The Project Gutenberg eBook of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 3, July, 1851

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Title: Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 3, July, 1851

Author: Various

Release date: April 18, 2008 [eBook #25093]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Kline, Greg Bergquist and The Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcribers Note:

Variant spelling has been retained. Minor corrections to punctuation have been made without note. A Table of Contents has been provided for the HTML version.

[Pg 145]


No. XIV.—JULY, 1851.—VOL. III.


Monthly Record of Current Events.
Literary Notices.
Editor's Drawer.
A Leaf from Punch.
Summer Fashions.



ON the morning of a brilliant day in October, 1760, the heir apparent to the British throne and his groom of the stole, were riding on horseback near Kew Palace, on the banks of the Thames. The heir was George, son of the deceased Frederick, Prince of Wales; the groom was John Stuart, Earl of Bute, an impoverished descendant of an ancient Scottish chieftain. The prince was young, virtuous, and amiable; the earl was in the prime of mature manhood, pedantic, gay, courtly in bearing, and winning in deportment. He came as an adventurer to the court of George the Second, for he possessed nothing but an earldom, a handsome person, and great assurance; he lived in affluence in the royal household of Frederick, because he played Lothario well not only in the amateur theatre, but in the drawing-room of the princess, and soon became her petted favorite.

The Prince of Wales died, and rumor with her half-lying tongue often whispered in the public ear the suspicion that the earl and the dowager princess were unmindful of the requirements of virtue. Public credulity believed the scandal, and the public mind became troubled because the pupilage of the future sovereign was under the guidance of the shallow earl. He was a tutor more expert in the knowledge of stage-plays, the paraphernalia of the acted drama, and the laws of fashion and etiquette necessary for the beau and the courtier, than in comprehension of the most simple principles of jurisprudence, the duties of a statesman, or the solid acquirements necessary for a reigning prince or his chief adviser. It was evident that the groom of the stole would be the prime minister of the realm when George should possess the throne of his grandfather, and this expectation made virtuous men and true patriots unhappy.

The prince and his inseparable companion had just reined up at the portal of the garden of the dowager, at Kew, when a solemn peal[Pg 146] tolled out from the bells of London. While they were listening, a messenger came in haste to the prince and announced the sudden death of the old king. He was soon followed by William Pitt, the greatest commoner in England, the idol of the people, and, as prime minister, the actual ruler of the affairs of the empire. Pitt confirmed the sad tidings, and made preliminary arrangements for proclaiming the accession of George the Third.


The earl and his pupil remained that day and night at Kew, in company with Doddington and a few other friends, and the next morning rode up to St. James's, in London, to meet the great officers of state. At that interview, Pitt presented the young king with an address to be pronounced at a meeting of the Privy Council. The minister was informed that one had already been prepared. This announcement opened to the sagacious mind of Pitt a broad and gloomy view of the future. He perceived that Bute was to be the ruling spirit in the new cabinet; that he whom he despised for his weakness and illiberality, his pedantic assumption of superior scholarship, and his merited unpopularity with the people, was to be the bosom friend and adviser of the king. Pitt well knew his unfitness, and deplored the consequences. Unwilling to be held in the least responsible for errors which were certain to abound in the administration of affairs, he soon withdrew to his mansion at Hayes, and watched, with all the interest and anxiety of a statesman and patriot, the gradual weaving of the web of difficulty in which the impotent men who surrounded the king, were soon ensnared.

By virtue of his office as groom of the stole, Bute was sworn in a Privy Councilor, and, by degrees he obtained the control of the cabinet. For nearly ten years his unwise advice and defective statesmanship, in the cabinet and in the parlor, led George the Third into many and grave errors, which finally resulted in the loss of the fairest portion of his American possessions. Had Pitt been allowed to guide the public policy and direct the honest but stubborn mind of the king at the beginning of his long reign of half a century, these United States might have remained a part of the British Empire fifty years longer. But that great man, whose genius as a statesman, eloquence and wisdom as a legislator, and whose thorough knowledge of human nature and the past history of the world, made him peerless, and whose administration of government during almost the entire progress of The Seven Years' War, had carried England to a height of prosperity and influence which she had never before approached, was superseded by a fop; his eminent worth was overlooked; his services were apparently forgotten, and he was allowed to retire from office and leave the young sovereign and his government in the hands of weak, crafty, and selfish men. The people venerated Pitt; they despised the very name of Stuart. They deprecated the influence of the king's mother as being unfavorable to popular freedom. A placard which appeared upon the Royal Exchange, bearing, in large letters, the significant expression of "No petticoat government—no Scotch minister—no Lord George Sackville," prefigured those popular tumults which soon afterward disturbed the metropolis and extended to the American colonies. That placard was the harbinger of that great Declaration, the adoption of which by a representative Congress of the Anglo-American people fifteen years afterward, is the occasion of our National Anniversary.

From the accession of Charles the Second, just one hundred years before George the Third ascended the throne, the English colonies in America struggled manfully for prosperity against the unjust and illiberal commercial policy of Great Britain. With a strange obtuseness of perception in regard to the elements of national prosperity, which the truths of modern political economy now clearly illustrate to the common mind, the British government sought to fill its coffers from the products of colonial industry, by imposing upon their commerce such severe restrictions that its expansion was almost prohibited. The wisdom and prudent counsels of men like Robert Walpole were of no avail; and, down to the accession of George the Third, the industrial pursuits of the colonists, under the regulations of the Board of Trade, were subjected to restraints and impositions which amounted to actual oppression. The Americans often petitioned for justice, but in vain. Continental wars continually drained the imperial treasury, and the inventive genius of British statesmen continually planned new schemes for the creation of a revenue adequate to meet the enormous expenditures of government. Despite the Navigation Act and kindred measures, sometimes enforced with rigor, and[Pg 147] sometimes with laxity, the American Colonies grew rich and powerful. Despite the injustice of the mother country, they were eminently loyal. During the long war between France and England which was waged in the wilds of America, and which called into fierce action the savage tribes of the forests, the colonies contributed men and money with a lavish prodigality to sustain the honor of Great Britain, and the Gallic power on our continent was crushed, chiefly by provincial strength. The fidelity, the generosity, the prowess, and the loyalty of the Americans commanded the admiration of England, and should have excited her grateful desires to reciprocate and requite the service. On the contrary, the exhibition of the wealth and strength of the colonies during that war, excited her jealousy, led to greater exactions, and were made a pretense for more flagrant acts of injustice. She seemed to regard the Americans as industrious bees, working in a hive in her own apiary, in duty bound to lay up stores of honey for her especial use, and entitled to only the poor requital of a little treacle.

Relying upon the steady loyalty of the colonists, and their pecuniary ability, the advisers of the king looked to them for unceasing and substantial aid in replenishing the exhausted exchequer. Hitherto many of the commercial regulations had been evaded; now a rigid enforcement of the revenue laws was commenced. By the advice of Bute the king determined to "reform the American charters." Secret agents were sent to traverse the colonies for the purpose of ascertaining the temper of the people, of conciliating men of wealth and influence, and of obtaining such information as might be useful to ministers in preparing a plan for drawing a portion of the surplus wealth of the Americans into the imperial treasury. The first reform measure was the issuing of Writs of Assistance to revenue officers. These were warrants to custom-house officials, giving them and their deputies a general power to enter houses and stores where it might be suspected that contraband goods were concealed. This was a violation of one of the dearest principles of Magna Charta which recognizes the house of every Briton as his castle. The idea of such latitude being given to "the meanest deputy of a deputy's deputy" created general indignation and alarm. It might cover the grossest abuses, and no man's privacy would be free from the intrusions of these ministerial hirelings. The colonies saw in this the budding germ of despotism, and resolved to oppose its growth. The voice of James Otis the younger, a ripe scholar of six-and-thirty, and then the Advocate General of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, first denounced the scheme and declared the great political postulate which became the basis of all subsequent resistance to kingly domination, that "Taxation, without Representation, is Tyranny." Like the deep and startling tones of an alarm-bell, echoing from hill to hill, his bold eloquence aroused the hearts of thinking men from the Penobscot to the St. Mary; and his published arguments, like an electric shock, thrilled every nerve in the Atlantic provinces. "Otis was a flame of fire," said John Adams, in describing the scene in the Massachusetts Assembly, when the orator uttered his denunciations. "With a promptitude of classical allusion and a depth of research, a rapid summary of historical events and dates, a profusion of legal authority, a prophetic glance of his eyes into futurity and a rapid torrent of impetuous eloquence, he hurried away all before him. The seeds of patriots and heroes were then and there sown. Every man of an immensely crowded audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take up arms against Writs of Assistance. Then and there was the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child, Independence, was born. In fifteen years, that is, in 1776, he grew up to manhood, and declared himself free."


Poor Otis! The bludgeon of a ministerial myrmidon paralyzed his brilliant intellect, and he was not allowed to participate in the scenes of the Revolution which ensued. Just as the white banner of peace began to wave over his country, after a struggle of twenty years to which he gave the first impulse, an electric bolt from the clouds mercifully released his wearied spirit from its earthly thrall.

The people were now fairly aroused. "Give us a just representation in the national council," they said, "and we will cheerfully submit to the expressed will of the majority." Great Britain was too proud to listen to conditions from her children; too blind to perceive the expediency of fair concession. She haughtily refused the reciprocity asked, and menaced the recusants. In the war just closed, the colonists had discovered their inherent strength, and they were[Pg 148] not easily frightened by the mother's frown. Upon the postulate of Otis they planted the standard of resistance and boldly kept it floating on the breeze until the War of the Revolution broke out.


Heedless of the portentous warnings already given, the British ministry conceived another scheme for taxing the Americans. The famous Stamp Act was elaborated in council, discussed in parliament, and made a law by sanction of the king's signature in the spring of 1765. That act imposed certain duties upon every species of legal writing. It declared invalid and null every promissory note, deed, mortgage, bond, marriage license, business agreement, and every contract which was not written upon paper, vellum, or parchment impressed with the stamp of the imperial government. For these, fixed rates were stipulated. In this measure the Americans perceived another head of the Hydra, Despotism. The Writs of Assistance touched the interests of commercial men; the Stamp Act touched the interests of the whole people. The principle involved was the same in each; the practical effect of the latter was universally felt. Fierce was the tempest of indignation which followed the annunciation of its enactment, and throughout the colonies the hearts of the people beat as with one pulsation. Sectional differences were forgotten. The bold notes of defiance uttered in New England and New York were caught up and echoed with manifold vehemence in Virginia. Patrick Henry, the idle boy of Hanover, had just burst from the chrysalis of obscurity, and was enchanting his countrymen with the brilliancy of his eloquence. He had been but a few days a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, when intelligence of the passage of the Stamp Act reached the Old Dominion. Upon a scrap of paper torn from the fly-leaf of an old copy of "Coke upon Littleton," he wrote those famous resolutions which formed the first positive gauntlet of defiance cast at the feet of the British monarch. The introduction of those resolutions startled the apathetic, alarmed the timid, surprised the boldest. With voice and mien almost superhuman in cadence and aspect, Henry defended them. In descanting upon the tyranny of the odious Act, he shook that assembly with alarm, and as he exclaimed in clear bell-tones of deepest meaning, "Cæsar had his Brutus—Charles the First his Cromwell, and George the Third—" cries of "Treason! Treason!" came from every part of the House. Henry faltered not for an instant; but rising to a loftier altitude, and fixing on the Speaker an eye of the most determined fire, he finished the sentence with vehement emphasis—"George the the Third—may profit by their example. If that be treason, make the most of it." The resolutions were adopted, and from that day Massachusetts and Virginia were the head and heart of the American Revolution.

We will not tarry to notice the various measures subsequently adopted by the British Government to tax the Americans without their consent, and the scenes of excitement which every where prevailed in the colonies. The taxes imposed were light, some of them almost nominal; the colonists complained only of the principle involved in the avowal of government, that it possessed the right to impose taxes without the consent of the governed. This was the issue, and both parties were unyielding. For ten years the people complained of wrongs, petitioned for redress, and suffered insults. They were forbearing, because they were fond of the name of Englishmen. The mother country was blind, not voluntarily wicked. The British ministry did not deliberately counsel the king to oppress his subjects, for he would have spurned such advice with indignation; yet the measures which they proposed, and which the king sanctioned, accomplished the ends of positive tyranny and oppression. Forbearance, at length, became no longer a virtue, and, turning their backs upon Great Britain, the Americans prepared for inevitable war. They understood the maxim of revolutionists, that "in union there is strength." A spontaneous desire for a continental council was every where manifested. Its proposition by the Massachusetts Assembly was warmly responded to. The people met in primary assemblies, appointed representatives, and on the 5th of September, 1774, forty-three[Pg 149] delegates from twelve colonies assembled in convention, in Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia. Others soon came, and the first Continental Congress began its labors.

When the preliminary organization of Congress was completed, and the delegates were assembled on the morning of the 7th, there was great solemnity. After the Rev. Mr. Duché had prayed in behalf of the assembly for Divine guidance, no one seemed willing to open the business of Congress. There was perfect silence for a few minutes, when a plain man, dressed in "minister's gray," arose and called the delegates to action. The plain man was a stranger to almost every one present. "Who is he?" went from lip to lip. "Patrick Henry," was the soft reply of Pendleton, his colleague. The master spirit of the storm in Virginia ten years before, now gave the first impulse to independent continental legislation. Day after day the interests of the colonies were calmly discussed; the rights of the people declared; the principles and blessings of civil freedom extolled, and a determination to maintain and enjoy them, at all hazards, boldly avowed. The king and parliament were petitioned; the people of England and America were feelingly addressed, and yet, during the session, from the 5th of September to the 26th of October, not a word was uttered respecting political independence. Reconciliation was the theme; and that body of noble patriots, the noblest ever assembled, returned to their constituents indulging the hope that there would be no occasion for the assembling of another Congress.

When the proceedings of this first general council reached the king, he was greatly offended, and, instead of accepting the loyal propositions for insuring mutual good-will, and listening to the just petitions of his subjects, he recommended coercive measures. Parliament provided for sending more troops to America to enforce submission to the new and oppressive laws. The town of Boston, the hot-bed of the rebellion, was made a garrison, and subjected to martial law. Blood soon flowed at Lexington and Concord, and two months later the sanguinary battle of Bunker Hill was fought. In the mean while another congress had assembled at Philadelphia on the 10th of May; and Ethan Allen and his compatriots had captured the strong fortresses of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, on Lake Champlain. The whole country was in a blaze. The furrow and the workshop were deserted, and New England sent her thousands of hardy yeomen to wall up the British troops in Boston—to chain the tiger, and prevent his depredating elsewhere. A Continental Army was organized, and the supreme command given to George Washington, the hero of the Great Meadows and of the Monongahela. With Titan strength the patriots piled huge fortifications around Boston, and for nine months they kept their unnatural enemy a prisoner upon that little peninsula. Then they drove him in haste out upon the broad Atlantic, and gave peace to the desolated city. And yet the patriots talked not of political independence. Righteous concession would have secured reconciliation. The dismembering blow had not yet fallen. Great Britain was blind and stubborn still.

Perplexed by dissensions in parliament, and the manifest growth of sympathy for the Americans in his metropolis, the king was desirous of making honorable concessions. Foolish ministers and ignorant and knavish politicians prated of British honor, and advised the adoption of rigorous measures for throwing back the swelling tide of rebellion in America. It was an easy thing to advise, but difficult to plan, and hard to execute the schemes proposed. The army of the empire was too much scattered at distant points to furnish efficient detachments for the American service. It would have been dangerous to send out levies raised from the home districts, because the leaven of republicanism was there at work. Material for an invading force was therefore sought in foreign markets. Petty German princes happened to have a good supply on hand, and toward the close of 1775, one of the darkest crimes recorded upon the pages of English history, was consummated. Seventeen thousand Germans, known here as Hessians, were hired by the British ministry, and sent to plunder our seas, ravage our coasts, burn our towns, and destroy the lives of our people. The king pronounced his subjects in America to be rebels, and virtually abdicated government here, by declaring them out of his protection, and waging war against them. His representatives, the royal governors, were expelled from our shores, or driven to the protection of British arms. All hope for reconciliation faded; petitions and remonstrances ceased; the sword was drawn and the scabbard thrown away. The children of Great Britain, who had ever regarded her with reverence and filial affection, and who never dreamed of leaving the paternal roof until the unholy chastisements of a parent's hand alienated their love, were expelled from the threshold, and were compelled to seek shelter behind the bulwark of a righteous rebellion. Now their thoughts turned to the establishment of themselves as an independent nation.

The precise time when aspirations for political independence first became a prevailing sentiment among the people of the colonies, can not be determined. No doubt the thought had been born in many minds, and the desire cherished in many hearts, years before they received tangible shape in explicit declarations. James Warren, Samuel Adams, Dr. Franklin, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, Timothy Dwight, Thomas Paine, and others seem to have been early impressed with the idea, that a total separation from Great Britain was the only cure for existing evils. But it was only a few months before the subject was brought before Congress, that it became a topic for public discussion.

In 1773 Patrick Henry said, in conversation,[Pg 150] "I doubt whether we shall be able, alone, to cope with so powerful a nation as Great Britain; but," he said, rising from his chair with animation, "where is France? where is Spain? where is Holland? the natural enemies of Great Britain. Where will they be all this while? Do you suppose they will stand by, idle and indifferent spectators of the contest? Will Louis XVI. be asleep all this time? Believe me, no! When Louis XVI. shall be satisfied by our serious opposition, and our Declaration of Independence, that all prospect of a reconciliation is gone, then, and not till then, will he furnish us with arms, ammunition, and clothing; and not with them only, but he will send his fleets and armies to fight our battles for us. He will form a treaty with us, offensive and defensive, against our unnatural mother. Spain and Holland will join the confederation. Our independence will be established, and we shall take our stand among the nations of the earth!" Never did seer or prophet more clearly lift the veil of the future, and yet few sympathized with him. Doctor Franklin talked of total political emancipation in 1774, and Timothy Dwight recommended it early in 1775, and yet Jay, Madison, Richard Penn, and others positively assert, that until after the meeting of the second Continental Congress, there was no serious thought of independence entertained. In reply to an intimation from a friend in 1774, that Massachusetts was seeking independence, Washington wrote, "Give me leave to add, and I think I can announce it as a fact, that it is not the wish or interest of that government, or any other upon this continent, separately or collectively, to set up for independence." But when fleets and armies came to coerce submission to injustice and wrong; when King, Lords, and Commons became totally "deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity," the colonies were obliged to "acquiesce in the necessity" which compelled them to dissolve the political bands that united them to the parent state.

At the beginning of 1776, Thomas Paine sent forth his remarkable pamphlet, called Common Sense. Its vigorous paragraphs dealt hard blows upon the British ministry, and its plain truths carried conviction to the hearts of thousands throughout our land that rebellion was justifiable. In it he boldly proposed a speedy declaration of independence. "It matters very little now," he said, "what the King of England either says or does; he hath wickedly broken through every moral and human obligation, trampled nature and conscience beneath his feet; and by a steady and constitutional spirit of insolence and cruelty, procured for himself a universal hatred. It is now the interest of America to provide for herself. She hath already a large and young family, whom it is more her duty to take care of, than to be granting away her property to support a power which is become a reproach to the names of men and Christians.... It may be asked, Which is the easiest and most practicable plan, reconciliation or independence? I answer generally, That independence being a single, simple line, contained within ourselves, and reconciliation a matter exceedingly perplexed and complicated, and in which a treacherous, capricious court is to interfere, gives the answer without a doubt.... Instead of gazing at each other with suspicious or doubtful curiosity, let each of us hold out to his neighbor the hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissension. Let the names of Whig and Tory be extinct; and let none other be heard among us, than those of a good citizen; an open and resolute friend; and a virtuous supporter of the rights of mankind, and of the free and independent states of America."

"Common Sense" was printed and scattered by thousands over the land. In the army it was read by the captains at the head of their companies, and at public gatherings its strong but just language was greeted with loud acclaim. Neighbor read it to neighbor, and within three months after its appearance a desire for absolute independence of Great Britain glowed in almost every patriot bosom, and found expression at public meetings, in the pulpit, and in social circles.

The Colonial Assemblies soon began to move in the matter. North Carolina was the first to take the bold, progressive step toward independence. By a vote of a convention held on the 22d of April, 1776, the representatives of that State in the Continental Congress were authorized "to concur with those in the other colonies, in declaring independence." Eleven months earlier than this, a meeting at Charlotte, in Mecklenburg County, forswore allegiance to the British crown.

On the 10th of April, the General Assembly of Massachusetts requested the people of that colony, at the approaching election of new representatives, to give them instructions on the subject of independence. Pursuant to this request, the people of Boston, in town meeting assembled on the 23d, instructed their representatives to use their best endeavors to have their delegates at Philadelphia "advised, that in case Congress should think it necessary for the safety of the united colonies, to declare themselves independent of Great Britain, the inhabitants of that colony, with their lives and the remnants of their fortunes, would most cheerfully support them in the measure."

The Convention of Virginia passed a similar resolution on the 17th of May, and then proceeded to the establishment of a regular independent government for the colony. In its instructions the Virginia Convention directed its representatives to propose a declaration of independence. The General Assembly of Rhode Island adopted a similar resolution the same month, and also directed the usual oath of allegiance, thereafter, to be given to the State of Rhode Island, instead of to the King of Great Britain.

On the 8th of June the New York delegates[Pg 151] in Congress asked for special instructions on the subject, but the Provincial Assembly, deeming itself incompetent to instruct in so grave a matter without the previous sanction of the people, merely recommended the inhabitants to signify their sentiments at the election just at hand. The New York delegates were never instructed on the subject, and those who signed the Declaration did so upon their own responsibility. But when a copy of the Declaration reached the Provincial Assembly of New York, then in session at White Plains, that body passed a resolution of approval, and directed their delegates to act in future, as the public good might require.

The Assembly of Connecticut, on the 14th of June, instructed their delegates "to give the assent of the colony to such Declaration, when they should judge it expedient." On the 15th the New Hampshire Provincial Congress issued similar instructions; and on the 21st the new delegates from New Jersey were directed to act in the matter according to the dictates of their own judgments.


In the Pennsylvania Assembly, several months previously, the subject of independence had been hinted at. The Conservatives were alarmed, and procured the adoption of instructions to their delegates, adverse to such a measure. In June these restrictions were removed, and they were neither instructed nor officially permitted to concur with the other colonies in a declaration of independence. But a convention of the people, held in Philadelphia on the 24th of June, expressed their willingness and desire to act in concert with those of the other colonies, and requested the representatives of that province to vote affirmatively.

The Convention of Maryland, by a resolution adopted at about the close of May, positively forbade their delegates voting for independence; but through the influence of Carroll, Chase, Paca, and others, the prohibition was recalled on the 28th of June, and they were empowered to give a vote for Maryland concurrent with the other provinces. Delaware, South Carolina, and Georgia refrained from action on the subject, except such as occurred at small district meetings, and their delegates were left free to vote as they pleased. So rapid was the change in public opinion after the British troops were driven out of Boston, that within the space of sixty-five days, the representatives of ten of the thirteen colonies were specially instructed by their constituents to sever the political tie which bound them to Great Britain.

The Continental Congress, now in permanent session, was assembled in the State House in Philadelphia, a spacious building yet standing—a relic of rarest interest to the American, because of the glorious associations which hallow it.

"This is the sacred fane wherein assembled
The fearless champions on the side of Right;
Men at whose Declaration empires trembled,
Moved by the Truth's clear and eternal light.

"This is the hallowed spot where first, unfurling,
Fair Freedom spread her blazing scroll of light;
Here, from Oppression's throne the tyrant hurling,
She stood supreme in majesty and might."

[Pg 152]


Stimulated by affirmative action in the various colonies, the desire for independence became a living principle in the hall of the Continental Congress, and that principle found utterance, albeit with timorous voice. John Hancock, an opulent merchant of Boston, and from the commencement of difficulties in 1765, a bold, uncompromising, zealous, and self-sacrificing patriot, was seated in the presidential chair, to which he had been called a year previously, when Peyton Randolph, the first incumbent, was summoned to the bedside of his dying wife in Virginia. The equally bold and uncompromising Adamses were his colleagues, from Massachusetts Bay. On his right sat Franklin of Pennsylvania, Sherman of Connecticut, Rutledge of South Carolina, and young Jefferson of Virginia. On his left was the eloquent Dickenson of Pennsylvania, and his colleague, Robert Morris, the financier of the Revolution, whose capital and credit, controlled by untiring energy and love of country, sustained the cause of freedom in the darkest hours of its struggles with tyranny. Near him was the lovely and refined Arthur Middleton of South Carolina, with a heart full of philanthropy, and a mind at ease while he saw his immense fortune melting away before the fire of revolution. In front was Richard Henry Lee, the Cicero of that august assembly, and by his side sat the venerable John Witherspoon of Princeton College, the equally impressive and earnest preacher of the gospel of Christ and the gospel of civil liberty. Near the President's chair sat the attenuated, white-haired secretary, Charles Thomson, who for fifteen years held the pen of the old Congress, and arranged, with masterly hand, its daily business. On every side were men, less conspicuous but equally zealous, bearing upon their shoulders a responsibility unparalleled in the history of the world in importance, whether considered in the aspect of immediate effects or prospective results.

On the 10th of May, the initial step toward independence was taken by Congress, when it was resolved, "that it be recommended to the several assemblies and conventions of the United Colonies, where no government, sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs, hath hitherto been established, to adopt such a government as shall, in the opinions of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general." A preamble to this resolution was prepared by a committee, consisting of John Adams, Edward Rutledge, and Richard Henry Lee, in which the principles of independent sovereignty were clearly set forth. It was declared "irreconcilable to reason and a good conscience for the colonists to take the oaths required for the support of the government under the crown of Great Britain." It was also declared necessary, that all royal rule should be suppressed, and all "the powers of government exerted under the authority of the people of the colonies, for the preservation of internal peace, virtue, and good order, as well as for the defense of their lives, liberties, and properties, against the hostile invasions, and civil depredations of their enemies." This language was certainly very bold, but not sufficiently positive and comprehensive, as a basis of energetic action, in favor of independence. The hearts of a majority in Congress now yearned with an irrepressible zeal for the consummation of an event which they knew to be inevitable; yet there seemed to be no one courageous enough in that assembly to step forth and take the momentous responsibility of lifting the knife that should dismember the British Empire. The royal government would mark that man as an arch-rebel, and all its energies would be brought to bear to quench his spirit, or to hang him on a gibbet.[1]

[Pg 153]


We have seen that Virginia instructed her representatives in Congress to propose independence: she had a delegate equal to the task. In the midst of the doubt, and dread, and hesitation, which for twenty days had brooded over the National Assembly, Richard Henry Lee arose, and with his clear, musical voice read aloud the resolution, "That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States; and that all political connection between us and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be totally dissolved." John Adams immediately arose and seconded the resolution. To shield them from the royal ire, Congress directed the secretary to omit the names of its mover and seconder in the journals. The record says, "Certain resolutions respecting independence being moved and seconded, Resolved, That the consideration of them be deferred until to-morrow morning; and that the members be enjoined to attend punctually at ten o'clock, in order to take the same into their consideration."

The resolution was not taken up for consideration, until three days afterward, when it was resolved to "postpone its further consideration until the first day of July next; and in the mean while, that no time be lost, in case Congress agree thereto, that a committee be appointed to prepare a declaration to that effect." That committee was appointed on the eleventh of June, and consisted of Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert R. Livingston of New York. Mr. Lee would doubtless have been appointed the chairman of the committee, had not intelligence of the serious illness of his wife compelled him, the evening previous to its formation, to ask leave of absence. At the hour when the committee was formed, Mr. Lee was in Wilmington, on his way to Virginia. Mr. Jefferson, the youngest member of the committee, was chosen by his colleagues to write the Declaration, because of his known expertness with the pen; and in an upper chamber of the house of Mrs. Clymer, on the southwest corner of Seventh and High-streets, in Philadelphia, that ardent patriot drew up the great indictment against George the Third, for adjudication by a tribunal of the nations.


On the first of July, pursuant to agreement, Mr. Lee's resolution was taken up in the committee of the whole house, Benjamin Harrison of Virginia (father of the late President Harrison), in the chair. Jefferson's draft of a declaration of independence, bearing a few verbal alterations by Franklin and Adams, was reported at the same time, and for three consecutive days its paragraphs were debated, altered, and agreed to, one after another. No written record has transmitted to us the able arguments put forth on that occasion, and the world has lost all except a few reminiscences preserved by those who listened to, and participated in the debates. While all hearts were favorable to the measure, all minds were not convinced that the proper time had arrived for "passing the Rubicon." Among the opponents of the resolution was John Dickenson of Pennsylvania, whose powerful arguments in a series of Letters of a Pennsylvania Farmer, published eight years before, had contributed greatly toward arousing the colonies to resistance. He did not regard[Pg 154] the measure as impolitic at all times, but as premature and impracticable at that time. He urged the want of money, munitions of war, of a well-organized and disciplined army; the seeming apathy of several colonies, manifested by their tardiness in declaring their wishes on the subject; the puissance of Great Britain by sea and land, and the yet unknown course of foreign governments during the contest which would follow. Richard Henry Lee, on the other hand, had supported his resolution with all his fervid eloquence, in Congress and out of it, from the day when he presented it. He prefaced his motion with a speech, which his compatriots spoke of in terms of highest eulogium. He reviewed with voluminous comprehensiveness the rights of the colonists, and the violation of those rights by the mother country. He stated their resources, descanted upon the advantages of union daily drawing closer and closer as external danger pressed upon them, and their capacity for defense. He appealed to the patriotism of his compeers, portrayed the beauties of liberty with her train of blessings of law, science, literature, arts, prosperity and glory; and concluded with these beautiful thoughts: "Why, then, sir, do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic! Let her arise, not to devastate and conquer, but to re-establish the reign of peace and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us; she demands of us a living example of freedom, that may exhibit a contrast, in the felicity of the citizen, to the ever-increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum, where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repose. She entreats us to cultivate a propitious soil, where that generous plant, which first sprung and grew in England, but is now withered by the blasts of Scottish tyranny [alluding to Bute, Lord Mansfield, and other Scotch advocates of the right of Great Britain to tax America], may revive and flourish, sheltering under its salubrious and interminable shade, all the unfortunate of the human race. If we are not this day wanting in our duty to our country, the names of the American legislators of '76 will be placed by posterity at the side of those of Theseus, of Lycurgus, of Romulus, of Numa, of the three Williams of Nassau, and of all those whose memory has been, and forever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens."


Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, the youngest member of Congress, being only twenty-five, was one of Mr. Lee's chief supporters, by his persevering industry, his charming conversation, and his impressive eloquence in debate. He was loved as a son by that stern and unyielding Puritan, Samuel Adams, then at the vigorous old age of fifty-four. He, too, with a voice that was never heard with inattention, supported the resolution; and indignantly rebuking what he was pleased to call a "temporizing spirit" among those who timidly opposed it, he exclaimed, "I should advise persisting in our struggle for liberty and independence, though it were revealed from Heaven that nine hundred and ninety-nine were to perish, and only one of a thousand were to survive, and retain his liberty! One such freeman must possess more virtue, and enjoy more happiness, than a thousand slaves; and let him propagate his like, and transmit to them, what he hath so nobly preserved." Such lofty sentiments possessed great potency at that perilous hour, when the stoutest heart was tremulous with emotion.


Dr. Witherspoon, of the same ripe age as Mr. Adams, who had left the seat of learning at Princeton and the quiet pathways of a Christian shepherd, and took a seat in the national council, also urged, with all the power and pathos of his eloquence, delivered in broad[Pg 155] Scotch accents, and marked by broad Scotch common sense, the immediate adoption of the resolution. While John Dickenson was eloquently pleading with his compeers, to postpone further action on the subject, and said "the people are not ripe for a declaration of independence," Doctor Witherspoon interrupted him and exclaimed, "Not ripe, sir! In my judgment we are not only ripe, but rotting. Almost every colony has dropped from its parent stem, and your own province, sir, needs no more sunshine to mature it!"


Although it was evident from the first, that a majority of the colonies would vote for the resolution, its friends were fearful that unanimous assent could not be obtained, inasmuch as the Assemblies of Pennsylvania and Maryland had refused to sanction the measure, and New York, South Carolina and Georgia were silent. The delegates from Maryland were unanimously in favor of it, while those from Pennsylvania were divided. When, on the first of July, a vote was taken in Committee of the whole House, all the colonies assented, except Pennsylvania and Delaware; four of the seven delegates of the former voting against it, and the two delegates from Delaware, who were present, were divided. Thomas M'Kean favored it, and George Read (who afterward signed it), opposed it. Mr. M'Kean burning with a desire to have his State speak in favor of the great measure, immediately sent an express after his colleague, Cæsar Rodney, the other Delaware delegate, then eighty miles away. Rodney was in the saddle within ten minutes after the arrival of the messenger, and reached Philadelphia on the morning of the fourth of July, just before the final vote was taken. Thus Delaware was secured. Robert Morris and John Dickenson of Pennsylvania were absent; the former was favorable, the latter opposed to the measure. Of the other five who were present, Doctor Franklin, James Wilson, and John Morton were in favor of it; Thomas Willing, and Charles Humphreys were opposed to it; so the State of Pennsylvania was also secured. At a little past meridian, on the Fourth of July 1776, a unanimous vote of the thirteen colonies was given in favor of declaring themselves Free and Independent States. A number of verbal alterations had been made in Mr. Jefferson's draft, and one whole paragraph, which severely denounced Slavery was stricken out, because it periled the unanimity of the vote. In the journal of Congress for that day, is this simple record:

"Agreeably to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration, the Declaration; and after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported, that the Committee have agreed to a Declaration, which they desired him to report. The Declaration being read, was agreed to as follows:


"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present king of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and[Pg 156] usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world:

"He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

"He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

"He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature—a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

"He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the repository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

"He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

"He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise—the state remaining, in the meantime, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within.

"He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states—for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

"He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

"He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their offices and the amount and payment of their salaries.

"He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

"He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

"He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to the civil power.

"He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws—giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation.

"For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

"For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

"For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

"For imposing taxes on us without our consent;

"For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;

"For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

"For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;

"For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering, fundamentally, the forms of our governments;

"For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

"He has abdicated government here by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

"He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

"He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

"He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

"He has excited domestic insurrections among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

"In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

"Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts, by their legislature, to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

"We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions,[Pg 157] do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."


It was almost two o'clock in the afternoon when the final decision was announced by Secretary Thomson, to the assembled Congress in Independence Hall. It was a moment of solemn interest; and when the secretary sat down, a deep silence pervaded that august assembly. Tradition says that it was first broken by Dr. Franklin, who remarked, "Gentlemen, we must now all hang together, or we shall surely hang separately." Thousands of anxious citizens had gathered in the streets of Philadelphia, for it was known that the final vote would be taken on that day. From the hour when Congress convened in the morning, the old bell-man had been in the steeple. He had placed a boy at the door below, to give him notice when the announcement should be made. As hour succeeded hour, the graybeard shook his head, and said, "They will never do it! they will never do it!" Suddenly a loud shout came up from below, and there stood the little blue-eyed boy clapping his hands, and shouting, "Ring! Ring!" Grasping the iron tongue of the old bell, backward and forward he hurled it a hundred times, its loud voice proclaiming "Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."[2] The excited multitude in the streets responded with loud acclamations, and with cannon peals, bonfires, and illuminations, the patriots held a glorious carnival that night in the quiet city of Penn.

The Declaration of Independence was signed by John Hancock, the President of Congress, only, on the day of its adoption, and thus it went forth to the world. Congress ordered it to be entered at length upon the journals; it was also ordered to be engrossed upon parchment for the delegates to sign it. This last act was performed on the second day of August ensuing, by the fifty-four delegates then present. Thomas M'Kean, of Delaware, and Dr. Thornton, of New Hampshire, subsequently signed it, making the whole number fifty-six. Upon the next two pages are their names, copied from the original parchment, which is carefully preserved in a glass case, in the rooms of the National Institute, Washington City. It is our pride and righteous boast, and it should be the pride and boast of mankind, that not one of those patriots who signed that manifesto ever fell from the high moral elevation which he then held: of all that band, not one, by word or act, tarnished his fair fame.

The great Declaration was every where applauded; and, in the camp, in cities, villages, churches, and popular assemblies, it was greeted with every demonstration of joy. Washington received it at head-quarters, in New York, on the ninth of July, and caused it to be read aloud at six o'clock that evening at the head of each brigade. It was heard with attention, and welcomed with loud huzzas by the troops. The people echoed the acclaim, and on the same evening they pulled down the leaden statue of the king, which was erected in the Bowling-Green, at the foot of Broadway, in 1770, broke it in pieces, and consigned the materials to the bullet-moulds.

[Pg 158]


At noon, on the seventeenth of July, Colonel Crafts read the Declaration to a vast assemblage[Pg 159] gathered in and around Faneuil Hall, in Boston, and when the last paragraph fell from his lips, a loud huzza shook the old "Cradle of Liberty." It was echoed by the crowd without, and soon the batteries on Fort Hill, Dorchester, Nantasket, Long Island, the Castle, and the neighboring heights of Charlestown, Cambridge, and Roxbury boomed forth their cannon acclamations in thirteen rounds. A banquet followed, and bonfires and illuminations made glad the city of the Puritans.


On the eighth, John Nixon read it from the Walnut-street front of the State House, in Philadelphia, to a great concourse of people gathered from the city and the surrounding country. When the reading was finished, the king's arms over the seat of Justice in the courtroom, was torn down and burnt in the street; and at evening bonfires were lighted, the city was illuminated, and it was not until a thunder-storm at midnight compelled the people to retire, that the sounds of gladness were hushed. Newport, Providence, Hartford, Baltimore, Annapolis, Williamsburg, Charleston, Savannah, and other towns near the seaboard, made similar demonstrations, and loyalty to the king, hitherto open-mouthed, was silent and abashed.

From every inhabited hill and valley, town and hamlet of the old thirteen States, arose the melodies of Freedom, awakened by this great[Pg 160] act of the people's proxies; and thousands of hearts in Europe, beating strongly with hopes for the future, were deeply impressed and comforted. Bold men caught the symphony, and prolonged its glad harmony, even beyond the Alps and the Apennines, until it wooed sleeping slaves from their slumbers in the shadows of despotism forth into the clear light, panoplied in the armor of absolute right and justice. France was aroused, and turning in its bed of submission like the giant beneath old Ætna, to look for light and liberty, an earthquake shock ensued which shook thrones, crumbled feudal altars whereon equality was daily sacrificed, and so rent the vail of the temple of despotism, that the people saw plainly the fetters and instruments of unholy rule, huge and terrible, within the inner court. They pulled down royalty, overturned distinctions, and gave the first impulse to the civil and social revolutions which have since spread from that focus, to purify the political atmosphere of Europe. Back to our glorious manifesto the struggling nations look; and when they wish to arraign their tyrants, that indictment is their text and guide. Its specific charges against the ruler of Great Britain, of course have no relevancy in other cases, but the great truths set forth in the Declaration are immutable. Always appropriate as a basis of governmental theory and practice, at all times and in all places, they can not fail to receive the hearty concurrence of the wise and good in all lands, and under all circumstances. They were early appreciated by the philosophers and statesmen of Europe, and that appreciation augments with the flight of years.

"With what grandeur, with what enthusiasm, should I not speak of those generous men who erected this grand edifice by their patience, their wisdom, and their courage!" wrote the Abbé Raynal, in 1781, when descanting upon our Declaration. "Hancock, Franklin, and the two Adamses, were the greatest actors in this affecting scene: but they were not the only ones. Posterity shall know them all. Their honored names shall be transmitted to it by a happier pen than mine. Brass and marble shall show them to remotest ages. In beholding them shall the friend of freedom feel his heart palpitate with joy; feel his eyes float in delicious tears. Under the bust of one of them has been written: he wrested thunder from heaven, and the sceptre from tyrants.[3] Of the last words of this eulogy shall all of them partake. Heroic country, my advanced age permits me not to visit thee. Never shall I see myself among the respectable personages of thy Areopagus; never shall I be present at the deliberations of thy Congress. I shall die without seeing the retreat of toleration, of manners, of laws, of virtue, and of freedom. My ashes shall not be covered by a free and holy earth: but I shall have desired it; and my last breath shall bear to heaven an ejaculation for thy prosperity."

"I ask," exclaimed Mirabeau, in the tribune of the National Assembly of France, "if the powers who have formed alliances with the States have dared to read that manifesto, or to interrogate their consciences after the perusal? I ask whether there be at this day one government in Europe—the Helvetic and Batavian confederations, and the British isles excepted, which, judged after the principles of the Declaration of Congress on the fourth of July 1776, is not divested of its rights?" And Napoleon, afterward alluding to the same scene, said, "The finger of God was there!"

The fourth of July, marked by an event so momentous, is properly our great National Anniversary. For three-quarters of a century it has been commemorated by orations, firing of cannon, ringing of bells, military parades, fireworks, squibs, and bonfires; and, alas! too often the day has been desecrated by bacchanalian revels. The deep feelings which stirred the spirits of those who participated in the scenes of the Revolution, on the recurrence of the anniversary, warm not the hearts of their children. With them the Declaration of Independence was a great, and ever-present reality; with us it is only a glorious abstract idea. We are in the midst of the fruition of their faith and earnest aspirations; and, surrounded by the noon-tide radiance of the blessings which have resulted from that act, we can not appreciate the glory of the morning star of our destiny as a nation. Let us henceforth aim to be less superficial in our views of the National Anniversary. Let orators cease grandiloquent displays of bombastic rhetoric, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing," and discourse with the sober earnestness of true philosophy upon the antecedents—the remote springs—of that event, every where visible in the history of the world; and by expatiating upon the principles set forth in our manifesto, and their salutary effect upon the well-being of mankind, give practical force to their vitality. Huzzas are not arguments for thinking men; and now, when thought is every where busy in the formation of omnipotent opinion, the American should cast off the garb of national pride, and with the cosmopolitan spirit of a true missionary of Freedom, point to the eternal bond of Union which binds our sovereign States together, and explain the character of its strength and vigor. Placed by the side of the principles involved in our struggle for Independence, the men and their councils, battles, sieges, and victories, wane into comparative insignificance. They are but the nerves and muscles, the sinews and the blood of the being we apotheosize—the mere aids of the mighty brain, the seat of the controlling spirit of the whole. Let us always revere those essential aids, and cherish them in our heart of hearts, but worship only the puissant Spirit on our National Anniversary.

[Pg 161]




THE engraving at the head of this article represents the operation of transporting the officers and crew of a wrecked vessel to the shore, by means of one of the Life-Cars invented by Mr. Joseph Francis for this purpose. A considerable appropriation was made recently by Congress, to establish stations along the coast of New Jersey and Long Island—as well as on other parts of the Atlantic seaboard—at which all the apparatus necessary for the service of these cars, and of boats, in cases where boats can be used, may be kept. These stations are maintained by the government, with the aid and co-operation of the Humane Society—a benevolent association the object of which is to provide means for rescuing and saving persons in danger of drowning—and also of the New York Board of Underwriters, a body, which, as its name imports, represents the principal Marine Insurance Companies—associations having a strong pecuniary interest in the saving of cargoes of merchandize, and other property, endangered in a shipwreck. These three parties, the Government, the Humane Society, and the Board of Underwriters, combine their efforts to establish and sustain these stations; though we can not here stop to explain the details of the arrangement by which this co-operation is effected, as we must proceed to consider the more immediate subject of this article, which is the apparatus and the machinery itself, by which the lives and property are saved. In respect to the stations, however, we will say that it awakens very strong and very peculiar emotions in the mind, to visit one of them on some lonely and desolate coast, remote from human dwellings, and to observe the arrangements and preparations that have been made in them, all quietly awaiting the dreadful emergency which is to call them into action. The traveler stands for example on the southern shore of the island of Nantucket, and after looking off over the boundless ocean which stretches in that direction without limit or shore for thousands of miles, and upon the surf rolling in incessantly on the beach, whose smooth expanse is dotted here and there with the skeleton remains of ships that were lost in former storms, and are now half buried in the sand, he sees, at length, a hut, standing upon the shore just above the reach of the water—the only human structure to be seen. He enters the hut. The surf boat is there, resting upon its rollers, all ready to be launched, and with its oars and all its furniture and appliances complete, and ready for the sea. The fireplace is there, with the wood laid, and matches ready for the kindling. Supplies of food and clothing are also at hand—and a compass: and on a placard, conspicuously posted, are the words,

Shipwrecked mariners reaching this hut, in fog or snow, will find the town of Nantucket two miles distant, due west.

It is impossible to contemplate such a spectacle[Pg 162] as this, without a feeling of strong emotion—and a new and deeper interest in the superior excellency and nobleness of efforts made by man for saving life, and diminishing suffering, in comparison with the deeds of havoc and destruction which have been so much gloried in, in ages that are past. The Life-Boat rests in its retreat, not like a ferocious beast of prey, crouching in its covert to seize and destroy its hapless victims, but like an angel of mercy, reposing upon her wings, and watching for danger, that she may spring forth, on the first warning, to rescue and save.

The Life-Car is a sort of boat, formed of copper or iron, and closed over, above, by a convex deck with a sort of door or hatchway through it, by which the passengers to be conveyed in it to the shore, are admitted. The car will hold from four to five persons. When these passengers are put in, the door, or rather cover, is shut down and bolted to its place; and the car is then drawn to the land, suspended by rings from a hawser which has previously been stretched from the ship to the shore.

To be shut up in this manner in so dark and gloomy a receptacle, for the purpose of being drawn, perhaps at midnight, through a surf of such terrific violence that no boat can live in it, can not be a very agreeable alternative; but the emergencies in which the use of the life-car is called for, are such as do not admit of hesitation or delay. There is no light within the car, and there are no openings for the admission of air.[4] It is subject, too, in its passage to the shore, to the most frightful shocks and concussions from the force of the breakers. The car, as first made, too, was of such a form as required the passengers within it to lie at length, in a recumbent position, which rendered them almost utterly helpless. The form is, however, now changed—the parts toward the ends, where the heads of the passengers would come, when placed in a sitting posture within, being made higher than the middle; and the opening or door is placed in the depressed part, in the centre. This arrangement is found to be much better than the former one, as it greatly facilitates the putting in of the passengers, who always require a greater or less degree of aid, and are often entirely insensible and helpless from the effects of fear, or of exposure to cold and hunger. Besides, by this arrangement those who have any strength remaining can take much more convenient and safer positions within the car, in their progress to the shore, than was possible under the old construction.

The car, as will be seen by the foregoing drawings, is suspended from the hawser by means of short chains attached to the ends of it. These chains terminate in rings above, which rings ride upon the hawser, thus allowing the car to traverse to and fro, from the vessel to the shore. The car is drawn along, in making these passages, by means of lines attached to the two ends of it, one of which passes to the ship and the other to the shore. By means of these lines the empty car is first drawn out to the wreck by the passengers and crew, and then, when loaded, it is drawn back to the land by the people assembled there, as represented in the engraving at the head of this article.

Perhaps the most important and difficult part of the operation of saving the passengers and crew in such cases, is the getting the hawser out in the first instance, so as to form a connection between the ship and the land. In fact, whenever a ship is stranded upon a coast, and people are assembled on the beach to assist the sufferers, the first thing to be done, is always to "get a line ashore." On the success of the attempts made to accomplish this, all the hopes of the sufferers depend. Various methods are resorted to, by the people on board the ship, in order to attain this end, where there are no means at hand on the shore, for effecting it. Perhaps the most common mode is to attach a small line to a cask, or to some other light and bulky substance which the surf can easily throw up upon the shore. The cask, or float, whatever it may be, when attached to the line, is thrown into the water, and after being rolled and tossed, hither and thither, by the tumultuous waves, now advancing, now receding, and now sweeping[Pg 163] madly around in endless gyrations, it at length reaches a point where some adventurous wrecker on the beach can seize it, and pull it up upon the land. The line is then drawn in, and a hawser being attached to the outer end of it, by the crew of the ship, the end of the hawser itself is then drawn to the shore.


This method, however, of making a communication with the shore from a distressed vessel, simple and sure as it may seem in description, proves generally extremely difficult and uncertain in actual practice. Sometimes, and that, too, not unfrequently when the billows are rolling in with most terrific violence upon the shore, the sea will carry nothing whatever to the land. The surges seem to pass under, and so to get beyond whatever objects lie floating upon the water, so that when a cask is thrown over to them, they play beneath it, leaving it where it was, or even drive it out to sea by not carrying it as far forward on their advance, as they bring it back by their recession. Even the lifeless body of the exhausted mariner, who when his strength was gone and he could cling no longer to the rigging, fell into the sea, is not drawn to the beach, but after surging to and fro for a short period about the vessel, it slowly disappears from view among the foam and the breakers toward the offing. In such cases it is useless to attempt to get a line on shore from the ship by means of any aid from the sea. The cask intrusted with the commission of bearing it, is beaten back against the vessel, or is drifted uselessly along the shore, rolling in and out upon the surges, but never approaching near enough to the beach to enable even the most daring adventurer to reach it.

