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Title: Concerning Lafcadio Hearn
       With a Bibliography by Laura Stedman

Author: George M. Gould

Release Date: July 19, 2011 [EBook #36783]

Language: English

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Lafcadio Hearn.
From a Photograph by Gutekunst, 1889.


Concerning Lafcadio
Hearn. by george m. gould, m.d.









[All rights reserved]


chap. page















To face page

IN 1889 Frontispiece






[Pg x]

THERE are as many possible biographies of a man as there are possible biographers—and one more! Of Lafcadio Hearn there has been, and there will be, no excuse for any biography whatever. A properly edited volume of his letters, and, perhaps, a critical estimate of the methods and development of his imaginative power and literary character are, and still remain, most desirable. That some competent hand may yet be found to undertake this task is still hoped by those who recognize the value of a man's best work. To furnish material and help toward this end is my object in collecting the following pages. The life of a literary man interests and is of value to the world because of the literature he has created. Without a bibliography, without even mention of the works he wrote, his biography would be useless. To correct many untrue and misleading statements and inferences of a serious nature that have been published concerning him and his life, should it ever be undertaken, will prove a labour so difficult and thankless that it will scarcely be entered upon by one who would do it rightly. That it will not be hazarded comes, as I have said, from the fact that it is not needed, because neither Hearn himself, nor his real friends, nor again, a discriminating literary sense, have been, nor can be, under any illusion as to his "greatness." He has been spoken of as "a great man," which, of course, he was not. Two talents he had, but these were far from constituting personal greatness. Deprived by nature, by the necessities of his life, or by conscious intention, of religion, morality, scholarship, magnanimity, loyalty, character, benevolence, and other constituents of personal greatness, it is more than [Pg xi] folly to endeavour to place him thus wrongly before the world.

The irony of the situation is pathetically heightened by the fact that, supposing him to be very great, "the weaknesses of very great men," which he said should not be spoken of, are amazingly paraded in the letters. Had he ever dreamed that his letters would be published, he would not, and could not, have so unblushingly exposed himself and his faults to the public gaze. The fact has now been writ exceeding large, or it would not be, and should not be, corrected and contradicted. A word to the wise suffices.

There remains the question, truly pertinent, concerning the nature and progress toward perfection of his imagination, and of his literary execution.

We know nothing, and doubtless we may never know anything definite, accurate and of value about the character either of his father or of his mother. Any attempt, therefore, to estimate what effect heredity had in handing down the strange endowment we find in his early manhood is wholly futile. We may not be too sure concerning either the parentage or nationality ascribed to him.

Moreover, in the last analysis, Hearn was no "product of his environment." In a certain sense, he was of the school of Flaubert, Gautier, Maupassant, Loti, and Zola, but with such differences and variations that these teachers may not take much credit or flattery to themselves. The great, the distinctive, the dominating force which controlled and created Hearn's literary makings, his morbid vision, was not "environment" as the critics and scientists mean [Pg xii] by the term. These have not yet learned that Art and Life hang upon the perfection and peculiarities of the senses of the artist and of the one who lives, and that intellect and especially æsthetics are almost wholly the product of vision. Conversely, the morbidities and individualisms of Art and Life often depend pre-eminently upon the morbidities of vision.

Character, lastly, is the action or reaction of personality against circumstance, not under and dominated by circumstance. To have character is to control circumstance; Hearn was always its slave. Except in one particular, the pursuit of literary excellence, Hearn had no character whatever. His was the most unresisting, most echolike mind I have ever known. He was a perfect chameleon; he took for the time the colour of his surroundings. He was always the mirror of the friend of the instant, or if no friend was there, of the dream of that instant. The next minute he was another being, acted upon by the new circumstance, reflecting the new friend, or redreaming the old and new-found dream. They who blame him too sharply for his disloyalty and ingratitude to old friends do not understand him psychologically. There was nothing behind the physical and neurologic machine to be loyal or disloyal. He had no mind, or character, to be possessed of loyalty or disloyalty. For the most part, he simply dropped his friends, and rarely spoke ill of them or of his enemies. There was nothing whatever in him, except perhaps for the short time when he said his friend had given him a soul, to take the cast and function of loyalty or disloyalty, gratitude or ingratitude. [Pg xiii] One does not ask originality or even great consistency of an echo, and, of all men that have ever lived, Hearn, mentally and spiritually, was most perfectly an echo. The sole quality, the only originality, he brought to the fact, or to the echo, was colour—a peculiar derivation of a maimed sense. He created or invented nothing; his stories were always told him by others; at first they were gruesome tales even to horror and disgust. He learned by practice to choose lovelier stories, ones always distant, sometimes infinitely distant, and he learned to retell or echo them with more artistic skill and even a matchless grace. His merit, almost his sole merit, and his unique skill lay in the strange faculty of colouring the echo with the hues and tints of heavenly rainbows and unearthly sunsets, all gleaming with a ghostly light that never was on sea or shore. So that, fused as he was with his work, he himself became that impossible thing, a chromatic voice, a multicoloured echo.

We must, therefore, accept the facts as we find them, the young man as we find him, uneducated, friendless, without formed character, with a lot of heathenish and unrestrained appetites, crippled as to the most important of the senses, poverty-stricken, improvident, of peculiar and unprepossessing appearance and manners, flung into an alien world in many ways more morbid than himself. That he lived at all is almost astonishing, and that he writhed out, how he did it, and the means whereby he finally presented to the best artistic and literary intellects of the world prized values and enjoyments, is indeed worthy of some attention and study.

[Pg xiv] From letters written to me just prior to his death by that veteran and discriminating critic, Mr. Edmund C. Stedman, I quote a few sentences to show that the appreciation of Hearn has by no means reached its full measure:

"I passed an evening with your Hearn manuscript and the supplementary matter by my granddaughter, and found them both well done and of deep interest. Some of your passages are beautifully written and make me think that if you will give us more of the style which is so plainly at your command, you will gain, etc.... The publishers do not understand, as I do, that Hearn will in time be as much of a romantic personality and tradition as Poe now is. I strongly urged one publisher to buy those copyrights owned by three other firms on any terms and in the end bring out a definitive edition of his complete works."

As to Miss Stedman's workmanlike bibliography, it should be said that the rule which has been followed in excluding less valuable reviews and notices, was based upon the effort to include doubtful ones only when of exceptional value, by a personal friend of Hearn, etc. Files of ordinary newspapers are not preserved even in local libraries, and, therefore, references to them have been excluded except under peculiar circumstances of authorship, opinions stated, etc.

For their kind permission to make extracts from Hearn's published works, grateful acknowledgments are due to Messrs. Little, Brown and Company, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Harper Brothers, and The Macmillan Company.

[Pg xv] Should this volume bring in more money than the necessary expenses of compiling it, the excess will be sent to Mrs. Hearn through the Japanese Consul, or in some other way.

George M. Gould.


Hearn at about the Age of Eight.

From a Photograph.

To face page 1.

[Pg 2]

MANY conflicting accounts have been given concerning Hearn's parents and childhood. From his own statements made in 1889, the notes of which, taken down at the moment, are before me, he was born on June 27, 1850, at Leucadia, in Santa Maura, one of the Ionian Islands. His father, he said, was an Irishman, Charles Bush Hearn, Surgeon-Major in the 76th English Infantry Regiment, which had been stationed at Madras, Calcutta. The regiment was later merged into the 22nd West Riding Battalion. His mother was a Greek from Cerigo, another of the Ionian Isles; her name he had forgotten. He spoke of his father and mother as having been married, and of a subsequent divorce, about 1857 or 1858. Allusion was made to a younger brother, named Daniel, who was brought up by an artist, a painter, Richard Hearn, a brother of Charles Bush Hearn, who lived in Paris. [1] Hearn thought this brother was educated as a civil engineer. After the divorce his mother remarried, her second husband being a lawyer, a Greek, name unknown, and living at Smyrna, Asia Minor. Lafcadio's father also remarried, taking his wife to India. Three daughters were said to have been born there. Lafcadio was put under the care of his aunt, Mrs. Sarah Brenane, of Dublin, No. 73 Upper Leeson Street. She was a widow without children. In a letter to me, written prior to 1889, Hearn says: "As for me, I have a good deal in me not to thank my ancestors for; and it is a pleasure that I cannot, even if I would, trace myself two generations back, not even one generation on my mother's side. Half these Greeks are mixed with Turks and Arabs—don't know how much of an Oriental mixture I have, or may have." And again, "I do not know anything about my mother, [Pg 3] whether alive or dead. My father died on his return from India. There was a queer romance in the history of my mother's marriage." He told me later that this romance was said to have been that Surgeon-Major Hearn was once set upon by the brothers of the young Greek woman to whom he was paying attention, and that he was left supposedly dead, with about a score of dagger-made wounds in his body.

[1] In The Bookbuyer, May, 1896, Hearn's friend, Mr. J. S. Tunison, speaks of the existence of a brother, "a busy farmer in Northwestern Ohio."

In the Dayton, Ohio, Journal, of December 25, 1906, Mr. Tunison speaks authoritatively of the discrepant accounts given by many writers, and by Hearn himself, concerning his parents, birth and early years. "Hearn himself had misgivings, and sometimes associated his baptismal name with the not uncommon Spanish name, Leocadie." The boy, of course, could only repeat what he had been told by his relatives or friends. Physiognomy can help little perhaps, but here its testimony is assuredly not confirmatory of the more common story. Any attempt to secure definite information in Ireland would scarcely be successful. One possibility remained: There is still living an Irish gentleman to whom Lafcadio was sent from Ireland, and in whose care, at least to a limited extent, the boy was placed. I have not the right to mention his name. He was living in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1870, and through his brother-in-law in Ireland, Lafcadio was, as it were, consigned to my informant. The subject is an unpleasant one to him, and he answered my questions with reluctance. He did not like the boy and did not feel that he had any obligation toward him; in fact, he did not feel that he was in any way responsible for his care. Besides, he had heavy duties toward his own children that absorbed all his energies. "I never had a letter from him. He came to the house three times. Mrs. Brenane sent me money, which I gave to him to pay his bills with. When he got work, he never came near me [Pg 4] again." He was not sure that Mrs. Brenane was, in truth, Hearn's aunt, and upon being pressed, answered repeatedly, "I know nothing, nobody knows anything true of Hearn's life. He may have been related to my wife's family, but I never knew." Asked why the lad was "shipped" to him, he replied, "I do not know." Inquiries concerning the boy's schooling brought no more than, "I only know that he could never stay long in one school." "His father was Irish, was he not?" "Yes." "And his mother was Greek?" "O yes, I suppose so," but with an indefinite inflection.

The mystery, therefore, of Hearn's parentage and boyhood years is probably not to be cleared up. He was, perhaps, a "bad boy," and expelled from several schools; his lifelong hatred and fear of Catholics and Jesuits doubtless dates from these youthful and irrational experiences; but it is useless to inquire whether or not they were in any sense justifiable. A little reflected light is thrown upon this period by an apocryphal anecdote in a letter to me, written while Hearn was at my house, and which Miss Bisland in her "Life and Letters" kindly failed to put in its proper place,[2] as well as omitted to say whence she obtained it:

[2] Vol. I, pp. 459-460, just prior to the last paragraph.

This again reminds me of something. When I was a boy, I had to go to confession, and my confessions were honest ones. One day I told the ghostly father that I had been guilty of desiring that the devil would come to me in the shape of the beautiful woman in which he came to the Anchorites in the desert, and that I thought that I would yield to such temptations. He was a grim man who rarely showed emotion, my confessor, but on that occasion he actually rose to his feet in anger.

"Let me warn you!" he cried, "let me warn you! Of all things never wish that! You might be more sorry for it than you can possibly believe!"

[Pg 5] His earnestness filled me with fearful joy;—for I thought the temptation might actually be realized—so serious he looked ... but the pretty succubi all continued to remain in hell.

The necessary inference, therefore, is that the lad was an unwelcome charge upon those Irish relations or friends of his father, in whose care he was placed. It is said that he always spoke with bitterness of his father, and with love of his mother. Beyond a certain amount of money allotted (by his father?) for his support, neither parent was evidently concerned about his upbringing and welfare, and all who should have been interested in those things made haste to rid themselves of the obligations. If the stories of his boyish "badness" were true, the lad could not be blamed for putting into practice his inherited instincts, so that the pathos of his early misfortunes only increase our sympathy for the youth and his tragedies. (I reproduce a photograph of Lafcadio and his aunt, Mrs. Justin, or Sarah, Brenane. The lad must have been at the time about eight years of age.) The "consignment" of the nineteen-year old youth to the distant relative of the family, who was then living in Cincinnati, explains the reason why, landing in New York, he finally went to Cincinnati. How long he lived in New York City and any details of his life there before he went West, may be held as beyond investigation. Mr. Tunison incidentally speaks of him during this time as "sleeping in dry-goods boxes on the street, etc.," and I have heard that he acted as a restaurant waiter. There have been published stories of a period of want and suffering endured in London before the emigration to New York City. Others concerning great scholarship and the intimate knowledge of several languages, especially French, are surely not true. Even in 1889, after the New Orleans and Martinique periods, Hearn could not speak French with ease or correctness. In Cincinnati he secured the help of a French scholar in translating Gautier's "Émaux et Camées." His want of [Pg 6] knowledge of the Latin language is deplored in his letters and, to the last, after a dozen or more years in Japan, his inability to read a Japanese newspaper or speak the language was a source of regret to himself, of errors too numerous to mention, and of grievous limitations in his work as an interpreter. In the one field of which his taste, aptitude and function dictated a wide and stimulating acquaintance, folk-lore, he was lamentably wanting. It might seem unfitting to allude to this were it not well to be discriminating in all cases, and had not Hearn sought to reach authoritativeness in a department wherein he had not gathered the fundamental data.

[Pg 7]


[Pg 8]WHEN, in 1889, Hearn appeared in my reception room, although I had not seen any photograph of him, and had not even known of his coming, I at once said, "You are Lafcadio?" The poor exotic was so sadly out of place, so wondering, so suffering and shy, that I am sure he would have run out of the house if I had not at once shown him an overflowing kindness, or if a tone of voice had betrayed any curiosity or doubt. It was at once agreed that he should stay with me for awhile, and there was no delay in providing him with a seat at my table and a room where he could be at his work of proof-correcting. His "Two Years in the French West Indies" was then going through the press, and an incident connected with the proof-reading illustrates how impossible it was for him, except when necessity drove, to meet any person not already known. He wished to give his reader the tune of the songs printed on pages 426-431, but he knew nothing of music. I arranged with a lady to repeat the airs on her piano as he should whistle them, and then to write them on the music-staff. When the fatal evening arrived, Hearn and I went to the lady's house, but as we proceeded his part in our chatting lapsed into silence, and he lagged behind. Although he finally dragged himself to the foot of the doorstep, after I had rung the bell, his courage failed, and before the door was opened I saw him running as if for life, half a square away!

Even before this adventure I had learned that it was useless to try to get him to lunch or dinner if any stranger were present. I think he always listened to detect the possible presence of a stranger before entering the dining-room, and he would certainly have starved rather than submit to such an ordeal. It may be readily imagined that my attempt to secure his services as a lecturer before a local literary society was a ludicrous failure. He would have preferred hanging.

[Pg 9] I allude to this attitude of his mind from no idle or curious reason, but because it arose from logical and necessary reasons. When, later, he was in Japan, I was once importuned, and should not have yielded, to give a friend, who was about to visit Tōkyō, a note of introduction. As I warned my friend Hearn refused to see visitors.

That his extreme shyness depended upon his being unknown, and that it was united to a lack of humour, may be gathered from the fact that, when he came from Martinique, he wore a clothing which inevitably made the passers-by turn and look and smile. Long and repeated endeavours were necessary before I could get his consent to lay aside the outrageous tropical hat for one that would not attract attention. How little he recked of this appears from the tale I heard that a lot of street gamins in Philadelphia formed a queue, the leader holding by Hearn's coat-tails, and, as they marched, all kept step and sang in time, "Where, where, where did you get that hat?"

At once, upon first meeting Hearn, I instinctively recognized that upon my part the slightest sign of a desire or attempt to study him, to look upon him as an object of literary or "natural" history, would immediately put an end to our relations. Indeed, it never at that time entered my mind to think thus of him, and only since collections of his letters and biographies are threatened has it occurred to me to think over our days and months together, and to help, so far as advisable, toward a true understanding of the man and his art.

In 1889 Lafcadio was 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighed 137 pounds, and had a chest girth of 36-3/4 inches.

The summer of 1889 made noteworthy changes in Hearn's character. I suspect it was his first experience in anything that might be called home-life. To his beloved pays des revenants, Martinique, his mind constantly reverted, with an Ahnung that he should never see it again. There [Pg 10] are truth and pathos and keen self-knowledge, frankly expressed in the letters he would write me in the next room, immediately after we had chatted long together, and when he felt that the pen could better express what he shyly shrank from speaking:

Ah! to have a profession is to be rich, to have international current-money, a gold that is cosmopolitan, passes everywhere. Then I think I would never settle down in any place; would visit all, wander about as long as I could. There is such a delightful pleasantness about the first relations with people in strange places—before you have made any rival, excited any ill wills, incurred anybody's displeasure. Stay long enough in any one place and the illusion is over; you have to sift this society through the meshes of your nerves, and find perhaps one good friendship too large to pass through.

It is a very beautiful world; the ugliness of some humanity only exists as the shadowing that outlines the view; the nobility of man and the goodness of woman can only be felt by those who know the possibilities of degradation and corruption. Philosophically I am simply a follower of Spencer, whose mind gives me the greatest conception of Divinity I can yet expand to receive. The faultiness is not with the world, but with myself. I inherit certain susceptibilities, weaknesses, sensitivenesses, which render it impossible to adapt myself to the ordinary milieu; I have to make one of my own wherever I go, and never mingle with that already made. True, I love much knowledge, but I escape pains which, in spite of all your own knowledge, you could wholly comprehend, for the simple reason that you can mingle with men.

I am really quite lonesome for you, and am reflecting how much more lonesome I shall be in some outrageous equatorial country where I shall not see you any more;—also it seems to me perfectly and inexplainably atrocious to know that some day or other there will be no Gooley at —— St. That I should cease to make a shadow some day seems quite natural, because Hearney boy is only a bubble anyhow ("The earth hath bubbles"),—but you, hating mysteries and seeing and feeling and knowing everything,—you have no right ever to die at all. And I can't help doubting whether you will. You have almost made me believe what you do not believe yourself: that there are souls. I haven't any, I know; but I think you have,—something electrical and luminous inside you that will walk about and see things always. Are you really—what I see of you—only an Envelope of [Pg 11] something subtler and perpetual? Because if you are, I might want you to pass down some day southward,—over the blue zone and the volcanic peaks like a little wind,—and flutter through the palm-plumes under the all-putrefying sun,—and reach down through old roots to the bones of me, and try to raise me up....

The weakness and even exhaustion which the West Indian climate had wrought in Hearn were painfully apparent. His stay in Philadelphia, warm as that summer was to us, brought him speedily back to physical health. The lesson was not unheeded, nor its implications, by his sensitive mind.

I reproduce two photographs of Hearn: the first taken in 1888 (facing page 61); and the second, by Mr. Gutekunst, at my urgent solicitation, in 1889, while Hearn was stopping at my house (Frontispiece).

The first photograph, taken in Martinique, brings out the habitual sadness and lack of vivacity in his physiognomy. In my picture of 1889 (the second) I was unable, despite all effort, to get Hearn to present to the camera his entire face with naturally open eyes, and the customary expression. He resolutely refused, and consented to the compromise of a two-thirds view with closed eyes. And this to me is still the most truthful and hence the most expressive of all his photographs. It is so suggestive because of its negations, so expressive because non-expressive. But it indicates, silently and by inference, the most significant fact about the man.

To those who are expert in such things, the stare of the highly myopic eye is known to be not that of mental action and seeing, but of not seeing. When we walk, we are forward-looking beings, and what goes on within the eye or brain and what may be behind us is totally ignored. But for a highly myopic person there is no outward or forward looking. Hearn's closed eye gives, therefore, a decidedly more truthful lesson in physiognomy than does the open [Pg 12] and protruding one, which cannot see the coming or future scene, or which sees it so vaguely that its hint of the scene is perhaps more useless than the imagined picture of the totally blind. His inability to see the presenting world had resulted in a renunciation of outlook and an absolute incuriosity as to the future. With weaklings this might have brought about introspection, the mental eye—the product of the physical eye—turned in upon itself. Hearn was too much of an artist to fall into that Death Valley of all æsthetics, and there was a quick acceptance of the logical and inevitable, whence arose the wonder of poetic retrospection.

[Pg 13]


[Pg 14] WHEN Hearn arrived in Cincinnati, in 1871 or 1872, he was twenty-one or twenty-two years of age. All other methods of making a livelihood except that by his pen had failed, or were soon to fail, and it is not long before the literary way is exclusively and permanently adopted. There was a brief first time of service with Robert Clarke and Company as proof-reader. The exact uses of punctuation, the clearness which the proper marks give to writing, soon earned for him the sobriquet "Old Semicolon" among his fellow reporters. All his life Hearn clung meticulously to his theories concerning the necessity and precise rules of punctuation. Some of his later quarrels with periodical editors and proof-readers arose from differences of opinion in these things. There was a short engagement of Hearn by the librarian, Mr. Thomas Vickers, as private secretary or helper. Among his early friends was a printer, Mr. Henry Watkin, now residing at 1312 McMillan Street, who was kind to him, and who taught him to set type.

"In 1874," Mr. O. P. Caylor[3] writes, "Col. Cockerill of the World was managing editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer. A few weeks previous to the 'Tan-Yard Murder' Mr. Hearn came to the Enquirer office to sell a manuscript. Upstairs he ventured, but there his courage failed him. It was not enough to induce him to brave the awful editorial presence. So he paced up and down the hall with his velvet restless tread until the awful door opened and the terrible giant came forth. Hearn would, no doubt, have run away had he not been at the rear of the hall when Mr. Cockerill came out into the other end, and the stairway was between.

[3] A quotation in the Author, January 15, 1890, from an article by Mr. Caylor in the Philadelphia North American.

"Thus it occurred that the author of 'Chita' submitted his first manuscript. He came with others later, but never [Pg 15] could he persuade himself to knock at that editorial door for admission. Up and down, up and down the hall he would pace or glide until Colonel Cockerill came forth, whether the time consumed in waiting was ten minutes or two hours."

In Current Literature, June, 1896, Colonel John A. Cockerill, writing of Hearn, tells the story thus:

"Some twenty years ago I was the editor in charge of a daily newspaper in a Western city. One day there came to my office a quaint, dark-skinned little fellow, strangely diffident, wearing glasses of great magnifying power and bearing with him evidence that Fortune and he were scarce on nodding terms.

"In a soft, shrinking voice he asked if I ever paid for outside contributions. I informed him that I was somewhat restricted in the matter of expenditure, but that I would give consideration to what he had to offer. He drew from under his coat a manuscript, and tremblingly laid it upon my table. Then he stole away like a distorted brownie, leaving behind him an impression that was uncanny and indescribable.

"Later in the day I looked over the contribution which he had left. I was astonished to find it charmingly written....

"He sat in the corner of my room and wrote special articles for the Sunday edition as thoroughly excellent as anything that appeared in the magazines of those days. I have known him to have twelve and fifteen columns of this matter in a single issue of the paper. He was delighted to work, and I was pleased to have him work, for his style was beautiful and the tone he imparted to the newspaper was considerable. Hour after hour he would sit at his table, his great bulbous eyes resting as close to the paper as his nose would permit, scratching away with beaver-like diligence and giving me no more annoyance than a bronze ornament.

[Pg 16] "His eyes troubled him greatly in those days. He was as sensitive as a flower. An unkind word from anybody was as serious to him as a cut from a whiplash, but I do not believe he was in any sense resentful.... He was poetic, and his whole nature seemed attuned to the beautiful, and he wrote beautifully of things which were neither wholesome nor inspiring. He came to be in time a member of the city staff at a fair compensation, and it was then that his descriptive powers developed. He loved to write of things in humble life. He prowled about the dark corners of the city, and from gruesome places he dug out charming idyllic stories. The negro stevedores on the steamboat-landings fascinated him. He wrote of their songs, their imitations, their uncouth ways, and he found picturesqueness in their rags, poetry in their juba dances."

In January or February, 1874, there was a horrible murder, "the famous Tan-Yard case," in Cincinnati, and Hearn's account of it in the Enquirer, from the newspaper and reportorial standpoint was so graphic and so far beyond the power of all rivals that he was henceforth assured of employment and of a measure and kind of respect. His friend, Mr. Edward Henderson, formerly city editor of the Commercial, now City Clerk in Cincinnati, says that because of his startling report of this murder "his city editors kept him at the most arduous work of a daily morning paper—the night-stations, for in that field mostly developed the sensational events that were worthy of his pen. In these days his powers would be held in reserve to write up what others should discover.... His repertory was strongest in the unusual and the startling. He was never known to shirk hardship or danger in filling an assignment or following up his self-obtained pointer."

The beginning of Hearn's literary career was his report of the Tan-Yard Murder case. It was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, November, 1874. I shall quote some [Pg 17] parts of it in a footnote to illustrate his innate and studied ability to outfit with words and expressions of the most startling and realistic picturing quality, the most horrible and loathsome facts. Keeping in mind the comparison with the illustrations from his later work in which he was equally capable of painting noble and beautiful things (all except those of a spiritual or religious nature), one is filled with admiration of a faculty so rare and perfect. Those who are sensitive should not read the excerpts which I append, and which are given in obedience to a sense of duty.[4]

[4] "An Enquirer reporter visited the establishment some hours later, accompanied by Dr. Maley, and examined all so far discovered of Herman Schilling's charred corpse. The hideous mass of reeking cinders, despite all the efforts of the brutal murderers to hide their ghastly crime, remain sufficiently intact to bear frightful evidence against them.

"On lifting the coffin-lid, a powerful and penetrating odour, strongly resembling the smell of burnt beef, yet heavier and fouler, filled the room and almost sickened the spectators. But the sight of the black remains was far more sickening. Laid upon the clean white lining of the coffin, they rather resembled great shapeless lumps of half-burnt bituminous coal than aught else at the first hurried glance; and only a closer investigation could enable a strong-stomached observer to detect their ghastly character—masses of crumbling human bones, strung together by half-burnt sinews, or glued one upon another by a hideous adhesion of half-molten flesh, boiled brains and jellied blood, mingled with coal.

"The skull had burst like a shell in the fierce furnace heat, and the whole upper portion seemed as though it had been blown out by the steam from the boiling and bubbling brains. Only the posterior portion of the occipital and parietal bones, and the inferior and superior maxillary, and some of the face bones remained,—the upper portion of the skull bones being jagged, burnt brown in some spots, and in others charred to black ashes. The brain had all boiled away, save a small waste lump at the base of the skull about the size of a lemon. It was crisped and still warm to the touch. On pushing the finger through the crisp, the interior felt about the consistency of banana fruit, and the yellow fibre seemed to writhe like worms in the Coroner's hands. The eyes were cooked to bubbled crisps in the blackened sockets, and the bones of the nose were gone, leaving a hideous hole.

"So covered were the jaws and the lower facial bones with coal, crusted blood and gummy flesh, that the Coroner at first supposed that the lower maxillary had been burned away. On tearing away the frightful skull-mask of mingled flesh and coal and charred gristle, however, the grinning teeth shone ghastly white, and the jaws were found intact. They were set together so firmly that it was found impossible to separate them, without reducing the whole mass to ashes. So great had been the heat that the Coroner was able to crumble one of the upper teeth in his fingers.

"Besides the fragments of the skull, have been found six ribs of the right side and four of the left; the middle portion of the spinal-column; the liver, spleen, and kidneys; the pelvic bones, the right and left humerus, the femoral bone and the tibia and fibula of both legs. The body had burnt open at the chest, and the heart and lungs had been entirely consumed. The liver had been simply roasted and the kidneys fairly fried. There is a horrible probability that the wretched victim was forced into the furnace alive, and suffered all the agonies of the bitterest death man can die, while wedged in the flaming flue. The teeth were so terribly clinched that more than one spectator of the hideous skull declared that only the most frightful agony could have set those jaws together. Perhaps, stunned and disabled by the murderous blows of his assailants, the unconscious body of the poor German was forced into the furnace. Perhaps the thrusts of the assassin's pitchfork, wedging him still further into the fiery hell, or perhaps the first agony of burning when his bloody garments took fire, revived him to meet the death of flames. Fancy the shrieks for mercy, the mad expostulation, the frightful fight for life, the superhuman struggle for existence—a century of agony crowded into a moment—the shrieks growing feebler—the desperate struggle dying into feeble writhings. And through it all, the grim murderers, demoniacally pitiless, devilishly desperate, gasping with their exertions to destroy a poor human life, looking on in silent triumph, peering into the furnace until the skull exploded, and the steaming body burst, and the fiery flue hissed like a hundred snakes! It may not be true—we hope for humanity's sake it cannot be true; but the rightful secrets of that fearful night are known only to the criminals and their God. They may be brought to acknowledge much; but surely never so much as we have dared to hint at."

[Pg 18] "When his city editor, in compliance with the urgency of a steeple-climber, consented to send a reporter to take observations of the city from the top of the cross surmounting the spire of St. Peter's Cathedral in Cincinnati, Hearn was the man selected. In mentioning the assignment to him, the city editor handed him a valuable field-glass, with the suggestion that he might find it useful. On taking his departure with the climbers, Hearn quietly handed back the glasses with the remark in undertone, 'Perhaps I'd better not take these; something might happen.' He made the trip to the top of the spire, though the men found it necessary to haul him part of the way in mid-air and to bodily place and hold him on top of the cross. And he [Pg 19] produced an account of that thrilling experience that went the round of the newspaper world."[5]

[5] Our wonder at the performance is heightened by the fact that Hearn, of course, saw nothing of what he so vividly described.

It is little wonder that his "Vocabulary of the Gruesome" became famous, since I have learned from his friend and associate, the artist, Mr. Farney, and also from others, certain facts which demonstrate that this vocabulary was gathered not only or chiefly because of the exigencies of his work as a reporter, or to express the revolting in thrilling words, but because he had a spontaneous lickerishness for the things themselves. He positively delighted in the gruesome. With his fingers he dug into the scorched flesh and the exuding brains of the murdered man's body when it was taken from the furnace, and in another murder case he slid on the floor, as if on ice, in the congealed blood of the victim. "He even drank blood at the abattoirs with the consumptives when that craze had fallen upon the people of Cincinnati." There is more than an excuse for mentioning these things; it is necessary to do so in order to understand the origin and transformation of Hearn's chief endowment as a writer.

Even more convincing, perhaps, than these offensive [Pg 20] gloatings as regards his native love of the gruesome, is the unconscious testimony given in the history of an illustrated paper established by Mr. Farney and Mr. Hearn. Mr. Henderson has said of Hearn that "very rarely was he known to throw a soupçon of humour into his work." The newspaper venture demonstrates that even when humour was planned Hearn had none to give.

Number One, Volume One, of Ye Giglampz was issued in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 21, 1874, and describes itself on the title-page as, "A Weekly Illustrated Journal, Devoted to Art, Literature and Satire." The size of the pages was 14-1/2 × 10-3/4 inches. The subsequent issues were larger, about 16 × 11-1/4 inches. There were eight pages in each number, the first, third, fourth and eighth were illustrated by Mr. H. F. Farney; the others were made up of reading matter. The heading of the editorial page did not exactly repeat that of the title-page, but read as follows:

"The Giglampz."

Published Daily, except Week-Days.

Terms, $2.50 per annum.

Address, "Giglampz Publishing Co."

150 West Fourth St.

Reduced First Page of the First Issue.

With the issue of Number Seven (August 2, 1874) appeared a notice that H. F. Farney and Company had purchased the Giglampz from its former proprietors, the new office being henceforth at the North-west corner of Fourth and Race Streets. Number Eight was the last furnished subscribers. Probably the only existing set of this periodical is that kindly lent to me by Mr. Farney at the request of Mr. Alexander Hill of The Robert Clarke Company, Cincinnati. Among the many significant things suggested in looking over the pages, is the fact that this bound file was Hearn's personal copy, his name being written on the cover-leaf by himself—"L. Hearn, 1877"—and [Pg 21] just below, this: "Reminiscences of An Editorship under Difficulties."

It is noteworthy that nowhere is it publicly announced that Hearn was the editor, although the fact was probably an open secret in Cincinnati at the time. The truth of the foregoing inscription in his handwriting is confirmed by the acknowledgment of his authorship of most of the articles, contributed as well as editorial, conveyed by his customary signature, penciled at the end or beginning of each paragraph or column which he had written. The very title of the paper itself was a witness in the same way, and shows that at that time, although Hearn kept his name concealed, he was not, as later, sensitive concerning his ocular defect.[6] It is plain that the word Giglampz refers to the large and conspicuous spectacles or eye-glasses which at that time (not later) were worn habitually by Hearn. The proof of this comes out in the illustration occupying the full first page of the initial number, and entitled:

"A Prospect of Herr Kladderadatsch,


Mr. Giglampz tu ye Publycke."

[6] In the first number is an editorial paragraph, written by Hearn, reading as follows:—"The public has indulged in speculation and no little levity, in regard to our name. In this as in the future conduct of this extraordinary sheet, we seek only to please ourselves. Whether the Publishing Company will declare 'Irish Dividends' in six months, or not, does not concern us. We (the editorial corps) being on a salary, look on public favour with serene indifference. The name pleases us. We look upon it in the light of a conundrum, calculated to induce reflection in simple minds. We hope some one may solve it, as we have incontinently given it up."

The scene is that of the stage of a theatre, and Kladderadatsch proudly presents Mr. Giglampz to the wildly applauding audience. The head of the obsequious Mr. Giglampz is very large compared with his body, but most [Pg 22] conspicuous is the enormous pince-nez astride a nose of fitting proportions. Mr. Farney was even permitted to give a mere hint of the editor's facial expression.

A curious and suggestive, even a pathetic, light is thrown upon Hearn's character by the fact that this personal file of his journal with his own inscriptions, signatures, etc., was found in a second-hand book-store by Mr. Farney after Hearn left Cincinnati.

Although it is as much too long for our quoting as it was for introducing the journalistic venture, I cannot help reproducing Hearn's first editorial, the "Salutatory, By a Celebrated French Author, a Friend of Giglampz":

It was a dark and fearsome night in the month of June, 1874; and the pavements of Fourth Street were abandoned to solitude.

The lamps, dripping huge water-drops fire-tinged from their lurid glare, seemed monstrous yellow goblin-eyes, weeping phosphorescent tears.

It was raining, and the funereal sky flamed with lightning. It was such a rain as in the primeval world created verdant seas of slimy mud, subsequently condensed into that fossiliferous strata where to-day spectacled geologists find imbedded the awful remains of the titanic iguanodon, the plesiosaurus, and the icthyosaurus.

We sat motionlessly meditative in the shadows of a Gothic doorway of medieval pattern, and ruefully observed the movements of a giant rat, slaking his thirst at a water-spout. Suddenly we were aware of a pressure—a gentle pressure on our shoulder.

A hurried glance convinced us that the pressure was occasioned by the presence of a hand.

It was a long, bony, ancient hand, dried and withered to the consistency of India-rubber. It might have been compared to the hand of a mummy embalmed in the reign of Rameses III, but we felt a living warmth in its pressure, penetrating our summer linen.

The Oriental wizards occasionally need the assistance of a magic candle, in their groping amid ancient tombs—a candle which burns with a fuming stench so foul, that hungry ghouls flee dismayedly away. This candle is made of green fat—the fat of men long dead. For such a candle it is of course necessary to have a candlestick. To procure this candlestick it is necessary to cut off the right hand of a murderous criminal executed by impalement, and having carefully [Pg 23] dried it, to insert the candle in its ghastly grasp. Now the hand laid on our shoulder strongly resembled such a hand.

The living warmth of its pressure alone restrained us from uttering a shriek of hideous fear. A cold sweat ravaged the starched bosom of our under-garment.

Suddenly a face peered out from the shadow, and the sickly glare of the flickering gas-lamp fell full upon it.

The aspect of that face immediately reassured us.

It was long to grotesqueness and meagre even to weirdness. It would have been strongly Mephistophelic but for an air of joviality that was not wholly saturnine. The eyes were deep, piercing, but "laughter-stirred," as those of Haroun Alraschid. The nose was almost satanically aquiline, but its harsh outline was more than relieved by the long smiling mouth, and the countless wrinkles of merriment that intersected one another in crow's-feet all over the ancient face. The stranger's complexion was that of caout-chouc; and his long lank locks were blacker than the plumage of those yellow-footed birds that prey upon the dead. His whole aspect was that of one who, by some eerie, occult art of self-preservation, had been enabled to live through the centuries.

"Am I not addressing the celebrated author——?" said the voice of the uncouthly-featured.

It was a half-merry, half-mocking voice—a deep voice that sounded as though conveyed from a vast distance through the medium of a pneumatic tube.

It therefore resembled in its tone the dreamily-distant voices never-slumbering Fancy hears in the hours devoted to darkness and slumber by moral people.

An enormous drop of soot-tinged water fell upon our nose, incontestably proving that we were awake; and we murmured monosyllabic assent to the stranger's query.

"It is well," replied the Unknown, with a latitudinarian smile of joy. "I have been seeking you. I need your assistance, your talent, your mental vigour so enormously manifested in your cyclopean[7] phrenological development."

[7] The contrast of this allusion to his large single eye with his morbid shyness about it of late years is noteworthy.

"Sapristi, monsieur!—permit me to inquire the nature of——"

"Attend a little, friend, and your curiosity shall be sated with ample satisfaction. I have existed as you see through all ages. I have lived under a thousand alias names, under the various régimes of a thousand civilizations, which flourished on ancient soil now [Pg 24] covered by the mile-deep waters of foaming oceans. I have made my dwelling-place in the mighty palace-halls of Egyptian kings, in the giant cities of dead Assyria, in the residences of Aztec monarchs and Peruvian Incas, in the snow-columned temples of the Greek, and the lordly homes of the luxurious Roman. In fact, I am rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun; and have been worshipped as a genius in far-sparkling planets ere this mundane sphere was first evolved from that flaming orb. In all time when individualized intelligent thought existed, I have inculcated in living beings the truth of that sublime and eternal maxim—Laugh and grow fat. To-day men must be taught this glorious truth by the Bullock Press rather than the Tongue. I want your pen, not your tongue. Write me a salutatory for my new illustrated weekly—only five cents a copy."

With these words he pressed a glazed Bristol-board card into our trembling hand, and disappeared.

By the light of the weeping street-lamps we read thereon this weird legend:


The title itself, the Introduction by "Kladderadatsch," and the character of the contributions and cuts make it plain that the third object of the publication, called "Satire," was designed to be much more prominent than "Art" or "Literature." Unquestionably an American Kladderadatsch was planned, and by Hearn and his friends it was supposed that the editor had a sense of humour sufficient to carry on the undertaking. I have quoted the Salutatory to show that with the favouring of youth, ambition, opportunity and the best encouragement, Hearn's mind from the first line drifted inevitably to the fearsome, the weird, the unearthly and far-away. By no power or necessity could his imagination be forced or bound to the task of producing things comic or even satiric, especially such humour and jokes as the Cincinnati newspaper reader wanted in 1874. Of the twelve columns of reading in the first number of Giglampz, Hearn contributed about eight, made up of fifteen or twenty distinct paragraphs. In the second number his contributions number seven; in the [Pg 25] third, six; in the fourth, three; in the fifth, four; in the sixth, two; in the seventh, one; in the eighth, one. In about a dozen of the first number, he somewhat unsuccessfully tried to be humorous or satiric, while six were frankly tragical, critical, bitter, etc. In the succeeding numbers Hearn made little effort to be humorous; in the fifth number he describes with startling power a picture of "a hideous scene in the interior of a seraglio;" in number six he returns to the Orient and in "The Fantasy of a Fan" mixes poetry, prose and fancy with a hinting of the subtle soft witchery of the Hearn of twenty-five years later.[8] In the second number is a full-page cut, in which Beecher is depicted as standing before a crowd of jeerers prior to being placed in the stocks, with the scarlet letter "A" upon his breast. Hearn especially requested Mr. Farney to make him one of the conspicuous spectators. The bespectacled face is easily recognizable in the copy given me by the artist. In the seventh number Hearn describes in two columns the story he supposes behind the pictured Gabriel Max, called "The Last Farewell" (now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York). It shows so early suggestions of the manhood strength of the wordmaster that I copy it:

[8] Mr. Farney tells me that he had to compel Hearn, even then, to moderate the boldness of sentences which would by their sensualism and licence shock their Cincinnati readers.


"Butchered to make a Roman Holiday"

The remarkably fine engraving from Gabriel Max's picture, "The Last Farewell," in a late issue of the Berlin Illustrirte Zeitung (and which the New York Graphic a few days since stole to spoil in the stealing), is worthy of the celebrated original at Munich—a painting which will never be forgotten by those who have once beheld it. [Pg 26] Among modern painters, probably Max has no superior in the art of harmoniously blending the horrible with the pathetic; and in none of his works is this peculiar power exhibited to better advantage than in "The Last Farewell:" a marvel of colour and composition, one of those rare pictures which seem to reflect the living shadows of a dead age with the weird truthfulness of a wizard's mirror.

A beautiful Roman girl is exposed in the Flavian amphitheatre, to be devoured by wild beasts. She can scarcely be eighteen years old, judging from the slender delicacy of her limbs and the childish sweetness of the pretty little brown face which she has vainly been striving to screen from the rude gaze of the shameless populace with the remnants of a rich black veil—probably torn by the rough hands of some brutal lanista. She leans with her back to the great wall of stone, calmly awaiting her fate without any signs of fear, although the hot, foul breath of a panther is already warm upon her naked feet. To her right, but a few feet away, a leopard and a huge bear are tearing each other to pieces; on her left, another den has just been thrown open, and at its entrance appears the hideous head of an immense tiger, with eyes that flame like emeralds.

You can almost feel the warmth of the fierce summer sun shining on that scene of blood and crime, falling on the yellow sands of the arena, drying the dark pools of human blood the wild beasts have left unlapped. You can almost hear the deep hum of a hundred thousand voices above, and the hideous growlings of the contending brutes below. You wonder whether there is one heart in all that vast crowd of cruel spectators wherein some faint impulse of humanity still lingers, one tongue charitable enough to exclaim:

"Poor little thing!"

No: only wicked whispers followed by coarse laughter; monstrous indifference in the lower tiers, brutal yells of bloodthirsty impatience from the upper seats.

Two Roman knights relieve the monotony of the scene by strange speculation.

"One hundred sesterces that the tiger gets her first!"

"Two hundred on the panther!"

"Done, by the gods! Where are the lions?"

"Why, that cursed barbarian killed the last three this morning, one after another. The finest lions of the lot, too."

"Who are you talking about?—that tall, dark Thracian?"

"No: he was killed the day before by the same gladiator that killed the lions. I mean that golden-haired giant—that Goth. Says he was chief in his own country, or something. He's killed everybody and everything pitted against him so far. And this morning they put [Pg 27] him naked in the arena, with nothing but a mirmillo's shield, and a sword; and let the lions loose on him one after another. I bet a thousand sesterces on that little Numidian lion; but the rascal killed him as he sprang, with one sword-thrust, and I lost my thousand sesterces. By Hercules, that Goth is a match for a dozen lions!"

"Brave fellow, by all the gods! Did they give him the wooden sword?"

"Julius Cortonus says they did. I didn't stay to see the rest of the games, for I was too angry about my thousand sesterces."

"Furies take that tiger!—I believe the brute's afraid of the girl!"

"Why, it is madness to throw such a fine-limbed girl as that to the lions!" cries a Greek merchant, lately arrived in Rome. "Eyes and hair, by Zeus, like Venus Anadyomene. I could sell her for a fortune in a slave-market."

"Aedepol! not in a Roman slave-market, you fool. Why, I've known Lucullus to throw better-looking girls than that into his fishpond, to fatten his lampreys with. May Cerberus swallow that cursed tiger!"

The tiger has not yet moved; his vast head and flaming green eyes are just visible at the door of the den. The leopard and the bear are still tearing one another. The panther is gradually, stealthily, noiselessly approaching the poor, helpless girl.

Suddenly a fresh, bright-red rose is thrown from the seats above: it is the last earthly greeting, the last farewell token of some old friend—perhaps a brother, perhaps (O God!) a lover! It falls on the blood-stained sand, shattering itself in perfumed ruin at the maiden's feet.

She starts as the red leaves scatter before her. She advances from the wall, and boldly withdrawing the fragments of her poor, torn veil, looks up into the mighty sea of pitiless visages—looks up with her sweet, childish, cherry-lipped face, and those great, dark, softly sad Roman eyes—to thank him by a last look of love. "Who can it be?"

No one the maiden knows. She only sees a seemingly endless row of cruel and sensual faces, the faces of the wild beast populace of Rome,—the faces which smile at the sight of a living human body, torn limb from limb by lions, and scattered over the sands in crimson shreds of flesh....

Suddenly a terrible yet friendly eye meets and rivets the gaze of her own—an eye keen and coldly-blue as a blade of steel. A sternly handsome Northern face it is, with flowing yellow hair. For an instant [Pg 28] the iron lips seem to soften in a smile of pity, and the keen blue eyes become brighter. So do the soft dark ones they meet in that piteous farewell.

She has found her unknown friend.

... A crash—a fierce growl—a faint, helpless cry—a spray of warm, bright blood.

"Ah, Caius! you've lost your hundred sesterces. The Fates are against you to-day!"

"Curse the Fates! Did you see the fool who threw her the rose?"

"That great tall Titan of a fellow, with the yellow hair?"

"Yes. That's the Goth."

"What! the gladiator who killed the lions?"

"The same who won his freedom this morning. See! the fool's wiping his eyes now. These Goths can fight like Hercules, but they whine like sick women when a girl is hurt. They think up in the North that women are to be worshipped like the immortal gods. I wish they'd make the great red-headed brute go down and kill that cursed tiger!"

Hearn's single contribution to the last number of the fated Giglampz was a four-column retelling of "the weird story of Loki's evil children from the strange folk-lore of Ancient Scandinavia."

It was thus blood, sensualism and fiendishness that still aroused Hearn's interest when not only not compelled to the choice, but when they were contraindicated and wholly illogical. But it was all a little less revolting, less real, more artistic, than the tan-yard reporting, and it was drawn from more remote sources. Mr. Henderson suggests the same when he writes:

"But it was not in this slavery for a living even to crush out of him the determination to advance and excel. In the small hours of morning, into broad daylight, after the rough work of the police rounds and the writing of perhaps columns, in his inimitable style, he could be seen, under merely a poor jet of gas, with his one useful eye close to [Pg 29] book and manuscript, translating 'One of Cleopatra's Nights.' ...

"An Oriental warmth and glow pervaded him. While his lines were hard ones in the grime and soot and trying weather of Cincinnati, from which his frail body shrank continually, his trend of thought was largely tropical. Perhaps he saw beyond the dusky faces, rolling eyes and broad noses of the people of the Cincinnati levee, the mixed people of the West Indies and the beautiful little ones of Japan, with whom he was destined to live before long. However that may be, his greatest pleasure, after a translation from Gautier or an original tragedy where he could in his masterful way use his vocabulary of the gruesome, was to study and absorb the indolent, sensuous life of the negro race, as he found it in Cincinnati and New Orleans, and to steep them in a sense of romance that he alone could extract from the study. Things that were common to these people in their everyday life, his vivid imagination transformed into a subtle melody of romance. The distant booming upon the midnight air of a river steamer's whistle was for him the roustabout's call to his waiting mistress at the landing, and his fruitful pen drew the picture of their watching and coming and meeting."

The words indolent and sensuous life are also significant. The tropics, their fatalism and the kind of life there lived were drawing him with secret but irresistible force. Now begins to mix with and mollify the gruesome a softer element, also Oriental, or what is much the same thing, tropical—sympathy with and study of the simple and unlettered, those who are the improvident slaves of fate, thoughtless impulse or heedless desire. To them, as we shall see, Hearn's mind turned more and more. His was essentially an Oriental mind and heart, an exotic weed (and weeds may become the loveliest of flowers) dropped by some migrating bird upon the strange crabbed soil of [Pg 30] the crudest of Occidentalism. Never did Hearn stop yearning for the warmth, the fatalism and the laziness of tropic semi-barbarism. The gruesome was not being killed, but was being modified and tamed by civilization.

Hearn had been discharged from the Commercial, where his salary was $25 a week, "on an ethical point of policy which need not be discussed here. The Commercial took him on at $22." Judge M. F. Wilson, of Cincinnati, tells me that his discharge was caused by his seeking a licence for and an open marriage with a coloured woman. The licence was refused, because illegal at that time. The law was repealed a little later. The marriage did not take place.[9]

[9] Mr. George Mortimer Roe, at that time a friend of Hearn, now living at Long Beach, California, writes me: "Hearn was quite persistent in his efforts to persuade me to assist him in getting the licence, but I told him I could not aid him in his ambition to be guilty of miscegenation. For many years we had been the best of friends, but from that time on he always avoided me, scarcely speaking to me if by accident we did meet."

Mr. Henderson continues thus:

"As Hearn advanced in his power to write, the sense of the discomforts of his situation in Cincinnati grew upon him. His body and mind longed for the congeniality of southern air and scenes. One morning, after the usual hard work of an unusually nasty winter night in Cincinnati, in a leisure hour of conversation, he heard an associate on the paper describe a scene in a Gulf State. It was something about a grand old mansion of an antebellum cotton prince, with its great white columns, its beautiful private drive down to the public road, whitewashed negro-quarters stretching away in the background, in the distance some cypress and live-oaks and Spanish moss, and close by a grove of magnolias with their delightful odours and the melody of mocking-birds in the early sunlight. Hearn took in every word of this, though he had little to say at [Pg 31] the time, with great keenness of interest, as shown by the dilation of his nostrils. It was as though he could see and hear and smell the delights of the scene. Not long after this, on leaving Cincinnati for New Orleans, he remarked: 'I have lost my loyalty to this paper, and change was inevitable. Perhaps it isn't so much the lack of opportunity here or a lack of appreciation of associations as this beastly climate. I seem to shrivel up in this alternation of dampness, heat and cold. I had to go sooner or later, but it was your description of the sunlight and melodies and fragrance and all the delights with which the South appeals to the senses that determined me. I shall feel better in the South and I believe I shall do better.'"

Some of his Cincinnati acquaintances speak of his obsequious, even fawning, manner ("timid and feline of approach," says Henderson), of his "washing his hands with invisible water"—characteristics not dictated by the parentage ascribed to him, not consonant with his photographs, and not wholly with his gruesome traits. He wore heavy myopic spectacles at this time, not to see (because they were wholly discarded later), but probably in order not to be seen—i.e. to hide the double deformity of his eyes. One must remember that with or without spectacles the world a foot or two away was much of a mystery to Hearn, and that one fears a surely existent and near-by mystery. One approaches it or comes within its power with doubt, dislike and caution. The play of facial expression was not to be seen by Hearn. All Uriah Heeps may not be myopic, but all highly myopic persons will have slow, stealthy, careful, even catlike attitudes and manners; every step they take must be done with hesitation, bowed head and great care, in order not to fall or stumble against something. The wholly blind walk with more decision and quickness. Of course this slow, soft carefulness of manner, "the velvet feline step," was Hearn's [Pg 32] all his life. It followed inexorably that, though possessed of a healthy and athletic body, there was possible for him no athletics which required accuracy of sight or sequent precision and celerity of movement. That with good eyes he would have been an utterly different man in character and in literature, is as certain as that he would have had a very different manner, movement and style of physical existence. With good eyes he would have been strong, athletic, bold, as is admirably illustrated by the fact that in the single sport in which little vision was required—swimming—he was most expert, and that he enjoyed this exercise to the fullest degree.

To scale a steeple in order to describe the city from that unusual point of view was a task worthy of yellow journalism which cared little for accuracy but much for "scare" headlines. Hearn saw little or nothing of the city, of course.

The only letters written during the Cincinnati period, known to exist, are those of 1876, called, "Letters to a Lady," published in the volume, Letters from the Raven, Milton Bronner, editor.[10] One other work, the origins of which date from this period, is "One of Cleopatra's Nights," and with this is demonstrated the beginning of the influence of the modern French school of story-writers. Hearn was tiring of the worst brutality and coarseness of Occidentalism, and seeking a way to the true home of his mind. The ghastly must become the ghostly. The Frenchman's art was to become his half-way house.

[10] Brentano's, 1907.

[Pg 33]


[Pg 34] I HAVE somewhere read of a nomad child of the desert, born and rocked upon a camel, who was ever thereafter incapable of resting more than a day in one place. Whether or not the wandering father gave the homeless son his illogical spirit of unrest, matters less than that Hearn had it to a morbid degree. Any place rather than Cincinnati would have been better for the happiness and success of the emigrating boy, but his relatives had ridded themselves of the burden by assenting to his wish. Excepting that to Japan, the only sensible move he made was from Cincinnati toward the tropics, to the half-way house thither—New Orleans. The desire to seek the au delà was present, his friends tell me, throughout the stay in Cincinnati. Perhaps the single city in the world which would satisfy his dream more nearly than could any other, was New Orleans. Being psychologically for the most part of degenerate Latin stock, and especially of the French variety, with the requisite admixture of exotic and tropical barbarism; bathed, but not cooked, in the hot and brilliant sunshine he loved and hated; touched and energized by too little Teutonic blood and influence, New Orleans offered to the unhappy man the best possible surroundings for the growth of his talents. Adding to this fortunate concensus of circumstance and partly a corollary of it was the most fortunate of all accidents that could have occurred to him—that is, the existence of a daily newspaper such as the Times-Democrat; of a paying mass of subscribers relishing Hearn's translations from the most artistic French writers of the short-story; and, most important of all, the presence on the bridge of the noble Captain of the Newspaper enterprise, the veteran editor, Mr. Page M. Baker. One shudders to think what would have been Hearn's later career had it not been for the guidance and help of this wise, sympathetic and magnanimous friend. For the one thing needed by Hearn in those who would be his friends rather than their [Pg 35] own was magnanimity. It was his frequent misfortune in life to come under the influence of those as incapable of true unselfishness and real kindness as it was natural for them to be cunning and to use an assumed friendship for hidden flatteries and purposes of their own. Most of these would not have dreamed of associating with the man for any reason other than to stand in the reflected light of his literary fame. Most of them had as little care for his poetic prose, and as little appreciation or knowledge of good literature as they had of "the enclitic de." They had no magnanimity, only wile instead of it. As Hearn was also deprived of large-mindedness in all affairs of the world, he was unhappily prone to accept the offered bribe. He wanted above all things to be flattered and to do as his imperious impulses and weak will suggested. Any one who recognized these things in him and seconded the follies, remained his permitted "friend," but those who withstood them in the least and ran counter to his morbid trends and resolves—these were speedily "dropped," and insulted or grieved to silence. If they had magnanimity, they bore with the man in pity and answered his insults with kind words and kinder deeds. They recognized that they were responsible not to the man but to the carrier of a great talent, and although they might not forget, they gladly forgave, if possibly they might speed him on his predestined way.

Of this number was Baker. Directly or indirectly through him, came a long and happy period of life; came the congenial, educating work, without slavery, of the translations and other easy reportorial services. Of equal importance were the financial rewards. Before and after the New Orleans time not the least of Hearn's misfortunes was his intolerable and brutalizing improvidence and impecuniousness. Under Baker's friendship he came to what for such a person was affluence and independence. He found leisure [Pg 36] to read and study and think outside of the journalistic pale, and better still, perhaps,—better to his thinking, at least—he secured the means to indulge his life-long desire for curious and out-of-the-way books. During this time it grew to consciousness with him that in everything, except as regards his beloved Art, he had a little learned to recognize the worth of money.

But within him grew ever stronger the plague of the unsatisfied, the sting of unrest, and he was compelled to obey. In a letter to me from Martinique, after he had recognized his mistake, he admits and explains as follows:

I seldom have a chance now to read or speak English; and English phrases that used to seem absolutely natural already begin to look somewhat odd to me. Were I to continue to live here for some years more, I am almost sure that I should find it difficult to write English. The resources of the intellectual life are all lacking here,—no libraries, no books in any language;—a mind accustomed to discipline becomes like a garden long uncultivated, in which the rare flowers return to their primitive savage forms, or are smothered by rank, tough growths which ought to be pulled up and thrown away. Nature does not allow you to think here, or to study seriously, or to work earnestly: revolt against her, and with one subtle touch of fever she leaves you helpless and thoughtless for months.

But she is so beautiful, nevertheless, that you love her more and more daily,—that you gradually cease to wish to do aught contrary to her local laws and customs. Slowly, you begin to lose all affection for the great Northern nurse that taught you to think, to work, to aspire. Then, after a while, this nude, warm, savage, amorous Southern Nature succeeds in persuading you that labour and effort and purpose are foolish things,—that life is very sweet without them;—and you actually find yourself ready to confess that the aspirations and inspirations born of the struggle for life in the North are all madness,—that they wasted years which might have been delightfully dozed away in a land where the air is always warm, the sea always the colour of sapphire, the woods perpetually green as the plumage of a green parrot.

I must confess I have had some such experiences. It appears to me impossible to resign myself to living again in a great city and in a cold climate. Of course I shall have to return to the States for a while,—a short while, probably;—but I do not think I will ever [Pg 37] settle there. I am apt to become tired of places,—or at least of the disagreeable facts attaching more or less to all places and becoming more and more marked and unendurable the longer one stays. So that ultimately I am sure to wander off somewhere else. You can comprehend how one becomes tired of the very stones of a place,—the odours, the colours, the shapes of Shadows, and the tint of its sky;—and how small irritations become colossal and crushing by years of repetition;—yet perhaps you will not comprehend that one can become weary of a whole system of life, of civilization, even with very limited experience. Such is exactly my present feeling,—an unutterable weariness of the aggressive characteristics of existence in a highly organized society. The higher the social development, the sharper the struggle. One feels this especially in America,—in the nervous centres of the world's activity. One feels it least, I imagine, in the tropics, where it is such an effort just to live, that one has no force left for the effort to expand one's own individuality at the cost of another's. I clearly perceive that a man enamoured of the tropics has but two things to do:—To abandon intellectual work, or to conquer the fascination of Nature. Which I will do will depend upon necessity. I would remain in this zone if I could maintain a certain position here;—to keep it requires means. I can earn only by writing, and yet if I remain a few years more, I will have become (perhaps?) unable to write. So if I am to live in the tropics, as I would like to do, I must earn the means for it in very short order.

I gave up journalism altogether after leaving N. O. I went to Demerara and visited the lesser West Indies in July and August of last year,—returned to New York after three months with some MS.,—sold it,—felt very unhappy at the idea of staying in New York, where I had good offers,—suddenly made up my mind to go back to the tropics by the same steamer that had brought me. I had no commission, resolved to trust to magazine-work. So far I have just been able to scrape along;—the climate numbs mental life, and the inspirations I hoped for won't come. The real—surpassing imagination—whelms the ideal out of sight and hearing. The world is young here,—not old and wise and grey as in the North; and one must not seek the Holy Ghost in it. I suspect that the material furnished by the tropics can only be utilized in a Northern atmosphere. We will talk about it together.

That he never thought to return to New Orleans is demonstrated by the fact that when he left, he shipped his books to another good friend and great editor, Mr. [Pg 38] Alden, to keep for him. When he came to the United States in 1889, he fully intended returning to some tropical land. But it was otherwise ordered, and most fortunately, for a year or two more of life under such conditions would have killed both mind and body.

