The Project Gutenberg EBook of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol IV. No.
XX. January, 1852., by Various

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Title: Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol IV. No. XX. January, 1852.

Author: Various

Release Date: February 22, 2012 [EBook #38952]

Language: English

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[Pg 145]



No. XX—JANUARY, 1852—Vol. IV.

Benjamin Franklin and Signature



It is generally true in respect to great statesmen that they owe their celebrity almost entirely to their public and official career. They promote the welfare of mankind by directing legislation, founding institutions, negotiating treaties of peace or of commerce between rival states, and guiding, in various other ways, the course of public and national affairs, while their individual and personal influence attracts very little regard. With Benjamin Franklin, however, the reverse of this is true. He did indeed, while he lived, take a very active part, with other leading men of his time, in the performance of great public functions; but his claim to the extraordinary degree of respect and veneration which is so freely awarded to his name and memory by the American people, rests not chiefly upon this, but upon the extended influence which he has exerted, and which he still continues to exert upon the national mind, through the power of his private and personal character. The prevalence of habits of industry and economy, of foresight and thrift, of cautious calculation in the formation of plans, and energy and perseverance in the execution of them, and of the disposition to invest what is earned in substantial and enduring possessions, rather than to expend it in brief pleasures or for purposes of idle show—the prevalence of these traits, so far as they exist as elements of the national character in this country—is due in an incalculable degree to the doings and sayings and history of this great exemplar. Thus it is to his life and to his counsels that is to be attributed, in a very high degree, the formation of that great public sentiment prevailing so extensively among us, which makes it more honorable to be industrious than to be idle, and to be economical and prudent rather than extravagant and vain; which places substantial and unpretending prosperity above empty pretension, and real comfort and abundance before genteel and expensive display.

A very considerable portion of the effect which Franklin has produced upon the national character is due to the picturesque and almost romantic interest which attaches itself to the incidents of his personal history. In his autobiography he has given us a very full and a very graphic narrative of these incidents, and as the anniversary of his birth-day occurs during the present month, we can not occupy the attention of our readers at this time, in a more appropriate manner than by a brief review of the principal events of his life—so far as such a review can be comprised within the limits of a single article.

The Family Smithy

The ancestors of Franklin lived for many generations on a small estate in Northamptonshire, one of the central counties in England. The head of the family during all this time followed the business of a smith, the eldest son from generation to generation, being brought up to that employment.

The Franklin family were Protestants, and at one time when the Catholics were in power, during the reign of Mary, the common people were forbidden to possess or to read the English Bible. Nevertheless the Franklin family contrived to get possession of a copy of the Scriptures,[Pg 146] and in order to conceal it they kept it fastened on the under side of the seat of a little stool. The book was open, the back of the covers being against the seat, and the leaves being kept up by tapes which passed across the pages, and which were fastened to the seat of the stool at the ends. When Mr. Franklin wished to read his Bible to his family, he was accustomed to take up this stool and place it bottom upward upon his lap; and thus he had the book open before him. When he wished to turn over a leaf, he had to turn it under the tape, which, though a little inconvenient, was attended with no serious difficulty. During the reading one of the children was stationed at the door, to watch, and to give notice if an officer should be coming; and in case of an alarm the stool was immediately turned over and placed in its proper position upon the floor, the fringe which bordered the sides of it hanging down so as to conceal the book wholly from view. This was in the day of Franklin’s great-grandfather.

In process of time, after the Catholic controversy was decided, new religious dissensions sprang up between the Church of England and the Nonconformists. The family of Franklin were of the latter party, and at length Mr. Josiah Franklin—who was Benjamin Franklin’s father—concluded to join a party of his neighbors and friends, who had determined, in consequence of the restrictions which they were under in England, in respect to their religious faith and worship, to emigrate to America. Mr. Franklin came accordingly to Boston, and there, after a time, Benjamin Franklin was born. The place of his birth was in Milk-street, opposite to the Old South Church. The humble dwelling, however, in which the great philosopher was born, has long since disappeared. The magnificent granite warehouses of the Boston merchants now cover the spot, and on one of them is carved conspicuously the inscription, Birthplace of Franklin.

Mr. Josiah Franklin had been a dyer in England, but finding on his coming to Boston that there was but little to be done in that art in so new a country, he concluded to choose some other occupation; and he finally determined upon that of a tallow chandler. Benjamin was the youngest son. The others, as they gradually became old enough, were put to different trades, but as Benjamin showed a great fondness for his books, having learned to read of his own accord at a very early age, and as he was the youngest son, his father conceived the idea of educating him for the church. So they sent him to the grammar school, and he commenced his studies. He was very successful in the school, and rose from class to class quite rapidly; but still the plan of giving him a public education was at length, for some reason or other, abandoned, and Mr. Franklin took Benjamin into his store, to help him in his business. His duties here were to cut the wicks for the candles, to fill the moulds, to attend upon the customers, or to go of errands or deliver purchases about the town.

Franklin as a Boy

There was a certain mill-pond in a back part of the town, where Benjamin was accustomed to go sometimes, in his play-hours, with other boys, to fish. This mill-pond has long since been filled up, and its place is now occupied by the streets and warehouses of the city. In Franklin’s day, however, the place was somewhat solitary, and the shore of the pond being marshy, the boys soon trampled up the ground where they were accustomed to stand in fishing, so as to convert it into a perfect quagmire. At length young Franklin proposed to the boys that they should build a wharf, or pier, to stand upon—getting the materials for the purpose from a heap of stones that had been brought for a house which some workmen were building in the neighborhood. The boys at once acceded to the proposal. They all accordingly assembled at the spot one evening after the workmen had gone away for the night, and taking as many stones as they needed for the purpose, they proceeded to build their wharf.

The Boys Build a Wharf

[Pg 147]

The boys supposed very probably that the stones which they had taken would not be missed. The workmen, however, did miss them, and on making search the following morning they soon discovered what had become of them. The boys were thus detected, and were all punished.

Franklin’s father, though he was plain and unpretending in his manners, was a very sensible and well-informed man, and he possessed a sound judgment and an excellent understanding. He was often consulted by his neighbors and friends, both in respect to public and private affairs. He took great interest, when conversing with his family at table, in introducing useful topics of discourse, and endeavored in other ways to form in the minds of his children a taste for solid and substantial acquisitions. He was quite a musician, and was accustomed sometimes when the labors of the day were done, to play upon the violin and sing, for the entertainment of his family. This music Benjamin himself used to take great delight in listening to.

Franklin's Father Plays the Violin

Young Benjamin did not like his father’s trade—that of a chandler—and it was for a long time undecided what calling in life he should pursue. He wished very much to go to sea, but his parents were very unwilling that he should do so. His father, accordingly, in order to make him contented and willing to remain at home, took great pains to find some employment for him that he would like, and he was accustomed to walk about the town with him to see the workmen employed about their various trades. It was at last decided that he should learn the trade of a printer. One reason why this trade was decided upon was that one of Benjamin’s older brothers was a printer, and had just returned from England with a press and a font of type, and was about setting up his business in Boston. So it was decided that Benjamin should be bound to him, as his apprentice; and this was accordingly done. Benjamin was then about twelve years old.

Benjamin had always from his childhood manifested a great thirst for reading, which thirst he had now a much better opportunity to gratify than ever before, as his connection with printers and booksellers gave him facilities for borrowing books. Sometimes he would sit up all night to read the book so borrowed.

Franklin Reading at Night

Benjamin’s brother, the printer, did not keep house, but boarded his apprentices at a boarding house in the town. Benjamin pretty soon conceived the idea of boarding himself, on condition that his brother would pay to him the sum which he had been accustomed to pay for him to the landlady of the boarding house. By this plan he saved a large portion of the time which was allotted to dinner, for reading; for, as he remained alone in the printing office while the rest were gone, he could read, with the book in his lap, while partaking of the simple repast which he had provided.

Franklin Reading while Eating Dinner

[Pg 148]

Young Benjamin was mainly employed, of course, while in his brother’s office, in very humble duties; but he did not by any means confine himself to the menial services which were required of him, as the duty of the youngest apprentice. In fact he actually commenced his career as an author while in this subordinate position. It seems that several gentlemen of Boston, friends of his brother, used to write occasional articles for a newspaper which he printed; and they would sometimes meet at the office to discuss the subjects of their articles, and the effects that they produced. Benjamin determined to try his hand at this work. He accordingly wrote an article for the paper, and after copying it carefully in disguised writing, he put it late one night under the door. His brother found it there in the morning, and on reading it was much pleased with it. He read it to his friends when they came in—Benjamin being at work all the time near by, at his printing case, and enjoying very highly the remarks and comments which they made. He was particularly amused at the guesses that they offered in respect to the author, and his vanity was gratified at finding that the persons that they named were all gentlemen of high character for ingenuity and learning.

Franklin's Colleagues Attempt to Guess the Author

The young author was so much encouraged by this attempt that he afterward sent in several other articles in the same way; they were all approved of and duly inserted in the paper. At length he made it known that he was the author of the articles. All were very much surprised, and Benjamin found that in consequence of this discovery he was regarded with much greater consideration by his brother’s friends, the gentlemen to whom his performances had been shown, but that his brother himself did not appear to be much pleased.

Benjamin was employed at various avocations connected with the newspaper, while in his brother’s service; sometimes in setting types, then in working off the sheets at the press, and finally in carrying the papers around the town to deliver them to the subscribers. Thus he was, at the same time, compositor, pressman, and carrier. This gave a very agreeable variety to his work, and the opportunities which he enjoyed for acquiring experience and information were far more favorable than they had ever been before.

In the efforts which young Franklin made to improve his mind, while in his brother’s office, he did not devote his time to mere reading, but applied himself vigorously to study. He was deficient, he thought, in a knowledge of figures, and so he procured an arithmetic, of his own accord, and went through it himself, with very little or no assistance. By proceeding very slowly and carefully in this work, leaving nothing behind that he did not fully understand, he so smoothed his own way as to go through the whole with very little embarrassment or difficulty. He also studied a book of English grammar. The book contained, moreover, brief treatises on Logic and Rhetoric, which were inserted at the end by way of appendix. These treatises Franklin studied too with great care. In a word, the time which he devoted to books was spent, not in seeking amusement, but in acquiring solid and substantial knowledge.[Pg 149]

Rough Usage in the Printer's Office

Notwithstanding these advantages, however, Benjamin did not lead a very happy life as his brother’s apprentice. He found his brother a very passionate man and he was often used very roughly by him. Finally after the lapse of four or five years, during which various difficulties occurred which can not here be fully narrated, young Benjamin determined to run away, and seek his fortune in New York. In writing the history of his life, Franklin acknowledges that he was very censurable for taking such a step, and that in the disputes which had occurred between him and his brother, he himself was much in fault, having often needlessly irritated his brother by his saucy and provoking behavior. He, however, determined to go, and a young friend of his, named Collins, a boy of about his own age, helped him form and execute the plan of his escape.

Franklin and Collins Prepare to Escape

The plan which they formed was for Benjamin to take passage secretly, in a New York sloop, which was then in Boston and about ready to sail. The boys made up a false story to tell the captain of the sloop in order to induce him to take Benjamin on board. Benjamin sold his books and such other little property as he possessed, to raise money, and at length, when the time arrived he went on board the sloop in a very private manner, and concealed himself there.

The captain of the sloop undoubtedly did wrong in taking such a boy away in this manner. He knew that Franklin was running away from home, though he was deceived by Collins’s story in respect to the cause of his flight.

The vessel soon sailed, with Franklin on board. The wind was fair and she had a very prosperous passage. In three days which was by no means a long time for such a voyage, she reached New York, and Benjamin landed safely.

The Voyage to New York

He found himself, however, when landed, in a very forlorn and friendless condition. He knew no one, he was provided, of course, with no letters of introduction or recommendation, and he had very little money.

He applied at a printing office for employment. The printer, whose name was Bradford, said that he had workmen enough, but that he had a son in Philadelphia who was also a printer, and who had lately lost one of his principal hands. So our young hero determined to go to Philadelphia.

On his journey to Philadelphia he met with various romantic adventures. A part of the way he went by water, and very narrowly escaped shipwreck in a storm which suddenly arose, and which drove the vessel to the eastward, entirely out of her course, and came very near throwing her upon the shores of Long Island. He, however, at length reached Amboy in safety, and[Pg 150] thence he undertook to travel on foot through New Jersey to Burlington, a distance of about fifty miles, carrying his pack upon his back.

A Hard Walk Across New Jersey

It rained violently all the day, and the unhappy adventurer became so exhausted with his exposures and suffering that he heartily repented of having ever left his home.

At length after two days of weary traveling, Franklin reached Burlington, on the Delaware, the point where he had expected to embark again on board a vessel in order to proceed down the river to Philadelphia. The regular packet, however, had just gone, and no other one was expected to sail for three days. It was then Saturday, and the next boat was not to go until Tuesday. Our traveler was very much disappointed to find that he must wait so long. In his perplexity he went back to the house of a woman where he had stopped to buy some gingerbread when he first came into town, and asked her what she thought he had better do. She offered to give him lodging in her house, until Tuesday, and inviting him in she immediately prepared some dinner for him, which, though it was very frugal and plain, was received with great thankfulness by the weary and wayworn traveler.

Lodging in Philadelphia

Our hero was not obliged to wait so long as he expected, after all; for that evening as he chanced to be walking along the shore of the river, a small vessel came by on its way to Philadelphia, and on his applying to the boatmen for a passage they agreed to take him on board. He accordingly embarked, and the vessel proceeded down the river. There was no wind, and the men spent the night in rowing. Franklin himself worked with the rest. Toward morning they began to be afraid that they had passed the city in the dark, and so they hauled their vessel up to the shore and landed. When daylight appeared they found that they were about five miles above the city. When they arrived at the city Franklin paid the boatmen a shilling for his passage. They were at first unwilling to receive it, on account of his having helped them to row, but he insisted that they should. He then counted up the money which he had left, and found that it amounted to just one dollar.

Down to his Last Dollar

The first thing that he did was to go to a baker’s to buy something to eat. He asked for three-pence worth of bread. The baker gave him three good sized rolls for that money. His pockets were full of clothes and other such things, which he had put into them, and so he walked off up the street, holding one of his rolls under each arm and eating the third. It is a singular circumstance that while he was walking through the streets in this way, he passed by the house where the young woman resided who was destined in subsequent years to become his wife, and that she actually saw him as he passed, and took particular notice of him on account of the ridiculous appearance which he made.

Franklin went on in this manner up Market-street to Fourth-street, then down through Chestnut-street and apart of Walnut-street, until he came back to the river again at the place where the vessel lay. He came thus to the shore again in order to get a drink of water from the river, for he was thirsty.[Pg 151]

In fact the situation in which our young adventurer found himself at this time must have been extremely discouraging. He was in a strange town, hundreds of miles from home, without friends, without money, without even a place to lay his head, and scarcely knowing what to do or where to go. It is not strange, therefore, that, after taking his short walk around the streets of the town, he should find himself returning again toward the vessel that had brought him; since this vessel alone contained objects and faces in the least degree familiar to his eye.

It happened that among the passengers that had come down the river on board the vessel, there was a poor woman, who was traveling with her child, a boy of six or eight years of age. When Franklin came down to the wharf he found this woman sitting there with her child, both looking quite weary and forlorn; and, as he had already satisfied his hunger with eating only one of his rolls, he gave the other two to them. They received his charity very thankfully. It seems that they were waiting there for the vessel to sail again, as they were not intending to stop at Philadelphia, but were going farther down the river.

Giving Bread to the Woman and Child

The way it happened that our young hero had provided himself with so much more bread than he needed, notwithstanding that his funds were so low, was this. When he went into the baker’s he asked first for biscuits, meaning such as he had been accustomed to buy in Boston. The baker told him that they did not make such biscuits in Philadelphia. He then asked for a three-penny loaf. The baker said they had no three-penny loaves. Franklin then asked him for three-penny worth of bread of any sort, and the baker gave him the three penny rolls. Franklin was surprised to find how much bread he got for his money, but he took the rolls, though he knew it was more than he would need, and so after eating one he had no very ready way of disposing of the other two. His giving them therefore to the poor woman and her boy was not quite as great a deed of benevolence as it might at first seem. It was, however, in this respect like other charitable acts, performed in this world, which will seldom bear any very rigid scrutiny.

It ought, however, to be added in justice to our hero, that instances frequently occurred during this period of his life in which he made real sacrifices for the comfort and welfare of others, and thus gave unquestionable evidence that he possessed a truly benevolent heart. In fact, his readiness to aid and assist others, whenever it was in his power to do so, constituted one of the most conspicuous traits in the philosopher’s character.

Having thus given his bread to the woman, and obtained a draught of water from the river for himself, Franklin turned up the street again and went back into the town. He observed many well dressed people in the street, all going the same way. It was Sunday, and they were going to meeting. Franklin followed them, and took a seat in the meeting-house. It proved to be a meeting of the society of Friends, and as is usual in their meetings when no one is moved to speak, the congregation sat in silence. As there was thus no service to occupy Franklin’s attention,[Pg 152] and as he was weary with the rowing of the previous night and with the other hardships and fatigues which he had undergone, he fell asleep. He did not wake until the meeting was concluded, and not then until one of the congregation came and aroused him.

Sleeping in the Congregation

Early on Monday morning Franklin went to Mr. Bradford’s office to see if he could obtain employment. To his surprise he found Bradford the father there. He had come on from New York on horseback, and so had arrived before Franklin. Franklin found that young Bradford had obtained a workman in the place of the one he had lost, but old Mr. Bradford offered to go with him and introduce him to another printer named Keimer, who worked in the neighborhood.

Franklin in the Printer's Office

Mr. Keimer concluded to take the young stranger into his employ, and he entered into a long conversation with Mr. Bradford about his plans and prospects in business, not imagining that he was talking to the father of his rival in trade. At length Mr. Bradford went away, and Franklin prepared to commence his operations.

He found his new master’s printing office, however, in a very crazy condition. There was but one press, and that was broken down and disabled. The font of type, too, the only one that the office contained, was almost worn out with previous usage. Mr. Keimer himself, moreover, knew very little about his trade. He was an author, it seems, as well as compositor, and was employed, when Franklin and Mr. Bradford came to see him, in setting up an elegy which he was composing and putting in type at the same time, using no copy.

Franklin, however took hold of his work with alacrity and energy, and soon made great improvements in the establishment. The press was repaired and put in operation. A new supply of types and cases was obtained. Mr. Keimer did not keep house, and so a place was to be looked for in some private family where the young stranger could board. The place finally decided upon was Mr. Read’s, the house where the young woman resided who has already been mentioned as having observed the absurd figure which Franklin had made in walking through the streets when he first landed. He presented a much better appearance now, for a chest of clothing which he and Collins had sent round secretly from Boston by water, had arrived, and this enabled him to appear now in quite a respectable guise.

It was in the fall of the year 1723, that Franklin came thus to Philadelphia. He remained there during the winter, but in the spring a very singular train of circumstances occurred, which resulted in leading him back to Boston. During the winter he worked industriously at his trade, and spent his leisure time in reading and study. He laid up the money that he earned, instead of squandering it, as young men in his situation often do, in transient indulgences. He formed many useful acquaintances among the industrious and steady young men in the town. He thus lived a very contented life, and forgot Boston, as he said, as much as he could. He still kept it a profound secret from his parents where he was—no one in Boston excepting Collins having been admitted to the secret.

It happened, however, that Captain Holmes, one of Franklin’s brothers-in-law who was a shipmaster, came about this time to Newcastle, a town about forty miles below Philadelphia, and there, hearing that Benjamin was at Philadelphia, he wrote to him a letter[Pg 153] urging him to return home. Benjamin replied by a long letter defending the step that he had taken, and explaining his plans and intentions in full. It happened that Captain Holmes was in company with Sir William Keith, the governor of the colony, when he received the letter; and he showed it to him. The governor was struck with the intelligence and manliness which the letter manifested, and as he was very desirous of having a really good printing office established in Philadelphia, he came to see Franklin when he returned to the city, and proposed to him to set up an office of his own. His father, the governor said, would probably furnish him with the necessary capital, if he would return to Boston and ask for it, and he himself would see that he had work enough, for he would procure the public printing for him. So it was determined that Franklin should take passage in the first vessel that sailed, and go to Boston and see his father. Of course all this was kept a profound secret from Mr. Keimer.

Handing out Silver in Boston

In due time Franklin took leave of Mr. Keimer and embarked; and after a very rough and dangerous passage he arrived safely in Boston. His friends were very much astonished at seeing him, for Captain Holmes had not yet returned. They were still more surprised at hearing the young fugitive give so good an account of himself, and of his plans and prospects for the future. The apprentices and journeymen in the printing office gathered around him and listened to his stories with great interest. They were particularly impressed by his taking out a handful of silver money from his pocket, in answer to a question which they asked him in respect to the kind of money which was used in Philadelphia. It seems that in Boston they were accustomed to use paper money almost altogether in those days.

Young Collins, the boy who had assisted Franklin in his escape the year before, was so much pleased with the accounts that the young adventurer brought back of his success in Philadelphia that he determined to go there himself. He accordingly closed up his affairs and set off on foot for New York, with the understanding that Franklin, who was to go on afterward by water, should join him there, and that they should then proceed together to Philadelphia.

After many long consultations Franklin’s father concluded that it was not best for Benjamin to attempt to commence business for himself in Philadelphia, and so Benjamin set out on his return. On his way back he had a narrow escape from a very imminent danger. A Quaker lady came to him one day, on board the vessel in which he was sailing to New York, and began to caution him against two young women who had come on board the vessel at Newport, and who were very forward and familiar in their manners.

Warning from a Quaker Lady

“Young man,” said she, “I am concerned for thee, as thou hast no friend with thee, and seems not to know much of the world, or of the snares youth is exposed to: depend upon it, these are very bad women. I can see it by all their actions, and if thou art not upon thy guard, they will draw thee into some danger; they are strangers to thee, and I advise thee, in a friendly concern for thy welfare, to have no acquaintance with them.” Franklin thanked the lady for her advice, and determined to follow it. When they arrived at New York the young women told him where they lived, and invited him to come and see them. But he avoided doing so, and it was well that he did, for a few days afterward he learned that they were both arrested as thieves. They had stolen something from the cabin of the ship during the voyage. If Franklin had been found in their company he might have been arrested as their accomplice.

It happened curiously enough that young Franklin attracted the notice and attention of a governor for the second time, as he passed through New York on this journey. It seems that the captain of the vessel in which he had made his voyage, happened to mention to the governor when he arrived in New York, that there was a young man among his passengers who had a[Pg 154] great many books with him, and who seemed to take quite an interest in reading; and the governor very kindly sent word back to invite the young man to call at his house, promising, if he would do so, to show him his library. Franklin very gladly accepted this invitation, and the governor took him into his library, and held considerable conversation with him, on the subject of books and authors. Franklin was of course very much pleased with this adventure.

The Governor's Library

At New York Franklin found his old friend Collins, who had arrived there some time before him. Collins had been, in former times, a very steady and industrious boy, but his character had greatly degenerated during Franklin’s absence. He had fallen into very intemperate habits, and Franklin found, on joining him at New York, that he had been intoxicated almost the whole time that he had been there. He had been gaming too, and had lost all his money, and was now in debt for his board, and wholly destitute. Franklin paid his bills, and they set off together for Philadelphia.

Of course Franklin had to pay all the expenses, both for himself and his companion, on the journey, and this, together with the charges which he had incurred for Collins in New York, soon exhausted his funds, and the two travelers would have been wholly out of money, had it not been that Franklin had received a demand to collect for a man in Rhode Island, who gave it to him when he came through. This demand was due from a man in Pennsylvania, and when the travelers reached the part of the country where this man resided, they called upon him and he paid them the money. This put Franklin in funds again, though as it was money which did not belong to him, he had no right to use it. He however considered himself compelled to use a part of it, by the necessity of the case; and Collins, knowing that his companion had the money, was continually asking to borrow small sums, and Franklin lent them to him from time to time, until at length such an inroad was made upon the trust funds which he held, that Franklin began to be extremely anxious and uneasy.

To make the matter worse Collins continued to addict himself to drinking habits, notwithstanding all that Franklin could do to prevent it. In fact Franklin soon found that his remonstrances and efforts only irritated Collins and made him angry, and so he desisted. When they reached Philadelphia the case grew worse and worse. Collins could get no employment, and he led a very dissipated life, all at Franklin’s expense. At length, however, an incident occurred which led to an open quarrel between them. The circumstances were these.

The two boys, with some other young men, went out one day upon the Delaware in a boat, on an excursion of pleasure. When they were away at some distance from the shore, Collins refused to row in his turn. He said that Franklin and the other boys should row him home. Franklin said that they would not. “Then,” said Collins. “You will have to stay all night upon the water. You can do just as you please.”

The other two boys were disposed to give up to Collins, unreasonable as he was. “Let us row,” said they, “what signifies it?” But Franklin, whose resentment was now aroused, opposed this, and persisted in refusing. Collins then declared that he would make him row or throw him overboard; and he came along, stepping on the thwarts, toward Franklin, as if to put his threat in execution. When he came near he struck at Franklin, but Franklin just at the instant thrust his head forward between Collins’s legs, and then rising suddenly with all his force he threw him over headlong into the water.

Collins Flung into the Water

Franklin knew that Collins was a good swimmer, and so he felt no concern about his safety. He walked along to the stern of the boat, and asked Collins if he would promise to row if they would allow him to get on board again. Collins was very angry, and declared that he would not row. So the boys who had the oars pulled ahead a few strokes, to keep the boat out of Collins’s reach as he swam after her. This continued for some time—Collins swimming in the wake of the boat, and the boys pulling gently, so as just to keep the boat out of his reach—while Franklin himself stood in the stern, interrogating him from time to time, and vainly endeavoring to bring him to terms. At last finding him beginning to tire without showing any signs of yielding, for he was obstinate as well as unreasonable, the boys stopped and drew him on board, and then took him home dripping wet. Collins never forgave[Pg 155] Franklin for this. A short time after this incident, however, he obtained some engagement to go to the West Indies, and he went away promising to send back money to Franklin, to pay him what he owed him, out of the very first that he should receive. He was never heard of afterward.

In the mean time Franklin returned to his work in Mr. Keimer’s office. He reported the result of his visit to Boston, to Sir William, the governor, informing him that his father was not willing to furnish the capital necessary for setting up a printing office. Sir William replied that it would make no difference; he would furnish the capital himself, he said; and he proposed that Franklin should go to England in the next vessel, and purchase the press and type. This Franklin agreed to do.

Franklin and Miss Read

In the mean time, before the vessel sailed, Franklin had become very much attached to Miss Read. He felt, he says, a great respect and affection for her, and he succeeded, as he thought, in inspiring her with the same feelings toward him. It was not, however, considered prudent to think of marriage immediately, especially as Franklin was contemplating so long a voyage.

Franklin and James Ralph

Besides the company of Miss Read there were several young men in Philadelphia whose society Franklin enjoyed very highly at this time. His most intimate friend was a certain James Ralph. Ralph was a boy of fine literary taste and great love of reading. He had an idea that he possessed poetic talent, and used often to write verses, and he maintained that though his verses might be in some respects faulty, they were no more so than those which other poets wrote when first beginning. He intended, he said, to make writing poetry the business of his life. Franklin did not approve of such a plan as this; still he enjoyed young Ralph’s company, and he was accustomed sometimes on holidays to take long rambles with him in the woods on the banks of the Schuylkill. Here the two boys would sit together under the trees, for hours, reading, and conversing about what they had read.

Franklin takes leave of Miss Read

At length the time arrived for the sailing of the ship in which Franklin was to go to England. The governor was to have given him letters of introduction and of credit, and Franklin called for them from time to time, but they were not ready. Finally he was directed to go on board the vessel, and was told that the governor would send the letters there, and that he would find them among the other letters, and could take them out at his leisure. Franklin supposed that all was right, and accordingly after taking leave of Miss Read, to whom he was now formally engaged, and who wished him heartily a good voyage and a speedy[Pg 156] return, he proceeded to Newcastle, where the ship was anchored, and went on board.

On the voyage Franklin met with a variety of incidents and adventures, which, however, can not be particularly described here. Among other things he made the acquaintance of a certain gentleman named Denham, a Friend, from Philadelphia, who afterward rendered him very essential service in London. He did not succeed in finding the governor’s letters immediately, as the captain told him, when he inquired for them, that the letters were all together in a bag, stowed away. He said, however, that he would bring out the bag when they entered the channel, and that Franklin would have ample time to look out the letters before they got up to London.

Accordingly when the vessel entered the channel the letters were all brought out, and Franklin looked them over. He did not find any that seemed very certainly intended for him, though there were several marked with his name, as if consigned to his care. He thought that these must be the governor’s letters, especially as one was addressed to a printer and another to a bookseller and stationer. He accordingly took them out, and on landing he proceeded to deliver them. He went first with the one which was addressed to the bookseller. The bookseller asked him who the letter was from. Franklin replied that it was from Sir William Keith. The bookseller replied that he did not know any such person, and on opening the letter and looking at the signature, he said angrily that it was from Riddlesden, “a man,” he added, “whom I have lately found to be a complete rascal, and I will have nothing to do with him or receive any letters from him.” So saying he thrust the letter back into Franklin’s hands.

A Letter Refused

Poor Franklin, mortified and confounded, went immediately to Mr. Denham to ask him what it would be best for him to do. Mr. Denham, when he had heard a statement of the case, said that in all probability no one of the letters which Franklin had taken was from the governor. Sir William, he added, was a very good-natured man, who wished to please every body, and was always ready to make magnificent offers and promises but not the slightest reliance could be placed upon any thing that he said.

So Franklin found himself alone and moneyless in London, and dependent wholly upon his own resources. He immediately began to seek employment in the printing offices. He succeeded in making an engagement with a Mr. Palmer, and he soon found a second-hand bookstore near the printing office, where he used to go to read and to borrow books—his love of reading continuing unchanged.

Franklin at the Bookstore

In a short time Franklin left Mr. Palmer’s and went to a larger printing office, one which was carried on by a printer named Watts. The place was near Lincoln’s Inn Fields, a well known part of London. Here he was associated with a large number of workmen, both compositors and pressmen. They were very much astonished at Franklin’s temperance principles, for he drank nothing but water, while they consumed immense quantities of strong beer. There was an ale-house near by, and a boy from it attended constantly at the printing office to supply the workmen with beer. These men had a considerable sum to pay every Saturday night out of their wages for the beer they had drank; and this kept them constantly poor. They maintained, however, that they needed the beer to give them strength to perform the heavy work required of them in the printing office. They drank strong beer, they said, in order that they might be strong to labor. Franklin’s companion at the press drank a pint before breakfast, a pint at breakfast, a pint between breakfast and dinner, a pint at dinner, a pint in the afternoon at six o’clock, and a pint when he had done his day’s work. Some others drank nearly as much.

Franklin shows his Strength

Franklin endeavored to convince them that it was a mistake to suppose that the beer gave them[Pg 157] strength, by showing that he, though he drank nothing but water, could carry two heavy forms up-stairs to the press-room, at a time, taking one in each hand; while they could only carry one with both hands. They were very much surprised at the superior strength of the “water American,” as they called him, but still they would not give up drinking beer.

The Widow who Boarded Franklin

As is usually the case with young workmen entering large establishments, where they are strangers, Franklin encountered many little difficulties at first, but he gradually overcame them all, and soon became a favorite both with his employer and his fellow workmen. He earned high wages, for he was so prompt, and so steady, that he was put to the best work. He took board at the house of an elderly woman, a widow, who lived not far distant, and who, after inquiring in respect to Franklin’s character, took him at a cheaper rate than usual, from the protection which she expected in having him in the house.

The Roman Catholic Lodger

In a small room in the garret of the house where Franklin boarded, there was a lodger whose case was very singular. She was a Roman Catholic, and when young had gone abroad, to a nunnery, intending to become a nun; but finding that the climate did not agree with her she returned to England, where, though there was no nunnery, she determined on leading the life of a nun by herself. She had given away all her property, reserving only a very small sum which was barely sufficient to support life. The house had been let from time to time to various Catholic families, who all allowed the nun to remain in her garret rent free, considering it a blessing upon them to have her there. A priest visited her every day to receive her confessions; otherwise she lived in almost total seclusion. Franklin, however, was once permitted to pay her a visit. He found her cheerful and polite. She looked pale, but said that she was never sick. The room had scarcely any furniture except such as related to her religious observances.

Franklin mentions among other incidents which occurred while he was in London, that he taught two young men to swim, by only going twice with them into the water. One of these young men was a workman in the printing-office where Franklin was employed, named Wygate. Franklin was always noted for his great skill and dexterity as a swimmer, and one day, after he had taught the two young men to swim, as mentioned above, he was coming down the river Thames in a boat with a party of friends, and Wygate gave such an account of Franklin’s swimming as to excite a strong desire in the company to see what he could do. So Franklin undressed himself, and leaped into the water, and he swam all the way from Chelsea to Blackfriar’s bridge in London, accompanying the boat, and performing an infinite variety of dextrous evolutions in and under the water, much to the astonishment and delight of all the company. In consequence of this incident, Franklin had an application made to him some time afterward, by a certain nobleman, to teach his two sons to swim, with a[Pg 158] promise of a very liberal reward. The nobleman had accidentally heard of Franklin’s swimming from Chelsea to London, and of his teaching a person to swim in two lessons.

Franklin remained in London about eighteen months; at the end of that time one of his fellow workmen proposed to him that they two should make a grand tour together on the continent of Europe, stopping from time to time in the great towns to work at their trade, in order to earn money for their expenses. Franklin went to his friend, Mr. Denham, to consult him in respect to this proposal. Mr. Denham advised him not to accede to it, but proposed instead that Franklin should connect himself in business with him. He was going to return to America, he said, with a large stock of goods, there to go into business as a merchant. He made such advantageous offers to Franklin, in respect to this enterprise, that Franklin very readily accepted them, and in due time he settled up his affairs in London, and sailed for America, supposing that he had taken leave of the business of printing forever.

In the result, however, it was destined to be otherwise; for after a short time Mr. Denham fell sick and died, and then Franklin, after various perplexities and delays, concluded to accept of a proposal which his old master, Mr. Keimer, made to him, to come and take charge of his printing-office. Mr. Keimer had a number of rude and inexperienced hands in his employ, and he wished to engage Franklin to come, as foreman and superintendent of the office, and teach the men to do their work skillfully.

Franklin Looks out of the Window

Franklin acceded to this proposal, but he did not find his situation in all respects agreeable, and finally his engagement with Mr. Keimer was suddenly brought to a close by an open quarrel. Mr. Keimer, it seems, had not been accustomed to treat his foreman in a very respectful or considerate manner, and one day when Franklin heard some unusual noise in the street, and put his head out a moment to see what was the matter, Mr. Keimer, who was standing below, called out to him, in a very rough and angry manner, to go back and attend to his business, adding some reproachful words which nettled Franklin exceedingly. He immediately afterward came up into the office, when a sharp contention and high words ensued. The end of the affair was that Franklin took his dismissal and went immediately away.

The Copper-Plate Press

In a short time, however, Keimer sent for Franklin to come back, saying that a few hasty words ought not to separate old friends, and Franklin, after some hesitation, concluded to return. About this time Keimer had a proposition made to him to print some bank bills, for the state of New Jersey. A copper-plate press is required for this purpose, a press very different in its character from an ordinary press. Franklin contrived one of these presses for Mr. Keimer, the first which had been seen in the country. This press performed its function very successfully. Mr. Keimer and Franklin went together, with the press, to Burlington, where the work was to be done: for it was necessary that the bills should be printed under the immediate supervision of the government, in order to make it absolutely certain that no more were struck off than the proper number.

In printing these bills Franklin made the acquaintance of several prominent public men in New Jersey, some of whom were always present while the press was at work. Several of these gentlemen became very warm friends of Franklin, and continued to be so during all his subsequent life.

At last Franklin joined one of his comrades in the printing-office, named Meredith, in forming a plan to leave Mr. Keimer, and commence business themselves, independently. Meredith’s father was to furnish the necessary capital, and Franklin was to have the chief superintendence and care of the business. This plan being arranged, an order was sent out to England for a press and a font of type, and when the articles arrived the two young men left Mr. Keimer’s, and taking a small building near the market, which they thought would be suitable for their purpose, they opened their office, feeling much solicitude and many fears in respect to their success.

To lessen their expense for rent they took a glazier and his family into the house which they had hired, while they were themselves to board[Pg 159] in the glazier’s family. Thus the arrangement which they made was both convenient and economical.

This glazier, Godfrey, had long been one of Franklin’s friends, he was a prominent member, in fact, of the little circle of young mechanics, who, under the influence of Franklin’s example, spent their leisure time in scientific studies. Godfrey was quite a mathematician. He was self-taught, it is true, but still his attainments were by no means inconsiderable. He afterward distinguished himself as the inventor of an instrument called Hadley’s quadrant, now very generally relied upon for taking altitudes and other observations at sea. It was called by Hadley’s name, as is said, through some artifice of Hadley, in obtaining the credit of the invention, though Godfrey was really the author of it.

Though Godfrey was highly respected among his associates for his mathematical knowledge, he knew little else, and he was not a very agreeable companion. The mathematical field affords very few subjects for entertaining conversation, and besides Godfrey had a habit, which Franklin said he had often observed in great mathematicians, of expecting universal precision in every thing that was said, of forever taking exception to what was advanced by others, and of making distinctions, on very trifling grounds, to the disturbance of all conversation. He, however, became afterward an eminent man, and though he died at length at a distance from Philadelphia, his remains were eventually removed to the city and deposited at Laurel Hill, where a monument was erected to his memory.

Their First Customer

The young printers had scarce got their types in the cases and the press in order, before one of Franklin’s friends, a certain George House, came in and introduced a countryman whom he had found in the street, inquiring for a printer. They did the work which he brought, and were paid five shillings for it.—Franklin says that this five shillings, the first that he earned as an independent man, afforded him a very high degree of pleasure. He was very grateful too to House, for having taken such an interest in bringing him a customer, and recollecting his own experience on this occasion, he always afterward felt a strong desire to help new beginners, whenever it was in his power.

A certain other gentleman evinced his regard for the young printers in a much more equivocal way. He was a person of some note in Philadelphia, an elderly man, with a wise look, and a very grave and oracular manner of speaking. This gentleman, who was a stranger to Franklin stopped one day at the door and asked Franklin if he was the young man who had lately opened a printing house. Being answered in the affirmative he told Franklin that he was very sorry for him, as he certainly could not succeed. Philadelphia, he said, was a sinking place. The people were already half of them bankrupts, or nearly so, to his certain knowledge. He then proceeded to present such a gloomy detail of the difficulties and dangers which Philadelphia was laboring under, and of the evils which were coming, that finally he brought Franklin into a very melancholy frame of mind.[Pg 160]

The Junto Debating Club

The young printers went steadily on, notwithstanding these predictions, and gradually began to find employment for their press. They obtained considerable business through the influence of the members of a sort of debating club which Franklin had established some time before. This club was called the Junto, and was accustomed to meet on Friday evenings for conversation and mutual improvement. The rules which Franklin drew up for the government of this club required that each member should, in his turn, propose subjects or queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discussed by the company; and once in three months to produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject that he pleased. The members of the club were all enjoined to conduct their discussion in a sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, and not from love of dispute or desire of victory. Every thing like a positive and dogmatical manner of speaking, and all direct contradiction of each other, was strictly forbidden. Violations of these rules were punished by fines and other similar penalties.

The members of this club having become much interested in Franklin’s character from what they had seen of him at the meetings, were strongly disposed to aid him in obtaining business now that he had opened an office of his own. They were mostly mechanics, being engaged in different trades, in the city. One of them was the means of procuring quite a large job for the young printers—the printing of a book in folio. While they were upon this job, Franklin employed himself in setting the type, his task being one sheet each day, while Meredith worked the press. It required great exertion to carry the work on at the rate of one sheet per day, especially as there were frequent interruptions, on account of small jobs which were brought in from time to time. Franklin was, however, very resolutely determined to print a sheet a day, though it required him sometimes to work very late, and always to begin very early. So determined was he to continue doing a sheet a day of the work, that one night when he had imposed his forms and thought his day’s work was done, and by some accident one of the forms was broken, and two pages thrown into pi, he immediately went to work, distributed the letter, and set up the two pages anew before he went to bed.

This indefatigable industry was soon observed by the neighbors, and it began to attract considerable attention; so that at length, when certain people were talking of the three printing-offices that there were now in Philadelphia, and predicting that they could not all be sustained, some one said that whatever might happen to the other two, Franklin’s office must succeed, “For the industry of that Franklin,” said he, “is superior to any thing I ever saw of the kind. I see him still at work every night when I go home, and he is at work again in the morning before his neighbors are out of bed.” As the character of Franklin’s office in this respect became generally known, the custom that came to it rapidly increased. There were still, however, some difficulties to be encountered.

Meredith the Drinker

Franklin was very unfortunate in respect to his partner, so far as the work of the office was concerned, for Meredith was a poor printer, and his habits were not good. In fact the sole reason why Franklin had consented to associate himself with Meredith was that Meredith’s father was willing to furnish the necessary capital for commencing business. His father was persuaded to do this in hopes that Franklin’s influence over his son might be the means of inducing him to leave off his habits of drinking. Instead of this, however, he grew gradually worse. He neglected his work, and was in fact often wholly incapacitated from attending to it, by the effects of his drinking. Franklin’s friends regretted his connection with such a man, but there seemed to be now no present help for it.[Pg 161]

It happened, however, that things took such a turn, a short time after this, as to enable Franklin to close his partnership with Meredith in a very satisfactory manner. In the first place Meredith himself began to be tired of an occupation which he was every day more and more convinced that he was unfitted for. His father too found it inconvenient to meet the obligations which he had incurred for the press and types, as they matured; for he had bought them partly on credit. Two gentlemen, moreover, friends of Franklin, came forward of their own accord, and offered to advance him what money he would require to take the whole business into his own hands. The result of all this was that the partnership was terminated, by mutual consent, and Meredith went away. Franklin assumed the debts, and borrowed money of his two friends to meet the payments as they came due; and thenceforward he managed the business in his own name.

After this change, the business of the office went on more prosperously than ever. There was much interest felt at that time on the question of paper money, one party in the state being in favor of it and the other against it. Franklin wrote and printed a pamphlet on the subject. The title of it was The Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency. This pamphlet was very well received, and had an important influence in deciding the question in favor of such a currency. In consequence of this Franklin was employed to print the bills, which was very profitable work. He also obtained the printing of the laws, and of the proceedings of the government, which was of great advantage to him.

Transporting Paper in a Wheelbarrow

About this time Franklin enlarged his business by opening a stationery store in connection with his printing office. He employed one or two additional workmen too. In order, however, to show that he was not above his business, he used to bring home the paper which he purchased at the stores, through the streets on a wheelbarrow.

Miss Read, wretched

The engagement which Franklin had formed with Miss Read before he went to London had been broken off. This was his fault and not hers; as the rupture was occasioned by his indifference and neglect. When her friends found that Franklin had forsaken her, they persuaded her to marry another man. This man, however, proved to be a dissolute and worthless fellow, having already a wife in England, when he married Miss Read. She accordingly refused to live with him, and he went away to the West Indies, leaving Miss Read at home, disconsolate and wretched.

Franklin pitied her very much, and attributed her misfortunes in a great measure to his unfaithfulness to the promises which he had made her. He renewed his acquaintance with her, and finally married her. The wedding took place on the 1st of September, 1730; Franklin was at this time about twenty-five years of age. It was reported that the man who had married her was dead. At all events her marriage with him was wholly invalid.

At the time when Franklin commenced his business in Philadelphia there was no bookstore in any place south of Boston. The towns on the sea coast which have since grown to be large and flourishing cities, were then very small, and comparatively insignificant; and they afforded to the inhabitants very few facilities of any kind. Those who wished to buy books had no means of doing it except to send to England for them.

In order to remedy in some measure the difficulty which was experienced on this account, Franklin proposed to the members of the debating society which has already been named, that they should form a library, by bringing all their books together and depositing them in the room where the society was accustomed to hold its meetings. This was accordingly[Pg 162] done. The members brought their books, and a foundation was thus laid for what afterward became a great public library. The books were arranged on shelves which were prepared for them in the club-room, and suitable rules and regulations were made in respect to the use of them by the members.

The Library

With the exception that he appropriated one or two hours each day to the reading of books from the library, Franklin devoted his time wholly to his business. He took care, he said, not only to be, in reality, industrious and frugal, but to appear so. He dressed plainly; he never went to any places of diversion; he never went out a-hunting or shooting, and he spent no time in taverns, or in games or frolics of any kind. The people about him observed his diligence, and the consequence was that he soon acquired the confidence and esteem of all who knew him. Business came in, and his affairs went on more and more smoothly every day.

Mrs. Franklin, Frugal Housewife

It was very fortunate for him that his wife was as much disposed to industry and frugality as himself. She assisted her husband in his work by folding and stitching pamphlets, tending shop, purchasing paper, rags, and other similar services. They kept no servants, and lived in the plainest and most simple manner. Thus all the money which was earned in the printing office, or made by the profits of the stationery store, was applied to paying back the money which Franklin had borrowed of his friends, to enable him to settle with Meredith. He was ambitious to pay this debt as soon as possible, so that the establishment might be wholly his own. His wife shared in this desire, and thus, while they deprived themselves of no necessary comfort, they expended nothing for luxury or show. Their dress, their domestic arrangements, and their whole style of living, were perfectly plain.

Franklin's Breakfast

Franklin’s breakfast, for example, for a long time, consisted only of a bowl of bread and milk, which was eaten from a two-penny earthen porringer and with a pewter spoon. At length, however, one morning when called to his breakfast he found a new china bowl upon the table, with a silver spoon in it. They had been bought for him by his wife without his knowledge, who justified herself for the expenditure by saying that she thought that her husband was as much entitled to a china bowl and silver spoon as any of her neighbors.

About this time Franklin adopted a very systematic and formal plan for the improvement of his moral character. He made out a list of the principal moral virtues, thirteen in all, and then made a book of a proper number of pages, and wrote the name of one virtue on each page. He then, on each page, ruled a table which was formed of thirteen lines and seven columns. The lines were for the names of the thirteen virtues, and the columns for the days of the week. Each page therefore represented one week, and Franklin was accustomed every night to examine himself, and mark down in the proper column, and opposite to the names of the several virtues, all violations of duty in respect to each one respectively, which he could recollect that he had been guilty of during that day. He paid most particular attention each week to one particular virtue, namely, the one which was[Pg 163] written on the top of the page for that week, without however neglecting the others—following in this respect, as he said, the example of the gardener who weeds one bed in his garden at a time.

The Moral Gardner

He had several mottos prefixed to this little book, and also two short prayers, imploring divine assistance to enable him to keep his resolution. One of these prayers was from Thomson:

“Father of light and life, thou Good Supreme!
O teach me what is good; teach me Thyself!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice;
From every low pursuit; and feed my soul
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure,
Sacred, substantial, never fading bliss.”

The other was composed by himself, and was as follows.

“O Powerful Goodness! Bountiful Father! Merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolution to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favors to me.”

Franklin persevered in his efforts to improve himself in moral excellence, by means of this record, for a long time. He thought he made great progress, and that his plan was of lasting benefit to him. He found, however, that he could not, as at first he fondly hoped, make himself perfect. He consoled himself at last, he said, by the idea that it was not best, after all, for any one to be absolutely perfect. He used to say that this willingness on his part to be satisfied with retaining some of his faults, when he had become wearied and discouraged with the toil and labor of removing them, reminded him of the case of one of his neighbors, who went to buy an ax of a smith. The ax, as is usual with this tool, was ground bright near the edge, while the remainder of the surface of the iron was left black, just as it had come from the forge. The man wished to have his ax bright all over, and the smith said that he would grind it bright if the man would turn the grindstone.

So the man went to the wheel by which it seems the grindstone was turned, through the intervention of a band, and began his labor. The smith held the ax upon the stone, broad side down, leaning hard and heavily. The man came now and then to see how the work went on. The brightening he found went on slowly. At last, wearied with the labor, he said that he would take the ax as it then was, without grinding it any more. “Oh, no,” said the smith, “turn on, turn on; we shall have it bright by-and-by. All that we have done yet has only made it speckled.” “Yes,” said the man, “but I think I like a speckled ax best.” So he took it away.

Grinding the Ax

In the same manner Franklin said that he himself seemed to be contented with a character somewhat speckled, when he found how discouraging was the labor and toil required to make it perfectly bright.

The Woman Printer

During all this time Franklin went on more and more prosperously in business, and was continually enlarging and extending his plans. He printed a newspaper which soon acquired an extensive circulation. He commenced the publication of an almanac, which was continued afterward[Pg 164] for twenty-five years, and became very celebrated under the name of Poor Richard’s Almanac. At length the spirit of enterprise which he possessed went so far as to lead him to send one of his journeymen to establish a branch printing-office in Charleston, South Carolina. This branch, however, did not succeed very well at first, though, after a time, the journeyman who had been sent out died, and then his wife, who was an energetic and capable woman, took charge of the business, and sent Franklin accounts of the state of it promptly and regularly. Franklin accordingly left the business in her hands, and it went on very prosperously for several years: until at last the woman’s son grew up, and she purchased the office for him, with what she had earned and saved.

Chess - and a language lesson

Notwithstanding the increasing cares of business, and the many engagements which occupied his time and attention, Franklin did not, during all this time, in any degree remit his efforts to advance in the acquisition of knowledge. He studied French, and soon made himself master of that language so far as to read it with ease. Then he undertook the Italian. A friend of his, who was also studying Italian, was fond of playing chess, and often wished Franklin to play with him. Franklin consented on condition that the penalty for being beaten should be to have some extra task to perform in the Italian grammar—such as the committing to memory of some useful portion of the grammar, or the writing of exercises. They were accordingly accustomed to play in this way, and the one who was beaten, had a lesson assigned him to learn, or a task to perform, and he was bound upon his honor to fulfill this duty before the next meeting.

After having acquired some proficiency in the Italian language Franklin took up the Latin. He had studied Latin a little when a boy at school, at the time when his father contemplated educating him for the church. He had almost entirely forgotten what he had learned of the language at school, but he found, on looking into a Latin Testament, that it would be very easy for him to learn the language now, on account of the knowledge which he had acquired of French and Italian. His experience in this respect led him to think that the common mode of learning languages was not a judicious one. “We are told,” says he, “that it is proper to begin first with the Latin, and having acquired that, it will be more easy to attain those modern languages which are derived from it; and yet we do not begin with the Greek in order more easily to acquire the Latin.” He then compares the series of languages to a staircase. It is true that if we contrive some way to clamber to the upper stair, by the railings or by some other method, without using the steps, we can then easily reach any particular stair by coming down, but still the simplest and the wisest course would seem to be to walk up directly from the lower to the higher in regular gradation.

“I would therefore,” he adds, “offer it to the consideration of those who superintend the education of our youth, whether, since many of those who begin with the Latin quit the same after spending some years, without having made any great proficiency, and what they have learned becomes almost useless, so that their time has been lost, it would not have been better to have begun with the French, proceeding to the Italian and Latin; for though after spending the same time they should quit the study of languages, and never arrive at the Latin, they would, however, have acquired another tongue or two that, being in modern use, might be serviceable to them in common life.”

Frankin and his Brother

It was now ten years since Franklin had been at Boston, and as he was getting well established in business, and easy in his circumstances, he concluded to go there and visit his relations. His brother, Mr. James Franklin, the printer to whom he had been apprenticed when a boy, was not in[Pg 165] Boston at this time. He had removed to Newport. On his return from Boston, Franklin went to Newport to see him. He was received by his brother in a very cordial and affectionate manner, all former differences between the two brothers being forgotten by mutual consent. He found his brother in feeble health, and fast declining—and apprehending that his death was near at hand. He had one son, then ten years of age, and he requested that in case of his death Benjamin would take this child and bring him up to the printing business. Benjamin promised to do so. A short time after this his brother died, and Franklin took the boy, sent him to school for a few years, and then took him into his office, and brought him up to the business of printing. His mother carried on the business at Newport until the boy had grown up, and then Franklin established him there, with an assortment of new types and other facilities. Thus he made his brother ample amends for the injury which he had done him by running away from his service when he was a boy.

On his return from Boston, Franklin found all his affairs in Philadelphia in a very prosperous condition. His business was constantly increasing, his income was growing large, and he was beginning to be very widely known and highly esteemed, throughout the community. He began to be occasionally called upon to take some part in general questions relating to the welfare of the community at large. He was appointed postmaster for Philadelphia. Soon after this he was made clerk of the General Assembly, the colonial legislature of Pennsylvania. He began, too, to pay some attention to municipal affairs, with a view to the better regulation of the public business of the city. He proposed a reform in the system adopted for the city watch. The plan which had been pursued was for a public officer to designate every night a certain number of householders, taken from the several wards in succession, who were to perform the duty of watchmen. This plan was, however, found to be very inefficient, as the more respectable people, instead of serving themselves, would pay a fine to the constable to enable him to hire substitutes; and these substitutes were generally worthless men who spent the night in drinking, instead of faithfully attending to their duties.

Franklin proposed that the whole plan should be changed; he recommended that a tax should be levied upon the people, and a regular body of competent watchmen employed and held to a strict responsibility in the performance of their duty. This plan was adopted, and proved to be a very great improvement on the old system.

It was also much more just; for people were taxed to pay the watchmen in proportion to their property, and thus they who had most to be protected paid most.

The Celebrated Mr. Whitefield

Franklin took a great interest, too, about this time, in promoting a plan for building a large public edifice in the heart of the city, to accommodate the immense audiences that were accustomed to assemble to hear the discourses of the celebrated Mr. Whitefield. The house was built by public contribution. When finished, it was vested in trustees, expressly for the use of any preacher of any religious persuasion, who might desire to address the people of Philadelphia. In fact, Franklin was becoming more and more a public man, and soon after this time, he withdrew almost altogether from his private pursuits, and entered fully upon his public career. The history of his adventures in that wider sphere must be postponed to some future Number.[Pg 166]

The Pyramids and the Sphinx




[1] Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by Harper and Brothers, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.

Napoleon’s Expedition to Egypt was one of the most magnificent enterprises which human ambition ever conceived. When Napoleon was a schoolboy at Brienne, his vivid imagination became enamored of the heroes of antiquity, and ever dwelt in the society of the illustrious men of Greece and Rome. Indulging in solitary walks and pensive musings, at that early age he formed vague and shadowy, but magnificent conceptions of founding an Empire in the East, which should outvie in grandeur all that had yet been told in ancient or in modern story. His eye wandered along the shores of the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, as traced upon the map, and followed the path of the majestic floods of the Euphrates, the Indus, and the Ganges, rolling through tribes and nations, whose myriad population, dwelling in barbaric pomp and pagan darkness, invited a conqueror. “The Persians,” exclaimed this strange boy, “have blocked up the route of Tamerlane, but I will open another.” He, in those early dreams, imagined himself a conqueror, with Alexander’s strength, but without Alexander’s vice or weakness, spreading the energies of civilization, and of a just and equitable government, over the wild and boundless regions which were lost to European eyes in the obscurity of distance.

When struggling against the armies of Austria, upon the plains of Italy, visions of Egypt and of the East blended with the smoke and the din of the conflict. In the retreat of the Austrians before his impetuous charges, in the shout of victory which incessantly filled his ear, swelling ever above the shrieks of the wounded and the groans of the dying, Napoleon saw but increasing indications that destiny was pointing out his path toward an Oriental throne.

When the Austrians were driven out of Italy, and the campaign was ended, and Napoleon, at Montebello, was receiving the homage of Europe, his ever-impetuous mind turned with new interest to the object of his early ambition. He often passed hours, during the mild Italian evenings, walking with a few confidential friends in the magnificent park of his palace, conversing with intense enthusiasm upon the illustrious empires, which have successively overshadowed those countries, and faded away. “Europe,” said he, “presents no field for glorious exploits; no great empires or revolutions are to be found but in the East, where there are six hundred millions of men.”

Upon his return to Paris, he was deaf to all the acclamations with which he was surrounded. His boundless ambition was such that his past achievements seemed as nothing. The most brilliant visions of Eastern glory were dazzling his mind. “They do not long preserve at Paris,” said he, “the remembrance of any thing. If I remain long unemployed, I am undone. The renown of one, in this great Babylon, speedily supplants that of another. If I am seen three times at the opera, I shall no longer be an object of curiosity. I am determined not to remain in Paris. There is nothing here to be accomplished. Every thing here passes away. My glory is declining. This little corner of Europe is too small to supply it. We must go to the East. All the great men of the world have there acquired their celebrity.”

When requested to take command of the army of England, and to explore the coast, to judge of the feasibility of an attack upon the English in their own island, he said to Bourrienne, “I am [Pg 167]perfectly willing to make a tour to the coast. Should the expedition to Britain prove too hazardous, as I much fear that it will, the army of England will become the army of the East, and we will go to Egypt.”

He carefully studied the obstacles to be encountered in the invasion of England, and the means at his command to surmount them. In his view, the enterprise was too hazardous to be undertaken, and he urged upon the Directory the Expedition to Egypt. “Once established in Egypt,” said he, “the Mediterranean becomes a French Lake; we shall found a colony there, unenervated by the curse of slavery, and which will supply the place of St. Domingo; we shall open a market for French manufactures through the vast regions of Africa, Arabia, and Syria. All the caravans of the East will meet at Cairo, and the commerce of India, must forsake the Cape of Good Hope, and flow through the Red Sea. Marching with an army of sixty thousand men, we can cross the Indus, rouse the oppressed and discontented native population, against the English usurpers, and drive the English out of India. We will establish governments which will respect the rights and promote the interests of the people. The multitude will hail us as their deliverers from oppression. The Christians of Syria, the Druses, and the Armenians, will join our standards. We may change the face of the world.” Such was the magnificent project which inflamed this ambitious mind.

England, without a shadow of right, had invaded India. Her well-armed dragoons had ridden, with bloody hoofs, over the timid and naked natives. Cannon, howitzers, and bayonets had been the all-availing arguments with which England had silenced all opposition. English soldiers, with unsheathed swords ever dripping with blood, held in subjection provinces containing uncounted millions of inhabitants. A circuitous route of fifteen thousand miles, around the stormy Cape of Good Hope, conducted the merchant fleets of London and Liverpool to Calcutta and Bombay; and through the same long channel there flooded back upon the maritime isle the wealth of the Indies.

It was the plea of Napoleon that he was not going to make an unjust war upon the unoffending nations of the East; but that he was the ally of the oppressed people, drawing the sword against their common enemy, and that he was striving to emancipate them from their powerful usurpers, and to confer upon them the most precious privileges of freedom. He marched to Egypt not to desolate, but to enrich; not to enslave, but to enfranchise; not to despoil the treasures of the East, but to transfer to those shores the opulence and the high civilization of the West. Never was an ambitious conqueror furnished with a more plausible plea. England, as she looks at India and China, must be silent. America, as she listens to the dying wail of the Red Man, driven from the forests of his childhood and the graves of his fathers, can throw no stone. Napoleon surely was not exempt from the infirmities of humanity. But it is not becoming in an English or an American historian to breathe the prayer, “We thank Thee, oh God, that we are not like this Bonaparte.”

Egypt, the memorials of whose former grandeur still attract the wonder and the admiration of the civilized world, after having been buried, during centuries, in darkness and oblivion, is again slowly emerging into light, and is, doubtless, destined eventually to become one of the great centres of industry and of knowledge. The Mediterranean washes its northern shores, opening to its commerce all the opulent cities of Europe. The Red Sea wafts to its fertile valley the wealth of India and of China. The Nile, rolling its vast floods from the unknown interior of Africa, opens a highway for inexhaustible internal commerce with unknown nations and tribes.

The country consists entirely of the lower valley of the Nile, with a front of about one hundred and twenty miles on the Mediterranean. The valley six hundred miles in length, rapidly diminishes in breadth as it is crowded by the sands of the desert, presenting, a few leagues from the mouth of the river, but the average width of about six miles. The soil fertilized by the annual inundations of the Nile, possesses most extraordinary fertility. These floods are caused by the heavy rains which fall in the mountains of Abyssinia. It never rains in Egypt. Centuries may pass while a shower never falls from the sky. Under the Ptolemies the population of the country was estimated at twenty millions. But by the terrific energies of despotism, these numbers had dwindled away, and at the time of the French Expedition Egypt contained but two million five hundred thousand inhabitants. These were divided into four classes. First came the Copts, about two hundred thousand, the descendants of the ancient Egyptians. They were in a state of the most abject degradation and slavery. The great body of the population, two millions in number, were the Arabs. They were a wild and semi-barbarian race, restrained from all enterprise and industry, by unrelenting despotism. The Turks or Janizaries, two hundred thousand strong, composed a standing army, of sensual, merciless, unprincipled usurpers, which kept the trembling population by the energies of the bastinado, the scimitar and the bowstring in most servile subjection. The Mamelukes composed a body of twelve thousand horsemen, proud, powerful and intolerable oppressors. Each horseman had two servants to perform his menial service. Twenty-four beys, each of whom had five or six hundred Mamelukes under his command, governed this singular body of cavalry. Two principal beys, Ibrahim and Mourad divided between them the sovereignty of Egypt. It was the old story of despotism. The millions were ground down into hopeless degradation and poverty to pamper to the luxury and vice of a few haughty masters. Oriental voluptuousness and luxury reigned in the palaces of the beys; beggary and wretchedness deformed the mud[Pg 168] hovels of the defrauded and degraded people. It was Napoleon’s aim to present himself to the people of Egypt as their friend and liberator; to rally them around his standard, to subdue the Mamelukes, to establish a government, which should revive all the sciences and the arts of civilized life in Egypt; to acquire a character, by these benefactions, which should emblazon his name throughout the East; and then, with oppressed nations welcoming him as a deliverer, to strike blows upon the British power in India, which should compel the mistress of the seas to acknowledge that upon the land there was an arm which could reach and humble her. It was a design sublime in its magnificence. But it was not the will of God that it should be accomplished.

The Directory, at last overcome by the arguments of Napoleon, and also, through jealousy of his unbounded popularity, being willing to remove him from France, assented to the proposed expedition. It was however necessary to preserve the utmost secrecy. Should England be informed of the direction in which the blow was about to fall upon her, she might, with her invincible fleet, intercept the French squadron—she might rouse the Mamelukes to most formidable preparations for resistance, and might thus vastly increase the difficulties of the enterprise. All the deliberations were consequently conducted with closed doors, and the whole plan was enveloped in the most profound mystery. For the first time in the history of the world, literature and science and art, formed a conspicuous part of the organization of an army. It was agreed that Napoleon should take forty-six thousand men, a certain number of officers of his own selection, men of science, engineers, geographers, and artisans of all kinds. Napoleon now devoted himself with the most extraordinary energy to the execution of his plans. Order succeeded order with ceaseless rapidity. He seemed to rest not day nor night. He superintended every thing himself, and with almost the rapidity of the wind passed from place to place, corresponding with literary men, conversing with generals, raising money, collecting ships, and accumulating supplies. His comprehensive and indefatigable mind arranged even the minutest particulars. “I worked all day,” said one, in apology for his assigned duty not having been fully performed. “But had you not the night also?” Napoleon replied. “Now sir,” said he to another, “use dispatch. Remember that the world was created in but six days. Ask me for whatever you please, except time; that is the only thing which is beyond my power.”

His own energy was thus infused into the hearts of hundreds, and with incredible rapidity the work of preparation went on. He selected four points for the assemblage of convoys and troops, Toulon, Genoa, Ajaccio, and Civita Vecchia. He chartered four hundred vessels of merchantmen in France and Italy as transports for the secret service, and assembled them at the points of departure. He dispatched immediate orders for the divisions of his renowned army of Italy to march to Genoa and Toulon. He collected the best artisans Europe could furnish in all the arts of human industry. He took printing types, of the various languages of the East, from the College of the Propaganda at Rome, and a company of printers. He formed a large collection of the most perfect philosophical and mathematical instruments. The most illustrious men, though knowing not where he was about to lead them, were eager to attach themselves to the fortunes of the young general. Preparations for an enterprise upon such a gigantic scale could not be made without attracting the attention of Europe. Rumor was busy with her countless contradictions. “Where is Napoleon bound?” was the universal inquiry. “He is going,” said some “to the Black Sea”—“to India”—“to cut a canal through the Isthmus of Suez”—“to Ireland”—“to the Thames.” Even Kleber supposed that they were bound for England, and reposing implicit confidence in the invincibility of Napoleon, he said, “Well! if you throw a fireship into the Thames, put Kleber on board of her and you shall see what he will do.” The English cabinet was extremely perplexed. They clearly foresaw that a storm was gathering, but knew not in what direction it would break. Extraordinary efforts were made to equip a powerful fleet, which was placed under the command of Lord Nelson, to cruise in the Mediterranean and watch the movements of the French.

On the 9th of May, 1798, just five months after Napoleon’s return to Paris from the Italian campaign, he entered Toulon, having completed all his preparations for the most magnificent enterprise ever contemplated by a mortal. Josephine accompanied him, that he might enjoy as long as possible, the charms of her society. Passionately as he loved his own glory, his love for Josephine was almost equally enthusiastic. A more splendid armament never floated upon the bosom of the ocean than here awaited him, its supreme lord and master. The fleet consisted of thirty ships of the line and frigates; seventy-two brigs and cutters, and four hundred transports. It bore forty-six thousand combatants, and a literary corps of one hundred men, furnished in the most perfect manner, to transport to Asia the science and the arts of Europe, and to bring back in return the knowledge gleaned among the monuments of antiquity. The old army of Italy was drawn up in proud array to receive its youthful general, and they greeted him with the most enthusiastic acclamations. But few even of the officers of the army were aware of its destination. Napoleon inspirited his troops with the following proclamation:

The Embarkation


“Soldiers! you are one of the wings of the army of England. You have made war in mountains, plains and cities. It remains to make it on the ocean. The Roman legions, whom you have often imitated but not yet equaled, combated Carthage, by turns, on the seas and on the plains of Zama. Victory never deserted their[Pg 169] standards, because they never ceased to be brave, patient, and united. Soldiers! the eyes of Europe are upon you. You have great destinies to accomplish, battles to fight, dangers and fatigues to overcome. You are about to do more than you have yet done, for the prosperity of your country, the happiness of man and for your own glory.” Thus the magnitude of the enterprise was announced, while at the same time it was left vailed in mystery.

Napoleon had, on many occasions, expressed his dislike of the arbitrary course pursued by the Directory. In private he expressed, in the strongest terms, his horror of Jacobin cruelty and despotism. “The Directors,” said he “can not long retain their position. They know not how to do any thing for the imagination of the nation.” It is said that the Directors, at last, were so much annoyed by his censure that they seriously contemplated his arrest and applied to Fouché for that purpose. The wily minister of police replied, “Napoleon Bonaparte is not the man to be arrested; neither is Fouché the man who will undertake to arrest him.” When Bourrienne inquired if he were really determined to risk his fate on the Expedition to Egypt, “Yes!” he replied, “if I remain here, it will be necessary for me to overturn this miserable government, and make myself king. But we must not think of that yet. The pear is not yet ripe. I have sounded, but the time has not yet come. I must first dazzle these gentlemen by my exploits.” One of his last acts before embarkation was to issue a humane proclamation to the military commission at Toulon urging a more merciful construction of one of the tyrannical edicts of the Directory against the emigrants. “I exhort you, citizens,” said he, “when the law presents at[Pg 170] your tribunal old men and females, to declare that, in the midst of war, Frenchmen respect the aged and the women, even of their enemies. The soldier who signs a sentence against one incapable of bearing arms is a coward.” There was perhaps not another man in France, who would have dared thus to oppose the sanguinary measures of government. This benevolent interposition met however with a response in the hearts of the people, and added a fresh laurel to his brow.

On the morning of the 19th of May, 1798, just as the sun was rising over the blue waves of the Mediterranean the fleet got under way. Napoleon, with Eugene, embarked in the Orient, an enormous ship of one hundred and twenty guns. It was a brilliant morning and the unclouded sun perhaps never shone upon a more splendid scene. The magnificent armament extended over a semi-circle of not less than eighteen miles. The parting between Napoleon and Josephine is represented as having been tender and affecting in the extreme. She was very anxious to accompany him, but he deemed the perils to which they would be exposed, and the hardships they must necessarily endure, far too formidable for a lady to encounter. Josephine stood upon a balcony, with her eyes blinded with tears, as she waved her adieus to Napoleon, and watched the receding fleet, till the lessening sails disappeared beneath the distant horizon. The squadron sailed first to Genoa, thence to Ajaccio, and thence to Civita Vecchia, to join the convoys collected in those ports. The signal was then given for the whole fleet to bear away, as rapidly as possible, for Malta.

The Distant Alps


In coasting along the shores of Italy, Napoleon, from the deck of the Orient descried, far away in the distant horizon, the snow-capped summits of the Alps. He called for a telescope, and gazed long and earnestly upon the scene of his early achievements. “I can not,” said he, “behold without emotion, the land of Italy. These mountains command the plains where I have so often led the French to victory. Now I am bound to the East. With the same troops victory is still secure.”

All were fascinated by the striking originality, animation, and eloquence of his conversation. Deeply read in all that is illustrious in the past, every island, every bay, every promontory, every headland recalled the heroic deeds of antiquity. In pleasant weather Napoleon passed nearly all the time upon deck, surrounded by a group never weary of listening to the freshness and the poetic vigor of his remarks. Upon all subjects he was alike at home, and the most distinguished philosophers, in their several branches of science, were amazed at the instinctive comprehensiveness with which every subject seemed to be familiar to his mind. He was never depressed and never mirthful. A calm and thoughtful energy inspired every moment. From all the ships the officers and distinguished men were in turn invited to dine with him. He displayed wonderful tact in drawing them out in conversation, forming with unerring skill an estimate of character, and thus preparing himself for the selection of suitable agents in all the emergencies which were to be encountered. In nothing was the genius of Napoleon more conspicuous, than in the lightning-like rapidity with which he detected any vein of genius in another. Not a moment of time was lost. Intellectual conversation, or reading or philosophical discussion caused the hours to fly on swiftest wing. Napoleon always, even in his most hurried campaigns, took a compact library with him. When driving in his carriage, from post to post of the army, he improved the moments in garnering up that knowledge, for the accumulation of which he ever manifested such an insatiable desire. Words were with him nothing, ideas every thing. He devoured biography, history, philosophy, treatises upon political economy and upon all the sciences. His contempt for works of fiction—the whole class of novels and romances—amounted almost to indignation. He[Pg 171] could never endure to see one reading such a book or to have such a volume in his presence. Once, when Emperor, in passing through the saloons of his palace, he found one of the maids of honor with a novel in her hands. He took it from her, gave her a severe lecture for wasting her time in such frivolous reading, and cast the volume into the flames. When he had a few moments for diversion, he not unfrequently employed them in looking over a book of logarithms, in which he always found recreation.

At the dinner table some important subject of discussion was ever proposed. For the small talk and indelicacies which wine engenders Napoleon had no taste, and his presence alone was sufficient to hold all such themes in abeyance. He was a young man of but twenty-six years of age, but his pre-eminence over all the forty-six thousand who composed that majestic armament was so conspicuous, that no one dreamed of questioning it. Without annoyance, without haughtiness, he was fully conscious of his own superiority, and received unembarrassed the marks of homage which ever surrounded him. The questions for discussion relating to history, mythology, and science, were always proposed by Napoleon. “Are the planets inhabited?” “What is the age of the world?” “Will the earth be destroyed by fire or water?” “What are the comparative merits of Christianity and Moslemism?” such were some of the questions which interested the mind of this young general.

From the crowded state of the vessels, and the numbers on board unaccustomed to nautical manœuvres, it not unfrequently happened that some one fell overboard. Though Napoleon could look with perfect composure upon the carnage of the field of battle, and order movements, without the tremor of a nerve, which he knew must consign thousands to a bloody death, when by such an accidental event life was periled, his sympathies were aroused to the highest degree, and he could not rest until the person was extricated. He always liberally rewarded those who displayed unusual courage and zeal in effecting a rescue. One dark night a noise was heard as of a man falling overboard. The whole ship’s company, consisting of two thousand men, as the cry of alarm spread from stem to stern, was instantly in commotion. Napoleon immediately ascended to the deck. The ship was put about; boats were lowered, and, after much agitation and search, it was discovered that the whole stir was occasioned by the slipping of a quarter of beef from a noose at the bulwark. Napoleon ordered that the recompense for signal exertions should be more liberal than usual. “It might have been a man,” he said, “and the zeal and courage now displayed have not been less than would have been required in that event.”

On the morning of the 16th of June, after a voyage of twenty days, the white cliffs of Malta, and the magnificent fortifications of that celebrated island, nearly a thousand miles from Toulon, emerged from the horizon, glittering with dazzling brilliance in the rays of the rising sun. By a secret understanding with the Knights of Malta. Napoleon had prepared the way for the capitulation of the island before leaving France. The Knights, conscious of their inability to maintain independence, preferred to be the subjects of France, rather than of any other power. “I captured Malta,” said Napoleon, “while at Mantua.” The reduction, by force, of that almost impregnable fortress, would have required a long siege, and a vast expenditure of treasure and of life. A few cannon shot were exchanged, that there might be a slight show of resistance, when the island was surrendered, and the tri-colored flag waved proudly over those bastions which, in former years, had bid defiance, to the whole power of the all-conquering Turk. The generals of the French army were amazed as they contemplated the grandeur and the strength of these works, upon which had been expended the science, the toil, and the wealth of ages. “It is well,” said General Caffarelli to Napoleon, “that there was some one within to open the gates to us. We should have had more trouble in making our way through, if the place had been empty.” The Knights of Malta, living upon the renown acquired by their order in by-gone ages, and reveling in luxury and magnificence, were very willing to receive the gold of Napoleon, and palaces in the fertile plains of Italy and France, in exchange for turrets and towers, bastions and ramparts of solid rock. The harbor is one of the most safe and commodious in the world. It embraced, without the slightest embarassment, the whole majestic armament, and allowed the magnificent Orient, to float, with abundance of water, at the quay.

Napoleon immediately devoted his mind, with its accustomed activity, to securing and organizing the new colony. The innumerable batteries, were immediately armed, and three thousand men were left in defense of the place. All the Turkish prisoners, found in the galleys, were set at liberty, treated with the greatest kindness, and scattered through the fleet, that their friendship might be won, and that they might exert a moral influence, in favor of the French, upon the Mohammedan population of the East. With as much facility as if he had devoted a long life to the practical duties of a statesman, Napoleon arranged the municipal system of the island; and having accomplished all this in less than a week, he again weighed anchor, and directed his course toward Egypt. Many of the Knights of Malta, followed the victorious general, and with profound homage, accepted appointments in his army.

The whole French squadron, hourly anticipating collision with the English fleet, were ever ready for battle. Though Napoleon did not turn from his great object to seek the English, he felt no apprehension in view of meeting the enemy. Upon every ship-of-the-line he had put five hundred picked men, who were daily exercised in working the guns. He had enjoined upon the whole fleet, that, in case of an encounter, every ship was to have but one single aim, that of closing immediately with a ship of the enemy, and[Pg 172] boarding her with the utmost desperation. Nelson, finding that the French had left their harbors, eagerly but unavailingly searched for them. He was entirely at a loss respecting their destination, and knew not in what direction to sail. It was not yet known, even on board the French ships, but to a few individuals, whither the fleet was bound. Gradually, however, as the vast squadron drew nearer the African shore, the secret began to transpire. Mirth and gayety prevailed. All were watching with eagerness, to catch a first glimpse of the continent of Africa. In the evenings Napoleon assembled, in the capacious cabins of the Orient, the men of science and general officers, and then commenced the learned discussions of the Institute of Egypt. One night, the two fleets were within fifteen miles of each other; so near that the signal guns of Nelson’s squadron, were heard by the French. The night, however, was dark and foggy, and the two fleets passed without collision.