In case of these life-cars, therefore, arrangements are made for sending the hawser out from the shore to the ship. The apparatus by which this is accomplished consists, first, of a piece of ordnance called a mortar, made large enough to throw a shot of about six inches in diameter; secondly, the shot itself, which has a small iron staple set in it; thirdly, a long line, one end of which is to be attached to the staple in the shot, when the shot is thrown; and, fourthly, a rack of a peculiar construction to serve as a reel for winding the line upon. This rack consists of a small square frame, having rows of pegs inserted along the ends and sides of it. The line is wound upon these pegs in such a manner, that as the shot is projected through the air, drawing the line with it, the pegs deliver the line as fast as it is required by the progress of the shot, and that with the least possible friction. Thus the advance of the shot is unimpeded. The mortar from which the shot is fired, is aimed in such a manner as to throw the missile over and beyond the ship, and thus when it falls into the water, the line attached to it comes down across the deck of the ship, and is seized by the passengers and crew.

Sometimes, in consequence of the darkness of the night, the violence of the wind, and perhaps of the agitations and confusion of the scene, the first and even the second trial may not be successful in throwing the line across the wreck. The object is, however, generally attained on the second or third attempt, and then the end of the hawser is drawn out to the wreck by means of the small line which the shot had carried; and being made fast and "drawn taut," the bridge is complete on which the car is to traverse to and fro.

The visitors at Long Branch, a celebrated watering place on the New Jersey coast, near New York, had an opportunity to witness a trial of this apparatus at the station there, during the last summer: a trial made, not in a case of storm and shipwreck, but on a pleasant summer afternoon, and for the purpose of testing[Pg 164] the apparatus, and for practice in the use of it. A large company assembled on the bank to witness the experiments. A boat was stationed on the calm surface of the sea, half a mile from the shore, to represent the wreck. The ball was thrown, the line fell across the boat, the car was drawn out, and then certain amateur performers, representing wrecked and perishing men, were put into the car and drawn safely through the gentle evening surf to the shore.


A case occurred a little more than a year ago on the Jersey shore not very far from Long Branch, in which this apparatus was used in serious earnest. It was in the middle of January and during a severe snow storm. The ship Ayrshire, with about two hundred passengers, had been driven upon the shore by the storm, and lay there stranded, the sea beating over her, and a surf so heavy rolling in, as made it impossible for any boat to reach her. It happened that one of the stations which we have described was near. The people on the shore assembled and brought out the apparatus. They fired the shot, taking aim so well that the line fell directly across the wreck. It was caught by the crew on board and the hawser was hauled off. The car was then attached, and in a short time, every one of the two hundred passengers, men, women, children, and even infants in their mothers' arms, were brought safely through the foaming surges, and landed at the station. The car which performed this service was considered as thenceforth fully entitled to an honorable discharge from active duty, and it now rests, in retirement and repose, though unconscious of its honors, in the Metallic Life-Boat Factory of Mr. Francis, at the Novelty Iron Works.

In many cases of distress and disaster befalling ships on the coast, it is not necessary to use the car, the state of the sea being such that it is possible to go out in a boat, to furnish the necessary succor. The boats, however, which are destined to this service must be of a peculiar construction, for no ordinary boat can live a moment in the surf which rolls in, in storms, upon shelving or rocky shores. A great many different modes have been adopted for the construction of surf-boats, each liable to its own peculiar objections. The principle on which Mr. Francis relies in his life and surf boats, is to give them an extreme lightness and buoyancy, so as to keep them always upon the top of the sea. Formerly it was expected that a boat in such a service, must necessarily take in great quantities of water, and the object of all the contrivances for securing its safety, was to expel the water after it was admitted. In the plan now adopted the design is to exclude the water altogether, by making the structure so light and forming it on such a model that it shall always rise above the wave, and thus glide safely over it. This result is obtained partly by means of the model of the boat, and partly by the lightness of the material of which it is composed. The reader may perhaps be surprised to hear, after this, that the material is iron.

Iron—or copper, which in this respect possesses the same properties as iron—though absolutely heavier than wood, is, in fact, much lighter as a material for the construction of receptacles of all kinds, on account of its great strength and tenacity, which allows of its being used in plates so thin that the quantity of the material employed is diminished much more than the specific gravity is increased by using the metal. There has been, however, hitherto a great practical difficulty in the way of using iron for such a purpose, namely that of giving to these metal plates a sufficient stiffness. A sheet of tin, for example, though stronger than a board, that is, requiring a greater force to break or rapture it, is still very flexible, while the board is stiff. In other words, in the case of a thin plate of metal, the parts yield readily[Pg 165] to any slight force, so far as to bend under the pressure, but it requires a very great force to separate them entirely; whereas in the case of wood, the slight force is at first resisted, but on a moderate increase of it, the structure breaks down altogether. The great thing to be desired therefore in a material for the construction of boats is to secure the stiffness of wood in conjunction with the thinness and tenacity of iron. This object is attained in the manufacture of Mr. Francis's boats by plaiting or corrugating the sheets of metal of which the sides of the boat are to be made. A familiar illustration of the principle on which this stiffening is effected is furnished by the common table waiter, which is made, usually, of a thin plate of tinned iron, stiffened by being turned up at the edges all around—the upturned part serving also at the same time the purpose of forming a margin.

The plaitings or corrugations of the metal in these iron boats pass along the sheets, in lines, instead of being, as in the case of the waiter, confined to the margin. The lines which they form can be seen in the drawing of the surf-boat, given on a subsequent page. The idea of thus corrugating or plaiting the metal was a very simple one; the main difficulty in the invention came, after getting the idea, in devising the ways and means by which such a corrugation could be made. It is a curious circumstance in the history of modern inventions that it often requires much more ingenuity and effort to contrive a way to make the article when invented, than it did to invent the article itself. It was, for instance, much easier, doubtless, to invent pins, than to invent the machinery for making pins.

The machine for making the corrugations in the sides of these metallic boats consists of a hydraulic press and a set of enormous dies. These dies are grooved to fit each other, and shut together; and the plate of iron which is to be corrugated being placed between them, is pressed into the requisite form, with all the force of the hydraulic piston—the greatest force, altogether, that is ever employed in the service of man.


The machinery referred to will be easily understood by the above engraving. On the left are the pumps, worked, as represented in the engraving, by two men, though four or more are often required. By alternately raising and depressing the break or handle, they work two small but very solid pistons which play within cylinders of corresponding bore, in the manner of any common forcing pump.

By means of these pistons the water is driven, in small quantities but with prodigious force, along through the horizontal tube seen passing across, in the middle of the picture, from the forcing-pump to the great cylinders on the right hand. Here the water presses upward upon the under surfaces of pistons working within the great cylinders, with a force proportioned to the ratio of the area of those pistons compared with that of one of the pistons in the pump. Now the piston in the force-pump is about one inch in diameter. Those in the great cylinders are about twelve inches in diameter, and as there are four of the great cylinders the ratio is as 1 to 576.[5] This is a great multiplication, and it is found that the force which the men can exert upon the piston within the small cylinder, by the aid of the long lever with which they work it, is so great, that when multiplied by 576, as it is by being expanded over the[Pg 166] surface of the large pistons, an upward pressure results of about eight hundred tons. This is a force ten times as great in intensity as that exerted by steam in the most powerful sea-going engines. It would be sufficient to lift a block of granite five or six feet square at the base, and as high as the Bunker Hill Monument.

Superior, however, as this force is, in one point of view, to that of steam, it is very inferior to it in other respects. It is great, so to speak, in intensity, but it is very small in extent and amount. It is capable indeed of lifting a very great weight, but it can raise it only an exceedingly little way. Were the force of such an engine to be brought into action beneath such a block of granite as we have described, the enormous burden would rise, but it would rise by a motion almost inconceivably slow, and after going up perhaps as high as the thickness of a sheet of paper, the force would be spent, and no further effect would be produced without a new exertion of the motive power. In other words, the whole amount of the force of a hydraulic engine, vastly concentrated as it is, and irresistible, within the narrow limits within which it works, is but the force of four or five men after all; while the power of the engines of a Collins' steamer is equal to that of four or five thousand men. The steam-engine can do an abundance of great work; while, on the other hand, what the hydraulic press can do is very little in amount, and only great in view of its extremely concentrated intensity.

Hydraulic presses are consequently very often used, in such cases and for such purposes as require a great force within very narrow limits. The indentations made by the type in printing the pages of this magazine, are taken out, and the sheet rendered smooth again, by hydraulic presses exerting a force of twelve hundred tons. This would make it necessary for us to carry up our imaginary block of granite a hundred feet higher than the Bunker Hill Monument to get a load for them.[6]

In Mr. Francis's presses, the dies between which the sheets of iron or copper are pressed; are directly above the four cylinders which we have described, as will be seen by referring once more to the drawing. The upper die is fixed—being firmly attached to the top of the frame, and held securely down by the rows of iron pillars on the two sides, and by the massive iron caps, called platens, which may be seen passing across at the top, from pillar to pillar. These caps are held by large iron nuts which are screwed down over the ends of the pillars above. The lower die is movable. It is attached by massive iron work to the ends of the piston-rods, and of course it rises when the pistons are driven upward by the pressure of the water. The plate of metal, when the dies approach each other, is bent and drawn into the intended shape by the force of the pressure, receiving not only the corrugations which are designed to stiffen it, but also the general shaping necessary, in respect to swell and curvature, to give it the proper form for the side, or the portion of a side, of a boat.

It is obviously necessary that these dies should fit each other in a very accurate manner, so as to compress the iron equally in every part. To make them fit thus exactly, massive as they are in magnitude, and irregular in form, is a work of immense labor. They are first cast as nearly as possible to the form intended, but as such castings always warp more or less in cooling, there is a great deal of fitting afterward required, to make them come rightly together. This could easily be done by machinery if the surfaces were square, or cylindrical, or of any other mathematical form to which the working of machinery could be adapted. But the curved and winding surfaces which form the hull of a boat or vessel, smooth and flowing as they are, and controlled, too, by established and well-known laws, bid defiance to all the attempts of mere mechanical motion to follow them. The superfluous iron, therefore, of these dies, must all be cut away by chisels driven by a hammer held in the hand; and so great is the labor required to fit and smooth and polish them, that a pair of them costs several thousand dollars before they are completed and ready to fulfill their function.

The superiority of metallic boats, whether of copper or iron, made in the manner above described, over those of any other construction, is growing every year more and more apparent. They are more light and more easily managed, they require far less repair from year to year, and are very much longer lived. When iron is used for this purpose, a preparation is employed that is called galvanized iron. This manufacture consists of plates of iron of the requisite thickness, coated on each side, first with tin, and then with zinc; the tin being used simply as a solder, to unite the other metals. The plate presents, therefore, to the water, only a surface of zinc, which resists all action, so that the boats thus made are subject to no species of decay. They can be injured or destroyed only by violence, and even violence acts at a very great disadvantage in attacking them. The stroke of a shot, or a concussion of any kind that would split or shiver a wooden boat so as to damage it past repair, would only indent, or at most perforate, an iron one. And a perforation even, when made, is very easily repaired, even by the navigators themselves, under circumstances however unfavorable. With a smooth and heavy stone placed upon the outside for an anvil, and another used on the inside as a hammer, the protrusion is easily beaten down, the opening is closed, the continuity of[Pg 167] surface is restored, and the damaged boat becomes, excepting, perhaps, in the imagination of the navigator, as good once more as ever.

Metallic boats of this character were employed by the party under Lieut. Lynch, in making, some years ago, their celebrated voyage down the river Jordan to the Dead Sea. The navigation of this stream was difficult and perilous in the highest degree. The boats were subject to the severest possible tests and trials. They were impelled against rocks, they were dragged over shoals, they were swept down cataracts and cascades. There was one wooden boat in the little squadron; but this was soon so strained and battered that it could no longer be kept afloat, and it was abandoned. The metallic boats, however, lived through the whole, and finally floated in peace on the heavy waters of the Dead Sea, in nearly as good a condition as when they first came from Mr. Francis's dies.

The seams of a metallic boat will never open by exposure to the sun and rain, when lying long upon the deck of a ship, or hauled up upon a shore. Nor will such boats burn. If a ship takes fire at sea, the boats, if of iron, can never be injured by the conflagration. Nor can they be sunk. For they are provided with air chambers in various parts, each separate from the others, so that if the boat were bruised and jammed by violent concussions, up to her utmost capacity of receiving injury, the shapeless mass would still float upon the sea, and hold up with unconquerable buoyancy as many as could cling to her.[7]

A curious instance occurred during the late war with Mexico which illustrates the almost indestructible character of these metallic boats.

The reader is probably aware that the city of Vera Cruz is situated upon a low and sandy coast, and that the only port which exists there is formed by a small island which lies at a little distance from the shore, and a mole or pier built out from it into the water. The island is almost wholly covered by the celebrated fortress of St. Juan de Ulloa. Ships obtain something like shelter under the lee of this island and mole, riding sometimes at anchor behind the mole, and sometimes moored to iron rings set in the castle walls. At one time while the American forces were in possession of the city, an officer of the army had occasion to use a boat for some purpose of transportation from the island to the shore. He applied to the naval authorities in order to procure one. He was informed that there was no boat on the station that could be spared for such a purpose. In this dilemma the officer accidentally learned that there was an old copper life-boat, lying in the water near the castle landing, dismantled, sunk, and useless. The officer resolved, as a last resort, to examine this wreck, in hopes to find that it might possibly be raised and repaired.

He found that the boat was lying in the water and half filled with rocks, sand, and masses of old iron, which had been thrown into her to sink and destroy her. Among the masses of iron there was a heavy bar which had been used apparently in the attempt to punch holes in the boat by those who had undertaken to sink her. These attempts had been generally fruitless, the blows having only made indentations in the copper, on account of the yielding nature of the metal. In one place, however, in the bottom of the boat, the work had been done effectually; for five large holes were discovered there, at a place where the bottom of the boat rested upon the rocks so as to furnish such points of resistance below as prevented the copper from yielding to the blows.

The officer set his men at work to attempt to repair this damage. They first took out the sand and stones and iron with which the boat was encumbered, and then raising her, they dragged her up out of the water to the landing. Here the men lifted her up upon her side, and began to beat back the indentations which had been made in the metal, by holding a heavy sledge hammer on the inside, to serve as an anvil, and then striking with a hand-hammer upon the protuberances on the outside. In the same manner they beat back the burrs or protrusions formed where the holes had been punched through the bottom of the boat, and they found, much to their satisfaction, that when the metal was thus brought back into its place the holes were closed again, and the boat became whole and tight as before.

When this work was done the men put the boat back again in her proper position, replaced and fastened the seats, and then launched her into the water. They found her stanch and tight, and seemingly as good as new. The whole work of repairing her did not occupy more than one hour—much less time, the officer thought, than had been spent in the attempt to destroy her.

The boat thus restored was immediately put to service and she performed the work required of her, admirably well. She was often out on the open sea in very rough weather, but always rode over the billows in safety, and in the end proved to be the strongest, swiftest, and safest boat in the gulf squadron.

The surf-boats, made in this way, will ride safely in any sea—and though sometimes after protracted storms, the surges roll in upon shelving or rocky shores with such terrific violence that it is impossible to get the boats off from the land, yet once off, they are safe, however wild the commotion. In fact there is a certain charm in the graceful and life-like buoyancy[Pg 168] with which they ride over the billows, and in the confidence and sense of security which they inspire in the hearts of those whom they bear, as they go bounding over the crests of the waves, that it awakens in minds of a certain class, a high exhilaration and pleasure, to go out in them upon stormy and tempestuous seas. To illustrate the nature of the scenes through which such adventurers sometimes pass, we will close this article with a narrative of a particular excursion made not long since by one of these boats—a narrative now for the first time reduced to writing.


One dark and stormy night Mr. Richard C. Holmes, the collector at the port of Cape May, a port situated on an exposed and dangerous part of the coast, near the entrance to the Chesapeake, was awakened from his sleep by the violence of the storm, and listening, he thought that he could hear at intervals the distant booming of a gun, which he supposed to be a signal of distress. He arose and hastened to the shore. The night was dark, and nothing could be seen, but the report of the gun was distinctly to be heard, at brief intervals, coming apparently from a great distance in the offing.

He aroused from the neighboring houses a sufficient number of other persons to man his surf-boat, embarked on board, taking a compass for a guide, and put to sea.

It was very dark and the weather was very thick, so that nothing could be seen; but the crew of the boat pulled steadily on, guided only by the compass, and by the low and distant booming of the gun. They rowed in the direction of the sound, listening as they pulled; but the noise made by the winds and the waves, and by the dashing of the water upon the boat and upon the oars, was so loud and incessant, and the progress which they made against the heavy "send" of the surges was so slow, that it was for a long time doubtful whether they were advancing or not. After an hour or two, however, the sound of the gun seemed to come nearer, and at length they could see, faintly, the flash beaming out for an instant just before the report, in the midst of the driving rain and flying spray which filled the dark air before them.

Encouraged by this, the oarsmen pulled at their oars with new energy, and soon came in sight of the hull of the distressed vessel, which began now to rise before them, a black and misshapen mass, scarcely distinguishable from the surrounding darkness and gloom. As they came nearer, they found that the vessel was a ship—that she had been beaten down upon her side by the sea, and was almost overwhelmed with the surges which were breaking over her. Every place upon the deck which afforded any possibility of shelter was crowded with men and women, all clinging to such supports as were within their reach, and vainly endeavoring to screen themselves from the dashing of the spray. The boat was to the leeward of the vessel, but so great was the commotion of the sea, that it was not safe to approach even near enough to communicate with the people on board. After coming up among the heaving and tumbling surges as near as they dared to venture, the crew of the surf boat found that all attempts to make their voices heard were unavailing, as their loudest shouts were wholly overpowered by the roaring of the sea, and the howling of the winds in the rigging.

Mr. Holmes accordingly gave up the attempt, and fell back again, intending to go round to the windward side of the ship, in hopes to be able to communicate with the crew from that quarter. He could hear them while he was to leeward of them, but they could not hear him; and his object in wishing to communicate with them was to give them directions in respect to what they were to do, in order to enable him to get on board.

In the mean time daylight began to appear. The position of the ship could be seen more distinctly. She lay upon a shoal, held partly by her anchor, which the crew had let go before she struck. Thus confined she had been knocked down by the seas, and now lay thumping [Pg 169]violently at every rising and falling of the surge, and in danger every moment of going to pieces. She was covered with human beings, who were seen clinging to her in every part—each separate group forming a separate and frightful spectacle of distress and terror.

Mr. Holmes succeeded in bringing the surf-boat so near to the ship on the windward side as to hail the crew, and he directed them to let down a line from the end of the main yard, to leeward. The main yard is a spar which lies horizontally at the head of the main mast, and as the vessel was careened over to leeward, the end of the yard on that side would of course be depressed, and a line from it would hang down over the water, entirely clear of the vessel. The crew heard this order and let down the line. Mr. Holmes then ordered the surf-boat to be pulled away from the ship again, intending to drop to leeward once more, and there to get on board of it by means of the line. In doing this, however, the boat was assailed by the winds and waves with greater fury than ever, as if they now first began to understand that it had come to rescue their victims from their power. The boat was swept so far away by this onset, that it was an hour before the oarsmen could get her back so as to approach the line. It seemed then extremely dangerous to approach it, as the end of it was flying hither and thither, whipping the surges which boiled beneath it, or whirling and curling in the air, as it was swung to and fro by the impulse of the wind, or by the swaying of the yard-arm from which it was suspended.

The boat however approached the line. Mr. Holmes, when he saw it within reach, sprang forward to the bows, and after a moment's contest between an instinctive shrinking from the gigantic lash which was brandished so furiously over his head, and his efforts to reach it, he at length succeeded in seizing it. He grasped it by both hands with all his force, and the next instant the boat was swept away from beneath him by the retreating billows, and he was left safely dangling in the air.


[Pg 170]

We say safely, for, whenever any one of these indomitable sea-kings, no matter in what circumstances of difficulty or danger, gets a rope that is well secured at its point of suspension, fairly within his iron gripe, we may at once dismiss all concern about his personal safety. In this case the intrepid adventurer, when he found that the boat had surged away from beneath him, and left him suspended in the air over the raging and foaming billows, felt that all danger was over. To mount the rope, hand over hand, till he gained the yard-arm, to clamber up the yard to the mast, and then to descend to the deck by the shrouds, required only an ordinary exercise of nautical strength and courage. All this was done in a moment, and Mr. Holmes stood upon the deck, speechless, and entirely overcome by the appalling spectacle of terror and distress that met his view.

The crew gathered around the stranger, whom they looked upon at once as their deliverer, and listened to hear what he had to say. He informed them that the ship was grounded on a narrow reef or bar running parallel with the coast, and that there was deeper water between them and the shore. He counseled them to cut loose from the anchor, in which case he presumed that the shocks of the seas would drive the ship over the bar, and that then she would drift rapidly in upon the shore; where, when she should strike upon the beach, they could probably find means to get the passengers to the land.

This plan was decided upon. The cable was cut away by means of such instruments as came to hand. The ship was beaten over the bar, awakening, as she was dashed along, new shrieks from the terrified passengers, at the violence of the concussions. Once in deep water she moved on more smoothly, but was still driven at a fearful rate directly toward the land. The surf-boat accompanied her, hovering as near to her all the way as was consistent with safety. During their progress the boat was watched by the passengers on board the ship, with anxious eyes, as in her were centred all their hopes of escape from destruction.

The conformation of this part of the coast, as in many other places along the shores of the United States, presents a range of low, sandy islands, lying at a little distance from the land, and separated from it by a channel of sheltered water. These islands are long and narrow, and separated from each other by inlets or openings here and there, formed apparently by the breaking through of the sea. The crew of our ship would have been glad to have seen some possibility of their entering through one of these inlets. The ship could not, however, be guided, but must go wherever the winds and waves chose to impel her. This was to the outer shore of one of the long, narrow islands, where at length she struck again, and was again overwhelmed with breakers and spray.


After much difficulty the seamen succeeded, with the help of the surf-boat, in getting a line from the ship to the shore, by means of which one party on the land and another on board the vessel could draw the surf-boat to and fro. In this way the passengers and crew were all safely landed. When the lives were thus all safe, sails and spars were brought on shore, and then, under Mr. Holmes's directions, a great tent was constructed on the sand, which, though rude in form, was sufficient in size to shelter all the company. When all were assembled the number[Pg 171] of passengers saved was found to be one hundred and twenty-one. They were German emigrants of the better class, and they gathered around their intrepid deliverer, when all was over, with such overwhelming manifestations of their admiration and gratitude, as wholly unmanned him. They had saved money, and jewels, and such other valuables as could be carried about the person, to a large amount; and they brought every thing to him, pressing him most earnestly, and with many tears, to take it all, for having saved them from such imminent and certain destruction. He was deeply moved by these expressions of gratitude, but he would receive no reward.

When the tent was completed and the whole company were comfortably established under the shelter of it, the boat was passed to and fro again through the surf, to bring provisions on shore. A party of seamen remained on board for this purpose—loading the boat at the ship, and drawing it out again when unloaded on the shore. The company that were assembled under the tent dried their clothes by fires built for the purpose there, and then made a rude breakfast from the provisions brought for them from the ship: and when thus in some degree rested and refreshed, they were all conveyed safely in boats to the main land.




As I cast my eyes over these pages, and see how small a portion of my life they embrace, I feel like one who, having a long journey before him, perceives that some more speedy means of travel must be adopted, if he ever hope to reach his destination. With the instinctive prosiness of age, I have lingered over the scenes of boyhood, a period which, strange to say, is fresher in my memory than many of the events of few years back; and were I to continue my narrative as I have begun it, it would take more time on my part, and more patience on that of my readers, than are likely to be conceded to either of us. Were I to apologize to my readers for any abruptness in my transitions, or any want of continuity in my story, I should, perhaps, inadvertently seem to imply a degree of interest in my fate which they have never felt; and, on the other hand, I would not for a moment be thought to treat slightingly the very smallest degree of favor they may feel disposed to show me. With these difficulties on either hand, I see nothing for it but to limit myself for the future to such incidents and passages of my career as most impressed themselves on myself, and to confine my record to the events in which I personally took a share.

Santron and I sailed from New York on the 9th of February, and arrived in Liverpool on the 14th of March. We landed in as humble a guise as need be. One small box contained all our effects, and a little leathern purse, with something less than three dollars, all our available wealth. The immense movement and stir of the busy town, the crash and bustle of trade, the roll of wagons, the cranking clatter of cranes and windlasses, the incessant flux and reflux of population, all eager and intent on business, were strange spectacles to our eyes as we loitered, houseless and friendless, through the streets, staring in wonderment at the wealth and prosperity of that land we were taught to believe was tottering to bankruptcy.

Santron affected to be pleased with all, talked of the "beau pillage" it would afford one day or other; but in reality this appearance of riches and prosperity seemed to depress and discourage him. Both French and American writers had agreed in depicting the pauperism and discontent of England, and yet where were the signs of it? Not a house was untenanted, every street was thronged, every market filled; the equipages of the wealthy vied with the loaded wagons in number; and if there were not the external evidences of happiness and enjoyment the gayer population of other countries display, there was an air of well-being and comfort such as no other land could exhibit.

Another very singular trait made a deep impression on us. Here were these islanders with a narrow strait only separating them from a land bristling with bayonets. The very roar of the artillery at exercise might be almost heard across the gulf, and yet not a soldier was to be seen about! There were neither forts nor bastions. The harbor, so replete with wealth, lay open and unprotected, not even a gun-boat or a guard-ship to defend it! There was an insolence in this security that Santron could not get over, and he muttered a prayer that the day might not be distant that should make them repent it.

He was piqued with every thing. While on board ship we had agreed together to pass ourselves for Canadians, to avoid all inquiries of the authorities! Heaven help us! The authorities never thought of us. We were free to go or stay as we pleased. Neither police nor passport officers questioned us. We might have been Hoche and Massena for aught they either knew or cared. Not a "mouchard" tracked us; none even looked after us as we went. To me this was all very agreeable and reassuring; to my companion it was contumely and insult. All the ingenious fiction he had devised of our birth, parentage, and pursuits, was a fine romance inedited, and he was left to sneer at the self-sufficiency that would not take alarm at the advent of two ragged youths on the quay of Liverpool.

"If they but knew who we were, Maurice," he kept continually muttering as we went along. "If these fellows only knew whom they had in their town, what a rumpus it would create! How the shops would close! What barricading of doors and windows we should see! What bursts of terror and patriotism! Par St. Denis, I have a mind to throw up my cap in the air[Pg 172] and cry, 'Vive la Republique,' just to witness the scene that would follow!"

With all these boastings, it was not very difficult to restrain my friend's ardor, and to induce him to defer his invasion of England to a more fitting occasion, so that at last he was fain to content himself with a sneering commentary on all around him; and in this amiable spirit we descended into a very dirty cellar to eat our first dinner on shore.

The place was filled with sailors, who, far from indulging in the well-known careless gayety of their class, seemed morose and sulky, talking together in low murmurs, and showing, unmistakably, signs of discontent and dissatisfaction. The reason was soon apparent: the press-gangs were out to take men off to reinforce the blockading force before Genoa, a service of all others the most distasteful to a seaman. If Santron at first was ready to flatter himself into the notion that very little persuasion would make these fellows take part against England, as he listened longer he saw the grievous error of the opinion, no epithet of insult or contempt being spared by them when talking of France and Frenchmen. Whatever national animosity prevailed at that period, sailors enjoyed a high pre-eminence in feeling. I have heard that the spirit was encouraged by those in command, and that narratives of French perfidy, treachery, and even cowardice, were the popular traditions of the sea-service. We certainly could not controvert the old adage as to "listeners," for every observation and every anecdote conveyed a sneer or an insult on our country. There could be no reproach in listening to these, unresented, but Santron assumed a most indignant air, and more than once affected to be overcome by a spirit of recrimination. What turn his actions might have taken in this wise I can not even guess, for suddenly a rush of fellows took place up the ladder, and in less than a minute the whole cellar was cleared, leaving none but the hostess and an old lame waiter along with ourselves in the place.

"You've got a protection, I suppose, sirs," said the woman, approaching us; "but still I'll advise you not to trust to it over-much; they're in great want of men just now; and they care little for law or justice once they have them on the high seas."

"We have no protection," said I; "we are strangers here, and know no one."

"There they come, sir; that's the tramp!" cried the woman; "there's nothing for it now but to stay quiet and hope you'll not be noticed. Take those knives up, will ye?" said she, flinging a napkin toward me, and speaking in an altered voice, for already two figures were darkening the entrance, and peering down into the depth below; while, turning to Santron, she motioned him to remove the dishes from the table—a service in which, to do him justice, he exhibited a zeal more flattering to his tact than his spirit of resistance.

"Tripped their anchors already, Mother Martin?" said a large-whiskered man, with a black belt round his waist; while, passing round the tables, he crammed into his mouth several fragments of the late feast.

"You wouldn't have 'em wait for you, Captain John," said she, laughing.

"It's just what I would, then," replied he. "The Admiralty has put thirty shillings more on the bounty, and where will these fellows get the like of that? It isn't a West India-service neither, nor a coastin' cruise off Newfoundland, but all as one as a pleasure-trip up the Mediterranean, and nothing to fight but Frenchmen. Eh, younker, that tickles your fancy!" cried he to Santron, who, in spite of himself, made some gesture of impatience. "Handy chaps, those, Mother Martin, where did you chance on 'em?"

"They're sons of a Canada skipper in the river yonder," said she, calmly.

"They arn't over-like to be brothers," said he, with the grin of one too well accustomed to knavery to trust any thing opposed to his own observation. "I suppose them's things happens in Canada as elsewhere," said he, laughing, and hoping the jest might turn her flank. Meanwhile the press-leader never took his eyes off me, as I arranged plates and folded napkins with all the skill which my early education in Boivin's restaurant had taught me.

"He is a smart one," said he, half-musingly. "I say, boy, would you like to go as cook's aid on board a king's ship? I know of one as would just suit you."

"I'd rather not, sir; I'd not like to leave my father," said I, backing up Mrs. Martin's narrative.

"Nor that brother there; wouldn't he like it?"

I shook my head negatively.

"Suppose I have a talk with the skipper about it?" said he, looking at me steadily for some seconds. "Suppose I was to tell him what a good berth you'd have, eh?"

"Oh, if he wished it, I'd make no objection," said I, assuming all the calmness I could.

"That chap ain't your brother—and he's no sailor neither. Show me your hands, youngster," cried he to Santron, who at once complied with the order, and the press captain bent over and scanned them narrowly. As he thus stood with his back to me, the woman shook her head significantly, and pointed to the ladder. If ever a glance conveyed a whole story of terror hers did. I looked at my companion as though to say, "Can I desert him?" and the expression of her features seemed to imply utter despair. This pantomime did not occupy half a minute. And now, with noiseless step, I gained the ladder, and crept cautiously up it. My fears were how to escape those who waited outside; but as I ascended I could see that they were loitering about in groups, inattentive to all that was going on below. The shame at deserting my comrade so nearly overcame me, that, when almost at the top, I was about to turn back again. I even looked round to see him, but, as I did so, I saw the press leader draw a pair of[Pg 173] handcuffs from his pocket, and throw them on the table. The instincts of safety were too strong, and, with a spring, I gained the street, and, slipping noiselessly along the wall, escaped the "look-out." Without a thought of where I was going to, or what to do, I ran at the very top of my speed directly onward, my only impulse being to get away from the spot. Could I reach the open country I thought it would be my best chance. As I fled, however, no signs of a suburb appeared; the streets, on the contrary, grew narrower and more intricate; huge warehouses, seven or eight stories high, loomed at either side of me; and at last, on turning an angle, a fresh sea-breeze met me, and showed that I was near the harbor. I avow that the sight of shipping, the tall and taper spars that streaked the sky of night, the clank of chain cables, and the heavy surging sound of the looming hulls, were any thing but encouraging, longing as I did for the rustling leaves of some green lane: but still all was quiet and tranquil; a few flickering lights twinkled here and there from a cabin window, but every thing seemed sunk in repose.

The quay was thickly studded with hogsheads and bales of merchandise, so that I could easily have found a safe resting-place for the night, but a sense of danger banished all wish for sleep, and I wandered out, restless and uncertain, framing a hundred plans, and abandoning them when formed.

So long as I kept company with Santron, I never thought of returning to "Uncle Pat;" my reckless spendthrift companion had too often avowed the pleasure he would feel in quartering himself on my kind friend, dissipating his hard-earned gains, and squandering the fruits of all his toil. Deterred by such a prospect, I resolved rather never to revisit him, than in such company. Now, however, I was again alone, and all my hopes and wishes turned toward him. A few hours' sail might again bring me beneath his roof, and once more should I find myself at home. The thought was calming to all my excitement; I forgot every danger I had passed through; I lost all memory of every vicissitude I had escaped, and had only the little low parlor in the "Black Pits" before my mind's eye; the wild, unweeded garden, and the sandy, sunny beach before the door. It was as though all that nigh a year had compassed had never occurred, and that my life at Crown Point, and my return to England were only a dream. Sleep overcame me as I thus lay pondering, and when I awoke the sun was glittering in the bright waves of the Mersey, a fresh breeze was flaunting and fluttering the half-loosened sails, and the joyous sounds of seamen's voices were mingling with the clank of capstans, and the measured stroke of oars.

It was full ten minutes after I awoke before I could remember how I came there, and what had befallen me. Poor Santron, where is he now? was my first thought, and it came with all the bitterness of self-reproach.

Could I have parted company with him under other circumstances it would not have grieved me deeply. His mocking, sarcastic spirit, the tone of depreciation which he used toward every thing and every body, had gone far to sour me with the world, and day by day I felt within me the evil influences of his teachings. How different were they from poor Gottfried's lessons, and the humble habits of those who lived beneath them! Yet I was sorry, deeply sorry, that our separation should have been thus, and almost wished I had staid to share his fate, whatever it might be.

While thus swayed by different impulses, now thinking of my old home at Crown Point, now of "Uncle Pat's" thatched cabin, and again of Santron, I strolled down to the wharf, and found myself in a considerable crowd of people, who were all eagerly pressing forward to witness the embarkation of several boats-full of pressed seamen, who, strongly guarded and ironed, were being conveyed to the Athol tender, a large three-master, about a mile off, down the river. To judge from the cut faces and bandaged heads and arms, the capture had not been effected without resistance. Many of the poor fellows appeared rather suited to an hospital than the duties of active service; and several lay with bloodless faces and white lips, the handcuffed wrists seeming a very mockery of a condition so destitute of all chance of resistance.

The sympathies of the bystanders were very varied regarding them. Some were full of tender pity and compassion; some denounced the system as a cruel and oppressive tyranny; others deplored it as an unhappy necessity; and a few well-to-do-looking old citizens, in drab shorts and wide-brimmed hats, grew marvelously indignant at the recreant poltroonery of "the scoundrels who were not proud to fight their country's battles."

As I was wondering within myself how it happened that men thus coerced could ever be depended on in moments of peril and difficulty, and by what magic the mere exercise of discipline was able to merge the feelings of the man in the sailor, the crowd was rudely driven back by policemen, and a cry of "make way," "fall back there," given. In the sudden retiring of the mass, I found myself standing on the very edge of the line along which a new body of impressed men were about to pass. Guarded front, flank, and rear, by a strong party of marines, the poor fellows came along slowly enough. Many were badly wounded, and walked lamely; some were bleeding profusely from cuts on the face and temples, and one, at the very tail of the procession, was actually carried in a blanket by four sailors. A low murmur ran through the crowd at the spectacle, which gradually swelled louder and fuller, till it burst forth into a deep groan of indignation, and a cry of Shame! shame! Too much used to such ebullitions of public feeling, or too proud to care for them, the officer in command of the party never seemed to hear the angry cries and shouts around him; and I was even more struck by his cool [Pg 174]self-possession than by their enthusiasm. For a moment or two I was convinced that a rescue would be attempted. I had no conception that so much excitement could evaporate innocuously, and was preparing myself to take part in the struggle, when the line halted as the leading files gained the stairs, and, to my wonderment, the crowd became hushed and still. Then one burst of excited pity over, not a thought occurred to any to offer resistance to the law, or dare to oppose the constituted authorities. How unlike Frenchmen! thought I; nor am I certain whether I deemed the disparity to their credit!

"Give him a glass of water!" I heard the officer say, as he leaned over the litter, and the crowd at once opened to permit some one to fetch it. Before I believed it were possible to have procured it, a tumbler of water was passed from hand to hand till it reached mine, and, stepping forward, I bent down to give it to the sick man. The end of a coarse sheet was thrown over his face, and as it was removed, I almost fell over him, for it was Santron. His face was covered with a cold sweat, which lay in great drops all over it, and his lips were slightly frothed. As he looked up I could see that he was just rallying from a fainting fit, and could mark in the change that came over his glassy eyes that he had recognized me. He made a faint effort at a smile, and, in a voice barely a whisper, said, "I knew thou'd not leave me, Maurice."

"You are his countryman?" said the officer, addressing me in French.

"Yes, sir," was my reply.

"You are both Canadians, then?"

"Frenchmen, sir, and officers in the service. We only landed from an American ship yesterday, and were trying to make our way to France."

"I'm sorry for you," said he, compassionately; "nor do I know how to help you. Come on board the tender, however, and we'll see if they'll not give you a passage with your friend to the Nore. I'll speak to my commanding officer for you."

This scene all passed in a very few minutes, and before I well knew how or why, I found myself on board of a ship's long-boat, sweeping along over the Mersey, with Santron's head in my lap, and his cold, clammy fingers grasped in mine. He was either unaware of my presence or too weak to recognize me, for he gave no sign of knowing me; and during our brief passage down the river, and when lifted up the ship's side, seemed totally insensible to every thing.

The scene of uproar, noise, and confusion on board the Athol is far above my ability to convey. A shipwreck, a fire, a mutiny, all combined, could scarcely have collected greater elements of discord. Two large detachments of marines, many of whom, fresh from furlough, were too drunk for duty, and either lying asleep along the deck, or riotously interfering with every body; a company of sappers en route to Woolwich, who would obey none but their own officer, and he was still ashore; detachments of able-bodied seamen from the Jupiter, full of grog and prize-money; four hundred and seventy impressed men, cursing, blaspheming, and imprecating every species of calamity on their captors; added to which, a crowd of Jews, bum-boat women, and slop-sellers of all kinds, with the crews of two ballast-lighters, fighting for additional pay, being the chief actors in a scene whose discord I never saw equaled. Drunkenness, suffering, hopeless misery, and even insubordination, all lent their voices to a tumult, amid which the words of command seemed lost, and all effort at discipline vain.

How we were ever to go to sea in this state I could not even imagine; the ship's crew seemed inextricably mingled with the rioters, many of whom were just sufficiently sober to be eternally meddling with the ship's tackle; belaying what ought to be "free," and loosening what should have been "fast;" getting their fingers jammed in blocks, and their limbs crushed by spars, till the cries of agony rose high above every other confusion. Turning with disgust from a spectacle so discordant and disgraceful, I descended the ladders which led, by many a successive flight, into the dark, low-ceilinged chamber called the "sick bay," and where poor Santron was lying in, what I almost envied, insensibility to the scene around him. A severe blow from the hilt of a cutlass had given him a concussion of the brain, and, save in the momentary excitement which a sudden question might cause, left him totally unconscious. His head had been already shaved before I descended, and I found the assistant-surgeon, an Irishman, Mr. Peter Colhayne, experimenting a new mode of cupping as I entered. By some mischance of the machinery, the lancets of the cupping instrument had remained permanently fixed, refusing to obey the spring, and standing all straight outside the surface. In this dilemma, Peter's ingenuity saw nothing for it but to press them down vigorously into the scalp, and then saw them backward the whole length of the head, a performance, the originality of which, in all probability, was derived from the operation of a harrow in agriculture. He had just completed a third track when I came in, and by great remonstrance and no small flattery induced him to desist. "We have glasses," said he, "but they were all broke in the cock-pit; but a tin porringer is just as good." And so saying, he lighted a little pledget of tow, previously steeped in turpentine, and, popping it into the tin vessel, clapped it on the head. This was meant to exhaust the air within, and thus draw the blood to the surface, a scientific process he was good enough to explain most minutely for my benefit, and the good results of which he most confidently vouched for.

"They've a hundred new conthrivances," said Mr. Colhayne, "for doing that simple thing ye see there. They've pumps, and screws, and hydraulic devilments, as much complicated as a[Pg 175] watch that's always getting out of order and going wrong; but with that ye'll see what good 'twill do him; he'll be as lively as a lark in ten minutes."

The prophecy was destined to a perfect fulfillment, for poor Santron, who lay motionless and unconscious up to that moment, suddenly gave signs of life by moving his features, and jerking his limbs to this side and that. The doctor's self-satisfaction took the very proudest form. He expatiated on the grandeur of medical science, the wonderful advancement it was making, and the astonishing progress the curative art had made, even within his own time. I must own that I should have lent a more implicit credence to this pæan if I had not waited for the removal of the cupping vessel, which, instead of blood, contained merely the charred ashes of the burnt tow, while the scalp beneath it presented a blackened, seared aspect, like burned leather. Such was literally the effect of the operation, but as from that period the patient began steadily to improve, I must leave to more scientific inquirers the task of explaining through what agency, and on what principles.

Santron's condition, although no longer dangerous, presented little hope of speedy recovery. His faculties were clouded and obscured, and the mere effort at recognition seemed to occasion him great subsequent disturbance. Colhayne, who, whatever may have been his scientific deficiencies, was good-nature and kindness itself, saw nothing for him but removal to Haslar, and we now only waited for the ship's arrival at the Nore to obtain the order for his transmission.

If the Athol was a scene of the wildest confusion and uproar when we tripped our anchor, we had not been six hours at sea when all was a picture of order and propriety. The decks were cleared of every one not actually engaged in the ship's working, or specially permitted to remain; ropes were coiled; boats hauled up; sails trimmed; hatches down; sentinels paced the deck in appointed places, and all was discipline and regularity. From the decorous silence that prevailed, none could have supposed so many hundred living beings were aboard, still less, that they were the same disorderly mob who sailed from the Mersey a few short hours before. From the surprise which all this caused me, I was speedily aroused by an order more immediately interesting, being summoned on the poop-deck to attend the general muster. Up they came from holes and hatchways, a vast host, no longer brawling and insubordinate, but quiet, submissive, and civil. Such as were wounded had been placed under the doctor's care, and all those now present were orderly and service-like. With a very few exceptions, they were all sailors, a few having already served in a king's ship. The first lieutenant, who inspected us, was a grim, gray-headed man past the prime of life, with features hardened by disappointment and long service, but who still retained an expression of kindliness and good-nature. His duty he dispatched with all the speed of long habit; read the name; looked at the bearer of it; asked a few routine questions; and then cried, "stand by," even ere the answers were finished. When he came to me he said:

"Abraham Hackett. Is that your name, lad?"

"No, sir. I'm called Maurice Tiernay."

"Tiernay, Tiernay," said he a couple of times over. "No such name here."

"Where's Tiernay's name, Cottle?" asked he of a subordinate behind him.

The fellow looked down the list—then at me—then at the list again—and then back to me, puzzled excessively by the difficulty, but not seeing how to explain it.

"Perhaps I can set the matter right, sir," said I. "I came aboard along with a wounded countryman of mine—the young Frenchman who is now in the sick bay."

"Ay, to be sure; I remember all about it now," said the lieutenant. "You call yourselves French officers?"

"And such are we, sir."

"Then how the devil came ye here? Mother Martin's cellar is, to say the least of it, an unlikely spot to select as a restaurant."

"The story is a somewhat long one, sir."

"Then I haven't time for it, lad," he broke in. "We've rather too much on hands just now for that. If you've got your papers, or any thing to prove what you assert, I'll land you when I come into the Downs, and you'll, of course, be treated as your rank in the service requires. If you have not, I must only take the responsibility on myself to regard you as an impressed man. Very hard, I know, but can't help it. Stand by."

These few words were uttered with a most impetuous speed; and as all reply to them was impossible, I saw my case decided and my fate decreed, even before I knew they were under litigation.

As we marched forward to go below, I overheard an officer say to another:

"Hay will get into a scrape about those French fellows; they may turn out to be officers, after all."

"What matter?" cried the other. "One is dying; and the other Hay means to draft on board the 'Téméraire.' Depend upon it, we'll never hear more of either of them."

This was far from pleasant tidings; and yet I knew not any remedy for the mishap. I had never seen the officer who spoke to me ashore, since we came on board. I knew of none to intercede for me; and as I sat down on the bench beside poor Santron's cot, I felt my heart lower than it had ever been before. I was never enamored of the sea service; and certainly the way to overcome my dislike was not by engaging against my own country; and yet this, in all likelihood, was now to be my fate. These were my last waking thoughts the first night I passed on board the Athol.

[Pg 176]



To be awakened suddenly from a sound sleep; hurried, half-dressed, up a gangway; and, ere your faculties have acquired free play, be passed over a ship's side, on a dark and stormy night, into a boat wildly tossed here and there, with spray showering over you, and a chorus of loud voices about you! is an event not easily forgotten. Such a scene still dwells in my memory, every incident of it as clear and distinct as though it had occurred only yesterday. In this way was I "passed," with twelve others, on board his majesty's frigate, Téméraire, a vessel which, in the sea service, represented what a well-known regiment did on shore, and bore the reputation of being a "condemned ship;" this depreciating epithet having no relation to the qualities of the vessel herself, which was a singularly beautiful French model, but only to that of the crew and officers; it being the policy of the day to isolate the blackguards of both services, confining them to particular crafts and corps, making, as it were, a kind of index expurgatorius, where all the rascality was available at a moment's notice.

It would be neither agreeable to my reader nor myself, if I should dwell on this theme, nor linger on a description where cruelty, crime, heartless tyranny, and reckless insubordination made up all the elements. A vessel that floated the seas only as a vast penitentiary—the "cats," the "yard-arm," and the "gangway," comprising its scheme of discipline—would scarcely be an agreeable subject: and, in reality, my memory retains of the life aboard little else than scenes of suffering and sorrow. Captain Gesbrook had the name of being able to reduce any, the most insubordinate, to discipline. The veriest rascals of the fleet, the consummate scoundrels, one of whom was deemed pollution to an ordinary crew, were said to come from his hands models of seamanship and good conduct; and it must be owned, that if the character was deserved, it was not obtained without some sacrifice. Many died under punishment; many carried away with them diseases under which they lingered on to death; and not a few preferred suicide to the terrible existence on board. And although a Téméraire—as a man who had served in her was always afterward called—was now and then shown as an example of sailorlike smartness and activity, very few knew how dearly that one success had been purchased, nor by what terrible examples of agony and woe that solitary conversion was obtained.

To me the short time I spent on board of her is a dreadful dream. We were bound for the Mediterranean, to touch at Malta and Gibraltar, and then join the blockading squadron before Genoa. What might have been my fate, to what excess passionate indignation might have carried me, revolted as I was by tyranny and injustice, I know not, when an accident, happily for me, rescued me from all temptation. We lost our mizen-mast, in a storm, in the Bay of Biscay, and a dreadful blow on the head, from the spanker-boom, felled me to the deck, with a fracture of the skull.

From that moment I knew of nothing till the time when I lay in my cot, beside a port-hole of the main deck, gazing at the bright blue waters that flashed and rippled beside me, or straining my strength to rest on my elbow, when I caught sight of the glorious city of Genoa, with its grand mountain background, about three miles from where I lay. Whether from a due deference to the imposing strength of the vast fortress, or that the line of duty described our action, I can not say, but the British squadron almost exclusively confined its operations to the act of blockade. Extending far across the bay, the English ensign was seen floating from many a taper mast, while boats, of every shape and size, plied incessantly from ship to ship, their course marked out at night by the meteor-like light that glittered in them; not, indeed, that the eye often turned in that direction, all the absorbing interest of the scene lying in-shore. Genoa was, at that time, surrounded by an immense Austrian force, under the command of General Melas, who, occupying all the valleys and deep passes of the Apennines, were imperceptible during the day; but no sooner had night closed in, than a tremendous cannonade began, the balls describing great semicircles in the air, ere they fell, to scatter death and ruin on the devoted city. The spectacle was grand beyond description, for while the distance at which we lay dulled and subdued the sound of the artillery to a hollow booming like far-off thunder, the whole sky was streaked by the course of the shot, and, at intervals, lighted up by the splendor of a great fire, as the red shot fell into and ignited some large building or other.

