booth made me remark that the little one, creeping in its play, fell instinctively into the attitude of Richard III. in the terrible fight with Richmond; and the likeness was laughable. I left the same day for New Orleans, happy for this glimpse at their domestic happiness.

They took a house in Boston, and the next year, in February, 1863, Booth was playing in New York, having left his wife at home because of her delicate health. During a performance at the Winter Garden a despatch was handed him, summoning him to her side. He left at the close of the play, but before he could reach her the dearest thing on earth to him was gone forever. The shock almost unbalanced his mind. His wife had been all that a perfect wife could be to a man of his peculiar temperament and needs. She sustained him, encouraged him, soothed him when the sad moods came on, and exorcised the evil spirit absolutely. She inspired his work, and comforted him in weariness, trouble, or physical pain. He wrote me, at once, the saddest letter I ever received. He was crushed, and saw no hope, no reason for living. The black cloud that she had lifted was lowered again; not even his child at first could interest or distract him. But he turned to me in his bereavement, for I had known her, and I did what I could to comfort him; at least, I could grieve with him.


The young wife was buried at Mount Auburn, near Boston, at a spot which they had selected together. He built a tomb in which both were to lie; it was lined with brick, and when her remains were transferred, before the coffin was lowered Booth jumped into the grave as Hamlet did into Ophelia’s. He joined her there last June, after thirty years.

In May, 1863, I was seriously wounded, and it was his turn to solace me. I lay in hospital for many weeks, and he wrote me constantly. In July I was taken to New York, and arrived just before the riots of that year. I was carried to Booth’s house. He and his brother Wilkes bore me to Edwin’s bed, which he gave up for me, and there I was left alone with my distracted friend. I may not disclose all that he said in his grief, but, with his unusual nature, it can be imagined. He was inclined to think the spirit near him of her who had been so much to him in life, and I said nothing to disturb the impression. I remained at his house until it was possible to remove me to the country; both he and his brother dressed my wounds, and tended me with the greatest care.

I saw much of him during the months of my convalescence, and early in 1865, when I was again taken to New York after an attack of camp fever; Wilkes Booth was once more at his brother’s house. He was excessively handsome, even physically finer than Edwin, but less intellectual in his manliness. I never saw him on the stage, but under Edwin’s roof I thought him very captivating, though not so thoroughly distinguished as his greater brother.

Two months later came the terrible event which plunged the nation, and especially the Booth family, into such awful sorrow. Edwin was playing in Boston, but at once gave up his engagement and returned to his home in New York. Numbers of the most eminent people hastened to assure him of their sympathy and their belief in his loyalty. He had indeed been stanch for the Union, and the only vote he ever cast was for Lincoln in 1864. But he was overwhelmed by this fresh misfortune, this new cloud that had settled on his house. His brother Junius and his brother-in-law were thrown into prison in Washington, and he felt himself an object of suspicion. I had returned to the field, and was in Richmond when the news reached me. I wrote to him at once, but my letter was withheld. All letters to him for awhile were kept back, and I suppose especially any from Richmond. I could not leave my post immediately, and it was a month or more before I reached New York, where I went, of course, direct to him. The first shock was over, but the old gloom was greater than ever.

He told me he had seen nothing in his brother to excite suspicion, and I have always believed that the awful act was the result of a disturbed brain. It was so theatrical in plan and performance; the conspiracy, the dagger, the selection of a theatre, the brandishing of the weapon, the cry “Sic Semper Tyrannis” to the audience—all was exactly what a madman brought up in a theatre might have been expected to conceive; a man, too, of this peculiar family, the son of Junius Brutus Booth, used all his life to acting tragedies. He had not only nursed me tenderly, a soldier wounded for the cause he should have hated, but in all the exciting period of the riot he said no word that indicated sympathy with the South. He went out daily to inquire the news, and was indignant at the outrages he reported; he even assisted to shield my negro servant who remained hidden in the cellar for nearly a week. Two months before the end of the war he wished me well when I set out to rejoin Grant.

After a few months Booth returned to the stage, and was welcomed back with an enthusiasm which showed that not only his genius but his nobility of character, his elevation of thought, his refinement of manner had all been appreciated. In 1869 he remarried—this time a Miss McVicker, an actress of Chicago, whom I never saw. She left the stage upon her marriage. In the same year he opened Booth’s Theatre. His pecuniary success had been very brilliant, and he had long been ambitious to build and control a theatre 265 where the most elevating influences of the drama should be exemplified. It was a beautiful tribute to his art. Everything was done that taste and study and care and elaborate expenditure could accomplish, to produce the greatest plays in the most admirable manner; but Booth had no business talent, and some of those with whom he was brought into contact had a large share of this talent, and used it to injure or betray his interests. He lost largely, and finally was obliged to declare himself a bankrupt. He gave up all he had in the world, his personal and private property, his theatre, his library and theatrical wardrobe, and many treasures of his profession, and became once more a travelling star. His performances, however, proved more attractive than ever; he was soon able to repay all his creditors, and afterward remained a man of fortune.

Meanwhile the vicissitudes of life had drifted us far apart. I was in Europe officially for many years, but in 1880 had a leave of absence. During the month of June a public breakfast was offered Booth at Delmonico’s by many of the most eminent men in New York, and I then met him for the first time since 1867. After the breakfast I went to his rooms, and he put his arms around me and begged that we should be to each other all we had ever been. Each promised, and each kept his word.

But he started for England a few days afterward, and it was not till the next year that I returned there. Then I saw much of him. He played this time with great success, at Irving’s theatre. The great English actor gave him every facility; relinquished his house to him for a while, and treated him with a distinguished courtesy worthy of his own position as head of the British stage. Irving had been in the stock company that supported Booth during his first English engagement, but now they were equals, and played on alternate nights, and sometimes together, in Othello and Iago. Booth’s houses were crowded with the most cultivated and important people in England; and his acting, despite a certain national jealousy, was by many pronounced superior to that of the Englishman. Invitations came to him from aristocratic quarters, in which his daughter was included; but his wife was in miserable health and unable to go at all into the world, or even to receive any one but her own family. This marred the gratification at his success, and in 1881, after lingering in great suffering, both for herself and those about her, the second wife of Edwin Booth also died. I had returned from Europe and passed the night after her funeral in his rooms at New York. His mother and sister also passed away, and his daughter married, so that he was left, in a great degree, alone.

His profession, however, remained to him. It was about this time that he began those remarkable dramatic tours with Barrett which were more successful from a pecuniary point of view than any other of his enterprises. It is even said, by those competent to pronounce, that the financial results surpassed any known in the history of the stage. Everywhere he was recognized as the head of the American theatre. His acting was ripened and chastened by study and long experience, by the development of his own powers, and the opportunities he had enjoyed of comparison with his greatest foreign rivals. He was accepted as the equal in America of what Garrick had been in his palmiest days—the peer and companion of whatever was best in American society.

It is four or five years since he conceived the idea of founding the Players’ Club, and, having become a man of more than ordinary means, he was able to gratify this ambition. He bought and rebuilt a fine house in a desirable position in New York, and filled it with choice books and pictures and relics of the stage, and then invited men of distinction and culture to meet actors of character and ability on an equal footing. The club has been eminently successful, and for several years Booth, its founder and president, made it his home. He had a suite of rooms, modestly but tastefully furnished, and among his friends and books 266 and pictures passed the last days of his life. When he wrote the extracts from the Shakespearian sonnets in the volume he gave me thirty years ago, I think he felt some consciousness of the ban that the world then put upon his profession, but he could not have retained the feeling, for there was no ban applied to him. Exclusive English aristocrats invited him and his daughter, and visited them in return; and Edwin Booth voted to admit Grover Cleveland to the Century Club, and invited General Sherman to become a member of the Players’.

I was very much struck, on my return from Europe in 1881, with the dignity and composure which years of recognition had given to his bearing. The glowing beauty of his youth, of course, was gone, his features bore traces of his own sorrows and experiences, and besides were worn and hardened by those terrible passions of the stage which were for the time so real to him. I have indeed no doubt that it was the intense strain on brain and nerve which his acting demanded, and not any private grief or anxiety, that broke him down before his time.

Years, however, had enhanced his innate nobility. He was always reverent to religion, and had warm friends among the clergy of various denominations. A Catholic priest and the Protestant Bishop of New York were among the first to call after his paralysis was known. I never heard him speak disrespectfully of sacred themes or of good women. His character in later years took on a softer phase; his irritability was rarer, indeed it almost disappeared, while the range of his friendships was wider.

When he received a foreign actor who came to call on him, as they all did, or welcomed some distinguished visitor to his club, he did it with a calm dignity and gracious courtesy that was very natural and yet imposing, while his more intimate bearing when we were alone was inexpressibly confiding and affectionate, though more subdued than in the earlier days.