On the morning of the 1st of July, after a passage of forty days, the low and sandy shores of Egypt, about two thousand miles from France, were discerned extending along the distant horizon, as far as the eye could reach. As with a gentle breeze they drew nearer the land, the minarets of Alexandria, the Needle of Cleopatra, and Pompey’s Pillar, rose above the sand hills, exciting, in the minds of the enthusiastic French, the most romantic dreams of Oriental grandeur. The fleet approached a bay, at a little distance from the harbor of Alexandria, and dropped anchor about three miles from the shore. But two days before, Nelson had visited that very spot, in quest of the French, and, not finding them there, had sailed for the mouth of the Hellespont. The evening had now arrived, and the breeze had increased to almost a gale. Notwithstanding the peril of disembarkation in such a surf, Napoleon decided that not a moment was to be lost. The landing immediately commenced, and was continued, with the utmost expedition, through the whole night. Many boats were swamped, and some lives lost, but, unintimidated by such disasters, the landing was continued with unabated zeal. The transfer of the horses from the ships to the shore, presented a very curious spectacle. They were hoisted out of the ships and lowered into the sea, with simply a halter about their necks, where they swam in great numbers around the vessels, not knowing which way to go. Six were caught by their halters, and towed by a boat toward the shore. The rest, by instinct followed them. As other horses were lowered into the sea from all the ships, they joined the column hastening toward the land, and thus soon there was a dense and wide column of swimming horses, extending from the ships to the beach. As fast as they reached the shore they were caught, saddled, and delivered to their riders. Toward morning the wind abated, and before the blazing sun rose over the sands of the desert, a proud army of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, was marshaled upon the dreary waste, awaiting the commands of its general.

In the midst of the disembarkation, a sail appeared in the distant horizon. It was supposed to be an English ship. “Oh, Fortune!” exclaimed Napoleon, “dost thou forsake me now? I ask of thee but a short respite.” The strange sail proved to be a French frigate, rejoining the fleet. While the disembarkation was still going on, Napoleon advanced, with three thousand men, whom he had hastily formed in battle array upon the beach, to Alexandria, which was at but a few miles distance, that he might surprise the place before the Turks had time to prepare for a defense. No man ever better understood the value of time. His remarkable saying to the pupils of a school which he once visited, “My young friends! every hour of time is a chance of misfortune for future life,” formed the rule of his own conduct.

The Disembarkation


Just before disembarking, Napoleon had issued the following proclamation to his troops: “Soldiers! You are about to undertake a conquest fraught with incalculable effects upon the commerce and civilization of the world. You will inflict upon England the most grievous stroke she can sustain before receiving her death blow. The people with whom we are about to live are Mohammedans. Their first article of faith is, There is but one God, and Mohammed is his prophet. Contradict them not. Treat them as you have treated the Italians and the Jews. Show the same regard to their muftis and imaums, as you have shown to the bishops and rabbins. Manifest for the ceremonies of the Koran, the same respect you have shown to the convents and the synagogues, to the religion of Moses and that of Jesus Christ. All religions were protected by the legions of Rome. You will find here customs greatly at variance with those of Europe. Accustom yourselves to respect them. Women are not treated here as with us; but in every country he who violates is a monster. Pillage enriches only a few, while it dishonors an army, destroys its resources, and makes enemies of those whom it is the interest of all to attach as friends.”

The first gray of the morning had not yet dawned, when Napoleon, at the head of his enthusiastic column, marched upon the city, which bore the name, and which had witnessed the achievements of Alexander. It was his aim, by the fearlessness and the impetuosity of his first assaults, to impress the Turks with an idea of the invincibility of the French. The Mamelukes, hastily collected upon the ramparts of the city, received the foe with discharges of musketry and artillery, and with shouts of defiance. The French, aided by their ladders, poured over the walls like an inundation, sweeping every thing before them. The conflict was short, and the tricolored flag waved triumphantly over the city of Alexander. The Turkish prisoners from Malta, who had become fascinated by the magnificence of Napoleon, as all were fascinated who approached that extraordinary man, dispersed themselves through the city, and exerted a powerful influence in securing the friendship of the[Pg 173] people for their invaders. The army, imbibing the politic sentiments of their general, refrained from all acts of lawless violence, and amazed the enslaved populace by their justice, mercy, and generosity. The people were immediately liberated from the most grinding and intolerable despotism; just and equal laws were established; and Arab and Copt, soon began, lost in wonder, to speak the praises of Napoleon. He was a strange conqueror for the East; liberating and blessing, not enslaving and robbing the vanquished. Their women were respected, their property was uninjured, their persons protected from violence, and their interests in every way promoted. A brighter day never dawned upon Egypt than the day in which Napoleon placed his foot upon her soil. The accomplishment of his plans, so far as human vision can discern, would have been one of the greatest of possible blessings to the East. Again Napoleon issued one of those glowing proclamations which are as characteristic of his genius as were the battles which he fought:

“People of Egypt! You will be told, by our enemies, that I am come to destroy your religion. Believe them not. Tell them that I am come to restore your rights, punish your usurpers, and revise the true worship of Mohammed. Tell them that I venerate, more than do the Mamelukes, God, his prophet, and the Koran. Tell them that all men are equal in the sight of God; that wisdom, talents, and virtue alone constitute the difference between them. And what are the virtues which distinguish the Mamelukes, that entitle them to appropriate all the enjoyments of life to themselves? If Egypt is their farm, let[Pg 174] them show their lease, from God, by which they hold it. Is there a fine estate? it belongs to the Mamelukes. Is there a beautiful slave, a fine horse, a good house? all belong to the Mamelukes. But God is just and merciful, and He hath ordained that the empire of the Mamelukes shall come to an end. Thrice happy those who shall side with us; they shall prosper in their fortune and their rank. Happy they who shall be neutral; they will have time to become acquainted with us, and will range themselves upon our side. But woe, threefold woe to those who shall arm for the Mamelukes and fight against us. For them there will be no hope; they shall perish.”

“You witlings of Paris,” wrote one of the officers of the army, “will laugh outright, at the Mohammedan proclamation of Napoleon. He, however, is proof against all your raillery, and the proclamation itself has produced the most surprising effect. The Arabs, natural enemies of the Mamelukes, sent us back, as soon as they had read it, thirty of our people, whom they had made prisoners, with an offer of their services against the Mamelukes.”

It was an interesting peculiarity in the character of Napoleon that he respected all religions as necessities of the human mind. He never allowed himself to speak in contemptuous terms even of the grossest absurdities of religious fanaticism. Christianity was presented to him only as exhibited by the papal church. He professed the most profound admiration of the doctrines and the moral precepts of the gospel, and often expressed the wish that he could be a devout believer. But he could not receive, as from God, all that Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests claimed as divine. In the spiritual power of the Pope he recognized an agent of tremendous efficiency. As such he sincerely respected it, treated it with deference, and sought its alliance. He endeavored to gain control over every influence which could sway the human heart. So of the Mohammedans; he regarded their religion as an element of majestic power, and wished to avail himself of it. While the philosophers and generals around him regarded all forms of religion with contempt, he, influenced by a far higher philosophy, regarded all with veneration.

Since the revolution there had been no sort of worship in France. The idea even of a God had been almost entirely obliterated from the public mind. The French soldiers were mere animals, with many noble as well as depraved instincts. At the command of their beloved chieftain, they were as ready to embrace a religion as to storm a battery. Napoleon was accused of hypocrisy for pursuing this course in Egypt. “I never,” said he, subsequently, “followed any of the tenets of the Mohammedan religion. I never prayed in the mosques. I never abstained from wine, or was circumcised. I said merely that we were friends of the Mussulmans, and that I respected their prophet; which was true. I respect him now.”

Napoleon remained in Alexandria but six days. During this time he devoted himself with a zeal and energy which elicited universal admiration, to the organization of equitable laws, the regulations of police, and the development of the resources of the country. The very hour of their establishment in the city, artisans, and artists, and engineers all were busy, and the life and enterprise of the West, were infused into the sepulchral streets of Alexandria. Preparations were immediately made for improving the harbor, repairing the fortifications, erecting mills, establishing manufactories, founding schools, exploring antiquities, and the government of the country was placed in the hands of the prominent inhabitants, who were interested to promote the wise and humane policy of Napoleon. Since that day half a century of degradation, ignorance, poverty, oppression, and wretchedness has passed over Egypt. Had Napoleon succeeded in his designs, it is probable that Egypt would now have been a civilized and a prosperous land, enriched by the commerce of the East and the West; with villas of elegance and refinement embellishing the meadows and headlands of the Nile, and steamers, freighted with the luxuries of all lands, plowing her majestic waves. The shores of the Red Sea, now so silent and lonely, would have echoed with the hum of happy industry, and fleets would have been launched from her forests, and thriving towns and opulent cities would have sprung up, where the roving Bedouin now meets but desolation and gloom. It is true that in the mysterious providence of God all these hopes might have been disappointed. But it is certain that while Napoleon remained in Egypt the whole country received an impulse unknown for centuries before; and human wisdom can not devise a better plan than he proposed, for arousing the enterprise, and stimulating the industry, and developing the resources of the land.

About thirty of the French troops fell in the attack upon Alexandria. Napoleon, with his prompt conceptions of the sublime, caused them to be buried at the foot of Pompey’s Pillar, and had their names engraven upon that monument, whose renown has grown venerable through countless ages. The whole army assisted at the imposing ceremony of their interment. Enthusiasm spread through the ranks. The French soldiers, bewildered by the meteor glare of glory, and deeming their departed comrades now immortalized, envied their fate. Never did conqueror better understand than Napoleon what springs to touch, to rouse the latent energies of human nature.

Leaving three thousand men in Alexandria, under the command of General Kleber, who had been wounded in the assault, Napoleon set out, with the rest of his army, to cross the desert to Cairo. The fleet was not in a place of safety, and Napoleon gave emphatic orders to Admiral Brueys to remove the ships, immediately after landing the army, from the bay of Aboukir, where it was anchored, into the harbor of Alexandria; or, if the large ships could not enter that port, to proceed, without any delay, to the island[Pg 175] of Corfu. The neglect, on the part of the Admiral, promptly to execute these orders, upon which Napoleon had placed great stress, led to a disaster which proved fatal to the expedition. Napoleon dispatched a large flotilla, laden with provisions, artillery, ammunition, and baggage, to sail along the shore of the Mediterranean to the western branch of the Nile, called the Rosetta mouth, and ascend the river to a point where the army, having marched across the desert, would meet it. The flotilla and the army would then keep company, ascending the Nile, some fifty miles, to Cairo. The army had a desert of sixty miles to cross. It was dreary and inhospitable in the extreme. A blazing sun glared fiercely down upon the glowing sands. Not a tree or a blade of grass cheered the eye. Not a rivulet trickled across their hot and sandy path. A few wells of brackish water were scattered along the trackless course pursued by the caravans, but even these the Arabs had filled up or poisoned.

The March through the Desert


Early on the morning of the 6th of July the army commenced its march over the apparently boundless plain of shifting sands. No living creature met the eye but a few Arab horsemen, who occasionally appeared and disappeared at the horizon, and who, concealing themselves behind the sand hills, immediately murdered any stragglers who wandered from the ranks, or from sickness or exhaustion loitered behind. Four days of inconceivable suffering were occupied in crossing the desert. The soldiers, accustomed to the luxuriance, beauty, and abundance of the valleys of Italy, were plunged into the most abject depression. Even the officers found their firmness giving way, and Lannes and Murat, in paroxysms of despair, dashed their hats upon the sand, and trampled them under foot. Many fell and perished on the long and dreary route. But the dense columns toiled on, hour after hour, weary, and hungry, and faint, and thirsty, the hot sun blazing down upon their unsheltered heads, and the yielding sands burning their blistered feet. At the commencement of the enterprise Napoleon had promised, to each of his soldiers, seven acres of land. As they looked around upon this dreary and boundless ocean of sand, they spoke jocularly of his moderation in promising them but seven acres, “The young rogue,” said they, “might have safely offered us as much as we chose to take. We certainly should not have abused his good-nature.”

Nothing can show more strikingly the singular control which Napoleon had obtained over his army, than the fact that under these circumstances, no one murmured against him. He toiled along on foot, at the head of the column, sharing the fatigue of the most humble soldiers. Like them he threw himself upon the sands at night, with the sand for his pillow, and, secreting no luxuries for himself, he ate the coarse beans which afforded the only food for the army. He was ever the last to fold his cloak around him for the night, and the first to spring from the ground in the morning. The soldiers bitterly cursed the government who had sent them to that land of barrenness and desolation. Seeing the men of science stopping to examine the antiquities, they accused them of being the authors of the expedition, and revenged themselves with[Pg 176] witticisms. But no one uttered a word against Napoleon. His presence overawed all. He seemed to be insensible to hunger, thirst, or fatigue. It was observed that while all others were drenched with perspiration, not a drop of moisture oozed from his brow. Through all the hours of this dreary march, not a word or a gesture escaped him, which indicated the slightest embarrassment or inquietude. One day he approached a group of discontented officers, and said to them, in tones of firmness which at once brought them to their senses, “You are holding mutinous language! beware! It is not your being six feet high which will save you from being shot in a couple of hours.” In the midst of the desert, when gloom and despondency had taken possession of all hearts, unbounded joy was excited by the appearance of a lake of crystal water, but a few miles before them, with villages and palm trees beautifully reflected in its clear and glassy depths. The parched and panting troops rushed eagerly on, to plunge into the delicious waves. Hour after hour passed, and they approached no nearer the elysium before them. Dreadful was their disappointment when they found that it was all an illusion, and that they were pursuing the mirage of the dry and dusty desert. At one time Napoleon, with one or two of his officers, wandered a little distance from the main body of his army. A troop of Arab horsemen, concealed by some sand hills, watched his movements, but for some unknown reason, when he was entirely in their power, did not harm him. Napoleon soon perceived his peril, and escaped unmolested. Upon his return to the troops, peacefully smiling, he said, “It is not written on high, that I am to perish by the hands of the Arabs.”

As the army drew near the Nile the Mameluke horsemen increased in numbers, and in the frequency and the recklessness of their attacks. Their appearance and the impetuosity of their onset was most imposing. Each one was mounted on a fleet Arabian steed, and was armed with pistol, sabre, carbine, and blunderbuss. The carbine was a short gun which threw a small bullet with great precision. The blunderbuss was also a short gun, with a large bore, capable of holding a number of balls, and of doing execution without exact aim. These fierce warriors accustomed to the saddle almost from infancy, presented an array indescribably brilliant, as, with gay turbans, and waving plumes, and gaudy banners, and gold-spangled robes, in meteoric splendor, with the swiftness of the wind, they burst from behind the sand hills. Charging like the rush of a tornado, they rent the air with their hideous yells, and discharged their carbines, while in full career, and halted, wheeled, and retreated with a precision and celerity which amazed even the most accomplished horsemen of the army of Italy. The extended sandy plains were exactly adapted to the manœuvres of these flying herds. The least motion, or the slightest breath of wind, raised a cloud of dust, blinding, choking, and smothering the French, but apparently presenting no annoyance either to the Arab rider or to his horse. If a weary straggler loitered a few steps behind the toiling column, or if any soldiers ventured to leave the ranks in pursuit of the Mamelukes in their bold attacks, certain and instant death was encountered. A wild troop, enveloped in clouds of dust, like spirits from another world, dashed upon them, cut down the adventurers with their keen Damascus blades, and disappeared in the desert, almost before a musket could be leveled at them.

After five days of inconceivable suffering the long-wished-for Nile was seen, glittering through the sand hills of the desert, and bordered by a fringe of the richest luxuriance. The scene burst upon the view of the panting soldiers like a vision of enchantment. Shouts of joy burst from the ranks. All discipline and order were instantly forgotten. The whole army of thirty thousand men, with horses and camels rushed forward, a tumultuous throng, and plunged, in the delirium of excitement, into the waves. They luxuriated, with indescribable delight, in the cool and refreshing stream. They rolled over and over in the water, shouting and frolicking in wild joy. Reckless of consequences, they drank and drank again, as if they never could be satiated with the delicious beverage. In the midst of this scene of turbulent and almost frenzied exultation, a cloud of dust was seen in the distance, the trampling of hoofs was heard, and a body of nearly a thousand Mameluke horsemen, on fleet Arabian chargers, came sweeping down upon them, like the rush of the wind, their sabres flashing in the sunlight, and rending the air with their hideous yells. The drums beat the alarm; the trumpets sounded, and the veteran soldiers, drilled to the most perfect mechanical precision, instantly formed in squares, with the artillery at the angles, to meet the foe. In a moment the assault, like a tornado, fell upon them. But it was a tornado striking a rock. Not a line wavered. A palisade of bristling bayonets met the breasts of the horses, and they recoiled from the shock. A volcanic burst of fire, from artillery and musketry, rolled hundreds of steeds and riders together in the dust. The survivors, wheeling their unchecked chargers, disappeared with the same meteoric rapidity with which they had approached. The flotilla now appeared in sight, having arrived at the destined spot at the precise hour designated by Napoleon. This was not accident. It was the result of that wonderful power of mind, and extent of information, which had enabled Napoleon perfectly to understand the difficulties of the two routes, and to give his orders in such a way, that they could be, and would be obeyed. It was remarked by Napoleon’s generals, that during a week’s residence in Egypt, he acquired apparently as perfect an acquaintance with the country as if it had been his native land.

The whole moral aspect of the army was now changed, with the change in the aspect of the country. The versatile troops forgot their sufferings, and, rejoicing in abundance, danced and sang, beneath the refreshing shade of sycamore[Pg 177] and palm trees. The fields were waving with luxuriant harvests. Pigeons were abundant. The most delicious watermelons were brought to the camp in inexhaustible profusion. But the villages were poor and squalid, and the houses mere hovels of mud. The execrations in which the soldiers had indulged in the desert, now gave place to jokes and glee. For seven days they marched resolutely forward along the banks of the Nile, admiring the fertility of the country, and despising the poverty and degradation of the inhabitants. They declared that there was no such place as Cairo, but that the “Little Corporal,” had suffered himself to be transported like a good boy, to that miserable land, in search of a city even more unsubstantial than the mirage of the desert.

On the march Napoleon stopped at the house of an Arab sheik. The interior presented a revolting scene of squalidness and misery. The proprietor was however reported to be rich. Napoleon treated the old man with great kindness and asked, through an interpreter, why he lived in such utter destitution of all the comforts of life, assuring him that an unreserved answer should expose him to no inconvenience. He replied, “some years ago I repaired and furnished my dwelling. Information of this was carried to Cairo, and having been thus proved to be wealthy, a large sum of money was demanded from me by the Mamelukes, and the bastinado was inflicted until I paid it. Look at my feet, which bear witness to what I endured. From that time I have reduced myself to the barest necessaries, and no longer seek to repair any thing.” The poor old man was lamed for life, in consequence of the mutilation which his feet received from the terrible infliction. Such was the tyranny of the Mamelukes. The Egyptians, in abject slavery to their proud oppressors, were compelled to surrender their wives, their children, and even their own persons to the absolute will of the despots who ruled them.

Numerous bands of Mameluke horsemen, the most formidable body of cavalry in the world, were continually hovering about the army, watching for points of exposure, and it was necessary to be continually prepared for an attack. Nothing could have been more effective than the disposition which Napoleon made of his troops to meet this novel mode of warfare. He formed his army into five squares. The sides of each square were composed of ranks six men deep. The artillery were placed at the angles. Within the square were grenadier companies in platoons to support the points of attack. The generals, the scientific corps, and the baggage were in the centre. These squares were moving masses. When on the march all faced in one direction, the two sides marching in flank. When charged they immediately halted and fronted on every side; the outermost rank kneeling that those behind might shoot over their heads—the whole body thus presenting a living fortress of bristling bayonets. When they were to carry a position the three front ranks were to detach themselves from the square and to form a column of attack. The other three ranks were to remain in the rear, still forming the square, ready to rally the column. These flaming citadels of fire set at defiance all the power of the Arab horsemen. The attacks of the enemy soon became a subject of merriment to the soldiers. The scientific men, or savans, as they were called, had been supplied with asses to transport their persons and philosophical apparatus. As soon as a body of Mamelukes was seen in the distance, the order was given, with military precision, “form square, savans and asses in the centre.” This order was echoed, from rank to rank, with peals of laughter. The soldiers amused themselves with calling the asses demi-savans. Though the soldiers thus enjoyed their jokes, they cherished the highest respect for many of these savans, who in scenes of battle had manifested the utmost intrepidity. After a march of seven days, during which time they had many bloody skirmishes with the enemy, the army approached Cairo.

Mourad Bey had there assembled the greater part of his Mamelukes, nearly ten thousand in number, for a decisive battle. These proud and powerful horsemen were supported by twenty-four thousand foot soldiers, strongly intrenched. Cairo is on the eastern banks of the Nile. Napoleon was marching along the western shore. On the morning of the 21st of July, Napoleon, conscious that he was near the city, set his army in motion before the break of day. Just as the sun was rising in those cloudless skies, the soldiers beheld the lofty minarets of the city upon their left, gilded by its rays, and upon the right, upon the borders of the desert, the gigantic pyramids rising like mountains upon an apparently boundless plain. The whole army instinctively halted and gazed awe-stricken upon those monuments of antiquity. The face of Napoleon beamed with enthusiasm. “Soldiers!” he exclaimed, as he rode along the ranks; “from those summits forty centuries contemplate your actions.” The ardor of the soldiers was aroused to the highest pitch. Animated by the clangor of martial bands, and the gleam of flaunting banners, they advanced with impetuous steps to meet their foes. The whole plain before them, at the base of the pyramids was filled with armed men. The glittering weapons of ten thousand horsemen, in the utmost splendor of barbaric chivalry, brilliant with plumes and arms of burnished steel and gold, presented an array inconceivably imposing. Undismayed the French troops, marshaled in five invincible squares, pressed on. There was apparently no alternative. Napoleon must march upon those intrenchments, behind which twenty-four thousand men were stationed with powerful artillery and musketry to sweep his ranks, and a formidable body of ten thousand horsemen, on fleet and powerful Arabian steeds, awaiting the onset, and ready to seize upon the slightest indications of confusion to plunge, with the fury which fatalism can inspire, upon his bleeding and mangled squares. It must have been with Napoleon a moment of intense anxiety. But as he sat upon his horse, in the[Pg 178] centre of one of the squares, and carefully examined, with his telescope, the disposition of the enemy, no one could discern the slightest trace of uneasiness. His gaze was long and intense. The keenness of his scrutiny detected that the guns of the enemy were not mounted upon carriages, and that they could not therefore be turned from the direction in which they were placed. No other officer, though many of them had equally good glasses, made this important discovery. He immediately, by a lateral movement, guided his army to the right, toward the pyramids, that his squares might be out of the range of the guns, and that he might attack the enemy in flank. The moment Mourad Bey perceived this evolution, he divined its object, and with great military sagacity resolved instantly to charge.

“You shall now see us,” said the proud Bey, “cut up those dogs, like gourds.”

Battle of the Pyramids


It was, indeed, a fearful spectacle. Ten thousand horsemen, magnificently dressed, with the fleetest steeds in the world, urging their horses with bloody spurs, to the most impetuous and furious onset, rending the heavens with their cries, and causing the very earth to tremble beneath the thunder of iron feet, came down upon the adamantine host. Nothing was ever seen in war more furious than this charge. Ten thousand horsemen is an enormous mass. Those longest inured to danger felt that it was an awful moment. It seemed impossible to resist such a living avalanche. The most profound silence reigned through the ranks, interrupted only by the word of command. The nerves of excitement being roused to the utmost tension, every order was executed with most marvelous rapidity and precision. The soldiers held their breath, and with bristling bayonets stood, shoulder to shoulder, to receive the shock.[Pg 179]

The moment the Mamelukes arrived within gunshot, the artillery, at the angles, plowed their ranks, and platoons of musketry, volley after volley, in a perfectly uninterrupted flow, swept into their faces a pitiless tempest of destruction. Horses and riders, struck by the balls, rolled over each other, by hundreds, in the sand, and were trampled and crushed by the iron hoofs of the thousands of frantic steeds, enveloped in dust and smoke, composing the vast and impetuous column. But the squares stood as firm as the pyramids at whose base they fought. Not one was broken; not one wavered. The daring Mamelukes, in the frenzy of their rage and disappointment, threw away their lives with the utmost recklessness. They wheeled their horses round and reined them back upon the ranks, that they might kick their way into those terrible fortresses of living men. Rendered furious by their inability to break the ranks, they hurled their pistols and carbines at the heads of the French. The wounded crawled along the ground, and with their scimitars, cut at the legs of their indomitable foes. They displayed superhuman bravery, the only virtue which the Mamelukes possessed.

But an incessant and merciless fire from Napoleon’s well-trained battalions continually thinned their ranks, and at last the Mamelukes, in the wildest disorder, broke, and fled. The infantry, in the intrenched camp, witnessing the utter discomfiture of the mounted troops, whom they had considered invincible, and seeing such incessant and volcanic sheets of flame bursting from the impenetrable squares, caught the panic, and joined the flight. Napoleon now, in his turn, charged with the utmost impetuosity. A scene of indescribable confusion and horror ensued. The extended plain was crowded with fugitives—footmen and horsemen, bewildered with terror, seeking escape from their terrible foes. Thousands plunged into the river, and endeavored to escape by swimming to the opposite shore. But a shower of bullets, like hail stones, fell upon them, and the waves of the Nile were crimsoned with their blood. Others sought the desert, a wild and rabble rout. The victors, with their accustomed celerity pursued, pitilessly pouring into the dense masses of their flying foes the most terrible discharges of artillery and musketry. The rout was complete—the carnage awful. The sun had hardly reached the meridian, before the whole embattled host had disappeared, and the plain as far as the eye could extend, was strewn with the dying and the dead. The camp, with all its Oriental wealth, fell into the hands of the victors; and the soldiers enriched themselves with its profusion of splendid shawls, magnificent weapons, Arabian horses, and purses filled with gold. The Mamelukes were accustomed to lavish great wealth in the decorations of their persons, and to carry with them large sums of money. The gold and the trappings found upon the body of each Mameluke were worth from twelve hundred to two thousand dollars. Besides those who were slain upon the field, more than a thousand of these formidable horsemen were drowned in the Nile. For many days the soldiers employed themselves in fishing up the rich booty, and the French camp was filled with all abundance. This most sanguinary battle cost the French scarcely one hundred men in killed and wounded. More than ten thousand of the enemy perished. Napoleon gazed with admiration upon the bravery which these proud horsemen displayed. “Could I have united the Mameluke horse to the French infantry,” said he, “I should have reckoned myself master of the world.”

After the battle, Napoleon, now the undisputed conqueror of Egypt, quartered himself for the night in the country palace of Mourad Bey. The apartments of this voluptuous abode were embellished with all the appurtenances of Oriental luxury. The officers were struck with surprise in viewing the multitude of cushions and divans covered with the finest damasks and silks, and ornamented with golden fringe. Egypt was beggared to minister to the sensual indulgence of these haughty despots. Much of the night was passed in exploring this singular mansion. The garden was extensive and magnificent in the extreme. Innumerable vines were laden with the richest grapes. The vintage was soon gathered by the thousands of soldiers who filled the alleys and loitered in the arbors. Pots of preserves, of confectionery, and of sweetmeats of every kind, were quickly devoured by an army of mouths. The thousands of little elegancies which Europe, Asia, and Africa had contributed to minister to the voluptuous splendors of the regal mansion, were speedily transferred to the knapsacks of the soldiers.

The “Battle of the Pyramids,” as Napoleon characteristically designated it, sent a thrill of terror, far and wide, into the interior of Asia and Africa. These proud, merciless, licentious oppressors were execrated by the timid Egyptians, but they were deemed invincible. In an hour they had vanished, like the mist, before the genius of Napoleon.

The caravans which came to Cairo, circulated through the vast regions of the interior, with all the embellishments of Oriental exaggeration, most glowing accounts of the destruction of these terrible squadrons, which had so long tyrannized over Egypt, and the fame of whose military prowess had caused the most distant tribes to tremble. The name of Napoleon became suddenly as renowned in Asia and in Africa as it had previously become in Europe. But twenty-one days had elapsed since he placed his foot upon the sands at Alexandria, and now he was sovereign of Egypt. The Egyptians also welcomed him as a friend and a liberator. The sheets of flame, which incessantly burst from the French ranks, so deeply impressed their imaginations, that they gave to Napoleon the Oriental appellation of Sultan Kebir, or King of Fire.

The wives of the Mamelukes had all remained in Cairo. Napoleon treated them with the utmost consideration. He sent Eugene to the wife[Pg 180] of Mourad Bey, to assure her of his protection. He preserved all her property for her, and granted her several requests which she made to him. Thus he endeavored, as far as possible, to mitigate the inevitable sufferings of war. The lady was so grateful for these attentions that she entertained Eugene with all possible honors, and presented him, upon his departure, with a valuable diamond ring.

Cairo contained three hundred thousand inhabitants. Its population was brutal and ferocious in the extreme. The capital was in a state of terrible agitation, for the path of Oriental conquerors is ever marked with brutality, flames, and blood. Napoleon immediately dispatched a detachment of his army into the city to restore tranquillity, and to protect persons and property from the fury of the populace. The next day but one, with great pomp and splendor, at the head of his victorious army, he entered Cairo, and took possession of the palace of Mourad Bey. With the most extraordinary intelligence and activity he immediately consecrated all his energies to promote the highest interest of the country he had conquered. Nothing escaped his observation. He directed his attention to the mosques, the harems, the condition of the women, the civil and religious institutions, the state of agriculture, the arts, and sciences—to every thing which could influence the elevation and prosperity of the country. He visited the most influential of the Arab inhabitants, assured them of his friendship, of his respect for their religion, of his determination to protect their rights, and of his earnest desire to restore to Egypt its pristine glory. He disclaimed all sovereignty over Egypt, but organized a government to be administered by the people themselves. He succeeded perfectly in winning their confidence and admiration. He immediately established a congress, composed of the most distinguished citizens of Cairo, for the creation of laws and the administration of justice, and established similar assemblies in all the provinces, which were to send deputies to the general congress at Cairo. He organized the celebrated Institute of Egypt, to diffuse among the people the light and the sciences of Europe. Some of the members were employed in making an accurate description and a perfect map of Egypt; others were to study the productions of the country, that its resources might be energetically and economically developed; others were to explore the ruins, thus to shed new light upon history; others were to study the social condition of the inhabitants, and proper plans for the promotion of their welfare, by the means of manufactures, canals, roads, mills, works upon the Nile, and improvements in agriculture. Among the various questions proposed to the Institute by Napoleon, the following may be mentioned as illustrative of his enlarged designs: Ascertain the best construction for wind and water mills; find a substitute for the hop, which does not grow in Egypt, for the making of beer; select sites adapted to the cultivation of the vine; seek the best means of procuring water for the citadel of Cairo; select spots for wells in different parts of the desert; inquire into the means of clarifying and cooling the waters of the Nile; devise some useful application of the rubbish with which the city of Cairo, and all the ancient towns of Egypt, are encumbered; find materials for the manufacture of gunpowder. It is almost incredible that the Egyptians were not acquainted with windmills, wheelbarrows, or even handsaws, until they were introduced by Napoleon. Engineers, draughtsmen, and men of science immediately dispersed themselves throughout all the provinces of Egypt. Flour, as fine as could be obtained in Paris, was ground in mills at Alexandria, Rosetta, Damietta, and Cairo. By the erection of public ovens, bread became abundant. Hospitals were established, with a bed for each patient. Saltpetre and gunpowder-mills were erected. A foundry was constructed with reverberating furnaces. Large shops were built for locksmiths, armorers, joiners, cartwrights, carpenters, and rope-makers. Silver goblets and services of plate were manufactured. A French and Arabic printing-press was set at work. Inconceivable activity was infused into every branch of industry. The genius of Napoleon, never weary, inspired all and guided all. It was indeed a bright day which, after centuries of inaction and gloom, had thus suddenly dawned upon Egypt. The route was surveyed, and the expense estimated, of two ship-canals, one connecting the waters of the Red Sea with the Nile at Cairo; the other uniting the Red Sea with the Mediterranean across the Isthmus of Suez. Five millions of dollars and two years of labor would have executed both of these magnificent enterprises, and would have caused a new era to have dawned upon three continents. It is impossible not to deplore those events which have thus consigned anew these fertile regions to beggary and to barbarism. The accomplishment of these majestic plans might have transferred to the Nile and the Euphrates those energies now so transplendent upon the banks of the Mississippi and the Ohio. “It is incredible,” says Talleyrand, “how much Napoleon was able to achieve. He could effect more than any man, yes, more than any four men whom I have ever known. His genius was inconceivable. Nothing could exceed his energy, his imagination, his spirit, his capacity for work, his ease of accomplishment. He was clearly the most extraordinary man that I ever saw, and I believe the most extraordinary man that has lived in our age, or for many ages.” All the energies of Napoleon’s soul were engrossed by these enterprises of grandeur and utility. Dissipation could present no aspect to allure him. “I have no passion,” said he, “for women or gaming. I am entirely a political being.”

The Arabs were lost in astonishment that a conqueror, who wielded the thunderbolt, could be so disinterested and merciful. Such generosity and self-denial was never before heard of in the East. They could in no way account for it. Their females were protected from insult; their[Pg 181] persons and property were saved. Thirty thousand Europeans were toiling for the comfort and improvement of the Egyptians. They called Napoleon the worthy son of the prophet, the favorite of Allah. They even introduced his praises into their Litany, and chanted in the mosques, “Who is he that hath saved the favorite of Victory from the dangers of the sea, and from the rage of his enemies? Who is he that hath led the brave men of the West, safe and unharmed to the banks of the Nile! It is Allah! the great Allah! The Mamelukes put their trust in horses; they draw forth their infantry in battle array. But the favorite of Victory hath destroyed the footmen and the horsemen of the Mamelukes. As the vapors which rise in the morning are scattered by the rays of the sun, so hath the army of the Mamelukes been scattered by the brave men of the West. For the brave men of the West are as the apple of the eye to the great Allah.”

Napoleon, to ingratiate himself with the people, and to become better acquainted with their character, attended their religious worship, and all their national festivals. Though he left the administration of justice in the hands of the sheiks, he enjoined and enforced scrupulous impartiality in their decisions. The robbers of the desert, who for centuries had devastated the frontiers with impunity, he repulsed with a vigorous hand, and under his energetic sway life and property became as safe in Egypt as in England or in France. The French soldiers became very popular with the native Egyptians, and might be seen in the houses, socially smoking their pipes with the inhabitants, assisting them in their domestic labors, and playing with their children.

One day Napoleon, in his palace, was giving audience to a numerous assemblage of sheiks and other distinguished men. Information was brought to him that some robbers from the desert had slain a poor friendless peasant, and carried off his flocks. “Take three hundred horsemen and two hundred camels,” said Napoleon, immediately, to an officer of his staff, “and pursue these robbers until they are captured, and the outrage is avenged.” “Was the poor wretch your cousin,” exclaimed one of the sheiks, contemptuously, “that you are in such a rage at his death?” “He was more,” Napoleon replied, sublimely, “he was one whose safety Providence had intrusted to my care.” “Wonderful!” rejoined the sheik, “you speak like one inspired of the Almighty.” More than one assassin was dispatched by the Turkish authorities to murder Napoleon. But the Egyptians with filial love, watched over him, gave him timely notice of the design, and effectually aided him in defeating it.

In the midst of this extraordinary prosperity, a reverse, sudden, terrible, and irreparable, befell the French army. Admiral Brueys, devotedly attached to Napoleon, and anxious to ascertain that he had obtained a foothold in the country before leaving him to his fate, delayed withdrawing his fleet, as Napoleon had expressly enjoined, from the Bay of Aboukir, to place it in a position of safety. The second day after entering Cairo, Napoleon received dispatches from Admiral Brueys by which he learned that the squadron was in the bay of Aboukir, exposed to the attacks of the enemy. He was amazed at the intelligence, and immediately dispatched a messenger, to proceed with the utmost haste, and inform the admiral of his great disapprobation, and to warn him to take the fleet, without an hour’s delay, either into the harbor of Alexandria, where it would be safe, or to make for Corfu. The messenger was assassinated on the way by a party of Arabs. He could not, however, have reached Aboukir before the destruction of the fleet. In the mean time, Lord Nelson learned that the French had landed at Egypt. He immediately turned in that direction to seek their squadron. At six o’clock in the evening of the first of August, but ten days after the battle of the Pyramids, the British fleet majestically entered the bay of Aboukir, and closed upon their victims. The French squadron consisting of thirteen ships of the line and four frigates, was anchored in a semi-circle, in a line corresponding with the curve of the shore. The plan of attack, adopted by Nelson, possessed the simplicity and originality of genius, and from the first moment victory was almost certain. As soon as Nelson perceived the situation of the French fleet, he resolved to double with his whole force on half of that of his enemy, pursuing the same system of tactics by sea which Napoleon had found so successful on the land. He ordered his fleet to take its station half on the outer, and half on the inner side of one end of the French line. Thus each French ship was placed between the fire of two of those of the English. The remainder of the French fleet being at anchor to the windward could not easily advance to the relief of their doomed friends. Admiral Brueys supposed that he was anchored so near the shore that the English could not pass inside of his line. But Nelson promptly decided that where there was room for the enemy to swing, there must be room for his ships to float. “If we succeed what will the world say,” exclaimed one of Nelson’s captains, with transport, as he was made acquainted with the plan of attack. “There is no if in the case,” Nelson replied, “that we shall succeed is certain. Who may live to tell the story is a very different question.”

The French fought with the energies of despair. For fifteen hours the unequal contest lasted. Dark night came on. The Bay of Aboukir resembled one wide flaming volcano, enveloped in the densest folds of sulphureous smoke. The ocean never witnessed a conflict more sanguinary and dreadful. About eleven o’clock the Orient took fire. The smoke, from the enormous burning mass, ascended like an immense black balloon, when suddenly the flames, flashing through them, illumined the whole horizon with awful brilliance. At length its magazine, containing hundreds of barrels of gunpowder, blew up, with an explosion so tremendous as to shake[Pg 182] every ship to its centre. So awfully did this explosion rise above the incessant roar of the battle, that simultaneously on both sides, the firing ceased, and a silence, as of the grave, ensued. But immediately the murderous conflict was resumed. Death and destruction, in the midst of the congenial gloom of night, held high carnival in the bay. Thousands of Arabs lined the shore, gazing with astonishment and terror upon the awful spectacle. For fifteen hours that dreadful conflict continued, through the night and during the morning, and until high noon of the ensuing day, when the firing gradually ceased, for the French fleet was destroyed. Four ships only escaped, and sailed for Malta. The English ships were too much shattered to attempt to pursue the fugitives.

Admiral Brueys was wounded early in the action. He would not leave the quarter-deck. “An admiral,” said he, “should die giving orders.” A cannon ball struck him, and but the fragments of his body could be found. Nelson was also severely wounded on the head. When carried to the cockpit, drenched in blood, he nobly refused, though in imminent danger of bleeding to death, to have his wounds dressed, till the wounded seamen, who were brought in before him, were attended to. “I will take my turn with my brave fellows,” said he. Fully believing that his wound was mortal, he called for the chaplain, and requested him to deliver his dying remembrance to Lady Nelson. When the surgeon came, in due time, to inspect his wound, it was found that the wound was only superficial.

All of the transports and small craft which had conveyed Napoleon’s army to Egypt, were in the harbor of Alexandria, safe from attack, as Nelson had no frigates with which to cross the bar. For leagues the shore was strewn with fragments of the wreck, and with the mangled bodies of the dead. The bay was also filled with floating corpses, notwithstanding the utmost efforts to sink them. The majestic armament which but four weeks before had sailed from Toulon, was thus utterly overthrown. The loss of the English was but about one thousand. Of the French five thousand perished, and three thousand were made prisoners. As soon as the conquest was completed, Nelson made signal for the crew, in every ship, to be assembled for prayers. The stillness of the Sabbath instantly pervaded the whole squadron, while thanksgivings were offered to God for the signal victory. So strange is the heart of man. England was desolating the whole civilized world with war, to compel the French people to renounce republicanism and establish a monarchy. And in the bloody hour when the Bay of Aboukir was covered with the thousands of the mutilated dead, whom her strong arm had destroyed, she, with unquestioned sincerity, offered to God the tribute of thanksgiving and praise. And from the churches and the firesides of England, tens of thousands of pious hearts breathed the fervent prayer of gratitude to God for the great victory of Aboukir.

Such was the famous Battle of the Nile, as it has since been called. It was a signal conquest. It was a magnificent triumph of British arms. But a victory apparently more fatal to the great interests of humanity was perhaps never gained. It was the death-blow to reviving Egypt. It extinguished in midnight gloom the light of civilization and science, which had just been enkindled on those dreary shores. Merciless oppression again tightened its iron grasp upon Asia and Africa, and already, as the consequence, has another half century of crime, cruelty and outrage, blighted that doomed land.

Napoleon at once saw that all his hopes were blasted. The blow was utterly irreparable. He was cut off from Europe. He could receive no supplies. He could not return. Egypt was his prison. Yet he received the news of this terrible disaster, with the most imperturbable equanimity. Not a word or a gesture escaped him, which indicated the slightest discouragement. With unabated zeal he pursued his plans, and soon succeeded in causing the soldiers to forget the disaster. He wrote to Kleber, “We must die in this country or get out of it as great as the ancients. This will oblige us to do greater things than we intended. We must hold ourselves in readiness. We will at least bequeath to Egypt an heritage of greatness.” “Yes!” Kleber replied, “we must do great things. I am preparing my faculties.”

The exultation among the crowned heads in Europe in view of this great monarchical victory was unbounded. England immediately created Nelson Baron of the Nile, and conferred a pension of ten thousand dollars a year, to be continued to his two immediate successors. The Grand Signior, the Emperor of Russia, the King of Sardinia, the King of Naples, and the East India Company made him magnificent presents. Despotism upon the Continent, which had received such heavy blows from Napoleon, began to rejoice and to revive. The newly emancipated people, struggling into the life of liberty, were disheartened. Exultant England formed new combinations of banded kings, to replace the Bourbons on their throne, and to crush the spirit of popular liberty and equality, which had obtained such a foothold in France. All monarchical Europe rejoiced. All republican Europe mourned.

The day of Aboukir was indeed a disastrous day to France. Napoleon with his intimate friends did not conceal his conviction of the magnitude of the calamity. He appeared occasionally, for a moment, lost in painful reverie, and was heard two or three times to exclaim, in indescribable tones of emotion, “Unfortunate Brueys, what have you done.” But hardly an hour elapsed after he had received the dreadful tidings, ere he entirely recovered his accustomed fortitude, and presence of mind, and he soon succeeded in allaying the despair of the soldiers. He saw, at a glance, all the consequences of this irreparable loss. And it speaks well for his heart that in the midst of a disappointment so[Pg 183] terrible, he could have forgotten his own grief in writing a letter of condolence to the widow of his friend. A heartless man could never have penned so touching an epistle as the following addressed to Madame Brueys, the widow of the man who had been unintentionally the cause of apparently the greatest calamity which could have befallen him.

“Your husband has been killed by a cannon ball, while combating on his quarter deck. He died without suffering—the death the most easy and the most envied by the brave. I feel warmly for your grief. The moment which separates us from the object which we love is terrible; we feel isolated on the earth; we almost experience the convulsions of the last agony; the faculties of the soul are annihilated; its connection with the earth is preserved only through the medium of a painful dream, which disturbs every thing. We feel, in such a situation, that there is nothing which yet binds us to life; that it were far better to die. But when, after such just and unavoidable throes, we press our children to our hearts, tears and more tender sentiments arise, and life becomes bearable for their sakes. Yes, Madame! they will open the fountains of your heart. You will watch their childhood, educate their youth. You will speak to them of their father, of your present grief, and of the loss which they and the Republic have sustained in his death. After having resumed the interests in life by the chord of maternal love, you will perhaps feel some consolation from the friendship and warm interest which I shall ever take in the widow of my friend.”

Inspecting the Egyptian Ruins

The French soldiers with the versatility of disposition which has ever characterized the light-hearted nation, finding all possibility of a return to France cut off, soon regained their accustomed gayety, and with zeal engaged in all the plans of Napoleon, for the improvement of the country, which it now appeared that, for many years, must be their home.



A few years ago, while wandering a stranger along the quay at Albany, my attention was attracted to a crowd composed for the most part of persons about to depart by a canal-packet for Buffalo. The scene was to me one of some interest, as a number of Germans of the better class were among the passengers. One was a beautiful girl apparently of about the age of eighteen, arrayed in the simple, unaffected garb of her country, but whose intellectual features, black and lustrous hair, tall and elegant figure, and somewhat melancholy cast of countenance, rendered her an object of interest, perhaps, I may say of admiration, to the bystanders. I noticed the sweet, sad smile which occasionally enlivened her countenance as fondly holding the hand of her companion in her own, she spoke to him in a tone and with a frankness of manner, that betrayed a deep and abiding interest in his welfare. I was informed that this young man was her only brother, who had been for some months employed in a manufacturing establishment in Albany; that his sister, however, had but recently arrived in the country, and, accompanied by her uncle, was now about to depart on a pilgrimage to the distant West.

Feeling an interest—why I know not—in this brother and sister, and perceiving they were of a better class than ordinarily emigrate to America, I was not surprised to learn that they had been educated with all the care and tenderness wealthy parents could bestow; that their father, who for many years had been engaged in extensive commercial pursuits in Bremen, died from grief and despair at the sudden prostration of his credit and loss of fortune, his widow soon after following him to the grave.

A few months previous to the time alluded to, the sister was the affianced bride of an amiable, enterprising young man, the partner of her father in business. At that period her ideal world was doubtless one of beauty and of innocence, the acme, perhaps, of earthly peace and happiness; for within it was a fountain of pure and mutual love, ever full and ever flowing. No worldly care disturbed her tranquil bosom—her every wish was gratified; no cloud obscured the brightness of her sky—it was pure, serene, and beautiful. How uncertain are earthly hopes! How vain are human expectations! In a moment, as it were, all with her had changed. Grief had taken possession of her heart, bitter tears had succeeded to innocent smiles, and her hopes of domestic bliss were blasted, perhaps never again to bud or bloom. She was miserably unhappy, the innocent victim of a disappointment, heart-rending indeed and by her never to be forgotten.[Pg 184]

On the decline of her father’s fortune and that also of Edward Nordheimer (for that was the name of her lover), the latter suddenly became intemperate. Thinking, as many wiser and older than himself had thought, to drown the recollection of bankruptcy and the disappointment of worldly hope in the giddy bowl, he seized the intoxicating draught with an infatuated zeal. He heeded not the timid admonitions of love, or the kind entreaties of friends; but reckless alike of the consequences of his dreadful habit to himself and others, was hurrying to inevitable ruin, making no effort to stem the wild, the eddying stream that controlled him, and within the vortex of which he was soon, alas! to be forever lost.

Like many others, he had been taught by the example of his elders, perhaps, by the daily habits of his parents, the unwise and dangerous idea that discourtesy consisteth not in partaking but in refusing the proffered glass; hence, what was in youth a fashionable indulgence—a mere pastime—had become in his manhood a settled, desperate vice. Every principle, every ambition, of which apparently the exercise had gained him the respect, confidence, best wishes of his fellow-men, no longer controlled him. Once an industrious, careful, esteemed young merchant, he was now a reckless, abandoned inebriate. All his energies were apparently paralyzed. The pangs of remorse (for reflections on his course would sometimes flit with the rapidity of shadows across his mind) were drowned in deep and frequent potations; his features were bloated, his eyes were bloodshot, his limbs shook. So changed was he that few could realize in him the man who so recently in conscious manliness of character, had held high his head on the Exchange, and operated so extensively in the marts of Bremen.

Love was regarded by him, if regarded at all, as an idle creation of the brain; and whether from such an opinion of the tender passion, a consciousness of his own unworthiness of being loved, or, from a feeling of shame to meet the pure and lovely being to whom he had paid his addresses; yet, he had forsaken her—her, recently his polar star—the object of his thoughts by day and of his dreams by night! Yes, he had forsaken her, and taken a dreary, debauched abode with those who go down to the grave, unwept, unhonored, and unlamented.

Brief, indeed, was the earthly career of Edward Nordheimer. His youthful habit of enjoying an occasional glass, had led him gradually, imperceptibly, perhaps, but surely to the verge of the grave!

How dreadful must thy summons be, oh! Death, to such an one! to any one, indeed, who, regardless of the great and wise purposes for which he was created, has passed his days and nights in drunkenness and debauchery; who, having fallen from his high estate—disappointed his own hopes of usefulness, respectability, and honor among men; having frustrated the fond, ardent hopes of parents, the wishes of troops of friends, finds himself at last on a drunkard’s death-bed, with the awful consciousness of having laughed to scorn the responsibilities resting on his immortal soul!

I need not attempt to describe the effect (for who can portray the extreme bitterness of the human heart?) which the melancholy, soul-harrowing change in Edward, produced on the mind of his lady-love, or expose to the curious gaze, the broken fountains of her soul. Aware as she was, however, that all efforts had failed to reclaim the idol of her bosom, it would be difficult to tell if she more mourned his exit from the earth than his departure from that course which leads to happiness and peace. But he was gone, and forever. The eyes, that once looked so fondly on her, were closed in their last sleep; the tongue that had so oft and so truly pronounced the soft, musical accents of love, was a noiseless instrument, and that voice, the very whisperings of which had sent such a thrill of joy to her once happy heart, was now forever hushed. The cold embrace of death was around him, and the places which once knew him were to know him no more.

The unfortunate, broken-hearted maiden, became regardless of every attraction of society—every attention of friends—for hers was a sorrow, calm, indeed, but deep and abiding withal—a disappointment as well as a grief, of that peculiarly delicate nature, for which there is no earthly consolation. She felt that the world had lost its interest, its attraction, its delight: her Edward was no more. Her uncle noticed with deep solicitude the change wrought in her by the utter wreck and sudden dispersion of all her hopes of happiness, and with this sympathizing relative she readily consented to seek, on the distant shores of America, that peace of mind compared with which thrones and empires and principalities and powers are but vanity and dust.

Her feelings, on leaving her native Germany, may be inferred from the circumstances already related. They were those peculiar to all, who for the first time depart from their own country, who for the first time bid their native land good-night, who for the first time bid an adieu, perhaps final, to the green fields, the pure skies, the sunny and endeared spots around the home of infancy and love. Others know not how oft, how tenderly they are remembered, or how strongly the affections cling to them, when a wide waste of ocean rolls between our “ain dear home” and us. If we have left it in prosperity to visit the grand and beautiful in nature, in other lands, or, reluctantly departed from it in adversity, with the hope of improving our fortunes, in either case, the mind ever yearns for the spot where every object, tree, flower, rock, and shrub is associated with our earliest, our happiest days, where every breeze is fragrant and refreshing as the breath of Araby.

With these sympathies for a then distant home, I entered fully into the situation, the feelings, and affections of the brother and sister before me and watched with deep interest, their every look and movement. Presently a boatman sounded the signal of departure, then a long and hearty[Pg 185] embrace, a fond and mutual kiss was exchanged, and the interesting couple parted. The packet was soon seen moving slowly up the basin, and on the deck, gazing at her brother, stood the beautiful sister, playing, meanwhile, on her guitar, and singing the air “Home.” With what sweetness and feeling did she warble that music! How expressive those silent tokens of sorrow which then bedewed her fair, pale cheek!

The bright, beautiful sun of an autumnal day was sinking in the west, and when its golden, lingering rays no longer tinged objects living or inanimate, neither the guitar nor the sweet voice of the German maiden was heard, nor were her features visible.

I have often asked myself, is that sister now happy? Has she recovered her wonted cheerfulness? Has she forgotten Edward Nordheimer? Is she married? Is she living? Alas! perhaps, in seeking an asylum in the far wilds of the West, she has measured out her own span upon earth, fallen, as many before have fallen, a victim to some disease peculiar to a new, uncultivated country.

Since the time alluded to, I have often seen in my mind’s eye, the intellectual, beautiful face, and the graceful figure of that sister. I have seen her as she stood on the deck of the little packet gazing with tearful eyes at her lonely brother, and as I recalled the trials and sorrows through which she had passed, have fancied I heard her melancholy voice again warbling the same plaintive air which caused my heart to sink within me when I really heard it. Yes, she often rises in memory, and ever with a strong, a sad impression of the pang which rent her heart, as her own native Bremen faded forever from her sight! Bremen! the scene of all her joys, of all her woes! Of her first—only love! The burial-place of her parents! Bremen! within whose precincts lie also entombed the cold and perishing remains of Edward Nordheimer! of him whom she had so truly loved, and who in other, happier days, as fondly loved her.


When Cardinal Montalto assumed the tiara under the title of Sixtus V., he speedily threw off the disguise which had enveloped his former life, smoothed the wrinkles from his now proud forehead, raised his piercing eyes—heretofore cautiously vailed by their downcast lids—and made the astounded conclave know that in place of a docile instrument they had elected an inflexible master. Many glaring abuses existed in Rome, and these the new pope determined to reform. It was the custom for the nobles, whether foreigners or natives, to be escorted whenever they went out by a numerous body of pages, valets, soldiers, and followers of all kinds, armed, like their masters, to the teeth. Sometimes a noble’s “following” resembled an army rather than an escort; and it frequently happened that when two such parties met in a narrow street, a violent struggle for precedence would take place, and blood be freely shed by those who had had no previous cause of quarrel. Hence came the warlike meaning—which it still retains—of the word rencontre. Sixtus V. resolved to put down this practice, and seized the opportunity of an unusually fierce combat taking place on Easter-day within the very precincts of St. Peter’s.

Next morning an official notice was posted on the city walls, prohibiting every noble without exception from being followed by more than twenty attendants. Every one also, of whatever degree, who should himself carry, or cause his people to carry any sort of fire-arms (pocket-pistols being especially mentioned), should thereby incur the penalty of death. At this notice Pasquin jested, and the nobles laughed, but no one dared to indulge in bravado, until the following incident occurred.

Just after the promulgation of the pope’s orders, Ranuccio Farnese, the only son of the Duke of Parma, arrived in Rome. His first care was to wait on the new pontiff; and being presented by his uncle, Cardinal Farnese, the young prince met the reception due to his rank and to his merit. Already his talents and courage gave promise of his becoming a worthy successor to his father; and the Roman nobles vied with each other in doing honor to the heir of one of the richest duchies in the peninsula. On the evening after his arrival he was invited by Prince Cesarini to a magnificent banquet. Wine flowed freely, and the night waxed late, when the gay guests began to discuss the recent edict of his holiness. Several wild young spirits, and among them Ranuccio, declared themselves ready to brave it openly. Next morning, however, when sobered by sleep, they all, with one exception, judged it expedient to forget their bravado. Ranuccio alone felt a strong desire to try conclusions with the pope. Although a feudatory of the Holy See, he was not a Roman, and he was a prince. Sixtus V. would probably think twice before touching a head that was almost crowned. Besides, youths of twenty love adventure, and it is not every day that one can enjoy the pleasure of putting a pope in a dilemma. Ranuccio, in short, went to the Vatican and asked an audience of his holiness. It was immediately granted, and the prince, after having, according to the custom, knelt three times, managed adroitly to let fall at the very feet of Sixtus a pair of pistols loaded to the muzzle.

Such audacity could not go unpunished. Without a moment’s hesitation the pope summoned his guards, and ordered them to arrest and convey to Fort St. Angelo the son of the Duke of Parma, who had just condemned himself to death. War might be declared on the morrow; an outraged father might come, sword in hand, to demand the life and liberty of his son. What cared Sixtus? He was resolved to restore but a corpse.

The news spread quickly: so much audacity on one side and so much firmness on the other seemed almost incredible. Cardinal Farnese hastened to the Vatican, and, falling at the feet[Pg 186] of the pope, with tears in his eyes pleaded his nephew’s cause. He spoke of the youth of the culprit and the loyalty of his father, who was then in Flanders fighting the battles of the Holy See. Ranuccio had been but two days in Rome—might he not fairly be supposed ignorant of the new enactment? Then he belonged to a powerful house, which it might not be prudent for even his holiness to offend; and, finally, he was closely related by blood to the late pope, Paul III.

The holy father’s reply was cruelly decisive. “The law,” he said, “makes no distinction: a criminal is a criminal, and nothing more. The vicegerent of God on earth, my justice, like His, must be impartial; nor dare I exercise clemency, which would be nothing but weakness.”

The cardinal bent his head and retired.

Besieged incessantly by fresh supplications from various influential quarters, the pope sent for Monsignor Angeli, the governor of Fort St. Angelo. To him he gave imperative orders, that precisely at twenty-four o’clock[2] that evening his illustrious prisoner’s head should be struck off.

[2] In Italy the hours are reckoned from 1 to 24, commencing at sunset.

The governor returned to the castle, and signified to Ranuccio that he had but two hours to live. The young man laughed in his face, and began to eat his supper. He could not bring himself to believe that he, the heir-apparent of the Duke of Parma, could be seriously menaced with death by an obscure monk, whose only title to the pontificate seemed to have been his age and decrepitude. Yet speedily the threat seemed to him less worthy of derision, when he saw from his window a scaffold, bearing a hatchet and a block, in process of erection. But who can describe his dismay when his room was entered by a monk, who came to administer the last rites of the church, followed by the executioner, asking for his last orders!

Meantime Cardinal Farnese was not idle. He consulted with his friend, Count Olivarès, embassador from the court of Spain, and they resolved to attempt to obtain by stratagem what had been refused to their prayers. Two precious hours remained.

“Our only plan,” said the cardinal, “is to stop the striking of all the public clocks in Rome! Meantime do you occupy Angeli’s attention.”

His eminence possessed great influence in the city, and, moreover, the control of the public clocks belonged to his prerogative. At the appointed hour, as if by magic, time changed his noisy course into a silent flight. Two clocks, those of St. Peter and St. Angelo, were put back twenty minutes. Their proximity to the prison required this change, and the cardinal’s authority secured the inviolable secrecy of every one concerned in the plot.

The execution was to be private; but Olivarès, in his quality of embassador, was permitted to remain with the governor. A single glance assured him that the clock was going right—that is to say, that it was quite wrong. Already the inner court was filled with soldiers under arms, and monks chanting the solemn “Dies Iræ.” Every thing was prepared save the victim. Olivarès was with Angeli, and a scene commenced at once terrible and burlesque. The embassador, in order to gain time, began to converse on every imaginable subject, but the governor would not listen.

“My orders,” he said, “are imperative. At the first stroke of the clock all will be over.”

“But the pope may change his mind.” Without replying, the terrible Angeli walked impatiently up and down the room, watching for the striking of his clock. He called: a soldier appeared. “Is all prepared?” All was prepared: the attendants, like their master, were only waiting for the hour.

“‘Tis strange,” muttered the governor. “I should have thought—”

“At least,” interposed Olivarès, “if you will not delay, do not anticipate.” And monsignor resumed his hasty walk between the door and window, listening for the fatal sound which the faithful tongue of the clock still refused to utter.

Despite of the delay, however, the fatal hour approached. Ten minutes more, and Ranuccio’s fate would be sealed.

Meanwhile the cardinal repaired to the pope. As he entered, Sixtus drew out his watch, and his eyes sparkled with revengeful joy. On the testimony of that unerring time-piece Ranuccio was already executed.

“What seek you?” asked his holiness.

“The body of my nephew, that I may convey it to Parma. At least let the unhappy boy repose in the tomb of his ancestors.”

“Did he die like a Christian?”

“Like a saint,” cried the cardinal, trembling at a moment’s delay. Sixtus V. traced the following words: “We order our governor of Fort St. Angelo to deliver up to his eminence the body of Ranuccio Farnese.” Having sealed it with the pontifical signet, he gave it to the cardinal.

Arrived at the palace gates, Farnese, agitated between fear and hope, hastened to demand an entrance. A profound silence reigned within, broken only by the distant note of the “De profundis.” He rushed toward the court. Was he too late?—had his stratagem succeeded? One look would decide. He raised his eyes—his nephew still lived. His neck bare, and his hands tied, he knelt beside the block, between a priest and the executioner, faintly uttering the words of his last prayer. Suddenly the chanting ceased; the cardinal flew toward the governor. Ere he could speak, his gestures and his countenance lied for him:

“A pardon?—a pardon!” exclaimed Olivarès. The soldiers shouted. The executioner began to unloose his victim, when a sign from Angeli made him pause. The governor read and re-read the missive.

“The body of Ranuccio Farnese!” he repeated: “the criminal’s name would suffice. Why these words, ‘The body of?’”[Pg 187]

“What stops you?” cried the cardinal, at that perilous moment looking paler than his nephew.

“Read!” replied Angeli, handing him the pope’s letter.

“Is that all?” said his eminence, forcing a smile and pointing to the clock. “Look at the hour: it still wants two minutes of the time, and I received that paper from his holiness more than a quarter of an hour since.”

The governor bowed: the argument was irresistible. Ranuccio was given up to his deliverers. A carriage, with four fleet horses, waited outside the prison, and in a few moments the cardinal and the young prince were galloping along the road to Parma. Just then the clocks of Rome pealed forth in unison, as if rejoicing that by their judicious silence they had gained their master’s cause. It might be well if lawyers in our day would sometimes follow their example.

Monsignor Angeli, as the chronicle relates, was rather astonished at the rapid flight of time after his prisoner’s departure. In fact, the next hour seemed to him as short as its predecessor was long. This phenomenon, due to the simple system of compensation, was ascribed by him to the peaceful state of his conscience. Although inflexible in the discharge of what he esteemed his duty, he was in reality a kind-hearted man, and felt sincere pleasure at what he honestly believed to be Ranuccio’s pardon.

On the morrow the Spanish embassador was the first to congratulate Sixtus V., with admirable sang froid, on his truly pious clemency. Olivarès was only a diplomatist, but he played his part as well as if he had been a cardinal, and made every one believe that he had been the dupe of his accomplice. He had good reasons for so acting. His master, Philip II., seldom jested, more especially when the subject of the joke was the infallible head of the church; and he strongly suspected that the clocks of Madrid might prove less complaisant than those at Rome.

Poor Angeli was the only sufferer. For no other crime than that of not wearing a watch, the pope deprived him of his office, and imprisoned him for some time in Fort St. Angelo. As to Cardinal Farnese, renouncing all the praises and congratulations of his friends at Rome, he prudently remained an absentee.





[3] Continued from the December Number.

I sat up all night listening to the soldiers’ stories of war and campaigning. Some had served with Soult’s army in the Asturias; some made part of Davoust’s corps in the north of Europe; one had just returned from Friedland, and amused us with describing the celebrated conference at Tilsit, where he had been a sentinel on the river side, and presented arms to the two emperors as they passed. It will seem strange, but it is a fact, that this slight incident attracted toward him a greater share of his comrades’ admiration than was accorded to those who had seen half the battle-fields of modern war.

He described the dress, the air, the general bearing of the emperors; remarking that, although Alexander was taller and handsomer, and even more soldier-like than our own emperor, there was a something of calm dignity and conscious majesty in Napoleon that made him appear immeasurably the superior. Alexander wore the uniform of the Russian guards, one of the most splendid it is possible to conceive, the only thing simple about him was his sword, which was a plain sabre with a tarnished gilt scabbard, and a very dirty sword-knot; and yet every moment he used to look down at it and handle it with great apparent admiration; and “well might he,” added the soldier, “Napoleon had given it to him but the day before.”

To listen even to such meagre details as these was to light up again in my heart the fire that was only smouldering, and that no life of peasant labor or obscurity could ever extinguish. My companions quickly saw the interest I took in their narratives, and certainly did their utmost to feed the passion—now with some sketch of a Spanish marauding party, as full of adventure as a romance; now with a description of northern warfare, where artillery thundered on the ice, and men fought behind entrenchments of deep snow.

From the North Sea to the Adriatic, all Europe was now in arms. Great armies were marching in every direction; some along the deep valley of the Danube, others from the rich plains of Poland and Silesia; some were passing the Alps into Italy, and some again were pouring down for the Tyrol “Jochs,” to defend the rocky passes of their native land against the invader. Patriotism and glory, the spirit of chivalry and conquest, all were abroad, and his must indeed have been a cold heart which could find within it no response to the stirring sounds around. To the intense feeling of shame which I at first felt at my own life of obscure inactivity, there now succeeded a feverish desire to be somewhere and do something to dispel this worse than lethargy. I had not resolution to tell my comrades that I had served; I felt reluctant to speak of a career so abortive and unsuccessful; and yet I blushed at the half pitying expressions they bestowed upon my life of inglorious adventure.

“You risk life and limb here in these pine forests, and hazard existence for a bear or a chamois goat,” cried one, “and half the peril in real war would perhaps make you a Chef d’Escadron, or even a general.”

“Ay,” said another, “we serve in an army where crowns are military distinctions, and the epaulet is only the first step to a kingdom.”

“True,” broke in a third, “Napoleon has changed the whole world, and made soldiering the only trade worth following. Massena was a drummer-boy within my own memory, and see him now! Ney was not born to great wealth and honors. Junot never could learn his trade[Pg 188] as a cobbler, and for want of better has become a general of division.”

“Yes, and,” said I, following out the theme, “under that wooden roof yonder, through that little diamond-paned window the vine is trained across, a greater than any of the last three first saw the light. It was there Kleber, the conqueror of Egypt was born.”

“Honor to the brave dead!” said the soldiers from their places around the fire, and carrying their hands to the salute. “We’ll fire a salvo to him to-morrow before we set out!” said the corporal. “And so Kleber was born there!” said he, resuming his place, and staring with admiring interest at the dark outline of the old house, as it stood out against the starry and cloudless sky.

It was somewhat of a delicate task for me to prevent my companions offering their tribute of respect, but which the old peasant would have received with little gratitude, seeing that he had never yet forgiven the country nor the service for the loss of his son. With some management I accomplished this duty, however, promising my services at the same time to be their guide through the Bregenzer Wald, and not to part with them till I had seen them safely into Bavaria.

Had it not been for my thorough acquaintance with the Tyroler dialect, and all the usages of Tyrol life, their march would have been one of great peril, for already the old hatred against their Bavarian oppressors was beginning to stir the land, and Austrian agents were traversing the mountain districts in every direction, to call forth that patriotic ardor which, ill-requited as it has been, has more than once come to the rescue of Austria.

So sudden had been the outbreak of this war, and so little aware were the peasantry of the frontier of either its object or aim, that we frequently passed recruits for both armies on their way to head-quarters on the same day; honest Bavarians, who were trudging along the road with pack on their shoulders, and not knowing, nor indeed much caring, on which side they were to combat. My French comrades scorned to report themselves to any German officer, and pushed on vigorously in the hope of meeting with a French regiment. I had now conducted my little party to Immenstadt, at the foot of the Bavarian Alps; and, having completed my compact, was about to bid them good-by.

We were seated around our bivouac fire for the last time, as we deemed it, and pledging each other in a parting glass, when suddenly our attention was attracted to a bright red tongue of flame that suddenly darted up from one of the Alpine summits above our head. Another and another followed, till at length every mountain peak for miles and miles away displayed a great signal fire! Little knew we that behind that giant range of mountains, from the icy crags of the Glockner, and from the snowy summit of the Ortelér itself, similar fires were summoning all Tyrol to the combat; while every valley resounded with the war cry of “God and the Emperor!” We were still in busy conjecture what all this might portend, when a small party of mounted men rode past us at a trot. They carried carbines slung over their peasant frocks, and showed unmistakably enough that they were some newly-raised and scarcely-disciplined force. After proceeding about a hundred yards beyond us they halted, and drew up across the road, unslinging their pieces as if to prepare for action.

“Look at those fellows, yonder,” said the old corporal, as he puffed his pipe calmly and deliberately; “they mean mischief, or I’m much mistaken. Speak to them, Tiernay; you know their jargon.”

I accordingly arose and advanced toward them, touching my hat in salute as I went forward. They did not give me much time, however, to open negotiations, for scarcely had I uttered a word, when bang went a shot close beside me; another followed; and then a whole volley was discharged, but with such haste and ill direction that not a ball struck me. Before I could take advantage of this piece of good fortune to renew my advances, a bullet whizzed by my head, and down went the left hand horse of the file, at first on his knees, and then, with a wild plunge into the air, he threw himself stone dead on the road, the rider beneath him. As for the rest, throwing off carbines and cartouche-boxes, they sprung from their horses, and took to the mountains with a speed that showed how far more they were at home amidst rock and heather than when seated on the saddle. My comrades lost no time in coming up; but while three of them kept the fugitives in sight, covering them all the time with their muskets, the others secured the cattle, as in amazement and terror they stood around the dead horse.

Although the peasant had received no other injuries than a heavy fall and his own fears inflicted, he was overcome with terror, and so certain of death that he would do nothing but mumble his prayers, totally deaf to all the efforts I made to restore his courage.

“That comes of putting a man out of his natural bent,” said the old corporal. “On his native mountains, and with his rifle, that fellow would be brave enough; but making a dragoon of him is like turning a Cossack into a foot soldier. One thing is clear enough, we’ve no time to throw away here; these peasants will soon alarm the village in our rear, so that we had better mount and press forward.”

“But in what direction,” said another; “who knows if we shall not be rushing into worse danger?”

“Tiernay must look to that,” interposed a third. “It’s clear he can’t leave us now; his retreat is cut off, at all events.”

“That’s the very point I was thinking of, lads,” said I. “The beacon fires show that the ‘Tyrol is up,’ and safely as I have journeyed hither I know well I dare not venture to retrace my road; I’d be shot in the first Dorf I entered. On one condition, then, I’ll join you; and short of that, however, I’ll take my own path, come what may of it.”[Pg 189]

“What’s the condition, then?” cried three or four together.

“That you give me the full and absolute command of this party, and pledge your honor, as French soldiers, to obey me in every thing, till the day we arrive at the head-quarters of a French corps.”

“What, obey a Pekin! take the mot d’ordre from a civilian that never handled a firelock!” shouted three or four, in derision.

“I have served, and with distinction too, my lads,” said I calmly; “and if I have not handled a firelock, it is because I wielded a sabre, as an officer of hussars. It is not here, nor now, that I am going to tell why I wear the epaulet no longer. I’ll render an account of that to my superior and yours! If you reject my offer, and I don’t press you to accept it, let us at least part good friends. As for me, I can take care of myself.” As I said this, I slung over my shoulder the cross-belt and carbine of one of the fugitives, and selecting a strongly-built, short-legged black horse as my mount, I adjusted the saddle, and sprung on his back.

“That was done like an old hussar, anyhow,” said a soldier, who had been a cavalry man, “and I’ll follow you, whatever the rest may do.” He mounted as he spoke, and saluted as if on duty. Slight as the incident was, its effect was magical. Old habits of discipline revived at the first signal of obedience, and the corporal having made his men fall in, came up to my side for orders.

“Select the best of these horses,” said I, “and let us press forward at once. We are about eighteen miles from the village of Wangheim; by halting a short distance outside of it, I can enter alone, and learn something about the state of the country, and the nearest French post. The cattle are all fresh, and we can easily reach the village before daybreak.”

Three of my little “command” were tolerable horsemen, two of them having served in the artillery train, and the third being the dragoon I have alluded to. I accordingly threw out a couple of these as an advanced picket, keeping the last as my aid-de-camp at my side. The remainder formed the rear, with orders, if attacked, to dismount at once, and fire over the saddle, leaving myself and the others to manœuvre as cavalry. This was the only way to give confidence to those soldiers who in the ranks would have marched up to a battery, but on horseback were totally devoid of self-reliance. Meanwhile I imparted such instructions in equitation as I could, my own old experience as a riding-master well enabling me to select the most necessary and least difficult of a horseman’s duties. Except the old corporal, all were very creditable pupils; but he, possibly deeming it a point of honor not to discredit his old career, rejected every thing like teaching, and openly protested that, save to run away from a victorious enemy, or follow a beaten one, he saw no use in cavalry.

Nothing could be in better temper, however, nor more amicable, than our discourses on this head; and as I let drop, from time to time, little hints of my services on the Rhine and in Italy, I gradually perceived that I grew higher in the esteem of my companions, so that ere we rode a dozen miles together their confidence in me became complete.

In return for all their anecdotes of “blood and field,” I told them several stories of my own life, and, at least, convinced them that if they had not chanced upon the very luckiest of mankind, they had, at least, fallen upon one who had seen enough of casualties not to be easily baffled, and who felt in every difficulty a self-confidence that no amount of discomfiture could ever entirely obliterate. No soldier can vie with a Frenchman in tempering respect with familiarity; so that while preserving toward me all the freedom of the comrade, they recognized in every detail of duty the necessity of prompt obedience, and followed every command I gave with implicit submission.

It was thus we rode along, till in the distance I saw the spire of a village church, and recognized what I knew must be Dorf Wangheim. It was yet an hour before sunrise, and all was tranquil around. I gave the word to trot, and after about forty minutes’ sharp riding we gained a small pine wood, which skirted the village. Here I dismounted my party, and prepared to make my entrée alone into the Dorf, carefully arranging my costume for that purpose, sticking a large bouquet of wild flowers in my hat, and assuming as much as I could of the Tyrol look and lounge in my gait. I shortened my stirrups, also, to a most awkward and inconvenient length, and gripped my reins into a heap in my hand.

It was thus I rode into Wangheim, saluting the people as I passed up the street, and with the short, dry greeting of “Tag,” and a nod as brief, playing the Tyroler to the top of my bent. The “Syndicus,” or the ruler of the village, lived in a good-sized house in the “Platz,” which, being market-day, was crowded with people, although the articles for sale appeared to include little variety, almost every one leading a calf by a straw rope, the rest of the population contenting themselves with a wild turkey, or sometimes two, which, held under the arms, added the most singular element to the general concert of human voices around. Little stalls for rustic jewelry and artificial flowers, the latter in great request, ran along the sides of the square, with here and there a booth where skins and furs were displayed, more, however, as it appeared to give pleasure to a group of sturdy jägers, who stood around, recognizing the track of their own bullets, than from any hope of sale. In fact, the business of the day was dull, and an experienced eye would have seen at a glance that turkeys were “heavy,” and calves “looking down.” No wonder that it should be so; the interest of the scene being concentrated on a little knot of some twenty youths, who, with tickets containing a number in their hats, stood before the Syndic’s door. They were fine-looking, stalwart, straight fellows; and became admirably the manly costume of their native mountains; but their countenances were not[Pg 190] without an expression of sadness, the reflection, as I soon saw, of the sadder faces around them. For so they stood, mothers, sisters, and sweethearts, their tearful eyes turned on the little band. It puzzled me not a little at first to see these evidences of a conscription in a land where hitherto the population had answered the call to arms by a levy “en masse,” while the air of depression and sadness seemed also strange in those who gloried in the excitement of war. The first few sentences I overheard revealed the mystery. Wangheim was Bavarian; although strictly a Tyrol village, and Austrian Tyrol, too, it had been included within the Bavarian frontier, and the orders had arrived from Munich at the Syndicate to furnish a certain number of men by a certain day. This was terrible tidings; for although they did not as yet know that the war was against Austria, they had heard that the troops were for foreign service, and not for the defense of home and country, the only cause which a Tyroler deems worthy of battle. As I listened I gathered that the most complete ignorance prevailed as to the service or the destination to which they were intended. The Bavarians had merely issued their mandates to the various villages of the border, and neither sent emissaries nor officers to carry them out. Having seen how the “land lay,” I pushed my way through the crowd, into the hall of the Syndicate, and by dint of a strong will and stout shoulder, at length gained the audience chamber; where, seated behind an elevated bench, the great man was dispensing justice. I advanced boldly, and demanded an immediate audience in private, stating that my business was most pressing, and not admitting of delay. The Syndic consulted for a second or two with his clerk, and retired, beckoning me to follow.

“You’re not a Tyroler,” said he to me, the moment we were alone.

“That is easy to see, Herr Syndicus,” replied I. “I’m an officer of the staff, in disguise, sent to make a hasty inspection of the frontier villages, and report upon the state of feeling that prevails among them, and how they stand affected toward the cause of Bavaria.”

“And what have you found, sir?” said he, with native caution; for a Bavarian Tyroler has the quality in a perfection that neither a Scotchman nor a Russian can pretend to.

“That you are all Austrian at heart,” said I, determined to dash at him with a frankness that I knew he could not resist. “There’s not a Bavarian among you. I have made the whole tour of the Vorarlberg; through the Bregenzer Wald, down the valley of the Lech, by Immenstadt, and Wangheim; and it’s all the same. I have heard nothing but the old cry of ‘Gott, und der Kaiser!’”