As, night after night, the cannonade increased in power and intensity, and the terrible effects showed themselves in the flames which burst out from different quarters of the city, I used to long for morning, to see if the tri-color still floated on the walls, and when my eye caught the well-known ensign, I could have wept with joy as I beheld it.

High up, too, on the cliffs of the rugged Apennines, from many a craggy eminence, where perhaps a solitary gun was stationed, I could see the glorious flag of France, the emblem of liberty and glory, too!

In the day the scene was one of calm and tranquil beauty. It would have seemed impossible to connect it with war and battle. The glorious city, rising in terraces of palaces, lay reflected in the mirror-like waters of the bay, blue as the deep sky above them. The orange trees, loaded with golden fruit, shed their perfume over marble fountains, amid gardens of every varied hue; bands of military music were heard from the public promenades; all the signs of joy and festivity which betoken a happy and pleasure-seeking population. But at night the "red artillery" again flashed forth, and the wild cries of strife and battle rose through the beleaguered[Pg 177] city. The English spies reported that a famine and a dreadful fever were raging within the walls, and that all Massena's efforts were needed to repress an open mutiny of the garrison; but the mere aspect of the "proud city" seemed to refute the assertion. The gay caroling of church bells vied with the lively strains of martial music, and the imposing pomp of military array, which could be seen from the walls, bespoke a joyous confidence, the very reverse of this depression.

From the "tops," and high up in the rigging, the movements in-shore could be descried, and frequently, when an officer came down to visit a comrade, I could hear of the progress of the siege, and learn, I need not say with what delight, that the Austrians had made little or no way in the reduction of the place, and that every stronghold and bastion was still held by Frenchmen.

At first, as I listened, the names of new places and new generals confused me; but by daily familiarity with the topic, I began to perceive that the Austrians had interposed a portion of their force between Massena's division and that of Suchet, cutting off the latter from Genoa, and compelling him to fall back toward Chivari and Borghetto, along the coast of the gulf. This was the first success of any importance obtained; and it was soon followed by others of equal significance. Soult being driven from ridge to ridge of the Apennines, till he was forced back within the second line of defenses.

The English officers were loud in condemning Austrian slowness; the inaptitude they exhibited to profit by a success, and the over-caution which made them, even in victory, so careful of their own safety. From what I overheard, it seemed plain that Genoa was untenable by any troops but French, or opposed to any other adversaries than their present ones.

The bad tidings—such I deemed them—came quicker and heavier. Now, Soult was driven from Monte Notte. Now, the great advance post of Monte Faccio was stormed and carried. Now, the double eagle was floating from San Tecla, a fort within cannon shot of Genoa. A vast semicircle of bivouac fires stretched from the Apennines to the sea, and their reflected glare from the sky lit up the battlements and ramparts of the city.

"Even yet, if Massena would make a dash at them," said a young English lieutenant, "the white-coats would fall back."

"My life on't he'd cut his way through, if he knew they were only two to one!"

And this sentiment met no dissentient. All agreed that French heroism was still equal to the overthrow of a force double its own.

It was evident that all hope of reinforcement from France was vain. Before they could have begun their march southward, the question must be decided one way or other.

"There's little doing to-night," said an officer, as he descended the ladder to the sick bay. "Melas is waiting for some heavy mortars that are coming up; and then there will be a long code of instructions from the Aulic Council, and a whole treatise on gunnery to be read, before he can use them. Trust me, if Massena knew his man, he'd be up and at him!"

Much discussion followed the speech, but all more or less agreed in its sentiment. Weak as were the French, lowered by fever and by famine, they were still an over-match for their adversaries. What a glorious avowal from the lips of an enemy was this! The words did more for my recovery than all the cares and skill of physic. Oh, if my countrymen but knew! if Massena could but hear it! was my next thought; and I turned my eyes to the ramparts, whose line was marked out by the bivouac fires, through the darkness. How short the distance seemed! and yet it was a whole world of separation. Had it been a great plain in a mountain tract, the attempt might almost have appeared practicable; at least, I had often seen fellows who would have tried it. Such were the ready roads, the royal paths to promotion; and he who trod them saved miles of weary journey. I fell asleep, still thinking on these things; but they haunted my dreams. A voice seemed ever to whisper in my ear—"If Massena but knew, he would attack them! One bold dash, and the Austrians would fall back." At one instant, I thought myself brought before a court-martial of English officers, for attempting to carry these tidings, and proudly avowing the endeavor, I fancied I was braving the accusation. At another, I was wandering through the streets of Genoa, gazing on the terrible scenes of famine I had heard of. And lastly, I was marching with a night party to attack the enemy. The stealthy foot-fall of the column appeared suddenly to cease; we were discovered; the Austrian cavalry were upon us! I started and awoke, and found myself in the dim, half-lighted chamber, with pain and suffering around me, and where, even in this midnight hour, the restless tortures of disease were yet wakeful.

"The silence is more oppressive to me than the roll of artillery," said one, a sick midshipman, to his comrade. "I grew accustomed to the clatter of the guns, and slept all the better for it."

"You'll scarcely hear much more of that music," replied his friend. "The French must capitulate to-morrow or next day."

"Not if Massena would make a dash at them," thought I; and with difficulty could I refrain from uttering the words aloud.

They continued to talk to each other in low whispers, and lulled by the drowsy tones I fell asleep once more, again to dream of my comrades and their fortunes. A heavy bang like a cannon-shot awoke me; but whether this were real or not I never knew; most probably, however, it was the mere creation of my brain, for all were now in deep slumber around me, and even the marine on duty had seated himself on the ladder, and with his musket between his legs, seemed dozing away peacefully. I looked out through the little window beside my berth. A[Pg 178] light breeze was faintly rippling the dark water beneath me. It was the beginning of a "Levanter," and scarcely ruffled the surface as it swept along.

"Oh, if it would but bear the tidings I am full of!" thought I. But why not dare the attempt myself? While in America I had learned to become a good swimmer. Under Indian teaching, I had often passed hours in the water; and though now debilitated by long sickness, I felt that the cause would supply me with the strength I needed. From the instant that I conceived the thought, till I found myself descending the ship's side, was scarcely a minute. Stripping off my woolen shirt, and with nothing but my loose trowsers, I crept through the little window, and lowering myself gently by the rattlin of my hammock, descended slowly and noiselessly into the sea. I hung on thus for a couple of seconds, half fearing the attempt, and irresolute of purpose. Should strength fail, or even a cramp seize me, I must be lost, and none would ever know in what an enterprise I had perished. It would be set down as a mere attempt at escape. This notion almost staggered my resolution, but only for a second or so; and, with a short prayer, I slowly let slip the rope, and struck out to swim.

The immense efforts required to get clear of the ship's side discouraged me dreadfully, nor probably without the aid of the "Levanter" should I have succeeded in doing so, the suction of the water along the sides was so powerful. At last, however, I gained the open space, and found myself stretching away toward shore rapidly. The night was so dark that I had nothing to guide me save the lights on the ramparts; but in this lay my safety. Swimming is, after all, but a slow means of progression. After what I judged to be an hour in the water, as I turned my head to look back, I almost fancied that the great bowsprit of the Téméraire was over me, and that the figure who leaned over the taffrail was steadily gazing on me. How little way had I made, and what a vast reach of water lay between me and the shore! I tried to animate my courage by thinking of the cause, how my comrades would greet me, the honor in which they would hold me for the exploit, and such like; but the terror of failure damped this ardor, and hope sank every moment lower and lower.

For some time I resolved within myself not to look back; the discouragement was too great; but the impulse to do so became all the greater, and the only means of resisting was by counting the strokes, and determining not to turn my head before I had made a thousand. The monotony of this last, and the ceaseless effort to advance, threw me into a kind of dreamy state, wherein mere mechanical effort remained. A few vague impressions are all that remain to me of what followed. I remember the sound of the morning guns from the fleet; I remember, too, the hoisting of the French standard at daybreak on the fort of the Mole: I have some recollection of a bastion crowded with people, and hearing shouts and cheers, like voices of welcome and encouragement; and then a whole fleet of small boats issuing from the harbor, as if by one impulse; and then there comes a bright blaze of light over one incident, for I saw myself, dripping and almost dead, lifted on the shoulders of strong men, and carried along a wide street filled with people. I was in Genoa!



Up a straight street, so steep and so narrow that it seemed a stair, with hundreds of men crowding around me, I was borne along. Now, they were sailors who carried me; now, white-bearded grenadiers, with their bronzed bold faces; now, they were the wild-looking Faquini of the Mole, with long-tasseled red caps, and gaudy sashes round their waists. Windows were opened on either side as we went, and eager faces protruded to stare at me; and then there were shouts and cries of triumphant joy bursting forth at every moment, amidst which I could hear the ever-recurring words—"Escaped from the English fleet."

By what means, or when, I had exchanged my dripping trowsers of coarse sailcloth for the striped gear of our republican mode—how one had given me his jacket, another a cap, and a third a shirt—I knew not; but there I was, carried along in triumph, half fainting from exhaustion, and almost maddened by excitement. That I must have told something of my history—heaven knows how incoherently and unconnectedly—is plain enough, for I could hear them repeating one to the other—"Had served with Moreau's corps in the Black Forest;" "A hussar of the Ninth;" "One of Humbert's fellows;" and so on.

As we turned into a species of "Place," a discussion arose as to whither they should convey me. Some were for the "Cavalry Barracks," that I might be once more with those who resembled my old comrades. Others, more considerate, were for the hospital; but a staff officer decided the question by stating that the general was at that very moment receiving the report in the church of the Anunziata, and that he ought to see me at once.

"Let the poor fellow have some refreshment," cried one—"Here, take this, it's coffee." "No, no, the 'petit goutte' 's better—try that flask." "He shall have my chocolate," said an old major from the door of a café; and thus they pressed and solicited me with a generosity that I had yet to learn how dear it cost.

"He ought to be dressed;" "He should be in uniform;" "Is better as he is;" "The general will not speak to him thus;" "He will;" "He must."

Such, and such like, kept buzzing around me, as with reeling brain and confused vision they bore me up the great steps, and carried me into[Pg 179] a gorgeous church, the most splendidly ornamented building I had ever beheld. Except, however, in the decorations of the ceiling, and the images of saints which figured in niches high up, every trace of a religious edifice had disappeared. The pulpit had gone—the chairs and seats for the choir, the confessionals, the shrines, altars—all had been uprooted, and a large table, at which some twenty officers were seated writing, now occupied the elevated platform of the high altar, while here and there stood groups of officers, with their reports from their various corps or parties in out-stations. Many of these drew near to me as I entered, and now the buzz of voices in question and rejoinder swelled into a loud noise, and while some were recounting my feat with all the seeming accuracy of eye-witnesses, others were as resolutely protesting it all to be impossible. Suddenly the tumult was hushed, the crowd fell back, and as the clanking muskets proclaimed a "salute," a whispered murmur announced the "General."

I could just see the waving plumes of his staff, as they passed up, and then, as they were disappearing in the distance, they stopped, and one hastily returned to the entrance of the church.

"Where is this fellow, let me see him," cried he, hurriedly, brushing his way through the crowd. "Let him stand down; set him on his legs."

"He is too weak, capitaine," said a soldier.

"Place him in a chair, then," said the aid-de-camp, for such he was. "You have made your escape from the English fleet, my man," continued he, addressing me.

"I am an officer, and your comrade," replied I, proudly; for, with all my debility, the tone of his address stung me to the quick.

"In what service, pray?" asked he, with a sneering look at my motley costume.

"Your general shall hear where I have served, and how, whenever he is pleased to ask me," was my answer.

"Ay, parbleu," cried three or four sous-officiers in a breath, "the general shall see him himself."

And with a jerk they hoisted me once more on their shoulders, and with a run—the regular storming tramp of the line—they advanced up the aisle of the church, and never halted till within a few feet of where the staff were gathered around the general. A few words—they sounded like a reprimand—followed; a severe voice bade the soldiers "fall back," and I found myself standing alone before a tall and very strongly built man, with a large, red-brown beard; he wore a gray upper coat over his uniform, and carried a riding whip in his hand.

"Get him a seat. Let him have a glass of wine," cried he, quickly, as he saw the tottering efforts I was making to keep my legs. "Are you better now?" asked he, in a voice which, rough as it was, sounded kindly.

Seeing me so far restored, he desired me to recount my late adventure, which I did in the fewest words, and the most concise fashion I could. Although never interrupting, I could mark that particular portions of my narrative made much impression on him, and he could not repress a gesture of impatience when I told him that I was impressed as a seaman to fight against the flag of my own country.

"Of course, then," cried he, "you were driven to the alternative of this attempt."

"Not so, general," said I, interrupting; "I had grown to be very indifferent about my own fortunes. I had become half fatalist as to myself. It was on very different grounds, indeed, that I dared this danger. It was to tell you, for, if I mistake not, I am addressing General Massena, tidings of deep importance."

I said these words slowly and deliberately, and giving them all the impressiveness I was able.

"Come this way, friend," said he, and, assisting me to arise, he led me a short distance off, and desired me to sit down on the steps in front of the altar railing. "Now, you may speak freely. I am the General Massena, and I have only to say, that if you really have intelligence of any value for me, you shall be liberally rewarded; but if you have not, and if the pretense be merely an effort to impose on one whose cares and anxieties are already hard to bear, it would be better that you had perished on sea than tried to attempt it."

There was a stern severity in the way he said this, which for a moment or two actually overpowered me. It was quite clear that he looked for some positive fact—some direct piece of information on which he might implicitly rely; and here was I now with nothing save the gossip of some English lieutenants—the idle talk of inexperienced young officers. I was silent. From the bottom of my heart I wished that I had never reached the shore, to stand in a position of such humiliation as this.

"So, then, my caution was not unneeded," said the general, as he bent his heavy brows upon me. "Now, sir, there is but one amende you can make for this; tell me, frankly, have others sent you on this errand, or is the scheme entirely of your own devising? Is this an English plot, or is there a Bourbon element in it?"

"Neither one nor the other," said I, boldly; for indignation at last gave me courage. "I hazarded my life to tell you what I overheard among the officers of the fleet yonder; you may hold their judgment cheap; you may not think their counsels worth the pains of listening to; but I could form no opinion of this, and only thought, If these tidings could reach him he might profit by them."

"And what are they?" asked he, bluntly.

"They said, that your force was wasting away by famine and disease; that your supplies could not hold out above a fortnight; that your granaries were empty, and your hospitals filled."

"They scarcely wanted the gift of second sight to see this," said he, bitterly. "A garrison[Pg 180] in close siege for four months may be suspected of as much."

"Yes; but they said that as Soult's force fell back upon the city your position would be rendered worse."

"Fell back from where?" asked he, with a searching look at me.

"As I understood, from the Apennines," replied I, growing more confident as I saw that he became more attentive. "If I understood them aright, Soult held a position called the 'Monte Faccio.' Is there such a name?"

"Go on," said he, with a nod of assent.

"That this could not long be tenable without gaining the highest fortified point of the mountain. The 'Monte Creto,' they named it."

"The attempt on which has failed!" said Massena, as if carried away by the subject; "and Soult himself is a prisoner! Go on."

"They added, that now but one hope remained for this army."

"And what was that, sir," said he, fiercely. "What suggestion of cunning strategy did these sea wolves intimate?"

"To cut your way through the blockade, and join Suchet's corps, attacking the Austrians at the Monte Ratte, and by the sea road gaining the heights of Bochetta."

"Do these heroic spirits know the strength of that same Austrian corps?—did they tell you that it numbered fifty-four thousand bayonets?"

"They called them below forty thousand; and that now that Bonaparte was on his way through the Alps, perhaps by this, over the Mount Cenis—"

"What! did they say this? Is Bonaparte so near us?" cried he, placing a hand on either shoulder, as he stared me in the face.

"Yes; there is no doubt of that. The dispatch to Lord Keith brought the news a week ago, and there is no secret made about it in the fleet."

"Over Mount Cenis!" repeated he to himself. "Already in Italy!"

"Holding straight for Milan, Lord Keith thinks," added I.

"No, sir, straight for the Tuileries," cried Massena, sternly: and then, correcting himself suddenly, he burst into a forced laugh. I must confess that the speech puzzled me sorely at the time, but I lived to learn its meaning, and many a time have I wondered at the shrewd foresight which even then read the ambitious character of the future emperor.

"Of this fact, then, you are quite certain?—Bonaparte is on his march hither?"

"I have heard it spoken of every day for the last week," replied I; "and it was in consequence of this that the English officers used to remark, if Massena but knew it he'd make a dash at them, and clear his way through at once."

"They said this, did they?" said he, in a low voice, and as if pondering over it.

"Yes; one and all agreed in thinking there could not be a doubt of the result."

"Where have you served, sir?" asked he, suddenly turning on me, and with a look that showed he was resolved to test the character of the witness.

"With Moreau, sir, on the Rhine and the Schwarzwald; in Ireland with Humbert."

"Your regiment?"

"The Ninth Hussars."

"The 'Tapageurs,'" said he, laughing. "I know them, and glad I am not to have their company here at this moment; you were a lieutenant?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, supposing that, on the faith of what you have told me, I was to follow the wise counsel of these gentlemen, would you like the alternative of gaining your promotion in the event of success, or being shot by a peloton if we fail."

"They seem sharp terms, sir," said I, smiling, "when it is remembered, that no individual efforts of mine can either promote one result or the other."

"Ay, but they can, sir," cried he, quickly. "If you should turn out to be an Austro-English spy; if these tidings be of a character to lead my troops into danger; if, in reliance on you, I should be led to compromise the honor and safety of a French army—your life, were it worth ten thousand times over your own value of it, would be a sorry recompense. Is this intelligible?"

"Far more intelligible than flattering," said I, laughing; for I saw that the best mode to treat him was by an imitation of his own frank and careless humor. "I have already risked that life you hold so cheaply, to convey this information, but I am still ready to accept the conditions you offer me, if, in the event of success, my name appear in the dispatch."

He again stared at me with his dark and piercing eyes; but I stood the glance with a calm conscience, and he seemed so to read it, for he said:

"Be it so. I will, meanwhile, test your prudence. Let nothing of this interview transpire; not a word of it among the officers and comrades you shall make acquaintance with. You shall serve on my own staff; go now, and recruit your strength for a couple of days, and then report yourself at head-quarters when ready for duty. Latrobe, look to the Lieutenant Tiernay; see that he wants for nothing, and let him have a horse and a uniform as soon as may be."

Captain Latrobe, the future General of Division, was then a young, gay officer of about five-and-twenty, very good looking, and full of life and spirits, a buoyancy which the terrible uncertainties of the siege could not repress.

"Our general talks nobly, Tiernay," said he, as he gave me his arm to assist me; "but you'll stare when I tell you that 'wanting for nothing' means, having four ounces of black bread, and ditto of blue cheese per diem; and[Pg 181] as to a horse, if I possessed such an animal, I'd have given a dinner-party yesterday and eaten him. You look surprised, but when you see a little more of us here, you'll begin to think that prison rations in the fleet yonder were luxuries compared to what we have. No matter: you shall take share of my superabundance, and if I have little else to offer, I'll show you a view from my window, finer than any thing you ever looked on in your life, and with a sea-breeze that would be glorious if it didn't make one hungry."

While he thus rattled on, we reached the street, and there calling a couple of soldiers forward, he directed them to carry me along to his quarters, which lay in the upper town, on an elevated plateau that overlooked the city and the bay together.

From the narrow lanes, flanked with tall, gloomy houses, and steep, ill-paved streets, exhibiting poverty and privation of every kind, we suddenly emerged into an open space of grass, at one side of which a handsome iron-railing stood, with a richly ornamented gate, gorgeously gilded. Within this was a garden and a fish-pond, surrounded with statues, and further on, a long, low villa, whose windows reached to the ground, and were shaded by a deep awning of striped blue and white canvas. Camelias, orange-trees, cactuses, and magnolias, abounded every where; tulips and hyacinths seemed to grow wild; and there was in the half-neglected look of the spot something of savage luxuriance that heightened the effect immensely.

"This is my Paradise, Tiernay, only wanting an Eve to be perfect," said Latrobe, as he set me down beneath a spreading lime-tree. "Yonder are your English friends; there they stretch away for miles beyond that point. That's the Monte Creto, you may have heard of; and there's the Bochetta. In that valley, to the left, the Austrian outposts are stationed; and from those two heights closer to the shore, they are gracious enough to salute us every evening after sunset, and even prolong the attention sometimes the whole night through. Turn your eyes in this direction, and you'll see the 'cornice' road, that leads to La Belle France, but of which we see as much from this spot as we are ever like to do. So much for the geography of our position, and now to look after your breakfast. You have, of course, heard that we do not revel in superfluities. Never was the boasted excellence of our national cookery more severely tested, for we have successively descended from cows and sheep to goats, horses, donkeys, dogs, occasionally experimenting on hides and shoe leather, till we ended by regarding a rat as a rarity, and deeming a mouse a delicacy of the season. As for vegetables, there would not have been a flowering plant in all Genoa, if tulip and ranunculus roots had not been bitter as aloes. These seem very inhospitable confessions, but I make them the more freely since I am about to treat you 'en Gourmet.' Come in now, and acknowledge that juniper-bark isn't bad coffee, and that commissary bread is not to be thought of 'lightly.'"

In this fashion did my comrade invite me to a meal, which, even with this preface, was far more miserable and scanty than I looked for.



"Please, sir, it's seven o'clock, and here's your hot wa'ar." I half awoke, reflected moodily on the unhappy destiny of early risers; and finally, after many turns and grunts, having decided upon defying all engagements and duties, I fell asleep once more. In an instant I was seated in the pit of Her Majesty's Theatre, gazing upon the curtain, and, in common with a large and brilliant audience, anxiously awaiting its arising, and the appearance of Duprez. The curtain does rise; the orchestra are active; Duprez has bowed her thanks to an applauding concourse; and the opera is half concluded: when, just as the theatre is hushed into death-like silence for the great aria which is to test Duprez's capacity and power, a mad impulse seizes hold of me. I have an intense desire to yell. I feel as if my life and my eternal happiness depend upon my emulating a wild Indian, or a London 'coster' boy. I look round on the audience; I see their solemn faces; I note the swelling bosom of the cantatrice, the rapt anxiety of the leader, and the dread silence of the whole assembly, and I speculate on the surprise and confusion a loud war-whoop yell would create; and though I foresee an ignominious expulsion, perhaps broken limbs and disgraceful exposure in the public prints, I can not resist the strange impulse; and throwing myself back in my stall, I raise a wild cry, such as a circus clown gives when he vaults into the arena, and ties himself up into a knot by way of introduction. I had not under-calculated the confusion, but I had under-calculated the indignation. In an instant all eyes are upon me—from the little piccolo-player in the corner of the orchestra, to the diamonded duchess in the private box; cries of "Shame! turn him out!" salute me on all sides; my neighbors seize me by the collar, and call for the police; and in five minutes, ashamed, bruised, and wretched, I am ejected into the Haymarket, and on my way to Bow-street.

"Please, sir, it's nine o'clock now; and Mr. Biggs has been, sir; and he couldn't wait, sir; and he'll come again at two."

I sit up in bed, rub my eyes, and awake to consciousness of two facts—namely, that I have not kept a very particular engagement, and that I have had a strange dream. I soon forgot the former, but the latter remains with me for a long time very vividly. It was a dream, I know; but still it was so true to what might have occurred, that I half fancy I shall recognize myself among the police intelligence in my daily paper; and when I have read the "Times" throughout, and find it was indeed a dream, the subject still haunts me, and I sit for a long time musing upon those singular morbid desires[Pg 182] and impulses which all men more or less experience.

What are they? Do they belong strictly to the domain of physics or of metaphysics? How nearly are they allied to insanity? May there not be a species of spiritual intoxication created by immaterial alcohol, producing, through the medium of the mind, the same bodily absurdities as your fluid alcohol produces through the directer agency of the body itself? How far can they be urged as extenuating or even defending misdemeanors and crimes? To guide me in my speculations, I run over a few cases that I can call to mind at once.

There is a general fact, that no sooner have you mounted to a great eminence, than a mysterious impulse urges you to cast yourself over into space, and perish. Nearly all people feel this; nearly all conquer it in this particular; but some do not: and there may be a great doubt as to whether all who have perished from the tops of the monuments have been truly suicides. Then, again, with water: when you see the clear river sleeping beneath—when you see the green waves dancing round the prow—when you hear and see the roaring fury of a cataract—do you not as surely feel a desire to leap into it, and be absorbed in oblivion? What is that impulse but a perpetual calenture?—or may not the theory of calentures be all false, and the results they are reported to cause be in reality the results of morbid impulses? I have sat on the deck of a steamer, and looked upon the waters as they chafed under the perpetual scourging of the paddles; and I have been compelled to bind myself to the vessel by a rope, to prevent a victory to the morbid impulses that have come upon me. Are not Ulysses and the Sirens merely a poetic statement of this common feeling?

But one of the most singular instances of morbid impulses in connection with material things, exists in the case of a young man who not very long ago visited a large iron manufactory. He stood opposite a huge hammer, and watched with great interest its perfectly regular strokes. At first it was beating immense lumps of crimson metal into thin, black sheets; but the supply becoming exhausted, at last it only descended on the polished anvil. Still the young man gazed intently on its motion; then he followed its strokes with a corresponding motion of his head; then his left arm moved to the same tune; and finally, he deliberately placed his fist upon the anvil, and in a second it was smitten to a jelly. The only explanation he could afford was that he felt an impulse to do it; that he knew he should be disabled; that he saw all the consequences in a misty kind of manner; but that he still felt a power within, above sense and reason—a morbid impulse, in fact, to which he succumbed, and by which he lost a good right hand. This incident suggests many things, besides proving the peculiar nature and power of morbid impulses: such things, for instance, as a law of sympathy on a scale hitherto undreamt of, as well as a musical tune pervading all things.

But the action of morbid impulses and desires is far from being confined to things material. Witness the occurrence of my dream, which, though a dream, was true in spirit. More speeches, writings, and actions of humanity have their result in morbid impulse than we have an idea of. Their territory stretches from the broadest farce to the deepest tragedy. I remember spending an evening at Mrs. Cantaloupe's, and being seized with an impulse to say a very insolent thing. Mrs. Cantaloupe is the daughter of a small pork butcher, who, having married the scapegrace younger son of a rich man, by a sudden sweeping away of elder brethren, found herself at the head of a mansion in Belgravia, and of an ancient family. This lady's pride of place, and contempt for all beneath her, exceeds any thing I have ever yet seen or heard of; and, one evening, when she was canvassing the claims of a few parvenu families in her usual tranchant and haughty manner, an impulse urged me to cry, at the top of my voice: "Madam, your father was a little pork-butcher—you know he was!"

In vain I tried to forget the fact; in vain I held my hands over my mouth to prevent my shouting out these words. The more I struggled against it, the more powerful was the impulse; and I only escaped it by rushing headlong from the room and from the house. When I gained my own chambers, I was so thankful that I had avoided this gross impertinence that I could not sleep.

This strange thralldom to a morbid prompting not unfrequently has its outlet in crimes of the deepest dye. When Lord Byron was sailing from Greece to Constantinople, he was observed to stand over the sleeping body of an Albanian, with a poniard in his hand; and, after a little time, to turn away muttering, "I should like to know how a man feels who has committed a murder!" There can be no doubt that Lord Byron, urged by a morbid impulse, was on the very eve of knowing what he desired; and not a few crimes have their origin in a similar manner. The facts exist; the evidence is here in superabundance; but what to do with it? Can a theory be made out? I sit and reflect.

There are two contending parties in our constitution—mind and matter, spirit and body—which in their conflicts produce nearly all the ills that flesh is heir to. The body is the chief assailant, and generally gains the victory. Look how our writers are influenced by bile, by spleen, by indigestion; how families are ruined by a bodily ailment sapping the mental energy of their heads. But the spirit takes its revenge in a guerilla war, which is incessantly kept up by these morbid impulses—an ambuscade of them is ever lurking to betray the too-confident body. Let the body be unguarded for an instant, and the spirit shoots forth its morbid impulse; and if the body be not very alert, over it goes into the sea, into the house-tops, or into the streets[Pg 183] and jails. In most wars the country where the fighting takes place suffers most: in this case man is the battle-ground; and he must and will suffer so long as mind and matter, spirit and body, do not co-operate amicably—so long as they fight together, and are foes. Fortunately, the remedy can be seen. If the body do not aggress, the spirit will not seek revenge. If you keep the body from irritating, and perturbing, and stultifying the mind through its bile, its spleen, its indigestion, its brain, the mind will most certainly never injure, stultify, or kill the body by its mischievous guerilla tactics, by its little, active, imp-like agents—morbid impulses. We thus find that there is a deep truth in utilitarianism, after all—the rose-color romancings of chameleon writers. To make a man a clear-judging member of society, doing wise actions in the present moment, and saying wise and beautiful things for all time, a great indispensable is—to see that the house that his spirit has received to dwell in be worthy the wants and capabilities of its noble occupant. Hence—Rat-tat-ta-tat!

"Please, sir, Mr. Biggs!"



"Nulla dies sine linea."

Entering, o' the suddain, into Mercy's chamber, I founde her all be-wept and waped, poring over an old kirtle of mother's she had bidden her re-line with buckram. Coulde not make out whether she were sick of her task, had had words with mother, or had some secret inquietation of her owne; but, as she is a girl of few words, I found I had best leave her alone after a caress and kind saying or two. We alle have our troubles.

... Trulie may I say soe. Here have they ta'en a fever of some low sorte in my house of refuge, and mother, fearing it may be ye sicknesse, will not have me goe neare it, lest I sd bring it home. Mercy, howbeit, hath besought her soe earnestlie to let her goe and nurse ye sick, that mother hath granted her prayer, on condition she returneth not till ye fever bates, ... thus setting her life at lower value than our owne. Deare Mercy! I woulde fayn be her mate.

We are alle mightie glad that Rupert Allington hath at lengthe zealouslie embraced ye studdy of the law. 'Twas much to be feared at ye firste there was noe application in him, and though we all pitied him when father first broughte him home, a pillaged, portionlesse client, with none other to espouse his rightes, yet 'twas a pitie soone allied with contempt when we founde how emptie he was, caring for nought but archerie and skittles and the popinjaye out o' the house, and dicing and tables within, which father wd on noe excuse permitt. Soe he had to conform, ruefullie enow, and hung piteouslie on hand for awhile. I mind me of Bess's saying about Christmasse, "Heaven send us open weather while Allington is here; I don't believe he is one that will bear shutting up." Howbeit, he seemed to incline towards Daisy, who is handsome enow, and cannot be hindered of two hundred pounds, and so he kept within bounds, and when father got him his cause he was mightilie thankfulle, and would have left us out of hand, but father persuaded him to let his estate recover itself, and turn ye mean time to profitt, and, in short, so wrought on him, that he hath now become a student in right earneste.

Soe we are going to lose not only Mr. Clement, but Mr. Gunnel! How sorrie we alle are! It seemeth he hath long been debating for and agaynst ye church, and at length finds his mind so stronglie set towards it, as he can keep out of it noe longer. Well! we shall lose a good master, and ye church will gayn a good servant. Drew will supplie his place, that is, according to his beste, but our worthy Welshman careth soe little for young people, and is so abstract from ye world about him, that we shall oft feel our loss. Father hath promised Gonellus his interest with ye Cardinall.

I fell into disgrace for holding speech with Mercy over ye pales, but she is confident there is noe danger; the sick are doing well, and none of ye whole have fallen sick. She sayth Gammer Gurney is as tender of her as if she were her daughter, and will let her doe noe vile or paynfull office, soe as she hath little to doe but read and pray for ye poor souls, and feed 'em with savourie messes, and they are alle so harmonious and full of cheer, as to be like birds in a nest. Mercy deserves theire blessings more than I. Were I a free agent, she sd not be alone now, and I hope ne'er to be withheld therefrom agayn.

Busied with my flowers ye chief o' the forenoon, I was fayn to rest in the pavilion, when, entering therein, whom shoulde I stumble upon but William, layd at length on ye floor, with his arms under his head, and his book on ye ground. I was withdrawing brisklie enow, when he called out, "Don't goe away, since you are here," in a tone soe rough, soe unlike his usual key, as that I paused in a maze, and then saw that his eyes were red. He sprung to his feet and sayd, "Meg, come and talk to me," and, taking my hand in his, stepped quicklie forthe without another word sayd, till we reached the elm-tree walk. I marvelled to see him soe moven, and expected to hear somewhat that shoulde displease me, scarce knowing what; however, I might have guest at it from then till now, without ever nearing ye truth. His first words were, "I wish Erasmus had ne'er crost ye thresholde; he has made me very unhappie;" then, seeing me stare, "Be not his council just now, dear Meg, but bind up, if thou canst, the wounds he has made.... There be some wounds, thou[Pg 184] knowest, though but of a cut finger or the like, that we can not well bind up for ourselves."

I made answer, "I am a young and unskilled leech."

He replyed, "But you have a quick wit, and patience, and kindnesse, and, for a woman, are not scant of learning."

"Nay," I sayd, "but Mr. Gunnel—"

"Gunnel would be the last to help me," interrupts Will, "nor can I speak to your father. He is alwaies too busie now ... besides—"

"Father Francis," I put in.

"Father Francis?" repeats Will, with a shake o' the head and a ruefull smile, "dost thou think, Meg, he coulde answer me if I put to him Pilate's question, 'What is truth?'"

"We know alreadie," quoth I.

Sayth Will, "What do we know?"

I paused, then made answer reverentlie, "That Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life."

"Yes," he exclaymed, clapping his hands together in a strange sort of passion; "that we doe know, blessed be God, and other foundation can or ought no man to lay than that is layd, which is Jesus Christ. But, Meg, is this the principle of our church?"

"Yea, verily," I steadfastlie replied.

"Then, how has it beene overlayd," he hurriedlie went on, "with men's inventions! St. Paul speaks of a sacrifice once offered; we holde the host to be a continuall sacrifice. Holy writ telleth us where a tree falls it must lie; we are taughte that our prayers may free souls from purgatorie. The word sayth, 'by faith ye are saved;' the church sayth we may be saved by our works. It is written 'The idols he shall utterly abolish;' we worship figures of gold and silver...."

"Hold, hold," I sayd, "I dare not listen to this ... you are wrong, you know you are wrong."

"How and where," he sayth; "onlie tell me. I long to be put righte."

"Our images are but symbols of our saints," I made answer; "tis onlie ye ignorant and unlearned that worship ye mere wood and stone."

"But why worship saints at alle?" persisted Will; "where's the warrant for it?"

I sayd, "Heaven has warranted it by sundrie and speciall miracles at divers times and places. I may say to you, Will, as Socrates to Agathon, 'You may easilie argue agaynst me, but you cannot argue agaynst the truth.'"

"Oh, put me not off with Plato," he impatientlie replyed, "refer me but to holie writ."

"How can I," quoth I, "when you have ta'en away my Testament ere I had half gone through it? 'Tis this book, I fear me, poor Will, hath unsettled thee. Our church, indeed, sayth the unlearned wrest it to theire destruction."

"And yet the apostle sayth," rejoyned Will, "that it contayns alle things necessarie to our salvation."

"Doubtlesse it doth, if we knew but where to find them," I replied.

"And how find, unlesse we seeke?" he pursued, "and how know which road to take, when we find the scripture and the church at issue?"

"Get some wiser head to advise us," I rejoyned.

"But an' if the obstacle remains the same?"

"I cannot suppose that," I somewhat impatientlie returned, "God's word and God's church must agree; 'tis only we that make them at issue."

"Ah, Meg, that is just such an answer as Father Francis mighte give—it solves noe difficultie. If, to alle human reason, they pull opposite ways, by which shall we abide? I know; I am certain. 'Tu, Domine Jesu, es justitia mea!'"

He looked soe rapt, with claspt hands and upraysed eyes, as that I coulde not but look on him and hear him with solemnitie. At length I sayd, "If you know and are certayn, you have noe longer anie doubts for me to lay, and with your will, we will holde this discourse noe longer, for however moving and however considerable its subject matter may be, it approaches forbidden ground too nearlie for me to feel it safe, and I question whether it savoureth not of heresie. However, Will, I most heartilie pitie you, and will pray for you."

"Do, Meg, do," he replyed, "and say nought to anie one of this matter."

"Indeede I shall not, for I think 'twoulde bring you if not me into trouble, but, since thou hast soughte my counsel, Will, receive it now and take it...."

He sayth, "What is it?"

"To read less, pray more, fast, and use such discipline as our church recommends, and I question not this temptation will depart. Make a fayr triall."

And soe, away from him, though he woulde fain have sayd more, and I have kept mine owne worde of praying for him full earnestlie, for it pitieth me to see him in such case.

Poor Will, I never see him look grave now, nor heare him sighe, without thinking I know the cause of his secret discontentation. He hath, I believe, followed my council to ye letter, for though ye men's quarter of ye house is soe far aparte from ours, it hath come rounde to me through Barbara, who hath it from her brother, that Mr. Roper hath of late lien on ye ground, and used a knotted cord. As 'tis one of ye acts of mercy to relieve others, when we can, from satanic doubts and inquietations, I have been at some payns to make an abstracte of such passages from ye fathers, and such narratives of noted and undeniable miracles as cannot, I think, but carry conviction with them, and I hope they may minister to his soul's comfort.


Supped with my Lord Sands. Mother played mumchance with my lady, but father, who saith he woulde rather feast a hundred poor men than eat at one rich man's table, came not in till[Pg 185] late, on plea of businesse. My lord tolde him the king had visitted him not long agone, and was soe well content with his manor as to wish it were his owne, for the singular fine ayr and pleasant growth of wood. In fine, wound up ye evening with musick. My lady hath a pair of fine toned clavichords, and a mandoline that stands five feet high; the largest in England, except that of the Lady Mary Dudley. The sound, indeed, is powerfull, but methinketh the instrument ungaynlie for a woman. Lord Sands sang us a new ballad, "The King's Hunt's up," which father affected hugelie. I lacked spiritt to sue my lord for ye words, he being soe free-spoken as alwaies to dash me; howbeit, I mind they ran somewhat thus....

"The hunt is up, the hunt is up,
And it is well-nigh daye.
Harry our King has gone hunting
To bring his deere to baye.
The east is bright with morning lighte,
And darkness it is fled,
And the merrie horn wakes up ye morn
To leave his idle bed.
Beholde ye skies with golden dyes,
Are ..."

—The rest hath escaped me, albeit I know there was some burden of hey-tantera, where my lord did stamp and snap his fingers. He is a merry heart.

Now that Gunnel is gone, I take to heart that I profited not more by his teaching. Saying to Mercy, overnight, that methought she missed not our good master, she made answer, "Oh yes, I doe; how can I choose but miss him, who taught me to be, to doe, and to suffer?" And this with a light laugh, yet she lookt not merrie.

... Writing ye above, I was interrupted by shrill cries either of woman or boy, as of one in acute payn, and ran forthe of my chamber to learne ye cause. I met Bess coming hastilie out of ye garden, looking somewhat pale, and cried, "What is it?" She made answer, "Father is having Dick Halliwell beaten for some evill communication with Jack. 'Tis seldom or never he proceedeth to such extremities, soe the offence must needs have beene something pernicious; and, e'en as 'tis, father is standing by to see he is not smitten over-much; ne'erthelesse, Giles lays the stripes on with a will."

It turned me sick. I have somewhat of my mother in me, who was a tender and delicate woman, that woulde weepe to see a bird killed by a cat. I hate corporall punishments, and yet they've Scripture warrant. Father seldom hath recourse to 'em; and yet we feare as well as love him more than we doe mother, who, when she firste came among us, afore father had softened her down a little, used to hit righte and left. I mind me of her saying one day to her own daughter Daisy, "Your tucker is too low," and giving her a slap, mighte have beene hearde in Chelsea Reach. And there was the stamp of a greate red hand on Daisy's white shoulder all ye forenoon, but the worst of it was, that Daisy tooke it with perfect immoveabilitie, nor lookt in the leaste ashamed, which Scripture sayth a daughter shoulde doe, if her parent but spit in her face, i.e. sett on her some publick mark of contumely. Soe far from this, I even noted a silent look of scorn, which payned me, for of all the denunciations in Holy Writ, there is none more awfull to my mind than that which sayth, "The eye that mocketh at father or mother," not alone the tongue, but e'en the eye,—"the young ravens of the valley shall pick it out."

Sayth Lord Rutland to my father, in his acute sneering way, "Ah, ah, Sir Thomas, Honores mutant mores."

"Not so, in faith, my lord," returns father, "but have a care lest we translate the proverb, and say, Honours change Manners."

It served him right, and the jest is worth preserving, because 'twas not premeditate, as my lord's very likely was, but retorted at once and in self-defence. I don't believe honours have changed the Mores. As father told mother, there's the same face under the hood. 'Tis comique, too, the fulfilment of Erasmus his prophecy. Plato's year has not come rounde, but they have got father to court, and the king seems minded never to let him goe. For us, we have the same untamed spiritts and unconstrayned course of life as ever, neither lett nor hindered in our daylie studdies, though we dress somewhat braver, and see more companie. Mother's head was a little turned, at first, by the change and enlargment of the householde ... the acquisition of clerk of the kitchen, surveyor of the dresser, yeoman of the pastrie, etc., but as father laughinglie tolde her, the increase of her cares soon steddied her witts, for she found she had twenty unthrifts to look after insteade of half-a-dozen. And the same with himself. His responsibilities are so increast, that he grutches at every hour the court steals from his family, and vows, now and then, he will leave off joking that the king may the sooner wearie of him. But this is onlie in jest, for he feels it is a power given him over lighter minds, which he may exert to usefull and high purpose. Onlie it keepeth him from needing Damocles his sword; he trusts not in the favour of princes nor in the voyce of the people, and keeps his soul as a weaned child. 'Tis much for us now to get an hour's leisure with him, and makes us feel what our olde privilleges were when we knew 'em not. Still, I'm pleased without being over elated, at his having risen to his proper level.

The king tooke us by surprise this morning: mother had scarce time to slip on her scarlett gown and coif, ere he was in ye house. His grace was mighty pleasant to all, and, at going, saluted all round, which Bessy took humourously, Daisy immoveablie, Mercy humblie, I distastefullie, and mother delightedlie. She calls him a fine man; he is indeede big enough, and like to become too big; with long slits of eyes that gaze freelie on all, as who shoulde say[Pg 186] "Who dare let or hinder us?" His brow betokens sense and franknesse, his eyebrows are supercilious, and his cheeks puffy. A rolling, straddling gait, and abrupt speech.

'Tother evening, as father and I were, unwontedly, strolling together down the lane, there accosts us a shabby poor fellow, with something unsettled in his eye....

"Master, sir knight, and may it please your judgeship, my name is Patteson."

"Very likely," says father, "and my name is More, but what is that to the purpose?"

"And that is more to the purpose, you mighte have said," returned the other.

"Why, soe I mighte," says father, "but how shoulde I have proved it?"

"You who are a lawyer shoulde know best about that," rejoyned the poor knave; "'tis too hard for poor Patteson."

"Well, but who are you?" says father, "and what do you want of me?"

"Don't you mind me?" says Patteson; "I played Hold-your-tongue, last Christmasse revel was five years, and they called me a smart chap then, but last Martinmasse I fell from ye church steeple, and shook my brain-pan, I think, for its contents have seemed addled ever since; soe what I want now is to be made a fool."

"Then you are not one now?" says father.

"If I were," says Patteson, "I shoulde not have come to you."

"Why, like cleaves to like, you know they say," says father.

"Aye," says 'tother, "but I've reason and feeling enow, too, to know you are no fool, though I thoughte you might want one. Great people like 'em at their tables, I've hearde say, though I am sure I can't guesse why, for it makes me sad to see fools laughed at; ne'erthelesse, as I get laughed at alreadie, methinketh I may as well get paid for the job if I can, being unable, now, to doe a stroke of work in hot weather. And I'm the onlie son of my mother, and she is a widow. But perhaps I'm not bad enough."

"I know not that, poor knave," says father, touched with quick pity, "and, for those that laugh at fools, my opinion, Patteson, is, that they are the greater fools who laugh. To tell you the truth, I had had noe mind to take a fool into mine establishment, having always had a fancy to be prime fooler in it myselfe; however, you incline me to change my purpose, for, as I said anon, like cleaves to like, soe I'll tell you what we will doe—divide the businesse and goe halves—I continuing the fooling, and thou receiving the salary; that is, if I find, on inquiry, thou art given to noe vice, including that of scurrillitie."

"May it like your goodness," says poor Patteson, "I've been the subject, oft, of scurrillitie, and affect it too little to offend that way myself. I ever keep a civil tongue in my head, 'specially among young ladies."

"That minds me," says father, "of a butler who sayd he always was sober, especially when he had cold water to drink. Can you read and write?"

"Well, and what if I cannot?" returns Patteson, "there ne'er was but one, I ever heard of, that knew letters, never having learnt, and well he might, for he made them that made them."

"Meg, there is sense in this poor fellow," says father, "we will have him home and be kind to him."

And, sure enow, we have done so and been so ever since.

A glance at the anteceding pages of this libellus me-sheweth poor Will Roper at ye season his love-fitt for me was at its height. He troubleth me with it no longer, nor with his religious disquietations. Hard studdy of the law hath filled his head with other matters, and made him infinitely more rationall, and by consequents, more agreeable. 'Twas one of those preferences young people sometimes manifest, themselves know neither why nor wherefore, and are shamed, afterwards, to be reminded of. I'm sure I shall ne'er remind him. There was nothing in me to fix a rational or passionate regard. I have neither Bess's witt nor white teeth, nor Daisy's dark eyes, nor Mercy's dimple. A plain-favoured girl, with changefulle spiritts—that's alle.

Patteson's latest jest was taking precedence of father yesterday, with the saying, "Give place, brother; you are but jester to King Harry, and I'm jester to Sir Thomas More; I'll leave you to decide which is ye greater man of the two."

"Why, gossip," cries father, "his grace woulde make two of me."

"Not a bit of it," returns Patteson, "he's big enow for two such as you are, I grant ye, but the king can't make two of you. No! lords and commons may make a king, but a king can't make a Sir Thomas More."

"Yes, he can," rejoyns father, "he can make me Lord Chancellor, and then he will make me more than I am already; ergo he will make Sir Thomas more."

"But what I mean is," persists the fool, "that the king can't make such another as you are, any more than all the king's horses and all the king's men can put Humty-dumty together again, which is an ancient riddle, and full of marrow. And soe he'll find, if ever he lifts thy head off from thy shoulders, which God forbid."

Father delighteth in sparring with Patteson far more than in jesting with ye king, whom he alwaies looks on as a lion that may, any minute, fall on him and rend him. Whereas, with 'tother, he ungirds his mind. Their banter commonly exceeds not plesantrie, but Patteson is ne'er without an answer, and although, maybe, each amuses himselfe now and then with thinking, "I'll put him up with such a question," yet, once begun, the skein runs off the reel without a knot, and shews the excellent nature of both, soe free are they alike from malice[Pg 187] and over-license. Sometimes their cuts are neater than common listeners apprehend. I've seen Rupert and Will, in fencing, make their swords flash in the sun at every parry and thrust; agayn, owing to some change in mine owne position, or the decline of ye sun, the scintillations have escaped me, though I've known their rays must have been emitted in some quarter alle the same.

Patteson, with one of Argus's cast feathers in his hand, is at this moment beneath my lattice, astride on a stone balustrade, while Bessy, whom he much affects, is sitting on the steps, feeding her peacocks. Sayth Patteson, "Canst tell me, mistress, why peacocks have soe manie eyes in theire tails, and yet can onlie see with two in theire heads?"

"Because those two make them so vain alreadie, fool," says Bess, "that were they always beholding theire own glory, they would be intolerable."

"And besides that," says Patteson, "the less we see or heare, either, of what passes behind our backs, the better for us, since knaves will make mouths at us then, for as glorious as we may be. Canst tell me, mistress, why the peacock was the last bird that went into the ark?"

"First tell me, fool," returns Bess, "how thou knowest that it was soe?"

"Nay, a fool may ask a question wd puzzle a wiseard to answer," rejoyns Patteson; "I mighte ask you, for example, where they got theire fresh kitchen-stuff in the ark, or whether the birds ate other than grains, or the wild beasts other than flesh. It needs must have been a granary."

"We ne'er shew ourselves such fools," says Bess, "as in seeking to know more than is written. They had enough, if none to spare, and we scarce can tell how little is enough for bare sustenance in a state of perfect inaction. If the creatures were kept low, they were all ye less fierce."

"Well answered, mistress," says Patteson; "but tell me, why do you wear two crosses?"

"Nay, fool," returns Bess, "I wear but one."