In his acting also there was something of the same inevitable change that time brings to all things and all men; but to me he always remained the most powerful and consummate tragedian I have ever seen. Some of the old force may have faded, but it flashed out at intervals in every performance with all its ancient brilliancy.

The last time that I saw him on the stage,

“Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,”

was also the last night that Barrett ever played. The piece was “Richelieu,” and it seemed to me that Booth excelled himself in the finish of the earlier scenes and in the tempest of passion at the climax. During this engagement I went behind the scenes as I had used to go a quarter of a century before, and found all the old fascination still, subdued and softened by his more chastened dignity. But he played only a few times after his friend Barrett was stricken, and then his own ailings increased.

After this I never met him out of his own rooms but once. I called just as he was about to try to walk, and he asked me to go with him. He had to be assisted to the door, and when he reached the street I offered him my arm. He took it and leaned heavily. He stumbled as he walked, and it took us half an hour to move around the block of buildings in which the club-house stands. Then he was tired, and wanted to go in, and I knew that my friend would not recover.

In his rooms at the Players’ Club I saw my last of him. For a year or two he seldom left them except to visit his daughter in town or country, or perhaps to accompany her to a play. But he spent many hours in her society and that of her husband and children—his greatest solace. I fortunately was near him during this period, and we often passed a morning talking of our early manhood or his later career.

But there was something inexpressibly painful in the spectacle of him, whose physical faculties had been so inextricably bound up with the intellectual, whose bodily gifts had been the incarnation of passion and romance and poetry, his corporal charm the fit 267 embodiment of a noble soul—to see him decay, his powers crumble and waste away; to see him decrepit, weary, worn, who had been alive with expression, captivating in bearing, majestic, terrible, tender, by turns. Only his eyes retained their marvellous beauty, like a lamp burning in a deserted temple, or the soul looking out through the windows of that body it was soon to leave.


Farewell! beloved spirit! Thou hast given tens, nay hundreds of thousands pleasure by thy genius, expressed for them the subtlest and most delicate thoughts and sublimest conceptions of the greatest of poets, elevated their imaginations, refined their fancy, charmed their taste, subdued their moods, and soothed their weary hours; and never once, in all thy art, suggested an impure or vicious thought, never stimulated an evil desire, nor insinuated a wanton or vulgar feeling. Thou hast done much to elevate the profession thou hast adorned; hast assisted the needy, hast stretched out a hand to aid the worthy in arriving at thy own position, and introduced thy brethren to the company which sought and welcomed thee. Thou hast been a loving son, a reverent, filial admirer of him whose mantle fell upon thee, a faithful, devoted husband, a brother worthy of the name, a tender, bountiful father, a loyal, stanch, confiding friend. The world has been happier and better for thy passage across its stage.



By James Harvey Smith

As a usual thing, when they cracked a crib, one of the three remained outside to warn with a whistle, or some other previously concerted signal, his companions inside. But on this occasion, when Jim Baxter opened the simple catch that fastened the woodshed door, and thence gained access to the interior of the house, Wilson Graham and Harry Montgomery followed softly after him. This breach of burglarious custom was probably due to the fact that the Braithwait mansion was in the suburbs, some distance from the road, and several hundred yards from the nearest house.

Once inside, Mr. Graham lighted the gas, and it was then the work of a very few minutes to open the sideboard and subtract therefrom the family silver and place it in a bag brought for that purpose. While this operation was taking place, Montgomery made a tour of the upper rooms.

“I don’t exactly like to trust Harry up-stairs,” remarked Baxter, in a surly tone, after he had securely tied the mouth of the bag. “He is too soft. Like as not he’ll go and git sentimental over a picture or somethin’, or maybe git a-thinkin’ of his mother, and leave half the ornyments.”

Graham, who had just opened a pearl inlaid secretaire, and was possessing himself of numerous valuable trinkets, laughed softly, as he replied:

“I don’t think so, Jim. Only yesterday I gave the boy a good talking to, and he promised to attend strictly to business in future. You must remember he is young, and, unless we give him a chance, how is he to learn? Of course, if there was a young girl in the house—but there isn’t,” he added quickly, observing the wrathful frown on his companion’s face. “I made certain that the only people who sleep in the house are Mr. Braithwait and the housekeeper, who is rather old and nearly deaf; the rest of the family are in Florida for their health. If Braithwait makes a disturbance I reckon Harry can settle him without any sentimental nonsense.”

“I’d settle him,” muttered Baxter, surlily.

“You’re a savage, Jim,” said Graham, reproachfully. “How often have I told you that there is no virtue in violence. Haven’t I convinced you that the easy way is the safe way?”

“Yah! Don’t give me no more of that!” said Baxter, contemptuously. “I ain’t no missionary.”

At this juncture, when the argument threatened to develop into a quarrel, peace was restored by the reappearance of the young burglar, carrying a considerable quantity of jewelry, loose and in boxes, while he softly whistled “M’Appari.”

“Not a bad haul,” observed Graham, turning over the plunder as it lay on the table. “Two watches?”


“They’re them little tickers what the girls carry,” said Baxter, scornfully. “We won’t get two dollars apiece for ’em.”

“Won’t we, though!” said Graham, smiling. “They are gold, and there is an inscription on each; that means a fancy reward, or I don’t know human feminine nature. Two brooches, a necklace—h’m—h’m—very good, indeed.”

“There was no money,” remarked Harry, adjusting his necktie before the mirror, and giving his small blonde mustache a curl.

“I expected as much,” commented Graham, storing away the trinkets in his pockets. “Braithwait has a hundred with him, I dare say, but it isn’t worth the risk. If we kill a man in the city it’s soon forgotten, but in the suburbs it creates a regular panic. The neighbors hire detectives and follow a man all over creation, and you can’t buy them off or compromise the matter—money is no object. That’s why I keep telling Jim—”

“Let up, will ye!” exclaimed Baxter, roughly. “I ain’t killin’ nobody, am I?”

“Certainly not; but I only say——”


“Say nothin’! where’s the feed box?”

Mr. Graham groaned, and looked at his young accomplice in comical alarm.

“I knew how it would be! Jim, these luncheons will be the ruin of us all some night.”

“Can’t help it,” retorted Baxter, doggedly. “It’s a good four-mile walk from the city and as much back, and we hadn’t anything but a snack for supper. A man’s got to eat, and when I’m hungry——”

“Well, well,” said the other, with a gesture of impatience, “if it must be, it must. Harry, see to the wine, and we will find the substantials. Now, Jim, do be careful of the dishes, and don’t grunt and puff while you’re eating. It’s vulgar.”

Jim Baxter grunted and puffed at this, but made no other reply as he busied himself spreading the contents of the refrigerator on the dining-room table, while Harry from the sideboard produced a decanter of whiskey and three bottles of claret. There was a nice piece of cold ham, some tongue, cheese and pickles, bread and butter, anchovies and sardines, a bottle of olives, and the remains of an oyster pie.

“Quite a lay-out,” remarked Baxter, with a ravenous chuckle. “D’ye remember the house at Barleytown where there wasn’t nothin’ but graham crackers and winegar in the box?”

“I should say so,” exclaimed Graham, with a look of disgust.

“Some people are too mean to live,” returned Baxter, savagely. “Come, shove over that decanter, and let’s pitch in. Fingers, gents, ’cause there ain’t nothin’ but silver knives and forks in this house, unless I take ’em out of the bag, which I ain’t doin’. Here’s luck!”

“Excellent claret, Wilson,” said the young burglar, holding his glass up to the light.

“Genuine Medoc,” returned Graham, with the air of a connoisseur. “That’s the worst of this business; not one gentleman out of ten is a judge of wine. Now, the whiskey——”

“The whiskey’s all right,” interrupted Baxter, curtly. “All whiskey’s 270 good; some’s better’n others, but it’s all good. Blow claret!”

“No style about Jim,” said Harry, with a smile that was half a sneer.

“No, you bet there ain’t,” said Baxter, stolidly. “You oughter call me ‘Old Business,’ ’cause that’s what I am. Pass them pickles.”

It was a most interesting sight. At the head of the table sat Graham, a smooth-faced, well-fed man of forty, who might have passed for a prosperous banker, or a man living on an annuity; to his right reclined, rather than sat, young Montgomery, a spruce and slender fellow, with soft blue eyes, tremulous lips, and light hair neatly brushed; while opposite Graham sat Baxter, a coarse, shaggy, grimy man of uncertain age, with small, shifty eyes, a heavy beard, and a general air of brutal strength. Had it not been for the fact that each man wore his hat, and that the bag of stolen goods lay on one corner of the table, it might have been taken for a small stag party, Graham personating the host to perfection.