“Indeed!” said he, with an accent beautifully balanced between sorrow and astonishment.

“Even the men in authority, the Syndics, like yourself, have frankly told me how difficult it is to preserve allegiance to a government by whom they have been so harshly treated. I’m sure I have the ‘grain question,’ as they call it, and the ‘Freiwechsel’ with South Tyrol, off by heart,” said I, laughing. “However, my business lies in another quarter. I have seen enough to show me that, save the outcasts from home and family, that class so rare in Tyrol, that men call adventurers, we need look for no willing recruits here; and you’ll stare when I say that I am glad of it—heartily glad of it.”

The Syndic did, indeed, stare, but he never ventured a word in reply.

“I’ll tell you why, then, Herr Syndicus. With a man like yourself one can afford to be open-hearted. Wangheim, Luttrich, Kempenfeld, and all the other villages at the foot of these mountains, were never other than Austrian. Diplomatists and map-makers colored them pale blue, but they were black and yellow underneath; and what’s more to the purpose, Austrian they must become again. When the real object of this war is known, all Tyrol will declare for the house of Hapsburg. We begin to perceive this ourselves, and to dread the misfortunes and calamities that must fall upon you and the other frontier towns by this divided allegiance; for when you have sent off your available youth to the Bavarians, down will come Austria to revenge itself upon your undefended towns and villages.”

The Syndic apparently had thought of all these things exactly with the same conclusions, for he shook his head gravely, and uttered a low, faint sigh.

“I’m so convinced of what I tell you,” said I, “that no sooner have I conducted to head-quarters the force I have under my command—”

“You have a force, then, actually under your orders?” cried he, starting.

“The advanced guard is picketed in yonder pine wood, if you have any curiosity to inspect them; you’ll find them a little disorderly, perhaps, like all newly-raised levies, but I hope not discreditable allies for the great army.”

The Syndic protested his sense of the favor, but begged to take all their good qualities on trust.

I then went on to assure him that I should recommend the government to permit the range of frontier towns to preserve a complete neutrality; by scarcely any possibility could the war come to their doors; and that there was neither sound policy nor humanity in sending them to seek it elsewhere. I will not stop to recount all the arguments I employed to enforce my opinions, nor how learnedly I discussed every question of European politics. The Syndic was amazed at the vast range of my acquirements, and could not help confessing it.

My interview ended by persuading him not to send on his levies of men till he had received further instructions from Munich; to supply my advanced guards with rations and allowances intended for the others; and lastly to advance me the sum of one hundred and seventy crown thalers, on the express pledge that the main body of my “marauders,” as I took the opportunity to style them, should take the road by Kempen and[Pg 191] Durcheim, and not touch on the village of Wangheim at all.

When discussing this last point, I declared to the Syndic that he was depriving himself of a very imposing sight; that the men, whatever might be said of them in point of character, were a fine-looking, daring set of rascals, neither respecting laws nor fearing punishment, and that our band, for a newly formed one, was by no means contemptible. He resisted all these seducing prospects, and counted down his dollars with the air of a man who felt that he had made a good bargain. I gave him a receipt in form, and signed Maurice Tiernay at the foot of it as stoutly as though I had the Grand Livre de France at my back.

Let not the reader rashly condemn me for this fault, nor still more rashly conclude that I acted with a heartless and unprincipled spirit in this transaction. I own that a species of Jesuitry suggested the scheme, and that while providing for the exigencies of my own comrades, I satisfied my conscience by rendering a good service in return. The course of war, as I suspected it would, did sweep past this portion of the Bavarian Tyrol without inflicting any heavy loss. Such of the peasantry as joined the army fought under the Austrian banners, and Wangheim and the other border villages had not to pay the bloody penalty of a divided allegiance. I may add, too, for conscience sake, that while traveling this way many years after, I stopped a day at Wangheim to point out its picturesque scenery to a fair friend who accompanied me. The village inn was kept by an old, venerable-looking man, who also discharged the functions of “Vorsteher”—the title Syndicus was abolished. He was, although a little cold and reserved at first, very communicative, after a while, and full of stories of the old campaigns of France and Austria, among which he related one of a certain set of French freebooters that once passed through Wangheim, the captain having actually breakfasted with himself, and persuaded him to advance a loan of nigh two hundred thalers on the faith of the Bavarian Government.

“He was a good-looking, dashing sort of fellow,” said he, “that could sing French love songs to the piano and jodle ‘Tyroler Lieder’ for the women. My daughter took a great fancy to him, and wore his sword-knot for many a day after, till we found that he had cheated and betrayed us. Even then, however, I don’t think she gave him up, though she did not speak of him as before. This is the fellow’s writing,” added he, producing a much-worn and much-crumpled scrap of paper from his old pocket-book, “and there’s his name. I have never been able to make out clearly whether it was Thierray or Lierray.”

“I know something about him,” said I, “and, with your permission, will keep the document, and pay the bill. Your daughter is alive still?”

“Ay, and married, too, at Bruck, ten miles from this.”

“Well, if she has thrown away the old sword-knot, tell her to accept this one in memory of the French captain, who was not, at least, an ungrateful rogue;” and I detached from my sabre the rich gold tassel and cord which I wore as a general officer.

This little incident I may be pardoned for interpolating from a portion of my life, of which I do not intend to speak further, as with the career of the Soldier of Fortune I mean to close these memoirs of Maurice Tiernay.



The reader will probably not complain if, passing over the manifold adventures and hair-breadth ’scapes of my little party, I come to our arrival at Ingoldstadt, where the head-quarters of General Vandamme were stationed. It was just as the recall was beating that we rode into the town, where, although nearly eight thousand men were assembled, our somewhat singular cavalcade attracted no small share of notice. Fresh rations for “man and beast” slung around our very ragged clothing, and four Austrian grenadiers tied by a cord, wrist to wrist, as prisoners behind us, we presented, it must be owned, a far more picturesque than soldierlike party.

Accepting all the attentions bestowed upon us in the most flattering sense, and affecting not to perceive the ridicule we were exciting on every hand, I rode up to the “Etat Major” and dismounted. I had obtained from “my prisoners” what I deemed a very important secret, and was resolved to make the most of it by asking for an immediate audience of the general.

“I am the officier d’ordonnance,” said a young lieutenant of dragoons, stepping forward; “any communication you have to make must be addressed to me.”

“I have taken four prisoners, Monsieur le Lieutenant,” said I, “and would wish to inform General Vandamme on certain matters they have revealed to me.”

“Are you in the service?” asked he, with a glance at my incongruous equipment.

“I have served sir,” was my reply.

“In what army of brigands was it then,” said he, laughing, “for, assuredly, you do not recall to my recollection any European force that I know of?”

“I may find leisure and inclination to give you the fullest information on this point at another moment, sir; for the present my business is more pressing. Can I see General Vandamme?”

“Of course, you can not, my worthy fellow! If you had served, as you say you have, you could scarcely have made so absurd a request. A French general of division does not give audience to every tatterdemalion who picks up a prisoner on the high road.”

“It is exactly because I have served that I do make the request,” said I, stoutly.

“How so, pray?” asked he, staring at me.

“Because I know well how often young staff-officers, in their own self-sufficiency, overlook the most important points, and, from the humble character[Pg 192] of their informants, frequently despise what their superiors, had they known it, would have largely profited by. And, even if I did not know this fact, I have the memory of another one scarcely less striking, which was, that General Massena himself admitted me to an audience when my appearance was not a whit more imposing than at present.”

“You knew General Massena, then. Where was it, may I ask?”

“In Genoa, during the siege.”

“And what regiment have you served in?”

“The Ninth Hussars.”

“Quite enough, my good fellow. The Ninth were on the Sambre while that siege was going on,” said he, laughing sarcastically.

“I never said that my regiment was at Genoa. I only asserted that I was,” was my calm reply, for I was anxious to prolong the conversation, seeing that directly over our heads, on a balcony, a number of officers had just come out to smoke their cigars after dinner, among whom I recognized two or three in the uniform of general.

“And now for your name; let’s have that,” said he, seating himself, as if for a lengthy cross-examination.

I stole a quick glance over head, and seeing that two of the officers were eagerly listening to our colloquy, said aloud,

“I’ll tell you no more, sir. You have already heard quite enough to know what my business is. I didn’t come here to relate my life and adventures.”

“I say, Lestocque,” cried a large, burly man, from above, “have you picked up Robinson Crusoe, there?”

“He’s far more like the man, Friday, mon general,” said the young lieutenant, laughing, “although even a savage might have more deference for his superiors.”

“What does he want, then?” asked the other.

“An audience of yourself, mon general—nothing less.”

“Have you told him how I am accustomed to reward people who occupy my time on false pretences, Lestocque?” said the general, with a grin. “Does he know that the Salle de Police first, and the Prevot afterward comprise my gratitude?”

“He presumes to say, sir, that he knows General Massena,” said the lieutenant.

“Diable! He knows me, does he say—he knows me? Who is he—what is he?” said a voice I well remembered, and at the same instant the brown, dark visage of General Massena peered over the balcony.

“He’s a countryman of yours, Massena,” said Vandamme, laughing. “Eh, are you not a Piedmontais?”

Up to this moment I had stood silently listening to the dialogue around me, without the slightest apparent sign of noticing it. Now, however, as I was directly addressed, I drew myself up to a soldier-like attitude and replied—

“No, sir. I am more a Frenchman than General Vandamme, at least.”

“Send that fellow here; send him up, Lestocque, and have a corporal’s party ready for duty,” cried the general, as he threw the end of his cigar into the street, and walked hastily away.

It was not the first time in my life that my tongue had brought peril on my head; but I ascended the stairs with a firm step, and if not with a light, at least with a resolute heart, seeing how wonderfully little I had to lose, and that few men had a smaller stake in existence than myself.

The voices were loud, and in tones of anger, as I stepped out upon the terrace.

“So we are acquaintances, it would appear, my friend?” said Massena, as he stared fixedly at me.

“If General Massena can not recall the occasion of our meeting,” said I, proudly, “I’ll scarcely remind him of it.”

“Come, come,” said Vandamme, angrily, “I must deal with this ‘gailliard’ myself. Are you a French soldier?”

“I was, sir; an officer of cavalry.”

“And were you broke? did you desert? or what was it?” cried he, impatiently.

“I kept better company than I believe is considered safe in these days, and was accidentally admitted to the acquaintance of the Prince de Condé—”

“That’s it!” said Vandamme, with a long whistle; “that’s the mischief, then. You are a Vendéan?”

“No, sir; I was never a Royalist, although, as I have said, exposed to the very society whose fascinations might have made me one.”

“Your name is Tiernay, monsieur, or I mistake much?” said a smart-looking young man in civilian dress.

I bowed an assent, without expressing any sentiment of either fear or anxiety.

“I can vouch for the perfect accuracy of that gentleman’s narrative,” said Monsieur de Bourrienne, for I now saw it was himself. “You may possibly remember a visitor—”

“At the Temple,” said I, interrupting him. “I recollect you perfectly, sir, and thank you for this recognition.”

Monsieur de Bourrienne, however, did not pay much attention to my gratitude, but proceeded in a few hurried words to give some account of me to the bystanders.

“Well, it must be owned that he looks devilish unlike an officer of hussars,” said Massena, as he laughed, and made others laugh, at my strange equipment.

“And yet you saw me in a worse plight, general,” said I, coolly.

“How so—where was that?” cried he.

“It will be a sore wound to my pride, general,” said I slowly, “if I must refresh your memory.”

“You were not at Valenciennes,” said he, musing. “No, no; that was before your day. Were you on the Meuse, then? No. Nor in Spain? I’ve always had hussars in my division; but I confess I do not remember all the officers.”[Pg 193]

“Will Genoa not give the clew, sir?” said I, glancing at him a keen look.

“Least of all,” cried he. “The cavalry were with Soult. I had nothing beyond an escort in the town.”

“So there’s no help for it,” said I, with a sigh. “Do you remember a half-drowned wretch that was laid down at your feet in the Annunziata Church one morning during the siege?”

“A fellow who had made his escape from the English fleet, and swam ashore! What! are you—By Jove! so it is, the very same. Give me your hand, my brave fellow. I’ve often thought of you, and wondered what had befallen you. You joined that unlucky attack on Monte Faccio; and we had warm work ourselves on hands the day after. I say, Vandamme, the first news I had of our columns crossing the Alps were from this officer—for officer he was, and shall be again, if I live to command a French division.”

Massena embraced me affectionately, as he said this; and then turning to the others, said—

“Gentlemen, you see before you the man you have often heard me speak of—a young officer of hussars, who, in the hope of rescuing a division of the French army, at that time shut up in a besieged city, performed one of the most gallant exploits on record. Within a week after he led a storming party against a mountain fortress; and I don’t care if he lived in the intimacy of every Bourbon Prince, from the Count D’Artois downward, he’s a good Frenchman, and a brave soldier. Bourrienne, you’re starting for head-quarters? Well, it is not at such a moment as this, you can bear these matters in mind; but don’t forget my friend Tiernay; depend upon it he’ll do you no discredit. The Emperor knows well both how to employ and how to reward such men as him.”

I heard these flattering speeches like one in a delicious dream. To stand in the midst of a distinguished group, while Massena thus spoke of me, seemed too much for reality, for praise had indeed become a rare accident to me; but from such a quarter it was less eulogy than fame. How hard was it to persuade myself that I was awake, as I found myself seated at the table, with a crowd of officers, pledging the toasts they gave, and drinking bumpers in friendly recognition with all around me.

Such was the curiosity to hear my story, that numbers of others crowded into the room, which gradually assumed the appearance of a theatre. There was scarcely an incident to which I referred, that some one or other of those present could not vouch for; and whether I alluded to my earlier adventures in the Black Forest, or the expedition of Humbert, or to the later scenes of my life, I met corroboration from one quarter or another. Away as I was from Paris and its influences, in the midst of my comrades, I never hesitated to relate the whole of my acquaintance with Fouché—a part of my narrative which, I must own, amused them more than all the rest. In the midst of all these intoxicating praises, and of a degree of wonder that might have turned wiser heads, I never forgot that I was in possession of what seemed to myself at least a very important military fact, no less than the mistaken movement of an Austrian general, who had marched his division so far to the southward as to leave an interval of several miles between himself and the main body of the Imperial forces. This fact I had obtained from the grenadiers I had made prisoners, and who were stragglers from the corps I alluded to.

The movement in question was doubtless intended to menace the right flank of our army, but every soldier of Napoleon well knew that so long as he could pierce the enemy’s centre such flank attacks were ineffectual, the question being already decided before they could be undertaken.

My intelligence, important as it appeared to myself, struck the two generals as of even greater moment; and Massena, who had arrived only a few hours before from his own division to confer with Vandamme, resolved to take me with him at once to head-quarters.

“You are quite certain of what you assert, Tiernay?” said he; “doubtful information, or a mere surmise, will not do with him before whom you will be summoned. You must be clear on every point, and brief—remember that—not a word more than is absolutely necessary.”

I repeated that I had taken the utmost precautions to assure myself of the truth of the men’s statement, and had ridden several leagues between the Austrian left and the left centre. The prisoners themselves could prove that they had marched from early morning till late in the afternoon without coming up with a single Austrian post.

The next question was to equip me with a uniform—but what should it be? I was not attached to any corps, nor had I any real rank in the army. Massena hesitated about appointing me on his own staff without authority, nor could he advise me to assume the dress of my old regiment. Time was pressing, and it was decided—I own to my great discomfiture—that I should continue to wear my Tyroler costume till my restoration to my former rank was fully established.

I was well tired, having already ridden thirteen leagues of a bad road, when I was obliged to mount once more, and accompany General Massena in his return to head-quarters. A good supper and some excellent Bordeaux, and, better than either, a light heart, gave me abundant energy; and after the first three or four miles of the way I felt as if I was equal to any fatigue.

As we rode along the general repeated all his cautions to me in the event of my being summoned to give information at head-quarters; the importance of all my replies being short, accurate, and to the purpose; and, above all, the avoidance of any thing like an opinion or expression of my own judgment on passing events. I promised faithfully to observe all his counsels, and not bring discredit on his patronage.[Pg 194]



All General Massena’s wise counsels, and my own steady resolves to profit by them, were so far thrown away, that, on our arrival at Abensberg, we found that the Emperor had left it four hours before, and pushed on to Ebersfield, a village about five leagues to the eastward. A dispatch, however, awaited Massena, telling him to push forward with Oudinot’s corps to Newstadt, and, with his own division, which comprised the whole French right, to manœuvre so as to menace the Archduke’s base upon the Iser.

Let my reader not fear that I am about to inflict on him a story of the great campaign itself, nor compel him to seek refuge in a map from the terrible array of hard names of towns and villages for which that district is famous. It is enough for my purpose that I recall to his memory the striking fact, that when the French sought victory by turning and defeating the Austrian left, the Austrians were exactly in march to execute a similar movement on the French left wing. Napoleon, however, gave the first “check,” and “mated” his adversary ere he could open his game. By the almost lightning speed of his manœuvres, he moved forward from Ratisbon with the great bulk of his army; and at the very time that the Archduke believed him to be awaiting battle around that city, he was far on his march to Landshut.

General Massena was taking a hurried cup of coffee, and dictating a few lines to his secretary, when a dragoon officer galloped into the town with a second dispatch, which, whatever its contents, must needs have been momentous, for in a few minutes the drums were beating and trumpets sounding, and all the stirring signs of an immediate movement visible. It was yet an hour before daybreak, and dark as midnight; torches, however, blazed every where, and by their flaring light the artillery-trains and wagons drove through the narrow street of the village, shaking the frail old houses with their rude trot. Even in a retreating army, I have scarcely witnessed such a spectacle of uproar, confusion, and chaos; but still, in less than an hour the troops had all defiled from the town, the advanced guard was already some miles on its way; and, except a small escort of lancers before the little inn where the general still remained, there was not a soldier to be seen. It may seem absurd to say it, but I must confess that my eagerness to know what was “going on” in front, was divided by a feeling of painful uneasiness at my ridiculous dress, and the shame I experienced at the glances bestowed on me by the soldiers of the escort. It was no time, however, to speak of myself or attend to my own fortunes, and I loitered about the court of the inn, wondering if, in the midst of such stirring events, the general would chance to remember me. If I had but a frock and a shako, thought I, I could make my way. It is this confounded velvet jacket and this absurd and tapering hat, will be my ruin. If I were to charge a battery, I’d only look like a merry-andrew after all; men will not respect what is only laughable. Perhaps, after all, thought I, it matters little; doubtless, Massena has forgotten me, and I shall be left behind like a broken limber. At one time I blamed myself for not pushing on with some detachment—at another I half resolved to put a bold face on it, and present myself before the general; and between regrets for the past and doubts for the future, I at last worked myself up to a state of anxiety little short of fever.

While I walked to and fro in this distracted mood I perceived, by the bustle within doors, that the general was about to depart; at the same time several dismounted dragoons appeared, leading saddle-horses, tightening girths, and adjusting curb-chains, all tokens of a start. While I looked on these preparations, I heard the clatter of a horse’s hoofs close behind, and the spluttering noise of a struggle. I turned and saw it was the general himself, who had just mounted his charger, but before catching his right stirrup the horse had plunged, and was dragging the “orderly” across the court by the bridle. Seeing, in an instant, that the soldier’s effort to hold on was only depriving General Massena of all command of the horse, who must probably have fallen on his flank, I jumped forward, caught the stirrup, and slipped it over the general’s foot, and then, with a sharp blow on the soldier’s wrist, compelled him to relax his grasp. So suddenly were the two movements effected, that in less time than I take to relate it, all was over, and the general, who, for a heavy man, was a good rider, was fast seated in his saddle. I had now no time, however, to bestow on him, for the dragoon, stung by the insult of a blow, and from a peasant, as he deemed it, rushed at me with his sabre.

Halte la!” cried Massena in a voice of thunder; “it was that country fellow saved me from a broken bone, which your infernal awkwardness might have given me. Throw him a couple of florins for me,” cried he to his aid-de-camp, who just rode in; “and do you, sir, join your ranks, I must look for another orderly.”

“I am right glad to have been in the way, general,” said I, springing forward, and touching my hat.

“What, Tiernay—this you?” cried he. “How is this? have I forgotten you all this time? What’s to be done now? You ought to have gone on with the rest, monsieur. You should have volunteered with some corps, eh?”

“I hoped to have been attached to yourself, general. I thought I could, perhaps, have made myself useful.”

“Yes, yes, very true; so you might, I’ve no doubt; but my staff is full, I’ve no vacancy. What’s to be done now? Lestocque, have we any spare cattle?”

“Yes, general; we’ve your own eight horses, and two of Cambronne’s.”

“Ah, poor fellow, he’ll not want them more. I suppose Tiernay may as well take one of them, at least.”[Pg 195]

“There’s an undress uniform, too, of Cambronne’s would fit Monsieur de Tiernay,” said the officer, who, I saw, had no fancy for my motley costume alongside of him.

“Oh, Tiernay doesn’t care for that; he’s too old a soldier to bestow a thought upon the color of his jacket,” said Massena.

“Pardon me, general, but it is exactly one of my weaknesses; and I feel that until I get rid of these trappings I shall never feel myself a soldier.”

“I thought you had been made of other stuff,” muttered the general, “and particularly since there’s like to be little love-making in the present campaign.” And with that he rode forward, leaving me to follow when I could.

“These are Cambronne’s keys,” said Lestocque, “and you’ll find enough for your present wants in the saddle-bags. Take the gray, he’s the better horse, and come up with us as fast as you can.”

I saw that I had forfeited something of General Massena’s good opinion by my dandyism; but I was consoled in a measure for the loss, as I saw the price at which I bought the forfeiture. The young officer, who had fallen three days before, and was a nephew of the General Cambronne, was a lieutenant in Murat’s celebrated corps, the Lancers of “Berg,” whose uniform was the handsomest in the French army. Even the undress scarlet frock and small silver helmet were more splendid than many full parade uniforms; and as I attired myself in these brilliant trappings, I secretly vowed that the Austrians should see them in some conspicuous position ere a month was over. If I had but one sigh for the poor fellow to whose “galanterie” I succeeded, I had many a smile for myself as I passed and re-passed before the glass, adjusting a belt or training an aigrette to fall more gracefully. While thus occupied, I felt something heavy clink against my leg, and opening the sabertasch, discovered a purse containing upward of forty golden Napoleons and some silver. It was a singular way to succeed to a “heritage,” I thought, but, with the firm resolve to make honest restitution, I replaced the money where I found it, and descended the stairs, my sabre jingling and my spurs clanking, to the infinite admiration of the hostess and her handmaiden, who looked on my transformation as a veritable piece of magic.

I’m sure Napoleon himself had not framed one-half as many plans for that campaign as I did while I rode along. By a close study of the map, and the aid of all the oral information in my power, I had at length obtained a tolerably accurate notion of the country; and I saw, or I thought I saw, at least, half a dozen distinct ways of annihilating the Austrians. I have often since felt shame, even to myself, at the effrontery with which I discussed the great manœuvres going forward, and the unblushing coolness with which I proffered my opinions and my criticisms: and I really believe that General Massena tolerated my boldness rather for the amusement it afforded him than from any other cause.

“Well, Tiernay,” said he, as a fresh order reached him, with the most pressing injunction to hurry forward, “we are to move at once on Moosburg—what does that portend?”

“Sharp work, general,” replied I, not noticing the sly malice of the question; “the Austrians are there in force.”

“Do your grenadiers say so?”—asked he, sarcastically.

“No, general; but as the base of the operations is the Iser, they must needs guard all the bridges over the river, as well as protect the high road to Vienna by Landshut.”

“But you forget that Landshut is a good eight leagues from that!” said he, with a laugh.

“They’ll have to fall back there, nevertheless,” said I, coolly, “or they suffer themselves to be cut off from their own centre.”

“Would you believe it,” whispered Massena to a colonel at his side, “the fellow has just guessed our intended movement?”

Low as he spoke, my quick ears caught the words, and my heart thumped with delight as I heard them. This was the Emperor’s strategy—Massena was to fall impetuously on the enemy’s left at Moosburg, and drive them to a retreat on Landshut; when, at the moment of the confusion and disorder, they were to be attacked by Napoleon himself, with a vastly superior force. The game opened even sooner than expected, and a few minutes after the conversation I have reported, our “Tirailleurs” were exchanging shots with the enemy. These sounds, however, were soon drowned in the louder din of artillery, which thundered away at both sides till nightfall. It was a strange species of engagement, for we continued to march on the entire time, the enemy as steadily retiring before us, while the incessant cannonade never ceased.

Although frequently sent to the front with orders, I saw nothing of the Austrians; a low line of bluish smoke toward the horizon, now and then flashing into flame, denoted their position, and as we were about as invisible to them, a less exciting kind of warfare would be difficult to conceive. Neither was the destruction important; many of the Austrian shot were buried in the deep clay in our front; and considering the time, and the number of pieces in action, our loss was insignificant. Soldiers, if they be not the trained veterans of a hundred battles, grow very impatient in this kind of operation; they can not conceive why they are not led forward, and wonder at the over caution of the general. Ours were mostly young levies, and were consequently very profuse of their comments and complaints.

“Have patience, my brave boys,” said an old sergeant to some of the grumblers; “I’ve seen some service, and I never saw a battle open this way that there wasn’t plenty of fighting ere it was over.”

A long, low range of hills bounds the plain to the west of Moosburg, and on these, as night closed, our bivouac fires were lighted, some of them extending to nearly half a mile to the left of our real position, and giving the Austrians[Pg 196] the impression that our force was stationed in that direction. A thin, drizzly rain, cold enough to be sleet, was falling; and as the ground had been greatly cut up by the passage of artillery and cavalry, a less comfortable spot to bivouac in could not be imagined. It was difficult, too, to obtain wood for our fires, and our prospects for the dark hours were scarcely brilliant. The soldiers grumbled loudly at being obliged to sit and cook their messes at the murky flame of damp straw, while the fires at our left blazed away gayly without one to profit by them. Frenchmen, however, are rarely ill-humored in face of an enemy, and their complaints assumed all the sarcastic drollery which they so well understand, and even over their half-dressed supper they were beginning to grow merry, when staff-officers were seen traversing the lines at full speed in all directions.

“We are attacked—the Austrians are upon us!” cried two or three soldiers, snatching up their muskets.

“No, no, friend,” replied a veteran, “it’s the other way; we are going at them.”

This was the true reading of the problem; orders were sent to every brigade to form in close column of attack; artillery and cavalry to advance under their cover, and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

Moosburg lay something short of two miles from us, having the Iser in front, over which was a wooden bridge, protected by a strong flanking battery. The river was not passable, nor had we any means of transporting artillery across it; so that to this spot our main attack was at once directed. Had the Austrian general, Heller, who was second in command to the Archduke Louis, either cut off the bridge, or taken effectual measures to oppose its passage, the great events of the campaign might have assumed a very different feature. It is said, however, that an entire Austrian brigade was encamped near Freising, and that the communication was left open to save them.

Still it must be owned that the Imperialists took few precautions for their safety; for, deceived by our line of watch-fires, the pickets extended but a short distance into the plain; and when attacked by our light cavalry, many of them were cut off at once; and of those who fell back, several traversed the bridge, with their pursuers at their heels. Such was the impetuosity of the French attack, that although the most positive orders had been given by Massena that not more than three guns and their caissons should traverse the bridge together, and even these at a walk, seven or eight were seen passing at the same instant, and all at a gallop, making the old frame-work so rock and tremble, that it seemed ready to come to pieces. As often happens, the hardihood proved our safety. The Austrians counting upon our slow transit, only opened a heavy fire after several of our pieces had crossed, and were already in a position to reply to them. Their defense, if somewhat late, was a most gallant one; and the gunners continued to fire on our advancing columns till we captured the block-house, and sabred the men at their guns. Meanwhile the Imperial Cuirassiers, twelve hundred strong, made a succession of furious charges upon us, driving our light cavalry away before them, and for a brief space making the fortune of the day almost doubtful. It soon appeared, however, that these brave fellows were merely covering the retreat of the main body, who in all haste were falling back on the villages of Furth and Arth. Some squadrons of Kellerman’s heavy cavalry gave time for our light artillery to open their fire, and the Austrian ranks were rent open with terrific loss.

Day was now dawning, and showed us the Austrian army in retreat by the two great roads toward Landshut. Every rising spot of ground was occupied by artillery, and in some places defended by stockades, showing plainly enough that all hope of saving the guns was abandoned, and that they only thought of protecting their flying columns from our attack. These dispositions cost us heavily, for as we were obliged to carry each of these places before we could advance, the loss in this hand-to-hand encounter was very considerable. At length, however, the roads became so blocked up by artillery, that the infantry were driven to defile into the swampy fields at the road side, and here our cavalry cut them down unmercifully, while grape tore through the dense masses at half musket range.

Had discipline or command been possible, our condition might have been made perilous enough, since, in the impetuosity of attack, large masses of our cavalry got separated from their support, and were frequently seen struggling to cut their way out of the closing columns of the enemy. Twice or thrice it actually happened that officers surrendered the whole squadron as prisoners, and were rescued by their own comrades afterward. The whole was a scene of pell-mell confusion and disorder; some abandoning positions when successful defense was possible, others obstinately holding their ground when destruction was inevitable. Few prisoners were taken; indeed, I believe, quarter was little thought of by either side. The terrible excitement had raised men’s passions to the pitch of madness, and each fought with all the animosity of hate.

Massena was always in the front, and, as was his custom, comporting himself with a calm steadiness that he rarely displayed in the common occurrences of every-day life. Like the English Picton, the crash and thunder of conflict seemed to soothe and assuage the asperities of an irritable temper, and his mind appeared to find a congenial sphere in the turmoil and din of battle. The awkward attempt of a French squadron to gallop in a deep marsh, where men and horses were rolling indiscriminately together, actually gave him a hearty fit of laughter, and he issued his orders for their recall, as though the occurrence were a good joke. It was while observing this incident, that an orderly delivered into his hands some maps and papers that had just been captured from the fourgon of a staff-officer.[Pg 197] Turning them rapidly over, Massena chanced upon the plan of a bridge, with marks indicative of points of defense at either side of it, and the arrangements for mining it, if necessary. It was too long to represent the bridge of Moosburg, and must probably mean that of Landshut; and so thinking, and deeming that its possession might be important to the Emperor, he ordered me to take a fresh horse, and hasten with it to the head-quarters. The orders I received were vague enough.

“You’ll come up with the advance guard some eight or nine miles to the north’ard; you’ll chance upon some of the columns near Fleisheim.”

Such were the hurried directions I obtained, in the midst of the smoke and din of a battle; but it was no time to ask for more precise instructions, and away I went.

In less than twenty minutes’ sharp riding, I found myself in a little valley, inclosed by low hills, and watered by a small tributary of the Danube, along whose banks cottages were studded in the midst of what seemed one great orchard, since for miles the white and pink blossoms of fruit-trees were to be seen extending. The peasants were at work in the fields, and the oxen were toiling along with the heavy wagons, or the scarcely less cumbersome plow, as peacefully as though bloodshed and carnage were not within a thousand miles of them. No high road penetrated this secluded spot, and hence it lay secure, while ruin and devastation raged at either side of it. As the wind was from the west, nothing could be heard of the cannonade toward Moosburg, and the low hills completely shut out all signs of the conflict. I halted at a little way-side forge, to have a loose shoe fastened, and in the crowd of gazers who stood around me, wondering at my gay trappings and gaudy uniform, not one had the slightest suspicion that I was other than Austrian. One old man asked me if it were not true that the “French were coming?” and another laughed, and said, “They had better not;” and there was all they knew of that terrible struggle—the shock that was to rend in twain a great empire.

Full of varied thought on this theme, I mounted and rode forward. At first, the narrow roads were so deep and heavy, that I made little progress; occasionally, too, I came to little streams, traversed by a bridge of a single plank, and was either compelled to swim my horse across, or wander long distances in search of a ford. These obstructions made me impatient, and my impatience but served to delay me more, and all my efforts to push directly forward only tended to embarrass me. I could not ask for guidance, since I knew not the name of a single village or town, and to have inquired for the direction in which the troops were stationed, might very possibly have brought me into danger.

At last, after some hours of toilsome wandering, I reached a small way-side inn, and resolving to obtain some information of my whereabouts, I asked whither the road led that passed through a long, low, swampy plain, and disappeared in a pine wood.

“To Landshut,” was the answer.

“And the distance?”

“Three German miles,” said the host; “but they are worse than five; for since the new line has been opened, this road has fallen into neglect. Two of the bridges are broken, and a landslip has completely blocked up the passage at another place.”

“Then how am I to gain the new road?”

Alas! there was nothing for it but going back to the forge where I had stopped three hours and a half before, and whence I could take a narrow bridle-path to Fleisheim, that would bring me out on the great road. The very thought of retracing my way was intolerable; many of the places I had leaped my horse over would have been impossible to cross from the opposite side; once I narrowly escaped being carried down by a mill-race; and, in fact, no dangers nor inconveniences of the road in front of me, could equal those of the course I had just come. Besides all this, to return to Fleisheim would probably bring me far in the rear of the advancing columns, while if I pushed on toward Landshut, I might catch sight of them from some rising spot of ground.

“You will go, I see,” cried the host, as he saw me set out. “Perhaps you’re right; the old adage says, ‘It’s often the roughest road leads to the smoothest fortune.’”

Even that much encouragement was not without its value. I spurred into a canter with fresh spirits. The host of the little inn had not exaggerated; the road was execrable. Heavy rocks and mounds of earth had slipped down with the rains of winter, and remained in the middle of the way. The fallen masonry of the bridges had driven the streams into new channels, with deep pools among them; broken wagons and ruined carts marked the misfortunes of some who had ventured on the track; and except for a well-mounted and resolute horseman, the way was impracticable. I was well-nigh overcome by fatigue and exhaustion, as clambering up a steep hill, with the bridle on my arm, I gained the crest of the ridge, and suddenly saw Landshut—for it could be no other—before me. I have looked at many new pictures and scenes, but I own I never beheld one that gave me half the pleasure. The ancient town, with its gaunt old belfries, and still more ancient castle, stood on a bend of the Inn, which was here crossed by a long wooden bridge, supported on boats, a wide track of shingle and gravel on either side showing the course into which the melting snows often swelled the stream. From the point where I stood, I could see into the town. The Platz, the old gardens of the nunnery, the terrace of the castle, all were spread out before me; and to my utter surprise, there seemed little or no movement going forward. There were two guns in position at the bridge; some masons were at work on the houses, beside the river, piercing the walls for the use of musketry, and an infantry battalion was under arms in the market-place. These were all the preparations I could discover against the advance of a[Pg 198] great army. But so it was; the Austrian spies had totally misled them, and while they believed that the great bulk of the French lay around Ratisbon, the centre of the army, sixty-five thousand strong, and led by Napoleon himself, was in march to the southward.

That the attack on Moosburg was still unknown at Landshut seemed certain; and I now perceived that, notwithstanding all the delays I had met with, I had really come by the most direct line; whereas, on account of the bend of the river no Austrian courier could have brought tidings of the engagement up to that time. My attention was next turned toward the direction whence our advance might be expected; but although I could see nearly four miles of the road, not a man was to be descried along it.

I slowly descended the ridge and, passing through a meadow, was approaching the high road, when suddenly I heard the clattering of a horse at full gallop coming along the causeway. I mounted at once, and pushed forward to an angle of the road, by which I was concealed from all view. The next instant a Hungarian hussar turned the corner at top speed.

“What news?” cried I, in German. “Are they coming?”

“Ay, in force,” shouted he without stopping.

I at once drew my pistol, and leveled at him. The man’s back was toward me, and my bullet would have pierced his skull. It was my duty, too, to have shot him, for moments were then worth days, or even weeks. I couldn’t pull the trigger, however, and I replaced my weapon in the holster. Another horseman now swept past without perceiving me, and quickly behind him came a half squadron of hussars, all riding in mad haste and confusion. The horses, though “blown,” were not sweated, so that I conjectured they had ridden fast though not far. Such was the eagerness to press on, and so intent were they on the thought of their own tidings, that none saw me, and the whole body swept by and disappeared. I waited a few minutes to listen, and as the clattering toward Landshut died away, all was silent. Trusting to my knowledge of German to save me, even if I fell in with the enemy, I now rode forward at speed in the direction of our advance. The road was straight as an arrow for miles, and a single object coming toward me was all I could detect. This proved to be a hussar of the squadron, whose horse, being dead lame, could not keep up with the rest, and now the poor fellow was making the best of his way back as well as he was able. Of what use, thought I, to make him my prisoner; one more or less at such a time can be of slight avail; so I merely halted him to ask how near the French were. The man could only speak Hungarian, but made signs that the lancers were close upon us, and counseled me to make my escape into the town with all speed. I intimated by a gesture that I could trust to my horse, and we parted. He was scarcely out of sight when the bright gleam of brass helmets came into view toward the west, and then I could make out the shining cuirasses of the “Corps de Guides,” as, mounted on their powerful horses, they came galloping along.

“I thought I was foremost,” said a young officer to me, as he rode up. “How came you in advance?”

“Where’s the ‘Etat Major?’” cried I, in haste, and not heeding his question. “I have a dispatch for the Emperor.”

“Follow the road,” said he, “and you’ll come up with them in half an hour.”

And with these hurried words we passed each other. A sharp pistol report a moment after told me what had befallen the poor Hungarian; but I had little time to think of his fate. Our squadrons were coming on at a sharp pace, while in their rear the jingling clash of horse-artillery resounded. From a gentle rise of the road, I could see a vast distance of country, and perceive that the French columns extended for miles away—the great chaussée being reserved for the heavy artillery, while every by-road and lane was filled with troops of all arms, hurrying onward. It was one of those precipitous movements by which Napoleon so often paralyzed an enemy at once, and finished a campaign by one daring exploit.

At such a time it was in vain for me to ask in what direction the staff might be found. All were eager and intent on their own projects; and as squadron after squadron passed, I saw it was a moment for action rather than for thought. Still I did not like to abandon all hope of succeeding after so much of peril and fatigue, and seeing that it was impossible to advance against the flood of horse and artillery that formed along the road, I jumped my horse into a field at the side, and pushed forward. Even here, however, the passage was not quite clear, since many, in their eagerness to get forward, had taken to the same line, and with cheering cries and wild shouts of joy, were galloping on. My showy uniform drew many an eye toward me, and at last a staff-officer cried out to me to stop, pointing with his sabre as he spoke to a hill a short distance off, where a group of officers were standing.

This was General Moulon and his staff, under whose order the advanced-guard was placed.

“A dispatch—whence from!” cried he, hastily, as I rode up.

“No, sir; a plan of the bridge of Landshut, taken from the enemy this morning at Moosburg.”

“Are they still there?” asked he.

“By this time they must be close upon Landshut; they were in full retreat when I left them at day-break.”

“We’ll be able to speak of the bridge without this,” said he, laughing, and turning toward his staff, while he handed the sketch carelessly to some one beside him; “and you’ll serve the Emperor quite as well, sir, by coming with us as hastening to the rear.”

I professed myself ready and willing to follow his orders, and away I went with the staff, well pleased to be once more on active service.

Two cannon shots, and a rattling crash of small[Pg 199] arms, told us that the combat had begun; and as we rose the hill, the bridge of Landshut was seen on fire in three places. Either from some mistake of his orders, or not daring to assume a responsibility for what was beyond the strict line of duty, the French commander of the artillery placed his guns in position along the river’s bank, and prepared to reply to the fire now opening from the town, instead of at once dashing onward within the gates. Moulon hastened to repair the error; but by the delay in pushing through the dense masses of horse, foot, and artillery that crowded the passage, it was full twenty minutes ere he came up. With a storm of oaths on the stupidity of the artillery colonel, he ordered the firing to cease, commanding both the cavalry and the train wagons to move right and left, and give place for a grenadier battalion, who were coming briskly on with their muskets at the sling.

The scene was now a madly-exciting one. The chevaux-de-frize at one end of the bridge was blazing; but beyond it on the bridge the Austrian engineer and his men were scattering combustible material, and with hempen torches touching the new-pitched timbers. An incessant roll of musketry issued from the houses on the river side, with now and then the deeper boom of a large gun, while the roar of voices, and the crashing noise of artillery passing through the streets, swelled into a fearful chorus. The French sappers quickly removed the burning chevaux-de-frize, and hurled the flaming timbers into the stream; and scarcely was this done, when Moulon, dismounting, advanced, cheering, at the head of his grenadiers. Charging over the burning bridge, they rushed forward; but their way was arrested by the strong timbers of a massive portcullis, which closed the passage. This had been concealed from our view by the smoke and flame; and now, as the press of men from behind grew each instant more powerful, a scene of terrible suffering ensued. The enemy, too, poured down a deadly discharge, and grape-shot tore through us at pistol range. The onward rush of the columns to the rear defied retreat, and in the mad confusion, all orders and commands were unheard or unheeded. Not knowing what delayed our advance, I was busily engaged in suppressing a fire at one of the middle buttresses, when, mounting the parapet, I saw the cause of our halt. I happened to have caught up one of the pitched torches at the instant, and the thought at once struck me how to employ it. To reach the portcullis, no other road lay open than the parapet itself—a wooden railing, wide enough for a footing, but exposed to the whole fire of the houses. There was little time for the choice of alternatives, even had our fate offered any, so I dashed on, and, as the balls whizzed and whistled around me, reached the front.

It was a terrible thing to touch the timbers against which our men were actually flattened, and to set fire to the bars around which their hands were clasped; but I saw that the Austrian musketry had already done its work on the leading files, and that not one man was living among them. By a blunder of one of the sappers, the portcullis had been smeared with pitch like the bridge; and as I applied the torch, the blaze sprung up, and, encouraged by the rush of air between the beams, spread in a second over the whole structure. Expecting my death-wound at every instant, I never ceased my task, even when it had become no longer necessary, impelled by a kind of insane persistence to destroy the barrier. The wind carrying the flame inward, however, had compelled the Austrians to fall back, and before they could again open a collected fire on us, the way was open, and the grenadiers, like enraged tigers, rushed wildly in.

I remember that my coat was twice on fire as, carried on my comrades’ shoulders, I was borne along into the town. I recollect, too, the fearful scene of suffering that ensued, the mad butchery at each door-way as we passed, the piercing cries for mercy, and the groan of dying agony.

War has no such terrible spectacle as a town taken by infuriated soldiery, and even among the best of natures a relentless cruelty usurps the place of every chivalrous feeling. When or how I was wounded I never could ascertain; but a round shot had penetrated my thigh, tearing the muscles into shreds, and giving to the surgeon who saw me the simple task of saying, “Enlevez le—point d’espoir.”

I heard thus much, and I have some recollection of a comrade having kissed my forehead, and there ended my reminiscences of Landshut. Nay, I am wrong; I cherish another and a more glorious one.

It was about four days after this occurrence that the surgeon in charge of the military hospital was obliged to secure by ligature a branch of the femoral artery which had been traversed by the ball through my thigh. The operation was a tedious and difficult one, for round shot, it would seem, have little respect for anatomy, and occasionally displace muscles in a sad fashion. I was very weak after it was over, and orders were left to give a spoonful of Bordeaux and water from time to time during the evening, a direction which I listened to attentively, and never permitted my orderly to neglect. In fact, like a genuine sick man’s fancy, it caught possession of my mind that this wine and water was to save me; and in the momentary rally of excitement it gave, I thought I tasted health once more. In this impression I never awoke from a short doze without a request for my cordial, and half mechanically would make signs to wet my lips as I slept.

It was near sunset, and I was lying with unclosed eyes, not asleep, but in that semi-conscious state that great bodily depression and loss of blood induce. The ward was unusually quiet, the little buzz of voices that generally mingled through the accents of suffering was hushed, and I could hear the surgeon’s well-known voice as he spoke to some persons at the further end of the chamber.

By their stopping from time to time, I could remark that they were inspecting the different[Pg 200] beds, but their voices were low and their steps cautious and noiseless.

“Tiernay—this is Tiernay,” said some one reading my name from the paper over my head. Some low words which I could not catch followed, and then the surgeon replied—

“There is a chance for him yet, though the debility is greatly to be feared.”

I made a sign at once to my mouth, and after a second’s delay the spoon touched my lips, but so awkwardly was it applied, that the fluid ran down my chin; with a sickly impatience I turned away, but a mild low voice, soft as a woman’s, said—

“Allons!—Let me try once more;” and now the spoon met my lips with due dexterity.

“Thanks,” said I faintly, and I opened my eyes.

“You’ll soon be about again, Tiernay,” said the same voice; as for the person, I could distinguish nothing, for there were six or seven around me; “and if I know any thing of a soldier’s heart, this will do just as much as the doctor.”

As he spoke he detached from his coat a small enamel cross, and placed it in my hand, with a gentle squeeze of the fingers, and then saying, “au revoir,” moved on.

“Who’s that?” cried I, suddenly, while a strange thrill ran through me.

“Hush!” whispered the surgeon, cautiously; ”hush! it is the Emperor.”



The spider family is very numerous, no less than fifty different kinds being described by naturalists. We shall, however, only mention some of the most common. All spiders have eight legs, with three joints in each, and terminating in three crooked claws. They have eight eyes also, differently arranged according to the different species: some have them in a straight line, others in the shape of a capital V; others four above and four below; others two above, two below, and two on either side; while others, again, have them arranged in a way too complicated to be described without plates. In the fore part of the head, they have a pair of sharp crooked claws, or forceps, which stand horizontally, and which, when not in use, are hidden from view, being concealed in cases beautifully adapted for their reception, and in which they fold up, just like a clasp-knife, and there remain between two rows of teeth. When the spider bites its prey, it thrusts a small white proboscis out of its mouth, with which it instills a poisonous liquor into the wound. The abdomen, or hinder part of the spider, is separated from the head and breast by a small thread-like tube. Their outer skin is a hard polished crust.

A very curious description, sometimes found in this country, but more generally in Italy, is the hunting-spider, so called because, instead of spinning webs to entrap their prey, they pounce on them, and devour them. This spider is small and brown, but beautifully spotted, with its hinder-legs longer than the rest. When one of these spiders sees a fly three or four yards off, it does not attack it without some deliberation as to the best means of doing so. Generally speaking, it creeps under it, and then, stealing softly up, it seldom misses its prey. If, however, on a nearer approach, it finds that it is not in a direct line, it will immediately slide down again, and the next time, making its observations more correctly, it pounces on the unsuspecting fly’s back. Meantime, if the fly moves, the hunter follows its example, always taking care to face its prey. Should the fly, however, take wing, its enemy will follow it, swift as the lightning’s flash, and then, moving almost imperceptibly along, she catches it by the poll, and, after quietly satisfying the pangs of hunger, carries the remainder home, to keep for a future day. The nest of these spiders is very curious: it is about two inches high, and is composed of a close and soft satin-like texture. In this are two chambers, placed perpendicularly, in which the spider reposes during the day, generally going out to hunt after nightfall. The parent hunter regularly instructs her young ones how to pursue their future avocation, and when, in teaching them, they themselves happen to miss a jump, they always run away, as if quite ashamed of themselves!

One of the largest kinds of nests to be met with in this country is that of the labyrinthic-spider, whose web most of our readers must surely have seen spread out like a broad sheet in hedges, generally in the furze, or other low bushes. The middle of this net, which is of a very close texture, is suspended like a sailor’s hammock, by fine silken threads fastened to higher branches. The whole curves upward, sloping down to a long funnel-shaped gallery, nearly horizontal at the entrance, but winding obliquely until it becomes almost perpendicular. This gallery is about a quarter of an inch, is much more closely woven than the sheet part of the web, and generally descends into a hole in the ground, or else into a soft tuft of grass. Here is the spider’s dwelling-place, where she may often be found resting with her legs extended, ready to catch the hapless insects which get entangled in her sheet net.

The most extraordinary nest, however, of the whole species, is that of the mason-spider, which is a native of the tropics, and is generally found in the West Indies. This nest is formed of very hard clay, colored deeply with brown oxide of iron. It is constructed in the form of a tube, about one inch in diameter and six or seven long. Their first labor is to line it, which they do with a uniform tapestry of orange-colored silken web, of a texture rather thicker than fine paper. This lining is useful for two important purposes: it prevents the walls of the house from falling down, and also, by being connected with the door, it enables the spider to know what is going on above, for the entire vibrates when one part is touched. Our readers who have not been so fortunate as to meet with this description of nest,[Pg 201] may very probably feel inclined to laugh at our mention of a door. It is nevertheless perfectly true that there is a door, and a most ingeniously contrived one also, and truly it may be regarded as one of the most curious things in the whole range of insect architecture. It is about the size and shape of a crown-piece, slightly convex inside, and concave on the outer side. It is composed of twelve or more layers of web, similar to that with which the inner part is lined; these are laid very closely one over the other, and managed so that the inner layers are the broadest, the others gradually diminishing in size, except near the hinge, which is about an inch long; and as all the layers are united there, and prolonged into the tube, it is necessarily the firmest and strongest portion of the entire structure. The materials are so elastic, that the hinge shuts as if it had a spring, and of its own accord. The hole in which the nest is made being on a sloping bank, one side must always be higher than the other, and it is observed that the hinge is invariably placed on the highest side, because the spider knows well, that, when so situated, the door, if pushed from the outside, will fall down by its own weight, and close; and so nicely does it fit into the little groove prepared for it, that the most attentive observer could scarcely discover where the joining was. In this safe retreat the wary spider lives, nor will the loudest knocking tempt it out of its hiding-place. Should, however, the least attempt be made to force open the door, the spider, aware of what is going on by the motion of the threads, runs quickly to the door, fastens its legs to the silk lining of the walls, and, turning on its back, pulls the door with all its might. The truth of this assertion has been tested by many entomologists, who, by lifting the door with a pin, have felt the little spider trying to prevent their entrance; the contest, of course, is not a long one, and the assailants being uniformly victorious, the spider seeks safety in flight. Should the door be entirely taken away, another will soon be put in its place. These spiders hunt their prey at night, and devour them in their nests, which are generally found scattered all over with the fragments of their repasts. A pair of spiders, with thirty or forty young ones, often live together in one nest such as we have described.

The most famous of all spiders is the tarantula. It is an inhabitant of Italy, Cyprus, and the East Indies. Its breast and abdomen are ash-colored, as are also the wings, which have blackish rings on the inner side. Its eyes are red: two of them are larger than the others, and placed in the front of its head; four others in a transverse direction near the mouth; and the remaining two close to the back. It generally lives in bare fields, where the land is fallow and soft; and it carefully shuns damp shady places, preferring a rising ground facing the east. Its nest is four inches deep, half an inch wide, and curved at the bottom, and here the insect retreats in unfavorable weather, weaving a web at the door to be secure from rain and damp. In July it casts its skin, and lays 730 eggs, but does not live to rear them, as it dies early in the winter. Its bite is said to occasion death. First, the part bitten becomes inflamed, then sickness and faintness come on, followed by difficulty of breathing, and then by death. Music is the only cure resorted to. A musician is brought to see the patient, and tries one air after another, and at length hits upon the one which impels the sufferer to dance. The violence of the exercise brings on perspiration, which invariably cures the disorder.

A gentleman who was traveling in Italy some years ago, was very anxious to see the dance, but it being too early in the year for the spider to be found, all he could do was to prevail on a young woman who had been bitten on a previous year to go through the dance for him just as she did then. She agreed to the proposal, and at first lolled listlessly and stupidly about, while slow, dull music was played. At length the right chord was touched; she sprang up with a fearful yell, and staggered exactly like a drunken person, holding a handkerchief in each hand, and moving correctly to tune. As the music became more lively, she jumped about with great velocity, shrieking very loudly. Altogether, the scene was most painful, but was acted to perfection. The patients were always dressed in white, and adorned with red, green, and blue ribbons; their hair fell loosely over their shoulders, which were covered with a white scarf. All that we have related as to the effects of the bite, was long believed to be true; but many years ago its truth was questioned, and the result of the investigation was, that the tarantula was a harmless insect, and that the supposed injuries inflicted by it were made use of as an excuse for indulging in a dance similar to that of the priestess of Bacchus, which the introduction of Christianity had put an end to. Those who are not impostors are merely afflicted with a nervous illness, known by the name of St. Vitus’s Dance: and to this saint many chapels have been dedicated.

Another curious and interesting description of the spider is that called the water-diving spider. It can easily be understood that a spider would not find any difficulty in breathing under water, inasmuch as they are provided with gills. But the diving-spider is not content, as frogs are, with the air furnished by the water, but independently carries down a supply with her to her sub-marine territories. This spider, which is constantly found in the neighborhood of London, does not relish stagnant water, preferring slow-running streams, where she lives in her diving-bell, which shines like a globe of silver. This shining appearance is supposed to proceed either from an inflated globule surrounding the abdomen, or else from the space between the body and the water. When the little diver wishes to inhale a fresh supply of atmospheric air, it rises to the surface, with its body still continuing in the water, and merely the part containing the spinneret visible, and this it briskly opens and moves. It generally comes up every quarter of an hour, although it could remain in the water for many days together.[Pg 202] A thick coating of hair prevents its being wet, or otherwise incommoded by the water.

The diving-spider spins its cell in the water; it is composed of closely-woven, strong, white silk, and shaped like half a pigeon’s egg, looking something like a diving-bell. Occasionally this nest is allowed to remain partly above water; generally, however, it is totally submerged, and is attached by a great number of irregular threads to some near objects. It is entirely closed, except at the bottom, where there is a large opening. This, however, is sometimes shut, and then the spider may be seen staying peaceably at home, with her head downward; and thus they often remain during the three winter months.

No insects are more cleanly in their habits than spiders, although the gummy substance of which their webs are composed, and the rough hairy covering of their bodies, with but few exceptions, render this an arduous task. Whenever they happen to break a thread of their web which they are unable to mend, they roll it up in a little ball, and throw it away, and they regularly comb their legs.

In concluding this brief account of the spider family, we can assure our readers, that any time they may bestow on the subject will be amply rewarded by the interest and pleasure they will derive. And, lest any should imagine that the hours thus passed are wasted or misspent, we shall close our article by giving a short history of a man whose life was saved by his knowledge of the habits of a spider.

Very many years ago, a Frenchman called Quatreman Disjouval sided with the Dutch in a revolt against the French. For this offense he was cast into prison, where he remained for eight long years, without the most remote prospect of being set at liberty. To while away the dreary hours, he made acquaintance with some spiders who shared his solitary cell, and, having nothing to occupy his mind, he passed the greater part of his time in attentively watching their movements. By degrees he discovered that they only spun their large wheel-like webs in fine weather, or when it was about to set in; while in damp weather they generally disappeared altogether. In the month of December, 1794, when the republican troops were in Holland, a sudden and unexpected thaw set in, and so materially disarranged their general’s plans, that he actually thought of withdrawing his army altogether, and accepting the money which the Dutch would gladly have given to have got rid of them. Meantime Disjouval, who thought that any masters would be better than his present ones, ardently hoped that the French would be victorious. Shut up as he was, he contrived to hear all about their intended movements, and, knowing that the weather alone prevented it, he watched his old friends the spiders with redoubled interest. To his infinite delight, he found that a frost was just about to set in, and so severe a one, too, that it would enable the rivers and canals to bear the weight of the baggage and artillery. Somehow or other, he succeeded in having a letter conveyed to the general, assuring him that within fourteen days a severe frost would set in. “The wish was parent to the hope;” and the commander-in-chief, believing that he really had some supernatural revelation on the subject, maintained his position. At the close of the twelfth day, the anxiously wished for frost began, and Disjouval felt sure that now he would be set at liberty. Nor was he mistaken. The general’s first act on entering the town was to go to the prison, and, thanking him personally for his valuable information, he set him free. Disjouval subsequently became a celebrated entomologist, directing his attention principally to spiders, whose first appearance in summer he thought ought to be welcomed by sound of trumpet!


In the heat of the last French war, some forty years ago, we were under the necessity of removing from the north to make our residence in London. We took our passage in one of the old Scotch smacks from Leith, and, wishing to settle down immediately on our arrival in the great metropolis, we took our servants and our furniture along with us. Contrary winds detained us long upon our passage. Although a mere child at the time, I well remember one eventful morning, when, to our horror and alarm, a French man-of-war was seen looming on the distant horizon, and evidently bearing down on us. A calm had settled on the sea, and we made but little way, and at last we saw two boats lowered from the Frenchman’s deck, and speedily nearing us. This occurred shortly after the famous and heroic resistance made successfully by the crew of one of the vessels in the same trade to a French privateer. With this glorious precedent before our eyes, both passengers and crew were disposed to make no tame resistance. Our guns were loaded to the muzzle, and every sailor was bared for action. Old cutlasses and rusty guns were handed round about, and piled upon the deck. Truly, we were a motley crew, more like a savage armament of lawless buccaneers than bloodless denizens of peace. But happily these warlike preparations were needless, for a breeze sprung up, and, though we were pretty smartly chased, the favoring gale soon bore us far from danger, and eventually wafted us in safety to our destined port.

My mother was somewhat struck, during the period of our short alarm, by the fearless and heroic bearing of our servant Jane. A deeper feeling seemed to pervade her mind than common antipathy to the common foe. In fact, at various times during her previous service, when any events connected with the French war formed, as they ever did, the all-engrossing subject of discourse, Jane evinced an interest in the theme equaled only by the intense hatred toward that nation which she now displayed. On the present occasion, the appearance of the foe awakened in her bosom a thousand slumbering but bitter recollections of a deep domestic tragedy connected[Pg 203] with herself; and so far from showing the natural timidity of her sex, she even endeavored to assist in the arrangement of our murderous preparations. Even a shade of regret appeared upon her face, as we bounded over the sparkling waves, when our tardy foe seemed but as a speck upon the distant sea. During the remainder of our voyage she sunk into a dreamy melancholy. With her head almost continually resting on the bulwarks of the ship, she gazed upon the clear, blue depths below; and, had we watched her closely, we might perhaps have seen some of the round tear-drops which gathered on her eyelids, and fell silently, to mingle with the waves. But we heeded not.

She was a singular girl, and seemed evidently superior to her present station; yet she toiled on with the drudgery of the house, listless and indifferent, but always usefully engaged. My mother was not altogether satisfied with her work, and still found a difficulty in blaming her. She seemed to dream through her whole duty, as if her mind was rapt in some strange fancies, while her hands mechanically did her task. At last, after long solicitation, she explained the mystery by telling us her history.

We must throw our story back some twenty years. Her family at that time occupied a respectable, if not a wealthy position in our northern metropolis. Her father was engaged in a lucrative business, had been married about six years, and was the father of four children. His youngest daughter had been born about three months previous to this period of our tale. She was a singularly lovely child. A sister of his wife’s, who had made a wealthy marriage with an officer in the French army, was at this time on a short visit to the land of her birth. Madame de Bourblanc was childless, and her heart was yearning for those blessings of maternal love which Providence denied her. She was unhappy: no wonder; for her home in sunny France was desolate.

A little while soon passed away. Mrs. Wilson and her sister were seated at the parlor fire one cold November night—the one contemplating the blessings she possessed, the other brooding on her far different lot. The children prattled merrily beside them, and waited only for their father’s evening kiss, before they went to childhood’s innocent sleep. But their father came not. His usual time had long since passed, and his wife betrayed some symptoms of uneasiness at the unwonted delay. At last they heard a hurried knock, and Mr. Wilson entered the apartment. There were traces of anxiety and grief upon his countenance, but, as he spoke not of the cause, his wife forbore inquiries in the presence of her sister. But Mr. Wilson was extremely unsocial, nay, even harsh; and, when his wife held out her babe, and the unconscious infant seemed to put up its little lips for its evening kiss, he pushed the child aside, and muttered something audibly about the curses of a married life, and the inconvenience and expense of bringing up a large, increasing family.

The babe was sent to bed, and the mother spoke not, though a bitter tear might be seen rolling down her cheek. She was deeply hurt, and justly so. But Mr. Wilson had met with some heavy losses during the course of the day. These had soured his heart and embittered his words. Perhaps he meant not what he said; it might have been but the passing bitterness of a disappointed man. However the case may be, the words he uttered remained in the bosom of his wife, rooted and festering there; and many a bitter pang had she in after-life, and the desolations and the sorrows which dispersed her family, some to their grave, others far asunder—that all could be ascribed to these few bitter words.

A week had scarcely elapsed since the occurrences of that unhappy evening, when an event took place which wrought a fearful revolution in that happy family. Surely the “evil eye” had looked upon that house.

Mrs. Wilson and her sister went to make a call upon a friend. As they expected to return almost immediately, they left the babe slumbering in its cradle, and sent the servant on some trifling errand. Circumstances retarded their return. The anxious mother hastened to the nursery to tend upon her babe. She looked into the room, but all was still. Surely the child was slumbering. She must not rouse it from its peaceful dreams. But all continued still. There was a death-like silence in the room. She could not even hear her infant breathe. She sat a while by the flickering light of the expiring fire, for the shades of evening had gathered over the darkening horizon. At length she rose; she went to look upon her child; she lifted up the coverlid. No child was there. An indescribable dread took possession of her soul; she rushed like a maniac from room to room. At last she heard a noise; she flew to the spot. Yes, three of her children were there, but the other, her babe, her newest born, the flower of her heart, was gone.

“My child! my child!” she screamed, and fell upon the floor. Her sister heard the fall, and rushed up stairs. She knelt beside the stricken woman, bathed her temples with cold water, and with a start Mrs. Wilson awoke from her swoon.

“My child! my child!” she sobbed.

“What of the child?” her sister cried.

“Gone—lost—stolen from its mother!” screamed the wretched woman.

“Oh, impossible! Be calm; the child will soon be found,” her sister said. “Some neighbor, perhaps—”

“Perhaps—perhaps,” hurriedly replied the mother, and she rushed from house to house. The people thought her mad. No child was there. Her sister led her home. She followed her calmly, unresistingly. Was her spirit broken? She was placed upon a chair; she sat as one bereft of reason; her face was pale; and perspiration, the deep dews of agony, gathered upon her brow. Not even a feather would have stirred before her breath. It looked like death.

At last she started from her seat. Her brows were knit, and her whole face convulsed with the[Pg 204] fearful workings of her soul. “John! John!” she cried. “Where is my husband. Send him to me.”

And they went to seek him, but he was not to be found. They told her so, and she was silent. There were evidently some frightful thoughts laboring within her breast—some terrible suspicions, which her spirit scarce dared to entertain. For about an hour she sat, but never opened her lips. It was a fearful silence. At last his knock was heard; the stair creaked beneath his well known tread; he entered. The mother sprang upon her feet.

“John!” she screamed, “give me my child! Where have you put her? Where is my child?”

Her husband started. “Woman, are you mad?” he cried.

“Give me my child!”

“Wife, be calm.”

“I will not be calm. My child! You spoke coarsely to me the other night for nothing, John. She was a burden on you, was she? But why did you take her from me? I would have worked for her—drudged, slaved, to win her bread. Oh, why did you kill my child?”

The man looked stupidly upon his wife, and sank into a chair. The room was filled with neighbors; they looked at him, and then to one another, and whispered.

“Give me my child!” the mother screamed. He sat buried in thought, and covering his face with both his hands.

“Take him away!” she cried, and the people laid their hands upon him.

He started to his feet, and dashed the foremost to the ground. There was a look about the man that terrified, and they quailed before him. He strode before his wife. “Woman,” said he, “your lips accused me. Bitterly, ay, bitterly, shall you rue this night’s work. Come, neighbors, I am ready.” And they took him to a magistrate.

“My child!” the wretched woman shrieked, and swooned away. Before a few hours had passed, she was writhing in the agonies of a burning fever.

And where was her husband then? Walking to and fro upon the cold flagstones of a felon’s cell, upon a charge of murdering his child, his own child; doomed thither by his own wife. A close investigation of every matter connected with this mysterious affair was set on foot. No proof of Mr. Wilson’s guilt could be obtained. He was arraigned before his country’s laws, and, after a patient trial, was discharged, as his judge emphatically pronounced, without a stain upon his character. Discharged, forsooth, to what? To meet the frowns and suspicions of a too credulous world; to see the people turn and stare behind him, as he passed along the streets; to see the children shrink from him and flee, as from some monster; and to dwell in a desolate home, his own offspring trembling as he touched them, and his wife—that wife who had accused him—looking with cold, suspicious, unhappy eye upon the being she had sworn to love and cherish with her life. Such was his fate! who had wrought it? His wife recovered from her illness; and her sister went her way back to her home in France.

Seldom did the poor man even speak: there was gloom about that desolate house. His trade fell off, and his credit declined; and why? because his heart was broken. Day after day he sat in his lone counting-house; there was no bustle there. His books were covered with a thick coat of dust; and, as one by one his customers stepped off, so poverty stepped in, until at last he found himself almost a beggar. He shut his office-doors, shut them for the last time, then wiped away a tear, the first he had shed for many a day. He went home, but not to the home he used to have. His furniture had been sold to supply the common necessaries of life; and poor indeed was their now humble abode. There was silence in that little house, scarcely a whisper. In the secret fountains of his wife’s heart there was still a depth of love for him; but, always when she would have breathed it forth, the strange horrid suspicion would flit across her brain—her child was not. He often looked at her, a long, earnest gaze, but he seldom spoke.

One evening, he was more than usually sad. He kissed his children fondly. He took his wife’s cold hand, and pressed it in his own. “Jessie,” said he, “as ye have sown, so shall ye reap; but I forgive you. God bless you, wife!” He lay down upon his hard pallet, and when they would have roused him in the morning, he was dead.

Time rolled on with rapid sweep, alas! bringing death and its attendant evils in his train. Two of the widow’s children died; and Jane was now about eighteen years of age. Sorrow, rather than age, had already blanched the widow’s hair. They were in great poverty; eked out a scanty livelihood with their needle. Indeed, their only certain dependence lay in the small assistance which Madame de Bourblanc sent from France. Perhaps, had that sister known the straits of her poor relatives, her paltry pittance might have been increased. They were perhaps too proud to make it known; as it was, she knew not, or, if she did, she heeded not.

About this time a letter reached the widow from her sister. Besides containing the usual remittance, the letter was unusually long. She requested Jane to read it to her, while she sat and sewed. What ailed the girl, her mother thought, as Jane gazed upon the page with some indescribable emotions depicted on her face. “Mother,” she cried, “my sister lives! your child is found again!” The widow tore the letter from her daughter’s hand, and read it eagerly, while her face grew paler every moment. She gasped for utterance; and the mystery was solved at last.

Yes, reader, at last was the mystery unraveled, and the criminal was her sister—she who had stood calmly by, and seen the agony of the bereaved mother—she who had beheld the injured father dragged as a felon to prison, when a word from her would have cleard it all—she was that wretch. Madame de Bourblanc was childless[Pg 205] and her heart yearned for some one she could love. She saw the little cherub of her sister, and she envied it. She knew that, if she had asked the child, the mother’s heart would have spurned the offer, so she laid her plans to steal the infant. She employed a woman from France, who, as she prowled about the house, had seized the favorable moment, and snatched the infant from its cradle, and the child was safely housed in France before the tardy law began its investigations. Madame de Bourblanc remained beside her sister for a time; then hurried off to France, to lavish all her love upon the stolen child. It is true, she loved the child; but was it not a selfish love to see the bereaved mother mourn its loss, yet never soothe her troubled heart? and was it not a cruel love, to see a household broken up, affections desolated, and all to gratify a selfish whim of hers? It was worse than cruel—it was deeply criminal.

She brought up the infant as her own: she named it Amalie, and a pretty child she was. Did a pang never strike into the heart of that cruel woman, as the child would lift its little eyes to hers, and lisp “My mother?” She must have thought of the true mother, broken-hearted, in another land. Yes, a pang did pierce her heart; but alas! it came too late; the misery was already wrought. She wrote to her injured sister, begging her forgiveness, and at the same time offering a considerable sum, if she would permit the child to remain with her, still ignorant of her real parentage. But she was mistaken in her hope; for not only did the mother indignantly demand the restoration of her child, but she did more; she published the sister’s letter, and triumphantly removed the stains that lingered on her dead husband’s memory.

A few weeks after this, the widow went to pay a visit to the green grave of her broken-hearted husband: she knelt upon the verdant mound, and watered it with her tributary tears. All her unjust suspicions crowded on her mind: conscience reproached her bitterly. She knelt, and supplicated for forgiveness, seeming to commune with his spirit on the spot where his poor frail body reposed in its narrow bed. She felt a gentle touch upon her shoulder; it was her daughter Jane. One moment after, and she was clasped in the embrace of a stranger. Nature whispered to the mother’s heart her child was there, her long lost child. She too had come to look upon that lowly grave—the grave of a father.

After the first transports of meeting were over, the widow found leisure to observe her child. But what a poor young delicate flower was she, to brave the rude blasts of poverty. She was a lovely girl: like a lily, fragile and pale, the storms of life would wither her. Her mother took her home; but the contrast was too great, from affluence to poverty—Amalie wept. Poor Jane strove to comfort her; but she might only use the language of the eyes, for her foreign sister scarcely understood two words of English. Amalie struggled hard to love her new mother, and to reconcile her young heart to this sudden change, but the effort was too great, and she gradually sank. Early and late her mother and her sister toiled, to obtain for her, in her delicate state, some of those luxuries to which she had been accustomed; but their efforts were vain—she was not long for earth. The widow had indignantly refused all offers of assistance from her cruel sister though she felt that, unless Providence should interpose, her strength must soon fail under its additional exactions.

A letter arrived from France; it was sealed with black. They opened it hastily and fearfully; and they had cause. Madame de Bourblanc was dead; she was suddenly cut off, to render an account before her Creator. The shock was too great for poor Amalie. Day by day she languished, pining in heart for sunny France. Three months after she had reached England, Amalie died. Her last words were, “My mother!”

Soon after, her old mother followed her. Oh, that the purified spirits of them all may meet in heaven! Jane is the sole survivor of this domestic tragedy. Even she may have departed to the haven of eternal rest, for she left my mother shortly after we were settled in London. We have never seen her since.



King Philip the Second was playing at chess in the palace of the Escurial. Ruy Lopez, a priest of the ordinary rank, who was most expert at this game, was his majesty’s antagonist. The player was allowed to kneel, by special privilege, while the nobles stood round as spectators. There was something in their attitudes betokening an engagement of mind too anxious to be called forth by the mere interest of the game. It was a splendid morning, and the air was redolent with perfume not less sweet than that exhaled by the orange-groves of Granada. The violet-colored curtains of the magnificent saloon softened the powerful rays of the sun as they darted through the casements. The bright, cheerful light seemed at this moment but ill to accord with the mood of the king, whose gloomy brow seemed to grow darker and darker, like the tempest brooding on the lofty Alpuxares. He frowned as he frequently glanced toward the entrance of the saloon. The nobles remained silent, exchanging looks of mutual intelligence. The assembly was any thing but a cheerful one, and it was easy to perceive that some grave affair occupied the thoughts of all present. None appeared to pay attention to the chess save Ruy Lopez, who, with his eyes fixed on the board, was deliberating between a checkmate and the deference due to his most Catholic Majesty Philip the Second, Lord of the Territories of Spain and its Dependencies. Not a sound was heard but the slight noise made by the players as they moved their pieces, when the door was suddenly thrown open, and a man of rude and sinister aspect advanced toward the king, and in lowly[Pg 206] reverence waited permission to address him. The appearance of this man was most forbidding; his entrance caused a general sensation. The nobles drew haughtily back, allowing their feelings of disgust for a moment to overpower their sense of etiquette. One would have supposed some fierce and loathsome beast had suddenly come among them; and certainly he was well calculated to excite such feelings. His figure was tall, bony, and of Herculean dimensions, clad in a black leather doublet. His coarse features, unlighted by a ray of intelligence, betrayed tastes and passions of the most degraded character, while a large, deep scar, reaching from the eyebrow to the chin, till lost in a thick black beard, added to the natural ferocity of his countenance.

Philip turned to address him, but his faltering voice gave evidence of some unusual emotion. An electric shock passed through the whole assembly. The fact was, that this new arrival, who seemed the very personification of physical force, was Fernando Calavarex, executioner in Spain.

“Is he dead?” demanded Philip, at last, in an imperious tone, while a shudder ran through the assembly.

“Not yet, sire,” replied Fernando Calavarex, as he bent before the monarch, who frowned angrily; “he claims his privilege as a grandee of Spain, and I can not proceed to do my office upon a man in whose veins flows the hidalgo-blood without having further orders from your majesty.”

And he again bent his head.

An answering murmur of approval broke from the assembled nobles, and the blood of Castille boiled in their veins, and rushed to their brows. The excitement became general. The young Alonzo d’Ossuna gave open expression to the general feeling by putting on his hat. His bold example was followed by the majority; and now many a white plume waved, as if in token that their wearers claimed their every other privilege by using that which the grandees of Spain have always had—of standing with covered heads before their sovereign.

The king fiercely struck the table, overturning the pieces on the chess-board with the violence of the blow.

“He has been condemned by our royal council, what more would the traitor have?”

“Sire,” replied the executioner, “he demands to die by the ax, as becomes a noble, and not by the cord, and also to be allowed to spend the three last hours of his life with a priest.”

“Ah! let it be so,” replied Philip, evidently relieved. “But is not our confessor already with him, according to our order?”

“Yes, sire,” said Fernando, “the holy man is with him; but the duke refuses to have St. Diaz de Silva. He will not receive absolution from any one under the rank of a bishop; such is the privilege of a noble condemned to death for high treason.”

“It is, indeed, our right,” said the fiery D’Ossuna, boldly, “and we demand from the king our cousin’s privilege.”

This demand seemed to be the signal for a general movement.

“Our rights and the king’s justice are inseparable,” said, in his turn, Don Diego de Tarrasez, Count of Valencia, an old man of gigantic height, encased in armor, bearing in his hand the bâton of High Constable of Spain, and leaning on his Toledo blade.

“Our rights and privileges?” cried the nobles.

These words were repeated like an echo, till the king started from his throne of ebony, exclaiming, “By the bones of Campeador, by the soul of St. Jago, I have sworn neither to eat nor drink till the bloody head of that traitor Don Guzman has been brought to me; and as I have said, so shall it be! But Don Tarrasez has well said, ‘The king’s justice is the security for the rights of his subjects.’ My lord constable, where is the nearest bishop to be found?”

“Sire, I have had more to do with the camp than with the church,” bluntly replied the constable; “your majesty’s almoner, Don Silva, who is present, can give you more information upon such points than I can.”

Don Silva y Mendez answered in some trepidation, “Sire, the Bishop of Segovia was attached to the royal household, but he died last week, and the nomination of his successor still lies on the council-table, and has yet to be submitted for the Pope’s veto. A meeting of all the princes of the Church is to be held at Valladolid—all the prelates have been summoned there; so that the Bishop of Madrid has already set out from this.”

At these words a smile played about the lips of D’Ossuna. His joy was most natural, for not only was he of the blood of the Guzmans, but the condemned noble had been his dearest friend.

But the smile did not escape the notice of the king, and an expression of impatience and determination passed over his face.

“Nevertheless, we are king,” said he, with a calmness which seemed assumed but to cover the storm beneath, “and we choose not that our royal person should be a butt for ridicule. This sceptre may seem light, gentlemen, but he who dares to mock it will be crushed by it as surely as though it were an iron block! But this matter is easily settled. Our holy father the Pope being in no slight degree indebted to us, we do not fear his disapproval of the step we are about to take; since the king of Spain can create a prince, he may surely make a bishop. Rise, then, Don Ruy Lopez, Bishop of Segovia. Rise, priest, I command it; take possession of your rank in the Church!”

The astonishment was general.

Don Ruy Lopez rose mechanically; he would have spoken, but his head reeled, his brain grew dizzy, and he paused. Then, with a violent effort, he began,

“May it please your majesty—”

“Silence, my lord bishop!” replied the king. “Obey the command of your sovereign. The[Pg 207] formalities of your installation may be deferred to a future occasion. Meanwhile, our subjects will not fail to recognize our lawful authority in this matter. You, Bishop of Segovia, go with Calavarez to the cell of the condemned man. Absolve his sinful soul, and deliver his body to be dealt with by our trusty minister here, according to our pleasure. And, Calavarez, see that you bring to us the head of this traitor to the saloon, where we shall await you—for Don Guzman, Prince of Calatrava, Duke of Medina Sidonia, is a traitor, and shall this day die a traitor’s death!”