Upon Hearn's arrival in New Orleans, he began sending a series of charming letters to the Cincinnati Commercial, signed "Ozias Midwinter."[11] They are, indeed, exquisite, and as certainly of a delicacy and beauty which must have made the reader of that time and newspaper wonder what strange sort of a correspondent the editor had secured. The first letter was about Memphis, passed on his way South. I cite some parts to show how the gruesome was merging into or being supplanted by something larger and better, and also to illustrate Hearn's growing interest in colours.

[11] Kindly secured by Mr. Alexander Hill, of Cincinnati, Ohio, from a friend and lent to me.

The stranger, however, is apt to leave Memphis with one charming recollection of the place—the remembrance of the sunset scene from the bluffs across the river over Arkansas. I do not think that any part of the world can offer a more unspeakably beautiful spectacle to the traveller than what he may witness any fair evening from those rugged old bluffs at Memphis. The first time I saw it the day had been perfectly bright and clear,—the blue of the sky was unclouded by the least fleecy stain of white cloud; and the sun descended in the west,—not in a yellow haze, or a crimson fog, but with the splendour of his fiery glory almost undimmed. He seemed to leave no trace of his bright fires behind him; and the sky-blue began to darken into night-purple from the east almost immediately. I thought at first it was one of the least romantic sunsets I had ever seen. It was not until the stars were out, and the night had actually fallen, that I beheld the imperial magnificence of that sunset.

I once thought, when sailing up the Ohio one bright Northern summer, that the world held nothing more beautiful than the scenery of the Beautiful River—those voluptuous hills with their sweet [Pg 39] feminine curves, the elfin gold of that summer haze, and the pale emerald of the river's verdure-reflecting breast. But even the loveliness of the Ohio seemed faded, and the Northern sky-blue palely cold, like the tint of iceberg pinnacles, when I beheld for the first time the splendour of the Mississippi.

"You must come on deck early to-morrow," said the kind Captain of the Thompson Dean; "we are entering the Sugar Country."

So I saw the sun rise over the cane-fields of Louisiana.

It rose with a splendour that recalled the manner of its setting at Memphis, but of another colour;—an auroral flush of pale gold and pale green bloomed over the long fringe of cottonwood and cypress trees, and broadened and lengthened half-way round the brightening world. The glow seemed tropical, with the deep green of the trees sharply cutting against it; and one naturally looked for the feathery crests of cocoanut palms. Then the day broke gently and slowly—a day too vast for a rapid dawn—a day that seemed deep as Space. I thought our Northern sky narrow and cramped as a vaulted church-roof beside that sky—a sky so softly beautiful, so purely clear in its immensity, that it made one dream of the tenderness of a woman's eyes made infinite.

And the giant river broadened to a mile—smooth as a mirror, still and profound as a mountain lake. Between the vastness of the sky and the vastness of the stream, we seemed moving suspended in the midst of day, with only a long, narrow tongue of land on either side breaking the brightness. Yet the horizon never became wholly blue. The green-golden glow lived there all through the day; it was brightest in the south. It was so tropical, that glow;—it seemed of the Pacific, a glow that forms a background to the sight of lagoons and coral reefs and "lands where it is always afternoon."

Below this glow gleamed another golden green, the glory of the waving cane-fields beyond the trees. Huge sugar-mills were breathing white and black clouds into the sky, as they masticated their mighty meal; and the smell of saccharine sweetness floated to us from either shore. Then we glided by miles of cotton-fields with their fluttering white bolls; and by the mouths of broad bayous;—past swamps dark with cypress gloom, where the grey alligator dwells, and the grey Spanish moss hangs in elfish festoons from ancient trees;—past orange-trees and live-oaks, pecans and cottonwoods and broad-leaved bananas; while the green of the landscape ever varied, from a green so dark that it seemed tinged with blue to an emerald so bright that it seemed shot through with gold. The magnificent old mansions of the Southern planters, built after a generous fashion unknown in the North, with broad verandas and deliciously cool porches, and all [Pg 40] painted white or perhaps a pale yellow, looked out grandly across the water from the hearts of shadowy groves; and, like villages of a hundred cottages, the negro quarters dotted the verdant face of the plantation with far-gleaming points of snowy whiteness.

And still that wondrous glow brightened in the south, like a far-off reflection of sunlight on the Spanish Main.

"But it does not look now as it used to in the old slave days," said the pilot, as he turned the great wheel. "The swamps were drained, and the plantations were not overgrown with cottonwood; and somehow or other the banks usen't to cave in then as they do now."

I saw indeed signs of sad ruin on the face of the great plantations; there were splendid houses crumbling to decay, and whole towns of tenantless cabins; estates of immense extent were lying almost unfilled, or with only a few acres under cultivation; and the vigorous cottonwood trees had shot up in whole forests over fields once made fertile by the labour of ten thousand slaves. The scene was not without its melancholy; it seemed tinged by the reflection of a glory passed away—the glory of wealth, and the magnificence of wealth; of riches and the luxury of riches.

O fair paradise of the South, if still so lovely in thy ruin, what must thou have been in the great day of thy greatest glory!

White steamboats, heavily panting under their loads of cotton, came toiling by, and called out to us wild greeting long and shrill, until the pilot opened the lips of our giant boat, and her mighty challenge awoke a thousand phantom voices along the winding shore. Red sank the sun in a sea of fire, and bronze-hued clouds piled up against the light, like fairy islands in a sea of glory, such as were seen, perhaps, by the Adelantado of the Seven Cities.

"Those are not real clouds," said the pilot, turning to the west, his face aglow with the yellow light. "Those are only smoke clouds rising from the sugar mills of Louisiana, and drifting with the evening wind."

The daylight died away and the stars came out, but that warm glow in the southern horizon only paled, so that it seemed a little further off. The river broadened till it looked with the tropical verdure of its banks like the Ganges, until at last there loomed up a vast line of shadows, dotted with points of light, and through a forest of masts and a host of phantom-white river boats and a wilderness of chimneys the Thompson Dean, singing her cheery challenge, steamed up to the mighty levee of New Orleans.

The letters descriptive of New Orleans scenes and life deserve republishing had I space for them here. In a brief [Pg 41] paragraph, a sentence perhaps, almost in a word, is given the photograph, chromatic and vitalized in Hearn's unrivalled picturesque style, of the levees, the shipping, the sugar-landing, the cotton-shipping, the ocean steamers, the strange mixture of peoples from all countries and climes; the architecture, streets, markets, etc. The Vendetta of the Sicilian immigrants is described with a strength and vividness which bear eloquent witness to Hearn's innate pleasure in such themes. There is also shown his beginning the study of Creole character, grammar, and language. A peculiarly striking picture is painted of the new huge cotton-press, as a monster whose jaws open with a low roar to devour the immense bale of cotton and to crush it to a few inches of thickness. I cannot exclude this excerpt:

Do you remember that charming little story, "Père Antoine's Date-Palm," written by Thomas Bailey Aldrich, and published in the same volume with "Marjorie Daw" and other tales?

Père Antoine was a good old French priest, who lived and died in New Orleans. As a boy, he conceived a strong friendship for a fellow student of about his own age, who, in after years, sailed to some tropical island in the Southern Seas, and wedded some darkly beautiful woman, graceful and shapely and tall as a feathery palm. Père Antoine wrote often to his friend, and their friendship strengthened with the years, until death dissolved it. The young colonist died, and his beautiful wife also passed from the world; but they left a little daughter for some one to take care of.

The good priest, of course, took care of her, and brought her up at New Orleans. And she grew up graceful and comely as her mother, with all the wild beauty of the South. But the child could not forget the glory of the tropics, the bright lagoon, the white-crested sea roaring over the coral reef, the royal green of the waving palms, and the beauty of the golden-feathered birds that chattered among them.

So she pined for the tall palms and the bright sea and the wild reef, until there came upon her that strange homesickness which is death; and still dreaming of the beautiful palms, she gradually passed into that great sleep which is dreamless. And she was buried by Père Antoine near his own home.

By and by, above the little mound there suddenly came a gleam of [Pg 42] green; and mysteriously, slowly, beautifully, there grew up towering in tropical grace above the grave, a princely palm. And the old priest knew that it had grown from the heart of the dead child.

So the years passed by, and the roaring city grew up about the priest's home and the palm-tree, trying to push Père Antoine off his land. But he would not be moved. They piled up gold upon his doorsteps and he laughed at them; they went to law with him and he beat them all; and, at last, dying, he passed away true to his trust; for the man who cuts down that palm-tree loses the land that it grows upon.

"And there it stands," says the Poet, "in the narrow, dingy street, a beautiful dreamy stranger, an exquisite foreign lady, whose grace is a joy to the eye, the incense of whose breath makes the air enamoured. May the hand wither that touches her ungently!"

Now I was desirous above all things to visit the palm made famous by this charming legend, and I spent several days in seeking it. I visited the neighbourhood of the old Place d'Armes—now Jackson Square—and could find no trace of it; then I visited the southern quarter of the city, with its numberless gardens, and I sought for the palm among groves of orange-trees overloaded with their golden fruit, amid broad-leaved bananas, and dark cypresses, and fragrant magnolias and tropical trees of which I did not know the names. Then I found many date-palms. Some were quite young, with their splendid crest of leafy plumes scarcely two feet above the ground; others stood up to a height of thirty or forty feet. Whenever I saw a tall palm, I rang the doorbell and asked if that were Père Antoine's date-palm. Alas! nobody had ever heard of the Père Antoine.

Then I visited the ancient cathedral, founded by the pious Don Andre Almonaster, Regidor of New Orleans, one hundred and fifty years ago; and I asked the old French priest whether they had ever heard of the Père Antoine. And they answered me that they knew him not, after having searched the ancient archives of the ancient Spanish Cathedral.

Once I found a magnificent palm, loaded with dates, in a garden on St. Charles Street, so graceful that I felt the full beauty of Solomon's simile as I had never felt it before: "Thy stature is like to a palm-tree." I rang the bell and made inquiry concerning the age of the tree. It was but twenty years old; and I went forth discouraged.

At last, to my exceeding joy, I found an informant in the person of a good-natured old gentleman, who keeps a quaint bookstore in Commercial Place. The tree was indeed growing, he said, in New Orleans Street, near the French Cathedral, and not far from Congo Square; but there were many legends concerning it. Some said it [Pg 43] had been planted over the grave of some Turk or Moor—perhaps a fierce corsair from Algiers or Tunis—who died while sailing up the Mississippi, and was buried on its moist shores. But it was not at all like the other palm-trees in the city, nor did it seem to him to be a date-palm. It was a real Oriental palm; yea, in sooth, such a palm as Solomon spake of in his Love-song of Love-songs.

"I said, I will go up to the palm-tree; I will take hold of the boughs thereof." ...

I found it standing in beautiful loneliness in the centre of a dingy woodshed on the north side of New Orleans Street, towering about forty feet above the rickety plank fence of the yard. The gateway was open, and a sign swung above it bearing the name, "M. Michel." I walked in and went up to the palm-tree. A labourer was sawing wood in the back-shed, and I saw through the windows of the little cottage by the gate a family at dinner. I knocked at the cottage-door, and a beautiful Creole woman opened it.

"May I ask, Madame, whether this palm-tree was truly planted by the Père Antoine?"

"Ah, Monsieur, there are many droll stories which they relate of that tree. There are folks who say that a young girl was interred there, and it is also said that a Sultan was buried under that tree—or the son of a Sultan. And there are also some who say that a priest planted it."

"Was it the Père Antoine, Madame?"

"I do not know, Monsieur. There are people also who say that it was planted here by Indians from Florida. But I do not know whether such trees grow in Florida. I have never seen any other palm-tree like it. It is not a date-palm. It flowers every year, with a beautiful yellow blossom the colour of straw, and the blossoms hang down in pretty curves. Oh, it is very graceful! Sometimes it bears fruit, a kind of oily fruit, but not dates. I am told that they make oil from the fruit of such palms."

I thought it looked so sad, that beautiful tree in the dusty woodyard, with no living green thing near it. As its bright verdant leaves waved against the blue above, one could not but pity it as one would pity some being, fair and feminine and friendless in a strange land. "Oh, c'est bien gracieux," murmured the handsome Creole lady.

"Is it true, Madame, that the owner of the land loses it if he cuts down the tree?"

"Mais oui! But the proprietors of the ground have always respected the tree, because it is so old, so very old!"

Then I found the proprietor of the land, and he told me that when the French troops first arrived in this part of the country they noticed that tree. "Why," I exclaimed, "that must have been in the reign of [Pg 44] Louis XIV!" "It was in 1679, I believe," he answered. As for the Père Antoine, he had never heard of him. Neither had he heard of Thomas Bailey Aldrich. So that I departed, mourning for my dead faith in a romance which was beautiful.

Next to his best Japanese studies, I suspect it will finally come to recognition that Hearn's greatest service to literature is his magnificent series of translations during the New Orleans years. As a translator there were given him his data by creative minds. His own mental equipment prevented creation, and his clearly set limits as a translator added power to his ability and function as a colourist and word-artist. His was almost a unique expertness of entering into the spirit of his models, refeeling their emotions, reimagining their thought and art, and reclothing it with the often somewhat hard and stiff material of English weaving. All of their spirit philologically possible to be conveyed to us, we may be sure he re-presents. For his was the rare power of the instant, the iridescent, the wingèd word. I think it was innate and spontaneous with him, a gift of the inscrutable, illogic, and fantastically generous-niggard Fates. All his studies and conscious efforts were almost unavailing either to hinder or to further its perfection. If to Fate we may not be grateful, we can at least thank the weird lesser gods of life for the mysterious wonder of the gift. The wealth of loving labour silently offered in the 187 or more translations published in the Times-Democrat is marvellous. Hearn brought to my house the loose cuttings from the files, and we got them into some order in "scrapbooks." But the dates of publication and other details are often characteristically wanting. Elsewhere in the present volume the titles, etc., of the stories are listed. Preceded by those of "One of Cleopatra's Nights," they form a body of literary values which should be rescued from the newspaper files and permanently issued in book-form for the pleasure and instruction of [Pg 45] English readers. To do this I have most generously been given permission by Hearn's ever helpful and discriminating friend, Mr. Page M. Baker, editor of the Times-Democrat.

Hearn knew well the difficulties of the translator's art. "One who translates for the love of the original will probably have no reward save the satisfaction of creating something beautiful and perhaps of saving a masterpiece from less reverent hands." So anxious was he to do such work that he was willing to pay the publication expenses. As pertinent, I copy an editorial of his on the subject, which was published in the Times-Democrat, during the period in which he was so busy as a translator:

The New York Nation has been publishing in its columns a number of interesting and severe criticisms upon translations from foreign authors. These translations are generally condemned, and with good specifications of reasons,—notwithstanding the fact that some of them have been executed by persons who have obtained quite a popular reputation as translators. One critic dwells very strongly upon the most remarkable weakness of all the renderings in question;—they invariably fail to convey the colour and grace of the original, even when the meaning is otherwise preserved. Speaking of the translators themselves, the reviewer observes: "There is not one artist among them."

All this is very true; but the writer does not explain the causes of this state of affairs. They are many, no doubt;—the principal fact for consideration being that there is no demand for artistic work in translation. And there is no demand for it, not so much because it is rare and unlikely to be appreciated as because it is dear. Artistic translators cannot afford to work for a song,—neither would they attempt to translate a five-hundred-page novel in three weeks or a month as others do. Again, artistic translators would not care to attach their names to the published translation of a fourth-or fifth-class popular novel. Finally, artistic translations do not obtain a ready market with first-class American publishers, who, indeed, seldom touch domestic translations of foreign fiction, and depend for their translations of European literature upon transatlantic enterprise. Thus the artistic translator may be said to have no field. He may sell his work to some petty publisher, perhaps, but only at a price that were almost absurd to mention;—and the first-class publishers do not care to speculate in American translations at all. We might also add [Pg 46] that the translator's task is always a thankless one,—that however superb and laborious his execution, it can never obtain much public notice, nor even so much as public comprehension. The original author will be admired,—the translator unnoticed, except by a few critics.

Moreover, the men capable of making the most artistic translations are usually better employed. The translator of a great French, German, or Italian masterpiece of style, ought, in the eternal fitness of things, to be a man able to write something very artistic in his own tongue. No one seems to doubt that Longfellow was the man to translate Dante,—that Tennyson could parallel Homer (as he has shown by a wonderful effort) in the nineteenth-century English,—that Carlyle re-created Goethe's "Wilhelm Meister" by his rendering of it,—that Austin Dobson was the first to teach English readers some of the beauties of Gautier's poetry,—that Swinburne alone could have made François Villon adopt an English garb which exactly fitted him. But the same readers perhaps never gave a thought to the fact that the works of Flaubert, of Daudet, of Droz, of Hugo, of at least a score of other European writers, call for work of an almost equally high class on the part of the translator, and never receive it! What a translation of Daudet could not Henry James give us!—how admirably John Addington Symonds could reproduce for us the Venetian richness of Paul de Saint Victor's style! But such men are not likely to be invited, on either side of the Atlantic, to do such work;—neither are they likely to do it as a labour of love! A splended translation of Flaubert might be expected from several members of what is called "The New England School;" but what Boston publisher would engage his favourite literary man in such pursuits? It is really doubtful whether the men most capable of making artistic translations could afford, under any ordinary circumstances, to undertake much work of the kind, except as a literary recreation. At all events, the English-reading world cannot hereafter expect to obtain its translations from other European languages through the labour of the best writers in its own. The only hope is, that the recklessness shown by publishers in their choice of translators will provoke a reaction, and that such work will be more generously remunerated and entrusted to real experts hereafter.

It is unfortunately true that the translators who work for English publishers are far more competent than those who do similar work in the United States; forasmuch as transatlantic firms are glad to print cheap popular translations, while only inferior American firms care to undertake them. Another obstacle to good translations in the United States is that none of the great literary periodicals will devote space [Pg 47] to them. The English and the French magazines and reviews are less conservative, and some very wonderful translations have been published by them. Artistic translation might be admirably developed in this country by the establishment of a new magazine-policy.

The wise reader, if he is also a sincere friend of Hearn, must wish that the correspondence published had been limited to the first volume. Room aplenty in this could have been made for the dozen valuable paragraphs contained in the second. It is not strange that the letters of Hearn worth saving were written before his departure for Japan. He repeatedly had urged that letter-writing both financially and mentally was expensive to the writer. In Japan he was so incessantly busy, much with his teaching and more with his real literary work, that time and will were wanting for that sort of letters which are of interest to the general reader. The interest of the person addressed is another affair. The dreary half-thousand pages of the correspondence of the Japanese time are most disappointing to one who has been thrilled by almost every page of the incomparable letters to Krehbiel and to a few others. Besides the two reasons for this which I have suggested, there are others which may perhaps be evident to some judicious readers, but which at this time may scarcely be plainly stated. At present the trees are so thick that the forest cannot be seen, but some day an amused and an amusing smile of recognition and disgust will curl the lips of the literary critic. There are two other considerations which should be held in mind: One of them was brought to me by a correspondent of Hearn who had frequently noted it; sometimes (has it happened before?) Hearn used his "friend" to whom he was writing, as a sort of method of exercising his own fancy, as a gymnastics in putting his imagination through its paces, or for a preliminary sketching in of notes and reminders to be of possible use in later serious work. Moreover, the plan was of service in rewarding [Pg 48] his correspondents for their praise and appreciation. Of a far more substantial character were the letters sometimes written in gratitude for money received. Hearn flattered himself, as we know, that he was without "cunning," but there is at least one exquisitely ludicrous letter in existence which shows an inverted proof of it, in the execution of an Indian war-dance, because of "the ways and means" furnished.

As published, Hearn's letters may be classified as follows: To

Krehbiel 1887 (3); 1878 (5); 1879 (2); 1880 (3); 1881 (4); 1882 (4); 1883 (4); 1884 (13); 1885 (8); 1886 (6); 1887 (4) 56
Hart 1882 (3); 1883 (1) 4
Ball 1882 (2); 1883 (4); 1885 (3) 9
O'Connor 1883 (4); 1884 (2); 1885 (2); 1886 (2); 1887 (2) 12
Albee 1883 (1); 1898 (2) 3
Gould 1887 (5); 1888 (4); 1889 (8) 17
Bisland 1887 (8); 1889 (11); 1890 (3); 1900 (1); 1902 (3); 1903 (9);
1904 (1)
Tunison 1889 (1) 1
Chamberlain 1890 (7); 1891 (13); 1895 (22) 42
Nishida 1890 (2); 1891 (2); 1892 (2); 1893 (9); 1894 (2); 1895 (3); 1896 (3); 1897 (2) 25
Hirn 1890 (1); 1902 (5); 1903 (1) 7
Baker 1891 (1); 1892 (1); 1894(1);
1895 (3); 1896 (2)
Hendrick 1891 (2); 1892 (4); 1893 (10);
1894 (6); 1895 (6); 1896(9);
1897 (7); 1898 (2); 1902 (2)
Otani 1891 (1); 1892 (1); 1894(1);
1897 (1); 1898 (2); 1900 (1)
Ochiai 1893 (2); 1894 (2); 1896 (2) 6
McDonald 1897 (10); 1898 (25); 1899 (19) 54
Fenollosa 1898 (3); 1899 (2) 5
Blank 1898 1

[Pg 49]

Foxwell 1899 2
Yasuchochi 1901 1
Tanabe 1904 1
Crosby 1904 1
Fujisaki 1904 1

Besides these, the valuable series of "Letters from a Raven," and the sixteen in the same volume "To a Lady" are noteworthy. The latter are of little value either for biography or literature. But the letters to Watkin are so sincere, often childlike, indeed, that they will be prized by the discriminating. Another admirable series, copies of which I have, is made up of letters to Professor R. Matas, of New Orleans. To these it is hoped will sometime be added those which must exist, to Mr. Alden, who was an early and sincere friend. There are a number of unpublished letters to Gould, and the published ones have been so mutilated that they should be correctly republished. Almost anything written by Hearn before he went to Japan, or in some instances reflecting friendships and feelings existing before he sailed, may prove of as inestimable value as most letters written thereafter will probably be found valueless.

It is noteworthy that the first series, edited by Miss Bisland, was commenced in 1877, when Hearn was twenty-seven years of age, and that for many years Mr. Krehbiel was almost his sole correspondent. But the inimitable perfection and preciousness of these fifty-six letters! They are well worth all his other set productions, published or burned, of the same years. Many are singly worth all the rest of our letters. Here the dreamer—and a dreamer he always was until he got out of his cocoon—was sincere, hopeful, planful, as playful as his sombre mind would permit, but always magnificently, even startlingly, unreserved. Remembering that Hearn's mind was essentially an echoing [Pg 50] and a colouring mechanism, it is at once a glorious tribute to, and a superlative merit of Mr. Krehbiel to have given the primary and stimulating voice to the always listening dreamer. To have swerved him out of his predestined rôle so much as to make these pages so astonishingly full of musical reverberations, is a tribute to his own musical enthusiasm and power as it is also a demonstration of the echo-like, but fundamentally unmusical, nature of his friend's mind. If only in the final edition of Hearn's works, these letters with selections of some pages from a few others, could be made into a handy, small, and cheap volume for the delighting of the appreciators of literature and of literary character! Comparison of the spiritual and almost spirituelle flashings of these, with the ponderous and banal sogginess of hundreds upon hundreds of other pages of his letters, arouses the profound regret that Hearn to the world was "impossible," that, as he says, he "could not mingle with men," that no other voices ever so intimately reached the heart of him, or of his dreaming. Even here the amazing coloration furnished by "The Dreamer," as he calls himself, makes us at times feel that the magic of the word-artist and colour-mixer was almost superior to the enduring and awakening reality of Mr. Krehbiel. To this friend, as he writes, he spoke of his thoughts and fancies, wishes and disappointments, frailties, follies, and failures, and successes—even as to a brother. And that was not all he saw and heard in "his enchanted City of Dreams."

The slavery to ignoble journalism, what he calls a "really nefarious profession," was to be resolutely renounced from the day of his arrival in New Orleans. It is "a horrid life," he "could not stand the gaslight;" he "damned reportorial work and correspondence, and the American disposition to work people to death, and the American delight in getting worked to death;" he rebelled against becoming a part of the revolving machinery of a [Pg 51] newspaper, because "journalism dwarfs, stifles, emasculates thought and style," and he was bound to "produce something better in point of literary execution."

There was also a not frankly confessed resolve to become respectable in other ways, and to be done with a kind of entanglement of which he was painfully conscious in the Cincinnati life. "I think I can redeem myself socially here! I have got into good society;" "it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes, than to own the whole State of Ohio," he writes, and he is proud of living in a Latin city. He recognizes what Mr. Krehbiel calls his "peculiar and unfortunate disposition," and which he later sets forth as "a very small, erratic, eccentric, irregular, impulsive, variable, nervous disposition." Hearn visits a few friends awhile and then disappears for six months, so that he wishes to be hidden in New York except to Krehbiel and Tunison; he will pay a visit to the others he must see just before leaving town—for he is a "demophobe." He tried a secret partnership in keeping a restaurant, and thought to carry on a little French bookstore. He resolved at different times to go to Europe, to Cuba, to Texas, to Cincinnati, and planned all sorts of occupations.

The indications soon multiply that in more ways than in worldly matters he is at variance with his world. He "regards thought as a mechanical process;" he has "no faith in any faith;" "individual life is a particle of that eternal force of which we know so little;" "Soul = Cerebral Activity = Soul;" Jesus is a legend and myth; he is "not a believer in free will, nor in the individual soul," etc. Think of a man writing to a Christian minister, think of a Christian minister receiving without protest a personal letter with this in it: "Nor can I feel more reverence for the crucified deity than for that image of the Hindoo god of light holding in one of his many hands Phallus, and yet wearing a necklace of skulls, etc."

[Pg 52] And Hearn, as to ethics, has the courage to write his friend of his convictions: "Passion was the inspiring breath of Greek art and the mother of language; its gratification the act of a creator, and the divinest rite of Nature's temple." In other letters, unpublished, that exist, Hearn is morbidly frank as to sexual licence and practices. In tropical cities there is "no time for friendship—only passion for women, and brief acquaintance for men." Without the influence of sexualism there can be no real greatness; "the mind remains arid and desolate," and he quotes approvingly:—"Virginity, Mysticism, Melancholy—three unknown words, three new maladies brought among us by the Christ," etc. "I do not find it possible to persuade myself that the 'mad excess of love' should not be indulged in by mankind," introduces a brilliant page upon the theme, ending with, "after all what else do we live for—ephemeræ that we are?" To my protest he wrote, "'Moral' feelings are those into which the sexual instinct does not visibly enter;" and again, "The sexual sense never tells a physical lie. It only tells an ethical one." There is, to be sure, no answer to a man who says such things.

It is astonishing, how conscious and at the same time how careless Hearn was of his characteristics and trends. In 1878 he could coldly prepare to attempt a get-rich-quick scheme, "a fraud, which will pay like hell, an advertising fraud," etc., because "there is no money in honest work." At this time also he knew that his own wandering passion was "the strongest of all," and that his deepest desire was "to wander forever here and there until he should get old and apish and grey and die." His misfortunes he confessed were of his own making because it was absolutely out of the question for him to "keep any single situation for any great length of time," hating the mere idea of it, "impossible to stay anywhere without getting into trouble." [Pg 53] "No one ever lived who seemed more a creature of circumstance than I," he correctly avows. He recognizes that "the unexpected obstacle to success was usually erected by himself."

He acknowledges his ignorance and escapes from it and from the labour, expense, and duty of scholarship by flying, as many others have done, to the world of Imagination, which alone is left to him. "It allows of a vagueness of expression which hides the absence of real knowledge, and dispenses with the necessity of technical precision and detail." He "never reads a book which does not powerfully impress the imagination." Knowing that he has not true and real genius, he "pledges himself to the worship of the Odd, the Queer, the Strange, the Exotic, the Monstrous. It quite suits my temperament," and he "hopes to succeed in attracting some little attention." The monstrous, the enormous, and the lurid, is sought in the letters. The sentence at the bottom of page 226, Volume One of the "Life and Letters," and the ghastly story, pages 322-323, show the gruesome still much alive, and page 306 that blood, fury, and frenzy haunt his nightmare dreams. "In history one should only seek the extraordinary, the monstrous, the terrible; in mythology the most fantastic and sensuous, just as in romance," And yet he defends himself as a lover of Greek art, detests "the fantastic beauty that is Gothic," yet prides himself on being Arabesque. Even the love of Beaudelaire creeps in, and the brutal, horrible photograph of Gautier is "grander than he imagined." Of course to such a mind Matthew Arnold is a "colossal humbug"—and worse.

With increasing frequency are repeated the complaints of disillusionment; he is frightened at the loss even of the love of the beautiful, and his friend tries in vain to rouse him from his ghost-life and dreaming. There are absurd excuses why he cannot work; when among beautiful things he cannot [Pg 54] write of them, when he is away he is longing for them; there are months when he cannot do anything, and a little thing is produced with great pain and labour. "The old enthusiasm has completely died out of me." The people and the city are adequately cursed, and upon the debilitating climate is laid a proper and ever-repeated anathema. He loathes the North, especially New York City, "shudders at the bare idea of cold;" he yearns and pines for a still more tropical country which he knows may kill him, and which came near doing so. The Wanderlust is upon him as passages on pages 183, 193, 196, 197, 207, 215, 223, 224, 398 of Volume One of the "Life and Letters" illustrate. At last he is off for Martinique, where work and even thought are still more impossible because of the benumbing heat.

Here follows a list of the unsigned editorials contributed by Hearn to his paper. It is made up from two of the scrap-books left me, and is entitled:


1. The "Peronospora Ferrani" and Cholera Vaccination.
2. Literary Pessimism.
3. "The Song Celestial."
4. The Canonization of the Mahdi.
5. "Successor of Tamerlane."
6. The World's Journalism.
7. A Scientific Novelty.
8. The Jewish Question in Europe (Suppressed by the management).
9. Russian Literature Abroad.
10. The European Trouble.
11. Missionaries as Linguists.
12. Courbet.
13. Poetry and Pay.
14. The Present and Future of India.
15. An Archaeological Novel.
[Pg 55] 16. An Evolutional History.
17. A New Pompeii.
18. Archæology in Cambodia.
19. The Great "I-Am."
20. A Terrible Novel.
21. The Latin Church in the East and Bismarck.
22. English Policy in China.
23. The Fear of Death.
24. A Danger to Egypt—The Senousiya.
25. Archaeological News from China.
26. Icelandic Prospects.
27. A Great English Physician.
28. Academical Triumphs.
29. The Magician of Paris.
30. Tolstoi's Vanity of Wisdom.
31. "Minos."
32. Newspapers and Religion.
33. Minos.
34. A Concord Compromise.
35. De Mercier on Dante.
36. The Origin of Christmas.
37. "Immortality" according to Dr. Holland.
38. The Future of Idealism.
39. "Solitude."
40. Dr. Holland's Defenders.
41. The Religion of Suffering.
42. The Ruins of Carthage.
43. A Defence of Pessimism.
44. Over-Education in Germany.
45. Decadence as a Fine Art.
46. Use of the Eye or the Ear in Learning Languages.
47. The Shadow of the "Light of Asia."
48. The Jew upon the Stage.
49. Some Theosophical Iconoclasm.
50. "Hamlet's Note-Book."
51. The Invasion of the Desert.
52. Resurrected Æstheticism.
53. Translations.
54. Nihilistic Literature in the United States.
55. Some Human Frailty.
56. An Art-Reformer.
57. Some Notes on Creole Literature.
58. The Scientific Value of Creole.
[Pg 56] 59. "l'Œuvre."
60. A Havanese Romance.
61. Some Supposed Sanscrit Translations.
62. The Omnivorous Newspaper.
63. A Religious Nightmare.
64. Joaquin Miller.
65. Pictures vs. Text.
66. "Follow the Donkey Path."
67. A Sketch of the Creole Patois.
68. In Spain.
69. Chinese Belief in God.
70. "Towards the Gulf."
71. Tennyson's Locksley Hall.
72. "Doesn't Want Any Progress."
73. The Howard Memorial Library—A Letter from Charles Dudley Warner.
74. A Definitive Rossetti.
75. The Chinese Future.
76. Artistic Value of Myopia.
77. Colours and Emotions.

[Pg 57]


[Pg 58]

THE lure of the Sea and of the Unknown was upon Hearn during the entire stay at New Orleans. How deeply it entered his heart is shown in a fragment rescued by his friend, Dr. Matas, which has been kindly sent me. The copy is in print, but when and where it was published we have been unable to learn. It was probably written in 1885 or 1886. As it gives glimpses at once into Hearn's mind, of his fateful desire to roam, of his Nature-love, and, better, of his growing mastery of technic and imagery, I reproduce herewith the fragment, which he entitled:


Golden oranges piled up in bins,—apples of the Southern Hesperides;—a medley of meridional tongues,—silky Latin tongues and their silkier patois; Chinese buyers yellow as bananas, quadroons with skin like dead gold; swarthy sailors from the Antilles; sharp odours of fruit freshly disembarked;—all the semi-tropical sights and sounds of the French market. I stood beside an orange-bin; and priced the fruit. Fifty cents a hundred! While wondering how much the fruit-vender's profit could possibly be, I was insensibly attracted by something unusual in his face—a shadow of the beauty of the antique world seemed to rest upon it. "Are you not a Greek?" I asked, for there was no mistaking the metoposcopy of that head. Yes; he was from Zante—first a sailor, now a fruit-vender; some day, perhaps, he would be a merchant.

It is among those who sell, not among those who buy, that the most curious studies of human nature and of the human face are to be made in the French market. These dealers are by no means usually French, but they are mostly from the Mediterranean coasts and the Levant—from Sicily and Cyprus, Corsica and Malta, the Ionian Archipelago, and a hundred cities fringing the coasts of Southern Europe. They are wanderers, who have wandered all over the face of the earth to find rest at last in this city of the South; they are sailors who have sailed all seas, and sunned themselves at a hundred tropical ports, and finally anchored their lives by the levee of New Orleans. The Neapolitan Italian, the Spaniard, the Corsican, the Levantine Greek, seek rest from storm here, in a clime akin to their own and under a sky as divinely blue, and at a port not far distant from their beloved sea. For these Levantine sailors hate dusty inland cities and the dry air of the Great West.

[Pg 59] If you, O reader, chance to be a child of the sea;—if, in early childhood, you listened each morning and evening to that most ancient and mystic hymn-chant of the waves, which none can hear without awe, and which no musician can learn;—if you have ever watched wonderingly the far sails of the fishing-vessels turn rosy in the blush of sunset, or silver under the moon, or golden in the glow of sunrise;—if you once breathed as your native air the divine breath of the ocean, and learned the swimmer's art from the hoary breakers, and received the Ocean-god's christening, the glorious baptism of salt,—then, perhaps, you know only too well why these sailors of the Levant cannot seek homes within the heart of the land. Twenty years may have passed since your ears last caught the thunder of that mighty ode of hexameters which the sea has always sung and will sing forever, since your eyes sought the far line where the vaulted blue of heaven touches the level immensity of rolling water,—since you breathed the breath of the ocean, and felt its clear ozone living in your veins like an elixir. Have you forgotten the mighty measure of that mighty song? have you forgotten the divine saltiness of that unfettered wind? Is not the spell of the sea strong upon you still?

So that when the long, burning summer comes, and the city roars dustily around you, and your ears are filled with the droning hum of machinery, and your heart full of the bitterness of the struggle for life, there comes to you at long intervals in the dingy office or the crowded street some memory of white breakers and vast stretches of wrinkled sand and far-fluttering breezes that seem to whisper, "Come!"

So that when the silent night comes,—you find yourself revisiting in dreams those ocean-shores thousands of miles away. The wrinkled sand, ever shifting yet ever the same, has the same old familiar patches of vari-coloured weeds and shining rocks along its level expanse: and the thunder-chant of the sea which echoes round the world, eternal yet ever new, is rolling up to heaven. The glad waves leap up to embrace you; the free winds shout welcome in your ears; white sails are shining in the west; white sea-birds are flying over the gleaming swells. And from the infinite expanse of eternal sky and everlasting sea, there comes to you, with the heavenly ocean-breeze, a thrilling sense of unbounded freedom, a delicious feeling as of life renewed, an ecstasy as of life restored. And so you start into wakefulness with the thunder of that sea-dream in your ears and tears of regret in your eyes to find about you only heat and dust and toil; the awakening rumble of traffic, and "the city sickening on its own thick breath."

And I think that the Levantine sailors dare not dwell in the midst [Pg 60] of the land, for fear lest dreams of a shadowy sea might come upon them in the night, and phantom winds call wildly to them in their sleep, and they might wake to find themselves a thousand miles beyond the voice of the breakers.

Sometimes, I doubt not, these swarthy sellers of fruit, whose black eyes sparkle with the sparkle of the sea, and whose voices own the tones of ocean-winds, sicken when a glorious breeze from the Gulf enters the city, shaking the blossoms from the magnolia-trees and the orange-groves. Sometimes, I doubt not, they forsake their Southern home when the dream comes upon them, and take ship for the Spanish Main. Yet I think most men may wake here from the dreams of the sea, and rest again. It is true that you cannot hear the voice of the hoary breakers in the moonlight,—only the long panting of the cotton-presses, the shouting of the boats calling upon each other through the tropical night, and the ceaseless song of night-birds and crickets. But the sea-ships, with their white wings folded, are slumbering at the wharves; the sea-winds are blowing through the moon-lit streets, and from the South arises a wondrous pale glow, like the far reflection of the emerald green of the ocean. So that the Greek sailor, awaking from the vision of winds and waves, may join three fingers of his right hand, after the manner of the Eastern Church, and cross himself, and sleep again in peace.

Hearn left New Orleans in July, 1887, and was soon settled at St. Pierre, Martinique. His letters to Dr. Matas form the principal sources of information concerning himself and his work during his stay there. From them I choose a few selections which bear upon his literary labours. At first, of course, all is perfection:

I am absolutely bewitched, and resolved to settle down somewhere in the West Indies. Martinique is simply heaven on earth. You must imagine a community whose only vices are erotic. There are no thieves, no roughs, no snobs. Everything is primitive and morally pure—except in the only particular where purity would be out of harmony with natural conditions. As for the climate, it is divine—though this is the worst season.

And I have begun to hate all that is energetic, swift, rapid in thought or action, all rivalry, all competition, all striving in the race of success. It is just enough to live here: no, it is too much!—it is more than any ordinary human being deserves to enjoy. It makes one feel like crying for joy just to look about one.

Couldn't I induce you to abandon the beastly civilization of the [Pg 61] U. S., and live somewhere down here forever more,—where everybody is honest and good-natured and courteous, and where everything is divine? Man was not intended to work in this part of the world: while you are here, you cannot quite persuade yourself you are awake,—it is a dream of eternal beauty,—all the musky winds, all the flower-months of Paradise! New Orleans is the most infernal hole in the entire Cosmos. Don't live in it! Confound fame and wealth and reputation and splendour. You don't need any of these things here; they are superfluous; they are obsolete; they are nuisances; they are living curses. Settle here. Humming-birds will fly into your chamber to wake you up. What on earth you can find to live for in the U.S. I am now at a loss to see. You'll get old there;—here you will remain eternally young: the palms distil Elixir Vitæ.

But it is simply foolishness to write to you—because I can't write about this place. All ambition to write has been paralyzed—let Nature do the writing—in green, azure and gold!

Lafcadio Hearn.
From a Photograph taken at Martinique, August 24th, 1888.

(Letter from St. Pierre, July 30, 1887.)

I am not at all sure of my literary future,—I do not mean pecuniarily, for I never allow that question to seriously bother me: to write simply to make money is to be a d——d fraud, so long as one can aim at higher things. But I do not feel the same impulses and inspirations and power to create;—I have been passing through a sort of crisis,—out of enthusiasm into reality and I do not feel so mentally strong as I ought. The climate had much to do with it in the beginning, causing a serious weakness of memory;—that is now passed; but I feel as if mon âme avait perdu ses ailes. Perhaps something healthier and stronger may come of it; but in the meanwhile I suffer from great disquietude, and occasional very black ideas; and praise sounds to me like a malicious joke, because I feel that my work has been damnably bad. The fact that I know it has been bad, encourages me to believe I may do better, and find confidence in myself.

I have enough MS. for a volume of French colonial sketches, and do not think I will be able to do much more with Martinique for the present; but I also have accumulated material out of which something will probably grow. I would now like to attempt some Spanish studies.

Northern air will do me good, though I do not like the idea of living in it. But when, after all this stupid, brutal, never-varying heat, you steam North, and the constellations change, and the moon stands up on her feet instead of lying on her back lasciviously,—and the first grand whiff of cold air comes like the advent of a Ghost,—Lord! [Pg 62] how one's brain suddenly clears and thrills into working order. It is like a new soul breathed into your being through the nostrils—after the Creator's fashion of animating his Adam of clay.

Perhaps you think I have been a poor correspondent. You can scarcely imagine the difficulties of maintaining a friendly chat by letter while trying to do literary work here. Most people who attempt literature here either give it up after a short time, or go to the graveyard: there are a few giants,—like Dr. Rufz de Lavison (who never finished his Études nevertheless), Davey the historian; Dessalles who suddenly disappeared leaving his history incomplete. But I fear I am no giant. At 2 or 2.30 p.m. if you try to write, your head feels as if a heated feather pillow had been stuffed into your skull. To write at all one must utilize the morning;—that is given to make the pot boil: one can write letters only at intervals, paragraph by paragraph, or between solid chapters of downright wearing-out work.

Nevertheless, one learns to love this land so much as to be quite willing to abandon anything and everything to live in it. As in the old Sunday-school hymn, "only man is vile:" nature and Woman are unspeakably sweet.

I suppose I will not be able to meet you in New York this fall: you will be too busy. Next summer it will be possible, I hope. Perhaps you will have the pleasure of a little book or two from me during the cold weather: I will revise things in New York. It has been a horrible agony to have my stuff printed without being able to see the proofs, and full of mistakes. "Chita" has been a great literary success—contrary to expectation. I find success is not decided by the press, nor by first effect on the public: opinions of literary men count much more, and these have been better than I imagined they could be. (1887)

Well, I am caught! The tropics have me, for better or worse, so long as I live. Life in a great northern city again would be a horror insupportable. Yet I have had great pain here. I have been four months without a cent of money where nobody would trust me: you know what that means, if you have ever had a rough-and-tough year or two: otherwise you could not imagine it. I have had disillusions in number. I find worst of all, there is no inspiration in the tropics,—no poetry, no aspiration, no self-sacrifice, no human effort. Now, that I can go where I like, do as I please—for I have won the fight after all,—I still prefer one year of Martinique to a thousand years of New York. What is it? Am I demoralized; or am I simply better informed than before? I don't really know. (1887)

[Pg 63]

New York, September 29, 1887.[12]

[12] Written during a brief stay in New York, whither he had gone in the fall of 1887.

Dear Friend Matas:—I am going back to the tropics,—probably for many years. My venture has been more successful than I ever hoped; and I find myself able to abandon journalism, with all its pettinesses, cowardices, and selfishnesses, forever. I am able hereafter to devote myself to what you always said was my forte: the study of tropical Nature—God's Nature,—violent, splendid, nude, and pure. I never hoped for such fortune. It has come unasked. I am almost afraid to think it is true. I am afraid to be happy!

c/o Dr. George M. Gould,        
119 South Seventeenth St.,    
Philadelphia, June 5, 1889.

Dear Friend Matas:—Your letter of March 21 only reached me to-day, June 5th; but made me very glad to get it. I have been back from the West Indies about three weeks—do not know how long I shall stay. It seemed like tearing my heart out to leave Martinique; and though I am now in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, among dear friends, and with the splendid spectacle before me of man's grandest efforts—not a wild cyclone of electricity and iron like New York, but a great quiet peace—the tropical Nature with all its memories haunts me perpetually,—draws my thought back again over the azure sea and under the turquoise sky to the great palms and the volcanic hills and the beautiful brown women. I know I shall have to go back to the tropics sooner or later.

The effect of the climate, as you know, is deadly to mental work. Physically, however, I felt better in it,—less nervous than I ever was before. Only one's will to work is broken down; and it is better only to collect material there to work up elsewhere. That sort of work I am busy at just now. I have a signed contract for publication of "Chita" in book-form; and the result of my two years' absence will be forthcoming in a volume of larger size.

You know Philadelphia, I suppose, the beautiful city; and I suppose you know that physicians here form the leaders of, and give the tone to, social life. It seems to me but just that they should,—representing the highest intellectual rank of civilization when they are really worthy of the profession.

... As for other people wondering what has become of me; that is just what I want. I do not care to have any one know what I am doing till it is done.... I have happily got over a sort of crisis, however, which isolated me more than I would have liked to be isolated from the world at large: the distrust of myself.

Handwriting of Hearn in 1889. face page 63.

[Pg 64] Concerning the value of Hearn's Martinique work, I am permitted to quote from a letter written to him on May 24, 1890, by the late Edmund C. Stedman,—and there could be no better judge and critic:

"I will not leave without telling you how much I am your debtor for the fascinating copious record of your life in the Windward Islands, and for your 'Youma'—both of which I take with me to 'Kelp Rock'—and which we shall know by heart ere long. The 'Two Years' came when I was 'moving' in New York, etc.,—so that books and letters, unacknowledged, perforce have piled up on my table. I am grateful for your remembrance and your gifts. No book could please me more than your 'Two Years.' Those Islands are my Hesperides—I had begun a series of poems and lyrics, cast in the Caribees, but your prose poems put mine to shame—and I am glad to listen to your music and leave my own unsung."

[Pg 65]


[Pg 66]

SHORT though it was in time, the Philadelphia visit in 1889 has a value long in significance, that deserves epitomization. To begin with, it was Hearn's first experience of anything that might be called home-life. Its result was a softening and normalizing of him both as to character and as to manner, which was most evident. Secondly, and as he chose to put it, I "gave him a soul." By this poetic paraphrase he meant that I had succeeded in bringing to his recognition the existence of Freedom in what he thought determinism;—that intelligence, purpose, and beneficence lie behind biology, and that human beings are not always, and may never be wholly, the slaves of the senses, and the dupes of desire. Beauty itself, which he so widely sought, I asked him to note, is a needless, harmful, and even impossible thing in a world of adamantine logic and necessity. Above all, I demonstrated the existence of Duty, "Stern Daughter of the Voice of God," not only in the abstract, but in concrete lives, in social and historic exemplifications, and that only by means of men and women who obey conscience is social and historic progress brought about. They who have not seen that can have no "soul;" they who do see it, have soul, durable or great according to the clearness of the seeing and the obedience to the implication. Fully and freely Hearn acknowledged the vision, and never afterward could he be wholly the same as he had been before. But the Providence of the Oriental and semi-barbarous is Improvidence, and their God is Fate. Hearn came to hate, or to pretend to hate, the truth which had now slipped through his spiritual eyes, but he could not undo or outroot it entirely; "henceforth by the vision splendid is on his way attended." Thirdly, this new viewpoint, this new spirit or soul, I got incorporated in a little art-work, or ethical study—"Karma," published in Lippincott's Magazine, May, 1890, after Hearn had gone to Japan. To the world and without [Pg 67] the knowledge of its making, "Karma" must have seemed an illogical and even impossible thing for Hearn to have written. It is apparently the sole work which he ever wrote, created de novo and without the data having been found or brought to him from without. But it was only a seeming creation. It was only the telling, the colouring, that was his, as in his other tales before or after. In our long walks and talks in the Park at night, we wrought out the title, the datum, and the whole trend of the story. He rebelled, but I held him to the task, which he finally executed with frank and artistic loyalty. The pride or indifference, even the dislike, of its readers, the writer, or inspirer, is as nothing compared with the fact that by it and from it Hearn learned something of love and duty that had never before been a living reality to him. What an infinite distance it was removed from anything dreamed during the Cincinnati period, or to be derived from Flaubert, Gautier, or Beaudelaire! After that his future work could never be, and never was, what it was from the writing, "Everything you feel you would not like me to know." I do not think there is exaggeration of the importance of the story, and what led up to its writing, in saying that it was the greatest of the turning-points in his life, and that directly because of it the magnificent works of the Japanese period were profoundly influenced through the attitude of mind thereby gained.

Concerning the heroine of the tale Hearn wrote me:

Your objection to my idea is quite correct. I have already abandoned it. It would have to be sexual. Never could find in the tropics that magnificent type of womanhood, which in the New England girl, makes one afraid even to think about sex, while absolutely adoring the personality. Perfect natures inspire a love that is a fear. I don't think any love is noble without it. The tropical woman inspires a love that is half compassion; this is always dangerous, untrustworthy, delusive—pregnant with future pains innumerable.

[Pg 68] But, fourthly, that in which I feel as great a pride, is compelling him to go to Japan. Others could have reported for lurid yellow journalism, others might possibly have translated as well as he, others could have told the West Indian stories, but—not even his beloved Lowell—only Hearn could have written of the Japanese life and soul as Hearn has done. He had no thought of the journey when I showed him his duty and his opportunity. By argument, pleading, almost compulsion, I at last wearied his opposition, and he went, with reluctance, after months of halting in detested New York City in which he learned by bitter experience that it was no place for him, and that his beloved tropics should not be again sought.

How disappointed he was in his New York friends and prospects may be gathered from the following excerpt taken from one of his letters to me. I had used all my influence to keep him from a stay in the city. He wrote as follows:

Dear Gooley, your advice is good from your way of looking at it; but I am much stronger in New York than you imagine, and my future in it is plain and perfect sailing if I keep good health. I am only embarrassed for the moment. I am quite a lion here, and could figure in a way you would hardly guess, if I were not such a man of tentacles. I am not afraid of the cold—though it disheartens fancy a little; but I shall leave fancy alone for a while. No, Gooley, dear Gooley, I shall make my way in New York—don't be afraid for me.

He soon became convinced that I was right and finally resumed the journey unwillingly. The end has justified the means and the sacrifices. It is plain that the Japanese period and work crown his life-labours splendidly, and that his masterful pictures of Japanese characters, traditions, and religion now constitute one of our most precious literary treasures. They have also been of profound service to Japan.

When he left my home, he, of his own accord, asked me [Pg 69] to care for his library, then in the home of Mr. Alden at Metuchen, New Jersey, who two years previously had consented to take charge of it, and had paid shipping expenses, insurance, etc. None can imagine anything ungenerous or unkind in Mr. Alden. An old Cincinnati acquaintance characterizes Hearn's action in the matter as "a swindle." I have no knowledge or hint how it was or could be of that nature. Hearn wrote all the letters, and made all the arrangements to have the books sent to me. Mr. Alden authorizes me to say:

"I was perfectly convinced at the time of the transfer of the library to Dr. Gould that he had no desire for its possession, and that the transfer was made solely in accordance with Mr. Hearn's request. I am quite sure that Dr. Gould fully explained the matter to me at the time. I feel sure that Dr. Gould acted precisely as I should have done if I had retained possession of the library; that is, readily giving it up to any legitimate claimant." I found the books of no value to me, and they surely have been an expense. I tried, later, to prevail upon Hearn to allow me to ship them to him in Japan, but I never received any replies to my letters. He asked for the catalogue, some of the old books, and beside these, at his request, a number of expensive new books were at various times bought and sent to him. I suspect that as there was not a book on Japan in the collection, and as he had a plethora of data at hand such as he wanted, the library gathered with so much love and enthusiasm was no longer of use to him, especially under the conditions of his life there.

Hearn gained strength and power as regards both truth and art, in so far as he was true to the better in himself; all his trouble and his weakness were born out of the lower self he would not, or could not, sacrifice. His worship of the blood-curdling and revolting gave him some temporary [Pg 70] vogue among the readers of yellow newspaperdom, but not until that was renounced for the compromise of the "odd and ghostly" did he begin to show an ability to reach something more worthy in human nature than the degenerate reporter catered to. The next step in advance was the cultivation of the artistic pornography of the sensualistic French story-writer. Not until he renounced this did he once more come to the something of more use to the reading world which fills the Martinique epoch. His disinclination to go to Japan, I more than suspect, was owing to a half consciousness that there was in that nation too much civilization, too good character, and even too much religion to suit the tastes which had been uppermost in motiving his past literary labours. His going into utter, illogical, and absurd captivity to the atheistic and materialistic philosophy of Herbert Spencer was a sorry sacrifice of his nobler office and better destiny to the fate that relentlessly dogged his footsteps. He was forced into all the humanity and beneficence possible to him by Japanese restraint, art, and truth. His cries of disillusion over the Japanese were largely the anger of the semi-barbaric wanderer held by family ties, paternity, etc., when he found himself prevented from again seeking the faraway tropical pseudo-paradises of peoples but one remove from savagery.

In the pre-Japanese periods only the lurid, the monstrous, the enormous, only hot crime, and sexual passion, could excite his liveliest interest, and all great literature was as much ignored as if it did not exist. There is not a hint in all he did that he had read a line of the great creators of literature,—the Greek dramatists, Dante, Goethe, Shakespere, and a hundred more; he could not give time to read, much less study them. His pretension of ability to teach English literature was soon recognized even by the Japanese, and it is well that over-zealous friends did not [Pg 71] secure him a lectureship at Cornell University. To be sure, he never had time to study even the history of his own science and art,—but he never would have done so, it is plain, if leisure and opportunity had been offered him. The ideal and the rewards of scholarship never entered his mind. Perhaps it was best for his peculiar office and proficiency that he allowed all erudition to go unlooked-upon. And yet if he had been possessed of sufficient virility and objectivity of mind to have learned the Japanese language, what would the labour not have been worth? That he could not read a Japanese book or newspaper after fourteen years of life among the people is most disconcerting. It is a tribute to the amazing delicacy and receptiveness of his mind that while he could not speak to his wife or children in their own tongue, he should still have so accurately caught the Japanese spirit and so admirably conveyed it to us.

The history of Hearn's ghoulish pleasure in the gruesome and sensualistic, runs from the tan-yard horror and Cincinnati reportorial days, through the translated stories of the New Orleans epoch, to his "St. Anthony." In "Stray Leaves" it is but little softened, and yet the atmosphere is brightening. It glitters and flashes like vengeful lightning about the clouds of his mind with the Martinique epoch, etc.; but in the Japanese writing even the "Mountain of Skulls" and other stories are so far removed from reality that our disgust sinks to a smile of sighing wonder that the gruesome could still be so loved by him. It is only a few of the brutal and a small brutalized public that seeks such contes drolatiques (without Balzac's wit, satire, and power, of course), and so again perforce, Hearn was weaned from his morbidities. Dominated by his developing art and also by the need to sell his writings, he thus rose, partly by the command of his readers, to the choice of less and less repulsive themes and methods, and, awed by the [Pg 72] Japanese spirit of gentleness and beauty, he finally endowed their national soul-life with a prismatic glory which they themselves had hardly suspected.

Hearn deserted the god of religion, and, except in one respect, he was faithless to the god of ethics. He was, therefore, without any divinity. For a mind that had no creative ability, that must have its subjects furnished to it, a mind whose sole function was to colour the data chosen or given from without,—this inner emptiness could only be deceived by but could not be satisfied with the inner emptiness of Spencerism. He acknowledged that religion was the mother of all civilization, arts, and laws, and that all social systems, arts, and laws, antique or modern, were begotten and nurtured by ethics,—and yet there was no reality in, no reason for the existence of either religion or ethics in this world of mechanics and of fatalism, grim and inexorable.

Hearn speaks somewhere of his aspiration to be considered a "thinker," and once he praises "science" as a source of data for working into the art forms of his beloved poetic prose. But science to him was as impossible as was he to polite society; Spencer gave him leave, he thought, to consider his atheism, irreligion, and sensualisticism as scientifically authorized, and logically justified. He was always hankering after the old heathen, even savage, gods of his father and mother; and every time he went Fantee with them, he came back to a saner world weakened and still more at war with himself. He always sought an impossible world where Teutonic worth and honour could supply a decadent Latin, with half-savage languor and never failing delights of the senses and of art,—art which, in the last analysis, was his only god. But his tragedy was that he always hastened to turn his god into a fetich, while even his mind caught disquieting glimpses of the awful truth that all genuine worship [Pg 73] abjures fetichism. As sensualism is the superstition of love, so fetichistic art is the superstition of true æsthetics.

For the most part, minds are mechanical not chemical compoundings, or if chemic, they are in very unstable equilibrium. There are strange and wayward traits, illogic and unfused to unity with the others. There may be psychopathic and isolation wards in the psyche, "retreats," and all manner of diseases of individual organs. Most people go Fantee, often or seldom, and are able to hide their fetichisms from even their best friends. If we observe ourselves at all, most of us wonder at the curious mix of self-contradictories in ourselves. The few whose souls and bodies are fused to clear-cut unity, the component metal melted to harmony in the foundry of Fate and of Purpose,—these clang loyally in absolute and precise tone-colour. In commoner folk the failure of the flux, and the flaws in the casting, have only a social significance, but with the Hearns, with thinkers and writers, the affair has an infinite purport.

Hearn could never make his writings and his art impulses square with his beloved materialistic, deterministic philosophy. He did not believe in soul or in souls, and yet his soul was always treating of souls, and showing the invisible thread of continuity which links souls to Soul. Therefore he is always happiest when his daimon breaks from the restraint of theory and fate and pictures the play of free spirit, of soul unconquered by fate, of life victorious over death in some sad way or bright.

Concerning Hearn's treatment of friends, editors, and publishers, as it bears sharply upon his literary character and productivity, as little as may or must be said: He was under bonds to Fate to abuse worst the majority of his friends who were most magnanimous, helpful, and kind to him personally, or who were most discriminating and encouraging toward his art and artistic ideals. To his [Pg 74] former Cincinnati comrades, except the old printer-friend, he scarcely ever wrote after he left them, and the most faithful of these recently writes me: "I never pretended to be a friend to him; I was merely one to whom he resorted when all the rest cast him out. He never found me wanting, but he got few letters from me, and none that were flattering." "I used to love Matas" are Hearn's pitiful words. It is with sorrow and pain that we note the sudden cessation in 1887 of the letters to Krehbiel. This noble friend had drawn from Hearn a beautiful world of play and enduring memories, and one may be more than sure that it was not Krehbiel who should be blamed. Baker had been his most helpful and best friend, and yet for a fancied wrong Hearn wrote him a letter filled with insult and ruffianism which a gentleman could not answer, hardly forgive, and never forget. Did Hearn know anybody of character in the West Indies? To the greatest of American editors, the one who "discovered" him and introduced him to a national and international audience, who treated him with a sweet and gracious benignity, even after a shamelessness that is indescribable—to this good man there is not a published letter, although many, and many more, must exist. One day while at my house, Hearn rushed to his room, seized the man's picture on the wall, tore it in a hundred pieces, and danced and spat upon it in a furious rage. In subsequent letters to me he explained his hatred—how he broke his engagements, how he borrowed money from his loathed and insulted friend, how he got credit through him from his tailor, etc. Gently the abused one bore it all and without the least remonstrance, writing me, "Hearn has utterly cast me off; I was loath to part with him." Professor Chamberlain and others kindly explain the curious morbid psychology which Hearn had exhibited towards them. To the last, love and trust breathed from Hearn's letters to me, and yet I learn that [Pg 75] to others long afterward he wrote of me with bitterness and malevolent injustice. And yet he had written me after I saw him for the last time, in this way: "Please don't write me at all, or expect me to write, for some months. I do not need any money. I have a good deal on my mind, and am apt, in consequence, to do very stupid or very unkind things in an unlucky moment." And then he wrote: "No, dear Gooley, I will never be indifferent to you! Never think that; I understand better than you suppose. If I am silent at intervals, never doubt me, dear teacher and brother; and you will find everything come right." How often is the pathos of life sadly exaggerated by giving way to foolish, needless, and degrading inherited instincts at the expense of the higher life and usefulness! As to some who ludicrously boast of the long continuance of an intimate friendship, there are many letters of Hearn extant and unpublished which blow out that vanity with an amusing smile. The matter, generally, might not have so real an importance were it not that the publishing of literature has a vast deal to do with literature, and, closely examined, Hearn's quarrels with editors, publishers, and the public, is a matter that reaches out astonishingly both as regards himself, his books, and the interest in him, as well as beyond the question of Hearn or of any or all of his friends. Until one silent man consents to speak—which may never be—the discussion of the essence of the affair cannot be set forth in any detail. Passages in Hearn's letters relating thereto should never have been published, or a hundred other things should have been as frankly published. When such publicity shall exist the reasons will be manifest why one publisher destroyed an entire fresh edition of one book of Hearn, why another acted differently, why one is praised or praises himself, why others are blamed, why some are silent although a word would end the injustice, etc. One phase may be [Pg 76] noted in passing:—Whatever Hearn's rights or wrongs as to the author's relations with publishers and editors, it was beyond the ken of his mind that one who may gloriously sacrifice all his own temporal blessings in striving after artistic excellence, has no right to ask the same altruism of those engaged in the publishing business. Hearn blamed the crude world, and, for him, its representatives in the persons of editors and their masters, the publishers, for wishing a certain kind of literature. As well blame the bookseller for not sending the book you had not ordered. He who deliberately chooses to give the world a literature he knows it does not want, must accept the rejection and editing of his manuscripts, and the absence of the world's cheques. He chose poverty and may not abuse them who allowed his choice to be realized. It is sad enough, but it is more than childish to grumble, more than ignoble to rail.