The resemblance was lost, however, a moment later. The door leading to the back stairway, directly behind Jim Baxter, opened and revealed a spare man with long blonde whiskers, wearing gold eye-glasses, and a flowered dressing-gown.

Graham was the first to see the intruder, and his exclamation of astonishment caused Baxter to turn his head. In an instant that worthy was on his feet, with a pistol in his hand. Graham was quicker, however, and before his companion could raise the weapon he seized his arm and pushed him aside.

“No violence, Jim,” he said, sternly.

“I warn’t goin’ to shoot,” growled Jim. “I was only goin’ to give him a crack on the head.”

“I won’t have it,” returned Graham, authoritatively. “Sit down.”

Baxter put up his pistol and sat down. Graham then turned to the spare gentleman, who had not moved from the doorway during this episode.

“Mr. Braithwait, I presume?”

“That is my name,” was the composed reply. “Burglars, I presume?”

“The presumption is correct. Will you take a seat?”

Mr. Braithwait sat down opposite young Montgomery, to whom he bowed gravely. There was then a moment of silence, broken by Graham, who had resumed his place at the head of the table.

“I am sorry,” said he, “you have made your appearance, as we can’t very well apologize for our intrusion.”

“No, I suppose not,” said Mr. Braithwait, smiling. “Yet I am rather pleased that I did come, since I always enjoy an unusual experience.”

“Glad you enjoy it,” muttered Baxter; but no one listened to him.

“I was aroused by the reflection of the gaslight in the upper hall,” explained Mr. Braithwait, “and I supposed that the housekeeper had left it burning—she has done so more than once. I came down to extinguish it. 271 I heard voices in this room, and I entered.”

“At the risk of your life,” observed Graham, with a significant glance at Baxter, who had resumed eating.

“I did not think of that,” said Mr. Braithwait, simply. “My life has been threatened so often—you know I am a railroad man—that I give little thought to the risk of an undertaking. Professionals, I suppose?”

He looked at Montgomery, who nodded nonchalantly and lighted a cigarette.

Mr. Braithwait coughed.

“I wish you wouldn’t,” he said, deprecatingly. “Apart from the looks, I can’t bear cigarette-smoke. There’s a box of very fine Conchas on the sideboard. Thank you”—to Graham—“if you will join me?—thank you again.”

Graham laughed with genuine enjoyment, yet without vulgarity.

“I like you,” he said, frankly, “and I am sorry that, in the line of business——” He waved his cigar at the bag.


“Of course, yes, of course, I know that can’t be helped,” said Mr. Braithwait, smoking away easily, “and that’s another reason why I’m glad I came. I suppose you have in that bag some trinkets belonging to my wife and daughters that have a special value as mementos. I hear that you gentlemen are frequently forced to sell your plunder at a simply ruinous sacrifice, and it occurred to me that if we could come to some arrangement—you understand?”

“Perfectly,” answered Graham. “It can be done, and I will open negotiations at an early date. Provided, of course,” he added, severely, “that you play fair.”

“That is understood. As a business man I accept the situation. My loss is your gain.”

At this the youngest burglar broke silence for the first time.

“You are a philosopher,” he said, in a tone of admiration.

“What sensible man is not?” responded Mr. Braithwait, cheerfully. “I suppose it is capable of proof that the accumulated wisdom of the ancients amounts simply to the homely proverb: ‘What can’t be cured must be endured.’ My business is a sort of war, and I have my defeats as well as my victories. I must bear them both with equanimity.”

“So is ours,” said the youngest burglar. “As Horace says in his ‘Epistles’: ‘Cędimur, et totidem plagis consumimus hostem.’”

“Permit me,” returned Mr. Braithwait, “to reply with Catullus: ‘Nil mihi tam valde placeat, Rhamnusia virgo, quod temere invitis suscipiatur heris.’”

Montgomery flushed slightly, and Baxter growled an incoherent protest against the use of foreign languages.

“Of course, I do not claim that I enjoy being robbed,” continued Mr. Braithwait, “but I realize that it is not as bad as it might be. Last week you would have caught me with two thousand 272 in cash in the house, and last month you would have horribly scared my wife and daughters.”

“Not for worlds,” murmured Mr. Montgomery.

“Well, you might have done so—women have such a detestation of robbers, except when they are in jail. The pleasure of your visit—I hinted that I could extract pleasure from adversity—lies in the fact that it brings me in contact with a profession I have previously known only by hearsay. I suppose I may take it for granted you gentlemen are experts?”


“We’ve been there before,” said Baxter, coarsely.

“If an experience of fourteen years is any guaranty, then I am an expert,” said Graham, with a certain air of pride in his tones. “Our friend there,” nodding at Baxter, “has, I believe, been in the profession since childhood; while Mr.”—indicating Montgomery with his cigar—“you’ll excuse my not mentioning names?—is a beginner. A skilled workman, I admit, but this is only his second year.”

“I don’t wonder that he”—and Mr. Braithwait glanced slightly at Baxter,—“remains in the business, but that you should follow the vocation for fourteen years surprises me greatly.”

“Indeed?” queried Graham, with perceptible stiffness. “Why?”

“Because you appear to be a sensible man, and I should not think the business would pay. What is your annual income as a burglar?”

“On an average, I should say three thousand a year.”

“And you are an expert! I receive six thousand a year, and I am only Assistant General Freight Agent, and have been but twelve years in the business. Then I may infer that these two gentlemen make much less than three thousand?”

“I’ve seen the week when I didn’t make hod-carrier’s wages,” growled Baxter, who had now finished eating, and was preparing to smoke a black wooden pipe.


“You’re not so sensible as I thought,” rejoined Mr. Braithwait, frankly. “I can easily imagine a man exposing himself to dreadful dangers and cruel privations when there is a great prize in view. An explorer like Stanley, a pioneer like Pike or Fremont, a conqueror like Cortez, or a revolutionist like Washington, could well brave hardship and peril when success meant wealth as well as the plaudits of their fellow men. The early settlers of this and every other country, the gold hunters of ’49, the pirates who ravaged the seas, all were actuated by the hope of a fortune at one swoop; but to risk prison, to say nothing of life itself, for a day laborer’s wages!——”

“But,” spoke up Montgomery, quickly, “there is fame, if not fortune.”

“Pardon me. In what way?”

“In the usual way. Who has not heard of Hickey, the man who cracked twenty banks before they tripped him up; Peters, the New England cracksman; Bronthers, the Chicago expert?”

“I hope,” said Mr. Braithwait, gently, “I won’t offend you when I say I never heard of those gentlemen.”

“Is it possible!”

“Honestly, I never did.”

“You have surely heard of Red Leary?”

“I can’t recall his name.”

“George Post? Louis Ludlum? Pete McCartney? Miles Ogle?”

“Don’t know them.”

“Perhaps,” sarcastically, “you don’t read the papers?”

“Yes, I do, and I have a good memory. I can say without boasting that I have on my tongue’s end all the professional, literary and artistic names in America, and many in Europe. In my library I have many biographies, but none of which a burglar is the theme, nor do I recall the name of a celebrated criminal, unless,” pleasantly, “he has been hanged.”

“Yet there are famous names in our profession,” persisted the young burglar, somewhat sullenly.

“Oh, yes,” admitted Mr. Braithwait, taking a small drink of claret. “Literature has preserved Claude Duval, Jack Sheppard, Dick Turpin—all hung—Fra Diavolo, who was shot, and even our own James and Younger boys; and I have heard vaguely of one Billy the Kid somewhere out West. In a general sense, literature and the drama are saturated with bandits, brigands and outlaws, sometimes comical, sometimes heroic, but you will excuse me if I maintain that you stand on a different footing. Those fellows always had a poetical backing; somebody or something had driven them to their illegal calling, but you can scarcely make a similar claim.”


“I don’t know about that,” protested Baxter, doggedly. “Who’d give me a job?”

“Did you ever try?”

“No; nor I ain’t goin’ to!”

“As I supposed. Honest work is plentiful, therefore you are absolutely without excuse. No one has usurped your name and fortune, stolen your ancestral home or intended bride; neither have you been outlawed for your political or religious beliefs, or unjustly accused of crime.”

The big burglar looked extremely blank at this pointed address, and took a grumbling drink of whiskey. Mr. Graham promptly came to his companion’s relief.

“You have made out a prima facie case, as the lawyers say, but the fact remains that there is a fascination in the life we lead, and some romance. 274 There is mystery about it, for one thing, and danger for another. Then we certainly have the sympathy of a certain class of society, when we are prisoners.”