"Oh, but I say you wear two," says Patteson, "one at your girdle, and one that nobody sees. We alle wear the unseen one, you know. Some have theirs of gold, alle carven and shaped, soe as you hardlie tell it for a cross ... like my lord cardinall, for instance ... but it is one, for alle that. And others, of iron, that eateth into their hearts ... methinketh Master Roper's must be one of 'em. For me, I'm content with one of wood, like that our deare Lord bore; what was goode enow for him is goode enow for me, and I've noe temptation to shew it, as it isn't fine, nor yet to chafe at it for being rougher than my neighbour's, nor yet to make myself a second because it is not hard enow. Doe you take me, mistress?"

"I take you for what you are," says Bess, "a poor fool."

"Nay, niece," says Patteson, "my brother your father hath made me rich."

"I mean," says Bess, "you have more wisdom than witt, and a real fool has neither, therefore you are only a make-believe fool."

"Well, there are many make-believe sages," says Patteson; "for mine owne part, I never aim to be thoughte a Hiccius Doccius."

"A hic est doctus, fool, you mean," interrupts Bess.

"Perhaps I do," rejoins Patteson, "since other folks soe oft know better what we mean than we know ourselves. Alle I woulde say is, I ne'er set up for a conjuror. One can see as far into a millstone as other people without being that. For example, when a man is overta'en with qualms of conscience for having married his brother's widow, when she is noe longer soe young and fair as she was a score of years ago, we know what that's a sign of. And when an Ipswich butcher's son takes on him the state of my lord pope, we know what that's a sign of. Nay, if a young gentlewoman become dainty at her sizes, and sluttish in her apparel, we ... as I live, here comes John Heron with a fish in's mouth."

Poor Bess involuntarilie turned her head quicklie towards ye watergate, on which Patteson, laughing as he lay on his back, points upward with his peacock's feather, and cries, "Overhead, mistress! see, there he goes. Sure, you lookt not to see Master Heron making towards us between ye posts and flower-pots, eating a dried ling?" laughing as wildly as though he were verily a natural.

Bess, without a word, shook the crumbs from her lap, and was turning into the house, when he witholds her a minute in a perfectly altered fashion, saying, "There be some works, mistress, our confessors tell us be works of supererogation ... is not that ye word? I learn a long one now and then ... such as be setting food before a full man, or singing to a deaf one, or buying for one's pigs a silver trough, or, for the matter of that, casting pearls before a dunghill cock, or fishing for a heron, which is well able to fish for itself, and is an ill-natured bird after all, that pecks the hand of his mistress, and, for all her kindness to him, will not think of Bessy More."

How apt alle are to abuse unlimited license? Yet 'twas good counsel.




THE whole color of my life was changed in a single night. Years of excitement could not have wrought such a miracle upon me. The next day, I seemed to have passed out of my former self into a new individual and a new state of existence. I was no longer alone! I was no longer drifting about, aimless and dreamy. There was work for me to do, and the interest I had in it was vivid and engrossing.

[Pg 188]

What had become of the dwarf? Not a trace of him was to be found. I examined the grass, and fancied I could detect two or three dark spots; but there had been heavy showers in the night, and as the mould had been thrown up here and there, discoloring the verdure, I could not determine whether these spots were blood-marks, as I feared, or the mere beating of rain and mire. But I did not trouble myself any further. Our persecutor was gone. That was all we cared to be assured of; and our next step was to escape from a place in which it was no longer safe for us to remain.

That mournful voice was still in my ears; but the consciousness of danger, the sense of triumph, the selfishness of happiness, out-clamored it! Destined as it was to return in after-years in tones that always seemed more piteous and more laden with pain and bitterness as that miserable night receded further and further back into the darkness of the past, it came upon me the next morning with something of a feeling of asperity and antagonism. There was yet the risk that the dwarf might re-appear, and as every thing concerning his rights and his probable mode of proceeding was vague and uncertain, we were much more occupied in thinking of our own security, than of his sufferings or wrongs. Indeed, under the influence of the feelings that actuated us then, we were strongly impressed with the conviction that the wrongs were all on our side, and that whatever he might have suffered, was nothing more than a measure of just punishment for having inflicted them.

People who do a wrong seldom have any difficulty in finding out excuses and justifications for it. We certainly had abundant ground to complain of the conduct of poor Mephistophiles. We were not aware that in those moments of irritation and revenge we exaggerated his faults, and palliated our own. We could see every thing he had done that was harsh, or disagreeable, or unjust; we could see nothing we had done ourselves that was not forced upon us in self-defense, and capable of vindication. We had acted all throughout, upon a necessity he had woven round us like a net. We were, in fact, the victims, and he was the cool, crafty, heartless tempter and persecutor. We did all we could to forget the brief gleam of humanity he had betrayed the evening before. What was that, weighed against years of oppression and cruelty? And even if we were inclined to admit that it showed his character in rather a better light, it came too late to be entitled to any consideration from us. If he had been capable of such manly feelings, why did he not exhibit them sooner? But the truth was, we affected not to believe in the genuineness of his emotions. He was such an habitual mimic, that he could assume any mood that suited the occasion, and nobody could tell whether he was in earnest or not, which warranted us in supposing that the whole of that wild burst of passionate reproaches, apparently welling up out of baffled and imploring love, might have been put on like any other piece of cunning gesticulation.

I was quite willing to believe that the deep and harrowing emotion he exhibited was mere acting, or at least a passing spasm of wounded vanity, or even of love in its dying throes. It was comfortable to suppose that he had endeavored to impose upon me to the last, to gull and outrage me. I wanted some such apology to myself for hating him, with that heart-rending cry rising up out of the earth, and ascending in accents of unutterable grief to heaven! It was needful that I should hate and despise him during the first few hours of that violent transition which was to alter the whole face of things, and project me into a new life, in which occupation and intercourse were to be displaced by lonely wanderings and the isolation of the heart. It was needful that I should have some strong sophism to bridge over the gulf that was henceforth to yawn between me and mankind; and I felt that this detestation of the dwarf was a link that still connected me with the world I had forsaken.

I had not courage enough to attempt to do any justice to him. I did not dare to imagine what his agonies must have been, if, indeed, he still lived. I was plumed with conquest: he was crushed. I could only fancy him crawling, bleeding, and straining himself along the earth, to creep away and hide himself, and leave me to my happiness. But to relieve this image of its appealing claims upon my pity or remorse, to arm myself against a possibility of relenting, I associated this figure of the wretch groveling out of sight with all that was venomous and treacherous in the nature of reptiles. I refused to consider him human. Had I dared to look into his heart—now that the wretch's last hope was extinct—to gaze upon the misery which filled it to overflowing, if, indeed, he were not dead, and his heart broken, how could I have held my head erect, and looked into Astræa's face with eyes that rained joy, and pride, and exultation into hers?

Some sorts of happiness are essentially cruel and selfish. Such was hers—such was mine. We knew it; yet, although our natures were not originally hard or narrow, we would not suffer ourselves to be generous even in our thoughts toward him we had wronged. We were afraid to trust our feelings in that direction.

Few questions passed between us that morning. We knew by instinct what was before us, and what it was necessary for each of us to do. We had a mutual terror that he was dead, but we did not give it utterance; there was no need. We knew that the same fear was in both our minds, and we tried to avoid it. We imagined that we ought to be very cheerful, and banish all gloomy and distressing subjects. It was a kind of hymeneal day with us! There were wild altars in our thoughts, hung with garlands, and lighted up by sunshine; and to these we brought our vows and offerings, and all the mirth and gayety, without much speech, we[Pg 189] could summon into our looks. There was a visible effort in all this at both sides; but notwithstanding the ghastly hand, smeared with blood, that seemed every now and then to come out of the darkness of the night, and hold us back, our jubilee rode out the day valiantly.

Astræa did not go to the windows. This was not from an apprehension of any thing she should see, but from a nervous aversion of the light, which strangely affected her that morning. She kept her rooms darkened, and busied herself over her preparations for departure. We hardly exchanged a single word on the subject; yet both felt how imperative it was to fly from that house. And flight it was; not mere traveling for ease or pleasure. How rapidly we got through our task-work, and what vivacity there was in our eyes and fingers! It was the eagerness to get away, as if all our joys lay before us, and at a distance from that place, which gave such activity to our motions. At a hasty glance it might be supposed we were merrily occupied, there was so much alacrity in the bustle we made; but the bent and silent heads offered a strange contradiction to the busy hands.

At last the moment came when we were to take our departure. A thrill of terror shot through our veins, as a close post-chaise, sweeping through the trees, stopped suddenly at the door, where we stood in the shadow of the portico, with our cases and boxes waiting for its arrival. The good people of the house, somewhat alarmed, and hardly knowing what construction to put upon this sudden movement, which they connected vaguely with the mysteries of the night before, were dotted about the gravel-walk and under the trees; two very old people and two or three grandchildren, looking up helplessly at us, with a bewildering wonder in their open mouths, which, under any other circumstances, might have amused us; but we were not in a mood to appreciate points of humor. Terror, shapeless and oppressive, shook us both to the core as I handed Astræa into the post-chaise, and, hastily following her, closed the door—leaving the windows open, that we might breathe freely, and see every object distinctly around us, and in advance of us.

There was a desperate exultation in that moment, too!—a riotous sense of fierce happiness! I was carrying away Astræa from the whole world! Astræa was giving up the whole world for me! My heart beat loudly, and poured its palpitating blood into my throbbing temples. The postillion cracked his whip, and the panting horses started off with a plunge, as if they would tear up the earth. We turned to each other—our faces were lighted up with a flash of rapture—I clasped her hands in mine, and showered a hundred burning kisses upon them; and when we cleared the little valley, and felt the fresh breeze of the cool uplands upon our cheeks, we thought that, from the days of the first innocence in the garden of Eden to that hour, no two people ever loved each other so passionately, or were ever so profoundly happy!


The first hour of accomplished love is, perhaps, the only passage in a man's life with which he is perfectly satisfied. It is the only reality that does not disappoint the dream of expectation. There is no region of speculation beyond it—its horizon bounds his world—its present engulfs his past and his future. In all other circumstances, it is true that—

Man never is, but always to be, blest;

but here the aphorism is falsified. In this brief hour, the lover is so thoroughly "blest" as to have but one desire left—that it should last forever! Clouds, surcharged with tears that will not flow, gather into our eyes as we look back upon these memories.

What we both wanted was oblivion. We were anxious to forget every thing, except the perilous delight we had borne, like a burning brand, out of that dark struggle. We had the oblivion we desired—for a time. All other considerations were absorbed in ourselves. The scenes and the people with whom we had been mixed up, and the incidents that had driven us out from among them, entered no more into our conversation than if they had never existed. We felt that we had given up the old life, and had begun a new one, and that an effort was necessary to strengthen ourselves against any suggestions of pity or remorse that might point toward the waste and ashes we had left behind us. We felt, too, that those efforts hardened us; but people who harden themselves for each other's sake against the rest of the world, have a great faith in their own sensibility while the process of hardening is going on. They even believe that the more callous they become, and the more completely they isolate their sympathies, the more tenderness they are capable of developing to each other. It is like people who bar up their doors and windows to enjoy themselves by themselves, forgetting that all genial and healthy elements and influences—light, sunshine, air—are diffusive and universal.

I took precautions to avoid the danger of being tracked. I knew not what I had to dread—what shapes of revenge or retribution might follow me; but whether law or vengeance, it was equally necessary, at least while blood on both sides was hot, to cut off all pursuit. Dismissing the post-chaise outside Dover, we walked into the town, having sent our luggage forward by a different conveyance. I urged upon Astræa the necessity of avoiding public places at present—that we should not be seen on the drive or the esplanade—that, in short, we ought to keep as much is possible in obscurity. The color mounted into her cheeks as I spoke to her, and heavy rolling clouds seemed to course ever her face. It was early to open the book of fate for omens of the future! She had never thought of this before. The actual details and humiliations of the Pariah's life had never presented themselves to her; and this unexpected suggestion of the ban that shut us out from the open daylight of the world around us, fell heavily[Pg 190] upon her. It was the first blush of shame! But shaking off her rich tresses, which in the heat and flurry had fallen down over her shoulders, she looked up at me, and laughed—a brave laugh, that chilled me to the heart.

Passing out of Dover in a carriage which we hired at the further end of the town, we made our way in the haze of the evening toward a scattered village on the coast near Walmer Castle. Here we established ourselves, quite secure from interruption, and with ample opportunity, in the way of leisure, to reflect upon our situation, and strike out permanent plans for the future.

Leisure it was, most rare and ethereal! We had nothing on earth to do but to walk out, and walk in again, and look at each other all day long. The interminable stretches of strand we paced, hour after hour; the old wooden huts on the beach, white as silver, that the sea used to beat against every day, leaving little crests of foam in the hollows between them, to glisten there for a moment, till the sand sucked them up; the row of marine cottages, with pea-green shutters, and small gardens in front, boxed up with tarred railings, and cut in the centre by a single walk, strewn all over with the dust and fragments of shells; the single bathing-machine that served the whole village, and seemed even too much for it, and that looked as if it had never moved out of the one spot, with its rusty wheels half buried in the drift of gravel and sea-weed—all such little unchangeable items of that marvelous leisure are strongly impressed upon me. It would have been very dreary if we had not had something in ourselves to fall back upon; and as long as that lasted, we bore up against the flatness and sameness of our lives. The sea, of all things, grows heavy and wearing to people whose constitutions are not capable of drinking in health and elasticity from its exhilarating breezes. There is nothing so monotonous as the wailing and lashing sea, especially in the night time, when darkness covers it, and its presence is announced only by that eternal surging and moaning of the waters which strike upon the invalided fancy like the cries of suffering spirits. The seaboard population on the coast of Brittany have an ocean superstition which exactly answers to this interpretation of the peculiar melancholy of the waves, soughing and pining along the beach at night.

We liked this solitude at first. It left us entirely to ourselves, which was precisely the ideal life we had yearned for. The same objects every day in our walks—the same objects every moment to look out upon from our windows—the same faces, few or none, on the desolate sands—the very same sky, with hardly any variation, although the slightest fluctuation in the points of the wind, or the current of the clouds, produced a sensation! It suited us at first, for we had no space in our thoughts for external objects, and the total absence of all excitement threw us more in upon ourselves. But even then it was sad. Such days of idleness—such idle dalliance—such a happy negation of all action and effort! How long was this to last? or rather, how long could such a life last for two people who felt within themselves aspirations for movement and results of some kind?

Although we hid ourselves in this retirement for several months, I did not consider it necessary to adopt the further security of changing my name. I yielded to the prudence of avoiding a collision with the dwarf, if he still lived; but I shrank from the meanness of denying myself to any demand that might be made upon us, should my retreat be discovered. All links between us and London were broken. For three months, Astræa had had no communication with any body. Her friends and relations might have supposed that she was dead, which she wished them to think. She knew that she was dead to the world, and that she should never re-enter it; and she only looked forward to the moment when she might put her house in order, and sit down for the rest of her life in tranquillity and obscurity. In the beginning, this was a gladdening prospect to her; her high spirits and bounding enthusiasm sped onward into the future, and filled it with images of love in a state of beatitude; but as time advanced, and the dreary sea fell dismally on her ears, and the long walks on the beach had lost their freshness, and there was nothing to be read in each others' faces, which had not been read there ten thousand times over—except, perhaps, an increasing look of care and anxiety—this prospect of settling down, alone, away from human intercourse, without any object to live for, without motives to exertion—without aims, purpose, occupation—with a brand upon us that seemed stamped upon our foreheads, so that we dared not venture into the haunts of our fellow-men, lest they should shun us or expel us from among them—this prospect, as time advanced, grew darker and darker, and Astræa, still buoyant and energetic, and strong in her resolves, relinquished slowly the charming pictures she had drawn in her imagination, and came down to the most prosaic views of our position, tinged from day to day with tints that grew more and more sombre. The bright colors of the poetry had all faded.

With the agent of my property in the north I was in constant correspondence. To him alone I confided my address, and through him received all letters and communications that were left for me in London or elsewhere. Strange to say, that for three months no intelligence reached us concerning the dwarf; nor had I any means of procuring information, unless I intrusted my agent with my secret, which I considered unsafe. I was unwilling to originate any inquiry on the subject. It was for him to seek me, not for me to follow him. He could have had no difficulty in reaching me by a letter, and his silence seemed to imply either that he had abandoned all further thoughts of revenge, or, which was more likely, that he was dead.

[Pg 191]

As the days shortened into winter, and the howling winds came early in the evenings, and drove us home a dreary hour or two before dinner, to get through the interval as well as we could by the fireside, our reserve on personal matters gradually wore off, and it became a relief to us to talk freely upon the topics which we had hitherto been reluctant to approach. These wintry conversations, leading to nothing, yet wonderfully animated by bitterness of spirit, showed the change that Astræa's character was undergoing. She was more easily chafed by contradiction than she used to be, and dwelt more upon words, and small points, and trifles which formerly she would have hurried over with indifference; conversation degenerated, I could hardly tell how, into discussion; and notwithstanding the ascendency and elevation of her language and her manner, I could see that there was less real strength behind, and that beneath the calmness which still sat loftily upon her, there was much secret and repressed agitation. Sometimes she presented to me the idea of a woman who was sustaining an habitual expression of command and self-possession by the mere energy of her will, and who, when that failed her, would break down at once, and be shattered, like a vase, in the fall.

The winter was deepening round us, and drifting gales ran shudderingly along the bleak strand, and rising over the waters, lashed them into fury, till they broke upon the ears like distant thunder. Sometimes there was an epic grandeur in these scenes, when a rush of black clouds, descending upon the sea, blotted out its mighty palpitations, burying it, and the masses that floated on its surface, under one vast pall, which hung there like a curtain, till the lightning rent it open and disclosed an horizon of fire. But these occasional changes, although they imparted a little variety to the out-of-door scene, only helped to make our in-door life more triste, by shutting us up half the day in the house.

The seasons are all-important to two people who are living apart from the world. It is surprising how much depends upon their fluctuations—how the temper, the health, the desire of life and capacity of enjoyment, are affected by the aspect of the morning, the turn of the day at noon, the intermittent shower, the shifting of the wind, the cold, the heat. When people are occupied, these things have little influence upon them, and very often none at all. But to the listless and idle—especially when they are constrained into idleness against their inclinations—the slightest incident that breaks the dull monotony of the day is magnified into an event.

What were we to do in these short, dismal days, and long, shivering nights? Books? Newspapers? We had both, and tired of them. The power of abstraction necessary for the enjoyment of books was no longer at our command. We could not abstract ourselves from our own thoughts to enter into the political controversies of history, or the fictitious sorrows of the novel or romance. The newspaper had some attraction at first. We looked out for the names of people we knew. Births, marriages, and deaths, which, I believe, I had never read in my life before, were now explored with breathless curiosity. But week by week, and month by month, our curiosity diminished; and as we became more and more divorced from society, and our personal interest in it fell away, the newspaper lost its charm. It lay sometimes untouched upon the table. Astræa relinquished it first; and although I dawdled over it every day out of sheer inanition, it only yielded me a sort of excuse for silence. Astræa saw that I used it as a refuge against a tête-à-tête after breakfast, and had the good sense to provide herself with other occupations, so that she should not seem to be deserted for the newspaper!

This was all very well in the morning. But when the rapid darkness fell, and evening and night came, how was time to be filled? It was not always pleasant to sit listening to the savage roar of the waters across the high road in front of our windows, or to watch the flickering of the lights, or the ripple of the curtain, as the wind, forcing its way into the house in spite of all precautions, exhibited a special curiosity to investigate every cranny of our small apartment. We had no resource but to talk. Reading, as a habit, under such circumstances, with a fear and doubt upon our minds, which had latterly grown terribly alarming, from the interval of time that had elapsed without one word to clear up the mystery that haunted us, would have driven us mad. We were compelled to turn to each other, and talk in those dismal winter nights; and as the one subject was insensibly acquiring a monopoly of our thoughts, we could not help constantly reverting to it. At last we brooded so much over it, that, whatever subject we began upon, we were sure to drop into and end with that.

It was natural we should be much occupied with a matter which concerned us so deeply. Five months had now passed away since the night we last saw the dwarf, and we had a right to suppose that, if he still lived, his vengeance was not idle. Yet we had never heard of him, although, had he taken any steps to trace us, they must have reached me through the channel by which all other communications were conveyed to me. Had he abandoned the revenge he had threatened us with, or were all animosities between us discharged in the grave? My belief was, that he was dead—judging partly from his wound, and the dreadful excitement he had undergone, which was not unlikely to prove fatal to a frame so liable to snap from any violent action. Astræa thought otherwise: she was convinced that he still lived, and that he was cherishing some subtle scheme to destroy us. She said that she knew him better than I did, and over and over again cautioned me to be upon my guard. I urged the necessity of endeavoring to obtain the requisite information,[Pg 192] to set our doubts at rest, and proposed to go to London privately for the purpose. But Astræa strongly resisted that proceeding. She did not care to obtain any information. How would it help us? Suppose he was dead?

The course she took upon this subject gave me some uneasiness. I echoed in my own heart the question she so frequently started, but which I could never answer. Suppose he was dead? I could only suppose it; I could not follow the speculation any further. Astræa may have conjectured that all was mist and storm in my mind beyond that point, and was therefore indifferent about clearing up our present position. She thought it better to leave things as they were, than to open new sources of embarrassment—perhaps of sorrow and bitterness!

This was the main topic between us. We talked over it perpetually, and used to sit up long past midnight, weaving foolish webs of things that might never be, and unweaving things that had been, for the sake of fancying how differently we might have woven them had we had the threads from the first in our own hands! One night—a gusty, dry, cold night—while we were thus engaged, as usual, in a kind of waking dream over the fire, a sudden knock at the door startled the whole house. It was a very small house, or cottage, and the sound ran all up the little stairs, and seemed to enter bodily every one of the little rooms. It was a peremptory and nervous knock. The circumstance was extraordinary in itself, particularly at that hour; and before the owner of the house, who occupied the rooms below, could make up his mind to open the door, he thought it necessary to take my opinion and counsel on the subject.

"If it be for you, sir, what am I to say?" cried the man, looking a little pale and terrified.

"For me? That is very unlikely—very. But if it should be—"

"At home, of course," said Astræa. "If it be any body for us, show them up."

We listened anxiously, as the landlord went down stairs. Astræa was quite collected, and sat opposite the door of our apartment, so that whoever entered should see her at once. Presently the bolts were withdrawn, and the chain dropped—for in these small houses they adopted precautions in the winter season, when the poor, like the birds, were starved out, and are occasionally compelled to commit depredations for food. A stranger entered the hall. We heard the tramp of his boots, and could distinguish clearly that there was but one person. There was a flutter for a moment below, and then the stranger, following the landlord, ascended the stairs. The door opened, and a man, warmly muffled up, entered the room. We both rose. He looked at us for a moment—spoke to me by my name—but I recognized neither his features nor his voice. One fact, however, was obvious—he was not our Mephistophiles.


"You have forgotten me," said the stranger. "I am not surprised at it. Many years have elapsed, and great changes have happened since we parted."

I scrutinized him carefully. His voice awakened some dim associations, but nothing distinctly; and I could not recall where or when I had seen him before. At length, just as I had almost given it up, it burst upon me all at once.

"Forrester!" I exclaimed.

"You find me altered: but it is only in appearance. We all alter in time. I hope you will not think I have intruded unwarrantably upon you. The truth is—but"—and he turned hesitatingly toward Astræa, who was still standing, looking on, and wondering at the scene before her.

I finished the sentence for him by introducing him to her in a hurried way. It was the first time such a ceremony had taken place. I did not know how it was to be done exactly, and felt at a loss how to designate her. To escape the difficulty, I simply presented him, but did not repeat her name. The circumstance was trifling in itself, and proceeded, on my part, from delicacy, rather than any evasion of responsibility; but I thought Astræa, as she made a very formal courtesy to the stranger, looked hurt and angry. Slight things were beginning to jar upon her nerves; and it was not until I noticed the effect of this trivial action upon her, that I had the least suspicion she would have even noticed it.

Forrester was much altered. His face had grown thinner, and was bronzed all over; his figure had spread out, and become gaunt; and his voice had fallen into a low, husky tone, in which I could trace hardly a single reminiscence of those modulations in which he used to relate ghost stories, and other strange narratives, with such wonderful gusto and effect. The sight of him—seated there in a great cushioned chair by the fireside that winter's night, talking in his deep voice, brought back a flood of memories. A youth of mental sorcery and disordered passion—things inexplicable in themselves, and marvelous in their issues—returned upon me, bringing with them the awe and superstition of the old creed. It was like a piece of enchantment. I was living in that world of spirits over again; and as I observed Forrester stretch out his long, sharp fingers over the table, I could not help thinking that he was come on a mission from a potentate, whom people generally name with more terror than respect. Of course, I shook off these absurd fancies; and after a few general revelations on both sides, during which he told me that he had spent all the intervening years in wandering, chiefly in the East, and that he had found his way back to England only within the last two months, I inquired how he had discovered our retreat.

"I was anxious to see you again," he replied, "and having found and lost several traces of you in London, I went into the north, believing[Pg 193] that there, at least, I should obtain some satisfactory tidings. Your agent knew me, and was, perhaps, more confidential with me than he would have been with others." He paused, as if he was not quite sure whether he ought to enter into particulars before Astræa. My only apprehension was, that he was about to make some allusion to former circumstances in which we had been mutually interested, and intimating to him by a sign, which he evidently understood, my desire to avoid all those matters, I requested him to continue his narrative.

"Pray go on," said I, assuming an appearance of the utmost candor; "we have no secrets from each other."

"He seemed to think that something had happened which rendered it necessary for you to keep out of London," Forrester resumed. "This first attracted my attention, and, being an idle man, I thought my services might be of some use to you. I had great difficulty in prevailing on him to give me your address, nor would he consent to give it until I had made some inquiries in certain quarters in town, which he indicated to me. He had strong suspicions that there was danger in those quarters; and the only inducement I could bribe him with was that I should ascertain whether his suspicions were well founded, in order that I might apprise you of the result. He would have done all this himself, but he was afraid you might think it a liberty."

"Well, my steward is certainly a shrewd fellow; but I can not imagine what inquiries he could have set you upon."

Forrester looked at me very earnestly. He had small gray eyes, and when he was moved by any strong feeling, the light that came into them conveyed it with most singular effect. At this moment, in his eyes and in his voice, there was an unmistakable expression of grief and compassion as he pronounced the name of the dwarf.

I confess I was startled at the sound. The mystery that had always hung over Forrester was darker than ever. He was utterly unlike all other men. Whatever subject or business he took an interest in, seemed to grow into solemn importance under his hands, and to acquire an unaccountable fascination from his connection with it. His attenuated figure, the habit of loneliness which imparted such severe and inflexible gravity to his features, his very dress, loose, careless, and slouching, all helped to give a peculiar force to his words. Had the Wandering Jew suddenly appeared before us, and mentioned the name of the dwarf, I could not have been more astonished. My steward was ignorant of my acquaintance with him, and Forrester had left England before it began. By what means, then, could Forrester have obtained a clew to him? It really looked like a stroke of diablerie.

"You knew him, then?" inquired Astræa, quite as much surprised as I was myself.

"I have known him many years," he returned.

"How very strange!" I observed. "This gentleman," I continued, turning to Astræa, "is a very old friend of mine. Long before I knew you, we were much together; at one time inseparable. Yet I never heard him speak of—did you know him then?" I inquired of Forrester.

"Yes, intimately. I was in his confidence. There is nothing surprising in that."

"Oh, no; only it does seem odd, that, in London, where there are so many hundreds of thousands of human beings, people should find so many common acquaintances in the crowd."

"We can generally trace the wonder to very natural causes, if we will only take the trouble to look into it. You made his acquaintance through a friend of mine—in fact, through me!"

It was so; and I had forgotten all about it. Forrester's knowledge of the dwarf was, therefore, antecedent to my own; and, curiously enough, it was my acquaintance with him that led to my introduction to the family. How very strangely these things seemed to come about, and to bring me back to the time when Forrester held my destiny in his power!—an age of exciting experiences, equal in emotion and reaction to a whole life-time, had passed in the interval, and here he was now returned suddenly, and sitting at my hearth, with the threads of my fate again in his hands!

I was all impatience to know whether the dwarf still lived, but was afraid to ask the question, or, rather, to betray my anxiety about it. Astræa, as usual, was more courageous.

"You have seen him, then? It was to him, I presume, the steward directed your inquiries?"

"Exactly so; but I must beg an indemnity for the man's zeal, if you think he did wrong in confiding his fears to me."

"These old servants," I replied, "will do things their own way. Pray go on. You saw him?"

"Yes, I saw him."

"How long since?"

"I left him only last night."

At these words, I took the liberty of indulging myself with a very long breath, which I certainly had not ventured upon since the beginning of this nervous conversation; and even Astræa, malgré her grand air of indifference, looked a little more at her ease.

"I will tell you every thing exactly as it happened. I came here to tell it to you, hoping I might be the means of rendering some service—at both sides. If I should say any thing painful to either, you must forgive me. My intention is not to inflict fresh wounds, but to heal old ones."

We assured him that we accepted his kindness as it was meant; and he then went on.

"Harley (that was the name of the steward) suspected that you had had a quarrel in that quarter; and in the course of some inquiries he had made, he discovered that your antagonist, as he supposed, had been shot, and his fears, following up this discovery, led him to apprehend[Pg 194] nothing less than a criminal prosecution. Finding that I was personally acquainted with the gentleman, he entreated me to ascertain exactly how the case stood. I knew nothing more. Harley threw out some vague conjectures as to the cause of this supposed quarrel; but they were so very vague, that I thought it best to dismiss them from my mind altogether, and to obtain the information I sought from the principal himself. You must remember that I have not yet heard your version of the affair; and that I am now about to give you his.

"It is about a month since I first saw him. He was in a small room leading from his bedchamber, and was apparently suffering great pain. An extraordinary change had taken place in him since I had formerly known him. His person was emaciated almost to a skeleton, showing his angular and ungainly form at a distressing disadvantage. His face had withered away to a narrow point under the large bones of his head, which looked larger than ever, with his great shock hair starting out from it on all sides. The skin of his face had become crimped and yellow; but the most remarkable change of all was, that his hair, a dark auburn when I knew him, was quite silvery, not exactly white or gray, but gleaming all over. This gave him almost an unearthly appearance.

"The weather was cold, and pinched him; and after the first few words of recognition were over, he told me that the changes of the season affected him severely. A bullet was lodged somewhere in his shoulder, and the easterly winds always inflicted excruciating agonies upon him in consequence. This led to an inquiry as to how it happened, which brought out the whole narrative."

Forrester here entered into all the details, which were accurate enough in the main, only that they were drawn from the dwarf's point of sight, and colored by his own vehemence and malice. We constantly stopped Forrester, to set him right on particular points; and long before he had wound up the story, we found ourselves embroiled in assertions and rejoinders, which must have greatly bewildered him. Without wasting time over matters with which the reader is already acquainted, I will confine myself to the only new facts Forrester had to relate to us.

On the night when we had the rencontre with the little demon, the ball, as I apprehended, had struck him in the scuffle, and entering the fleshy part of the arm, had settled in the back. Crawling off in considerable pain, when he found that his appeal to Astræa was useless, and bleeding the whole way, he regained a carriage which was waiting for him at a little distance, and drove back to London. His intention was to return the next day; but loss of blood, agony of mind, prostration of strength, and physical pain rendered the journey impossible. For several days his life hung on a thread, and two or three months elapsed before he was able to move about the house. An awful change had passed over him in the mean while! It cost even Astræa some struggle to hide the shock which Forrester's description of his sufferings inflicted on her. Poor Astræa! she had need to shut her heart against pity, and to crush all tenderness out of her nature. This was her work—and mine! What would have become of her if she had allowed herself to look back upon it, and think, and feel? No, no; she dared not look there with a woman's eyes or a woman's heart. It would have killed her, had she felt it, and given way to it. And so she sat and listened, and looked cold and angry by turns, as if his miseries were an impertinence and a wrong to her; trying to take refuge against remorse in a great bravery of hate and contempt!

He related the whole history to Forrester who had been in his confidence about the marriage from the beginning. We had no suspicion of the inordinate love, suppressed, chafed, galled, and tortured into madness, he had borne to Astræa all through those years of malediction, during which he had exhausted every form of threat and appeal to enforce his rights. He had hoped on wildly to the last. He had watched the progress of my attachment to her, and had encouraged it under a frantic delusion, that the final detection of it would place her at his mercy. His mind had been so wrought upon by this terrible passion, and the plots and schemes he was forever weaving to win or ensnare her, that much of his conduct which had appeared to me monstrous and absurd, became susceptible of a sufficiently obvious solution.

He assigned as a reason for not having adopted legal means to compel the fulfillment of the contract, his fear of driving Astræa to extremities. He had always apprehended that the moment he adopted any step of that kind, she would make her escape from him; and his policy was to keep on terms with her, at all events, and by a system of small, perpetual persecution, to subjugate her at last.

And now that she was gone, and that she had put the world between them, what course did he intend to pursue? Implacable vengeance against me—peace and pardon for her! This unintelligible being, whose person was not more hideous than his mind, had yet in the depths of his nature one drop of sweetness that redeemed and made him human. This love had survived all hatreds and revenges; and now that hope was over, that its object never could soothe his agonies or reward his devotion, that even the sufferings he was undergoing on her account only rendered him more repulsive in her eyes, nothing but tenderness and forgiveness toward her remained, with the bitterest regrets and self-accusations for the wrongs he had done her and the issues to which he had forced her. How such a flower of noble and delicate feeling could have sprung up in such a soil was, indeed, inexplicable. But it is wonderful how a great sorrow purifies and strengthens the soul!

But for me? There was no clemency for me. The concentrated venom of his nature was [Pg 195]reserved for a man who had robbed him of the miserable right of persecuting Astræa. Had I simply made her unhappy by awakening a passion in her heart, and then abandoning her upon the discovery of her situation (which was exactly what he appeared to have calculated upon), he would have forgiven me; he might have even been grateful to me for having humiliated her, and cast her helpless at his feet. But the crime I had committed in loving her too well to forsake her, admitted of no palliation. He could extract nothing out of it but vengeance. The sleepless hostility with which the Indian follows the trail of his foe, is not more vindictive and persevering than the feelings of hatred with which he coiled himself up for the spring which he was nursing all his strength to make upon me. He had not yet been able to get out of the house—but he was coming! No inducements, no arguments, founded on mercy or justice, could move him to sue for a dissolution of the marriage. He was determined to hold that horror over our heads, so that the vulture should tear our hearts, and shriek "despair!" in our ears forever and ever. He had the power in his own hands to embitter our whole lives, and could distill the last dregs of the poison that was to rack and madden us.

I did not expect any other sort of treatment from him. To me he was still the same crooked fiend he had ever been. So far as I was concerned, he was perfectly consistent; and although I secretly admired the relenting spirit he exhibited toward Astræa, recognizing in it the elements of a tenderness which circumstances had stunted, as nature had stunted his person, I could not help feeling that his malice, now that it could avail him nothing except the gratification of a wanton revenge, fully justified henceforth any reprisals opportunity might enable me to make. It plucked out all commiseration, and obliterated the injury (if injury there were) of which he complained.

It seemed to me, that of all three it was I who had the greatest reason to complain. Ignorant of the existence of his claim upon Astræa, and meeting her as a free agent, I had formed this attachment, and won her love before I became acquainted with the position in which she was placed. What right had he to complain, if, having kept his rights hidden from the world, he found me unknowingly trespassing upon them? The law might certainly hold me responsible, but moral claim upon me I felt he had none.

We eagerly inquired of Forrester as to the nature of the terrible retribution he intended to exact; but there Forrester could give us no information. Mephistophiles was impenetrable on that subject; and all that could be exacted from him was, that he would have a reckoning with us at his own time, and in his own way. Forrester, who knew his nature well, inferred from the vehemence of his expression that this reckoning would be carried out in a spirit of calm, demoniacal revenge, against which it would be impossible to set up any safeguards; and that, if we could not, by a legal separation, place Astræa under the protection of the laws, the only course that remained, as a measure of security, was to leave the kingdom. It was, in fact, to warn us of our danger, and to give us this friendly advice, that he had sought us out.

Astræa agreed with Forrester in his view of the dwarf's character, and was equally persuaded that whatever plan of vengeance he adopted, would be marked by subtlety and perseverance. But she was by no means disposed to fly from the danger. On the contrary, she thought it advisable to confront it, and ascertain the worst at once. What had we to fear? Personal violence was out of the question. He would never bring his own life into jeopardy by attempting ours. She believed he was quite capable of the most dastardly and treacherous crime; but she thought he was too cunning, cautious, and selfish, to contemplate a mode of revenge which could not be accomplished without risk to himself. In any case, however, she was clearly convinced that the best plan was to go boldly upon him at once. It was like taking the sting out of a nettle, by grasping it suddenly. She thought he would shrink from publicity; and that if we refused to give him a struggle in the dark, we should effectually baffle him.

There was much reason in this argument. Men like our dwarf always avoid direct collisions when they can. They fight at a disadvantage unless they are permitted to use their own weapons and their own tactics. On the other hand, there was a serious objection to this mode of proceeding. In her passionate aversion to the dwarf, and her eagerness to publish her defiance and contempt of him, Astræa had overlooked the peculiarities of our situation, unconscious of the way in which the world would be likely to regard an open demonstration such as she recommended. She had not yet acquired the full flavor of that obloquy which waits upon those who outrage social conventions; scarcely a soupçon of its bitterness had troubled her palate!

But Forrester and I had seen and experienced too much of human life not to distrust the policy of flying in the face of society. We knew that the recoil would strike us down. A middle course was, therefore, hit upon, and finally adopted. It was agreed that Forrester should go back to London, for the purpose of seeing the dwarf again, armed with authority from us to open a negotiation for a divorce—thus, at least, showing that we were ready to meet all the legal consequences of our act, and throwing upon him the consequences of a refusal.

Long after midnight we sat discussing these questions, and were forcibly impressed throughout by the quiet earnestness with which Forrester entered into our feelings. He was the only friend we had—the only one that had come to us in the season of darkness and trouble, and we clung to him wildly in our loneliness.

The next day he went back to London, promising to return within two days. It seemed to us that those two days lasted a month. At length they passed away, but Forrester had not[Pg 196] returned. A third and a fourth day passed, and our impatience became intolerable. Morning and night we watched in agonizing suspense; but the sun rose and set, and still Forrester had not returned.



THAT a person deeply immersed in thought, should, like Dominie Sampson, walk along in a state of "prodigious" unconsciousness, excites no surprise, from the frequency of the occurrence; but that any one should, when fast asleep, go through a series of complicated actions which seem to demand the assistance of the senses while closed against ordinary external impressions is, indeed, marvelous. Less to account for this mysterious state of being, than to arrange such a series of facts as may help further inquiry into the subject, we have assembled several curious circumstances regarding somnambulism.

Not many years ago a case occurred at the Police-office at Southwark, of a woman who was charged with robbing a man while he was walking in his sleep during the daytime along High-street, in the Borough, when it was proved in evidence that he was in the habit of walking in his somnambulic fits through crowded thoroughfares. He was a plasterer by trade, and it was stated in court that it was not an uncommon thing for him to fall asleep while at work on the scaffold, yet he never met with any accident, and would answer questions put to him as if he were awake. In like manner, we are informed that Dr. Haycock, the Professor of Medicine at Oxford, would, in a fit of somnambulism, preach an eloquent discourse; and some of the sermons of a lady who was in the habit of preaching in her sleep have been deemed worthy of publication.

We remember meeting with the case of an Italian servant, who was a somnambulist, and who enjoyed the character of being a better waiter when he was asleep than when he was awake. Every book on the subject repeats the anecdote which has been recorded of the blind poet, Dr. Blacklock, who, on one occasion, rose from his bed, to which he had retired at an early hour, came into the room where his family were assembled, conversed with them, afterward entertained them with a pleasant song, and then retired to his bed; and when he awoke, had not the least recollection of what he had done. Here, however, on the very threshold of the mystery, we meet with this difficulty—were these persons, when they performed the actions described, partially awake, or were they really in a state of profound sleep? In solving this problem, we shall proceed to consider some of the phenomena of somnambulism, premising only that if we avail ourselves of cases which the reader may before have met with, it is to throw light on what we may, perhaps, call the physiology of this very curious affection.

There can be no doubt that somnambulism is hereditary. Horstius mentions three brothers who were affected with it at the same period; and Dr. Willis knew a whole family subject to it. It is considered by all medical men as a peculiar form of disease. It seldom manifests itself before the age of six, and scarcely ever continues beyond the sixtieth year. It depends, physically, upon the susceptibility or delicacy of the nervous system; and on this account females are more liable to it than males; and in youth it manifests itself more frequently than in mature age. It is caused mentally by any violent and profound emotion; as well as by excessive study, and over-fatiguing the intellectual faculties. Some persons walk periodically in their sleep; the fit returns at stated intervals—perhaps two or three times only in the month. It has been also observed—although we by no means vouch for the fact—by an eminent German physician, that some persons walk at the full, others at the new moon, but especially at its changes. One German authority—Burdach—goes the comical length of asserting that the propensity of somnambulists to walk on the roofs of houses is owing to the attraction of the moon, and that they have a peculiar pleasure in contemplating the moon, even in the day time. Whatever may be the cause of the affection, somnambulism undoubtedly assumes different degrees of intensity. The first degree evinces itself by the movements we have referred to and by sleep-talking. This stage is said to be marked by an impossibility of opening the eyes, which are as if glued together. There are many curious circumstances to be observed concerning sleep-talking. The intonation of the voice differs from the waking state, and persons for the most part express themselves with unusual facility.

We were acquainted with a young lady accustomed to sit up in bed and recite poetry in her sleep, whose mother assured us that she sometimes took cognizance of circumstances which she could not, in any way, account for. On one occasion they had been to a ball; and, after the daughter was in bed and asleep, her mother went quietly into her room, and taking away her dress and gloves deposited them in another room. Presently, as usual, the fair somnambule began talking in her sleep; her mother entered, as usual, into conversation with her; and, at length, asked, "But what have you done with your new ball-dress?" "Why, you know," replied she, "you have laid it on the couch in the drawing-room." "Yes," continued the mother, "but your gloves—what have you done with them?" "You know well enough," she answered, in an angry tone, "you have locked them up in your jewel-box." Both answers were correct; and it may be here observed that somnambulists, if equivocated with in conversation, or in any way played upon, will express themselves annoyed, and betray angry feelings. The truthfulness of sleep-talking may, we apprehend, always be relied on. In this state there is no attempt at evasion; no ingenuity exercised to disguise any thing. The[Pg 197] master-mind of Shakspeare—which seems to have divined the secrets of Nature, and illustrated scientific principles before they were discovered by philosophers—recognized this fact, in making Iago thus rouse the jealousy of Othello:

"There are a kind of men so loose of soul
That in their sleep will mutter their affairs;
One of this kind is Cassio.
In sleep I heard him say, 'Sweet Desdemona,
Let us be wary.'"

Hitherto Othello had borne up manfully against the cruel insinuations of Iago—but this sleep-revelation "denoted a foregone conclusion," and carried with it irresistible conviction. Upon the same principle, Lord Byron founded the story of "Parisina." Not long ago a robbery was committed in Scotland, which was discovered by one of the guilty parties being overheard muttering some facts connected with it in his sleep. Mental anxiety will, almost at any age, give rise to sleep-talking. The ideas of children during sleep are often very vivid; nor is there any thing more common than to hear them utter expressions of distress, connected, particularly, with any fears that may, unwisely, have been impressed on the waking mind. The case of a little girl came lately under our notice, who exhibited the most alarming symptoms during sleep; sobbing and imploring help, under the imagination that she was being pursued by an evil spirit; in consequence of a foolish, fanatical person having frightened her with threats of this description, while the child, before going to bed, was saying her prayers. Very much convulsed inwardly, she was with difficulty awakened, and for some time afterward remained in a state of agitation bordering on delirium. Assuredly parents can not be too careful in endeavoring to make very young children go to bed with composed and happy minds, otherwise they know not what hideous phantoms may draw aside the curtain of their sleep; and, by terrifying the imagination, produce fits, that may be incurable in after-life. We believe it quite possible that epilepsy itself may be so produced.

In schools sleep-talking is very common; anxious pupils, in their sleep, will frequently repeat a lesson they can not remember when awake. The son of the eminent linguist and commentator, Dr. Adam Clarke, tells us that his father overheard him, in his sleep, repeat a Greek verb which he was endeavoring to learn, and which, the following morning, he was unable to remember. This is a curious fact—he knew his lesson in his sleep, but did not do so when he was awake; the faculty of memory, however, in a state of somnambulism undergoes many singular modifications. Thus, persons who talk in their sleep, may, by conversation, be brought to remember a dream within a dream; and it is very common, in the higher stages of somnambulism, for a person to recollect what happened in the preceding fit, and be unconscious of any interval having elapsed between them. A somnambulist, at Berlin, in one of her paroxysms, wandering in her sleep, was guilty of an indiscretion which she had no recollection of in her waking hours; but, when she again became somnambulic, she communicated all the circumstances to her mother. During the next convalescent interval, they again escaped her memory. The case is related, by Treviranus, of a young student who when he fell asleep began to repeat aloud a continuous and connected dream, which began each night precisely where it left off the preceding night. This reminds us of the story of the drunken porter, who in a fit of intoxication left a parcel at a wrong house: when he became sober he could not recollect where he had left it, but the next time he got drunk he remembered the house, and called and recovered it.

In persons disposed to somnambulism, dreams of a very striking and exciting nature call into action, in the early stage of this affection, the muscles of the voice before those which are implicated in the movement of rising and walking: and it is worthy of notice that the muscles, upon which the voice is dependent, are very numerous and exquisitely delicate; the result of which is, that they are affected by all mental emotions. Hence, the tones of the voice truly indicate the character of certain passions and feelings, for which reason, on the stage, the intonation given by the actor, whether it be the distressed cry of a Belvidera, or the pathetic singing of an Ophelia, will carry along the sympathies of the audience, albeit, the exact words may not be understood. A particular tone of voice causes, without reference to words, a corresponding feeling, just as the vibration of one instrument will harmonize with the vibration of another; but this is not all; the voice is the first organ which is affected by any excitement of the brain. It betrays the wine-bibber having drunk to excess while he is yet perfectly rational; it is, therefore, by no means surprising that persons in their sleep when excited by dreams, should moan, mutter, or even speak articulately. In this state, the mind seems to struggle, in its connection with the body, to give utterance to its emotions; and it is reasonable to believe the greater the intensity of the dream-conception, the clearer will be the articulation of the voice, and the greater, also, the precision of the somnambulic movements. Hence, apparently, it is only in very profound sleep that persons will rise, dress themselves, walk about, &c.; while, in less profound sleep, their vivid dreams only agitate and make them restless. One of the most interesting, and indeed affecting, cases on record, is that of Laura Bridgman, who, at a very early age, was afflicted with an inflammatory disease, which ended in the disorganization and loss of the contents of her eyes and ears; in consequence of which calamity she grew up blind, deaf, and dumb. Now, it is quite certain that persons who have once enjoyed the use of their senses, and then lost them, have very vivid dreams, in which they recall the impressions of[Pg 198] their earliest infancy. So was it with the blind poet, Dr. Blacklock; and so also was it with Laura Bridgman, and it is a very interesting fact that she, being unable to speak, when asleep used the finger alphabet. This she did sometimes in a very confused manner, the irregularity of her finger-signs corresponding with that defective articulation which persons give utterance to, when they murmur and mutter indistinctly their dream-impressions. It was, be it observed, when she was disturbed in her sleep that she ran over her finger alphabet confusedly, like one who, playing on a stringed instrument, has not the attention sufficiently fixed to give precision and expression to the performance. The minstrel, described by Sir Walter Scott, with his fingers wandering wildly through the strings of his harp, resembles poor Laura giving utterance, thus imperfectly, to her bewildered dreams.