The search for "inspiration," as he called it, was with Hearn constant and lifelong. Thus, early in his career, he wrote to his friend, Dr. Matas:

So I wait for the poet's Pentecost—the inspiration of Nature—the descent of the Tongues of Fire. And I think they will come when the wild skies brighten, and the sun of the Mexican Gulf reappears for his worshippers—with hymns of wind and sea, and the prayers of birds. When one becomes bathed in this azure and gold air—saturated with the perfume of the sea, he can't help writing something. And he cannot help feeling a new sense of being. The Soul of the Sea mingles with his own, is breathed into him: the Spirit that moveth over the deep is the Creator indeed—vivifying, illuminating, strengthening. I really feel his Religion—the sense of awe that comes to one in some great silent temple. You would feel it too under this eternal vault of blue, when the weird old Sea is touching the keys of his mighty organ....

And again he wrote:

I think I must get inspiration. The real secret of art is feeling. The highest form of that feeling is that which the splendour of Nature gives—the thrill and awe of terrible beauty. This is that [Pg 77] inexplicable communication of the mind with the Unknowable that has created the religious sense. Said a friend to me yesterday, who is not a believer:—"I stood in the Alps at sunrise, and I knew what religion meant." And I think that passage in Wilson on Fetichism superb where he says that the sight of the splendid sky first created the religious sense. Terribly perverted this sense has been, no doubt; but it belongs, I fancy, to those things which are eternal, and will have many a glorious avatar before our planet floats off into the cemetery of dead worlds. It is, I believe, the most powerful possible motive for true modern poetry—in harmony with science and scientific faith; and that is what I am going to look for.

Such quotations could be multiplied indefinitely, but toward the end they become begging, and moaning in character. The "inspiration" is diligently hunted, hungrily waited for; at last the failure in its coming grows pitiful and tragic. For what is inspiration? If, with the fatal fashion of our fashionable fatalism, we think "we have outgrown all that," all that which was real and genuine inspiring, we at least cannot outgrow that which bred the belief in the inspiring, the trust in spirit and in spiritual truths and forces. Is it all primitive childishness, this faith in a real breathing-in of the higher life into our more carnal hearts and minds? Far from it! It is the veriest of verities, and the deniers of the conditions of inspiration dry up the springs of that "inspiration" which they so hungrily seek. The semblance cannot be without the reality. It will not come, lasting and inexhaustible, by any trick of literary technic. Out of the light of common day is not born that which never was on any sea or shore. Place, time, circumstance, are not, as Hearn thought, the gods of "Inspiration." "The wind bloweth where it listeth," and even a heathen god would hardly visit the altar with his sacred fire if the priests mocked at the power and the very existence of the deity. It is most plain that Hearn early and zealously studied the Bible—hundreds of allusions bear witness of the fact—and that he learned [Pg 78] from it the revivification of words, the use of phrase, metaphor, belief, something of the art of reaching in toward the depths of men's moral and religious nature and experience: but all, just so evidently, as a literary art, a tour de force, the skill of the expert workman, handling them as symbols for the sake of the skill, while smiling scornfully at any belief in their reality. Language is the most spirit-like creation of man's mind, the thing nearest him, woven out of his own soul-substance, instinct with his life, haunted with his love, his hate, his suffering. Playing with words, using them as art-stuff, regardless of the experience and love and suffering which gave them conceiving and gives them quickening, is likely to bring upon the artist a sad revenge. Pleading in vain for "inspiration," Hearn died a score or more of years before he should have died.

It should be emphasized that Hearn had but one possible way, chosen or compelled, to make a living. His terrible myopia shut him out from every calling except that of a writer. Moreover, leaving aside the danger to his little vision from so much ocular labour, he had other and almost insurmountable handicaps as a poet or maker of literature: He had no original thing to say, for he was entirely without creative power, and had always to borrow theme and plot. Then he had never seen form, knew almost nothing of it as it exists out there, so that his sole technic was that of a colourist, and also to endow our dead and dying words with life—a "ghostly" life it was, and as he chose it to be—but living it assuredly was. That he over-coloured his pictures, that he over-sensualized his words, of this there is no question—but monotones and senescents that we are, let us not smile too superciliously! Let us learn; and above all let us enjoy!

For, his alone was the palette of the painter of the afterglow of Earth's last sunset. And his the unique miracle of clothing with the hues of a hopeless rainbow, the faint [Pg 79] reverberations of bells far sunk in the wreck and wrack of ruined centuries; of reintoning the prayers of Nirvâna-entering souls; of remoaning dear ancient and expiring griefs; of seeing with shut eyes the sad smiles of never-answered loves and never-meeting lovers. With him, hushed, we hearken to Muezzin Bilâl's call from his tower, to the broken sobs of a dancing-girl's passion, or to the plaintive beggings of dying babes for the cold breasts of dead mothers.

[Pg 81]


[Pg 82]

PERHAPS I should not have succeeded in getting Hearn to attempt Japan had it not been for a little book that fell into his hands during the stay with me. Beyond question, Mr. Lowell's volume had a profound influence in turning his attention to Japan and greatly aided me in my insistent urging him to go there. In sending the book Hearn wrote me this letter:

Gooley!—I have found a marvellous book,—a book of books!—a colossal, splendid, godlike book. You must read every line of it. Tell me how I can send it. For heaven's sake don't skip a word of it. The book is called "The Soul of the Far East," but its title is smaller than its imprint.


P.S.—Let something else go to H—, and read this book instead. May God eternally bless and infinitely personalize the man who wrote this book! Please don't skip one solitary line of it, and don't delay reading it,—because something, much! is going to go out of this book into your heart and life and stay there! I have just finished this book and feel like John in Patmos,—only a d——d sight better. He who shall skip one word of this book let his portion be cut off and his name blotted out of the Book of Life.[13]

[13] Mr. Percival Lowell's book soon reached me containing the inscription: "To George M. Gould, with best love of his spiritual pupil, L. H." I have intentionally retained colloquialisms in these excerpts, the indications of our familiarity, etc., to give a glimpse into the heart of the affectionate and sweet-natured man.

There is not much to say about the Japanese period. The splendid books speak for themselves. There is little in the almost valueless letters that interest the literature-lover and give him concern about the literature-maker. There is one short page[14] which is worth the remainder of the book. The development of inborn characteristics goes on, despite the grafted soul, almost as fatalistically as Hearn would have wished, and in this instance in accordance with his theory of the unalterability of character. But this period is of surpassing interest solely because of the beautiful [Pg 83] books and articles written. To analyze them is both impossible and undesirable. They are for our enjoyment, and after us generations will be delighted by them.

[14] Life and Letters, Vol. II, pp. 337 and 338.

Hearn's views and practices as regards love and the feminine are not of sympathetic interest to those who think that monogamy is good and advisable. He hopes his son will not follow in his father's footsteps as regards every damozel in his path, and in this respect become the "disgraceful person he [the father] used to be." He "half suspects" the Oriental husband is right in loving his wife least of all others related to or dependent upon him, and quotes approvingly unquotable things about the laws of (sexual) nature, managing, more suo, to make beautiful the pursuit of beauty "in vain." Than the other, the woman-beauty of soul is the lesser. "It doesn't make a man any happier to have an intellectual wife. The less intellectual the more lovable,—for intellectual converse a man can't have with women." When contemplating legal marriage with "his wife" in 1892, he calculates shrewdly the advantages of the plan. He arrived in Japan in 1890 and in less than two years "my little wife and I have saved nearly 2,000 Japanese dollars between us." When he has made her independent he will quit teaching, and "wander about awhile and write 'sketches' at $10.00 per page." In 1893 he found difficulties in registering the birth of his son. Hearn was still a British subject. If the boy should be a Japanese citizen, the registry must be in the mother's name; if in the father's name, he would become a foreigner. To become a Japanese citizen would mean for Hearn a great reduction in his salary as a teacher under Government pay. "Why was I so foolish as to have a son?" "Really I don't know." In 1895 he "cuts the puzzle" by becoming a Japanese citizen, "losing all chance of Government employment at a living salary." Immediately Hearn "hopes to see a United Orient yet bound into one strong alliance against [Pg 84] our cruel Western Civilization," "against what is called Society and what is called Civilization."

For those who boasted of being his friends, it seems an astonishing thing that they should make Hearn portray his vices, his moral nakedness, so publicly. Of course he did not dream of the exposé. It is to his merit, however, that he would place the truth boldly and baldly before his friends. He confesses that the scandalous parts of a book are what he likes best, that he is "a Fraud," "a vile Latin," etc.,—"Vive le monde antique!" He is "not respectable." "Carpets—pianos—windows—curtains—brass bands—churches! how I hate them!! Would I had been born savage; the curse of civilized cities is upon me." He admits that he "cannot understand the moral side, of course," and urges that "the most serious necessity of life is not to take the moral side of it seriously. We must play with it, as with an hetaira." It is needless to add that in this composition and resolve lay Hearn's weakness, his tragedy, and his missing of "greatness." A man so willed must finally see that it is the source of pitiful instabilities and waywardness. "I have been at heart everything by turns." He learns the old trick of blaming "Fate" and "the other fellow;" he is hard-pushed, ignored, starved, morally humiliated:—"the less a man has to do with his fellow-men the better;" "it becomes plain why men cannot be good to one another;" character may not be bettered or changed; "no line exists between life and not-life;" "likes and dislikes never depart;" if Spanish, Italian, or French (instead of English, German, or American) he "can be at home with a villain," etc. Finally there comes that burst of frankness:—"I have more smallness in me than you can suspect. How could it be otherwise! If a man lives like a rat for twenty or twenty-five years, he must have acquired something of the disposition peculiar to house-rodents,—mustn't he?" [Pg 85] Then increase the complaints of "treachery," the wish for "justice," the desire to go away, somewhere, anywhere; and the limit of the amazing is reached in praising The Conservator and The Whim for bravery and goodness, and in hating Virchow thoroughly. Was Virchow so loathsome because this great scientist found an impassable demarcation between life and the not-life?—"all cells are derived from cells." Is it surprising that his old imagined enemies, the Jesuits, are believed to be hidden in every place, lurking to thwart every ambition or success, even to kill him?[15]

[15] Those who care may see how this suspicion obfuscates his mind in an article against some of Hearn's statements, by Henry Thurston, in The Messenger, January 1906.

No man is wholly bad who loves children, none wholly good who does not love them. In a nation of child-lovers, as Hearn's Japanese writings bear witness, he began to catch glimpses of truth hitherto unrecognized. Concerning his eldest son (a fourth child was expected in 1903) Hearn wrote: "No man can possibly know what life means until he has a child and loves it. And then the whole Universe changes,—and nothing will ever again seem exactly as it seemed before." Naturally he was drawn to the rich child-lore and fairy tales of Japan. With great difficulty I have secured copies of a number of fairy stories edited by him and published in Japan by T. Hasegawa, Tōkyō, in a style beautiful and dainty beyond superlatives. As mine are probably the only ones in our country, I have ventured to copy herewith two of the tales:—


Long, long ago, there was a funny old woman, who liked to laugh and to make dumplings of rice-flour.

One day, while she was preparing some dumplings for dinner, she let one fall; and it rolled into a hole in the earthen floor of her little kitchen and disappeared. The old woman tried to reach it by [Pg 86] putting her hand down the hole, and all at once the earth gave way, and the old woman fell in.

She fell quite a distance, but was not a bit hurt; and when she got up on her feet again, she saw that she was standing on a road, just like the road before her house. It was quite light down there; and she could see plenty of rice-fields, but no one in them. How all this happened, I cannot tell you. But it seems that the old woman had fallen into another country.

The road she had fallen upon sloped very much; so, after having looked for her dumpling in vain, she thought it must have rolled farther away down the slope. She ran down the road to look, crying:

"My dumpling, my dumpling! Where is that dumpling of mine?"

After a little while she saw a stone Jizo standing by the roadside, and she said:

"O Lord Jizo, did you see my dumpling?"

Jizo answered:

"Yes, I saw your dumpling rolling by me down the road. But you had better not go any farther, because there is a wicked Oni living down there, who eats people."

But the old woman only laughed, and ran on farther down the road, crying: "My dumpling, my dumpling! Where is that dumpling of mine?" And she came to another statue of Jizo, and asked it:

"O kind Lord Jizo, did you see my dumpling?"

And Jizo said:

"Yes, I saw your dumpling go by a little while ago. But you must not run any farther, because there is a wicked Oni down there, who eats people."

But she only laughed, and ran on, still crying out: "My dumpling, my dumpling! Where is that dumpling of mine?" And she came to a third Jizo, and asked it:

"O dear Lord Jizo, did you see my dumpling?"

But Jizo said:

"Don't talk about your dumpling now. Here is the Oni coming. Squat down here behind my sleeve, and don't make any noise."

Presently the Oni came very close, and stopped and bowed to Jizo, and said:

"Good-day, Jizo San!"

Jizo said good-day, too, very politely.

Then the Oni suddenly snuffed the air two or three times in a suspicious way, and cried out: "Jizo San, Jizo San! I smell a smell of mankind somewhere—don't you?"

"Oh!" said Jizo, "perhaps you are mistaken."

"No, no!" said the Oni, after snuffing the air again, "I smell a smell of mankind."

[Pg 87] Then the old woman could not help laughing, "Te-he-he!"—and the Oni immediately reached down his big hairy hand behind Jizo's sleeve, and pulled her out,—still laughing, "Te-he-he!"

"Ah! ha!" cried the Oni.

Then Jizo said:

"What are you going to do with that good old woman? You must not hurt her."

"I won't," said the Oni. "But I will take her home with me to cook for us."

"Very well," said Jizo; "but you must really be kind to her. If you are not I shall be very angry."

"I won't hurt her at all," promised the Oni; "and she will only have to do a little work for us every day. Good-bye, Jizo San."

Then the Oni took the old woman far down the road, till they came to a wide deep river, where there was a boat, and took her across the river to his house. It was a very large house. He led her at once into the kitchen, and told her to cook some dinner for himself and the other Oni who lived with him. And he gave her a small wooden rice-paddle, and said:

"You must always put only one grain of rice into the pot, and when you stir that one grain of rice in the water with this paddle, the grain will multiply until the pot is full."

So the old woman put just one rice-grain into the pot, as the Oni told her, and began to stir it with the paddle; and, as she stirred, the one grain became two,—then four,—then eight,—then sixteen,—thirty-two, sixty-four, and so on. Every time she moved the paddle the rice increased in quantity; and in a few minutes the great pot was full.

After that, the funny old woman stayed a long time in the house of the Oni, and every day cooked food for him and for all his friends. The Oni never hurt or frightened her, and her work was made quite easy by the magic paddle—although she had to cook a very, very great quantity of rice, because an Oni eats much more than any human being eats.

But she felt lonely, and always wished very much to go back to her own little house, and make her dumplings. And one day, when the Oni were all out somewhere, she thought she would try to run away.

She first took the magic paddle, and slipped it under her girdle; and then she went down to the river. No one saw her; and the boat was there. She got into it, and pushed off; and as she could row very well, she was soon far away from the shore.

But the river was very wide; and she had not rowed more than one-fourth of the way across, when the Oni, all of them, came back to the house.

[Pg 88] They found that their cook was gone, and the magic paddle too. They ran down to the river at once, and saw the old woman rowing away very fast.

Perhaps they could not swim: at all events they had no boat; and they thought the only way they could catch the funny old woman would be to drink up all the water of the river before she got to the other bank. So they knelt down, and began to drink so fast that before the old woman was half way over, the water had become quite low.

But the old woman kept on rowing until the water had got so shallow that the Oni stopped drinking, and began to wade across. Then she dropped her oar, took the magic paddle from her girdle, and shook it at the Oni, and made such funny faces that the Oni all burst out laughing.

But the moment they laughed, they could not help throwing up all the water they had drunk, and so the river became full again. The Oni could not cross; and the funny old woman got safely over to the other side, and ran away up the road as fast as she could.

She never stopped running until she found herself at home again. After that she was very happy; for she could make dumplings whenever she pleased. Besides, she had the magic paddle to make rice for her. She sold her dumplings to her neighbours and passengers, and in quite a short time she became rich.


A long, long time ago, in a small country-village in Japan, there lived a poor farmer and his wife, who were very good people. They had a number of children, and found it very hard to feed them all. The elder son was strong enough when only fourteen years old to help his father; and the little girls learned to help their mother almost as soon as they could walk.

But the youngest child, a little boy, did not seem to be fit for hard work. He was very clever,—cleverer than all his brothers and sisters; but he was quite weak and small, and people said he could never grow very big. So his parents thought it would be better for him to become a priest than to become a farmer. They took him with them to the village-temple one day, and asked the good old priest who lived there, if he would have their little boy for his acolyte, and teach him all that a priest ought to know.

The old man spoke kindly to the lad, and asked him some hard questions. So clever were the answers that the priest agreed to take the little fellow into the temple as an acolyte, and to educate him for the priesthood.

[Pg 89] The boy learned quickly what the old priest taught him, and was very obedient in most things. But he had one fault. He liked to draw cats during study-hours, and to draw cats even when cats ought not to have been drawn at all.

Whenever he found himself alone, he drew cats. He drew them on the margins of the priest's books, and on all the screens of the temple, and on the walls, and on the pillars. Several times the priest told him this was not right; but he did not stop drawing cats. He drew them because he could not really help it. He had what is called "the genius of an artist," and just for that reason he was not quite fit to be an acolyte;—a good acolyte should study books.

One day after he had drawn some very clever pictures of cats upon a paper screen, the old priest said to him severely: "My boy, you must go away from this temple at once. You will never make a good priest, but perhaps you will become a great artist. Now let me give you a last piece of advice, and be sure you never forget it: 'Avoid large places at night;—keep to small.'"

The boy did not know what the priest meant by saying, "Avoid large places,—keep to small." He thought and thought, while he was tying up his little bundle of clothes to go away; but he could not understand those words, and he was afraid to speak to the priest any more, except to say good-bye.

He left the temple very sorrowfully, and began to wonder what he should do. If he went straight home, he felt sure his father would punish him for having been disobedient to the priest: so he was afraid to go home. All at once he remembered that at the next village, twelve miles away, there was a very big temple. He had heard there were several priests at that temple; and he made up his mind to go to them and ask them to take him for their acolyte.

Now that big temple was closed up, but the boy did not know this fact. The reason it had been closed up was that a goblin had frightened the priests away, and had taken possession of the place. Some brave warriors had afterwards gone to the temple at night to kill the goblin; but they had never been seen alive again. Nobody had ever told these things to the boy; so he walked all the way to the village, hoping to be kindly treated by the priests.

When he got to the village, it was already dark, and all the people were in bed; but he saw the big temple on a hill at the other end of the principal street, and he saw there was a light in the temple. People who tell the story say the goblin used to make that light, in order to tempt lonely travellers to ask for shelter. The boy went at once to the temple, and knocked. There was no sound inside. He knocked and knocked again; but still nobody came. At last he [Pg 90] pushed gently at the door, and was quite glad to find that it had not been fastened. So he went in, and saw a lamp burning,—but no priest.

He thought some priest would be sure to come very soon, and he sat down and waited. Then he noticed that everything in the temple was grey with dust, and thickly spun over with cobwebs. So he thought to himself that the priests would certainly like to have an acolyte, to keep the place clean. He wondered why they had allowed everything to get so dusty. What most pleased him, however, were some big white screens, good to paint cats upon. Though he was tired, he looked at once for a writing-box, and found one, ground some ink, and began to paint cats.

He painted a great many cats upon the screens; and then he began to feel very, very sleepy. He was just on the point of lying down to sleep beside one of the screens, when he suddenly remembered the words: "Avoid large places;—keep to small."

The temple was very large; he was all alone; and as he thought of these words—though he could not quite understand them—he began to feel for the first time a little afraid; and he resolved to look for a small place in which to sleep. He found a little cabinet, with a sliding door, and went into it, and shut himself up. Then he lay down and fell fast asleep.

Very late in the night he was awakened by a most terrible noise,—a noise of fighting and screaming. It was so dreadful that he was afraid even to look through a chink of the little cabinet: he lay very still, holding his breath for fright.

The light that had been in the temple went out; but the awful sounds continued, and became more awful, and all the temple shook. After a long time silence came; but the boy was still afraid to move. He did not move until the light of the morning sun shone into the cabinet through the chinks of the little door.

Then he got out of his hiding-place very cautiously, and looked about. The first thing he saw, lying dead in the middle of it, an enormous monster rat,—a goblin-rat,—bigger than a cow!

But who or what could have killed it? There was no man or other creature to be seen. Suddenly the boy observed that the mouths of all the cats he had drawn the night before, were red and wet with blood. Then he knew that the goblin had been killed by the cats which he had drawn. And then, also, for the first time, he understood why the wise old priest had said to him: "Avoid large places at night;—keep to small."

Afterwards that boy became a very famous artist. Some of the cats which he drew are still shown to travellers in Japan.

[Pg 91] At once upon reaching Japan (it is plain Hearn never forgave me for compelling him to go) begin the complaints of the downright hard work of writing, consequent upon the loss of ideals. He breaks with publishers—an old-time story; he is losing his inspiration, and his only hope is that it will return to him again; in any Latin country he could at once, he thinks, get back the much coveted "thrill," or frisson. He would at last even relish the hated United States. From the beginning he tires of the Japanese character, and grows more and more tired the longer he stays; it has no depth, this thin soul-stream; it is incapable of long-sustained effort, prolonged study; he cannot much longer endure Japanese officialism; and the official "is something a good deal lower than a savage and meaner than the straight-out Western rough." He would wish never to write a line again about any Japanese subjects. Things finally came to such a pass that the only successful stimulus to work was that some one should do or say something horribly mean to him, and the force of the hurt could be measured in the months or years of resultant labour. As none ever did a mean thing to him, one may suspect that the psychology of his sudden enmities towards others was that he must perforce imagine that he had been "horribly" treated.

The old Wanderlust, never wholly absent, returns strongly upon him; in less than a year he dreams of leaving Japan and his wife, and of "wandering about awhile;" he projects "a syndicate" whereby he may go to Java (rather than Manila, where the Jesuits were), or, "a French colony,—Tonkin, Noumea, or Pondicherry." A tropical trip is planned for six months of every year. But the "butterfly-lives" dependent upon him prevent, of course. He always spoke of returning often. At the last there is a savage growl that after thirteen years of work for Japan, in which he had sacrificed everything for her, he [Pg 92] was "driven out of the service and practically banished from the country."

Hearn's nostalgia for the nowhere or the anywhere was only conquered by death. In 1898 the logic of his life, of his misfortune, and character, begins to grow plainer, and he "fears being blinded or maimed so as to prove of no further use." It seems that if he had been able to do what he tried so often, and longed so fervently to do, he would have run away into the known or unknown, leaving children, wife, and all the ties that bound him to any orderly life. His vision had become almost useless; he had lost his lectureship; more and more it grew impossible to coax or force out of his mind such beautiful things as in younger days; the Furies of his atheism, pessimism, and lovelessness were close on his track; the hope of lectureships in the United States had failed,—nothing was left, nothing except one thing, which, chosen or not, came at the age of fifty-four.

Lessing has said that "Raphael would have been the great painter he was even if he had been born without arms," and Burke has told of a poet "blind from birth who nevertheless could describe visible objects with a spirit and justness excelled by few men blessed with sight." What irony of Fate it is that one almost blind should teach us non-users of our eyes the wonder and glory of colour; that the irreligious one should quicken our faith in the immaterial and unseen; that a sensualist should strengthen our trust in the supersensual; that one whose body and life were unbeautiful should sing such exquisite songs of silent beauty that our straining ears can hardly catch the subtle and unearthly harmonies! For Hearn is another of many splendid illustrations of the old truth that a man's spirit may be more philosophic than his philosophy, more scientific than his science, more religious than his creed, more divine than his divinity.

[Pg 93]


[Pg 94]

THAT Hearn was a true poet none will deny, but it was one of the frequent seeming illogicalities of his character that he had no love of metric or rhymed poetry. I doubt if there is a single volume of such poetry in his library, and I never heard him repeat a line or stanza, and never knew him to read a page of what is called poetry. I suspect the simple reason was that his necessities compelled him rigidly to exclude everything from his world of thought which did not offer materials for the remunerating public. He had to make a living, and whence tomorrow's income should come was always a vital concern. Poetry of the metric and rhymed sort does not make bread and butter; hence there was no time to consider even the possibility of "cultivating the muses on a little oatmeal."

Of poetry he once wrote:—"The mere ideas and melody of a poem seem to me of small moment unless the complex laws of versification be strictly obeyed." The dictum, considering its source, is exquisitely ludicrous; for Hearn poetry could not be coined into dollars, even if he had had the mind and heart to learn anything of "the complex laws of versification." Elsewhere he excused his manifest utter ignorance of poetry and want of poetic appreciation by saying that there is so little really good poetry that it is easy to choose. He confessed his detestation of Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats, preferring Dobson, Watson, and Lang. "Of Wordsworth—well, I should smile!" "Refined poetry" he held of little or no value, but he found the "vulgar" songs of coolies, fishermen, etc., very true and beautiful poetry. He vainly tried to translate some of Gautier's poems. He attempted original verse-making but a few times, and from my scrap-book I reproduce one of the results, kindly furnished me by Mr. Alexander Hill, of Cincinnati, to whom it was given by Mr. Tunison. Perhaps it was printed in Forest and Stream.

[Pg 95]


Hot shines the sun o'er the quivering land,
No wind comes up from the sea,
Silent and stark the pine woods stand,
And the mock-bird sleeps in the Mayhaw tree,
Where, overhung with brier and vine,
The placid waters slip and shine
And dimple to thy lover's view—
La belle rivière de Calcasieu.
Under the bending cypress trees,
Bedecked with pendulous cool grey moss
That woos in vain the recreant breeze
And silently mourns its loss.
With drowsy eye, in my little boat
I dreamily lie, and lazily float
Lulled by the thrush's soft Te-rue—
On La belle rivière de Calcasieu.
A heron stands, like a ghost in grey,
Knee-deep 'mongst the bending water lilies,
And yellow butterflies lightly play
'Midst the blooms of fragrant amaryllis;
The swift kingfisher winds his reel,
Saying his grace for his noonday meal,
And a hawk soars up to the welkin blue
O'er La belle rivière de Calcasieu.
Across the point, where the ferry plies,
I hear the click of the boatman's oar,
And his Creole song, with its quavering rise
Re-echoes soft from shore to shore;
And this is the rhyme that he idly sings
As his boat at anchor lazily swings,
For the day is hot, and passers few
On La belle rivière de Calcasieu.
"I ain't got time for make merry, me
I ain't got time for make merry;
My lill' gall waitin' at de River of Death
To meet her ole dad at de ferry.
She gwine be dere wid de smile on her face,
Like the night she died, when all de place
Was lit by the moonbeams shiverin' troo
La belle rivière de Calcasieu.
[Pg 96] "O sing dat song! O sing dat song!
I ain't got time for make merry!
De angel come 'fore berry long,
And carr' me o'er de ferry!
He come wid de whirlwind in de night—
He come wid de streak of de morning light—
He find me ready—yass, dass true—
By La belle rivière de Calcasieu.
"Den who got time for make merry, eh?
Den who got time for make merry?
De fire burn up de light 'ood tree,
De bird eat up de berry.
Long time ago I make Voudoo,
An' I dance Calinda strong and true,
But de Lord he pierce me troo and troo
On La belle rivière de Calcasieu."

In the Watkin letters, Hearn transcribes a poem of six stanzas written by himself for the decoration of the soldiers' graves at Chalmette Cemetery in 1878.

Far more successful, for obvious reasons, was an attempt at echoing a bit of Eastern fancy. A strange, gruesome, Oriental being had caught his eye at New Orleans, who translated for him some characteristic Eastern verses. Hearn thus rendered them in English:[16]

[16] From Hearn's manuscript copy through the kindness again of Mr. Tunison and Mr. Hill.


From Amaron Satacum

Late at night the lover returns unlooked-for,
Full of longing, after that cruel absence;—
Finds his darling by her women surrounded;
Enters among them:—
Only sees his beautiful one, his idol,
Speaks no word, but watches her face in silence,
Looks with eyes of thirst and with lips of fever
Burning for kisses.
[Pg 97] Late it is; and, nevertheless, the women,
Still remaining, weary his ears with laughter,
Prattling folly, tantalizing his longing—
Teasing his patience.
Love weaves ruse in answer to gaze beseeching;—
Shrill she screams: "O heaven!—What insect stings so!"
And with sudden waft of her robe outshaken,
Blows the vile light out.

I find the following verses in his scrap-book of the New Orleans period:[17]

[17] Dated July 11, 1885.


(After the French of Louis Bouilhet)

Startled,—as by some far faint din
Of azure-lighted worlds, from sleep,
The Mummy, trembling, wakes within
The hypogeum's blackest deep,—
And murmurs low, with slow sad voice:
"Oh! to be dead and still endure!—
Well may the quivering flesh rejoice
That feels the vulture's gripe impure!
"Seeking to enter this night of death,
Each element knocks at my granite door:—
'We are Earth and Fire and Air,—the breath
Of Winds,—the Spirits of sea and shore.
"'Into the azure, out of the gloom,
Rise!—let thine atoms in light disperse!—
Blend with the date-palm's emerald plume!—
Scatter thyself through the universe!
"'We shall bear thee far over waste and wold:
Thou shalt be lulled to joyous sleep
By leaves that whisper in light of gold,
By murmur of fountains cool and deep.
"'Come!—perchance from thy dungeon dark
Infinite Nature may wish to gain
For the godlike Sun another spark,
Another drop for the diamond rain.'

[Pg 98]

"Woe! mine is death eternal! ... and
I feel Them come, as I lie alone,—
The Centuries, heavy as drifted sand
Heaping above my bed of stone!
"O be accursed, ye impious race!—
Caging the creature that seeks to soar;
Preserving agony's weird grimace,
In hideous vanity, evermore!"

Aux bruits lointains ouvrant l'oreille,
Jalouse encor du ciel d'azur,
La momie en tremblant s'éveille
Au fond de l'hypogée obscur.
Oh, dit-elle, de sa voix lente,
Etre mort, et durer toujours.
Heureuse la chaire pantelante
Sous l'ongle courbé des vautours.
Pour plonger dans ma nuit profonde
Chaque element frappe en ce lieu.
—Nous sommes L'air! nous sommes l'onde!
Nous sommes la terre et le feu!
Viens avec nous, le steppe aride
Veut son panache d'arbres verts,
Viens sous l'azur du ciel splendide,
T'éparpiller dans l'univers.
Nous t'emporterons par les plaines
Nous te bercerons à la fois
Dans le murmure des fontaines
Et la bruissement des bois.
Viens. La nature universelle
Cherche peut-être en ce tombeau
Pour de soleil une étincelle!
Pour la mer une goutte d'eau!

Et dans ma tombe impérissable
Je sens venir avec affroi
Les siècles lourds comme du sable
Qui s'amoncelle autour de moi.

[Pg 99]

Ah! sois maudite, race impie,
Qui le l'être arrêtant l'essor
Gardes ta laideur assoupie
Dans la vanité de la mort.

In one of Hearn's letters to the Cincinnati Commercial, written soon after his arrival in New Orleans, he writes:

Here is a specimen closely akin to the Creole of the Antilles. It is said to be an old negro love-song, and I think there is a peculiar weird beauty in several of its stanzas. I feel much inclined to doubt whether it was composed by a negro, but the question of its authorship cannot affect its value as a curiosity, and, in any case, its spirit is thoroughly African. Unfortunately, without accented letters it is impossible to convey any idea of the melody, the liquid softness, the languor, of some of the couplets. My translation is a little free in parts.


Dipi me vouer toue, Adèle,
Ape danse calinda,
Mo reste pour toue fidèle,
Liberte a moin caba.
Mo pas soussi d'autt negresses,
Mo pas gagnin coeur pour yo;
Yo gagnin beaucoup finesses;
Yo semble serpent Congo.


Mo aime toue trop, ma belle,
Mo pas capab resiste;
Coeur a moin tout comme sauterelle,
Li fait ne qu'appe saute.
Mo jamin contre gnoun femme
Qui gagnin belle taille comme toue;
Jie a ton jete la flamme;
Corps a toue enchene moue.


To tant comme serpent sonnette
Qui connin charme zozo,
Qui gagnin bouche a li prette
Pour servi comme gnoun tombo.
[Pg 100]
Mo jamin voue gnoun negresse Qui connin marche comme toue,
Qui gagnin gnoun si belle gesse;
Corps a toue ce gnoun poupe.


Quand mo pas vouer toue, Adèle,
Mo sentt m'ane mourri,
Mo vini com' gnoun chandelle
Qui ape alle fini:
Mo pas vouer rien sur la terre
Qui capab moin fait plaisi;
Mo capab dans la rivière
Jete moin pour pas souffri.


Dis moin si to gagnin n'homme;
Mo va fals ouanga pour li;
Mo fais li tourne fantome,
Si to vle moin pour mari.
Mo pas le in jour toue boudeuse;
L'autt femme, pour moin ce fatras;
Mo va rende toue bien heureuse;
Mo va baill' toue bell' madras.



Since first I beheld you, Adèle,
While dancing the calinda,
I have remained faithful to the thought of you:
My freedom has departed from me.
I care no longer for all other negresses;
I have no heart left for them:
You have such grace and cunning:
You are like the Congo serpent.


I love you too much, my beautiful one:
I am not able to help it.
My heart has become just like a grasshopper,
It does nothing but leap. [Pg 101] I have never met any woman
Who has so beautiful a form as yours.
Your eyes flash flame;
Your body has enchained me captive.


Ah, you are so like the serpent-of-the-rattles
Who knows how to charm the little bird,
And who has a mouth ever ready for it
To serve it for a tomb!
I have never known any negress
Who could walk with such grace as you can,
Or who could make such beautiful gestures:
Your body is a beautiful doll.


When I cannot see you, Adèle,
I feel myself ready to die;
My life becomes like a candle
Which has almost burned itself out.
I cannot, then, find anything in the world,
Which is able to give me pleasure;—
I could well go down to the river
And throw myself in it that I might cease to suffer.


Tell me if you have a man;
And I will make an ouanga charm for him;
I will make him turn into a phantom,
If you will only take me for your husband.
I will not go to see you when you are cross;
Other women are mere trash to me;
I will make you very happy,
And I will give you a beautiful Madras handkerchief.

I think there is some true poetry in these allusions to the snake. Is not the serpent a symbol of grace? Is not the so-called "line of beauty" serpentine? And is there not something of the serpent in the beauty of all graceful women?—something of undulating shapeliness, something of silent fascination?—something of Lilith and Lamia? The French have a beautiful verb expressive of this idea, serpenter, "to serpent"—to curve in changing undulations like a lithe snake. The French artist speaks of the outlines of a beautiful human body as "serpenting," curving and winding like a serpent. Do you not like [Pg 102] the word? I think it is so expressive of flowing lines of elegance—so full of that mystery of grace which puzzled Solomon; "the way of a serpent upon a rock."

The allusion to Voudooism in the last stanza especially interested me, and I questioned the gentleman who furnished me with the song as to the significance of the words: "I will make him turn into a phantom." I had fancied that the term fantome might be interpreted by "ghost," and that the whole line simply constituted a threat to make some one "give up the ghost."

"It is not exactly that," replied my friend; "it is an allusion, I believe, to the withering and wasting power of Voudoo poisons. There are such poisons actually in use among the negro obi-men—poisons which defy analysis, and, mysterious as the poisons of the Borgias, slowly consume the victims like a taper. He wastes away as though being dried up; he becomes almost mummified; he wanes like a shadow; he turns into a phantom in the same sense that a phantom is an unreal mockery of something real."

Thus I found an intelligent Louisianan zealous to confirm an opinion to which I was permitted to give expression in the Commercial nearly three years ago—that a knowledge of secret septic poisons (probably of an animal character), which leave no trace discoverable by the most skilful chemists, is actually possessed by certain beings who are reverenced as sorcerers by the negroes of the West Indies and the Southern States, but more especially of the West Indies, where much of African fetichism has been transplanted.

Ozias Midwinter.

[Pg 103]


[Pg 104]

THE dependence not only of the literary character and workmanship of a writer, but even his innermost psyche, upon vision, normal or abnormal, is a truth which has been dimly and falteringly felt by several writers. Concerning "Madame Bovary," and his friend Flaubert, Maxime du Camp reflects some glintings of the truth. But these and others, lacking the requisite expert definiteness of knowledge, have failed to catch the satisfying and clear point of view. To illustrate I may quote the paragraph of du Camp:

"The literary procedure of Flaubert threw everybody off the track and even some of the experts. But it was a very simple matter; it was by the accumulation and the superposition of details that he arrived at power. It is the physiologic method, the method of the myopes who look at things one after the other, very exactly, and then describe them successively. The literature of imagination may be divided into two distinct schools, that of the myopes and that of the hyperopes. The myopes see minutely, study every line, finding each detail of importance because everything appears to them in isolation; about them is a sort of cloud in which is detached the object in exaggerated proportions. They have, as it were, a microscope in their eye which enlarges everything. The description of Venice from the Campanile of St. Mark, that of Destitution in 'Captain Fracasse,' by Gautier are the capital results of myopic vision. The hyperopes, on the other hand, look at the ensemble, in which the details are lost, and form a kind of general harmony. The detail loses all significance, except perhaps they seek to bring it into relief as a work of art.... Besides, the myopes seek to portray sensations, while the hyperopes especially aim at analysis of the sentiments. If a hyperopic writer suddenly becomes myopic, his manner of thinking, and consequently of writing, at once is modified. What I call the school of [Pg 105] the myopes, Gautier names the school of the rabids. He said to Mérimée: 'Your characters have no muscles,' and Mérimée answered, 'Yours have no draperies.'"

But there is one consequence, common both to Flaubert and to Hearn, a most strange unity of result flowing from a seemingly opposed but really identical cause in the two men. I have elsewhere set forth the reasons for my belief that the secret of Flaubert's life, character, and literary art consisted in an inability to think and write at the same time. He was one of the most healthy and brilliant of men when he did not read or write, but his mind refused to act creatively whenever he wrote or read. From this resulted his epilepsy. Fathered by the fear of this disease, mothered by opium, and reared by unhygiene and eye-strain, came the miserable "St. Anthony" of the second remaking. In the failure of this pitiful work there was naught left except bottomless pessimism, the "cadenced phrase," and all the rest, called "Madame Bovary" and "art for art's sake."

There never was a greater sufferer from eye-strain than Flaubert, whose eyes were strikingly beautiful, and seemingly of extraordinary perfection as optical instruments. From this fact flowed the entire tragedy of the man's life and of his life-work. His friend du Camp says that had it not been for his disease he would have been, not a writer of great talent, but a man of genius. Hearn had the most defective eyesight, he was indeed nearly blind; but physically he suffered little from this cause,—and yet his choice of subjects and methods of literary workmanship, and every line he wrote, were dictated and ruled by his defect of vision. Opium, with the impossibility of writing and creating at the same time, dominated Flaubert's work and working, and the similar result was begot by Hearn's enormous monocular myopia.

From Martinique, before I had met him, Hearn wrote me: [Pg 106]

I am very near-sighted, have lost one eye, which disfigures me considerably; and my near-sightedness always prevented the gratification of a natural penchant for physical exercise. I am a good swimmer, that is all.

In reply to nearly all the questions about my near-sightedness I might answer, "Yes." I had the best advice in London, and observe all the rules you suggest. Glasses strain the eye too much—part of retina is gone. The other eye was destroyed by a blow at college; or, rather, by inflammation consequent upon the blow. I can tell you more about myself when I see you, but the result will be more curious than pleasing. Myopia is not aggravating.

In "Shadowings," the chapter on "Nightmare-Touch," Hearn describes with his gift of the living word the dreams and hauntings he endured when as a boy he was shut in his room in the dark. It is a pitiful history, and shows how a child may suffer atrociously from the combination of an abnormally exuberant fancy and eye-strain, probably with added ocular disease. The subjective sensations and images were alive and Hearn's innate tendency to the horrible and hideous gave them the most awful of nightmarish realities.

I have already given (facing page 5) a copy of a little photograph of Hearn at about the age of eight, standing by Mrs. Brenane. It will be seen that the right eyeball was at this time about as large and protruding as in later life. This leaves a doubt whether the destruction of the left was due to the blow at college at the age of sixteen. In one of my letters he uses the word "scrofulous" in alluding to himself.

It was not only during the last years of his life, that, as he says, "it was now largely a question of eyes." It was always the most important of all questions; first, physically and financially, because all hung upon his ability to write many hours a day. How his little of visual power was preserved under the work done is a marvel of physiology. So unconscious was Hearn of the influence of eye-strain in ruining the health of others (he himself had no eye-strain in the ordinary meaning of the term) that he wonders [Pg 107] why the hard students about him were inexplainably dying, going mad, getting sick, and giving up their studies. This is hardly to be considered a fault of Hearn when educators and physicians and oculists the world over, never suspect the reason.

Moved by sympathy, and perhaps by the vaguest feeling that to Hearn's poor vision were due, in part at least, both his personal and literary characteristics, I early besought him to make use of scientific optical helps in order to see the world better, and to carry on his writing with greater ease, and with less danger to the little vision left him. He had but one eye, which was evidently enormously nearsighted. The other had been lost in youth. I found that he had about 25 diopters of myopia, to use the jargon of the oculist, and that consequently he knew little about the appearance of objects even a few feet away. In writing he was compelled to place the paper or pen-point about three inches from his eye. With the proper lens it was possible to give him vision of distant objects about one-fourth as clear as that of normal eyes. For a minute my disappointment was equal to my surprise when I found that he did not wish to see with even this wretched indistinctness, and that he would not think of using spectacles or eyeglasses. Later I found the reason for his action. He sometimes carried a little lens or monocle in his pocket, which somewhat bettered his vision, but in the several months he spent with me I saw him use it only once or twice, and then merely for an instant. I am almost sure that the reason for this preference for a world almost unseen, or seen only in colours, while form and outline were almost unknown, was never conscious with Hearn, although his mind was alert in detecting such psychologic solutions in others. In studying his writings, this reason finally has become clear to me.

When one chooses an artistic calling, Fate usually, and [Pg 108] to the artist unconsciously, dictates the kind of art-work and the method of carrying it to realization. The blind do not choose to be painters, but musicians; the deaf do not think of music, though nothing prevents them from being good painters. The dumb would hardly become orators or singers, but they might easily be sculptors, or painters, or designers. It is as evident that the poet is largely a visualizer, if one may so designate this psychic function, and without sight of the world of reality and beauty, poetry will inevitably lack the charm of the real and the lovely. Every great writer, in truth, shows more or less clearly that the spring and secret of his imagination lie preponderantly in the exceptional endowment, training, or sensitiveness of one of the principal senses of sight, hearing, or touch. A thousand quotations might be made from each of a dozen great writers to prove the thesis. The man born blind, however, cannot become a poet, because true poetry must be conditioned upon things seen—"simple, sensuous, and passionate" demands the great critic; but interwoven and underrunning the simplicity, the passion, and the sense, is and must be the world as mirrored by the eye. All thinking, all intellectual activity, is by no means of the image and the picture; all words are the product of the imagining, and the very letters of the alphabet are conventionalized pictures.

Physiologically, or normally, the perfection of the artist and of his workmanship thus depends upon the all-round perfection of his senses, the fulness of the materials and of his experience which these work on and in, and the logical and æsthetic rightness of systematization. Conversely, a new pathology of genius is coming into view which shows the morbidizing of art and literature through disease, chiefly of the sense-organs of the artist and literary workman, but also by unnatural living, selfishness, sin, and the rest. As Hearn was probably the most myopic literary man that has existed, his own thoughts upon The Artistic [Pg 109] Value of Myopia are of peculiar interest. In 1887 one of his editorials in the Times-Democrat runs as follows:—

Probably more than one reader, on coming to page 15 of Philip Gilbert Hamerton's delightful book, "Landscape," was startled by the author's irrefutable statement that "the possession of very good eyesight may be a hindrance to those feelings of sublimity that exalt the poetic imagination." The fact is, that the impressiveness of natural scenery depends a great deal upon the apparent predominance of mass over detail, to borrow Mr. Hamerton's own words; the more visible the details of a large object,—a mountain, a tower, a forest wall, the less grand and impressive that object. The more apparently uniform the mass, the larger it seems to loom; the vaguer a shadow-space, the deeper it appears. An impression of weirdness,—such as that obtainable in a Louisiana or Florida swamp-forest, or, much more, in those primeval and impenetrable forest-deeps described so powerfully by Humbolt,—is stronger in proportion to the spectator's indifference to lesser detail. The real effect of the scene must be a general one to be understood. In painting, the artist does not attempt miscroscopic minutiæ in treating forest-forms; he simply attempts to render the effect of the masses, with their characteristic generalities of shadow and colour. It is for this reason the photograph can never supplant the painting—not even when the art of photographing natural colours shall have been discovered. Mr. Hamerton cites the example of a mountain, which always seems more imposing when wreathed in mists or half veiled by clouds, than when cutting sharply against the horizon with a strong light upon it. Half the secret of Doré's power as an illustrator was his exaggerated perception of this fact,—his comprehension of the artistic witchcraft of suggestion. And since the perception of details depends vastly upon the quality of eyesight, a landscape necessarily suggests less to the keen-sighted man than to the myope. The keener the view, the less depth in the impression produced. There is no possibility of mysterious attraction in wooded deeps or mountain recesses for the eye that, like the eye of the hawk, pierces shadow and can note the separate quiver of each leaf. Far-seeing persons can, to a certain degree, comprehend this by recalling the impressions given in twilight by certain unfamiliar, or by even familiar objects,—such as furniture and clothing in a half-lighted room. The suggestiveness of form vanishes immediately upon the making of a strong light. Again, attractive objects viewed vaguely through a morning or evening haze, or at a great distance, often totally lose artistic character when a telescope is directed upon them.

[Pg 110] In the February number of Harper's Magazine we find a very clever and amusing poem by the scholarly Andrew Lang upon this very theme. The writer, after describing the christening-gifts of various kindly fairies, tells us that the wicked one—

—Said: "I shall be avenged on you.
My child, you shall grow up nearsighted!"
With magic juices did she lave
Mine eyes, and wrought her wicked pleasure.
Well, of all the gifts the Fairies gave,
Her's is the present that I treasure!
The bore, whom others fear and flee,
I do not fear, I do not flee him;
I pass him calm as calm can be;
I do not cut—I do not see him!
And with my feeble eyes and dim,
Where you see patchy fields and fences,
For me the mists of Turner swim—
My "azure distance" soon commences!
Nay, as I blink about the streets
Of this befogged and miry city,
Why, almost every girl one meets
Seems preternaturally pretty!
"Try spectacles," one's friends intone;
"You'll see the world correctly through them."
But I have visions of my own
And not for worlds would I undo them!

This is quite witty and quite consoling to myopes, even as a cynical development of Philip Gilbert Hamerton's artistic philosophy. Still, it does not follow that the myope necessarily possesses the poetic faculty or feeling;—neither does it imply that the presbyope necessarily lacks it. If among French writers, for example, Gautier was notably nearsighted, Victor Hugo had an eye as keen as a bird's. It is true that a knowledge of the effect of shortsightedness on the imagination may be of benefit to a nearsighted man, who, possessing artistic qualities, can learn to take all possible advantage of his myopia,—to utilize his physical disability to a good purpose; but the longsighted artist need not be at a loss to find equally powerful sources of inspiration—he can seek them in morning mists, evening fogs, or those wonderful hazes of summer afternoons, when the land sends up all its vapours to the sun, like a smoke of gold. Beaudelaire, in his Curiosités Esthétiques, made an attempt to prove that the greatest [Pg 111] schools of painting were evolved among hazy surroundings—Dutch fogs, Venetian mists, and the vapours of Italian marsh-lands.

The evolutionary tendency would seem to indicate for future man a keener vision than he at present possesses; and a finer perception of colour—for while there may be certain small emotional advantages connected with myopia, it is a serious hindrance in practical life. What effect keener sight will have on the artistic powers of the future man, can only be imagined—but an increasing tendency to realism in art is certainly perceptible; and perhaps an interesting chapter could be written upon the possible results to art of perfected optical instruments. The subject also suggests another idea,—that the total inability of a certain class of highly educated persons to feel interest in a certain kind of art production may be partly accounted for by the possession of such keen visual perception as necessarily suppresses the sensation of breadth of effect, either in landscape or verbal description.

Thus, according to Flaubert, the myope looks at things one after another and describes details, while Hearn says the exact opposite. Both are wrong. The oculist will feel constrained to differ somewhat from Hearn in the foregoing article.

In May 1887 he reviews editorially an article of my own which I had sent him during the preceding year. Again, because there has never been a literary artist with a colour-sense so amazingly developed as that of Hearn, I venture to copy his commendation of my views:


(May 8, 1887)

The evolutionary history of the Colour-Sense, very prettily treated of by Grant Allen and others, both in regard to the relation between fertilization of flowers by insects, and in regard to the æsthetic pleasure of man in contemplating certain colours, has also been considered in a very thorough way by American thinkers. Perhaps the most entertaining and instructive paper yet published on the subject was one in the American Journal of Ophthalmology last September. It has just been reprinted in pamphlet form, under the title of "The Human Colour-Sense as the Organic Response to Natural Stimuli;" and contains a remarkable amplification of these theories, rather suggested than [Pg 112] laid down by the author of "Physiological Æsthetics." Of course, the reader whom the subject can interest, comprehends that outside of the mind no such thing as colour exists; and that the phenomena of colours, like those of sound, are simply the results of exterior impressions upon nerve apparatus specially sensitive to vibrations—in the one case of ether, in the other of air. Everybody, moreover,—even those totally ignorant of the physiology of the eye—know that certain colours are called primary or elementary. But it has probably occurred to few to ask why,—except in regard to mixing of paints in a drawing-school.

The theories of Gladstone and Magnus that the men of the Homeric era were colour-blind, because of the absence from the Homeric poems of certain words expressive of certain colours, have been disproved by more thorough modern research. The primitive man's sense of colour, or the sensitiveness of his retina to ether vibrations, may not have been as fine as that of the Roman mosaic-worker who could select his materials of 30,000 different tints, nor as that of Gobelin weavers, who can recognize 28,000 different shades of wool. But the evidence goes to show that the sense of colour is old as the gnawing of hunger or the pangs of fear,—old as the experience that taught living creatures to discern food and to flee from danger. There is, however, reason to suppose, from certain developmental phenomena observed in the eyes of children and newly-born animals, that the present condition of the colour-sense has been gradually reached—not so much in any particular species, as in all species possessing it,—just as vision itself must have been gradually acquired. Also showy colours must have been perceived before tints could be discerned; and even now we know through the spectroscope, that the human eye is not yet developed to the fullest possible perceptions of colour. Now the first colours recognized by the first eyes must have presumably been just those we call primary,—Yellow, Red, Green, Blue. Yellow, the colour of gold, is also the colour of our sun; the brightest daylight has a more or less faint tinge even at noon, according to the state of the atmosphere;—and this tinge deepens at sunrise and sunset. Red is the colour of blood,—a colour allied necessarily from time immemorial with violent mental impressions, whether of war, or love, or the chase, or religious sacrifice. Green itself is the colour of the world. Blue,—the blue of the far away sky,—has necessarily always been for man the colour mysterious and holy,—always associated with those high phenomena of heaven which first inspired wonder and fear of the Unknown. These colours were probably first known to intelligent life; and their impressions are to-day the strongest. So violent, indeed, have they become to our refined civilized sense, that in apparel or decoration [Pg 113] three of them, at least, are condemned when offered pure. Even the armies of the world are abandoning red uniforms;—no refined people wear flaming crimsons or scarlets or yellows;—nobody would paint a house or decorate a wall with a solid sheet of strong primary colour. Blue is still the least violent, the most agreeable to the artistic sense; and in subdued form it holds a place, in costume and in art, refused to less spiritual colours.

It might consequently be expected there should exist some correlation between the primary colours and the stronger emotional states of man. And such, indeed, proves to be the case. Emotionally the colours come in the order of Red, Yellow, Green, Blue. Red still appeals to the idea of Passion,—for which very reason its artistic use is being more and more restrained. Very curious are the researches made by Grant Allen showing the fact of the sensual use of the red. In Swinburne's "Poems and Ballads "(the same suppressed work republished in this country under its first title, "Laus Veneris"), the red epithets appear 159 times, while gold, green and blue words occur respectively 143, 86 and 25 times. In Tennyson's beautiful poem, "The Princess," the red words occur only 20 times, the gold 28, the green 5, the blue once. With all his exquisite sense of colour, Tennyson is sparing of adjectives;—there is no false skin to his work; it is solid muscle and bone.

Next to Red, the most emotional colour is Yellow—the colour of life, and of what men seem to prize next to life,—Gold. We fancy we can live without green sometimes; it comes third; but it is the hue associated with all the labours of man on the earth, since he began to labour. It is the colour of Industry. Blue has always been, since man commenced to think, and always will be, until he shall have ceased to think,—associated with his spiritual sense,—his idea of many gods or of One,—his hopes of a second life, his faith, his good purposes, his perception of duty. Still, all who pray, turn up their faces toward the eternal azure. And with the modern expansion of the Idea of God, as with the modern expansion of the Idea of the Universe, the violet gulf of space ever seems more mystical,—its pure colour more and more divine, and appeals to us as the colour of the Unknowable,—the colour of the Holy of Holies.

That Hearn wrote not from his own experience, out of his own heart, and with its blood, was due to the fact that life had denied him the needed experience; the personal materials, those that would interest the imaginative or imagining reader, did not exist. He must borrow, at first [Pg 114] literally, which for him meant translation or retelling. The kind of things chosen was also dictated by the tragedy and pathos of his entire past life. But as if this pitiful tangling of the strands of Destiny were not enough, Fate added a knot of still more controlling misfortune. His adult life was passed without the poet's most necessary help of good vision. Indeed he had such extremely poor vision that one might say it was only the merest fraction of the normal. A most hazy blur of colours was all he perceived of objects beyond a foot or two away. There was left for him the memory of a world of forms as seen in his childhood; but that fact throws into relief the fact that it was a memory. It needs little psychologic acumen to realize how inaccurate would be our memories of trees, landscapes, mountains, oceans, cities, and the rest, seen only thirty years ago. How unsatisfying, how unreliable, especially for artistic purposes, must such memories be! To be sure, these haunting and dim recollections were, or might have been, helped out a little by pictures and photographs studied at the distance of three inches from the eye. The pathos of this, however, is increased by the fact that Hearn cared nothing for such photographs, etchings, engravings, etc. I never saw him look at one with attention or interest. Paintings, water-colours, etc., were as useless to him as the natural views themselves.

Another way that he might have supplemented his infirmity was by means of his monocle, but he made little use of this poor device, because he instinctively recognized that it aided so meagrely. One cannot be sure how consciously he refused the help, or knew the reasons for his refusal. At best it could give him only a suggestion of the accurate knowledge which our eyes give us of distant objects, and not even his sensitive mind could know that it minimized the objects thus seen, and almost turned them into a caricaturing microscopic smallness, [Pg 115] like that produced when we look through the large end of an opera-glass. What would we think of the world if we carried before our eyes an opera-glass thus inverted? Would not a second's such use be as foolish as continuous use? There was an optical and sensible reason for his refusal. With the subtle wisdom of the unconscious he refused to see plainly, because his successful work, his unique function, lay in the requickening of ancient sorrows, and of lost, aimless and errant souls. He supplemented the deficiencies of vision with a vivid imagination, a perfect memory, and a perfection of touch which gave some sense of solidity and content, and by hearing, that echo-like emphasized unreality; but his world was essentially a two-dimensional one. To add the comble to his ocular misfortunes, he had but one eye, and therefore he had no stereoscopic vision, and hence almost no perception of solidity, thickness, or content except such as was gained by the sense of touch, memory, judgment, etc. The little glimpse of stereoscopic qualities was made impossible by the fact of his enormous myopia, and further by the comparative blindness to objects beyond a few inches or a few feet away from the eye. The small ball becomes flat when brought sufficiently near the eye. Practically the world beyond a few feet was not a three-dimensional one; it was coloured it is true, and bewilderingly so, but it was formless and flat, without much thickness or solidity, and almost without perspective.[18] Moreover, Hearn's single eye was divergent, and more of the world to his left side was invisible to him than to other single-eyed persons. Most noteworthy also is another fact,—the slowness of vision by a highly myopic eye. It takes it longer to see what it [Pg 116] finally does see than in the case of other eyes. So all the movements of such a myopic person must be slow and careful, for he is in doubt about everything under foot, or even within reach of the hands. Hearn's myopia produced his manners.

[18] I have gathered, but must omit, a hundred illuminating quotations from Hearn's writings, illustrating the truth of the formlessness and non-objectivity of his world, and how colour dominated his poorly seen universe.

Intellect, one must repeat, is largely, almost entirely, the product of vision,—especially the æsthetic part of intellect. And intellect, it should not be forgotten, is "desiccated emotion"; which brings us up sharply before the question of the effect upon æsthetic and general feeling, upon the soft swirl and lift and flitting rush of the emotional nature, in a psyche so sensitive and aerial as that of Hearn. In this rare ether one loses the significance of words, and the limitations of logic, but it may not be doubted that in the large, the summarized effect of thirty years of two-dimensional seeing and living, of a flat, formless, coloured world, upon the immeasurably quick, sensitive plate of Hearn's mind, was—well, it was what it was!