“Is not the sympathy to which you allude confined to murderers, especially those who kill their wives?”

“As a rule, yes,” admitted Graham; “but the people, who have sympathy for murderers, generally have such a superabundance that they can spare some for us. I have known burglars to receive six bouquets in a single day, and from real ladies, too.”

“I am afraid,” said Mr. Braithwait, with a smile, “that the sympathy extended with such small discretion has little market value. But let us pass that by and glance at the disagreeable side of your profession. For instance, this night you have walked from the city, the nearest point of which is three miles.”

“We come four,” growled Baxter.

“Well, four; and four back is eight. It could not have been a pleasant walk, as the night is cloudy and the roads are heavy from recent rains.”

“There warn’t no choice,” said Baxter, savagely. “We had to walk.”

“There it is,” said Mr. Braithwait, triumphantly, “you had to walk. Now, I don’t have to walk; I ride in the train or my carriage at any hour of the day or night. No honest man has to walk, if he has money—and, of course, you have.”

“The point,” admitted Mr. Graham, reluctantly, “is well taken.”

“I feel certain of it. Nor is this the only instance in which your pleasure is marred by fear. The very fame for which you strive is a constant bar to your enjoyment. If you take lodging at a hotel you are ejected; you may be refused admittance to any respectable theatre; in any place of entertainment, except the very lowest, you cannot make a new acquaintance for fear he may be a detective plotting your capture; you are compelled to eat, drink, and sleep among vile associates and vulgar surroundings; and all for a pitiful three thousand a year! By heaven! it is worth thirty!”

“You use strong language, sir,” exclaimed the youngest burglar, rising and pacing the floor in an agitated way.

“I do,” admitted the master of the house, “because my business sense is outraged by your stupidity.”

“Stupidity!” echoed Graham, sharply.

“That is the word,” returned Mr. Braithwait, sternly. “Your profession requires acuteness, courage, skill, caution, and endurance. Gentlemen, these are admirable traits, and with them you might be anything but burglars. The banking institutions, railways, private and civic corporations, are eager for such men; they pay them large wages and grant them great privileges. The governments, State and National, want such men, and are looking for them, while they are skulking through city alleys or walking miry roads at midnight. Gentlemen, with all your qualifications, you lack the one essential to success—common sense.”

“Permit me,” said Graham, leaning over the table and speaking with much force, “to call your attention to the fact that we are bright enough to keep society eternally on the defensive.”

“Granted,” said Mr. Braithwait.

“Small in numbers though we are, we necessitate the employment of a police force in every village, town, and city in the Union, to say nothing of special constables and private watchmen. We force every bank and corporation to sink thousands in costly safes, locks, and other safeguards, and no householder is ever free from apprehension on our account. We are one against many, so to speak, but we make the many tremble! Could we exercise this power without brains?”

“Ay! could we?” supplemented Montgomery, with flashing eyes.

“Granted again,” said Mr. Braithwait, cheerfully, “but quite foreign to the point at issue. Society is terrorized through its inertness, and when society enters on an active warfare you gentlemen cannot make a show of resistance. And even under our present policy of passive resistance there is but one thing that will save a criminal from the eventual clutch of the law, and that is—death.”


The youngest burglar turned white and Baxter cursed softly.

“You cannot, with all your brightness, commit a crime without leaving a trace,” went on Mr. Braithwait, impassively, “and every modern appliance is a stumbling-block in your path. The modern bank safe, equipped with time-locks, is impregnable; the electric light has made our streets as safe by night as day; and the telegraph has lengthened the arm of justice until it encircles the globe.”

“And yet,” retorted Graham, with a slight sneer, “you have been robbed.”

“And yet I have been robbed,” repeated Mr. Braithwait, calmly. “Without interfering sadly with my comfort and ease, I cannot make my house a bank or surround myself with an army of watchmen. And I don’t like dogs. So I have been robbed. Yet”—Mr. Braithwait looked Mr. Graham quietly in the eye—“yet I am not entirely defenceless.”

“Hello!” said Baxter, breathing hard. “Have you been up to somethin’?”

“You shall judge whether I have rightly accused you of lack of common sense. Before attacking this house, did you make yourself acquainted with the surroundings?”

“I did,” answered Graham, confidently.

“Do you know that I am a railroad man?”


“Did you notice a wire running through the woods at the rear of my house?”

“No!” cried Graham, violently.

“A strange oversight on your part. Very stupid. It is a telephone wire, and leads from my chamber above to my office in the city. Now for the application of my remarks. From the moment of your entrance I was aware of your movements, and instantly explained the situation to the night operator. He, of course, notified the police——”

“And while you kept us engaged in conversation—” cried Graham, advancing threateningly.

“The police were coming on a special train to my assistance,” said Mr. Braithwait, taking a second cigar.

“Damn you!” exclaimed Baxter, threateningly.

“Stop!” cried Graham, interposing. “We have no time for that. Let us run!”

“Don’t!” said the host, warningly. “The house is surrounded, and you will certainly be shot. Accept the situation, as I did. You gentlemen have been my guests this evening, and I have been highly entertained. May I hope that the pleasure has been mutual?”


Before anyone could answer, the door leading to the woodshed was thrown open, and four policemen appeared on the threshold. Montgomery sank helplessly into a chair. Baxter made a dash for the door, while Graham remained impassive, but all were alike handcuffed expeditiously.

“Sir,” said Graham, taking a cigar from the box, “our misfortune is directly due to the uncontrollable appetite of our companion, but none the less I congratulate you upon your ingenuity.”

“Thanks,” said Mr. Braithwait. “Did I not tell you that you were stupid?”

Mr. Graham bowed.

“You have taught us a lesson,” he said gravely. “I think it is time to abandon the business.”

“Well, I’ll be——” Baxter gasped, and could say no more.

“We are disgraced!” exclaimed the youngest burglar, bitterly.

Mr. Braithwait waved his hand.

“I am sleepy,” he said, with a yawn. “Gentlemen, good-night; I will see you again—in court.”



By Dr. William Wright.


The sources of information regarding the Brontė family in England have been studiously investigated, and everything known about them there has been described with great wealth of literary skill and ingenuity; but the eager guesses and surmises as to what lay beyond the English boundaries have been mostly erroneous.

Mrs. Gaskell’s “Life of Charlotte Brontė” is an exquisite tribute from a gifted hand, but Mrs. Gaskell’s dreary moorlands are as inadequate to account for the Brontė genius, as the general picture of suppressed sadness is unwarranted by the Brontė letters, or by the living testimony of Miss Ellen Nussey, Charlotte’s life-long friend and confidante.

Mr. Wemyss Reid has given us a picture of this singular family in brighter, truer colors; but his theory as to the “disillusioning” of Charlotte at Brussels is a pure assumption, and repudiated with indignation by Miss Nussey.

Mr. Augustine Birrell’s brilliant “Life of Charlotte Brontė” contains some additional facts gleaned in England, and deserves to be read, if only for the generous indignation called forth by the “Quarterly Reviewer,” who sought to assassinate the reputation of the author of “Jane Eyre.”

A feeling of dissatisfaction was felt in some degree by each of these writers in turn, but by none more clearly expressed than by Mr. J. A. Erskine Stuart in his most useful book, “The Brontė Country.” He writes: “For our own part, we desire a fuller biography of the family than has yet been written, and we trust, and are confident, that such will yet appear, and that there are many surprises yet in store for students of this Celtic circle.”

I now proceed, but not without misgivings, to justify the confidence thus expressed, and to fulfill the prediction implied, so far as regards the Brontės in Ireland. I propose in the following pages to supply the Irish straws of Brontė history which I have been accumulating for nearly half a century. I have waited in hopes that some more skillful hand might undertake the task, but as no one else, since the death of Captain Mayne Reid, has the requisite information, the story of the Irish Brontės must be told by me, or remain untold.

My first classical teacher was the Reverend William McAllister, of Ryans, near Newry, a man of brilliant imagination, who under favorable conditions might have taken rank with John Bunyan or William Blake. He had known Patrick Brontė (Charlotte’s father), and had often heard old Hugh, the grandfather, narrate to a spell-bound audience, the incidents which formed the ground-work of “Wuthering Heights.” He used to take me for long walks in the fields, and tell me the story of Hugh Brontė’s early life, or narrate other Brontė adventures, which he assured me were just as worthy to be recounted as the wrath of Achilles or the wanderings of Pius Ęneas. It thus happened that I wrote screeds of the Brontė novels myself before a line of them had been penned at Haworth. I do not think that Branwell Brontė 278 really meant to deceive when he spoke of having written “Wuthering Heights,” for the story in outline must have been common property at Haworth, and the children of the vicarage were all scribblers.