When the somnambulic state becomes more intense, the voluntary muscles of the limbs are excited into action; the somnambulist rises; dresses himself; and in pursuing his dream-imagery, wanders about, or sits down steadily to execute some task, which, however difficult in his waking hours, he now accomplishes with facility. The condition of the body in a physiological point of view becomes now a solemn mystery: the eyes are open, but insensible to light; the portals of the ears, also, but the report of a pistol will, in some cases, not rouse the sense of hearing; the sense of smell, too, is frequently strangely altered, and that of taste, likewise becomes perverted, or, perhaps, entirely suspended. The sensibility of the surface of the body is often remarkably impaired; and, for the time, partially or entirely abolished. In the case of a female somnambulist described in "The Philosophy of Natural History," by Dr. Smellie, he tells us that, when she was in one of her paroxysms, he ran a pin repeatedly into her arm—but not a muscle moved, nor was any symptom of pain discoverable. Here we may observe an important and interesting fact, that, as a general principle, in proportion as the mind concentrates its powers and energizes itself within, the sensibility of the body diminishes. The soldier, in his excitement on the battle-field, feels not his wounds; he will faint from loss of blood before he knows that he has been "hit." The unconsciousness of danger is often the best protection against it. On looking down a precipice, a sense of apprehension instantly suggests itself; the nervous system recoils; the circulation of the blood within the brain on a sudden becomes irregular; dizziness ensues and a total loss of command over the voluntary muscles. Man is probably the only being in whom this occurs; the stag, the goat, the antelope, will gaze unmoved down the chasms of the deepest Alpine precipices. The dizziness which is felt on ascending an elevation, arises undoubtedly from mental alarm, which modifies the impressions received by the eye, which no longer correctly estimates the relations of distance. Accordingly we are told by Mr. Wilkinson in his "Tour to the British Mountains," that a blind man, who was the scientific and philosophic Mr. Gough, ascended with him to the summit of one of the Cumberland Mountains; and in walking along, he described to him the fearful precipices which he pretended surrounded him; but soon he repented his inventive picturesque description, for the blind man, mentally affected by the supposed peril of his situation, became suddenly dizzy, and screaming with the apprehension that he was tumbling down the rocks into the abyss below, fell upon the ground. In cases of sleep-walking upon dangerous heights, there is no apprehension or fear—the mind is intently absorbed in the object pursued; all the muscular movements are performed with confidence and with unerring precision; and under these circumstances the gravitation of the body is supported on the most slender basis.

One of the most curious and indeed inexplicable phenomena connected with somnambulism is, that persons in this condition are said to derive a knowledge of surrounding objects independent of the organs of the external senses. The Archbishop of Bordeaux attested the case of a young ecclesiastic, who was in the habit of getting up during the night in a state of somnambulism, taking pen, ink, and paper, and composing and writing sermons. When he had finished one page he would read aloud what he had written, and correct it. In order to ascertain whether the somnambulist made use of his eyes, the archbishop held a piece of pasteboard under his chin to prevent his seeing the paper upon which he was writing; but he continued to write on, without being in the least incommoded. He also, in this state, copied out pieces of music, and when it happened that the words were written in too large a character, and did not stand over the corresponding notes, he perceived his error, blotted them out, and wrote them over again with great exactness. A somnambulist is mentioned by Gassendi, who used to dress himself in his sleep, go down into the cellar, draw wine from a cask, in perfect darkness—but if he awoke in the cellar, he had then a difficulty in groping his way through the passages back to his bed-room. The state of the eyes during somnambulism is found to vary considerably—they are sometimes closed—sometimes half closed—and frequently quite open; the pupil is sometimes widely dilated, sometimes contracted, sometimes natural, and for the most part insensible to light. This, however, is not always the case. The servant girl, whose case was so well described by Dr. Dyce, of Aberdeen, when this state was impending felt drowsy—a pain in the head, usually slight, but on one occasion very intense, then succeeded—and afterward a cloudiness or mistiness came over her eyes. Occasionally her sensations were highly acute; the eyelids appeared shut, though not entirely closed; the pupils were much contracted, and there was great intolerance of light. She could not name[Pg 199] objects when the light of the candle or fire shone fully on them, but pointed them out correctly in the shade, or when they were dimly illuminated. At other times, however, the pupil of the eye was quite insensible to light. Her feelings also appear to have been very excitable. During one of her paroxysms she was taken to church; attended to the service with every appearance of devotion, and was at one time so much affected by the sermon, that she shed tears. The sensibility of the eye was also observed, in the case of Dr. Bilden; when a degree of light, so slight as not to affect the experimenter, was directed to the lids of this somnambulist, it caused a shock equal to that of electricity, and induced him to exclaim, "Why do you wish to shoot me in the eyes?" These are exceptions; as a general rule, the eye during somnambulism is insensible, and the pupil will not contract, though the most vivid flash of light be directed upon it. It also should be observed that although somnambulists will light a candle, it does not follow that they are guided by its light, or that they really see any thing by it. Their movements may still be purely automatic. This curious circumstance is finely illustrated by Shakspeare, who describes the Lady Macbeth walking in her sleep with a lighted taper in her hand:

"Gentlewoman.—Lo, yon, here she comes: This is her very guise, and upon my life, fast asleep.

Doctor.—How came she by that light?

Gentlewoman.—Why, it stood by her. She has light by her continually—'tis her command.

Doctor.—You see her eyes are open—

Gentlewoman.—Ay—but their sense is shut."

It is related of Negretti, a sleep-walker, that he would sometimes carry about with him a candle as if to give him light in his employment; but, on a bottle being substituted, he took it and carried it, fancying that it was a candle. Castelli, another somnambulist, was found by Dr. Soames translating Italian into French, and looking out the words in his dictionary. His candle being purposely extinguished, he immediately began groping about, as if in the dark, and although other candles were in the room, he did not resume his occupation until he had relighted his candle at the fire. In this case we may observe that he could not see, excepting with the candle he had himself lighted, and he was insensible to every other, excepting that on which his attention was fixed.

How are these curious anomalies to be explained? There is, it appears to us, a striking analogy between the actions as they are performed by the blind and those executed by somnambulists, who are insensible to light; the exaltation of the sense of touch, in blindness, is so great, that some physiologists have conceived the existence of a sixth sense—the muscular sense—which communicates the impression before the actual contact of objects. This muscular sense is supposed by Dr. Fowler to adjust the voice, the eye, and the ear, to the distances at which sounds are to be heard, and objects seen. It may, perhaps, be described as a peculiar exaltation of the sense of feeling. A lady during her somnambulism, observed to Despine, her physician, "You think that I do not know what is passing around me; but you are mistaken. I see nothing; but I feel something that makes an impression on me, which I can not explain." Another somnambulist, a patient of Hufeland, used to say invariably, "I feel"—"I am conscious" of the existence of this or that object. The blind girl, Jane Sullivan, described by Dr. Fowler, could, without a guide, feel her way to every part of the work-house, and recognize all its inmates by the feel of their hands and clothes. It is said of Laura Bridgman, that she could, in walking through a passage, with her hands spread before her, recognize her companions, and could in this way distinguish even their different degrees of intellect; nay, that she would regard with contempt a new-comer, after discovering her weakness of mind. It has been also observed, that the pupils in the Manchester Asylum for the Blind are aware, by this muscular sense, of their approach, even to a lamp-post, before actually coming against or up to it. May not the somnambulist walking through intricate passages and performing complicated manual operations in the dark, have his movements guided by this sense? May he not, in like manner, be sensible of his approach to obstructing obstacles, and may not this sense, in a higher degree of development, lead to perceptions, which are ordinarily conveyed to the mind through their appropriate and respective organs?

The sense of hearing in somnambulism is not often suspended, for, generally speaking, somnambulists will answer questions and carry on conversation; but it is remarkable that the same ear which may be deaf to the loudest noises, will perceive even a whisper from one particular person with whom the sleeper may alone appear to hold communion. In the "Transactions of the Medical Society" at Breslau, we meet with the case of a somnambulist who did not hear even the report of a pistol fired close to him. In another instance, that of Signor Augustin, an Italian nobleman, his servants could not arouse him from his sleep by any description of noise—even blowing a trumpet in his ear. On the other hand, the same individual would, in another paroxysm, apply his ear to the key-hole of the door, and listen attentively to noises which he heard in the kitchen. The sense of smell, as we have observed, is frequently altered. Brimstone and phosphorus are said to have a pleasant scent to the somnambulist, but sometimes it appears completely abolished. In one case, a snuff-box filled with coffee, was given to a somnambulist, who took it as he would have taken snuff, without perceiving the difference. So also is it with taste. Some somnambulists have not been able to distinguish wine from water.

Another very remarkable circumstance has[Pg 200] been observed in somnambulism; it is, that persons in this state have exhibited an extraordinary exaltation of knowledge. Two females mentioned by Bertrand, expressed themselves, during the paroxysms, very distinctly in Latin; although they afterward admitted having an imperfect acquaintance with this language. An ignorant servant girl, described by Dr. Dewar, evinced an astonishing knowledge of astronomy and geography, and expressed herself in her own language in a manner which, though often ludicrous, showed an understanding of the subject. It was afterward discovered that her notions on these subjects had been derived from hearing a tutor giving instructions to the young people of the family. A woman in the Infirmary of Edinburgh, on account of an affection of this kind, during her somnambulism, mimicked the manner of the physicians, and repeated correctly some of their prescriptions in the Latin language. Many of these apparent wonders are referable to the circumstance of old associations being vividly recalled to the mind; this very frequently happens also in the delirium of fever. There is nothing miraculous in such cases, although upon them are founded a host of stories descriptive of persons in their sleep speaking unknown languages, predicting future events, and being suddenly possessed of inspiration.

Not only are the mental powers intensified in this state, but the physical energies are unwontedly increased. Horstius relates the case of a young nobleman living in the Citadel of Breslau, who used to steal out of his window during his sleep, muffled up in a cloak, and, by great muscular exertion, ascend the roof of the building where, one night, he tore in pieces a magpie's nest, wrapped up the little ones in his cloak, and then returned to bed; and, on the following morning, related the circumstances as having occurred in a dream, nor could he be persuaded of its reality until the magpies in the cloak were shown to him. In the "Bibliothèque de Médecine" we find the account of a somnambulist who got out of his bed in the middle of the night, and went into a neighboring house which was in ruins, and of which the bare walls, with a few insecure rafters running between them, alone remained; nevertheless he climbed to the top of the wall, and clambered about from one beam to another, without once missing his hold. It is affirmed that somnambulists will maintain their footing in the most perilous situations with perfect safety, so long as they remain in a state of somnambulism; but when they are disturbed or awakened in such positions, they are then taken by surprise, and instantly lose self-possession. A young lady was observed at Dresden walking one night in her sleep upon the roof of a house; an alarm being given, crowds of people assembled in the street, and beds and mattresses were laid upon the ground, in the hope of saving her life in case of her falling. Unconscious of danger, the poor girl advanced to the very edge of the roof, smiling and bowing to the multitude below, and occasionally arranging her hair and her dress. The spectators watched her with great anxiety. After moving along thus unconcernedly for some time, she proceeded toward the window from which she had made her exit. A light had been placed in it by her distressed family; but the moment she approached it, she started, and suddenly awakening, fell into the street, and was killed on the spot. Upon this incident Bellini founded the charming opera of "La Sonnambula."

The actions of the somnambulist are, doubtless, prompted and governed by those dream-impulses which the imaginary incidents passing through the sleeper's mind suggest. He is a dreamer able to act his dreams. This we learn from those exceptional cases in which the somnambulist, upon awaking, has remembered the details of his dream; in illustration of which we find an anecdote, related with much vivacity, by Brillat-Savarin, in the "Physiology of Taste." The narrator is a M. Duhagel, who was the prior of a Carthusian monastery, and he thus tells us the story: "We had in the monastery in which I was formerly prior, a monk of melancholic temperament and sombre character, who was known to be a somnambulist. He would sometimes, in his fits, go out of his cell and return into it directly; but at other times he would wander about, until it became necessary to guide him back again. Medical advice was sought, and various remedies administered, under which the paroxysms so much diminished in frequency, that we at length ceased to think about them. One night, not having retired to bed at my usual hour, I was seated at my desk occupied in examining some papers, when the door of the apartment, which I never kept locked, opened, and I beheld the monk enter in a state of profound somnambulism. His eyes were open, but fixed; he had only his night-shirt on; in one hand he held his cell lamp, in his other, a long and sharp bladed knife. He then advanced to my bed, upon reaching which he put down the lamp, and felt and patted it with his hand, to satisfy himself he was right, and then plunged the knife, as if through my body, violently through the bed-clothes, piercing even the mat which supplied, with us, the place of a mattress. Having done this, he again took up his lamp and turned round to retrace his steps, when I observed that his countenance, which was before contracted and frowning, was lighted up with a peculiar expression of satisfaction at the imaginary blow he had struck. The light of the two lamps burning on my desk did not attract his notice; slowly and steadily he walked back, carefully opening and shutting the double door of my apartment, and quietly retired to his cell. You may imagine the state of my feelings while I watched this terrible apparition; I shuddered with horror at beholding the danger I had escaped, and offered up my prayers and thanksgiving to the Almighty; but it was[Pg 201] utterly impossible for me to close my eyes for the remainder of the night.

"The next morning I sent for the somnambulist, and asked him, without any apparent emotion, of what he had dreamt the preceding night? He was agitated at the question, and answered, 'Father, I had a dream, so strange, that it would give me the deepest pain were I to relate it to you.' 'But I command you to do do; a dream is involuntary; it is a mere illusion,' said I; 'tell it me without reserve.' 'Father,' continued he, 'no sooner had I fallen asleep than I dreamt that you had killed my mother, and I thought that her outraged spirit appeared before me, demanding satisfaction for the horrid deed. At beholding this, I was transported with such fury, that—so it seemed to me—I hurried, like a madman, into your apartment, and finding you in bed there, murdered you with a knife. Thereupon I awoke in a fright, horrified at having made such an attempt, and then thanked God it was only a dream, and that so great a crime had not been committed.' 'That act has been committed,' I then observed, 'further than you suppose.' And thereupon I related what passed, exhibiting at the same time the cuts intended to be inflicted upon me which had penetrated the bed-clothes; upon which the monk fell prostrate at my feet, weeping and sobbing, and imploring to know what act of penance I should sentence him to undergo. 'None; none!' I exclaimed. 'I would not punish you for an involuntary act; but I will dispense with your performing in the holy offices at night for the future; and I give you notice that the door of your cell shall be bolted on the outside when you retire, every evening, and not opened until we assemble to our family matins at break of day.'"

Here we may recur to the question with which we set out;—whether persons in somnambulism are partially awake, or in a state of unusually and preternaturally profound sleep? The phenomena we have above referred to—particularly those connected with the insensibility of the body and the organs of the senses—lead us to believe, that in somnambulism there is an increased intensity of sleep, producing an extreme degree of unconsciousness in regard to the physical organization, very similar to that which we find in hysterical, cataleptic, and many other nervous affections. The mental phenomena exhibited in this state are those connected with exaggerated dreams, and as the physiology of dreams is by no means well understood in the healthy state, still less can they be explained under the aspect of disease.

It may be asked, How somnambulism, being an affection likely to entail more serious diseases upon persons subject to it, is to be cured? When the general health is affected, the family doctor, we apprehend will speedily put an end to metaphysical mystery; but in young persons, even where it is hereditary, attention must be paid to diet, regimen, and a due amount of bodily exercise. The shower-bath has sometimes been found serviceable. It is thought, also, that it may be resisted by a strong effort of the will, inasmuch as, in young persons, it has been suppressed by the fear of punishment; but this, on the other hand, may have a very contrary effect, disturbing and exciting, rather than composing, the nervous system. In the north of Scotland the following plan is in some schools adopted. The youthful somnambulist is put to sleep in bed with a companion who is not affected, and the leg of the one boy is linked by a pretty long band of ribbon or tape to the leg of the other. Presently, the one disposed to ramble in his sleep gets out of bed, and, in so doing, does not proceed far before he awakens the non-somnambulist, who in resisting being dragged after him, generally throws the other down, which has the effect of awakening him. In this way we have been assured that several such cases have been effectually cured. But is it always safe thus to awake a person during the paroxysm? Macnish relates the case of a lady who being observed walking in her sleep into the garden, one of the family followed her, and laying hold of her, awaked her, when the shock was so great that she fell down insensible, and shortly afterward expired.

We feel satisfied that all sudden and abrupt transitions should be avoided. The state of sleep, apart from somnambulism, is one of natural repose; the organs of the body have their various functions appropriately modified; and we can not help thinking that to interrupt abruptly the course of nature, and throw, as it were, a dazzling light upon the brain, the functions of which are in abeyance, is unwise, and may prove injurious. Many persons suddenly awakened out of a deep sleep, complain afterward of severe headache. We conceive, therefore, that somnambulists who may be considered in a state of preternaturally profound sleep, ought not to be forcibly awakened. It is true that some somnambulists, like the servant girl described by Dr. Fleming, above referred to, have been awakened without after ill consequence, but as a general rule, the nervous system ought not to be subjected to any rude or unnecessary shock. The management of, and treatment of the somnambulist, must, it is obvious, depend very much on age, sex, temperament, and upon the causes, in particular—whether physical or mental—to which the affection may be ascribed. The most interesting circumstance connected with somnambulism is, that it brings palpably under our observation a preternatural state of being, in which the body is seen moving about, executing a variety of complicated actions, in the condition, physically, of a living automaton, while the lamp of the human soul is burning inwardly, as it were, with increased intensity; and this very exaltation of the mental faculties proves, incontestably, that the mind is independent of the body, and has an existence in a world peculiar to itself.

[Pg 202]


OF the many features which will hereafter stamp the nineteenth century as "Centuria Mirabilissima," not the least will be the vast number of animals and birds introduced into Europe, and the great stride made in our knowledge of Natural History during its progress. The precise date of the extinction of a genus or a species has interest; the dodo of the Mauritius and the dinornis of New Zealand have disappeared within the historical period, and there is no reason to suppose that such gaps have been, or will be, filled up by new creations. Second only in interest to the occurrence of these blanks in the list of living inhabitants of the surface of this globe is the record of the introduction of a new race into a part of our planet where it was previously unknown. In such instances the last twenty years have been prolific; the graceful bower-birds and the Tallegalla or mound-raising birds, those wondrous denizens of the Australian wilderness, may now be seen in the Regent's Park for the first time in this hemisphere. For the first time, also, the wart hog of Africa there roots, and the hippopotamus displays his quaint gambols; and that "fairest animal," the giraffe, is now beheld in health and vigor, a naturalized inhabitant of Great Britain.

A giraffe presented by the Pasha of Egypt to the king of England, was conveyed to Malta under the charge of two Arabs, and was from thence forwarded to London in the "Penelope," which arrived on the 11th of August, 1827. She was conveyed to Windsor two days afterward, and was kept in the royal menagerie at the Sandpit-gate. George the Fourth took much interest in this animal, visiting her generally twice or thrice a week, and sometimes twice a day. It would have been better if he had left her to the management of the keepers; but, acting on some vague instructions left by the Arabs, his majesty commanded that she should be fed on milk alone—a most unnatural diet when the animal had attained the age of two years. From this cause, and in consequence of an injury which she had received during her journey from Sennaar to Cairo, the giraffe became so weak as to be unable to stand; a lofty triangle was built, and the animal kept suspended on slings to relieve its limbs from the support of its weight. The apparatus was provided with wheels, and, in order that she might have exercise, it was pushed along by men, her feet just moving and touching the ground. It may well be supposed that such an artificial existence could not be prolonged to any great length of time, and although the giraffe lived between two and three years, and grew eighteen inches in height, she gradually sank and died in the autumn of 1829, to the great regret of the king. Her body was dissected by the sergeant-surgeon, Sir Everard Home, and an account thereof published by him.

Those who frequented the British Museum in the days of Montague-house, shortly before the present building was erected, will remember a hairless stuffed giraffe, which stood at the top of the stairs, mounting sentry, as it were, over the principal door. This miserable skin was interesting, as being the remains of the first entire specimen recorded. Its history was as follows: The late Lady Strathmore sent to the Cape, to collect rare flowers and trees, a botanist of the name of Paterson, who seems to have penetrated a considerable distance into the interior—sufficiently far, at least, to have seen a group of six giraffes. He was so fortunate as to kill one, and brought the skin home for Lady Strathmore; her ladyship presented it to the celebrated John Hunter, and it formed part of the Hunterian collection until a re-arrangement of that museum took place on its removal to the present noble hall in the College of Surgeons. This stuffed specimen, with many others of a similar description, was handed over to the British Museum, and for some years occupied the situation on the landing above mentioned; being regarded as "rubbish," it was destroyed, and the "stuffing" used to expand some other skin. There are now, however, two noble stuffed specimens in the first zoological room of the Museum; one especially remarkable for its dark-brown spots is no less than eighteen feet in height. It is from the southern parts of Africa, and was presented by that veteran zoologist, the Earl of Derby; the other was one of the giraffes brought by M. Thibaut to the Zoological Gardens.

The Zoological Society having made known its wish to possess living specimens of the giraffe, the task of procuring them was undertaken by M. Thibaut, who having had twelve years' experience in African travel, was well qualified for the arduous pursuit.

M. Thibaut quitted Cairo in April, 1834, and after sailing up the Nile as far as Wadi Halfa, the second cataract, took camels and proceeded to Debbat, a province of Dongolah, whence he started for the Desert of Kordofan. Being perfectly acquainted with the locality and on friendly terms with the Arabs, he attached them still more by the desire of profit; all were desirous of accompanying him in pursuit of the giraffes, for up to that time, they had hunted them solely for the sake of the flesh, which they ate, and the skin, of which they made bucklers and sandals. The party proceeded to the southwest of Kordofan, and in August were rewarded by the sight of two beautiful giraffes; a rapid chase of three hours, on horses accustomed to the fatigues of the desert, put them in possession of the largest of these noble animals; unable to take her alive, the Arabs killed her with blows of the sabre, and cutting her to pieces, carried the meat to their head-quarters, which had been established in a wooded situation, an arrangement necessary for their own comfort, and to secure pasturage for their camels. They deferred till the following day the pursuit of the motherless young one, which the Arabs knew[Pg 203] they would have no difficulty in again discovering. The Arabs quickly covered the live embers with slices of the meat, which M. Thibaut pronounces to be excellent.

On the following morning the party started at daybreak in search of the young giraffe, of which they had lost sight not far from the camp. The sandy desert is well adapted to afford indications to a hunter, and in a very short time they were on the track of the object of their pursuit: they followed the traces with rapidity and in silence, lest the creature should be alarmed while yet at a distance; but after a laborious chase of several hours through brambles and thorny trees, they at last succeeded in capturing the coveted prize.

It was now necessary to rest for three or four days, in order to render the giraffe sufficiently tame, during which period an Arab constantly held it at the end of a long cord; by degrees it became accustomed to the presence of man, and was induced to take nourishment, but it was found necessary to insert a finger into its mouth to deceive it into the idea that it was with its dam; it then sucked freely. When captured, its age was about nineteen months. Five giraffes were taken by the party, but the cold weather of December, 1834, killed four of them in the desert, on the route to Dongolah; happily that first taken survived, and reached Dongolah in January, 1835, after a sojourn of twenty-two days in the desert. Unwilling to leave with a solitary specimen, M. Thibaut returned to the desert, where he remained three months, crossing it in all directions, and frequently exposed to great hardships and privations; but he was eventually rewarded by obtaining three giraffes, all smaller than the first. A great trial awaited them, as they had to proceed by water the whole distance from Wadi Halfa to Cairo, and thence to Alexandria and Malta, besides the voyage to England. They suffered considerably at sea during a passage of twenty-four days in very tempestuous weather, and on reaching Malta in November, were detained in quarantine twenty-five days more; but despite of all these difficulties, they reached England in safety, and on the 25th of May were conducted to the Gardens. At daybreak, the keepers and several gentlemen of scientific distinction arrived at the Brunswick Wharf, and the animals were handed over to them. The distance to the Gardens was not less than six miles, and some curiosity, not unmingled with anxiety, was felt as to how this would be accomplished. Each giraffe was led between two keepers, by means of long reins attached to the head; the animals walked along at a rapid pace, generally in advance of their conductors, but were perfectly tractable. It being so early in the morning, few persons were about, but the astonishment of those who did behold the unlooked-for procession, was ludicrous in the extreme. As the giraffes stalked by, followed by M. Thibaut and others, in Eastern costume, the worthy policemen and early coffee-sellers stared with amazement, and a few revelers, whose reeling steps proclaimed their dissipation, evidently doubted whether the strange figures they beheld were real flesh and bone, or fictions conjured up by their potations; their gaze of stupid wonder indicating that of the two they inclined to the latter opinion. When the giraffes entered the park, and first caught sight of the green trees, they became excited, and hauled upon the reins, waving the head and neck from side to side, with an occasional caracole and kick out of the hind legs, but M. Thibaut contrived to coax them along with pieces of sugar, of which they were very fond, and he had the satisfaction of depositing his valuable charges, without accident or misadventure, in the sanded paddock prepared for their reception.

The sum agreed on with M. Thibaut was £250 for the first giraffe he obtained, £200 for the second, £150 for the third, and £100 for the fourth, in all £700; but the actual cost to the society amounted to no less than £2386. 3s. 1d., in consequence of the heavy expenses of freight, conveyance, &c.

During the following months of June and July the giraffes excited so much interest, that as much as £120 was sometimes taken at the Gardens in one day, and the receipts reached £600 in the week; they then decreased, and never, until the arrival of the hippopotamus, attained any thing like that sum again. Shortly after their arrival one of the animals struck his head with such force against the brickwork of the house, while rising from the ground, that he injured one of his horns, and probably his skull, as he did not long survive. Guiballah died in October, 1846, and Selim in January, 1849; Zaida, that worthy old matron, is still alive, and may be recognized by her very light color.

An unusual birthday fête was celebrated on the 9th of June, 1839, when Zaida presented the society with the first giraffe ever born in Europe; but alas! it only survived nine days. A spirited water-color sketch was made of the dam and young one when a day old by that able artist, the late Robert Hills; and we recently had an opportunity of seeing this interesting memento. Two years afterward a second was born, and throve vigorously; this fine animal was sent to the Zoological Gardens at Dublin, in 1844. It was rather a ticklish proceeding, but was managed as follows: He was taken very early in the morning to Hungerford market, where a lighter with tackles had been previously arranged. With some dexterity slings were placed under him, and to his great astonishment, he was quickly swung off his feet, and hoisted by a crane into the lighter, and from the lighter, by tackle, on board the deck of the steamer; he had a fine passage, and was welcomed with enthusiasm by the warm-hearted Hibernians, and is now one of the chief ornaments of the Dublin Gardens. Another remarkably fine male, named Abbas Pasha, was born[Pg 204] in February, 1849, and is thriving in great vigor in the Gardens at Antwerp.

The giraffes at present in the Regent's Park are Zaida, with her offspring, Alfred and Ibrahim Pasha, Alice, presented by his highness, Ibrahim Pasha, and Jenny Lind, purchased by Mr. Murray. With the exception of Ibrahim Pasha, they are exceedingly good-tempered, but this fine animal is obliged to be kept separate, as he is very apt to fight with his brother. Their mode of fighting is peculiar; they stand side by side, and strike obliquely with their short horns, denuding the parts struck to the magnitude of a hand. One of them met with an awkward accident some time ago, which, had it not been for the presence of mind of Mr. Hunt, the head keeper, who had the especial charge of these animals, might have been attended with fatal consequences. In rising quickly from the ground, the giraffe struck the wall with such force that one of the horns was broken, and bent back flat upon the head; Hunt seeing this, tempted him with a favorite dainty with one hand, and taking the opportunity while his head was down, grasped the fractured horn, and pulled it forward into its natural position; union took place, and no ill effects followed. We may here remark, that the horns are distinct bones, united to the frontal and parietal bones by a suture, and exhibiting the same structure as other bones. The protuberance on the forehead is not a horn (as supposed by some), but merely a thickening of the bone. The horns of the male are nearly double the size of those of the female, and their expanded bases meet in the middle line of the skull, whereas, in the female, the bases are two inches apart.

Each of the giraffes eats daily eighteen pounds of clover hay, and the same quantity of a mixed vegetable diet, consisting of turnips, mangel-wurzel, carrots, barley, and split beans; in spring they have green tares and clover, and are exceedingly fond of onions. It was curious to see the impatience they exhibited in our presence when a basket of onions was placed in view; their mouths watered to a ludicrous and very visible extent; they pawed with their fore legs, and rapidly paced backward and forward, stretching their long necks and sniffing up the pungent aroma with eager satisfaction. Each drinks about four gallons of water a day.

Soon after the arrival of the giraffes at the Regent's Park, Mr. Warwick obtained three for Mr. Cross, of the Surrey Gardens. These were exhibited in an apartment in Regent-street, in the evening as well as by day; their heads almost touched the ceiling, and the room being lighted with gas, they were fully exposed to the influence of foul air, and, as might be expected, did not long survive.

It has been stated that giraffes utter no sound; we have, however, heard Ibrahim Pasha make a sort of grunt, or forcible expiration, indicating displeasure, and the little one which died bleated like a calf.

The extensibility, flexibility, and extraordinary command which the giraffe possesses over the movements of its tongue had long attracted notice, but it was reserved for Professor Owen to point out their true character. Sir Everard Home, who had examined the giraffe which died at Windsor, described the wonderful changes of size and length, which occur in the tongue, as resulting from vascular action, the blood-vessels being at one time loaded, at another empty; but the Hunterian professor proved that the movements of the tongue are entirely due to muscular action, and adds the following interesting remarks: "I have observed all the movements of the tongue, which have been described by previous authors. The giraffe being endowed with an organ so exquisitely formed for prehension, instinctively puts it to use in a variety of ways, while in a state of confinement. The female in the Garden of Plants, at Paris, for example, may frequently be observed to amuse itself by stretching upward its neck and head, and, with the slender tongue, pulling out the straws which are plaited into the partition separating it from the contiguous compartment of its inclosure. In our own menagerie, many a fair lady has been robbed of the artificial flower which adorned her bonnet, by the nimble, filching tongue of the object of her admiration. The giraffe seems, indeed, to be guided more by the eye than the nose in the selection of objects of food; and, if we may judge of the apparent satisfaction with which the mock leaves and flowers so obtained are masticated, the tongue would seem by no means to enjoy the sensitive in the same degree as the motive powers. The giraffes have a habit, in captivity at least, of plucking the hairs out of each other's manes and tails, and swallowing them. I know not whether we must attribute to a fondness for epidermic productions, or to the tempting green color of the parts, the following ludicrous circumstance, which happened to a fine peacock, which was kept in the giraffes' paddock. As the bird was spreading his tail in the sunbeams, and curvetting in presence of his mate, one of the giraffes stooped his long neck, and entwining his flexible tongue round a bunch of the gaudy plumes, suddenly lifted the bird into the air, then giving him a shake, disengaged five or six of the tail feathers, when down fluttered the astonished peacock, and scuffled off, with the remains of his train dragging humbly after him."[11]

The natural food of the giraffe is the leaves, tender shoots, and blossoms of a singular species of mimosa, called by the colonists kameel doorn, or giraffe thorn, which is found chiefly on dry plains and sandy deserts. The great size of this tree, together with its thick and spreading top, shaped like an umbrella, distinguish it at once from all others. The wood, of a dark red color, is exceedingly hard and weighty, and is extensively used by the Africans in the manufacture of spoons and other[Pg 205] articles, many being ingeniously fashioned with their rude tools into the form of the giraffe.

The class to which the giraffe belongs, is the deer tribe. It is, in fact, as pointed out by Professor Owen, a modified deer; but the structure by which so large a ruminant is enabled to subsist in the tropical regions of Africa, by browsing on the tops of trees, disqualifies it for wielding antlers of sufficient strength and size to serve as weapons of offense. The annual shedding of the formidable antlers of the full-grown buck has reference to the preservation of the younger and feebler individuals of his own race; but, as the horns of the giraffe never acquire the requisite development to serve as weapons of attack, their temporary removal is not needed.

When looking at a giraffe, it is difficult to believe that the fore-legs are not longer than the hind-legs. They are not so, however, for the greater apparent length results from the remarkable depth of the chest, the great length of the processes of the anterior dorsal vertebræ, and the corresponding length and position of the shoulder blade, which is relatively the longest and narrowest of all mammalia. In the simple walk the neck is stretched out in a line with the back, which gives them an awkward appearance; this is greatly diminished when the animals commence their undulating canter. In the canter the hind-legs are lifted alternately with the fore, and are carried outside of and beyond them, by a kind of swinging movement; when excited to a swifter pace, the hind-legs are often kicked out, and the nostrils are then widely dilated. The remarkable gait is rendered still more automaton-like by the switching at regular intervals of the long black tail which is invariably curled above the back, and by the corresponding action of the neck, swinging as it does like a pendulum, and literally giving the creature the appearance of a piece of machinery in motion. The tail of the giraffe is terminated by a bunch of wavy hair, which attains a considerable length, but the longest hairs are those which form a fringe, extending about three inches on its under side. Two of these in our possession, from the tail of Alfred, are each rather more than four feet two inches in length; this long whisp of hair must be of great service in flicking off flies and other annoyances.

Major Gordon relates an anecdote of a giraffe slain by himself, which illustrates the gentle, confiding disposition of these graceful creatures. Having been brought to the ground by a musket-ball, it suffered the hunter to approach, without any appearance of resentment, or attempt at resistance. After surveying the crippled animal for some time, the major stroked its forehead, when the eyes closed as if with pleasure, and it seemed grateful for the caress. When its throat was cut, preparatory to taking the skin, the giraffe, while struggling in the last agonies, struck the ground convulsively with its feet with immense force, as it looked reproachfully on its assailant, with its fine eyes fast glazing with the film of death, but made no attempt to injure him.

Some of the best and most animating accounts of giraffe hunts are contained in the works of Sir W. Cornwallis Harris and Mr. R.G. Cumming. Of that magnificent folio, "Portraits of the Game and Wild Animals of South Africa," by the former of these gallant sportsmen, we can not speak too highly; it is equal, in many respects, to the truly-superb folios of Mr. Gould. From it we extract the following spirit-stirring adventures:

"It was on the morning of our departure from the residence of his Amazoola Majesty, that I first actually saw the giraffe. Although I had been for weeks on the tiptoe of expectation, we had hitherto succeeded in finding the gigantic footsteps only of the tallest of all the quadrupeds upon the earth; but at dawn of that day, a large party of hungry savages, with four of the Hottentots on horseback, having accompanied us across the Mariqua in search of elands, which were reported to be numerous in the neighborhood, we formed a long line, and, having drawn a great extent of country blank, divided into two parties, Richardson keeping to the right, and myself to the left. Beginning, at length, to despair of success, I had shot a hartebeeste for the savages, when an object, which had repeatedly attracted my eye, but which I had as often persuaded myself was nothing more than the branchless stump of some withered tree, suddenly shifted its position, and the next moment I distinctly perceived that singular form of which the apparition had ofttimes visited my slumbers, but upon whose reality I now gazed for the first time. Gliding rapidly among the trees, above the topmost branches, of many of which its graceful head nodded like some lofty pine, all doubt was in another moment at an end—it was the stately, the long-sought giraffe, and, putting spurs to my horse, and directing the Hottentots to follow, I presently found myself half-choked with excitement, rattling at the heels of an animal which, to me, had been a stranger even in its captive state, and which, thus to meet free on its native plains, has fallen to the lot of but few of the votaries of the chase; sailing before me with incredible velocity, his long swan-like neck, keeping time to the eccentric motion of his stilt-like legs—his ample black tail curled above his back, and whisking in ludicrous concert with the rocking of his disproportioned frame—he glided gallantly along 'like some tall ship upon the ocean's bosom,' and seemed to leave whole leagues behind him at each stride. The ground was of the most treacherous description; a rotten, black soil, overgrown with long, coarse grass, which concealed from view innumerable gaping fissures that momentarily threatened to bring down my horse. For the first five minutes, I rather lost than gained ground, and, despairing over such a country of ever diminishing the distance, or improving my acquaintance with this ogre in seven-league boots, I dismounted, and the [Pg 206]mottled carcase presenting a fair and inviting mark, I had the satisfaction of hearing two balls tell roundly upon his plank-like stern. But as well might I have fired at a wall; he neither swerved from his course nor slackened his pace, and pushed on so far ahead during the time I was reloading, that, after remounting, I had some difficulty in even keeping sight of him among the trees. Closing again, however, I repeated the dose on the other quarter, and spurred my horse along, ever and anon sinking to his fetlock—the giraffe now flagging at each stride—until, as I was coming up hand-over-hand, and success seemed certain, the cup was suddenly dashed from my lips, and down I came headlong—my horse having fallen into a pit, and lodged me close to an ostrich's nest, near which two of the old birds were sitting. Happily, there were no bones broken, but the violence of the shock had caused the lashings of my previously-broken rifle to give way, and had doubled the stock in half, the barrels only hanging to the wood by the trigger-guard. Nothing dismayed, however, by this heavy calamity, I remounted my jaded beast, and one more effort brought me ahead of my wearied victim, which stood still and allowed me to approach. In vain did I now attempt to bind my fractured rifle with a pocket-handkerchief, in order to admit of my administering the coup de grace. The guard was so contracted that, as in the tantalizing phantasies of a night-mare, the hammer could not by any means be brought down upon the nipple. In vain I looked around for a stone, and sought in every pocket for my knife, with which either to strike the copper-cap and bring about ignition, or hamstring the colossal but harmless animal, by whose towering side I appeared the veriest pigmy in the creation. Alas! I had lent it to the Hottentots to cut off the head of the hartebeeste, and, after a hopeless search in the remotest comers, each hand was withdrawn empty. Vainly did I then wait for the tardy and rebellious villains to come to my assistance, making the welkin ring, and my throat tingle with reiterated shouts. Not a soul appeared, and in a few minutes the giraffe, having recovered his wind, and being only slightly wounded on the hind-quarters, shuffled his long legs, twisted his bushy tail over his back, walked a few steps, then broke into a gallop, and, diving into the mazes of the forest, presently disappeared from my sight. Disappointed and annoyed at my discomfiture, I returned toward the wagons, now eight miles' distant, and on my way overtook the Hottentots, who, pipe in mouth, were leisurely strolling home, with an air of total indifference as to my proceedings, having come to the conclusion that 'Sir could not fung de kameel' (catch the giraffe), for which reason they did not think it worth while to follow me, as I had directed. Two days after this catastrophe, having advanced to the Tolaan River, we again took the field, accompanied by the whole of the male inhabitants of three large kraals, in addition to those that had accompanied us from the last encampment. The country had now become undulating, extensive mimosa groves occupying all the valley, as well as the banks of the Tolaan winding among them, on its way to join the Mariqua. Before we had proceeded many hundred yards, our progress was opposed by a rhinoceros, who looked defiance, but quickly took the hints we gave him to get out of the way. Two fat elands had been pointed out at the verge of the copse the moment before. One of which Richardson disposed of with little difficulty, the other leading me through all the intricacies of the labyrinth to a wide plain on the opposite side. On entering which, I found the fugitive was prostrate at my feet in the middle of a troop of giraffes, who stooped their long necks, astounded at the intrusion, then consulted a moment how they should best escape the impending danger, and in another were sailing away at their utmost speed. To have followed upon my then jaded horse would have been absurd, and I was afterward unable to recover any trace of them.

"Many days elapsed before we again beheld the tall giraffe, nor were our eyes gladdened with his sight until, after we had crossed the Cashan Mountains to the country of the Baquaina, for the express purpose of seeking for him. After the many contretemps, how shall I describe the sensations I experienced as, on a cool November evening, after rapidly following some fresh traces in profound silence, for several miles, I at length counted from the back of Breslau, my most trusty steed, no fewer than thirty-two of various sizes, industriously stretching their peacock necks to crop the tiny leaves that fluttered above their heads, in a flowering mimosa grove which beautified the scenery. My heart leapt within me, and my blood coursed like quicksilver through my veins, for, with a firm wooded plain before me, I knew they were mine; but, although they stood within a hundred yards of me, having previously determined to try the boarding system, I reserved my fire.

"Notwithstanding that I had taken the field expressly to look for giraffes, and in consequence of several of the remarkable spoors of these animals having been seen the evening before, had taken four mounted Hottentots in my suite, all excepting Piet had, as usual, slipped off unperceived in pursuit of a troop of koodoos. Our stealthy approach was soon opposed by an ill-tempered rhinoceros, which, with her ugly old-fashioned calf, stood directly in the path, and the twinkling of her bright little eyes, accompanied by a restless rolling of the body, giving earnest of her mischievous intentions, I directed Piet to salute her with a broadside, at the same time putting spurs to my horse. At the report of the gun, and sudden clattering of the hoofs, away bounded the herd in grotesque confusion, clearing the ground by a succession of frog-like leaps, and leaving me far in their rear. Twice were their towering forms concealed from view by a park of trees, which we entered almost at the same instant, and twice, on emerging from[Pg 207] the labyrinth, did I perceive them tilting over an eminence far in advance, their sloping backs reddening in the sunshine, as with giant port they topped the ridges in right gallant style. A white turban that I wore round my hunting-cap, being dragged off by a projecting bough, was instantly charged and trampled under foot by three rhinoceroses, and long afterward, looking over my shoulder, I could perceive the ungainly brutes in the rear fagging themselves to overtake me. In the course of five minutes the fugitives arrived at a small river, the treacherous sands of which receiving their spider-legs, their flight was greatly retarded, and by the time they had floundered to the opposite side and scrambled to the top of the bank, I could perceive that their race was run. Patting the steaming neck of my good steed, I urged him again to his utmost, and instantly found myself by the side of the herd. The lordly chief being readily distinguishable from the rest by his dark chestnut robe, and superior stature, I applied the muzzle of my rifle behind his dappled shoulder with my right hand, and drew both triggers; but he still continued to shuffle along, and being afraid of losing him should I dismount, among the extensive mimosa groves with which the landscape was now obscured, I sat in my saddle, loading and firing behind the elbow, and then placing myself across his path to obstruct his progress. Mute, dignified, and majestic stood the unfortunate victim, occasionally stooping his elastic neck toward his persecutor, the tears trickling from the lashes of his dark humid eye, as broadside after broadside was poured into his brawny front.

'His drooping head sinks gradually low,
And through his side the last drops ebbing slow
From the red gash fall heavy one by one,
Like the first of a thunder shower.'

"Presently a convulsive shivering seized his limbs, his coat stood on end, his lofty frame began to totter, and at the seventeenth discharge from the deadly grooved bore, like a falling minaret bowing his graceful head from the skies, his proud form was prostrate in the dust. Never shall I forget the intoxicating excitement of that moment! At last, then, the summit of my ambition was actually attained, and the towering giraffe laid low! Tossing my turban-less cap into the air, alone in the wild wood, I hurraed with bursting exultation, and unsaddling my steed, sank, exhausted with delight, beside the noble prize that I had won.

"While I leisurely contemplated the massive form before me, seeming as though it had been cast in a mould of brass, and wrapped in a hide an inch and a half in thickness, it was no longer matter of astonishment that a bullet discharged from a distance of eighty or ninety yards should have been attended with little effect upon such amazing strength.

"Two hours were passed in completing a drawing, and Piet still not making his appearance, I cut off the ample tail, which exceeded five feet in length, and was measureless the most estimable trophy I had ever gained. But on proceeding to saddle my horse, which I had left quietly grazing by the running brook, my chagrin may be conceived when I discovered that he had taken advantage of my occupation to free himself from his halter and abscond. Being ten miles from the wagons, and in a perfectly strange country, I felt convinced that the only chance of saving my pet from the clutches of the lion, was to follow his trail; while doing which with infinite difficulty, the ground scarcely deigning to receive a foot-print, I had the satisfaction of meeting Piet and Mohanycom, who had fortunately seen and recaptured the truant. Returning to the giraffe, we all feasted merrily on the flesh, which, although highly scented with the rank mokaala blossoms, was far from despicable, and losing our way in consequence of the twin-like resemblance of two scarped hills, we did not finally regain the wagons until after the setting sunbeams had ceased to play upon the trembling leaves of the light acacias, and the golden splendor which was sleeping upon the plain had gradually passed away."

Singular and striking as is the form of the giraffe, it only furnishes a proof of the wonderful manner in which an all-wise Creator has adapted means to ends. A vegetable feeder, but an inhabitant of sterile and sandy deserts, its long slender neck and sloping body, enable it to reach with ease its favorite food: leaf by leaf is daintily plucked from the lofty branch by the pliant tongue, and a mouthful of tender and juicy food is speedily accumulated. The oblique and narrow apertures of the nostrils, defended even to their margins by a chevaux de frise of strong hairs, and surrounded by muscular fibres by which they can be hermetically sealed, effectually prevent the entrance of the fine particles of sand which the suffocating storms of the desert raise in fiery clouds, destructive to the lord of the creation. Erect on those stilt-like legs, the giraffe surveys the wide expanse, and feeds at ease, for those mild, large eyes are so placed that it can see not only on all sides, but even behind, rendering it next to impossible for an enemy to approach undiscovered. As we reflect on these and numberless other points for admiration presented by the giraffe, we involuntarily exclaim with the Psalmist, "Oh, Lord! how manifold are thy works; in wisdom hast thou made them all!"

"Nature to these, without profusion kind,
The proper organs, proper powers assigned;
Each seeming want compensated of course,
Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force;
All in exact proportion to the state,
Nothing to add, and nothing to abate."


THE earth is a huge oblate or orange-shaped sphere, spinning on its shorter axis like a humming-top, yet at such a rate of speed as to seem standing still; it goes once round in twenty-four hours, its rotation being both the cause and the measure of day and night. The highest mountains range from four to five miles in[Pg 208] height; the greatest depth of the ocean is probably little more than five miles, although Ross let down 27,000 feet of sounding-line in vain on one occasion. So that the earth's surface is very irregular; but its mountainous ridges and oceanic valleys are no greater things in proportion to its whole bulk, than the roughness of the rind of the orange it resembles in shape. The geological crust—that is to say, the total depth to which geologists suppose themselves to have reached in the way of observation—is no thicker in proportion than a sheet of thin writing paper pasted on a globe two feet in diameter. The surface of the earth is some 148,500,000 of miles in extent; and only one-fourth of that large space is dry land, the rest being ocean and ice. The atmosphere rises all round to a height between forty-five and fifty miles above the sea-level. The solar radiance sends such heat as it brings no deeper any where than 100 feet into the surface or scurfskin of the dry land—from forty to a hundred feet, one-third of the sun's heat being absorbed by the air. Yet the deeper man digs beyond the hundred feet, the warmer he finds the earth, and that at a somewhat determinable rate of increase. Supposing that rate of increment to go on toward the centre, it is computable that the solid underwork of the world, say granite by way of conjecture, must be in a state of fusion at no vast depth from the ground on which we tread. Let the scientific imagination descend a little lower, and it will find the melted granite in the form of a fiery vapor or gas—the dry steam of a red-hot liquid, in which the rock-built foundations of "the everlasting hills" melt like icebergs. But this is conjectural and probable, not observable and proved.

Far away from this spinning and perilous globe of ours, at the distance of some 95,000,000 miles, stands the sun. A ray of light, starting from his surface at any given moment, takes eight minutes to reach us, although light runs at the speed of 195,000 miles in a second. The sun is 1,380,000 times as large as the earth, and 355,000 times as heavy; but the stuff of which he is made is just about a fourth part as dense as the average matter of this world. The sun is of as light a substance, taking his whole body, as coal; whereas the earth is twice as heavy as brimstone, striking the mean between the air, the ocean, the dry land, and the internal vapor. The sun has an atmosphere like the earth, or rather he has two. One of them, close upon his solid surface, seems to resemble our own; it bears cloudy bodies in its upper levels. The other is a sort of fiery gas, surrounding the former, kindled and sustained in the calorific and luminous state, no man knows or can conjecture how. Storms in the lower atmosphere are constantly blowing this phosphorescent airy envelope aside, so as to afford us glimpses down into the (comparatively) dark and black recesses beneath. These are the spots on the sun. Galileo inferred the rotation of the sun on his axis from the motions of those spots. The explanation of those spots, afforded by the discoveries of Wilson and Herschel, diminishes the value of the inference; but no Copernican can doubt that the sun is forever turning, and that with unimaginable swiftness and impetuosity.

At the distance, then, of more than ninety-five millions of miles, this dim spot which men call earth, this great globe and all its dwellers, this ever-spinning planet, revolves around the sun once every year, that revolution being both the cause and the measure of that space of time. Its orbit is not a circle; it is an ellipse, but not very far removed from the circular path. The terrestrial axis is not at right angles to that ellipse, else there were no seasons; it is somewhat inclined. The earth, once regarded as the fixed and solid centre of creation, is now to be conceived of as a globular sphere of some fire-blown stream, bounded by a film of rock like a soap-bubble, carrying an unresting sea in the hollows of its rind, swathed in a soft gauze of air, going round upon itself every day, running round the sun every year; and all that with so much silence, security, and stillness of speed that nobody ever suspects the dread predicament of physical circumstance in which he wakes and sleeps, lives and dies, does good or evil, and passes away to judgment. It is difficult to realize the truth, now that it is told; for the knowledge of the intellect is one thing, and the consent of the whole man is quite another.