And who can describe that mind! Clearly and patently, it was a mind without creative ability, spring, or the desire for it. It was a mind improcreant by inheritance and by education, by necessity and by training, by poverty internal and external. To enable its master to live, it must write, and, as was pitifully evident, if it could not write in obedience to a creative instinct, it must do the next best thing. This residual second was to describe the external world, or at least so much of the externals of all worlds, physical, biological, or social, as romance or common-sense demanded to make the writing vivid, accurate, and bodied. Any good literature, especially the poetic, must be based on reality, must at least incidentally have its running obligato of reality. For the poet, again emphasized, vision is the intermediary, the broad, bright highway to facts. Prosaically, local colour requires the local seer. Barred from this divine roadway to and through the actual universe, the foiled mind [Pg 117] of Hearn could choose but one course: to regarment, transform, and colour the world, devised and transmitted by others, and reversing the old ο λογος σαρξ εγενετο rewrite the history of the soul as σαρξ ο λογος εγενετο , for in Hearn's alembic the solidest of flesh was "melted" and escaped in clouds of spirit; it was indeed often so disembodied and freed that one is lost in wonder at the mere vision of the cloudland so eerie, so silent, so void, so invisibly far, and fading ever still farther away. But, chained to the here Hearn could not march on the bright road. He could never even see the road, or its ending. If freed to go, there became here with the intolerable limitation of his vision, the peculiarity of his unvision. The world, the world of the there must be brought to him, and in the bringing it became the here. In the process, distant motion or action became dead, silent, and immobile being; distance was transformed to presence, and an intimacy of presence which at one blow destroyed scene, setting, and illumination. For, except to passionate love, nearness and touch are not poetical or transfiguring, and to Hearn love never could come; at least it never did come. Except in boyhood he never, with any accuracy of expression or life, saw a human face; at the best, he saw faces only in the frozen photographs, and these interested him little.

With creative instinct or ability denied, with the poet's craving for open-eyed knowing, and with the poet's necessity of realizing the world out there, Hearn, baldly stated, was forced to become the poet of myopia. His groping mind was compelled to rest satisfied with the world of distance and reality transported by the magic carpet to the door of his imagination and fancy. There in a flash it was melted to formless spirit, recombined to soul, and given the semblance of a thin reincarnation, fashioned, refashioned, coloured, recoloured. There, lo! that incomparable [Pg 118] wonder of art, the haunting, magical essence of reality, the quivering, elusive protean ghost of the tragedy of dead pain, the smile of a lost universe murmuring non dolet while it dies struck by the hand of the beloved murderer.

[Pg 119]


[Pg 120]

"THE 'lovers of the antique loveliness,'" wrote Hearn, "are proving to me the future possibilities of a long-cherished dream—the English realization of a Latin style, modelled upon foreign masters, and rendered even more forcible by that element of strength which is the characteristic of the northern tongues." "I think that Genius must have greater attributes than mere creative power to be called to the front rank,—the thing created must be beautiful; it does not satisfy if the material be rich. I cannot content myself with ores and rough jewels, etc." "It has long been my aim to create something in English fiction analogous to that warmth of colour and richness of imagery hitherto peculiar to Latin literature. Being of a meridional race myself, a Greek, I feel rather with the Latin race than with the Anglo-Saxon; and trust that with time and study I may be able to create something different from the stone-grey and somewhat chilly style of latter-day English or American romance." "The volume, 'Chinese Ghosts,' is an attempt in the direction I hope to make triumph some day, poetical prose." "A man's style, when fully developed, is part of his personality. Mine is being shaped to a particular end."

Hearn advised the use of the etymological dictionary in order to secure "that subtle sense of words to which much that startles in poetry and prose is due." But although always remaining an artist in words, he, at his best, came to know that artistic technique in ideas is a more certain method of arousing and holding the readers' interest. He also strongly urges a knowledge of Science as more necessary to the formation of a strong style. In this, however, he never practised what he commended, because he had no mind for Science, nor knowledge of scientific things. He spoke with pride of writing the scientific editorials for his paper, but they were few and may quickly be ignored.

[Pg 121] Flaubert was Hearn's literary deity; the technique of the two men was identical, and consisted of infinite pains with data, in phrase-building, sentence-making, and word-choosing. With no writer was the filing of the line ever carried to higher perfection than with both master and pupil; fortunately the younger had to make his living by his pen, and therefore he could not wreck himself upon the impossible task as did Flaubert. For nothing is more certain to ruin style and content, form as well as matter, than to make style and form the first consideration of a writer. Flaubert, the fashion-maker and supreme example of this school, came at last to recognize this truth, and wished that he might buy up and destroy all copies of "Madame Bovary;" and he summed up the unattainableness of the ideal, as well as the resultant abysmal pessimism, when he said that "form is only an error of sense, and substance a fancy of your thought." His ever-repeated "Art has no morality," "The moment a thing is true it is good," "Style is an absolute method of seeing things," "The idea exists only by virtue of its form," etc., led Flaubert and his thousand imitators into the quagmire which Zola, Wilde, Shaw, and decadent journalism generally so admirably illustrate. That Hearn escaped from the bog is due to several interesting reasons, the chief being his poverty, which compelled him to write much, and his audience, which, being Anglo-Saxon (and therefore properly and thoroughly cursed), would not buy the elegant pornography of Flaubert and the gentlemen who succeeded, or did not succeed, in the perfection of the worship and of the works of the master of them all. And then Hearn was himself at least part Anglo-Saxon, so that he shrank from perfection in the method.

There is a pathetic proof of the lesson doubly repeated in the lives of both Flaubert and Hearn. "St. Anthony" was rewritten three times, and each time the failures might be [Pg 122] called, great, greater, greatest. There lies before me Hearn's manuscript translation of the third revision of the work, in two large volumes, with a printed pamphlet of directions to the printer, an Introduction, etc.,—a great labour assuredly on Hearn's part. No publisher could be found to give it to the world of English readers![19] Moreover, there was never in his life any personal happiness, romance, poetry, or satisfaction which could serve as the material of Hearn's æsthetic faculty. Almost every hour of that life had been lived in physical or mental anguish, denied desire, crushed yearnings, and unguided waywardness. Born of a Greek mother, and a roving English father, his childhood was passed in an absurd French school where another might have become a dwarfed and potted Chinese tree. Flung upon the alien world of the United States in youth, without self-knowledge, experience, or self-guiding power, he drank for years all the bitter poisons of poverty, banality, and the rest, which may not shatter the moral and mental health of strong and coarse natures. By nature and necessity shy beyond belief, none may imagine the poignant sufferings he endured, and how from it all he writhed at last to manhood and self-consciousness, preserved a weird yet real beauty of soul, a morbid yet genuine artist-power, a child-like and childish, yet most involuted and mysterious heart, a supple and subtle, yet illogical and contentless intellect.

[19] Particulars concerning the manuscript translation of "St. Anthony" are given in the Bibliography of Miss Stedman, Hearn's "Argument" of the book being reprinted in full.

The most striking evidence of the pathetic and unmatched endowment and experience is that, while circumstance dictated that he should be a romancer, no facts in his own life could be used as his material. There had been no romance, no love, no happiness, no interesting personal data, upon which he could draw to give his imagination [Pg 123] play, vividness, actuality, or even the semblance of reality. So sombre and tragic, moreover, had been his own living that the choice of his themes could only be of unhealthy, almost unnatural, import and colouring. He therefore chose to work over the imaginings of other writers, and perforce of morbid ones.

A glance at his library confirms the opinion. When Hearn left for Japan, he turned over to me several hundred volumes which he had collected and did not wish to take with him. His most-prized books he had had especially rebound in dainty morocco covers, and these, particularly, point to the already established taste, the yearning for the strange, the weird, and the ghost-like, the gathered and pressed exotic flowers of folklore, the banalities and morbidities of writers with unleashed imaginations, the love of antique religions and peoples, the mysteries of mystics, the descriptions of savage life and rites—all mixed with dictionaries, handbooks, systems of philosophy, etc.

Under the conditioning factor of his taste, it is true that his choice, or his flair, was unique and inerrant. He tracked his game with fatal accuracy to its lair. His literary sense was perfect, when he set it in action, and this is his unique merit. There has never been a mind more infallibly sure to find the best in all literatures, the best of the kind he sought, and probably his translations of the stories from the French are as perfect as can be.

His second published volume, the "Stray Leaves from Strange Literature," epitomizes and reillumines this first period of his literary workmanship. The material, the basis, is not his own; it is drawn from the fatal Orient, and tells of love, jealousy, hate, bitter and burning vengeance, and death, sudden and awful. Over it is the wondrous mystical glamour in which he, like his elder brother Coleridge, was so expert in sunsetting these dead [Pg 124] days and deathless themes. His next book, "Some Chinese Ghosts," was a reillustration of the same searching, finding, and illuminating.

Flaubert's choice of subjects, as regards his essential character, was of the most extreme illogicality; his cadenced phrase and meticulous technique were also not the product of his character or of his freedom. In the Land of Nowhere, Hearn was likewise compelled to reside, and it was necessarily a land of colour and echo, not one of form. The suffering Frenchman emptied of inhabitants or deimpersonalized his alien country, while the more healthy Anglo-Saxon peopled it with ghosts. "Have you ever experienced the historic shudder?" asked Flaubert. "I seek to give your ghost a ghostly shudder," said Hearn. Flaubert wrote:—

"The artist should be in his work, like God in creation, invisible and all-powerful; he should be felt everywhere and seen nowhere.

"Art should be raised above personal affections and nervous susceptibilities. It is time to give it the perfection of the physical sciences by means of pitiless method."

And Hearn's first and most beloved "Avatar," and his most serious "St. Anthony"—works dealing with the mysteries and awesomeness of disembodied souls and ideals—"could not get themselves printed." Moreover, in all that he afterwards published there are the haunting far-away, the soft concealing smile, and the unearthly memories of pain, the detached spirits of muted and transmuted dead emotions, and denied yearnings, the formless colourings of half-invisible and evanishing dreams.

For with Hearn's lack of creative ability, married to his inexperience of happiness, he could but choose the darksome, the tragical elements of life, the παθος even of religion, as his themes. His intellect being a reflecting, or at least a recombining and colouring faculty, his datum [Pg 125] must be sought without, and it must be brought to him; his joyless and even his tragic experience compelled him to cull from the mingled sad and bright only the pathetic or pessimistic subjects; his physical and optical imprisonment forbade that objectivation and distinctive embodiment which stamp an art work with the seal of reality, and make it stand there wholly non-excusing, or else offering itself as its own excuse for being. True art must have the warp of materiality, interwoven with the woof of life, or else the coloration and designs of the imagination cannot avail to dower it with immortality.

Working within the sad limits his Fates had set, Hearn performed wonders. None has made tragedy so soft and gentle, none has rendered suffering more beautiful, none has dissolved disappointment into such painless grief, none has blunted the hurt of mortality with such a delightful anæsthesia, and by none have death and hopelessness been more deftly figured in the guise of a desirable Nirvâna. The doing of this was almost a unique doing, the manner of the ποιησις was assuredly so, and constitutes Hearn's claim to an artist's "For ever." He would have made no claim, it is true, to this, or to any other endless existence, but we who read would be too indiscriminating, would be losers, ingrates, if we did not cherish the lovely gift he brings to us so shyly. Restricted and confined as was his garden, he grew in it exotic flowers of unearthly but imperishable beauty. One will not find elsewhere an equal craftsmanship in bringing into words and vision the intangible, the far, fine, illusive fancy, the ghosts of vanished hearts and hopes. Under his magic touch unseen spirit almost reappears with the veiling of materiality, and behind the grim and grinning death's-head a supplanting smile of kindness invites pity, if not a friendly whisper.

As to literary aim, Hearn distinctly and repeatedly confessed to me that his ideal was, in his own words, to give his [Pg 126] reader "a ghostly shudder," a sense of the closeness of the unseen about us, as if eyes we saw not were watching us, as if long-dead spirits and weird powers were haunting the very air about our ears, were sitting hid in our heart of hearts. It was a pleasing task to him to make us hear the moans and croonings of disincarnate griefs and old pulseless pains, begging piteously, but always softly, gently, for our love and comforting. But it should not be unrecognized that no allurement of his art can hide from view the deeper pathos of a horrid and iron fatalism which to his mind moved the worlds of nature or of life, throttled freedom, steeled the heart, iced the emotions, and dictated the essential automatism of our own being and of these sad dead millions which crowd the dimly seen dreams of Hearn's mind.

It may be added that, accepting the command of his destiny, Hearn consciously formed an ideal to which he worked, and even laboured at the technique of its realization. I have talked with him upon these and similar subjects for many long hours, or got him to talk to me. The conversations were usually at night, beneath trees, with the moonlight shimmering through and giving that dim, mystic light which is not light, so well suited to such a poet and to his favourite subjects.

As to technique, there was never an artist more patient and persistent than he to clothe his thought in its perfect garment of words. Sometimes he would be able to write with comparative ease a large number of sheets (of yellow paper—he could write on no other) in a day. At other times the words did not suit or fit, and he would rewrite a few pages scores of times. Once I knew him to labour over six lines an entire day, and then stop weary and unsatisfied. I had to supply a large waste-basket and have often wished I had kept for comparison and a lesson in practical æsthetics the half-bushel or more of wasted sheets thrown away nearly every day.

[Pg 127] Just as those outfitted with good eyes must find Hearn's world too formless and too magnificently coloured, so normal civilized persons will find it altogether too sexually and sensually charged. Whenever able to do so he turns a description to the ghostly, but even then c'est toujours femme! A mountain is like a curved hip, a slender tree takes the form of a young girl budding into womanhood, etc. Colour, too, is everywhere, even where it is not, seemingly, to our eyes, and even colour is often made sensual and sexual by some strange suggestion or allusion.

Viewing merit as the due of conscious, honourable, unselfish, and dutiful effort, Hearn's sole merit rises from his heroic pursuit of an ideal of workmanship. Like glorious bursts of illuminating sunshine through the fogs and clouds of a murky atmosphere shine such sentences as these:—

What you want, and what we all want, who possess devotion to any noble idea, who hide any artistic idol in a niche of our heart, is that independence which gives us at least the time to worship the holiness of beauty,—be it in harmonies of sound, of form, or of colour.

What you say about the disinclination to work for years upon a theme for pure love's sake, without hope of reward, touches me,—because I have felt that despair so long and so often. And yet I believe that all the world's art-work—all that which is eternal—was thus wrought. And I also believe that no work made perfect for the pure love of art, can perish, save by strange and rare accident....

Yet the hardest of all sacrifices for the artist is this sacrifice to art,—this trampling of self under foot! It is the supreme test for admittance into the ranks of the eternal priests. It is the bitter and fruitless sacrifice which the artist's soul is bound to make,—as in certain antique cities maidens were compelled to give their virginity to a god of stone! But without the sacrifice, can we hope for the grace of Heaven?

What is the reward? The consciousness of inspiration only! I think art gives a new faith. I think—all jesting aside—that could I create something I felt to be sublime, I should feel also that the Unknowable had selected me for a mouthpiece, for a medium of utterance, in the holy cycling of its eternal purpose; and I should know the pride of the prophet that had seen God face to face.

* * * * Never to abandon the pursuit of an artistic vocation [Pg 128] for any other occupation, however lucrative,—not even when she remained apparently deaf and blind to her worshippers. So long as one can live and pursue his natural vocation in art, it is a duty with him never to abandon it if he believes that he has within him the elements of final success. Every time he labours at aught that is not of art, he robs the divinity of what belongs to her.

And the greatest of our satisfactions with Hearn's personality is that these were not mere words, but that he consistently, resolutely, and persistently practised his preaching. This was the only religion or ethics he had, and praise God, he had it! That alone binds us to him in any feeling of brotherhood, that only makes us grateful to him.

Style has been too frequently and too long confounded with content. There is the matter, the thing to be said, the story to be told; and quite apart from this there is the method of telling it, which, properly viewed, is style. So long as the teller of the tale has only borrowed his message or story from others, there cannot be raised much question of originality, or discussion of the datum, except in so far as pertains to the choice of material. And so long as the stylist fingers etymological dictionaries for "startling words," so long will his style remain of the lower kind and etymologically unstylish. When the technique becomes unconscious and perfect, there is style, or the art, merged into the content, and then, le style c'est l'homme, or, as Hearn translated it, style becomes the artist's personality. In the best Japanese works Hearn accomplished this, and with his consummate choice of material there was the consummate art-work. Subject, method, cunning handiwork, psychologic analysis, generous and loyal sympathy, colour (not form)—all were fused to a unity almost beyond disassociation, and challenging admiration. But it is not beyond our perfect enjoying.

It is true that Hearn has ignored, necessarily and wisely [Pg 129] ignored, the objective and material side of Japanese existence. Mechanics, nationalism, economy, the materialism of his material, had obviously to be untouched in his interpretation, or in his "Interpretation." It would have been absurd for him to have attempted any presentation or valuable phasing of this important aspect. That for him was in a double sense ultra vires. Such work will not want for experts. But what Hearn has done was almost wholly impossible to any other. His personal heredity, history, and physiology, highly exceptional, seem to have conspired to outfit him for this remarkable task.

There is still another reason, at first sight a contradicting one, for both Hearn's fitness and his success in giving us a literary incarnation of the spirit or soul of Japan in the subjective sense: To his readers it must have appeared an insoluble enigma why this superlatively subjective and psychical "sensitive" should have been such an unrecking, outré, and enthusiastic follower of Herbert Spencer's philosophy, or that part of it given in the "First Principles." It is told of an English wit that when asked if he was willing to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles, he promptly replied, "Oh, yes, forty of them if you wish." Hearn was similarly minded—minus the fun,—and most unphilosophically he went into utter captivity, seemingly, to the unphilosophic philosopher. And yet the spirit of Spencer's "First Principles" was in reality as different from that of Hearn as was the spirit of St. Francis from that, for instance, of Cecil Rhodes. The contradiction and ludicrousness of this mismating is so easy of explanation that the incongruity is missed. The forest is not seen because of the trees. Hearn did not have true scientific instinct, animus, or ability. Neither had Herbert Spencer—so far as his "First Principles" is concerned, and as regards an improved inductive method as shown in the "Psychology," "Biology," etc., Hearn, according to a letter, found he could [Pg 130] not interest himself enough to read one of these later works. The clear and well-drilled scientific intellect admits that if Spencer had not published his "First Principles," but had gathered the facts of his later works before publishing an epitomizing Last Principles, the matter would have been as differently phased as night and day. Spencer cared infinitely more for the systematization than he did for the facts systematized. Reduced to its last analysis, the "First Principles" was the reverse of a close induction from the facts of nature and life. It presented the glitter of generalization without the logic. The reverberating echoes of its illogic, sweeping sonorously over the universe with an indiscriminate ignoring of the world-wide difference between matter and life, caught the fancy of the imprisoned poet soul; he thoughtlessly yielded a homage which, from his standpoint, was unjustified, and which objectively was an unscrutinizing lip-service. Subjectively Spencerism gave Hearn warrant for an inborn atheism and materialism which had been heightened immoderately by the bitter teachings of experience into a pessimism so horrid that one shuddered when looking into the man's soul depths. Morne was a favourite word with Hearn, and Spencer's was a fateful philosophy for one whose birth and education were desolation, and whose sight of the world was more than morne, was the abomination of desolation, was in truth the sheer awfulness of despair. Blindness were vastly preferable to Hearn's affliction, but if that splendid poet St. Francis had been so cursed, his face and his soul would have been ecstatic with smiles, with joy, with faith, with hope, and with love. So strange is the unaccountable allotment of Fate in her endowments, gifts, and orderings. There is and there can be no blame—only a pity wholly beyond expression.

The aloofness, far-awayness, the inapproachable distance and detachment of Hearn's spirit is one of the characteristics [Pg 131] felt in reading his best pages. Everything is infinitely beyond our senses. To him everything was distant: the near was far, the far was at infinity. He thus truly became the poet of the au delà. His voice, itself an echo, comes to us as from the hush of an eerie height above the beat and wreck of the waves of our noisy shore. His personality as revealed in his writings is an echo, a memory, almost the memory of a memory, the thrill of the day-dream of a soul retreating from sense.

Each day the quiet grew more still
Within his soul, more shrank the will
Beyond the jar of sense, serene,
Behind the hurt of world or ill,
Where sleep hushed silences unseen.

He ever insists on a haunting glimpse of the pain and the renunciation of others, of wasted and long-dead faces and loves, always shrinking from our gaze, pallid in the darkling light of the setting moon, of vanishing loves, grievous story, forgotten myth, and ruined religion.

And yet, and yet, all that works to make Hearn immortal in literature is, at last, not art per se. One might quote freely showing that his "filing of the line," like that of Flaubert, led to nothing, if the thought and feeling to be put into the lines were not there. They were not there with his masters, Flaubert, Gautier, Maupassant, and others, and so these men will not inherit literary immortality. They had no soul, and only the soul, the spirit, can be immortalized. Hearn's good fortune is that unconsciously, even almost against his will, he was more than they, more than an artist as such. He had something else to do. If it had not been for his poverty, the necessity to sell what he wrote, he would surely have gone the same road to Avernus as his masters. Then, too, he had no original message to write, because he had no real soul, only a borrowed one. Japan gave him her soul to rematerialize [Pg 132] and recolour with literary life. Without his Japanese work Hearn would have died as littérateur in the year he died as a physical body. To tell her "ghostly" stories was his great office and function. When these were told his work was done. His old gloating over the clotted villainies of mediæval horror had been much outgrown, and it had no chance to be used in Japan. The Japanese character would not tolerate such things. The ghastly was transformed into the ghostly, and his Oriental fancy was luckily turned to better duties and pleasures. This more than Flaubert was something not to be got from modern atheistic French "Art for Art's sake," nor from modern Levantine nonentity of character. How marvellous is his sympathy with his subject, loyalty to his literary duty, and to his literary ideal! His despised Irish father perhaps had slipped into the otherwise invisible and limp threads of his Fates a little mesh of spiritual reality, which, dormant, unrecognized, and even scorned by him, came finally to give him all his valour and worth. He could dower the insubstantial sigh of a long dead soul or people with the wingéd word. It was a word of colour, only,—and colour has no objective existence,—the rainbow is not out there. And because it is spiritual, not objective, the most beautiful, if the most evanescent of all earthly things, is colour. The hearers of soundless music, and the lovers of "the light that never was on sea or shore" will understand what is meant. For them Hearn really wrote: they are few, and scattered far, but Hearn will magnificently multiply the number. His amazing merit is that while without the great qualities which make the greatest writers, he wrought such miracles of winning grace and persuading beauty.

That he wrought against his will, and by the overcoming of a seemingly cruel Fate, puts him almost outside of our personal gratitude. We take the gift from a divinity he did not recognize, one that used the rebellious hand and [Pg 133] the almost blind eye as a writing instrument. The lover of the gruesome, the Spencerian scientist, the man himself, must have wondered at the message when he came out from under the influence of the pitiless inspiration.

One of Hearn's dangers was discursiveness, or want of conciseness and intensity. "Chita" showed it, and the West Indian work lost in value because of it. It is the danger of all those writers who lack creative ability, and who depend upon "local colour," and "style" for their effect. The story's the thing, after all! In Hearn's translations, and especially in "Stray Leaves," he for the moment caught the view of the value of the content, saw how the fact, dramatic, intense, and passionate is the all-desirable; the art of its presentation is the art of letting it flash forth upon the reader with few, apt, and flamelike words, which reveal and not conceal the life and soul of the act and of the actor. He tended to forget this. In "Karma," besides, or rather by reason of, the moral,—his newly got psyche,—he returned to a reliance upon essentials, upon the datum of the spirit, and not upon its reflections, refractions, and chromatics. The beautiful spectrum was there refocused into white light, and the senses disappeared to reveal behind them the divinity of soul. That art-lesson was never forgotten by Hearn, and his Japanese work had a purity and a reality, a white heat, which make his previous stories and sketches seem pale and weak.

Questions of style and form sometimes run inevitably into those of content and of logic. Essentially wanting the rigorous training of form, without the content and method of the scientific intellect, all Hearn's work shows a lack of system, order, and subordination of parts. In any single one of the Japanese volumes the absence of logic is lamentably evident. He constantly repeats himself, and the warp of some of his themes is worn threadbare. His most ambitious work, "Japan," is, in truth, a [Pg 134] regathering and a restatement in more objective style, of his previous imaginative studies. Almost the only added thought concerns the difference between Shintōism and ancestor-worship and the truism that Japan is to-day ruthlessly sacrificing the life of the individual to that of the nation. The lack of scholarship and of the scientific animus (even in a field, folk-lore, more nearly his own than any other) comes to view in his mistake of supposing Spencer an authority on the subject of the origin of religion, and in the blunder that assumed ancestor-worship to be original in Japanese history and religion. Ancestor-worship, according to Griffis, Knox, and other distinguished authorities, was unknown to the ancient writers of Nippon and was imported from China. How threadbare—and yet how deftly, even charmingly concealed!—was the wearing of his favourite themes, is shown by Hearn's fateful return to the gruesome, especially in the later books, "Kott" and "Kwaidan." These stories of the dead and of morbid necrophilism are witnesses of Hearn's primitive interest in the ghastly, impossible to be renounced or sloughed, not to be replaced by desire for the supersensual, or by resolve to transform the loathsome into the ghostly. Hearn should never have been seduced into the delusion that he could become the spokesman of any scientific animus, methods or results. Erudition, logic, systematization, were to him impossible. His function was another and of a different nature, and his peculiar ability was for other tasks. If we are adequately to appreciate the exquisiteness of the earlier Japanese works, we will forget the "Japan, an Interpretation."

If we look upon Hearn as a painter, almost the sole colour of his palette was mummy brown, the powdered flesh of the ancient dead holding in solution their griefs, their hopes, their loves, their yearnings, which he found to sink always to pulselessness, and to end in eternal defeat! But [Pg 135] the pallor and sadness for the brief moment of their resuscitation was divinely softened and atoningly beautified. Then they disappeared again in the waste and gloom from which love and poesy had evoked them.

Felled in the struggle and defeat of the eternal battle with death, the vegetation of untold ages long ago drifted to an amorphous stratum of indistinguishable millionfold corpses. Compression, deferred combustion and over-shrouding transmuted and preserved it for a long-after-coming time, for our warming, lighting, and delighting. This has a perfect analogy in the history and use of tradition, myth, folk-lore, custom, and religion, those symbolic and concrete epitomes of man's long ancestral growths and strivings, those true black diamonds of humanity's experiences, its successes and failures, of its ideals and disappointments. Hearn's artistry consisted in catching up these gems, these extinguished souls washed from a world of graves to the threshold of his miracle-working imagination, and in making them flush for an instant with the semblance of life. With what exquisite skill and grace he was able to concentrate upon them the soft light-rays of a fancy as subtle and beautifying as ever has been given to mortal!

[Pg 137]


[Pg 138] CONCERNING Hearn's outfitting of character by his parents little or nothing is known. It is of comparative unimportance because only a slight judicial familiarity with his works, especially those of the pre-Japanese periods, demonstrates that so far as concerns substratum and substance of character he had neither. There was an interior void, an absence of psychic reality, which mocked his friends and which likewise baulked at true creativeness. He never made a plot or blew the breath of life into a character; his datum was always provided from without and by another. He was a reflector only,—plus a colourist—but a colourist of unrivalled excellence and power. Form he knew not, had never seen, and that is also his second conditioning weakness as an artist. Even much of his philosophy was to justify the sensualism, sensualisticism, pessimism, and godlessness which are early manifest. But it was a product taken over from another, a hastily devoured meal without mastication, digestion, or assimilation. The interior emptiness was pathetically emphasized by the fact of a contentless experience which also worked to deprive his mind of spontaneous originality. He never loved, except in one sorry way, never suffered much, never lived much, for he was a hard worker, and he was always seeking the ever-postponed, ever-unsatisfying Paradise, so vainly hunted for, and which none ever finds except in himself. Ihm fehlt die Liebe, was said of Heine,—how much truer is it of Hearn! Conspiring with a native lack of originality and want of normal experience, his enormous near-sightedness made his choice of material and method of handling it what we know. If anything was "inherited," it was a pseudo-Orientalism, a love of the monstrous and gruesome, an astonishing indifference to Occidental history and its conclusions as to sexual and social laws, a spontaneous faith in faithlessness, a belief in irreligion, and an almost hopeless trend toward fatalism and its inevitable [Pg 139] consequent, pessimism. Improvidence, financial as well as moral, and disloyalty, to his friends as well as to his higher nature, were his life-long, crippling, and condemning sins. Two mysteries seem almost inexplainable. We know why others had to give him his themes, and whence and how he became a mirror, or an echo; and we understand how the echoing became also wondrously, even exaggeratedly, but beautifully, coloured. We can almost see why he was foolishly and absurdly disloyal to personal friends, often treating worst those who were the most kind to him; best, those who were sometimes most cunningly selfish. We may explain his ridiculous Wanderlust. But two attributes are beyond all analysis:—one was a thing illogical with his character, his cleaving to an ideal of literary workmanship at the cost of selfishness, friendships, and temporary success; and the other was his marvellous literary and psychologic sympathy with whatever mind, people, circumstance, story, or tradition, accident or choice brought before the echoing or mirroring mind. If it were faint, ghostly, and far away, he was a true thaumaturgist in loving it into life, and living it into love.

This beautiful sympathy and literary loyalty made it possible for Hearn to use the words of faith and of religion, even of morality, as if they were his own, while with them he had no personal sympathy whatever. For instance, he could speak, as if from his heart out, of "a million astral lamps lighted in the vast and violet dome of God's everlasting mosque." He could praise as a sublime exhortation the command, "O ye that are about to sleep, commend your souls to Him who never sleeps!" It is, of course, true that in Hearn's mind, doubtless, the poorest heathen or savage virtue was sublimely virtuous, and any barbaric vice had more of virtue in it than of viciousness. Surely the most paltry Oriental excellence was far lovelier to him than any Occidental heroism or beauty, however splendid. [Pg 140] We are thus helped to understand how his mind could seem to flush with religious or ethical enthusiasm, while the mosque of his real heart was only a chasm of gloomy negation or a chaos of hideous death. This was due to the fact that he had no constructive mind, and as only one kind of doing, writing, was possible to him, because of his near-sightedness, he must needs hate Occidentalism, and exalt with a somewhat ludicrous praise the vapid, and even pitiful childishness of semi-barbaric Orientalism. The illogicality reaches its acme when Hearn, atheistic, disloyal, and unethical, was compelled, as in some of his Japanese pages, to put a morality and a religion behind the acts and in the hearts of his characters, which with his and with their atheism, was, dramatically, so out of place that the incongruity would make us smile if it were not all done with such a sweet and haunting grace. The culmination of the contradictory trends is in "Karma." To put it bluntly, Hearn had no spark of practical sexual virtue, and yet praise one shall, marvel at one must, the literary and dramatic honour which could, as in "Karma," so sympathetically describe the almost unscalable summits of virtue,—there where in holy silence, Passion gazes with awe at her divine Master, Duty.

A negative condition of this sympathy was the interior voidness of his character, the non-existence of reality within him, which thus allowed the positive loyalty to his subject free play; yet that which gave it leave to be, did not explain the genesis or quality of life of the being. But have a care! Do not ask the interest in any one subject to last for more than a fleeting moment! Early and always he possessed the rare, the wonderful gift of the instant, the iridescent, the wingéd word. At last was presented to him what he called a "soul," and that, in conjunction with his growth in artistic technique, in his handling of colours, and in procuring nobler data, helped [Pg 141] to give the Japanese work a content and an enduring substance which distinguishes it from that of all others. This atones for all the hurt that precedes, and it is a benefaction and a delight to the entire world. In reward Literature will place upon his head one of her loveliest crowns.

[Pg 143]


[Pg 144] TAKEN as a whole, the criticisms upon Hearn's work are complimentary. He has his warm admirers, and some who are not so enthusiastic; but those who criticize adversely do so with a gentleness,—I may say, almost a reluctance that is perhaps the reflection of the spirit of his work. And whatever else these may offer, all agree that his writings have a unique charm.

Following are a few excerpts which should give an average of opinions:—

"One great secret of his success in interpreting the Japanese mind and temperament lay in his patience in seeking out and studying minutely the little things of a people said to be great in such. As Amenomori says of Hearn's mind, it 'called forth life and poetry out of dust.'" (327.)[20]

"As an interpreter of the Japanese heart, mind, hand and soul, Mr. Hearn has no superior. But he will not convert those who in health of body and mind love the landmarks of the best faith of the race. It is very hard to make fog and miasmatic exhalations, even when made partly luminous with rhetoric, attractive to the intellect that loves headlands and mountain-tops. The product of despair can never compete in robust minds with the product of faith." (357.)

"Sympathy and exquisiteness of touch are the characteristics of Mr. Hearn's genius. He is a chameleon, glowing with the hue of outer objects or of inward moods, or altogether iridescent. He becomes translucent and veined like a moth on a twig, or mottled as if with the protective golden browns of fallen leaves. We may not look for architectonic or even plastic powers. His is not the mind which constructs of inner necessity, which weaves plots and schemes, or thinks of its frame as it paints. He attempts [Pg 145] no epic of history. The delver for sociologic or theologic spoil must seek deeper waters....

[20] The numbers refer to the corresponding items in the Bibliography.

"In his later books the all-potent influence of Japanese restraint seems to have refined and subdued his wonderful style to more perfect harmonies....

"His chapters are long or short as are his moods. There is little organic unity in them; no scientific aim or philosophic grasp rounds them into form. Even his paragraphs have little cohesion. Speaking of the forming of his sentences, he himself has compared it to the focussing of an image, each added word being like the turn of a delicate screw." (306.)

"The secret of the charm that we feel to such a marked degree in Mr. Lafcadio Hearn's volumes is that, in contrast to other writers, he does take the Japanese very seriously indeed." (316.)

"To the details of life and thought in Japan Mr. Hearn's soul seems everywhere and at all times responsive. He catches in his eye and on his pen minute motes scarcely noticeable by the keen natives themselves." (367.)

"He has written nothing on Japan equal in length to his tales of West Indian life. But while we deplore this reserve of a writer who possesses every quality of style, except humour, we have reason to be grateful for whatever he gives us." (307.)

"The matchless prose and the sympathy of Mr. Hearn." (324.)

"Mr. Hearn has the sympathetic temperament, the minute mental vision, the subdued style peculiar to all that is good in Japanese art and literature, needed for the accomplishment of a labour which to him has been a labour of love indeed. Here we have no mawkish sentimentality, no excessive laudation, on the one hand; on the other, no Occidental harshness, no Occidental ignorance of the sweet mystery of Eastern ways of life and modes of thought. [Pg 146] What this most charming of writers on Far Eastern subjects has seen all may see, but only those can understand who are endowed with a like faculty of perception of unobtrusive beauty, and a like power, it must be added, of patient and prolonged study of common appearances and everyday events." (295.)

"A man has just died, intelligent and generous, who had succeeded in reconciling in his heart, the clear, rational ideas of the West together with the obscure deep sense of Extreme—Asia: Lafcadio Hearn. In the hospitality of his recipient soul, high European civilization and high Japanese civilization found a meeting-place; harmonized; completed, one in the other....

"In English-speaking countries, especially in the United States, Lafcadio Hearn already enjoys a just reputation. The lovers of the exotic, esteem him as equal to Kipling or Stevenson. In France, the Revue de Paris has begun to make him known, by publishing some of his best articles, elegantly and faithfully translated. His budding fame is destined to increase, as Europe takes a greater interest in the arts and the thoughts of the Extreme-Orient. His prose, exact and harmonious, will be admired as one of the finest since Ruskin wrote: his very personal style, at the same time subtle and powerful, will be noted: he will be especially admired for his delicate and profound intelligence of that Japanese civilization which, to us, remains so mysterious. What characterizes the talent of Lafcadio Hearn, that which gives it its precious originality, is the rare mixture of scientific precision and idealistic enthusiasm: his work might justly be entitled Truth and Poesy: 'In reading these essays,' says one of our best existing Japanese scholars, Professor Chamberlain, 'one feels the truth of Richard Wagner's statement: "Alles verständniss kommt uns nur durch die Liebe." (All understanding comes to us only through Love.) If Lafcadio [Pg 147] Hearn understands Japan best, and makes it better understood than any other writer, it is because he loves it best.'

"Lafcadio Hearn describes with intelligence, with love all aspects of Japanese life: Nature and inhabitants; landscapes, animals and flowers; material life and life moral; classic Art and popular literature; philosophies, religions and superstitions. He awakens in us an exquisite feeling of old aristocratic and feudal Japan: he explains to us the prodigious revolution that modern Japan has created in thirty years....

"Hearn has consecrated to the study of Japanese art some of his most curious psychological analyses.

"Lafcadio Hearn takes a deep interest in the religious life of the Japanese. He studies with the minutest exactness the ancient customs of Shintōism, high moral precepts of Buddhism, and also the popular superstitions that hold on, for instance, to the worship of foxes, and to the idea of pre-existence." (393.)

"To a certain large class of his adopted countrymen, his hatred of Christianity, which was pronounced long before he went to Japan, and his fondness for Oriental cults of all kinds, was recommendation. But it is still an open question whether he did harm or good to the Japanese by his advocacy of their superstitions....

"Hearn's books are little known to the multitude. But they are familiar to an influential class the world over. In him Japan has lost a powerful and flattering advocate, and the English world one of its masters in style." (332.)

"Mr. Hearn was not a philosopher or a judicial student of life. He was a gifted, born impressionist, with a style resembling that of the French Pierre Loti. His stories and descriptions are delicate or gorgeous word pictures of the subtler and more elusive qualities of Oriental life." (293.)

[Pg 148] "His art is the power of suggestion through perfect restraint.... He stands and proclaims his mysteries at the meeting of three ways. To the religious instinct of India,—Buddhism in particular,—which history has engrafted on the æsthetic sense of Japan, Mr. Hearn brings the interpreting spirit of Occidental science; and these three traditions are fused by the peculiar sympathies of his mind into one rich and novel compound.... In these essays and tales, whose substance is so strangely mingled together out of the austere dreams of India and the subtle beauty of Japan and the relentless science of Europe, I read vaguely of many things which hitherto were quite dark." (308.)

"He brings to the study of all aspects of Japanese life, intelligence, and love; he also sets sail in his descriptions and analyses towards a general theory on life; he is a Japanizing psychologist: he is also a philosopher....

"At all events, Lafcadio Hearn has the merit of recalling powerfully to the Europeans of Europe the importance, often misunderstood, of Eastern civilization. No one better than this Japanizing enthusiast to make us feel what there is of narrowness in our habitual conception of the world, in our individualistic literature, misunderstanding too much the influence of the Past in our anthropocentric art, neglecting Nature too often, penetrated too 'singly' in our classic philosophy with Greco-Latin and Christian influences. 'Till now,' says Lafcadio Hearn very forcibly, 'having lived only in one hemisphere, we have thought but half thoughts.' We should enlarge our hearts and our minds by taking into our circle of culture, all the art and all the thought of the extreme East.

"From the philosophical view-point, Lafcadio Hearn has the merit of calling attention to the high value of Shintōism, and above all of Buddhism. His work deserves to exercise an influence on the religious ideas of the West. If religion [Pg 149] can no longer occupy any place in the intellectual life of humanity, more and more invaded by science, she can subsist a long time yet, perhaps always, in her sentimental life." (392.)

"For that rôle [as interpreter of Japan] he was eminently unfitted both by temperament and training. Indeed he was not slow to recognize his lack of the judicial faculty, and on one occasion acknowledged that he is a 'creature of extremes.' ... But Hearn often succeeds in reaching the heart of things by his faculty of sympathy, in virtue of which alone his books deserve perusal; when he fails it is because of a lack of the unimpassioned judicial faculty, a tendency to subordinate reason to feeling, an inclination to place sympathy in the position of judge rather than guide." (359.)

"Lafcadio Hearn not only buried himself in the Japanese world, but gave his ashes to the soil so often devastated by earthquake, typhoon, tidal wave and famine, but ever fertile in blooms of fancy which lies under the River of Heaven. The air of Nippon, poor in ozone, is overpopulated by goblins. No writer has ever excelled this child of Greece and Ireland in interpreting the weird fancies of peasant and poet in the land of bamboo and cherry flowers.... Hearn's life seemed crushed under 'the horror of infinite Possibility.' Hence perhaps the weird fascination of his work and style." (348.)


Avatar (281).—It was during the Cincinnati period that Hearn made this—his first translation from the French. Writing of it in 1886, he says:—

I have a project on foot—to issue a series of translations of archæological and artistic French romance—Flaubert's "Tentation de Saint-Antoine"; De Nerval's "Voyage en Orient"; Gautier's "Avatar"; [Pg 150] Loti's most extraordinary African and Polynesian novels; and Beaudelaire's "Petits Poemes en Prose."

But three years later, he writes:—

The work of Gautier cited by you—"Avatar"—was my first translation from the French. I never could find a publisher for it, however, and threw the MS. away at last in disgust. It is certainly a wonderful story; but the self-styled Anglo-Saxon has so much—prudery that even this innocent phantasy seems to shock his sense of the "proper."

La Tentation de Saint-Antoine (282) was probably translated at about the same time. Hearn failed to find a publisher who would take it, but the manuscript is still in my possession. Hearn's own complete scenario, together with a description of the manuscript, is given on another page. I quote from Hearn about this work:—

The original is certainly one of the most exotically strange pieces of writing in any language, and weird beyond description.

Of his own translation, he writes:—

The work is audacious in parts; but I think nothing ought to be suppressed. That serpent-scene, the crucified lions, the breaking of the chair of gold, the hideous battles about Carthage,—these pages contain pictures that ought not to remain entombed in a foreign museum.

The winter of 1877, the year Hearn arrived in New Orleans, he corresponded with the Cincinnati Commercial under the name of "Ozias Midwinter" (219). Excerpts from this series of letters are given in the chapter, "The New Orleans Period."

One of Cleopatra's Nights (20) was the first book to be published. The translations were made during the latter part of the Cincinnati period, but the volume did not appear until some years later, while Hearn was in New Orleans. It was prepared at the hour when his craving for the exotic and weird was at its height. From the opening word to the last the six stories are one long Dionysian [Pg 151] revel of an Arabian Night's Dream, and within their pages it is not difficult to feel that "one is truly dead only when one is no longer loved." What an exotic group of names it is:—Cleopatra, "she that made the whole world's bale and bliss;" Clarimonde,

"Who was famed in her lifetime
As the fairest of women;"

Arria Marcella; the Princess Hermonthis; Omphale; and the one "fairer than all daughters of men, lovelier than all fantasies realized in stone"—Nyssia. It is a tapestry woven of the lights and jewels and passion of an antique world. "You will find in Gautier," Hearn writes, "a perfection of melody, a warmth of word colouring, a voluptuous delicacy;" "Gautier could create mosaics of word jewellery without equals." Hearn's "pet stories" are "Clarimonde" and "Arria Marcella." Is it strange that he should delight in these beautiful vampires?

In this work, and in the tales to follow, we already perceive that colour is to become a sort of a fetich to be worshipped. Here in the studio of another artist, he serves his first apprenticeship, and from the highly toned palette of Gautier he learns how to mix and lay on the colours that he himself is later to use so richly.

In speaking of this book, a critic says:—

"His learning and his inspiration were wholly French in these productions, as also in what was his first and in some ways his best book, "One of Cleopatra's Nights," and other tales translated from Théophile Gautier. While Hearn was faithful to his original, he also improved upon it, and many a scholar who knows both French and English has confessed under the rose that Gautier is outdone." (332.)

Of his work, Hearn writes:—

You asked me about Gautier. I have read and possess nearly all his works; and before I was really mature enough for such an undertaking I translated his six most remarkable short stories. The work [Pg 152] contains, I regret to say, several shocking errors, and the publishers refused me the right to correct the plates. The book remains one of the sins of my literary youth, but I am sure my judgment of the value of the stories was correct.

While preparing his next book, Hearn published in the Century, "The Scenes of Cable's Romances" (220). In this article he vivifies the quarters and dwellings that Mr. Cable in his delightful stories had already made famous.

The First Muezzin, Bilâl (405), was written in the fall of 1883, during the New Orleans period. It is a beautiful, serious piece of work, and is written with the fine, sonorous quality that such a theme should inspire. That it was a labour of love is shown in Hearn's letters written at its inception to Mr. Krehbiel, who was an invaluable aid to him in compiling its musical part. "Bilâl" was probably published finally in the Times-Democrat, after being refused by Harper's, the Century, and some others.

The traveller slumbering for the first time within the walls of an Oriental city, and in the vicinity of a minaret, can scarcely fail to be impressed by the solemn beauty of the Mohammedan Call to Prayer. If he have worthily prepared himself, by the study of book and of languages, for the experiences of Eastern travel, he will probably have learned by heart the words of the sacred summons, and will recognize their syllables in the sonorous chant of the Muezzin,—while the rose-coloured light of an Egyptian or Syrian dawn expands its flush to the stars. Four times more will he hear that voice ere morning again illuminates the east:—under the white blaze of noon; at the sunset hour, when the west is fervid with incandescent gold and vermilion; in the long after-glow of orange and emerald fires; and, still later, when a million astral lamps have been lighted in the vast and violet dome of God's everlasting mosque.

In four parts Hearn tells the history of Bilâl, who

was an African black, an Abyssinian,—famed for his fortitude as a confessor, for his zeal in the faith of the Prophet, and for the marvellous melody of his voice, whose echoes have been caught up and prolonged and multiplied by all the muezzins of Islam, through the passing of [Pg 153] more than twelve hundred years.... And the words chanted by all the muezzins of the Moslem world,—whether from the barbaric brick structures which rise above "The Tunis of the Desert," or from the fairy minarets of the exquisite mosque at Agra,—are the words first sung by the mighty voice of Bilâl.

Bilâl was the son of an Abyssinian slave-girl, and himself began life as a slave. The first preaching of Mahomet had deep effect upon the slaves of Mecca, and Bilâl was perhaps the earliest of these to become a convert. Even under the tortures of the persecutors, he could not be made to apostatize—always he would answer, "Ahad! Ahad:" "One, one only God!" Abu Bekr, the bosom friend of the great Prophet, observing Bilâl, bought him, and set him free. Then Bilâl became the devoted servant of Mahomet; and, in fulfilment of a dream, he was made the First Muezzin to sound the Adzân, the Call to Prayer.

God is Great!
God is Great!
I bear witness there is no other God but God!
I bear witness that Mahomet is the Prophet of God!
Come unto Prayer!
Come unto Salvation!
God is Great!
There is no other God but God!

After the death of Mahomet, Bilâl ceased to sing the Adzân:—the voice that had summoned the Prophet of God to the house of prayer ought not, he piously fancied, to be heard after the departure of his master. Yet, in his Syrian home, how often must he have prayed to chant the words as he first chanted them from the starlit housetop in the Holy City, and how often compelled to deny the petitions of those who revered him as a saint and would perhaps have sacrificed all their goods to have heard him but once lift up his voice in musical prayer!... But when Omar visited Damascus the chiefs of the people besought him that, as Commander of the Faithful, he should ask Bilâl to sing the Call in honour of the event; and the old man consented to do so for the last time....[Pg 154]

To hear Bilâl must have seemed to many as sacred a privilege as to have heard the voice of the Prophet himself,—the proudest episode of a lifetime,—the one incident of all others to be related in long afteryears to children and to grandchildren. Some there may have been whom the occasion inspired with feelings no loftier than curiosity; but the large majority of those who thronged to listen in silent expectancy for the Allah-hu-akbar! must have experienced emotions too deep to be ever forgotten. The records of the event, at least, fully justify this belief;—for when, after moments of tremulous waiting, the grand voice of the aged African rolled out amid the hush,—with the old beloved words,—the old familiar tones, still deep and clean,—Omar and all those about him wept aloud, and tears streamed down every warrior-face, and the last long notes of the chant were lost in a tempest of sobbing.

Stray Leaves From Strange Literature[21] (I) is the second book. It was written also during the period in New Orleans, many of the stories first appearing in the Times-Democrat, and the little volume is dedicated to its editor—Mr. Page M. Baker.

[21] Copyright, 1884, by James R. Osgood and Company.

These tales, as Hearn tells us in his Preface, are "reconstructions of what impressed me as most fantastically beautiful in the most exotic literature which I was able to obtain." In a letter he writes, "The language of 'Stray Leaves' is all my own, with the exception of the Italic texts and a few pages translated from the 'Kalewala.'"

The tapestry he is weaving is of the same crimson threads as that of the earlier tales, but the colours of sunset are softening to the gentler hues of the after-glow, and interwoven sometimes are strands of pure moonlight.

We read of the great Book of Thoth which contains a formula whosoever could recite might never know death, and we learn how the cunning magician Noferkephtah obtained the book, which caused the wrath of the gods to fall upon him; later, how Satni, of whom "there was not in all Egypt so wise a scribe," yearned for the book, and [Pg 155] took it from the tomb of Noferkephtah, and of the magic wrought and the penance done.

There is the exquisite tale of the Fountain Maiden, whom Aki caught in his own fish-net, and whom he grew to love more than his own life.

The story lingers of the sea-bird which fell into the hunter's hand, and when he looked more closely he found it had become transformed into a beautiful girl, "slender ... like a young moon," and pity rose in the hunter's heart, and then love. One day, when their children had become strong and swift, and while they were all hunting together, the Bird-Wife called to the little ones to gather feathers: then she covered their arms and her own shoulders with the feathers, and far away they flew.

Passing onward, we read of Tilottama, and that by reason of her beauty "the great gods once became multiple-faced and myriad-eyed"; and that this beauty brought punishment to the wicked Sounda and Oupasounda.

There is Bakawali, for "whose history of love, human and superhuman, a parallel may not be found." For her great love of the mortal youth Taj-ulmuluk each night she sacrificed herself to the fiercest purification of fire. And then to appease the gods, she suffered herself to be turned for ten long years into marble from her waist to her feet. Her lover ministered to her and watched by her side through the terrible years until she was reincarnated for him.

Then we see the statue of Natalika, who avenged the death of her people.

And who shall answer the riddle of the Corpse Demon? And which one may not profit by the wisdom of the youth who knew nothing of science? Perhaps our hearts stir with a soft regret for the atonement of Pundari. And so we wander through a maze of colour and of magic, tarrying to listen to the voice of Kalewala, for—

[Pg 156] As he sang the fair Sun paused in her course to hear him; the golden Moon stopped in her path to listen; the awful billows of the sea stood still; the icy rivers that devour the pines, that swallow up the firs, ceased to rage; the mighty cataracts hung motionless above their abysses; the waves of Juortana lifted high their heads to hear.

"Slender she was as the tulip upon its stalk, and in walking her feet seemed kisses pressed upon the ground. But hadst thou beheld her face unveiled, and the whiteness of her teeth between her brown lips when she smiled!" Alas, she was a good Christian maiden and he a good Mussulman, and so in this Legend of Love each loyal heart dies pronouncing the faith of the other, lest they should not meet at the Day of Judgment.

As we draw near the last figures on the tapestry, we find those two tender pictures of which Hearn himself speaks: "Your preference for Boutimar pleases me: Boutimar was my pet. There is a little Jewish legend in the collection—Esther—somewhat resembling it in pathos." These stories afford a glimpse into that gentle heart, which was later to respond to the exquisite faiths and loyalties of the Japanese.

Now the Creator sent unto Solomon a cup which contained some of the waters of youth and of life without end. And Solomon was asked: "Wilt thou drink hereof and live divinely immortal through ages everlasting, or wilt thou rather remain within the prison of humanity?" And Solomon dreamed upon these words; and he assembled in council a representative of all those over whom he held dominion. Then Solomon asked Boutimar, the wild dove, most loving of all living creatures, whether he should drink of the magic waters, and thus learn the bliss of earthly immortality. When Boutimar, the wild dove, learned that the cup held only enough water for one person, he made answer in the language of birds:—

"O prophet of God! how couldst thou desire to be living alone, when each of thy friends and of thy counsellors and of thy children [Pg 157] and of thy servants and of all who loved thee were counted with the dead? For all of these must surely drink the bitter waters of death, though thou shouldst drink the Water of Life. Wherefore desire everlasting youth, when the face of the world itself shall be wrinkled with age, and the eyes of the stars shall be closed by the black fingers of Azrael? When the love thou hast sung of shall have passed away like a smoke of frankincense, when the dust of the heart that beat against thine own shall have long been scattered by the four winds of heaven, when the eyes that looked for thy coming shall have become a memory, when the voices grateful to thine ear shall have been eternally stilled, when thy life shall be one oasis in a universal waste of death, and thine eternal existence but a recognition of eternal absence,—wilt thou indeed care to live, though the wild dove perish when its mate cometh not?"

And Solomon, without reply, silently put out his arm and gave back the cup.... But upon the prophet-king's rich beard, besprinkled with powder of gold, there appeared another glitter as of clear dew,—the diamond dew of the heart, which is tears.

Esther, whose comeliness surpassed even that of Sarah, and her rich husband had lived together ten years, but there was no happiness in the soul of the good man, for "the sound of a child's voice had never made sunshine within his heart." So Esther and her husband sorrowed bitterly. And they brought the burden of their grief to Rabbi Simon ben Yochai, and when they had told him, a silence as of the Shechinah came upon the three, only the eyes of the Rabbi seemed to smile. And it was agreed that the twain should part; thus the Israelite could be known as a father in Israel.

A feast then was laid at the house, and before all the guests her husband spoke lovingly to Esther, and in token of his affection and his grief bade her to take from the house "whatever thou desirest, whether it be gold or jewels beyond price." And the wine was passed, and the people made merry, and finally a deep sleep fell upon them all. Then Esther gave command that her husband sleeping should be carried to her father's house. In the morning [Pg 158] her husband awakened, and confused he cried out, "Woman, what hast thou done?"

Then, sweeter than the voice of doves among the fig-trees, came the voice of Esther: "Didst thou not bid me, husband, that I should choose and take away from thy house whatsoever I most desired? And I have chosen thee, and have brought thee hither, to my father's home ... loving thee more than all else in the world. Wilt thou drive me from thee now?" And he could not see her face for tears of love; yet he heard her voice speaking on,—speaking the golden words of Ruth, which are so old yet so young to the hearts of all that love: "Whithersoever thou shalt go, I will also go; and whithersoever thou shalt dwell, I also will dwell. And the Angel of Death only may part us; for thou art all in all to me." ...

And in the golden sunlight at the doorway suddenly stood, like a statue of Babylonian silver, the grand grey figure of Rabbi Simon ben Yochai, lifting his hands in benediction.

"Schmah Israel!—the Lord our God, who is One, bless ye with everlasting benediction! May your hearts be welded by love, as gold with gold by the cunning of goldsmiths! May the Lord, who coupleth and setteth thee single in families, watch over ye! The Lord make this valiant woman even as Rachel and as Lia, who built up the house of Israel! And ye shall behold your children and your children's children in the House of the Lord!"

Even so the Lord blessed them; and Esther became as the fruitful vine, and they saw their children's children in Israel. Forasmuch as it is written: "He will regard the prayer of the destitute."

Gombo Zhèbes[22](2) followed in the New Orleans period. It is a compilation of 352 proverbs selected from six dialects. According to the indexes, there are 6 in the Creole of French Guyana; 28 in the Creole of Hayti; 51 in the Creole of New Orleans, Louisiana; 101 in the Creole of Martinique; 110 in the Creole of Mauritius; 52 in the Creole of Trinidad. Most of the proverbs are similar to our own, but are translated into the simple homely language of the Creole, reflecting its mode of thought. The same proverb often appears in the different dialects. Although a proverb is of European origin, "the character of Creole folk-lore is very different from European folk-lore in the matter of [Pg 159] superstition." Many proverbs are direct from the African. Those in the Creole of Hayti are generally rough and coarse. The most popular subjects are, pot or kettle, rain, serpent or snake, of which there are six of each; devil, eggs, belly, horse, mothers, tail, of these there are seven of each; chicken, children, ox have eight of each; cat has nine; goat has eleven; talking has sixteen; monkey has seventeen; fine clothes has only four, idleness has five, and marriage has six.

[22] Copyright, 1885, by Will H. Coleman.

Hearn speaks of this book as a Dictionary of Proverbs. He made an extensive study of the subject and in later researches found it most helpful. "I have," he says, "quite a Creole library embracing the Creole dialects of both hemispheres."

Following are a selection of the proverbs chosen from the different dialects:—

No. 23. Bel tignon pas fait bel négresse. (Le beau tignon ne fait pas la belle négresse.) "It isn't the fine head-dress that makes the fine negress." (Louisiana.)

Tignon or tiyon, the true Creole word, "is the famously picturesque handkerchief which in old days all slave-women twisted about their heads."

No. 44. Ça qui boudé manze boudin. (Celui qui boude mange du boudin.) "He who sulks eats his own belly." That is to say, spites himself. The pun is untranslatable. (Mauritius.)

Boudin in French signifies a pudding, in Creole it also signifies the belly. Thus there is a double pun in the patois.

No. 256. Quand diabe alle lamesse li caciétte so laquée. (Quand le diable va à la messe, il cache sa queue.) "When the Devil goes to mass he hides his tail." (Mauritius.)

No. 352. Zozo paillenqui crié là-haut, coudevent vini. (Le paille-en-cul crie la-haut, le coup de vent vient.) "When the tropic-bird screams overhead, a storm-wind is coming." (Mauritius.)

No. 267. Quand milatt tini yon vié chouvral yo dit nègress pas manman yo. (Quand les mulâtres ont un vieux cheval ils disent que les négresses ne sont pas leur mères.) "As soon as a mulatto is able to own an old horse, he will tell you that his mother wasn't a nigger." (Martinique.)

[Pg 160]No. 324. Toutt milett ni grand zaureilles. (Tout les mulets ont des grandes oreilles.) "All mules have big ears." Equivalent to our proverb: "Birds of a feather flock together." (Martinique.)

No. 291. Si coulev oûlé viv, li pas pronminée grand-chemin. (Si la couleuvre veut vivre, elle ne se promène pas dans le grand chemin.) "If the snake cares to live, it doesn't journey upon the high-road." (Guyana.)

No. 292. Si coulève pas té fonté, femmes sé pouend li fair ribans jipes. (Si la couleuvre n'était pas effrontée les femmes la prendraient pour en faire des rubans de jupes.) "If the snake wasn't spunky, women would use it for petticoat strings." (Trinidad.)

No. 100. Complot plis fort passé ouanga.[23] (Le complot est plus fort que l'ouanga.) "Conspiracy is stronger than witchcraft." (Hayti.)


Di moin si to gagnin homme!
Mo va fé ouanga pouli;
Mo fé li tourné fantôme
Si to vlé mo to mari....

"Tell me if thou hast a man (a lover) I will make a ouanga for him—I will change him into a ghost if thou wilt have me for thy husband."

This word, of African origin, is applied to all things connected with the Voudooism of the negroes.

In the song, "Dipi mo voué, toué Adèle," from which the above lines are taken, the wooer threatens to get rid of a rival by ouanga—to "turn him into a ghost." The victims of Voudooism are said to have gradually withered away, probably through the influence of secret poison. The word grigri, also of African origin, simply refers to a charm, which may be used for an innocent or innocuous purpose. Thus, in a Louisiana Creole song, we find a quadroon mother promising her daughter a charm to prevent the white lover from forsaking her:

"Pou tchombé li na fé grigri." "We shall make a grigri to keep him."

Simultaneously with the publication of "Gombo Zhèbes," Hearn contributed a series of articles[24] to Harper's Weekly. (221-227, 230, 232.) These papers, which are commonplace newspaper work, tell of New Orleans, its Expositions, its Superstitions, Voudooism, and the Creole Patois. He feels that the Creole tongue must go, but while there is [Pg 161] still time, he hopes that some one will rescue its dying legends and curious lyrics.

[24] Copyright, 1884, 1885, 1886, by Harper and Brothers.