And turning to Ruy Lopez, “Here is my signet-ring,” said he, “as a token to the duke.”

“And now, my lords, have you any thing to say why the justice of your monarch should not have its course?”

No one answered. Ruy Lopez followed the executioner, and the king resumed his seat, beckoning to one of his favorites to take his place at the chessboard. Don Ramirez, Count of Biscay, immediately came forward, and knelt on the velvet cushion before occupied by Don Lopez.

“With the help of the chess, gentlemen, and your company,” said the king, smiling, “I shall pass the time most pleasantly. Let none of you leave till the return of Calavarez; our good cheer would be diminished were we to lose one of you.”

With these ironical words, Philip began to play with Don Ramirez, and the tired nobles remained grouped around the august personages as at the beginning of our recital.

Every thing was restored to its usual order and quiet, while Calavarez conducted the impromptu bishop to the cell of the condemned nobleman.

Ruy Lopez walked along without raising his eyes. He resembled far more a criminal dragging to execution than a newly-made bishop. Was it a dream? but no—the dark, scowling Calavarez that preceded him was indeed a stern reality, and reminded him at once of his new dignity and of the fearful condition attached to it. And as the vaulted passage echoed to their steps, he devoutly prayed the ground might open, and swallow him up alive, rather than that he should take any part in the impending fate of Don Guzman. What was it bound him thus closely to Don Guzman? Was it that they had been old and intimate friends? Was it that in the veins of both flowed noble blood? No; it was simply that both were the best chessplayers in Spain. Fervent and sincere was his prayer; but it was not granted.


The Prince of Calatrava was pacing his narrow cell with a step whose inequality betokened intense agitation. The whole furniture consisted of a massive table and two heavy wooden stools. The floor was covered with coarse, thick matting, which suffered not the sound of their footfalls to break the gloomy silence. In the embrasure of the one narrow and grated window was fixed a rudely-carved crucifix. With the exception of this emblem of mercy and self-sacrifice, the walls were bare, and as the damp chill of the cell struck to the heart of Ruy Lopez, he felt that it was indeed the ante-chamber of death.

The duke turned as they entered, and courteously saluted the new dignitary of the church. Glances of intelligence passed between them, and conveyed to each feelings, the audible expression of which the presence of Calavarez forbade. The duke understood how painful to Ruy Lopez was the office which the executioner on the instant announced that he had come to perform; and Ruy Lopez felt as fully convinced of the innocence of Don Guzman as was the duke himself, notwithstanding the apparently strong proofs of his guilt. One of these proofs was nothing less than a letter in his own handwriting, addressed to the court of France, entering into full detail of a plot to assassinate King Philip.

In the proud consciousness of innocence, Don Guzman had refused to offer any defense, and as no attempt was made to disprove the accusation, his silence was construed into an admission of guilt, and he was condemned to die the death of a traitor. In the same calm silence Don Guzman heard the sentence; the color faded not from his cheek, his eye quailed not, and with as firm a step as he entered that judgment-hall, he quitted it for the cell of the condemned. And if now his brow was contracted—his step unequal; if now his breath came short and thick—it was because the thought of his betrothed, the fair, the gentle Donna Estella, lay heavy at his heart. He pictured her, ignorant of his situation, waiting for him in her father’s stately halls on the banks of the Guadalquiver—and awaiting him in vain. What marvel that love should make him weak whom death could not appall!

Calavarez, imagining that he had been hitherto unheeded, again repeated the monarch’s commands, and announced that Don Ruy Lopez now held such rank in the church as qualified him to render the last offices to a grandee of Spain.

The young nobleman on the instant bent his knee to the new bishop, and craved his blessing. Then, turning to Calavarez, he haughtily pointed to the door. “We need not your presence, sir; begone. In three hours I shall be ready.”

And how were these three hours passed? First came short shrift—soon made. With a natural levity of character, which even this solemn hour could not subdue, Don Guzman turned from the grave exhortations of his confessor, as he dwelt upon the last great change.

“Change, indeed!” cried the duke; “how different were the circumstances in which we last met. Do you not remember you were playing your famous game with Paoli Boz, the Sicilian, in the presence of Philip and the whole court, and it was on my arm that the king leaned? Change, indeed! Well has Cervantes said, ‘Life is a game of chess.’ I have forgotten the precise words, but the passage runs to this effect—that upon the earth, as upon the chess-board, men are playing different parts, as ordered by fate, fortune, and birth. And when death’s[Pg 208] checkmate comes, the game is finished, and the human pieces lie in the grave huddled together, like the chessmen in the box.”

“I remember these words of Don Quixotte,” said Ruy Lopez, “and I also remember Sancho’s reply—that though the comparison was a good one, it was not altogether so new, but that he had heard it before. But these are not subjects for such an hour as this; may the Lord forgive this unseemly levity!”

The duke went on, without heeding Don Lopez, “I, too, have had my triumphs in chess; and even from you, holy father, have I sometimes wrested a trophy. You used to be proud of me as your pupil.”

“It is quite true,” answered the bishop; “your play is masterly; and I have often gloried in having been your first instructor.”

“A bright idea has struck me,” suddenly exclaimed Don Guzman; “let us have one last game of chess!”

“The thought is too profane,” said the startled Ruy Lopez.

“If you refuse me this last request, I will summon the executioner on the instant; for how, think you, can I endure the two hours of suspense that have yet to be undergone? To meet death is easy—to await it is intolerable! Are you as changed as my fortunes? Care you neither for me nor for chess?”

The bishop again objected, but it was now faintly and hesitatingly. To say the truth, the ruling passion, thus proved to be indeed strong in death, was nearly as powerful in his own mind. “You consent, I see,” said the young nobleman; “but what shall we do for chessmen?”

“I always carry my arms about me,” said Ruy Lopez, now completely won over. Then, drawing two stools to the table, he produced a miniature set of chessmen and a small board. “Our Lady pardon me,” he said, as he proceeded to arrange the pieces; “but I own to you that sometimes a difficult move comes between me and my breviary.”

It was a curious picture to see the priest and the condemned man seated at a game, so strange in their position!

The light rested on the pale and noble countenance of Don Guzman, and fell slantingly through the Gothic window on the benevolent face of Ruy Lopez, from which he had often to brush away the tear of irrepressible emotion. What wonder, then, that he played with a distraction which was not usual, and with little of his wonted skill and power. Don Guzman, on the contrary, as if stimulated by the excitement he was laboring under, played with extraordinary address. He seemed wholly engrossed by the game, and as much abstracted from all surrounding and impending circumstances, as if the executioner had already done his work; and the victory would soon have been decided in his favor, had not the old passion suddenly revived in Ruy Lopez, on seeing the near prospect of defeat, and roused him into putting forth all his wonted skill, and he was soon as fully absorbed in the game as his friend. And the chessboard was now to both the universe. Happy illusion, could it but last!

And now the minutes become quarters, the quarters half-hours, and the fatal moment arrives.

A distant sound is heard—it becomes louder and louder—a step approaches—it draws nearer and nearer. The door grates on its hinges, and the executioner, with all his grim paraphernalia, enters to arouse them to the stern and terrible reality.

The assistants of Calavarez, armed with swords and bearing torches, advanced, carrying a block covered with black cloth, the use of which was evident enough from the ax which lay upon it. They placed their torches in their sockets, and strewed sawdust upon the ground. All this took but a few seconds, and they stood awaiting their victim. On the appearance of Calavarez, Ruy Lopez started from his seat, but the duke moved not; he remained with his eyes fixed on the chessboard, paying no attention either to the men or their fatal preparations.

It was his turn to move.

Calavarez, seeing the duke thus fixed and motionless, laid his hand upon his shoulder, and uttered one word—only one—but in that word was the destruction of a young life, with all its memories and all its earthly hopes. That word was “Come!”

The prisoner started, as though he had trod upon a serpent; then, recovering himself, said imperiously, “I must finish my game.”

“Impossible,” replied Calavarez.

“Possible, or not possible, I must see my game out. I have all but checkmated him. Unhand me! Come on, Ruy Lopez.”

“Impossible,” repeated the executioner.

“Are the three hours then out?”

“To the very second. The king must be obeyed.”

The attendants, who had stood leaning on their swords, now advanced.

The duke was seated with his back to the wall, just under the narrow window. The table was between him and Calavarez. He rose, and exclaimed in an imperious tone, “I will have this game, and then my head is yours. Until I have finished it I will not stir. I must have half an hour, and wait you must.”

“Duke,” replied Calavarez, “I have great respect for you, and would willingly give you all accommodation; but this is out of my power. The delay would be as much as my life is worth.”

Don Guzman started up. Then, drawing off his rings, and detaching his diamond clasps, threw them to the executioner, saying carelessly, “To our game, Ruy Lopez.”

The jewels rolled along the floor, but none stooped to pick them up. The executioners gazed upon each other in astonishment.

“My orders are precise,” cried Calavarez, determinedly. “Your pardon, noble duke, if we employ force; but I have no choice; the commands of the king and the laws of Spain must[Pg 209] be obeyed. Rise, then, and do not waste your last moments in a useless struggle. Speak to the duke, my lord bishop! Exhort him to submit to his fate.”

The answer of Ruy Lopez was prompt and decisive; for, seizing the ax that was lying on the block, and whirling it over his head, he exclaimed, “Stand back! for, by heaven, the duke shall finish this game!”

At this unexpected demonstration of the bishop, Calavarez started back, and almost fell over his assistants, who, brandishing their swords, were about to rush upon the prisoner, when Ruy Lopez, who appeared suddenly metamorphosed into a Hercules, threw down his heavy oaken stool upon the floor, exclaiming—

“The first of you that passes this boundary fixed by the church is a dead man. Courage! noble duke. To work again. There are but three of these miscreants. Your lordship’s last wish shall be accomplished, were my life to be the forfeit. And you, wretches—woe to him who dares to lay his hand upon a bishop of his church! Accursed be he forever—cut off from the flock of the faithful in this world, to be a howling demon in the other! Down with your swords, and respect the anointed of the Lord!”

Ruy Lopez continued, in a jargon of Spanish and Latin, to fulminate anathemas, maledictions, and threats of excommunication, which, at that time, had such influence upon the mass of the people.

The effect of this interposition was immediate; for the assistants stood motionless, and Calavarez began to think that to kill a bishop without a special order from the king might expose him to great peril in this world, to say nothing of the next.

“I will go to his majesty,” said he.

“Go to the devil!” replied the bishop, still standing on the defensive.

The executioner did not know what to do. Did he go to announce this news to Philip, who was expecting the head of the traitor, he only exposed himself to the consequences of his fury. The odds were not enough in his favor to make him certain of the result of an attempt at force, for the strength of Ruy Lopez was by no means to be despised—and as to the duke, desperation would only add to his well-known prowess.

He ended by adopting what appeared to him the wisest decision: he would wait.

“Will you pledge your word to close the game in half an hour?” he demanded.

“I pledge you my honor,” replied the duke.

“Agreed, then,” said the executioner. “Play away.”

The truce thus concluded, the players resumed their places and their game.

Calavarez, who was also a chess-player, became, in spite of himself, interested in the moves, and the attendants, keeping their eyes upon the duke, seemed to say—“You and the game must end together!”

Don Guzman gave one glance around him, and then coolly said—

“Never before have I played in such noble company—but at least I shall not be without witnesses that once in my life I have beaten Don Lopez.”

And he turned to his game with a smile, but it was a smile of bitter sadness, as though he despised the triumph he had gained. As to the bishop, he kept firm grasp of the handle of the ax, muttering, “If I were sure that the duke and I could get out of this den of tigers, I would not be long breaking the heads of all three.”


If the three hours had passed but slowly in the prisoner’s cell, their flight had not been more rapid at the court of King Philip. The monarch had continued to play with his favorite, Don Ramirez de Biscay; and the nobles, obliged by the rules of etiquette to remain standing, and unable to leave under any pretext, appeared sinking under a fatigue, rendered still greater by the weight of their armor.

Don Tarrasez, with half-closed eyes, stood motionless, resembling one of those statues cased in iron, ornamenting Gothic halls. The young D’Ossuna, almost worn out with weariness and sorrow, was leaning against a marble pillar. And King Philip, pacing up and down with hasty steps, paused occasionally to listen for some distant noise. At one time he stopped to examine the hour-glass, at another, with that mingling of superstitious feeling apparently as inconsistent with some points of his character as it was with that of Louis the Eleventh, he knelt before an image of the Virgin, placed on a pedestal of porphyry brought from the ruins of the Alhambra—and implored her to pardon him for the bloody deed that was now accomplishing. All was as silent as in the palace of Azrael, the Angel of Death; for no one, however high or exalted his rank, dared to speak without the permission of his sovereign. No sooner had the last grain of sand announced that the fatal hour had arrived, than the king joyfully exclaimed—

“The traitor’s hour has come!”

A low murmur ran through the assembly.

“The time has expired,” replied Philip; “and with it, Count de Biscay, your enemy is no more. He has fallen like the leaves of the olive-tree before the blast.”

“My enemy, sire?” exclaimed Don Ramirez, affecting surprise.

“Yes, count,” replied Philip. “Why repeat our words? Were you not the rival of Don Guzman in the affection of Donna Estella—and can rivals be friends? In truth, though we have not spoken of that at our council, our royal word is pledged; Donna Estella shall be yours! Yours are her beauty and her vast domains. Thus, count, when you hear tell of the ingratitude of sovereigns, you can say, we at least have not forgotten the true friend of the king and of Spain, who discovered the conspiracy and correspondence of Don Guzman with France.”

There was more of uneasiness in the countenance and manner of Don Ramirez than such gracious words from the lips of royalty seemed[Pg 210] calculated to excite, and it was with downcast eyes, as if shrinking from such public approval, he answered—

“Sire, it was with much repugnance I fulfilled a painful duty—”

He could not say more: his embarrassment seemed to increase. Tarrasez coughed, and as D’Ossuna’s gauntleted hand sought the hilt of his sword, he mentally ejaculated—“Before this man calls Donna Estella his, I will follow my noble cousin to the grave. Let me but see to-morrow’s dawn, and I will avenge him.”

The king continued:

“Your zeal and devotedness, Don Ramirez, shall be rewarded. The saviour of our throne, and, perhaps, of our dynasty, merits no insignificant reward. This morning we commanded you to prepare with our high chancellor the letters patent which will give you the rank of Duke and Governor of Valencia. Are these papers ready to be signed?”

Was it remorse that made Don Ramirez tremble for the moment, and draw back involuntarily? The king made a movement of impatience, and the count drew with some precipitation a roll of parchment from his bosom, and kneeling, presented it to the king, who received it, saying:

“To sign these letters patent shall be our first public act to-day. Treason has been already punished by the executioner—it is time for the monarch to reward his faithful servant.”

As the king unrolled the parchment, a scroll fell from it on the ground. With an involuntary cry, Don Ramirez sprang forward to seize it, but at a sign from the king, a page picked it up, and it was already in the hands of the king. Another moment, and the monarch’s face gloomed wrathfully, his eye flashed fire, and he furiously exclaimed:

“Holy Virgin, what is this!”


The game of chess was now over. Don Guzman had beaten Ruy Lopez—his triumph was complete, and he rose, saying to Calavarez—

“I am ready to meet the wishes of my king, as becomes one who has never swerved from his allegiance to him. My God, may this deed of foul injustice fall only upon him who has been the instigator of it, but may my blood never call down vengeance upon my king. I blame him not for my untimely fate.”

The executioner was now preparing the block, while Ruy Lopez, kneeling in a corner, and hiding his face in his mantle, recited the Office for the Dying.

Calavarez laid his hand on the duke’s shoulder to remove his ruff. Don Guzman drew back.

“Touch not a Guzman with aught belonging to thee, save this ax!” said he, and tearing off the collar, he placed his head upon the block. “Now strike,” added he; “I am ready!”

The executioner raised the ax, and all would have been over, when shouts, and the noise of hasty steps, and a confused murmur of voices, arrested the arm of Calavarez.

The door was flung open, and D’Ossuna threw himself between the victim and the executioner.

“We are in time!”

“Is he alive?” exclaimed Tarrasez.

“He is safe!” cried D’Ossuna. “My dearest friend and cousin, I had not hoped ever to see you again. God would not suffer the innocent to perish for the guilty. His holy name be praised!”

“God be praised!” exclaimed all present, and among them all, and above them all, was heard Don Ruy Lopez.

“You have indeed arrived in time—dear friend,” said Don Guzman to his cousin, “for now, I have not strength left to die.”

He fainted on the block—the revulsion was too mighty.

Ruy Lopez sprang to his side, and raising him in his arms, bore him to the royal saloon. The nobles followed, and when Don Guzman was restored to consciousness, he beheld all his friends thronging around him, with congratulations, which the presence of the monarch scarcely restrained. To Don Guzman, it all seemed a dream. One moment with his head on the block, and the next in the royal saloon. He had yet to learn, that Don Ramirez, agitated by secret remorse, and flurried by the impatience of the monarch, had, with the letters patent, the royal signature to which was to crown all his ambitious hopes, drawn from his bosom a document, fatal alike to those hopes and to himself. That paper contained indications not only of a plot to ruin Don Guzman, but of treasonable designs against the sovereign, sufficient to arouse the king’s suspicions, and further inquiry soon extorted confession from the lips of the traitor himself. He was instantly committed to the tender mercies of Calavarez, who, this time, was given to understand, that his own head must answer for any delay in executing the royal mandate.

Need we say that Don Guzman’s deliverance was hailed with joy by the whole court, and even the stern monarch himself condescended to express his satisfaction that his favorite had escaped.

“It is our royal desire,” he said, “that henceforth, to perpetuate the remembrance of your almost miraculous escape, that you bear in your escutcheon a silver ax on an azure chessboard. It is also our royal will and pleasure that Donna Estella shall be your bride, and that your nuptials be solemnized in this our palace of the Escurial.”

Then, turning to Ruy Lopez, he added, “I am sure the church has found a good servant in her new bishop. As a mark of our royal favor, we bestow upon you a scarlet robe enriched with diamonds, to wear on the day of your consecration. You well deserve this at my hands, for your game of chess with Don Guzman.”

“Sire,” replied Ruy Lopez, “for the first time in my life, I need no consolation for being checkmated.”

The king smiled—so did the court.

“Now, my lords,” added Philip, “we invite you to our royal banquet. Let covers for Don[Pg 211] Guzman and for the Bishop of Segovia be placed at the table with ourself. Your arm, Don Guzman.”


Few things that happen in the world are the result of accident. Law governs all; there is even a law of Chances and Probabilities, which has been elaborated by Laplace, Quetelet, and others, and applied by practical men to such purposes as life insurance, insurances against fire, shipwreck, and so on. Many things which happen daily, and which are usually attributed to chance, occur with such regularity that, where the field of observation is large, they can almost be calculated upon as certainties.

But we do not propose now to follow out this idea, interesting though it would be; we would deal with the matter of “accident” in another light—that of self-culture. When a man has risen from a humble to a lofty position in life, carved his name deep into the core of the world, or fallen upon some sudden discovery with which his name is identified in all time coming, his rise, his work, his discovery is very often attributed to “accident.” The fall of the apple is often quoted as the accident by which Newton discovered the law of gravitation; and the convulsed frog’s legs, first observed by Galvani, are in like manner quoted as an instance of accidental discovery. But nothing can be more unfounded; Newton had been studying in retirement the laws of matter and motion, and his head was full, and his brain beating with the toil of thinking on the subject, when the apple fell. The train was already laid long before, and the significance of the apple’s fall was suddenly apprehended as only genius could apprehend it; and the discovery, which had long before been elaborating, suddenly burst on the philosopher’s sight. So with Galvani, Jenner, Franklin, Watt, Davy, and all other philosophers; their discoveries were invariably the result of patient labor, of long study, and of earnest investigation. They worked their way by steps, feeling for the right road like the blind man, and always trying carefully the firmness of the new ground before venturing upon it.

Genius of the very highest kind never trusts to accident, but is indefatigable in labor. Buffon has said of genius, “It is patience.” Some one else has called it “intense purpose;” and another, “hard work.” Newton himself used to declare, that whatever service he had done to the public was not owing to extraordinary sagacity, but solely to industry and patient thought. Genius, however, turns to account all accidents—call them rather by their right name, opportunities. The history of successful men proves that it was the habit of cultivating opportunities—of taking advantage of opportunities—which helped them to success—which, indeed, secured success. Take the Crystal Palace as an instance; was it a sudden idea—an inspiration of genius—flashing upon one who, though no architect, must at least have been something of a poet? Not at all; its contriver was simply a man who cultivates opportunities—a laborious, pains-taking man, whose life has been a career of labor, of diligent self-improvement, of assiduous cultivation of knowledge. The idea of the Crystal Palace, as Mr. Paxton himself has shown, in a lecture before the Society of Arts, was slowly and patiently elaborated by experiments extending over many years; and the Exhibition of 1851 merely afforded him the opportunity of putting forward his idea—the right thing at the right time—and the result is what we have seen.

If opportunities do not fortuitously occur, then the man of earnest purpose proceeds to make them for himself. He looks for helps every where; there are many roads into Nature; and if determined to find a path, a man need not have to wait long. He turns all accidents to account, and makes them promote his purpose. Dr. Lee, professor of Hebrew at Cambridge, pursued his trade of a bricklayer up to twenty-eight years of age, and was first led to study Hebrew by becoming interested in a Hebrew Bible, which fell in his way when engaged in the repairs of a synagogue; but before this time he had been engaged in the culture of his intellect, devoting all his spare hours and much of his nights to the study of Latin and Greek. Ferguson, the astronomer, cultivated the opportunity afforded him by the nights occupied by him in watching the flocks on the Highland hills, of studying astronomy in the heavens; and the sheep-skin in which he wrapped himself, became him as well as the gown of the Oxford Professor. Osgood, the American painter, when a boy, was deprived by an austere relative, of the use of pencils and paper; but he set to work and practiced drawing on the sand of the river side. Gifford, late editor of the Quarterly Review, worked his first problems in mathematics, when a cobbler’s apprentice, upon small scraps of leather, which he beat smooth for the purpose. Bloomfield, the author of the “Farmer’s Boy,” wrote his first poems on the same material with an awl. Bewick first practiced his genius on the cottage-walls of his native village, which he covered with his sketches in chalk. Rittenhouse, the astronomer, calculated eclipses on the plow-handle. Benjamin West, the painter, made his first brushes out of the cat’s tail.

It is not accident, then, that helps a man on in the world, but purpose and persistent industry. These make a man sharp to discern opportunities, and to use them. To the sluggish and the purposeless, the happiest opportunities avail nothing—they pass them by with indifference, seeing no meaning in them. Successful men achieve and perform, because they have the purpose to do so. They “scorn delights, and live laborious days.” They labor with hand and head. Difficulties serve only to draw forth the energies of their character, and often their highest pleasure is in grappling with and overcoming them. Difficulties are the tutors and monitors of men, placed in their path for their best discipline and development. Push through, then strength will grow with repeated effort.[Pg 212]

Doubtless Professor Faraday had difficulties to encounter, in working his way up from the carpenter’s bench to the highest rank as a scientific chemist and philosopher. And Dr. Kitto had his difficulties to overcome, in reaching his present lofty position as one of the best of our Biblical critics; deaf from a very early age, he was for some time indebted to the poor-rates for his subsistence, having composed his first essays “in a workhouse.” And Hugh Miller, the author of “The Old Red Sandstone,” had difficulties to grapple with, in the stone-quarry in Cromarty, out of which he raised himself to a position of eminent honor and usefulness. And George Stephenson too, who was a trapper-boy in a coal-pit, had difficulties to encounter, perhaps greater than them all; but, like a true and strong man, bravely surmounted and triumphed over them. “What!” said John Hunter, the first of English surgeons, originally a carpenter, “Is there a man whom difficulties dishearten, who bends to the storm? He will do little. Is there one who will conquer? That kind of man never fails.”

Man must be his own helper. He must cultivate his own nature. No man can do this for him. No institution can do it. Possibly a man may get another to do his work for him, but not to do his thinking for him. A man’s best help is in himself—in his own heart, his own soul, his own resolute purpose. The battle can not be fought by proxy. A man’s mind may be roused by another, and his desire to improve and advance himself excited by another; but he must mould his own stuff, quarry his own nature, make his own character. What if a man fails in one effort? Let him try again! Let him try hard, try often, and he can not fail ultimately to succeed. No man can tell what he can do until he tries, and tries with resolution. Difficulties often fall away of themselves, before a determination to overcome them. “There is something in resolution,” says Walker, in the Original, “which has an influence beyond itself, and it marches on like a mighty lord among its slaves. All is prostration where it appears. When bent on good, it is almost the noblest attribute of man; when on evil, the most dangerous. It is only by habitual resolution, that men succeed to any great extent—mere impulses are not sufficient.”

Some are scared from the diligent practice of self-culture and self-help, because they find their progress to be slow. They are in despair, because, having planted their acorn, they do not see it grow up into an oak at once. These must cultivate the virtue of patience—one of the quietest but most valuable of human virtues. They must be satisfied to do their true work, and wait the issues thereof. “How much,” says Carlyle, “grows every where, if we do but wait! Through the swamps one will shape causeways, force purifying drains; we will learn to thread the rocky inaccessibilities, and beaten tracks, worn smooth by mere traveling human feet, will form themselves. Not a difficulty but can transfigure itself into a triumph; not even a deformity, but if our own soul have imprinted worth on it, will grow dear to us.”

Let us have the honesty and the wisdom to do the duty that lies nearest us; and assuredly the first is the culture of ourselves. If we can not accomplish much, we can at least do our best. We can cultivate such powers as have been given to us. We may not have the ten talents, but if we have only the one, let us bring it out and use it, not go bury it in the earth like the unworthy man in the parable. “If there be one thing on earth,” said Dr. Arnold, “which is truly admirable, it is to see God’s wisdom blessing an inferiority of natural powers, when they have been honestly, truly, and zealously cultivated.” Let us strike into the true path, and keep there, working on hopefully, patiently, and resolutely—not turned aside by temptation, nor putting off the work from day to day by vain resolutions to do things that are never done; but DO, with all our might, what the hand findeth to do; and we may safely leave the issues in the hands of Supreme Beneficence; for doubtless the rewards of well-doing will come in their due season.


One fine spring day in 1831, I was walking, accompanied by a physician, in the gardens belonging to the celebrated Lunatic Asylum near Paris, conducted by Dr. B——. At the turn of an alley I suddenly found myself close to an old man, on whose arm leaned a youth, apparently about twenty years of age. The countenance of the first wore an expression of profound sadness, while the young man’s eye gleamed with the wild strange fire of madness.

The aged man saluted me with silent courtesy, but the younger ran to me, seized my hand, and exclaimed, “A glorious day, monsieur; the scaffold is ready on the Plaza Bemposta! Do you see the crowds assembled? And look! chained on yonder cart, that woman with the pale and savage face; that is Queen Carlotta, the wife of Juan VI., the mother of Don Miguel. ’Tis now thy turn to die, tigress! thy turn to bow beneath the ax, and redden the scaffold with thy blood! But adieu,” he added, addressing me, “they are waiting for me—they call me! I am the queen’s executioner!”

I turned toward the old man, but he only shook his head and sighed; then I questioned the physician who accompanied me.

“That young man,” he said, “is one of the most interesting cases we have; his history is a strange one.”

My curiosity was now excited, and I begged of my companion to satisfy it.

“May I, without indiscretion, listen also?” asked a tall man, with a sad and gloomy countenance, who now approached us, and who, as I learned afterward, was under Dr. B——’s care for a serious affection of the heart.

“You may, certainly,” replied my friend, bowing, and then began: “In the year 1823, one of the first families in Portugal inhabited an old castle not far from Coimbra. The Marquis de[Pg 213] San Payo, the head of this house had played an important part in the revolution which, for a short time, removed from the throne Juan VI. and his imperious queen, Carlotta. The attempt, however, having been finally frustrated, the men who had made it fell victims to their temerity, and the marquis, disgraced and distrusted by the reigning powers, was forced to live in his castle, as it were in exile. His wife and his two sons accompanied him thither; the eldest of these, named Manoel, was fifteen years of age, and of an ardent, excitable temperament; his brother, Jacinto, two years younger, was of a tender, melancholy, dreamy disposition. The minds of both were fully nurtured in the political views which had ruined their father’s fortunes, both by his conversation and the instructions imparted to them at the college of Coimbra. That city had become the centre of the Cortes’ revolutionary operations, and the University had not escaped the contagious excitement of the times. The students organized the plan of a new insurrection, and at their head was Manoel; the contest, however, proved an unequal one—a charge of cavalry, a few volleys of shot and shell, two hundred corpses on the field, and all was over. Manoel was taken, and thrown into the prison of Oporto. The rebels were divided into three classes; the first, and least guilty, were condemned to perpetual confinement, the second to transportation, and the third to death; among the latter was Manoel. No allowance was made for his youth and inexperience, for among his judges was the Duca d’Arenas, a former rival of the marquis, first in love and then in ambition, whose cowardly malicious spirit sought to strike the father through the son.”

Here the stranger, who was listening attentively, gave a visible start.

“Imagine,” resumed the doctor, “what must have been the anguish of the poor parents, and of Jacinto. The boy’s energies were roused by his mighty grief; he hastened to the palace of Bemposta, and went straight to the hall, where the queen was giving audience to her favorite d’Arenas. When Jacinto crossed the threshold, he paused; a woman was before him—a cold and haughty woman. No trace of pity or of softness lingered on her features, or beamed in her piercing eyes; no, her heart was ice, her face iron.

“‘Pardon, madam!’ cried the boy, falling on his knees.

“‘Child, we know of naught but justice; who art thou—what dost thou want?’

“‘I am the son of the Marquis de San Payo, and I come to ask pardon for my brother.’

“The Duke d’Arenas looked up, and exchanged glances with the queen. ‘Madam,’ said he, ‘the best clemency in political affairs is shown by the sword of the executioner!’

“‘Manoel is but sixteen years old!’ cried Jacinto, in a voice of agony.

“‘So much the better,’ replied Carlotta; ‘he will go the more surely and speedily to heaven!’[4]

[4] These words are matter of history.

“Next morning the condemned cart left the prison of Oporto; it contained the two brothers, for Donna Carlotta, with an incredible refinement of cruelty, had ordered that Jacinto should be present at the execution. I shall not try to describe the last scene of this fearful drama; when Manoel bowed his head, Jacinto started upright; and when the fatal blow had fallen, he crouched down on the scaffold; a smile parted his lips—he was struck with madness! Concealed among the crowd, the marquis had witnessed all, but no external emotion betrayed his inward agony; his tearless eyes were fixed on the ax which had hewn down the noblest branch of his house. As to the marchioness, her woe was also silent: eight days afterward, she was found dead, with her eyes fixed on Manoel’s portrait. The marquis, after a time, went to England with Jacinto, where he was during a year and a half under medical treatment, but without benefit. Afterward, they went to Germany, and there, finding science equally powerless, the marquis at length resolved to place his son under the care of Dr. B——; he is now in a fair way to recover.”

“Are you sure of that!” asked the stranger eagerly.

“I have every reason to believe it.”

We walked toward the house, and again saw Jacinto; he was seated on a grass-plat, leaning forward, with his face buried in his hands. His father was near him, grave, silent, and anxious-looking as before. The stranger followed us, and, as he came near, the eyes of Jacinto were raised, and fixed on him with a wild bright look. Suddenly the youth started up, and shrieked, “the Duke d’Arenas!” Then he fell senseless on the ground.

At the unwonted sound the old man thought that intellect and memory had returned to his child, and, forgetting that his enemy, the murderer of his eldest son, stood before him, he exclaimed, “Oh! thank God he is saved!”

“He is lost,” said the doctor, sadly.

A few moments of awful silence followed; all eyes were fixed on Jacinto, whose mouth was open, and whose eyes were fixed on vacancy. The sudden shock had rendered him a hopeless idiot.

The Duke d’Arenas looked at the marquis with an earnest supplicating expression; and then, falling on his knees before him, exclaimed, “Pardon me, I have suffered!”

“I curse thee! Duke d’Arenas.”

“Behold me at thy feet, Marquis de San Payo!”

“Begone!” cried the old man, sternly; “there are between us the corpses of my wife and of my eldest son, besides this other ruin, whose destruction you have just achieved; I am now childless!”

The Duke d’Arenas fixed on the marquis a look so filled with sorrow and despair, that it might have sufficed to satisfy his vengeance.

“And I,” he said, bending his head, “can never again know repose, except in the grave!”[Pg 214]


M. Thiers is one of the notable celebrities of our day. Though a Frenchman, his name is well known in England as the author of the famous History of the French Revolution. But in his own country, he is also known as a distinguished orator and statesman; indeed it is not too much to say, that Thiers is the cleverest man in France.

You enter the Chamber of Deputies on some day of grand debate. A speaker has possession of the ear of the house. You see little more than his head above the marble of the tribune, but the head is a good one—large, well-formed, and intelligent. His eyes, the twinkle of which you can discern behind those huge spectacles he wears, are keen and piercing. His face is short, and rather disfigured by a grin, but when he speaks, it is lively, volatile, and expressive in a remarkable degree. His thin nervous lips, curled like Voltaire’s, are characterized by a smile, by turns the most winning, sarcastic, and subtle, that can possibly be imagined.

Listen to him. He speaks with a nasal twang and a provincial accent. He has no melody in his voice. It is loud and ear-piercing—that of a vixen. Sometimes it rises to a screech, as that of Sheil’s did. And yet all ears hang listening to that voice, which pours forth a succession of words embodying ideas as clear as crystal, copious almost to excess, but never tiresome. His exuberant thoughts flow from him without effort; he is perfectly easy, frank, familiar, and colloquial, in his style; his illustrations are most happy, often exceedingly brilliant. Be his theme ever so unpopular, he is invariably listened to with interest. His diminutive figure, his grim face, his screeching voice, are all forgotten in the brilliancy of his eloquence, and in the felicitous dexterity of his argument. That speaker is M. Thiers.

Such as his position is, he has made it himself. He has worked his way upward from obscure poverty. He owes nothing to birth, but every thing to labor. His father was a poor locksmith of Marseilles, where Adolphe was born in the year 1797. Through the interest of some of his mother’s relations, the boy obtained admission to the free school of Marseilles, where he distinguished himself by his industry, and achieved considerable success. From thence, at eighteen, he went to study law at the town of Aix. Here it was that he formed his friendship with Mignet, afterward the distinguished historian. These two young men, in the intervals of their dry labors in the study of law, directed their attention to literary, historical, and political subjects. Thiers even led a political party of the students of Aix, and harangued them against the government of the restoration. He was practicing his eloquence for the tribune, though he then knew it not. He thus got into disgrace with the professors and the police, but the students were ardently devoted to him. He competed for a prize essay, and though his paper was the best, the professors refused to adjudge the prize to “the little Jacobin.” The competition was adjourned till next year. Thiers sent in his paper again “next year,” but meanwhile, a production arrived from Paris, which eclipsed all the others. To this the prize was speedily adjudged by the professors. But great was their dismay, when, on opening the sealed letter containing the name of the competitor, it was found to be no other than that of M. Thiers himself!

The young lawyer commenced practice in the town of Aix, but finding it up-hill work, and not at all productive, he determined to remove, in company with his friend Mignet, to seek his fortune in Paris. Full of talents, but light in pocket, the two friends entered the capital, and took lodgings in one of its obscurest and dirtiest quarters—a room on the fourth floor of a house in the dark Passage Montesquieu, of which a deal chest of drawers, a walnut-wood bedstead, two chairs, and a small black table somewhat rickety, constituted the furniture. There the two students lodged, working for the future. They did not wait with their hands folded. Thiers was only twenty-four, but he could already write with brilliancy and power, as his prize essay had proved. He obtained an introduction to Manuel, then a man of great influence in Paris, who introduced Thiers to Lafitte, the banker, and Lafitte got him admitted among the editors of the Constitutionelle, then the leading journal. It was the organ of Les Epiciers, or “grocers,” in other words, of the rising middle classes of France. At the same time, Mignet obtained a similar engagement on the Courrier.

The position of Thiers was a good one to start from, and he did not fail to take advantage of it. He possessed a lively and brilliant style, admirably suited for polemical controversy; and he soon attracted notice by the boldness of his articles. He ventured to write on all subjects, and in course of time he learned something of them. Art, politics, literature, philosophy, religion, history, all came alike ready to his hand. In France, the literary man is a much greater person than he is in England. He is a veritable member of the fourth estate, which in France overshadows all others. Thiers became known, invited, courted, and was a frequenter of the most brilliant salons of the opposition. But newspaper writing was not enough to satisfy the indefatigable industry of the man. He must write history too, and his theme was neither more nor less than the great French Revolution. Our readers must know the book well enough. It is remarkably rapid, brilliant, stylish—full of interest in its narrative, though not very scrupulous in its morality—decidedly fatalistic, recognizing heroism only in the conqueror, and unworthiness only in the vanquished—in short, the history of M. Thiers is a deification of success. But ordinary readers did not look much below the surface; the brilliant narrative, which ministered abundantly to the national appetite for “glory,” fascinated all readers; and M. Thiers at once took his place among the most distinguished literary and political leaders of France.[Pg 215]

He became a partner in the Constitutionelle; descended from his garret, turned dandy, and frequented Tortoni’s. Nothing less than a handsome hotel could now contain him. Thiers has grown a successful man, and to such nothing is denied. Liberalism had thriven so well with him, that he must go a little further, he must be democratic; the drift of opinion was then in that direction, so he set on foot the National, the organ of the revolutionary party. The war which this paper waged against the government of Charles X. and the Polignac ministry, was of the most relentless kind. The National it was, that stung the government into the famous Ordonnances, which issued in the “Three Days’” Revolution of 1830. Thiers was, throughout, the soul of this ardent, obstinate, brilliant struggle against the old Bourbon government.

The National had only been seven months in existence, when the event referred to occurred. The Ordonnances against the Press appeared on the morning of the 26th of July. In the course of the day, the leaders of the Opposition Press, and several members of the Chamber of Deputies, met at the office of the National. M. Thiers at once propounded the course that was to be adopted at this juncture.

“Well,” said he, “what’s to be done now, as to opposition in the journals—in our articles? Come! we must perform an act.”

“And what mean you by an act?”

“A signal of disobedience to a law which is no law! A protest!”

“Well—do it then!” was the reply.

A committee was named, on the spur of the moment, composed of Thiers, Chatelain, and Cauchois-Lemaire. Thiers drew up the protest: he inserted the leading idea—“The writers of journals, called upon the first to obey, ought to give the first example of resistance.” This was the signal of revolution! Some said, “Good! We shall insert the protest as a leading article in our journals.” “Not only that,” said Thiers, “we must put our names under it, and our heads under it.” The protest was agreed to, after considerable discussion; it was published; and the people of Paris indorsed the protest in the streets of Paris the very next day. Thus Thiers performed the initial act, which led to the expulsion from France of the elder branch of the Bourbon family. But it ought to be added that, after having signed the protest, which was published next morning, Thiers returned to muse in the shades of Montmorency, and did not return to Paris until the 29th, after the decisive battle of the barricades had been fought.

Of course, Thiers was now a man of greater mark than ever. The new government of the Citizen King at once secured him; and the son of the Marseilles locksmith, the poor law student of Aix, the newspaper writer of the garret, was now appointed Counselor of State and Secretary-General of Finance. It is said that the Citizen King even offered him the Portfolio of Finance, which he declined on the ground of inexperience; but he afterward accepted the office of Under-Secretary of State, and mainly directed that important part of the administration through a crisis of great financial difficulty. He was sent into the Chamber of Deputies as member for Aix, at whose college he had studied.

Thiers was no favorite when he entered the Chamber; he was very generally disliked, and he did much to alarm the timid by his style of dressing à-la-Danton, as well as by his high-flown phrases in favor of democratizing Europe, saving Poland, delivering Belgium, and passing the Rhine. His eloquence was then bluster, but as he grew older, he became more polished, more cautious, and more politic. When the Lafitte ministry fell, of which he had been a member, Thiers at once deserted that party, and attached himself to the Casimir-Perier administration. He fell foul of his old comrades, who proclaimed him a renegade. Never mind! Thiers was a clever fellow, who knew what cards he was playing. He who was for passing the Rhine, was now all for repose and peace; he would have no more innovations, nor propagandism; before, the advocate of equality and democracy, he now became the defender of conservatism, the peerage, and the old institutions of France. He stood almost alone in defending the peerage, but it fell nevertheless, and the revolution went on.

On Marshal Soult assuming the direction of affairs in 1831, Thiers was appointed Minister of the Interior. La Vendée was in flames at the time, Belgium was menaced, and excitement generally prevailed. Thiers acted with great energy under the circumstances; by means of gold, a traitor was found who secured the arrest of the Duchess de Berri, and the rebellion in Vendée was extinguished. A French army was sent against Antwerp, the citadel was taken, and the independence of Belgium secured. In the Chambers, Thiers obtained a credit for a hundred millions of francs, for the completion of public works. The statue of Napoleon was replaced on the Place Vendôme; public works were every where proceeded with; roads were formed; canals dug; and industry began generally to revive. The Minister of the Interior was successful.

But a storm was brewing. The republicans were yet a powerful party, and the government brought to bear upon them the terrors of the law. Secret associations were put down, and an explosion took place. Insurrections broke out at Paris and Lyons; Thiers went to the latter place, where he was less sparing of his person than he had been during the three days of Paris; for at Lyons two officers fell at his side, killed by musket-shots aimed at the minister himself. At length the insurrection was got under; dissensions occurred in the ministry; Thiers retired, but soon after took office under Marshal Mortier; the fêtes of July, 1835, arrived; the Fieschi massacre took place, Thiers being by the king’s side at the time of the explosion. Laws against the liberty of the Press followed this diabolic act, and now M. Thiers was found on the side of repression of free speech. The laws against the[Pg 216] Press were enforced by him with rigor. He was now on the high road to power. He became President of the Council, and Minister of Foreign Affairs. But the Spanish intervention question occurred. Thiers was in favor of intervention, and the majority of the ministry were opposed to it. Thiers resigned office, and bided his time. He went to Rome and kissed the Pope’s toe, bringing home with him leather trunks of the middle ages, Roman medals, and a store of new arguments against democracy.

A coalition ministry was formed in 1838, and Thiers, “the Mirabeau gadfly,” as a pungent lady styled him about this time, became the leader of the party. Thiers failed in his assaults on the ministry; Molé reigned, then Guizot; and the brilliant Thiers was reduced to the position of a simple deputy on the seats of the opposition. But again did M. Thiers find himself in power, after the failure of the ministry on the Dotation Bill of the Duke of Nemours. The ministry of March 1st, 1840, was formed, and Thiers was the President of the Council. Louis Philippe confided all to him; but, though Louis trusted Thiers, and perhaps owed his crown to him, this statesman seemed really to be his evil genius. The Thiers ministry brought the government of France into imminent danger from foreign powers, and was replaced, as a matter of urgency, by that of Guizot, in October. Thiers again relapsed into violent opposition. Years passed, during which he proceeded with his completion of the History of the Consulate and the Empire, which brought him in large gains. The fatal year of 1848 arrived; and when Guizot was driven from power, Louis Philippe again, and for the last time, charged M. Thiers with the formation of a ministry. It did not last an hour. The revolution of 1848 was already consummated.

The career of Thiers since then is well known. For a time he disappeared from France; haunted Louis Philippe’s foot-steps—still protesting undying love for that branch of the Bourbon family. He returned to the Chamber of Deputies, where he is again in opposition; though what he is, and what the principles he holds, it is difficult to say. Principles, indeed, seem to stick to Thiers but lightly. One day he is the bitter enemy of socialism, the next he is its defender. He is a Free-trader to-day, a Protectionist to-morrow. He is a liberal and a conservative by turns. In short, he is a man “too clever by half,” and seems constantly tempted, like many skillful speakers, to show how much can be said on both sides of a question. He is greatest in an attack; he is a capital puller-down: when any thing is to be built up, you will not find Thiers among the constructors. He is a thoroughly dextrous man—sagacious, subtle, scheming, and indefatigable. Few trust him, and yet, see how he is praised! “Have you read Thiers’ speech? Ah! there is a transcendent orator!” “Bah!” says another, “who believes in what Thiers says? The little stinging dwarf—he is only the roué of the tribune!”

Thus, though Thiers has many admirers, he has few friends. His changes have been so sudden and unexpected on many occasions, that few care to trust him. He is not a man to be depended upon. He has been a republican and a monarchist by turns: who knows but to-morrow he may be a Red? It all depends on how the wind blows! This is what they say of M. Thiers. The nobles regard him as a parvenu; the republicans stigmatize him as a renegade. The monarchists think of him as a waiter on Providence.

M. Cormenin (Timon), in his Livre des Orateurs, has drawn a portrait of Thiers with a pencil of caustic. Perhaps it is too severe; but many say it is just. In that masterly sketch, Cormenin says—“Principles make revolutions and revolutionists. Principles found monarchies, aristocracies, republics, parliaments. Principles are morals and religion, peace and war. Principles govern the world. In truth, M. Thiers affirms that there are no principles, that is to say, M. Thiers has none. That is all.”



God gives life, not only to us who have immortal souls, but to every thing on the face of the earth; for the psalm has been talking all through not only of men, but of beasts, fishes, trees, and rivers, and rocks, sun, and moon. Now, all these things have a life in them. Not a life like ours; but still you speak rightly and wisely when you say, “That tree is alive, and that tree is dead. That running water is live water; it is clear and fresh; but if it is kept standing it begins to putrefy; its life is gone from it, and a sort of death comes over it, and makes it foul, and unwholesome, and unfit to drink.” This is a deep matter, this, how there is a sort of life in every thing, even to the stones under our feet. I do not mean, of course, that stones can think as our life makes us do, or feel as the beasts’ life makes them do; or even grow as the trees’ life makes them do; but I mean that their life keeps them as they are, without changing. You hear miners and quarrymen talk very truly of the live rock. That stone, they say, was cut out of the live rock, meaning the rock as it was under ground, sound and hard; as it would be, for aught we know, to the end of time, unless it was taken out of the ground, out of the place where God’s Spirit meant it to be, and brought up to the open air and the rain, in which it is not its nature to be; and then you will see that the life of the stone begins to pass from it bit by bit, that it crumbles and peels away, and, in short, decays, and is turned again to its dust. Its organization, as it is called, or life, ends, and then—what? Does the stone lie forever useless? No. And there is the great, blessed mystery of how God’s Spirit is always bringing life out of death. When the stone is decayed and crumbled down to dust and clay, it makes soil. This very soil here, which you plow, is the decayed ruins of ancient hills; the clay which[Pg 217] you dig up in the fields was once part of some slate or granite mountains, which were worn away by weather and water, that they might become fruitful earth. Wonderful! But any one who has studied these things can tell you they are true. Any one who has ever lived in mountainous countries ought to have seen the thing happen—ought to know that the land in the mountain valleys is made at first, and kept rich year by year by the washings from the hills above; and this is the reason why land left dry by rivers and by the sea is generally so rich. Then what becomes of the soil? It begins a new life. The roots of the plants take it up; the salts which they find in it—the staple, as we call them—go to make leaves and seed; the very sand has its use; it feeds the stocks of corn and grass, and makes them stiff. The corn-stalks would never stand upright if they could not get sand from the soil. So what a thousand years ago made part of a mountain, now makes part of a wheat plant; and in a year more the wheat grain will have been eaten, and the wheat straw, perhaps, eaten too, and they will have died—decayed in the bodies of the animals who have eaten them, and then they will begin a third new life—they will be turned into parts of the animal’s body—of a man’s body. So what is now your bones and flesh may have been once a rock on some hill-side a hundred miles away.


Austria, in this present year of grace, 1851, looks to me very much like a translated version of England under the Stuarts.

I am a resident at Vienna, and know Austria pretty well. I have seen many birds before now in a sickly state—have seen some absolutely rotting away—but I never saw one with such unpromising symptoms upon him as the Black Eagle of Austria.

The Court of Vienna is perhaps the most brilliant in Europe; the whole social system in Vienna is perhaps the most thoroughly unsound in Europe. Austria is weighed down by a numerous and impoverished nobility, by unjust taxes, and by a currency incredibly depreciated. Her commerce is hampered by all manner of monopolies, and is involved in such a complex network of restrictions, as only the industrious, gold-getting fingers of a few can unravel. Nearly the whole trade of Austria is in the hands of this busy, persevering few. Out of the immediate circle of the government, there is scarcely a satisfied man in the Austrian dominions. The nobles feel abridgment of their privileges, and decrease of profit by the abolition of their feudal rights, succeeding the late revolution. The merchants feel that in Austria they suffer more vexatious interference than it is in the nature of man to bear quietly. The people, a naturally good-humored race, have learned insensibly to clench their fists whenever they think of their absolute and paternal government.

The position of the nobles is ridiculous. They swarm over the land; increase and multiply, and starve. Not more than a few dozen of them can live honestly without employment; while not one of the noble millions may exercise a trade for bread; may practice law or medicine, or sink down into authorship. The Austrian patrician can not feed himself by marriage with a merchant’s daughter; if he do, his household will not be acknowledged by his noble friends. The he-noble must marry the she-noble, and they must make a miserable, mean, hungry, noble pair.

A celebrated Viennese Professor dined one day in England with a learned lord. “Pray, how is Baron Dash?” inquired a guest—said Baron Dash being at that time an Austrian Minister.

“He is quite well,” said the Professor.

“And his wife!” pursued the other. “I remember meeting her at Rome; they were just married, and she was a most delightful person. She created a sensation, no doubt, when she was received at your court?”

“She was not received at all,” said the Professor.

“How was that?” asked many voices.

“Because she is not born.”

“Not born” is the customary mode of ignoring (if I may use a slang word of this time) the existence of the vulgar, among the noble Viennese. At the present moment, the family of a Minister, or of any of the generals who have saved the throne, may be excluded from society on this pretense. Two recent exceptions have been made in favor of the wives of two of the most important people in the empire. They were invited to the court-balls; but were there treated so scurvily by the “born” ladies, that these unborn women visited them only once.

What is to be done by these poor nobles—shut out from commerce, law, and physic? Diplomacy is voted low; unless they get the great embassies. The church, as in all Catholic countries, is low; unless a nobleman should enter it with certain prospect of a cardinal’s hat or a bishopric. The best bishoprics in the world (meaning, of course, the most luxurious) are Austrian. The revenues of the Primate of Hungary are said to be worth the comfortable trifle of sixty thousand pounds a year.

But there remains for these wretched nobles, one road to independence and distinction; and this is the army. To the army, it may be said, the whole body of the Austrian nobility belongs. The more fortunate, that is to say, the highest in rank, add to their commissions places about the court. Cherished titles are acquired in this way; and a lady may insist on being seriously addressed in polite Austrian society as—say for example, Frau-ober-consistorial-hof-Directorinn.

In the army, of course, under such a system, we see lieutenants with the hair gone from their heads, and generals with no hair come yet on their chins. A young man of family may get a captaincy in three months, which his neighbor without patronage, might not get if he lived forever. Commissions are not sold in Austria as[Pg 218] they are in England, but the Ministry of War knows how to respond to proper influence. In an army of five hundred thousand, vacancies, it is needless to say constantly occur. The lad who is named cornet in Hungary, is presently lieutenant of a regiment in Italy, and by-and-by a captain in Croatia. After that, he may awake some morning, major, with the place of aid-de-camp to the Emperor; and to such a boy, with friends to back him, the army is decidedly a good profession. The inferior officers are miserably paid, an ensign having little more than thirty pounds a year. A captain, however, is well paid in allowances, if not in money; while a colonel has forage for twelve horses, and very good contingencies besides. Again, there are to be considered other very important differences between pay in the Austrian and pay in the English army. An Austrian can live upon his pay. His simple uniform is not costly; he is free from mess expenses, and may dine for six-pence at the tavern favored by his comrades. Not being allowed at any time to lay aside his uniform, he can not run up a long tailor’s bill; and, being admitted to the best society, he need not spend much money on amusement. Besides, does not the state accord to him the privilege of going to the theatre for twopence?

The poorer officers in the Austrian service are so unreasonable and ill-conditioned, that they are not in general pleased by these advantages being given to men, who may possibly be well born, but who have certainly not been long born; and in many places combinations have been made to resist the unfair system of promotion. A young captain sent down to command gray-beards, with a lively sense of their own claims on the vacancy, is now and then required to fight, one after the other, the whole series of senior lieutenants. This causes a juvenile captain occasionally to shirk the visit to his regiment, and effect a prompt exchange.

Some part of the last-named difficulty is overcome by the existence of one or two corps of officers who have no regiment at all. Where there are no men to murmur, the business of promotion is carried on with perfect comfort.

In spite of all this, there is much to be said to the credit and honor of the innumerable throng of people forming the Austrian army. It is an excellently appointed and well-disciplined multitude. The gallantry of its soldiers, and the skill and experience of many of its highest officers, must be freely admitted. Then, too, the great number of nobles classed within it has at least had the good effect of creating a high standard of artificial honor. The fellow-feeling among Austrian soldiers is also great; those of the same rank accost each other with the “Du,” the household word of German conversation; and the common word for an old companion in arms is “Duty-bruder.”

Duels are frequent, but not often fatal, or even dangerous. To take the nib from an adversary’s nose, or to pare a small rind from his ear, is ample vengeance even for the blood-thirsty.

An Austrian officer who has received a blow, though only in an accidental scuffle, is called upon to quit his regiment, unless he has slain upon the spot the owner of the sacrilegious hand that struck him. This he is authorized by law to do, if struck while wearing uniform. The effect of this savage custom has been to produce in Austrian officers a peculiar meekness and forbearance; to keep them always watchful against quarrels with civilians; and to make them socially the quietest gentlemen in the world.

Last winter a fast English gent left a masked ball at the Redoute, intoxicated. Disarming a sentry, he ensconced himself until morning in his box. The gent was then forwarded to the frontier, but the soldier was flogged for not having shot him.

Freedom from arrest for debt is an immunity enjoyed by Austrian officers; but those who indulge too freely in their exemption from responsibility, may want defenders powerful enough to prevent their summary dismissal from the service.

I have written thus much about the Austrian army, because, in fact, as the world here now stands, every third man is or has been a soldier; and one can not talk about society in this empire without beginning at once to talk about its military aspect.

Gay and trifling as the metropolis is, with its abundance of out-door amusement, Vienna must be put down in plain words as the most inhospitable capital in Europe. The Austrians themselves admit that they could not endure to be received abroad as they are in the habit of receiving strangers here. The greater Austrian nobles never receive a stranger to their intimacy.

A late French embassador, who conducted his establishment with splendor, and was at all times profusely hospitable, used to say that he was not once asked privately to dinner during the whole period of his residence in Vienna. The diplomatic corps do not succeed in forcing the close barriers of Austrian exclusiveness; and twenty years of residence will not entitle a stranger to feel that he has made himself familiarly the friend of a single Austrian. Any one who has lived among the higher classes in Vienna will confirm my statement, and will recall with astonishment the somewhat indignant testimony of the oldest and most respected members of the corps diplomatique to the inhospitable way in which their friendly overtures have been received. Invitations to dinner are exceedingly rare; there are brilliant balls; but these do not satisfy an English longing for good-fellowship. Familiar visits and free social intercourse do not exist at all. Then there are the two great divisions of society—or the nobles and the merchant Jews; on one side poverty and pride; on the other, wealth and intellect. The ugliest and most illiterate of pauper-countesses would consider her glove soiled by contact with the rosy fingers of the fairest and most accomplished among bankers’ wives. The nobles so intermarrying and so looking down contemptuously upon the brain and sinew of the land, have, as a matter of course,[Pg 219] degenerated into colorless morsels of humanity. How long they can remain uppermost is for themselves to calculate, if they can; it is enough for us who see good wine at the bottom, and lees at the top, to know that there must be a settlement impending.

For the inhospitality of Viennese society there is one sufficient reason; it springs out of the dread of espionage. In this city of Vienna alone there are said to be four hundred police spies, varying in rank between an archduke and a waiter. Letters are not safe; writing-desks are not sacred. An office for opening letters exists in the post-office. Upon the slightest suspicion or curiosity, seals have impressions taken from them, the wax is melted over a jet of flame, the letters are read, and, if necessary, copied, re-sealed, and delivered. Wafers are of course moistened by steam. You can not prevent this espionage, but it can be detected (supposing that to be any consolation) if you seal with wax over a wafer. One consequence of the melting and steaming practices of the Austrian post-office is especially afflicting to merchants;—bills come sometimes to be presented, while the letters containing advice of them lie detained by the authorities; acceptance, in the absence of advice, being refused.

From the surveillance of the police officials, perhaps not a house in Vienna is free. The man whom you invited as a friend, and who is dancing with your wife, may be a spy. You can not tell; and for this reason people in Vienna—naturally warm and sociable—close their doors upon familiarity, and are made freezingly inhospitable. Yet this grand machine of espionage leaves crime at liberty. Although murder is rare, or at least rare of discovery (there is a Todschauer, or inspector of deaths, but no coroner’s inquest), unpunished forgeries and robberies of the most shameless kind outrage society continually. Many of the more distant provinces are infested by gangs of organized banditti; who will ride, during broad daylight, into a country gentleman’s courtyard; invite themselves to dinner, take away his property, and insist on a ransom for himself if he has no wish to see his house in flames. When met by troops these bands of thieves are often strong enough to offer battle.

But, although the Austrian police can not protect Austrian subjects, it can annoy not only them, but foreigners besides. The English are extremely liable to suffer. One Englishman, only the other day, was ordered to the frontier for a quarrel with his landlady; another, for keeping bad society; another, for hissing a piece of music; three, for being suspected of political intrigue; two for being newspaper reporters. The French have lately come in for their share of police attentions; and we have lost, from the same cause, the company of two Americans. Among the Austrians themselves, the very name of the police is a word of terror. By their hearths they dare barely whisper matter that would be harmless enough elsewhere, but dangerous here, if falling upon a policeman’s ears.

Recently there was a poem published which professed to draw a parallel between a monarchy and a republic. Of course it was an orthodox and an almost rabid glorification of “sound” absolutist principles. The poet sent a copy to an Austrian noble; who, opening it carelessly, and immediately noticing the word “republic,” handed the book back to a servant, with a shudder, and a note to the author acknowledging its receipt, and wondering that the poet “should have thought him (the noble) capable of encouraging republican principles!” This note scarified the feelings of the rhymer intensely. He hurried off to exculpate himself and explain the real aim of his book. He did this, and, of course, his book was bought.

This is the state of Austria in 1851. Men of all grades look anxiously to France; well knowing that the events in Paris next year, if they lead to outbreak, will be felt in Vienna instantly. Yet Strauss delights the dancers, and the military bands play their “Hoch Lebe” round the throne. The nobles scorn the merchants and the men of letters; who return the noble scorn with a contemptuous pity. The murmur of the populace is heard below; but still we have the gayest capital in all the world. We throng the places of amusement. Dissipation occupies our minds and shuts out graver thought. Verily, Charles Stuart might be reigning in this capital.


Among the choicest works of art contributed to the Great Industrial Exhibition by our French neighbors, were some enameled earthernware vases of remarkably fine workmanship, and particularly worthy of attention for their grotesque yet graceful decorations. These vases had, however, a still higher claim to distinction than that arising from their own intrinsic value, for they were the workmanship of one who may truly be ranked among “nature’s nobles,” although by birth and station owning no greater title than that of “Charles Avisseau, the potter of Tours.”

A worthy successor of Bernard Palissy, he has, like him, achieved the highest success in his art, in spite of difficulties which would have caused most other men to yield despairingly before what they would have deemed their untoward fate. Charles Avisseau was born at Tours on Christmas-day, in the year 1796. His father was a stone-cutter, but whenever labor was slack in that department, he sought additional occupation in a neighboring pottery. While still a child, he used frequently to accompany his father to the factory. His eager attention was quickly attracted by the delicate workmanship of the painters in enamel, and before long he attempted to imitate their designs. The master of the factory observed some flowers and butterflies which he had sketched on a coarse earthernware vase, and at once perceiving that he gave promise of being a good workman, he engaged him in the service of the factory.

The boy now began to feel himself a man, and entered with his whole soul into his work. By the dim and uncertain light of the one lamp around[Pg 220] which the Avisseau family gathered in the long winter evenings, Charles would spend hour after hour in tracing out new designs for the earthernware he was to paint on the morrow. He was at first too poor to purchase either pencil or paper, and used to manufacture from clay the best substitute he could for the former, while he generally employed the walls of the apartment as a substitute for the latter. He applied himself indefatigably to the study of every branch of his art—the different varieties of earths, the methods of baking them, the mode of producing various enamels, &c.—until, after some years of patient labor in the humble situation he had first occupied, he was offered the post of superintendent of the manufactory of fine porcelain at Beaumont-les-Hôtels. He was still, however, but a poor man; and, having married very young, was struggling with family cares and the trials of penury, when one day there fell into his hands an old enameled earthenware vase, which filled him with a transport of astonishment and delight. This was the chef-d’œuvre he had so often dreamed of, and longed to accomplish; the colors were fired on the ware without the aid of the white glaze, and the effect was exquisite.

“Whose work is this masterpiece?” inquired the young man.

“That of Bernard Palissy,” was the reply; “a humble potter by birth. He lived at Saintes three centuries ago, and carried with him to the grave the secret of the means by which his beautiful enamels were produced.”

“Well, then,” thought Avisseau, “I will rediscover this great secret. If he was a potter like me, why should not I become an artist like him?”

From that hour forward he devoted himself with the most unwearying perseverance to his great pursuit. He passed whole nights over the furnace; and although ignorant of chemistry, and destitute of resources, instruments, or books, he tried one experiment after another, in hopes of at length attaining the much-desired object. His neighbors called him a madman and a fool; his wife, too gentle to complain, often looked on with sad and anxious eye as she saw their scanty resources diminishing day by day—wasted, as she conceived, in vain and fruitless experiments. All his hopes seemed doomed to disappointment, and destitution stared him in the face; yet one more trial he determined to make, although that one he promised should be the last. With the utmost care he blended the materials of his recomposed enamel, and applied them to the ware, previous to placing it in the oven. But who can describe the deep anxiety of the ensuing hour, the hour on which the fondly-cherished hopes of a lifetime seemed to hang? At length with beating heart and trembling hand he opened the furnace; his ware was duly baked, and the colors of his enamel had undergone no change! This was a sufficient reward for all his labors; and even to this day Avisseau can never speak of that moment without the deepest emotion.

But this was not a mind to rest contented with what he had already achieved: he longed still further to perfect his art. He accordingly gave up his situation in the factory, and opened a shop in Tours, where he earned his livelihood by selling little earthernware figures, ornaments for churches, &c., while he passed his nights in study and in making renewed experiments. He borrowed treatises on chemistry, botany, and mineralogy; studied plants, insects, and reptiles; and succeeded at last in composing a series of colors which were all fusible at the same temperature. One more step remained to be achieved: he wished to introduce gold among his enamel; but, alas! he was a poor man, too poor to buy even the smallest piece of that precious metal. For many a weary day and night this thought troubled him. Let us transport ourselves for a few moments to the interior of his lowly dwelling, and see how this difficulty too was overcome. It is a winter’s evening; two men—Charles Avisseau and his son—are seated at a table in the centre of the room; they have worked hard all day, but are not the less intent upon their present occupation—that of moulding a vase of graceful and classic form. Under their direction, two young sisters are engaged in tracing the veins upon some vine-leaves which had recently been modeled by the artists; while the mother of the family, seated by the chimney-corner, is employed in grinding the colors for her husband’s enamels. Her countenance expresses a peaceful gravity, although every now and then she might be perceived to direct an anxious and inquiring glance toward her goodman, who seemed to be this evening even more than usually pensive. At last he exclaimed, more as if speaking to himself than addressing his observation to others:

“Oh, what would I not give to be able to procure the smallest piece of gold!”

“You want gold!” quietly inquired his wife; “here is my wedding-ring: if it can help to make you happy, what better use can I put it to? Take it, my husband! God’s blessing rests upon it.” So saying, she placed the long-treasured pledge in Avisseau’s hand. He gazed upon it with deep emotion: how many were the associations connected with that little circlet of gold—the pledge of his union with one who had cheered him in his sorrows, assisted him in his labors, and aided him in his struggles! And, besides, would it not be cruel to accept from her so great a sacrifice? On the other hand, however, the temptation was strong; he had so longed to perform this experiment! If it succeeded, it would add so much to the beauty of his enamel: he knew not what to do. At length, hastily rising from his seat, he left the house. He still retained the ring in his hand: a great struggle was going on in his mind; but each moment the temptation to make the long-desired experiment gained strength in his mind, until at last the desire proved irresistible. He hurried to the furnace, dropped the precious metal into the crucible, applied it to the ware, which he then placed in the oven, and, after a night of anxious watching, held in his hand a cup, such as he had so long desired to see, ornamented with gilt enamel! His wife[Pg 221] as she gazed upon it, although at the same time a tear glistened in her eye; and looking proudly upon her husband, she exclaimed: “My wedding-ring has not been thrown away!”

Still, Avisseau, notwithstanding his genius, was destined to lead for many years a life of poverty and obscurity. It was not until the year 1845 that M. Charles Sciller, a barrister, at Tours, first drew attention to the great merit of some of the pieces he had executed, and persuaded him to exhibit them at Angers, Poitiers, and Paris. The attention of the public once directed toward his works, orders began to flow in upon him apace. The President of the Republic and the Princess Matilda Bonaparte are among his patrons, and the most distinguished artists and public men of the day are frequently to be met with in his atélier. In the midst of all this unlooked-for success, Avisseau had ever maintained the modest dignity of his character.

M. Brongniart, the influential director of the great porcelain manufactory at Sèvres, begged of him to remove thither, promising him a liberal salary if he would work for the Sèvres Company, and impart to them his secrets. “I thank you for your kindness, sir,” replied the potter of Tours, “and I feel you are doing me a great honor; but I would rather eat my dry crust here as an artisan than live as an artist on the fat of the land at Sèvres. Here I am free, and my own master: there I should be the property of another, and that would never suit me.”

When he was preparing his magnificent vase for the Exhibition, he was advised to emboss it with the royal arms of England. “No,” he replied, “I will not do that. If her Majesty were then to purchase my work, people might imagine I had ornamented it with these insignia in order to obtain her favor, and I have never yet solicited the favor of any human being!” Avisseau has no ambition to become a rich man. He shrinks from the busy turmoil of life—loving his art for its own sake, and delighting in a life of meditative retirement, which enables him to mature his ideas, and to execute them with due deliberation.

In the swamps and in the meadows he studies the varied forms and habits of reptiles, insects, and fish, until he succeeds in reproducing them so truly to the life, that one can almost fancy he sees them winding themselves around the rushes, or gliding beneath the shelter of the spreading water-leaves. His humble dwelling, situated in one of the faubourgs of Tours, is well worthy of a visit. Here he and his son—now twenty years of age, who promises to prove in every respect a worthy successor to his father—may be found at all hours of the day laboring with unremitting diligence. A room on the ground-floor forms the artist’s studio and museum: its walls are hung with cages, in which are contained a numerous family of frogs, snakes, lizards, caterpillars, &c., which are intended to serve as models; rough sketches, broken busts, half-finished vases, lie scattered around. The furnaces are constructed in a little shed in the garden, and one of them has been half-demolished, in order to render it capable of admitting the gigantic vase which Avisseau has sent to the Great Exhibition. There we trust the successor of Bernard Palissy will meet with the success so justly due to his unassuming merit, and to the persevering genius which carried him onward to his goal in the midst of so much to discourage, and with so little help to speed him on his way.




A dull November evening: ghosts of a fog aspiring to the summit of a mountain, which formed the startling feature in the background of a landscape: a melancholy dissonance of swelling, rolling, breaking waves—strong, though not violent, moaning of autumnal winds through the valley, and up the mountain side: dark, heavy masses of cloud—red, and silvery, and leaden lines alternating on the horizon, at the point where the sun had disappeared: a girl standing on an enormous stone that was nearly surrounded by the water, a boy seated on the same rock near her feet; they were Ella, the clergyman’s daughter, and George, a shoemaker’s son.

An arm, white, round, and smooth as a girl’s, bared to the elbow, besmeared with blood and India ink, a hand, gliding over it rapidly, making strange tracery as it moved; a voice, soft and melodious, but tremulous in its tones, telling of a heart beating within the speaker’s breast that was keenly susceptible to every emotion—that voice saying,

“Did I show you the verses that I wrote about our Cross, Ella?”

“No! no—did you write verses about it?”

Without replying to the words, the boy laid down the needle he was using, drew from his pocket a little book, took from it a paper which he gave to the girl, silently resuming his work.

And in the gloom and cold she read,



I place the semblance of a Wayside Cross,
Thy hands and mine have fashioned, in this place,
Not only as an ornament, to grace
With well-shaped form, and covering of moss,
My shelves of books; nor yet Life’s supreme loss
To hint through it to all who will admire:
Another impulse urged me, and a higher—
All false ambition and “world praise,” pure dross,
Which doth but weaken thought, and lay on toil
A heavier curse than Adam’s, stands reproved
Before this solemn figure. He who died
Ordained a Rest from this vain world’s turmoil
In shadow of his cross. So unremoved
Here let this stand, and shed its warnings wide.
Here shall it stand above these graves of Thought,
These well-remembered, and frequented graves,
In memory of the lion-hearted braves
Who into Life new life and strength have brought—
In memory of the martyrs who have taught
The sacred truths for which they dared to die—
In memory of the poet-souls that lie
In the poor potter’s field for strangers bought;
Here let it stand, a hallowed monument,
Most meet, o’er the great hopes entomed beneath—
And if it speaks to only you and I
Of more than beauty, have we vainly blent
The moss and lichens? Is it thy belief
Our thoughts shall ever in such shadow lie?
[Pg 222]

“A rare library I have,” said the boy, with bitter accent—“yet I have made use of no poetic license in speaking of my shelves of books—I have just two shelves, and there are at least a dozen books in each.”

“I know of some men who have great libraries, and they might be glad to know as much as you do about books,” said the girl, soothingly. “Never mind, you’ll write more books than you own, one of these days.”

“Oh, Ella, you speak like a child—you are a child indeed,” he repeated, surveying her as if he had not thought of such a thing before. “I shall never, never write a book, I have got another life marked out for me.”

“Who says so? who put such a thing into your head?” she asked, quickly. “Why, you write now—you write verses and prose—so you are an author already.”

“I wish to God I were!”

“You are, you are, I tell you.”

I have a motherI am to be a preacher!” the words were almost hissed forth—but having uttered them, he seemed immediately to regain tranquillity. “Do you remember the day when we two had a pic-nic here, and gathered moss from the rocks, and made those crosses?” he said, tenderly.

“Why, yes,” she answered, with evident surprise—“to be sure I remember—it was only last week. What a lovely day it was—and what a beautiful cross that was you shaped for me. I look at it every day—I believe it will never fade.”

“It can not fade.... You spoke of my writing books ... what should I write them for?”

“Money and Fame—what all authors write for.”

“Oh, what a mistake! not all! Sit down here, Ella. There’s a good girl. Don’t you know there are some persons who don’t write for money, and who don’t care for fame? Some who write because they must, who’d go crazy outright, if they didn’t, but who would just as soon dig a hole in the ground, and throw what they write in there, or make a burial place of this sea, as they’d have their writings printed? They write to satisfy their own great spirits, not to please others.”

“No, I never heard of such a thing, and I don’t believe it either. You are talking in fun, to hear yourself—or to get me into a dispute with you—nothing pleases you better.”

The boy looked up, his eyes met those of the girl beside him—they smiled on each other. What children they were. How strangely forgetful of the gulf that lay between them!

“See, Ella, I have finished my work.”

It was getting very cold and cheerless there on the sea-side, and she shivered as she turned to look at the completed work, whose progress she had shrunk from watching.

“What did you call it? Oh, I remember, that is the anchor. But there’s another mark below it, an old one too,” she said, bending lower, that she might see it more distinctly. “You never told me about this—what is it?”

“Shall I make an anchor on your arm?”

The girl drew back.

“You are afraid it will hurt you,” he said, half in scorn.

She looked on his arm where the blood was mingling with the ink.

“No,” she said, resolutely,“I’m not afraid it will hurt me, but the mark, will it not last always?”

“To be sure it will. Oh! you will be a beauty—you will shine in ball-rooms with those fair white arms uncovered! Such stuff as this would deface them!”

“No such thing! you like to tease me, and that’s the reason you talk so. How wild you are! I’m not at all afraid of the pain—nor of marring my beauty. You know, in the first place, I have no beauty, and I don’t want any either.”

“Tut—but I’m not going to flatter you. Do you really want to know what this other mark here is?”


“It’s a cross, Ella.”

“A cross, George? What’s the reason you wear it there?”

“Why do you wear that gold thing attached to the gold chain hung around your neck? That is a cross too.”

“This? Oh, mamma gave it to me.”

“What good does it do you? Do you say your prayers over it?”

“No—I think it very pretty—I wear it for mamma’s sake.”

The boy folded his arms, and turning half away from her said, scornfully, as if to himself:

“She wears it proudly, for it shines
With costly gems, a radiant thing’—
A worthier emblem of the times
To Fashion’s court she could not bring.
“Made fast with chain of precious gold,
She dons it with her gala-dress:—
It shines amid the silken fold—
Sin clasps it with a bold caress.
“It is no burden as she treads
Through Pleasure’s paths in open day;
No threat’ning shadow ever spreads
From those rich jewels round her way
“She clasps it in her vainest mood,
(That awful symbol lightly worn,)
Forgetful that ’tis stained with blood,
And has the Prince of Glory borne’
“Oh strange forgetfulness! She sees
No circling Crown of Thorns hung there’
Droops ne’er beneath it to her knees’
Is never driven by it to prayer!
“It lies no weight upon her breast—
It speaks no warning to her heart—
It lends no guiding light—at best
Is but a gaud in Folly’s mart.
“Go! hide the glittering thing from sight!
Go! bear the cross in worthier guise’
The soul-worn crucifix sheds light
That in no paltry bauble lies.”

As he finished the recitation, or improvisation, whichever it might be, the youth quietly turned toward the maiden, lifted the slight chain which secured the ornament over her head, and glancing at the “bauble” contemptuously, flung it far into the water.

She was so astonished that, though his movement[Pg 223] was comprehended, she made no attempt to stay his purpose—her eyes followed his hand, and the bright golden cross as it flashed on the waves and disappeared—then she turned away, without speaking, as if to leave him.

“Stay!” he said, and she stopped short—“come and sit down here beside me,” but she looked at him as though she did not hear.

“It vexes me,” he said, in an apologetic, conciliatory way, “it vexes me to see every holy, sacred thing made vain, by vain unmeaning people. What business has any one to wear a golden cross? Had you worn one of lead or iron, I would not have thrown it into the sea. I wish you would wait a few minutes—don’t go! I want to tell you about this cross on my arm. You asked me about it. To me it means endure. Ella, you can’t guess how much it means; because it isn’t possible for you ever to look into the future as I do. You can’t imagine what I see before me. I don’t know as I should have thought of engraving an anchor here, under this cross, but when I came down to the beach to-night I was very desperate—I saw you standing up here on this rock, the sunlight was shining on your hair and face, the breeze making sport with your shawl and dress, and you looked to me just like Hope, standing so firm on the rock, looking up so calmly into heaven. Oh, Ella, you can’t guess what quiet the sight of you sent into my soul. If you had been an angel, and had stood repeating the words of Jesus as He walked on the waters, I could not have heard you say Peace more distinctly.... One has no right to hope, who can not endure. I don’t like to see such awful realities as the cross turned into vain symbols, that’s the truth about it. But I want you to forgive me for throwing your cross into the sea, I only wish I could tear every cross from you as easily, as you go through life. I couldn’t bear to think that you would very soon, let me see, you are fifteen years old! go among gay people wearing that thing, forgetful of its meaning. Will you forgive me?”

The “Yes” she said was more than a half sob—but as if ashamed of the emotion she could not conceal, Ella gave the boy her hand, with a frankness that conveyed all the pardon he wanted.

“Will you let me mark the anchor on your arm then, Ella?”