Precisely as the earth goes round the sun from year to year, the moon goes round the earth from month to month, and that at a distance of some 240,000 miles; the same lunar side or hemisphere being always turned toward us, although that satellite turns upon her own axis as well as the earth and the sun. The earth is in repose so far as the moon is concerned; it is her sun. The two combined, being as true a unity as any chemical molecule which is composed of two atoms, go round the sun as if they were one; the earth carries her moon with her. So that it is possible, if not probable in the first instance, that the sun, though in repose as to the earth and her moon (and, indeed, to all the planets yet to be mentioned) may be in motion on some vast orbit of his own; an orbit along which he carries all his planetary adherents with him, just as the earth takes her moon round the sun. It is curious to perceive how, not only in the case of our own moon, but in the cases of the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus, and actually in those of all the planets considered as the moons of the sun, the Platonic epicycle really holds good. The earth turns on her heel, with the moon held out at arm's length, while she goes round the amphitheatre before the solar eye; so do the other moon-bearers. So does the sun himself upon a vaster arena and before a greater spectator, like another Briareus; holding out his seventeen planets, and nobody knows how many comets, in his hundred hands. The moons, of those solar planets which have them, represent the epi-epicyclical orbits of the Ptolemaic theory.[Pg 209] It is curious, and also touching, to notice how often the errors of man are thus the shadows of truth. Were it not for the preceding shadows, indeed, the substance would never arrive; and therefore the Ptolemaics of the world are second, in value and in merit, only to epochal discoverers like Copernicus.

Suppose the sun to be represented by a radiant little orb two feet in diameter, in order to bring it within the measure of our eye; then this great globe of ours, with all its stupendous histories, is no bigger than a full-sized pea in proportion, revolving at the distance of 215 feet. Neptune, the outermost and last discovered of the planets, would stand at the distance of a mile and a quarter from a sun of that imaginary size, and it would be no larger than a cherry. Another cherry at the distance of three-quarters of a mile would stand for Uranus. Saturn would be a small orange at two-fifths of a mile from our two-feet solar body. A middle-sized orange, at the distance of a quarter of a mile, would be his Jupiter. At some 500 feet the nine little planets, commonly called asteroids, probably enough the fragments of an exploded orb, and now moving in a sort of group, would be represented by as many grains of sand. A pin-head, at 327 feet, would do for Mars. Then comes the earth. Still nearer the sun, namely at 142 feet from our present model, revolves Venus, of the dimensions of a pea. And finally little Mercury wheels along his orbit, with a radius of 82 feet, and the dimensions of a mustard seed.

Add the terrestrial moon, the four moons of Jupiter, the ring within ring that whirls round Saturn like an endless moon, the eight ordinary moons of that extraordinary planet, the moons of Uranus and Neptune (yet uncertain in their number), and it is impossible to say how many comets, not to forget the enormous groups or hosts of comparatively small stones or meteors, which are believed to be revolving round the solar centre like pigmy asteroids; and the Copernican conception of the mere constitution of the solar system, as developed by time and toil, is completed. The sun is 882,000 miles in diameter; the earth is 7926; Juno is 79; Saturn, 79,160, and so forth. The earth is more than five times as heavy as water; Saturn is as light as cork. The earth rotates in twenty-four hours; Jupiter in ten. The earth revolves in a year; Mars in a year and ten months; Mercury in about three months; Venus in seven and a half months; Jupiter in eleven years; Saturn in twenty-nine; Uranus in eighty-four; Neptune in a hundred and sixty-four. A summer in Mercury lasts some three weeks; in Neptune forty-one years. Light leaps from the sun to the earth in eight minutes; to Neptune in four hours. In short, the reader has to consider thousands of discovered facts, to carry with him a whole world of indubitable inference, and to study a truly wonderful bringing of the whole machinery, or rather organization, to geometrical law, before he can apprehend how glorious a whole the Copernican astronomy has become.


IN the gloomy cell of the condemned were two persons. A muscular and powerfully-made man, heavily ironed, sat on a low bench placed in one corner. At a glance an observer would have pronounced him a native of Ireland. His head was well-formed, and covered with a thick mass of curling hair, of a light-brown color. The form of his mouth indicated courage and decision, and in the large blue eyes there was a thrilling expression of suffering and despair, which is never seen among the hardened in crime. It seemed as if the over-burdened spirit looked forth from those mirrors of the soul, and in his extremity asked sympathy and consolation from those among whom his fearful lot was cast.

His companion was a Catholic priest, the tones of whose voice, as he spoke in soothing accents to the condemned, were soft and clear as those of a woman.

The prisoner spoke, and his voice sounded dull and hollow. Hope was extinguished in his soul, and all the lighter inflections which express the varied emotions stirring within us, had ceased to vary the monotonous sounds which issued from his lips. A few more hours, and for him Time would have ceased to revolve. What then had he to do with human aspirations—with human joys? Nothing: his fate on earth was known—an outlaw's life, a felon's death!

The prisoner folded his manacled hands over his breast, and said:

"Why should I seek to prolong my wretched existence by asking such a commutation of my sentence? Death is but one pang, whereas solitary confinement for life, to which I should probably be doomed, would be a living torture. To live forever alone! Think what that must be even to a man innocent of crime, and feel how far worse than the bed of Procrustes it must be to one like me. No, holy father, let me die before the time appointed by Nature. Thus let the tender mercies of my race toward me be consummated."

"You are reckless, my son," said the priest, mildly. "Think how far worse it will be to face an offended Judge in your present mood, than to live for repentance."

"Repentance!" repeated the prisoner, in the same passionless manner; "that is ever the jargon of your cloth, father: you condemn a man without adverting to the motives, which, in his view, often sanctify the act."

The priest looked at him rebukingly. As if the slumbering energies of his impetuous nature were suddenly aroused by that look, the prisoner started from his seat; his pale features glowed; his eyes sparkled with fury, as he exclaimed: "Yes, I would again trample the life out of the wretch who murdered my love by deception and ill-treatment with as little, ay, with less compunction than if he had planted his dagger in her heart."

[Pg 210]He covered his face with his hands, and large tears fell over them. Passionless as he was, the priest was touched by this overwhelming emotion in one who had hitherto been so passive. He laid his hand on the sufferer's arm, and kindly said: "Tell me, my son, how it was."

Melting beneath the voice of friendly sympathy, the murderer wept like a child. When he became calmer, he said:—

I will give you the history of my life, and you may judge me:

I was born on a wild and rock-bound portion of the coast of Ireland. My father was at the head of a small and wretchedly-built village, whose inhabitants were all, with one exception, wreckers. You have heard of those lawless and hardened men who exist on the spoils of unfortunate mariners, whose destruction is often brought about through means of false lights placed as beacons of safety. Fit parentage, you will say, for the murderer!

My mother died before I can remember her; and the schoolmaster of the parish was the only one who ever spoke to me of higher and nobler pursuits than those followed by my father's adherents. The dominie was a poor creature, whose necessities compelled him to abide in our neighborhood, though his moral sense was greatly shocked at the crimes which were often perpetrated around him. He fancied that he discovered some superiority in me to the other urchins who were taught to read in his turf-built hovel, and many hours did he employ in endeavoring to impress on my young mind the great evil of spending a life in such a pursuit as that to which I seemed destined. The good man died while I was yet a mere child, and I soon forgot his lectures. The schoolroom was abandoned for the ocean, and I grew up a promising pupil of my father's wild occupation. Young, buoyant, full of activity, I was ardently attached to the adventurous life I led. My moral perceptions were not active, and there was a keen delight in dashing through the surf, when the billows threatened each moment to ingulf my boat, in pursuit of the wealth the greedy waves seemed eager to claim as their prey.

I can not deny that in this absorbing object the shrieks of drowning wretches were too often unheeded, while we appropriated their property; but I can truly say that I was never deaf to the voice of entreaty, and frequently drew on myself the anger of my father by saving those whose claims on his spoils sometimes seriously interfered with the profits of the expedition. He never, however, refused to relinquish property thus claimed; for he was exceedingly desirous of allowing no serious cause of complaint to reach the ears of those who might make him feel the strong arm of authority, even in the out-of-the-way place in which he had fixed his residence. At an early age I considered myself as having no superior in my wild occupation. The strong energies of my nature had no other outlet. For days I would remain alone on the ocean, with the storm careering around my frail boat, and at such times my restless soul would look into the Future, and ask of Fate if such was ever to be my lot. My thoughts often soared beyond the limited horizon of my home, and I made several excursions among the cities of my native island; but I was glad to return to my wild retreat. Uncouth in manners and appearance, ignorant of the conventional forms of society, I keenly felt my inferiority to the only class among whom I would have deigned to dwell. After such humiliation I enjoyed a fiercer pleasure in my solitary excursions on the deep.

I can not say that my life was passed without excess. In such a home as mine, that would have been impossible. The frequent brawl, the wassail-bowl and drunken revel were almost of nightly occurrence; and I was fast sinking into the mere robber and inebriate, when an event occurred which rescued me for a time from the abyss on the brink of which I was standing.

He paused, as if nerving himself for what was to follow, and the priest gazed with strong interest on his features, over which swept many wild emotions, occasionally softened by a gleam of tenderer feeling. He at length proceeded:—

One evening, in the stormy month of March, a ship was seen from our look-out, drifting at the mercy of the wind and waves. The sky was a mass of leaden clouds, and the sun as it sank from view, threw a lurid glare over the angry waters, such as one might fancy to arise from the deepest abyss of Hades. My father ordered the false light to be shown, which had already brought swift destruction on many a gallant bark. I knew not why, but my heart was interested in the fate of this vessel, and I opposed his commands.

"Are you mad?" said he, sternly; "do you not see that this is a ship of the largest class, and the spoils must be great?"

"But her decks are crowded with human beings," said I, lowering the glass through which I had been surveying her; "and there are many women among them. Put not up the false light, I conjure you. If she founders, the spoils are legitimately yours, but—"

Even as I spoke the baleful light streamed far up into the rapidly darkening air; a private signal had been given to one of his men, and it was now too late to remonstrate. I rushed to my own boat, calling on a boy, who sometimes accompanied me on such occasions, to follow. One glance at the ship assured me that in five minutes she would be on the sunken rock over which the light gleamed, and no human power could prevent her from instantly going to pieces. My boat had weathered many a storm as severe as this threatened to be, and I was fearless as to the result. I resolved to die, or save some of the helpless creatures I had seen on the deck of the doomed ship. A whistle brought a large Newfoundland dog to my side[Pg 211], and in a very short time I was launched on the waves of the heaving ocean. My father nodded approvingly to me, thinking that I had made up my mind to assist as usual in rescuing our game from the waves.

"Right, my boy!" said he, through his speaking trumpet: "all you save to-night shall belong to yourself alone."

I was borne beyond the reach of his voice, and as I turned my face toward the ship, there came a violent burst of thunder which seemed to fill the echoing vault of heaven, attended by a continual flashing of lightning. Mingled with its awful roar was a cry more terrible still, that of human agony uttering its wild appeal to heaven for mercy in the last dire extremity. The ship had struck, and hundreds were cast into the ocean. The struggling wretches vainly raised their arms from the foaming waters, and implored help from those who could have saved them had they so willed it. The boats passed on and left them to their fate.

Having only myself and the boy to propel my boat, we did not reach the scene of action so soon as the rest. As I came within speaking distance, my father shouted to me to save a large box which was in reach of my boat-hooks, but I was deaf to his voice. Also near me were two of the unfortunate persons who had been shipwrecked. A man, with a female form clasped to his breast, was feebly struggling with the waves. I saw that his strength was nearly exhausted, and that before I could reach him both must sink. Then came my noble dog to my assistance. I pointed to the sinking forms: Hector sprang into the water, and swam to the side of the unfortunates; he seized the dress of the lady, made an effort to sustain both against the force of the raging waves, and turned a piteous glance on me as he felt their united weight too much for his strength. "Courage, old fellow!" I shouted, and made a desperate plunge with my boat to reach them. The impetus of the rising billow sent me past them. The father, for such I knew him to be, with sublime self-sacrifice relaxed his hold, and turning his death-pale face toward me, uttered some words which were lost amid the howling of the blast, and sank forever from my sight. Relieved of the double weight, Hector now gallantly struck out for my boat, and in a short space of time I had drawn the senseless girl from the waves. I wrapped her in my sailor's jacket, and used every means in my power to restore her. A few drops of brandy from a small flask I carried in my pocket, brought a faint shade of color to her cheeks and lips, and presently she unclosed her eyes and gazed wildly around. With a shudder she again closed them, and seemed to relapse into insensibility.

"She must have immediate attention, or she will perish!" I exclaimed, and I bent vigorously to the oar. Barney steered, and I never for an instant raised my eyes from the sweet pale face before me until my boat grated on the strand.

Never have I seen so purely beautiful a countenance as was hers. It seemed to me to be the mortal vesture chosen by one of the angels of heaven to express to earthly souls all the attributes of the children of light. She was fair as the lily which has just unfolded its stainless leaves to the kisses of the sun, with hair of a bright golden hue clinging in damp curls around her slender form. Her eyes were of the color of the cloudless summer heaven, and the pale lips were so exquisitely cut that a sculptor might have been proud to copy them for his beau ideal of human loveliness. I gazed, and worshiped this creature rescued by myself from the jaws of destruction. Hitherto I had thought little of love. The specimens of the female sex in our rough settlement were, as may be supposed, not of a very attractive description. Coarse, uneducated, toil-worn women, and girls who promised in a few years to emulate their mothers in homeliness, possessed no charms for me. It is true, that in my occasional visits to the more civilized portions of my country, I saw many of the beautiful and gently nurtured, but they were placed so far above me that it would have seemed as rational to become enamored of the fairest star in heaven, and think to make it mine. But this lovely girl had been rescued by me; her life had been my gift, and she seemed of right to belong to me. All, save herself, had perished in the wreck; she was probably alone in the world, and I hugged to my soul the hope that in me, her preserver, she would find father, brother, lover, all united.

My thoughts were interrupted by the voice of my father, who had just landed with a boat-load of bales and boxes.

"How is this, Erlon?" he thundered. "Have you again dared to save life, and neglect the object of our expedition? Fool! you will yet be driven forth as a drone from the hive. The girl's dead; throw her into the sea; she will be a dainty morsel for the sharks."

The girl raised her head as he spoke, and cast a wild look around her.

"Father! oh, where is my father?" said she, in a piercing tone. "O God, let me die!" and she clasped her hands over her eyes as if to shut out the vision of the swarthy, reckless-looking men who pressed forward to gaze upon her.

"Hear her prayer," said the old man, brutally; "in with her at once! We want no witnesses against us of this night's work."

He stepped forward as if to put his threat in execution. She shivered, and shrank beneath the covering I had placed around her. I arose, and stepping between them, said,

"You must first throw me in; for, by the heaven above us, we both go together! I have your own promise for all I succeeded in saving, and I claim this waif as my own."

"Be it so," said he, sneeringly; "I always knew you to be an idiot. A profitable adventure, truly, this is likely to prove to you."

"I am satisfied with it, at all events," I [Pg 212]replied, and he strode away. I then turned to the young girl, and said in as soft a tone as I command,

"Fear nothing, beautiful being. I am rough in appearance, but my heart is in the right place. I will protect you. I will be to you a friend."

"Am I then alone?" she asked, in an accent of indescribable anguish. "Oh, why did you not suffer me to perish with the rest? Wretched, wretched Alice! to survive all that loved her!"

"Not all, lady, for I am here," I said, naïvely.

"You! I know you not; all—all have perished. Forgive me," she continued, seeing the blank expression of my countenance; "I know not what I say. The wretched are excusable."

"Ah!" I replied with fervor, "I am too happy in being made the instrument of serving such a being as you are to take any offense at words wrung from the over-burdened heart. Come with me, fair Alice, and I will place you in safety." I conducted her to the cottage of an old woman, who had been my nurse. Though rough and frightful, she was kindly in her nature, and I knew would do any thing to oblige me.

The narrator paused, arose, and rapidly paced the floor, his hands nervously working, and the cold drops streaming from his corrugated brow. He again threw himself upon his seat, and remained so long silent that the priest ventured to speak to him:

"My friend, time passes. The sun is going to his rest, and beyond that hour I can not remain."

"Pardon me," said the prisoner, in a subdued tone; "but the recollections that crowd on my mind madden me. Think what it is to me, the condemned, the outcast, to speak of past happiness. It is like rending apart soul and body, to dwell on bright scenes amid the profound yet palpable darkness of guilt and woe that is ever present with me. 'The heart knoweth its own bitterness,' was once quoted to me by her lips. Ah! how overwhelmingly significant is that phrase to the guilt-stricken! My God, my God! pardon and forgive; for thou knowest the provocation."

The priest breathed a few words of consolation and hope, and again the bitter waves of anguish rolled back from his soul, and left him calm. He sat a few moments silent, as if recalling the scenes he was about to depict; his brow cleared, his eyes lighted up with love and joy. For a few moments the magic of the happy past seemed to hold complete sway over his mind. He continued:

Heretofore my character had been undeveloped. The master-passion was required to show me my true nature. As the warmth of the sun is needful to give life and beauty to the productions of earth, so the soul of man remains in its germ until love has aroused and expanded his being into the more perfect state of existence. All the better feelings of my nature were brought into action, for I loved a being far superior to myself; one who I felt would long ere this have perished in the atmosphere of evil in which I had been reared. Until I knew this pure girl I had never felt all the degradation, the debasing effects of my mode of life; but now I blushed before her, and resolved to rescue myself from my associates and become worthy of her.

Alice was many weeks recovering from the shock she had sustained, and the subsequent exposure. During that time a portion of our men, headed by my father, had perished in one of their expeditions. I thus became by hereditary descent the head of the village. In pursuance of my recent determinations, I at once delegated my authority to a nephew of my nurse, the same Reardon on whose body I have since perpetrated such fell revenge as he merited. I learned from Alice that the ship was bound for New York, from Liverpool, and five hundred souls were on board when she struck. And must so many perish to bring thee to my side? was my thought; for I felt that she was the guardian angel sent to save me from utter destruction.

For many days after the storm bodies were washed on shore, which were thrown into one common grave. Among them I recognized the father of Alice, and gave him sepulture with my own hands. I selected a small headland which sloped gradually toward the sea; the green sward was shaded by a single thorn-tree, beneath whose shelter I placed the grave of the unfortunate stranger. When Alice had sufficiently recovered to walk to the spot, I led her thither, and pointed out the mound which marked his resting-place. She thanked me with many tears, and from that hour I date the commencement of my interest in her heart.

On that spot I learned the simple history of Alice. Her father was an officer on half-pay in the British army. He had no influential connections, and never rose beyond the rank of lieutenant. A severe wound received in the battle of Waterloo affected his health so seriously that he was compelled to retire from active service; but his pension supported himself and his only child in comfort. As his health, however, visibly declined, he anxiously contemplated the future fate of his daughter; and after mature reflection resolved to visit the United States in search of a brother who had emigrated to that country many years before, and had there accumulated a fortune. Alice said she had no other relatives except the family of this uncle. In the wide world she was alone, without the means of reaching him, even if she could have remembered the place of his abode. Many of her father's effects had been saved, but among them were no letters or papers which gave any information relative to the residence of Mr. Crawford.

During the illness of Alice I had busied myself in preparing for her an abode removed a short distance from the village. About half a[Pg 213] mile from the sea stood a lonely and deserted cottage, sheltered by several fine trees. The rank grass had overgrown the walks in the garden, and the few shrubs which some unknown hand had planted around the house, had spread in wild luxuriance over the miniature lawn. I put every thing in order myself. The ruined portico was securely propped, and the graceful vine made to trail its foliage over the rustic pillars which supported it. Among the accumulated stores of my deceased father, concealed in vaults constructed for the purpose, I sought the richest carpets for the floor, and the most beautifully-wrought fabrics, with which the mildewed walls were hung. I made a visit to a distant town, and secretly purchased every article of luxury which could be desired in the household of the most delicately-nurtured of Fashion's daughters.

When Vine Cottage, as I named the place, was ready for the reception of its mistress, I secretly induced old Elspeth to remove thither; and after spending an hour of sweet communion at her father's grave, I persuaded Alice to walk with me in the direction of the cottage. As we drew near it, she expressed her admiration of its simply elegant appearance, and seemed surprised to find so neat a residence in such a vicinity.

"A friend of mine lives here, dear Alice," said I; "let us visit her."

Alice acquiesced with an air of interest, and I led her forward. Elspeth met us at the door. I will not attempt to describe her astonishment and delight when she found that this charming place was to be her future abode. She turned her beautiful eyes on me, humid with tears, and said:

"You must be the possessor of Aladdin's wonderful lamp to accomplish so much in so short a time. But, no, I wrong you, Erlon; perseverance and affection are the true sources of what you have here accomplished. I can never sufficiently thank you, my friend, my brother!"

"No, not a brother," said I, abruptly; "I love you far better than a brother."

Elspeth had left us, and I poured forth my passion with eloquence inspired by its own intensity. I ended by saying:

"I do not ask you to live forever in this horrible neighborhood. Since I have known you I have ceased to be a wrecker. Never since that eventful night have I gone forth with the band, and from the hour of my father's death his authority has been given by me into the hands of my namesake, Erlon Reardon."

Alice slightly shuddered at the mention of his name, but at the moment I was so absorbed in my own feelings that I did not observe her emotion. She answered my passionate declaration, as nearly as I can remember, in the following words, pronounced with a sweet seriousness which was very impressive:

"I will not deny, Erlon, that your delicate kindness, from one from whom I could least have expected it, has made a deep impression on my feelings; and that impression is perhaps heightened by my forlorn and destitute condition. But I can not conceal from you that I will never consent to marry a man who has, only through his passion for me, torn himself from a pursuit opposed alike by the laws of God and humanity. Your sorrow for the past must come from a higher source. Your soul must be bowed in humility before the throne of Him whose commands you have outraged, and your life must show the effects of your repentance, before I would dare to trust my earthly lot in your keeping."

"What more can I do?" I bitterly asked. "I was born and have been reared in darkness, and if I am willing to accept the light which first shone on my benighted path through your agency, do I not manifest a desire to improve?"

"But I fear that you regard the weak instrument more than Him who threw me in your way," she replied, with a faint smile. "But let us not misunderstand each other, Erlon. I joyfully accept the mission which has been appointed me. I see so much in you that is excellent, so much that is noble, that to me it will be a delightful task to assist you in overcoming the evil which is naturally foreign to your soul. The day will arrive when I can with confidence place my hand in yours as your wife, even as I now give it as your plighted bride."

I rapturously received it; but after a vain attempt to repress my feelings, I entreated her to wed me then, and I would never cease striving after the excellence she wished me to attain. But on that score she was obdurate. Her hand must be the reward of my entire reformation, not the precursor of it.

From that period I spent the greater portion of my time with Alice. She was passionately fond of reading, and, what few women are, an excellent classic scholar. She accounted for this by informing me that her father had been originally designed for the church, and was educated with that view; but afterward rebelled against the parental decree, and entered the army. He was a passionate admirer of the old authors, and imparted to his daughter his own knowledge of, and exceeding love for their beauties.

Among the things cast on shore from the ship was a box of Mr. Crawford's treasured books, and to them I added such modern works as were most congenial to the taste of Alice. I have mentioned that my education had not proceeded much beyond its first elements, and now for the first time did I begin to appreciate the intense enjoyment found in literary pursuits. I studied deeply, and was soon competent to converse with my mistress on the beauties of her favorite authors. We then read together, and I sought, while reading aloud the impassioned strains of the poet, to express by the varied intonations of my voice the tender and[Pg 214] soul-thrilling emotions with which my listener inspired me; for I felt when near her an ineffable satisfaction, as if the soul had found its better part, and the being that was needed to complete my existence was beside me. A holy calm pervaded my whole being—springing not from the dull listlessness which falls over the stupid or inert, but from the fullness of content. The assurance that I was making myself daily more worthy to claim this beloved girl as my own, spread through my soul a delicious, all-pervading sense of uninterrupted happiness. No man, however rough, could thus associate with a delicate and refined woman without acquiring some of the elegance which distinguished her. I imperceptibly lost the clownish air which had so often bitterly mortified me; and as my perceptions became more acute I saw in my own manners all that could render me repulsive, and hastened to correct it.

Ah! if Alice would then have married me, all the horror, all the wretchedness which has ensued might have been avoided! But I must not anticipate.

Eighteen months passed thus, and again I urged Alice to listen to my prayers for an immediate union. She replied:

"The time has now arrived when I can express to you the scruples which still fill my mind. Your perceptions are now so correct that I believe you will feel with me that it is wrong for you to retain the wealth your father's pursuit enabled him to accumulate."

"I have thought of this," said I; "but how could it possibly be returned to its rightful owners? Besides, much of it is legally the right of those who rescued it from the ocean at the risk of life. All was not purchased at so fearful a price as when you—"

She interrupted me gently: "It matters not how obtained, Erlon; its possession will bring with it a curse. I can not consent to enjoy property the loss of which, perhaps, consummated the ruin of its rightful owners. You might think, perhaps, that for nearly two years past I have very quietly submitted to this; but the object I had in view in rescuing a human being, capable of better things, from such a life, was my motive; and to my mind it seemed good. But now we must leave this place. Your duty leads you to a higher sphere, where you must seek the means of a more honorable support. While you do this, I will obtain a home among the Sisters of Charity in Dublin, and in acts of mercy and kindness pass the time until you are in circumstances to claim me as your wife."

"No, no! dear Alice, you must not expose yourself to such privations as are endured by those excellent women. I will go forth and seek independence, but you must remain with my good Elspeth; she loves me as a mother, and will watch over you for my sake."

"I can not remain when you leave," said Alice, quietly, but decisively.

I pressed her so earnestly for her reason, and opposed her wish to go so strongly, that she at length said, with great reluctance:

"If you will not be satisfied without a reason, I must give you the true one, Erlon; but promise me that you will not give way to anger."

I gave the desired promise, and she then said in a low tone:

"I should not feel quite safe here in your absence. The nephew of Elspeth, in spite of his knowledge of our engagement, often intrudes himself in my presence, and speaks of his passion for me in words that sometimes terrify me."

I started up in irrepressible wrath:

"Cowardly rascal! I will instantly punish him!"

"Nay, remember your promise, dearest Erlon," said Alice, in her softest tone. I was instantly calmed, so magical was her influence over me, and I seated myself by her side. Our plans were then talked over, and definitely arranged. I proposed to go at once to Dublin, and with a sum of money which had been hoarded by my father, get into some mercantile employment, for which I considered myself well fitted. I promised Alice that so soon as I could possibly spare such a sum the whole amount I had taken from my father's stores should be placed in the hands of a competent person to be dispensed in charities, thus clearing myself of all participation in the fruits of his crimes. She was to obtain an asylum with the Sisters of Charity, as she had proposed; for she steadily refused to be any longer dependent on me until the period had arrived when she should become my wife.

Our intentions were silently but quickly put into execution; and on the third morning after our consultation every thing was in readiness for our departure. Until the carriage I had sent for by a trusty person was at the door, even Elspeth remained in ignorance of our intended flitting. I then sought the village, and announced to the people my final departure. They heard me in silence; the majority of them had already looked on me as one extirpated from their band.

In spite of the change in me, some of the old leaven still remained; and I could not refrain from giving a parting blow to Reardon for having dared to raise his eyes to the object of my adoring love. There had been a feud existing from boyhood between him and a young man named Casey, both born and reared to their present mode of life; and when I withdrew from the command which devolved on me at my father's death, there had been a struggle between the two as to which should assume the authority I resigned. Reardon applied to me, and, as the nephew of my nurse, I preferred him as my successor. As my last act among the villagers I now reversed that decision, and appointed Ira Casey as the representative of my hereditary right. I turned away amid the acclamations of Casey's partisans, and Reardon[Pg 215] approached me. His face was pale with concentrated passion, and in his eyes was an expression that for one moment made even my strong nerves quiver. His voice was scarcely above a whisper, but it was peculiarly distinct:

"Though the same arm had enfolded us in infancy, though the same mother had nursed us, I would still have sworn toward you inextinguishable hatred for this cowardly act. If you had left me in peace, I should have forgotten the blue-eyed daughter of the Briton, and have suffered you to live in happiness. But now, in your hour of brightest hope, remember Reardon, and let his name send a thrill of fear to your soul; for I solemnly swear to you to destroy that happiness, if it should cost me my life!"

I laughed aloud, and turned off, saying:

"I defy thee, braggart! The whole village knows how much Erlon Reardon is given to boasting of his future exploits."

"Call it a boast, if you will; but to you it shall yet become a terrible reality."

"Do your worst!" I replied, with a sneer, and hastily waving an adieu to the assembled throng, I hurried toward "Vine Cottage," and in a few moments was borne away from —— forever.

Knowing the catastrophe which has since occurred, you will be surprised to hear that I really had no fear of the machinations of Reardon. I knew him to be a great braggart, as I had said; and his threats against those who offended him were a standing jest in the village, for they had never in any instance been fulfilled. My taunt perhaps stung him into the accomplishment of his words to me; or his passion for Alice was so great as to urge him onward in wrecking her happiness, sooner than see her mine.

Reardon possessed a talent which had frequently afforded me much amusement, and I had never thought of the evil influence it might enable him to wield over those who were not on their guard against him. He was an admirable ventriloquist, and an excellent mimic. Often have I been startled by his voice sounding so exactly like an echo of my own that the nicest ear must have been deceived. We were nearly the same size and not unlike in features, and he could mimic my walk and air so accurately that, by a dim light, my best friend would have declared the counterfeit the true man. Alice was not aware of this, and to spare her some uneasiness I never mentioned the threat of Reardon. From these simple causes sprang all the evil that afterward ensued. Are we not indeed the blind puppets of a fate that is inevitable?

"My son," said the mild voice of the priest, "we make our own fate, and the shadows which darken our path are thrown from the evil passions of our nature. Had you left Reardon to his wild command, you had not now been here, his condemned executioner."

"True, true; but I must hasten. The remaining part of my unhappy story must be told in as few words as possible, or I shall madden over its recital."

We went to Dublin, and put our mutual plans in execution. I was successful beyond my hopes, and anticipated our union at the end of my first year in the capital. I entered into partnership with a substantial trader, and after several months I was compelled to go over to England on business. An advantageous opening for a branch of our trade presented itself in one of the sea-port towns in that country, and I was reluctantly compelled to take charge of it. It was impossible for Alice to leave Ireland until the year had expired for which she had assumed the garb of a Sister of Charity; and though we both repined at our separation, we were compelled to submit to the fate which parted us. We wrote frequently, and it was mutually arranged that at the end of her probation we should be united.

As the time of our union drew near, I was so pressed with affairs of the last importance to my future prosperity, that I found it impossible to leave home long enough to visit Ireland and claim my bride. I wrote to Alice, informing her of the circumstances which detained me; and requested her to take the first packet for Liverpool, where I would meet her and have every thing in readiness for our immediate marriage. A vessel would be in waiting to convey us to my residence, so soon as the ceremony was performed. I sent this letter by my confidential clerk, who, I afterward found, was in the pay of my dire enemy. The answer duly came, promising to be punctual; and words can convey to you no idea of my happiness. "Another week, and she will be mine!" I repeated a thousand times.

I made every arrangement that could promote her comfort; and having chartered a vessel for the purpose, set out with a light heart. The captain of my craft proved, as I then thought, very stupid in the navigation of his vessel; but I afterward knew that he had been bribed to delay my arrival. I did not reach Liverpool until many hours after I should have been married. I hurried with breathless haste to the hotel, and inquired for Miss Crawford. The answer which I there received almost paralyzed me:

"A lady of that name was married here last evening at eight o'clock, and immediately embarked with her husband in a ship bound for America."

"Married! Who then was her husband?" I knew at once; but I need not repeat to you all my frenzied inquiries, nor the dark certainty which fell on my soul that Reardon was the cause of this terrible catastrophe!

He again paced the floor in deep agitation.

"Yes, yes!" he continued; he came indeed in my hour of brightest hopes! I will now tell you what I subsequently heard from the lips of the dying Alice; for once again we met face to face, and I beheld upon her brow the impress[Pg 216] of approaching death, and thanked God that it was so. I could without tears lay her in the silent earth, knowing that her pure spirit was with angels; but it rived my soul with unutterable pangs to know that she was the wife of such a wretch as Reardon.

On the night of my expected arrival in Liverpool, Reardon, who was kept informed of all my plans by my perfidious clerk, personated me with such success that even Alice was deceived. He met her in a room very dimly lighted, and under the pretense that he was very much hurried by the captain, who wished to avail himself of wind and tide in his favor, he wore his cloak ready for instant departure. His hair was of the same color, and disposed as I always wore mine; he spoke to her in her lover's voice, and Alice, hurried, agitated, half-blinded by her tears, doubted not that I was beside her. The license was handed to the clergyman, who hurried over the ceremony, and within half an hour after Reardon's appearance at the hotel, they were on board a ship which was ready to sail immediately. They remained on deck until the vessel was many miles from land; and when Reardon felt himself secure in the avowal of his villainy, he resolved to exult in the anguish of his victim. He entered her state-room, and seating himself before her, said:

"Alice Crawford, you acknowledge yourself my lawful wife in the sight of heaven, and you have willingly come on board this ship to accompany me to my home?"

"Assuredly, dear Erlon; why such questions?" said Alice.

"Erlon? yes, Erlon is the name I bear in common with him who is dear to you; and from him have I stolen you. Behold!"

He dropped the cloak, threw of his hat, and stood before her. Alice uttered an exclamation, and fell fainting from her seat. Oh, had she then died! But no; she revived, to know and feel the full bitterness of her lot. Vain were her pathetic entreaties; vain her protestations that she would never consider herself as his wife. In reply to the first he said:

"I love you quite as well as Purcel, and you must make up your mind to fulfill the vows you have this night uttered." And to her threat to appeal to the captain and passengers, and state the diabolical deception he had practiced, he replied:

"I have provided for every contingency, madam. The captain believes you to be my insane wife, whom I am taking to New York on a visit to your parents, in the hope that the sight of your native home may benefit your mind. I have already anticipated your story, and represented it as the vagary of a disordered intellect. My arrangements are all made, and you leave this state-room no more until we reach New York. Withdraw your affections as speedily as possible from Purcel, and centre them on your lawful husband, or it may be worse for you."

Fancy the torture of such a situation to a high-principled and sensitive girl! Reardon was true to his word, and her story was listened to incredulously by the maid, the only person beside himself who was allowed access to her during the voyage. By the time they reached New York her spirit was completely broken, and her health in an alarming state of decay. This enraged Reardon, and he brutally reproached her with grieving over my loss. Indeed, I believe he sometimes proceeded beyond reproaches toward his helpless and now uncomplaining victim. She bore it all in silence, for she felt that death would soon release her from the sufferings she endured.

On their arrival in this city Reardon procured a house, and set his servant as a spy on her during his absence from home. Alice made an attempt to escape from his power, determined to throw herself on the protection of the first person she met who looked as if he might give credence to her story. The servant followed and brought her back to her prison, and when Reardon returned, his anger knew no bounds. Then I know he struck her, for she fell with violence against the sharp corner of a table; and that blow upon her breast hastened the doom that was already impending over her.

To die with him was horrible, and she next found means, through the agency of an intelligent child, who sometimes played beneath her window to send to one of the city papers a letter containing an advertisement addressed to her unknown uncle. She knew that Reardon never read any thing, and equally well, that there was little danger of being discovered by him in this last effort to escape from the horrible thralldom in which she was held.

Several weeks rolled away—weeks of sickening doubts and harrowing fears; but, at length, the hour of her rescue came. One morning, shortly after Reardon had left the house, a carriage stopped before the door, containing an elderly lady and gentleman, who inquired for Alice. It was her uncle and his wife, and after hearing her story he instantly removed her to his hotel, from whence in another hour they started for his residence in the interior of the State, thus eluding all chances of discovery by Reardon.

It was a mere chance that the advertisement had reached Mr. Crawford. When it did, he lost no time in seeking his brother's daughter, and offering her his protection. Alice felt assured that I would follow her, and she yearned to behold me once more, before her eyes closed forever in this world. Yes, she was dying of a broken heart, while I madly plowed the ocean in pursuit of her destroyer. The ship was detained by long calms, and I bowed in abject supplication to the God of the storm, to send us wind that might waft me to the land I so ardently desired to behold. At last, haggard from intense suffering, and half-maddened with the fever of my mind, I stood upon the sod of the New World.

I at once sought out the post-office, for I knew if still living, Alice would there have deposited a[Pg 217] clew to her abode. I found a letter from her uncle directing me to his residence, and the last words sent a cold and sickening thrill through my soul: "Come as soon as this reaches you, if you would find Alice alive; her only desire is now to behold you," he wrote. The letter bore the date of the previous month. If I could but see her again, I felt that I could resign her; but to behold no more the being who had become so knit to my very existence; to find the grave closed over that form of unequaled beauty, was a thought which made my brain whirl and my blood grow cold. I learned the route to——, near which place was Mr. Crawford's residence. I took my seat in the first stage-coach which left for that town, and was borne toward my dying Alice. I can not tell you how the day and night which I spent on the road passed. I know that my mind was not perfectly clear; but one idea filled it: Alice, dead or dying, and I condemned to live forever alone. In this wide and breathing world, so filled with human aspirations and human hopes, I felt myself doomed to wander without ties and without sympathy. Then came the image of him who had thus desolated my path, and at once a fixed resolve filled my mind.

When we stopped, I mechanically ate, because I feared that without nourishment the unnatural tension of my nerves might incapacitate me from going through with the trying ordeal which awaited me. I at length reached the house. I dismounted at the gate, and walked up the avenue. My feet seemed glued to the ground, and I faltered like a drunken man, as I slowly drew near the portico, afraid to learn that I had arrived too late.

A gentleman met me at the door, and my parched lips syllabled the name of Alice. He read the question I would have asked, in my agonized and distorted countenance. "She lives," he said, and led me toward her apartment.

The doors were all wide open, for it was summer, and in a darkened room, on a bed whose snowy drapery was scarcely whiter than her face, lay my adored Alice in a calm slumber. I approached and leaned over her: then I could mark the ravages which suffering had made on her sweet features; but I read on her tranquil brow, and in the subdued expression of her small mouth, that the angel of peace had folded his wings over her departing spirit. I felt that her trust in a higher Power had subdued the bitterness of approaching death, and I prayed fervently to be enabled even then to say: "My God, not my will, but Thine be done;" but my rebellious heart would not thus be schooled. A moment I dared to ask why she, who loved all human beings, would turn aside from her path to spare the meanest insect that crawls, should have this unutterable load of suffering laid upon her? My burning tears fell over her; I knew not that I wept, until she unclosed her eyes, and wiped from her cheek a lucid drop which had fallen there. She gazed upon me with a radiant smile; a bright gleam from the heaven to which she was hastening seemed to shine over her lovely countenance, and she stretched forth her emaciated hands to me:

"Ah, I dreamed this. I knew you would come. Heaven is kind to permit another earthly meeting, before I go hence. My beloved Erlon, you are just in time!"

She turned to her uncle, and requested him to leave us alone for a brief space. The old gentleman withdrew, and I then listened to the narrative of her sufferings.

The whirlwind, in its greatest might, is the only fitting type of the wild thoughts and bitter purposes which filled my mind. In the darkest recess of my soul I registered a vow to seek Reardon over the world, until I had signally avenged her wrongs, my own blighted manhood, and darkened future.

Alice then spoke of mercy and peace to all men, and conjured me for my own sake to spare her destroyer. I heard without accurately comprehending her. My future course was irrevocably determined, and with that stupefaction which only the extreme of mental suffering can produce, I listened to her dying words.

In two hours after my arrival the family was called in to receive her last farewell. I supported her upon my breast, which no longer heaved with the wild pulsations of anguish that had so long thrilled in every throb of my heart. No; the worst was known, and above my great sorrow arose the intense and burning desire for revenge. Two great emotions can not exist together: one must succumb to the other.

Alice comprehended something of what was passing in my mind, and almost with her last breath she murmured: "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord."

I muttered: "Ay; but He often chooses earthly instruments by which to accomplish it."

She died; and imprinting a last kiss upon her pale lips, I left the house: I could not remain to perform the last rites to her precious remains.

I wandered in the woods in communion with the spirit of the dead, until the returning stage arrived. I was then borne to the scene of anticipated retribution. It was midnight when I reached New York. I felt that I could not rest: in such a condition of feverish excitement, motion was the only state I could bear, and I hurriedly paced the streets, arranging in my mind the means of discovering my doomed enemy. Day was just beginning to dawn when I passed the open door of an oyster-cellar, from which two men were emerging. A voice spoke which made my blood bubble in my veins. It was Reardon. He said, "I shall leave to-day, or that fool Purcel will be on my track. If that girl had not played me such a trick, I should long since have been buried in the far West, where I would have defied him to find me. I have fooled away too much time in trying to seek her out."

[Pg 218]He stepped on the pavement. At that moment a line of rosy light shot upward from the rising sun, and streamed full on my pale and determined countenance. Reardon recoiled and drew his knife from his breast. Not a word was spoken; we rushed on each other, and I sheathed my dagger in his traitorous heart.

The prisoner ceased, and the priest said emphatically: "Your life must be saved, my son. I must now leave you, but you shall hear from me ere long."

We will only add that all the facts of the case being taken into consideration, the sentence of Erlon Purcel was finally changed to imprisonment for ten years. His good conduct caused that time to be reduced to half the term. Once more free, he went to St. Louis, and there joined a band of trappers bound for the far West. Let us hope that in the eternal forest, far from the haunts of civilized men, he has repented of the crime he committed, and found that peace and trust in the future which is Life's most precious possession.



PREVIOUSLY to the introduction of Birmingham and Sheffield manufactures into the Indian market, the weapons used in war and hunting were of an exceedingly primitive kind. Instead of rifles, scalping knives, tomahawks, and two-edged lances of polished steel, the North American brave possessed but a short bow made of bone with twisted sinews for strings, and a quiver of flint-tipped arrows, with a stone hatchet, comprised his whole stand-of-arms. As a matter of course, the more destructive kinds of instruments introduced at once increased the slaughter of the game, and, from the eagerness of the traders to exchange their goods for skins, led the Indians to destroy those animals by wholesale which formerly were killed only for food and clothing for themselves. Even at certain seasons of the year, when the fur of the buffalo is in the worst possible condition, it has been known for vast herds to be exterminated merely for their tongues, which would be bartered for a few gallons of villainous whisky. The numbers still ranging over the prairies are, doubtless, very great, extending from the western frontier to the western verge of the Rocky Mountains, and from the 30th to the 55th degree of north latitude; but, as if the end was fixed for the extermination of this the principal provision of the Indian, with the Indian himself, they are rapidly becoming thinned, and in a few years it is highly probable that a buffalo, in its native state, will be as rare on the American continent as a bustard is in our own island.

It is worthy of a passing reflection to glance at the particular purposes for which the buffalo was assigned: to supply the three chief temporal wants of the Indian, as they are those of the white man—food, raiment, and lodging. The flesh affords ample provision, the skin robes for clothing, bedding, and covering to his wig-wam, while, as a further, utility, the hoofs are melted into glue to assist him in fabricating his shield, arrows, and other necessary articles for savage life. It may, therefore, be imagined that the buffalo is indispensable to the Indian's simple existence; for, whatever may have been said and written concerning schemes for his civilization, I am quite certain that, from his innate indolence, love of roving, fierce passions, and unconquerable desire for the excitement of war and hunting, nothing can be more impossible than that any such attempts should meet with a different result than positive defeat. Indeed, the American government, and various religious sects, actuated by the purest philanthropy, have dispatched agents and missionaries to the different tribes, with unflagging perseverance, in the hope of reclaiming the red man from his present degenerated condition; but to no purpose. He adopts the vices of civilization with the greatest readiness, and meets with the most accomplished tutors in the persons of the traders and trappers by whom he is surrounded; but he can not comprehend either the temporal or eternal happiness offered through the medium of Christianity. Ribald as the statement may appear, I have heard an Osage declare, with much seriousness, that "nothing could seem to him less inviting than what the pale face called heaven, and if he was to go there he should not know how to pass his time." With these unsophisticated notions, and the plain, blunt questions with which the Indiana are accustomed to examine all theological matters, it may readily be supposed that a minister of the Gospel would find considerable difficulty in obtaining many proselytes to the true faith.

In the vicinity of St. Louis I once witnessed a most ridiculous scene, wherein a camp preacher, and one of the good old school, thundered forth the evil consequences of not listening to what he was saying with reverence, and, surrounded by Indians of various tribes, the good man, mounted on a primitive rostrum seat, dealt liberally in the terrors of the church, while he offered a niggardly allowance of hope even to the best, always excepting himself. For a time the motley crowd seemed disposed to assume a becoming deportment; but when the preacher went into the particulars of the fiery ordeal, prepared alike for sinners of all ages, sizes, and complexions, a roar of laughter broke simultaneously from the lips of each, and the shouts of mirth drowning his voice, left him violently gesticulating; and, at length, waxing warmer at the reception his homily met with, he began to foam at the mouth with frantic rage, and a more distant likeness to Him who bore contumely with meekness never opened to unwilling ears and stubborn hearts.

We were now on the verge of the upper prairies, no longer enameled with flowers and flowering plants, but covered with a short, coarse, herbage called "buffalo grass," on which the buffalo loves to feed. These hunting grounds are far easier to ride over, from being free of[Pg 219] vines and entangling shrubs which interlace each other in impenetrable masses, although the yawning clefts, made by the water courses, the wallows caused by the buffaloes forming baths for themselves by ripping the earth open with their heads in soft, oozy spots, and the burrowing of that sharp and watchful little animal the prairie dog, cause both horse and horseman to run considerable risk when taking a spin over the flat. Hill and dale, bluff and level, the landscape broke upon the eye in one of those infinite and fruitful wastes, which strikes the mind with awe at its grand and boundless scale.

The serious object of the expedition was now on the eve of being realized, and the land of promise being gained, every preparation had been made the succeeding morning for a regular buffalo hunt. In addition to my rifle and pistols, I carried a long lance with the shaft made of the toughest ash. This weapon I found rather unwieldy and awkward, and saw how different it looked in the hands of my companions; but Hawkeye insisted that it was indispensable, an I could not attempt the use of bow and arrow.

Stripped of all superfluous garments, and fully equipped for the expedition, my companions mounted their horses, with their lassos uncoiled and trailing upon the ground, as invariably is the rule in war or hunting, for the purpose of facilitating the re-capture of the animal should an unlucky separation take place between the rider and his saddle. Alike eager for the sport, both horses and men seemed to be moved by a desire to let no "impotent delay" stand between them and the consummation of their hopes, and, as we moved forward to give chase to the herds which were known to be in the vicinity, I thought that a finer set of Osage hunters, albeit the last of the race, never, perhaps, drew a bowstring or couched a lance. Indeed, nothing can be conceived handsomer than they looked, as, with their bronzed chests and finely-developed limbs exposed, they sat upon their plunging horses like statues of faultless mould. A few had decorated their bits and bridles with blue and scarlet tassels, and not the least of the most gayly-decked was my retainer Hawkeye's, who appeared disposed to be equally conspicuous in field, or tent, or lady's bower.

It was now that I rued the luckless mishap which cost me Sunnyside, and learned—alas! not for the first time—the true value of lessons taught by experience. For knowing how much depends upon their horses, in expeditions of this kind, the Indians take the greatest care in running no unnecessary risks with them, although when in the ardor of the chase they ride like demons, and reck little of danger to life and limb.

As my wild colt had successfully given me the slip at the moment of anticipating his services in carrying me "to buffalo," I was fain to depend still upon Nigger, who, Hawkeye swore by the shades of his fathers, would outstrip the best of the herd, "if I only drove my spurs well in and held them there." Certes, this was a fair specimen of Indian treatment to the horse, more particularly should his master be in possession of the white man's instruments of torture and control. Delighted with making an exhibition of his horsemanship, and totally regardless of the maddening effects of bit and spurs, the Indian is never at rest with them, but keeps both at work with relentless rigor and perseverance. Among the red man's virtues, humanity to the brute creation, or indeed to those of his own kind, can not be classed with an approach to truth.

Without evincing any emotions of deep chagrin, Adonis was left behind to guard such goods, chattels, and provisions as would have proved useless to have been carried forward, and as it was expected that we should be enabled to return to the encampment before night-fall, he was directed to hold all things in readiness, and more especially to withstand temptation in keeping his mouth from the bung of my nearly exhausted whisky-keg. In an extended line, or by the familiar description of Indian file, we began this march as usual just at ruddy daybreak, and were not far advanced on the great prairie stretching before us like a vast and limitless ocean, when Blackwolf, who headed the force, reined in his dark iron-gray steed with a sudden jerk which sent him nearly upon his haunches. In an instant all was commotion. Arrows were drawn from their quivers, bow-strings tried and thrummed, lances poised, and every eye directed to the spot on which the chief fixed his earnest and flashing gaze.

Not two miles distant, and grazing in fancied security on a piece of table land as level as a bowling-green, a large herd of buffalo was descried, looking at the distance like so many black specks on the waste. Some I could perceive were lying down, and the scene altogether may be compared, without violence to the imagination, to what the tourist may witness by the aid of railways, within a few hours of the metropolis, in a canter across Dartmoor or Exmoor, and where no dread exists of Pawnees and Camanches.