The unedited Creole literature comprises songs, satires in rhymes, proverbs, fairy-tales—almost everything commonly included under the term folk-lore. The lyrical portion of it is opulent in oddities, in melancholy beauties.

There are few of the younger generation of Creoles who do not converse in the French and English languages. Creole is the speech of motherhood, and "there is a strange naïve sorrow in their burdens as of children sobbing for lonesomeness in the night."

There is an interesting account of Jean Montanet, "Voudoo John"—The Last of the Voudoos. He was said to be a son of a prince of Senegal. From a ship's cook he rose to own large estates. While he was a cotton-roller, it was noticed that he seemed to have some peculiar occult influence over the negroes under him. Voudoo John had the mysterious obi power. Soon realizing his power, he commenced to tell fortunes, and thousands and thousands of people, white and black, flocked to him. Then he bought a house and began as well to practise Creole medicine. He could give receipts for everything and anything, and many a veiled lady stopped at his door.

Once Jean received a fee of $50 for a potion. "It was water," he said to a Creole confidant, "with some common herbs boiled in it. I hurt nobody, but if folks want to give me fifty dollars, I take the fifty dollars every time!"

It is said that Jean became worth at least $50,000. He had his horses and carriages, his fifteen wives, whom he considered, one and all, legitimate spouses. He was charitable too. But he did not know what to do with his money. Gradually, in one way or another, it was stolen from him, until at the last, with nothing left but his African shells, his elephant's tusk, and the sewing-machine [Pg 162] upon which he used to tell fortunes even in his days of riches, he had to seek hospitality of his children.

Hearn devotes several columns to Voudooism, telling of its witchcrafts and charms and fetiches which work for evil, and also of the superstitions regarding the common occurrences of daily life.

In a paper on Mexican feather-work at the New Orleans Exposition, there is this paragraph which presages his later descriptions:—

As I write, the memory of a Mexican landscape scene in feather-work is especially vivid—a vast expanse of opulent wheat-fields, whereof the blonde immensity brightens or deepens its tint with the tremor of summer winds; distance makes violet the hills; a steel-bright river serpentines through the plain, reflecting the feminine grace of palms tossing their plumes against an azure sky. I remember also a vision of marshes—infinite stretches of reed-grown ooze, shuddering in gusts of sea-wind, and paling away into bluish vagueness as through a miasmatic haze.

In conjunction with these articles, Hearn published in Harper's Bazaar (228-229) two papers on the Curiosities to be found at the New Orleans Exposition.

Some Chinese Ghosts[25] (3) was the next book of the New Orleans period. The first publisher to whom it was submitted did not accept it, but Roberts Brothers finally brought it out. "There are only six little stories," writes Hearn, "but each of them cost months of hard work and study, and represents a much higher attempt than anything in the 'Stray Leaves.'" The book is dedicated to his friend Mr. Krehbiel, and the Dedication, which is given in the Bibliography, is as unique as the tales themselves.

[25] Copyright, 1887, by Roberts Brothers.

In the Preface Hearn says that while preparing these legends he sought for "weird beauty." The era of fierce passions and horror is waning, and in these six perfect tales [Pg 163] there is a new-found restraint, a firmer handling of the brush in more normal colours.

One of the earliest reviews of his work remarks:—

"In his treatment of the legend lore of the Celestial Empire, Mr. Hearn has, if possible, been even more delicate and charming than in the stories which go to make the previous volume, so much so, indeed, that one is persuaded to full belief in the beauty and witchery of the almond-eyed heroines of his pages." (322.)

The opening story is of the beautiful Ko-Ngai, daughter of Kouan-Yu, whose divine loyalty to her father never faltered even at a hideous death. He was a great bellmaker, and the Mandarin ordered that he should make a bell of such size that it would be heard for one hundred li, and further that the bell "should be strengthened with brass, and deepened with gold, and sweetened with silver." But the metals refused to mingle. Again the bell was cast, but the result was even worse, and the Son of Heaven was very angry; and this word was sent to Kouan-Yu:—

"If thou fail a third time in fulfilling our command, thy head shall be severed from thy neck."

When the lovely Ko-Ngai heard this, she sold her jewels, and paid a great price to an astrologer, and it was told to her:—

Gold and brass will never meet in wedlock, silver and iron never will embrace, until the flesh of a maiden be melted in the crucible; until the blood of a virgin be mingled with the metals in their fusion.

Ko-Ngai told no one what she had heard. The awful hour for the heroic effort of the final casting arrived.

All the workmen wrought their tasks in silence; there was no sound heard but the muttering of the fires. And the muttering deepened into a roar of typhoons approaching, and the blood-red lake of metal slowly brightened like the vermilion of a sunrise, and the vermilion was transmuted into a radiant glow of gold, and the gold whitened [Pg 164] blindingly, like the silver face of a full moon. Then the workers ceased to feed the raving flame, and all fixed their eyes upon the eyes of Kouan-Yu; and Kouan-Yu prepared to give the signal to cast.

But ere ever he lifted his finger, a cry caused him to turn his head; and all heard the voice of Ko-Ngai sounding sharply sweet as a bird's song above the great thunder of the fires,—"For thy sake, O my Father!" And even as she cried, she leaped into the white flood of metal; and the lava of the furnace roared to receive her, and spattered monstrous flakes of flame to the roof, and burst over the verge of the earthen crater, and cast up a whirling fountain of many-coloured fires, and subsided quakingly, with lightnings and with thunders and with mutterings.

Of the lovely Ko-Ngai no trace remained save a little shoe, which was left in the hand of the faithful serving-woman who had striven to catch her as she leaped into the flame.

And ever does the bell, whose tones are deeper and mellower and mightier than the tones of any other bell, utter the name of Ko-Ngai; and ever between the mighty strokes there is a low moaning heard, a sobbing of "Hiai!" and that they say is Ko-Ngai crying for her little shoe.

The next tale tells of Ming-Y and how it was that he did not heed the counsel of the words of Lao-Tseu, and so it befell that he was loved by the beautiful Sië-Thao, whose tomb had many years ago crumbled to ruins.

The Legend of Tchi-Niu is the queen flower of the nosegay of six. Tong's father died, and as they were very poor, the only way that Tong could obtain money to pay for the funeral expenses was to sell himself as a slave. The years passed, and he worked without rest or pay, but never a complaint did he utter. At length the fever of the ricefields seized him, and he was left alone in his sickness, for there was no one to wait on him. One noon he dreamed that a beautiful woman bent over him and touched his forehead with her hand. And Tong opened his eyes, and he saw the lovely person of whom he had dreamed. "I have come to restore thy strength and to be thy wife. [Pg 165] Arise and worship with me." And reading his thoughts she said, "I will provide."

"And together they worshipped Heaven and Earth. Thus she became his wife."

But all that Tong knew of his wife was that her name was Tchi. And the fame of the weaving of Tchi spread far, and people came to see her beautiful work. One morning Tchi gave to her husband a document. It was his freedom that she had bought.

Later the silk-loom remained untouched, for Tchi gave birth to a son. And the boy was not less wonderful than his mother.

Now it came to the Period of the Eleventh Moon. Suddenly one night, Tchi led Tong to the cradle where their son slumbered, and as she did so a great fear and awe came over Tong, and the sweet tender voice breathed to him:—

"Lo! my beloved, the moment has come in which I must forsake thee; for I was never of mortal born, and the Invisible may incarnate themselves for a time only. Yet I leave with thee the pledge of our love,—this fair son, who shall ever be to thee as faithful and as fond as thou thyself hast been. Know, my beloved, that I was sent to thee even by the Master of Heaven, in reward of thy filial piety, and that I must now return to the glory of His house: I AM THE GODDESS TCHI-NIU."

Even as she ceased to speak, the great glow faded, and Tong, reopening his eyes, knew that she had passed away for ever,—mysteriously as pass the winds of heaven, irrevocably as the light of a flame blown out. Yet all the doors were barred, all the windows unopened. Still the child slept, smiling in his sleep. Outside, the darkness was breaking; the sky was brightening swiftly; the night was past. With splendid majesty the East threw open high gates of gold for the coming of the sun; and, illuminated by the glory of his coming, the vapours of morning wrought themselves into marvellous shapes of shifting colour,—into forms weirdly beautiful as the silken dreams woven in the loom of Tchi-Niu.

Another tale is that of Mara, who tempted in vain, for the Indian pilgrim conquered.

[Pg 166]And still, as a mist of incense, as a smoke of universal sacrifice, perpetually ascends to heaven from all the lands of earth the pleasant vapour TE, created for the refreshment of mankind by the power of a holy vow, the virtue of a pious atonement.

Like unto the Tale of the Great Bell, Pu, convinced that a soul cannot be divided,

entered the flame, and yielded up his ghost in the embrace of the Spirit of the Furnace, giving his life for the life of his work,—his soul for the soul of his Vase.

And when the workmen came upon the tenth morning to take forth the porcelain marvel, even the bones of Pu had ceased to be; but lo! the Vase lived as they looked upon it: seeming to be flesh moved by the utterance of a Word, creeping to the titillation of a Thought. And whenever tapped by the finger, it uttered a voice and a name,—the voice of its maker, the name of its creator: PU.

This same year, Hearn contributed to Harpers Bazaar the valiant legend of "Rabyah's Last Ride"(234)—Rabyah upon whom no woman had ever called in vain, and who defended his women even after he was dead. This tale was copied in the Times-Democrat.

Chita[26] (4), although published after Hearn left New Orleans, properly belongs to that period. It first appeared in much shorter form in the Times-Democrat under the title of "Torn Letters." This version met with many warm friends, and the author was urged to enlarge it. He did so, and Harpers accepted the story, publishing it first as a serial in their magazine. With this book came Hearn's first recognition, and because of its success, he was given a commission by Harpers for further studies in the tropics, which eventuated in the volume, "Two Years in the French West Indies."

[26] Copyright, 1889, by Harper and Brothers.

"Chita" is the first glimpse of what Mr. Hearn could write from out himself; for whereas, as always, the plot must be given to him, the thread here is so frail that what we admire and remember is the fabric itself which only [Pg 167] Hearn could have woven. In "Chita" he recreates elemental nature. In "Karma" he becomes the conscience of a human being. Then, for the first time he realizes the spiritual forces which are stronger than life or death, and without which no beauty exists.

A criticism of "Chita" at the time of its publication says:—

"By right of this single but profoundly remarkable book, Mr. Hearn may lay good claim to the title of the American Victor Hugo ... so living a book has scarcely been given to our generation." (342.)

Concerning the story, Hearn himself writes as follows:—

"Chita" was founded on the fact of a child saved from the Lost Island disaster by some Louisiana fishing-folk, and brought up by them. Years after a Creole hunter recognized her, and reported her whereabouts to relatives. These, who were rich, determined to bring her up as young ladies are brought up in the South, and had her sent to a convent. But she had lived the free healthy life of the coast, and could not bear the convent; she ran away from it, married a fisherman, and lives somewhere down there now,—the mother of multitudinous children.

This slight structure of plot gave Hearn the opportunity to paint a marvellous picture. Hundreds of quotations could be given. He is delighted with the rich glory of the tropics, and by his power of word imagery he so reproduces it that with him we too can see and feel it. In this glowing Nature the poisoned beauty of the Orient is forgotten. Take this description:—

The charm of a single summer day on these island shores is something impossible to express, never to be forgotten. Rarely, in the paler zones, do earth and heaven take such luminosity: those will best understand me who have seen the splendour of a West Indian sky. And yet there is a tenderness of tint, a caress of colour, in these Gulf-days which is not of the Antilles,—a spirituality, as of eternal tropical spring. It must have been to even such a sky that Xenophanes lifted up his eyes of old when he vowed the Infinite Blue was God;—it was indeed under such a sky that De Soto named the vastest [Pg 168] and grandest of Southern havens Espiritu Santo,—the Bay of the Holy Ghost. There is a something unutterable in this bright Gulf-air that compels awe,—something vital, something holy, something pantheistic and reverentially the mind asks itself if what the eye beholds is not the πνεῦμα indeed, the Infinite Breath, the Divine Ghost, the Great Blue Soul of the Unknown. All, all is blue in the calm,—save the low land under your feet, which you almost forget, since it seems only as a tiny green flake afloat in the liquid eternity of day. Then slowly, caressingly, irresistibly, the witchery of the Infinite grows upon you: out of Time and Space you begin to dream with open eyes,—to drift into delicious oblivion of facts,—to forget the past, the present, the substantial,—to comprehend nothing but the existence of that infinite Blue Ghost as something into which you would wish to melt utterly away for ever.

So it is told that into this perfect peace one August day in 1856, a scarlet sun sank in a green sky, and a moonless night came.

Then the Wind grew weird. It ceased being a breath; it became a Voice moaning across the world hooting,—uttering nightmare sounds,—Whoo!whoo!whoo!—and with each stupendous owl-cry the mooing of the waters seemed to deepen, more and more abysmally, through all the hours of darkness.

Morning dawned with great rain: the steamer Star was due that day. No one dared to think of it. "Great God!" some one shrieked,—"She is coming!"

On she came, swaying, rocking, plunging,—with a great whiteness wrapping her about like a cloud, and moving with her moving,—a tempest-whirl of spray;—ghost-white and like a ghost she came, for her smoke-stacks exhaled no visible smoke—the wind devoured it.

And still the storm grew fiercer. On shore the guests at the hotel danced with a feverish reckless gaiety.

Again the Star reeled, and shuddered, and turned, and began to drag away from the great building and its lights,—away from the voluptuous thunder of the grand piano,—even at that moment outpouring the great joy of Weber's melody orchestrated by Berlioz: l'Invitatiòn à la Valse,—with its marvellous musical swing.

[Pg 169] —"Waltzing!" cried the captain. "God help them!—God help us all now!... The Wind waltzes to-night, with the Sea for his partner." ...

O the stupendous Valse-Tourbillon! O the mighty Dancer! One-two—three! From north-east to east, from east to south-east, from south-east to south: then from the south he came, whirling the Sea in his arms....

And so the hurricane passed, and the day reveals utter wreck and desolation. "There is plunder for all—birds and men."

At a fishing village on the coast on this same night of the storm Carmen, the good wife of Feliu, dreamed—above the terrors of the tempest which shattered her sleep—once again the dream that kept returning of her little Concha, her first-born who slept far away in the old churchyard at Barcelona. And this night she dreamed that her waxen Virgin came and placed in her arms the little brown child with the Indian face, and the face became that of her dead Conchita.

And Carmen wished to thank the Virgin for that priceless bliss, and lifted up her eyes; but the sickness of ghostly fear returned upon her when she looked; for now the Mother seemed as a woman long dead, and the smile was the smile of fleshlessness, and the places of the eyes were voids and darknesses.... And the sea sent up so vast a roar that the dwelling rocked.

Feliu and his men find the tide heavy with human dead and the sea filled with wreckage. Through this floatage Feliu detects a stir of life ... he swims to rescue a little baby fast in the clutch of her dead mother.

To Carmen it is the meaning of her dream. The child has been sent by the Virgin. The tale leads on through the growing life of Chita. Finally one day Dr. La Brierre, whose wife and child had been lost in the famous storm, is summoned to Viosca's Point to the deathbed of his father's old friend, who is dying of the fever. It is Feliu who [Pg 170] brings him. But before they can reach the Point the man has already died. The Doctor remains at Feliu's fishing smack. He feels the sickness of the fever coming over him. Then he sees Chita.... Hers is the face of his dead Adèle. Through the fury of the fever, which has now seized him, the past is mingled with the present. He re-lives the agony of that death-storm, re-lives all the horror of that scene, when all that he held dear was swept away—until his own soul passes out into the night.

The description of Dr. La Brierre in the throes of the fever is terrible. It is so realistic that one shudders.

Two Years in the French West Indies[27] (6) was the pièce de résistance of the sojourn in the tropics. Some of the papers appeared first in Harper's Magazine. They are marvellous colour-pictures of the country, its people, its life, its customs, with many of the picturesque legends and the quaintnesses that creep into the heart.

[27] Copyright, 1890, by Harper and Brothers.

"There is not a writer who could have so steeped himself in this languorous Creole life and then tell so well about it. Trollope and Froude give you the hard, gritty facts, and Lafcadio Hearn the sentiment and poetry of this beautiful island." (387.)

More and more is Hearn realizing the necessity of finding new colour. "I hope to be able to take a trip to New Mexico in the summer just to obtain literary material, sun-paint, tropical colour, etc." It is always the intense that his fancy craves, and indeed must have in order to work. "There are tropical lilies which are venomous, but they are more beautiful than the frail and icy white lilies of the North." "Whenever I receive a new and strong impression, even in a dream, I write it down, and afterwards develop it at leisure.... There are impressions of blue light and gold and green, correlated to old Spanish legend, which can be found only south of this line." "I will write [Pg 171] you a little while I am gone,—if I can find a little strange bit of tropical colour to spread on the paper,—like the fine jewel-dust of scintillant moth-wings." "Next week I go away to hunt up some tropical or semi-tropical impressions."

He is bewitched by St. Pierre—"I love this quaint, whimsical, wonderfully coloured little town." On opening the present volume we at once feel how thoroughly sympathetic this whole Nature is to him, how ravished his senses are with all that she portrays.

From Pier 49, East River, New York, we travel with Hearn through days of colour and beauty to the glorious Caribbean Sea, where we sail on to Roseau and St. Pierre. Here the colour is becoming so intense that the eyes are blinded.

The luminosities of tropic foliage could only be imitated in fire. He who desires to paint a West Indian forest,—a West Indian landscape,—must take his view from some great height, through which the colours come to his eye softened and subdued by distance,—toned with blues or purples by the astonishing atmosphere.

... It is sunset as I write these lines, and there are witchcrafts of colour. Looking down the narrow, steep street opening to the bay, I see the motionless silhouette of the steamer on a perfectly green sea,—under a lilac sky,—against a prodigious orange light.

Over her memoried paths we wander with Josephine, and then we pause before the lovely statue which seems a living presence.

She is standing just in the centre of the Savane, robed in the fashion of the First Empire, with gracious arms and shoulders bare: one hand leans upon a medallion bearing the eagle profile of Napoleon.... Seven tall palms stand in a circle around her, lifting their comely heads into the blue glory of the tropic day. Within their enchanted circle you feel that you tread holy ground,—the sacred soil of artist and poet;—here the recollections of memoir-writers vanish away; the gossip of history is hushed for you; you no longer care to know how rumour has it that she spoke or smiled or wept: only the bewitchment of her lives under the thin, soft, swaying shadows of those feminine [Pg 172] palms.... Over violet space of summer sea, through the vast splendour of azure light, she is looking back to the place of her birth, back to beautiful drowsy Trois-Islets,—and always with the same half-dreaming, half-plaintive smile,—unutterably touching....

"Under a sky always deepening in beauty" we steam on to the level, burning, coral coast of Barbadoes. Then on past to Demerara.

We pass through all the quaint beautiful old towns and islands. We see their wonders of sky and sea and flowers. We see their people and all that great race of the mixed blood.

With dear old Jean-Marie we wait for the return of Les Porteuses, and we hear his call:—

"Coument ou yé, chè? coument ou kallé?" ... (How art thou, dear?—how goes it with thee?)

And they mostly make answer, "Toutt douce, chè,—et ou?" (All sweetly, dear,—and thou?) But some, over-weary, cry to him, "Ah! déchârgé moin vite, chè! moin lasse, lasse!" (Unload me quickly, dear; for I am very, very weary.) Then he takes off their burdens, and fetches bread for them, and says foolish little things to make them laugh. And they are pleased and laugh, just like children, as they sit right down on the road there to munch their dry bread.

Again we follow on: this time to La Grande Anse, where we see the powerful surf-swimmers. With the population we turn out to witness the procession of young girls to be confirmed; we see the dances and games; we hear the chants, and the strange music on strange instruments.

At St. Pierre once more we listen to the history of Père Labat, who in twelve years made his order the richest and most powerful in the West Indies.

"Eh, Père Labat!—what changes there have been since thy day!... And all that ephemeral man has had power to change has been changed,—ideas, morals, beliefs, the whole social fabric. But the eternal summer remains,—and the Hesperian magnificence of azure sky and violet sea,—and the jewel-colours of the perpetual hills; the same tepid winds that rippled thy cane-fields two hundred years ago [Pg 173] still blow over Sainte-Marie; the same purple shadows lengthen and dwindle and turn with the wheeling of the sun. God's witchery still fills this land; and the heart of the stranger is even yet snared by the beauty of it; and the dreams of him that forsakes it will surely be haunted—even as were thine own, Père Labat—by memories of its Eden-summer: the sudden leap of the light over a thousand peaks in the glory of a tropic dawn,—the perfumed peace of enormous azure noons,—and shapes of palm, wind-rocked in the burning of colossal sunsets,—and the silent flickering of the great fire-flies, through the lukewarm darkness, when mothers call their children home.... 'Mi fanal Pè Labatt!—mi Pè Labatt ka vini pouend ou!'"

Then we see the lights of the shrines that will protect us from the Zombi and the Moun-Mo, and all the terrible beings who are filled with witchcraft; and we listen to the tale of that Zombi who likes to take the shape of a lissome young negress.

By this time it is Carnival Week with its dances and games and maskers. But a little later we are shuddering at the horrible pestilence Vérette that has seized the city. A gleam of the old love of horror is caught in the following quotation:—

She was the prettiest, assuredly, among the pretty shop-girls of the Grande Rue,—a rare type of sang-mêlée. So oddly pleasing, the young face, that once seen, you could never again dissociate the recollection of it from the memory of the street. But one who saw it last night before they poured quick-lime upon it could discern no features,—only a dark brown mass, like a fungus, too frightful to think about.

At the beautiful Savane du Fort our eyes and hearts are gladdened by the quaint sight of the Blanchisseuses with their snowy linen spread out for miles along the river's bank. Their laughter echoes in our ears, and we try to catch the words of their little songs.

One warm and starry, and to us unforgettable, September morning we make the ascent of Mt. Pelée by the way of Morne St. Martin, and on our way we come to know the country that lies all around. Let me quote our sensation as we reach the summit:—

[Pg 174]At the beginning, while gazing south, east, west, to the rim of the world, all laughed, shouted, interchanged the quick delight of new impressions: every face was radiant.... Now all look serious; none speaks.... Dominating all, I think, is the consciousness of the awful antiquity of what one is looking upon,—such a sensation, perhaps, as of old found utterance in that tremendous question of the Book of Job: "Wast thou brought forth before the hills?"

And the blue multitudes of the peaks, the perpetual congregation of the mornes, seem to chorus in the vast resplendence,—telling of Nature's eternal youth, and the passionless permanence of that about us and beyond us and beneath,—until something like the fulness of a grief begins to weigh at the heart.... For all this astonishment of beauty, all this majesty of light and form and colour, will surely endure,—marvellous as now,—after we shall have lain down to sleep where no dreams come, and may never arise from the dust of our rest to look upon it.

Another day we are laughing at the little ti canotié who in the queerest tiny boats surround a steamer as soon as she drops anchor. These are the boys who dive for coins. A sad tale is told of Maximilien and Stréphane. Again our hearts are moved by the pathos and the tragedy of La Fille de Couleur; and in this chapter we find that characteristic description:—

I refer to the celebrated attire of the pet slaves and belles affranchies of the old colonial days. A full costume,—including violet or crimson "petticoat" of silk or satin; chemise with half-sleeves, and much embroidery and lace; "trembling-pins" of gold (zépingue tremblant) to attach the folds of the brilliant Madras turban; the great necklace of three or four strings of gold beads bigger than peas (collier-choux); the ear-rings, immense but light as egg-shells (zanneaux-à-clous or zanneaux-chenilles); the bracelets (portes-bonheur); the studs (boutons-à-clous); the brooches, not only for the turban, but for the chemise, below the folds of the showy silken foulard or shoulder-scarf,—would sometimes represent over five thousand francs' expenditure. This gorgeous attire is becoming less visible every year: it is now rarely worn except on very solemn occasions,—weddings, baptisms, first communions, confirmations. The da (nurse) or "porteuse-de-baptême" who bears the baby to church, holds it at the baptismal font, and afterwards carries it from house to house in order that all the friends of the family may kiss it, is thus attired: but now-a-days, unless she be a professional [Pg 175] (for there are professional das, hired only for such occasions), she usually borrows the jewellery. If tall, young, graceful, with a rich gold tone of skin, the effect of her costume is dazzling as that of a Byzantine Virgin. I saw one young da who, thus garbed, scarcely seemed of the earth and earthly;—there was an Oriental something in her appearance difficult to describe,—something that made you think of the Queen at Sheba going to visit Solomon. She had brought a merchant's baby, just christened, to receive the caresses of the family at whose house I was visiting; and when it came to my turn to kiss it, I confess I could not notice the child: I saw only the beautiful dark face, coiffed with orange and purple, bending over it, in an illumination of antique gold. What a da!... She represented really the type of that belle affranchie of other days, against whose fascination special sumptuary laws were made: romantically she imaged for me the supernatural godmothers and Cinderellas of the Creole fairy-tales.

Still we have much to learn about the little creatures in the shapes of ants and scorpions and lizards. They form no small part of the population of Martinique. And still more about the fruits and the vegetables do we learn from good Cyrillia, Ma Bonne. One longs to have a housekeeper as loving and child-like and solicitous. We leave her gazing with love unutterable at the new photograph of her daughter, and wondering the while why they do not make a portrait talk so that she can talk to her beautiful daughter.

And day by day the artlessness of this exotic humanity touches you more;—day by day this savage, somnolent, splendid Nature—delighting in furious colour—bewitches you more. Already the anticipated necessity of having to leave it all some day—the far-seen pain of bidding it farewell weighs upon you, even in dreams.

But before we go, we must learn how Nature must treat those who are not born under her suns.

Then at last reluctantly we board the Guadeloupe, and with Mademoiselle Violet-Eyes, who is leaving her country, perhaps for a very long time, to become a governess in New York, we realize that nowhere on this earth may there be brighter skies.

[Pg 176] Farewell, fair city,—sun-kissed city,—many-fountained city!—dear yellow-glimmering streets,—white pavements learned by heart,—and faces ever looked for,—and voices ever loved! Farewell, white towers with your golden-throated bells!—farewell, green steeps, bathed in the light of summer everlasting!—craters with your coronets of forests!—bright mountain paths upwinding 'neath pomp of fern and angelin and feathery bamboo!—and gracious palms that drowse above the dead! Farewell, soft-shadowing majesty of valleys unfolding to the sun,—green golden cane-fields ripening to the sea!...

Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Pelée—so they vanish behind us. Shall not we too become Les Revenants?

Youma[28] (5) was written in Martinique, and also belongs to the New Orleans period. "I think you will like it better than 'Chita.' It is more mature and exotic by far,"—so Hearn wrote of the story in one of his letters. Later on, when living in Japan, he wrote:—

[28] Copyright, 1890, by Harper and Brothers.

It gave me no small pleasure to find that you like "Youma": you will not like it less knowing that the story is substantially true. You can see the ruins of the old house in the Quartier du Fort if you ever visit Saint-Pierre, and perhaps meet my old friend Arnoux, a survivor of the time. The girl really died under the heroic conditions described—refusing the help of the blacks and the ladder. Of course I may have idealized her, but not her act. The incident of the serpent occurred also; but the heroine was a different person,—a plantation girl, celebrated by the historian Rufz de Lavison. I wrote the story under wretched circumstances in Martinique, near the scenes described, and under the cross with the black Christ.

An English notice says:—

"It is an admirable little tale, full of local characteristics with curious fragments of Creole French from Martinique, and abundance of wide human sympathy. It deserves reprinting for English readers more than three-fourths of the fiction which is wont to cross the Atlantic under similar circumstances." (294.)

"Youma" is the tale of the exquisite devotion and loyalty of a da. (A da is the foster-mother and nurse of [Pg 177] a Creole child.) At the death of Aimée, Youma's playmate and rich foster-sister, little Mayotte, her child, becomes Youma's charge. An intimate description is given us of the Creole life of Mayotte and Youma. The love of this da is very beautiful. Once with an extraordinary heroism Youma saves Mayotte from a serpent which has slipped into their room. With a still greater heroism she refuses to run away with Gabriel, who has opened the world to her,—Gabriel who has brought her love, and whom she can marry in no other way. No, above the pleadings of her lover, comes the voice of her dying mistress, begging, with such trust,—

"Youma, O Youma! you will love my child?—Youma, you will never leave her, whatever happens, while she is little? promise, dear Youma!"

And she had—promised....

Then comes the final test of Youma's strength of devotion. There is an outbreak among the blacks, who have become inflamed by the dreams of coming freedom. The Desrivières with many other families are forced to flee for refuge in safer quarters. Under one roof all these people gather. Youma is urged to leave and save herself. But she will not forsake Mayotte or her master. The infuriated blacks surround the house, and horror follows. Presently the house is set on fire. Youma, with Mayotte in her arms, appears at an upper window. Gabriel, "daring the hell about him for her sake," puts up a ladder. Youma hands him Mayotte. "Can you save her?" she asks.

"Gabriel could only shake his head;—the street sent up so frightful a cry....

"Non!—non!—non!—pa lè yche-béké—janmain yche-béké!"

"Then you cannot save me!" cried Youma, clasping the child to her bosom,—"janmain! janmain, mon ami."

"Youma, in the name of God...."

"In the name of God, you ask me to be a coward!... Are you [Pg 178] vile, Gabriel?—are you base?... Save myself and leave the child to burn?... Go!"

"Leave the béké's yche!—leave it!—leave it, girl!" shouted a hundred voices.

"Moin!" cried Youma, retreating beyond the reach of Gabriel's hand,—"moin! ... Never shall I leave it, never! I shall go to God with it."

"Burn with it, then!" howled the negroes ... "down with that ladder! down with it, down with it!"

The ladder catches fire and burns. The walls quiver, and there are shrieks from the back of the house. Unmoved, with a perfect calm, Youma remains at the window. "There is now neither hate nor fear on her fine face." Softly she whispers to Mayotte, and caresses her with an infinite tenderness. Never to Gabriel had she seemed so beautiful.

Another minute—and he saw her no more. The figure and the light vanished together, as beams and floor and roof all quaked down at once into darkness.... Only the skeleton of stone remained,—black-smoking to the stars.

A stillness follows. The murderers are appalled by their crime.

Then, from below, the flames wrestled out again,—crimsoning the smoke whirls, the naked masonry, the wreck of timbers. They wriggled upward, lengthening, lapping together,—lifted themselves erect,—grew taller, fiercer,—twined into one huge fluid spire of tongues that flapped and shivered high into the night....

The yellowing light swelled,—expanded from promontory to promontory,—palpitated over the harbour,—climbed the broken slopes of the dead volcano leagues through the gloom. The wooded mornes towered about the city in weird illumination,—seeming loftier than by day,—blanching and shadowing alternately with the soaring and sinking of the fire;—and at each huge pulsing of the glow, the white cross of their central summit stood revealed, with the strange passion of its black Christ.

... And at the same hour, from the other side of the world,—a ship was running before the sun, bearing the Republican gift of liberty and promise of universal suffrage to the slaves of Martinique.

[Pg 179]There are two little bits of description which are so characteristic that I quote them:—

Then she became aware of a face ... lighted by a light that came from nowhere,—that was only a memory of some long-dead morning. And through the dimness round about it a soft blue radiance grew,—the ghost of a day.

Sunset yellowed the sky,—filled the horizon with flare of gold;—the sea changed its blue to lilac;—the mornes brightened their vivid green to a tone so luminous that they seemed turning phosphorescent. Rapidly the glow crimsoned,—shadows purpled; and night spread swiftly from the east,—black-violet and full of stars.

Karma[29] (242) was written during the Philadelphia period, but was not published in Lippincott's Magazine until after Hearn had sailed for Japan. The story is concentrated, with its every word a shaft of light, and it seems a wrong to attempt to epitomize it. Except in its entirety no adequate conception can be formed of this marvellous revelation of the anguish that a human soul may suffer; nor of the artistic power with which Hearn has developed and perfected his study. Many quotations could be gleaned from his subsequent books which reflect the inspiration of "Karma."

[29] Copyright, 1889, by Lafcadio Hearn; and, copyright, 1890 by J. B. Lippincott Company.

Despite her unusual intellect, the heroine had a childlike simplicity and frankness which invited her lover's confidence, but he had never told her his admiration, for a dormant power beneath her girlishness made a compliment seem a rudeness. He was often alone with her, which is helpful to lovers, but her charm always confused him, and his embarrassment only deepened. One day she archly asked him to tell her about it.

Is there one who does not know that moment when the woman beloved becomes the ideal, and the lover feels his utter unworthiness? Yet, if she is one of those rare souls, [Pg 180] the illusion, however divine, is less perfect than is her worth. Do you know what she truly is—how she signifies "the whole history of love striving against hate, aspiration against pain, truth against ignorance, sympathy against pitilessness? She,—the soul of her! is the ripened passion-flower of the triumph. All the heroisms, the martyrdoms, the immolations of self,—all strong soarings of will through fire and blood to God since humanity began,—conspired to kindle the flame of her higher life."

And then you question yourself with a thousand questions, and then there are as many more of your duty to her, to the future, and to the Supreme Father.

She was not surprised when he told her his wish, but she was not confident that he really loved her, nor whether she should permit herself to like him. Finally she bade him go home and "as soon as you feel able to do it properly,—write out for me a short history of your life;—just write down everything you feel that you would not like me to know. Write it,—and send it.... And then I shall tell you whether I will marry you."

How easy the task seemed, and his whole being was joyous; but the lightness lasted for only a moment, and gradually all that her command meant crept over him.... "Everything you feel you would not like me to know." Surely she had no realization of what she had asked. Did she imagine that men were good like women—how cruel to hurt her.

Then for a period he was uplifted with the desire to meet her truthfulness, but his courage failed again after he had written down the record of his childhood and youth. It was no slight task to make this confession of his sins. And how pale and trivial they had seemed before. Was it possible that he had never before rightly looked at them? Yet why should he so falter? Surely she meant to pardon him. He must put everything down truthfully, and then [Pg 181] recolour the whole for her gaze. But his face grew hot at the thought of certain passages.

Hour after hour he sat at his desk until it was past midnight, but no skill could soften the stony facts. Finally he lay down to rest: his fevered brain tried to find excuses for his faults. He could forgive himself everything ... except—ah, how unutterably wicked he had been there. No, he could not tell her that: instead he must lose her for ever. And in losing her he would lose all the higher self which she had awakened. To lose her—when he of all men had found his ideal.

"Everything you feel you would not like me to know." Perhaps when she had put this ban upon him, she suspected that there were incidents in his life which he dared not tell her. Could he not deceive her? No, he might write a lie, but he could never meet her fine sweet eyes with a lie. What was he to do? And why had he always been so humble before that slight girl? "Assuredly those fine grey eyes were never lowered before living gaze: she seemed as one who might look God in the face."

Slowly his senses became more confused, and a darkness came, and a light in the darkness that shone on her; and he saw her bathed in a soft radiance, that seemed of some substance like ivory. And he knew that she was robing for her bridal with him.

He was at her side: all around them was a gentle whispering of many friends, who were dead. Would they smile thus—if they knew?

Then there arose something within him, and he knew that he must tell her all. He commenced to speak, and she became transfigured, and smiled at him with the tenderness of an angel; and the more he told the greater was her forgiveness. And he heard the voices of the others lauding him for his self-sacrifice and his sincerity. Yet as they praised a fear clutched him for one last [Pg 182] avowal that he must make. And with the growing of this doubt all seemed maliciously to change, and even she no longer smiled. He then would have told her alone, but even as he tried to hush his voice, it seemed to pierce the quietude "with frightful audibility, like the sibilation of a possessing spirit." Then with a reckless despair he shouted it aloud, and everything vanished, and the darkness of night was about him.

For many restless days and nights he harried himself with bitter self-analysis; and day by day he tore up a certain page; yet without that page his manuscript was worthless. As the days grew into weeks a new fear seized him that his silence had betrayed him, and that already she had decided against him. In the face of this danger he became terrified, and one morning he feverishly copied the memorable page, and, addressing the whole, dropped it in the first letter-box, before he might change his mind.

Then an awful revelation of his act overcame him. Should he telegraph her to return the manuscript unopened. No, it was already too late. What was done—was done for ever. He now vaguely realized what he feared in her—"a penetrating dynamic moral power that he felt without comprehending." He tried to steel himself for the worst, but he knew with a premonition that behind his imagined worst there were depths beyond depths of worse.

The single word "Come" which he received two days later confirmed his fears. When he reached the door of her apartment, she had already risen to take from a locked drawer an envelope which he knew was his. She proffered him no greeting, but asked in a cold voice if he wished her to burn the document. At his whispered yes, he met her eyes, and they seemed to strip him of the last remnant of his pride. "He stood before her as before God,—morally [Pg 183] naked as a soul in painted dreams of the Judgment Day."

The fire caught the paper, and he stood near, in fear of her next word, while she watched the flame.

At last she asked if the woman was dead. He well knew to what she referred, and replied that almost five years had passed since her death. To the penetrating questions which followed he answered that the child—a boy—was well, and that his friend was still there—in the same place. She turned to him abruptly and coldly, angered that he could have believed that she would pardon such a crime.

He must have had some hope, or he would not have sent the letter. Had he measured her by his own moral standard? Certainly he had placed her below the level of honest people. Would he dare to ask their judgment of his sin?

Speechless, he writhed under the scorn of her words, and a knowledge of shame to which his former agony was as nothing burned within him. That in him which her inborn goodness had taught her, was now laid bare to himself.

Again she spoke after a silence—perhaps he would think she was cruel; but she was not, nor was she unjust, for transcendent sin that denies "all the social wisdom gained by human experience" cannot be pardoned, it can only be atoned. And that sin was his; and God would exact his expiation. And that expiation she now demanded in God's name, and as her right. He must go to the friend whom he had wronged, and tell him the whole truth. He must ask for the child, and fulfil his whole duty; also he must place even his life at the man's will. And she would rather see him dead than believe that he could be a coward as well as a criminal. This she requested not as a favour, but as her right.

[Pg 184] At her words he grew pale as if to death, and for a moment she feared that he might refuse, and that she must despise him. No! his colour rushed back, and her heart leaped, as with a calm resolve he answered, "I will do it."

"Then go!" she replied, betraying no gladness.

A year went by. She knew that he had kept his promise. He wrote to her often, and passionately, but the letters were never answered. Did she doubt him still?—or was she afraid of her own heart? He could not know the truth, so he waited with hopes and fears, and the seasons passed. Then one day she was startled to receive a letter which told her that he was passing through her suburb, and he begged only to be permitted to see her. To his surprise the answer brought the happy words, "You may."

From the shy, beautiful eyes of the child, whom he brought, there seemed to plead a woman's sorrow, until her own soul answered in forgiveness. And the boy and the father marvelled at the tenderness that had come upon her, and the father sobbed until her voice thrilled: that suffering was strength and knowledge, that always he must suffer for the evil he had wrought, but she would help him to bear the pain, and to endure his atonement. She would shield his frailty—she would love his boy.

The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard (21) was translated in New York, while Hearn was finishing the proofs of "Two Years in the French West Indies." Of it he writes:—

As for the "Sylvestre Bonnard" I believe I told you that that was translated in about ten days and published in two weeks from the time of beginning it.... But the work suffers in consequence of haste.

After his departure for the Orient, two articles on West Indian Society appeared in the Cosmopolitan (243-244). [Pg 185] They give a sympathetic study of the sad and pathetic tragedy of the race of the mixed blood. These articles bear a similarity to the chapter upon and the references to this subject, in "Two Years in the French West Indies."

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan[30] (7) is the first of the series of Japanese books. It was published after Hearn had been in Japan for four years; since 1891 six of the articles had appeared in the Atlantic Monthly (246-251). Also in 1890, an article, "A Winter Journey to Japan," was published in Harper's Monthly (245). This was his initial paper on Japan.

[30] Copyright, 1894, by Lafcadio Hearn; and published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

In many ways the present book on Japan is his happiest, for the charm over everything is fresh and radiant. It is here that we learn the old graceful customs, the touching child-like ways, and the sacred appealing rites and beliefs that so endear to us the Japanese. Later we are to have studies more philosophical, more erudite, but none more penetrating in virtue of the very simplicity of subject.

It is difficult to believe that the writer, bewitched with the warmth and colour of the tropics, giving his pen an unlicensed flow of word colour and enthusiasm, in a few years could have matured into this quiet, gentle thinker equally absorbed by the East. One finds scarcely a trace of the Hearn of the tropics: therein lies his unique genius; just so admirably as he reflected the West Indian life, does he now reflect that of the Japanese.

It is the old Japan that Hearn loves, and the passing of which he mourns even at the first. In his Preface, he says, "My own conviction, and that of many impartial and more experienced observers of Japanese life, is that Japan has nothing whatever to gain by conversion to Christianity, either morally or otherwise, but very much to lose." Also [Pg 186] in one of his letters he writes, "I felt, as never before, how utterly dead old Japan is, and how ugly New Japan is becoming." It is old Japan that we find in the present volume. It is much as if we looked into a diary of his first days in the Orient, giving his impressions and conclusions, as well as portraying the pictures themselves.

One of the reviews of the book contains the following:—

"If Japan is all that he says; if the Japanese are so compounded of all the virtues, and so innocent of the ugly failings that mar our Western civilization, then the poet's dream of a Golden Age has actually been realized in the remote East. Much as we should like to believe that such a land and such a people actually exist, we cannot altogether conquer our doubts, or avoid the suspicion that the author's feeling sometimes gets the better of his judgment." (379.)

And another says:—

"In volume one he is still the outside observer, remote enough to be amused with the little pretty, bird-like glances of the Orient towards the Occident, pleased at the happy chance which makes a blind shampooer's cry musical as she taps her way down the street, instead of giving her a voice raucous as that which hurts and haunts the unwilling ears of wayfarers down Newgate Street and on Ludgate-Hill; or complimentary to the cunning fancy which paints a branch of flowering cherry in a cleft bamboo on a square of faintly-coloured paper and calls the cherry blossom 'beauty' and the bamboo 'long life.' He notices the shapely feet of the people: 'bare brown feet of peasants, or beautiful feet of children wearing tiny, tiny geta, or feet of young girls in snowy tabi. The tabi, the white digitated stocking, gives to a small light foot a mythological aspect—the white cleft grace of the foot of a fauness.'

"A little further on the leaven of witchcraft is working, and he cannot write so airily. It is not as a mere spectator [Pg 187] that he talks of his visit to the Buddhist cemetery, where the rotting wooden laths stand huddled about the graves, and one tomb bears an English name and a cross chiselled upon it. Here he made acquaintance with the god, who is the lover of little children, Jizō-Sama, about whose feet are little piles of stones heaped there by the hands of mothers of dead children. He is not quite as much in earnest as volume two will find him, or he could not call the gentle god 'that charming divinity'; but the sight-seer is dying in him nevertheless. It was with a friend's hand that he struck the great bell at Enoshima." (286.)

But even here with a new world unfolding to his delighted eyes, it was colour that Hearn really wanted.

I am not easy about my book, of which I now await the proofs. It lacks colour—it isn't like the West Indian book. But the world here is not forceful: it is all washed in faint blues and greys and greens. There are really gamboge, or saffron-coloured valleys,—and lilac fields; but these exist only in the early summer and the rape-plant season, and ordinarily Japan is chromatically spectral.

The opening chapter is his first day in the Orient, "the first charm of Japan is intangible and volatile as a perfume." Everything seems to him elfish and diminutive. "Cha," his Kurumaya, takes him past the shops where it appears to him "that everything Japanese is delicate, exquisite, admirable—even a pair of common wooden chop-sticks in a paper bag with a little drawing upon it." The money itself is a thing of beauty. But one must not dare to look, for there is enchantment in these wares, and having looked, one must buy. In truth one wishes to buy everything, even to the whole land, "with its magical trees and luminous atmosphere, with all its cities and towns and temples, and forty millions of the most lovable people."

Before the steps leading to a temple he stops.

[Pg 188] I turn a moment to look back through the glorious light. Sea and sky mingle in the same beautiful pale clear blue. Below me the billowing of bluish roofs reaches to the verge of the unruffled bay on the right, and to the feet of the green wooded hills flanking the city on two sides. Beyond that semi-circle of green hills rises a lofty range of serrated mountains, indigo silhouettes. And enormously high above the line of them towers an apparition indescribably lovely,—one solitary snowy cone, so filmly exquisite, so spiritually white, that but for its immemorially familiar outline, one would surely deem it a shape of cloud. Invisible its base remains, being the same delicious tint as the sky: only above the eternal snow-line its dreamy cone appears, seeming to hang, the ghost of a peak, between the luminous land and the luminous heaven,—the sacred and matchless mountain, Fujiyama.

Passing to the temple garden he wonders why the trees are so lovely in Japan.

Is it that the trees have been so long domesticated and caressed by man in this land of the gods, that they have acquired souls, and strive to show their gratitude, like women loved, by making themselves more beautiful for man's sake? Assuredly they have mastered men's hearts by their loveliness, like beautiful slaves. That is to say, Japanese hearts. Apparently there have been some foreign tourists of the brutal class in this place, since it has been deemed necessary to set up inscriptions in English announcing that "it is forbidden to injure the trees."

Of Hearn's first visit to a Buddhist temple, I quote what one of his critics has to say:—

"The silence of centuries seems to descend upon your soul, you feel the thrill of something above and beyond the commonplace of this every-day world, even here, amidst the turmoil, the rush, the struggle of this monster city of the West, if you take up his 'Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan,' and turn to his description of his first visit to a Buddhist temple. Marvellous is his power of imparting the mystery of that strange land, of hidden meanings and allegories, of mists and legends. The bygone spirit of the race, the very essence of the heart of the people, that has lain sleeping in the temple gloom, in the shadows of the temple shrines, awakes and whispers in your ears. You feel the soft, cushioned matting beneath your feet, you [Pg 189] smell the faint odour of the incense, you hear the shuffling of pilgrim feet, the priest sliding back screen after screen, pouring in light upon the gilded bronzes and inscriptions; and you look for the image of the Deity, of the presiding Spirit, between the altar groups of convoluted candelabra. And you see:

Only a mirror, a round, pale disc of polished metal, and my own face therein, and behind this mockery of me a phantom of the far sea.

Only a mirror! Symbolizing what? Illusion? Or that the Universe exists for us solely as the reflection of our own souls? Or the old Chinese teaching that we must seek the Buddha only in our own hearts? Perhaps some day I shall be able to find out. (350.)

Many more temples are visited in the following chapter. What impresses him the most is the joyousness of the people's faith: everything is bright and cheerful, and the air is filled with the sound of children's voices as they play in the courts. He sees the many representations of Jizō, the loving divinity who cares for the souls of little children, who comforts them, and saves them from the demons. The face of Jizō is like that of a beautiful boy, and the countenance is made "heavenly by such a smile as only Buddhist art could have imagined, the smile of infinite lovingness and supremest gentleness." There is also Kwannon, "the goddess of mercy, the gentle divinity who refused the rest of Nirvâna to save the souls of men." Her face is golden, smiling with eternal youth and infinite tenderness. And he sees Emma Dai-ō, the unpitying, tremendous one. He learns many things of many gods and goddesses. There is the temple of Kishibojin—the mother of Demons. For some former sin she was born a demon and devoured her own children. But through the teaching of Buddha she became a divine being, loving and protecting the little ones, and Japanese mothers pray to her, and wives pray for beautiful boys. At her shrine what impresses the visitor are hundreds of tiny dresses, mostly of poor material, [Pg 190] stretched between tall poles of bamboos. These are the thank-offerings of poor simple country mothers whose prayers to her have been answered.

In another chapter Hearn writes of the Festival of the Dead, for between the 13th and the 15th day of July the dead may come back again. Every small and great shrine is made beautiful with new mats of purest rice straw, and is decorated with lotus flowers, shikimi (anise) and misohagi (lespedeza). Food offerings, served on a tiny lacquered table—a zen—are placed before the altars. Every hour, tea daintily served in little cups is offered to the viewless visitors. At night beautiful special lanterns are hung at the entrances of homes. Those who have dead friends visit the cemeteries and make offerings there with prayers, and the sprinkling of water, and the burning of incense. On the evening of the 15th the ghosts of those, who in expiation of faults committed in a previous life are doomed to hunger, are fed. And also are fed the ghosts of those who have no friends.

For three days everything is done to feast the dead, and on the last night there comes the touching ceremony of farewell, for the dead must then return.

Everything has been prepared for them. In each home small boats made of barley straw closely woven have been freighted with supplies of choice food, with tiny lanterns, and written messages of faith and love. Seldom more than two feet in length are these boats; but the dead require little room. And the frail craft are launched on canal, lake, sea, or river,—each with a miniature lantern glowing at the prow, and incense burning at the stern. And if the night be fair, they voyage long. Down all the creeks and rivers and canals the phantom fleets go glimmering to the sea; and all the sea sparkles to the horizon with the lights of the dead, and the sea wind is fragrant with incense.

But alas! it is now forbidden in the great seaports to launch the shōryōbune, "the boats of the blessed ghosts."

In Kami-Ichi, in the land of Hōki, there is a glimpse [Pg 191] into ancient Japan, for there the Bon-odori, the Dance of the Festival of the Dead, is still maintained. No longer is it danced in the cities. In the temple court, in the shadow of the tomb, with the moonlight as a guide, long processions of young girls dance a slow ghostly dance while the vast audience of spectators keeps a perfect stillness. A deep male chant is heard, and the women respond. Many songs follow, until the night is waning. Then this seeming witchcraft ends, and with merry laughter and soft chatting all disperse.

Hearn spends a long happy day at Matsue, the chief city of the Province of the Gods, where he gathers legends and impressions. Of course it has its temples. The temple is the best place to see the life of the people. There it is that the children play all day long. In the summer evening, the young artisans and labourers prove their strength in wrestling-matches. The sacred dances are held there; and on holidays it is also the place where toys are sold.

Often at night your attention will be drawn to a large, silent, admiring group of people standing before some little booth. They will be looking at a few vases of sprays of flowers—an exhibition of skill in their arrangement.

Returning homeward, there is seen a poor woman scattering some white papers into a stream of water, and, as she throws each one in, murmuring something sweet in a low voice. She is praying for her little dead child, and these are little prayers that she has written to Jizō.

Kitzuki is the most ancient shrine in Japan, and it is the living centre of Shintō. There the ancient faith burns as brightly as ever it did in the unknown past. Buddhism may be doomed to pass away, but Shintō "unchanging and vitally unchanged remains dominant, and appears but to gain in power and dignity." Many of the wisest scholars have tried to define Shintō.

[Pg 192] But the reality of Shintō lives not in books, nor in rites, nor in commandments, but in the national heart, of which it is the highest emotional religious expression, immortal and ever young. Far underlying all the surface crop of quaint superstitions and artless myths and fantastic magic, there thrills a mighty spiritual force, the whole soul of a race with all its impulses and powers and intuitions. He who would know what Shintō is must learn to know that mysterious soul in which the sense of beauty and the power of art and the fire of heroism and magnetism of loyalty and the emotion of faith have become inherent, immanent, unconscious, instinctive.

At Kaka is the Cave of the Children's Ghosts. No evil person may enter the Shin-Kukedo, for if he does, a large stone will detach itself and fall down upon him. Here in this great vault, lifting forty feet above the water, and with walls thirty feet apart, is a white rock out of which drips a water apparently as white as the rock itself. This is the Fountain of Jizō, which gives milk to the souls of little dead children.

And mothers suffering from want of milk come hither to pray that milk may be given unto them; and their prayer is heard. And mothers having more milk than their infants need come hither also, and pray to Jizō that so much as they can give may be taken for the dead children; and their prayer is heard and their milk diminishes.

At least thus the peasants of Izumo say.

In another cavern are countless little piles of stones and pebbles, which must have been made by long and patient labour. It is the work of the dead children. One must step carefully, for the sake of these little ones, for if any work is spoiled, they will cry. In the sand are prints of little naked feet, "the footprints of the infant ghosts." Strewn here and there on the rocks are tiny straw sandals, pilgrims' offerings to keep the baby feet from being bruised by the stones.

In the temple of Hojinji of the Zen sect at Mionoseki, there is an altar which bears many images of Kwannon, the Goddess of Mercy. Before the altar, and hung from the [Pg 193] carven ceiling, is a bright coloured mass of embroidered purses, patterns of silk-weaving and of cotton-weaving, also balls of threads and worsted and silk. These are the first offerings of little girls. As soon as a baby girl learns how to sew or knit or embroider, she brings to the Maid-Mother of all grace and sweetness and pity, the first piece that she has made successfully.

Even the infants of the Japanese kindergarten bring their first work here,—pretty paper-cuttings, scissored out and plaited into divers patterns by their own tiny flower-soft hands.

Among the many Notes on Kitzuki which interest, is the annual festival of the Divine Scribe, the Tenjin-Matsuri, to which every school-boy sends a specimen of his best writing. The texts are in Chinese characters, and are generally drawn from the works of Confucius or Mencius. And Hearn remarks that the children of other countries can never excel in the art of Japanese writing. The inner ancestral tendencies will not let them catch the secret of the stroke with the brush. It is the fingers of the dead that move the brush of the Japanese boy.

At every temple festival in Japan there is a sale of toys. And every mother, however poor, buys her child a toy. They are not costly, and are charming. Many of these toys would seem odd to a little English child. There is a tiny drum, a model of the drum used in the temples; or a miniature sambo table, upon which offerings are presented to the gods. There is a bunch of bells fastened to a wooden handle. It resembles a rattle, but it is a model of the sacred suzu which the virgin priestess uses in her dance before the gods. Then there are tiny images of priests and gods and goddesses. There is little of grimness in the faiths of the Far East; their gods smile. "Why religion should be considered too awful a subject for children to amuse themselves decently with never occurs to the common Japanese mind."

[Pg 194] Besides these, there are pretty toys illustrating some fairy-tale or superstition and many other playthings of clever devices, and the little doll, O-Hina-San (Honourable Miss Hina), which is a type of Japanese girl beauty. The doll in Japan is a sacred part of the household. There is a belief that if it is treasured long enough it becomes alive. Such a doll is treated like a real child: it is supposed to possess supernatural powers. One had such rare powers that childless couples used to borrow it. They would minister to it, and would give it a new outfit of clothes before returning it to its owners. All who did this became parents. To the Japanese a new doll is only a doll; but a doll that has received the love of many generations acquires a soul. A little Japanese girl was asked, "How can a doll live?" "Why," was the lovely answer, "if you love it enough, it will live!"

Never is the corpse of a doll thrown away. When it has become so worn out that it must be considered quite dead, it is either burned or cast in running water, or it is dedicated to the God Kōjin. In almost every temple ground there is planted a tree called enoki, which is sacred to Kōjin. Before the tree will be a little shrine, and either there or at the foot of the sacred tree, the sad little remains will be laid. Seldom during the lifetime of its owner is a doll given to Kōjin.

When you see one thus exposed, you may be almost certain that it was found among the effects of some poor dead woman—the innocent memento of her girlhood, perhaps even also of the girlhood of her mother and of her mother's mother.

There is a sad and awful tradition in the history of the Kengyōs, the oldest of the noble families of Izumo. Seven generations ago the Daimyō of Izumo made his first official visit to the temples of Hinomisaki, and was entertained royally by the Kengyō. As was the custom, the young wife served the royal visitor. Her simple beauty unfortunately [Pg 195] enchanted him, and he demanded that she leave her husband and go with him. Terrified, but like a brave loving wife and mother, she answered that sooner than desert her husband and child she would kill herself.

The Lord of Izumo went away, but the little household well knew the evil that now shadowed it. And shortly the Kengyō was suddenly taken from his family; tried at once for some unknown offence, and banished to the islands of Oki, where he died. The Daimyō was exultant, for no obstacle was in the way of his desire. The wife of the dead Kengyō was the daughter of his own minister, whose name was Kamiya. Kamiya was summoned before the Daimyō, who told him that there was no longer any reason why Kamiya's daughter should not enter his household, and bade Kamiya bring her to him.

The next day Kamiya returned, and with the utmost ceremony announced that the command had been fulfilled—the victim had arrived.

Smiling for pleasure, the Matsudaira ordered that she should be brought at once into his presence. The Karō prostrated himself, retired, and presently returned, placed before his master a kubi-oke upon which lay the freshly-severed head of a beautiful woman,—the head of the young wife of the dead Kengyō,—with the simple utterance:

"This is my daughter."

Dead by her own brave will,—but never dishonoured.

"None love life more than the Japanese; none fear death less." So it is that when two lovers find that they can never wed, they keep the love death together, which is jōshi or shinjū. By dying they believe that they will at once be united in another world. They always pray that they may be buried together. (In other books are written additional stories illustrating the touching custom.)

At the temple of Yaegaki at Sakusa, are the Deities of Wedlock and of Love, and thither go all youths and maidens who are in love. Hundreds of strips of soft white [Pg 196] paper are knotted to the gratings of the doors of the shrine. These are the prayers of love. Also there are tresses of girls' hair, love-sacrifices, and offerings of sea-water and of sea-weed. In the soil around the foundation of the shrine are planted quantities of small paper flags.

All over Japan there are little Shintō shrines before which are images in stone of foxes.

The rustic foxes of Izumo have no grace: they are uncouth; but they betray in countless queer ways the personal fancies of their makers. They are of many moods,—whimsical, apathetic, inquisitive, saturnine, jocose, ironical; they watch and snooze and squint and wink and sneer; they wait with lurking smiles; they listen with cocked ears most stealthily, keeping their mouths open or closed. There is an amusing individuality about them all, and an air of knowing mockery about most of them, even those whose noses have been broken off. Moreover, these ancient foxes have certain natural beauties which their modern Tōkyō kindred cannot show. Time has bestowed upon them divers speckled coats of beautiful colours while they have been sitting on their pedestals, listening to the ebbing and flowing of the centuries and snickering weirdly at mankind. Their backs are clad with finest green velvet of old mosses; their limbs are spotted and their tails are tipped with the dead gold or the dead silver of delicate fungi. And the places they most haunt are the loveliest,—high shadowy groves where the uguisu sings in green twilight, above some voiceless shrine with its lamps and its lions of stone so mossed as to seem things born of the soil—like mushrooms.

It is difficult to define the Fox superstition, chiefly because it has sprung from so many elements. The origin is Chinese, and in Japan it has become mixed with the worship of a Shintō deity, and further enlarged by the Buddhist belief of thaumaturgy and magic. The peasants worship foxes because they fear them. But there are good foxes and bad ones. The country holds legend after legend of goblin foxes and ghost foxes, and foxes that take the form of human beings. Every Japanese child knows some of them.

Seldom is a Japanese garden a flower-garden: it may [Pg 197] not contain a flower. It is a landscape garden, and its artistic purpose is to give the impression of a real scene. Besides, it is supposed to express "a mood in the soul." Such abstract ideas as Chastity, Faith, Connubial Bliss were expressed by the old Buddhist monks who first brought the art into Japan. Little hills, and slopes of green, tiny river-banks, and little islands, together with trees, and stones, and flowering shrubs are combined by the artist. All these things have their poetry and legend, and sometimes have a special name signifying their position and rank in the whole design.

In the ponds little creatures such as the frog and water-beetle live, and they too have their legends. The children make all of these creatures and the insects their playmates. Then there are the semi, which are musicians, and lovely dragon-flies which skim over the ponds; and back on the hill above the garden are many birds. It is not necessary to have a garden outdoors, for there are indoor gardens too which can even be put into a koniwa, the size of a fruit-dish.