Through my teacher’s relatives, who lived quite near to the Brontės, I was able to verify facts and incidents, and the pains thus taken has fixed them indelibly upon my mind. At a later period, I had still better opportunities for forming a sound judgment concerning the Irish Brontės, for the pleasantest part of my undergraduate holidays was spent at the manse of the Reverend David McKee of Ballynaskeagh. Mr. McKee was a great educationalist, and prepared many students for college who afterwards became famous.

This great and noble man, who stood six feet six inches high, was the friend of the Brontės, as well as their near neighbor. He recognized the Brontė genius, where others only saw what was wild and unconventional. Mr. McKee’s home was the center of mental activity in that neighborhood, and the early copies of the novels that came to the “Uncle Brontė’s” were cut, read, and criticised by Mr. McKee, and his criticisms forwarded to the Haworth nieces. Great was the joy of those uncles and aunts when Mr. McKee’s approval was enthusiastically given.

There are also several other persons, some of them still living, who knew the Brontės, and have kindly communicated to me the information they possessed, so that I have had illumination from various points on this many-sided family.



Hugh Brontė’s grandfather, the great-great-grandfather of the English novelist, formerly lived upon a farm on the banks of the Boyne, above Drogheda. He was a cattle-dealer, and often crossed to Liverpool to dispose of his stock. Once, when he was returning therefrom, a strange child was found in a bundle in the hold of the vessel. It was very young, very black, very dirty, and almost destitute of clothing. No one knew whence it had come, nor cared what became of it. There was no doctor in the ship, and no woman save Mrs. Brontė, who had accompanied her husband. The child was thrown on deck. Some one said, “Toss it overboard,” but nobody would touch it, and its cries were distressing. From sheer pity Mrs. Brontė was obliged to succor the abandoned infant.

On reaching Drogheda, it was taken ashore for food and clothing, with the intention of returning it to Liverpool; but the captain refused to allow it to be brought aboard of his ship again. As no one in Drogheda had an interest in the child, it was left in Mrs. Brontė’s hands. To be sure, there was a vestry tax at that time for the removal of illegitimate children, but Mrs. Brontė found it much easier to take the child home than to Dublin, where it might possibly be refused admission amongst the authorized foundlings—there being no hospital nearer than that point.

When the infant was carried up out of the hold of the vessel, it was declared to be a Welsh child on account of its color. It might, doubtless, have laid claim to a more Oriental descent, but, when it became a Brontė, it was called “Welsh.” The Brontės, who were all golden-haired, exceedingly disliked the swarthy infant, but “pity melts the heart to love,” and Mrs. Brontė brought it up amongst her own children. Little Welsh was a weak, delicate, and fretful thing, and being generally despised and pushed aside by the vigorous young Brontės, he grew up morose, envious, and cunning. He used secretly to play many spiteful tricks upon the children, so that they were continually chastising him. On his part, he maintained a moody, sullen silence, except when Mr. Brontė was present to protect him. With Mr. Brontė he became a favorite, because he always ran to meet him on his return home, as if glad to see him, and anxious to render him any possible assistance. He followed his master about, while at home, with dog-like fidelity, telling him everything he knew to the other children’s disadvantage, 279 and thus succeeded in securing a permanent place between them and their father.

Old Brontė took Welsh with him to fairs and markets, instead of his own sons, as soon as he was able to go, and found him of the greatest service. His very insignificance added to his usefulness. He would mingle with the people from whom Brontė wished to purchase cattle, and find out from their conversation the lowest price they would be willing to take, and then report to his master. Brontė would then offer the dealers a little less than he knew they wanted, and secure the cattle without the usual weary process of bargaining. The same course was repeated in Liverpool, and in the end Brontė became a rich and prosperous dealer. Welsh was now indispensable to him, and followed him like a shadow; but the more Brontė became attached to Welsh, the more the children hated the interloper. As time went on, Brontė’s affairs passed more and more into his assistant’s hands, until at last he had the entire management. They were returning from Liverpool once, after selling the largest drove of cattle that had ever crossed the channel, when suddenly Brontė died in mid-ocean. Welsh, who was with him at the time of his death, professed ignorance of his master’s money; and, as all books and accounts had disappeared, no one could tell what had become of the cash received for the cattle.

The young Brontės, who were now almost men and women, had been brought up in comparative luxury. They were well educated, but they understood neither farming nor dealing, and the land had been so neglected that it could not support a family, even if the requisite capital for its cultivation had not been lost. In this emergency Welsh requested an interview with the whole family. He declared that he had a proposal to make which would restore their fallen fortunes. He had been forbidden the house, but, as it was supposed that he was going to give back the money which he must have stolen, his request was reluctantly granted.

Welsh appeared at the interview dressed up in broadcloth, black and shiny as his well-greased hair, and in fine linen, white and glistening as his prominent teeth. The effect was ludicrous to those who had always known the man. His sinister expression was intensified by a smile of satisfaction which gave emphasis to the cast in both eyes, and to his jackal-like mouth.

He began at once, in the grand cattle-dealer style, to express sympathy with the family, and to declare that upon one condition only would he continue the dealing and supply their wants. This condition was that Mary, the youngest sister, should become his wife—a proposal which was rejected with indignant scorn. Many hot and bitter words were exchanged, but as Welsh was leaving the house, he turned and said, “Mary shall yet be my wife, and I will scatter the rest of you like chaff from this house, which shall be mine also.” With these words he passed out into the darkness.

The interview had two immediate results. It revealed the threatened dangers, and roused the brothers to an earnest effort to save their home. Welsh had robbed them, but he must not be permitted to ruin and disgrace them. They had many friends, and in a short time the three brothers were employed in remunerative occupations, two of them in England and one in Ireland. They were thus able to send home enough to pay the rent of the farm, and to maintain the family in comfort.

The landlord of Brontė’s farm was an “absentee,” the estate being administered by an agent. He was the great man of the district, local magistrate, grand juror, and “Pasha” in general. A parliament of landlords had given him despotic powers in the collection of rent, and in all matters of property, limb, and life. The agent of those days was served by attorneys, bailiffs and sub-agents. Welsh was appointed to a vacancy as sub-agent, in return for a large bribe paid to the agent.

The sub-agent’s business was to act as buffer between the tenant and the “Squire,” as the agent was called. He was generally a man without heart, 280 conscience, or bowels. Selected from the basest of the people, he had nominal wages, never paid and never demanded; but he managed to squeeze a large amount out of the tenants, first by alarming them, and then by promising to stand their friend with the rapacious agent. He cringed and grovelled before the “Squire,” but at the same time was the chief medium of information concerning the condition of the tenants, and their ability to pay their rents. One of his duties was to mix in their festivities, when whiskey had opened their hearts and loosened their tongues, and discover their ability to pay an increased rent.

Welsh was the very man for this post. He had lived by cunning and treachery, and in his new occupation had great scope for serving both himself and his master. He seldom saw his tenants without letting drop the fatal word, “eviction.” But, while serving the “Squire,” and recouping himself from the tenants for the bribe he had paid him, he never forgot for a moment his double purpose of securing his late master’s farm, and with it, the person of Mary Brontė. He straightway drew the agent’s attention to the derelict condition of the farm, and to the likelihood of the rent falling into arrears, and declared himself willing to undertake the burden of his late master’s desolate homestead. The agent promised Welsh that the farm should be transferred to him, on payment of a certain sum, in case the Brontės were not able to pay the rent; but the rent did not fall into arrears. The agent’s demands were punctually met, and besides this, considerable sums of money were spent in improving the house and the land. In consequence of this the rent was raised, but the increased rent was paid the day it fell due, and again raised.

Finding himself foiled, Welsh changed his tactics, and turned his attention to the other object of his quest, Mary Brontė.

In the neighborhood there lived a female sub-agent called Meg, as base and unprincipled as himself. Her services were utilized in many ways; in conveying bottles of whiskey to farmers’ wives who were getting into drinking habits, and in aiding farmers’ sons and daughters to dispose of eggs and apples and meal purloined from their parents in return for trinkets which they wished to possess. She had also great skill in furthering the wicked designs of rich but immoral men. She was the “spey-woman” who told fortunes to servant-girls, and lured them to their destruction. Like the male sub-agents, such women were supposed to have the black art, and to have sold themselves to the devil.

Meg came often to tell the servants’ fortunes, and had many opportunities of assuring Mary of Welsh’s love and goodness. She told how he had restrained the agent for several years from evicting them, by the payment of large sums. All of this seemed incredible to the simple-minded girl, but the harpy was able to show receipts for the money thus expended.