It was decided that we should head the herd, and endeavor to drive them back toward the encampment, in order to save as little time and trouble as possible in getting the meat and skins to that quarter. In prosecuting this scheme we had to make a wide circle from the direct course, and, indeed, it would have been impossible to approach them in any other way, as we were down the wind, and their powers of scent, like those given to the denizens of the wild in general, are of the most acute order.

"You know, major," observed Hawkeye, as he turned our horses considerably to the left, for for the purpose of covering our circumventing manœuvre under the screen of two lines of[Pg 220] bluffs running parallel with each other, "You know, major," repeated he, with a sly twinkle of satire in his snake-like eyes, "for all de Britishers dat come here say you know to every thing, dat buffalo smell Indian mile off. No see far; but smell—Hah! no saying how far buffalo smell."

Taking every precaution to prevent an exercise of these powers upon the force now approaching their precincts, our head and front of the party, Blackwolf led us, with consummate generalship, close to the rear of the unsuspecting animals, and we were upon them without a single head being disturbed. At first, as we gave ourselves to view from behind the bluffs, a few of the nearest jerked up their heads, and after a stare, remarkable for its brevity, erected their tufted tails over their backs and moved off not rapidly, but evidently preparing for a bolt. This example was soon followed by several others; but as the main body, consisting of upward of a hundred, still remained undisturbed, the signal for attack was reserved, as the first object in buffalo-hunting appears to be precisely that in our own glorious fox-hunting—to get on good terms with the chase. Cautiously, and restraining the ardent and fierce spirit of our horses to keep within the compass of control, we still slowly advanced in a double line, while many of the animals knowing, like an old seasoned English hunter when he catches a glimpse of the pack at the meet, the fun in preparation, pulled with might and main and almost defied the stalwart tug upon their jaws.

The pickets having been driven in, I noticed an animal of striking appearance surrounded by a knot of others, suddenly throw up his head, and elevating his tail simultaneously with his pericranium, wheel suddenly in an opposite direction and gallop away, doubtlessly, as fast as his legs and hoofs would carry him.

This praiseworthy precedent of self-preservation was immediately adopted by the entire family, and the patriarch, leading the way, found ready followers at a pace corresponding with his own.

It was a moment of the most thrilling excitement of my life, as with a swoop the Indians dashed ahead, and with halter and rein dangling free, to see their horses strain their utmost powers to outstrip the fugitives, and bring them within reach of bow and lance. Nigger, I may confidently state, did his best without the aid of Hawkeye's cruel suggestion, although in a very short distance, it was conclusively obvious that he could not long live the pace we were going at. The pony, however, rattled away with his ears thrown back like a racehorse, at his final effort, and we were within a few score yards at the moment of Blackwolf's bearing close to the right side of the nearest buffalo, and drawing his bow at the moment of passing, buried the arrow to the feather. In an instant the horse wheeled to avoid the thrust which the wounded buffalo often makes; but Blackwolf's victim was stricken in a vital part, and he rolled over struggling and bleeding in the throes of deadly agony. Right and left the Indians scoured the plain in hot pursuit of the doomed and frightened animals, and never halting in the chase, but rushing from one to another as the huge beasts shouldered along in their ungainly gallop down the valleys and over the bluffs, and across huge gaping rents in the prairie, caused by the winter torrents, brought them to the ground like skittles from well-directed hands.

There appeared to be no chance for me to flesh my maiden lance, and I began to despair of adding a single head to the number slain, when I caught sight of a solitary fugitive stealing away through a stony ravine much to the left of the line which the rest had taken, and from his action I concluded that he had met with a wound which materially interfered with his speed. With an unequivocal disposition to refuse taking any other course than the one he was pursuing, Nigger began to wrestle for the mastership, and being encumbered with my lance I had some little difficulty in pricking him toward the point where the buffalo, alone in his flight, was using his best energies to escape. The pointed iron, however, prevailed, and the plucky little horse, seeing the animal scramble over a conical shaped hillock in the distance, settled himself again in his best pace, and carried me forward in winning style.

The buffalo in his stride is a most singular looking animal, pitching to and fro in heavy lumbering fashion, and yet gets over the ground much faster than he appears. From the thickness of his forehand he is any thing but speedy on rising ground; but on a level, or descent, he can play a merry bat. He is, however, no match for a horse under any circumstances, and under-sized as Nigger was, and notwithstanding the distance lost at the start, I have no doubt, had he not been crippled, but that we should have come up with the patriarch in a run of somewhat longer duration.

As it was we were, in nautical phraseology, coming up with the chase hand over hand, and after floundering through a spongy bottom, in which were several wallows of some dozen feet in diameter made by the buffaloes, I found myself near enough to try the effect of lead, and dropping my lance to trail along the ground by a thong attached to my wrist, for I was not expert enough to handle both it and my rifle, as an Indian would have done without inconvenience, I brought the barrels to bear and gave the contents of both just as Nigger's nose was on a level with the haunch of one of the largest and blackest bulls that ever ranged over a western plain.

With due regard for the preservation of himself, and possibly his rider, Nigger made an abrupt curve, and sheering off, almost at a right angle, avoided an ugly, vicious thrust, which the bull might have made much more effective than my brace of bullets, had not the sagacity of the pony taught him to avoid it. Upon reining[Pg 221] in my gallant and discreet little steed, and turning his head again toward the buffalo, I saw that he was standing still, and giving as bold a front as was ever offered to an enemy. Coming to a corresponding attitude, I deliberately reloaded my rifle, and approached him with the greatest caution; for whether he intended to wait my second attack, or plunge forward and send me and Nigger skimming to some unknown corner of the earth, appeared a matter of doubt not quite made up. After a few brief moments for reconnoitring, I urged Nigger to advance to within less than thirty paces of where the bull stood glaring at us, with his curling mane and beard sweeping below his knees, and his distended jaws dropping foam, scarlet dyed with blood. Nothing, indeed, can be imagined more ferocious than the wounded animal looked, fixing the peculiar white balls and black iris of his eyes upon us, under his shaggy frontlet, with the expression of the devil in a mood far from funny. Thinking it expedient to bring the contest to a conclusion without further waste of time, I essayed a manœuvre in order to obtain a sight at a more vulnerable part of my victim's carcass than that which, as I had been given to understand by Hawkeye, his head presented. But, as the baited grimalkin turns to the worrying cur, so did the bull turn exactly with my movements, ever presenting his head, and nothing but his head. This proving exceedingly wearisome, and quickly exhausting the slender stock of patience with which nature supplied me at my birth, I resolved to try what a shot would do in the centre of his forehead, and steadying Nigger for a moment, snapped my left barrel at him, when with the crack down he dropped, and spurring forward in the belief that I had given him his coup-de-grace, I was not a little surprised to see him again stagger to his feet, ready to receive me on his two short black horns, curved in the best possible shape for the ripping business.

Perceiving, however, that notwithstanding the last bullet had only flattened on his os frontis, he was fast sinking from the internal hemorrhage caused by the two first, which brought him to a check, I determined to expend no more valuable ammunition upon him, but inflict a final thrust or two of cold steel. Reslinging my rifle across my shoulders, I for the first time couched a lance for a deadly object, and rode at the bull's flank; but he was too quick for me, and turned as if upon a pivot. Round and round we went, Nigger, with pricked ears and nimble limbs, keeping a steady look upon the buffalo's movements, and far from liking the loud snorts of mingled rage and pain which he momentarily sent forth as we whirled about him. But the attempts of the enemy to foil our purpose grew gradually weaker, and at length, failing to twist with his former adroitness, I plunged the head of the lance to the shaft in his body, and as I plucked it out, the crimson current of his life poured forth, and falling upon his knees, he rolled over dead without a struggle.

Dismounting from Nigger, who steamed and reeked, probably from the combined effects of fear and exertion, I commenced a close inspection of my victim, and found that an arrow had passed into the fleshy part of the near thigh, not far from the hock, and, breaking within a few inches of the barbed point, left it buried there. The beast was certainly a noble specimen of the wild bull of the prairie, and might, from his huge size, patriarchal beard, and luxuriant mane, which almost imbedded his head, ears, and horns, have roved many successive years as the chieftain of his clan. But in a luckless hour the Osage hunters espied his whereabouts, and within a short half hour of the discovery, not a single head lived, not a remnant was left.

So occupied and engrossed had I been with my own sport, that I had taken no interest in what was going on with my companions; but upon making a sweep of the horizon, I perceived a few in sight, scattered here and there, evidently occupied with the carcasses of the slain. Climbing again into the saddle, I rode to the nearest, and found Firefly busily engaged in stripping a skin from a cow, and as it smoked from his bloody fingers, I must own, a slight nausea affected the regions of my stomach. Hot, naked, and fierce from excitement, the savage was tearing away at his butchering task, and I was glad to turn aside from the gory and sickening sight.

The rest, he informed me, I should find similarly employed with himself, as the whole herd was killed, and seven had fallen to his bow. He boasted of having used but a single arrow to each head; but I subsequently found this was not quite in accordance with the truth, although the first three had fallen as he described, at the first shot, and his quiver proved that many shafts had not been thrown away.

Upon leaving Firefly at his truly dirty work, I put Nigger to a gentle canter, and soon passed several carcasses of the buffaloes stretched on the greensward, where they had fallen dead, or been disabled by the arrow, and subsequently lanced by the hunters who swept in the trail of the bowmen.

Like flies collecting around carrion, so do the birds and beasts of prey hover and slink toward a scene of carnage on the prairie from every quarter, and with marvelous powers discover the spot where their feast is prepared. In incredible numbers ravens, buzzards, crows, and others of the same large family now wheeled screaming most discordantly in the air, and packs of wolves appeared, howling with impatience for the banquet. The appearance of these animals in the distance is that of a flock of sheep, being generally perfectly white; but among some dozen or fifteen occupying a bluff in the course I was taking, and howling a most dismal chorus, I perceived a jet black member, whose skin I felt desirous of possessing. It is[Pg 222] not, however, an easy task to get on close terms with a wolf, unless gorging himself, when so reluctant is he to quit his meal, that, craven-hearted as he is, he can scarcely be driven from it; but turning Nigger's head away from them, as if I intended in no way to interrupt the assembly, I suddenly brought him in an opposite direction, upon getting on a line with the yelling crew, and, spurring hard, sent them scampering at their best speed. It was a long, raking shot, but covering the knight of the sable hue, I pulled, and dropped him with a shot through the spine. He grinned most horribly, and snapped his teeth together like the rattle of castanets, as I rode up close to his side, and gave him his quietus with a pistol.

There being an insurmountable difficulty in my marking the spot where he fell, as neither tree nor bush was to be seen by which it was to be retraced, I considered it advisable to make sure of my booty by carrying it with me, and as I was not expert in flaying, I was compelled to lift the carcass, and, bearing it before me across the pony's shoulders, commenced a piece of diversion for my red-skinned friends, which lasted as long as I was with them.

Seeing a group of hunters coming toward me, I advanced to meet them, and among the foremost I distinguished the bold Hawkeye, who carried a large bale of hides in front of him, and in the same manner that I was conveying my treasure.

"Has major killed buff'lo?" inquired he; but before I could return any answer he saw the quality of my prize, and bursting into a roar of laughter, exclaimed, "Major's meat! Ha! ha! ha! Major's meat! Nice roast, major, but berry lean!"

The rest also were moved with equal mirth at the trouble I had taken of bagging a wolf, and I was twitted immensely by my facetious critics, who, had they been seen rolling on their horses, making the welkin ring with shouts of laughter, would have given a practical denial of the solemn character assigned to them by the writers of fictions for the subscribers of circulating libraries. Notwithstanding the explanation given, I was frequently reminded of the great care I bestowed upon the carcass of the black wolf, it being alleged that my intention was to eat the most savory parts, only for the discovery of the error that he did not come under the head of "game."

Their good-humor, however, but added to my own; and a balm to my vanity, supposing it stood in need of any such soothing influence, was offered in the unanimous decision, that the skin I had taken that day was the best of the herd.


THE Palace of Malmaison, though not built on a large scale, became, with the additions afterward made, a most princely residence. The hall, the billiard-room, the reception-rooms, the saloon, dining-room, and Napoleon's private apartment, occupied the ground floor, and are described as having been very delightful. The gallery was appropriated to the noblest specimens of the fine arts; it was adorned with magnificent statuary by Canova and other celebrated artists, and the walls were hung with the finest paintings. The pleasure-grounds, which were Josephine's especial care, were laid out with admirable taste; shrubs and flowers of the rarest and finest growth, and the most delicious odors were there in the richest profusion. But there is an interest far deeper than the finest landscape, or the most exquisite embellishments of art could ever impart—an interest touchingly associated with the precincts where the gifted and renowned have moved, and with the passions and affections, the joys and sorrows by which they were there agitated. It is, indeed, an interest which excites a mournful sympathy, and may awaken salutary reflection. Who, indeed, could visit Malmaison without experiencing such?

The vicissitudes experienced by some individuals have been so strange, that had they been described in a romance, it would have lost all interest from their improbability; but occurring in real life, they excite a feeling of personal concern which forever attaches to the name with which they are associated. Of this, the eventful life of Napoleon furnishes a striking example. There can not be found in the range of history one who appears to have identified himself so much with the feelings of every class and every time; nay, his manners and appearance are so thoroughly impressed on every imagination, that there are few who do not rather feel as if he were one whom they had seen, and with whom they had conversed, than of whom they had only heard and read. Scarcely less checkered than his, was the life of Josephine: from her early days she was destined to experience the most unlooked-for reverses of fortune; her very introduction to the Beauharnais family and connection with them, were brought about in a most unlikely and singular manner, without the least intention on her part, and it ultimately led to her being placed on the throne of France. The noble and wealthy family of Beauharnais had great possessions in the West Indies, which fell to two brothers, the representatives of that distinguished family; many of its members had been eminent for their services in the navy, and in various departments. The heirs to the estates had retired from the royal marine service with the title of chefs d'escadre. The elder brother, the Marquis de Beauharnais, was a widower, with two sons; the younger, the Vicomte de Beauhrnais, had married Mademoiselle Mouchard, by whom he had one son and two daughters. The brothers, warmly attached to each other from infancy, wished to draw still closer the bonds which united them, by the marriage of the Marquis's sons with the daughters of the Vicomte; and with this view, a rich plantation in St. Domingo had never been divided. The two sisters were looked on[Pg 223] as the affianced brides of their cousins; and when grown up, the elder was married to the elder son of the marquis, who, according to the prevalent custom of his country, assumed the title of Marquis, as his brother did that of Vicomte. M. Renaudin, a particular friend of the Beauharnais, undertook the management of their West India property. The Marquis, wishing to show some attention in return for this kindness, invited Madame Renaudin over to Paris, to spend some time. The invitation was gladly accepted; and Madame Renaudin made herself useful to her host by superintending his domestic concerns. But she soon formed plans for the advancement of her own family. With the marquis's permission, she wrote to Martinique, to her brother, M. Tacher de la Pagerie, to beg that he would send over one of his daughters. The young lady landed at Rochefort, was taken ill, and died almost immediately. Notwithstanding this unhappy event, madame did not relinquish the project which she had formed, of bringing about a union between the young vicomte and a niece of her own. She sent for another—and Josephine was sent. When the young creole arrived, she had just attained her fifteenth year, and was eminently attractive; her elegant form and personal charms were enhanced by the most winning grace, modesty, and sweetness of disposition. Such fascinations could not have failed in making an impression on the young man with whom she was domesticated. His opportunities of becoming acquainted with his cousin were only such as were afforded by an occasional interview at the grating of the convent, where she was being educated; so no attachment had been formed; and he fell passionately in love with the innocent and lovely Josephine. She was not long insensible to the devotion of a lover so handsome and agreeable as the young vicomte. Madame Renaudin sought the good offices of an intimate friend, to whose influence with the young man's father she trusted for the success of her project. In a confidential interview the lady introduced the subject—spoke of the ardent attachment of the young people, of the charms of the simple girl who had won his son's heart, and urged the consideration of the young man's happiness on his father, assuring him it rested on his consent to his marriage with Josephine. The marquis was painfully excited; he loved his son tenderly, and would have made any sacrifice to insure his happiness; but his affection for his brother, and the repugnance which he felt, to fail in his engagement to him, kept him in a state of the most perplexing uneasiness. At length, stating to his brother how matters stood, he found that he had mortally offended him; so deeply, indeed, did he resent the affront, that he declared he could never forget or forgive it—a promise too faithfully kept.

The affection and confidence of a whole life were thus snapped asunder in a moment. The vicomte insisted on a division of the West Indian property; and, with feelings so bitterly excited, no amicable arrangement could take place, and the brothers had recourse to law, in which they were involved for the rest of their days.

The marriage of the young people took place, and the youthful Mademoiselle Tacher de Pagerie became Vicomtesse de Beauharnais.

It is said that her husband's uncle took a cruel revenge for the disappointment, of which she had been the cause, by awakening suspicion of the fidelity of Josephine in the mind of her husband. The distracting doubts he raised made his nephew wretched; to such a degree was his jealousy excited, that he endeavored, by legal proceedings, to procure a divorce; but the evidence he adduced utterly failed, and after some time, a reconciliation took place.

The uncle died, and his daughter had in the mean time married the Marquis de Baral. So all went well with the young couple. They met with the most flattering reception at court. The vicomte, who was allowed to be the most elegant dancer of his day, was frequently honored by being the partner of the queen. And as to Josephine, she was the admired of all admirers; she was not only considered one of the most beautiful women at court, but all who conversed with her were captivated by her grace and sweetness. She entered into the gayeties of Versailles with the animation natural to her time of life and disposition.

But the sunshine of the royal circle was, ere long, clouded, and the gathering storm could be too well discerned; amusement was scarcely thought of. The States General assembled, and every thing denoted a revolutionary movement.

Josephine was an especial favorite with the queen; and in those days, dark with coming events, she had the most confidential conversations with her; all the fears and melancholy forebodings which caused the queen such deep anxiety, were freely imparted to her friend. Little did Josephine think, while sympathizing with her royal mistress, that she would herself rule in that court, and that she, too, would be a sufferer from the elevation of her situation. Her husband, the Vicomte de Beauharnais, was then called to join the army, as war had been unexpectedly declared. He distinguished himself so much, that he attained the rank of general. But in the midst of his successful career, he saw the danger which was impending, and he could perceive that not only were the days of Louis's power numbered, but he even feared that his life was not safe. His fears were unhappily fulfilled; and he himself, merely on account of belonging to the aristocracy, was denounced by his own troops, and deprived of his commission by authority, arrested, brought to Paris, and thrown into prison. It was during his imprisonment that the vicomte had the most affecting proofs of the attachment of Josephine: all the energies of her mind and of her strong affection were bent on obtaining his liberty; no means she could devise were left untried; she joined her own supplications to[Pg 224] the solicitations of friends, to whom she had appealed in her emergency; she endeavored, in the most touching manner, to console and cheer him. But the gratification of soothing him by her presence and endearments was soon denied, for she was seized, and taken as a prisoner to the convent of the Carmelites. A few weeks passed, and the unfortunate vicomte was brought to trial, and condemned to death by the revolutionary tribunal. Though natural tears fell at thoughts of parting from his wife and children, and leaving them unprotected in the world, his courage never forsook him to the last.

When the account of his execution reached Josephine she fainted away, and was for a long time alarmingly ill. It was while in prison, and every moment expecting to be summoned before the revolutionary tribunal, that Josephine cut off her beautiful tresses, as the only gift which she had to leave her children, for all the family estates in Europe had been seized, and the destruction of property at St. Domingo had cut off all supplies from that quarter. Yet, amidst her anxieties, her afflictions, and her dangers, her fortitude never forsook her, and her example and her efforts to calm them, to a degree supported the spirits of her fellow-prisoners. Josephine herself ascribed her firmness to her implicit trust in the prediction of an old negress which she had treasured in her memory from childhood. Her trust, indeed, in the inexplicable mysteries of divination was sufficiently proved by the interest with which she is said to have frequently applied herself during her sad hours of imprisonment to learn her fortune from a pack of cards. Mr. Alison mentions, that he had heard of the prophecy of the negress in 1801, long before Napoleon's elevation to the throne. Josephine herself, Mr. Alison goes on to say, narrated this extraordinary passage in her life in the following terms:

"One morning the jailer entered the chamber where I slept with the Duchesse d'Aiguillon and two other ladies, and told me he was going to take my mattress, and give it to another prisoner.

"'Why,' said Madame d'Aiguillon, eagerly, 'I will not Madame de Beauharnais obtain a better one?'

"'No, no,' replied he, with a fiendish smile, 'she will have no need of one, for she is about to be led to the Conciergerie, and then to the guillotine.'

"At these words, my companions in misfortune uttered piercing shrieks. I consoled them as well as I could; and, at length, worn out with their eternal lamentations, I told them that their grief was utterly unreasonable; that I not only should not die, but live to be Queen of France.

"'Why, then, do you not name your maids of honor?' said Madame d'Aiguillon, irritated at such expressions, at such a moment.

"'Very true,' said I; 'I did not think of that. Well, my dear, I make you one of them.'[12]

"Upon this the tears of the ladies fell apace for they never doubted I was mad; but the truth was, I was not gifted with any extraordinary courage, but internally persuaded of the truth of the oracle.

"Madame d'Aiguillon soon after became unwell, and I drew her toward the window, which opened, to admit through the bars a little fresh air. I then perceived a poor woman who knew us, and who was making a number of signs, which I could not at first understand. She constantly held up her gown (robe); and, seeing that she had some object in view, I called out robe; to which she answered, yes. She then lifted up a stone, and put it into her lap, which she lifted a second time. I called out, pierre. Upon this, she evinced the greatest joy at perceiving that her signs were understood. Joining then the stone to her robe, she eagerly imitated the motion of cutting off the head, and immediately began to dance and evince the most extravagant joy.

"This singular pantomime awakened in our minds a vague hope that possibly Robespierre might be no more.

"At this moment, while we were vacillating between hope and fear, we heard a great noise in the corridor, and the terrible voice of our jailer, who said to his dog, giving him at the same time a kick, 'Get in, you cursed Robespierre.'"

This speech told them they were saved.

Through the influence of Barras, a portion of her husband's property, in which Malmaison was included, was restored to Josephine. In this favorite abode she amused herself in exercising her taste in the embellishment of the grounds, and in the pursuit of botany; but her chief enjoyment was in the society and instruction of her children, to whom she was passionately attached. Their amiable dispositions and their talents were a source of the most exquisite pleasure to her, not, however, unmingled with regret at finding herself without the means of conferring on them the advantages of which they were so deserving. However, a better time was to come. Madame Tallien and several of Josephine's friends, after a time, prevailed on her to enter into society, and the fair associates became the principal ornaments of the directorial circle. Through their influence, revolutionary manners were reformed, and all the power which their charms and their talents gave them was exerted in the cause of humanity.

Napoleon's acquaintance with Josephine arose from the impression made on him by her son Eugène Beauharnais, then a little boy. He came to request that his father's sword, which had been delivered up, might be restored to him. The boy's appearance—the earnestness with which he urged his request, and the tears which could not be stayed when he beheld the sword, interested Napoleon so much in his favor, that not only was the sword given to him, but he determined to become acquainted with the mother[Pg 225] of the boy. He visited her, and soon his visits became frequent. He delighted to hear the details which she gave of the court of Louis.

"Come," he would say, as he sat by her side of an evening, "now let us talk of the old court—let us make a tour to Versailles." It was in these frequent and familiar interviews that the fascinations of Josephine won the heart of Napoleon. "She is," said he, "grace personified—every thing she does is with a grace and delicacy peculiar to herself."

The admiration and love of such a man could not fail to make an impression on a woman like Josephine. It has been said, that it was impossible to be in Napoleon's company without being struck by his personal appearance; not so much by the exquisite symmetry of his features, and the noble head and forehead, which have furnished the painter and the sculptor with one of their finest models; nor even by the meditative look, so indicative of intellectual power; but the magic charm was the varying expression of countenance, which changed with every passing thought, and glowed with every feeling. His smile, it is said, always inspired confidence. "It is difficult, if not impossible," so the Duchess of Abrantes writes, "to describe the charm of his countenance when he smiled;—his soul was upon his lips and in his eyes." The magic power of that expression at a later period is well known. The Emperor of Russia experienced it when he said, "I never loved any one more than that man." He possessed, too, that greatest of all charms, an harmonious voice, whose tones, like his countenance, changing from emphatic impressiveness to caressing softness, found their way to every heart. It may not have been those personal and mental gifts alone which won Josephine's heart; the ready sympathy with which Napoleon entered into her feelings may have been the greatest charm to an affectionate nature like hers.

It was in the course of one of those confidential evenings that, as they sat together, she read to him the last letter which she had received from her husband: it was a most touching farewell. Napoleon was deeply affected; and it has been said that that letter, and Josephine's emotion as she read it, had a powerful effect upon his feelings, already so much excited by admiration.

Josephine soon consented to give her hand to the young soldier of fortune, who had no dower but his sword. On his part, he gave a pledge that he would consider her children as his own, and that their interests should be his first concern. The world can testify how he redeemed his pledge! To his union with Josephine he declared he was indebted for his chief happiness. Her affection, and the interchange of thought with her, were prized beyond all the greatness to which he attained. Many of the little incidents of their every-day life can not be read without deep interest—evincing, as they do, a depth of affection and tenderness of feeling which it is difficult to conceive should ever have been sacrificed to ambition. They visited together the prison where Josephine had passed so many dreary and sad hours. He saw the loved name traced on the dank wall, by the hand which was now his own. She had told him of a ring, which she had fondly prized; it had been the gift of her mother. She pointed out to him the flag under which she had contrived to hide it. When it was taken from its hiding-place and put into her hand, her delight enchanted Napoleon. Seldom have two persons met whose feelings and whose tastes appeared more perfectly in unison than theirs, during the happy days of their wedded life. The delight which they took in the fine arts was a source of constant pleasure; and in their days of power and elevation, it was their care to encourage artists of talent. Many interesting anecdotes are related of their kind and generous acts toward them. In Josephine's manner of conferring favors, there was always something still more gratifying than the advantage bestowed—something that implied that she entered into the feelings of those whom she wished to serve. She had observed that M. Turpin, an artist who went frequently to Malmaison, had no conveyance but an almost worn-out cabriolet, drawn by a sorry horse. One day, when about to take his leave, he was surprised to see a nice new vehicle and handsome horse drawn up. His own arms painted on the panels, and stamped on the harness, at once told him they were intended for him; but this was not the only occasion on which Josephine ministered to the straitened means of the painter. She employed him in making a sketch of a Swiss view, while sitting with her, and directed him to take it home, and bring the picture to her when finished. She was delighted with the beautiful landscape which he produced, and showed it with pleasure to every visitor who came in. The artist no doubt felt a natural gratification at finding his fine work appreciated. Josephine then called him aside, and put the stipulated price in bank-notes into his hand.

"This," said she, "is for your excellent mother; but it may not be to her taste; so tell her that I shall not be offended at her changing this trifling token of my friendship, and of the gratification which her son's painting has given me, for whatever might be more acceptable."

As she spoke, she put into his hand a diamond of the value of six thousand francs.

Josephine attended Napoleon in many of his campaigns. When she was not with him, he corresponded regularly with her, and no lover ever wrote letters more expressive of passionate attachment.

"By what art is it," he says, in one of them, "that you have been able to captivate all my faculties. It is a magic, my sweet love, which will finish only with my life. To live for Josephine is the history of my life. I am trying to reach you. I am dying to be with you. What lands, what countries separate us! What a time before you read these lines!"

Josephine returned her husband's fondness[Pg 226] with her whole heart. Utterly regardless of privation and fatigue, she was ever earnest in urging him to allow her to accompany him on all his long journeys; and often, at midnight, when just setting out on some expedition, he has found her in readiness.

"No, love," he would say, "no, no, love, do not ask me; the fatigue would be too much for you."

"Oh, no," she would answer; "no, no."

"But I have not a moment to spare."

"See, I am quite ready;" and she would drive off, seated by Napoleon's side.

From having mingled in scenes of gayety from her earliest days, and from the pleasure which her presence was sure to diffuse, and perhaps, it may be added, from a nature singularly guileless, that could see no evil in what appeared to her but as innocent indulgences, she was led into expenses and frivolous gratifications which were by no means essential for a mind like hers. Dishonest tradesmen took advantage of her inexperience and extreme easiness, and swelled their bills to an enormous amount; but her greatest, and far most congenial outlay, was in the relief of the distressed. She could not endure to deny the petition of any whom she believed to be suffering from want; and this tenderness of heart was often imposed on by the artful and rapacious. Those who, from interested motives, desired to separate her from Napoleon, felt a secret satisfaction in the uneasiness which her large expenditure occasionally gave him. To their misrepresentations may be ascribed the violent bursts of jealousy by which he was at times agitated; but he was ever ready to perceive that there was no foundation to justify them. It was during one of their separations, that the insinuations of those about Napoleon excited his jealousy to such a degree, that he wrote a hasty letter to Josephine, accusing her of coquetry, and of evidently preferring the society of men to those of her own sex.

"The ladies," she says, in her reply, "are filled with fear and lamentations for those who serve under you; the gentlemen eagerly compliment me on your success, and speak of you in a manner that delights me. My aunt and those about me can tell you, ungrateful as you are, whether I have been coquetting with any body. These are your words, and they would be hateful to me, were I not certain that you see already they are unjust, and are sorry for having written them."

Napoleon's brothers strove to alienate his affections from Josephine; but the intense agony which he suffered when suspicion was awakened, must have proved to them how deep these affections were. Perhaps no trait in Josephine's character exalts it more than her conduct to the family who had endeavored to injure her in the most tender point. She often was the means of making peace between Napoleon and different members of his family with whom he was displeased. Even after the separation which they had been instrumental in effecting, she still exerted that influence which she never lost, to reconcile differences which arose between them. Napoleon could never long mistrust her generous and tender feelings, and the intimate knowledge of such a disposition every day increased his love; she was not only the object of his fondest affection, but he believed her to be in some mysterious manner connected with his destiny; a belief which chimed in with the popular superstition by which she was regarded as his good genius—a superstition which took still deeper hold of the public mind when days of disaster came, whose date commenced in no long time after the separation. The apparently accidental circumstance by which Josephine had escaped the explosion of the infernal machine was construed by many as a direct interposition of Providence in favor of Napoleon's Guardian Angel.

It was just as she was stepping into her carriage, which was to follow closely that of the First Consul to the theatre, that General Rapp, who had always before appeared utterly unobservant of ladies' dress, remarked to Josephine, that the pattern of the shawl did not match her dress. She returned to the house, and ran up to her apartment to change it for another; the delay did not occupy more than three minutes, but they sufficed to save her life. Napoleon's carriage just cleared the explosion; had Josephine's been close behind, nothing could have saved her. In the happy days of love and confidence, Malmaison was the scene of great enjoyment: the hand of taste could be discerned in all its embellishments. Napoleon preferred it to any other residence. When he arrived there from the Luxemburg or the Tuileries, he was wild with delight, like a school-boy let loose from school—every thing enchanted him, but most of all, perhaps, the chimes of the village church-bells. It may have been partly owing to the associations which they awakened. He would stop in his rambles if he heard them, lest his foot-fall should drown the sound—he would remain as if entranced, in a kind of ecstasy, till they ceased. "Ah! how they remind me of the first years I spent at Brienne!"

Napoleon added considerably to the domain of Malmaison by purchasing the noble woods of Butard, which joined it. He was in a perfect ecstasy with the improvement; and, in a few days after the purchase was completed, proposed that they should all make a party to see it. Josephine put on her shawl, and, accompanied by her friends, set out. Napoleon, in a state of enchantment, rode on before; but he would then gallop back, and take Josephine's hand. He was compared to a child who, in the eagerness of delight, flies back to his mother to impart his joy.

Nothing could be more agreeable than the society at Malmaison. Napoleon disliked ceremony, and wished all his guests to be perfectly at their ease. All his evenings were spent in Josephine's society, in which he delighted. Both possessed the rare gift of conversational powers.[Pg 227] General information and exquisite taste were rendered doubly attractive by the winning manners and sweet voice of Josephine. As for Napoleon, he appeared to have an intuitive knowledge on all subjects. He was like an inspired person when seen amid men of every age, and all professions. All thronged round the pale, studious-looking young man—feeling that "he was more fitted to give than to receive lessons." Argument with him almost invariably ended by his opponent going over to his side. His tact was such that he knew how to select the subject for discussion on which the person with whom he conversed was best informed; and thus, from his earliest days, he increased his store of information, and gave infinite pleasure by the interest which he took in the pursuits of those whom chance threw in his way. The delightful flow of his spirits showed how much he enjoyed the social evenings. He amused his guests in a thousand ways. If he sat down to cards, he diverted them by pretending to cheat, which he might have done with impunity, as he never took his winnings. He sometimes entertained them with tales composed on the moment. When they were of ghosts and apparitions, he took care to tell them by a dim light, and to prepare them by some solemn and striking observation. Private theatricals sometimes made the entertainment of the evening. Different members of Napoleon's family, and several of the guests, performed. The plays are described as having been acted to an audience of two or three hundred, and going off with great effect—every one, indeed, endeavored to acquit themselves to the best of their ability, for they knew they had a severe critic in Napoleon.

The amiable and engaging manners of Napoleon and Josephine gave to Malmaison its greatest charm. The ready sympathy of Josephine with all who were in sorrow, or any kind of distress, endeared her to every one. If any among her domestics were ill, she was sure to visit the sick-bed, and soothe the sufferer by her tenderness. Indeed, her sympathy was often known to bring relief when other means had failed. She was deeply affected by the calamity of M. Decrest. He had lost his only son suddenly by a fatal accident. The young man had been on the eve of marriage, and all his family were busy making preparations for the joyful occasion, when news of his death was brought. The poor father remained in a state of nearly complete stupor from the moment of the melancholy intelligence. All attempts to arouse him were unavailing. When Josephine was made acquainted with his alarming state, she lost not a moment in hurrying to him; and leading his little daughter by the hand, and taking his infant in her arms, she threw herself, with his two remaining children, at his feet. The afflicted man burst into tears, and nature found a salutary relief, which saved his life. In such acts Josephine was continually engaged. Nothing could withdraw her mind from the claims of the unfortunate. Her tender respect for the feelings of others was never laid aside; and with those who strove to please her she was always pleased. On one occasion, when the ladies about her could not restrain their laughter at the discordant music made by an itinerant musician, who had requested permission to play before her, she preserved a becoming gravity, and encouraged, and thanked, and rewarded the poor man. "He did his best to gratify us," she said, when he was gone: "I think it was my duty not only to avoid hurting his feelings, but to thank and reward him for the trouble which he took to give pleasure."

Such were the lessons which she impressed upon her children. She often talked with them of the privations of other days, and charged them never to forget those days amid the smile of fortune which they now enjoyed.

Josephine saw with great uneasiness the probable elevation of the First Consul to the throne. She felt that it would bring danger to him, and ruin to herself; for she had discernment enough to anticipate that she would be sacrificed to the ambition of those who wished to establish an hereditary right to the throne of the empire. Every step of his advancing power caused her deep anxiety. "The real enemies of Bonaparte," she said to Raderer, as Alison tells, "the real enemies of Bonaparte are those who put into his head ideas of hereditary succession, dynasty, divorce, and marriage. I do not approve the projects of Napoleon," she added. "I have often told him so. He hears me with attention; but I can plainly see that I make no impression. The flatterers who surround him soon obliterate all I have said." She strove to restrain his desire of conquest, by urging on him continually a far greater object—that of rendering France happy by encouraging her industry and protecting her agriculture. In a long letter, in which she earnestly expostulates with him on the subject, she turns to herself in affecting terms: "Will not the throne," she says, "inspire you with the wish to contract new alliances? Will you not seek to support your power by new family connections? Alas! whatever these connections may be, will they compensate for those which were first knit by corresponding fitness, and which affection promised to perpetuate?" So far, indeed, from feeling elated by her own elevation to a throne, she regretted it with deep melancholy. "The assumption of the throne," she looked on as "an act that must ever be an ineffaceable blot upon Napoleon's name." It has been asserted by her friends that she never recovered her spirits after. The pomps and ceremonies, too, attendant on the imperial state, must have been distasteful to one who loved the retirement of home, and hated every kind of restraint and ostentation.

From the time that Napoleon became emperor he lavished the greatest honors on the children of Josephine. Her daughter Hortense received the hand of Louis Bonaparte, and the crown of Holland. Eugène, his first acquaintance of the family, and especial favorite, [Pg 228]obtained the rank of colonel, and was adopted as one of the imperial family; and the son of Hortense and Louis was adopted as heir to the throne of France. The coronation took place at Notre Dame, with all the show and pomp of which the French are so fond. When the papal benediction was pronounced, Napoleon placed the crown on his head with his own hands. He then turned to Josephine, who knelt before him, and there was an affectionate playfulness in the manner in which he took pains to arrange it, as he placed the crown upon her head. It seemed at that moment as if he forgot the presence of all but her. After putting on the crown, he raised it, and placing it more lightly on, regarded her the while with looks of fond admiration. On the morning of the coronation, Napoleon had sent for Raguideau the notary, who little thought that he had been summoned into the august presence to be reminded of what had passed on the occasion of their last meeting, and of which he had no idea the emperor was in possession. While Napoleon had been paying his addresses to Josephine, they walked arm-in-arm to the notary's, for neither of them could boast of a carriage. "You are a great fool," replied the notary to Josephine, who had just communicated her intention of marrying the young officer: "you are a great fool, and you will live to repent it. You are about to marry a man who has nothing but his cloak and his sword." Napoleon, who was waiting in the ante-chamber, overheard these words, but never spoke of them to any one. "Now," said Napoleon, with a smile, addressing the old man, who had been ushered into his presence: "now, what say you, Raguideau? have I nothing but my cloak and sword?" The empress and the notary both stood amazed at this first intimation that the warning had been overheard.

The following year, the magnificent coronation at Milan took place, surpassing, if possible, in grandeur that at Paris. Amidst the gorgeousness of that spectacle, however, there were few by whom it was not forgotten in the far deeper interest which the principal actors in the scene inspired. Amidst the blaze of beauty and of jewels, and the strains of music, by which he was surrounded, what were the feelings of Napoleon, as he held within his grasp the iron crown of Charlemagne, which had reposed in the treasury of Monza for a thousand years, and for which he had so ardently longed. Even at that moment, when he placed it on his own head, were the aspirings of the ambitious spirit satisfied?—or were not his thoughts taking a wider range of conquest than he had yet achieved? And for her, who knelt at his feet, about to receive the highest honor that mortal hands can confer—did the pomp and circumstance of that scene, and the glory of the crown, satisfy her loving heart? Ah, surely no! It was away in the sweet retirement of Malmaison—amidst the scenes hallowed by Napoleon's early affection. And how few years were to elapse ere the crown just placed on the head of Josephine was to be transferred to another!—when the place which she, the loving and beloved, occupied by her husband's side was to be filled by another! Though doubts had arisen in her mind—though she knew the influence of those who feared the sceptre might pass into the hands of another dynasty—still, the hope never forsook her, that affection would triumph over ambition, till Napoleon himself communicated the cruel determination. With what abandonment of self she was wont to cast her whole dependence on Napoleon, may be seen in a letter addressed to Pope Pius VII. In it she says: "My first sentiment—one to which all others are subservient—is a conviction of my own weakness and incapacity. Of myself I am but little; or, to speak more correctly, my only value is derived from the extraordinary man to whom I am united. This inward conviction, which occasionally humbles my pride, eventually affords me some encouragement, when I calmly reflect. I whisper to myself, that the arm under which the whole earth is made to tremble, may well support my weakness."

Hortense's promising child was dead; Napoleon and Josephine had shed bitter tears together over the early grave of their little favorite; and there was now not even a nominal heir to the throne. The machinations of the designing were in active motion. Lucien introduced the subject, and said to Josephine that it was absolutely necessary for the satisfaction of the nation that Napoleon should have a son, and asked whether she would pass off an illegitimate one as her own. This proposal she refused with the utmost indignation, preferring any alternative to one so disgraceful.

On Napoleon's return from the battle of Wagram, Josephine hastened to welcome him. After the first warm greetings and tender embraces, she perceived that something weighed upon his mind. The restraint and embarrassment of his manner filled her with dread. For fifteen days she was a prey to the most cruel suspense, yet she dreaded its termination by a disclosure fatal to her happiness. Napoleon, who loved her so much, and who had hitherto looked to her alone for all his domestic felicity, himself felt all the severity of the blow which he was about to inflict. The day at length came, and it is thus affectingly described by Mr. Alison:—

"They dined together as usual, but neither spoke a word during the repast; their eyes were averted as soon as they met, but the countenance of both revealed the mortal anguish of their minds. When it was over, he dismissed the attendants, and approaching the empress with a trembling step, took her hand, and laid it upon his heart. 'Josephine,' said he, 'my good Josephine, you know how I have loved you; it is to you alone that I owe the few moments of happiness I have known in the world. Josephine, my destiny is more powerful than my will; my dearest affections must yield to the interests of France.'

[Pg 229]"'Say no more,' cried the empress. 'I expected this; I understand and feel for you, but the stroke is not the less mortal.' With these words, she uttered piercing shrieks, and fell down in a swoon.

"Doctor Corvisart was at hand to render assistance, and she was restored to a sense of her wretchedness in her own apartment. The emperor came to see her in the evening, but she could hardly bear the emotion occasioned by his appearance."

Little did Napoleon think, when he was making a sacrifice of all the "happiness which he had known in the world," that the ambitious views for which it was relinquished would fade away ere five years ran their course. What strange destinies do men carve out for themselves! what sacrifices are they ever making of felicity and of real good, in the pursuit of some phantom which is sure to elude their grasp! How many Edens have been forfeited by madness and by folly, since the first pair were expelled from Paradise!

It was not without an effort on her part to turn Napoleon from a purpose so agonizing to them both, that Josephine gave up all hope. In about a month after the disclosure, a painful task devolved on the imperial family. The motives for the divorce were to be stated in public, and the heart-stricken Josephine was to subscribe to its necessity in presence of the nation. In conformity with the magnanimous resolve of making so great a sacrifice for the advantage of the empire, it was expedient that an equanimity of deportment should be assumed. The scene which took place could never be forgotten by those who witnessed it. Napoleon stood pale and immovable as a statue, showing in the very stillness of his air and countenance a deep emotion. Josephine and Hortense alone appeared divested of every ornament, while those about them sparkled in all the splendor of court costume. Every eye was directed to Josephine, as with slow steps she reached the seat which had been prepared for her. She took it with her accustomed grace, and preserved throughout a dignified composure. Hortense stood weeping behind her chair, and poor Eugène was nearly overcome by agitation, as the act of separation was read; Napoleon declared that it was in consideration of the interests of the monarchy and the wishes of his people that there should be an heir to the throne, that he was induced "to sacrifice the sweetest affections of his heart." "God knows," said he, "what such a determination has cost my heart." Of Josephine he spoke with the tenderest affection and respect. "She has embellished fifteen years of my life; the remembrance of them will be forever engraven on my heart."

When it was Josephine's turn to speak, though tears were in her eyes, and though her voice faltered, the dignity of all she uttered impressed every one who was present. "I respond to all the sentiments of the emperor," she said, "in consenting to the dissolution of a marriage which henceforth is an obstacle to the happiness of France, by depriving it of the blessing of being one day governed by the descendants of that great man, evidently raised up by Providence to efface the evils of a terrible revolution, and restore the altar, the throne, and social order I know," she went on to say, "what this act, commanded by policy and exalted interest, has cost his heart; but we both glory in the sacrifice which we make to the good of our country. I feel elevated by giving the greatest proof of attachment and devotion that ever was given upon earth."

It was not till Josephine heard the fatal words which were to part her from the object of her affection forever, that her courage seemed for a moment to forsake her; but hastily brushing away the tears that forced their way, she took the pen which was handed to her, and signed the act; then taking the arm of Hortense, and followed by Eugène, she left the saloon, and hurried to her own apartment, where she shut herself up alone for the remainder of the day.

It is well known that, notwithstanding the courage with which the imperial family came forward before the public on this occasion, they gave way to the most passionate grief in private. Napoleon had retired for the night, and had gone to his bed in silence and sadness, when the private door opened, and Josephine appeared. Her hair fell in wild disorder, and her countenance bore the impress of an incurable grief. She advanced with a faltering step; then paused; and bursting into an agony of tears, threw herself on Napoleon's neck, and sobbed as if her heart were breaking. He tried to console her, but his own tears fell fast with hers. A few broken words—a last embrace—and they parted. The next morning, the whole household assembled to pay the last tribute of respect to a mistress whom they loved and revered. With streaming eyes, they saw her pass the gates of the Tuileries never to return.

The feelings with which Josephine took up her residence at Malmaison, amidst the scenes so dear to her, may be conceived; but true to the wishes of the emperor, and to the dictates of her own elevated mind, she bore up under her trying situation with exemplary dignity; but grief had done its part; and no one could look into her face, or meet the sweet melancholy smile with which she welcomed them, without being moved. Happy days, which she had enjoyed amidst these scenes with many of those who waited on her, were sadly contrasted with her forlorn feelings; and though she strove to speak cheerfully, and never complained, the tears which she tried to check or to conceal would sometimes force their way. The chief indulgence which she allowed her feelings was during those hours of the day when she shut herself up alone in Napoleon's cabinet; that chamber where so many moments of confidential intercourse had passed, and which she continued to hold so sacred, that scarcely any one but herself ever entered it. She would not suffer any[Pg 230] thing to be moved since Napoleon had occupied it. She would herself wipe away the dust, fearing that other hands might disturb what he had touched. The volume which he had been reading when last there lay on the table, open at the page at which he had last looked. The map was there, with all his tracings of some meditated route; the pen which had given permanence to some passing thought lay beside it; articles of dress were on some of the chairs; every thing looked as if he were about to enter.

Even under the changed circumstances which brought Josephine back to Malmaison, her influence over Napoleon which had been always powerful, was not diminished. No estrangement took place between them. His visits to her were frequent, though her increased sadness was always observed on those days when he made them. They corresponded to the last moment of her life. The letters which she received from him were her greatest solace. It is thus she alludes to them in writing to him: "Continue to retain a kind recollection of your friend; give her the consolation of occasionally hearing from you, that you still preserve that attachment for her which alone constitutes the happiness of her existence."

The nuptials of Napoleon and Marie Louise took place a very short time after the divorce was ratified. Whatever the bitter feelings of Josephine might have been, they were not mingled with one ungenerous or unjust sentiment. No ill-feeling toward the new empress was excited in her bosom by the rapturous greetings with which she was welcomed on her arrival. "Every one ought," said she, "to endeavor to render France dear to an empress who has left her native country to take up her abode among strangers."

But however elevated above all the meaner passions, the affections of Josephine had received a wound from which they could never recover, and she found it essential for any thing like peace of mind, to remove from scenes of former happiness. She retired to a noble mansion in Navarre, the gift of Napoleon; and as he had made a most munificent settlement on her, she was able to follow the bent of her benevolent mind, and to pass her time in doing good. So far from feeling any mortification on the birth of his son, she unfeignedly participated in the gratification which the emperor felt, and she ever took the most lively interest in the child. She was deeply affected when his birth was announced to her, and retired to her chamber to weep unseen; but no murmur mingled with those natural tears.

It is rare to meet an example of one like Josephine, who has escaped the faults which experience tells us beset the extremes of destiny. In all the power and luxury of the highest elevation, no cold selfishness ever chilled the current of her generous feelings; for in the midst of prosperity her highest gratification was to serve her fellow creatures, and in adverse circumstances, unspited at the world, such was still her sweetest solace. She was, indeed, so wonderfully sustained throughout all the changes and chances of her eventful life, that it needs no assurance to convince us that she must have sought for support beyond this transitory scene.

She employed the peasantry about Navarre in making roads and other useful works. Ever prompt in giving help to those in want, she chanced to meet one of the sisters of charity one day, seeking assistance for the wounded who lay in a neighboring hospital. Josephine gave large relief, promised to put all in train to have her supplied with linen for the sick, and that she would help to prepare lint for their wounds. The petitioner pronounced a blessing on her, and went on her way, but turned back to ask the name of her benefactress; the answer was affecting—"I am poor Josephine."