The dead are never dead with the Japanese; they become even more important members of the family, for the spirits of the dead control the lives of the living. Each day there is some ceremony in memory of these blessed dead; and no home is so poor but it has its household shrine. And Shintō, ancestor-worship,

signifies character in the higher sense,—courage, courtesy, honour, and above all things loyalty. The spirit of Shintō is the spirit of filial piety, the zest of duty, the readiness to surrender life for a principle without a thought of wherefore. It is the docility of the child; it is the sweetness of the Japanese woman. It is conservatism likewise; the wholesome check upon the national tendency to cast away the worth of the entire past in rash eagerness to assimilate too much of the foreign present. It is religion,—but religion transformed into hereditary moral impulse,—religion transmuted into ethical instinct. It is the whole emotional life of the race,—the Soul of Japan.

[Pg 198] Self-sacrifice, loyalty, the deepest spirit of Shintō, is born with the child. If you ask any Japanese student what his dearest wish is he will surely answer,—"To die for His Majesty, our Emperor." It is impossible in this limited space to give an adequate idea of all that Shintōism implies.

The dressing of the hair is a very important part of a Japanese woman's toilet. It is dressed once in every three days, and the task takes probably two hours. The elaborateness of the coiffure changes with the growing age of the maiden. But when she is twenty-eight, she is no longer young, and so thereafter only one style is left, that worn by old women. Of course, there are many superstitions about women's hair. It is the Japanese woman's dearest possession, and she will undergo any suffering not to lose it. At one time it was considered a fitting vengeance to shear the hair of an erring wife, and then turn her away.

Only the greatest faith or the deepest love can prompt a woman to the voluntary sacrifice of her entire chevelure, though partial sacrifices, offerings of one or two long thick cuttings, may be seen suspended before many an Izumo shrine.

What faith can do in the way of such sacrifice, he best knows who has seen the great cables, woven of women's hair, that hang in the vast Hongwanji temple at Kyōto. And love is stronger than faith, though much less demonstrative. According to an ancient custom a wife bereaved sacrifices a portion of her hair to be placed in the coffin of her husband, and buried with him. The quantity is not fixed: in the majority of cases it is very small, so that the appearance of the coiffure is thereby no wise affected. But she who resolves to remain for ever faithful to the memory of the lost yields up all. With her own hand she cuts off her hair, and lays the whole glossy sacrifice—emblem of her youth and beauty—upon the knees of the dead.

It is never suffered to grow again.

The "Diary of a Teacher" gives a careful picture of the school-life in Japan as Hearn finds it. At the Normal School, which is a state institute, the young man student [Pg 199] has no expenses. In return for these kindnesses, when he graduates he serves as a teacher for five years. Discipline is severe, and deportment is a demand. "A spirit of manliness is cultivated, which excludes roughness but develops self-reliance and self-control."

The silence of study hours is perfect, and without permission no head is ever raised from a book.

The female department is in a separate building. Girls are taught the European sciences, and are trained in all the Japanese arts, such as embroidery, decoration, painting; and of course that most delicate of arts—the arranging of flowers. Drawing is taught in all the schools. By fifty per cent. do Japanese students excel the English students in drawing.

There is also a large elementary school for little boys and girls connected with the Normal School. These are taught by the students in the graduating classes. Noteworthy is the spirit of peace prevailing at the recesses that occur for ten minutes between each lesson. The boys romp and shout and race, but never quarrel. Hearn says that among the 800 scholars whom he has taught, he has never even heard of a fight, nor of any serious quarrel. The girls sing or play some gentle game, and the teachers are kind and watchful of the smaller scholars. If a dress is torn or soiled the child is cared for as carefully as if she were a younger sister.

No teacher would ever think of striking a scholar. If he did so he would at once have to give up his position. In fact, punishments are unknown. "The spirit is rather reversed. In the Occident the master expels the pupil. In Japan it happens quite as often that the pupil expels the master."

It takes the Japanese student seven years to acquire the triple system of ideographs, which is the alphabet of his native literature. He must also be versed in the written [Pg 200] and the spoken literature. He must study foreign history, geography, arithmetic, astronomy, physics, geometry, natural history, agriculture, chemistry, drawing.

Worst of all he must learn English,—a language of which the difficulty to the Japanese cannot be even faintly imagined by any one unfamiliar with the construction of the native tongue,—a language so different from his own that the very simplest Japanese phrase cannot be intelligibly rendered into English by a literal translation of the words or even the form of the thought.

And he studies all this upon the slimmest of diets, clad in thin clothes in cold rooms. No wonder many fall by the way.

The students have been trained to find a moral in all things. If the theme given to them for a composition is a native one, they will never fail to find it. For instance,—a peony is very beautiful, but it has a disagreeable odour; hence we should remember that "To be attracted by beauty only may lead us into fearful and fatal misfortune." The sting of the mosquito is useful, for "then we shall be bringed back to study."

There is nothing distinctive about the Japanese countenance, but there is an intangible pleasantness that is common to all. Contrasted with Occidental faces they seem "half-sketched." The outlines are very soft, there is "neither aggressiveness nor shyness, neither eccentricity nor sympathy, neither curiosity nor indifference.... But all are equally characterized by a singular placidity,—expressing neither love nor hate, nor anything save perfect repose and gentleness,—like the dreamy placidity of Buddhist images." Later, these faces become individualized.

In another chapter Hearn tells of Two Festivals: one the festival of the New Year; and the other, the Festival of Setsubun, which is the time for the casting out of devils. On the eve of this latter festival, the Yaku-otoshi, who is the caster-out of the demons, goes around, to any houses [Pg 201] that may desire his services, and performs his exorcism, for which he receives a little fee. The rites consist of the recitation of certain prayers, and the rattling of a shakujō. The shakujō is an odd-shaped staff. There is a tradition that it was first used by Buddhist pilgrims to warn little creatures and insects to get out of the way.

I quote from a French review for the description of one of Hearn's stories:—

"But the most beautiful of all, 'A Dancing Girl,' is drawn from the chronicles of that far-off past, from which, say what one may, he is certainly wise in drawing his inspirations. It is the story of a courtesan in love.

"At the height of her celebrity, this idol of a capital disappears from public life, and nobody knows why. Leaving fortune behind, she flies with a poor youth who loves her. They build for themselves a little house in the mountains, and there exist apart from the world, one for the other. But the lover dies one cold winter, and she remains alone, with no other consolation than to dance for him every evening in the deserted house. For he loved to see her dance, and he must still take pleasure in it. Therefore, daily, she places on the memorial altar the accustomed offerings, and at night she dances decked out in the same finery as when she was the delight of a large city. And the day comes, when old, decrepit, dying, reduced to beggary, she carries her superb costume faded with time, to a painter who had seen her in the days of her beauty, that he may accept it in exchange for a portrait made from memory, which shall be placed before the altar always bearing offerings, that her beloved may ever see her young, the most beautiful of the shirabyashi, and that he may forgive her for not being able to dance any more.

"This shirabyashi, from the distance of time, appears to us here, clothed with I know not what of hieratical dignity, [Pg 202] such as the modern geisha could never possess. Lafcadio Hearn in no wise pretends in the pages he devotes to these latter, to idealize them beyond measure. They appear under his pen as pretty animals somewhat dangerous; but is it not their calling to be so? Whatever be the rank of the Japanese woman, he only speaks of her with an extreme discretion, and with a caution that one would look for in vain in the portrait of Mme. Chrysanthème. The subtle voluptuousness of his style is never extended to the scenes he reproduces; it is a style immaterial to a rare degree; he knows how to make us understand what he means, without one word to infringe those proprieties that are dear to the Japanese, even more than virtue itself. And to believe him, the young, well-brought-up girl, the honest wife, are in Japan the most perfect types of femininity that he has ever met in any part of the world;—he, who has travelled so much. Opinions formed superficially by globe-trotters on this subject that he scarcely glances at because of respect, arouse as much indignation in him as could they in the Japanese themselves. Evidently he has penetrated into their inner life, into the mystery of their thoughts, into their hidden springs of action, to the point of participating in their feelings." (390.)

From Hōki to Oki there is much to learn about the landscapes of Western and Central Japan; and Hearn gives many legends, and many more impressions and intimate glimpses.

As there are only walls of thin paper separating the lives of these Japanese people, no privacy can exist. Really everything is done in public, even your thoughts must be known. And it never occurs to a Japanese that there should be any reason for living unobserved. This must show a rare moral condition, and is understood only by those who appreciate the charm of the Japanese character, its goodness, and its politeness.

[Pg 203] No one endeavours to expand his own individuality by belittling his fellow; no one tries to make himself appear a superior being: any such attempt would be vain in a community where the weaknesses of each are known to all, where nothing can be concealed or disguised, and where affectation could only be regarded as a mild form of insanity.

Hearn speaks of the strange public curiosity which his presence aroused at Urago. It was not a rude curiosity; in fact, one so gentle that he could not wish the gazers rebuked. But so insistent did it become that he had to close his doors and windows to prevent his being watched while he was asleep.

Kinjurō, the ancient gardener, knows a great many things about souls. "No one is by the gods permitted to have more souls than nine." Kinjurō also knows legends about ghosts and goblins.

An essay penetrating the very heart of the Japanese, is the chapter on the "Japanese Smile." It crowns Hearn's work as a superb interpretation of Japanese soul-life. This smile is the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace of self-sacrifice. It is metaphysically and psychologically exquisite. It is an etiquette which for generations has been cultivated. It was a smile, in origin, however, demanded by hard heathen gods of the victims they sacrificed; and, in history, it was demanded of the subject race by the early conquerors. If refused, then off came their heads! The smile is born with the Japanese child, and is nurtured through all the growing years.

The smile is taught like the bow; like the prostration; like that little sibilant sucking-in of the breath which follows, as a token of pleasure, the salutation to a superior; like all the elaborate and beautiful etiquette of the old courtesy.

The Japanese believe that one should always turn one's happiest face to people. It is a wrong to cause them to share your sorrow or misfortune, and so hurt or sadden [Pg 204] them. One should never look serious. It is not only unkind but extremely rude to show one's personal griefs or anger: these feelings should always be hidden. Even though it is death one must face, it is a duty to smile bravely.

It was with such a smile that the dying boy Shida wrote and pasted upon the wall over his bed:—

Thou, my Lord-Soul, dost govern me. Thou knowest that I cannot now govern myself. Deign, I pray thee, to let me be cured speedily. Do not suffer me to speak much. Make me to obey in all things the command of the physician.

This ninth day of the eleventh month of the twenty-fourth year of Meiji.

From the sick body of Shida to his Soul.

The key to the mystery of the most unaccountable smiles is Japanese politeness. The servant sentenced to dismissal for a fault prostrates himself, and asks for pardon with a smile. That smile indicates the very reverse of callousness or insolence: "Be assured that I am satisfied with the great justice of your honourable sentence, and that I am aware of the gravity of my fault. Yet my sorrow and my necessity have caused me to indulge the unreasonable hope that I may be forgiven for my great rudeness in asking pardon." The youth or girl beyond the age of childish tears when punished for some error, receives the punishment with a smile which means: "No evil feeling arises in my heart; much worse than this my fault has deserved."

This quality, which has become as natural to the Japanese as the very breath of his body, is the sweet tonic-note of his whole character.

Sayōnara! Across the waters echoes the cry, Manzai, Manzai! (Ten thousand years to you! ten thousand years!). Hearn is leaving. He is going far away. His pupils write expressing their sorrow and regret. He sends them a letter thanking them for their gift of a beautiful sword, and in a loving farewell says:—

May you always keep fresh within your hearts those impulses of generosity and kindliness and loyalty which I have learned to know so well, and of which your gift will ever remain for me the graceful symbol!

[Pg 205] And a symbol not only of your affection and loyalty as students to teachers, but of that other beautiful sense of duty expressed, when so many of you wrote down for me, as your dearest wish, the desire to die for His Imperial Majesty, your Emperor. That wish is holy: it means perhaps more than you know, or can know, until you shall have become much older and wiser. This is an era of great and rapid change; and it is probable that many of you, as you grow up, will not be able to believe everything that your fathers believed before you, though I sincerely trust you will at least continue always to respect the faith, even as you still respect the memory, of your ancestors. But however much the life of New Japan may change about you, however much your own thoughts may change with the times, never suffer that noble wish you expressed to me to pass away from your souls. Keep it burning there, clear and pure as the flame of the little lamp that glows before your household shrine.

Out of the East[31] (8), followed "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan." The charm of the first impression is waning.

[31] Copyright, 1895, by Lafcadio Hearn; and published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

In a letter Hearn writes:—

Every day, it strikes me more and more how little I shall ever know of the Japanese. I have been working hard at a new book, which is now half finished, and consists of philosophical sketches chiefly. It will be a very different book from the "Glimpses," and will show you how much the Japanese world has changed for me. I imagine that sympathy and friendship are almost impossible for any foreigner to obtain,—because of the amazing difference in the psychology of the two races. We only guess at each other without understanding.

In another letter, speaking of the title for this book, he continues:—

It was suggested only by the motto of the Oriental Society, "Ex Oriente lux." ... The simpler the title, and the vaguer—in my case—the better: the vagueness touches curiosity. Besides, the book is a vague thing.

The Academy, writing of "Out of the East," says:—

"Each book marks a longer step towards the Buddhist mysticism, wherein we have lost our poet. 'The Stone [Pg 206] Buddha,' in the first mentioned book, is a dreamy dialogue between the wisdom of the West; Science, with her theories of evolution, revolution and dissolution; Buddhism, with its re-birth on re-rebirth; and Nirvâna at the end. This thing also is vanity. As there can be no end, so there can be no beginning; even Time is an illusion, and there is nothing new beneath a hundred million suns." (286.)

The old charm of word colour sparkles in "The Dream of a Summer Day."

Mile after mile I rolled along that shore, looking into the infinite light. All was steeped in blue,—a marvellous blue, like that which comes and goes in the heart of a great shell. Glowing blue sea met hollow blue sky in a brightness of electric fusion; and vast blue apparitions—the mountains of Higo—angled up through the blaze, like masses of amethyst. What a blue transparency! The universal colour was broken only by the dazzling white of a few high summer clouds, motionlessly curled above one phantom peak in the offing. They threw down upon the water snowy tremulous lights. Midges or ships creeping far away seemed to pull long threads after them,—the only sharp lines in all that hazy glory. But what divine clouds! White purified spirits of clouds, resting on their way to the beatitude of Nirvâna? Or perhaps the mists escaped from Urashima's box a thousand years ago?

The gnat of the soul of me flitted out into that dream of blue, 'twixt sea and sun,—hummed back to the shore of Suminoyé through the luminous ghosts of fourteen hundred summers.

And Hearn tells with charm why "the mists escaped from Urashima's box a thousand years ago," and also of the old, old woman who drank too deeply of the magical waters of youth.

Reviewing the present volume, the Spectator remarks:—

"The main drift of his books, however, is to bring into view not so much the glories of Japanese sunlight or the charms of animate or inanimate Nature, on which it falls, as the prevalence, at any rate in extensive sections of Japanese society, of modes of thought and standards of conduct which, though often widely apart from our own, [Pg 207] demand the respect of every candid Englishman. And certainly in this endeavour he meets with a large measure of success. His account of the essays written and the questions asked by the members of his class in English language and literature at the Government college, or Higher Middle School, of Kyūshū, discloses not only what must be regarded as a very good development of general intelligence among those young men, but a moral tone which in many respects is quite as high, though with interesting differences in point of view, as would be expected among English boys or young men in the upper forms of our great public-schools or at the Universities. Of course, what boys or young men write for or say to their masters and tutors cannot by any means always be taken as sure evidence of their inner feelings or of the character of their daily life. But, so far as one can judge, Hearn's pupils appear to have given him their confidence, and what he tells us of them may therefore reasonably be taken without much discount. It certainly illustrates an attractive simplicity of character and thought, not untouched by poetic imagination, together with a high development of family affection and strong sense of family duty, and also a remarkably high level of patriotic feeling. This spirit is apparently inherited from the old military class of the island of Kyūshū, and it is not surprising to hear that rich men at a distance are keen to give their sons the opportunity of acquiring the Kyūshū 'tone.' Towards the close of his book Mr. Hearn gives an extremely interesting account of a farewell visit paid him in the autumn of 1894 by an old pupil who had entered the army after leaving college, and had been placed, at his own request, in one of the divisions ordered for service in Corea:—

"And now I am so glad," he exclaimed, his face radiant with a soldier's joy, "we go to-morrow." Then he blushed again, as if ashamed of having uttered his frank delight. I thought of Carlyle's [Pg 208] deep saying, that never pleasures, but only suffering; and death are the lures that draw true hearts. I thought also—what I could not say to any Japanese—that the joy in the lad's eyes was like nothing I had ever seen before, except the caress in the eyes of a lover on the morning of his bridal.

"A beautiful thought, the reader will agree; but why could it not be uttered to a Japanese? A good deal will be found on this subject in Mr. Hearn's book, and, as we have indicated, we do not think it all holds together. His class of students, we learn, professed to think it 'very, very strange' that there should be so much in English novels about love and marrying; and then he tells us that—

Any social system of which filial piety is not the moral cement; any social system in which children leave their parents in order to establish families of their own; any social system in which it is considered not only natural but right to love wife and child more than the authors of one's being; any social system in which marriage can be decided independently of the will of the parents by the mutual inclination of the young people themselves ... appears, to the Japanese student of necessity a state of life scarcely better than that of the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, or at best a sort of moral chaos.

"Now, of course, it is known here that in Japan, as in other Oriental countries, it is a rule for marriages to be family arrangements, as regards which it is expected that the young persons will conform to the wishes of their respective parents.

"But of course some inconsistencies are to be expected from an author enamoured of the whole country. He is very Buddhist, and is anxious to show that Buddhists have always held, in matters of faith, something very like the doctrines of modern science with regard to the perpetual sequence of evolution and dissolution. On this subject he argues cleverly and effectively; but when, by implication or expressly, he compares Buddhism with Christianity, it is [Pg 209] evident that the latter faith has not received any very close study from him. None the less is his book, though dominated by a somewhat uncritical enthusiasm, full of interest and instruction as to the difference between the gifts, the motives, and the mental and moral attitude of the Japanese and the peoples of the West, ourselves in particular. It is well worth while to study that remarkable people as they are seen by one who is so much captivated by them, and believes in them so strongly, as Mr. Lafcadio Hearn." (380.)

The Athenæum does not speak so cordially, and a review in the Atlantic Monthly says:—

"Mr. Hearn is not at his best as a metaphysician.... But we can forgive him in that he stands forth a staunch champion, defying the West from the heart of the Japanese people. He does this most clearly in his finest essay, 'Jiujutsu.' Here the very meaning of the martial exercise, to 'conquer by yielding' is taken as text to explain the phenomena or national awakening which foreign cities have denounced as a 'reversal.' Japan has borrowed weapons of force from the West, in order successfully to resist its insidious influence. True progress is from within. Mr. Hearn writes:—

However psychologists may theorize on the absence or the limitations of personal individuality among the Japanese, there can be no question at all that, as a nation, Japan possesses an individuality stronger than our own." (306.)

Hearn further brings out in a conversation with a young Japanese the fact that Japan, in order to keep pace with the competition of other nations, must adopt the methods which are in direct variance to her old morality, and all that which has made the Japanese what he is. Japan's future depends upon her industrial development, and the fine old qualities of self-sacrifice, simplicity, filial piety, the [Pg 210] contentment with little, are not the weapons for the modern struggle. In a postscript to this essay, written two years later, after the war with China, Hearn adds that "Japan has proved herself able to hold her own against the world.... Japan has won in her jiujutsu."

Japan holds infinite legends of ghostly significance, and it is no wonder that Hearn found so much that was sympathetic. Every new town or new temple reveals some aspect of the odd. In this second book the joyousness is gone; he is now a philosopher, and his philosophy reflects much of the ghostly. The gruesome has been buried, but it is not dead: it will return reincarnated, not of the ghastly of real life, but of the dim, far-away, always more distant ghostly in the lives of the dead.

A revelation of the Nirvâna into which Hearn is being slowly drawn appears in "At Hakata." He has been telling the story of the sacred mirror that a mother in dying gave to her daughter, bidding her to look into it every morning and evening and there see her mother. And the girl looked and "having the heart of meeting her mother every day," knew not that the shadow in the mirror was her own face.

One are we all,—and yet many, because each is a world of ghosts. Surely that girl saw and spoke to her mother's very soul, while seeing the fair shadow of her own young eyes and lips, uttering love!

And with this thought, the strange display in the old temple court takes a new meaning,—becomes the symbolism of a sublime expectation. Each of us is truly a mirror, imaging something of the universe,—reflecting also the reflection of ourselves in that universe; and perhaps the destiny of all is to be molten by that mighty Image-maker, Death, into some great sweet passionless unity. How the vast work shall be wrought, only those to come after us may know. We of the present West do not know: we merely dream. But the ancient East believes Here is the simple imagery of her faith. All forms must vanish at last to blend with that Being whose smile is immutable Rest,—whose knowledge is Infinite Vision.

"The Red Bridal" is a story of jōshi—the joint suicide [Pg 211] for love. These two young people had been playmates since their early school-days, and were deeply attached to each other. The girl's father, under the influence of an evil stepmother, agrees to sell his daughter to the richest and also the most disreputable man in the village. Hearing this awful command, the maiden only smiles the brave smile—inheritance of her Samurai blood. She knows what she must do.... Together she and her lover quietly meet the Tōkyō express. As its low roar draws nearer, they "wound their arms about each other, and lay down cheek to cheek, very softly and quietly, straight across the inside rail."

We close the book with the memory of Yuko, heroic little Yuko, who, even as noble Asakachi, who had his beautiful wish to die for his country fulfilled, proves that the Japanese spirit of loyalty is far greater than our word implies. With all her country, Yuko, a humble little serving-maid, whose name signifies "valiant," is sorrowing because of a Japanese attack upon the Czarevitch of the Russians. Her soul burns with the desire to give something that will soften the sorrow of the August One; for the heart of the girl, being that of a true Japanese, grieves not alone for what has happened, but with a deeper sense of the grief caused to the August One. The cry goes from Yuko asking how she, who has nothing, can give; and from the lips of the dead within her comes the answer: "Give thyself. To give life for the August One is the highest duty, the highest joy." "And in what place?" she asks. "Saikyō," answer the silent voices; "in the gateway of those who by ancient custom should have died."

Does she falter? No.

For her the future holds no blackness. Always she will see the rising of the holy Sun above the peaks, the smile of the Lady-Moon upon the waters, the eternal magic of the Seasons. She will haunt [Pg 212] the places of beauty, beyond the folding of the mists, in the sleep of the cedar-shadows, through circling of innumerable years. She will know a subtler life, in the faint winds that stir the snow of the flowers of the cherry, in the laughter of playing waters, in every happy whisper of the vast green silences. But first she will greet her kindred, somewhere in shadowy halls awaiting her coming to say to her:

"Thou hast done well,—like a daughter of Samurai. Enter, child! because of thee to-night we sup with the Gods!"

It is daylight when Yuko enters Kyotō. She finds a lodging, and then goes to a skilful female hairdresser. Her little razor is made very sharp. Returning to her room, she writes a letter of farewell to her brother, and an appeal to the officials asking that the Tenshi-Sama may be begged to cease from suffering "seeing that a young life, even though unworthy, has been given in voluntary expiation of the wrong."

At the dark hour before dawn she slips to the gate of the Government edifice. Whispering a prayer, she kneels. Then with her long under-girdle of silk she binds her robes tightly about her knees, for

the daughter of a Samurai must always be found in death with limbs decently composed. Then, with steady precision, she makes in her throat a gash, out of which the blood leaps in a pulsing jet....

At sunrise the police find her, quite cold, and the two letters, and a poor little purse containing five yen and a few sen (enough, she had hoped, for her burial); and they take her and all her small belongings away.

Kokoro[32] (9), the next book, could well be a continuation of "Out of the East." Hearn speaks of it as "terribly radical," and "rather crazy"; and he fears that his views, which are greatly opposed in the West, may not be well received.

[32] Copyright, 1896, by Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

"The fifteen chapters of which the book is composed," says a German review, "do not contain the results of any research into the domain of politics, art or religion. They are rather fragments from Japanese life, and so clear is [Pg 213] the language that the pictures given are brought home to us with wonderful effect. Lafcadio Hearn is a journalist in the best sense of the word. He is a writer who has something striking and original to say upon the events of the day, upon the conditions and institutions of a land, upon the possibilities of development in a people, upon deep philosophical, social and religious problems, upon the 'Idea of Pre-existence,' upon Buddhism and Shintōism, upon the difference between Occidental and Oriental culture, and who judges all things, all conditions that he sees, from lofty heights. He is besides a character, a man of great ideals; he has a fine artistic feeling and is, moreover, able to render in wonderfully sympathetic language tender moods which come to him at the sight of a landscape, a work of art. Extraordinarily capable of assimilation, he, to whom Japan has become a second home, has entirely fitted himself into the Japanese life. He is so delighted with the customs, with the political and social conditions, with the simple family life, with the religion, the ceremonies, the ancestor-worship, and with the business intercourse carried on among themselves—which he assures us is characterized by exceptional probity—in short, he is so delighted with all the activities of this people that he thinks them the best possible because they spring from the inmost life of an ethical and never intellectual temperament. Therefore he takes sides with them passionately against the modern tendencies of Europe." (395.)

In the opening story, which I think will be found one of his best, is portrayed the manner of a Japanese crowd in dealing with a criminal; and how this criminal was brought to atonement by the gaze of a little child, the son of the man he murdered, while the little one was yet in his mother's womb.

The next chapter is a discussion of Japanese Civilization. In 1903 Hearn wrote:—

[Pg 214] "The Genius of Japanese Civilization" is a failure. I thought that it was true when I wrote it; but already Japan has become considerably changed, and a later study of ancient social conditions has proved to me that I made some very serious sociological errors in that paper.

He shows that in the wonderful development of Japanese power, there is vitally no self-transformation. All that Japan is, she always has been. Nor is there any outward change. "The strength of Japan, like the strength of her ancient faith, needs little material display: both exist where the deepest real power of any great peoples exists,—in the Race Ghost." He contrasts the noise and confusion and vastness of Western cities. The construction of the West is endurance; of Japan impermanency. The very land is a land of impermanence. But in this impermanency Hearn finds the greatest excellence. He contrasts how little impedimenta the Japanese have—by that means alone how independent they are. He shows with what a quiet simplicity Japan has become a great commercial centre. He fears the new Western spirit which threatens her:—

I confess to being one of those who believe that the human heart, even in the history of a race, may be worth infinitely more than the human intellect, and that it will sooner or later prove itself infinitely better able to answer all the cruel enigmas of the Sphinx of Life.—I still believe that the old Japanese were nearer to the solution of those enigmas than are we, just because they recognized moral beauty as greater than intellectual beauty.

It is the old spirit which found infinite meaning—

in the flushed splendour of the blossom-bursts of spring, in the coming and the going of the cicadæ, in the dying crimson of autumn foliage, in the ghostly beauty of snow, in the delusive motion of wave or cloud.

The beautiful voice of a blind peasant woman fills Hearn with gentle memories and an exquisite delight. He muses upon what the meaning of this charm can be; and he [Pg 215] realizes that it is the old sorrows and loving impulses of forgotten generations.

The dead die never utterly. They sleep in the darkest cells of tired hearts and busy brains,—to be startled at rarest moments only by the echo of some voice that recalls their past.

The lovely spirit of showing only one's happiest face to the world is charmingly brought out in the little incident that, when in a railway carriage, a Japanese woman finds herself becoming drowsy, before she nods she covers her face with her long kimono sleeve.

Sometimes one may recall the dead, and speak with them. So it happened that O-Tayo heard once again the voice of her little child who begged her not to weep any more, for when mothers weep, the flood of the River of Tears rises so high that the soul cannot pass, and must wander and wander.

O-Tayo never wept again, but softly she herself became as a little child. Her good parents built a tiny temple and fitted it with miniature ornaments, and here all day long children came to play games with her. And when at last she died, the children still played there, for as a little girl of nine said, "We shall still play in the Court of Amida. She is buried there. She will hear us and be happy."

The pathetic tale of Haru gives an interesting picture of the relation in Japan between man and wife; of the exquisite submission of the wife under the saddest conditions, even to the moment when the little grieved heart, which has never murmured, has the dying strength to utter only the single word, "Anata." (Thou.)

"A Glimpse of Tendencies" analyzes many conditions in Japan, with various predictions for her future, and speaks of her lack of sympathy for her foreign teachers.

In "A Conservative" Hearn gives a searching study of how the evils of our civilization appear to a Japanese youth.

[Pg 216] "In the chapter, 'The Idea of Pre-existence,' Hearn makes the interesting attempt of bringing the teachings of the Buddhistic religion and the conclusions of modern science into accord. The idea which differentiates the Oriental mode of thinking from our own, which more than any other permeates the whole mental being of the Far-East—'it is universal as the wash of air; it colours every emotion; it influences, directly or indirectly, almost every act'—which inspires the utterances of the people, their proverbs, their pious and profane exclamations, that is the idea of pre-existence. The expression, 'Ingwa,' which signifies the Karma as inevitable retribution, serves as explanation for all suffering, all pain, all evil. The culprit says: 'That which I did I knew to be wicked when doing; but my ingwa was stronger than my heart,' Ingwa means predestination, determinism, necessity." (395.)

In his chapter on "Ancestor-Worship" it is further proved how important a part of the household are the dead.

Another delightful study is "Kimiko,"—the story of one who turns dancing-girl out of filial piety. In the height of her fame she falls in love with a rich young man, and he with her. Kimiko is so good a woman at heart, that the man's friends do not object to his marrying her. She refuses, however, for her life has made her unworthy to be wife or mother. The man hopes to change her, but one day she disappears and is utterly lost to sight. Years pass and he marries. At last Kimiko returns as a wandering nun, looks at her lover's little son, whispers a message for the father in his ear, and is gone once more. The grace with which the story is told is inimitable, and the sickly sentimentality that revolts us in the Dame aux Camelias is absent. (381.)

Gleanings in Buddha-Fields[33] (10) is the third book [Pg 217] of the Japanese period, and was written at Kobé. In this volume of essays, intermingled with sketches in lighter vein, Hearn continues his philosophical studies. There are the unmistakable signs that even this ardour is losing zest. The charm of Japan is going fast; and after this volume, until his final interpretation, which is a summary of all that has gone before, is reached, we find him seeking material in fairy-tales, legends, and even returning to old thoughts about the West Indian life.

[33] Copyright, 1897, by Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

Many of his critics feel that Hearn is becoming too subjective to be quite trustworthy; others feel that he is still too charmed by Japan to render a faithful picture. A review in Public Opinion says:—

"But, this feature of almost pardonable exaggeration pointed out, there is little for the critic to carp at in the majority of the eleven essays that compose the book. The opening paper, 'A Living God,' is a perfect specimen of the author's style, and evinces in a marked degree the influence of Oriental environment on a sensitive mind. It treats of the temples, shrines, and worship of the people, and tells by legend how even a living individual may come to be worshipped as a god by his friends....

"The essay, however, that betrays most strongly the bent of the author's mental metamorphosis, and one, we venture to say, that will be generally challenged is that on 'Faces in Japanese Art.' The contention it embodies, which he boldly fathers, is a flat denial of the truth and worth of our accepted schools of art,—of drawing especially." (376.)

Criticizing the chapters on Buddhism in the present book, the Athenæum says:—

"They are finely written, but the Buddhism is the Buddhism of Mr. Hearn, not of China or Japan, or of anywhere else. Nevertheless, we think them the most attractive of these gleanings. Laputa is placed not very [Pg 218] far from Japan; to a quasi-Laputa Mr. Hearn has gone, and his Laputian experiences are more interesting than any ordinary terrestrial experiences could have been." (298.)

The Spectator says:—

"His chapter on Nirvâna, which he describes as 'a study in synthetic Buddhism,' will be read with very great interest by all who care for the problems involved. There have been plenty of studies of the doctrine of Nirvâna more elaborate and complete, but few more suggestive and more taking.... Mr. Hearn begins by combating the popular Western notion that the idea of Nirvâna signifies to Buddhist minds complete annihilation. The notion is, he declares, erroneous because it contains only half the truth, and a half of the truth which is of no value or interest or intelligibility except when joined to the other half. According to Mr. Hearn, and, indeed, according to 'the better opinion' generally, Nirvâna means not absolute nothingness or complete annihilation, but only the annihilation of what constitutes individualism and personality,—'the annihilation of everything that can be included under the term "I".'" (382.)

Hearn makes an elaborate study of the varying stages of births and heavens that one must generally pass through before one rises into the "infinite bliss" of Nirvâna. The chapter closes with this significant sentence:—

The only reality is One;—all that we have taken for Substance is only Shadow;—the physical is the unreal:—and the outer-man is the ghost.

There are two short chapters devoted to the Japanese Songs. The first songs, "Out of the Street," are, as Manyemon, who would not have the Western people deceived, tells us, the vulgar songs, or those sung by the washermen, carpenters, and bamboo-weavers, etc. The theme always holds some glint of love. Hearn has [Pg 219] arranged certain ones in three groups forming a little shadow romance.

To Heaven with all my soul I prayed to prevent your going;
Already, to keep you with me, answers the blessed rain.
Things never changed since the Time of the Gods:
The flowing of water, the Way of Love.

The second chapter is devoted to Folk-Songs with Buddhist allusions. Nearly all the arts and the greater number of the industries show the influence of Buddhism. A typical song is:—

Even the knot of the rope tying our boats together
Knotted was long ago by some love in a former birth.


Even while praying together in front of the tablets ancestral,
Lovers find chance to murmur prayers never meant for the dead.

On the "Trip to Kyōto" there is more to be learned about poor little Yuko, who gave her life for her nation. To the Japanese all the small details of her story are of the greatest importance, and are carefully treasured. Hearn thinks that the Western "refined feeling" might not care for the poor little blood-stained trifles; if so it is to be regretted.

In "Dust," with a dainty touch, he teaches again that we are but millions upon billions of dead people; that the cells and the souls are themselves recombinations of old welding of forces—forces of which we know nothing save that they belong "to the Shadow-Makers of universes." You are an individual—but also you are a population! This leads on to the end that

In whatsoever time all human minds accord in thought and will with the mind of the Teacher, there shall not remain even one particle of dust that does not enter into Buddhahood.

The last chapter, "Within the Circle," is of a philosophy so impermanent that it seems but Shadow-play, and one [Pg 220] may not behold a visible form, for—like all that which it symbolizes—it is but an illusion.

Exotics and Retrospectives[34] (11) faithfully followed the ensuing year. The effort to write is manifest; even to himself Hearn is admitting that the frisson which Japan gave him is passing. He is beginning to make copy; and the subjects are becoming more vague, vapoury, and ghostly.

[34] Copyright, 1898, by Little, Brown and Company.

I must eat some humble pie. My work during the past ten months has been rather poor. Why, I cannot quite understand—because it costs me more effort. Anyhow, I have had to rewrite ten essays: they greatly improved under the process. I am trying now to get a Buddhist commentary for them—mostly to be composed of texts dealing with pre-existence and memory of former lives. I took for subjects the following:—Beauty is Memory—why beautiful things bring sadness;—the Riddle of Touch—i. e. the thrill that a touch gives;—the Perfume of Youth;—the Reason of the Pleasure of the Feeling Evoked by Bright Blue;—the Pain Caused by Certain Kinds of Red;—Mystery of Certain Musical Effects;—Fear of Darkness and the Feeling of Dreams. Queer subjects, are they not? I think of calling the collection "Retrospectives.

The Athenæum, that wise critic, feels that in this book Hearn "shows himself at his best. He is more subdued," it says, "than is his wont, and indulges less freely in excessive laudation and needless disparagement. The chapters on 'Insect Musicians,' on the 'Literature of the Dead,' and—oddly as it may sound to us—on 'Frogs,' are among the most delightful of all his writings. The keynote of all is struck in the pretty stanza that heads the first of the three:—

Mushi, yo mushi,
Naïté ingwa ga
Tsukuru nara?
(Insect, O insect!
Singing fulfil you
Your fire-life and all life!)

[Pg 221] "The translation is ours. The fondness of the Japanese for many kinds of chirping insects, which they keep in little bamboo-cages, is one of the prettiest of the surviving echoes of the past. The plaintive little cry satisfies the curious melancholy that characterizes the reflective moods of the lieges of Mutsu. In the long series of changes that is to end in perfect Buddha-forms, there is hope always, but always tinged with the sadness of vague memories of past pains, and the resigned dread of sorrows to come, one knows not how oft to be repeated ere in 'Nirvâna' all earthly moods are lost. There is a regular trade in these tiny songsters, of the history of which Mr. Hearn tells the pleasant story." (299.)

Hearn leads us to a cemetery in a quaint lonesome garden, and teaches us something about the wonderful texts and inscriptions that are chiselled into the stone of the tombs, or painted on the wooden sotoba, and go to form the important literature of the dead. A suggestive sotoba-text is:—

The Amida-Kyō says: "All who enter into that country enter likewise into that state of virtue from which there can be no turning back."

From the Kaimyō which is engraved on the tomb, we may select:—


(Bright-Sun-on-the-Way-of-the-Wise, in the Mansion of Luminous Mind.)


(Effective-Benevolence-Hearing-with-Pure-Heart-the-Supplications-of-the-Poor,—dwelling in the Mansion of the Virtue of Pity.)

The frog is another favourite of the Japanese. There is one special variety called the Kajika, or true singing-frog of Japan, which is kept as a pet in a little cage. For over a hundred years the frog has been the subject of numerous [Pg 222] poems. Many of these little verses are love-poems, for the lovers' trysting-hour is also the hour when the frog-chorus is at its height. Here is a quotation from the Anthology called "Kokinshū," compiled a.d. 905, by the poet Ki-no-Tsurayuki:—

The poetry of Japan has its roots in the human heart, and thence has grown into a multiform utterance. Man in this world, having a thousand million of things to undertake and to complete, has been moved to express his thoughts and his feelings concerning all that he sees and hears. When we hear the uguisu singing among flowers, and the voice of the kawazu which inhabits the waters, what mortal (lit. "who among the living that lives") does not compose poems?

A charming frog poem is:—

Té wo tsuité
Uta moshi-aguru,
Kawazu kana!

(With hand resting on the ground, reverentially you repeat your poem, O frog!)

And another:—

Tamagawa no
Hito wo mo yogizu
Naku kawazu,
Kono yū kikéba
Oshiku ya wa aranu?

(Hearing to-night the frogs of the Jewel River—or Tamagawa, that sing without fear of man, how can I help loving the passing moment?)

A vivid chapter is Hearn's description of his ascent of Fuji-no-Yama. Here he may once again use his palette of many colours, but certainly not with the old abandon.

Brighter and brighter glows the gold. Shadows come from the west,—shadows flung by cloud-pile over cloud-pile; and these, like evening shadows upon snow, are violaceous blue.... Then orange-tones appear in the horizon; then smouldering crimson. And now the greater part of the Fleece of Gold has changed to cotton again,—white cotton mixed with pink.... Stars thrill out. The cloud-waste uniformly whitens;—thickening and packing to the horizon. [Pg 223] The west glooms. Night rises; and all things darken except that wondrous unbroken world-round of white,—the Sea of Cotton.

A lurking of the gruesome flashes out when the snow-patches against the miles of black soot and ashes on the mountain make him think "of a gleam of white teeth I once saw in a skull,—a woman's skull,—otherwise burnt to a sooty crisp."

"Retrospectives" is a group of gentle reveries, where we may muse with Hearn on such elusive themes as the "Sadness in Beauty," for beauty has no real existence, it is the emotion of the dead within us. Or there is the analysis of that favourite word frisson, "the touch that makes a thrill within you is a touch that you have felt before,—sense-echo of forgotten intimacies in many unremembered lives." "Azure Psychology" and "A Red Sunset" recall Hearn's earlier criticisms on colour.

In Ghostly Japan[35] (12) followed. The title is revelatory of the Japan that is to people this book and those which are to come. In the opening chapter Hearn crystallizes in a powerful sketch the sum of Buddhist lore. Of this the Academy writes:—

[35] Copyright, 1899, by Little, Brown and Company.

"Of Nirvâna one carries away this one picture, painted in words curiously colourless and intangible—the picture of a mountain up whose steep side toil two creatures—the soul and his guide—toiling, stumbling upwards over a brittle and friable chaos of skulls. Skulls crumbled into powder and skulls crumbling mark out the road; 'and every skull,' says the guide, 'is yours, and has been yours in some past incarnation; and the dust that rises round your present body is the dust of your past and deserted bodies that have served you well or ill as may be in your past lives.' In the fine and bewildering haze of this thought we lose our poet, and henceforward he is not a [Pg 224] face nor a voice, but an echo of a living man's voice. We hear the echo, but the voice we do not hear. And we grudge the voice, even to Nirvâna where all silences are merged in one." (286.)

In a beautiful chapter Hearn outlines all that might be written about the important subject of incense. He tells a good deal about its religious, luxurious, and ghostly uses. There is also a charming custom of giving parties where dainty games are played with it.

Sometimes there can be love between the living and the dead, or so it appears in the ghostly story of "A Passional Karma," or O-Tsuyu, who died of love of Shinzaburō and returns to be his bride. Every night, by the light of their Peony Lanterns, she, accompanied by her maid, comes to keep the ghostly tryst. Shinzaburō does not know that O-Tsuyu is dead, but his servant Tomozō, overhearing voices, gazes through a chink, and sees—

the face of a woman long dead,—and the fingers caressing were fingers of naked bone,—and of the body below the waist there was not anything: it melted off into thinnest trailing shadow. Where the eyes of the lover deluded saw youth and grace and beauty, there appeared to the eyes of the watcher horror only, and the emptiness of death.

Now he whose bride is a ghost cannot live. No matter what force flows in his blood he must certainly perish. Shinzaburō is warned and an amulet to protect him from the dead is given to him, but treachery is played, and the amulet is stolen; so one morning Tomozō finds his master

hideously dead;—and the face was the face of a man who had died in the uttermost agony of fear;—and lying beside him in the bed were the bones of a woman! And the bones of the arms, and the bones of the hands, clung fast about his neck.

The gentle heart of the Japanese shines in the chapter on "Bits of Poetry." You might find yourself, Hearn says, in a community so poor that you could not even buy a cup [Pg 225] of real tea, but no place could you discover "where there is nobody capable of making a poem." Poems are written on all occasions and for all occasions.

Poems can be found upon almost any kind of domestic utensil;—for example, upon braziers, iron-kettles, vases, wooden-trays, lacquer-ware, porcelains, chopsticks of the finer sort,—even toothpicks! Poems are painted upon shop-signs, panels, screens, and fans. Poems are printed upon towels, draperies, curtains, kerchiefs, silk-linings, and women's crêpe-silk underwear. Poems are stamped or worked upon letter-paper, envelopes, purses, mirror-cases, travelling-bags. Poems are inlaid upon enamelled ware, cut upon bronzes, graven upon metal pipes, embroidered upon tobacco-pouches.

A Japanese artist would not think of elaborating a sketch, and a poem to be perfect must also only stir one's fancy. Ittakkiri, meaning "entirely vanished" in the sense of "all told," is a term applied contemptuously to him who expresses all his thought.

Japan is rich in proverbs. Hearn has translated one hundred examples of Buddhist proverbs.

Karu-toki no Jizō-gao; nasu-toki no Emma-gao.

(Borrowing-time, the face of Jizō; repaying-time, the face of Emma.)

Sodé no furi-awasé mo tashō no en.

(Even the touching of sleeves in passing is caused by some relation in a former life.)

A powerful relic of the old clinging love of the gruesome is the story of Ingwa-banashi. The daimyō's wife knew that she was dying; and she thought of many things, especially of her husband's favourite, the Lady Yukiko, who was nineteen years old. She begged her husband to send for the Lady Yukiko, whom, she said, she loved as a sister. After the dying wife had told Lady Yukiko it was her wish that she should become the wife of their dear lord, she begged that Yukiko would carry her on her back to see the cherry-bloom.

[Pg 226] As a nurse turns her back to a child, that the child may cling to it, Yukiko offered her shoulders to the wife, and said:—

"Lady, I am ready: please tell me how I best can help you."

"Why, this way!" responded the dying woman, lifting herself with an almost superhuman effort by clinging to Yukiko's shoulders. But as she stood erect, she quickly slipped her thin hands down over the shoulders, under the robe, and clutched the breasts of the girl, and burst into a wicked laugh.

"I have my wish!" she cried—"I have my wish for the cherry-bloom, but not the cherry-bloom of the garden!... I could not die before I got my wish. Now I have it!—oh, what a delight!"

And with these words she fell forward upon the crouching girl, and died.

When the attendants tried to lift the body from Yukiko's shoulders, they found that the hands of the dead had grown into the quick flesh of the breasts of the girl. And they could not be removed. A skilful physician was called, and he decided that the hands could be amputated only at the wrists, and so this was done. But the hands still clung to the breasts;

and there they soon darkened and dried up like the hands of a person long dead.

Yet this was only the beginning of the horror.

Withered and bloodless though they seemed, those hands were not dead. At intervals they would stir—stealthily, like great grey spiders. And nightly thereafter,—beginning always at the Hour of the Ox,—they would clutch and compress and torture. Only at the Hour of the Tiger the pain would cease.

Yukiko cut off her hair, and became a mendicant-nun.

Every day she prayed to the dead for pardon, and every night the torture was renewed. This continued for more than seventeen years until Yukiko was heard of no more.

Shadowings[36] (13) appeared the next year, 1900. Of this volume the Bookman says:—

[36] Copyright, 1900, by Little, Brown and Company.

"He gives us several essays upon matters Japanesque, [Pg 227] which obviously involve no small amount of erudition and patient research. Such are his papers upon the various species of Sémi, or Japanese singing-locusts, and on the complicated etiquette of Japanese female names. But the distinctive feature of this volume is the first half, which is given up to a collection of curious tales by native writers, weird, uncanny, little stories, most of them, of ghouls and wraiths, and vampires, or at least the nearest Japanese equivalents for such Occidental spectres." (316.)

The Athenæum does not find "Shadowings" equal to the volume "Exotics." It thinks that Hearn is "perilously near exhausting his repertory of Kokin [one-stringed fiddle] themes."

"The stories with which the present volume opens have no particular merit: they have lost their chief and real advantage—their local colour—in Hearnesque translation, and seem to be little more than suggestions or drafts of 'nouvelles,' out of which skilful hands might perhaps have made something much better. A good example is the story of the Screen Maiden, which is a most lame presentment of a charming motif. The chapters on female names, on sémi, couplets and 'Old Japanese Songs' are more interesting, but only to those who possess a considerable knowledge of old Japanese life and literature.... Of the 'Old Japanese Songs'—where is the proof of their antiquity?—much the best is the dance-ballad of the dragon-maid, who bewitched a yamabushi, and chased him over moor and hill and river, until the temple of Dojo was reached, under the great bell of which the trembling hill-warrior or outlaw (yamabushi were such originally in all probability) hid himself, whereupon the dragon-maid wrapped her body round the bell once and again and the third time the bell melted and flowed away like boiling water. And with it, according to the legend, flowed away the ashes of the unwilling object of the [Pg 228] dragon-maid's affections, consumed not through love, but through disdain." (300.)

Strange things happen in the group of tales, and not the least is the tale of the maiden in the screen whose loveliness so bewitches a youth that he becomes sick unto death. Then an old scholar tells him that the person whom the picture represents is dead, but since the painter painted her mind as well as her form, her spirit lives in the picture and he may yet win her.

So every day, Tokkei, following out the old scholar's injunctions, sits before the portrait calling softly the maiden's name. And finally after many days the maiden answered, "Hai!" And stepping down from out the screen, she kneels to take the cup of wine (which was to be so), whispering charmingly, "How could you love me so much?"

Also there is the tale of the Corpse Rider, in which the husband had to ride for one whole night, so far that he could not know the distance, the dead body of his divorced wife; and this was to save him from her vengeance.

The gruesome gleams here, and again in the tale of "The Reconciliation," when the repentant husband found that the wife he was holding in his arms is "a corpse so wasted that little remained save the bones, and the long black tangled hair."

There is no small amount of etiquette in the prefixes and suffixes of the Japanese female names. The majority of the Yobina, or personal names, are not æsthetic. Some are called after the flowers, and there are also place names, as for instance Miné (Peak) Hama (Shore); but the large proportion express moral or mental attributes.

Tenderness, kindness, deftness, cleverness, are frequently represented by yobina; but appellations implying physical charm, or suggesting æsthetic ideas only, are comparatively uncommon. One reason for the fact may be that very æsthetic names are given to [Pg 229] geisha and to jōro, and consequently vulgarized. But the chief reason certainly is that the domestic virtues still occupy in the Japanese moral estimate a place not less important than that accorded to religious faith in the life of our own Middle Ages. Not in theory only, but in every-day practice, moral beauty is placed far above physical beauty; and girls are usually selected as wives, not for their good looks, but for their domestic qualities.

I give a few names gleaned from Hearn's lists:—O-Jun—"Faithful-to-death"; O-Tamé—"For-the-sake-of,"—a name suggesting unselfishness; O-Chika—"Closely Dear"; O-Suki—"The Beloved"—Aimée; O-Taë—"The Exquisite"; Tokiwa—"Eternally Constant."

From the "Fantasies," we read of the Mystery of Crowds, and the horrors of Gothic Architecture, the joys of levitation while one is asleep—with a moral attached; of Noctilucæ. Also, as we gaze with the adolescent youth into a pair of eyes we come to know that

The splendour of the eyes that we worship belongs to them only as brightness to the morning-star. It is a reflex from beyond the shadow of the Now,—a ghost-light of vanished suns. Unknowingly within that maiden-gaze we meet the gaze of eyes more countless than the hosts of heaven,—eyes otherwhere passed into darkness and dust.

Thus, and only thus, the depth of that gaze is the depth of the Sea of Death and Birth, and its mystery is the World-Soul's vision, watching us out of the silent vast of the Abyss of Being.

Thus, and only thus, do truth and illusion mingle in the magic of eyes,—the spectral past suffusing with charm ineffable the apparition of the present;—and the sudden splendour in the soul of the Seer is but a flash, one soundless sheet-lightning of the Infinite Memory.

A Japanese Miscellany[37] (14) was the next book. What does the memory hold of these stories and sketches? Surely that picture of Old Japan with its charming sentiment for Dragon-flies, to which such delicate poems were written.

[37] Copyright, 1901, by Little, Brown and Company.

[Pg 230]

Tombō no
Ha-ura ni sabishi,—

(Lonesomely clings the dragon-fly to the under-side of the leaf—Ah! the autumn-rains!)

And that verse by the mother poet, who seeing many children playing their favourite pastime of chasing butterflies, thinks of her little one who is dead:—

Kyō wa doko madé
Itta yara!

(Catching dragon-flies!... I wonder where he has gone to-day!)

Then there are the children's songs about Nature and her tiny creatures, and all their little songs for their plays; the songs which tell a story, and the sweet mother songs that lull the babies to sleep.

How we pity poor misguided O-Dai, who forgot loyalty to her ancestors to follow the teachings of the Western faith. At its bidding even the sacred tablets and the scroll were cast away. And when she had forsaken everything, and had become as an outcast with her own people, the good missionaries found they needed a more capable assistant. Poor little weak O-Dai, without the courage to fill her sleeves with stones and then slip into the river, longing for the sunlight, and so "flung into the furnace of a city's lust."

We hear the gruesome tinkle of the dead wife's warning bell, and we certainly shudder before the vision of her robed in her grave-shroud:—

"Eyeless she came—because she had long been dead;—and her loosened hair streamed down about her face;—and she looked without eyes through the tangle of it; and spake without a tongue."

Then the hideous horror of the evil crime, as this dead wife in her jealousy tore off the head of the sleeping young [Pg 231] wife. The terrified husband following the trail of blood found

a nightmare-thing that chippered like a bat: the figure of the long-buried woman erect before her tomb,—in one hand clutching a bell, in the other the dripping head.... For a minute the three stood numbed. Then one of the men-at-arms, uttering a Buddhist invocation, drew, and struck at the shape. Instantly it crumbled down upon the soil,—an empty scattering of grave-rags, bones, and hair;—and the bell rolled clanking out of the ruin. But the fleshless right hand, though parted from the wrist, still writhed; and its fingers still gripped at the bleeding head—and tore, and mangled,—as the claws of the yellow crab fast to a fallen fruit.

Who but Hearn would have chosen this ghastly scene, and described it with such terrible reality?

With the parents we have unravelled the mystery of Kinumé, whose spirit belonged to one family, and whose body was the child of the other.

Perhaps we still see the famous picture of Kwashin Koji, which had a soul, for "it is well known that some sparrows, painted upon a sliding screen (fusuma) by Hōgen Yenshin, once flew away, leaving blank the spaces which they had occupied upon the surface. Also it is well known that a horse painted upon a certain Kakémono, used to go out at night to eat grass." So the water in the picture on the screen of Kwashin overflowed into the room, and the boat thereon glided forth, but not a ripple from the oar was heard. Then Kwashin Koji climbed into the boat, and it receded into the picture, and the water dried in the room. Over the painted water slipped the painted vessel until all disappeared, and Kwashin was heard of no more.

And we remember too the strange brave way that Umétsu Chūbei won the gift of great strength for his children, and their children's children.

The Athenæum finds the story of Kwashin the best of this collection. Speaking of the study, "On a Bridge," it says:—

[Pg 232]"The author narrates a personal experience of a riksha man who drew him across an old bridge near Kumamoto. It was in the time of the Satsuma muhon (rebellion), some twenty-two years earlier, that the Kurumaya (riksha man) was stopped on the bridge by three men, who were dressed as peasants, but had very long swords under their raincoats. After a time a cavalry officer came along from the city.

The moment the horse got on the bridge the three men turned and leaped:—and one caught the horse's bridle; and another gripped the officer's arm; and the third cut off his head—all in a moment.... I never saw anything done so quickly.

"The seeming peasants then waited, and presently another cavalry officer came and was murdered in like manner. Then came a third, who met a similar fate. Lastly, the peasants went away, having thrown the bodies into the river, but taking the heads with them. The man had never mentioned the matter till long after the war—why? 'Because it would have been ungrateful.'

"No doubt this is a true story." (301.)

It was probably during the ensuing year that Hearn contributed to the Japanese Fairy Tale Series (15), published in Tōkyō, his renditions of four of these stories.

Kottō[38] (16) followed. Says the Athenæum:—

"The gem of this volume is 'A Woman's Diary,' purporting to be 'the history of a woman's married life recorded by herself, found in a small haribako (work-box) which had belonged to her.' It is an ordinary story, not in the least sensational, yet pitiful and even touching in its record of poverty and suffering, showing the hardships and small enjoyment—according to our notions, at least—of the colourless existence led by the bulk of the Japanese poorer classes upon a total family wage of twelve pounds a year or less." (302.)

[38] Copyright, 1902, by the Macmillan Company.

[Pg 233] Except for "A Woman's Diary" and "Fireflies" the tales in "Kottō" are fragmentary. Some are gruesome as the history of the Gaki; or as the story of O-Katsu-San, who was so bold as to go by night to Yurei-Daki, and who to win her bet brought back the little money-box of the gods. But when she came to give her baby his milk,—

Out of the wrappings unfastened there fell to the floor a blood-soaked bundle of baby clothes that left exposed two very small brown feet, and two very small brown hands—nothing more.

The child's head had been torn off!

There is also the story of O-Kamé, who returned each night to haunt her husband; of Chūgorō, who was bewitched by a beautiful woman whom he married beneath the waters. But he sickened and died, for his blood had been drained by his Circe, who was "simply a Frog,—a great and ugly Frog!"

The literature and the significance of the fire-flies holds an important place with the Japanese, and for more than a thousand years the poets have been making verses about these little creatures.

A sketch in which Hearn is most fortunate is "Pathological," where Tama, the mother-cat, dreams of her dead kittens—

coos to them, and catches for them small shadowy things,—perhaps even brings to them, through some dim window of memory, a sandal of ghostly straw....

Beautiful is the "Revery of Mother-Love":—

Yet those countless solar fires, with their viewless millions of living planets, must somehow reappear: again the wondrous Cosmos, self-born as self-consumed, must resume its sidereal whirl over the deeps of the eternities. And the love that strives for ever with death shall rise again, through fresh infinitudes of pain, to renew the everlasting battle.

The light of the mother's smile will survive our sun;—the thrill of her kiss will last beyond the thrilling of stars;—the sweetness of her [Pg 234] lullaby will endure in the cradle-songs of worlds yet unevolved;—the tenderness of her faith will quicken the fervour of prayers to be made to the hosts of another heaven,—to the gods of a time beyond Time. And the nectar of her breasts can never fail: that snowy stream will still flow on, to nourish the life of some humanity more perfect than our own, when the Milky Way that spans our night shall have vanished for ever out of Space.

Like unto the Soul is a Drop of Dew for

Your personality signifies, in the eternal order, just as much as the especial motion of molecules in the shivering of any single drop. Perhaps in no other drop will the thrilling and the picturing be ever exactly the same; but the dews will continue to gather and to fall, and there will always be quivering pictures.... The very delusion of delusions is the idea of death as loss.

Kwaidan[39] (17) was the book before "Japan," which was published after Hearn's death. It is a collection of old stories, many of them of the gruesome, and of careful studies of ants, mosquitoes, and butterflies. Striking is the tale of Yuki-Onna, the snow-woman, as is also the incident of Riki-Baka. One bewitched by the dead is Mimi-Nashi-Hōïchi, whose ears were torn off because the holy texts which were written everywhere else upon his body were there forgotten. Sonjō, the hunter, killed the mate of a female oshidori, who after appearing to him in a dream as a beautiful woman, who rebukes him the following day as a bird, tears open her body, and dies before his eyes. O-Tei is reborn in the shape of a woman that she may wed years later her promised husband—Nagao Chōsei of Echigo. So loyal is the love of O-Sodé, the milk-nurse, that the cherry-tree which is planted in commemoration of her, on the anniversary of her death, blossoms in a wonderful way. Because of his selfish wickedness in thinking only of the gains in his profession, a priest was made to be reborn into the state of a jikininki, who had [Pg 235] to devour the corpses of people who died in his district. Other devourers of human flesh are the Rokuro-Kubi. The head of a Rokuro-Kubi separates itself from its body.

[39] Copyright, 1904, by Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

Japan[40] (18): An Attempt at Interpretation is the last book that Hearn published. He was reading its proofs at the time of his death. Although a posthumous volume appeared, this may rightly be termed his final word. It is the crystallization and the summary of all that has been said before. It contains a group of twenty-one lectures, which Hearn had expected at first to deliver at Cornell University. His own words will best reveal their import:—

[40] Copyright, 1904, by the Macmillan Company.

They will form a book explaining Japan from the standpoint of ancestor-worship. They are suited only to a cultivated audience.

The substantial idea of the lectures is that Japanese society represents the condition of ancient Greek society a thousand years before Christ. I am treating of religious Japan,—not of artistic or economical Japan except by way of illustration.

"The history of Japan is really the history of her religion," is the key to the book.

The Academy remarks:—

"No one who wishes to understand the possibilities of the future of Japan can afford to neglect the past, and no one who would grasp the meaning of the past can afford to neglect Mr. Hearn's fine and thoughtful work." (288.)

In a review Mr. Griffis says:—

"They felt that he had done his best and was degenerating. Yet here is a work which is a classic in science, a wonder of interpretation. It is the product of long years of thought, of keenest perception, or marvellous comprehension.