After a time, Mary listened to the vile woman’s tale. Welsh could not be so bad as they believed him to be. Flowers taken from tenants’ gardens found their way to Mary’s room, and trinkets wrung from the anguish-stricken, in fear of eviction, were laid on her dressing-table. At length, she consented to meet Welsh in a lonely part of the farm, in company with the harpy, that she might express to him her gratitude for protecting the dear old home.

That meeting sealed Mary’s fate, and she was forced to consent to marry Welsh. The marriage was secretly performed by one of the “buckle-beggars” of the time, and then publicly proclaimed. Welsh was now the husband of one of the ladies on the farm, and, for a substantial bribe, the agent accepted him as tenant.

The brothers on hearing the news hurried back to the old home, but arrived too late. The agent received them with great courtesy. They reminded him that their ancestors had reclaimed the place from mere bog and wilderness; that their father had expended large sums in building the houses and draining the land; that they themselves had paid exorbitant rents without demur; and that now 281 their old home with all of these improvements had been confiscated, without cause or notice, by the man who had robbed and degraded the family.

The agent seemed greatly pained, but of course he was only an agent, and obliged to do whatever the landlord desired. Failing to get redress from the agent, the brothers unfortunately took the law into their own hands, and were arrested for trespass and assault. They were tried before the agent, and sent to prison and hard labor.

Thus the man Welsh, who afterward assumed the name Brontė, carried out his purpose. His threat of vengeance was also fulfilled. Mother, sisters, were scattered abroad, and so effectively that I have not been able, after much searching, to find a single trace of any of them save Hugh and his descendants.



Hugh Brontė first makes his appearance as if he had just stepped out of a Brontė novel. His father, a man in prosperous circumstances, had a large family, and resided somewhere in the south of Ireland, in a comfortable home, the exact locality being unknown.

Some time about the middle of the last century, this entire family was thrown into excitement by the arrival of an uncle and aunt of whom they had never heard. The children did not like them at first, but, as they remained guests for a considerable time, these impressions wore off.

These newly discovered relatives were the foundling Welsh and his wife, Mary. Their visit occurred many years subsequent to the events recorded in the last chapter. In the meantime, the house, from which the Brontės had been driven by fraud, had been burnt to the ground, thus destroying all of Welsh’s ill-gotten riches, and leaving him a poor and ruined man. But Welsh was always able to subordinate his pride to his interests, and, through his wife, he opened up a correspondence with one of her brothers, prosperously settled in Ireland. Welsh expressed deep penitence for all of his wrong-doing, and declared his earnest desire, if forgiven, to make amends.

He and Mary were then childless, and getting on in years. They professed to be troubled at the prospect of the farm passing into the hands of strangers for lack of an heir. They offered, therefore, to adopt one of their numerous nephews and to bring him up as their own son. Conditions of adoption were agreed upon, including education, but a solemn oath was taken by the father never to communicate with his son in any way. Welsh and Mary also bound themselves never to let the child know where his father lived.

The family oath in Ireland is regarded with superstitious awe, and binds like destiny. The man who breaks it is perjured and abandoned beyond all hope of salvation, here or hereafter.

Hugh Brontė was about five or six years old when Welsh and Mary made the visit to his parents, and he soon became a great favorite with the newcomers.

Many years later, the old man, when “beeking” a cornkiln in County Down, used to tell the simple incidents of that night. He had waited with impatience the local dressmaker, who had brought him home late at night a special suit of clothes to travel in. When they were fitted on, he was raised into a chair to give the dressmaker “beverage,” as the first kiss in new clothes is called in Ireland. It is a mark of especial favor, and supposed to confer good luck. Hugh’s sisters thronged around him for “second beverage,” but the kiss and squeeze of the dressmaker remained a life-long memory. He always believed that she had a presentiment of his fate, for her voice choked and her eyes filled with tears, as she turned away from him.

His mother never seemed happy about his going away, but her opposition was always borne down. For the few days previous, she had been accustomed to take him on her lap, and, with eyes full of tears, heap endearing epithets upon him, such as, “My sweet flower;” but he did not appreciate her 282 sympathy, and always broke away from her. His father lifted him in his arms, carried him out into the darkness, and placed him gently between his uncle and aunt, on a seat with a raised back, which was laid across a cart from side to side. Sitting aloft, on this prototype of the Irish gig, little Hugh Brontė, with a heart full of childish anticipations, began his rough journey out into the big world.

That Brontė covenant was indeed faithfully kept, for even when Mary, his aunt, visited Hugh in County Down about the beginning of this century, she could neither be coaxed nor compelled to give him, either directly or indirectly, the slightest clue by which he might discover the home of his childhood. It thus happened that Hugh Brontė was never able to retrace his steps to his father’s house, after the darkness had closed around him, perched aloft on the cross-seat of a country cart, between his uncle and aunt. It was a cold night, and the child crept close under his aunt’s wing for warmth. Soon he began to prattle in his childish way as he had done with his new friends for days, when suddenly a harsh torrent of corrosive words burst from Welsh, commanding him not to let another sound pass his lips. For a moment the child was stunned and bewildered, for the angry order fell like a blow. The young Brontė blood could not, however, rest passively in such a crisis. Disentangling himself from his aunt’s shawl, Hugh drew towards his uncle and said, “Did you speak those unkind words to me?”

“I’ll teach you to disobey me, you magnificent whelp!” rasped out Welsh, bringing his great hand down with a sharp smack on the little fellow’s face.

Hurt and angry, little Brontė sprang from the seat into the bottom of the cart and, facing the cruel uncle, shouted:

“I won’t go with you one step further! I will go back and tell my father what a bad old monster you are!” and then clutching at the reins, screamed: “Turn the horse around and take me home!”

A heavy hand grasped him, and choked the voice out of him. He was shaken and knocked against the bottom and sides of the cart, until he was able neither to escape nor to speak. Several hours later, he awoke and found himself lying in damp straw, sick, and sore, and hungry. Every jolt of the springless cart pained him.

It was a moonlight night with occasional showers. He turned upon his side, and watched the two figures perched upon the seat above him, riding along in silence and caring nothing for him. A few hours before he had loved them passionately, and now he hated them to loathing. He felt the utter desolation of loneliness and home-sickness.

That was the first night in his remembrance when he had ever neglected to say his prayers. He rose to his knees, put up his little folded hands, and said the only prayer he knew. A sobbing sound escaped him and startled his uncle. He turned suddenly, and with his whip struck the kneeling child and prostrated him. The blow was followed by a hurricane of oaths and threats.

The child was badly hurt, but he did not cry nor let his uncle know that he was suffering.

Seventy years afterwards Hugh Brontė used to say, “I grew fast that night. I was Christian child, ardent lover, vindictive hater, enthusiast, misanthrope, atheist, and philosopher, in one cruel hour!”

The sun was shining hot in his face when he awoke. The cart had been drawn up close to a little thatched cottage, in which there was a grocer’s shop and a public house. He tried to get out of the cart, but was unable to do so. A blacksmith, whose smithy stood on the other side of the road, seeing his fruitless efforts, came and lifted him down. Just as he was beginning to recite the story of his wrongs his aunt, who had approached him from behind, caught his arms and led him gently into the cottage, where he had some potatoes and buttermilk. He slept by the kitchen fire until late in the afternoon without having been permitted to speak to a soul. He was still dreaming of home, when he was roughly awakened to mount the cart again. Heavy imprecations fell upon 283 his aunt for detaining him to wash the blood-stains from his face. A penny “bap” was given him, and he was allowed to buy apples with the money which had been put by his brothers and sisters into the pockets of his new clothes as “hansel.” “It was ten years,” said old Brontė, “before I fingered another penny that I could call my own!”

As the shades of evening gathered, the journey was continued in a drizzling rain. A “bottle” of fresh straw had been added to the hard bed on which little Hugh was to spend the night. He arranged the straw under the cross-seat on which his uncle and aunt sat, so as to be sheltered from the rain, and, placing his heap of apples and the “bap” beside him, he settled down in comparative comfort for the night.

The night was long, the rain incessant. The horse stumbled and splashed along, and the harsh uncle varied the monotony by whipping the horse into a trot, and swearing at it when it did trot. By ten o’clock the next morning a large village was reached, where was an inn of considerable importance. The child was carried, stiff and cold, and put to bed in a little room in this inn, no one but his aunt being allowed to come near him. She placed some bread and milk beside him, took away his clothes, and locked the door of his room.

In the afternoon she returned bringing a suit of bottle-green corduroy with shining brass buttons, much too large for him. The trousers were so stiff that he could hardly sit down in them, and he hated the smell of corduroy. His own warm woolen garments had been exchanged for these others, and for a horse cover, which became his coverlet by night. Beneath it he slept more comfortably than before.