“No, but you may do the cross.” She sat down beside him again, and he traced on her tender arm, with the fine point of the needle, a symbol and a badge.

“And you will not have the Hope?”

“That is in my heart.”

“In truth it is the safest place for it. Your arm might have to be amputated some day, but your heart, I know, will never die while you live.”

“Can the heart die?”

“Yes, it can be killed—it can die of disease, of cold, of fever, a thousand things can destroy it—just as the body is destroyed.”

“Don’t you keep your hope in your heart too?”

“Yes, when I have any. There’s no moon to-night. Let’s go. We shall have a storm before morning. See the waves! they look as if they had been saturated in the Blackness of Darkness, and were just escaped from it. And, do look up! what a fit pavilion are those clouds for the Angel of Wrath! oh, how I wish he would appear!”

“George! George!”

“Yes, Ella—for he would be sure to do away these cursed distinctions we know so much of! Then I should have no need for feeling as I do, when I shut your gate after you, and go on to the shed where the shoemaker’s widow lives with her son, whom people are so very kind, so exceeding kind, as to call a poet. Ella, neither you nor I will live to see it—but the old things shall pass away on this earth, and new powers reign here ere long. And then, in that blessed day when Justice shall rule, a girl like you may walk up this village street with a boy even like me, and take his arm, and speak with him as an equal, and none shall stare and think the condescension wonderful. As it is—walk alone—go on before me—though you are weary and cold, I am not fit to support or to shelter you.”

He opened the gate for her, for they stood now before the parsonage—as she passed through he said, more gently, “I am sorry that I threw your cross away; it was a violent, and passionate, and childish act. Besides, you prized it—for your mother’s sake; you love your mother. And no good will ever come of its being torn away from you. There was no cause for treating you so.”

“Yes, there was, George—don’t mind—good has come of it already.”

“Oh, Ella—how?”

“I’m ready, this moment, to bear another cross, to take it up and bear it, if God will.”

“Woe to the human hand that lays a heavier cross on your shoulder than that I threw away from you.”

“Good-night, George.”

“Good-night, Ella.”

“George, you don’t believe I feel as you say people do about being seen walking or talking—with—you? I am, indeed, very proud of you, and—”

“Yes—I don’t doubt it, since you say so—you’re proud of me, though I can’t see why. But you’re not proud for me, nor with me.”

“Yes—I am.”

“No! no! you don’t understand what you’re talking about. I’m glad you don’t—if I called ‘the whole world a cheat, and all men liars,’ you wouldn’t say yea and amen to that?”

“No; for I could prove to you that you mistook all about you. Oh, if you only knew how—”

“No more—good-night. You are not like other people, Ella, or we could not speak as we do together.”


A dull November morning—rain had fallen in great quantities during the night, as George Waldron had predicted, and clouds yet covered[Pg 224] the entire heaven. Amid the leafless forest trees that covered the mountain side, stood here and there a few evergreens, like ghosts, robed in funereal gloom—the wind was fierce and cold—the waters of the lake rolled high and furiously, they dashed madly on the beach—they rolled far back and up, with maniac force.

The boy was there again, standing on the seashore—the sun had not yet risen—he stood where the sunlight had fallen the night before on Ella, but the light that had enveloped her as a glory-robe, was not on him. He looked pale, and very anxious, and from the rock where she had stood he restlessly and curiously scanned every wave that broke upon the beach.

He had been roused long before daylight from his slumbers, by the parson, Ella’s father, and at his request had gone for a physician, for Ella was very ill.

And all that night, after the leech was summoned, he walked or ran along the beach, waiting with an impatience so fierce that one could not call it childish, for day to come. His garments were soaked with rain, but he knew it not, neither was he conscious of fatigue, or cold, or faintness, but incessantly, as he went to and fro, wild prayers burst from his lips. In the gloom, and storm, and darkness, he harbored but one thought, one hope, the rescue of Ella’s golden cross from the waters. The moment he heard that she was ill, he said to himself, she will die, and his fiery soul, recalling her mild, reproachful look as she watched his sudden motion, and her gently-expressed regret when the cross was lost, began to torture him. The act of passion became a thousand times exaggerated, and the recollection maddened him.

All day he walked along that stormy beach, and when night came, it was not till thick darkness began to gather over land and flood, that he arose to go back to his mother’s house. Mrs. Waldron had but just come in from the parsonage—she was going back again for the night, for Ella was very ill—and this good woman was noted as an efficient nurse,

“How is she, mother?” was his abrupt salutation, as he closed the door behind him, and walked up to the table where she sat at work for him.

“Who?” asked the mother, forgetting her neighborly, in her maternal anxiety, as she looked upon the pale and haggard face of her boy.

“The girl at the parsonage. I went for the doctor for her last night, you know.”

“Oh—she is very ill indeed, very ill; I’m going to watch there to-night.”

“It will tire you. You’re not well yourself.”

“Oh, well, son, when a neighbor’s sick, and wants my help, I hope I shall always be ready to give it—even if I don’t feel over and above smart myself.”

“Neighbor!” he repeated, furiously. “If it was you they talked of visiting, or helping, they’d say, it is a poor woman that lives near us—they wouldn’t call you ‘neighbor,’ mother—they’ve a different way of talking.”

“Oh, son! son! how awful proud you are. You’re hard on ’em. I’m feared you haven’t the right sort of spirit in you. It’s not the mood to take into the world—if you knock people down you’ll have to pay for it; the best way is just to ask leave to go by, and if they won’t make room, apologize for pushing on.”

“Mother,” he said, abruptly interrupting her, “did you see El—the sick girl, to-day?”

“Why, yes! I staid in the room all the time. Poor child, I don’t think she quite knew what she was talking about. She was wild-like—running on about the storm, and the night, and a cross, which was give to her by her mother—and it’s lost, they say. You never see folks so done up as the minister and his wife. When sorrow comes to us we’re all alike. But they are knocked up complete.”

“Was she grieving about the cross? Why don’t they get another like it, and make her think it’s found!”

“Oh, they wouldn’t deceive her! That would be agin the parson’s principles. It wouldn’t be right.”

“Don’t trouble yourself about getting tea, mother. I’m not at all hungry. Lie down and take a little nap. I’ll help myself, and I’ve got a book I want to read now.”

Though the words were kindly uttered, he spoke as one having authority; and without attempting a remonstrance, the mother complied with his suggestion, and was soon in a deep sleep. Early in the evening he aroused her, hurried away to the parsonage, and there left her for the night.

Exhausted by the excitement to which both mind and body had been subject for the last twenty-four hours, he returned home, but not to read, nor to study. The door to his humble home made fast, he passionately flung himself upon the floor, and until the fire-light died away he lay there, his eyes glaring about like a maniac’s, scanning the discolored walls, and the humble furniture, familiar to him since he first learned to take note of things, and understand the contrasts in the world. He slept not for one moment, nor could he think connectedly on any subject. His hopes were all dashing to and fro, confused and stormy as he knew the waves were, that beat along the shore on that wild night. One moment a gleam of glory, like a lightning flash, would break upon his soul, and the next the thunder-crash of the decision of Destiny and Doom, would peal through his excited intellect. He never for an instant thought of her recovery. He looked upon her death as a necessity that concerned him, and him alone, and he looked beyond her grave to his own future, as though he could tread on to it across that mound alone.... He thought upon his mother, and an icy chill made him nerveless—he painted his own portrait, and stood apart from the work, and gazed upon it with a critic’s eyes. It was always in the light of a Preacher that he looked upon himself; but while one of these pictured similitudes, that of the Poet-Preacher, whose parish lay in Author-Land, won[Pg 225] him again and again, as by a siren charm, to bestow upon it one more, and one more look, from the other he turned with shuddering and aversion.

And while he lay on the hard floor, and thought, and groaned, and agonized through all that night, the wild and pitiless storm raged over sea and land—it was a desolating storm, but not so dreadful as that which convulsed the soul of this poor youth.

All the following day he kept up his vain search along the beach, until night came again, when dizzy with the incessant watch he kept over the dashing, breaking waves, and faint from his long fasting, and suddenly mindful that there might be some new tidings of Ella waiting him, he returned from the dreary watching place.

He did not find his mother at home, but she had been there since he left in the morning, for the table was spread in readiness for him. She had remembered him in the sick room, and mindful of his comfort had come, prepared the meal for him, and gone again. The boy’s heart smote him for the many ungrateful and hard thoughts he had borne her that day.

He was removing the things from the table, for he thought that he would write when she came in. He saw at once that she had been weeping, and his assumed indifference vanished in an instant; he cried out,

Is she dead?”

“No; but they’re in dreadful trouble over to that house. Oh, son! if you could see that dear angel lying there so beautiful on the bed, and the room so quiet, and the poor creature’s pa and ma taking on so, and she not knowing it! It’s a dreadful sight! It’s strange, it is!”

“But is she no better, mother? Won’t she recover?”

“No hope of such a thing. I wanted to go back to-night to sit there in the room with her, but they said I’d tire out, and maybe they’d have to call on me again; and so I must rest to-night.”

“But do you feel so very tired?”

“No; I could sit there just as well as sleep here. I’m so anxious. I’ll have time enough to rest when I can’t do nothing for them, poor things!”

“Oh, do go then! Has she been in her right mind to-day?”

“Not a minute. But it’s strange though, how her thoughts has kept on to one thing the whole time. I wish you could see her arm! It’s dreadful inflamed; and it’s stained with something like ink, and odd enough, just in the shape of a cross. It couldn’t be no supernatural work, George. I told you her gold cross was lost.”

“And does her arm pain her?”

“Not that, I guess. But it’s all about having her hope amputated, and then she’ll lift her arm, as if she couldn’t do it hardly, and talk about the cross being heavy to bear. And then she cries about the Angel of Wrath, and says he’s coming—and whispers, and takes on the queerest you ever see. Oh, it would be dreadful if she wasn’t so lovely, and so angel-like, when she talks about these horrid things!”

“What horrid things?” he asked, abruptly and coldly, as though just waking from a sleep.

“Oh, but you’re heartless! I believe you don’t care for the dying no more than you do for the living. I believe you’ve slept all the time I was talking!”

“If I didn’t care about her being nursed every minute, would I ask you to go back, when I know you’re tired? They are nothing to me, and you are my mother! Would I ever ask you to go, if I could sleep while you are talking about her? Will you go?”

“Yes, yes; I mean to go. I’m glad you have some feeling in you. But you—you look like a ghost! I declare you look frightful! Your face is as pale! and your eyes stare out of your head so! Son! son! what’s the use of killing yourself just to get a little learning? What manner of good can come of it? Somebody, oh, the doctor, Dr. Williams, was asking me to-day if you was writing a book. I told him no; but I didn’t tell him what I thought about it—that you had as good as promised me that you would be a preacher. I shall be so proud of you then. These fiddling poets! I like a man, as long as he is in the world, to be of some use in it.”

“Don’t get in a passion, mother. I am no poet. No son of yours will disgrace you by ever publishing a book.” He spoke with frantic energy.

“But it’s getting late. I will now go with you.”

“No, no, you won’t—I’ll not hear of it, you look a’most as bad as Ella does.”

“Do you call her ‘Ella’ over there?”

“No—you know I haven’t much acquaintance with ’em.”

“Then I wouldn’t condescend to call her so here,” was the bitter rebuke.

His mother did not answer him, but went out of the house lamenting her son’s pride, rather audibly.

And he kept another watch that night, and in a solemn passion vowed a vow; and wherever his eyes turned through the darkness he beheld a cross uplifted before him—and a voice was ringing in his ear—“this for thee,” and the shadow of that cross he could not escape, for it lay upon his soul.


Another day-dawn, but how unlike those wild preceding days! Again the sun arose, and was no longer hid by threatening clouds—the wind swept steadily and keenly, but not fiercely over the waters; and the waves beat against the shore, upon the beach, and the rock, but not with angry violence, and the splendor of the dazzling sunlight was upon them all.

And again a boyish form, in which a man’s heart and a giant’s soul were beating, paced to and fro upon that beach—and a vow made in the solitude of night was on his lips, and he spoke it calmly in that lonely place where there was only the mountain, and the waters, the singing petrel, and the sandy beach, and the Maker of them all, to testify against him if he should break[Pg 226] the vow: “Oh ye waves, only give up that treasure dear to her, and I will obey my mother—I will not let one dream of Fame tempt me—I will forget that I too could be a poet, and an author. Yes, yes, I will be a preacher, as she would have me. God! hear me!”

He stepped upon the rock, the rock on which she stood, that night—for the stormy petrel, singing as it went, was floating just then under it—but for a moment when he stood there he made no effort to advance, for the doom he had feared, yet invoked, met him there! Upon a shrub, that was lodged upon the rock in a handful of earth, the glittering cross and golden chain were hanging. He paused, as if blasted by the recollection of his vow—a phantom, horrible as death stood between him and the cross—then he went forward resolutely, as one who walks upon a sacrificed hope, to work for another some good thing.... In solemn silence he lifted the bauble, turned away from the sea-side, passed up the village-street, through the parsonage-gate, and for the first time in his life up to the parsonage-door.

He did not even pause to knock, but went on, as led by instinct, to the very door of her chamber—it stood open, and Dr. Williams was there alone with Ella. She must have been speaking of the youth even then, for the physician did not look surprise upon George—on the contrary he stepped aside, and while the boy remained with Ella none other of the household were permitted to enter the room.

Ella had wakened that morning from her fever-dream, and was once more quite conscious—of her danger—but not of the hopelessness of those around her: what all the household now knew, that she would not recover, had not yet been told her.

George took her hand—she recognized him with a smile, and directed his eyes to the inflamed arm which, through all her delirium, and now in her consciousness, she would not suffer to be covered. The red cross glared upon his sight.

“Where is the Anchor, Ella?”

“Here,” she said, laying her hand upon her breast.

“Ella, have you forgiven me for robbing you of the cross your mother gave you?”

“Oh, yes; I had forgotten it, George.”

He held it up before her—the sea-weed clinging to it still. “See,” he said, “the waves were too generous to keep it. I found it just now on the rock—the place where you stood that night.”

“Keep it, George. Though I never thought to leave you such a remembrancer. Oh, George! I should have been just as this sea-weed, and perhaps have clung to the Cross of Christ with not a bit more energy, if I had staid in the world.”

“You are not going away! You are not going!” he cried; but his voice faltered and fell as he said it, for he felt that she was going.

“Doctor, I left a little book on my desk, will you bring it to me?”

It was laid before her.

“This,” she said, again addressing the youth, “I meant for you. It pleased me, and I thought perhaps you would like it—and won’t you lay it on your shelf nearest to your cross, the one we made. It has a pretty name—The Shadow of the Cross. See, I wrote your name in it after I came home that night. You could write a better book”—he shuddered, and half turned away—she observed his look and motion, and said quickly, “Yes, you will. And all the world will love you. But you will keep this, if only for my sake. And don’t ever, ever think, George Waldron, that I wouldn’t have been proud to have taken your arm and walked with you in the broad daylight through our streets. I was very tired and sick that night, or I wouldn’t have let you go home without convincing you. Do you believe me?”

“Yes,” he said, and something of the calmness passed from her face into his, as he bent over her. “Do you know, can you guess, what my cross in this life is? I know, for it is laid on me already. Oh, Ella, if you could live, it would not be with me as it must be now!”

Perhaps she had grown too weak to answer him, for she pressed his hands closely between her own, and made no other reply.

He saw her only once after that day. They had removed her from the bed, and from her pleasant chamber then. She was in the little parlor of the parsonage—and the shadow of a cross was lying on her sweet, pale face, for her coffin was near the mantle, and on that stood the “symbol” which they had fashioned one bright October day. He only looked upon her for a moment on that morning, but the brief glance was more than he could bear composedly, and the widowed boy went out hastily from the little group of mourners, to weep such tears as he could never, never in his life weep again.

He kept that vow, made in the frenzy of despair, religiously. Did he not? Question his witness—it is not voiceless—it stands unimpeachable at this moment; on a now populous sea-side, there, in the very place where, one dull November night, the first act of a most sad life-drama was read, in a wild and dreary solitude, by two young, dreaming children. It stands a seamen’s chapel, whose corner-stone he laid, whose foundation is the rock whereon Ella stood that night. A cross surmounts its spire, and if you walk along the pleasant beach its shadow will be sure to fall upon you. Many a day and many a night George Waldron walked there: and this is his monument on earth.

But—who can tell the heaviness of that cross he bore? The cross his mother lifted to his shoulder, which, from the moment of Ella’s death, he bore in uncomplaining silence? There was energy in his heart, and in his brain; he was zealous, he was loving, he had respect, and sorrow, and compassion for the poor; and these were the characteristics he took with him on his[Pg 227] way of life, when the priestly office was conferred upon him. That vow his fiery spirit made, which was induced by a conviction of his mother’s will and hope (we state it as a fact merely, not as an extenuation), that vow was all the seal he ever recognized, to himself, as set upon his ministry, and yet, he was an honor to his calling; in all his human “walk and conversation” he was a holy example, and a shining light. But heavy, heavy was the cross he bore! Through the poet’s dreaming youth, and thoughtful, striving manhood, he went, and never a hope of Fame, nor praise of men beguiled him. Every freshly-tinted cloud that rose and floated over the fairy land of his imagination was suffered to dissolve, in unseen and unsuspected mist and dew, upon the hearts and lives of other men.

He steadily trode a straight and beaten path, when the panting soul within him urged his intellect forth on the wings of genius to discovery and portrayal, he suffered his aspiring nature to exhaust herself in a round of daily, common duties, than which indeed none are nobler, when inspired by the Spirit of Grace! than which none can be more glorious in result, if God incite to their performance; but, which are dreadful in enduring, and in working out, which are presumptuously and impiously endured and wrought by the poor cross-bearer, if another human being’s will, and not his own prayerful desire be the incitement.

It was this heavy cross that George Waldron bore. He died young, a maniac some said, a martyr and a saint assuredly. And in compliance with the only request made in his will, his body was lowered on his funeral day, a dull November day, from the Chapel Rock to the deep sea beneath. Oh, must it not have been with joy unspeakable and full of glory that his chastened, fettered spirit at last, at last, burst forth in its release, with thanksgiving and a wondrous voice of melody?


Leopards and panthers, if taken quite young, and treated with kindness, are capable of being thoroughly tamed; the poet Cowper, describes the great difference in the dispositions of his three celebrated hares; so it is with other wild animals, and leopards among the rest, some returning kindness with the utmost affection, others being rugged and untamable from the first. Of those brought to this country, the characters are much influenced by the treatment they have experienced on board ship; in some cases, they have been made pets by the sailors, and are as tractable as domestic cats; but when they have been teased and subjected to ill-treatment during the voyage, it is found very difficult to render them sociable; there are now (September, 1851), six young leopards in one den at the Zoological Gardens: of these, five are about the same age, and grew up as one family; the sixth was added some time after, and being looked upon as an intruder, was quite sent to Coventry, and even ill-treated by the others; this he has never forgotten. When the keeper comes to the den, he courts his caresses, and shows the greatest pleasure, but if any of his companions advance to share them with him, he growls and spits, and shows the utmost jealousy and displeasure.

In the same collection there is a remarkably fine, full-grown leopard, presented by her Majesty, who is as tame as any creature can be; mutton is his favorite food, but the keeper will sometimes place a piece of beef in the den; the leopard smells it, turns it over with an air of contempt, and coming forward, peers round behind the keeper’s back to see if he has not (as is generally the case), his favorite food concealed. If given to him, he lays it down, and will readily leave it at the keeper’s call, to come and be patted, and while caressed he purrs, and shows the greatest pleasure.

There were a pair of leopards in the Tower, before the collection was broken up, which illustrated well the difference in disposition; the male, a noble animal, continued to the last, as sullen and savage as on the day of his arrival. Every kindness was lavished upon him by the keepers, but he received all their overtures with such a sulky and morose return, that nothing could be made of his unreclaimable and unmanageable disposition. The female, which was the older of the two, on the contrary, was as gentle and affectionate as the other was savage, enjoying to be patted and caressed by the keeper, and fondly licking his hands; one failing, however, she had, which brought affliction to the soul of many a beau and lady fair; it was an extraordinary predilection for the destruction of hats, muffs, bonnets, umbrellas, and parasols, and indeed articles of dress generally, seizing them with the greatest quickness, and tearing them into pieces, almost before the astonished victim was aware of the loss; to so great an extent did she carry this peculiar taste, that Mr. Cops, the superintendent, used to say, that she had made prey of as many of these articles, as there were days in the year. Animals in menageries are sometimes great enemies to the milliner’s art; giraffes have been known to filch the flowers adorning a bonnet, and we once saw a lady miserably oppressed by monkeys. She was very decidedly of “a certain age,” but dressed in the extreme of juvenility, with flowers and ribbons of all the colors of the rainbow. Her complexion was delicately heightened with rouge, and the loveliest tresses played about her cheeks. As she languidly sauntered through the former monkey-house at the gardens, playfully poking the animals with her parasol, one seized it so vigorously, that she was drawn close to the den; in the twinkling of an eye, a dozen little paws were protruded, off went bonnet, curls and all, leaving a deplorably gray head, while others seized her reticule and her dress, pulling it in a very unpleasant manner. The handiwork of M. Vouillon was of course a wreck, and the contents of the reticule, her purse, gloves, and delicately scented handkerchief, were with difficulty recovered from out of the cheek pouch of a baboon.[Pg 228]

On another occasion we saw the elephant, that fine old fellow who died some years ago, administer summary punishment to a weak-minded fop, who kept offering him cakes, and on his putting out his trunk, withdrawing them and giving him a rap with his cane instead. One of the keepers warned him, but he laughed, and after he had teased the animal to his heart’s content, walked away. After a time he was strolling by the spot again, intensely satisfied with himself, his glass stuck in his eye and smiling blandly in the face of a young lady who was evidently offended at his impudence, when the elephant, who was rocking backward and forward, suddenly threw out his trunk and seized our friend by the coat-tails; the cloth gave way, and the whole back of the coat was torn out, leaving nothing but the collar, sleeves, and front. As may be supposed, this was a damper upon his amatory proceedings; indeed we never saw a man look so small, as he shuffled away amidst the titters of the company, who enjoyed his just reward.

That very agreeable writer, Mrs. Lee, formerly Mrs. Bowdich, has related in the first volume of the “Magazine of Natural History,” a most interesting account of a tame panther which was in her possession several months. He and another were found very young in the forest, apparently deserted by their mother; they were taken to the King of Ashantee, in whose palace they lived several weeks, when our hero, being much larger than his brother, suffocated him in a fit of romping, and was then sent to Mr. Hutchinson, the resident left by Mr. Bowdich at Coomassie, by whom he was tamed. When eating was going on he would sit by his master’s side and receive his share with gentleness. Once or twice he purloined a fowl, but easily gave it up on being allowed a portion of something else; but on one occasion, when a silly servant tried to pull his food from him, he tore a piece of flesh from the offender’s leg, but never owed him any ill-will afterward. One morning he broke the cord by which he was confined, and the castle gates being shut, a chase commenced, but after leading his pursuers several times round the ramparts, and knocking over a few children by bouncing against them, he suffered himself to be caught and led quietly back to his quarters, under one of the guns of the fortress.

By degrees all fear of him subsided, and he was set at liberty, a boy being appointed to prevent his intruding into the apartments of the officers. His keeper, however, like a true negro, generally passed his watch in sleeping, and Saï, as the panther was called, roamed at large. On one occasion he found his servant sitting on the step of the door, upright, but fast asleep, when he lifted his paw, gave him a pat on the side of the head which laid him flat, and then stood wagging his tail as if enjoying the joke. He became exceedingly attached to the governor, and followed him every where like a dog. His favorite station was at a window in the sitting-room, which overlooked the whole town; there, standing on his hind legs, his fore paws resting on the ledge of the window, and his chin laid between them, he amused himself with watching all that was going on. The children were also fond of this scene; and one day finding Saï’s presence an incumbrance, they united their efforts and pulled him down by the tail. He one day missed the governor, and wandered with dejected look to various parts of the fortress in search of him; while absent on this errand the governor returned to his private rooms, and seated himself at a table to write; presently he heard a heavy step coming up the stairs, and raising his eyes to the open door beheld Saï. At that moment he gave himself up for lost, for Saï immediately sprang from the door on to his neck; instead, however, of devouring him, he laid his head close to the governor’s, rubbed his cheek upon his shoulder, wagged his tail, and tried to evince his happiness. Occasionally, however, the panther caused a little alarm to the other inmates of the castle, and on one occasion the woman, whose duty it was to sweep the floors, was made ill by her fright; she was sweeping the boards of the great hall with a short broom, and in an attitude approaching all fours, when Saï, who was hidden under one of the sofas, suddenly leaped upon her back, where he stood waving his tail in triumph. She screamed so violently as to summon the other servants, but they, seeing the panther in the act of devouring her, as they thought, gallantly scampered off one and all as fast as their heels could carry them; nor was the woman released from her load till the governor, hearing the noise, came to her assistance.

Mrs. Bowdich determined to take this interesting animal to England, and he was conveyed on board ship, in a large wooden cage, thickly barred in front with iron. Even this confinement was not deemed a sufficient protection by the canoe men, who were so alarmed that in their confusion they managed to drop cage and all into the sea. For a few minutes the poor fellow was given up for lost, but some sailors jumped into a boat belonging to the vessel, and dragged him out in safety. He seemed completely subdued by his ducking; and as no one dared to open the cage to dry it, he rolled himself up in one corner, where he remained for some days, till roused by the voice of his mistress. When she first spoke he raised his head, listened attentively, and when she came fully into his view, he jumped on his legs and appeared frantic, rolling over and over, howling and seeming as if he would have torn his cage to pieces; however, his violence gradually subsided, and he contented himself with thrusting his nose and paws through the bars to receive her caresses. The greatest treat that could be bestowed upon Saï was lavender water. Mr. Hutchinson had told Mrs. Bowdich, that on the way from Ashantee, happening to draw out a scented pocket-handkerchief, it was immediately seized by the panther, who reduced it to atoms; nor could he venture to open a bottle of perfume when the animal was near, he was so eager to enjoy it. Twice a week his mistress indulged him by making a[Pg 229] cup of stiff paper, pouring a little lavender water into it, and giving it to him through the bars of the cage; he would drag it to him with great eagerness, roll himself over it, nor rest till the smell had evaporated.

Quiet and gentle as Saï was, pigs never failed to excite indignation when they hovered about his cage, and the sight of a monkey put him in a complete fury. While at anchor in the Gaboon, an orang-outang was brought on board and remained three days. When the two animals met, the uncontrollable rage of the one and the agony of the other was very remarkable. The orang was about three feet high, and very powerful: so that when he fled, with extraordinary rapidity, from the panther to the other side of the deck, neither men or things remained upright if they opposed his progress. As for the panther, his back rose in an arch, his tail was elevated and perfectly stiff, his eyes flashed, and as he howled he showed his huge teeth; then, as if forgetting the bars before him, he made a spring at the orang to tear him to atoms. It was long before he recovered his tranquillity; day and night he was on the listen, and the approach of a monkey or a negro brought back his agitation. During the voyage to England the vessel was boarded by pirates, and the crew and passengers nearly reduced to starvation in consequence; Saï must have died had it not been for a collection of more than three hundred parrots; of these his allowance was one per diem, but he became so ravenous that he had not patience to pick off the feathers, but bolted the birds whole; this made him very ill, but Mrs. Bowdich administered some pills, and he recovered. On the arrival of the vessel in the London Docks, Saï was presented to the Duchess of York, who placed him in Exeter Change temporarily. On the morning of the duchess’s departure for Oatlands, she went to visit her new pet, played with him, and admired his gentleness and great beauty. In the evening, when her Royal Highness’s coachman went to take him away to his new quarters at Oatlands, Saï was dead from inflammation on the lungs.

Nature, ever provident, has scattered with a bounteous hand her gifts in the country of the Orinoco, where the jaguar especially abounds. The savannahs, which are covered with grasses and slender plants, present a surprising luxuriance and diversity of vegetation; piles of granite blocks rise here and there, and, at the margins of the plains, occur deep valleys and ravines, the humid soil of which is covered with arums, heliconias, and llianas. The shelves of primitive rocks, scarcely elevated above the plain, are partially coated with lichens and mosses, together with succulent plants and tufts of evergreen shrubs with shining leaves. The horizon is bounded with mountains overgrown with forests of laurels, among which clusters of palms rise to the height of more than a hundred feet, their slender stems supporting tufts of feathery foliage. To the east of Atures other mountains appear, the ridge of which is composed of pointed cliffs, rising like huge pillars above the trees. When these columnar masses are situated near the Orinoco, flamingoes, herons, and other wading birds perch on their summits, and look like sentinels. In the vicinity of the cataracts, the moisture which is diffused in the air, produces a perpetual verdure, and wherever soil has accumulated on the plains, it is adorned by the beautiful shrubs of the mountains.

Such is one view of the picture, but it has its dark side also; those flowing waters, which fertilize the soil, abound with crocodiles; those charming shrubs and flourishing plants, are the hiding-places of deadly serpents; those laurel forests, the favorite lurking spots of the fierce jaguar; while the atmosphere, so clear and lovely, abounds with musquitoes and zancudoes, to such a degree that, in the missions of Orinoco, the first questions in the morning when two people meet, are “How did you find the zancudoes during the night? How are we to-day for the musquitoes?”

It is in the solitude of this wilderness, that the jaguar, stretched out motionless and silent, upon one of the lower branches of the ancient trees, watches for its passing prey; a deer, urged by thirst, is making its way to the river, and approaches the tree where his enemy lies in wait. The jaguar’s eyes dilate, the ears are thrown down, and the whole frame becomes flattened against the branch. The deer, all unconscious of danger, draws near, every limb of the jaguar quivers with excitement; every fibre is stiffened for the spring; then, with the force of a bow unbent, he darts with a terrific yell upon his prey, seizes it by the back of the neck, a blow is given with his powerful paw, and with broken spine the deer falls lifeless to the earth. The blood is then sucked, and the prey dragged to some favorite haunt, where it is devoured at leisure.

Humboldt surprised a jaguar in his retreat. It was near the Joval, below the mouth of the Cano de la Tigrera, that in the midst of wild and awful scenery, he saw an enormous jaguar stretched beneath the shade of a large mimosa. He had just killed a chiguire, an animal about the size of a pig, which he held with one of his paws, while the vultures were assembled in flocks around. It was curious to observe the mixture of boldness and timidity which these birds exhibited; for although they advanced within two feet of the jaguar, they instantly shrank back at the least motion he made. In order to observe more nearly their proceedings, the travelers went into their little boat, when the tyrant of the forest withdrew behind the bushes, leaving his victim, upon which the vultures attempted to devour it, but were soon put to flight by the jaguar rushing into the midst of them; the following night, Humboldt and his party were entertained by a jaguar hunter, half-naked, and as brown as a Zambo, who prided himself on being of the European race, and called his wife and daughter, who were as slightly clothed as himself, Donna Isabella and Donna Manuela. As this aspiring personage had neither house nor hut, he invited the strangers to swing their hammocks near his own between two[Pg 230] trees, but as ill-luck would have it, a thunderstorm came on, which wetted them to the skin; but their troubles did not end here, for Donna Isabella’s cat had perched on one of the trees, and frightened by the thunder-storm, jumped down upon one of the travelers in his cot; he naturally supposed that he was attacked by a wild beast, and as smart a battle took place between the two, as that celebrated feline engagement of Don Quixote; the cat, who perhaps had most reason to consider himself an ill-used personage, at length bolted, but the fears of the gentleman had been excited to such a degree, that he could hardly be quieted. The following night was not more propitious to slumber. The party finding no tree convenient, had stuck their oars in the sand, and suspended their hammocks upon them. About eleven, there arose in the immediately adjoining wood, so terrific a noise, that it was impossible to sleep. The Indians distinguished the cries of sapagous, alouates, jaguars, cougars, peccaris, sloths, curassows, paraquas, and other birds, so that there must have been as full a forest chorus as Mr. Hullah himself could desire.

When the jaguars approached the edge of the forest, which they frequently did, a dog belonging to the party began to howl, and seek refuge under their cots. Sometimes, after a long silence, the cry of the jaguars came from the tops of the trees, when it was followed by an outcry among the monkeys. Humboldt supposes the noise thus made by the inhabitants of the forest during the night, to be the effect of some contest that has arisen among them.

On the pampas of Paraguay, great havoc is committed among the herds of horses by the jaguars, whose strength is quite sufficient to enable them to drag off one of these animals. Azara caused the body of a horse, which had been recently killed by a jaguar, to be drawn within musket-shot of a tree, in which he intended to pass the night, anticipating that the jaguar would return in the course of it, to its victim; but while he was gone to prepare for his adventure, behold the animal swam across a large and deep river, and having seized the horse with his teeth, dragged it full sixty paces to the river, swam across again with his prey, and then dragged the carcass into a neighboring wood: and all this in sight of a person, whom Azara had placed to keep watch. But the jaguars have also an aldermanic goût for turtles, which they gratify in a very systematic manner, as related by Humboldt, who was shown large shells of turtles emptied by them. They follow the turtles toward the beaches, where the laying of eggs is to take place, surprise them on the sand, and in order to devour them at their ease, adroitly turn them on their backs; and as they turn many more than they can devour in one night, the Indians often profit by their cunning. The jaguar pursues the turtle quite into the water, and when not very deep, digs up the eggs; they, with the crocodile, the heron, and the gallinago vulture, are the most formidable enemies the little turtles have. Humboldt justly remarks, “When we reflect on the difficulty that the naturalist finds in getting out the body of the turtle, without separating the upper and under shells, we can not enough admire the suppleness of the jaguar’s paw, which empties the double armor of the arraus, as if the adhering parts of the muscles had been cut by means of a surgical instrument.”

The rivers of South America swarm with crocodiles, and these wage perpetual war with the jaguars. It is said, that when the jaguar surprises the alligator asleep on the hot sand-bank, he attacks him in a vulnerable part under the tail, and often kills him, but let the crocodile only get his antagonist into the water, and the tables are turned, for the jaguar is held under water until he is drowned.

The onset of the jaguar is always made from behind, partaking of the stealthy treacherous character of his tribe; if a herd of animals, or a party of men be passing, it is the last that is always the object of his attack. When he has made choice of his victim, he springs upon the neck, and placing one paw on the back of the head, while he seizes the muzzle with the other, twists the head round with a sudden jerk which dislocates the spine, and deprives it instantaneously of life; sometimes, especially when satiated with food, he is indolent and cowardly, skulking in the gloomiest depths of the forest, and scared by the most trifling causes, but when urged by the cravings of hunger, the largest quadrupeds, and man himself, are attacked with fury and success.

Mr. Darwin has given an interesting account of the habits of the jaguar: the wooded banks of the great South American rivers appear to be their favorite haunt, but south of the Plata they frequent the reeds bordering lakes; wherever they are they seem to require water. They are particularly abundant on the isles of the Parana, their common prey being the carpincho, so that it is generally said, where carpinchos are plentiful, there is little fear of the jaguar; possibly, however, a jaguar which has tasted human flesh, may afterward become dainty, and like the lions of South Africa, and the tigers of India, acquire the dreadful character of man-eaters, from preferring that food to all others. It is not many years ago since a very large jaguar found his way into a church in Santa Fé; soon afterward a very corpulent padre entering, was at once killed by him: his equally stout coadjutor, wondering what had detained the padre, went to look after him, and also fell a victim to the jaguar; a third priest, marveling greatly at the unaccountable absence of the others, sought them, and the jaguar having by this time acquired a strong clerical taste, made at him also, but he, being fortunately of the slender order, dodged the animal from pillar to post, and happily made his escape; the beast was destroyed by being shot from a corner of the building, which was unroofed, and thus paid the penalty of his sacrilegious propensities.

On the Parana they have killed many wood-cutters, and have even entered vessels by night. One dark evening the mate of a vessel, hearing[Pg 231] a heavy but peculiar footstep on deck, went up to see what it was, and was immediately met by a jaguar, who had come on board, seeking what he could devour: a severe struggle ensued, assistance arrived, and the brute was killed, but the man lost the use of the arm which had been ground between his teeth.

The Gauchos say that the jaguar, when wandering about at night, is much tormented by the foxes yelping as they follow him; this may perhaps serve to alarm his prey, but must be as teasing to him as the attentions of swallows are to an owl, who happens to be taking a daylight promenade; and if owls ever swear, it is under those circumstances. Mr. Darwin, when hunting on the banks of the Uruguay, was shown three well-known trees to which the jaguars constantly resort, for the purpose, it is said, of sharpening their claws. Every one must be familiar with the manner in which cats, with outstretched legs and extended claws, will card the legs of chairs and of men; so with the jaguar; and of these trees the bark was worn quite smooth in front; on each side there were deep grooves, extending in an oblique line nearly a yard in length. The scars were of different ages, and the inhabitants could always tell when a jaguar was in the neighborhood, by his recent autograph on one of these trees.


I am an attorney and a bill discounter. As it is my vocation to lend money at high interest to extravagant people, my connection principally lies among “fools,” sometimes among rogues, “of quality.” Mine is a pursuit which a prejudiced world either holds in sovereign contempt, or visits with envy, hatred, and all uncharitableness; but to my mind, there are many callings, with finer names, that are no better. It gives me two things which I love—money and power; but I can not deny that it brings with it a bad name. The case lies between character and money, and involves a matter of taste. Some people like character; I prefer money.

If I am hated and despised, I chuckle over the “per contra.” I find it pleasant for members of a proud aristocracy to condescend from their high estate to fawn, feign, flatter; to affect even mirthful familiarity in order to gain my good-will. I am no Shylock. No client can accuse me of desiring either his flesh or his blood. Sentimental vengeance is no item in my stock in trade. Gold and bank-notes satisfy my “rage;” or, if need be, a good mortgage. Far from seeking revenge, the worst defaulter I ever had dealings with can not deny that I am always willing to accept a good post-obit.

I say again, I am daily brought in contact with all ranks of society, from the poverty-stricken patentee to the peer; and I am no more surprised at receiving an application from a duchess than from a pet opera-dancer. In my ante-room wait, at this moment, a crowd of borrowers. Among the men, beardless folly and mustached craft are most prominent: there is a handsome young fellow, with an elaborate cane and wonderfully vacant countenance, who is anticipating, in feeble follies, an estate that has been in the possession of his ancestors since the reign of Henry the Eighth. There is a hairy, high-nosed, broken-down non-descript, in appearance some thing between a horse-dealer and a pugilist. He is an old Etonian. Five years ago he drove his four-in-hand; he is now waiting to beg a sovereign, having been just discharged from the Insolvent Court, for the second time. Among the woman, a pretty actress, who, a few years since, looked forward to a supper of steak and onions, with bottled stout, on a Saturday night, as a great treat, now finds one hundred pounds a month insufficient to pay her wine-merchant and her confectioner. I am obliged to deal with each case according to its peculiarities. Genuine undeserved Ruin seldom knocks at my door. Mine is a perpetual battle with people who imbibe trickery at the same rate as they dissolve their fortunes. I am a hard man, of course. I should not be fit for my pursuit if I were not; but when, by a remote chance, honest misfortune pays me a visit, as Rothschild amused himself at times by giving a beggar a guinea, so I occasionally treat myself to the luxury of doing a kind action.

My favorite subjects for this unnatural generosity, are the very young, or the poor, innocent, helpless people, who are unfit for the war of life. Many among my clients (especially those tempered in the “ice-brook” of fashion and high life—polished and passionless) would be too much for me, if I had not made the face, the eye, the accent, as much my study as the mere legal and financial points of discount. To show what I mean, I will relate what happened to me not long since:

One day, a middle-aged man, in the usual costume of a West-end shopman, who had sent in his name as Mr. Axminster, was shown into my private room. After a little hesitation, he said, “Although you do not know me, living at this end of the town, I know you very well by reputation, and that you discount bills. I have a bill here which I want to get discounted. I am in the employ of Messrs. Russle and Smooth. The bill is drawn by one of our best customers, the Hon. Miss Snape, niece of Lord Blimley, and accepted by Major Munge; whom, no doubt, you know by name. She has dealt with us for some years, is very, very extravagant; but always pays.” He put the acceptance—which was for two hundred pounds—into my hands.

I looked at it as scrutinizingly as I usually do at such paper. The major’s signature was familiar to me; but having succeeded to a great estate, he has long ceased to be a customer. I instantly detected a forgery; by whom? was the question. Could it be the man before me?—experience told me it was not.

Perhaps there was something in the expression of my countenance which Mr. Axminster did not like, for he said, “It is good for the amount, I presume?”

I replied, “Pray, sir, from whom did you get this bill?”[Pg 232]

“From Miss Snape herself.”

“Have you circulated any other bills made by the same drawer?”

“O yes!” said the draper, without hesitation; “I have paid away a bill for one hundred pounds to Mr. Sparkle, the jeweler, to whom Miss Snape owed twenty pounds. They gave me the difference.”

“And how long has that bill to run now?”

“About a fortnight.”

“Did you endorse it?”

“I did,” continued the shopman. “Mr. Sparkle required me to do so, to show that the bill came properly into his possession.”

“This second bill, you say, is urgently required to enable Miss Snape to leave town?”

“Yes; she is going to Brighton for the winter.”

I gave Mr. Axminster a steady, piercing look of inquiry. “Pray, sir,” I said, “could you meet that one hundred pounds bill, supposing it should not be paid by the acceptor?”

“Meet it?” The poor fellow wiped from his forehead the perspiration which suddenly broke out at the bare hint of a probability that the bill would be dishonored: “Meet it? O no! I am a married man, with a family, and have nothing but my salary to depend on.”

“Then, the sooner you get it taken up, and the less you have to do with Miss Snape’s bill affairs, the better.”

“She has always been punctual hitherto.”

“That may be.” I pointed to the cross-writing on the document, and said deliberately, “This bill is a forgery!”

At these words the poor man turned pale. He snatched up the document; and, with many incoherent protestations, was rushing toward the door, when I called to him, in an authoritative tone, to stop. He paused. His manner indicating not only doubt, but fear. I said to him, “Don’t flurry yourself; I only want to serve you. You tell me that you are a married man with children, dependent on daily labor for daily bread; and that you have done a little discounting for Miss Snape out of your earnings. Now, although I am a bill discounter, I don’t like to see such men victimized. Look at the body of this bill: look at the signature of your lady customer, the drawer. Don’t you detect the same fine, thin, sharp-pointed handwriting in the words, ‘Accepted, Dymmock Munge.’”

The man, convinced against his will, was at first overcome. When he recovered, he raved: he would expose the Honorable Miss Snape, if it cost him his bread: he would go at once to the police office.

I stopped him, by saying, roughly, “Don’t be a fool. Any such steps would seal your ruin. Take my advice; return the bill to the lady, saying simply that you can not get it discounted. Leave the rest to me, and I think the bill you have endorsed to Sparkle will be paid.” Comforted by this assurance, Axminster, fearfully changed from the nervous, but smug, hopeful man of the morning, departed.

It now remained for me to exert what skill I own, to bring about the desired result. I lost no time in writing a letter to the Honorable Miss Snape, of which the following is a copy:

“Madam—A bill, purporting to be drawn by you, has been offered to me for discount. There is something wrong about it; and, though a stranger to you, I advise you to lose no time in getting it back into your own hands.—D.D.”

I intended to deal with the affair quietly, and without any view to profit. The fact is, that I was sorry—you may laugh—but I really was sorry to think that a young girl might have given way to temptation under pressure of pecuniary difficulties. If it had been a man’s case, I doubt whether I should have interfered.

By the return of post, a lady’s maid entered my room, profusely decorated with ringlets, lace, and perfumed with patchouli. She brought a letter from her mistress. It ran thus:

“Sir—I can not sufficiently express my thanks for your kindness in writing to me on the subject of the bills; of which I had also heard a few hours previously. As a perfect stranger to you, I can not estimate your kind consideration at too high a value. I trust the matter will be explained; but I should much like to see you. If you would be kind enough to write a note as soon as you receive this, I will order it to be sent to me at once to Tyburn-square. I will wait on you at any hour on Friday you may appoint. I believe that I am not mistaken in supposing that you transact business for my friend Sir John Markham, and you will therefore know the inclosed to be his handwriting. Again thanking you most gratefully, allow me to remain your much and deeply obliged,

Juliana Snape.”

This note was written upon delicate French paper, embossed with a coat of arms. It was in a fancy envelope: the whole richly perfumed, and redolent of rank and fashion. Its contents were an implied confession of forgery.

Silence, or three lines of indignation, would have been the only innocent answer to my letter. But Miss Snape thanked me. She let me know, by implication, that she was on intimate terms with a name good on a West-end bill. My answer was, that I should be alone on the following afternoon at five.

At the hour fixed, punctual to a moment, a brougham drew up at the corner of the street next to my chambers. The Honorable Miss Snape’s card was handed in. Presently, she entered, swimming into my room, richly yet simply dressed in the extreme of Parisian good taste. She was pale—or rather colorless. She had fair hair, fine teeth, and a fashionable voice. She threw herself gracefully into the chair I handed to her, and began by uncoiling a string of phrases, to the effect that her visit was merely to consult me on “unavoidable pecuniary difficulties.”

According to my mode, I allowed her to talk; putting in only an occasional word of question, that seemed rather a random observation than a significant query. At length, after walking round[Pg 233] and round the subject, like a timid horse in a field, round a groom with a sieve of oats, she came nearer and nearer the subject. When she had fairly approached the point, she stopped, as if courage had failed her. But she soon recovered, and observed—“I can not think why you should take the trouble to write so to me, a perfect stranger.” Another pause—“I wonder no one ever suspected me before.”

Here was a confession and a key to character. The cold gray eye, the thin compressed lips, which I had had time to observe, were true indexes to the “lady’s” inner heart:—selfish, calculating, utterly devoid of conscience; unable to conceive the existence of spontaneous kindness; utterly indifferent to any thing except discovery; and almost indifferent to that, because convinced that no serious consequences could affect a lady of her rank and influence.

“Madam,” I replied, “as long as you dealt with tradesmen accustomed to depend on aristocratic customers, your rank and position, and their large profits, protected you from suspicion; but you have made a mistake in descending from your vantage ground to make a poor shopman your innocent accomplice—a man who will be keenly alive to any thing that may injure his wife or children. His terrors—but for my interposition—would have ruined you. Tell me, how many of these things have you put afloat?”

She seemed a little taken aback by this speech; but was wonderfully firm. She passed her white, jeweled hand over her eyes, seemed calculating, and then whispered, with a confiding look of innocent helplessness, admirably assumed:

“About as many as amount to twelve hundred pounds.”

“And what means have you for meeting them?”

At this question, so plainly put, her face flushed. She half-rose from her chair, and exclaimed, in the true tone of aristocratic hauteur, “Really, sir, I do not know what right you have to ask me that question.”

I laughed a little, though not very loud. It was rude, I own; but who could have helped it? I replied, speaking low, but slowly and distinctly, “You forget. I did not send for you: you came to me. You have forged bills to the amount of twelve hundred pounds. Yours is not the case of a ruined merchant, or an ignorant over-tempted clerk. In your case a jury” (she shuddered at that word) “would find no extenuating circumstances; and if you should ever fall into the hands of justice, you will be convicted, degraded, clothed in a prison dress, and transported for life. I do not want to speak harshly; but I insist that you find means to take up the bill which Mr. Axminster has so unwittingly indorsed!”

The Honorable Miss Snape’s grand manner melted away. She wept. She seized and pressed my hand. She cast up her eyes, full of tears, and went through the part of a repentant victim with great fervor. She would do any thing; any thing in the world to save the poor man. Indeed, she had intended to appropriate part of the two hundred pound bill to that purpose.

She forgot her first statement, that she wanted the money to go out of town. Without interrupting, I let her go on and degrade herself by a simulated passion of repentance, regret, and thankfulness to me, under which she hid her fear and her mortification at being detected. I at length put an end to a scene of admirable acting, by recommending her to go abroad immediately, to place herself out of reach of any sudden discovery; and then lay her case fully before her friends, who would, no doubt, feel bound to come forward with the full amount of the forged bills. “But,” she exclaimed, with an entreating air, “I have no money; I can not go without money!” To that observation I did not respond; although I am sure she expected that I should, check-book in hand, offer her a loan.

I do not say so without reason; for, the very next week, this honorable young lady came again; and, with sublime assurance and a number of very charming, winning speeches (which might have had their effect upon a younger man), asked me to lend her one hundred pounds, in order that she might take the advice I had so obligingly given her, and retire into private life for a certain time in the country.

I do meet with a great many impudent people in the course of my calling—I am not very deficient in assurance myself—but this actually took away my breath.

“Really, madam,” I answered, “you pay a very ill compliment to my gray hairs; and would fain make me a very ill return for the service I have done you, when you ask me to lend a hundred pounds to a young lady who owns to having forged to the extent of one thousand two hundred pounds, and to owing eight hundred pounds besides. I wished to save a personage of your years and position from a disgraceful career; but I am too good a trustee for my children to lend money to any body in such a dangerous position as yourself.”

“Oh!” she answered, quite unabashed, without a trace of the fearful, tender pleading of the previous week’s interview—quite as if I had been an accomplice, “I can give you excellent security.”

“That alters the case; I can lend any amount on good security.”

“Well, sir, I can get the acceptances of three friends of ample means.”

“Do you mean to tell me, Miss Snape, that you will write down the names of three parties who will accept a bill for one hundred pounds for you?”

Yes, she could, and did actually write down the names of three distinguished men. Now I knew for certain that not one of those noblemen would have put his name to a bill on any account whatever for his dearest friend; but, in her unabashed self-confidence, she thought of passing another forgery on me. I closed the conference by saying, “I can not assist you;” and she retired with the air of an injured person. In the course of a few days I heard from Mr. Axminster, that his liability had been duly honored.[Pg 234]

In my active and exciting life, one day extinguishes the recollection of the events of the preceding day; and, for a time, I thought no more about the fashionable forger. I had taken it for granted that, heartily frightened, although not repenting, she had paused in her felonious pursuits.

My business, one day, led me to the establishment of one of the most wealthy and respectable legal firms in the city, where I am well known, and, I believe, valued; for at all times I am most politely, I may say most cordially received. Mutual profits create a wonderful freemasonry between those who have not any other sympathy or sentiment. Politics, religion, morality, difference of rank, are all equalized and republicanized by the division of an account. No sooner had I entered the sanctum, than the senior partner, Mr. Preceps, began to quiz his junior, Mr. Jones, with, “Well, Jones must never joke friend Discount any more about usury. Just imagine,” he continued, addressing me, “Jones has himself been discounting a bill for a lady; and a deuced pretty one, too. He sat next her at dinner in Grosvenor-square last week. Next day she gave him a call here, and he could not refuse her extraordinary request. Gad, it is hardly fair for Jones to be poaching on your domains of West-end paper!”

Mr. Jones smiled quietly, as he observed, “Why, you see, she is the niece of one of our best clients; and, really, I was so taken by surprise, that I did not know how to refuse.”

“Pray,” said I, interrupting his excuses, “does your young lady’s name begin with S? Has she not a very pale face, and cold gray eye?”

The partners stared.

“Ah! I see it is so; and can at once tell you that the bill is not worth a rush.”

“Why, you don’t mean—?”

“I mean simply that the acceptance is, I’ll lay you a wager, a forgery.”

“A forgery!”

“A forgery,” I repeated, as distinctly as possible.

Mr. Jones hastily, and with broken ejaculations, called for the cash-box. With trembling hands he took out the bill, and followed my finger with eager, watchful eyes, as I pointed out the proofs of my assertion.

A long pause was broken by my mocking laugh, for, at the moment, my sense of politeness could not restrain my satisfaction at the signal defeat which had attended the first experiment of these highly respectable gentlemen in the science of usury.

The partners did not have recourse to the police. They did not propose a consultation with either Mr. Forrester or Mr. Field: but they took certain steps, under my recommendation; the result of which was that at an early day, an aunt of the Honorable Miss Snape was driven, to save so near a connection from transportation, to sell out some fourteen hundred pounds of stock, and all the forgeries were taken up.

One would have thought that the lady who had thus so narrowly escaped, had had enough; but forgery, like opium-eating, is one of those charming vices which is never abandoned, when once adopted. The forger enjoys not only the pleasure of obtaining money so easily, but the triumph of be-fooling sharp men of the world. Dexterous penmanship is a source of the same sort of pride as that which animates the skillful rifleman, the practiced duelist, or well-trained billiard-player. With a clean Gillott he fetches down a capitalist, at three or six months, for a cool hundred or a round thousand; just as a Scrope drops over a stag at ten, or a Gordon Cumming a monstrous male elephant at a hundred paces.

As I before observed, my connection especially lies among the improvident—among those who will be ruined—who are being ruined—and who have been ruined. To the last class belongs Francis Fisherton, once a gentleman, now without a shilling or a principle; but rich in mother-wit—in fact a farceur, after Paul de Kock’s own heart. Having in by-gone days been one of my willing victims, he occasionally finds pleasure and profit in guiding others through the gate he frequented, as long as able to pay the tolls. In truth he is what is called a “discount agent.”

One day I received a note from him, to say that he would call on me at three o’clock the next day, to introduce a lady of family, who wanted a bill “done” for one hundred pounds. So ordinary a transaction merely needed a memorandum in my diary, “Tuesday, 3 p.m.; F.F., £100 Bill.” The hour came and passed; but no Frank, which was strange—because every one must have observed, that, however dilatory people are in paying, they are wonderfully punctual when they expect to receive money.

At five o’clock, in rushed my Jackal. His story, disentangled from oaths and ejaculations, amounted to this:—In answer to one of the advertisements he occasionally addresses “To the Embarrassed,” in the columns of the “Times,” he received a note from a lady, who said she was anxious to get a “bill done”—the acceptance of a well-known man of rank and fashion. A correspondence was opened, and an appointment made. At the hour fixed, neatly shaved, brushed, gloved, booted—the revival, in short, of that high-bred Frank Fisherton, who was so famous.

“In his hot youth, when Crockford’s was the thing,” glowing with only one glass of brandy “just to steady his nerves,” he met the lady at a West-end pastry-cook’s.

After a few words (for all the material questions had been settled by correspondence) she stepped into her brougham; and invited Frank to take a seat beside her. Elated with a compliment of late years so rare, he commenced planning the orgies which were to reward him for weeks of enforced fasting, when the coachman, reverentially touching his hat, looked down from his seat for orders.

“To ninety-nine, George-street, St. James,” cried Fisherton, in his loudest tones.

In an instant, the young lady’s pale face changed to scarlet, and then to ghastly green.[Pg 235] In a whisper, rising to a scream, she exclaimed, “Good heavens! you do not mean to that man’s house” (meaning me). “Indeed, I can not go to him, on any account; he is a most horrid man, I am told, and charges most extravagantly.”

“Madam,” answered Frank, in great perturbation, “I beg your pardon, but you have been grossly misinformed. I have known that excellent man these twenty years, and have paid him hundreds on hundreds; but never so much by ten per cent, as you offered me for discounting your bill.”

“Sir, I can not have any thing to do with your friend.” Then, violently pulling the check-string, “Stop,” she gasped: “and will you have the goodness to get out?”

“And so I got out,” continued Fisherton, “and lost my time; and the heavy investment I made in getting myself up for the assignation; new primrose gloves, and a shilling to the hair-dresser—hang her! But, did you ever know any thing like the prejudices that must prevail against you? I am disgusted with human nature. Could you lend me half a sovereign till Saturday?”

I smiled; I sacrificed the half-sovereign and let him go, for he is not exactly the person to whom it was advisable to intrust all the secrets relating to the Honorable Miss Snape.

Since that day I look each morning in the police reports, with considerable interest; but, up to the present hour, the Honorable Miss Snape has lived and thrived in the best society.



One, two, three, four, five. There were five of them.

Five couriers, sitting on a bench outside the convent on the summit of the Great St. Bernard in Switzerland, looking at the remote heights, stained by the setting sun, as if a mighty quantity of red wine had been broached upon the mountain top, and had not yet had time to sink into the snow.

This is not my simile. It was made for the occasion by the stoutest courier, who was a German. None of the others took any more notice of it than they took of me, sitting on another bench on the other side of the convent door, smoking my cigar, like them, and—also like them—looking at the reddened snow, and at the lonely shed hard by, where the bodies of belated travelers, dug out of it, slowly wither away, knowing no corruption in that cold region.

The wine upon the mountain top soaked in as we looked; the mountain became white; the sky, a very dark blue; the wind rose; and the air turned piercing cold. The five couriers buttoned their rough coats. There being no safer man to imitate in all such proceedings than a courier, I buttoned mine.

The mountain in the sunset had stopped the five couriers in a conversation. It is a sublime sight, likely to stop conversation. The mountain being now out of the sunset, they resumed. Not that I had heard any part of their previous discourse; for, indeed, I had not then broken away from the American gentleman, in the travelers’ parlor of the convent, who, sitting with his face to the fire, had undertaken to realize to me the whole progress of events which had led to the accumulation by the Honorable Ananias Dodger of one of the largest acquisitions of dollars ever made in our country.

“My God!” said the Swiss courier, speaking in French, which I do not hold (as some authors appear to do) to be such an all-sufficient excuse for a naughty word, that I have only to write it in that language to make it innocent; “if you talk of ghosts—”

“But I don’t talk of ghosts,” said the German.

“Of what then?” asked the Swiss.

“If I knew of what then,” said the German, “I should probably know a great deal more.”

It was a good answer, I thought, and it made me curious. So, I moved my position to that corner of my bench which was nearest to them and leaning my back against the convent-wall, heard perfectly, without appearing to attend.

“Thunder and lightning!” said the German, warming, “when a certain man is coming to see you, unexpectedly; and, without his own knowledge, sends some invisible messenger, to put the idea of him in your head all day, what do you call that? When you walk along a crowded street—at Frankfort, Milan, London, Paris—and think that a passing stranger is like your friend Heinrich, and then that another passing stranger is like your friend Heinrich, and so begin to have a strange foreknowledge that presently you’ll meet your friend Heinrich—which you do, though you believed him at Trieste—what do you call that?”

“It’s not uncommon either,” murmured the Swiss and the other three.

“Uncommon!” said the German. “It’s as common as cherries in the Black Forest. It’s as common as maccaroni at Naples. And Naples reminds me! When the old Marchesa Senzanima shrieks at a card party on the Chiaja—as I heard and saw her, for it happened in a Bavarian family of mine, and I was overlooking the service that evening—I say, when the old Marchesa starts up at the card-table, white through her rouge, and cries, ‘My sister in Spain is dead! I felt her cold touch on my back!’—and when that sister is dead at the moment—what do you call that?”

“Or when the blood of San Gennaro liquefies at the request of the clergy—as all the world knows that it does regularly once a year, in my native city,” said the Neapolitan courier, after a pause, with a comical look, “what do you call that?”

That!” cried the German. “Well! I think I know a name for that.”

“Miracle?” said the Neapolitan, with the same sly face.

The German merely smoked and laughed; and they all smoked and laughed.

“Bah!” said the German, presently. “I speak of things that really do happen. When I[Pg 236] want to see the conjurer, I pay to see a professed one, and have my money’s worth. Very strange things do happen without ghosts. Ghosts! Giovanni Baptista, tell your story of the English bride. There’s no ghost in that, but something full as strange. Will any man tell me what?”

As there was a silence among them, I glanced around. He whom I took to be Baptista was lighting a fresh cigar. He presently went on to speak. He was a Genoese, as I judged.

“The story of the English bride?” said he. “Basta! one ought not to call so slight a thing a story. Well, it’s all one. But it’s true. Observe me well, gentlemen, it’s true. That which glitters is not always gold; but what I am going to tell is true.”

He repeated this more than once.

Ten years ago, I took my credentials to an English gentleman at Long’s Hotel, in Bond-street, London, who was about to travel—it might be for one year, it might be for two. He approved of them; likewise of me. He was pleased to make inquiry. The testimony that he received was favorable. He engaged me by the six months, and my entertainment was generous.

He was young, handsome, very happy. He was enamored of a fair young English lady, with a sufficient fortune, and they were going to be married. It was the wedding trip, in short, that we were going to take. For three months’ rest in the hot weather (it was early summer then) he had hired an old palace on the Riviera, at an easy distance from my city, Genoa, on the road to Nice. Did I know that palace? Yes; I told him I knew it well. It was an old palace, with great gardens. It was a little bare, and it was a little dark and gloomy, being close surrounded by trees; but it was spacious, ancient, grand, and on the sea shore. He said it had been so described to him exactly, and he was well pleased that I knew it. For its being a little bare of furniture, all such places were. For its being a little gloomy, he had hired it principally for the gardens, and he and my mistress would pass the summer weather in their shade.

“So all goes well, Baptista?” said he.

“Indubitably, signor; very well.”

We had a traveling chariot for our journey, newly built for us, and in all respects complete. All we had was complete; we wanted for nothing. The marriage took place. They were happy. I was happy, seeing all so bright, being so well situated, going to my own city, teaching my language in the rumble to the maid, la bella Carolina, whose heart was gay with laughter: who was young and rosy.

The time flew. But I observed—listen to this, I pray!—(and here the courier dropped his voice)—I observed my mistress sometimes brooding in a manner very strange; in a frightened manner; in an unhappy manner; with a cloudy, uncertain alarm upon her. I think that I began to notice this when I was walking up hills by the carriage side, and master had gone on in front. At any rate, I remember that it impressed itself upon my mind one evening in the south of France, when she called to me to call master back; and when he came back, and walked for a long way, talking encouragingly and affectionately to her, with his hand upon the open window, and hers in it. Now and then, he laughed in a merry way, as if he were bantering her out of something. By-and-by, she laughed, and then all went well again.

It was curious. I asked la bella Carolina, the pretty little one, Was mistress unwell? No. Out of spirits? No. Fearful of bad roads, or brigands? No. And what made it more mysterious was, the pretty little one would not look at me in giving answer, but would look at the view.

But, one day she told me the secret.

“If you must know,” said Carolina, “I find, from what I have overheard, that mistress is haunted.”

“How haunted?”

“By a dream.”

“What dream?”

“By a dream of a face. For three nights before her marriage, she saw a face in a dream—always the same face, and only One.”

“A terrible face?”

“No. The face of a dark, remarkable-looking man, in black, with black hair and a gray mustache—a handsome man, except for a reserved and secret air. Not a face she ever saw, or at all like a face she ever saw. Doing nothing in the dream but looking at her fixedly, out of darkness.”

“Does the dream come back?”

“Never. The recollection of it, is all her trouble.”

“And why does it trouble her?”

Carolina shook her head.

“That’s master’s question,” said la bella. “She don’t know. She wonders why, herself. But I heard her tell him, only last night, that if she was to find a picture of that face in our Italian house (which she is afraid she will), she did not know how she could ever bear it.”

Upon my word I was fearful after this (said the Genoese courier), of our coming to the old palazzo, lest some such ill-starred picture should happen to be there. I knew there were many there; and, as we got nearer and nearer to the place, I wished the whole gallery in the crater of Vesuvius. To mend the matter, it was a stormy dismal evening when we, at last, approached that part of the Riviera. It thundered; and the thunder of my city and its environs, rolling among the high hills, is very loud. The lizards ran in and out of the chinks in the broken stone wall of the garden, as if they were frightened; the frogs bubbled and croaked their loudest; the sea-wind moaned, and the wet trees dripped; and the lightning—body of San Lorenzo, how it lightened!

We all know what an old palazzo in or near Genoa is—how time and the sea air have blotted it—how the drapery painted on the outer walls[Pg 237] has peeled off in great flakes of plaster—how the lower windows are darkened with rusty bars of iron—how the courtyard is overgrown with grass—how the outer buildings are dilapidated—how the whole pile seems devoted to ruin. Our palazzo was one of the true kind. It had been shut up close for months. Months?—years! It had an earthy smell, like a tomb. The scent of the orange-trees on the broad back terrace, and of the lemons ripening on the wall, and of some shrubs that grew around a broken fountain, had got into the house somehow, and had never been able to get out again. There it was, in every room, an aged smell, grown faint with confinement. It pined in all the cupboards and drawers. In the little rooms of communication between great rooms, it was stifling. If you turned a picture—to come back to the pictures—there it still was, clinging to the wall behind the frame, like a sort of bat.

The lattice-blinds were close shut, all over the house. There were two ugly, gray old women in the house, to take care of it; one of them with a spindle, who stood winding and mumbling in the doorway, and who would as soon have let in the devil as the air. Master, mistress, la bella Carolina, and I, went all through the palazzo. I went first, though I have named myself last, opening the windows and the lattice-blinds, and shaking down on myself splashes of rain, and scraps of mortar, and now and then a dozing musquito, or a monstrous, fat, blotchy, Genoese spider.

When I had let the evening light into a room, master, mistress, and la bella Carolina entered. Then, we looked round at all the pictures, and I went forward again into another room. Mistress secretly had great fear of meeting with the likeness of that face—we all had; but there was no such thing. The Madonna and Bambino, San Francisco, San Sebastiano, Venus, Santa Caterina, Angels, Brigands, Friars, Temples at Sunset, Battles, White Horses, Forests, Apostles, Doges, all my old acquaintance many times repeated? yes. Dark, handsome man in black, reserved and secret, with black hair and gray mustache, looking fixedly at mistress out of darkness? no.

At last we got through all the rooms and all the pictures, and came out into the gardens. They were pretty well kept, being rented by a gardener, and were large and shady. In one place, there was a rustic theatre, open to the sky; the stage a green slope: the coulisses, three entrances upon a side, sweet-smelling leafy screens. Mistress moved her bright eyes, even there, as if she looked to see the face come in upon the scene: but all was well.

“Now, Clara,” master said, in a low voice, “you see that it is nothing? You are happy.”

Mistress was much encouraged. She soon accustomed herself to that grim palazzo, and would sing, and play the harp, and copy the old pictures, and stroll with master under the green trees and vines, all day. She was beautiful. He was happy. He would laugh and say to me, mounting his horse for his morning ride before the heat:

“All goes well, Baptista!”

“Yes, signore, thank God; very well!”

We kept no company. I took la bella to the Duomo and Annunciata, to the Café, to the Opera, to the village Festa, to the Public Garden, to the Day Theatre, to the Marionetti. The pretty little one was charmed with all she saw. She learnt Italian—heavens! miraculously! Was mistress quite forgetful of that dream? I asked Carolina sometimes. Nearly, said la bella—almost. It was wearing out.

One day master received a letter, and called me.



“A gentleman who is presented to me will dine here to-day. He is called the Signor Dellombra. Let me dine like a prince.”

It was an odd name. I did not know that name. But, there had been many noblemen and gentlemen pursued by Austria on political suspicions, lately, and some names had changed. Perhaps this was one. Altro! Dellombra was as good a name to me as another.

When the Signor Dellombra came to dinner (said the Genoese courier in the low voice, into which he had subsided once before), I showed him into the reception-room, the great sala of the old palazzo. Master received him with cordiality, and presented him to mistress. As she rose, her face changed, she gave a cry, and fell upon the marble floor.

Then, I turned my head to the Signor Dellombra, and saw that he was dressed in black, and had a reserved and secret air, and was a dark remarkable-looking man, with black hair and a gray mustache.

Master raised mistress in his arms, and carried her to her own room, where I sent la bella Carolina straight. La bella told me afterward that mistress was nearly terrified to death, and that she wandered in her mind about her dream, all night.

Master was vexed and anxious—almost angry, and yet full of solicitude. The Signor Dellombra was a courtly gentleman, and spoke with great respect and sympathy of mistress’s being so ill. The African wind had been blowing for some days (they had told him at his hotel of the Maltese Cross), and he knew that it was often hurtful. He hoped the beautiful lady would recover soon. He begged permission to retire, and to renew his visit when he should have the happiness of hearing that she was better. Master would not allow of this, and they dined alone.

He withdrew early. Next day he called at the gate, on horseback, to inquire for mistress. He did so two or three times in that week.

What I observed myself, and what la bella Carolina told me, united to explain to me that master had now set his mind on curing mistress of her fanciful terror. He was all kindness, but he was sensible and firm. He reasoned with her, that to encourage such fancies was to invite melancholy, if not madness. That it rested with herself to be herself. That if she once resisted her strange weakness, so successfully as to receive[Pg 238] the Signor Dellombra as an English lady would receive any other guest, it was forever conquered. To make an end, the Signor came again, and mistress received him without marked distress (though with constraint and apprehension still), and the evening passed serenely. Master was so delighted with this change, and so anxious to confirm it, that the Signor Dellombra became a constant guest. He was accomplished in pictures, books, and music; and his society, in any grim palazzo, would have been welcome.

I used to notice, many times, that mistress was not quite recovered. She would cast down her eyes and droop her head, before the Signor Dellombra, or would look at him with a terrified and fascinated glance, as if his presence had some evil influence or power upon her. Turning from her to him, I used to see him in the shaded gardens, or the large half-lighted sala, looking, as I might say, “fixedly upon her out of darkness.” But, truly, I had not forgotten la bella Carolina’s words describing the face in the dream.

After his second visit I heard master say:

“Now see, my dear Clara, it’s over! Dellombra has come and gone, and your apprehension is broken like glass.”

“Will he—will he ever come again?” asked mistress.

“Again? Why, surely, over and over again! Are you cold?” (She shivered).

“No, dear—but—he terrifies me: are you sure that he need come again?”

“The surer for the question, Clara!” replied master, cheerfully.

But, he was very hopeful of her complete recovery now, and grew more and more so every day. She was beautiful. He was happy.

“All goes well, Baptista?” he would say to me again.

“Yes, signore, thank God; very well.”

We were all (said the Genoese courier, constraining himself to speak a little louder), we were all at Rome for the Carnival. I had been out, all day, with a Sicilian, a friend of mine and a courier, who was there with an English family. As I returned at night to our hotel, I met the little Carolina, who never stirred from home alone, running distractedly along the Corso.

“Carolina! What’s the matter?”

“O Baptista! Oh, for the Lord’s sake! where is my mistress?”

“Mistress, Carolina?”

“Gone since morning—told me, when master went out on his day’s journey, not to call her, for she was tired, with not resting in the night (having been in pain), and would lie in bed until the evening; then get up refreshed. She is gone!—she is gone! Master has come back, broken down the door, and she is gone! My beautiful, my good, my innocent mistress!”

The pretty little one so cried, and raved, and tore herself, that I could not have held her, but for her swooning on my arm as if she had been shot. Master came up—in manner, face, or voice, no more the master that I knew, than I was he. He took me (I laid the little one upon her bed in the hotel, and left her with the chamber-women), in a carriage, furiously through the darkness, across the desolate Campagna. When it was day, and we stopped at a miserable post-house, all the horses had been hired twelve hours ago, and sent away in different directions. Mark me!—by the Signor Dellombra, who had passed there in a carriage, with a frightened English lady crouching in one corner.

I never heard (said the Genoese courier, drawing a long breath) that she was ever traced beyond that spot. All I know is, that she vanished into infamous oblivion, with the dreaded face beside her that she had seen in her dream.

“What do you call that?” said the German courier, triumphantly; “Ghosts! There are no ghosts there! What do you call this, that I am going to tell you? Ghosts? There are no ghosts here!

I took an engagement once (pursued the German courier) with an English gentleman, elderly and a bachelor, to travel through my country, my Fatherland. He was a merchant who traded with my country and knew the language, but who had never been there since he was a boy—as I judge, some sixty years before.

His name was James, and he had a twin-brother John, also a bachelor. Between these brothers there was a great affection. They were in business together at Goodman’s Fields, but they did not live together. Mr. James dwelt in Poland-street, turning out of Oxford-street, London. Mr. John resided by Epping Forest.

Mr. James and I were to start for Germany in about a week. The exact day depended on business. Mr. John came to Poland-street (where I was staying in the house), to pass that week with Mr. James. But, he said to his brother on the second day, “I don’t feel very well, James. There’s not much the matter with me; but I think I am a little gouty. I’ll go home and put myself under the care of my old housekeeper, who understands my ways. If I get quite better, I’ll come back and see you before you go. If I don’t feel well enough to resume my visit where I leave it off, why you will come and see me before you go.” Mr. James, of course, said he would, and they shook hands—both hands, as they always did—and Mr. John ordered out his old-fashioned chariot and rumbled home.

It was on the second night after that—that is to say, the fourth in the week—when I was awoke out of my sound sleep by Mr. James coming into my bedroom in his flannel-gown, with a lighted candle. He sat upon the side of my bed, and looking at me, said:

“Wilhelm, I have reason to think I have got some strange illness upon me.”

I then perceived that there was a very unusual expression in his face.

“Wilhelm,” said he, “I am not afraid or ashamed to tell you, what I might be afraid or ashamed to tell another man. You come from a sensible country, where mysterious things are inquired into, and are not settled to have been weighed and measured or to have been unweighable[Pg 239] and immeasurable—or in either case to have been completely disposed of, for all time—ever so many years ago. I have just now seen the phantom of my brother.”

I confess (said the German courier) that it gave me a little tingling of the blood to hear it.

“I have just now seen,” Mr. James repeated, looking full at me, that I might see how collected he was, “the phantom of my brother John. I was sitting up in bed, unable to sleep, when it came into my room, in a white dress, and, regarding me earnestly, passed up to the end of the room, glanced at some papers on my writing-desk, turned, and, still looking earnestly at me as it passed the bed, went out at the door. Now, I am not in the least mad, and am not in the least disposed to invest that phantom with an external existence out of myself. I think it is a warning to me that I am ill; and I think I had better be bled.”

I got out of bed directly (said the German courier) and began to get on my clothes, begging him not to be alarmed, and telling him that I would go myself to the doctor. I was just ready, when we heard a loud knocking and ringing at the street door. My room being an attic at the back, and Mr. James’s being the second-floor room in the front, we went down to his room, and put up the window, to see what was the matter.

“Is that Mr. James?” said a man below, falling back to the opposite side of the way to look up.

“It is,” said Mr. James; “and you are my brother’s man, Robert.”

“Yes, sir. I am sorry to say, sir, that Mr. John is ill. He is very bad, sir. It is even feared that he may be lying at the point of death. He wants to see you, sir. I have a chaise here. Pray come to him. Pray lose no time.”

Mr. James and I looked at one another. “Wilhelm,” said he, “this is strange. I wish you to come with me!” I helped him to dress, partly there and partly in the chaise; and no grass grew under the horses’ iron shoes between Poland-street and the Forest.

Now, mind! (said the German courier). I went with Mr. James into his brother’s room, and I saw and heard myself what follows.

His brother lay upon his bed, at the upper end of a long bed-chamber. His old housekeeper was there, and others were there: I think three others were there, if not four, and they had been with him since early in the afternoon. He was in white, like the figure—necessarily so, because he had his night-dress on. He looked like the figure—necessarily so, because he looked earnestly at his brother when he saw him come into the room.

But, when his brother reached the bed-side, he slowly raised himself in bed, and looking full upon him, said these words:

James, you have seen me before, to-night, and you know it!

And so died!

I waited, when the German courier ceased, to hear something said of this strange story. The silence was unbroken. I looked round, and the five couriers were gone: so noiselessly that the ghostly mountain might have absorbed them into its eternal snows. By this time, I was by no means in a mood to sit alone in that awful scene, with the chill air coming solemnly upon me—or, if I may tell the truth, to sit alone anywhere. So I went back into the convent-parlor, and, finding the American gentleman still disposed to relate the biography of the Honorable Ananias Dodger, heard it all out.



[5] Continued from the December Number.

Randal advanced—“I fear, Signior Riccabocca, that I am guilty of some want of ceremony.”

“To dispense with ceremony is the most delicate mode of conferring a compliment,” replied the urbane Italian, as he recovered from his first surprise at Randal’s sudden address, and extended his hand.

Violante bowed her graceful head to the young man’s respectful salutation. “I am on my way to Hazeldean,” resumed Randal, “and, seeing you in the garden, could not resist this intrusion.”

Riccabocca.—“You come from London? Stirring times for you English, but I do not ask you the news. No news can affect us.”

Randal (softly). “Perhaps—yes.”

Riccabocca (startled).—“How?”

Violante.—“Surely he speaks of Italy, and news from that country affects you still, my father.”

Riccabocca.—“Nay, nay, nothing affects me like this country; its east wind might affect a pyramid! Draw your mantle round you, child, and go in; the air has suddenly grown chill.”

Violante smiled on her father, glanced uneasily toward Randal’s grave brow, and went slowly toward the house.