"One cannot quote, one must read this work. It shows the Japanese under his armour, modern science. The [Pg 236] Japanese, outwardly, are ruled by treaties, diplomacy, governments, codes, Imperial Diet, armies and battleships—all modern and external. Inwardly they—that is, forty-nine millions of them—are governed by ghosts. The graveyard is the true dictator. It is ever their 'illustrious ancestors' who achieve victories. They, as a nation, are superbly organized for war. There is no originality, no personality, no individuality worth speaking of in the island empire. It is all done by the government, the community. In social evolution the Japanese are even yet far behind the Romans, and much as the pre-Homeric Greeks.

"In a word, Lafcadio Hearn outdoes the missionaries in dogmatism, exceeds even the hostile propagandist in telling the naked truth. Devoted friend of Japan, he excels the sworn enemies of her religions in laying bare, though with admiration, the realities.... Lafcadio Hearn turns the white and searching beams on the ship and man.... His book is a re-reading of all Japanese history, a sociological appraisement of the value of Japanese civilization, and a warning against intolerant propaganda of any sort whatever. This book is destined to live, and to cause searchings of heart among those who imagine that the Japanese soul has been changed in fifty years." (326.)

From the Spectator I quote:—

"Both the prose and poetry of Japanese life are infused into Mr. Hearn's charming pages. Nobody, so far as we know, has given a better description of the fascination which Japanese life has at first for such as enter into its true spirit, and of its gradual disappearance.... Of course it must be remembered that this charm of Japan was something more than a beautiful mirage. 'Old Japan,' in the opinion of Mr. Hearn, 'came nearer to the achievement of the highest moral ideal than our far more evolved societies can hope to do for many a hundred years. [Pg 237] Curiously enough, it was under the shadow of the sword that the fascinating life of Japan matured; universal politeness was nurtured by the knowledge that any act of rudeness might, and probably would, cause a painful and immediate death. This supremacy of the sword, governed by the noble rule of bushi-do, hardened the Japanese temper into the wonderful spirit of self-sacrifice and patriotism which is now making itself apparent in the stress of war. All this is admirably portrayed in Mr. Hearn's pages,—the swan-song of a very striking writer." (383.)

In The American Journal of Sociology there is a review of this book, by Edmund Buckley of the University of Chicago, which is so admirable and inclusive that I have obtained Professor Buckley's kind permission to quote it in its entirety. This review leaves small margin for further comment. But it is to be regretted that space will not permit citations of Hearn's tributes to the Japanese home, woman and character.

"On p. 160 of W. E. Griffis' 'The Mikado's Empire,' is textual evidence that, so late as 1876, intelligent men, and theologians at that—rather, in sooth, because they are theologians—could harbour such atrocious notions about Shintōism, the ethnic faith of the Japanese, as the following: 'Shintō is in no proper sense of the term a religion.... In its lower forms it is blind obedience to governmental and priestly dictates.' The present reviewer bears these Christian apologists and heathen defamers 'witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.' They wrote in the days when hierology (comparative religion) was still inchoate, for C. P. Ticle's 'Elements' did not appear in its English dress until 1877; and when Japan's abasement before the 'Christian' powers was complete, and therefore everything Japanese assumed to be worthless. But the reaction came, of course, and is now pretty well completed. Japan's novel yet glorious art conquered the [Pg 238] world; Japan's new yet ever-victorious army has conquered Russia's imposing array; and now Mr. Hearn completely routs the contemners of a people's sincere faith. The consensus of hierologists that no people was ever found without a religion had already been given; and the creed, cult, and ethics of Shintōism had been correctly described; but it remained for Mr. Hearn to give a more complete and intimate account than had previously been done of the ancestorism in Shintō and of its profound influence upon politics and morality.

"It will surprise no one to learn that Mr. Hearn overdid his contention, just because such excess is the well-nigh inevitable reaction from the underestimate that he found current and sought to correct. As he states the case on p. 4: 'Hitherto the subject of Japanese religion has been written of chiefly by the sworn enemies of that religion; by others it has been almost entirely ignored.' But now that 'see-saw' has followed 'see,' we may hope to win a final equilibrium of correct appreciation. To this end several corrections are called for; but, before they are made, clearness will be secured by a concise analysis of the treatise; for in its course religion, politics, and morality are interwoven on a historic warp. The entire fabric runs about as follows: (Chap. 3.) The real religion of the Japanese is ancestorism, which showed in three cults—the domestic, the communal, and the state. The domestic arose first, but the primitive family might include hundreds of households. Ancestorism in Japan confirms Spencer's exposition of religious origins. The greater gods were all evolved from ghost-cults. Good men made good gods; bad men, bad ones. (Chap. 4.) The domestic cult began in offerings of food and drink made at the grave; then, under Chinese influence, was transferred to the home before tablets; where it was maintained until this present by Buddhism. Thin tablets of white wood, inscribed with [Pg 239] the names of the dead, are placed in a miniature wooden shrine, which is kept upon a shelf in some inner chamber. Tiny offerings of food, accompanied with brief prayer, must be made each day by some member of the household in behalf of all; for the blessed dead still need sustenance, and in return can guard the house. The Buddhist rite, however, made prayer, not to, but for these dead. The Japanese scholar Hirata is correct when he declares the worship of ancestors to be the mainspring of all virtues. (Chap. 5.) The family was united only by religion. The father—not the mother—was supposed to be the life-giver, and was therefore responsible for the cult. Hence the inferior position of woman. The ancestral ghost of an uji, or family of several households, became later the ujigami, or local tutelar god. Subordination of young to old, of females to males, and of the whole family to its chief, who was at once ruler and priest, shows that the family organization was religious and not marital. Both monogamy and the practice of parents selecting their child's spouse arose because best accordant with religion. Later custom makes the decision, not of the father alone, but of the household and kindred, determinative of any important step.

"(Chap. 6.) The communal cult of the district ruled the family in all its relations to the outer world. The ujigami, or clan-god, was the spirit rather of a former ruler than of a common ancestor. Hochiman was a ruler, but Kasuga an ancestor. Beside the uji temple of a district, there may be a more important one dedicated to some higher deity. Every ujiko or parishioner is taken to the ujigami when one month old and dedicated to him. Thereafter he attends the temple festivals, which combine fun with piety; and he makes the temple groves his playground. Grown up, he brings his children here; and, if he leaves home, pays his respects to the god on leaving and returning. Thus the social bond of each community was identical [Pg 240] with the religious bond, and the cult of the ujigami embodied the moral experience of the community. The individual of such a community enjoyed only a narrowly restricted liberty. Shintōism had no moral code, because at this stage of ancestor-cult religion and ethics coincide.

"(Chap. 7.) The great gods of nature were developed from ancestor-worship, though their real history has been long forgotten. (Chap. 8.) Rites of worship and of purification were many. (Chap. 9.) The rule of the dead extended to moral conduct and even to sumptuary matters, language, and amusements. (Chap. 10.) Buddhism absorbed the native ancestor-cult, but prescribed that prayers be said for them, not to them. In accordance with its principle, 'First observe the person, then preach the law'—that is, accommodate instruction to the hearer's capacity—Buddhism taught the masses metempsychosis instead of palingenesis, and the paradise of Amida instead of the nirvâna of Buddha. Buddhism rendered its greatest service to Japan by education in the learning and arts of China. (Chap. 11.) The higher Buddhism is a kind of monism.

"(Chap. 12.) Japanese society was simply an amplification of the patriarchal family, and its clan-groups never united into a coherent body until 1871. At first the bulk of the people were slaves or serfs, but from the seventh century a large class of freedmen—farmers and artisans—came into existence. The first period of Japanese social evolution was based on a national head, the Mikado, and a national cult, Shintōism; it began in this seventh century, but developed to the limit of its type only under the Tokugawa shoguns, in the seventeenth century.

"Next to the priest-emperor at the head came the kugé, or ancient nobility, from whose ranks most of the latter [Pg 241] regents and shoguns were drawn. Next ranked the buké or samurai, which was the professional military class, and was ruled by nearly three hundred daimyō, or feudal lords of varying importance. Next came the commonalty, heimin, with three classes—farmers, artisans, and tradesmen, the last being despised by the samurai, who also could cut down any disrespectful heimin with impunity. Lowest of all came the chori—pariahs, who were not counted Japanese at all, but mono-'things.' But even among them distinctions arose according to occupation. The close care taken of the native religion by the government precluded rise of a church. Nor was Buddhism, divided into hostile sects and opposed by the samurai, ever able to establish a hierarchy independent of the government. Personal freedom was suppressed, as it would be now under Socialism, which is simply a reversion to an overcome type.

"(Chap. 13.) The second period of Japanese social evolution lasted from the eleventh to the nineteenth century, and was marked by dominance over the mikadoate of successive dynasties of shoguns. The permanence of this mikadoate amid all perturbations of the shogunate was owing to its religious nature. (Chap. 14.) Following the lord in death, suicide, and vendetta were customs based on loyalty, and they involved the noblest self-sacrifice. (Chap. 15.) Catholic missions were suppressed lest they should lead to the political conquest of Japan. (Chap. 16.) The Tokugawa shoguns exercised iron discipline, and now were brought to perfection those exquisite arts and manners of the Japanese. (Chap. 17.) A revival of learning, begun in the eighteenth century, slowly led to a new nationalist support of the Mikado; and when by 1891 the shogun had resigned and the daimiates been abolished, the third period in Japan's social evolution began. (Chap. 18.) In spite of outward seeming, the ancient social conditions and ancestor-cult still control every action. (Chap. 19.) The [Pg 242] individual is still restrained by the conventions of the masses, by communistic guilds of craftsmen, and by the government's practice of taking loyal service in all its departments without giving adequate pecuniary reward. (Chap. 20.) The educational system still maintains the old communism by training, not for individual ability, but for co-operative action. This is favoured, too, by the universal practice of rich men meeting the personal expenses of promising students. (Chap. 21.) Japanese loyalty and courage will support her army and navy, but industrial competition with other peoples calls for individual freedom. (Chap. 22.) The Japanese are not indifferent to religion, and can be understood only by a study of their religious and social evolution. Future changes will be social, but ancestor-cult will persist, and offers an insuperable obstacle to the spread of Christianity.

"The critical reader will not have failed to meet in this summary many positions that challenge his previous knowledge, and whether these be correct or not can be determined only by an examination of the full text, which it eminently deserves. The reviewer, however, will confine himself to certain matters that seem to him the dominating errors of the whole. Probably three greater errors were never compressed into a single sentence than in this from p. 27: 'The real religion of Japan, the religion still professed in one form or another by the entire nation, is that cult which has been the foundation of all civilized religion and of all civilized society—ancestor-worship.' That ancestor-worship is still professed by the entire nation is negatived by all we know from other sources as well as all we should expect. The ancestor-worship native to Japan had been appropriated by Buddhism; and, since the revolution of 1868 with its disestablishment of that church, the Butsudan, where the tablets were kept, has been largely sold as an art object or [Pg 243] has been simply disused. The mitamaya mentioned on p. 50, as if in extensive use for ancestor-worship, is found only in a few purist families, and is known to the mass of Japanese only as the rear apartment or structure of a Shintōist shrine.

"That ancestor-worship is 'the real religion of Japan' and 'has been the foundation of all civilized religion' are errors that Mr. Hearn owes to Herbert Spencer's influence, which is confessed here, and indeed is evident throughout the work. Perhaps nothing has brought Spencer into more discredit than the lengths he went to prove this basic nature of ancestorism in his 'Principles of Sociology,' and the reader of pp. 121-24 of Mr. Hearn's work will readily see how futile also is the attempt to show that the nature-deities of Shintōism were only 'transfigured ghosts.' No, indeed, God did not make man and leave ghosts to make him religious. The heaven and the earth were here before ghosts, and man could personify them just as soon as he knew himself as a person, which he must have done long before he analyzed himself into a ghost-soul and a body. Had Mr. Hearn not ignored Réville, Max Müller, Pfleiderer, and Saussaye, while steeping himself in Spencer, he might have observed, what is plainly visible in Shintōism as elsewhere: that religion has two tap roots, ancestorism indeed, but also naturism.

"Again, Mr. Hearn's sentence declares that ancestor-worship is 'the foundation of all civilized society.' This is the prevailing view throughout the work; for example, on pp. 23, 57, 86, 99, 175, and 320. But other passages imply the saner view that religion and morality are coordinate functions of one man. Thus at p. 511, Mr. Hearn attributes Japan's power to 'her old religious and social training.' The many and strong cases of influence of religion upon conduct that can really be shown in Japan amount only to influence, of course, and not to 'foundation' [Pg 244] or 'origination,' A quite transparent case of Mr. Hearn's error is where (p. 152) he attributes the exceptional cleanliness of the Japanese to their religion, which here, as usual, he sums up as ancestor-worship. One wonders, however, why this world-wide phenomenon of religion should determine a Japanese cleanliness; why ancestor-worshippers are not always clean; as for example the Chinese, who bathe most rarely. It seems saner to seek a cause for the unique daily bath of the Japanese in their also uniquely numerous thermal springs, which occur in no less than 388 different localities. Symbolism did indeed in Japan, as elsewhere, lead to religious bathing in rivers; but bathing in rivers, as in ocean, was never popular in Japan until recently learned from the foreigner; whereas the thermal springs are crowded, and the daily baths at home are always taken exceedingly hot after the thermal pattern, for these have been found not only cleansing, but curing and warming, the last quality being a great merit where winters are cold and houses unheated.

"Finally, the reader need not expect to meet here any adequate reference to those vices that have been fostered by religion in Japan. The concubinage, confirmed by ancestorism, is once mentioned; and the harlotry, promoted by phallicism (the phallos was frequently found in a brothel, though not exclusively there, of course), is relegated to a simple footnote. But such matters can be learned elsewhere, whereas the close and frequent points of influence which religion exercised upon politics and morality in Japan can nowhere else be so well studied as here." (292.)

The Romance of the Milky Way[41] (19) is Hearn's posthumous book. The last memories are of the "Weaving Lady of the Milky Way"; of "Goblin Poetry"; of "Ultimate Questions," which are called forth by the essay of that name written by the author of the [Pg 245] "Synthetic Philosophy"; of the "Mirror Maiden" whom Matsumura, the priest, saved from the well, and who repaid him by good-fortune. Moreover, of the alluring maiden in the dream of Itō Norisuké—if one is to choose a ghost for a bride, who would not seek Himégimi-Sama? As a finale there is the picture of Admiral Tōgō sending to Tōkyō "for some flowering-trees in pots—inasmuch as his responsibilities allowed him no chance of seeing the cherry-flowers and the plum-blossoms in their season."

[41] Copyright, 1905, by Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

[Pg 247]


[Pg 248]




(Nos. 1-19)

[42] For the English Editions, the English Catalogue of Books has been followed.

No. 1.


Stories reconstructed from the Anvari-Soheïli, Baitál, Pachísí, Mahabharata, Pantchatantra, Gulistan, Talmud, Kalewala, etc. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1884, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1902, Cr. 8vo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1903, Cr. 8vo.

No. 2.

1885. GOMBO ZHÈBES. Little Dictionary of Creole Proverbs, selected from six Creole dialects. Translated into French and into English, with notes, complete index to subjects and some brief remarks upon the Creole idioms of Louisiana. New York: Will H. Coleman, 1885, 8vo.

No. 3.

1887. SOME CHINESE GHOSTS. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1887, 16mo.

New Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1906, 12mo.

No. 4.

1889. CHITA: A Memory of Last Island. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1889, 12mo.

No. 5.

1890. YOUMA, The Story of a West-Indian Slave. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1890, 12mo.

The Same. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1890, 8vo.

No. 6.

1890. TWO YEARS IN THE FRENCH WEST INDIES. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1890, 8vo.

The Same. London: Harper and Brothers, 1890, 8vo.

New Edition. New York and London: Harper and Brothers, 1900, 8vo.

No. 7.

1894. GLIMPSES OF UNFAMILIAR JAPAN. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1894, 2 vols., 8vo.

[Pg 249] The Same. London: Osgood, McIlvaine and Company, 1894, 2 vols., 8vo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1902, 2 vols., Cr. 8vo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1903, 2 vols., Cr. 8vo.

No. 8.

1895. "OUT OF THE EAST." Reveries and Studies in New Japan. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1895, 16mo.

The Same. London: Osgood, McIlvaine and Company, 1895, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1902, Cr. 8vo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1903, Cr. 8vo.

No. 9.

1896. KOKORO: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1896, 16mo.

The Same. London: Osgood, McIlvaine and Company, 1896, 8vo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1902, 8vo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1903, 8vo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1905, 8vo.

No. 10.

1897. GLEANINGS IN BUDDHA-FIELDS, Studies of Hand and Soul in the Far East. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1897, 12mo.

The Same. London: Constable and Company, 1897, 8vo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1902, 8vo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1903, 8vo.

No. 11.

1898. EXOTICS AND RETROSPECTIVES. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1898, 16mo.

The Same. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1898, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1899, 8vo.

New Popular Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1904, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1905, 8vo.

No. 12.

1899. IN GHOSTLY JAPAN. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1899, 16mo.

The Same. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1899, 8vo.

[Pg 250] New Popular Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1904, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1905, Cr. 8vo.

No. 13.

1900. SHADOWINGS. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1900, 12mo.

The Same. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1900, 8vo.

New Popular Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1904, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1905, Cr. 8vo.

No. 14.

1901. A JAPANESE MISCELLANY. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1901, 12mo.

The Same. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1901, 8vo.

New Popular Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1904, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1905, Cr. 8vo.

No. 15.

1902. JAPANESE FAIRY TALES. Tōkyō, Japan: T. Hasegawa (4 vols.), 16mo.

No. 16.

1902. KOTTŌ. Being Japanese Curios, with Sundry Cobwebs. New York: The Macmillan Company (London: Macmillan and Company, Ltd.), 1902, 8vo. Reprinted, April, 1903.

No. 17.

1904. KWAIDAN: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1904, 12mo.

The Same. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1904, 12mo.

No. 18.

1904. JAPAN: An Attempt at Interpretation. New York: The Macmillan Company (London: Macmillan and Company, Ltd.), 1904, 8vo.

No. 19.

1905. THE ROMANCE OF THE MILKY WAY, and other Studies and Stories. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1905, 12mo.

The Same. London: Constable and Company, 1905, Cr. 8vo.


(Nos. 20-21)

No. 20.

1882. ONE OF CLEOPATRA'S NIGHTS, and other Fantastic Romances. By Théophile Gautier. Faithfully translated by Lafcadio Hearn. New York: R. Worthington, 1882, 8vo.

New Edition. New York: Brentano's, 1899, 12mo.

New Edition. New York: Brentano's, 1906, 12mo.

CLARIMONDE. New York: Brentano's, 1899, 16mo.

No. 21.

1890. THE CRIME OF SYLVESTRE BONNARD (Member of the Institute). By Anatole France. The Translation and Introduction by Lafcadio Hearn. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1890, 8vo.



(Nos. 22-30)


No. 22.

1902. FRA SKYGGERNES VERDEN ("From the World of the Shadows"). Complete and translated by Johanne Münther.

178 pages, one portrait. Gyldendalske book-trade, Copenhagen, 1902, 8vo.


No. 23.

1904. LE JAPON INCONNU. (esquisses psychologiques). Par Lafcadio Hearn. Traduit de l'anglais avec l'autorisation de l'auteur, par Mme. Léon Raynal. In 18 jésus, 111-354 p. Mayenne, impr. Colin, Paris, lib. Dujarric, 1904.

(Selections from "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan.")


No. 24.

1905. KOKORO. Von Lafcadio Hearn. Einzig autorisierte Übersetzung aus dem Englischen von Berta Franzos. Mit vorwort von Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Buchschmuck von Emil Orlik. Frankfurt a Main: Rütten und Loening, 1905, 8vo.

[Pg 252]No. 25.

1906. LOTUS. Blicke in das unbekannte Japan. Einzig autorisierte Übersetzung aus dem Englischen von Berta Franzos. Mit vorwort von Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Buchschmuck von Emil Orlik. Frankfurt a Main: Rütten und Loening, 1905, 8vo.

(Selections from "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan.")

No. 26.

1907. Lafcadio Hearn's Werke über Japan in künstlerischer Buchausstattung von Emil Orlik. Band I. Kokoro. Band II. Lotus. Band III. Izumo. Frankfurt a Main: Rütten und Loening, 1907.


No. 27.

1903. EXOTICA. Noveller och studier från Japan, af Lafcadio Hearn. Bemyndigad öfversättning af Karin Hirn; med några notiser om författaren af Yrjö Hirn. Tredje Upplagen. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand, 1903, 16mo., 2 end pages, pp. 227, decorated paper.

(Selections from "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," "Out of the East," "Kokoro," "Exotics and Retrospectives," "In Ghostly Japan," "Shadowings.")

Reprint 1905.

No. 28.

1903. EXOTICA. Noveller och studier från Japan, af Lafcadio Hearn. Ny samling. Bemyndigad öfversättning af Karin Hirn. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand, 1903, 16mo., 2 p. l., pp. 248, decorated paper.

(Selections from "Out of the East," "Kokoro," "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," "Exotics and Retrospectives," "In Ghostly Japan," "Shadowings," "A Japanese Miscellany," "Kottō.")

No. 29.

1904. SPÖKEN OCH DRÖMMAR FRÅN JAPAN. (Exotica. Tredje Samlingen) af Lafcadio Hearn. Bemyndigad öfversättning från Engelskan af Karin Hirn. Wahlström & Widstrands, Förlag, Stockholm, MCMIV., 16mo., 1 end page, pp. 218, decorated paper.

(Selections from "Shadowings," "A Japanese Miscellany," "Kottō," "Kwaidan.")

No. 30.

1905. NATALIKA. ("Stray Leaves from Strange Literature") af Lafcadio Hearn. Bemyndigad öfversättning af Karin Hirn. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand, 16mo., pp. 189, decorated paper.

("Runes from the Kalewala" omitted.)

[Pg 253]



(Nos. 1-21)


No. 1.

1884. STRAY LEAVES FROM STRANGE LITERATURE. Stories reconstructed from the Anvari-Soheïli, Baitál Pachísí, Mahabharata, Pantchatantra, Gulistan, Talmud, Kalewala, etc. By Lafcadio Hearn. (Publisher's Monogram.) Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1884.

16mo., pp. (16) 225, green cloth, black lettering, and decorations.

(5) Dedication:—

To my Friend
Editor of the
New Orleans Times-Democrat

(7-11) Explanatory (Extract).

While engaged upon this little mosaic work of legend and fable, I felt much like one of those merchants told of in Sindbad's Second Voyage, who were obliged to content themselves with gathering the small jewels adhering to certain meat which eagles brought up from the Valley of Diamonds. I have had to depend altogether upon the labour of translators for my acquisitions; and these seemed too small to deserve separate literary setting. By cutting my little gems according to one pattern, I have doubtless reduced the beauty of some; yet it seemed to me their colours were so weird, their luminosity so elfish, that their intrinsic value could not be wholly destroyed even by so clumsy an artificer as I.

In short, these fables, legends, parables, etc., are simply reconstructions of what impressed me as most fantastically beautiful in the most exotic literature which I was able to obtain. With few exceptions, the plans of the original narratives have been preserved....

This little collection has no claim upon the consideration of scholars. It is simply an attempt to share with the public some of those novel delights I experienced while trying to familiarize myself with some very strange and beautiful literatures.

... My gems were few and small: the monstrous and splendid await the coming of Sindbad, or some mighty lapidary by whom they may be wrought into jewel bouquets exquisite as those bunches of topaz blossoms and ruby buds laid upon the tomb of Nourmahal.

New Orleans, 1884.

[Pg 254] (13-14) Bibliography.

(15-16) Contents:—

Stray Leaves

The Book of Thoth. From an Egyptian Papyrus.
The Fountain Maiden. A Legend of the South Pacific.
The Bird Wife. An Esquimaux Tradition.

Tales retold from Indian and Buddhist Literature

Tales retold from Indian and Buddhist Literature
The Making of Tilottama
The Brahman and his Brahmani
The Corpse-Demon
The Lion
The Legend of the Monster Misfortune
A Parable Buddhistic
The Lotos of Faith

Runes from the Kalewala

Runes from the Kalewala
The Magical Words
The First Musician
The Healing of Wainamoinen

Stories of Moslem Lands

Stories of Moslem Lands
Boutimar, the Dove
The Son of a Robber
A Legend of Love
The King's Justice

Traditions retold from the Talmud

Traditions retold from the Talmud
A Legend of Rabba
The Mockers
Esther's Choice
The Dispute in the Halacha
Rabbi Yochanan ben Zachai
A Tradition of Titus

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1902, Crown 8vo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1903, Cr. 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Charles W. Coleman, Jr., Harper's Monthly, May, 1887, vol. 74, p. 855.

No. 2.

1885. GOMBO ZHÈBES. Little Dictionary of Creole Proverbs, selected from six Creole dialects. Translated into French and into English, with notes, complete index to subjects and some brief remarks [Pg 255] upon the Creole idioms of Louisiana. By Lafcadio Hearn. New York: Will H. Coleman, Publisher, No. 70, Business Quarter, Astor House, 1885.

8vo., 6 p. l., pp. 42, brown cloth, design on cover.

(3-4) Introduction (Extract).

Any one who has ever paid a flying visit to New Orleans probably knows something about those various culinary preparations whose generic name is "Gombo"—compounded of many odds and ends, with the okra-plant, or true gombo for a basis, but also comprising occasionally "losé, zepinard, laitie," and the other vegetables sold in bunches in the French market. At all events, any person who has remained in the city for a season must have become familiar with the nature of "gombo filé," "gombo févi," and "gombo aux herbes," or as our coloured cook calls it "gombo zhèbes"—for she belongs to the older generation of Creole cuisinières, and speaks the patois in its primitive purity, without using a single "r." Her daughter, who has been to school, would pronounce it gombo zhairbes:—the modern patois is becoming more and more Frenchified, and will soon be altogether forgotten, not only throughout Louisiana, but even in the Antilles. It still, however, retains originality enough to be understood with difficulty by persons thoroughly familiar with French; and even those who know nothing of any language but English, readily recognize it by the peculiar rapid syllabification and musical intonation. Such English-speaking residents of New Orleans seldom speak of it as "Creole": they call it gombo, for some mysterious reason which I have never been able to explain satisfactorily. The coloured Creoles of the city have themselves begun to use the term to characterize the patois spoken by the survivors of slavery days. Turiault tells us that in the town of Martinique, where the Creole is gradually changing into French, the Bitacos, or country negroes who still speak the patois nearly pure, are much ridiculed by their municipal brethren:—Ça ou ka palé là, chè, c'est nèg;—Ça pas Créole! ("What you talk is 'nigger,' my dear:—that isn't Creole!") In like manner a young Creole negro or negress of New Orleans might tell an aged member of his race: Ça qui to parlé ça pas Créole; ça c'est gombo! I have sometimes heard the pure and primitive Creole also called "Congo" by coloured folks of the new generation.

The literature of "gombo" has perhaps even more varieties than there are preparations of the esculents above referred to;—the patois has certainly its gombo févi, its gombo filé, its "gombo zhèbes"—both written and unwritten. A work like Marbot's "Bambous" would deserve to be classed with the pure "févi";—the treatises of Turiault, Baissac, St. Quentin, Thomas, rather resemble that fully prepared dish, in which crabs seem to struggle with fragments of many well-stewed meats, all strongly seasoned with pepper. The present essay at Creole folklore, can only be classed as "gombo zhèbes"—(Zhèbes çé feuil-chou, cresson, laitie, bettrav, losé, zepinard); the true okra is not the basis of our preparation;—it is a Creole dish, if you please, but a salmagundi of inferior quality.

[Pg 256] Needless to say, this collection is far from perfect;—the most I can hope for is that it may constitute the nucleus of a more exhaustive publication to appear in course of time. No one person could hope to make a really complete collection of Creole proverbs—even with all the advantages of linguistic knowledge, leisure, wealth, and travel. Only a society of folklorists might bring such an undertaking to a successful issue;—but as no systematic effort is being made in this direction, I have had no hesitation in attempting—not indeed to fill a want—but to set an example. Gouïe passé, difil sivré:—let the needle but pass, the thread will follow.

L. H.

(6) Creole Bibliography.

Pages 40-42 Indexes.

Articles and Reviews:—

Nation, The, April 23, 1885, vol. 40, p. 349.

No. 3.

1887. SOME CHINESE GHOSTS. By Lafcadio Hearn. (Chinese Characters.) Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1887. 16mo., p. (8) 185, brown cloth with Chinese mask on cover, red top.

Facing Title-page:—

If ye desire to witness prodigies and to behold marvels, be not concerned as to whether the mountains are distant or the rivers far away.


(2) Dedication:—

To my Friend,
The Musician,
who, speaking the speech of melody unto the
children of Tien-hia,—
unto the wandering Tsing-jin, whose skins
have the colour of gold,—
moved them to make strange sounds upon the
serpent-bellied San-hien;
persuaded them to play for me upon the
shrieking Ya-hien;
prevailed on them to sing me a song of their
native land,—
the song of Mohlí-hwa,
the song of the jasmine-flower.

(Sketch of Chinaman's head.)

(Reverse) Chinese Character.

(3-4) Preface.

I think that my best apology for the insignificant size of this volume is the very character of the material composing it. In preparing [Pg 257] the legends I sought especially for weird beauty; and I could not forget this striking observation in Sir Walter Scott's "Essay on Imitations of the Ancient Ballad": "The supernatural, though appealing to certain powerful emotions very widely and deeply sown amongst the human race, is, nevertheless, a spring which is peculiarly apt to lose its elasticity by being too much pressed upon." Those desirous to familiarize themselves with Chinese literature as a whole have had the way made smooth for them by the labours of linguists like Julien, Pavie, Rémusat, De Rosny, Schlegel, Legge, Hervey-Saint-Denys, Williams, Biot, Giles, Wylie, Beal, and many other Sinologists. To such great explorers indeed, the realm of Cathayan story belongs by right of discovery and conquest; yet the humbler traveller who follows wonderingly after them into the vast and mysterious pleasure-grounds of Chinese fancy may surely be permitted to cull a few of the marvellous flowers there growing,—a self-luminous hwa-wang, a black lily, a phosphoric rose or two,—as souvenirs of his curious voyage.

L. H.
New Orleans, March 15, 1886.

(5) Contents:—

The Soul of the Great Bell
The Story of Ming-Y
The Legend of Tchi-Niu
The Return of Yen Tchin-King
The Tradition of the Tea-Plant
The Tale of the Porcelain God



New Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1906, 12mo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Charles W. Coleman, Jr., Harper's Monthly, May, 1887, vol. 74, p. 855.

Nation, The, May 26, 1887, vol. 44, p. 456.

No. 4.

1889. CHITA: a Memory of Last Island. By Lafcadio Hearn

But Nature whistled with all her winds,
Did as she pleased, and went her way."

New York: Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, 1889. 12mo., 3 p. l., pp. 204, terra-cotta cloth, decorated.

(Published first in Harper's Monthly, April, 1888.)

(1) Dedication:—

To my Friend
New Orleans

[Pg 258] (2) Contents:—

Part I
The Legend of L'île Dernière

Part II
Out of the Sea's Strength

Part III
The Shadow of the Tide


Je suis la vaste mêlée,—
Reptile, étant l onde; ailée,
Étant le vent,—
Force et fuite, haine et vie,
Houle immense, poursuivie
Et poursuivant.
—Victor Hugo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Boston Evening Transcript, The, November 2, 1889. Hutson, Charles Woodward, Poet-Lore, Spring, 1905, vol. 16, p. 53.

No. 5.

1890. YOUMA. The Story of a West-Indian Slave. By Lafcadio Hearn. (Publisher's Vignette.) New York: Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, 1890.

12mo., 1 p. l., pp. 193, frontispiece illustration, red cloth.

(Published first in Harper's Monthly, January-February, 1890.)

(1) Dedication:—

To my friend
The Same. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1890, 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Athenæum, The, August 30, 1890, p. 284.

Nation, The, May 7, 1891, vol. 52, p. 385.

No. 6.

1890. TWO YEARS IN THE FRENCH WEST INDIES. By Lafcadio Hearn. Illustrated. (Publisher's Vignette.) New York: Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, 1890. 8vo., pp. (12) 431, 38 full-page illustrations, 6 illustrations in the text, green cloth ornamental.


"La facon d'être du pays est si agréable, la température si bonne, et l'on y vit dans une liberté si honnête, que je n'aye pas vu un seul [Pg 259] homme, ny une seule femme, qui en soient revenus, en qui je n'aye remarqué une grande passion d'y retourner."—Le Père Dutertre (1667).

(3) Dedication:—

À mon cher ami
Notaire à Saint Pierre, Martinique.

Souvenir de nos promenades,—de nos voyages,—de nos causeries,— des sympathies échangées,—de tout le charme d'une amitié inaltérable et inoubliable,—de tout ce qui parle à l'âme au doux Pays des Revenants.

(5-6) Preface (Extract).

The introductory paper, entitled "A Midsummer Trip to the Tropics" consists for the most part of notes taken upon a voyage of nearly three thousand miles, accomplished in less than two months. During such hasty journeying it is scarcely possible for a writer to attempt anything more serious than a mere reflection of the personal experiences undergone; and, in spite of sundry justifiable departures from simple note-making, this paper is offered only as an effort to record the visual and emotional impressions of the moment.

My thanks are due to Mr. William Lawless, British Consul at St. Pierre, for several beautiful photographs, taken by himself, which have been used in the preparation of the illustrations.

L. H.
Philadelphia, 1889.

(7) Contents:—

A Midsummer Trip to the Tropics (Harper's Monthly, July-September, 1888) Martinique Sketches:—

I. Les Porteuses (Harper's Monthly, July, 1889)
II. La Grande Anse (Harper's Monthly, November, 1889)
III. Un Revenant
IV. La Guiablesse
V. La Vérette (Harper's Monthly, October, 1888)
VI. Les Blanchisseusses
VII. La Pelée
VIII. 'Ti Canotié
IX. La Fille de Couleur
X. Bête-ni-Pié
XI. Ma Bonne
XII. "Pa combiné, chè!"
XIV. Lys.
XV. Appendix: Some Creole Melodies

(9-10) Illustrations:—

The Same. London: Harper and Brothers, 1890, 8vo.

[Pg 260] Articles and Reviews:—

New York Times, The, September 1, 1890.

No. 7.

1894. GLIMPSES OF UNFAMILIAR JAPAN. By Lafcadio Hearn. In two volumes. (Vignette.) Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company (The Riverside Press, Cambridge), 1894.

8vo., 2 vols. pp. (x) 699, dull green cloth, silver lettering and design, gilt top.

(1) Dedication:—

To the Friends
whose kindness alone rendered possible
my sojourn in the Orient,—
Emeritus Professor of Philology and Japanese in the
Imperial University of Tōkyō

I dedicate these volumes
in token of
Affection and Gratitude.

(V-X) Preface (Extract).

But the rare charm of Japanese life, so different from that of all other lands, is not to be found in its Europeanized circles. It is to be found among the great common people, who represent in Japan, as in all countries, the national virtues, and who still cling to their delightful old customs, their picturesque dresses, their Buddhist images, their household shrines, their beautiful and touching worship of ancestors. This is the life of which a foreign observer can never weary, if fortunate and sympathetic enough to enter into it,—the life that forces him sometimes to doubt whether the course of our boasted Western progress is really in the direction of moral development. Each day, while the years pass, there will be revealed to him some strange and unsuspected beauty in it. Like other life, it has its darker side; yet even this is brightness compared with the darker side of Western existence. It has its foibles, its follies, its vices, its cruelties; yet the more one sees of it, the more one marvels at its extraordinary goodness, its miraculous patience, its never-failing courtesy, its simplicity of heart, its intuitive charity. And to our own larger Occidental comprehension, its commonest superstitions, however contemned at Tōkyō, have rarest value as fragments of the unwritten literature of its hopes, its fears, its experience with right and wrong,—its primitive efforts to find solutions for the riddle of the Unseen.

[Pg 261] Contents:—

Volume I.

I. My First Day in the Orient
II. The Writing of Kōbōdaishi
III. Jizō
IV. A Pilgrimage to Enoshima
V. At the Market of the Dead (Atlantic Monthly, September, 1891)
VI. Bon-Odori
VII. The Chief City of the Province of the Gods (Atlantic Monthly, November, 1891)
VIII. Kitzuki: The Most Ancient Shrine in Japan (Atlantic Monthly, December, 1891)
IX. In the Cave of the Children's Ghosts
X. At Mionoseki
XI. Notes on Kitzuki
XII. At Hinomisaki
XIII. Shinjū
XIV. Yaegaki-Jinja
XV. Kitsune

Volume II.

XVI. In a Japanese Garden (Atlantic Monthly, July, 1892)
XVII. The Household Shrine
XVIII. Of Women's Hair
XIX. From the Diary of an English Teacher
XX. Two Strange Festivals
XXI. By the Japanese Sea
XXII. Of a Dancing Girl (Atlantic Monthly, July, 1893)
XXIII. From Hōki to Oki
XXIV. Of Souls
XXV. Of Ghosts and Goblins
XXVI. The Japanese Smile (Atlantic Monthly, May, 1893)
XXVII. Sayōnara!

Pages 695-99 Index.

The Same. London: Osgood, McIlvaine and Company, 1894, 2 vols., 8vo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1902, 2 vols., Cr. 8vo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1903, 2 vols., Cr. 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Bentzon, Th., Revue des Deux Mondes, June 1, 1904, vol. 21, p. 556.

Brandt, M. von, Deutsche Rundschau, October, 1900, vol. 27, p. 68.

Challayé, Félicien, Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 1903, vol. 11, p. 338.

[Pg 262] Challayê, Félicien, Revue de Paris, December 1, 1904, vol. 6, p. 655.

Literary World, The, October 20, 1894, vol. 25, p. 347. Scott, Mrs. M. McN., Atlantic Monthly, June, 1895, vol. 75, p. 830.

Spectator, The, November 17, 1894, vol. 73, p. 698.

No. 8.

1895. "OUT OF THE EAST." Reveries and Studies in New Japan. By Lafcadio Hearn.

"As far as the east is from the west"—

(Publisher's Vignette.) Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company (The Riverside Press, Cambridge), 1895.

16mo., 2 p. 1., pp. 341, yellow cloth, silver lettering, yellow top.

(1) Dedication:—

in dear remembrance of
Izumo days

(2) Contents:—

I. The Dream of a Summer Day
II. With Kyūshū Students
III. At Hakata (Atlantic Monthly, October, 1894)
IV. Of the Eternal Feminine (Atlantic Monthly, December, 1893)
V. Bits of Life and Death
VI. The Stone Buddha
VII. Jiujutsu
VIII. The Red Bridal (Atlantic Monthly, July, 1894)
IX. A Wish Fulfilled (Atlantic Monthly, January, 1895)
X. In Yokohama
XI. Yuko: a Reminiscence

"The Dream of a Summer Day" first appeared in the Japan Daily Mail.

The Same. London: Osgood, McIlvaine and Company, 1895, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1902, Cr. 8vo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1903, Cr. 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Athenæum, The, August 24, 1895, p. 249.

Brandt, M. von, Deutsche Rundschau, October, 1900, vol. 105, p. 68.

Challayé Félicien, Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 1903, vol. 11, p. 338.

Challayé, Félicien, Revue de Paris, December 1, 1904, vol. 6, p. 655.

[Pg 263] Literary World, The, April 20, 1895, vol. 26, p. 123.

Scott, Mrs. M. McN., Atlantic Monthly, June, 1895, vol. 75, p. 830.

Spectator, The, October 12, 1895, vol. 75, p. 459.

No. 9.

1896. KOKORO: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life. By Lafcadio Hearn. (Top of page "Kokoro" in Japanese.) (Sketch of Japanese Head.) Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company (The Riverside Press, Cambridge), 1896.

16 mo., 3 p. l., pp. 388, green cloth, gold lettering, gilt top.

(1) Dedication:—

To my Friend
poet, scholar, and patriot

(2) Note:—

(Japanese character)

The papers composing this volume treat of the inner rather than of the outer life of Japan,—for which reason they have been grouped under the title, "Kokoro" (heart). Written with the above character, this word signifies also mind, in the emotional sense; spirit; courage; resolve; sentiment; affection; and inner meaning,—just as we say in English, "the heart of things."

Kobé, September 15, 1895.

(3) Contents:—

I. At a Railway Station
II. The Genius of Japanese Civilization (Atlantic Monthly, October, 1895)
III. A Street Singer
IV. From a Travelling Diary (Atlantic Monthly, December, 1895)
V. The Nun of the Temple of Amida
VI. After the War (Atlantic Monthly, November, 1895)
VII. Haru
VIII. A Glimpse of Tendencies
IX. By Force of Karma
X. A Conservative
XI. In the Twilight of the Gods (Atlantic Monthly, June, 1895)
XII. The Idea of Preëxistence
XIII. In Cholera-Time
XIV. Some Thoughts about Ancestor-Worship
XV. Kimiko
Appendix. Three Popular Ballads

The Same. London: Osgood, McIlvaine and Company, 1896, 8vo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1902, Cr. 8vo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1903, Cr. 8vo.

Popular Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1905, Cr. 8vo.

[Pg 264] Articles and Reviews:—

Athenæum, The, August 8, 1896, p. 185.

Bentzon, Th., Revue de Deux Mondes, June 1, 1904, vol. 21, p. 556.

Brandt, M. von, Deutsche Rundschau, October, 1900, vol. 105, p. 68.

Challayé Félicien, Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 1903, vol. 11, p. 338.

Challayé Félicien, Revue de Paris, December 1, 1904, vol. 6, p. 655.

Cockerill, Col. John A., Current Literature, June, 1896, vol. 19, p. 476.

Herzog, Wilhelm, Die Nation, January 6, 1906, vol. 23, p. 217.

Literary World, The, April 18, 1896, vol. 27, p. 116.

Nation, The, July 9, 1896, vol. 63, p. 35.

Spectator, The, May 23, 1896, vol. 76, p. 739.

Takayanagi, Tozo, The Book Buyer, May, 1896, vol. 13, p. 229.

No. 10.

1897. GLEANINGS IN BUDDHA-FIELDS, Studies of Hand and Soul in the Far East. By Lafcadio Hearn. Lecturer on English Literature in the Imperial University of Japan. (Publisher's Vignette.) Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company. (The Riverside Press, Cambridge.)

12mo., pp. 296, blue cloth, gold lettering, gilt top.


I. A Living God (Atlantic Monthly, December, 1896)
II. Out of the Street (Atlantic Monthly, September, 1896)
III. Notes of a Trip to Kyōto (Atlantic Monthly, May, 1896)
IV. Dust (Atlantic Monthly, November, 1896)
V. About Faces in Japanese Art (Atlantic Monthly, August, 1896)
VI. Ningyō-no-Haka
VII. In Ōsaka
VIII. Buddhist Allusions in Japanese Folk-Song
IX. Nirvâna
X. The Rebirth of Katsugorō
XI. Within the Circle

The Same. London: Constable and Company, 1897, 8vo.

New Edition. London: Gay and Bird's, 1902, Cr. 8vo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1903, 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Academy, The, November 13, 1897, vol. 52, p. 395.

Athenæum, The, November 13, 1897, p. 664.

Challayé, Félicien, Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 1903, vol. 11, p. 338

Critic, The, April 9, 1898, vol. 29, p. 248.

[Pg 265] Independent, The, November 24, 1898, vol. 50, p. 1508.

Literary World, The, November 13, 1897, vol. 28, p. 389.

Nation, The, February 3, 1898, vol. 66, p. 97.

Outlook, The, October 16, 1897, vol. 57, p. 435.

Public Opinion, November 25, 1897, vol. 23, p. 694.

Spectator, The, November 20, 1897, vol. 79, p. 736.

Wagner, John Harrison, The Book Buyer, June, 1898, vol. 16, p. 437.

No. 11.

1898. EXOTICS AND RETROSPECTIVES. By Lafcadio Hearn. Lecturer on English Literature in the Imperial University, Tōkyō. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, MDCCCXCIX.

16mo., 4 p. l., pp. 299, 4 full-page illustrations, 13 illustrations in the text. Green cloth, decorated, gold lettering, gilt top.

(1) Dedication:—

Dr. C. H. H. Hall,
of Yokohama
(late U. S. Navy)
In Constant Friendship

(2) (Prefatory Note)

All but one of the papers composing this volume appear for the first time. The little essays, or rather fantasies, forming the second part of the book, deal with experiences in two hemispheres; but their general title should explain why they have been arranged independently of that fact. To any really scientific imagination, the curious analogy existing between certain teachings of evolutional psychology and certain teachings of Eastern faith,—particularly the Buddhist doctrine that all sense-life is Karma, and all substance only the phenomenal result of acts and thoughts,—might have suggested something much more significant than my cluster of "Retrospectives." These are offered merely as intimations of a truth incomparably less difficult to recognize than to define.

Tōkyō, Japan, L. H.
February 15, 1898.

(3) Contents:—


I. Fuji-no-Yama
II. Insect-Musicians
III. A Question in the Zen Texts
IV. The Literature of the Dead
V. Frogs
VI. Of Moon-Desire


I. First Impressions
II. Beauty is Memory
[Pg 266] III. Sadness in Beauty
IV. Parfum de Jeunesse
V. Azure Psychology (Teikoku Bungaku, Yokohama)
VI. A Serenade
VII. A Red Sunset
VIII. Frisson
IX. Vespertina Cognitio
X. The Eternal Haunter

(4) List of Illustrations.

The Same. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1898, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1899, 8vo.

New Popular Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1904, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1905, 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Athenæum, The, January 6, 1900, p. 11.

Bentzon, Th., Revue des Deux Mondes, June 1, 1904, vol. 21, p. 556.

Dial, The, July 16, 1899, vol. 27, p. 52.

International Studio, The, 1905, vol. 25, p. XL.

Nation, The, January 26, 1905, vol. 80, p. 68.

No. 12.

1899. IN GHOSTLY JAPAN. By Lafcadio Hearn. Lecturer on English Literature in the Imperial University, Tōkyō. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, MDCCCXCIX.

16mo., 5 p. l., pp. 241, 4 full-page illustrations, 5 illustrations in the text. Blue cloth, ornamented with white cherry-blossoms, gold lettering, gilt top.

(1) Dedication:—

Mrs. Alice Von Behrens
For Auld Lang Syne


In Ghostly Japan
Yoru bakari
Miru mono nari to
Hiru saë yumé no
Ukiyo nari-kéri.

Think not that dreams appear to the dreamer only at night: the dream of this world of pain appears to us even by day.

Japanese Poem.

[Pg 267] (3) Contents:—

A Story of Divination
A Passional Karma
Footprints of the Buddha
Bits of Poetry
Japanese Buddhist Proverbs
Story of a Tengu
At Yaidzu

(4) List of Illustrations.

The Same. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1899, 8vo.

New Popular Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1904, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1905, Cr. 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Inouye, Jukichi, Atlantic Monthly, September, 1900, vol. 86, pp. 399.

International Studio, The, 1905, vol. 25, p. XL.

Nation, The, January 26, 1905, vol. 80, p. 68.

No. 13.

1900. SHADOWINGS. By Lafcadio Hearn. Lecturer on English Literature in the Imperial University, Tōkyō, Japan. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1900.

12mo., pp. (IV) 268, cloth.

(I.) Dedication:—

To Paymaster Mitchell McDonald
U. S. Navy

My dear Mitchell,—

Herein I have made some attempt to satisfy your wish for "a few more queer stories from the Japanese." Please accept the book as another token of the writer's affection.

Lafcadio Hearn
(Koizumi Yakumo)

Tōkyō, Japan,
January 1, 1900.

(II.) Contents:—

Stories from Strange Books:—

I. The Reconciliation
II. A Legend of Fugen-Bosatsu
[Pg 268] III. The Screen-Maiden
IV. The Corpse-Rider
V. The Sympathy of Benten
VI. The Gratitude of the Samébito

Japanese Studies:—

I. Sémi
II. Japanese Female Names
III. Old Japanese Songs


I. Noctilucæ
II. A Mystery of Crowds
III. Gothic Horror
IV. Levitation
V. Nightmare-Touch
VI. Readings from a Dream-Book
VII. In a Pair of Eyes

(III.) Illustrations.

(IV.) Bastard title-page:—

Il avait vu brûler d'étranges pierres,
Jadis, dans les brasiers de la pensée.
Émile Verhaeren

The Same. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1900, 8vo.

New Popular Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1904, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1905, Cr. 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Athenæum, The, January 5, 1901, p. 15.

Bentzon, Th., Revue des Deux Mondes, June 1, 1904, vol. 21, p. 556.

F. T. C., The Bookman, February, 1901, vol. 12, p. 582.

Dial, The, January 1, 1901, vol. 30, p. 19.

International Studio, The, 1905, vol. 25, p. XL.

Kinnosuké, Adachi, The Critic, January, 1901, vol. 38, p. 29.

Nation, The, November 8, 1900, vol. 71, p. 372.

Nation, The, January 26, 1905, vol. 80, p. 68.

Public Opinion, October 18, 1900, vol. 29, p. 504.

No. 14.

1901. A JAPANESE MISCELLANY. By Lafcadio Hearn. Lecturer on English Literature in the Imperial University of Tōkyō. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, MDCCCCI.

12mo., 5 p. l., pp. 305, 2 full-page illustrations, 6 plates, 5 illustrations in the text. Green cloth, decorated, gold lettering, gilt top.

[Pg 269] (1) Dedication:—

Mrs. Elizabeth Bisland Wetmore

(2) Contents:—

Strange Stories:
I. Of a Promise Kept
II. Of a Promise Broken
III. Before the Supreme Court
IV. The Story of Kwashin Koji
V. The Story of Umétsu Chūbei
VI. The Story of Kōgi the Priest

Folklore Gleanings:

I. Dragon-Flies (illustrated)
II. Buddhist Names of Plants and Animals
III. Songs of Japanese Children (illustrated)

Studies Here and There:

I. On a Bridge
II. The Case of O-Dai
III. Beside the Sea (illustrated)
IV. Drifting
V. Otokichi's Daruma (illustrated)
VI. In a Japanese Hospital

(3) Illustrations.

The Same. London: Sampson, Low and Company, 1901, 8vo.

New Popular Edition. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1904, 16mo.

New Edition. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1905, Cr. 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Athenæum, December 21, 1901, p. 833.

International Studio, The, 1905, vol. 25, p. XL.

Literary World, The, December 1, 1901, vol. 32, p. 207.

Nation, The, January 9, 1902, vol. 74, p. 39.

Nation, The, January 26, 1905, vol. 80, p. 68.

No. 15.

1902. JAPANESE FAIRY TALES. Rendered into English by Lafcadio Hearn. Published by T. Hasegawa, Publisher and Art-Printer, Tōkyō, Japan.

Four 16mo. books on Japanese folded crêpe paper, highly illustrated in colours.

No. 22. The Goblin Spider
No. 23. The Boy Who Drew Cats
No. 24. The Old Woman Who Lost Her Dumpling
No. 25. Chin Chin Kobakama

[Pg 270]

No. 16.

1902. KOTTŌ (Japanese Characters). Being Japanese Curios, with Sundry Cobwebs. Collected by Lafcadio Hearn, Lecturer on English Literature in the Imperial University of Tōkyō, Japan. With illustrations by Genjiro Yeto. New York: The Macmillan Company (London: Macmillan & Company, Ltd.), 1902.

8vo., 4 p. l., pp. 251, brown cloth, decorated, gold lettering, gilt top.

(1) Dedication:—

grateful remembrance
kind words

(2) Contents:—

Old Stories:

I. The Legend of Yurei-Daki
II. In a Cup of Tea
III. Common Sense
IV. Ikiryō
V. Shiryō
VI. The Story of O-Kamé
VII. Story of a Fly
VIII. Story of a Pheasant
IX. The Story of Chūgorō

A Woman's Diary
A Drop of Dew
A Matter of Custom
In the Dead of the Night
The Eater of Dreams


Old Stories

The following nine tales have been selected from the "Shin-Chomon-Shū," "Hyaku Monogatari," "Uji-Jūi-Monogatari-Shō," and other old Japanese books, to illustrate some strange beliefs. They are only Curios.

The Same. Reprinted April, 1903.

Articles and Reviews:—

Athenæum, The, January 17, 1903, p. 77.

Book Buyer, The, December, 1902, vol. 25, p. 416.

[Pg 271] More, Paul Elmer, Atlantic Monthly, February, 1903, vol. 91, p. 204.

Nation, The, March 26, 1903, vol. 76, p. 254.

No. 17.

1904. KWAIDAN: Stories and Studies of Strange Things.—Lafcadio Hearn, Lecturer on English Literature in the Imperial University of Tōkyō, Japan (1896-1903). Honorary Member of the Japan Society, London. (Japanese Characters.) Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, MDCCCCIV. (Published April, 1904.)

12mo., 6 p. 1., pp. 240, illustrated, 2 plates, dark green cloth, decorated, gold lettering, gilt top.

(1) Introduction by Publisher:—

(3) Prefatory Note:—

Most of the following Kwaidan, or Weird Tales, have been taken from old Japanese books,—such as the Yasō-Kidan, Bukkyō-Hyakkwa-Zenshō, Kokon-Chomonshū, Tama-Sudaré and Hyaku-Monogatari. Some of the stories may have had a Chinese origin: the very remarkable "Dream of Akinosuké," for example, is certainly from a Chinese source. But the Japanese story-teller in every case, has so recoloured and reshaped his borrowing as to naturalize it.... One queer tale, "Yuki-Onna," was told me by a farmer of Chōfu, Nishitamagōri, in Musashi province, as a legend of his native village. Whether it has even been written in Japanese I do not know; but the extraordinary belief which it records used certainly to exist in most parts of Japan, and in many curious forms.... The incident of "Riki-Baka" was a personal experience; and I wrote it down almost exactly as it happened, changing only a family-name mentioned by the Japanese narrator.

Tōkyō, Japan, January 20, 1904. L. H.

(4) Contents:—

The Story of Mimi-Nashi-Hōichi (Atlantic Monthly, August, 1903)
The Story of O-Tei
Of a Mirror and a Bell
A Dead Secret
The Story of Aoyagi
[Pg 272]The Dream of Akinosuké (Atlantic Monthly, March, 1904)


(5) Notes on the Illustrations

The two drawings are by the Japanese artist, Keichū Takénouche. The frontispiece illustrates the scene in the story "Yuki-Onna" described on page 113, and the drawing facing page 180 illustrates the Butterfly Dance, described on page 203.

The Same. London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1904, 12mo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Athenæum, The, September 17, 1904, p. 373.

Atlantic Monthly, June, 1904, vol. 93, p. 857.

Bookman, The, November, 1904, vol. 20, p. 159.

No. 18.

1904. (Japanese Characters.) JAPAN: An Attempt at Interpretation. By Lafcadio Hearn. Honorary Member of the Japan Society, London; formerly Lecturer in the Imperial University of Tōkyō (1896-1903), and Fourteen Years a Resident of Japan.

"Perhaps all very marked national characters can be traced back to a time of rigid and pervading discipline."

—Walter Bagehot.

New York: The Macmillan Company (London: Macmillan and Company, Ltd.), 1904. (Published, September, 1904.)

8vo., 2 p. l., pp. 541, coloured frontispiece, brown cloth, black and gold lettering, gilt top.

(1) Contents:—

I. Difficulties
II. Strangeness and Charm
III. The Ancient Cult
IV. The Religion of the Home
V. The Japanese Family
VI. The Communal Cult
VII. Developments of Shintō
VIII. Worship and Purification
IX. The Rule of the Dead
X. The Introduction of Buddhism
XI. The Higher Buddhism
XII. The Social Organization
[Pg 273] XIII. The Rise of the Military Power
XIV. The Religion of Loyalty
XV. The Jesuit Peril
XVI. Feudal Integration
XVII. The Shintō Revival
XVIII. Survivals
XIX. Modern Restraints
XX. Official Education
XXI. Industrial Danger
XXII. Reflections

Bibliographical Notes


The Same. London: Macmillan and Company, Ltd., 1904, 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Buckley, Edmund, The American Journal of Sociology, January 1905, vol. 10, p. 545.

Griffis, William Elliot, The Critic, February, 1905, vol. 46, p. 185.

Griffis, William Elliot, The Dial, December 1, 1904, vol. 36, p. 368.

Independent, The, October 27, 1904, vol. 57, p. 976.

Nation, The, December 8, 1904, vol. 79, p. 465.

Public Opinion, October 27, 1904, vol. 37, p. 537.

Review of Reviews, November, 1904, vol. 30, p. 561.

Shore, W. Teignmouth, The Academy, December 10, 1904, vol. 67, p. 584.

Spectator, The, January 14, 1905, vol. 94, p. 54.

Thurston, S. J., Herbert, The Messenger, January, 1906, vol. 45, p. 1.

No. 19.

1905. THE ROMANCE OF THE MILKY WAY, and other Studies and Stories. By Lafcadio Hearn. Houghton, Mifflin and Company: Boston and New York, 1905. (Published October, 1905.)

12mo., pp. (XIV) 209, decorated title-page, grey cloth with yellow trimmings, yellow top.

(V) Contents:—

The Romance of the Milky Way (Atlantic Monthly, August, 1905) Goblin Poetry

"Ultimate Questions" (Atlantic Monthly, September, 1905) The Mirror Maiden

The Story of Itō Norisuké (Atlantic Monthly, January, 1905)

Stranger than Fiction (Atlantic Monthly, April, 1905)

A Letter from Japan (Atlantic Monthly, November, 1904)

(VII-XIV) Introduction by F. G.

The Same. London: Constable and Company, 1905, Cr. 8vo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Academy, The, December 2, 1905, vol. 69, p. 1257. Athenæum, The, March 31, 1906, p. 389.

[Pg 274]

Dial, The, November 1, 1905, vol. 39, p. 276.

Griffis, W. E., The Critic, March, 1906, vol. 48, p. 222.

Independent, The, December 21, 1905, vol. 59, p. 1478.

Nation, The, December 21, 1905, vol. 81, p. 510.

Outlook, The, November 9, 1906, vol. 84, p. 503.


No. 20.

1882. ONE OF CLEOPATRA'S NIGHTS, and other Fantastic Romances. By Théophile Gautier. Faithfully translated by Lafcadio Hearn.


One of Cleopatra's Nights
Arria Marcella: A Souvenir of Pompeii
The Mummy's Foot
Omphale: A Rococo Story
King Candaules

New York: R. Worthington, 770 Broadway, 1882.

8vo., pp. (IX) 321, red cloth, gilt top. Head Gautier as Frontispiece.


The love that caught strange light from death's own eyes,
And filled death's lips with fiery words and sighs,
And half asleep, let feed from veins of his,
Her close red warm snake's-mouth, Egyptian-wise:
And that great night of love more strange than this,
When she that made the whole world's bale and bliss
Made king of the whole world's desire a slave
And killed him in mid-kingdom with a kiss.
Memorial verses on the death of Théophile Gautier."

(V-IX) To the Reader (Extract).

It is the artist, therefore, who must judge of Gautier's creations. To the lovers of the loveliness of the antique world, the lovers of physical beauty and artistic truth,—of the charm of youthful dreams and young passion in its blossoming,—of poetic ambitions and the sweet pantheism that finds all Nature vitalized by the Spirit of the Beautiful,—to such the first English version of these graceful fantasies is offered in the hope that it may not be found wholly unworthy of the original.

New Orleans, 1882. L. H.

[Pg 275] Pages 317-21 Addenda.

New Edition. New York: Brentano's, 1899, 12mo.

New Edition. New York: Brentano's, 1906, 12mo.

CLARIMONDE. New York: Brentano's, 1899, 16mo.

Articles and Reviews:—

Brandt, M. von, Deutsche Rundschau, October, 1900, vol. 105, p. 68.