At an early hour the following morning, while Hugh was still asleep, they reached another large town, and, as usual, the cart was drawn up at an inn, where the travellers passed the day. While Welsh was out in the town, and the aunt dozing by the fire, Hugh tried to tell the innkeeper the story of his wrongs, but neither could understand the other, owing to the man’s brogue. The child’s earnestness drew a little crowd around him, however, and he was just beginning to make himself understood, when his uncle returned suddenly and whisked him off to the cart to spend the long afternoon, until they resumed their journey at nightfall. Angry words passed between the innkeeper and his uncle, but no deliverance came. After another miserable night they arrived at Drogheda on the forenoon of the following day. Here they made a short pause, but he was not permitted to descend from the cart, nor communicate with any stranger. The party arrived at Welsh’s home, on the banks of the Boyne, late in the afternoon.

Such is the story of Hugh Brontė’s journey to Welsh’s house, as first told me by the Reverend William McAllister, and subsequently confirmed by four independent narrators. I have given a mere outline of the boy’s experience on that dreadful journey, without attempting to reproduce Hugh Brontė’s style. As told by the man in after years, it never failed to hold his listeners spell-bound. The stunted trees on the wind-swept mountains, the ghostly shadows on the moon-bleached plains, the desolate bogs on every side, the interminable stretches of road leading over narrow bridges and through shallow fords, the heavens on fire with stars, and the autumn stricken into gold by the setting sun, all lent color and reality to Hugh Brontė’s eloquence. Mr. McAllister had heard most of the orators of his time, O’Connell and Chalmers and Cook, but no man ever roused and thrilled him by his dramatic power as did Hugh Brontė.

Welsh Brontė traveled at night partly for economy, but more especially that little Hugh should see no landmark, by which his footsteps might ever be guided home. Do the incidents of the journey give us any clue to discover the region where Hugh Brontė lived? They spent four whole nights on the road, and traversed a distance from one hundred to one hundred and twenty miles.

My own efforts to find the early 284 home of Hugh Brontė resulted in discovering no trace or tradition of a Brontė family south of the Boyne. I have written hundreds of letters to various parts of Ireland with an equal lack of success, and it is probable that the exact locality will never be discovered. What is of more importance, is the fact that the ancient home of the Brontės, where Hugh’s grandfather, the great-great-grandfather of the novelists, lived, was on the north side of the river Boyne between Oldbridge and Navan, not far from the spot where William of Orange won his famous battle. Some thirty-five years ago, the place where the Brontė house once stood, was pointed out to me. The potato-blight and other calamities have been steadily removing landmarks in Ireland, and it is not surprising that local tradition has now faded from the district. Few families there, of the rank of the Brontės, could trace their pedigrees to the seventh generation; but that the ancestors of the Brontės lived on the banks of the Boyne seven generations back is beyond all doubt.



Upon arrival at their destination, Welsh seized his nephew and ward by the shoulders, and, looking fiercely in his face, informed him that his father was a mean and black-hearted scoundrel. Welsh declared that he had agreed to make Hugh his heir, with “the education of a gentleman,” in consideration of the sum of fifty pounds, but, as the “spalpeen” had only paid five pounds, Hugh would have to work for his bread and go without education; all emphasized by very strong words.

There was present at this family interview a tall, gaunt, half-naked savage called Gallagher, who expressed audible approval of Welsh’s remarks, and, at their close, called on the Blessed Virgin and all the saints to blast Hugh’s father and protect his uncle. This sanctimonious individual was the steward of Welsh’s house, and had formerly been his most valuable ally. Hugh’s father had once denounced Gallagher as a spy at a public gathering, whence he had been ignominiously ejected, and, in return, he had supplied the false evidence which led to the imprisonment and conviction of the three brothers. Gallagher had been of service to Welsh in many ways. He had aided Meg in the schemes which led to Mary Brontė becoming Welsh’s wife, and he had been a partner with Meg in the foundling business. Their ways of dealing with superfluous children had been effective. These were supposed to be carried to the Dublin Foundling Hospital, but, inasmuch as no questions were asked, and no receipts given, the guilty parents were satisfied that their offspring should go “where the wicked cease from troubling.” Gallagher was the original from which Emily Brontė drew her portrait of Joseph, in “Wuthering Heights,” just as Heathcliff is modelled on Welsh. It was to the companionship of this human monster that Welsh committed his little nephew and ward. His name became of common use in County Down as a synonym for objectionable persons, and is so still.

As soon as Welsh and Gallagher ceased speaking, Hugh looked around the mansion to which he had become presumptive heir. A happy pig with a large family lay on one side of the room, and a stack of peat was heaped up on the other side of the great open chimney. A broad, square bed stood in the end of the room, raised about a foot from the ground. The damp, uneven, earthen floor was unswept. On the backs of a few chairs, upholstered with straw ropes, a succession of hens perched, preliminary to flight to the cross-beams close up to the thatch. A lean, long-backed, rough-haired yellow dog stood by his side smelling him, without signs of welcome. Hugh listened to his uncle’s hard, rasping words, and in reply said:

“Are you going home soon?”

“You are at home now,” declared his uncle. “This is the only home you shall ever know, and you are beholden to me for it. Your father was 285 glad to be rid of you, and this is your gratitude to me! No airs here, my fine fellow. Get to bed out of my way, and I’ll find you something to do in the morning.”

But in the morning the child was unable to leave the bed where he had lain across his uncle and aunt’s feet, his slumbers incessantly disturbed by the grunting, squealing pigs. Welsh arose early to let out the animals, and then dragged little Hugh from his bed to resume the responsibility of heirship. The child tottered to the floor. His uncle’s fierce imprecations could not exorcise fever and delirium, and for many weeks little Hugh lingered between life and death. He remained weak and unable to go out during the winter, but he made many friends, of which the chief was the rough yellow dog. The child in return loved the great shaggy creature with all the strength of his poor crushed heart. But better than the devotion of the fowls, the pig and the dog, his Aunt Mary conceived a great affection for him, and grew to love him during his illness as her own child. When Welsh was absent, she would give him an egg, or a little fresh butter from the “meskin” prepared for market, or even a cup of peppermint tea; and over this, she told him secretly the tragic story of the Brontė family. In after years it was a satisfaction to Hugh to know that his cowardly uncle was no Brontė after all, and not even an Irishman.

The spring came early that year, and with it health and vigor. Hugh’s aunt had told him of the burning of the old Brontė house. The squalor and wretchedness of Welsh’s home, into which so many things crept at night, compared with the ruins of the house in which his father had been reared, made a lasting impression upon Hugh’s mind. But he was not left long to such reflections. As soon as he was able to go, he was sent to herd cattle, which were housed at night in the ruined rooms of the burnt edifice, with his dog, Keeper, for a faithful companion. Emily Brontė’s love for her dog, which was actually named Keeper, was a weak platonic affair compared with the tie that bound the desolate boy and friendless dog together.

In no land has attachment to home so firm a grip of the heart as in Ireland. Year followed year in slow procession, but Hugh grew up in solitariness, and his heart never ceased to yearn for the lost friends of his old home. His corduroy suit soon grew too small for him, and when his boots became unwearable, he was obliged to go bare-footed. His highest enjoyment was to be away with his dog somewhere, remote from the espionage of Gallagher, and the violent blasphemy of Welsh. But his idle days among the bees in the clover soon gave place to sterner duties. He had to gather potatoes in sleet and rain, collect stones from winter fields to drain bog-land, perform the drudgery of an ill-cultivated farm from sunrise to sunset, and then thresh and winnow grain in the barn until near midnight. His uncle hated him fiercely and bitterly, and once told him that he could never beat him when he did not deserve it, because, like a goat, he was always either going to mischief, or coming from it.

Hugh found Gallagher’s cunning malignity harder to endure than the harsh cruelty of his uncle. The boy’s clear instinct told him that Gallagher was a bad man, but sometimes his pent-up heart would overflow to the one human being near him in his working hours. When Gallagher had got all the secrets of the boy from him, he would denounce him to Welsh in such a way as to best stir up his cruelty; or he would mock at Hugh’s rags, and tell him that all of his evils had come upon him because of his father’s sins, assuring him that the Devil would carry him away from the barn some night, as he had often taken bad men’s sons before.

The cruelties practised upon the boy were Gallagher’s base revenge for the whippings formerly administered to him by Hugh’s father. Every means that cunning could devise was employed to render the boy’s life miserable. He would purloin eggs, break the farming-tools, and maim the cattle in order to 286 have him beaten by his uncle, a ceremony which he always managed to witness.