Riccabocca, after waiting some moments in silence, as if expecting Randal to speak, said with affected carelessness. “So you think that you have news that might affect me? Corpo di Bacco! I am curious to learn what!”

“I may be mistaken—that depends on your answer to one question. Do you know the Count of Peschiera?”

Riccabocca winced, and turned pale. He could not baffle the watchful eye of the questioner.

“Enough,” said Randal; “I see that I am right. Believe in my sincerity. I speak but to warn and to serve you. The Count seeks to discover the retreat of a countryman and kinsman of his own.”

“And for what end?” cried Riccabocca, thrown off his guard, and his breast dilated, his crest rose, and his eye flashed; valor and defiance broke from habitual caution and self-control. “But pooh,” he added, striving to regain his ordinary and half-ironical calm, “it matters [Pg 240] not to me. I grant, sir, that I know the Count di Peschiera; but what has Dr. Riccabocca to do with the kinsman of so grand a personage?”

“Dr. Riccabocca—nothing. But—” here Randal put his lips close to the Italian’s ear, and whispered a brief sentence. Then retreating a step, but laying his hand on the exile’s shoulder, he added—“Need I say that your secret is safe with me?”

Riccabocca made no answer. His eyes rested on the ground musingly.

Randal continued—“And I shall esteem it the highest honor you can bestow on me, to be permitted to assist you in forestalling danger.”

Riccabocca (slowly).—“Sir, I thank you; you have my secret, and I feel assured it is safe, for I speak to an English gentleman. There may be family reasons why I should avoid the Count di Peschiera; and, indeed, He is safest from shoals who steers clearest of his—relations.”

The poor Italian regained his caustic smile as he uttered that wise, villainous Italian maxim.

Randal.—“I know little of the Count of Peschiera save from the current talk of the world. He is said to hold the estates of a kinsman who took part in a conspiracy against the Austrian power.”

Riccabocca.—“It is true. Let that content him; what more does he desire? You spoke of forestalling danger? What danger? I am on the soil of England, and protected by its laws.”

Randal.—“Allow me to inquire if, had the kinsman no child, the Count di Peschiera would be legitimate and natural heir to the estates he holds?”

Riccabocca.—“He would. What then?”

Randal.—“Does that thought suggest no danger to the child of the kinsman?”

Riccabocca recoiled, and gasped forth, “The child! You do not mean to imply that this man, infamous though he be, can contemplate the crime of an assassin?”

Randal paused perplexed. His ground was delicate. He knew not what causes of resentment the exile entertained against the Count. He knew not whether Riccabocca would not assent to an alliance that might restore him to his country—and he resolved to feel his way with precaution.

“I did not,” said he, smiling gravely, “mean to insinuate so horrible a charge against a man whom I have never seen. He seeks you—that is all I know. I imagine from his general character, that in this search he consults his interest. Perhaps all matters might be conciliated by an interview!”

“An interview!” exclaimed Riccabocca; “there is but one way we should meet—foot to foot, and hand to hand.”

“Is it so? Then you would not listen to the Count if he proposed some amicable compromise; if, for instance, he was a candidate for the hand of your daughter?”

The poor Italian, so wise and so subtle in his talk, was as rash and blind when it came to action, as if he had been born in Ireland, and nourished on potatoes and Repeal. He bared his whole soul to the merciless eye of Randal.

“My daughter!” he exclaimed. “Sir, your question is an insult.”

Randal’s way became clear at once. “Forgive me,” he said, mildly; “I will tell you frankly all that I know. I am acquainted with the Count’s sister. I have some little influence over her. It was she who informed me that the Count had come here, bent upon discovering your refuge, and resolved to wed your daughter. This is the danger of which I spoke. And when I asked your permission to aid in forestalling it, I only intended to suggest that it might be wise to find some securer home, and that I, if permitted to know that home, and to visit you, could apprise you, from time to time, of the Count’s plans and movements.”

“Sir, I thank you sincerely,” said Riccabocca, with emotion; “but am I not safe here?”

“I doubt it. Many people have visited the Squire in the shooting season, who will have heard of you—perhaps seen you, and who are likely to meet the Count in London. And Frank Hazeldean, too, who knows the Count’s sister—”

“True, true,” interrupted Riccabocca. “I see, I see. I will consider. I will reflect. Meanwhile you are going to Hazeldean. Do not say a word to the Squire. He knows not the secret you have discovered.”

With those words Riccabocca turned slightly away, and Randal took the hint to depart.

“At all times command and rely on me,” said the young traitor, and he regained the pale to which he had fastened his horse.

As he remounted, he cast his eyes toward the place where he had left Riccabocca. The Italian was still standing there. Presently the form of Jackeymo was seen emerging from the shrubs. Riccabocca turned hastily round, recognized his servant, uttered an exclamation loud enough to reach Randal’s ear, and then catching Jackeymo by the arm, disappeared with him amidst the deeper recesses of the garden.

“It will be indeed in my favor,” thought Randal, as he rode on, “if I can get them into the neighborhood of London—all occasion there to woo, and, if expedient, to win—the heiress.”


“By the Lord Harry!” cried the Squire, as he stood with his wife in the park, on a visit of inspection to some first-rate South-Downs just added to his stock; “by the Lord, if that is not Randal Leslie trying to get into the park at the back gate! Hollo, Randal! you must come round by the lodge, my boy,” said he. “You see this gate is locked to keep out trespassers.”

“A pity,” said Randal. “I like short-cuts, and you have shut up a very short one.”

“So the trespassers said,” quoth the Squire “but Stirn would not hear of it;—valuable man Stirn. But ride round to the lodge. Put up[Pg 241] your horse, and you’ll join us before we can get to the house.”

Randal nodded and smiled, and rode briskly on.

The Squire rejoined his Harry.

“Ah, William,” said she anxiously, “though certainly Randal Leslie means well, I always dread his visits.”

“So do I, in one sense,” quoth the Squire, “for he always carries away a bank-note for Frank.”

“I hope he is really Frank’s friend,” said Mrs. Hazeldean.

“Whose else can he be? Not his own, poor fellow, for he will never accept a shilling from me, though his grandmother was as good a Hazeldean as I am. But, zounds! I like his pride, and his economy too. As for Frank—”

“Hush, William!” cried Mrs. Hazeldean, and put her fair hand before the Squire’s mouth. The Squire was softened, and kissed the fair hand gallantly—perhaps he kissed the lips too; at all events, the worthy pair were walking lovingly arm-in-arm when Randal joined them.

He did not affect to perceive a certain coldness in the manner of Mrs. Hazeldean, but began immediately to talk to her about Frank; praise that young gentleman’s appearance; expatiate on his health, his popularity, and his good gifts, personal and mental; and this with so much warmth, that any dim and undeveloped suspicions Mrs. Hazeldean might have formed soon melted away.

Randal continued to make himself thus agreeable, until the Squire, persuaded that his young kinsman was a first-rate agriculturist, insisted upon carrying him off to the home-farm, and Harry turned toward the house to order Randal’s room to be got ready: “For,” said Randal, “knowing that you will excuse my morning dress, I ventured to invite myself to dine and sleep at the Hall.”

On approaching the farm buildings, Randal was seized with the terror of an impostor; for, despite all the theoretical learning on Bucolics and Georgics with which he had dazzled the Squire, poor Frank, so despised, would have beat him hollow when it came to judging of the points of an ox or the show of a crop.

“Ha, ha!” cried the Squire, chuckling, “I long to see how you’ll astonish Stirn. Why, you’ll guess in a moment where we put the top-dressing; and when you come to handle my short-horns, I dare swear you’ll know to a pound how much oilcake has gone into their sides.”

“Oh, you do me too much honor—indeed you do. I only know the general principles of agriculture—the details are eminently interesting; but I have not had the opportunity to acquire them.”

“Stuff!” cried the Squire. “How can a man know general principles unless he has first studied the details? You are too modest, my boy. Ho! there’s Stirn looking out for us!”

Randal saw the grim visage of Stirn peering out of a cattle-shed, and felt undone. He made a desperate rush toward changing the Squire’s humor.

“Well, sir, perhaps Frank may soon gratify your wish, and turn farmer himself.”

“Eh!” quoth the Squire, stopping short. “What now?”

“Suppose he was to marry?”

“I’d give him the two best farms on the property rent free. Ha, ha! Has he seen the girl yet? I’d leave him free to choose, sir. I chose for myself—every man should. Not but what Miss Sticktorights is an heiress, and, I hear, a very decent girl, and that would join the two properties, and put an end to that lawsuit about the right of way, which began in the reign of King Charles the Second, and is likely otherwise to last till the day of judgment. But never mind her; let Frank choose to please himself.”

“I’ll not fail to tell him so, sir. I did fear you might have some prejudices. But here we are at the farm-yard.”

“Burn the farm-yard! How can I think of farm-yards when you talk of Frank’s marriage? Come on—this way. What were you saying about prejudices?”

“Why, you might wish him to marry an Englishwoman, for instance.”

“English! Good heavens, sir, does he mean to marry a Hindoo?”

“Nay, I don’t know that he means to marry at all: I am only surmising, but if he did fall in love with a foreigner—”

“A foreigner! Ah, then Harry was—” The Squire stopped short.

“Who might, perhaps,” observed Randal—not truly, if he referred to Madame di Negra—“who might, perhaps, speak very little English?”

“Lord ha’ mercy!”

“And a Roman Catholic—”

“Worshiping idols, and roasting people who don’t worship them.”

“Signior Riccabocca is not so bad as that.”

“Rickeybockey! Well, if it was his daughter! But not speak English! and not go to the parish church! By George! if Frank thought of such a thing, I’d cut him off with a shilling. Don’t talk to me, sir; I would. I’m a mild man, and an easy man; but when I say a thing, I say it, Mr. Leslie. Oh, but it is a jest—you are laughing at me. There’s no such painted good-for-nothing creature in Frank’s eye, eh?”

“Indeed, sir, if ever I find there is, I will give you notice in time. At present I was only trying to ascertain what you wished for a daughter in-law. You said you had no prejudice.”

“No more I have—not a bit of it.”

“You don’t like a foreigner and a Catholic?”

“Who the devil would?”

“But if she had rank and title?”

“Rank and title! Bubble and squeak! No, not half so good as bubble and squeak. English[Pg 242] beef and good cabbage. But foreign rank and title!—foreign cabbage and beef!—foreign bubble and foreign squeak!” And the Squire made a wry face, and spat forth his disgust and indignation.

“You must have an Englishwoman?”

“Of course?”


“Don’t care, provided she is a tidy, sensible, active lass, with a good character for her dower.”

“Character—ah, that is indispensable?”

“I should think so, indeed. A Mrs. Hazeldean of Hazeldean; you frighten me. He’s not going to run off with a divorced woman, or a—”

The Squire stopped, and looked so red in the face, that Randal feared he might be seized with apoplexy before Frank’s crimes had made him alter his will.

Therefore he hastened to relieve Mr. Hazeldean’s mind, and assured him that he had been only talking at random; that Frank was in the habit, indeed, of seeing foreign ladies occasionally, as all persons in the London world were; but that he was sure Frank would never marry without the full consent and approval of his parents. He ended by repeating his assurance that he would warn the Squire if ever it became necessary. Still, however, he left Mr. Hazeldean so disturbed and uneasy, that that gentleman forgot all about the farm, and went moodily on in the opposite direction, re-entering the park at its farther extremity. As soon as they approached the house, the Squire hastened to shut himself with his wife in full parental consultation; and Randal, seated upon a bench on the terrace, revolved the mischief he had done, and its chances of success.

While thus seated, and thus thinking, a footstep approached cautiously, and in a low voice said, in broken English, “Sare, sare, let me speak vid you.”

Randal turned in surprise, and beheld a swarthy saturnine face, with grizzled hair and marked features. He recognized the figure that had joined Riccabocca in the Italian’s garden.

“Speak-a you Italian?” resumed Jackeymo.

Randal, who had made himself an excellent linguist, nodded assent; and Jackeymo, rejoiced, begged him to withdraw into a more private part of the grounds.

Randal obeyed, and the two gained the shade of a stately chestnut avenue.

“Sir,” then said Jackeymo, speaking in his native tongue, and expressing himself with a certain simple pathos, “I am but a poor man; my name is Giacomo. You have heard of me;—servant to the Signior whom you saw to-day—only a servant; but he honors me with his confidence. We have known danger together; and of all his friends and followers, I alone came with him to the stranger’s land.”

“Good, faithful fellow,” said Randal, examining the man’s face, “say on. Your master confides in you? He confided that which I told him this day?”

“He did. Ah, sir! the Padrone was too proud to ask you to explain more—too proud to show fear of another. But he does fear—he ought to fear—he shall fear” (continued Jackeymo, working himself up to passion)—“for the Padrone has a daughter, and his enemy is a villain. Oh, sir, tell me all that you did not tell to the Padrone. You hinted that this man might wish to marry the Signora. Marry her! I could cut his throat at the altar!”

“Indeed,” said Randal, “I believe that such is his object.”

“But why? He is rich—she is penniless; no not quite that, for we have saved—but penniless, compared to him.”

“My good friend, I know not yet his motives, but I can easily learn them. If, however, this Count be your master’s enemy, it is surely well to guard against him, whatever his designs; and, to do so, you should move into London or its neighborhood. I fear that while we speak, the Count may get upon his track.”

“He had better not come here!” cried the servant, menacingly, and putting his hand where the knife was not.

“Beware of your own anger, Giacomo. One act of violence, and you would be transported from England, and your master would lose a friend.”

Jackeymo seemed struck by this caution.

“And if the Padrone were to meet him, do you think the Padrone would meekly say, ‘Come stà sa Signoria.’ The Padrone would strike him dead!”

“Hush—hush! You speak of what, in England, is called murder, and is punished by the gallows. If you really love your master, for heaven’s sake, get him from this place—get him from all chance of such passion and peril. I go to town to-morrow; I will find him a house that shall be safe from all spies—all discovery. And there, too, my friend, I can do—what I can not at this distance—watch over him, and keep watch also on his enemy.”

Jackeymo seized Randal’s hand, and lifted it toward his lip; then, as if struck by a sudden suspicion, dropped the hand, and said bluntly: “Signior, I think you have seen the Padrone twice. Why do you take this interest in him?”

“Is it so uncommon to take interest even in a stranger who is menaced by some peril?”

Jackeymo, who believed little in general philanthropy, shook his head skeptically.

“Besides,” continued Randal, suddenly bethinking himself of a more plausible reason: “besides, I am a friend and connection of Mr. Egerton; and Mr. Egerton’s most intimate friend is Lord L’Estrange; and I have heard that Lord L’Estrange—”

“The good lord! Oh, now I understand,” interrupted Jackeymo, and his brow cleared. “Ah, if he were in England! But you will let us know when he comes?”[Pg 243]

“Certainly. Now, tell me, Giacomo, is this Count really unprincipled and dangerous? Remember, I know him not personally.”

“He has neither heart, head, nor conscience.”

“That makes him dangerous to men; but to women, danger comes from other qualities. Could it be possible, if he obtained any interview with the Signora, that he could win her affections?”

Jackeymo crossed himself rapidly, and made no answer.

“I have heard that he is still very handsome.”

Jackeymo groaned.

Randal resumed: “Enough; persuade the Padrone to come to town.”

“But if the Count is in town?”

“That makes no difference; the safest place is always the largest city. Every where else a foreigner is in himself an object of attention and curiosity.”


“Let your master, then, come to London. He can reside in one of the suburbs most remote from the Count’s haunts. In two days I will have found him a lodging and write to him. You trust to me now?”

“I do indeed—I do, Excellency. Ah, if the Signorina were married, we would not care!”

“Married! But she looks so high!”

“Alas! not now—not here!”

Randal sighed heavily. Jackeymo’s eyes sparkled. He thought he had detected a new motive for Randal’s interest—a motive to an Italian the most natural, the most laudable of all.

“Find the house, Signior—write to the Padrone. He shall come. I’ll talk to him. I can manage him. Holy San Giacomo, bestir thyself now—’tis long since I troubled thee!”

Jackeymo strode off through the fading trees, smiling and muttering as he went.

The first dinner-bell rang, and, on entering the drawing-room, Randal found Parson Dale and his wife, who had been invited in haste to meet the unexpected visitor.

The preliminary greetings over, Mr. Dale took the opportunity afforded by the Squire’s absence to inquire after the health of Mr. Egerton.

“He is always well,” said Randal, “I believe he is made of iron.”

“His heart is of gold,” said the Parson.

“Ah!” said Randal, inquisitively, “you told me you had come in contact with him once, respecting, I think, some of your old parishioners at Lansmere?”

The Parson nodded, and there was a moment’s silence.

“Do you remember your battle by the Stocks, Mr. Leslie?” said Mr. Dale, with a good-humored laugh.

“Indeed, yes. By the way, now you speak of it, I met my old opponent in London the first year I went up to it.”

“You did! where?”

“At a literary scamp’s—a cleverish man called Burley.”

“Burley! I have seen some burlesque verses in Greek by a Mr. Burley.”

“No doubt, the same person. He has disappeared—gone to the dogs, I dare say. Burlesque Greek is not a knowledge very much in power at present.”

“Well, but Leonard Fairfield?—you have seen him since?”


“Nor heard of him?”

“No!—have you?”

“Strange to say, not for a long time. But I have reason to believe that he must be doing well.”

“You surprise me! Why?”

“Because, two years ago, he sent for his mother. She went to him.”

“Is that all?”

“It is enough; for he would not have sent for her if he could not maintain her.”

Here the Hazeldeans entered, arm-in-arm, and the fat butler announced dinner.

The Squire was unusually taciturn—Mrs. Hazeldean thoughtful—Mrs. Dale languid, and headachy. The Parson, who seldom enjoyed the luxury of converse with a scholar, save when he quarreled with Dr. Riccabocca, was animated, by Randal’s repute for ability, into a great desire for argument.

“A glass of wine, Mr. Leslie. You were saying, before dinner, that burlesque Greek is not a knowledge very much in power at present. Pray, sir, what knowledge is in power?”

Randal (laconically).—“Practical knowledge.”

Parson.—“What of?”


Parson (candidly).—“Well, I suppose that is the most available sort of knowledge, in a worldly point of view. How does one learn it? Do books help?”

Randal.—“According as they are read, they help or injure.”

Parson.—“How should they be read in order to help?”

Randal.—“Read specially to apply to purposes that lead to power.”

Parson (very much struck with Randal’s pithy and Spartan logic).—“Upon my word, sir, you express yourself very well. I must own that I began these questions in the hope of differing from you; for I like an argument.”

“That he does,” growled the Squire; “the most contradictory creature!”

Parson.—“Argument is the salt of talk. But now I am afraid I must agree with you, which I was not at all prepared for.”

Randal bowed, and answered—“No two men of our education can dispute upon the application of knowledge.”

Parson (pricking up his ears).—“Eh! what to?”

Randal.—“Power, of course.”[Pg 244]

Parson (overjoyed).—“Power!—the vulgarest application of it, or the loftiest? But you mean the loftiest?”

Randal (in his turn interested and interrogative).—“What do you call the loftiest, and what the vulgarest?”

Parson.—“The vulgarest, self-interest; the loftiest, beneficence.”

Randal suppressed the half disdainful smile that rose to his lip.

“You speak, sir, as a clergyman should do. I admire your sentiment, and adopt it; but I fear that the knowledge which aims only at beneficence very rarely in this world gets any power at all.”

Squire (seriously).—“That’s true: I never get my own way when I want to do a kindness, and Stirn always gets his when he insists on something diabolically brutal and harsh.”

Parson.—“Pray, Mr. Leslie, what does intellectual power refined to the utmost, but entirely stripped of beneficence, most resemble?”

Randal.—“Resemble?—I can hardly say, some very great man—almost any very great man—who has baffled all his foes, and attained all his ends.”

Parson.—“I doubt if any man has ever become very great who has not meant to be beneficent, though he might err in the means. Cæsar was naturally beneficent, and so was Alexander. But intellectual power refined to the utmost, and wholly void of beneficence, resembles only one being, and that, sir, is the Principle of Evil.”

Randal (startled).—“Do you mean the Devil?”

Parson.—“Yes, sir—the Devil; and even he, sir, did not succeed! Even he, sir, is what your great men would call a most decided failure.”

Mrs. Dale.—“My dear—my dear.”

Parson.—“Our religion proves it, my love; he was an angel, and he fell.”

There was a solemn pause. Randal was more impressed than he liked to own to himself. By this time the dinner was over, and the servants had retired. Harry glanced at Carry. Carry smoothed her gown and rose.

The gentlemen remained over their wine; and the Parson, satisfied with what he deemed a clencher upon his favorite subject of discussion, changed the subject to lighter topics, till happening to fall upon tithes, the Squire struck in, and by dint of loudness of voice, and truculence of brow, fairly overwhelmed both his guests, and proved to his own satisfaction that tithes were an unjust and unchristianlike usurpation on the part of the Church generally, and a most especial and iniquitous infliction upon the Hazeldean estates in particular.


On entering the drawing-room, Randal found the two ladies seated close together, in a position much more appropriate to the familiarity of their school-days than to the politeness of the friendship now existing between them. Mrs. Hazeldean’s hand hung affectionately over Carry’s shoulder, and both those fair English faces were bent over the same book. It was pretty to see these sober matrons, so different from each other in character and aspect, thus unconsciously restored to the intimacy of happy maiden youth by the golden link of some Magician from the still land of Truth or Fancy—brought together in heart, as each eye rested on the same thought;—closer and closer, as sympathy, lost in the actual world, grew out of that world which unites in one bond of feeling the readers of some gentle book.

“And what work interests you so much?” said Randal, pausing by the table.

“One you have read, of course,” replied Mrs Dale, putting a bookmark embroidered by her self into the page, and handing the volume to Randal. “It has made a great sensation, I believe.”

Randal glanced at the title of the work “True,” said he, “I have heard much of it in London, but I have not yet had time to read it.”

Mrs. Dale.—“I can lend it to you, if you like to look over it to-night, and you can leave it for me with Mrs. Hazeldean.”

Parson (approaching).—“Oh! that book!—yes, you must read it. I do not know a work more instructive.”

Randal.—“Instructive! Certainly I will read it then. But I thought it was a mere work of amusement—of fancy. It seems so, as I look over it.”

Parson.—“So is the Vicar of Wakefield; yet what book more instructive?”

Randal.—“I should not have said that of the Vicar of Wakefield. A pretty book enough, though the story is most improbable. But how is it instructive?”

Parson.—“By its results: it leaves us happier and better. What can any instruction do more? Some works instruct through the head, some through the heart; the last reach the widest circle, and often produce the most genial influence on the character. This book belongs to the last. You will grant my proposition when you have read it.”

Randal smiled and took the volume.

Mrs. Dale.—“Is the author known yet?”

Randal.—“I have heard it ascribed to many writers, but I believe no one has claimed it.”

Parson.—“I think it must have been written by my old college friend, Professor Moss, the naturalist; its descriptions of scenery are so accurate.”

Mrs. Dale.—“La, Charles, dear! that snuffy, tiresome, prosy professor? How can you talk such nonsense? I am sure the author must be young; there is so much freshness of feeling.”

Mrs. Hazeldean (positively).—“Yes, certainly young.”

Parson (no less positively).—“I should say just the contrary. Its tone is too serene, and[Pg 245] its style too simple for a young man. Besides, I don’t know any young man who would send me his book, and this book has been sent me—very handsomely bound too, you see. Depend upon it, Moss is the man—quite his turn of mind.”

Mrs. dale.—“You are too provoking, Charles dear! Mr. Moss is so remarkably plain, too.”

Randal.—“Must an author be handsome?”

Parson.—“Ha, ha! Answer that, if you can, Carry.”

Carry remained mute and disdainful.

Squire (with great naïveté).—“Well, I don’t think there’s much in the book, whoever wrote it; for I’ve read it myself, and understand every word of it.”

Mrs. dale.—“I don’t see why you should suppose it was written by a man at all. For my part, I think it must be a woman.”

Mrs. hazeldean.—“Yes, there’s a passage about maternal affection, which only a woman could have written.”

Parson.—“Pooh, pooh! I should like to see a woman who could have written that description of an August evening before a thunderstorm; every wildflower in the hedgerow exactly the flowers of August—every sign in the air exactly those of the month. Bless you! a woman would have filled the hedge with violets and cowslips. Nobody else but my friend Moss could have written that description.”

Squire.—“I don’t know; there’s a simile about the waste of corn-seed in hand-sowing, which makes me think he must be a farmer!”

Mrs. dale (scornfully).—“A farmer! In hob-nailed shoes, I suppose! I say it is a woman.”

Mrs. hazeldean.—“A woman, and a mother!”

Parson.—“A middle-aged man, and a naturalist.”

Squire.—“No, no, Parson; certainly a young man; for that love-scene puts me in mind of my own young days, when I would have given my ears to tell Harry how handsome I thought her; and all I could say was—‘Fine weather for the crops, Miss.’ Yes, a young man, and a farmer. I should not wonder if he had held the plow himself.”

Randal (who had been turning over the pages).—“This sketch of night in London comes from a man who has lived the life of cities, and looked at wealth with the eyes of poverty. Not bad! I will read the book.”

“Strange,” said the Parson, smiling, “that this little work should so have entered our minds, suggested to all of us different ideas, yet equally charmed all—given a new and fresh current to our dull country life—animated us as with the sight of a world in our breasts we had never seen before, save in dreams;—a little work like this, by a man we don’t know, and never may! Well, that knowledge is power, and a noble one!”

“A sort of power, certainly, sir,” said Randal, candidly; and that night, when Randal retired to his own room, he suspended his schemes and projects, and read, as he rarely did, without an object to gain by the reading.

The work surprised him by the pleasure it gave. Its charm lay in the writer’s calm enjoyment of the Beautiful. It seemed like some happy soul sunning itself in the light of its own thoughts. Its power was so tranquil and even, that it was only a critic who could perceive how much force and vigor were necessary to sustain the wing that floated aloft with so imperceptible an effort. There was no one faculty predominating tyrannically over the others; all seemed proportioned in the felicitous symmetry of a nature rounded, integral, and complete. And when the work was closed, it left behind it a tender warmth that played round the heart of the reader, and vivified feelings that seemed unknown before. Randal laid down the book softly; and for five minutes the ignoble and base purposes to which his own knowledge was applied, stood before him, naked and unmasked.

“Tut,” said he, wrenching himself violently away from the benign influence, “it was not to sympathize with Hector, but to conquer with Achilles, that Alexander of Macedon kept Homer under his pillow. Such would be the true use of books to him who has the practical world to subdue; let parsons and women construe it otherwise as they may?”

And the Principle of Evil descended again upon the intellect, from which the guide beneficence was gone.


Randal rose at the sound of the first breakfast bell, and on the staircase met Mrs. Hazeldean. He gave her back the book; and as he was about to speak, she beckoned to him to follow her into a little morning-room appropriated to herself. No boudoir of white and gold, with pictures by Watteau, but lined with large walnut-tree presses that held the old heir-loom linen strewed with lavender—stores for the housekeeper, and medicines for the poor.

Seating herself on a large chair in this sanctum, Mrs. Hazeldean looked formidably at home.

“Pray,” said the lady, coming at once to the point, with her usual straightforward candor, “what is all this you have been saying to my husband as to the possibility of Frank’s marrying a foreigner?”

Randal.—“Would you be as averse to such a notion as Mr. Hazeldean is?”

Mrs. hazeldean.—“You ask me a question, instead of answering mine.”

Randal was greatly put out in his fence by these rude thrusts. For indeed he had a double purpose to serve—first thoroughly to know if Frank’s marriage with a woman like Madame di Negra would irritate the Squire sufficiently to endanger the son’s inheritance; and, secondly, to prevent Mr. and Mrs. Hazeldean believing seriously that such a marriage was to be apprehended, lest they should prematurely address[Pg 246] Frank on the subject, and frustrate the marriage itself. Yet, withal, he must so express himself, that he could not be afterward accused by the parents of disguising matters. In his talk to the Squire the preceding day, he had gone a little too far—farther than he would have done but for his desire of escaping the cattle-shed and short-horns. While he mused, Mrs. Hazeldean observed him with her honest, sensible eyes and finally exclaimed—

“Out with it, Mr. Leslie!”

“Out with what, my dear madam? The Squire has sadly exaggerated the importance of what was said mainly in jest. But I will own to you plainly, that Frank has appeared to me a little smitten with a certain fair Italian.”

“Italian!” cried Mrs. Hazeldean. “Well, I said so from the first. Italian!—that’s all, is it?” and she smiled.

Randal was more and more perplexed. The pupil of his eye contracted, as it does when we retreat into ourselves, and think, watch, and keep guard.

“And perhaps,” resumed Mrs. Hazeldean, with a very sunny expression of countenance, “you have noticed this in Frank since he was here?”

“It is true,” murmured Randal; “but I think his heart or his fancy was touched even before.”

“Very natural,” said Mrs. Hazeldean. “How could he help it?—such a beautiful creature! Well, I must not ask you to tell Frank’s secrets; but I guess the object of attraction; and though she will have no fortune to speak of—and it is not such a match as he might form—still she is so amiable, and has been so well brought up, and is so little like one’s general notions of a Roman Catholic, that I think I could persuade Hazeldean into giving his consent.”

“Ah!” said Randal, drawing a long breath, and beginning with his practiced acuteness to detect Mrs. Hazeldean’s error, “I am very much relieved and rejoiced to hear this: and I may venture to give Frank some hope, if I find him disheartened and desponding, poor fellow!”

“I think you may,” replied Mrs. Hazeldean, laughing pleasantly. “But you should not have frightened poor William so, hinting that the lady knew very little English. She has an accent, to be sure; but she speaks our tongue very prettily. I always forget that she’s not English born! Ha, ha, poor William!”

Randal.—“Ha, ha!”

Mrs. hazeldean.—“We had once thought of another match for Frank—a girl of good English family.”

Randal.—“Miss Sticktorights?”

Mrs. hazeldean.—“No; that’s an old whim of Hazeldean’s. But he knows very well that the Sticktorights would never merge their property in ours. Bless you, it would be all off the moment they came to settlements, and had to give up the right of way. We thought of a very different match; but there’s no dictating to young hearts, Mr. Leslie.”

Randal.—“Indeed no, Mrs. Hazeldean. But since we now understand each other so well, excuse me if I suggest that you had better leave things to themselves, and not write to Frank on the subject. Young hearts, you know, are often stimulated by apparent difficulties, and grow cool when the obstacle vanishes.”

Mrs. hazeldean.—“Very possibly; it was not so with Hazeldean and me. But I shall not write to Frank on the subject, for a different reason—though I would consent to the match, and so would William, yet we both would rather, after all, that Frank married an Englishwoman, and a Protestant. We will not, therefore, do any thing to encourage the idea. But if Frank’s happiness becomes really at stake, then we will step in. In short, we would neither encourage nor oppose. You understand?”


“And, in the mean while, it is quite right that Frank should see the world, and try to distract his mind, or at least to know it. And I dare say it has been some thought of that kind which has prevented his coming here.”

Randal, dreading a further and plainer éclaircissement, now rose, and saying, “Pardon me, but I must hurry over breakfast, and be back in time to catch the coach”—offered his arm to his hostess, and led her into the breakfast-parlor. Devouring his meal, as if in great haste, he then mounted his horse, and, taking cordial leave of his entertainers, trotted briskly away.

All things favored his project—even chance had befriended him in Mrs. Hazeldean’s mistake. She had not unnaturally supposed Violante to have captivated Frank on his last visit to the Hall. Thus, while Randal had certified his own mind that nothing could more exasperate the Squire than an alliance with Madame di Negra, he could yet assure Frank that Mrs. Hazeldean was all on his side. And when the error was discovered, Mrs. Hazeldean would only have to blame herself for it. Still more successful had his diplomacy proved with the Riccaboccas; he had ascertained the secret he had come to discover; he should induce the Italian to remove to the neighborhood of London; and if Violante were the great heiress he suspected her to prove, whom else of her own age would she see but him? And the old Leslie domains—to be sold in two years—a portion of the dowry might purchase them! Flushed by the triumph of his craft, all former vacillations of conscience ceased. In high and fervent spirits he passed the Casino, the garden of which was solitary and deserted, reached his home, and, telling Oliver to be studious, and Juliet to be patient, walked thence to meet the coach and regain the capital.


Violante was seated in her own little room, and looking from the window on the terrace that stretched below. The day was warm for the time of year. The orange-trees had been removed under shelter for the approach of winter;[Pg 247] but where they had stood sate Mrs. Riccabocca at work. In the Belvidere, Riccabocca himself was conversing with his favorite servant. But the casements and the door of the Belvidere were open; and where they sate, both wife and daughter could see the Padrone leaning against the wall, with his arms folded, and his eyes fixed on the floor; while Jackeymo, with one finger on his master’s arm, was talking to him with visible earnestness. And the daughter from the window, and the wife from her work, directed tender, anxious eyes toward the still thoughtful form so dear to both. For the last day or two, Riccabocca had been peculiarly abstracted, even to gloom. Each felt there was something stirring at his heart—neither as yet knew what.

Violante’s room silently revealed the nature of the education by which her character had been formed. Save a sketch book which lay open on a desk at hand, and which showed talent exquisitely taught (for in this Riccabocca had been her teacher), there was nothing that spoke of the ordinary female accomplishments. No piano stood open, no harp occupied yon nook, which seemed made for one; no broidery frame, nor implements of work, betrayed the usual and graceful resources of a girl; but ranged on shelves against the wall were the best writers in English, Italian, and French; and these betokened an extent of reading, that he who wishes for a companion to his mind in the sweet company of woman, which softens and refines all it gives and takes in interchange, will never condemn as masculine. You had but to look into Violante’s face to see how noble was the intelligence that brought soul to those lovely features. Nothing hard, nothing dry and stern was there. Even as you detected knowledge, it was lost in the gentleness of grace. In fact, whatever she gained in the graver kinds of information, became transmuted, through her heart and her fancy, into spiritual golden stores. Give her some tedious and arid history, her imagination seized upon beauties other readers had passed by, and, like the eye of the artist, detected every where the Picturesque. Something in her mind seemed to reject all that was mean and common-place, and to bring out all that was rare and elevated in whatever it received. Living so apart from all companions of her age, she scarcely belonged to the Present time. She dwelt in the Past, as Sabrina in her crystal well. Images of chivalry—of the Beautiful and the Heroic—such as, in reading the silvery line of Tasso, rise before us, softening force and valor into love and song—haunted the reveries of the fair Italian maid.

Tell us not that the Past, examined by cold Philosophy, was no better and no loftier than the Present; it is not thus seen by pure and generous eyes. Let the Past perish, when it ceases to reflect on its magic mirror the beautiful Romance which is its noblest reality, though perchance but the shadow of Delusion.

Yet Violante was not merely the dreamer. In her, life was so puissant and rich, that action seemed necessary to its glorious development—action, but still in the woman’s sphere—action to bless and to refine and to exalt all around her, and to pour whatever else of ambition was left unsatisfied into sympathy with the aspirations of man. Despite her father’s fears of the bleak air of England, in that air she had strengthened the delicate health of her childhood. Her elastic step—her eyes full of sweetness and light—her bloom, at once soft and luxuriant—all spoke of the vital powers fit to sustain a mind of such exquisite mould, and the emotions of a heart that, once aroused, could ennoble the passions of the South with the purity and devotion of the North.

Solitude makes some natures more timid, some more bold. Violante was fearless. When she spoke, her eyes frankly met your own; and she was so ignorant of evil, that as yet she seemed nearly unacquainted with shame. From this courage, combined with affluence of idea, came a delightful flow of happy converse. Though possessing so imperfectly the accomplishments ordinarily taught to young women, and which may be cultured to the utmost, and yet leave the thoughts so barren, and the talk so vapid—she had that accomplishment which most pleases the taste, and commands the love of the man of talent; especially if his talent be not so actively employed as to make him desire only relaxation where he seeks companionship—the accomplishment of facility in intellectual interchange—the charm that clothes in musical words beautiful womanly ideas.

“I hear him sigh at this distance,” said Violante softly, as she still watched her father; “and methinks this is a new grief, and not for his country. He spoke twice yesterday of that dear English friend, and wished that he were here.”

As she said this, unconsciously the virgin blushed, her hands drooped on her knee, and she fell herself into thought as profound as her father’s, but less gloomy. From her arrival in England, Violante had been taught a grateful interest in the name of Harley L’Estrange. Her father, preserving a silence, that seemed disdain, of all his old Italian intimates, had been pleased to converse with open heart of the Englishman who had saved where countrymen had betrayed. He spoke of the soldier, then in the full bloom of youth, who, unconsoled by fame, had nursed the memory of some hidden sorrow amidst the pine-trees that cast their shadow over the sunny Italian lake; how Riccabocca, then honored and happy, had courted from his seclusion the English Signor, then the mourner and the voluntary exile; how they had grown friends amidst the landscapes in which her eyes had opened to the day; how Harley had vainly warned him from the rash schemes in which he had sought to reconstruct in an hour the ruins of weary ages; how, when abandoned, deserted, proscribed, pursued, he had fled for life—the infant Violante clasped to his bosom—the English soldier had[Pg 248] given him refuge, baffled the pursuers, armed his servants, accompanied the fugitive at night toward the defile in the Apennines, and, when the emissaries of a perfidious enemy, hot in the chase, came near, he said, “You have your child to save! Fly on! Another league, and you are beyond the borders. We will delay the foes with parley; they will not harm us.” And not till escape was gained did the father know that the English friend had delayed the foe, not by parley, but by the sword, holding the pass against numbers, with a breast as dauntless as Bayard’s in the immortal bridge.

And since then, the same Englishman had never ceased to vindicate his name, to urge his cause, and if hope yet remained of restoration to land and honors, it was in that untiring zeal.

Hence, naturally and insensibly this secluded and musing girl had associated all that she read in tales of romance and chivalry with the image of the brave and loyal stranger. He it was who animated her dreams of the Past, and seemed born to be, in the destined hour, the deliverer of the Future. Around this image grouped all the charms that the fancy of virgin woman can raise from the enchanted lore of old Heroic Fable. Once in her early girlhood, her father (to satisfy her curiosity, eager for general description) had drawn from memory a sketch of the features of the Englishman—drawn Harley, as he was in that first youth, flattered and idealized, no doubt, by art and by partial gratitude—but still resembling him as he was then; while the deep mournfulness of recent sorrow yet shadowed and concentrated all the varying expression of his countenance; and to look on him was to say—“So sad, yet so young!” Never did Violante pause to remember that the same years which ripened herself from infancy into woman, were passing less gently over that smooth cheek and dreamy brow—that the world might be altering the nature, as time did the aspect. To her, the hero of the Ideal remained immortal in bloom and youth. Bright illusion, common to us all, where Poetry once hallows the human form! Who ever thinks of Petrarch as the old time-worn man? Who does not see him as when he first gazed on Laura?—

“Ogni altra cosa ogni pensier va fore;
E sol ivi con voi rimansi Amore!”


And Violante, thus absorbed in reverie, forgot to keep watch on the Belvidere. And the Belvidere was now deserted. The wife, who had no other ideal to distract her thoughts, saw Riccabocca pass into the house.

The exile entered his daughter’s room, and she started to feel his hand upon her locks and his kiss upon her brow.

“My child!” cried Riccabocca, seating himself, “I have resolved to leave for a time this retreat, and to seek the neighborhood of London.”

“Ah, dear father, that then, was your thought? But what can be your reason? Do not turn away; you know how carefully I have obeyed your command and kept your secret. Ah, you will confide in me.”

“I do, indeed,” returned Riccabocca, with emotion. “I leave this place, in the fear lest my enemies discover me. I shall say to others that you are of an age to require teachers, not to be obtained here. But I should like none to know where we go.”

The Italian said these last words through his teeth, and hanging his head. He said them in shame.

“My mother—(so Violante always called Jemima)—my mother, you have spoken to her?”

“Not yet. There is the difficulty.”

“No difficulty, for she loves you so well,” replied Violante, with soft reproach. “Ah, why not also confide in her? Who so true? so good?”

“Good—I grant it!” exclaimed Riccabocca. “What then? ‘Da cattiva Donna guardati, ed alla buona non fidar niente,’ (from the bad woman, guard thyself; to the good woman, trust nothing). And if you must trust,” added the abominable man, “trust her with any thing but a secret!”

“Fie,” said Violante, with arch reproach, for she knew her father’s humors too well to interpret his horrible sentiments literally—“fie on your consistency, Padre carissimo. Do you not trust your secret to me?”

“You! A kitten is not a cat, and a girl is not a woman. Besides, the secret was already known to you, and I had no choice. Peace, Jemima will stay here for the present. See to what you wish to take with you; we shall leave to-night.”

Not waiting for an answer, Riccabocca hurried away, and with a firm step strode the terrace and approached his wife.

Anima mia,” said the pupil of Machiavel, disguising in the tenderest words the cruelest intentions—for one of his most cherished Italian proverbs was to the effect, that there is no getting on with a mule or a woman unless you coax them—“Anima mia—soul of my being—you have already seen that Violante mopes herself to death here.”

“She, poor child! Oh no!”

“She does, core of my heart, she does, and is as ignorant of music as I am of tent-stitch.”

“She sings beautifully.”

“Just as birds do, against all the rules, and in defiance of gamut. Therefore, to come to the point, O treasure of my soul! I am going to take her with me for a short time, perhaps to Cheltenham, or Brighton—we shall see.”

“All places with you are the same to me, Alphonso. When shall we go?”

We shall go to-night; but, terrible as it is to part from you—you—”

“Ah!” interrupted the wife, and covered her face with her hands.

Riccabocca, the wiliest and most relentless of men in his maxims, melted into absolute[Pg 249] uxorial imbecility at the sight of that mute distress. He put his arm round his wife’s waist, with genuine affection, and without a single proverb at his heart—“Carissima, do not grieve so; we shall be back soon, and traveling is expensive; rolling stones gather no moss, and there is so much to see to at home.”

Mrs. Riccabocca gently escaped from her husband’s arms. She withdrew her hands from her face, and brushed away the tears that stood in her eyes.

“Alphonso,” she said touchingly, “hear me! What you think good, that shall ever be good to me. But do not think that I grieve solely because of our parting. No; I grieve to think that, despite all these years in which I have been the partner of your hearth and slept on your breast—all these years in which I have had no thought but, however humbly, to do my duty to you and yours, and could have wished that you had read my heart, and seen there but yourself and your child—I grieve to think that you still deem me as unworthy your trust as when you stood by my side at the altar.”

“Trust!” repeated Riccabocca, startled and conscience-stricken; “why do you say ‘trust?’ In what have I distrusted you? I am sure,” he continued, with the artful volubility of guilt, “that I never doubted your fidelity—hook-nosed, long-visaged foreigner though I be; never pried into your letters; never inquired into your solitary walks; never heeded your flirtations with that good-looking Parson Dale; never kept the money; and never looked into the account-books!” Mrs. Riccabocca refused even a smile of contempt at these revolting evasions; nay, she seemed scarcely to hear them.

“Can you think,” she resumed, pressing her hand on her heart to still its struggles for relief in sobs—“can you think that I could have watched, and thought, and tasked my poor mind so constantly, to conjecture what might best soothe or please you, and not seen, long since, that you have secrets known to your daughter—your servant—not to me? Fear not—the secrets can not be evil, or you would not tell them to your innocent child. Besides, do I not know your nature? and do I not love you because I know it?—it is for something connected with these secrets that you leave your home. You think that I should be incautious—imprudent. You will not take me with you. Be it so. I go to prepare for your departure. Forgive me if I have displeased you, husband.”

Mrs. Riccabocca turned away; but a soft hand touched the Italian’s arm.

“O father, can you resist this? Trust her!—trust her! I am a woman like her! I answer for her woman’s faith. Be yourself—ever nobler than all others, my own father.”

Diavolo! Never one door shuts but another opens,” groaned Riccabocca. “Are you a fool, child? Don’t you see that it was for your sake only I feared—and would be cautious?”

“For mine! O then, do not make me deem myself mean, and the cause of meanness. For mine! Am I not your daughter—the descendant of men who never feared?”

Violante looked sublime while she spoke; and as she ended she led her father gently on toward the door, which his wife had now gained.

“Jemima—wife—mine!—pardon, pardon,” cried the Italian, whose heart had been yearning to repay such tenderness and devotion—“come back to my breast—it has been long closed—it shall be open to you now and forever.”

In another moment, the wife was in her right place—on her husband’s bosom; and Violante, beautiful peace-maker, stood smiling awhile at both, and then lifted her eyes gratefully to heaven, and stole away.


On Randal’s return to town, he heard mixed and contradictory rumors in the streets, and at the clubs, of the probable downfall of the Government at the approaching session of Parliament. These rumors had sprung up suddenly, as if in an hour. True that, for some time, the sagacious had shaken their heads and said, “Ministers could not last.” True that certain changes in policy, a year or two before, had divided the party on which the Government depended, and strengthened that which opposed it. But still its tenure in office had been so long, and there seemed so little power in the Opposition to form a cabinet of names familiar to official ears, that the general public had anticipated, at most, a few partial changes. Rumor now went far beyond this. Randal, whose whole prospects at present were but reflections from the greatness of his patron, was alarmed. He sought Egerton, but the minister was impenetrable, and seemed calm, confident, and imperturbed. Somewhat relieved, Randal then set himself to work to find a safe home for Riccabocca; for the greater need to succeed in obtaining fortune there, if he failed in getting it through Egerton. He found a quiet house, detached and secluded, in the neighborhood of Norwood. No vicinity more secure from espionage and remark. He wrote to Riccabocca, and communicated the address, adding fresh assurances of his own power to be of use. The next morning he was seated in his office, thinking very little of the details, that he mastered, however, with mechanical precision, when the minister who presided over that department of the public service sent for him into his private room, and begged him to take a letter to Egerton, with whom he wished to consult relative to a very important point to be decided in the cabinet that day. “I want you to take it,” said the minister smiling (the minister was a frank, homely man), “because you are in Mr. Egerton’s confidence, and he may give you some verbal message besides a written reply. Egerton is often over cautious and brief in the litera scripta.”

Randal went first to Egerton’s neighboring[Pg 250] office—he had not been there that day. He then took a cabriolet and drove to Grosvenor Square. A quiet-looking chariot was at the door. Mr. Egerton was at home; but the servant said, “Dr. F. is with him, sir; and perhaps he may not like to be disturbed.”

“What, is your master ill?”

“Not that I know of, sir. He never says he is ill. But he has looked poorly the last day or two.”

Randal hesitated a moment; but his commission might be important, and Egerton was a man who so held the maxim, that health and all else must give way to business, that he resolved to enter; and, unannounced, and unceremoniously, as was his wont, he opened the door of the library. He started as he did so. Audley Egerton was leaning back on the sofa, and the doctor, on his knees before him, was applying the stethoscope to his breast. Egerton’s eyes were partially closed as the door opened. But at the noise he sprang up, nearly oversetting the doctor. “Who’s that?—How dare you!” he exclaimed, in a voice of great anger. Then recognizing Randal, he changed color, bit his lip, and muttered drily, “I beg pardon for my abruptness; what do you want, Mr. Leslie?”

“This letter from Lord ——; I was told to deliver it immediately into your own hands; I beg pardon—”

“There is no cause,” said Egerton, coldly. “I have had a slight attack of bronchitis; and as Parliament meets so soon, I must take advice from my doctor, if I would be heard by the reporters. Lay the letter on the table, and be kind enough to wait for my reply.”

Randal withdrew. He had never seen a physician in that house before, and it seemed surprising that Egerton should even take a medical opinion upon a slight attack. While waiting in the ante-room there was a knock at the street door, and presently a gentleman, exceedingly well dressed, was shown in, and honored Randal with an easy and half familiar bow. Randal remembered to have met this personage at dinner, and at the house of a young nobleman of high fashion, but had not been introduced to him, and did not even know him by name. The visitor was better informed.

“Our friend Egerton is busy, I hear, Mr. Leslie,” said he, arranging the camelia in his button-hole.

“Our friend Egerton!” It must be a very great man to say, “Our friend Egerton.”

“He will not be engaged long, I dare say,” returned Randal, glancing his shrewd, inquiring eye over the stranger’s person.

“I trust not: my time is almost as precious as his own. I was not so fortunate as to be presented to you when we met at Lord Spendquick’s. Good fellow, Spendquick: and decidedly clever.”

Lord Spendquick was usually esteemed a gentleman without three ideas.

Randal smiled.

In the meanwhile the visitor had taken out a card from an embossed morocco case, and now presented it to Randal, who read thereon “Baron Levy, No —, Bruton-street.”

The name was not unknown to Randal. It was a name too often on the lips of men of fashion not to have reached the ears of an habitué of good society.

Mr. Levy had been a solicitor by profession. He had of late years relinquished his ostensible calling; and not long since, in consequence of some services toward the negotiation of a loan, had been created a baron by one of the German kings. The wealth of Mr. Levy was said to be only equaled by his good nature to all who were in want of a temporary loan, and with sound expectations of repaying it some day or other.

You seldom saw a finer-looking man than Baron Levy—about the same age as Egerton, but looking younger: so well preserved—such magnificent black whiskers—such superb teeth! Despite his name and his dark complexion, he did not, however, resemble a Jew—at least externally; and, in fact, he was not a Jew on the father’s side, but the natural son of a rich English grand seigneur, by a Hebrew lady of distinction—in the opera. After his birth, this lady had married a German trader of her own persuasion, and her husband had been prevailed upon, for the convenience of all parties, to adopt his wife’s son, and accord to him his own Hebrew name. Mr. Levy senior was soon left a widower, and then the real father, though never actually owning the boy, had shown him great attention—had him frequently at his house—initiated him betimes into his own high-born society, for which the boy showed great taste. But when my lord died, and left but a moderate legacy to the younger Levy, who was then about eighteen, that ambiguous person was articled to an attorney by his putative sire, who shortly afterward returned to his native land, and was buried at Prague, where his tombstone may yet be seen. Young Levy, however, continued to do very well without him. His real birth was generally known, and rather advantageous to him in a social point of view. His legacy enabled him to become a partner where he had been a clerk, and his practice became great among the fashionable classes of society. Indeed he was so useful, so pleasant, so much a man of the world, that he grew intimate with his clients—chiefly young men of rank; was on good terms with both Jew and Christian; and being neither one nor the other, resembled (to use Sheridan’s incomparable simile) the blank page between the Old and the New Testament.

Vulgar, some might call Mr. N. Levy, from his assurance, but it was not the vulgarity of a man accustomed to low and coarse society—rather the mauvais ton of a person not sure of his own position, but who has resolved to swagger into the best one he can get. When it is remembered that he had made his way in the world, and gleaned together an immense fortune, it is needless[Pg 251] to add that he was as sharp as a needle, and as hard as a flint. No man had had more friends, and no man had stuck by them more firmly—as long as there was a pound in their pockets!

Something of this character had Randal heard of the Baron, and he now gazed, first at his card, and then at him, with—admiration.

“I met a friend of yours at Borrowwell’s the other day,” resumed the Baron—“Young Hazeldean. Careful fellow—quite a man of the world.”

As this was last praise poor Frank deserved, Randal again smiled.

The Baron went on—“I hear, Mr. Leslie, that you have much influence over this same Hazeldean. His affairs are in a sad state. I should be very happy to be of use to him, as a relation of my friend Egerton’s; but he understands business so well that he despises my advice.”

“I am sure you do him injustice.”

“Injustice! I honor his caution. I say to every man, ‘Don’t come to me—I can get you money on much easier terms than any one else;’ and what’s the result? You come so often that you ruin yourself; whereas a regular usurer without conscience frightens you. ‘Cent. per cent.,’ you say; ‘oh, I must pull in.’ If you have influence over your friend, tell him to stick to his bill-brokers, and have nothing to do with Baron Levy.”

Here the minister’s bell rung, and Randal, looking through the window, saw Dr. F. walking to his carriage, which had made way for Baron Levy’s splendid cabriolet—a cabriolet in the most perfect taste—Baron’s coronet on the dark brown panels—horse black, with such action!—harness just relieved with plating. The servant now entered, and requested Randal to step in; and addressing the Baron, respectfully assured him that he would not be detained a minute.

“Leslie,” said the minister, sealing a note, “take this back to Lord ----, and say that I shall be with him in an hour.”

“No other message?—he seemed to expect one.”

“I dare say he did. Well, my letter is official, my message is not; beg him to see Mr. —— before we meet—he will understand—all rests upon that interview.”

Egerton then, extending the letter, resumed gravely, “Of course you will not mention to any one that Dr. F. was with me: the health of public men is not to be suspected. Hum—were you in your own room or the ante-room?”

“The ante-room, sir.”

Egerton’s brow contracted slightly.

“And Mr. Levy was there, eh?”

“Yes—the Baron.”

“Baron! true. Come to plague me about the Mexican loan, I suppose. I will keep you no longer.”

Randal, much meditating, left the house, and re-entered his hack cab. The Baron was admitted to the statesman’s presence.


Egerton had thrown himself at full length on the sofa, a position exceedingly rare with him; and about his whole air and manner, as Levy entered, there was something singularly different from that stateliness of port common to the austere legislator. The very tone of his voice was different. It was as if the statesman—the man of business—had vanished; it was rather the man of fashion and the idler, who, nodding languidly to his visitor, said, “Levy, what money can I have for a year?”

“The estate will bear very little more. My dear fellow, that last election was the very devil. You can not go on thus much longer.”

“My dear fellow!” Baron Levy hailed Audley Egerton as “my dear fellow.” And Audley Egerton, perhaps, saw nothing strange in the words, though his lip curled.

“I shall not want to go on thus much longer,” answered Egerton, as the curl on his lip changed to a gloomy smile. “The estate must, meanwhile, bear £5000 more.”

“A hard pull on it. You had really better sell.”

“I can not afford to sell at present. I can not afford men to say, ‘Audley Egerton is done up—his property is for sale.’”

“It is very sad when one thinks what a rich man you have been—and may be yet!”

“Be yet! How?”

Baron Levy glanced toward the thick mahogany doors—thick and impervious as should be the doors of statesmen. “Why, you know that, with three words from you, I could produce an effect upon the stocks of three nations, that might give us each a hundred thousand pounds. We would go shares.”

“Levy,” said Egerton coldly, though a deep blush overspread his face, “you are a scoundrel; that is your look out. I interfere with no man’s tastes and consciences. I don’t intend to be a scoundrel myself. I have told you that long ago.”

The Baron laughed, without evincing the least displeasure.

“Well,” said he, “you are neither wise nor complimentary; but you shall have the money. But yet, would it not be better,” added Levy, with emphasis, “to borrow it, without interest, of your friend L’Estrange?”

Egerton started as if stung.

“You mean to taunt me, sir!” he exclaimed passionately. “I accept pecuniary favors from Lord L’Estrange! I!”

“Tut, my dear Egerton, I dare say my Lord would not think so ill now of that little act in your life which—”

“Hold, hold!” exclaimed Egerton, writhing. “Hold!”

He stopped, and paced the room, muttering in broken sentences, “To blush before this man! Chastisement, chastisement!”

Levy gazed on him with hard and sinister eyes. The minister turned abruptly.

“Look you, Levy,” said he, with forced composure—“you[Pg 252] hate me—why, I know not. I have never injured you—never avenged the inexpiable wrong you did me.”

“Wrong!—you a man of the world! Wrong! Call it so if you will then,” he added shrinkingly, for Audley’s brow grew terrible. “But have I not atoned it? Would you ever have lived in this palace, and ruled this country as one of the most influential of its ministers, but for my management—my whispers to the wealthy Miss Leslie? Come, but for me what would you have been—perhaps a beggar?”

“What shall I be now if I live? Then I should not have been a beggar; poor perhaps in money, but rich—rich in all that now leaves my life bankrupt. Gold has not thriven with me; how should it. And this fortune—it has passed for the main part into your hands. Be patient, you will have it all ere long. But there is one man in the world who has loved me from a boy, and woe to you if ever he learn that he has the right to despise me!”

“Egerton, my good fellow,” said Levy, with great composure, “you need not threaten me, for what interest can I possibly have in tale-telling to Lord L’Estrange? As to hating you—pooh! You snub me in private, you cut me in public, you refuse to come to my dinners, you’ll not ask me to your own; still there is no man I like better, nor would more willingly serve. When do you want the £5000?”

“Perhaps in one month, perhaps not for three or four. Let it be ready when required.”

“Enough; depend on it. Have you any other commands?”


“I will take my leave, then. By the by, what do you suppose the Hazeldean rental is worth—net?”

“I don’t know nor care. You have no designs upon that, too?”

“Well, I like keeping up family connections. Mr. Frank seems a liberal young gentleman.”

Before Egerton could answer, the baron had glided to the door, and, nodding pleasantly, vanished with that nod.

Egerton remained standing on his solitary hearth. A drear, single man’s room it was, from wall to wall, despite its fretted ceilings and official pomp of Bramah escritoires and red boxes. Drear and cheerless—no trace of woman’s habitation—no vestige of intruding, happy children. There stood the austere man alone. And then with a deep sigh he muttered, “Thank heaven, not for long—it will not last long.”

Repeating those words, he mechanically locked up his papers, and pressed his hand to his heart for an instant, as if a spasm had shot through it.

“So—I must shun all emotion!” said he, shaking his head gently.

In five minutes more, Audley Egerton was in the streets, his mien erect, and his step firm as ever.

“That man is made of bronze,” said a leader of the Opposition to a friend as they rode past the minister. “What would I give for his nerves!”




[To the Editor of the London Keepsake:

Dear P.—Not having any thing of my own which I could contribute (as is my wish and duty) to this pious Adventure of yours, and not being able in these hot busy days to get any thing ready, I decide to offer you a bit of an Excerpt from that singular ‘Conspectus of England,’ lately written, not yet printed, by Professor Ezechiel Peasemeal, a distinguished American friend of mine. Dr. Peasemeal will excuse my printing it here. His ‘Conspectus,’ a work of some extent, has already been crowned by the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Bunkum, which includes, as you know, the chief thinkers of the New World and it will probably be printed entire in their ‘Transactions’ one day. Meanwhile let your readers have the first taste of it; and much good may it do them and you!”—T.C.]

Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the Infinite; we look, for moments, across the cloudy elements, into the eternal Sea of Light, when song leads and inspires us. Serious nations, all nations that can still listen to the mandate of nature, have prized song and music as the highest; as a vehicle for worship, for prophecy, and for whatsoever in them was divine. Their singer was a vates, admitted to the council of the universe, friend of the gods and choicest benefactor to man.

Reader, it was actually so in Greek, in Roman, in Moslem, Christian, most of all in Old-Hebrew times: and if you look how it now is, you will find a change that should astonish you. Good Heavens, from a Psalm of Asaph to a seat at the London Opera in the Haymarket, what a road have men traveled! The waste that is made in music is probably among the saddest of all our squanderings of God’s gifts. Music has, for a long time past, been avowedly mad, divorced from sense and fact; and runs about now as an open Bedlamite, for a good many generations back, bragging that she has nothing to do with sense and fact, but with fiction and delirium only; and stares with unaffected amazement, not able to suppress an elegant burst of witty laughter, at my suggesting the old fact to her.

Fact nevertheless it is, forgotten, and fallen ridiculous as it may be. Tyrtæus, who had a little music, did not sing Barbers of Seville, but the need of beating back one’s country’s enemies; a most true song, to which the hearts of men did burst responsive into fiery melody, followed by fiery strokes before long. Sophocles also sang, and showed in grand dramatic rhythm and melody, not a fable but a fact, the best he could interpret it: the judgments of Eternal Deity upon the erring sons of men. Æschylus, Sophocles, all noble poets were priests as well; and sang the truest (which was also the divinest) they had been privileged to discover here below. To “sing the praise of God,” that, you will find, if you can interpret old words, and see what new[Pg 253] things they mean, was always, and will always be, the business of the singer. He who forsakes that business, and, wasting our divinest gifts, sings the praise of Chaos, what shall we say of him?

David, king of Judah, a soul inspired by divine music and much other heroism, was wont to pour himself in song; he, with seer’s eye and heart, discerned the Godlike amid the Human; struck tones that were an echo of the sphere-harmonies, and are still felt to be such. Reader, art thou one of a thousand, able still to read a Psalm of David, and catch some echo of it through the old dim centuries; feeling far off, in thy own heart, what it once was to other hearts made as thine? To sing it attempt not, for it is impossible in this late time; only know that it once was sung. Then go to the Opera, and hear, with unspeakable reflections, what men now sing!

Of the Haymarket Opera my account, in fine, is this:—Lustres, candelebras, painting, gilding at discretion: a hall as of the Caliph Alraschid, or him that commanded the slaves of the Lamp; a hall as if fitted up by the genies, regardless of expense. Upholstery, and the outlay of human capital, could do no more. Artists, too, as they are called, have been got together from the ends of the world, regardless likewise of expense, to do dancing and singing, some of them even geniuses in their craft. One singer in particular, called Coletti or some such name, seemed to me, by the cast of his face, by the tones of his voice, by his general bearing, so far as I could read it, to be a man of deep and ardent sensibilities, of delicate intuitions, just sympathies; originally an almost poetic soul, or man of genius as we term it; stamped by Nature as capable of far other work than squalling here, like a blind Samson, to make the Philistines sport!

Nay, all of them had aptitudes, perhaps of a distinguished kind; and must, by their own and other people’s labor, have got a training equal or superior in toilsomeness, earnest assiduity, and patient travail, to what breeds men to the most arduous trades. I speak not of kings, grandees, or the like show-figures; but few soldiers, judges, men of letters, can have had such pains taken with them. The very ballet-girls, with their muslin saucers round them, were perhaps little short of miraculous; whirling and spinning there in strange mad vortexes, and then suddenly fixing themselves motionless, each upon her left or right great-toe, with the other leg stretched out at an angle of ninety degrees; as if you had suddenly pricked into the floor, by one of their points, a pair, or rather a multitudinous cohort, of mad restlessly jumping and clipping scissors, and so bidden them rest, with opened blades, and stand still, in the Devil’s name! A truly notable motion; marvelous, almost miraculous, were not the people there so used to it. Motion peculiar to the Opera; perhaps the ugliest, and surely one of the most difficult, ever taught a female creature in this world. Nature abhors it; but Art does at least admit it to border on the impossible. One little Cerito, or Taglioni the Second, that night when I was there, went bounding from the floor as if she had been made of indian-rubber, or filled with hydrogen gas, and inclined by positive levity to bolt through the ceiling: perhaps neither Semiramis nor Catharine the Second had bred herself so carefully.

Such talent, and such martyrdom of training, gathered from the four winds, was now here, to do its feat and be paid for it. Regardless of expense, indeed! The purse of Fortunatus seemed to have opened itself, and the divine art of Musical Sound and Rhythmic Motion was welcomed with an explosion of all the magnificences which the other arts, fine and coarse, could achieve. For you are to think of some Rossini or Bellini in the rear of it, too; to say nothing of the Stanfields, and hosts of scene-painters, machinists, engineers, enterprisers—fit to have taken Gibraltar, written the History of England, or reduced Ireland into Industrial Regiments, had they so set their minds to it!...

Alas, and all of these notable or noticeable human talents, and excellent perseverances and energies, backed by mountains of wealth, and led by the divine art of Music and Rhythm vouchsafed by Heaven to them and us, what was to be the issue here this evening? An hour’s amusement, not amusing either, but wearisome and dreary, to a high-dizened select Populace of male and female persons, who seemed to me not much worth amusing! Could any one have pealed into their hearts once, one true thought, and glimpse of self-vision: “High-dizened, most expensive persons, Aristocracy so-called, or Best of the World, beware, beware what proofs you give of betterness and bestness!” And then the salutary pang of conscience in reply: “A select Populace, with money in its purse, and drilled a little by the posture-maker: good Heavens! if that were what, here and every where in God’s Creation, I am? And a world all dying because I am, and shew myself to be, and to have long been, even that? John, the carriage, the carriage; swift! Let me go home in silence, to reflection, perhaps to sackcloth and ashes!” This, and not amusement, would have profited those high-dizened persons.

Amusement, at any rate, they did not get from Euterpe and Melpomene. These two Muses, sent for, regardless of expense, I could see, were but the vehicle of a kind of service which I judged to be Paphian rather. Young beauties of both sexes use their opera-glasses, you could notice, not entirely for looking at the stage. And it must be owned the light, in this explosion of all the upholsteries and the human fine arts and coarse, was magical; and made your fair one an Armida—if you liked her better so. Nay, certain old Improper-Females (of quality), in their rouge and jewels, even these looked some reminiscence of enchantment; and I saw this and the other lean domestic Dandy, with icy smile on his old worn face; this and the other Marquis Singedelomme, Prince Mahogany, or the like foreign Dignitary, tripping into the boxes of said females; grinning there awhile, with dyed mustaches and[Pg 254] macassar-oil graciosity, and then tripping out again: and, in fact, I perceived that Coletti and Cerito and the Rhythmic Arts were a mere accompaniment here.

Wonderful to see; and sad, if you had eyes! Do but think of it. Cleopatra threw pearls into her drink, in mere waste; which was reckoned foolish of her. But here had the Modern Aristocracy of men brought the divinest of its Arts, heavenly Music itself; and piling all the upholsteries and ingenuities that other human art could do, had lighted them into a bonfire to illuminate an hour’s flirtation of Singedelomme, Mahogany, and these Improper-Persons! Never in Nature had I seen such waste before. O Colletti, you whose inborn melody, once of kindred as I judged to ‘the Melodies eternal,’ might have valiantly weeded out this and the other false thing from the ways of men, and made a bit of God’s creation more melodious—they have purchased you away from that; chained you to the wheel of Prince Mahogany’s chariot, and here you make sport for a macassar Singedelomme and his Improper-Females past the prime of life! Wretched spiritual Nigger, oh, if you had some genius, and were not a born Nigger with mere appetite for pumpkin, should you have endured such a lot? I lament for you, beyond all other expenses. Other expenses are light; you are the Cleopatra’s pearl that should not have been flung into Mahogany’s claret-cup. And Rossini, too, and Mozart, and Bellini—Oh Heavens, when I think that Music too is condemned to be mad and to burn herself, to this end, on such a funeral pile—your celestial Opera-house grows dark and infernal to me! Behind its glitter stalks the shadow of Eternal Death; through it too I look not ‘up into the divine eye,’ as Richter has it, 'but down into the bottomless eyesocket—not up toward God, Heaven, and the Throne of Truth, but too truly down toward Falsity, Vacuity, and the dwelling-place of Everlasting Despair....

Good sirs, surely I by no means expect the Opera will abolish itself this year or the next. But if you ask me, Why heroes are not born now, why heroisms are not done now? I will answer you, It is a world all calculated for strangling of heroisms. At every ingress into life, the genius of the world lies in wait for heroisms, and by seduction or compulsion unweariedly does its utmost to pervert them or extinguish them. Yes; to its Hells of sweating tailors, distressed needle-women, and the like, this Opera of yours is the appropriate Heaven! Of a truth, if you will read a Psalm of Asaph till you understand it, and then come hither and hear the Rossini-and-Coletti Psalm, you will find the ages have altered a good deal....

Nor do I wish all men to become Psalmist Asaphs and fanatic Hebrews. Far other is my wish; far other, and wider, is now my notion of this Universe. Populations of stern faces, stern as any Hebrew, but capable withal of bursting into inextinguishable laughter on occasion;—do you understand that new and better form of character? Laughter also, if it come from the heart, is a heavenly thing. But, at least and lowest, I would have you a Population abhorring phantasms;—abhorring unveracity in all things; and in your ‘amusements,’ which are voluntary and not compulsory things, abhorring it most impatiently of all....


We gain the following glimpse of the manners of the upper classes in England, four hundred years ago, from the journal of Elizabeth Woodville, subsequently Lady Grey, and finally Queen of Edward IV. Royalty in petto seems to have taken, with a most refreshing cordiality, to the avocations of baking and brewing, pig-tending, poultry-feeding, and pony-catching.

Monday morning.—(Rose at 4 o’clock, and helped Catherine to milk the cows. Rachel, the dairy-maid, having scalded her hand in so bad a manner the night before; made a poultice, and gave Robin a penny to get something from the apothecary.

“6 o’clock.—The buttock of beef too much boiled, and beer a little stale; (mem) to talk to the cook about the first fault, and to mend the other myself by tapping a fresh barrel immediately.

“7 o’clock.—Went to walk with the lady my mother in the court-yard; fed 25 men and women: chid Roger severely for expressing some ill-will at attending us with some broken meat.

“8 o’clock.—Went into the paddock behind the house with my maid Dorothy; caught Thump, the little pony, myself; rode a matter of ten miles without saddle or bridle.

“10 o’clock.—Went to dinner. John Grey, a most comely youth; but what is that to me? a virtuous maid should be entirely under the direction of her parents. John ate but little, and stole a great many tender glances at me. Said women could never be handsome in his eyes, who were not good tempered. I hope my temper is not intolerable; nobody finds fault with it but Roger, and he is the most disorderly youth in our house. John Grey likes white teeth; my teeth are a pretty good color. I think my hair is as black as jet—tho’ I say it; and John Grey, if I mistake not, is of the same opinion.

“11 o’clock.—Rose from the table—the company all desirous of walking in the field. John Grey lifted me over every stile, and twice squeezed my hand with much vehemence. I can not say I should have much objection, for he plays at prison bar as well as any of the country gentlemen; is remarkably dutiful to his parents, my lord and lady, and never misses church on Sunday.

“3 o’clock.—Poor Farmer Robinson’s house burnt down by accidental fire. John Grey proposed a subscription among the company for the relief of the farmer, and gave no less than four pounds with this benevolent intent. (Mem) never saw him look so comely as at this moment.

“4 o’clock.—Went to prayers.

“6 o’clock.—Fed hogs and poultry.[Pg 255]



The arrival of M. Kossuth has been the chief event, so far as public interest is concerned, of the past month. The manifestations of popular regard and admiration of which he has been the object, have been most remarkable, and are entirely without example. That a foreigner, whose name, five years ago, was not known to a thousand people in the United States, and whose subsequent career has been upon a field so remote from general knowledge and interest as the plains of Hungary, should have aroused a degree of enthusiasm never equaled hitherto, is a phenomenon which finds its only explanation in his extraordinary ability, and the character of the heroic struggle in which he has been engaged. M. Kossuth and his suite arrived in the American steamer Humboldt, on the morning of Friday, December 4th. At the request of the Mayor of New York he remained for a day on Staten Island, at the residence of Dr. Doane, until the authorities of New York could prepare for his public reception in that city. He was immediately waited upon by numerous deputations, presenting addresses of congratulation and respect, to all of which he made pertinent replies. The citizens of Staten Island gave him a public reception on Friday, at which he spoke for half an hour;—he referred to the general objects of his visit to the United States, which were, to advance the interests of his own country; and repelled some of the slanders which have been put in circulation against him. On Saturday he entered the city of New York, amidst vast numbers of its people who had gathered to meet him, and whose enthusiasm exceeded all bounds. He made a brief address at Castle Garden, joined a great procession around the city, and reviewed the troops at the City Hall. His address was merely introductory to the purposes of his visit here. He expressed the warmest gratitude for the interference of the United States to release him from captivity, and for the reception with which he had been honored. He spoke of the condition of his country with the deepest feeling, and expressed a hope that the United States would extend their aid to prevent foreign powers from crushing Hungary. He said he desired some little time, not only to recruit his health, which had suffered somewhat from his voyage, but also to examine the ground upon which he must stand in his labors for his country.—The few days succeeding were passed in comparative retirement, though on every day numerous deputations from various parts of the country waited upon him to tender their congratulations, and to invite him to their respective sections.

On the evening of Thursday, the 12th ult., the Corporation of New York City entertained M. Kossuth at a splendid banquet, at which he made a very long and very able speech, explaining the purposes which had brought him to the United States, and the action which he desired should be taken by the people, and vindicating their propriety and necessity. He began by saying that Washington’s alleged policy of non-interference in European affairs was the greatest obstacle which he encountered to the prosecution of his plans. Supposing even that such a doctrine had been bequeathed by Washington, he insisted that it could not possibly be applicable to the present greatly-changed condition of the country. But Washington, in his judgment, had never recommended such a policy. He only recommended neutrality: and there was a great difference between these two ideas. Neutrality relates to a state of war between belligerent powers: and in such contentions Washington wisely advised his countrymen to maintain a position of neutrality. But non-interference relates to the sovereign right of nations to dispose of themselves; this right is a public law of nations—common to all, and, therefore, put under the common guarantee of all. This law the citizens of the United States must recognize, because their own independence rests upon it. And they could not, therefore, remain indifferent to its violation. Washington never advised such indifference, as his instructions to our Minister in France, and his correspondence, show. But even neutrality was recommended by Washington, not as a Constitutional principle, of permanent obligation, but only as a policy—suited to temporary exigencies—which pass away. Washington himself declared, that his motive was to enable the country to gain time, to settle and mature its institutions to that degree of strength and consistency which would give it the command of its own fortunes. And in a letter to Lafayette, he said, that twenty years of peace would bring the country to that degree of power and wealth which would enable it, in a just cause, to defy whatever power on earth. M. Kossuth then proceeded to show, that in the history of this country this policy had been steadily developed. He referred to the declaration of the Government that they would not permit the interference of European powers with the revolted Spanish Colonies. True, this doctrine was restricted to this Continent, because it was so distant from Europe, and because the Atlantic separated us from European nations. Both these objections have been superseded. Europe is now nearer to us than many parts of our own country: and the Atlantic now connects Europe and America, instead of separating them. Commercial interest required the United States to prevent the overgrowth of Absolutism in Europe, because that growth is, and must be hostile to intercourse with a republican country. If these absolutist powers, moreover should become victorious in Europe, and then united, they would aim a blow at Republicanism on this Continent. M. Kossuth proceeded to quote from Mr. Fillmore’s late Message the declaration, that the deep interest we feel in every struggle for liberty, “forbids that we should be indifferent to a case, in which the strong arm of a foreign power is invoked to stifle public sentiment, and repress the spirit of freedom in any country.” He quoted also similar declarations from Washington and from Mr. Webster, and claimed that he had thus fully established, on American authority, that all nations are bound to interfere to prevent any one nation from interfering in the concerns of any other. He then considered the objections that may be urged against carrying this principle into effect. The objection that it is not our business, was met by the denial of any nation to live only for itself: every nation is bound to obey the Divine injunction—“Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you.” The objection against such a step because it might lead to war, was answered by saying, that it would prevent war—that the union of the United States and of England, in a protest against the intervention of Russia in the affairs of Hungary, would be sufficient to stop it, and to prevent war. He wished, therefore, that the people of this country should adopt resolutions, requesting their Government to take such a step. He sketched briefly the history of the Hungarian struggle, and concluded by proposing three distinct measures which he desired[Pg 256] at the hands of the American people:—1st. A declaration, conjointly with England, against the interference of Russia in the affairs of Hungary; 2d. A declaration that the United States will maintain commerce with European nations, whether they are in a state of revolution or not; and 3d. That the people would recognize Hungary as an independent nation. These three steps, taken by the people and Government of the United States in concert with those of England, he was confident, would prevent Russian intervention, and enable Hungary to assert and maintain her position as one among the independent nations of the earth. He also appealed to the people for aid to Hungary, in gifts and loans of money. The speech was eminently argumentative and calm in its tone. It was heard with universal pleasure and admiration.