Coleman, Charles W., Jr., Harper's Monthly, May, 1887, vol. 74, p. 855.

Dayton (Ohio) Journal, September 30, 1904.

Literary World, The, February 14, 1891, vol. 22, p. 56.

No. 21.

1890. THE CRIME OF SYLVESTRE BONNARD (Member of the Institute). By Anatole France. The Translation and Introduction by Lafcadio Hearn. (Publisher's Vignette.) New York: Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, 1890.

8vo., pp. (IX) 281, paper.

(V-IX) Introduction (Extract).

But it is not because M. Anatole France has rare power to create original characters, or to reflect for us something of the more recondite literary life of Paris, that his charming story will live. It is because of his far rarer power to deal with what is older than any art, and withal more young, and incomparably more precious: the beauty of what is beautiful in human emotion. And that writer who touches the spring of generous tears by some simple story of gratitude, of natural kindness, of gentle self-sacrifice, is surely more entitled to our love than the sculptor who shapes for us a dream of merely animal grace, or the painter who images for us, however richly, the young bloom of that form which is only the husk of Being.L. H.

(1) Contents:—

Part I.

The Log.

Part II.

The Daughter of Clémentine.
The Fairy
The Little Saint-George

Articles and Reviews:—

Literary World, The, February 15, 1890, vol. 21, p. 59.

[Pg 276]



[43] Hearn failed to give the years in which these translations were published, and often also the days and months.

(Nos. 31-218)

No. 31. 1. Crucifying Crocodiles. By Cousot.
From Le Figaro, February 7.

No. 32. 2. The Last of the Great Moguls. By Ali.
From Le Nouvelle Revue, March 1.

No. 33. 3. Killed by Rollin's Ancient History. By Chas. Baissac.

No. 34. 4. Mohammed Fripouille. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Yvette."

No. 35. 5. The Eldest Daughter. By Jules Lemaitre.
From Le Figaro.

No. 36. 6. The Burnt Rock. By "Carmen Sylva," Elizabeth, Queen of Roumania.
From Le Figaro.

No. 37. 7. The Confession. By de Maupassant.
From Contes du Jour et de la Nuit.

No. 38. 8. In the Mountain of Marble. By Pierre Loti.

No. 39. 9. A Story of Quinine. By Chas. Baissac.
From Récits Créoles.

No. 40. 10. How Gerard Resigned His Tutorship. By Chas. Baissac.
From Récits Créoles.

No. 41. 11. A Vendetta. By Guy de Maupassant.
From Contes du Jour et de la Nuit.

No. 42. 12. A Coward. By Guy de Maupassant.
From Contes du Jour et de la Nuit.

No. 43. 13. The Titaness. By Jules Lermina.
From Le Figaro, April 25.

No. 44. 14. Reminiscences of Gustave Doré. By Albert Wolff.
From Le Figaro, March 2.

No. 45. 15. The Return. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Yvette."

No. 46. 16. Two Friends. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 47. 17. Moloch, the Devourer. (The Sacrifice.) By Gustave Flaubert.
From "Salambo," Ed. 1880.

No. 48. 18. The Ring. By N. de Semenow.
From Le Figaro, August 15.

No. 49. 19. The Phalanx in Battle. By Gustave Flaubert.
From "Salambo," Ed. 1880.

No. 50. 20. The Little Sister. By Hector Malot.

No. 51. 21. Riri's Rag-Picking. By Jean Rameau.
From Le Figaro, October 31.

[Pg 277] No. 52. 22. A Divorced Man's New Year's Day. By Frantz Jourdain.
From Le Figaro, January 2.

No. 53. 23. Especially Interesting Apropos of the Comet with the Sodium Tail. By Camille Flammarion.
From Le Voltaire, September 21.

No. 54. 24. Eaten Alive. By Camille Debans.
From Le Figaro, September 13.

No. 55. 25. The Christmas Tree. By Theodore Dostoievsky.
From Le Figaro.

No. 56. 26. "A Madman?" By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 57. 27. Tourgueneff. By Firmin Javel.
From L'Evénement, September 6.

Tourgueneff. By Maurice Guillemot.
From Le Figaro, September 5.

No. 58. 28. A Polish Regiment under Fire. By Hendrik Sienkiewicz.
From Nouvelle Revue.

No. 59. 29. In Oran. By Guy de Maupassant.
From Au Soleil.

No. 60. 30. En Voyage. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Miss Harriet."

No. 61. 31. "La Mère Sauvage." By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Miss Harriet."

No. 62. 32. The Adopted Child. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Miss Harriet."

No. 63. 33. The Child. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Miss Harriet."

No. 64. 34. The Minuet. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Miss Harriet."

No. 65. 35. My Uncle Jules. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Miss Harriet."

No. 66. 36. The Love Chamber. By Albert Delpit, 1884.

No. 67. 37. The Chair Mender. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 68. 38. Coco. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 69. 39. A Parricide. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 70. 40. The Red Wolves. By Henry Leturque.
From Le Figaro, April 24.

No. 71. 41. Suicides. By Guy de Maupassant.
"Les Soeurs Rondoli."

No. 72. 42. The Cross. By Verax.
From Le Figaro, October 17.

No. 73. 43. The Art of Dancing. By Ignotus.
From Le Figaro, March 19.

No. 74. 44. Haikona's Story. By Quatrelles.
From Le Figaro, January 3.

No. 75. 45. Forgotten on the Battle Field.
From Le Figaro, December 19.

No. 76. 46. The Folly of Armaments. By P.
From L'Evénement, June 13.

No. 77. 47. Japanese Theatricals. By Yedoko.
From Le Figaro, August 7, 1886.

[Pg 278] No. 78. 48. On the Planet Mars. By Camille Flammarion.
From Le Figaro.

No. 79. 49. The Colonel's Ideas. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Yvette."

No. 80. 50. Waterloo. By Léon Cladel.
From L'Evénement, April 26.

No. 81. 51. Terrifying a King. By XXX.
From Le Figaro, December 9.

No. 82. 52. The Secret of the Scaffold. By Comte de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam.
From Le Figaro, October 23.

No. 83. 53. Littre as a Physician. By Emile Zola.
From Le Voltaire, June 5.

No. 84. 54. Hugo and Littre. By Emile Zola.
From Le Figaro.

No. 85. 55. A Modern Combat of the Thirty. By Vigeant.

No. 86. 56. Algerian Warfare. By Ferdinand Hugonnet.

No. 87. 57. Orden's Redoubt. By Adam Mickiewicz.
From Le Figaro.

No. 88. 58. Lasker's Romance. By Aurelien Scholl.
From L'Evénement, February 26.

No. 89. 59. The Duel. By Aurelien Scholl.
From L'Evénement, March 2.

No. 90. 60. The Wife of Sobieski.
From Le Figaro Supplement, February 23.

No. 91. 61. Redemption. By Matilde Serao.
From Le Figaro.

No. 92. 62. The Rats of Paris. By Olivier de Rawton.
From Le Figaro Supplement.

No. 93. 63. The Story of Tse-I-La. By Comte de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam.
From Le Figaro Sunday Supplement.

No. 94. 64. Cremation in Paris. By Ignotus.
From Le Figaro, March 6.

No. 95. 65. Madame Auguste's Lion. By Horace Bertin.
From Croquis de Province.

No. 96. 66. The Secret History of "Madame Bovary." By Guy de Maupassant.
From L'Evénement, January 23.

No. 97. 67. Nissa. By Albert Delpit.
From Revue de Deux Mondes.

No. 98. 68. The Soudanian Marseillais.

No. 99. 69. Justice in the Soudan. After De Bisson. 1868.

No. 100. 70. Eaten by a Lion. By Louis Rousselet.
From La Peau du Tigre.

No. 101. 71. Chanzy. By Ignotus.
From Le Figaro, January 10.

No. 102. 72. Notes on Von Moltke. By Robert de Bonnieres.
From Le Figaro, August 17.

No. 103. 73. The Hunchback. By Chas. Richard.
From Le Figaro, August 29.

[Pg 279]No. 104. 74. The Pacha of Audjelah. By H. Georges.
From Le Figaro, September 5.

No. 105. 75. The Umbrella. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 106. 76. Gambling for a Wife. By A. de Colonne.
From Le Figaro, January 30.

No. 107. 77. Happiness. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 108. 78. "Schmah Israel." By Sacher Masoch.
From Revue Politique et Litteraire, November 7.

No. 109. 79. The Alfa-Gatherer. By Lieutenant Palat. ("Marcel Frescaly.")
From Le Figaro, April 3.

No. 110. 80. He. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 111. 81. 'Toine. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 112. 82. The Dowry. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 113. 83. The Funeral of an Indian Prince. By Guy de Maupassant.
From Le Figaro, September 7.

No. 114. 84. The Jewelry. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 115. 85. The Five Senses. By Harry Alis.
From Revue Politique et Litteraire, October 2.

No. 116. 86. A Bombshell. By Leon Tolstoi.

No. 117. 87. A Day at Lahore. By Robert de Bonnieres.
From Revue Politique et Litteraire.

No. 118. 88. Mario, Marquis of Candia. By Mario di Candia.
From Le Figaro, November 24.

No. 119. 89. My Tailor Abrahamek. By Sacher-Masoch.
From Revue Politique et Litteraire, May 22.

No. 120. 90. The Flesh-Eaters. By Olivier de Rawton.
From Le Figaro.

No. 121. 91. Palabra Suelta No Tiene Vuelta. By Ricardo Palma. (Lima, 1880.)

No. 122. 92. The Diva. By Luigi Gualdo.

No. 123. 93. The Story of the Unfortunate Merchant. By Rene Bassett.

No. 124. 94. Bamba. By Eugene Forgues.
From Nouvelle Revue.

No. 125. 95. "Notre Père Qui Etesaux Cieux." By Chas. Baissac.
From Récits Créoles.

No. 126. 96. "Red Minette." By Chas. Baissac.
From Récits Créoles.

No. 127. 97. Fight at the Mill. By Emile Zola.

No. 128. 98. Leo XIII. By Roman Correspondent.
From Le Figaro, February 27.

No. 129. 99. The Carp Herder. By Charles Richard.
From Le Figaro, December 15, 1883.

No. 130. 100. Fanny Elssler. By Viennese Correspondent.
From Le Figaro.

No. 131. 101. Lola Montes and Ludwig I. of Bavaria. By X.
From Le Figaro.

No. 132. 102. The Art of Being a Bore. By "De Ferney."
From Le Voltaire, January 31.

[Pg 280] No. 133. 103. Humanity of the Japanese.
From L'Illustration.

No. 134. 104. By the Balloon Post. By Alexis Bouvier.
From Le Figaro, January 29.

No. 135. 105. An Extraordinary Letter from Von Moltke. By Count Von Moltke.
From Le Voltaire, February 5.

No. 136. 106. Chinese Women. By Lydie Paschkoff.
From Le Figaro.

No. 137. 107. A Haul at Madagascar in 1717. By Chas. Baissac.
From Récits Créoles.

No. 138. 108. Pierrot. By Guy de Maupassant.

No. 139. 109. My Aunt Minon. By Chas. Baissac.
From Récits Créoles.

No. 140. 110. An Episode of the War in Soudan. By Victor Cherbuliez.
From an address before the Cinq Academies.

No. 141. 111. The Punishment of the Unfaithful Lover. By Sacher-Masoch.
From "The Mother of God."

No. 142. 112. The Sorceress. The Comte d'Avesnes. By Michelet.
From "La Sorcière."

No. 143. 113. The Great Fiddler of the Nineteenth Century. By "L'Homme Masque."
From Le Voltaire, October 8.

No. 144. 114. The Duello. By Ignotus.
From Le Figaro, August 31.

No. 145. 115. How Balzac Found Names for his Novels. By Léon Gozlan.
From Le Figaro.

No. 146. 116. Tchernyschevsky and the Women of Nihilism. By Victor Tissot.
From "Les Pères du Nihilisme," in L'Illustration.

No. 147. 117. Emile Zola on Style. By Emile Zola.
From Le Figaro.

No. 148. 118. The Man of the XVIth Century. By Victorien Sardou.
From Le Figaro, February 4.

No. 149. 119. The Forest Growing in the Heart of Paris. By Camille Flammarion.
From Le Voltaire, June 25.

No. 150. 120. The Tomb of Nichelet. By An Old Parisian.
From Le Figaro, July 10.

No. 151. 121. A Master Wizard. By Un Vieux Parisien.
From Le Figaro, October 6.

No. 152. 122. By Rail Across the Sahara. By Charles de Maurceley.
From Le Voltaire, January 23 and 27.

No. 153. 123. In the House of Mahomet. By Ignotus.
From Le Figaro, October 20.

No. 154. 124. The Chinese in Pnom-Penh, Cambodia. By Albert de Chenclos.
From La Revue Liberale.

[Pg 281] No. 155. 125. Algeria. By Ignotus.
From Le Figaro, June 15.

No. 156. 126. The Drum. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Contes de la Bécasse."

No. 157. 127. Henry Charles Read. By Maxime du Camp.
From "Souvenirs Litteraires."

No. 158. 128. Recollections of Baudelaire. By Maxime du Camp.
From "Souvenirs Litteraires."

No. 159. 129. A Converted Libertine. By Ricardo Palma. (Lima, 1880.)

No. 160. 130. Women of Fashionable Paris Society. By Emile Zola.
From Le Figaro, June 27.

No. 161. 131. La Parisienne. By Adrien Marx.
From Le Figaro, May 13.

No. 162. 132. At Sea. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Contes de la Bécasse."

No. 163. 133. "Aunt Ess." By Arnold Mortier.
From Le Figaro's "Contes d'Été," August 23.

No. 164. 134. Pasteur.
From Le Figaro, November 23.

No. 165. 135. A Ghost. By Parisis.
From Le Voltaire, October 23.

No. 166. 136. Matrimonial Agencies at Paris. By Ignotus.
From Le Figaro, April 20.

No. 167. 137. Liszt. By Ignotus.
From Le Figaro, May 25.

No. 168. 138. The Stranglers of Paris, etc. By George Grison.
From Le Figaro, May 23.

No. 169. 139. The Lights of the Wedding. By R. M.
From La Epoca, January 10.

No. 170. 140. The Foundation of Skadra (Scutari). By W. Stephanowitsch.
From French translation.

No. 171. 141. The Last Hideous Days of the Flatters Mission.
From Le Figaro, September 23.

No. 172. 142. The Two Neighbours. By Julia de Asensi.
From La Epoca, April 18.

No. 173. 143. Candita. By "Almaviva."
From La Epoca, October 18.

No. 174. 144. A Drunken Lion. By Hector de Callias.
From Le Figaro, June 30.

No. 175. 145. The Song of Love Triumphant. By Ivan Tourgueneff.
From Le Figaro.

No. 176. 146. A Rich Man's Death. By Emile Zola.
From Le Figaro, August 1.

No. 177. 147. Germanillo. By "Juan Manuel de Capua."
From La Epoca, December 27.

No. 178. 148. Simon's Papa. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "La Maison Tellier."

No. 179. 149. "Las Hechas Y Por Hacer." By Ricardo Palma. (Lima, 1879.)

[Pg 282]No. 180. 150. The Bishop's Twenty Thousand Godos. By Ricardo Palma.

No. 181. 151. "Los Postres del Festin." By Ricardo Palma.
From La Raza Latina, February 29.

No. 182. 152. The Blessed Bread. By François Coppée.
From Le Figaro, March 6.

No. 183. 153. The Invitation to Sleep. By François Coppée.
From Le Figaro's "Contes d'Été."

No. 184. 154. Cousin Rosa. By "Almaviva."
From La Epoca, March 17.

No. 185. 155. The Chemise of Margarita Pareja. By Ricardo Palma.
From La Raza Latina.

No. 186. 156. The Just Man. By F. Luzel.
From Luzel's Collection.

No. 187. 157. Saint Peter's Betrothed. By De Luzel.

No. 188. 158. Fantic Loho. By Luzel.
From "Breton Legends."

No. 189. 159. The Adventures of Walter Schnaffs. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Contes de la Bécasse."

No. 190. 160. L'Abandounado. By René Maizeroy.
From "The Love That Bleeds."

No. 191. 161. Flaubert at Sparta. By Maxime du Camp.
From Revue des Deux Mondes.

No. 192. 162. Daddy Goat and Daddy Tiger. By Pa Lindor.
From Le Courrier des Opelousas.

No. 193. 163. The Great Chinese Vase. By Edmond de L.
From Le Figaro, February 17.

No. 194. 164. The Two Porcelain Vases. By Charles Richard.
From Le Figaro.

No. 195. 165. A Bit of Jewish Folk Lore. By Leopold Kompert.
From "Scenes du Ghetto."

No. 196. 166. A Story of the Ghetto. By Leopold Kompert.
From "Scenes du Ghetto."

No. 197. 167. A Legend of Rabbi Loeb. By Daniel Stauben.

No. 198. 168. Loulou. By Lucien Griveau.

No. 199. 169. The Cabecilla; the Story of the Carlist War. By Alphonse Daudet.

No. 200. 170. Tried, Condemned, Executed. By P. Didier.

No. 201. 171. The Man with the Golden Brain. By Alphonse Daudet.
From "Ballades en Prose."

No. 202. 172. The Death of the Dauphin, etc. By Alphonse Daudet.

No. 203. 173. My First Duel. By Carle de Perrières.
From "Paris-Joyeux."

No. 204. 174. My Two Cats. By Emile Zola.

No. 205. 175. The Khouans. By N. Ney.
From L'Illustration, July 30.

No. 206. 176. The Dead Wife.
After S. Juhens' French translation from Chinese.

No. 207. 177. Scenes of Polish Life. By Krazewski.
From "Jermola," Le Figaro.

[Pg 283]No. 208. 178. Memory of Algeria. By Alphonse Daudet.
From "Tartarin de Tarascon," Nouvelle Revue.

No. 209. 179. Anecdote of Baudelaire. "Les Fantaisites." By Pierre Quiroul.
From Le Figaro, August 15.

No. 210. 180. Adelaide Neilson.
From L'Illustration, August 21.

No. 211. 181. A Morning with Baudelaire. By "Theodore de Grave."

No. 212. 182. "L'Enfant de la Balle." By François Coppée.
From Le Figaro.

No. 213. 183. Poetical Illusions. By Maxime du Camp.
From "Souvenirs Litteraires."

No. 214. 184. The Moon's Blessings. By Charles Baudelaire.

No. 215. 185. Patti and Her New Home. By "Adrien Marx."
From Le Figaro.

No. 216. 186. The Ghostly Mass. By Luzel.
From "Veillees Bretonnes."

No. 217. 187. Solitude. By Guy de Maupassant.
From "Monsieur Parent."

No. 218. "Fantastics."

1. "Aida." 2. Hiouen-Thsang. 3. El Vomito. (?) 4. The
Devil's Carbuncle. 5. A Hemisphere in a Woman's Hair. 6. The
Clock. 7. The Fool and Venus. 8. The Stranger.

No. 219. The winter of 1877, Mr. Hearn contributed from New
Orleans, a series of letters to the Cincinnati Commercial under the
name of "Ozias Midwinter."



[44] If published also in book-form, the title of the book is given.

(Nos. 220-275)

No. 220. The Scenes of Cable's Romances.
The Century Magazine, November, 1883, vol. 27 (N. S. Vol. 5), p. 40.

No. 221. Quaint New Orleans and its Habitants.
Harper's Weekly, December 6, 1884, vol. 28, p. 812.

No. 222. New Orleans Exposition.
Harper's Weekly, January 3, 1885, vol. 29, p. 14.

No. 223. The Creole Patois.
Harper's Weekly, January 10, 1885, vol. 29, p. 27.

No. 224. The Creole Patois.
Harper's Weekly, January 17, 1885, vol. 29, p. 43.

[Pg 284] No. 225. New Orleans Exposition.
Harper's Weekly, January 31, 1885, vol. 29, p. 71

No. 226. The East at New Orleans.
Harper's Weekly, March 7, 1885, vol. 29, p. 155.

No. 227. Mexico at New Orleans.
Harper's Weekly, March 14, 1885, vol. 29, p. 167.

No. 228. The New Orleans Exposition. Some Oriental Curiosities.
Harper's Bazaar, March 28, 1885, vol. 18, p. 201.

No. 229. The New Orleans Exposition. Notes of a Curiosity Hunter.
Harper's Bazaar, April 4, 1885, vol. 18, p. 218

No. 230. The Government Exhibit at New Orleans.
Harper's Weekly, April 11, 1885, vol. 29, p. 234.

No. 231. The Legend of Tchi-Niu. A Chinese Story of Filial Piety.
Harper's Bazaar, October 31, 1885, vol. 18, p. 703. "Some Chinese Ghosts," 1887.

No. 232. The Last of the Voudoos.
Harper's Weekly, November 7, 1885, vol. 29, p. 726.

No. 233. New Orleans Superstitions.
Harper's Weekly, December 25, 1886, vol. 30, p. 843.

No. 234. Rabyah's Last Ride. A tradition of Pre-Islamic Arabia.
Harper's Bazaar, April 2, 1887, vol. 20, p. 239.

No. 235. Chita.
Harper's Monthly, April, 1888, vol. 76, p. 733. "Chita," 1890.

No. 236. A Midsummer Trip to the West Indies.
Harper's Monthly, July-September, 1888, vol. 77, pp. 209, 327, 614. "Two Years in the French West Indies," 1890.

No. 237. La Vérette and the Carnival in St. Pierre, Martinique.
Harper's Monthly, October, 1888, vol. 77, p. 737. "Two Years in the French West Indies," 1890.

No. 238. Les Porteuses.
Harper's Monthly, July, 1889, vol. 79, p. 299. "Two Years in the French West Indies," 1890.

No. 239. At Grand Anse.
Harper's Monthly, November, 1889, vol. 79, p. 844. "Two Years in the French West Indies," 1890.

No. 240. A Ghost.
Harper's Monthly, December, 1889, vol. 80, p. 116.

No. 241. Youma.
Harper's Monthly, January-February, 1890, vol. 80, pp. 218, 408. "Youma," 1890.

No. 242. Karma.
Lippincott's Magazine, May, 1890, vol. 45, p. 667.

No. 243. A Study of Half-Breed Races in the West Indies.
The Cosmopolitan, June, 1890, vol. 9, p. 167.

No. 244. West Indian Society of Many Colourings.
The Cosmopolitan, July, 1890, vol. 9, p. 337.

No. 245. A Winter Journey to Japan.
Harper's Monthly, November, 1890, vol. 81, p. 860.

[Pg 285] No. 246. At the Market of the Dead.
Atlantic Monthly, September, 1891, vol. 68, p. 382. "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," 1894.

No. 247. The Chief City of the Province of the Gods.
Atlantic Monthly, November, 1891, vol. 68, p. 621. "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," 1894.

No. 248. The Most Ancient Shrine in Japan.
Atlantic Monthly, December, 1891, vol. 68, p. 780. "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," 1894.

No. 249. In a Japanese Garden.
Atlantic Monthly, July, 1892, vol. 70, p. 14. "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," 1894.

No. 250. Of a Dancing Girl.
Atlantic Monthly, March, 1893, vol. 71, p. 332. "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," 1894.

No. 251. The Japanese Smile.
Atlantic Monthly, May, 1893, vol. 71, p. 634. "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," 1894.

No. 252. Of the Eternal Feminine.
Atlantic Monthly, December, 1893, vol. 72, p. 761. "Out of the East," 1895.

No. 253. The Red Bridal.
Atlantic Monthly, July, 1894, vol. 74, p. 74. "Out of the East," 1895.

No. 254. At Hakata.
Atlantic Monthly, October, 1894, vol. 74, p. 510. "Out of the East," 1895.

No. 255. From my Japanese Diary.
Atlantic Monthly, November, 1894, vol. 74, p. 609.

No. 256. A Wish Fulfilled.
Atlantic Monthly, January, 1895, vol. 75, p. 90. "Out of the East," 1895.

No. 257. In the Twilight of the Gods.
Atlantic Monthly, June, 1895, vol. 75, p. 791. "Kokoro," 1896.

No. 258. The Genius of Japanese Civilization.
Atlantic Monthly, October, 1895, vol. 76, p. 449. "Kokoro," 1896.

No. 259. After the War.
Atlantic Monthly, November, 1895, vol. 76, p. 599. "Kokoro," 1896.

No. 260. Notes from a Travelling Diary.
Atlantic Monthly, December, 1895, vol. 76, p. 815. "Kokoro," 1896.

No. 261. China and the Western World.
Atlantic Monthly, April, 1896, vol. 77, p. 450.

No. 262. A Trip to Kyōto.
Atlantic Monthly, May, 1896, vol. 77, p. 613. "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," 1897.

No. 263. About Faces in Japanese Art.
Atlantic Monthly, August, 1896, vol. 78, p. 219. "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," 1897.

[Pg 286] No. 264. Out of the Street: Japanese Folk-Songs.
Atlantic Monthly, September, 1896, vol. 78, p. 347. "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," 1897.

No. 265. Dust.
Atlantic Monthly, November, 1896, vol. 78, p. 642, "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," 1897.

No. 266. A Living God.
Atlantic Monthly, December, 1896, vol. 78, p. 833. "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," 1897.

No. 267. Notes of a Trip to Izumo.
Atlantic Monthly, May, 1897, vol. 79, p. 678.

No. 268. The Story of Mimi-Nashi Hōïchi.
Atlantic Monthly, August, 1903, vol. 92, p. 237. "Kwaidan," 1904.

No. 269. The Dream of Akinosuké.
Atlantic Monthly, March, 1904, vol. 93, p. 340. "Kwaidan," 1904.

No. 270. A Letter from Japan.
Atlantic Monthly, November, 1904, vol. 94, p. 625. "The Romance of the Milky Way," 1905.

No. 271. The Story of Itō Norisuké.
Atlantic Monthly, January, 1905, vol. 95, p. 98. "The Romance of the Milky Way," 1905.

No. 272. Stranger than Fiction.
Atlantic Monthly, April, 1905, vol. 95, p. 494. "The Romance of the Milky Way," 1905.

No. 273. The Romance of the Milky Way.
Atlantic Monthly, August, 1905, vol. 96, p. 238. "The Romance of the Milky Way," 1905.

No. 274. Ultimate Questions.
Atlantic Monthly, September, 1905, vol. 96, p. 391. "The Romance of the Milky Way," 1905.

No. 275. Two Memories of a Childhood.
Atlantic Monthly, October, 1906, vol. 98, p. 445.



(Nos. 276-280)

No. 276. Le Sourire japonais.
Traduction de Madame Léon Raynal, Revue de Paris, July 15, 1900, Year 7, vol. 4, p. 429.

No. 277. Une Danseuse japonais.
Traduction de Madame Léon Raynal, Revue de Paris, March 15, 1901, Year 8, vol. 2, p. 330.

[Pg 287] No. 278. Le Nirvâna, étude de Bouddhisme Synthétique.
Traduite par M. & Mme. Charles-Marie Garnier, Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 1903, Year 11, p. 352.

No. 279. Kitsonné (superstition japonaise).
Traduction de Madame Léon Raynal, Revue de Paris, November 1, 1903, Year 10, vol. 6, p. 188.

No. 280. Cimètieres et Temples japonais (Jizō).
Traduction de Madame Léon Raynal, Revue de Paris, April 15, 1904, Year 11, vol. 2, p. 829.



(Nos. 281-282)

No. 281.

1885. AVATAR. Par Gautier, Translation by Lafcadio Hearn. Unable to find a publisher, Hearn destroyed the manuscript.

No. 282.

THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTHONY, by Gustave Flaubert; translated from the Fifth Paris Edition, Vols. I-II. (Manuscript copy in the possession of Dr. Gould.) The half-page containing, at one time, probably, the translator's name, is cut off. The title-page is preceded by a half-page, printed, of directions to the printer, regarding size of type, etc.

The volumes are 6 x 9-1/2 inches, opening at the end. The writing is in pencil, and the letters large, even for an ordinary handwriting, but remarkably so for that of Hearn, who, when writing with a pen, made his letters very small. The paper has the yellow tint habitually used by him.

Volume I contains 364 pages; Volume II, numbered consecutively, the balance of a total of 679 pages. Five pages of addenda follow, containing notes upon passages, with original texts, etc., which the American publisher would hardly dare to put forth.

Hearn's synopsis (printed) of the "St. Anthony" accompanies the text of the translation, and is reproduced herewith:—



Sunset in the desert. Enfeebled by prolonged fasting, the hermit finds himself unable to concentrate his mind upon holy things. His thoughts wander: memories of youth evoke regrets that his relaxed [Pg 288] will can no longer find strength to suppress;—and, remembrance begetting remembrance, his fancy leads him upon dangerous ground. He dreams of his flight from home,—of Ammonaria, his sister's playmate,—of his misery in the waste,—his visit to Alexandria with the blind monk Didymus,—the unholy sights of the luxurious city.

Involuntarily he yields to the nervous dissatisfaction growing upon him. He laments his solitude, his joylessness, his poverty, the obscurity of his life: grace departs from him; hope burns low within his heart. Suddenly revolting against his weakness, he seeks refuge from distraction in the study of the Scriptures.

Vain effort! An invisible hand turns the leaves, placing perilous texts before his eyes. He dreams of the Maccabees slaughtering their enemies, and desires that he might do likewise with the Arians of Alexandria;—he becomes inspired with admiration of King Nebuchadnezzar;—he meditates voluptuously upon the visit of Sheba's queen to Solomon;—discovers a text in the Acts of the Apostles antagonistic to principles of monkish asceticism,—indulges in reveries regarding the riches of the Biblical Kings and holy men. The Tempter comes to tempt him with evil hallucinations for which the Saint's momentary frailty has paved the way; and with the Evil One comes also—

The Seven Deadly Sins

Phantom gold is piled up to excite Covetousness; shadowy banquets appear to evoke Gluttony. The scene shifts to aid the temptations of Anger and of Pride....

Anthony finds himself in Alexandria, at the head of a wild army of monks slaughtering the heretics and the pagans, without mercy for age or sex. In fantastic obedience to the course of his fancy while reading the Scriptures a while before, and like an invisible echo of his evil thoughts, the scene changes again. Alexandria is transformed into Constantinople.

Anthony finds himself the honoured of the Emperor. He beholds the vast circus in all its splendour, the ocean of faces, the tumult of excitement. Simultaneously he beholds his enemies degraded to the condition of slaves, toiling in the stables of Constantine. He feels joy in the degradation of the Fathers of Nicæa. Then all is transformed.

It is no longer the splendour of Constantinople he beholds under the luminosity of a Greek day; but the prodigious palace of Nebuchadnezzar by night. He beholds the orgies, the luxuries, the abominations;—and the spirit of Pride enters triumphantly into him as the spirit of Nebuchadnezzar....

Awakening as from a dream, he finds himself again before his hermitage. A vast caravan approaches, halts; and the Queen of Sheba descends to tempt the Saint with the deadliest of all temptations. Her beauty is enhanced by Oriental splendour of adornment; her converse is a song of witchcraft. The Saint remains firm.... The Seven Deadly Sins depart from him.

[Pg 289] The Heresiarchs

But now the Tempter assumes a subtler form. Under the guise of a former disciple of Anthony,—Hilarion,—the demon, while pretending to seek instruction seeks to poison the mind of Anthony with hatred of the fathers of the church. He repeats all the scandals amassed by ecclesiastical intriguers, all the calumnies created by malice;—he cites texts only to foment doubt, and quotes the Evangels only to make confusion. Under the pretext of obtaining mental enlightenment from the wisest of men, he induces Anthony to enter with him into a spectral basilica, wherein are assembled all the Heresiarchs of the third century. The hermit is confounded by the multitude of tenets,—horrified by the blasphemies and abominations of Elkes, Corpocrates, Valentinus, Manes, Cerdo,—disgusted by the perversions of the Paternians, Marcosians, Serpentians,—bewildered by the apocryphal Gospels of Eve and of Judas, of the Lord and of Thomas.

And Hilarion grows taller.

The Martyrs

Anthony finds himself in the dungeons of a vast amphitheatre, among Christians condemned to the wild beasts. By this hallucination the tempter would prove to the Saint that martyrdom is not always suffered for purest motives. Anthony finds the martyrs possessed of bigotry and insincerity. He sees many compelled to die against their will; many who would forswear their faith could it avail them aught. He beholds heretics die for their heterodoxy more nobly than orthodox believers.

He finds himself transported to the tombs of the martyrs. He witnesses the meeting of Christian women at the sepulchres. He beholds the touching ceremonies of prayer change into orgie,—lamentations give place to amorous dalliance.

The Magicians

Then the Tempter seeks to shake Anthony's faith in the excellence and evidence of miracles. He assumes the form of a Hindoo Brahmin, terminating a life of wondrous holiness by self-cremation;—he appears as Simon Magus and Helen of Tyre,—as Apollonius of Tyana, greatest of all thaumaturgists, who claim superiority to Christ. All the marvels related by Philostratus are embodied in the converse of Apollonius and Damis.

The Gods

Hilarion reappears, taller than ever, growing more gigantic in proportion to the increasing weakness of the Saint. Standing beside Anthony he evokes all the deities of the antique world. They defile before him a marvellous panorama;—Gods of Egypt and India, Chaldæa and Hellas, Babylon and Ultima Thule,—monstrous and multiform, phallic and ithyphallic, fantastic and obscene. Some intoxicate by their beauty; others appal by their foulness. The Buddha recounts the story of his wondrous life; Venus displays the [Pg 290] rounded daintiness of her nudity; Isis utters awful soliloquy. Lastly the phantom of Jehovah appears, as the shadow of a god passing away for ever.

Suddenly the stature of Hilarion towers to the stars; he assumes the likeness and luminosity of Lucifer; he announces himself as—


And Anthony is lifted upon mighty wings and borne away beyond the world, above the solar system, above the starry arch of the Milky Way. All future discoveries of Astronomy are revealed to him. He is tempted by the revelation of innumerable worlds,—by the refutation of all his previous ideas of the nature of the Universe,—by the enigmas of infinity,—by all the marvels that conflict with faith. Even in the night of the Immensity the demon renews the temptation of reason; Anthony wavers upon the verge of pantheism.

Lust and Death

Anthony, abandoned by the Spirit of Science, comes to himself in the desert. Then the Tempter returns under a two-fold aspect: as the Spirit of Fornication and the Spirit of Destruction. The latter urges him to suicide,—the former to indulgence of sense. They inspire him with strong fancies of palingenesis, of the illusion of death, of the continuity of life. The pantheistic temptation intensifies.

The Monsters

Anthony in reveries meditates upon the monstrous symbols painted upon the walls of certain ancient temples. Could he know their meaning he might learn also something of the secret lien between Matter and Thought. Forthwith a phantasmagoria of monsters commence to pass before his eyes:—the Sphinx and the Chimera, the Blemmyes and Astomi, the Cynocephali and all creatures of mythologic creation. He beholds the fabulous beings of Oriental imagining,—the abnormities described by Pliny and Herodotus,—the fantasticalities to be adopted later by heraldry,—the grotesqueries of future mediæval illumination made animate;—the goblinries and foulnesses of superstitious fancy,—the Witches' Sabbath of abominations.


The multitude of monsters melts away; the land changes into an Ocean; the creatures of the briny abysses appear. And the waters in turn also change; seaweeds are transformed to herbs, forests of coral give place to forests of trees, polypous life changes to vegetation. Metals crystallize; frosts effloresce, plants become living things, inanimate matter takes animate form, monads vibrate, the pantheism of nature makes itself manifest. Anthony feels a delirious desire to unite himself with the Spirit of Universal Being....

The vision vanishes. The sun arises. The face of Christ is revealed. The temptation has passed; Anthony kneels in prayer.

L. H.

[Pg 291]



(Nos. 283-284)

No. 283.

1906. THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF LAFCADIO HEARN. By Elizabeth Bisland. With Illustrations. In two volumes. (Publisher's Vignette.) Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company (The Riverside Press, Cambridge), 1906.

8vo., 2 vols., pp. (VIII), 475, 554, black cloth, Japanese characters on small red disc, gold lettering, gilt top.

Volume I.
(V-VIII) Preface by E. B.


Introductory Sketch

I. Boyhood
II. The Artist's Apprenticeship
III. The Master Workman
IV. The Last Stage


List of Illustrations.

Volume II.
List of Illustrations.
Letters (continued)
Pages 519-529 Appendix.
Pages 533-554 Index.

Articles and Reviews:—
Academy, The, January 26, 1907, vol. 72, p. 88.
Athenæum, The, February 2, 1907, p. 126.
Current Literature, January, 1907, vol. 42, p. 49.
Dunbar, Olivia Howard, North American Review, February 15, 1907, vol. 184, p. 417.
Greenslet, Ferris, Atlantic Monthly, February, 1907, vol. 99, p. 261.
Godkin, F. W., The Dial, December 16, 1906, vol. 41, p. 447.
Huneker, James, New York Times, The, December 1, 1906, vol. 11, p. 817.
Nation, The, November 29, 1906, vol. 83, p. 464.
New York Evening Post, The, December 1, 1906.
New York Tribune, The, December 5, 1906.
Tunison, J. S., Dayton (Ohio) Journal, The, December 25, 1906.

[Pg 292] No. 284.

1907. LETTERS FROM THE RAVEN, being the Correspondence of Lafcadio Hearn with Henry Watkin, with Introduction and critical comment by the editor, Milton Bronner. (Vignette drawing of the Raven.) New York: Brentano's, 1907.

12mo., pp. 201, half cloth brown. Ornamental black and gold back, gilt top.


Letters from the Raven
Letters to a Lady
Letters of Ozias Midwinter



(Nos. 285-388)


No. 285. A review of "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," November 13, 1897, vol. 52, p. 395.

No. 286. "Koizumi Yakumo—Lafcadio Hearn," by N. C., April 13, 1901, vol. 60, p. 328.

No. 287. Sketch and list of works, October 8, 1904, vol. 67, p. 305.

No. 288. A review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," by W. Teignmouth Shore, December 10, 1904, vol. 67, p. 584.

No. 289. A review of "The Romance of the Milky Way," December 2, 1905, vol. 69, p. 1257.

No. 290. A review of "The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn," January 26, 1907, vol. 72, p. 88.


No. 291. Atlantic Monthly, "Lafcadio Hearn, the Man," October, 1905, vol. 96, p. 510.


No. 292. A review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," by Edmund Buckley, of the University of Chicago, January, 1905, vol. 10, p. 545.


No. 293. "Lafcadio Hearn, Interpretator of Japan," November, 1904, vol. 30, p. 561.

[Pg 293] ATHENÆUM, The

No. 294. A review of "Youma," August 30, 1890, p. 284.

No. 295. A review of "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," November 10, 1894, p. 634.

No. 296. A review of "Out of the East," August 24, 1895, p. 249.

No. 297. A review of "Kokoro," August 8, 1896, p. 185.

No. 298. A review of "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," November 13, 1897, p. 664.

No. 299. A review of "Exotics and Retrospectives," January 6, 1900, p. 11.

No. 300. A review of "Shadowings," January 5, 1901, p. 15.

No. 301. A review of "A Japanese Miscellany," December 21, 1901, p. 833.

No. 302. A review of "Kottō," January 17, 1903, p. 77.

No. 303. A review of "Kwaidan," September 17, 1904, p. 373.

No. 304. A review of "The Romance of the Milky Way," March 31, 1906, p. 389.

No. 305. A review of "The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn," February 2, 1907, p. 126.


No. 306. A review of "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," and "Out of the East," by Mrs. M. McN. Scott, June, 1895, vol. 75, p. 830.

No. 307. A review of "In Ghostly Japan," by Jukichi Inouye, September, 1900, vol. 86, p. 399.

No. 308. "Lafcadio Hearn: The Meeting of Three Ways," by Paul Elmer More, February, 1903, vol. 91, p. 204.

No. 309. A review of "Kwaidan," June, 1904, vol. 93, p. 857.

No. 291. "Lafcadio Hearn: the Man," by Nobushige Amenomori, October, 1905, vol. 96, p. 510.

No. 310. "Lafcadio Hearn," by Ferris Greenslet, February, 1907, vol. 99, p. 261.


No. 311. Sketch by O. P. Caylor (Reprinted from an article in the Philadelphia North American), January 15, 1890, vol. 2, p. 51.


No. 312. "Lafcadio Hearn," by J. S. Tunison, May, 1896, vol. 13, p. 209.

No. 313. A review of "Kokoro," by Tozo Takayanagi, May, 1896, vol. 13, p. 229.

No. 314. "Through the Medium of a Temperament," by John Harrison Wagner, June, 1898, vol. 16, p. 437.

No. 315. A review of "Kottō," December, 1902, vol. 25, p. 416.


No. 316. A review of "Shadowings," by F. T. C., February, 1901, vol. 12, p. 582.

[Pg 294] No. 317. A review of "Kwaidan," November, 1904, vol. 20, p. 159.

No. 318. "The Late Lafcadio Hearn," November, 1904, vol. 20, p. 190.


No. 292. The American Journal of Sociology, a review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," January, 1905, vol. 10, P. 545.


No. 311. The Author, January 15, 1890, vol. 2, p. 51.


No. 319. Short Sketch of Hearn, and reprints "Fragment," "Juiroku-zakura," "Riki-Baka," "Yuki-Onna," "The Screen Maiden," September, 1905, vol. 42, p. 245.


No. 320. "Lafcadio Hearn," by Francis Hackett.


No. 321. Current Literature, "Lafcadio Hearn: the author of 'Kokoro.'" (Reprinted from the New York Herald.) June, 1896, vol. 19, p. 476.


No. 322. Harper's Monthly, "The Recent Movement in Southern Literature," May, 1887, vol. 74, p. 855.


No. 323. A review of "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," April 9, 1898, vol. 29, p. 248.

No. 324. "Mr. Hearn's Japanese Shadowings," by Adachi Kinnosuké, January, 1901, vol. 38, p. 29.

No. 325. "Lafcadio Hearn's Funeral," by Margaret Emerson, January, 1905, vol. 46, p. 34.

No. 326. A review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," by Wm. Elliot Griffis, February, 1905, vol. 46, p. 185.

No. 327. "Hearn's Stories of Old Japan," by W. E. Griffis, March, 1906, vol. 48, p. 222.

No. 328. "Letters of a Poet to a Musician," by Henry E. Krehbiel, April, 1906, vol. 48, p. 309.


No. 321. "Lafcadio Hearn: the author of 'Kokoro,'" by Colonel John A. Cockerill. (Reprinted from the New York Herald.) June, 1896, vol. 19, p. 476.

No. 329. "A Glimpse of Lafcadio Hearn," October, 1899, vol. 26, p. 310.

[Pg 295] No. 330. "Lafcadio Hearn: a Dreamer," by Yone Noguchi. (Reprinted from the National Magazine.) June, 1905, vol. 38, p. 521.

No. 331. "The Mystic Dream of Lafcadio Hearn," January, 1907, vol. 42, p. 49.


No. 332. Editorial on Lafcadio Hearn, September 30, 1904.

No. 333. "Lafcadio Hearn," by J. S. Tunison, December 25, 1906.


No. 334. A review of "Exotics and Retrospectives," July 16, 1899, vol. 27, p. 52.

No. 335. A review of "Shadowings," January 1, 1901, vol. 30, p. 19.

No. 336. A review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," by Wm. Elliot Griffis, December 1, 1904, vol. 36, p. 368.

No. 337. A review of "The Romance of the Milky Way," November 1, 1905, vol. 39, p. 276.

No. 338. "Self-Revelation of Lafcadio Hearn," by F. W. Godkin, December 16, 1906, vol. 41, p. 447.


No. 339. North American Review, a review of "The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn," February 15, 1907, vol. 184, p. 417.


No. 325. The Critic, "Lafcadio Hearn's Funeral," January, 1905, vol. 46, p. 34.


No. 340. "A Native's Tribute to the Dead American Poet of Japan," November 11, 1904.


No. 341. A review of "The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn," December 1, 1906.


No. 342. A review of "Chita," November 2, 1889.

F. T. C.

No. 316. The Bookman, a review of "Shadowings," February, 1901, vol. 12, p. 582.


No. 343. "Lafcadio Hearn: a Study of his Personality and Art," by George M. Gould, October-November, 1906, vol. 86, pp. 685, 881.

[Pg 296] GODKIN, F. W.

No. 338. The Dial, "Self-Revelation of Lafcadio Hearn," December 16, 1906, vol. 41, p. 447.


No. 343. Putnam's Monthly, "Lafcadio Hearn: a Study of his Personality and Art," October-November, 1906, vol. 1, pp. 97, 156. The Same, Fortnightly Review, October-November, 1906, vol. 86, pp. 685, 881.


No. 310. Atlantic Monthly, "Lafcadio Hearn," February, 1907, vol. 99, p. 261.


No. 336. The Dial, a review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," December 1, 1904, vol. 36, p. 308.

No. 326. The Critic, a review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," February, 1905, vol. 46, p. 185.

No. 327. The Critic, "Hearn's Stories of Old Japan," March, 1906, vol. 48, p. 222.


No. 320. Chicago Evening Post, "Lafcadio Hearn."


No. 322. "The Recent Movement in Southern Literature," by Charles W. Coleman, Jr., May, 1887, vol. 74, p. 855.


No. 344. The New York Times, "Exotic Lafcadio Hearn: The Life and Letters of a Master of Nuance—Elizabeth Bisland's Sympathetic Biography," December 1, 1906, vol. 11, p. 817.


No. 345. Poet-Lore "The English of Lafcadio Hearn," Spring, 1905, vol. 16, p. 53.


No. 346. A review of "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," November 24, 1898, vol. 50, p. 1508.

No. 347. "An Interpreter of the East" (A review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation"), October 27, 1904, vol. 57, p. 976.

No. 348. A review of "The Romance of the Milky Way," December 21, 1905, vol. 59, p. 1478.


No. 307. Atlantic Monthly, a review of "In Ghostly Japan," September, 1900, vol. 86, p. 399.


No. 349. A review of "Stories and Sketches of Japan," 1905, vol. 25, p. XL.


No. 350. Nineteenth Century and After, "Lafcadio Hearn," January, 1906, vol. 59, p. 135.


No. 324. The Critic, "Mr. Hearn's Japanese Shadowings," January, 1901, vol. 38, p. 29.


No. 328. The Critic, "Letters of a Poet to a Musician," April, 1906, vol. 48, p. 309.

No. 351. The New York Tribune, "Hearn and Folk-Lore Music."


No. 352. A review of "The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard," February 15, 1890, vol. 21, p. 59.

No. 353. A review of "One of Cleopatra's Nights," February 14, 1891, vol. 22, p. 56.

No. 354. A review of "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," October 20, 1894, vol. 25, p. 347.

No. 355. A review of "Out of the East," April 20, 1895, vol. 26, p. 123.

No. 356. A review of "Kokoro," April 18, 1896, vol. 27, p. 116.

No. 357. A review of "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," November 13, 1897, vol. 28, p. 389.

No. 358. A review of "A Japanese Miscellany," December 1, 1901, vol. 32, p. 207.


No. 359. "Lafcadio Hearn," by Robert Young, March 23, 1907, vol. 252, p. 760. (Reprinted from the Speaker.)

MATHER, Jr., F. J.

No. 360. The Nation, "Lafcadio Hearn on Style" (editorial), December 6, 1906, vol. 83, p. 478.


No. 361. "Mr. Lafcadio Hearn on the Jesuit Missions in Japan," by Herbert Thurston, S. J., January, 1906, vol. 45, p. 1.


No. 308. Atlantic Monthly, "Lafcadio Hearn: the Meeting of Three Ways," February, 1903, vol. 91, p. 204.


No. 362. A review of "Gombo Zhèbes," April 23, 1885, vol. 40, p. 349.

[Pg 298] No. 363. A review of "Some Chinese Ghosts," May 26, 1887, vol. 44, p. 456.

No. 364. A review of "Youma," May 7, 1891, vol. 52, p. 385.

No. 365. A review of "Kokoro," July 9, 1896, vol. 63, p. 35.

No. 366. A review of "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," February 3, 1898, vol. 66, p. 97.

No. 367. A review of "Shadowings," November 8, 1900, vol. 71, p. 372.

No. 368. A review of "A Japanese Miscellany," January 9, 1902, vol. 74, p. 39.

No. 369. A review of "Kottō," March 26, 1903, vol. 76, p. 254.

No. 370. A review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," December 8, 1904, vol. 79, p. 465.

No. 371. A review of "Stories and Sketches of Japan," January 26, 1905, vol. 80, p. 68.

No. 372. A review of "The Romance of the Milky Way," December 21, 1905, vol. 81, p. 510.

No. 373. A review of "The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn," November 29, 1906, vol. 83, p. 464.

No. 360. "Lafcadio Hearn on Style" (editorial), by F. J. Mather, Jr., December 6, 1906, vol. 83, p. 478.


No. 350. "Lafcadio Hearn," by Nina H. Kennard, January, 1906, vol. 59, p. 135.


No. 330. Current Literature, "Lafcadio Hearn: a Dreamer." (Reprinted from the National Magazine.) June, 1905, vol. 38, p. 521.


No. 339. A review of "The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn," by Olivia Howard Dunbar, February 15, 1907, vol. 184, p. 417.


No. 374. A review of "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," October 16, 1897, vol. 57, p. 435.

No. 375. A review of "The Romance of the Milky Way," November 9, 1906, vol. 84, p. 503.


No. 345. "The English of Lafcadio Hearn," by Charles Woodward Hutson, Spring, 1905, vol. 16, p. 53.


No. 376. A review of "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," November 25, 1897, vol. 23, p. 694.

No. 377. A review of "Shadowings," October 18, 1900, vol. 29, p. 504.

[Pg 299] No. 378. A review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," October 27, 1904. vol. 37, p. 537.


No. 343. "Lafcadio Hearn: A Study of his Personality and Art," by George M. Gould, October-November, 1906, vol. I, pp. 97, 156.

SCOTT, Mrs. M. McN.

No. 306. Atlantic Monthly, a review of "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," and "Out of the East," June, 1895, vol. 75, p. 830.


No. 288. Academy, a review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," December 10, 1904, vol. 67, p. 584.


No. 379. A review of "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," November 17, 1894, vol. 73, p. 698.

No. 380. A review of "Out of the East," October 12, 1895, vol. 75, p.459.

No. 381. A review of "Kokoro," May 23, 1896, vol. 76, p. 739.

No. 382. A review of "Gleanings in Buddha-Fields," November 20, 1897, vol. 79, p. 736.

No. 383. A review of "Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation," January 14, 1905, vol. 94, p. 54.


No. 313. The Book Buyer, a review of "Kokoro," May, 1896, vol. 13, p. 229.

THURSTON, S. J., Herbert

No. 361. The Messenger, "Mr. Lafcadio Hearn on the Jesuit Missions in Japan," January, 1906, vol. 45, p. 1.


No. 384. "A Strange Career," August 5, 1906.

No. 385. "Lafcadio Hearn and His Friends," August 20, 1906.

No. 386. "Silken Fetters," May 26, 1907.

TIMES, The New York

No. 387. A review of "Two Years in the French West Indies," September 1, 1890.

No. 344. "Exotic Lafcadio Hearn: The Life and Letters of a Master of Nuance—Elizabeth Bisland's Sympathetic Biography," by James Huneker, December 1, 1906, vol. 11, p. 817.

TRIBUNE, The New York

No. 388. A review of "The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn," December 5, 1906.

No. 351. "Hearn and Folk-Lore Music," by H. E. Krehbiel.

[Pg 300] TUNISON, J. S.

No. 312. The Book Buyer, "Lafcadio Hearn," May, 1896, vol. 13, p. 209.

No. 333. The Dayton (Ohio) Journal, "Lafcadio Hearn," December 25, 1906.


No. 314. The Book Buyer, "Through the Medium of a Temperament," June, 1898, vol. 16, p. 437.


No. 359. The Living Age, "Lafcadio Hearn," March 23, 1907, vol. 252, p. 760.



(Nos. 389-398)



No. 389. "Ur en författares lif," af Konni Zilliacus, February 2, 1899.



No. 390. Revue des deux Mondes, "Un Peintre du Japon: Lafcadio Hearn,"[45] June 1, 1904, vol. 21, p. 556.


No. 391. "Impressions sur la vie japonaise," par Félicien Challayé, June, 1902, 3rd Series, 17th Cahier.


No. 391. Cahiers de la quinzaine, "Impressions sur la vie japonaise," June, 1902, 3rd Series, 17th Cahier.

No. 392. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale. "Un Philosophe japonisant, Lafcadio Hearn,"[45] 1903, vol. 11, p. 338.

No. 393. Revue de Paris, "Lafcadio Hearn et le Japon,"[45] December 1, 1904, vol. 6, p. 655.

[45] Translations by M. B. Easton, unpublished, in MSS., in the possession of Dr. Gould.


No. 390. "Un Peintre du Japon: 'Lafcadio Hearn,'"[46] par Th. Bentzon, June 1, 1904, vol. 21, p. 556.


No. 392. "Un Philosophe japonisant, Lafcadio Hearn,"[46] par Félicien Challayé, 1903, vol. 11, p. 338.


No. 393. "Lafcadio Hearn et le Japon,"[46] par Félicien Challayé, December 1, 1904, vol. 6, p. 655.



No. 394. Deutsche Rundschau "Lafcadio Hearn: Volksglaube und Volkssitte in Japan," October, 1900, vol. 105, p. 68.


No. 394. "Lafcadio Hearn: Volksglaube und Volkssitte in Japan," von M. von Brandt, October, 1900, vol. 105, p. 68.


No. 395. Die Nation, a review of "Kokoro,"[46] January 6, 1906, vol. 23, p. 217.


No. 396. Neue Freie Presse, "Lafcadio Hearn," March 26, 1905, vol. 31, p. 14580.


No. 395. A review of "Kokoro,"[46] von Wilhelm Herzog, January 6, 1906, vol. 23, p. 217.

[46] Translations by M. B. Easton, unpublished, in MSS., in the possession of Dr. Gould.


No. 396. "Lafcadio Hearn," von Professor Yrjö Hirn, March 26, 1905, vol. 31, p. 14580.


No. 397. "Ein englischer Japaner," von Th. Bentzon. (Deutsche von Leo Fried.) A condensation of Mme. Bentzon's article in Revue des deux Mondes. October 22-29, 1904, Year 7, Nr. 43, 44, pp. 987, 1001.



No. 398. Ord od Bild, 1905.


No. 398. Mrs. Karin Hirn, 1905.

[Pg 302]



(Nos. 399-424)

No. 399. The Last of the New Orleans Fencing Masters, Southern Bivouac, Louisville, Ky., New Series, vol. 2, Nov., 1886.

Speaks of the Story of Jean Louis, from Vigeant's Un Maître d'armes sous la restauration, and tells the tale of Don José Llulla. Six double column, 8vo. pages, size and style of Atlantic Monthly.

No. 400. The Legend of Skobeleff. Looks like an editorial in T.-D.[47] (No date, etc.)

[47] The New Orleans Times-Democrat.

No. 401. A Voudoo Dance. In style of T.-D. and of Hearn; unsigned, undated, was evidently in T.-D.

No. 402. The Future of France in the Orient. Editorial, doubtless in T.-D., undated.

No. 403. Pierre Loti. Translation by Hearn. "From the Original Manuscript," signed by "Pierre Loti" and "Translated by Lafcadio Hearn." Subheading: "Fragments from my Diary." Undated. Probably in T.-D.

No. 404. Death of the Great Danseuse of the Century. Unsigned and undated. Not in type of editorial, but of contributed matter in T.-D. Probably by Hearn.

No. 405. The First Muezzin. With Arabic Sub-title, under which is "Bilâl," and 15-line poetic excerpt from Edwin Arnold. Contains a musical setting of Prayer by Villoteau, Description de l'Egypte: Vol. XIV. Probably in T.-D. Without date, etc.

No. 406. Dorodom the Last. Editorial, probably in T.-D. Undated.

No. 407. The Naval Engagements of the Future. Translation from Le Figaro.

No. 408. Cable and the Negroes. Editorial, probably in T.-D. and by Hearn. No date.

No. 409. The Most Original of Modern Novelists (Loti). Editorial, probably in T.-D. Undated.

No. 410. Heroic Deeds at Sea. Editorial in T.-D. Undated.

No. 411. Study and Play. Editorial in T.-D. Undated.

No. 412. Arabian Women. Article contributed probably to T.-D. Undated.

No. 413. The Roar of a Great City. Editorial contributed probably to T.-D. Undated.

No. 414. Some Fossil Anthropology. Editorial probably by Hearn, and probably in T.-D. Undated.

No. 415. A Word for the Tramps. Editorial possibly by Hearn, and probably in T.-D.

No. 416. Torn Letters. Signed original story in T.-D. Undated. Later enlarged and published as "Chita."

[Pg 303] No. 417. Death and Resurrection in the Soudan. Editorial, probably in T.-D. Undated.

No. 418. A Memory of Two Fannies (Fanny Elssler, and Fanny Cerrito). Editorial, probably in T.-D. Undated.

No. 419. Shapira. Editorial, probably in T.-D. Undated.

No. 420. To the Fountain of Youth. Original, signed contribution: T.-D., May 24, 1885.

No. 421. The Creole Doctor. Some Curiosities of Medicine in Louisiana. From an Occasional Correspondent of The Tribune, New Orleans, Dec. 28th. Probably in New York Tribune. Undated. Signed Contribution.

No. 422. A Story of Hands. The Hand and its Gestures. Translation, Eugene Mouton, "From advance sheets." Undated.

No. 423. The Legend of the Tea-Plant. Original contribution, probably to the T.-D. Undated. Published later in "Some Chinese Ghosts," 1887.

No. 424. Academical Triumphs. Editorial, probably by Hearn, T.-D., Dec. 20, 1885.

Richard Clay & Sons, Limited,
bread street hill, e.c., and
bungay, suffolk.

Transcriber's Notes:

Some of the illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up paragraphs and so they correspond to the text, thus the page number of the illustration no longer matches the page number in the List of Illustrations.

On page 8, "ludricrous" was replaced with "ludicrous".

On page 28, "Lokis'" was replaced with "Loki's".

On page 55, "An E volutional History" was replaced with "An Evolutional History".

On page 56, the œ ligature was replaced with "OE".

On page 85, "As, mine are" was replaced with "As mine are".

On page 91, "it it incapable" was replaced with "it is incapable".

On page 97, the single quotation mark after "What insect stings so!" was changed to a double quotation mark.

On page 129, "gnored" was replaced with "ignored".

On page 133, "refocussed" was replaced with "refocused".

On page 159, "la belle negrésse" was replaced with "la belle négresse".

On page 188 through 190, there is a long quotation that is marked by a single set of quotation marks, which differs than the quotation scheme used elsewhere in the book. This inconsistency was not corrected.

On page 236, a quotation mark was removed from before "His book is a re-reading".

On page 252, "Karin Kirn" was replaced with "Karin Hirn".

On page 259, "n aye" was replaced with "n'aye".

On page 278, the closing single quotation mark after "Madame Bovary" was replaces with a closing double quotation mark.

On page 286, in the item No. 277, the period after "Raynal" was replaced with a comma, to be in agreement with the previous item.

On page 293, in the item 307, "p." was added before the page number.

On page 295, in the item 334, a quotation mark was added after "Exotics and Retrospectives,".

On page 295, in the item 341, a period was added after the date December 1, 1906.

On page 298, in the item 366, a stray comma was deleted after the word "February".

On page 299, in the item 387, a single quotation mark was replaced with a double quotation mark.

On page 301, in the item 390, the unmatched quotation marks were corrected.

End of Project Gutenberg's Concerning Lafcadio Hearn, by George M. Gould


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