Nothing in Ireland is supposed to test a man’s honesty so severely as a bog lying contiguous to his own land. “If a man escape with honor as a trustee, try him with a bit of bog,” is an Irish proverb. This temptation had come in Welsh’s way when a sub-agent. He had robbed the Brontės of their farm, why should he hesitate to add a slice of bog to it? The owner was known as an objectionable tenant who had dared to vote contrary to his landlord, and there was not likely to be any trouble, for the bog was of little use to anybody, all of the turf having been removed, leaving only a swamp covered with star-grass, and tenanted by water-hen, coots and snipe.

The agent agreed to let Welsh have his neighbor’s bog for a consideration. Welsh paid the sum demanded, but the tenant, being a cantankerous person, did not fall in pleasantly with this arrangement. Difficulties were raised. The plundering of the Brontės had been watched by their neighbors with sullen indignation, but, when it became known that the sub-agent was about to grasp the property of another farmer, the smouldering fire burst into a conflagration. At this crisis, the agent was murdered, and Welsh’s house was burnt to the ground.

The ownership of the bog now remained for a long time in a doubtful condition. Welsh lost his official position, and for years the new agent gave promises to both claimants, and accepted presents from both. The landlord would of course decide the matter upon his return to Ireland, but, in the meantime, both paid rent for the bog and then fought for the useless star-grass.

Welsh maintained his claim until one day, after many hot words with the owner, blows ensued, and the trespasser was badly beaten. He called on Hugh, who was then a large boy of fifteen, for help; but he called in vain, for Hugh had overhead a full recital of his uncle’s crimes before the battle began. He heard him accused to his teeth of murdering old Brontė for his money, and of betraying his daughter in order to rob the family of the estate. The misery he had brought to many homes was comprehensively set forth; and Hugh believed his uncle to be absolutely in the wrong in his attempt to take possession of his neighbor’s property, and deserving of the beating he received. Besides, this neighbor had always treated Hugh kindly, and had frequently shared with him his collation of bread and milk in the fields in the afternoon.

This battle led to important issues. Welsh was carried home bleeding by Gallagher and Hugh, and put to bed. On the following morning he sent for Hugh, and in a choking passion demanded why he had not helped him in the fight. Hugh replied that he considered his uncle in the wrong and any assistance unfair. Inasmuch as Welsh could not get out of bed to chastise him, the boy seized his long-deferred opportunity, and pleaded his case with a courage that surprised himself. He told his uncle that he was a false and cruel bully, who thoroughly merited a beating at the hands of the man he had tried to rob, and, carried away by his rising passion, he informed him that he knew he was not a true Brontė, but a gutter-monster, who had stolen the name, defiantly adding that he hoped before long to avenge his ancestors for the desecration of their name by thrashing him himself.

Having delivered this speech Hugh realized that another crisis in his life had arrived. Even the chaff bed in the half-roofed barn would now cease for him. His uncle’s house was no longer childless. A son and heir had appeared upon the scene a twelve-month before, and Hugh knew that he had nothing except harsh treatment to expect in the future. He could not even hope, in the event of his uncle’s death, to inherit the old Brontė home and restore its fallen fortunes, for a legal heir was now in full possession. His uncle had declared his intention to punish him once 287 for all, as soon as he got well, and a severe beating was his immediate prospect.

In a few days Welsh was out of bed and able to move about, his head wrapped in bandages and his two eyes in mourning. Hugh saw that the time had now come for him to shift for himself. He first resolved to fight his uncle, but wisely concluded that, even if victorious, this would only make his position in the house more unendurable. Then he resolved on flight, but how could he fly? If followed and brought back, his state with his uncle would be worse than ever. Besides, he was almost naked, for the few rags that hung around him left his body visible at many points.

Hugh was now in a state of rebellion, and in his desperation he went to his uncle’s enemy. He told this chastiser the full tale of his sorrows, and found him a sympathizing and resourceful ally.

The day on which Hugh was to get his great beating arrived. Everybody except Gallagher awaited it in gloomy silence. Even Keeper seemed to know what was coming. Welsh had provided himself with a stout hazel rod which he playfully called “the tickler.” Aunt Mary’s eyes were, as usual, red with weeping. The chastisement was to be administered when the cattle were brought home at midday.

Hugh and Gallagher spent that morning weeding in a field of oats in a remote corner of the farm. Hugh was silent, but Gallagher passed the whole morning in jeers, and taunts, and mockery.

As the hour arrived for Hugh to go for the cows, Gallagher surpassed all previous brutality by telling Hugh that he had once been his mother’s lover. He was proceeding to develop this false and cruel tale when Hugh, stung to the quick, and blind with passion, sprang upon his mother’s defamer like a tiger. There was a short fierce struggle, and Hugh had his tormentor on the ground beating his face into a jelly, while Keeper was engaged in tearing the ruffian’s clothes to shreds.

Hugh’s fury cooled when Gallagher no longer resisted. Throwing his “thistle-hook” on top of the prostrate form, he walked into the house. He bade his aunt, who was baking bread, good-by, kissed the baby, and then left to bring home the cattle to be milked. Keeper, who had laid aside his melancholy during the encounter with Gallagher, responded to his master’s whistle by barking and gambolling as if to keep up his spirits. As Hugh turned for a last look at the old Brontė home, he saw Gallagher approaching Welsh, who was waiting near the cow-shed, evidently enjoying the pleasures of the imagination.

The cattle were grazing on the banks of the Boyne, near the spot where a wing of William’s army crossed on that era-making day in 1690. Hugh proceeded to the river and divested himself of his rags, preparatory to a plunge, as was his wont. He told Keeper to lie down upon his heap of tattered garments; then throwing himself down naked beside his faithful friend, he took him in his arms, kissed him again and again, and, starting up with a sob, plunged headlong into the river.

Keeper could not see his master enter the river, nor mark the direction in which he had gone, owing to a little ridge. It was a swim for life. The current soon carried him opposite the farm of his uncle’s enemy, who awaited his approach in a clump of willows by the water’s edge. He had brought with him an improvised suit of clothes to further the boy’s escape. The pockets of the coat were stuffed with oat-bread, and there were a few pence in the pockets of the trousers. Hugh hurried on these garments, which were much too large for him, and thrust his feet, the first time for seven years, into a pair of boots. With a heart full of gratitude, and a final squeeze of the hand, unaccompanied by words from either, Hugh Brontė started on his race for life and freedom.

With buoyant spirits Hugh sped on the road to Dunleer, where he did not pause, and continuing his flight struck straight for Castlebellingham. He did not know where the road led to, nor whither he was going, but he believed there was a city of refuge ahead, and 288 his pace was quickened by the fear of the avenger at his heels.

As he approached Castlebellingham he heard a car coming behind him, so he hid behind a fence until it had passed. It was filled with policemen, but Welsh was not on the car. He reached Dundalk at an early hour, and after a short sleep in a hay-rick, continued his journey, not by the public road, but eastward through level fields where now runs the Dundalk and Greenore railway. He spent his last copper in a small public house for a little food, and then started for Carlingford, which the publican had told him was an important town behind the mountain. After a couple of hours of wandering by the shore, he turned inland, and came upon lime-kilns at a place called Mount Pleasant, or Faquahart. These kilns were known as Swift McNeil’s, and people came great distances to purchase lime for agricultural and building purposes.

When Hugh arrived, there were thirty or forty carts from Down, Armagh, and Louth, waiting for their loads, and there were not enough hands to keep up the supply. Limestone had to be quarried, wheeled to the kilns, then broken, and thrown in at the top with layers of coal. After burning for a time the lime was drawn out from the eye of the kiln into shallow barrels, and emptied into carts, the price being so much per barrel.

Here Hugh Brontė found his first job, and regular remuneration for his free labor. In a short time he had earned enough money to provide himself with a complete suit of clothes. His wages more than supplied his wants, and he had a great deal to spare for personal adornment. Being steady, and better dressed than the other workers, he was soon advanced to the responsible position of overseer.

Hugh became a favorite with purchasers and employers. Among the regular customers were the Todds and McAllisters of Ballynaskeagh and Glascar, in County Down. Their servants were often accompanied by a youth named McGlory, who drove his own cart.

McGlory and Brontė, who were about the same age, resembled each other in the fiery color of their hair. They became great friends, and it was arranged that Brontė should visit McGlory in County Down during the Christmas holidays. This visit was fraught with important consequences for Hugh, and marked an epoch in his eventful career.

Editor’s Announcement.In the September number of McClure’s Magazine will be told the romantic story of Hugh Brontė’s courtship, and his elopement with Alice McGlory upon the very day appointed by her family for her marriage with Joe Burns.

Transcribers Note

Table of Contents and Illustration List added.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of McClure's Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3,
August, 1893, by Various


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