On the evening of Monday, Dec. 15th, the Members of the Press in the City of New York gave M. Kossuth a splendid banquet at the Astor House. The large hall was very elegantly decorated, and a company of nearly three hundred sat down at table. Mr. W. C. Bryant presided. Kossuth commenced his speech by speaking of the power of the Press, and its freedom in the United States—the only country, in his opinion, where that freedom was truly practical and useful to the great mass of the people. The devotion of this country to the cause of Education he regarded as its greatest glory. And he desired to appeal to the people, thus fitted by their education and their press to form an intelligent and correct judgment, on behalf of his country’s cause. He was proud to remember that he commenced his public career as a journalist; and he drew a graphic picture of the circumstances under which journalists in despotic countries, with fettered hands and a censor at their side, are compelled to perform their task. He then proceeded to correct some very remarkable misrepresentations of the Hungarian cause to which currency had been given. The United States had a national government, in spite of the great variety of languages spoken within their borders. Now, if the various races in the Union should refuse to receive the laws, the liberties, the protection, and the freedom of the general government, and sacrifice all these to language—each claiming to set up a government in which its own language should alone be used—we should have an example here of the manner in which the several races of Hungary had been excited to rebellion by the wiles of Austria. He dwelt at some length upon the superior numbers of those in Hungary speaking the Magyar tongue, over those speaking all others; and upon the Pansclavic league, which professed to seek to unite all speaking Sclavic in a common cause, but which was really a trick of despots to destroy their freedom. The Hungarian Diet had not abolished any other tongue; it had only replaced the dead Latin by a living language. It was, therefore, untrue that the Hungarians had struggled for the dominion of their own race; they struggled for civil, political, social, and religious freedom, common to all, against Austrian despotism: the ruling principle of the nation was, to have Republican institutions, founded on universal suffrage—so that the majority of the people shall rule in every respect and in all departments. This was the principle for which they would live, and for which they were willing to die. He entreated the aid of the United States in that great struggle. The speech was heard with interest, and was followed by speeches from a large number of gentlemen connected with the City Press.

The Thirty-second Congress met, in its first session, on the 1st of December. A caucus of the Democratic members met on the Saturday evening previous:—at this meeting a resolution pledging the party to sustain the Compromise measures was laid upon the table by a vote of 50 to 30—mainly on the ground that it was not a proper occasion for action upon that subject. On Monday morning, a caucus of Whig members was held, and a similar resolution was passed. In the House of Representatives, Hon. Linn Boyd of Kentucky was elected Speaker, and John W. Forney of Pennsylvania, Clerk.

A resolution, offered by Mr. Seward of New York, declaring that, on behalf of the People of the United States, Congress extended to Kossuth a welcome to the Capital and to the Country, was passed, there being six nays in the Senate and sixteen in the House of Representatives. Some little debate was had upon the subject in the Senate,—but none in the House.—Senator Foote, of Mississippi, offered a series of resolutions declaring the Compromise measures of 1850 a final settlement of the questions to which they relate. They were under discussion in the Senate when our Record closed.

The President’s Message was sent in on Tuesday. It presents in a clear and able manner the condition of the country, and the events of the past year. It congratulates Congress on the preservation of peace, and on the abatement of those sectional agitations which for a time threatened to disturb the harmony of the Union. A detailed narrative is given of the invasion of Cuba, and the events by which it was followed. The steamer Pampero, with about 400 men, left New Orleans for Cuba on the 3d of August, in spite of the precautions which had been taken to prevent it. The expedition was set on foot in palpable violation of the laws of the United States. The steamer landed those on board on the night of August 11th, at Playtas, twenty leagues from Havana, whence the main body of them marched to an inland village in the interior. The remainder were attacked on the 13th, by a body of Spanish troops, captured, taken to Havana and shot. The main body was dispersed August 24th, and their leader Lopez, executed on the 1st of September. Of those taken prisoners several were pardoned, and about 160 sent to Spain. The Government will spare no proper efforts to procure their release; but its purpose is proclaimed to enforce rigidly the laws which prevent its citizens from interfering with the concerns of foreign nations. No individuals, it is declared, have a right to hazard the peace of the country or to violate its laws, upon vague notions of altering or reforming governments in other states; but every independent nation, it is added, must be able to defend its possessions against unauthorized individuals banded together to attack them. The Government of the United States will rigidly adhere to, and enforce its policy of neutrality, which they were among the first to proclaim and establish. Friendly relations with all, but entangling alliances with none, is declared to be our policy. “Our true mission is not to propagate our opinions, or impose upon other countries our form of government, by artifice or force; but to teach by example, and show by our success, moderation, and justice, the blessings of self-government, and the advantages of free institutions. Let every people choose for itself, and make and alter its political institutions to suit its own condition and convenience. But, while we avow and maintain this neutral policy ourselves, we are anxious to see the same forbearance on the part of other nations whose forms of government are different from our own. The deep interest which we feel in the spread of liberal principles, and the establishment[Pg 257] of free governments, and the sympathy with which we witness every struggle against oppression, forbid that we should be indifferent to a case in which the strong arm of a foreign power is invoked to stifle public sentiment, and repress the spirit of freedom in any country.” The governments of France and Great Britain have issued orders to their commanders on the West India station to prevent, by force if necessary, the landing of invaders upon the coast of Cuba. Our government has taken proper precautions to prevent the execution of these orders from interfering with the maritime rights of the United States. The principle that in every regularly documented merchant vessel, the crew who navigate it, and those on board of it, will find their protection in the flag that is over them, will be rigidly enforced in all cases, and at all hazards. No American ship can be allowed to be visited and searched for the purpose of ascertaining the character of individuals on board, nor can there be allowed any watch by the vessels of any foreign nation over American vessels on the coasts of the United States or the seas adjacent thereto. The French government has given orders to its commanders to respect the flag of the United States wherever it might appear.—The outrages committed at New Orleans upon the Spanish Consul are recited and deeply deplored. The President considers the legislation of the country, for the protection or punishment of consuls, insufficient. The attention of Congress is asked to the question of reciprocal trade between Canada and the United States, and to the survey of the Oregon boundary. Louis Napoleon has accepted the post of arbiter in the dispute between Portugal and the United States, concerning the General Armstrong. The steps taken by Congress to procure the release of Kossuth are recited, and the President recommends to Congress to consider in what manner Governor Kossuth and his companions, brought hither by its authority, shall be received and treated.—It is hoped that the differences between France and the Sandwich Islands may be adjusted so as to secure the independence of those islands—which has been recognized by the United States, as well as by several European nations.—The disturbances in Mexico are deplored:—steps have been taken to prevent American citizens from aiding the rebellion in the northern departments. A convention has been entered into between Mexico and the United States, intended to impart a feeling of security to those citizens of the United States who have undertaken to construct a railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec;—it has not yet, however, been ratified by the Congress and Executive of that country. The only object which our government has had in view, has been the construction of a passage from ocean to ocean, the shortest and best for travelers and merchandise, and equally open to all the world. It has sought neither territorial acquisition, nor any advantages peculiar to itself. It will therefore continue to exert all proper efforts to secure the co-operation of Mexico.—The republic of Nicaragua has been so much disturbed by internal convulsions, that nothing can be done as yet toward disposing of the questions pending between the two countries.—Inter-oceanic communication from the mouth of the St. John to the Pacific has been so far accomplished that passengers and merchandise have been transported over it. A considerable part of the railroad across the isthmus has been completed. Peace has been concluded between the contending parties in the island of St. Domingo. The office of Commissioner to China is not yet filled:—a higher salary is asked for it.

The aggregate receipts of the last fiscal year amounted to $52,312,979:—the total expenditures $48,005,878. The total imports of the year were $215,725,995, of which $4,967,901 was in specie. The total exports were $217,517,130, of which $29,231,880 was in specie. Since the 1st of December 1850, the payments on account of the principal of the public debt have amounted to $7,501,456, which includes $3,242,400 paid to Mexico and $2,591,253 awarded to American citizens under the Mexican treaty. The public debt on the 20th of November, exclusive of stock authorized to be issued to Texas, was $62,560,395. The receipts for the next fiscal year are estimated at $51,800,000. The total expenditures for the next year are estimated at $42,892,299, of which $33,343,198 will be needed for the ordinary expenses of the government, and $9,549,101 for payments of the public debt and expenses consequent on our territorial acquisitions. The value of our exports is $43,648,322 more than it was the year before last, but this is owing mainly to the increased price of cotton. The value of our exports of bread stuffs and provisions has fallen from $68,701,921 in 1847, to $26,051,373 in 1850, and to $21,948,653 in 1851, with a strong probability of a still farther reduction in the current year. In the exports of rice and tobacco there has also been a large decrease. These facts are cited as showing the fallacy of expecting increased exports from a reduced tariff. The production of gold in California, it is feared, will tend to increase our imports beyond a healthy demand. We have exported specie during the year to the amount of $24,263,979 beyond our imports. Of the stock due to Texas only five millions have been issued. The President recommends a change in the Tariff so as to convert ad valorem into specific duties, wherever it is possible, and also to discriminate in favor of American industry. The cash sales of the public lands exceed those of the previous year. Proper steps have been taken for a survey of the mineral lands of California. The establishment of an agricultural bureau is recommended. The President also recommends appropriations for internal improvements, and the more effectual protection of our frontiers from Indian incursions. The expenditures of the War Department for the year were $9,060,268: the estimates for the next year are $7,898,775. The return of the Arctic Expedition is noticed: the estimates for the navy during the ensuing year are $5,856,472. The length of mail routes at the end of the year was 196,290 miles: the annual transportation thereon 53,273,252 miles: and the total cost $3,421,754. The length of the foreign mail routes is estimated at 18,349 miles; and the annual transportation thereon at 615,206 miles. The annual cost of this service is $1,472,187, of which $448,937 is paid by the Post Office Department, and $1,023,250 is paid through the Navy Department. The annual transportation within the United States (excluding the service in California and Oregon), exceeds that of the preceding year 6,162,855 miles, at an increased cost of $547,110. The whole number of post offices in the United States, on the 30th day of June last, was 19,796. There were 1,698 post offices established, and 256 discontinued, during the year. The gross revenues of the Department for the fiscal year, including the appropriations for the franked matter of Congress, of the Departments, and officers of Government, and excluding the foreign postages, collected for and payable to the British post office, amounted to $6,727,866.78. The expenditures for the same period amounted to $6,024,566.79; leaving a balance of revenue over the[Pg 258] proper expenditures of the year of $703,299.99. The receipts for postages during the year (excluding the foreign postages collected for and payable to the British post office) amounted to $6,345,747.21, being an increase of $997,610.79, or 18-65.100 percent over the like receipts for the preceding year. No reliable estimate can as yet be formed of the effect of the reduction of postage: it is believed, however, that the receipts will be diminished. The postmaster general recommends adherence to the present rates of letter postage, and advises against a further reduction until it shall be justified by the revenues of the Department. He recommends a revision of the rates of postage on printed matter. The President urges the appointment of a commission to revise the public statutes of the United States. Measures have been taken, pursuant to law, for the extension of the Capitol. It is deeply regretted that the execution of the fugitive slave law should have been resisted in one or two instances: the purpose of the President is reiterated to secure its enforcement. The Message recommends that the Compromise measures of 1850 be regarded as a final settlement of the questions to which they relate.

Reports from several of the Departments were submitted with the Message: but as all their material statements are embodied in that document, further reference to them is not essential. It was also accompanied by a voluminous diplomatic correspondence with the representatives of Spain, England and France, on topics connected with the invasion of Cuba. On being informed that the French and English naval forces had been directed to aid Spain in preventing by force the invasion of Cuba, the Secretary of State wrote to the French minister pointing out the injurious consequences that might result from such an interference in a matter with which they had no direct concern. The government of the United States had shown its willingness and determination to prevent such invasions, and no hostile expedition could be fitted out against that province formidable enough to create any alarm for the safety of Cuba. The position of Cuba, moreover, in the line of direct commerce with Europe, rendered such an interposition especially objectionable. The government of France and those of other European nations, were long since informed that the United States could not see that island transferred by Spain to any other European state with indifference: and such a protectorate as these orders to their squadron implied, might lead to results equally objectionable. All experience proves, it was added, that the rights, interest, and peace of the continents of Europe and America will be best preserved by the forbearance of each to interfere in the affairs of the other. The French minister in his reply acknowledged the perfect propriety of the attitude of the American government, and repudiated the thought that France entertained doubts of the disposition of the United States to prevent the invasion of Cuba from their shores. America, he says, is now closely connected with Europe by the interest of commerce, and the nations of the two continents are so dependent upon each other, that the effects of any event on one side are immediately felt on the other. Full explanations were offered to the Spanish government in regard to the insults to which the Spanish consul was subjected in New Orleans, and the liberation of the American prisoners in Cuba was strongly urged.

A sad accident occurred in New York city on the 27th of November. In a large public school, in the Ninth Ward, one of the teachers was seized with paralysis. The circumstance alarmed her pupils, and their screams created a sudden panic throughout all the school. Immense numbers rushed to the stairs the banisters of which gave way, and they fell one upon another, upon the stone floor below. Forty-three children were killed by this sad catastrophe. The Coroner’s Inquest discovered nothing except that the stairs were improperly and insecurely constructed.

In Mississippi the Constitutional Convention adjourned on the 17th November, after adopting resolutions declaring the acquiescence of the State in the Compromise and the Union, but declaring that it would secede in case Congress should repeal the Fugitive Slave law, or in any way interfere with slavery in the States. The same Convention adopted by a vote of 72 to 17, a resolution declaring that the asserted right of secession is utterly unsanctioned by the Constitution, and that it can not, in fact, take place without a subversion of the Union and a civil revolution.

Mr. John S. Thrasher, the American in Havana, to whose case we alluded in our last Monthly Record, has had his trial (if the process to which he was subjected deserves such a name), and has been sentenced to imprisonment for eight years on the coast of Africa. He was thrown into prison and kept there for some weeks, until the 15th of November, when he was tried before a court martial. He was not allowed counsel, no witnesses were examined, and the proceeding was wholly a farce. The charges against him were of the most puerile kind, and not the slightest proof of their truth was offered. Yet he was convicted, sentenced, and sent from Havana in a Spanish ship of war. He has published a brief appeal to the government and people of the United States, in which he sets forth the gross illegality of the whole proceeding.

The official returns of the State election in New York have just been declared as follows:

Judge of Court of AppealsJohnson(Dem.)201,1443,321 Maj.
Sec. of State.Randal(Dem.)199,426844 Maj.
Comptroller.Wright(Dem.)200,790258 Maj.
Cook(Whig)200,693228 Maj.
Canal Com.Wheaton(Dem.)200,234
Fitzhugh(Whig)201,147913 Maj.
State Engineer.McAlpine(Dem.)203,0323,728 Maj.
Ins. State Pris.Storms(Dem.)202,8014,223 Maj.

The aggregate vote in all the districts, for Senators and Members of Assembly, was as follows:

Whig ticket199,556199,367
Whig majority1442,197

From California we have news to the 1st of November. Over three millions of dollars in gold dust have been received during the month. The news is not of special interest. The success of the miners continued undiminished, and new deposits and veins of gold were discovered daily. From want of rain, however, washing the auriferous earth was attended with difficulty and delay. The capital has been removed back to San José. A Convention was held in the southern counties, on the 20th of October, to take steps for a division of the State. A declaration was adopted setting forth the reasons for this measure, which is ascribed mainly to the inequality of taxation, the distance of that section from the seat of government, and the inadequate protection[Pg 259] received from the State authorities. Nothing definite was accomplished at the Convention.—The Indians have again proved to be troublesome on the southern frontier. Great fears were entertained for the safety of a company of twenty-three U. S. troops on the Gila River.—An expedition of about 125 men sailed from San Francisco for the Sandwich Islands, on the last of October: its object is not stated, though significant hints are thrown out that it is political. It was to be followed by another soon.

From Santa Fé we have news of fresh excitements growing out of alleged discoveries of gold on the Gila. Numerous parties had been formed and were going thither for the purpose of digging. The Indians in the neighborhood were comparatively quiet. Several battles, between the different tribes had occurred in the southern part of the territory.

In Utah, among the Mormons, a spirit of resistance to the Government of the United States has been developed, and the Governor of the Territory, Brigham Young—one of the leading Mormons—has given indications of hostility, which will probably lead to his removal. We have not as yet received any definite details of the proceedings there.


Public attention in England has been mainly occupied with the movements and speeches of M. Kossuth. On the 10th of November he visited Birmingham, where he was received by an immense crowd of people, who evinced the utmost enthusiasm on his behalf. Without making any address at that time, he left for Manchester on the 11th, where he was also received with the greatest conceivable eclat. He made an address to the people in the Town Hall mainly upon the commercial and political aspects of the cause to which he was devoted. He felt that the great contest of the age is between absolutism, the power of the few, and the rights and well-being of the many. The decisive struggle is close at hand, as the signs of the times, visible on every side, sufficiently indicate. It was folly to say that the nations of Europe are contented, and that it is only a few ambitious and unprincipled individuals who are disturbing the existing tranquillity. The people of Europe would embrace the first opportunity to strike another blow for their rights. And the cause of Hungary, in this connection, was the cause of Europe, because Hungary from her local position must always form the only effectual bulwark against the despotism of Russia. England and the United States, he urged, were both deeply interested as free nations, and as guardians of the law of nations, to prevent Russia from again interfering to crush Hungary. He appealed to the people of Manchester upon this subject, mainly upon the ground, in addition to political considerations, that their trade would be greatly extended and all their interests benefited by the establishment of freedom in Europe. He closed by urging the aid of the people, in urging their government to act in the matter, and in contributions of money.

On the next day, Wednesday, M. Kossuth returned to Birmingham, where he made two addresses, the first at a dejeuner at the house of Mr. Henry, in which he took occasion to disavow, in the most explicit terms, all or any participation in the views and purposes of Socialists or Communists. The other was at the Musical Fund Hall, where a banquet had been prepared. He there commenced with a sketch of the Hungarian struggle, and especially of the circumstances attending her declaration of independence. He said he had from his earliest youth been familiar with British history, and filled with the free spirit of her institutions, and he had longed to secure for his own country some of the rights which had made England so glorious and so happy a country. He spoke warmly in praise of the industry of Birmingham, and passed to a consideration of the character, condition, and hopes of Hungary. Henceforth, he said, monarchical institutions were impossible there. The treacheries of the House of Hapsburgh, had alienated the hearts of Hungarians from royalty, and henceforth republicanism must form the basis of their political institutions. The contest in Europe was not now for any single nation, or for any isolated interest;—it was a contest between despotism and freedom, for the dominion of the world. He called upon the people of England to prevent Russia from interfering against the struggling people of Hungary.

In London, M. Kossuth received addresses from numerous deputations, to all which he replied with great felicity—aiming steadily at his great object of receiving sympathy and aid for Hungary—denouncing alike Radicalism, Socialism, and despotism, asserting the political rights and advocating the civil freedom of the people, and impressing upon the public mind the fact that the struggle is at hand, which must decide which of the two great principles, despotism or freedom, shall dominate in Europe for many years to come. He attended the Polish and Hungarian ball in London on the 13th, and on the 15th went to Southampton to embark for the United States. He was met by the Mayor and Corporation and entertained at a farewell banquet. He there made a speech of an hour’s length, in which he expressed his belief that England was the country which would have after all to decide the destinies of Europe. France was republican, and Russia must know, let it please her or not, that she must accept the necessity of fighting France on the field of Republicanism against Absolutism; but Russia must also learn that she would have to meet England and the force of her public opinion in opposition to despotism. He would not say that England would do so by going to war; but that she would exercise an influence of this kind by declaring her opinion against any interference in the domestic affairs of nations from foreign powers. Freedom and independence were but local self-government as opposed to centralization. He wished them to remember this, then they would see that the cause of Hungary was their cause too. His last request was, do not forget poor Hungary. On whatever question they met, let Englishmen, in their addresses to the House of Commons, in their petitions, and in their public resolutions, remember the cause of Hungary as involving their own interests. In the course of his speech he begged of them not to forget to agitate against secret diplomacy. It had been said that diplomacy should be kept secret, just as a merchant would keep his negotiations secret, till they were finished; but what merchant would allow business to be transacted in his counting-house the nature of which he did not know? In this case the people were the masters, and they should not allow any business to be conducted with the details of which they were not fully acquainted. The entertainment being over, M. Kossuth, Madame Kossuth, M. Pulzsky, and Madame Pulzsky, and suite, proceeded on board the American steamer Humboldt, which quickly started forth on her voyage across the Atlantic. Of his arrival and reception there we have already given an account.


The political intelligence from France is of decided interest and importance. The Assembly has met—the President has demanded the restoration of[Pg 260] universal suffrage, and the Assembly has refused to grant it. The appeal, of course, is to the people in the Presidential election of next May. What will be the result is, of course, matter of conjecture; but whatever it may be, it will exert a prodigious influence upon the politics of Europe.

The Assembly met on the 4th of November, six hundred and thirty-three members being present. On the next day the message of the President was sent in and read. It opens by proclaiming the continued preservation of peace, but utters warnings against being deceived by this apparent tranquillity. A vast demagogical conspiracy, the President says, has been organized in France and in Europe; secret societies have been formed extending their ramifications to the smallest communes; and all the most insensate and turbulent spirits, without being agreed on men or on things, have given themselves rendezvous for 1852. He relies on the patriotism of the Assembly to save France from these perils. The best means of doing this is by satisfying legitimate wants, and in putting down, on their first appearance, all attacks on religion, morality, and society.—The Message then proceeds, under different heads, to give a statement of the condition of the country. With the exception of the departments of Ardice, Cher, Nievre, and Lyons, the ordinary measures have been sufficient to preserve order. The receipts of taxes have been quite satisfactory. The progress of exportations continues unabated. Public roads and public buildings have received the attention of the government. Special care has also been given to the encouragement of agriculture. The superiority of French manufactures has been abundantly shown at the Great Exhibition in London. The number of common schools is 34,939; of girls’ schools 10,542.—The number of the land forces on the 1st of October was 387,519 men and 84,306 horses. If circumstances permit, this will be reduced to 377,130 men and 83,435 horses. Out of 1145 tribes in Algeria, 1100 have recognized the rule of France. Various important naval works have been constructed. The relations of France to foreign powers are eminently satisfactory. Her situation at Rome continues unchanged, and the Pope still shows constant solicitude for the happiness of France and the welfare of her soldiers. Important measures are in progress at Rome, and active exertions are making for the formation of an army, which will render possible the withdrawal of the troops from the States of the Church. A proof has been given of the friendly disposition of France toward Spain, by offering her the aid of the French naval forces to oppose the audacious attempt against the island of Cuba.—In spite of all these satisfactory results, the President says a general feeling of uneasiness is daily increasing. “Every where employment is falling off, wretchedness is increasing, and anti-social hopes gain courage in proportion as the public powers, now weakened, are approaching their termination.” The Government, in such a state of things, ought to seek out proper means of conjuring away the peril, and of assuring the best chances of safety. Resolutions must be adopted, which emanate from a decisive act of sovereign authority. “Well, then,” proceeds the President, “I have asked myself whether, in presence of the madness of passions, the confusion of doctrines, the division of parties, when every thing is leaguing together to deprive justice, morality, and authority of their last prestige—whether, I say, we ought to allow the only principle to be shaken which, in the midst of the general chaos, Providence has left upstanding as our rallying point? When universal suffrage has again upraised the social edifice, when it has substituted a right for a revolutionary act, ought its base to be any longer narrowed? When new powers shall come to preside over the destinies of the country, is it not to compromise their stability in advance to leave a pretext for discussing their origin or doubting their legitimacy? No doubt on the subject can be entertained; and without for a moment departing from the policy of order which I have always pursued, I have seen myself, to my deep regret, obliged to separate myself from a Ministry which possessed my full confidence and esteem, to choose another, composed also of honorable men, known for their conservative opinions, but who are willing to admit the necessity of re-establishing universal suffrage on the largest possible base. In consequence, there will be presented to you a bill to restore that principle in all its plenitude, in preserving such parts of the law of May 31 as free universal suffrage from its impure elements, and render its application more moral and more regular.” The law of May 31, he says, was originally passed as a measure of public safety, and of course now that the necessity for it has passed away, the law itself should be repealed. Its operation, moreover, has gone further than could have been foreseen. It has disfranchised three millions of electors, two-thirds of whom are peaceable inhabitants of the country. This immense exclusion has been made the basis and pretext of the anarchical party, which covers its detestable designs with the appearance of right torn from it, and requiring to be reconquered. The law also presents grave inconveniences, especially in its application to the election of a President. The constitution requires that two millions of votes should be given for the candidate before he is declared elected, and if no one receives that number then the Assembly shall elect. The law changes the proportion of votes from that originally established by the Constitution. The restoration of universal suffrage is urged, finally, on the ground that it will give an additional chance of securing the revision of the Constitution.—The President says he is aware that this proposition is inspired by his own personal interests, but he says his conduct for the last three years ought to be sufficient to put aside such an allegation. The good of his country will always be the motive of his conduct. He concludes by saying, that, “to restore universal suffrage is to deprive civil war of its flag, and the opposition of their last argument; it is to afford to France an opportunity of giving herself institutions which will insure her repose; it will be to bestow on the powers to come that moral repose which exists only when resting on a consecrated principle and an incontestable authority.” Immediately after the reading of the Message, the Minister read the project of a law proposing the abrogation of the law of May 31, 1850, and re-establishing the electoral law of March 15, 1849, by which all citizens 21 years old, and having resided six months in the commune, are declared electors. The Minister, on presenting this law, demanded urgency for its consideration. A warm debate followed, and the urgency was rejected by a large majority. The bill was then referred to a committee, which reported on Tuesday of the succeeding week. The report was very explicit against universal suffrage, and closed by advising that the bill be rejected at once, without passing even to second reading. The matter was then postponed until the following Thursday. On that day, after an animated debate, in which, by agreement, the Republicans were represented by M. Michel de Bourges, the motion was carried by a vote[Pg 261] of 355 to 348—a majority of seven against the government. During the debate M. de Bourges asked, “is it not probable that the disfranchised electors will present themselves at the hustings in May, 1852, and with the Message of the President in their hands, declare their determination to vote?” This has been regarded as a hint to the electors to go forward and claim their right to vote.—Another question of very great interest and importance, grew out of a demand of the Quæstors that the troops of the city should be put under their orders for the protection of the Assembly; the question whether the project should be brought under consideration or not, came up on the 10th of November. The project as presented by the Quæstors, M. Baze, Gen. Leflo, and one other, defined the right in such a manner as to make the power of the Assembly over the troops direct—without the intervention of the War Office or of the Executive. The question was discussed with great warmth, and for part of the time amidst the greatest confusion and clamor. The vote was finally taken, and the proposition of the Quæstors was rejected, 408 to 300.—A large number of officers of the army recently presented themselves at the Elyssée and were received by the President in a speech that created great excitement. He said he was sure he could depend upon their support, because he should demand nothing that did not accord with his right, recognized by the Constitution, with military honor, and with the interest of the country; because he had placed at their head officers who had his confidence, and who merited theirs; and because he should not do as other governments had done, ask them to march on and he would follow; but he would say, “I march, follow me.” The speech created great commotion throughout all political parties.—General uneasiness is felt as to the result of the political struggle in France. The votes upon the propositions mentioned above were not party votes, but seemed to be the result of ever changing alliances and combinations. The hostility which burst out against the President upon the first publication of his Message, had in some degree subsided, or rather it had been directed against M. Thiers. It is universally felt that, whether peacefully solved or not, the election in May can not fail to have a most important influence upon European politics.

On the 25th of November, the President made a brief but significant speech, on distributing to the manufacturers the prizes they had won by the articles exhibited at the World’s Exhibition. After expressing his satisfaction at the proofs of French genius and skill which had been afforded at the Exhibition, he proceeded to speak of the check upon industry which the continued machinations of evil men in France could not fail to create. On the one hand France was disturbed by demagogical ideas, and on the other by monarchist hallucinations. The former disseminate every where error and falsehood. “Disquietude goes before them, and deception follows them, while the resources employed in repressing them are so much loss to the most pressing ameliorations and to the relief of misery. The schemes of monarchists impede all progress, all serious labor, for in place of an advance the country is forced to have recourse to a struggle. The efforts of both, however, will be in vain.” And the President exhorted the manufacturers to continue their labors. “Undertake them without fear, for they will prevent the want of occupation during the winter. Do not dread the future; tranquillity will be maintained, come what may. A Government which relies for support on the entire mass of the nation, which has no other motive of action than the public good, and which is animated by that ardent faith which is a sure guide even through a space in which there is no path traced, that Government, I say, will know how to fulfill its mission, for it has in it that right which comes from the people, and that force which comes from God.” This speech created a profound sensation, and elicited general discussion.—The Constitutionnel created a universal excitement by an article proclaiming the existence of a Monarchical conspiracy, and menacing that section of the Assembly with instant seizure and imprisonment upon the first movement toward the accomplishment of their plans. The editor, A. Granier de Cassagnac, was denounced in very violent terms by M. Creton, an Orleanist deputy, who was challenged therefor. He refused, however, to take any notice of it, when he was posted as a coward by Cassagnac.

Ernest, King of Hanover, died at his palace in Herrenhausen, on the 18th of November, at the age of 80, and after a reign of thirteen years. He was the fifth and last surviving son of George III., and was born at Kew, England, on the 5th of June, 1771. In 1790 he entered the army, and served in the European wars which followed. In 1799 he was created Duke of Cumberland, Earl of Armagh, and Duke of Teviotdale, with a Parliamentary grant of £12,000 per annum. He continued to live in England until the death of William IV., when he became King of Hanover. His reign has not been marked by any great events. He was always an ultra champion of privileged classes, and made himself very prominent in England as the enemy of Catholic emancipation, and reform measures of all sorts.

In Switzerland, the recent election has resulted in the return of nearly all the members of the present Federal Assembly, especially in the German Cantons. The radicals have a decided majority—contrary to the expectations that had been very generally entertained. The new Assembly was to meet on the 1st of December in order to elect the federal government.

The character of the justice administered in Austria is strongly illustrated by a notification in a Venice gazette. Count Agostino Guerrieri, of Verona, lately of the Austrian Hussars, was convicted of having received an anonymous letter from revolutionary parties, and of not giving it up to the authorities; the verdict against him was that he was guilty of high treason, and for this he was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in a fortress. Baron Lutti was convicted of having advised him to burn the letter, and for that offense he was sentenced to imprisonment for two years.

From Southern and Eastern Europe there is no news of special interest. In Austria financial necessities are creating general anxiety. The credit of the country does not prove sufficient to effect needed loans. General dissatisfaction, moreover, still prevails in Hungary, and many of the Hungarian regiments evince a disposition to take sides with their country rather than their employers.—In Italy the country is apparently quiet, but a very thorough and effective organization has been effected for a new revolutionary movement, whenever a proper opportunity shall be presented.—The peace of Europe is generally supposed to depend upon the French election in May next; but it is not easy to see by what result general peace can be preserved.[Pg 262]


The year comes round with such perfect uniformity that we find it hard to realize how there could ever have been any great difficulty in settling either its true boundaries or its internal divisions. Any body, it seems to us, could make an almanac, as far as the calendar is concerned. Such might be the first thought, even of persons who could not justly be charged with a lack of general intelligence. But let them think again, and they will rather find cause to wonder at the immense amount of observation involved in the process of gathering, age after age, the elements of a computation apparently so simple.

Had the seasons been so strikingly marked that the transition from one to the other had been instantaneous, or had the lesser sections of time been so contrived, in the Divine wisdom, as to be exact divisors of the greater, there would have been no difficulty whatever in the problem. But the Author of nature has not made it so easy for us. Twelve moons fall short of the year; thirteen exceed it. Any monthly division, therefore, founded on the revolutions of the satellite, must require, after the lapse of a few years, an addition, or a subtraction, of a certain period, to make the seasons come round again in harmony.

The first men, unquestionably, soon learned to note the general revolution by the return of the same seasons. The earliest agricultural operations would necessitate similar estimates, and thus a general notion of the year would be arrived at without an exact knowledge of the precise number of days contained. Hence, in all languages, some such idea has entered into the name. The year is that which comes, and comes again. In Greek (if our readers will pardon a little display of learning which we have picked up for the occasion) it is (ἔτι ἜΤΟΣ ἕτερος) another and yet another. In the Hebrew it is repetition. In our own, and the northern tongues generally, the word in all its forms (year, gear, jahr, jaar, &c.) ever denotes a course (currus) or circle.

Another mode was by rude astronomical observations, which must have been resorted to in the very earliest periods. For a good portion of the year, the sun was seen to come regularly north. Then he remained apparently stationary; and then, slowly turning, made his retreat again to the southern limit, there to perform the same movement—and so on without interruption or variation. Hence the word tropic, signifying the turning, and of which St. James makes so sublime and beautiful a use when he tells us (James i. 17) that the Unchangeable Spiritual Sun, or “Father of Lights,” has no parallax[6] and no “shadow of turning,” or tropical shadow, as it should be rendered, referring to the mode of determining the period of turning by the shortest shadow cast by a perpendicular object. Still all this was merely an approximation to the length of the year, but with errors which only repeated observations could correct. By taking, however, a large number of these self-repeating repeating phenomena for a divisor, and the whole number of carefully ascertained days for a dividend, the error in each case would be diminished in an inverse ratio; so that we should not wonder that the number of three hundred and sixty-five days was fixed upon at quite an early period.

[6] The word parallax, or “parallage,” here must refer to the sun’s declination north and south of the equator. We have no reason for supposing that the ideas connected with the term in modern astronomical science were at all known to the Apostle. It may, however, be taken generally, for any deviation from one unchangeable position, and, in such a sense, preserve all the beauty and sublimity of the metaphor.

Such estimates, too, were aided by collateral observations of the stars. Let any one look out upon the heavens some clear night at the commencement of the year, and he can not help being struck with the position as well as the brilliancy of certain constellations. Over head are the Pleiades, the lone Aldebaran, Perseus, and Capella. Coming up the eastern sky are Orion, Gemini, Sirius, the Lesser Dog. Descending in the western are Andromeda, Pegasus, Capricornus, the Southern Fish. While low down toward the setting horizon are the Harp, the Eagle, and the Swan. Two weeks later, at the same time in the evening, he will find them all farther westward. In a month the change will be still more marked. After three months, those that before were just rising are on the meridian, and those that were then on the meridian are now setting. In six months, an entirely new host of stars will adorn the firmament, and at the end of a year, all the same phenomena will be found to have come round again. Our minuteness of detail may seem like trifling in an age so scientific as this; but it is astonishing how much our science is the science of books, and how little, after all, especially in astronomy, there is of personal acquaintance with the objects whose laws we know so well in theory. How many understand thoroughly the doctrine of transits and parallaxes, and even the more difficult laws of celestial influences, as laid down in scientific treatises, and yet, to save their lives, could not tell us what stars are now overhead, or what planets are now visible in our nightly heavens. They have read of Jupiter, they know the dimensions of Jupiter, and have even calculated the movements of Jupiter, it may be, but Jupiter himself they never saw. They would be surprised, perhaps, to discover, by actual sight, how much, in respect to position and appearance, our wintry constellations differ from those that are visible in summer; although night after night, for years and years, the brilliant phenomena have been passing over their heads, and silently, yet most eloquently, inviting their observation. This should not be so. The names and locations of the stars should ever be a part of astronomical instruction. We should learn them, if only for their classical reminiscences—for the sublime pleasure of having such a theme for contemplation in our evening walks. How easy, in this way, to fill the heavens with life, when we are led to regard them no longer as an unmeaning collection of glittering points, or what is scarcely better, a mere diagram for the illustration of scientific abstractions, but stored with remembrances of the older days of our world—the old religion, the old mythology, the old philosophy pictured on the sky—the old heroes, and heroines, and heroic events, transferred to the stars, and still shining in immortal splendor above us.

But to return from our digression—any one may see how such an observation of the stars furnished a second mode of ascertaining the length of the year. The men of the olden time were driven to this earnest watching of the heavens by an interest, of which, in these days of almanacs, and clocks, and compasses[Pg 263] we can form but an inadequate conception. The period of the year was named after the principal star that rose just before, or set just after the sun. For example, when Sirius rose and set with or near the time of the sun, it was called the “dog days”—the only one of these old sidereal measures of time that has come down to us. Another season was under the sway of Orion. It was called the “stormy constellation,” and at its heliacal rising, or when, as Hesiod expresses it,

The gentle Pleiads, shunning his fierce pursuit,
Sank late in the Ocean wave—

then was the ship to be drawn up into the well-secured harbor, and the sailor for a season to shun the dangerous deep. In the same way the periods of different agricultural operations were assigned to different constellations—some to Arcturus, others to the humid Hyades, and others, again, to the Bull, who “opened the year with his golden horns.” From the observed fact of simultaneousness arose, also, the notion of some secret causative influence between the concurrent events. Hence those views of astrology, so early and so widely held among mankind, and which assigned to each event its celestial concomitants, and to each individual man his natal star. Exploded it may have been by the modern progress, but there was nevertheless at bottom an idea of more value than any science, however accurate, that does not give it the first and highest place. It was the thought of the absolute unity of nature, and of the unbroken relation of every part of the universe to every other part—in other words, the sublime idea which the oldest philosophy strove to express by that grand word, Kosmos.

The length of the year, as a whole number, was early known. It was some time, however, before the disturbance created by the fraction began to be distinctly perceived, and still longer before it was reduced to any thing like satisfactory measurement. In the division of the 365 days into monthly periods, lay at first the greatest difficulty. The lunar number was in general employed, not only as the nearest marked divisor, but because the new and full moons were so generally connected with religious festivals whether this arose from convenience of arrangement, or from the idea of some deep religious meaning symbolized by the ever dying and reviving phases of this mysterious planet. We can not, however, help being struck with the superior accuracy of the Jewish, when compared with the confusion and change that prevailed in the Greek and Roman calendar.

No reader of the Bible can avoid remarking its extreme particularity of date. The oldest and, on this account, the most striking instance is in the narration of the flood: “In the 600th year of Noah, in the second month, and on the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” And so also in respect to its close. There is the same particularity, too, in the date of the Passover, of the Exodus, of the arrival at Sinai, of various events in the wilderness, of the wars and settlement of Canaan, of the building and dedication of the temple, and of the messages of the later prophets. The first would seem to present the most unanswerable proof that the Jewish computation had been derived from an antediluvian science that must have been of a higher kind than we are generally disposed to acknowledge. With all their mathematics, and with some attainments in astronomy to which the Jew could make no pretension, the calendar of the Greeks presents the appearance of far more confusion. Herodotus, after saying that the Egyptians first found out the year, and divided it into twelve parts by means of the stars, praises their arrangement (which was probably the same with, or derived from, that of the Patriarchical times) as being much more easy and correct than the division of the Greeks. “The Egyptians,” he says, “divide the year into twelve months of thirty days each; and then, by adding five days to each year, they have a uniform revolution of time; whereas the Greeks, for the sake of adjusting the seasons accurately, add every third year an intercalary month” (Herod. ii. 4). By this, however, they seem only to have made “confusion worse confounded.” The great difficulty of the Greeks arose from the attempt to do what the wiser Egyptians and Hebrews seem to have abandoned—namely, to divide the year solely by lunar months. By arbitrary intercalations, it is true, they could bring the solar and lunar years to a tolerable agreement, but then, their effect was continually to change the places of the months relatively to the seasons. The periods of intercalation were at first every two years, then three, and lastly four, and eight. In the two latter they seem to have been governed by some respect to the quadrennial return of the great Olympic games, and the Olympiads corresponding thereto. The computation of the year was afterward brought to a still greater degree of accuracy by what was called the cycle of Melon, which, by embracing a period of nineteen years brought the times of the new and full moon to fall again, very nearly, on the same days of each month.

With the Romans it was still worse. Nothing shows how much better they understood fighting than astronomy, than the way they managed their year. Under Romulus it was said to have consisted of only ten months. It is not easy to see how this could be adjusted on any mode of computation, and yet the numerical names, some of which have come down to our own calendar, would seem to present some proof of it. The last month in the year is yet called December, or the Tenth. In the days of Numa it consisted of twelve lunar months, with a system of intercalation something like that of the Greeks. The two added months were January and February, which, in numerical order would have been Undecember, and Duodecember, or the Eleventh and Twelfth. The year, however, by the clumsiness of these methods, and by the whole matter being left in the hands of the Pontifices who seem to have had little science, and still less honesty, became turned so completely topsy-turvy, that instead of being put at the end, these two new months were finally arranged at the beginning. The first was called January from the great (some say the greatest) Latin deity, Janus, whose original name was Djanus or Di-annus, The God of the Year (similar to the Greek Kronos or Time), and who was most expressively represented with two faces, one ever looking back upon the past, and the other forward to the coming period.

In the hands of the Pontifices the Roman year had again been getting more and more out of order, until, in the days of Julius Cæsar, the first of January had retrograded nearly to the autumnal equinox. This very useful despot determined to take the matter in his own hands, and make a thorough reform; but, as a preliminary, was obliged to have an extraordinary year of 445 days, which was called the year of confusion. Before this, there had been, too, a continual neglect of the fraction of a day, although its existence seems to have been known at a much earlier period. Cæsar arranged the months as they now stand, and made provision for the fraction by ordering a day to be added to February every fourth year. This seemed to answer every purpose, until, after the lapse of more than fourteen centuries, it was found that the seasons[Pg 264] began to disagree with the almanac, and the religious festivals to fall somewhat out of place. The error was estimated to amount to eleven days; the correction of which was assumed by the Roman Pontifex, but with the aid of a science far more accurate than had been possessed by the Pontifices of the older time. The modes now adopted, for preserving accuracy in future, are known to most well-informed readers, so that we shall not dwell upon them farther than to say, that they consist generally in such omissions of the leap year, from time to time, as will correct the very small excess by which a quarter of a day exceeds the actual fraction of the tropical year.

“And God said—Let there be lights in the firmament of Heaven, and let them be for days, and for years, and for times, and for seasons.” It requires some thought before we can fully realize how much we are indebted, morally and mentally, as well as physically, to these time-measuring arrangements. We must place ourselves in the condition of the savage before we can know how much of our civilization comes from the almanac, or, in other words, our exact divisions of time aiding the idea and the memory—thus shaping our knowledge, or thinking, and even our emotions, so as to make them very different from what they might have been, had we not possessed these regulators of our inner as well as our outer man. How unlike, in all this, must be the life of the untaught children of the forest! Let us endeavor to fancy men living from age to age without any known length or divisions of the year—no lesser or greater periods to serve as landmarks, or, rather, sky-marks, in their history—and, therefore, without any possibility of really having any history. Summer and winter come and go, but to the savage all the future is a chaos, and all the past is

With the years beyond the flood,

unmarked by any intervals which may give it a hold upon the thoughts or the memory. The heavenly bodies make their monthly, and annual, and cyclical revolutions, but their eternal order finds no correspondence in his chaotic experience. The stars roll nightly over his head, but only to direct his steps in the wilderness, without shedding a ray of light upon the denser wilderness of his dark and sensual mind. The old man knows not how many years he has lived. He knows not the ages of his children. He has heard, indeed, of the acts of his fathers; but all are equally remote. They belong to the past, and the past is all alike—a dark back-ground of tradition, without any of that chronological perspective through which former ages look down upon us with an aspect as life-like and as truthful as the present. The phenomena of the physical world have been ever flitting like shadows before his sense, but the understanding has never connected them with their causes, never followed them to their sources, never seen in them any ground of coherence or relation, simply because time, the great connective medium of all inductive comparison, has been to him an undivided, unarranged, and, therefore, unremembered vacancy. Hence it is, he never truly learns to think, and, on this account, never makes progress—never rises of himself from that low animal state to which he may once have fallen, in his ever downward course from the primitive light and truth. Æschylus, in the Prometheus, makes such to have been the first condition of mankind. But, however false his theory in this respect—opposed as it is to the sure teachings of revelation—nothing can be truer to the life than the fancy picture he has given us—

No sure foreknowing sign had they of winter,
Nor of flowery spring, or summer with its fruits.
Unmarked the years rolled ever on; and hence
Seeing, they saw not; hearing, they heard in vain.
Like one wild dream their waste unmeasured life,
Until I taught them how to note the year
By signal stars, and gave them Memory,
The active mother of all human science.

The Pulpit and the Press—the past and the present, the rising and the waning power, would be to some minds the first idea suggested by such a collocation of terms. But we trust the time has not yet come for the actual verification of any such contrast. Far be it from us to underrate the value of the very instrument through which we seek to instruct and reform the public mind; but woe to the land and to the age in which such an antagonism shall ever be realized. The Press is man’s boasted means for enlightening the world. The Pulpit is Heaven’s ordinance; and sad will it be for the Church, and sadder still for the State, when any other power on earth challenges a superiority, either in rank or influence. The clergy can safely occupy no inferior place; and such is their position, unless they are ever in advance of the age, not in the common cant of a superficial doctrine of progress, but as champions of the eternal and immovable truths, while they are, at the same time, contending in all the fields, whether of theology, or science, or literature, or philosophy, in which there may be an enemy to be subdued, or a victory won for Christ. Such rank, we believe, may still be claimed for the Church. In former centuries she had neither antagonist nor rival. Now has she hosts of both. Yet are her servants still in the “fore-front of the hottest battle.” Philosophy and science are swelling loud and long the note of triumph, and yet it is still true, even in a period the most thoroughly secular the world has ever known since the days of the Apostles, that the highest efforts of mind are connected, as ever, with the domain of theology. Science, literature, and even politics, find their most profound interest for the human soul when the questions they raise lie nearest to her sacred confines, and connect themselves with that “faith which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” What true worth in any problem in philosophy, in any discovery in science, the moment it is once conclusively settled, beyond a peradventure, that man has no hereafter? What becomes of art, and poetry? What meaning in “progress,” and “ideas,” and the “rights of man?” But it is this dread though all-conservative idea of a hereafter, which it is the office of the Pulpit ever to keep before the human soul, not as a lifeless dogma for the understanding, but in all those stern relations to a higher positive law, which shall ever prevent its coalescing with a frivolous creed in theology, or any boasting philosophy of mere secular reform. In doing this, there is needed for the Pulpit, first of all, and above all, the most intense seriousness of spirit, secondly the most thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, and thirdly, learning, science, and philosophy, fully equal to any thing that may be brought to cope with it in its unyielding strife for the dominion of the world.

In urging this, however, we should never forget, that while the power of the periodical Press is often unduly enhanced by a falsely coloring medium of estimation, the glory and influence of the Pulpit are diminished by a similar cause. Apparent variety of topic, an apparent freshness in the mode of treatment, a skillful adaptation to the ever varying excitements of the hour, all aided by the ceaseless craving in the human soul for mere intellectual novelty, give to the one an appearance of superiority it does not really possess, while, in respect to the other, the necessary[Pg 265] repetition of the same great truths, from age to age, has produced just the contrary effect.

There is no way, therefore, in which we can better employ the imagination than in helping us to get away from such a false and blinding influence. How would the mightiest minds of the ancient world now estimate the two prime powers of which we are speaking. Let us imagine Cicero, or Aristotle, to be permitted to revisit the earth, and study its new modes of thought as they would strike them from their old and, therefore, unbiased point of observation. Lay before them all the wonders of the modern newspaper press. They would doubtless be startled with many things it would reveal to them in the discoveries of modern physical science. But take them in those wide fields of thought in which mere physical discovery avails not to give superiority, and we may well doubt whether they would yield to us that triumph we so loudly claim. There is nothing in any modern declamation on the rights of men, or rights of women, that would make Aristotle ashamed of his Politica. Cicero might hear discussed our closest questions of social casuistry, yet think as proudly of his Offices, and his Republic, as he ever did while a resident upon earth. No modern political correspondence would make him blush for his Letters to Brutus and to Atticus. The ablest leader in any of our daily journals, would not strike them as very superior, either in thought or style, to what might have been expected from a Pericles, a Cleon, an Isocrates, or a Sallust. Our profoundest arguments for and against foreign intervention might, perhaps, only remind him of the times when democratic Athens was so disinterestedly striving to extend her “liberal institutions,” and aristocratic Sparta, with just about equal honesty, was gathering the other Hellenic cities to a crusade in favor of a sound conservatism. Modern Europe, with its politics, would be only Greece on a larger scale; and our own boasts of universal annexation might only call up some sad reminiscences of the olden time, when “the masses” did their thinking through the sophist and the rhetorician, instead of the lecturer and the press.

But now let fancy change the scene from the reading room to the ministrations of the Christian temple. To present the contrast in its strongest light, let it be the humblest church, with the humblest worshipers, and the humblest preacher of our great city—some obscure corner which the literary and editorial lights of the age might regard as the last place in which there could be expected any thing original or profound. Yes—the poorest sermon of the poorest preacher in New York could hardly fail to strike the great Roman, and the greater Greek, with an awe which nothing of any other kind in the modern world could ever inspire. What wondrous truths are these, and whence came they! Whence this doctrine of eternal life, so far beyond what we ever dared to think—this preaching of “righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come,” so far transcending all the ancient moralists had ever taught! Whence these new and startling words, these superhuman ideas of grace, of prayer, of redemption, of a new and heavenly birth! And then again, the sublimity of that invocation—the heavenly thought, and heavenly harmony, of that song of praise and love! All is redolent of a philosophy to which our most rapt contemplations never ventured to ascend. Even the despised hymn-book may be soberly supposed to fill their souls with an admiration that Dryden and Shakspeare might fail to inspire. How transcendent the conceptions on every page! How far beyond all ancient or modern poetry that is alien to its spirit, or claims no kindred with its celestial origin. Here, indeed is progress. But we must close our sketch. Is the picture overdrawn? Or have we truthfully presented the highest although, in spirit, the least acknowledged aspect of the real superiority of the modern mind—even the humblest modern mind—over the proudest intellects of the ancient world?


Between Congress, Kossuth, and Christmas—an alliterative trio of topic—we hardly know where to find the handle of a single other moving hammer of gossip. The hunt for chit-chat is after all a very philosophical employ; and we do not know another colaborateur, in the whole editorial fraternity, who has smacked the turbulence of congressional debaters, the enthusiasm of the Hungarian Patrick Henry, and the cadeaux of our Noel, with more equanimity and composure than ourselves.

Our chair, as we have hinted, is an easy one; and throwing ourselves back into its luxurious embrace, we have raced through the swift paragraphs of morning journalism, or lingered, as is our wont, upon the piquancy of occasional romance, with all the gravity of a stoic, and all the glow of Epicurus. We are writing now, while the street and the salon are lighted up with the full flush of the Hungarian enthusiasm. It amounts to a frenzy; and may well give to the quiet observer a text on which to preach of our national characteristics.

And firstly, we are prone to enthusiastic outbursts, we love to admire with an ecstasy; and when we do admire, we have a pride to eclipse all rivals in our admiration. We doubt if ever at Pesth, in the best days that are gone, or that are to come, of Hungarian nationality, the chief of the nation could receive more hearty and zealous plaudits than have welcomed him upon our sunny Bay of New York. A fine person, an honest eye, and an eloquent tongue—pleading for liberty and against oppression—stir our street-folk—and we hope in Heaven may always stir them—to such enthusiasm as no Paris mob can match.

But, secondly—since we are speaking sermonwise—our enthusiasm is only too apt to fall away into reaction. We do not so much grow into a steady and healthful consciousness of what we count worthy, as we leap to the embrace of what wears the air of worthiness; and the very excess of our emotion is only too often followed by a lethargy, which is not so much the result of a changed opinion, as of a fatigue of sentiment. Whether this counter-action is to follow upon the enthusiasm that greets the great Guest, we dare not say. We hope—for the sake of Hungary, for the sake of Liberty, and for the sake of all that ennobles manhood—that it may not!

Thirdly, and finally, as sermonizers are wont to say, we are, at bottom, with all our exciting moments, and all our fevers of admiration, a very matter-of-fact people. We could honor Mr. Dickens with such adulation, and such attention as he never found at home; but when it came to the point of any definite action for the protection of his rights as an author, we said to Mr. Dickens, with our heart in his books, but with our hands away from our pockets, “we are our own law-makers, and must pay you only in—honor!”

How will our matter-of-fact tendencies answer to the calls of Kossuth? We are not advocates or partisans—least of all—in our Easy Chair: we only seek to chisel out of the rough block of every day[Pg 266] talk, that image of thought which gives it soul and intent.

That the enlarged ideas of Kossuth—independent of their eloquent exposition from his lips—will meet with the largest and profoundest sympathy from the whole American people, we can not have a doubt. Nor can we doubt that that sympathy will lend such material aid, as was never before lent to any cause, not our own. But the question arises, how far such sympathy and individual aid will help forward a poor, down-trodden, and distant nation, toward the vigor of health and power. Sympathies and favoring opinion may do much toward alleviating the pains of wounded hearts and pride; they may, by urgency of expression, spread, and new leaven the whole thought of the world; but he is a fast thinker who does not know that this must be the action of time.

We can not but believe that the strongest sympathy, and the most generous proffers of individual aid will, after all, help very little toward practical issues, in any new endeavor of Hungary to be itself again. Poor Poland is a mournful monument of the truth of what we say. How then is our great Guest to derive really tangible aid in the furtherance of what lies so near his heart?

We pose the question, not for political discussion, but as the question which is giving a slant to all the talk of the town. To break peace with Austria and with Russia, and openly to take ground, as a government, with the subdued Hungarians, is what very few presume to hint—much less to think soberly of. The great Hungarian, himself, would hardly seem to have entertained such a possibility. We suppose his efforts rather to be directed toward the enkindling of such a large love of liberty, and such international sympathy among all people who are really free, as shall make a giant league of opinion, whose thunders shall mutter their anathemas against oppression, in every parliament and every congress; and by congruity of action, as well as congruity of impulse, fix the bounds to oppression, and fright every tyrant from advance—if not from security.

In all this we only sketch the color of the Hungarian talk.

Winter gayeties, meantime, have taken up their march toward the fatigues of spring. Furs, and velvet mantillas float along the streets, as so many pleasant decoys to graver thought. The opera, they say, has held its old predominance, with a stronger lift than ever, in the fashion of the town. Poor Lola Montes, shadowed under the folds of the Hungarian banner, has hardly pointed the talk of an hour. We can not learn that any triumphal arch graced the entry of the Spanish Aspasia, or that her coming is celebrated in any more signal way, than by the uncorking of a few extra bottles of Bavarian beer. That many will see her if she dances, there can hardly be a doubt; but that many will boast the seeing her, is far more doubtful. We can wink at occasional lewdness at home, but when Europe sends us the queen of its lewdness to worship, we forswear the issue, and like Agamemnon at the sacrifice of Iphigenia—hide our faces in our mantles.

We observe that our usually staid friend M. Gaillardet, of the Courrier, records in one of his later letters, an interview with the witching Lola; and it would seem that he had been wrought upon to speak for her an apologetic word. With all respect, however, for the French Republican, we think it will need far more than his casual encouragement, to lift the Bavarian countess into the range of American esteem.

Speaking of the French Republic, we can not forbear putting in record a little episode of its nice care for itself. M. Dumas, the favorite dramatist, publishes a letter in one of the Paris journals, in way of consolation for the imprisoned editor of the Avenement.

“My dear Vacquerie,” he says, “while I am on the lookout for sundry notices of what may touch the honorable institution of our Press censorship, I send you this fact, which is worthy to stand beside the official condemnation of the verses of Victor Hugo. M. Guizard, the director in such matters, has refused me, personally, the request to reproduce my Chevalier de la Maison Rouge; and the reason is, that my poor play has contributed to the accession of the Republic!”

Ever yours,
A. Dumas.”

We are only surprised at the audacity of M. Dumas, in giving publicity to such a note.

As a curious and not unnatural issue, growing out of the free appropriation of Italian treasure, by the French Republicans of the last century, we notice the fact, that a certain Signor Braschi, whose father, or grandfather, was a near connection of Pope Pius VI., has recently laid claim to some of the most valuable pictures in the Louvre. It appears from his representations—supported by voluminous documentary evidence—that these objects pertained to a certain villa near Rome, occupied at the time of the French invasion by the Braschi family.

Signor Braschi, in quality of heir, now claims the spoils, including some of the most brilliant works of the Paris gallery. He avows his willingness, however, to waive his rights, in consideration of a few millions of francs, to be paid within the year. We have a fear that the only reparation the Republic will bestow, will be the offer of an airy apartment in the Maison des Fous.

Keeping to Paris gossip, for want of any thing special in that way belonging to our own capital, we find this little half-incident chronicled in the French papers.

Ladies, it is known (or if not known may hence forth be known) traffic in the funds at the Paris Exchange, in a way that would utterly amaze our princesses of the salon. You do not indeed see them upon the marble floor of the stately Bourse itself, but at the hour of “the board,” you are very sure to see a great many luxurious-looking little carriages drawn up in the neighborhood, and a great many ladies, at that special hour, are particularly zealous in their admiration of the old paintings which the dealers behind the Exchange, offer “at a bargain.” Very quick-running footmen are also stirring, and report sales and offers to their mistresses with most commendable activity.

Among these outsiders, some Paris romancist has remarked lately a very elegantly-dressed lady, who, three times a week, drew up her phaeton opposite the doors of the Vaudeville Theatre (which all habitués will remember, is just opposite the Bourse). Chance passers imagined her to be some actress of the boards, and gazed at her accordingly. But it was observed that an “agent de change” made repeated visits to her little phaeton, and at the closing of the board our lady disappeared down the Rue Vivienne.

Upon a certain day—no matter when—the bystanders were startled by piercing shrieks issuing from the phaeton of “my lady,” and all ran, to prevent as they supposed, some terrible crime. Sympathy proved vain; and to the inquiries of the police[Pg 267] the “man of business” only made phlegmatic reply, that the funds had fallen some ten per cent., and “my lady” was ruined.

Three days after, and the phaeton was a voiture de remise in the Rue Lepelletier. The coachman had negotiated the sale, but all tidings of “my lady” were lost.

Guinot, to whom we have been indebted again and again, has twisted out of his brain (we can not doubt it) this little happening of Paris life, which, if not true, is yet as characteristic of France as a revolution.

Two funerals, he says, on a certain day wended their course toward the cemetery of Père la Chaise. One bier bore the body of a man; the other, the body of a woman. The day was a sour November day—with the half-mist and half-frostiness that sometimes ushers in the Paris winter. The mourners were few—as mourners at Paris are generally few. Arrived within the gates, one cortège took the path leading to the right; the other turned to the left. The ceremonies being over, a single mourner only remained at each tomb.

At the grave of the lady lingered a man, apparently overcome with grief; at the grave of the man—a lady, who seemed equally overcome. Their adieus were lengthened at the graves until all the attendants had disappeared. By chance, the grief of the two parties seemed to show the same amount of persistent sorrow, and of lingering regard: thus it happened that in retracing their slow and saddened steps toward the main entrance, they met in the grand alley face to face. They exchanged a look of sorrow, and an exclamation of surprise.

“You, madame?”

Vous, monsieur?

“But this is very strange,” continued the gentleman, “is it not? We have met so rarely, since we broke our marriage contract ten years ago!”

“The chance which has led me here is a very sad one, monsieur,” and madame says it in very dolorous tones.

“It is as much for me; I have followed to the grave a person very dear to me.”

“Ah,” returns madame, “she is dead! I, too, have lost my dearest friend,” and she sobs.

“I beg you would accept, madame, my sincerest sympathy.”

“And you too, sir; believe me, my heart bleeds for you.”

Upon thus much of mournful interchange of grief, supervenes a silence—only broken by the low steps of the parties, and by occasional sobs of lament.

Guinot opens their conversation again thus:

Gentleman.—“Alas, existence seems to me very worthless—all is dark!”

Lady.—“Ah, what must it be for me, then?”

Gentleman.—“How can I ever replace her fondness?”

Lady.—“To whom can I confide my griefs?”

Gentleman.—“What home will now receive me?”

Lady.—“Upon whose arm can I lean?”

In such humor our racy feuilletonist traces their walk and conversation along the parterres of that Paris garden of death; at the gate he dismisses one of the two carriages which attend them; he crowns their mutual offices of consolation with a happy reunion—never to be broken—till one shall be again a mourner, and the other a tenant of the tomb.

Thus, says he, grief moralizes; and wise resolutions ride at an easy gallop, into broken hearts!

And thus, we say, French ingenuity makes every hearse the carrier of a romance; and seasons the deepest woe with the piquancy of an intrigue!

Yet another story is swimming in our ink-stand; and with a gracious lift of the pen we shall stretch it upon our sheet.

At Viterbo, which, as every one ought to know, lies within the Italian confines, lived once a poor peasant, with a poor, but pretty daughter, whose name was Marianne. She had not the silks of our ladies, or the refinements, so called, of fashion. She wore a rough peasant robe, and watched her father’s kids as they wandered upon the olive-shaded slopes of Viterbo.

At Viterbo lived a youth whose name was Carlo. Carlo was prone to ramble; and albeit of higher family than the peasant’s daughter, he saw and loved, and wooed and won the pretty Marianne. They were betrothed in the hearing only of the drowsy tinkle of the bells that hung upon the necks of the kids, over which Marianne was shepherdess. To marry they were afraid. He feared the anger of his father; and she feared to desert the cottage of her mother.

Carlo, swearing devotion, went away to Rome and became an advocate. The revolution stirred the stolid Romans, and Carlo enlisted under Garibaldi. After a series of fights and of escapes, Carlo found himself in five years from his parting with the pretty peasantess of Viterbo, a refugee, in the Café de France, which stands behind the Palais Royal at Paris. Lamenting over his broken fortunes, and mourning for his poor Italy, he sauntered, upon a certain day, into the Garden of Plants, upon the further side of the Seine. It is a place where the neighboring world go to breathe the air of woods, and to relieve the stifling atmosphere of the city, with the openness and freedom of Nature. (In parenthesis, let us ask, when shall New York civilization reach such a kind provision for life?)

Carlo wandered, dejected, sad, musing of bitterness, when his eye fell upon a face that seemed familiar. It was the face of a lady—in Parisian costume, with a Parisian air—but very like to the pretty peasantess of Viterbo. He followed her—met her—accosted her; there was no mistaking her frighted look of recognition. She was distant and cool—for the fates had bound her fortunes to those of a Parisian bourgeois, and she was the wife of the very respectable Monsieur Bovin. Carlo was neither cool nor distant: for grief had cast him down, and now first, hope blessed him with a shadow of the joys that were gone. Madame Bovin’s distance wore off under the impassioned addresses of the poor refugee, and again and again Carlo found his way to the Jardin des Plantes.

Finally (alas for Paris virtue!) the household of the respectable Monsieur Bovin, was, upon a certain morning, deserted; only a little note of poor French told the disconsolate husband, that the pretty Marianne could no longer subdue her new kindled love for her Italian home, and had gone back to the hills of Viterbo.

The sorrowing husband, though he could not purchase content, could yet purchase the services of the police. Through them, he tracked the runaway lovers to the borders of France. Thereafter the search was vain.

But, alas, for poor Carlo, he was recognized by the myrmidons of the powers that be, thrown into a dungeon, and report tells a story of his death.

As for the pretty peasant, Marianne, she wandered forlorn to her father’s home; but the father’s home was gone; and now, for menial hire—in her peasant dress (in place of the Paris robes) and with a saddened heart—she watches the kids, upon the olive-shaded slopes of Viterbo![Pg 268]


We are at the beginning of another year; a season in which all pause, and “take note of time”—time, the vehicle that carries every thing into nothing. “We talk,” says a quaint English author, “of spending our time, as if it were so much interest of a perpetual annuity; whereas, we are all living upon our capital; and he who wastes a single day, throws away that which can never be recalled or recovered:

‘Our moments fly apace,
Nor will our minutes stay;
Just like a flood our hasty days
Are sweeping us away!’”

It is well to think of these things, standing upon the verge of a new year. But let us not trouble the reader with a prolonged homily.

Every body will remember the missionary at one of the Cannibal Islands, who asked one of the natives if he had ever known a certain predecessor of his upon the island, who had labored in the moral vineyard there? “Yes, we know him well—we ate a part of him.” Now, the “piece of a cold missionary on the sideboard for a morning lunch,” of which the witty Sydney Smith made mention, is scarcely a less objectionable dish, on the score of the material, than the chief feature of a repast, held, according to a French journal, not a thousand miles from the Ascot race-course, in England:

“At the recent races at Ascot the famous horse Tiberius broke his leg, by bounding against one of the posts of the barrier, while preparing for the race. His owner, the Lord Millbank, lost ten thousand pounds in betting upon his noble steed, besides his value, and others also lost very heavily: the law, of course, being that all bets should be paid whether the failure to win came from the less speed or from accident.

“Three days afterward, Lord Millbank gave a very sumptuous dinner. The most distinguished of the English peerage were present, and the conviviality ran exceedingly high. Toward the close, the noble host rose in his place, and proposed an oblation to the health of the departed Tiberius.

“The toast was clamorously received, but the speaker remained standing with his glass in his hand.

“‘We drink to Tiberius,’ said Milord Millbank, when the shouts had subsided; ‘to Tiberius the most beautiful, the most admirable, the most spirited courser whose hoofs ever trod upon our glorious British turf!’

“Shouts again resounded to the roof in vehement peals.

“‘You know,’ continued his lordship, ‘the achievements of this horse. His deeds belong to history. Fame has taken charge of his glory. But it belongs to me, and to you, my lords and gentlemen, to do honor to his mortal remains! I wished that this lofty courser should have a burial worthy of his great, his immortal deservings. He has had it, my lords and gentlemen, he has had it! My cook has fitly prepared him, and you have feasted upon him to-day! Yes, my lords and gentlemen, this repast which you have relished so keenly—these dishes which awakened the so frequent inquiry, ‘What animal could be so delicious?’—that animal, my lords and gentlemen, was Tiberius! It is that noble courser whose mortal remains now repose in your stomachs! May your digestions be light!’

“At these words the enthusiasm concentrated for a moment—possibly with some vague thought of an immediate resurrection—but with a sudden outburst of ‘Hurrahs!’ the sentiment took the turn of sublimity, and another glowing bumper was sent to join the departed courser in his metempsychosis.”

The English papers sometimes get off telling jokes against their neighbors across the Channel, but seldom any thing better than this. Besides, how thoroughly French it is, both in the conception and execution! Its origin could never be mistaken.

We put on record, in these holiday-times of imbibition, these warning stanzas, to guard the reader alike against cause and effect:

“My head with ceaseless pain is torn,
Fast flow the tear-drops from my eye
I curse the day I e’er was born,
And wish to lay me down and die;
Bursts from my heart the frequent sigh,
It checks the utterance of my tongue;
But why complain of silence?—why,
When all I speak is rash and wrong?
“The untasted cup before me lies—
What care I for its sparkle now?
Before me other objects rise,
I know not why—I know not how.
My weary limbs beneath me bow.
All useless is my unstrung hand:
Why does this weight o’ershade my brow?
Why doth my every vein expand?
“What rends my head with racking pain?
Why through my heart do sorrows pass?
Why flow my tears like scalding rain?
Why look my eyes like molten brass?
And why from yonder brimming glass
Of wine untasted have I shrunk?
’Cause I can’t lift it—for, alas!
I’m so pre-pos-ter-ous-ly drunk!”

The vagaries of the insane are sometimes amusing to witness; and not unfrequently there is a “method in their madness” that would not be amiss in those who are on the outside of lunatic asylums. Many years ago in Philadelphia, a patient in the insane asylum of that city fancied himself to be the Redeemer of the world; and his talk and actions were always in keeping with the character, save that he exacted a rigid deference to his person and his divinely-derived power. But one day another patient arrived, whose idiosyncrasy it was, that he was the Supreme Being. A little while after his entrance into the institution, he met in one of the halls, as he was passing, the imagined representative of the Son; who, not liking his bearing, reminded him who he was: “Yes, you are the Son, but know from this time henceforth, that you have seen the Father, and must obey him!” “And strange enough,” said the keeper of the institution to the friend who gives us the particulars, “from that day forward, all power was given unto the latter; and at length the fancied Son’s ‘air-drawn’ vision melted away, and he left the establishment a perfectly sane man.”

Some twelve or fifteen years ago there was in the lunatic asylum at Worcester, Massachusetts, a kind of crazy David Crockett, who fancied that he could do any thing that could be done, and a little more. One day a good many visitors were walking slowly through the halls, examining them, and occasionally saying a word or two to the patients. After a very courteous reception of a gentleman, who mentioned that he had come from South Carolina, the crazy man interrupted him abruptly with:

“Have you felt any of my earthquakes down there lately?”[Pg 269]

One of the visitors replied: “No, we’ve had nothing of the kind, where I live.”

“I thought so! I knew it!” returned the patient, frowning. “I have an enemy. Ice! Ice! Why, I ordered one of my very best earthquakes for your part of the country! It was to have ripped up the earth, and sent the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico. Look here!” he continued, pointing to a crack in the plastering, “that’s one of my earthquakes! What do you think of that? I’ve got more orders for earthquakes than I can attend to in a year. I’ve got four coming off, up north this afternoon—two in Vermont!”

That was a good story that was told of an occurrence which took place in a stage-coach one morning many years ago in the western part of this State. A young, conceited fellow, who had been monopolizing almost all the conversation of the company, consisting of some sixteen passengers, had been narrating the wonderful exploits he had performed, the prodigies of valor of which he had been the hero, and the wonderful escapes of which he had been the subject. At least he related one adventure in which he was the principal actor, which was so perfectly astounding, that a low whistle of incredulity was a simultaneous demonstration on the part of the passengers. An old gentleman, with a solemn visage, and an ivory-headed cane, sitting in the back corner of the stage, here observed:

“That last adventure of yours, my young friend, is a very extraordinary one—very extraordinary. One could hardly believe it without having seen it. I didn’t see it; but I can relate a circumstance which happened in my family, and in which I was for a time deeply interested, which is almost as remarkable, and I believe quite as true. Will you hear it?”

“Certainly,” said our braggadocio; “I should be very glad to hear it.”

“Give it to us! give it to us!” echoed the whole company, getting an inkling, from the solemn phiz of the old gentleman, that something rich was in the wind.

“Well, sir,” continued the narrator, “the circumstance to which I alluded is this: My father had three children. He had an only brother, who had also three children. My grandfather had left to my father and my uncle a large estate, in the executorship of which a quarrel broke out, which grew more and more bitter, until at length the aid of the law was invoked, and many years of violent litigation ensued, during all which time the costs of the proceedings were gradually eating up the estate. My father and uncle saw this, and though bitter enemies, they had too much sense to bite each his own nose off. They were chivalrous and brave men, almost as much, probably, as yourself, sir (addressing the daring young gentleman aforesaid), and they determined to ‘fight it out among themselves,’ as the saying is, and thus keep the money in the family. Well, sir, my father made this proposition to my uncle; to wit: that the three sons of each, in the order of their age, should settle the disputed question on the field of honor; the majority of the survivors to decide the affirmative. It was readily acceded to. My eldest brother went out, on the appointed day, and at the first fire he fell dead upon the turf. My next eldest brother took his station at once, and at the second fire, shot my next eldest cousin through the lungs, and he never drew a whole breath afterward.”

Here the old gentleman’s emotion was so great that he paused a moment, as if to collect himself. Presently he proceeded:

“It now became my turn to take the stand; and upon me rested the hopes of my family. I can truly say, that it was not so much fear that made my hand tremble and my pistol to waver: it was the deep sense of responsibility that rested upon me. We took our places—a simultaneous discharge was a moment after heard—and, and——”

Here the narrator put his handkerchief to his face, and seemed to shake with irrepressible agitation.

“Well, sir,” exclaimed our young Munchausen who had listened to the narrative with almost breathless attention, “well, sir—well?—what was the result? How did it end?”

I was shot dead the first fire!” replied the old gentleman; “the property passed into the hands of my uncle and his family; and my surviving brother has been poor as a rat ever since!”

An uproarious laugh, that fairly shook the coach, told “Braggadocio” that he had been slightly “taken in and done for” after a manner entirely his own.

This anecdote will not be lost upon bored listeners to those who shoot with the long bow, or in other words, stretch a fact until they have made it as long as they want it. We have somewhere heard of a man at a dinner-party who was determined not to be outdone in this but too common species of archery. Some one present had been engaged in attracting the attention of the company to an account of a pike that he had caught the day before that weighed nineteen pounds! “Pooh!” exclaimed a gentleman sitting near him, “that is nothing to the one I caught last week, which weighed twenty-six pounds.” “Confound it!” whispered the first fisherman to his neighbor, “I wish I could catch my pike again; I’d add ten pounds to him directly!”

There is something more than mere good measures in the following lines. There is a satire upon Love and Mammon, when the deep affections of the heart reach a greater depth in the pocket:

“Dear friend, I’m glad to meet you here,
But scarce know what to say,
For such an angel I have seen
At your mamma’s to-day!
Of fairer form than Venus, when
She trod the Grecian shore;
And then such splendid hair and eyes
I never saw before.
“Her air and manners were divine,
Above all petty arts;
Oh, surely she was formed to reign
The peerless Queen of Hearts.
Dear Bob, we have been college friends,
And friendship’s still the same;
Now only tell me who she is—
Oblige me with her name.
“‘Fine hair and eyes!’—‘the Queen of Hearts!’
Who can she be?—oh, yes!
I know her now—why, Frederick, that’s
My sister’s governess!’
Your sister’s governess!!—Indeed
I thought it might be so;
She looks genteel—but still there is
About her something low!”

It is not a little amusing, or it would be if it were not rather a serious matter oftentimes, to hear a surgeon who loves his profession talk with another of the “splendid fungus” which he had recently removed, or the “beautiful case of amputation of both arms at the shoulder,” which he had just witnessed. A fair travesty of this is afforded in the letter purporting to come from an apothecary in the country to a friend in London, wherein, among other things, he wrote: “My patients are rather select than numerous,[Pg 270] but I think the red lamp and brass plate may attract a few. I had a glorious case of dislocation of the shoulder last week, and nearly pulled the fellow in half with the assistance of two or three bricklayers who were building next door. The other doctor tried first, and couldn’t reduce it, because he had no bricklayers at hand. This has got my name up, rather. They are terrible Goths down here though. You can scarcely conceive the extent of their ignorance. Not one in twenty can read or write; and so all my dispensing-labels which I tie on the bottles are quite thrown away. A small female toddled into the surgery the other day, and horrified me by drawling out:

“‘If you please, sir, mother’s took the lotion, and rubbed her leg with the mixture!’

“This might have been serious, for the lotion contained a trifle of poison; but Jack and I started off directly; and as it happened very luckily to be washing-day, we drenched the stupefied woman with soap-suds and pearl-ash, until every thing was thrown off from the stomach, including, I suspect, a quantity of the lining membrane. This taught me the lesson, that a medical man should always have his instruments in order; for if Jack had not borrowed my stomach-pump to squirt at the cats with, a good deal of bother might have been avoided. But he is a clever fellow at heart, and would do any thing for me. He quite lived on the ice during the frost, tripping every body up he came near; and whether he injured them seriously or not, I know the will was good, and was therefore much obliged to him!”

It would be a curious thing, if they could be traced out, to ascertain the origin of half the quaint old sayings and maxims that have come down to the present time from unknown generations. Who, for example, was “Dick,” who had the odd-looking “hat-band,” and who has so long been the synonym or representative of oddly-acting people? Who knows any thing authentic of the leanness of “Job’s turkey,” who has so many followers in the ranks of humanity? Scores of other sayings there are, concerning which the same, or similar questions might be asked. Who ever knew, until comparatively late years, what was the origin of the cautionary saying, “Mind your P’s and Q’s?” A modern antiquarian, however, has put the world right in relation to that saying: In ale-houses, in the olden time, when chalk “scores” were marked upon the wall, or behind the door of the tap-room, it was customary to put the initials “P” and “Q” at the head of every man’s account, to show the number of “pints” and “quarts” for which he was in arrears; and we may presume many a friendly rustic to have tapped his neighbor on the shoulder, when he was indulging too freely in his potations, and to have exclaimed, as he pointed to the chalk-score, “Mind your P’s and Q’s, man! mind your P’s and Q’s!” The same writer, from whom we glean this information, mentions an amusing anecdote in connection with it, which had its origin in London, at the time a “Learned Pig” was attracting the attention of half the town. A theatrical wag, who attended the porcine performances, maliciously set before the four-legged actor some peas—a temptation which the animal could not resist, and which immediately occasioned him to lose the “cue” given him by the showman. The pig-exhibitor remonstrated with the author of the mischief, on the unfairness of what he had done; to which he replied: “I only wanted to ascertain whether the pig knew his ‘peas’ from his ‘cues!’”

Sympathy, we find described on a slip in our “Drawer” to be “A sensibility of which its objects are oftentimes insensible.” It may be considered wrong to discourage a feeling of which there is no great superabundance is this selfish and hard-hearted world; but even of the little that exists, a portion is frequently thrown away; a fact sufficiently illustrated by two amusing instances, cited by the writer in question:

“A city damsel, whose ideas had been Arcadianized by the perusal of pastorals, having once made an excursion to a distance of twenty miles from London, wandered into the fields, in the hope of discovering a bonâ-fide live ‘shepherd.’ To her great delight, she at length encountered one, under a green hedge, with his dog by his side, his ‘crook’ in his hand, and his sheep round about him, just as if he were sitting to be modeled in China for a chimney-ornament. To be sure, he did not exhibit the blue jacket, jessamine vest, pink inexpressibles, and peach-colored stockings of those faithful portraitures. This was mortifying: still more so was it, that he was neither particularly young nor cleanly; but most of all, that he wanted the indispensable accompaniment of a pastoral reed, in order that he might beguile his solitude with the charms of music. Touched with pity at this privation, and lapsing unconsciously into poetical language, the damsel exclaimed:

“‘Ah, gentle shepherd! tell me, where’s your pipe?’

“‘I left it at home, miss,’ replied the clown, scratching his head, ‘cause I haint got no ‘baccy!’”

The “sentiment” was satisfied at once in this case, as it was in the other, which is thus presented:

“A benevolent committee-man of the Society for superseding the necessity of climbing chimney-sweep boys, seeing a sooty urchin weeping bitterly at the corner of a street, asked him the cause of his distress; to which the boy replied:

“‘Master has been using me shamefully: he has been letting Jim Hudson go up the chimney at Number Nine, when it was my turn. He said it was too high and too dangerous for me; but I’ll go up a chimney with Jim Hudson any day in the year; that’s what I will; and he knows it, and master knows it too!’”

Sympathy was rather thrown away in this case, that’s quite certain.

Winter is upon us; the biting winds rattle our window-shutters and howl down our chimneys. “Poor naked wretches” tremble in the fierce cold; and homeless, houseless women and children huddle in the alleys and hiding-places of the city. God help the poor! Now is the time to remember them. Let the rich recall “poor old Lear,” when deprived of his kingdom, and reduced to want, the cold rains beat pitilessly upon his white head, he was forced to exclaim, remembering what he might have done when he had the power, “We have ta’en too little care of this!” Let no disappointment, such as is most forcibly expressed in these lines, add an additional drop to the cup of bitterness which is commended to the lips of the poor of our city:

Rejoice! hope dawns upon the poor;
The rich man’s heard our prayer;
He’ll open wide the garner door,
And bid us come and share.
He feels the bread-seed was not given
Alone to swell his pride;
But that God sent it down from heaven,
For all the world beside.
Wail! wail! the rich man’s word has proved
A syren sound alone![Pg 271]
He looked upon the wealth he loved;
And then his heart was stone!
Oh, would the dull, insensate clod
Give forth its yearly store,
If our great Father and our God
Had thought not of the poor?

A story has been for many years current, that an eccentric gentleman, of some scientific aspirations, residing on Long Island, not a thousand miles from New York, once induced a thick-set and very green Hibernian to ascend a very remarkably high and spreading tree, near his residence, accompanied by a curious nondescript flying-machine, by the aid of which he was to soar off, and float very softly down upon the bosom of mother Earth! All being ready, the aeronaut started from a platform which had been built in the topmost branches. He “slode” over the branches, and then “toppled down headlong” to the ground, covered with the wrecks of his scientific master’s flying-machine, and making another wreck of himself. He “heard something drop,” and it was a foolish Irishman! When taken up, it was found that he had broken both his arms, a leg, dislocated a shoulder, and otherwise seriously injured himself. Being long ill, at his employer’s cost and charges, the “flying-machine,” so signally destroyed, was considered a “permanent investment.” This incident, which is really true, reminds us of the story of “The Flying Cobbler,” an old Irish story, of which we find a record preserved in “The Drawer:”

“When Felix showed himself on the top battlement of the tower from which he was to jump, opening and shutting a great pair of black wings that were fastened to his shoulders, every face in the great crowd was turned up to gaze at him. I thought myself that the tower never looked such a murdering height from the ground as when I looked at the poor devil standing on the tip-top stone, as unconcerned as an old cormorant on a rock, flapping his wings for a flight. At length, by his motions we saw that he was preparing to be off in earnest. The men held their breath hard, and the women began to tremble and cry; and then, all of a sudden, he made a jump off the battlement, and sailed away ‘most illigant.’ A wild shout of delight arose from the people, but before it had ceased the glory of poor Felix was ‘done up.’ After two or three flutters, his wings fell flat to his sides, his heels went up, and down he came tumbling like a wild-goose with a shot through his gizzard, plump to the ground! Every body thought that it was all over with him; but when we ran to pick him up, we found him lying on his back, not dead, but groaning most pitifully. We took him up as tenderly as we could, and carried him home, and laid him on his bed. When the doctor came he found that both his legs were smashed. Not a word nor a groan escaped him. After he came to his senses, he lay with his eyes open near an hour; and then, when the doctor was setting one of the broken bones, he tried to raise himself up in the bed, and with the fire dancing in his eyes, he said:

“‘Doctor, dear, how long will it be before I’m cured again?’

“‘Really,’ says the doctor, ‘I can’t possibly take upon me to say, precisely. ’Tis a bad case, and I don’t apprehend that you can be perfectly recovered under three months.’

“‘Three months! Oh the devil! what am I to do? Three months!—when I had just found it out!’

“‘Found what out, jewel?’ said his mother, who was sitting by his bedside.

“‘The cause of my failing to-day, mother. The wings were right, but I forgot one thing.’

“‘And what was that, Felix?’”

“‘The tail, mother! If I’d not forgot me tail, I could have flew to Ameriky and back again!’”

Now that what is called, or miscalled the “Code of Honor,” is falling into desuetude in regions of the country where it was once considered binding, the following laughable burlesque upon the manner in which modern duels are sometimes brought about, and conducted, will doubtless, as the newspapers say, be “read with interest:”

“William Singsmall, Esquire, thought proper to say something very severe about somebody abroad, when the expression was taken up by Mr. Flea, a friend of the insulted party, who happened to be within reach of William Singsmall, Esquire. Mr. Flea waited on Mr. Singsmall, who refused to retract. Ulterior measures were hinted at, and the following series of hostile notes and messages ensued:


“Sir: Understanding you have imputed cowardice to my friend William Singsmall, Esquire, I call on you either to retract, or refer me to a friend. As the matter presses, I beg, on the part of William Singsmall, Esquire, that you will answer this when I return from Paris, where I am going for three weeks.

“Yours obediently, Peter Skullthick.”

To James Flea, Esquire.”


Sir: I received your note, and went immediately into the country; but on my return to town you shall hear from me with the least possible delay.

“Yours obediently, James Flea.”


Sir: I have got your note, and will see about it.

“Yours obediently, Peter Skullthick.”


Sir: I have waited every day at the club, from ten in the morning until twelve at night, for the last month, hoping to hear from you.

“Yours obediently, James Flea.”


Sir: My object in writing to you was not on my own account, but on behalf of William Singsmall, Esquire, to whom you have most offensively imputed cowardice, and alleged that you threatened to cane him, while he was hidden in the larder of the club-house.”

“You will see that as a man of honor he must take some notice of this. I am going out of town for a few weeks, and as soon as convenient after my return shall be glad to hear from you.”

“Yours obediently, Peter Skullthick.”


Sir: I did go to the club-house with a cane under my coat, for the purpose of pitching into Singsmall. I had the solemn assurance of the porter that Singsmall had entered the club and had not left it; but on searching the house he was not to be found. I can only presume that your friend was under the sink or in the larder, and I therefore can not consider him entitled to any thing better than the severe drubbing I mean to inflict upon him whenever I shall be so fortunate as meet him.”

“Yours obediently, James Flea.”


Sir: I expected you would have referred me to a friend, and shall wait at the club until I hear from you again—unless I am called away by other engagements.”

“Yours obediently, Peter Skullthick.”

After this correspondence, Flea sent a friend to Skullthick, who declared he had no quarrel with any one, but only wished his friend Singsmall to have the opportunity of being shot through the body by Flea, whose friend insisted that he (Flea) should fight no one but him (Skullthick). Skullthick, on the contrary, had no quarrel with Flea; but although a married man, was ready to fight Flea’s friend, who threw himself into the hands of somebody else, who would have nothing to do with any of them. And there the matter ended![Pg 272]


Wesley and Methodism, by Isaac Taylor (published by Harper and Brothers), is one of the most characteristic productions of the author, and on account of its deep reflective spirit, its comprehensive breadth of view, its subtle analysis of psychological manifestations, its acute and independent criticisms of great popular movements, its unmistakable earnestness of tone, and its catholic freedom from sectarian limitations, may be regarded as possessing a greater significance than most of the theological publications of the day. Mr. Taylor’s favorite theme of discussion is the philosophical import of the historical developments of religion. Deeply imbued with the spirit of contemplation, he is not a dogmatist, nor a partisan. His own religious convictions are too prominent to allow any hesitation as to their character; but he has divested his mind, to a singular degree, of the influence of personal tendencies, in pronouncing judgment on the object of his investigations. He evidently intends to be impartial—and this is no slight praise—to obtain an uncolored view of the facts which he is considering, to do justice to every trait of excellence, wherever discovered, and to abstain from all indulgence of needless censure, even when compelled to express an unfavorable opinion.

In the present work Mr. Taylor discusses the origin, the progress, the actual condition, and the future application of Wesleyan Methodism, as an instrument, under Providence, for the spiritual elevation of mankind. Regarding Methodism as a divinely-appointed development of the Gospel, acknowledging the hand of God in its rise and progress, holding the character and labors of its early founders in affectionate veneration, and deeming it fraught with momentous ulterior consequences, although temporary in its import, he presents a series of consecutive sketches of its history, depicting the wonderful events which attended its energetic progress, analyzing the causes which impeded its universal triumph, and tracing the conditions of its wide success to the elementary principles in the religious nature of man.

The first, and by far the most interesting portion of the volume, is occupied with a description of the founders of Methodism, including the two Wesleys, John and Charles, Whitefield, Fletcher, Coke, and Lady Huntingdon. Without entering into the minute details of biography, which have been anticipated by Watson, Southey, and other writers, Mr. Taylor gives a discriminating critical estimate of the devoted apostles, to whose zeal and intrepidity England was indebted for the revival of the religious life, at a time when she had far lapsed from the warmth and vitality of spiritual Christianity. John Wesley, in the opinion of the author, has never been surpassed by any general, statesman, or churchman, in administrative skill—in the faculty of adapting himself to the circumstances of the moment, without compromise of his authority or personal dignity. For more than half a century he passed through the most difficult conjunctures with admirable success. His simplicity and integrity of purpose were in perfect harmony with the simplicity of his institution, enabling him to manage with ability what had been devised by skill.

Nor was his personal character less worthy of affection and homage. If he had moved in a private sphere, that of a parish priest for example, his flock would not have been able to find a single fault in their minister. The love and admiration of his intimate friends would only have been a more emphatic expression of the feeling of the little world whose happiness it was to live within sight and hearing of him. His personal virtue was not merely unblemished; it was luminously bright. His countenance shone with goodness, truth, purity, benevolence; a sanctity belonged to him, which was felt by every one in his presence, as if it were a power with which the atmosphere was fraught. It was Wesley’s virtue and piety that gave form and tone to his teaching, and his teaching has embodied itself in the Christian-like behavior of tens of thousands of his people on both sides the Atlantic.

Of Whitefield, Mr. Taylor remarks, that the secret of his power over the vast multitudes that he moulded like wax, was a vivid perception of the reality of spiritual things, and the concentrated force with which he brought them to bear on the conscience and imagination of his hearers. His singular gifts as a speaker rested on the conceptive faculty as related to those objects that are purely spiritual, both abstract and concrete; and with him this faculty had a compass, a depth, and an intensity of sensitiveness, never, perhaps, equaled. While he spoke the visible world seemed to melt away into thin mist, and the real, the eternal world to come out from among shadows, and stand forth in awful demonstration. This faculty was by no means that of the poet or the painter, which is sensuous in its material. If it had been of this sort, he would have left us monuments of his genius, like a Divina Commedia, or a Paradise Lost, or a series of Michael Angelo cartoons. The history of Whitefield’s ministry is simply this: The Gospel he proclaimed drew around him dense masses of men as soon as he commenced his course; it was the power of religious truth, not the preacher’s harmonious voice, not his graceful action, not his fire as an orator, that gained him power over congregations to the last.

In the remainder of the volume, Mr. Taylor considers the primary elements of Methodism, its relations to society, and its position in the future. These topics are discussed with sagacity, and with perfect candor, although not in a manner to command universal assent. Whatever opinion may be formed as to his conclusions, no one can doubt the suggestiveness of his comments, nor the earnestness of his inquiries. The style of this work, which we do not admire, betrays the same intellectual habits as the former treatises of the author. He writes like a man more addicted to reflection than to utterance. He simply records his own musings as they succeed each other in the solitude of the closet, without aiming, at the force, point, and effective brevity of expression, which is necessary to obtain a mastery over the minds of others. He seems to regard language as an aid to his own meditations, rather than a medium of intercourse with his fellow-men. His writings are far more like a monologue than an address. He aims to clear up his own convictions, to reduce them to order, and to give them an outward embodiment, by their visible expression, rather than to enforce them on the attention of his readers. Hence, he is often diffuse, even to languor; and nothing but the vigor of his thought could prevent a wearisome monotony.[Pg 273] No one, however, can call in question the originality and genuine earnestness of his speculations; and accordingly, it is impossible to follow their track, without a profound interest, in spite of the defects of his style.

Charles Scribner has published a new edition of Young’s Night Thoughts, edited by James Robert Boyd, with critical and explanatory notes, a memoir of the author, and an estimate of his writings. The editor has performed his task with evident industry and love of his author. His notes are generally brief, and well-adapted to their purpose. In some instances, they dwell on minute and comparatively unimportant points, which might safely be left to the sagacity of the reader. The edition, however, is designed as a text-book in schools, for the study of grammatical analysis and rhetorical criticism, and, in this respect, justifies an attention to trifling verbal difficulties, which would be out of place in a work prepared merely for the library of the adult. As a poet, Young can never become a general favorite. His day, we believe, is past. The prevailing taste demands a more genial, human, healthy expression of feeling—certainly, not of less religious fervor—but one breathing the spirit of serene trust, rather than of morbid gloom. Still, the lovers of his sombre meditations will find this edition convenient and ample.

Florence, by Eliza Buckminster Lee, is a story of singular sweetness and grace, recounting the history of a Parish Orphan, and filled with charming pictures of domestic life in the interior of New England. “A sketch of the Village in the last Century,” is added to the volume, presenting a succession of rural descriptions in a series of familiar letters. Mrs. Lee is distinguished as a writer, for her exquisite taste, her power of graphic portraiture, her love of home-scenes and incidents, and her deep vein of cordial, kindly feeling. These qualities run through the present little work with a mild, silvery brightness, which gives it an irresistible charm. (Published by Ticknor, Reed, and Fields.)

Under the title of Words in Earnest, a collection of valuable essays from the pens of several eminent clergymen, has been issued by E. H. Fletcher. The work includes two able discourses on “The Moral Influence of Cities,” and an essay on “The Theatre,” by Rev. W. W. Everts; an admirable appeal to the young men of cities on the importance of “Mental Improvement,” by Rev. J. W. Alexander; a sound and instructive article on “The Duties of Employers to the Employed,” by Rev. William Hague; an argumentative essay, maintaining the retributive character of “Punishment,” by Prof. Anderson; and an eloquent plea for “Children,” and for “The Sabbath,” by Rev. Geo. B. Cheever. The work abounds in salutary counsels, expressed with pungency and force.

The Captains of the Old World, by Henry William Herbert (published by Charles Scribner), is an original and erudite description of several of the chief battles recorded in ancient history, with an estimate of the character and position of the most celebrated commanders. Mr. Herbert is a decided adherent of the modern critical school of history, the principles of which have been applied to Roman antiquities with such admirable effect by the German Niebuhr and the English Arnold. He is no slavish copyist, however, of those authorities, nor of any others, however eminent. His work is the fruit of independent personal research and reflection. A classical scholar of rare attainments, familiar with the language and style of the ancient masters, fortified with learning which embraces a much wider sphere than the subject of the present inquiries, and endowed with an instinctive sagacity of no common order, Mr. Herbert is singularly qualified for the task he has attempted, and has performed it in a manner highly creditable to the soundness of his judgment and the depth of his researches. His comparison of the ancient strategy with the modern science of warfare is so clearly illustrated, and so forcibly reasoned, as to possess a profound interest not only for professional military men, but for all readers who delight in the removal of learned dust from the records of antiquity. He describes the battles which come under his consideration, not rhetorically, but with the paramount desire of accurate statement, though without the sacrifice of picturesque effect. In many cases, where the facts are covered with obscurity, and none but the most cautious inquirer can hope for the attainment of truth, Mr. Herbert displays a nice critical judgment in the sifting of evidence, never seduced into the love of paradox, and if compelled to have recourse to theories, always sustaining them by arguments that are no less powerful than ingenious.

His conclusions in regard to the character of several ancient heroes, differ from the prevailing opinions. His discussions on this point are among the most interesting portions of his volume. He thus summarily disposes of the hero of Marathon: “Much obloquy has been heaped on Athens on his account; much ink has been spilt, and much fine writing wasted thereanent, concerning the ingratitude of that state in particular, and of democracies in general.... But all the outcry in this cause is futile, unjust, and absurd. Miltiades was a successful and victorious soldier: he was rewarded according to the laws of his state to the utmost—he was the first man in Athens. He was a bad citizen, almost a traitor, and all the severity and disgrace of his punishment was remitted in memory of his great deeds past.... As a man, it must be said, he was flawed. Wholly unfitted to be a citizen of a free state, he might command others. But he could not command himself.”

Nor does the Great Alexander fare better at the hands of our merciless iconoclast: “If we consider calmly the atrocities committed by his orders and under his authority at Thebes, at Tyre, at Gaza, and the barbarous torments inflicted in cold-blooded policy, alike on the good and gallant Britis and on the brutal and blood-thirsty Bressos—if we remember the unrelenting, if not undeserved slaughter of the high-spirited and brave Parmenion, the ruthless slaughter of the hardy Klutos, who had saved his own life in the desperate melée of Issos—if we recount the woes inflicted on the brave population of a loyal country, fighting in defense of their own liberties, the fearful waste of blood in his reckless and fruitless battles, we shall have no reason to doubt the correctness of the verdict which condemns him as the rashest of conquerors, and the cruelest of all who have laid claim to the much-misapplied title of hero.”

We recommend this volume as an admirable specimen of the method of investigating history with the lights of modern criticism. If we can not accept all the author’s conclusions, we never cease to admire his frankness, candor, and manliness as a writer. His style is in perfect keeping with his subject, though occasionally careless, and now and then sliding into unauthorized expressions, which can not be excused on the ground of defective culture or taste.

Harper and Brothers have issued an edition of A Lady’s Voyage round the World, by the renowned female traveler, Ida Pfeiffer. The translation from the German by Mrs. Percy Sinnett is executed with spirit and with apparent fidelity. Ida[Pg 274] Pfeiffer was born with an innate passion for travel. From earliest childhood, her great longing was to see the world. The sight of a traveling carriage brought tears to her eyes. When a mere girl of ten or twelve, she devoured every book of travels on which she could lay her hands. Subsequently, she made numerous tours with her parents, and at a later period with her husband. Nothing could detain her at home, but the care of her children. When their education was completed, her youthful dreams and visions began to haunt her imagination. Distant lands and strange customs seemed to open upon her a new heaven and a new earth. Her age made it not inconvenient to travel alone. Defying danger and privation, she resumed her travels, and has since left scarce a spot of peculiar interest on the globe unvisited. In the volume now published, she describes a voyage to Brazil, with excursions into the interior, a voyage to Canton by way of Tahiti, a residence in China, Hindostan, Persia, Turkey, and other countries of most importance to the intelligent traveler. She possesses a happy talent of portraying incidents and facts in an agreeable manner. Her work is replete with valuable information, while its perpetual good humor, sagacious observation, and sound common sense, sustain an unflagging interest in its perusal.

Charles Scribner has published a beautiful edition of Ik. Marvel’s Reveries of a Bachelor, with several admirable illustrations by Darley. Welcome to our quaint, genial, “bachelor,” in his holiday costume, destined to shed a new gladness over the new year by his delicious whimsicalities, and his quaint, sparkling, mosaic of fun, frolic, and melting pathos! Welcome with his most fantastic dreams, so cheery and bright, in the midst of the bustling, heartless utilities of the day! We can recommend Ik. Marvel’s lifesome, soul-ful pages to all whose spirits are chafed with the wear and tear of this working-day world.

Aims and Obstacles, by G.P.R. James. Another production of the most indefatigable of English novelists, whose powers seem to have received a new impulse from his recent change of residence. The scene of this work is laid in England, and like all its predecessors, abounds in lively sketches of character, and charming descriptions of nature. For boldness of invention, variety of incident, and freshness of feeling, it is not surpassed by any recent production of its eminent author.

Norman Maurice, by W. Gilmore Simms, is the title of a new drama, which can not fail to add to the high literary reputation of its distinguished author. The materials are derived from American professional and political life; not a very promising source, one would suppose, for a work of art; but in the plastic hands of the present writer, they are wrought into a dramatic composition of admirable skill and thrilling interest. The plot is one of great simplicity. A noble-minded and brilliantly-gifted person becomes the object of jealousy and hatred to a crafty, unscrupulous villain. The drama consists in the development of his infernal machinations for the ruin of his enemy, and the ultimate triumph of the latter over his foul and cunning conspiracies. The denouement is effected by an heroic instance of self-devotion on the part of a woman, whose character exhibits a rare combination of feminine loveliness and strength. Mr. Simms has succeeded in portraying some of the darker passions of humanity with uncommon power. His language is terse and vigorous—intense, but not extravagant, and often marked by an idiomatic simplicity that reminds one of the golden age of dramatic writing. We rejoice to notice such an instance of decided success in a branch of literary creation where triumphs are so much less frequent than defeats. (Richmond. Published by John R. Thompson.)

The Claims of Science, by William C. Richards, is an Anniversary Discourse before the Literary Societies of Erskine College, South Carolina. It sets forth the value and importance of the physical sciences, both as the means of a generous intellectual culture, and the condition of great practical discoveries. The argument of the speaker is sustained with great vigor of statement, and a rich profusion of illustration. Familiar with the varied field of nature, he expatiates on her majesty and loveliness with the enthusiasm of a favored votary. The style of the discourse is chaste and polished throughout, and often rises into earnest and impressive eloquence.

A second series of Greenwood Leaves, being a collection of letters and sketches by Grace Greenwood, has just been published by Ticknor, Reed, and Fields. A sincere, genial, thoroughly individualistic production—overflowing with exuberant gayety—though dashed with frequent touches of bitter sadness—often wildly impulsive, but always kindly, human, and hopeful—with occasional specimens of sharp-shooting, though the polished, nimble arrows are never dipped in poison. It will be widely read for its spicy humor, its fine, frolicsome naïveté, its gushing good-nature, and its genuine nobleness of tone, even by those who may now and then wish that she would leave political and social questions to the sterner sex. The same publishers have issued another work by Grace Greenwood, entitled Recollections of my Childhood, intended for juvenile readers, and abounding in beautiful appeals to the best feelings of the young heart, illustrated by the reminiscences of personal experience.

M. W. Dodd has published a translation from the German of Hildebrandt, of Winter in Spitzbergen, by E. Goodrich Smith, depicting the frozen horrors of that savage clime. It is a narrative of great interest, and will be read eagerly by young people, for whom it is intended. It is equally rich in attractiveness and in information.

A collection of stories by Caroline Chesebro’, entitled Dream-Land by Daylight, has been issued by Redfield in a style of uncommon typographical neatness. The writings of this lady are not unknown to the public, in the isolated form in which many of them have already made their appearance. We are glad that she has been induced to embody them in this pleasant volume, which, we think, will occupy no inferior place in American fictitious literature. We find in it the unmistakable evidences of originality of mind, an almost superfluous depth of reflection for the department of composition to which it is devoted, a rare facility in seizing the multiform aspects of nature, and a still rarer power of giving them the form and hue of imagination, without destroying their identity. The writer has not yet attained the mastery of expression, corresponding to the liveliness of her fancy and the intensity of her thought. Her style suffers from the want of proportion, of harmony, of artistic modulation, and though frequently showing an almost masculine energy, is destitute of the sweet and graceful fluency which would finely attemper her bold and striking conceptions. We do not allude to this in any spirit of carping censure; but to account for the want of popular effect which, we apprehend, will not be so decided in this volume as in future productions of the author. She has not yet exhausted the golden placers of her genius; but the products will obtain a more active currency when they come refined and[Pg 275] brilliant from the mint, with a familiar legible stamp, which can be read by all without an effort.—The fantastic, alliterative title of this volume does no justice to the genuine value of its contents, and we hope Miss Chesebro’ will hereafter avoid such poverty-struck devices of ambitious second-rate writers.

Memoir of Mary Lyon, compiled by Edward Hitchcock, President of Amherst College, has passed to a third edition from the press of Hopkins, Bridgman, and Co., Northampton. It is a record of a life devoted to a great work of Christian benevolence. Inspired by a lofty sense of duty, possessing an energy of purpose and a power of execution seldom equaled in any walk of life, and endowed with intellectual gifts of a robust, practical character, Miss Lyon was a highly successful agent in the cause of popular and religious education. The narrative of her labors is no less interesting than it is useful and instructive. Her name is held in grateful remembrance in New England by numerous pupils to whose character she gave a powerful impulse for good. The present volume is prepared with the ability of which the name attached to it is a promise. It is an excellent piece of biography, in all respects, and will long hold an honored place in New England households.

Sixteen Months at the Gold Diggings, by Daniel B. Woods. (Published by Harper and Brothers.) The peculiar value of this work consists in its being an authentic record of the experience of an intelligent and trustworthy writer. In this respect, we have seen no publication on California that is its equal. Mr. Woods is a man of high character and learned education, who was led by ill health to exchange the duties of professional life for the rude toils of the gold-digger. He engaged in his new business with unflinching energy. Becoming a miner among the miners, he had the most ample opportunities to learn their condition, their prospects, their sufferings, and their rewards. He describes plainly what he saw. He borrows no colors from the fancy. His book is a record of hard facts. It introduces us behind the scenes. Eminently free from exaggeration, it shows the hardships by which the gold of California was procured on the first discovery of the placers. Its tendency is to discourage emigration. He would advise those who are tolerably well off at home to be content. At the same time, the California adventurer, who is tempted by the hope of a golden harvest to leave the blessings of Atlantic civilization, will find a guide and counselor in this volume, which can hardly fail to be of essential service. We recommend all prospective gold-diggers to take it with them across the Isthmus or around the Cape.

D. Appleton and Co. have issued an elegant volume of Oriental travels, entitled The Land of Bondage, by the Rev. J. M. Wainwright. It contains the journal of a tour in Egypt, with a description of its ancient monuments and present condition, illustrated by a variety of well-executed appropriate engravings. The work is intended to present an accurate record of the observations made by the intelligent author, without aiming at the brilliant vivacity which has been so much affected by recent travelers in the East. It is a simple, faithful narrative, and makes no pretensions to being a romance or prose-poem. The scenes visited by Dr. Wainwright, comprising the valley of the Nile from Cairo to Thebes, are full of interest. He describes them minutely, and with excellent taste. Uniting a fresh susceptibility to the romantic impressions of the “morning land,” with a style of polished classic elegance, Dr. Wainwright has produced a standard book of travels, which merits a cordial reception by the public, both for the extent and accuracy of its information, and the beauty and good taste of its execution.

The Evening Book, by Mrs. Kirkland (published by Charles Scribner), is a collection of popular essays on morals and manners, with sketches of Western Life, including many of the most agreeable productions of the favorite authoress. Several of them have a sober, didactic aim, but all are marked with Mrs. Kirkland’s habitual brilliancy and point. Her discussions of various topics of social ethics are admirable. She exhibits the acute tact of a woman in her perceptions of character, while she presents the fruits of tranquil reflection in a tone of masculine vigor. The spirit of these essays is one of mild, contemplative wisdom, gracefully blended with a love of the humorous, and a spice of perfectly good-natured satire.—A number of beautiful illustrations greatly enhances the interest of the volume.

The Tutor’s Ward, (published by Harper and Brothers), is the title of one of the most powerful English novels of the season. It is intended to illustrate the great moral truth that the soul’s repose is not found in human love; that the immortal spirit can live in love alone; but that human love is only the type of that which can never die. The story turns on two female characters—one a brilliant, gifted, fascinating, bewildering creature, whose heart has been wholly steeped in selfishness, but whose artful nature has called forth the most impassioned love—the other, a being of rare and beautiful endowments, with an intense, loving, devoted soul, in whom passion takes the form of a sublime, almost inconceivable disinterestedness, presenting the most striking contrast to her rival and evil genius. The plot is a heart-rending tragedy; the scenes are skillfully shaded off till they present the sullen blackness of midnight; the whole winding up with terrible retributions and despair. While we do not think the developments of this story are true to nature, we can not deny its strange, irresistible fascinations. It paints an ideal of heartless egotism on the one side, and of generous self-sacrifice on the other, which is psychologically impossible; but this ideal is set forth with so much subtlety of invention, such tragic pathos, and such artistic word-painting, that we forgive the defects of the plot, in our admiration of the skill with which it is conducted.

M. W. Dodd has issued a little volume by Rev. Joseph P. Thompson, entitled Hints to Employers. The substance of it was originally delivered in lectures at the Broadway Tabernacle, but the importance of its suggestions eminently deserves a more permanent form. Mr. Thompson handles the subject without gloves, and shows himself as well acquainted with the customs of trade as with the usages of the Church. His strictures on the prevailing methods of business are forcibly put, and have the merit of being directed against systems rather than against individuals. It is far better, for instance, to point out the evils of employing “drummers” to gain custom, than to inveigh against those who can not deviate from established habits without great sacrifice. Abolish an evil system, and the whole community is benefited; while abstaining from it in single cases is only an individual advantage. Mr. Thompson discusses the whole subject with decision and earnestness, but does not deal in wholesale denunciation.

The Collected Edition of Douglas Jerrold’s Writings, is carrying on in weekly numbers and monthly parts. Jerrold’s writing is very unequal, the story[Pg 276] and the style sometimes limping tiresomely; but even then detached thoughts and expressions keep up interest, and few pages pass without presenting a good idea or a good joke.

In announcing a new novel by Bulwer, the London Critic remarks: “Certainly, whatever the faults of ‘our own wayward Bulwer’ (as Miss Martineau fondly calls him), a want of industry can not be laid to his charge. What with novels, dramas, epics, Byronics, editorships, pamphlets, parliamenteering, electioneering, and even agitating, when the interests of the drama and literature seem to require it, BULWER is as hard-working a man as any pale or ruddy-bustling compiler in the reading-room of the British Museum. Close beside him in the advertisement columns (though not in life) is Lady Bulwer, who also announces a new novel, “Molière’s Tragedy: his Life and Times,” another of those “literary novels” which Mr. Grave lately predicted would soon be rife. Lady Bulwer has taken the idea directly from George Sand, who recently produced, with considerable success on the Paris stage, a drama of “Molière,” in which the poet was made the dupe of a heartless coquette. Our English authoress’s title is rather lachrymose for the subject; since Moliere’s life was by no means a tragic, but, on the whole, a pleasant and successful one.”

We find a curious anecdote of Chevalier Bunsen in connection with the recently-published Life of Niebuhr, issued in London, under the superintendence of the Chevalier: The portly and hearty representative of Prussia at the Court of St. James, Niebuhr, the Roman historian—every body has heard and knows something of him. But every body does not know the special claim that his memory has on Bunsen; for the latter, though he has risen to be the Minister of Public Instruction and Foreign Representative of a great kingdom, was once (how strangely it sounds in English ears)—not even a calico-printer or a cotton-spinner—but a poor student, Niebuhr’s humble amanuensis! A prodigy of learning, as unknown then as Mr. Thomas Watts of the British Museum Library, in comparison with his deserts, is unknown now. Bunsen, the story runs, was in attendance on his employer, at that time Prussian Minister at Rome, when the King of Prussia, then Crown Prince, paid Niebuhr a visit. The conversation turned upon literary matters, and the Crown Prince made a statement which the humble amanuensis, bursting into the talk, took upon him flatly to contradict. Most Crown Princes (and some British commoners) would have flown into a passion. Not so our Frederick William the Fourth of Prussia. He inquired into the character and history of the plain-spoken youth; found that he knew every language and literature under heaven, from Chinese and Coptic to Welsh and Icelandic; kept his eye on him, and gradually promoted him to be what he is. Niebuhr’s letters have been published, and some years ago a biography of him, founded on them, was attempted in Tait’s Magazine, and broke down; but Bunsen’s will be the life. Niebuhr was foolish enough to die of the Three Days of July, 1830, being a staunch conservative. As the French would say: Tant pis pour lui!

The Winter Session of the New College, Edinburgh, has been opened, with an introductory address, by the Rev. Dr. Cunningham, successor of Dr. Chalmers, as Principal of the College. The institution is chiefly intended as a Theological School, connected with the Free Church of Scotland, but has other Chairs attached, one of which, on Natural History, is held by Dr. Fleming, the zoologist. On November 11th the Philosophical Institution of the same city was opened for the session by Sir David Brewster, who gave an able address. Among the lecturers announced for the season are some distinguished names, and the institution seems to be conducted in a higher tone than is usual in similar places of popular instruction and amusement. Hugh Miller, the geologist, and Isaac Taylor, author of the “Natural History of Enthusiasm,” are to deliver courses of lectures. In the University of Edinburgh, Principal Lee is reading a course of Moral Philosophy Lectures, in room of Professor Wilson, whose illness precludes him from any public duty.

Madame Pfeiffer’s account of her voyage round the world, says a London journal, a translation of which has just been published by Messrs Longman, is exceedingly interesting, and as full of adventure as the production of the awful Cumming Gordon, of rhinoceros-riding notoriety. When in Brazil, she undertook a long and hazardous journey into the interior, to visit the Puri Indians. She states that many of these singular people have been baptized, and, indeed, “they are at all times willing, for the consideration of a little brandy, to go through the ceremony again, and only regret that they have not more frequent opportunities, especially as it does not last long.” Their language is extremely poor, and they have no method of expressing number but by repeating one, two—one, two, as many times as may be required. For yesterday, to-day, and to-morrow, they have only one word, and they express the variety of meaning by “pointing backward for yesterday, forward for to-morrow, and over the head for the passing day.” We have noticed Harper’s edition of this work in another place.

The late work of Sir John Richardson on The Arctic Searching Expedition, now in press by Harper and Brothers, is spoken of with unqualified praise by the London press. We quote a notice from The Literary Gazette: “This work affords a glorious instance of genuine, hearty philanthropy. With a self-devotion seldom equaled, and certainly never surpassed, the author of these volumes, at a time of life when most men think seriously of exchanging the cares and anxieties of an arduous profession, or of an official occupation, for repose, adventured forth to the terrible regions of Arctic America, to seek, and, if possible, to rescue a cherished friend. And this was done with no other incentive than friendship, hallowed by former companionship in the same regions, and the social intercourse of many years. With becoming modesty, Sir John Richardson is entirely silent respecting his official and domestic position at the time of his departure on his humane mission; but it is due to him to say, that he left a valuable government appointment, and sacrificed pecuniary advantages, when, taking leave of an affectionate wife and family, he left England in search of his old traveling companion; and though he has been happily restored to his country in unimpaired health and vigor, it must not be forgotten that the journey which he proposed taking, was not only arduous but hazardous, and might have been accompanied by a repetition of the frightful sufferings which befell him during his adventurous and memorable expedition with Franklin in the same country he was about to visit.”

A new play by Mr. Jerrold, and one by Mr.[Pg 277] Marston, are in the hands of Mr. Kean, for early representation.

Sir James Stephen’s Lectures on the History of France, republished by Harper and Brothers, are thus characterized by a recent journal: “The distinguishing characteristics of these lectures are an independent criticism, uninfluenced by previous authority, a religious philosophy which traces the effect of moral causes, the knowledge of a man of affairs rather than of a statesman, and a pellucid pleasantry of manner.”

Hildreth’s History of the United States is now attracting the attention of London readers, and has given occasion to some able criticisms. His imperturbable coolness in the narration of events, excites no little surprise, and most of his judges would prefer a more impassioned tone. Nor, in the opinion of the London Athenæum, has he done justice to the character of Jefferson. The merits of the work as an authentic collection of facts, appear to be highly appreciated. The journal just alluded to, says: “On this point, we have to object that Jefferson—a man of remarkable powers, and whose spirit has more intimately transferred itself into the heart and hereditary sentiment of the American people than that of perhaps any other American, not perhaps excepting even Washington—does not seem to have received a full enough measure of that appreciation which even Mr. Hildreth might have been able to give him. Jefferson we regard as the type and father of much that is now most characteristic in the American mind; and in any history of the United States he ought to figure largely. We have to repeat that Mr. Hildreth’s work is, in its kind, a most conscientious and laborious undertaking—as an accumulation of particulars and a register of debates unrivaled—and therefore extremely valuable to all who wish to prosecute minute researches into the history of the Union, or of the several States composing it.”

Herman Melville’s last work, Moby Dick, or The Whale, has excited a general interest among the critical journals of London. The bold and impulsive style of some portions of the book, seems to shock John Bull’s fastidious sense of propriety. One of the most discriminating reviewals we have seen is from the London Atlas: “In some respects we hold it to be his (Mr. Melville’s) greatest effort. In none of his previous works are finer or more highly-soaring imaginative powers put forth. In none of them are so many profound and fertile and thoroughly original veins of philosophic speculation, or rather, perhaps, philosophic fancy struck.... Upon the whale, its mysteries, and its terrors, he revels as if the subject had enchantment for him. He pours into multitudinous chapters a mass of knowledge touching the whale—its habits and its history—the minutest details of its feeding or sporting, or swimming, strangely mixed with ingenious and daring speculations on the mysterious habits and peculiarities of the great brute—the whole written in a tone of exaltation and poetic sentiment, which has a strange effect upon the reader’s mind, in refining and elevating the subject of discourse, and, at last, making him look upon the whale as a sort of awful and unsoluble mystery—the most strange and the most terrible of the wonders of the deep. That Herman Melville knows more about whales than any man from Jonah down, we do really believe.”

Douglas Jerrold has written a letter, containing the suggestion, that a penny subscription shall be commenced to present Kossuth with a copy of Shakspeare’s Works, in a suitable casket. Mr. Jerrold remarks: “It is written in the brief history made known to us of Kossuth, that in an Austrian prison he was taught English by the words of the teacher Shakspeare. An Englishman’s blood glows with the thought that, from the quiver of the immortal Saxon, Kossuth has furnished himself with those arrowy words that kindle as they fly—words that are weapons, as Austria will know. There are hundreds of thousands of Englishmen who would rejoice thus to endeavor to manifest their gratitude to Kossuth for the glorious words he has uttered among us, words that have been as pulses to the nation.” To this excellent proposal a response has already been made in many quarters. An incident, not mentioned in the daily papers, is worth recording: that among other deputations to the Hungarian President in London, one was to present him with a copy of the Sacred Scriptures, for which many had subscribed. In his reply, Kossuth said how much he had owed, both of counsel and comfort, to the Bible, and that this present he would treasure as the choicest memorial of England. He took occasion at the same time to thank an honorable working-man, unknown to him, who, on his entering Winchester, had come up to his carriage and presented a Bible to Madame Kossuth.

An address to the Hungarian ex-president, from the citizens of Bath, was headed by the signature of Walter Savage Landor. His letter, in reply to Kossuth’s acknowledgment, is worth recording, as a memorial of one so well known in the world of letters: “Sir—The chief glory of my life is, that I was the first in subscribing for the assistance of the Hungarians at the commencement of their struggle; the next is, that I have received the approbation of their illustrious chief. I, who have held the hand of Kosciusko, now kiss with veneration the signature of Kossuth. No other man alive could confer an honor I would accept.”

In a notice of Springer’s Forest Life and Forest Trees (published by Harper and Brothers), the London Spectator suggests a singular comparison between the population of England and the United States, as afforded by the social position of the respective countries: “The volume will be found interesting from its pictures of hardship, exertion, skill, and adventure, in a country little known to the English reader even from books. It has also an interest of a deeper kind. It is impossible to look at the willing labors of these men, and to consider them as only a portion of the rural population of the United States, without seeing what a raw material they possess for war or enterprise. It is the tendency of a dense population and a high civilization to dwarf the physical powers and energies of men in two ways—by congregating large numbers of men in cities, and engaging them in pursuits which if not absolutely injurious to health, are destructive to hardihood; and by removing from the face of a country those natural obstacles which call forth energy and readiness of resource. In England, the working agriculturist is the most helpless of men out of his routine, from his having nothing to contend with: the ‘navvies,’ miners, and mariners, are almost the only classes trained to endurance and great physical exertion in their regular business, except the navy and perhaps the army, as special vocations.”

The London Examiner pronounces Layard’s abridged edition of Nineveh (just re-published by[Pg 278] Harper and Brothers), “A charming volume, to which we may safely promise a circulation without limit, and as unbounded popularity. The great feature of the Abridgement is, the introduction of the principal biblical and historical illustrations (forming a separate section of the original work) into the narrative, which, without sacrificing any matter of importance, makes the story more compact, useful, and, indeed, complete in its abridged, than it was in its original form.”

Sheriff Alison, the historian, has been re-elected Lord Rector of Glasgow University.

In a recent synodical letter of the Bishop of Luçon, among the books denounced as immoral and dangerous, are Anquetil’s “History of France,” Thiers’s “History of the French Revolution,” Lemaistre de Sacy’s “Translation of the New Testament,” “Le Bonhomme Richard,” and, lastly, “Robinson Crusoe!” Facts like these require no comment.

The French papers state that Lord Brougham, in his retreat at Cannes, is preparing for publication a work entitled, “France and England before Europe in 1851.”

The extraordinary popularity of Walter Scott in France, is illustrated by the announcement of the publication of another volume of the twentieth edition of Defauconpret’s translation of his novels, and the announcement of the publication of an entirely new translation of the said novels. If Defauconpret had been the only translator, twenty editions would have been an immense success; but there are besides, at the very least, twenty different translations of the complete works (many of which have had two, three, or four editions) and innumerable translations of particular novels, especially of “Quentin Durward.” In fact, in France as in England, Scott dazzles every imagination and touches every heart—whatever be his reader’s degree of education, or whatever his social position. His popularity amongst the lower orders, in particular, is so extraordinarily great, that it forms one of the most striking literary events of the present century.

The Leader announces a new work from Guizot, with the promising title of Méditations et Etudes morales; a novel by the Countess D’Orsay, called L’Ombre du Bonheur; and an important work by Gioberti, Di rinovamento civile d’Italia, the first part being devoted to the Errors and Schemes of the day: the second to Remedies and Hopes. To those who love pure literature, we know not what more agreeable volume to recommend than the one just issued of Saint Beuve’s Causeries du Lundi. It contains some of the best portraits he has ever drawn; and a charming gallery they make. We pass from Rabelais to Vauvenargues, from the Duc de Saint Simon to Frederick the Great, from Diderot to the Duchesse de Maine, from Camille Desmoulins to Madame Emilie de Girardin. The necessity of limiting his articles to the exigencies of a newspaper, has forced Saint-Beuve into a concision both of style and exposition, which greatly improves his sketches; and we know not which to admire most, the variety of his attainments or the skill of his pencil.

In History and Biography, European Continental literature has not been doing very much lately. There is a new or newer volume, the eleventh, of Thiers’s Consulate and Empire, and a Paris journalist of high repute, M. de la Guerronniere commences a promised series of Portraits Politiques Contemporains (“Portraits of Political Contemporaries”), with a monograph of that “nephew of his uncle,” the Prince-President of the French Republic. A. M. Leonard Gallois publishes in four volumes, with illustrations, a Histoire de la Révolution de 1848 (“History of the Revolution of 1848”), written from a republican-of-the-morrow point of view. Saint-Beuve contributes to The Constitutionnel graceful sketches of the lately-deceased Duchess of Angouleme, and of Rivarol, the Royalist pamphleteer and man-of-all-work in the first revolution, famed for the plaintive epigram, “Mirabeau is paid, not sold; I am sold but not paid,” one of the saddest predicaments that poor humanity can find itself in. A. M. Coindet has compressed Warburton’s Prince Rupert and the Cavaliers into a handy Histoire de Prince Rupert (“History of Prince Rupert”). The Germans send us the Leben and Reden Sir Robert Peel’s (“Life and Speeches of Sir Robert Peel”), tolerably compiled by one Kunzel, and Italy has produced a new Life of Paganini. Worthy of more extensive notice is Edouard Fleury’s Saint-Just et la Terreur (“Saint Just and the Reign of Terror”), a biography of the “great Saint of the Mountain,” the fellow-triumvir of Robespierre, and partaker of his fate, though not five-and-twenty; the fanatic young man who, scarcely beginning life, declared, “for revolutionists there is no rest but in the tomb!” Fleury is a clever and active young journalist in the department of the Aisne, Saint-Just’s birth-country—the same who lately brought out the very interesting “Memoir of Camille Desmoulins,” and an equally interesting historical study, “Babæuf and Socialism in 1796.“ Fleury has gone about his biographical task in the proper way; roamed up and down the country side, sketching the scenery in which his subject spent “a sulky adolescence,” and collecting anecdotes and reminiscences. One of these is worth retailing. An old woman who knew Saint-Just well when a boy, pointed out “an alley of old trees” where he used to stalk and spout: when he came into the house, after one of these soliloquies, quoth the old woman, “he would say terrible things to us!”

First in the list of recent French novels is the far-famed Jules Janin’s Gaieties Champêtres (“Rural Gaieties”), which all Paris is eagerly devouring. The scene is laid in the era of Louis XV., and the story (alas!) is worthy of the period, and must not be recited here. More innocent are Les Derniers Paysans (“The Last Peasants”), by Emile Souvestre, a cycle of graphic, and, for the most part, gloomy stories, meant to embalm the superstitions, which still linger among the peasantry of Brittany, soon to be dispelled by the march of civilization. Armand Barthet’s Henriette, though a touching tale, is not to be recommended. Alphonse Karr, a writer scarcely so well known out of France as he deserves to be, promises Recits sur la Plage (“Stories from the Sea Shore”). Karr is the only living French novelist who reminds one at all of Thackeray, of whom he has some of the caustic bitterness, but none of the light playfulness. He first became known by his Guêpes (“Wasps”), a periodical consisting of little, sharp, sarcastic, and isolated sentences, aimed at the quacks and quackeries of the day. With all this, he has a true feeling for nature, which is sometimes, however, carried to an absurd length.[Pg 279]

A recent number of the official Moniteur contains a long report to the Minister of Public Instruction, by M. Vattemare, on the “literary exchanges” which have recently been effected between France and the United States. It is not, perhaps, generally known that the governments, universities, colleges, scientific societies, literary establishments, medical and legal bodies, borough municipalities, and commercial associations of the two countries, have for years past been in the habit of making exchanges of books. They have thus got rid of duplicate copies which were rotting on their shelves, and have received in return works which it would have cost vast sums to purchase. A more useful arrangement could not possibly be conceived; and at the same time it has the advantage of spreading knowledge, and of increasing the friendly relations between the two peoples.

M. Ch. Pieters has published the “Annales de l’Imprimerie Elzevirienne,” giving copious details on the life and exertions of the famous printers, the Elzevirs. This book is the result of very extensive researches on this subject, as there were fourteen members of that family who were printers and publishers during a period of 120 years. M. Pieters’s book contains quite new data obtained from authentic sources; to which he has added a list of all the works issued from the Elzevir presses, followed by one of those which have been erroneously attributed to them, and another of such as are the continuation of works published at that celebrated establishment.

The Paris papers state that the Free Society of Fine Arts in that capital are subscribing for a monument to the Late M. Daguerre—who was a member of their body—to be erected at Petit-Brie, where the distinguished artist lies buried.

Henry Heine, the German poet, whom his countrymen insist on comparing with Lord Byron, has published a collection of the poems of his later years, under the title of “Romances.” The book, which all the German papers concur in eulogizing, and a large edition of which was sold within a few days after its publication, is divided into three parts, Histories, Lamentations, and Hebrew Melodies. A brief prose notice prefixed announces that the skeptic has become a believer, and hurls defiance at the Hegelians refusing (to use his own words) “to herd swine with them any longer.” This celebrated poet, and perhaps the only man who has succeeded in uniting German solidity and grandeur to French elegance and wit, is now languishing on his death-bed. Recovery is impossible, and his state is such that death would be almost a blessing, though in him the world would lose one of the most remarkable geniuses of modern times. In the intervals between the paroxysms of his malady he composes verses, and (being deprived of the use of his limbs and of his eyesight) dictates them to his friends. He also occupies himself at times in inditing memoirs of his life, and as he has seen a good deal of French society, and was a shrewd and intelligent observer, he has much to say. One consequence of his long and lamentable sickness has been to effect a complete change in his religious views—the mocking Voltairian skeptic has become a devout believer.

We see it stated that in the short space of time between the Easter fair and the 30th of September there were published in Germany no less than 3860 new works, and there were on the latter date 1130 new works in the press. Nearly five thousand new works in one country of Europe in one half year! Of the 3860 works already published, more than half treat of various matters connected with science and its concerns. That is to say—descending to particulars—106 works treat of Protestant theology; 62 of Catholic theology; 36 of philosophy; 205 of history and biography; 102 of languages; 194 of natural sciences; 168 of military tactics; 108 of medicine; 169 of jurisprudence; 101 of politics; 184 of political economy; 83 of industry and commerce; 87 of agriculture and forest administration; 69 of public instruction; 92 of classical philology; 80 of living languages; 64 of the theory of music and the arts of design; 168 of the fine arts in general; 48 of popular writings; 28 of mixed sciences; and 18 of bibliography. It is satisfactory to see, after their recent comparative neglect, that science and the arts begin to resume their old sway over the German mind.

The Frankfort journals state that, in consequence of the rigor displayed by the Saxon Government with respect to the press, the booksellers of Leipzig seriously intend to remove the general book fair to Berlin or Brunswick.

In Germany, Austria excluded, appear 746 newspapers; of which 646 are printed in German, 5 in French, 1 in English, 15 in Polish, 3 in Wendish (the Wenden are a Slavonic people in the midst of Germany), 7 in the Lutheran language. In all Europe, according to official statements, 1356 news papers are published, of which 169 are issued at Paris, 97 at London, 79 at Berlin, 68 at Leipzig, 36 at St. Petersburg, 24 at Vienna.

Dr. Augustus Pfizmaier, of Vienna, has published the first part, in ninety-two pages folio, of a Dictionary of the Japanese language.

Baron Alexander von Humboldt has announced the discovery at Athens of the edifice in which the Council of Four Hundred was in the habit of assembling in ancient times. Few particulars of the alleged discovery are given; but it is added, that more than a hundred inscriptions have been found by the excavators—and that a number of columns, statues, and other relics have been already dug up.

Dr. Hefele’s German work on Cardinal Ximenes and the Ecclesiastical Affairs of Spain in the 15th and 16th century, has just reached a second edition.

One of the principal literary men of Spain, Don Juan Hartzenbusch, assisted by the publisher, Senor Rivadencyra, has commenced a reprint of the works of her most distinguished authors, from the earliest ages to the present time. This reprint is entitled “Biblioteca de Autores Espanoles,” and it is a more difficult undertaking than things of the kind in western and northern Europe. For as very many of the works of the principal authors never having been printed at all, the compiler has to hunt after them in libraries, in convents, and in out-of-the-way places; while others, having been negligently printed, or “improved” by friends, or disfigured by enemies, have to be revised line by line. Some idea of the importance of this gentleman’s labors maybe formed from the fact, that he has brought to light not fewer than fourteen comedies of Calderon de la Barca, which previous editors were unable to discover. The total number of Calderon’s pieces the world now[Pg 280] possesses is therefore 122; and there is every reason to believe that they are all he wrote, with the exception of two or three, which there is not the slightest hope of recovering. In addition to this, M. Hartzenbusch has carefully corrected the text from the original manuscripts in the Theatre del Principe, or authentic copies deposited elsewhere; and he has added notes, which throw great light on the most obscure passages. Moreover, he has given a chronological table of the order in which Calderon produced his plays. But what, perhaps, is the most curious thing of all is, that he demonstrates that “le grand Corneille” of France actually borrowed, not plots alone, but whole passages from Calderon. His play of Heraclius, for instance, has evidently been taken from Calderon’s comedy called En esta vida todo es verdad y todo mentira. Some of the passages are literal translations.

Daily, about noon, writes the Weser Zeitung, the loungers “Under the Linden” at Berlin, are startled by the extraordinary appearance of a tall, lanky woman, whose thin limbs are wrapped up in a long black robe or coarse cloth. An old crumpled bonnet covers her head, which, continually moving, turns restlessly in all directions. Her hollow cheeks are flushed with a morbid coppery glow; one of her eyes is immovable, for it is of glass, but her other eye shines with a feverish brilliancy, and a strange and almost awful smile hovers constantly about her thin lips. This woman moves with an unsteady, quick step, and whenever her black mantilla is flung back by the violence of her movements, a small rope of hair, with a crucifix at the end, is plainly seen to bind her waist. This black, ungainly woman is the quondam authoress, Countess Ida Hahn-Hahn, who has turned a Catholic, and is now preparing for a pilgrimage to Rome, to crave the Pope’s absolution for her literary trespasses.

Professor Nuylz, whose work on canon law has but recently been condemned by the Holy See, resumed his lectures at Turin, on the 6th. The lecture-room was crowded, and the learned professor was received with loud applause. In the course of his lecture he adverted to the hostility of the clergy, and to the Papal censures of his work, which censures he declared to be in direct opposition to the rights of the civil power. He expressed his thanks to the ministry for having refused to deprive him of his chair.

We hear from Rome that the library of the Vatican is to receive the valuable collection of Oriental manuscripts made by the late Monsignor Molsa—Laureani’s successor.

Two curious instances of the favor that Literature and Art are to receive from the Ultra-montane party on the continent of Europe, have recently occurred. From Paris we learn that a relative of Mr. Gladstone has been excluded from a cercle, or club, in that city by the priestly party, because his uncle, the member for Oxford, had the courage to denounce the senseless tyranny of the Neapolitan government! The other instance amounts to the grotesque. It is the case of a young Roman artist, who is banished from Rome for the crime of being called Giovanni Mazzini! The very name of the late Triumvir—it would seem—is about to be proscribed in the Roman States, as that of Macgregor was, in time gone by, in Scotland. To the question “What’s in a name?” the Roman government gives a very significant and practical reply.

We learn from Münster, Westphalia, that some fresco paintings of the 13th century have been lately discovered in the church at Seremhorst, near that town, and that a curious specimen of painted glass has been found at Legenwinden. In the chief aisle of Patroklus Church, at Soest, Romanic frescos and statuettes of the 12th century have been discovered, and measures taken to remove from them the coatings of lime and plaster which the fanaticism or the ignorance of former years has heaped on them. It has also been discovered that the Nicolai Chapel, in Soest Cathedral, is entirely covered with very curious paintings of the 12th century.

On the 29th October, died at Brighton, Mr. William Wyon, a medal engraver of admirable skill, and probably more widely known by his works than any other living artist. Mr. Wyon was the engraver of the later coins of King George the Fourth, and of all the coins of William the Fourth and of her present Majesty. Mr. Wyon’s medals include the recent war medals of the Peninsula, Trafalgar, Jellalabad, and Cabul—the civic medals of the Royal Academy, the Royal Society, the Royal Institution, the Geological Society, the Geographical Society, the Bengal Asiatic Society, and indeed of almost every learned society, home and colonial. Mr. Wyon was in his 57th year. Much of his genius is inherited by his son Leonard—known by his medals of Wordsworth and others, and honorably distinguished in the recent awards at the Great Exhibition.

The London journals announce the decease of the Rev. J. Hobart Caunter. Eighteen years ago this gentleman’s appearances in the world of ephemeral literature were frequent—and fairly successful. He was the author of “The Island Bride,” a poem of some length, and editor of “The Oriental Annual.” Besides these, Mr. Caunter produced translations, and one or two graver works on historical and Biblical subjects.

The foreign papers report the death of the Chevalier Lavy, Member of the Council of Mines in Sardinia, and of the Academy of Sciences in Turin—and described as being one of the most learned of Italian numismatists. He had created at great cost a Museum of Medals, which he presented to his country, and which bears his name.

The French papers report the death, at Moscow, of M. de Saint Priest—a member of the French Academy, formerly a Peer of France—and the author of several historical works.

Dr. Paul Erman, the Nestor of Prussian savans, died recently at Berlin, at the advanced age of eighty-seven. In addition to innumerable articles on different subjects in scientific periodicals, he published important works on electricity, galvanism, magnetism, physiology, and optics.

The Continental papers report the death, at Jena, of Professor Wolff.—Professor Humbert, of the Academy of Geneva, a distinguished Orientalist, and author of many learned works, is also reported to have died, on the 19th of last month.[Pg 281]


Mr. T. Pemberton Potts—thus he always wrote his name, though the “Family Record,” which sets forth the genesis of the house of Potts, does not contain the sonorous trisyllable which follows the modest initial T., which is all that he ever acknowledges of his baptismal appellation of Timothy—Mr. Potts had been in great tribulation all day, in the apprehension that hatter, or tailor, or bootmaker would fail to send home the articles of their craft in which he proposed to make a sensation in his to-morrow’s “New-Year’s Calls.” But his apprehensions were groundless. For a wonder, all these artists kept their word; and the last installment arrived fully two hours before the Old Year had taken its place in the silent and irrevocable Past. As one by one came in the brilliant beaver, the exquisite paletot, the unimpeachable swallow-tail, the snowy vest, the delicate, pearl-gray “continuations,” and the resplendent boots, which Cinderella might have assumed, had she lived in the days of “Bloomerism,” Mr. Potts displayed them scientifically over a chair, and gazed upon the picture they presented, as fondly as painter ever gazed upon the canvas upon which he had flung his whole burning soul.



When Mr. Potts awoke on the following morning, he was half afraid to open his eyes, for fear that the whole should prove a dream, too blissful to be true. After he had mustered courage to look, and found it to be all real, he lay for a while in lazy rapture, feeding his eyes upon the picture, which seemed more beautiful by daylight than it had appeared by the midnight camphene, of the preceding night.

Having performed the initial rites of the toilet, Mr. Potts attempted to assume the admired boots; but found to his cost that the disciple of St. Crispin had too literally obeyed his injunctions to give him a “snug fit.” In vain he tugged and pulled, excoriating his fingers against the unyielding straps—his dressing apparatus did not comprise a pair of boot-hooks—his foot would no more in than Lady Macbeth’s blood-fleck would out. At last, by dispensing with his “lambs-wools,” diligently lubricating the leather, and introducing a handkerchief into one strap, and a towel into the other, so as to gain a firmer hold, he succeeded in insinuating his naked feet into their places. “It is the first step that costs,” says the French proverb, and Mr. Potts’s first step in his new boots cost him an agonizing thrill in his toes, which threatened to put a veto upon his hopes of wearing them that day. Having fully arrayed himself, Mr. Potts mounted a chair, so as to bring the lower part of his figure within the range of his somewhat diminutive dressing-glass, and finding that the image which met his view fully equaled his anticipations, he bestowed upon it a farewell smile of approbation and set off upon his rounds.



He was soon at the door of the up-town mansion whither Mr. Briggs had retired from the “dry-salted,” “roans,” and “skivers” of the “Swamp,” with a plum in his pocket, and one fair daughter whom Mr. Potts loved well if not wisely. Just as he was about to ascend the marble steps, an omnibus dashed by, and to the infinite horror of the wearer, deposited several large mud-blotches upon the delicate pearl-gray inexpressibles, in which were encased the nether limbs of the unfortunate Mr. Potts. With a muttered malediction between his teeth, he rang the bell, and was ushered into the hall. As he had come somewhat early, with the hope of finding the fair Mary Briggs alone, in which case he determined to make more than a passing call, he was in the act of laying aside his paletot, when a shrill cry and a simultaneous pang, made him aware that the tail of a monstrous cat was crushed under his boot, while the claws of the agonized animal were firmly fixed in his leg. Mr. Potts could not at once free himself from the hold of the enraged beast, for his arms were pinioned behind him by his upper garment, of which he was disencumbering himself. This circumstance nowise tended to restore his mental equilibrium, which had been disturbed by the previous occurrences.



[Pg 282]

Bewildered and confused, instead of passing through the door of the drawing-room, which was held open for him by the sable attendant, Mr. Potts rushed up the broad staircase, and burst into the first door he saw. Here he encountered a spectacle which sent the perspiration to his forehead faster than the most vigorous application of his handkerchief could remove it. He found himself in the presence of a matronly dame, robed in the loosest possible of dressing-gowns, her hair hanging down her neck, while a heap of articles which had fallen from her lap as she hastily rose, and lay at her feet, showed that, mindful of the economics of her “below Bleecker-street” days, the stately Mrs. Briggs had been engaged in repairing certain portions of her husband’s wardrobe. A rustling sound, which met his ears, though at first he could not tell whence it came, was explained, when the eyes of Mr. Potts fell upon a glass so placed as to reflect objects behind a screen. There he saw the rubicund visage of the worthy ex-leather-dealer peeping out from the folds of a cloak, which hung against the wall, while the portion of his figure appearing below its bottom, showed that he was in a state as remote as could well be conceived from full dress.



Had Mr. Potts been writing his own biography, the next few minutes must have been a blank, so far as any definite reminiscences on his own part were concerned. He has a dim recollection of stammering out something about “mistaking the room,” the “industry of Penelope,” and “begging pardon;” then he remembers somebody, he hardly knows whether himself or not, rushing down-stairs, and passing through a door held open before him. Then he said, or heard somebody say something about “compliments of the season,” “many returns,” “fine day,” “the gentlemen are favored,” “make many calls?” At last, when he fully came to himself, he found that he was sitting in a drawing-room, his hat between his knees, and a cup of coffee in his hand. Near him was a table upon which, instead of a vulgar eating-house display of all the “delicacies of the season,” was simply a massive coffee-urn, and two or three articles of plate. Before the table stood a lovely figure dressed in the purest white, her countenance lit up with the most enchanting smile in the world.

Mr. Potts found himself in the very situation in which he had hoped to be. He had been the first to make his appearance that morning, and he thought himself sure of a long tête-à-tête with the fair Mary Briggs. In anticipation of this he had conned over in his own mind a variety of brilliant remarks, with which he purposed to enliven the conversation, and which he fully intended should impress upon her mind the conviction that he was an extremely agreeable young man. But things never turn out in such cases precisely as one has arranged them. The gentleman himself was not over-gifted with extempore conversational powers, and the adventures of the morning had not tended to remedy the deficiency. He quite forgot the criticisms which—à propos of the Opera—he had intended to make upon Truffi and Parodi, Benedetti and Beneventano, for the getting-up of which he had almost learned by heart the cant of the musical critics. Even his raptures about Jenny Lind came coldly off. But the liveliness of the lady made amends for his deficiencies: the more silent and embarrassed he became, the more brilliant and charming she grew, and the more earnestly[Pg 283] were his eyes fixed upon the charming countenance that beamed down upon him.



“How she did talk!” said Mr. Potts to us, one day, not long after the occurrence. He had invited us to dine with him at Delmonico’s, when he would tell us how we could “do him a great favor—that’s a good fellow.” As we were sure of a good dinner and a capital Regalia afterward; and knew, moreover, that Mr. Potts never wanted to borrow money, we of course accepted the invitation. He wanted us to go and “put things right with old Briggs about that confounded New Year’s scrape,” and so unburdened his whole soul to us.—“How she did talk!” said Mr. Potts; “she knows every thing! Had I heard this Opera, and that? and didn’t I admire this passage and that? and then she would go off into her Italian lingo, which I couldn’t understand a word of. I didn’t know she understood Italian. However, I’m glad I found it out—I know what to make of that handsome, dark-complexioned fellow, with black eyes and hair, and such a mustache, that I used to see coming out of old Briggs’s every day or two—he was her Italian teacher. And then about Jenny Lind, and there was more Italian, and I don’t know what. And then had I visited the Düsseldorff Gallery? and wasn’t I in love with those little Fairies? and didn’t the tears start to my eyes when I saw the Silesian Weavers? and what did I think of the Nativity? and did I ever see any thing so comical as the Student? and wasn’t the Wine-Tasters admirable? and wasn’t it wonderful that a man could put so much soul upon a bit of canvas, not larger than one’s nail, with no materials except a few red, and yellow, and blue, and brown colors, and a few bristles fastened into the end of a stick? and—” But we forbear: Mr. Potts’s confidences are sacred. We inferred, from his embarrassment and her volubility, that he was in love, and she wasn’t—with him.



Mr. Potts gazed up into her face with his heart in his mouth:—it had been better for him, just then to have had his coffee there. A scalding sensation made him look down, when to his horror he found that he had been quietly emptying his cup into his hat, and had finished by depositing the last of its scalding contents upon his knees. He gave a start of agony and horror, when the treacherous chair, upon the edge of which he had been perched, slid out from under him, and he found himself seated upon the floor. The fragile china, which he held in his hand, was shattered into a score of fragments, while his hat, in falling, came in contact with the lady, who was standing before him, and bestowed its contents in the most liberal manner upon her snowy dress.

Mary Briggs was as sweet a girl as the city held on that New Year’s Day, but even she could not prevent a look, half of vexation, and half of amusement, from passing over her countenance. The frown was but transient, and soon passed off into an expression of sympathy for the condition of the luckless gentleman at her feet. Mr. Potts, however, did not perceive the change. With a sudden spring he made for the door of the room. Two strides more brought him to the street door, which the servant was just then closing behind a new visitor. He rushed through like a whirlwind, without noticing their astonished looks, and shut the door after him with a report like a thunder-clap.



He had taken only a single step from the threshold when he found himself suddenly detained by an irresistible power, while at the same instant a sudden darkness came over his vision, as though a black curtain had been drawn between his eyes and the world without. He leaned against the door for support, with a terrible apprehension that his overwrought nervous system had yielded to the shock, and that he had been struck with sudden paralysis and blindness. But finding, in the course of a few moments, that the weakness did not increase, he proceeded to investigate his situation. Seeing a faint glimmer of light, like the narrow line shining under the door of an illuminated apartment, he put his hand to his eyes, and found that the obscuration was caused by the hat, which had slipped down from his forehead, and was now resting on[Pg 284] the tip of his nose. He took it off, and beheld the well-known broad-brim which was wont to cover the capacious head of Mr. Briggs, instead of his own resplendent beaver. Mr. Potts then proceeded to examine into the cause of his detention, and found that the skirt of his coat had caught in the door. The whole matter was now plain. In his exodus through the hall, he had snatched up the only hat he saw, forgetting that his own was lying in the drawing-room beside the broken china; his hasty flight had projected his skirts horizontally as he passed through the door, which had closed upon them. The shock occasioned by the sudden check upon his progress, had brought the hat, too large for his head, over his eyes. The whole extent of his misfortune dawned gradually upon him. The keen January air reminded him that he had left his upper garment in the hall, while his benumbed fingers admonished him that the primrose kids, which he had so carefully selected, were ornamental rather than useful. He hesitated whether he should ring to be released from his durance, and to recover the missing articles of his apparel; but a sound within warned him that the visitor whom he had met was just taking his departure; and he felt that he could not encounter him. With a desperate tug at his coat, he tore himself away, leaving a fragment of the skirt behind him, and rushed down the steps.



Mr. Potts was in no mood or condition to pursue his intended rounds. His only thought was how to bestow himself for the remainder of the day, till he could creep home unobserved, under cover of night. He made his way to one of the obscure streets running parallel with Broadway, down which he went till he reached Florence’s. He rushed through the whole length of the long saloon, and took possession of the box most remote from the door. The waiter was astonished by the multiplicity and singular character of the orders which kept coming all that afternoon from No. 19, in which cigars and potables largely figured.



Toward ten o’clock, Mr. Potts might have been seen making his way down Broadway, with a peculiarly oscillating motion. He had just reached the corner of Murray-street, and was felicitating himself that the troubles of the day were over, when he found his progress checked by a strong hand fastened upon his collar. He looked up with a stupid stare, and was half sobered by the sight of Mr. Briggs, in his well-known fur-trimmed wrapper. That worthy gentleman’s special hobby was Temperance, and he never failed to trot it out on all available occasions. Mr. Potts clearly furnished such an occasion. In vain he protested that he had drunk only a single glass “o’ bran’y-’n-w-r-r.” Mr. Briggs had an infallible test of a man’s sobriety; If he could say “National Intelligencer,” he was sober: if not, not. Mr. Potts’s nearest approach to these sounds was, “Na-s-nl’ntl-n’sr.” From the fact of his present condition, Mr. Briggs leaped to the conclusion that his conduct in the morning was owing to the same cause, and proceeded to set forth the enormity and danger of such a course, to the great edification of a group who soon gathered around. After being kept for half an hour shivering in the cold, Mr. Potts was suffered to escape. He saw that he was under a cloud, and was at a loss what to do, till the lucky thought struck him, of securing our intervention to “set the matter straight with old Briggs:” whence our acquaintance with all the facts of the case, of which so many contradictory accounts have been circulated about town.

[Pg 285]


Now, then, Granny, I've eaten the Plums, and if you
don't give me Sixpence, I'll swallow the Stones!

“Now, then, Granny, I’ve eaten the Plums, and if you don’t give me Sixpence, I’ll swallow the Stones!”

Mr. Booby delivering his Lecture in and upon the New
Costume for Males.

Mr. BOOBY delivering his Lecture in and upon the New Costume for Males.

[Pg 286]

A Bloomer (in Leap Year)-Say! oh, say, Dearest,
will you be mine?

A “Bloomer” (in Leap Year).—“Say! oh, say, Dearest, will you be mine?”]

Strong-minded Bloomer.-Now, do, Alfred, put down that
foolish Novel, and do something rational. Go and play something. You
never practice, now you're married.

Strong-minded “Bloomer.”—“Now, do, Alfred, put down that foolish Novel, and do something rational. Go and play something. You never practice, now you’re married.”

[Pg 287]


Home and Walking Dresses

Figs. 1 and 2.—Home and Walking Dresses.

Short cloaks and mantillas, with dark figured dresses, compose the most fashionable walking costume for this season. They are recommended for their elegance, comfort, and convenience.

Figure 1 represents a Home or Dinner Dress.—No cap, and hair arranged in puffed bands, ornamented with two tufts of taffeta ribbons, intermixed with a few small loops of No. 2 velvet; then, quite behind, these loops become longer; lastly, on each side hang long loose ends of taffeta ribbon, and others of velvet not so long. The dress is quite a new model; it is à disposition; that is to say, the designs are so arranged as to fall in certain parts of the dress. The material is very thick, dark silk, a sort of lampas. The top of the skirt is worked with very light, black designs, which do not reach quite up to the waist. The stripes are obtained in the stuff by imitations of velvet, which simulate the appearance of velvet ribbons of graduated widths. The black lace is also woven in the stuff, and imitates real lace very naturally. The body and sleeves are plain, except at the edge of the lapel and the sleeves, where some light designs are combined in the fabric in the same style as the lace in the skirt; the lapel and sleeves are trimmed with real black lace. Two large velvet rosettes ornament the body; and a similar one holds up each sleeve, just above the bend of the arm. These special patterns woven in the fabric may be replaced by the application of ornaments of velvet ribbon and real lace on the skirt.—Mittens of black silk embroidered: these mittens are indispensable with the sleeves now worn. They come up the arm and accompany the trimming of the pagodas; the flounces on the arm have an excellent effect. Between the black lace of the sleeve and the trimmings of the mitten, there is some white lace trimming, which gives an air of lightness to the whole.—There is another very pretty style of Dinner Costume. It consists of a jupe of pale buff satin, with deep volant, headed by a narrow rûche of the same; loin de feu of crimson velvet, low in the neck; the jacket being à la Hongroie; wide pagoda sleeves, finished by a[Pg 288] very broad silk trimming, the jacket edged to correspond. A scarf of black lace is tied negligently round the neck, falling over the top of the corsage.

Figure 2 represents a Walking Costume. Bonnet of satin velvet; the front satin, the crown velvet. The edge of the front, is trimmed with two small satin bouillonnés; the bouillonnés of the band and crown are velvet.—Dress of black lampas, figured: the patterns form wreaths one over the other, with a large flower and pointed leaves detaching themselves through difference of shade in the worked figures on the plain ground.—Cloak, of black velvet. This cloak, very full, has a large flat collar, pointed in front, rounded behind. From the points hang very long black silk tassels, with broad ornaments over them. Behind, the cloak is continued in a round shape, but longer than in front. The fore parts lap over and drape one on the other; the right side clasps almost behind, on the left shoulder, under the collar; from this place hangs a long tassel, as well as at the bottom of the side that laps over. All around the edge of the cloak and collar is silk galloon, from three to four inches wide, sewed on flat; each side of this galloon is satined for about half an inch in width, and the middle is worked dead. The edge is finished off with a narrow fringe, little more than half an inch wide. In the draped part, when the arm is raised, the lining is seen; its color contrasts with the stuff.

Walking Costume

Fig. 3.—Walking Costume.

Figure 3 represents a full winter costume, for a pleasant day, when furs are not indispensable. Bonnet, satin and blond. The brim is transparent, of white blond, gathered; it comes forward on the forehead, and opens off at the sides; the crown is rather square; it is made of white satin, gathered so as to form a shell without stiffness. The sides of the crown are composed of two small puffed rolls and a large bouillonné, all of white satin. The top of the crown is covered with a piece of blond which comes down and forms the curtain. Three white feathers at the side; the bottom one comes forward against the cheek, and covers the edge of the brim with its curls. The cheeks are trimmed with tufts of blue primroses. The strings are No. 22; they are edged with dead stripes crossed with small bars. Dress of black velvet. Winter mantelet of black velvet and blue satin, lined with blue satin, and trimmed with blue loose fringe, mixed with ends of black twisted chenille. This mantelet, round behind, has the stole shape in front; it is composed of bands of black velvet, from three to four inches wide, and bands of blue satin. Both velvet and satin are drawn in the middle and gathered like a bonnet; nothing can be rounder, softer, more luxuriously warm than this garment. The fringes at the edge are about seven inches deep where the arm comes, and deepen gradually toward the back, where they are ten inches deep.

Hood and Head-Dress

Figs. 4 and 5.—Hood and Head-Dress.

Figure 4 represents the hood of a new and graceful mantle for promenading in the open air, for a short distance. The appearance of the hood is very graceful. When the mantle is worn in walking in private grounds, or going to a place of amusement, the hair can be arranged in any style, without danger of being disturbed, or with a bonnet. A mantle of blue silk, the hood and body trimmed with deep black lace, headed with a ruché of silk, is a pretty style. The bottom edge of the hood, and the part which draws over the head, should be thus trimmed, the latter having a fulling of lace.

Figure 5 shows a portion of a very chaste costume for a young married lady. Hair ornamented with broad velvet ribbons rolled in the torsade and with ends floating at each side. Plain silk dress with the body very open in front, and the trimming composed of a worked band, four inches wide, sewed flat on another of eight or ten inches broad; this trimming, which is not gathered, forms a kind of double berthe, and gets less toward the bottom so as to round off gracefully, and not mark the waist too decidedly. Three bows of black velvet decorate the front of the body. The sleeves are short, and have two rows of gathered trimming; the skirt which is very ample, is smooth at top, and trimmed below with six figured flounces, a small one over a larger one, three times its width. When this figured stuff is not at hand, it may be replaced by embroidery or a simple festoon. The figures are worked in white. The habit shirt is made of silk-net, is high and square in front, where it is finished off with two rows of lace standing up. The body is rich open-work insertions and small plaits. The under-sleeves have a silk-net bouillon, with handsome lace raised in front, by a black velvet bow.


1. Numerous missing periods have been inserted, and a few obvious printer's errors corrected. Inconsistent hyphenation has not been corrected.

2. At bottom of page 27, a confused series of five double quotes have been corrected to two double quotes and two pairs of (internal) single quotes.

3. The spelling "vailed" has been retained as acceptable in 19th Century writing.

4. Headers in Gothic script, even when printed in title case, have been rendered in all caps.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol IV.
No. XX. January, 1852., by Various


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