There can be no doubt but that Napoleon's thoughts often turned with tenderness to the days that he had passed with Josephine. Proof was given of an unchanging attachment to her, in the favors which he lavished on those connected with her by relationship or affection. Among her friends was Mrs. Damer, so celebrated for her success in sculpture. She had become acquainted with her while she was passing some time in Paris. Charmed by Josephine's varied attractions, she delighted in her society, and they became fast friends; when parting, they promised never to forget each other. The first intimation which Mrs. Damer had of Josephine's second marriage was one day when a French gentleman waited on her; he was the bearer of a most magnificent piece of porcelain and a letter, with which he had been charged for her by the wife of the First Consul. Great was her astonishment, when she opened the letter to find that it was indeed from the wife of the First Consul; no longer Vicomtesse de Beauharnais, but her dear friend Josephine, who urged her with all the warmth of friendship, to pay her an immediate visit at Paris. "I do long," she added, "to present my husband to you." Such a tempting invitation was gladly accepted, and she was received with joy by Napoleon and Josephine. In after years, she constantly recalled to mind the pleasures of that visit, with mingled feelings of melancholy and delight. The domestic scene left a lasting impression. Napoleon, always so fascinating in conversation, made himself delightfully agreeable to her; he loved to talk with her of her art; and his originality, enthusiasm, and taste gave an interest to every thing he said. He had a great admiration for Fox, and expressed a wish to have his bust. When Mrs. Damer next visited Paris, she brought Fox's bust, but Josephine's place was occupied by another. The emperor saw her, and met her with all the cordiality and kindness which the recollection of former happy days, and her attachment to Josephine, were sure to inspire. At parting, he gave her a splendid snuff-box, with his likeness set in diamonds. The box is now in the British Museum.

[Pg 231]

It was in her retirement at Navarre that Josephine wept bitterly over the fallen fortunes of Napoleon. The Russian expedition caused her such deep inquietude that her health and spirits visibly declined; she saw in it a disastrous fate for Napoleon, and trembled, too, for the safety of Eugène, a son so dearly and so deservedly beloved, and who was, if possible, rendered still more precious, as the especial favorite of Napoleon, and as having been the means of introducing him to her. Josephine now scarcely joined her ladies, but would remain for the length of the day alone in her chamber, by the large traveling-desk which contained Napoleon's letters. Among these there was one that she was observed to read over and over again, and then to place in her bosom; it was the last that she had received; it was written from Brienne. A passage in it runs thus: "On revisiting this spot, where I passed my youthful days, and contrasting the peaceful condition I then enjoyed with the state of terror and agitation to which my mind is now a prey, often have I addressed myself in these words: I have sought death in numberless engagements, I can no longer dread its approach; I should now hail it as a boon. Nevertheless, I could still wish to see Josephine once more—" He again adds: "Adieu, my dear Josephine; never dismiss from your recollection one who has never forgotten, and never will forget you."

It would be needless to dwell on the rapid events which led to Napoleon's abdication, but it would be impossible, even in this imperfect sketch, not to be struck by the strange coincidences of Josephine's life—twice married—twice escaped from a violent death—twice crowned—both husbands sought for a divorce—one husband was executed—the other banished! One of Napoleon's first cares, in making his conditions when he abdicated, was an ample provision for Josephine; £40,000 per annum was settled on her.

It was after Napoleon's departure from the shores of France, that the Emperor Alexander, touched with admiration of Josephine's character, and with pity for her misfortunes, prevailed on her to return to Malmaison to see him there. The associations so linked with the spot that she had loved to beautify must, indeed, have been overpowering. It was there that Napoleon's passionate attachment to her was formed. How many recollections must have been awakened by the pleasure grounds adorned with the costly shrubs and plants which they had so often admired together; how many tears had afterward fallen among them when the hours of separation came. The Emperor Alexander used every effort to console her, and promised his protection to her children, but sorrow had done its part, and the memories of other times had their effect. Josephine fell sick; malignant sore throat was the form which disease took, during the fatal illness of but a few days. Alexander was unremitting in his attentions; he again soothed the dying mother by the renewal of his promise of care for her children, a promise most faithfully kept. It was in the year 1814 that Napoleon left France for Elba, and also that Josephine died. The bells to which they had loved to listen together tolled her funeral knell. Her remains rest in the parish church of Ruel, near Malmaison. They were followed to the place of interment by a great number of illustrious persons who were desirous of paying this parting token of respect to one so much loved and honored. Upward of eight thousand of the neighboring peasantry joined the funeral procession to pay their tribute of affection and veneration to her, who was justly called, "the mother of the poor and distressed." The tomb erected by her children marks the spot where she takes her "long last sleep." It bears the simple inscription—


Napoleon, too, paid a parting visit to the residence which he had preferred to every other. After his unsuccessful attempt to resume the sovereignty of France, he spent six days at Malmaison to muse over departed power and happiness, and then left the shores of France forever!


Work away!
For the Master's eye is on us,
Never off us, still upon us,
Night and day!
Work away!
Keep the busy fingers plying,
Keep the ceaseless shuttles flying;
See that never thread lie wrong;
Let not clash or clatter round us,
Sound of whirring wheels, confound us;
Steady hand! let woof be strong
And firm, that has to last so long!
Work away!

Keep upon the anvil ringing
Stroke of hammer; on the gloom
Set 'twixt cradle and 'twixt tomb
Shower of fiery sparkles flinging;
Keep the mighty furnace glowing;
Keep the red ore hissing, flowing
Swift within the ready mould;
See that each one than the old
Still be fitter, still be fairer
For the servant's use, and rarer
For the master to behold:
Work away!

Work away!
For the Leader's eye is on us,
Never off us, still upon us,
Night and day!
Wide the trackless prairies round us,
Dark and unsunned woods surround us,
Steep and savage mountains bound us;
Far away
Smile the soft savannas green,
Rivers sweep and roll between:
Work away!

Bring your axes, woodmen true;
Smite the forest till the blue
Of Heaven's sunny eye looks through
Every wild and tangled glade;
Jungled swamp and thicket shade
Give to day!

[Pg 232]O'er the torrents fling your bridges,
Pioneers! Upon the ridges
Widen, smooth the rocky stair—
They that follow, far behind
Coming after us, will find
Surer, easier footing there;
Heart to heart, and hand with hand,
From the dawn to dusk o' day,
Work away!
Scouts upon the mountain's peak—
Ye that see the Promised Land,
Hearten us! for ye can speak
Of the country ye have scanned,
Far away!

Work away!
For the Father's eye is on us,
Never off us, still upon us,
Night and Day!
Work and Pray!
Pray! and Work will be completer;
Work! and Prayer will be the sweeter;
Love! and Prayer and Work the fleeter
Will ascend upon their way!
Fear not lest the busy finger
Weave a net the soul to stay;
Give her wings—she will not linger;
Soaring to the source of day;
Cleaving clouds that still divide us
From the azure depths of rest,
She will come again! beside us,
With the sunshine on her breast,
Sit, and sing to us, while quickest
On their task the fingers move,
While the outward din wars thickest,
Songs that she hath learned above.

Live in Future as in Present;
Work for both while yet the day
Is our own! for Lord and Peasant,
Long and bright as summer's day,
Cometh, yet more sure, more pleasant,
Cometh soon our Holiday;
Work away!


A FEW months ago in London an old man sat in a large paneled room in one of the streets near Soho-square. Every thing in the apartment was brown with age and neglect. Nothing more superlatively dingy could well be imagined. The leathern covers of the chairs were white and glossy at the edges; the carpet was almost of a uniform tint, notwithstanding its original gaudy contrasts; there were absurd old engravings upon the walls—relics of the infancy of the art; and curtains to the windows, which the smoke of years had darkened from a delicate fawn to a rusty chocolate color. In the centre of the room, and, as it were, the sun of this dusty system, stood an office-table of more modern manufacture, at which was seated the old man alluded to, sole lord and master of the dismal domicile. He was by profession a money-lender. His age might be from sixty to sixty-five years; his face was long, and his features seemed carved out of box-wood or yellow sand-stone, so destitute were they of mobility; his eyes were of a cold, pale, steel color, but his brows were black and tufted like a grim old owl's; a long aquiline nose, a thin and compressed mouth, and a vast double chin, buried in a voluminous white neckcloth of more than one day's wear, completed the portrait. Nor did the expression of his countenance undergo any perceptible change as, after a timid knock, the door opened, and a young man entered of singularly interesting appearance.

The new-comer was well-dressed, though his clothes were none of the newest, and had the air of a man accustomed to society. His pale brow was marked with those long horizontal lines of which time is rarely the artist. His dark, deep-set gray eyes flashed with a painful brightness; his long chestnut hair, damp with perspiration, clung in narrow strips to his forehead; his whole manner implied the man who had made up his mind to some extraordinary course, from which no wavering or weakness on his part was likely to turn him aside, whatever the opposition of others might compel him to abandon or determine. Bending his tall figure slightly, he addressed the money-lender in a tone of constrained calmness.

"You lend money, I believe?"

"Sometimes—on good security," replied the usurer, indifferently, forming a critical summary of his visitor's costume at a glance.

The stranger hesitated: there was a discouraging sort of coldness in the mode of delivering this answer that seemed to prejudge his proposition. Nevertheless, he resumed with an effort—"I saw your advertisement in the paper." The usurer did not even nod in answer to this prelude. He sat bolt upright in his chair, awaiting further information. "I am, as you will see by these papers, entitled to some property in reversion."

The usurer stretched out his hand for the papers, which he looked over carefully with the same implacable tranquillity, while his visitor entered into explanations as to their substance.

Once only the money-lender peered over the top of a document he was scanning, and said, gruffly: "Your name, sir, is Bernard West?"

"It is," replied the stranger, mechanically taking up a newspaper, in which the first thing which caught his eye was the advertisement alluded to, which ran thus:—"Money to any amount advanced immediately on every description of security, real or personal. Apply between the hours of ten and five to Mr. John Brace, —— street, Soho-square."

After a brief interval of silence, the usurer methodically rearranged the papers, and returned them to the stranger. "They are of no use," he said, "no use whatever: the reversion is merely contingent. You have no available security to offer?"

"Could you not advance something upon these expectations—not even a small sum?"

"Not a farthing," said the money-lender.

"Is there no way of raising fifty—thirty—even twenty pounds?" said the stranger, anxiously, and with the tenacity of a drowning man grasping at a straw.

[Pg 233]

"There is a way," said the usurer, carelessly. West in his turn was silent, awaiting the explanation of his companion. "On personal security," continued the latter with a sinister impatience, beginning to arrange his writing materials for a letter.

"I will give any discount," said the young man, eagerly. "My prospects are good: I can—"

"Get a friend to be security for the payment of the interest?"

"Of the interest and principal, you mean?"

"Of the interest only—and the life insurance," added the usurer, with a slight peculiarity of intonation that might have escaped the notice of one whose nerves were less exalted in their sensitive power than those of his visitor's.

"And what sum can I borrow on these terms?" said West, gloomily.

"A hundred pounds: more if you require it. In fact, any amount, if your security be good."

"The interest will doubtless be high?"

"Not at all: four or five per cent. As much is often given for money on mortgage of land."

"And the life insurance?"

"You will insure your life for five hundred pounds, and you will pay the premiums with the interest."

"For five hundred?" said West, hesitating. "That is, if I borrow—"

"One hundred," replied the usurer, sharply. "Men who lend money do not run risks. You may die, and four out of five insurance offices may fail; but the chances are that the fifth would pay."

"But it is not likely—" began Bernard West, amazed at this outrageous display of caution.

"I do not say it is likely," snarled the usurer with a contemptuous sort of pity for his visitor's dullness of apprehension; "I say it is possible; and I like to be on the safe side."

"Well, and how is the affair to be arranged?"

"Your security, who of course must be a person known to have property, will give a bond guaranteeing the regular payment of interest and premiums—that is all."

West reflected for some minutes in silence. The faint expression of hope that had for an instant lighted up his countenance vanished. He understood the money-lender and his proposition. A sufficiently clear remembrance of the tables of life assurance which he had seen, enabled him to perceive that the interest and premiums together would amount to nearly twenty per cent., and that the bond engaged his security to pay an annuity for his (West's) life of that amount. It is true that, full of energy and hope, he felt no doubt of his capacity to meet the payments regularly: it is true that, monstrous as were the terms, he would have accepted eagerly still harder ones, had it simply depended on his own decision. But where find, or how ask, a friend to become his bondsman? He ran over in despair the scanty list of acquaintances whom his poverty had not already caused to forget him. He felt that the thing was impossible. There was not one he could think of who would have even dreamed of entering into such a compact. He turned desperately to the money-lender.

"I have no friend," he said, "of whom I could or would ask such a service. If I had, I should not be here. Are there no terms, however high, on which you can lend me even the most trifling sum, for which I myself alone need be responsible?"

"None," replied the usurer, already commencing his letter.

"I will give thirty per cent.?"



The usurer shook his head impatiently.

"A hundred—cent. per cent.?"


The strange seeker of loans at length rose to depart. He reached the door. Suddenly he turned back, his eyes blazing with the sombre radiance of despair. He strode up to the table, and planted himself, with folded arms, immediately in front of the usurer.

"Mark me!" said West, in a tone of deep suppressed passion, like the hollow murmur of the sea before a storm: "It is a question of life or death with me to get money before sunset. Lend me only twenty pounds, and within twelve months I will repay you one hundred. I will give you every power which the law can give one man over another; and I will pledge my honor, which never yet was questioned, to the bargain!"

The usurer almost smiled, so strangely sarcastic was the contraction of his features, as he listened to these words.

"I do not question your honor," he said, icily, "but honor has nothing to do with business. As for the law, there is an old axiom which says, Out of nothing, nothing comes."

Bernard West regarded the cold rocky face and the passionless mouth from which these words proceeded with that stinging wrath a man feels who has humiliated himself in vain. Nevertheless he clung to the old flinty usurer as to the last rock in a deluge, and a sense of savage recklessness came over him when he advanced yet closer to the living cash-box before him, while the latter shrank half-terrified before the burning gaze of his visitor's dilated pupils.

Laying his hand upon the money-lender's shoulder, by a gesture of terrible familiarity that insisted upon and commanded attention to his words, West spoke with a sudden clearness and even musical distinctness of utterance that made his words yet more appalling in their solemn despair—"Old man, I am desperate; I am ruined. It is but a few months since my father died, leaving me not only penniless, but encircled by petty obligations which have cramped every movement I would have made. I have had no time, no quiet, to make an effort such as my position requires. This day I have spent my last shilling. I am too proud to beg, and to borrow is to beg when a man is known to be in[Pg 234] real distress. Within one hour from this time I shall be beyond all the tortures of a life which for my own sake I care little to preserve. And yet I have spent my youth in accumulating treasures, which but a brief space might have rendered productive of benefit to man, and of profit to myself. My father's little means and my own have vanished in the pursuit of science, and in the gulf of suffering more immediate than our own. If I die also, with me perish the results of his experiments, his studies, and his sacrifices. There are moments when all ordinary calculations and prudence are empty baubles. Life is the only real possession we have, and death the only certainty. Listen! I will make one last proposal to you. Lend me but ten pounds—that is but ten weeks of life—and I swear to you that if I live, I will repay you for each pound lent not ten or twenty, but one hundred—in all; one thousand pounds! Grant that it be but a chance upon the one hand, yet, upon the other, how small is the risk; and then, to save a human life—- is not that something in the scale?" And the stranger laughed at these last words with a bitter gayety, which caused a strange thrill to creep along the nerves of the usurer.

However, the lender of gold shrugged his shoulders without relaxing his habitual impassibility of manner. He did not speak. Possibly the idea occurred to him that his strange client meditated some act of violence upon himself or his strong box. But this idea speedily vanished, as the stranger, relapsing suddenly into silence and conventional behavior, removed his hand from the usurer's shoulder, and strode rapidly but calmly from the apartment.

The door closed behind the ruined man, and the usurer drew a long breath, while his bushy brows were contracted in a sort of agony of doubt and irresolute purpose.

Meanwhile Bernard West paused for an instant on the threshold of the outer-door, as if undecided which road to take. In truth all roads were much alike to him at that moment. Some cause, too subtle to be seized by the mental analyst, determined his course. He turned to the right, and strode rapidly onward.

He felt already like one of the dead, to join whom he was hurrying headlong. He looked neither to the right nor to the left; and before him was a mist, in which the phantoms of his imagination disported themselves, to the exclusion of all other visible objects. Nothing earthly had any further interest for him. He did not even hear the steps of some one running behind him, nor hear the voice which called after him to stop; but his course was soon more effectually arrested by the firm grasp of a man's hand, which seized him by the arm with the force and the tenacity of a vice.

He turned fiercely round. He was in no humor for the converse of casual acquaintances. Nor was it any gay convivialist of happier days whose face now greeted him: it was the old money-lender, who in a voice husky with loss of breath, or possibly emotion, said, thrusting couple of twenty-pound bank-notes into West' hand—

"Here! take these notes. Take them, I say!" he repeated, as the young man, dizzy with amazement, stammered out—

"You accept, then, my terms?"

"No!" growled the usurer, "I give them to you. Do you understand me? I say I give them to you. I am an old man; I never gave away a shilling before in my life! Repay me if you will, when and how it please you. I have no security—I ask no acknowledgment; I want none. I do not count upon it. It is gone!" and the usurer pronounced the last words with an effort which was heroic, from the evident self-mastery it cost him. "There! go—go!" he resumed, "and take an old man's advice—Make money at all hazards, and never lend except on good security. Remember that!" The old man gently pushed West away, and all hatless and slippered as he was, ran back muttering to his den, leaving the object of his mysterious generosity fixed like a statue of amazement in the centre of the pavement.

About three months had elapsed, when Bernard West once more knocked at the door of the money-lender.

"Is Mr. Brace at home?" he inquired, cheerfully.

"Oh! if you please, sir, they buried him yesterday," replied the servant, with a look of curiously-affected solemnity.

"Buried him!" cried the visitor, with sincere disappointment and grief in his tone.

"Yes, sir; perhaps you would like to see Miss Brace, if it's any thing very particular?"

"I should, indeed," said West; "and when she knows the cause of my visit, I think she will excuse the intrusion."

The servant gave an odd look, whose significance West was unable to divine, as she led the way to her young mistress's drawing-room.

West entered timidly, for he doubted the delicacy of such a proceeding, though his heart was almost bursting with desire of expansion under the shock just received. A beautiful and proud-looking girl of nineteen or twenty years rose to meet him. Her large blue eyes, which bore traces of many and recent tears, worked strangely upon his feelings, already sufficiently excited.

"I came," he said, in his deep musical voice, "to repay a noble service. Will you permit me to share a grief for the loss of one to whom I owe my life—yes, more than my life!" West paused, and strove vainly to master the emotion which checked his utterance.

"My father rendered you a service?" said the young lady, eagerly, regarding with involuntary interest the noble countenance of Bernard, which, though it still bore traces of great suffering, was no longer wild and haggard, as at his interview with the money-lender.

"A most unexpected and generous service," replied West, who, softening down the first [Pg 235]portion of the scene we have described, proceeded to recount to the fair orphan the narrative of the great crisis in his destiny.

"I knew it was so!" cried the young lady, almost hysterically affected; "I knew he was not so grasping—so hard-hearted, as they said—as he himself pretended. I knew he had a generous heart beneath all his seeming avarice! Oh, you are not the only one doubtless whom he has thus served!"

West did not discourage the illusion. Nay, the enthusiasm of the charming woman before him was contagious. "Thanks to your father's disinterested liberality," he resumed, "I am now in comparatively prosperous circumstances. I came not merely to discharge a debt; believe me, it is no common gratitude I feel! Doubtless you inherit all your father's wealth—doubtless it is but little service I can ever hope to render you. Yet I venture to entreat you never to forget that you possess one friend of absolute devotion, ready at all times to sacrifice himself in every way to your wishes and to your happiness."

West paused abruptly, for the singular expression of the young lady's features filled him with astonishment.

"You do not know, then—" she began.

"Know what?"

"That I—am a—a natural child!" she completed, with, a crimson blush, turning away her head as she spoke, and covering her face with her hands—"that I am without fortune or relations; that my father died intestate; that the heir-at-law, who lives abroad, and without whose permission nothing can be done—moreover, who is said to be a heartless spendthrift—will take all my father leaves; that I have but one more week given me to vacate this house by the landlord; in short, that I must work if I would not starve: that, in a word, I am a beggar!" And the poor girl sobbed convulsively; while Bernard West, on whom this speech acted as some terrible hurricane upon the trees of a tropical forest, tearing up, as it were, by the roots, all the terrible stoicism of his nature, and rousing hopes and dreams which he had long banished to the deepest and most hopeless abysses of his soul; while Bernard, we repeat, ventured to take her hand in his own, and calm her painful agitation by such suggestions as immediately occurred to his mind.

"In the first place," he said, "my dear Miss Brace, I come to repay to you your father's generous gift."

"It belongs to his legal heirs. I can not receive it with honor," said the money-lender's daughter, firmly.

"Not so," replied West, gravely: "it was a free gift to me. I repay it by a natural, not a legal obligation;" and he laid the two twenty-pound notes upon the table. "Next," he resumed, "I have to pay a debt of gratitude. I owe my life to your father. Thus in a manner I have become his adopted son. Thus," he continued impetuously, "I have a right to say to you, regard me as a brother; share the produce of my labor; render me happy in the thought that I am serving the child of my benefactor! To disdain my gratitude would be a cruel insult."

"I can not disdain it!" exclaimed the daughter of the usurer with a sudden impulse of that sublime confidence which a noble and generous soul can alone inspire. "Yes—I accept your assistance!"

The face of Bernard brightened up, as if by an electric agent. But how were the two children of sorrow confounded by the discovery that they were no longer alone, and that their conversation had been overheard by an utter stranger, who, leaning against the wall at the further end of the room, near the door, appeared to survey them with an utter indifference to the propriety of such behavior!

He was a man of between forty and fifty years; a great beard and mustache concealed the lower part of a swarthy but handsome countenance of rare dignity and severity of outline. His dress was utterly un-English. A vast mantle, with a hood, fell nearly to the ground, and he wore huge courier's boots, which were still splashed, as if from a journey. His great dark eyes rested with an expression of royal benevolence upon the two young people, toward whom he had advanced with a courteous inclination, that, as if magnetically, repressed Bernard's first indignant impulse.

"I am the heir-at-law," he said, in a mild voice, as if he had been announcing a most agreeable piece of intelligence.

"Then, sir," said Bernard, "I trust—"

"Trust absolutely!" interrupted quickly the foreign-looking heir. "My children, do you know who I am? No? I will tell you. I am a monster, who in his youth preferred beauty to ambition, and glory to gold. For ten years after attaining manhood I struggled on, an outcast from my family, in poverty and humiliation, without friends, and often without bread. At the end of five more years I was a great man, and those who had neglected, and starved, and scorned me, came to bow down and worship. But the beauty I had adored was dust, and the fire of youthful hope quenched in the bitter waters of science. For ten years since I have wandered over the earth. I am rich; I may say my wealth is boundless; for I have but to shake a few fancies from this brain, to trace a few ciphers with this hand, and they become gold at my command. Yet, mark my words, my children! One look of love is, in my esteem, worth more than all the applause of an age, or all the wealth of an empire!" The dark stranger paused for an instant, as if in meditation, then abruptly continued: "I take your inheritance, fair child!—I rob the orphan and the fatherless!"—and the smile of disdainful pride which followed these words said more than whole piles of parchment renunciations as to his intention.

Involuntarily the orphan and Bernard seized each a hand of the mysterious man beside them,[Pg 236] who, silently drawing the two hands together, and uniting them in his own, said, gently, "Love one another as you will, my young friends, yet spare at times a kind thought for the old wandering poet! Not a word! I understand you, though you do not understand yourselves. It is as easy to tell a fortune as to give it."

And was the prophecy realized? asks a curious reader. But no answer is needed; for if the prophecy were false, why record it? And, pray, who was the stranger, after all? Too curious reader!—it is one thing to tell stories, and another to commit breaches of confidence.



ONE of the principal causes of surprise to me in walking along the streets of London, has been to see myself all at once become a curious animal. I did not think that I had any of the qualities necessary for such a thing, being neither humpbacked nor clubfooted, neither a giant nor a dwarf. Thus, when on the day of my arrival I went along Regent-street, and heard the exclamations and laughter of the crowd on seeing me, I examined myself from head to foot, to ascertain the cause of the unhoped-for success which I obtained in England. I even felt all up my back, thinking that perhaps some facetious boy might have transformed me into a walking placard. There was nothing, however; but I had mustaches and a foreign air! A foreign air! That is one of the little miseries on which you do not count, oh, simple and inexperienced travelers!

At home you may have the dignity and nobleness of the Cid—you may be another Talma: but pass the Channel—show yourself to the English, and in spite of yourself you will become as comic as Arnal. Arnal! do I say? why, he would not make them laugh so much as you do; and they would consider our inimitable comedians, Levassor and Hoffmann, as serious personages. Do not be angry. They would only laugh the more. In this respect the English are wanting in good taste and indulgence. Their astonishment is silly and their mockery puerile. The sight of a pair of mustaches makes them roar with laughter, and they are in an ecstasy of fun at the sight of a rather broad-brimmed hat. A people must be very much bored to seize such occasions of amusing themselves. However, all the travers, like all the qualities of the English, arise from the national spirit carried to exaggeration. They consider themselves the beau ideal of human kind. Their stiffness of bearing, their pale faces, their hair, their whiskers cut into the shape of mutton chops, the excessive height of their shirt collars, and the inelegant cut of their coats—all that makes them as proud as Trafalgar and Waterloo.

In our theatres we laugh at them as they laugh at us; and on that score we are quits. But in our great towns they are much better and more seriously received than we Frenchmen are in England.

At Paris nowadays nobody laughs at an Englishman; but at London every body laughs at a Frenchman. We do not make this remark from any feeling of ill-will; in fact, we think that to cause a smile on the thin and pinched-up lips of old England is not a small triumph for our beards and mustaches. After all, too, the astonishment which the Englishman manifests at the sight of a newly disembarked Frenchman (an astonishment which appears singular when we call to mind the frequent communications between the two nations), is less inexplicable than may be thought. Geographically speaking, France and England touch each other; morally, they are at an immeasurable distance. Nothing is done at Calais as at Dover, nothing at London as at Paris. There is as much difference between the two races as between white and black. In France, the Englishman conforms willingly to our customs, and quickly adopts our manner of acting; but in England we are like a stain on a harmonious picture.

Our fashion of sauntering along the streets, smiling at the pretty girls we meet, looking at the shops, or stopping to chat with a friend, fills the English with stupefaction. They always walk straight before them like mad dogs. In conversation there is the same difference. In England, it is always solemn. Left alone after dinner, the men adopt a subject of conversation, which never varies during all the rest of the evening. Each one is allowed to develop his argument without interruption. Perhaps he is not understood, but he is listened to. When he has ended, it becomes the turn of another, who is heard with the same respect. The thing resembles a quiet sitting of the parliament. But in France, conversation is a veritable mêlée; it is the contrary excess. A subject is left and taken up twenty times, amidst joyous and unforeseen interruptions. We throw words at each other's heads without doing ourselves any harm; smart sallies break forth, and bons mots roll under the table. In short, the Englishman reflects before speaking; the Frenchman speaks first and reflects afterward—if he has time. The Frenchman converses, the Englishman talks: and it is the same with respect to pleasure. Place a Frenchman, who feels ennui, by the side of an Englishman who amuses himself, and it will be the former who will have the gayest air. From love the Englishman only demands its brutal joys; whereas the Frenchman pays court to a woman. The Englishman, at table, drinks to repletion; the Frenchman never exceeds intoxication.

A difference equally striking exists between the females of the two countries. I do not now speak of the beauty of the type of the one, or the elegance and good taste of the others; but I will notice one or two great contrasts. In France a young girl is reserved, is timid, and, as it were, hidden under the shade of the family: but the married woman has every liberty, and[Pg 237] many husbands can tell you that she does not always use it with extreme moderation! In England you are surprised at the confident bearing of young girls, and the chaste reserve of married women. The former not only willingly listen to gallant compliments, but even excite them; while the latter, by the simple propriety of their bearing, impose on the boldest.

The boldness of young girls in England was explained to me, by the great emigration of young men—in other words, by the scarcity of husbands. The French girl who wants a husband is ordinarily rather disdainful; the English girl is by no means difficult.

A Frenchwoman walks negligently leaning on our arm, and we regulate our steps by the timidity and uncertainty of hers; the Englishwoman walks with the head erect, and takes large strides like a soldier charging. An accident made me acquainted with the secret of the strange way of walking which Englishwomen have. I was lately on a visit to the family of a merchant, whose three daughters are receiving a costly education. The French master, the drawing master, and the music master, had each given his lesson, when I saw a sergeant of the Grenadiers of the Guard arrive. He went into the garden, and was followed by the young ladies.

"Ah! mon Dieu!" I cried to the father; "these young ladies are surely not going to learn the military exercise!"

"No," said he, with a smile.

"What, then, has this professor in a red coat come for?"

"He is the master of grace!"

"What! that grenadier who is as long as the column in Trafalgar-square?"

"Yes, or rather he is the walking master."

I looked out of the window and saw the three young ladies drawn up and immovable as soldiers, and presently they began to march to the step of the grenadier. They formed a charming platoon, and trod the military step with a precision worthy of admiration. I asked for an explanation of such a strange thing.

"We, in England," said my host, "understand better the duty of women than you Frenchmen do. We can not regulate our manner of walking on that of a being subjected to us. Our dignity forbids it. It is the woman's duty to follow us; consequently she must walk as we do—we can't walk as she does."

"Ma foi!" said I, "I must admit that in progress you are decidedly our masters. In France the law, it is true, commands the wife to follow her husband; but it does not, I confess, say that she must do so at the rate of quick march!"

The contrasts between the two countries are in truth inexhaustible. Indeed I defy the most patient observer to find any point of resemblance between them. In France, houses are gay in appearance; in London, with the exception of some streets in the centre, such as Regent-street or Oxford-street, they are as dark and dismal as prisons. Our windows open from the left to the right; windows in England open from top to bottom. At Paris, to ring or knock too loud is vulgar and ill-bred; at London, if you don't execute a tattoo with the knocker or a symphony with the bell, you are considered a poor wretch, and are left an hour at the door. Our hack cabs take their stand on one side of the street; in England they occupy the middle. Our coachmen get up in front of their vehicles; in England they go behind. In Paris Englishmen are charming; at home they are—Englishmen. One thing astonishes me greatly—that the English don't walk on their hands, since we walk on our feet.

I do not know from experience the Scottish hospitality which M. Scribe has lauded in one of his vaudevilles. But I know what to think of that of the county of Middlesex capital—London. Here I can assure you it is never given, but always sold. London is the town of closed doors. You feel yourself more a foreigner here than in any other country. On strolling along the spacious squares and magnificent streets in which civilization displays all its marvels, you seek in vain for some fissure by which to introduce yourself into English society, which is thickly steeped in individualism. With letters of recommendation, if of high authority, you may, it is true, gain access to a family of the middle class; and, once received, you will be well treated. But what conditions you must fulfill to gain that! You must lead a life like that of the cloister, and sacrifice all your dearest habits. The Englishman, though he invented the word eccentric, does not tolerate eccentricity in a foreigner. And, on the whole, the bourgeoise hospitality is not worth the sacrifices it costs.

We must not, however, be angry with the English for being so little communicative with foreigners, since they scarcely communicate among themselves. The extent of distances and the fatigue of serious affairs are the principal causes of this. It is almost only in the evening you can visit them, and in the evening they are overwhelmed with fatigue. Besides this, all the usages of the English show that they are not naturally sociable. The cellular system of taverns, in which every person is confined in a sort of box without a lid; the silent clubs, in which some write while others read the papers, and only interrupt themselves to make a sign of "good evening" with the hand—all that sort of thing constitutes an existence which the French have the irreverence to call selfish.

Among the high aristocracy, hospitality is a great and noble thing; but it is more accessible to the wealthy tallow chandler than to a writer or an artist of genius. In England, with the exception of Dickens and Bulwer, the literary man is less considered than the comedian was in France a century ago. In France, it is admirable to witness the fusion of the aristocracies of family, money, and intelligence. Artists and[Pg 238] poets are invited to all the fêtes of high society. As soon as a writer has raised himself somewhat above the vulgar, he perceives that the great ones of this world occupy themselves with him, show him protection and sympathy. But what is a man of intelligence here in London? He is an animal less considered than the lowest coal-dealer in the city. And what is the consequence of this neglect of arts and literature? That England is almost reduced to the necessity of robbing our artists and writers. The theatres in particular pirate from us with unexampled effrontery.

But to return to the want of hospitality of the English to the foreign bards who have come over to sing the marvels of the Great Exhibition. You may meet in London at this moment a dozen literary phantoms who drag the shroud of their ennui and discouragement along Piccadilly. These shadows, when they recognize each other, shake hands and relate their disappointments. They are French journalists. Separated one from the other, and not knowing on what chord of their lyres to celebrate the virtues of a people who laugh in their faces, and who seem to be ignorant of the men whose names are most known and admired at Paris, these French journalists ask each other the same question—"Do you amuse yourself at London?" And they all make the same reply, "I am bored at the rate of twenty shillings a day!" To which they all exclaim in chorus, "That's very dear!"

A year ago, when the Friends of Peace, those generous Utopian dreamers, came to London, they were received at the station by the most celebrated English economists, carried in triumph to the residences prepared for them, taken to visit all that is curious in England—in a word, treated as princes. But then they were the friends of the great Cobden! whereas England cares not a straw for the mob of simple literary men, writers of imagination! She would not even send their confrères to bid them welcome. Let them manage them as they can; let them lodge in bad hotels, and dine ill; let them content themselves with seeing London on the outside, for neither the docks of the Thames nor the museums of the great nobles will be opened to them!

But what matters, after all, that we are at London without any guides but ourselves? My opinion is, that we must put a good face on it, and see the marvels of the monster town in spite of itself.



HOW extremely plain—not to say ugly—street-children often are! Their hard life and the characters of their parents, cause it. This child, who is now staring in at the window upon a print of Sir Robert Peel, and flattening his nose against the glass, has a forehead "villainous low," with dark eyes, and short dark hair, and his diminutive face, both in features and expression, is uncommonly like one end of a cocoa-nut. What a sad lot for these children to be left thus—perhaps even turned adrift by their parents, to wander about the streets, and pick up, here and there, a precarious crumb! And now, as I turn round, I see three others, apparently in the same wretched outcast condition—two boys and a girl. The elder boy seems not to care much about it; he has, no doubt, become more accustomed to his lot. He is between twelve and thirteen. His voice is hoarse, cracked, and discordant; perhaps by some street-cry. He has a large projecting nose, red pulpy lips, a long chin, and a long throat, uncovered. No collar—indeed, now, I look again, no shirt! and he wears a greasy jacket and trowsers, both much too small for him; so that his large red hands and wrists swollen with chilblains hang listlessly far below the end of his sleeves; and his long, thin ankles, and large unshapely feet are so far below the end of his trowsers, as to give the appearance of the legs and feet of a bird. He is whistling a sort of jig tune, and beating time with one of his heels. Poor boy!—I dare say he would be very glad to work if he had an opportunity. A girl, of about twelve, stands on one side of him. She is so scantily clad as to be scarcely decent. Her shoulder-blades stick up, she is so meagre, and she shivers with the cold. But I do not like the expression of her face; for, though I pity her eager, hungry look, and evidently bad state of health, I can not help seeing that she has very much the look of a sickly rat. On the other side of the elder boy, stands a younger one—of some ten years of age. He is very pale, and has fair hair, a rueful mouth, rather dropping at the corners, large sad eyes, with very long lashes, and an expression at once timid yet indifferent—innocent and guilty. Guilty?—of what can such a child be guilty? They slowly walk away, all three—perhaps in consequence of my observing them so attentively. They quicken their pace as they turn the corner. Why was I so tardy to relieve them? It would have become me, as a Christian, to have thought of relieving their necessities, even for the night, far better than to have speculated upon their physiognomies as a philosopher. But it is time for me to return home. Sad addition to my experience. My wife waiting tea for—bless my so—where? it can't be? yes, it can—my watch is gone! Slipt down through my pocket—no doubt—there's a hole in it—no—or it fell out while I was stooping to fasten my gaiter button in Pall Mall. Most vexatious. A family watch! Gold chain and seals, too! Well—it can't be helped. In these cases a pinch of snuff often—often—pshaw!—often relieves—relieves one—hillo! have I been relieved of that, also! Perhaps it's in my side pocket, with my purse—purse! why, my purse is gone; I really begin to think I must have been robbed!

[Pg 239]



IN the month of July, 1851, there will occur two eclipses; one of the moon and one of the sun.

The former will occur after midnight, Sunday morning, July 13th; and the latter on the morning of Monday, July 28th.

Unless clouds prevent, both will be visible throughout the United States; and if visible will (the solar eclipse especially) attract general observation.

As here represented, there are formed complete shadows, called umbras; and partial shadows, called penumbras.

When an eclipse of the sun occurs, it appears totally eclipsed to those persons who are within the moon's umbra, and partially eclipsed, to those situated within the penumbra.

When an eclipse of the moon occurs, it appears totally eclipsed, if entirely within the earth's umbra, and partially eclipsed, if partially within it.

The length of the moon's umbra is usually greater than the distance of the moon from the earth.

The moon, therefore, crosses the sun's path twice in each revolution.

If, at new moon, it always crossed exactly in that part where the sun is, there would evidently be an eclipse of the sun; and it would recross in the opposite part and pass through the earth's umbra.

But the moon does not always cross the ecliptic where the sun is, nor uniformly in the same part.

Its crossing-place is different at each succeeding revolution.

Since the limits of this article will not allow an extended explanation of the manner of mathematically predicting eclipses, we will apply the foregoing statements in showing that there will occur an eclipse of the sun in July, 1851.

The first diagram on page 240 represents the relative positions of the sun and moon at the time of new moon in June, July, and August, 1851, calculated for Greenwich.

It is probable that there will be but few among the millions who may thus behold these wonderful phenomena who will not understand their causes.

However, an article explaining the manner of predicting these eclipses with diagrams illustrating the path of the moon's shadow in the solar eclipse across the United States and upon the whole earth, may not be acceptable.

Since the earth and moon are solid opaque bodies, they intercept the light passing from the sun through the heavens; or, in other words, they cause the existence of shadows.

Hence, if the moon, in its revolution pass directly between the sun and the earth its umbra will fall upon the earth, and cause a total eclipse of the sun.

If the moon passed through the heavens in exactly the same path as the sun, there would result eclipses of both sun and moon at each revolution; for it would pass directly over the disc of the sun, and through the centre of the earth's umbra.

But it was long since discovered that the path of the moon is inclined to the sun's path, or the ecliptic, about 5° (5° 8' 48").

This results from the fact that these crossing-places (which for convenience and according to astronomical usage we shall call the nodes), are in motion upon the ecliptic, from east to west.

Therefore, the moon may cross the ecliptic at such a distance from the sun, that when it passes between the sun and the earth, it will appear to pass above or below the disc of the sun; also, in the opposite part of its orbit, it may cross at so great distance from the earth's umbra, that it will pass above or below the umbra, as represented in the following diagram.

In June, the moon is seen below the sun, passing upward to the ascending node, and beyond the limits within which eclipses can occur.

While the moon is completing another revolution around the earth, the sun continues to move eastward, and when it again comes to A the sun is near B. The moon, moving much faster than the sun, passes upward in its orbit,[Pg 240] and is in conjunction with the sun at B, within the limits of eclipses.

At this time the moon's umbra will fall upon the earth, and cause an eclipse, which will be total at all places over which the umbra will move; and partial at those places over which the penumbra will move.

In this, as in all solar eclipses, only a part of the earth is covered by the shadows.

Limits within which Eclipses of the Sun can occur. Limits within which Eclipses of the Sun can occur.

In August, at new moon, the sun has passed eastward to C, and the moon is seen above the sun, beyond the limit of eclipses.

The following engraving is a projection of the shadows of the moon upon the earth, exhibiting that portion where a total eclipse will be visible; and those portions where a partial eclipse will be visible.

West. East. West. East.

As shown in the first cut, the shadows of the moon are of a conical form, and, if the total eclipse existed but an instant, its projection upon the earth would be of a circular form.

But, since the earth revolves upon its axis, different parts are brought into the shadows; and this chart, to represent all that portion of the earth where any eclipse will be visible, has an oblong form.

Also, since the sun appears to rise in one portion of the earth at the same instant when in another portion of the earth it appears to set, this projection exhibits those parts of the earth where the eclipse commences at the instant of sunrise and sunset.

The next engraving is an enlarged representation of a part of the preceding; embracing a large portion of the United States, where a partial eclipse will be visible.

[Pg 241]

As exhibited in both charts, the southern line of simple contact of the disks of the sun and moon, passes through Florida.

To express the extent of a partial eclipse of either sun or moon, the diameters of each are divided into twelve equal parts, called digits; and the extent of an eclipse at any place upon the earth is said to be a certain number of these digits.


HAVING been detained by the illness of a relative at the small town of Beziers, when traveling a few years since in the south of France, and finding time hang somewhat heavily on my hands during the slow progress of my companion's convalescence, I took to wandering about the neighborhood within a circle of four or five miles, inspecting the proceedings of the agriculturists, and making acquaintance with the country-people. On one of these excursions, seeing a high wall and an iron-gate, I turned out of my road to take a peep at the interior through the rails; but I found them so overgrown with creepers of one sort or another, that it was not easy to distinguish any thing but a house which stood about a hundred yards from the entrance. Finding, however, that the gate was not quite closed, I gave it a push; and although it moved very stiffly on its hinges, and grated along the ground as it went, I contrived to force an aperture wide enough to put in my head. What a scene of desolation was there! The house, which was built of dark-colored bricks, looked as if it had not been inhabited for a century. The roof was much decayed, the paint black with age, the stone-steps green with moss, and the windows all concealed by discolored and dilapidated Venetian blinds. The garden was a wilderness of weeds and overgrown rose-bushes; and except one broad one, in a right line with the main-door of the house, the paths were no longer distinguishable. After surveying this dismal scene for some time, I came away with a strange feeling of curiosity. "Why should this place be so entirely deserted and neglected?" thought I. It was not like a fortress, a castle, or an abbey, allowed to fall into ruins from extreme age, because no longer appropriate to the habits of the period. On the contrary, the building I had seen was comparatively modern, and had fallen to decay merely for want of those timely repairs and defenses from the weather that ordinary prudence prescribes. "Perhaps there is some sad history[Pg 242] attached to the spot," I thought; "or perhaps the race to whom it belonged have died out; or maybe the cause of its destruction is nothing more tragical than a lawsuit!"

As I returned, I inquired of a woman in the nearest village if she could tell me to whom that desolate spot belonged.

"To a Spaniard," she answered; "but he is dead!"

"But to whom does it belong now?" I asked. "Why is it suffered to fall into ruin?"

"I don't know," she said, shaking her head, and re-entering the hovel, at the door of which she had been standing.

During dinner that day I asked the host of the inn if he knew the place, and could satisfy my curiosity. He knew it well, he answered. The last inhabitant had been a Count Ruy Gonzalez, a Spaniard, whose wife had died there under some painful circumstances, of which nobody knew the particulars. He had been passionately fond of her, and immediately after her decease had gone to reside in Paris, where he had also died. As the place formed part of the lady's fortune, it had fallen into the hands of some distant relation of hers, who had let it; but the tenant, after a residence of a few months, left it, at some sacrifice of rent; and other parties who subsequently took it having all speedily vacated under one pretext or another, an evil reputation gathered round and clung to it so tenaciously, that all idea of occupation had been relinquished.

It may be conceived that this information did not diminish my interest in the deserted house; and on the following day I was quite eager to see my invalid settled for her mid-day slumber, in order that I might repeat my visit, and carry my investigations further. I found the gate ajar as before, and by exerting all my strength, I managed to force my way in. I had not gone three steps before a snake crossed my path, and the ground seemed actually alive with lizards; but being determined to obtain a nearer view of this mysterious house, I walked straight on toward it. A close inspection of the front, however, showing me nothing but what I had descried from a distance, I turned to the left, and passed round to the back of the building, where I found the remains of what had been a small flower-garden, with a grass-plot; and beyond it, divided by a wall, a court surrounded by mouldy-looking stabling: but, what was much more interesting, I discovered an open door leading into the house. Somebody, therefore, must surely be within; so I knocked with my parasol against the panel, but nobody came; and having repeated my knock with no better success, I ventured in, and found myself in a stone passage, terminating in a door, which, by a feeble light emitted through it, I saw was partly of glass.

"Any body here?" I said aloud, as I opened it and put in my head, but all was silent: so I went forward, not without some apprehension, I confess; but it was that sort of pleasing terror one feels when witnessing a good melodrama. I was now in a tolerably-sized hall, supported by four stone pillars, and on each side of it were two doors. I spoke again, and knocked against them, but nobody answered; then I turned the handles. The first two I tried were locked, but the third was not. When I saw it yield to my hand, I confess I felt so startled that I drew back for a moment; but curiosity conquered—I looked in. The dim light admitted by the Venetian blinds showed me a small apartment, scantily furnished, which might have been a salon or an ante-room. Two small tables standing against the wall, a few chairs covered with yellow damask, and a pier-glass, were all it contained; but at the opposite end there was another open door: so, half-pleased and half-frightened, I walked forward, and found myself in what had formerly been a prettily-furnished boudoir. Marble slabs, settees covered with blue velvet, chairs and curtains of the same, and three or four round or oval mirrors in elaborately-carved gilt frames, designated this as the lady's apartment. A third door, which was also open, showed me a bed in an alcove, with a blue velvet dais and a fringed counterpane of the same material. Here I found a toilet-table, also covered with what had once been white muslin, and on it stood several China-boxes and bottles. In one of the former there were some remains of a red powder, which appeared to have been rouge; and on lifting the lid of another I became sensible of the odor of musk. The looking-glass that stood on the table had a drapery of muslin and blue bows round the frame; and the old-fashioned mahogany chest of drawers was richly gilt and ornamented. None of these rooms was papered; all appeared to be plastered or stuccoed, and were elaborately adorned with designs and gilt mouldings, except in one place, which seemed to have formerly been a door—the door of a closet probably; but it was now built up—the plaster, however, being quite coarse and unadorned, and not at all in keeping with any thing else in the room. It was also broken, indented, and blackened in several places, as if it had been battered with some heavy weapon. Somehow or other, there was nothing that fixed my attention so much as this door! I examined it—- I laid my hand upon it. Why should it have been so hastily built up, to the disfigurement of the wall? for the coarseness of the plaster and the rudeness of the work denoted haste. I was standing opposite to it, and asking myself this question, when I heard a heavy foot approaching; and before I had time to move, I saw the astonished face of an elderly man in clerical attire standing in the doorway. I believe he thought at first I was the ghost of the former inhabitant of this chamber, for he actually changed color and stepped back.

"Pardon, mon père!" said I, smiling at his amazement: "I found the door open; and I hope you will excuse the curiosity that has led me to intrude?"

[Pg 243]

"Une Anglaise!" said he, bowing; "a traveler, doubtless. You are the first person besides myself that has entered these apartments, madame, for many a long year, I assure you!"

After giving him an explanation of how I came to be there—an explanation which he listened to with much kindness and placidity—I added, that the appearance of the place, together with the little information I had gathered from the host of the inn, had interested me exceedingly. He looked grave as I spoke. I was about to question him regarding the closed door, when he said: "I do not recommend you to remain long here: the house is very damp; and as the windows are never opened, the air is unwholesome." I do not know whether this was an excuse to get rid of me; but the atmosphere was certainly far from refreshing, and at all events I thought it right to accept the intimation; so I accompanied him out, he locking the doors behind him. As we walked along, he told me that he visited the house every day, or nearly so; and that he had never thought of shutting the gate, since nobody in the neighborhood would enter it on any account. This gave me an opportunity of inquiring into the history of the place, which, if it were not impertinent, I should be very glad to learn. He said he could not tell it me then, having a sick parishioner to visit; but that if I would come on the following day, at the same hour, he would satisfy my curiosity. I need not say that I kept the appointment; and as I approached the garden-gate, I saw him coming out.

"A walk along the road would be more agreeable than that melancholy garden," he said; and, if I pleased, he would escort me part of the way back. So we returned, and after a few desultory observations, I claimed his promise.

"The house," he said, "has never been inhabited since I came to live in this neighborhood, though that is now upward of forty years since. It belonged to a family of the name of Beaugency, and the last members of it who resided here were a father and daughter. Henriette de Beaugency she was called: a beautiful creature, I have been informed, and the idol of her father, whose affection she amply returned. They led a very retired life, and seldom quitted the place, except to pay an annual visit to the other side of the Pyrenees, where she had an elder brother married to a Spanish lady of considerable fortune; but Mademoiselle Henriette had two companions who seemed to make her amends for the absence of other society. One was a young girl called Rosina, who had been her foster-sister, and who now lived with her in the capacity of waiting-maid; the other was her cousin, Eugène de Beaugency, an orphan, and dependent on her father; his own having lost every thing he possessed, in consequence of some political offense previous to the Revolution. It was even reported that the Beaugency family had been nigh suffering the same fate, and that some heavy fines which had been extracted from them had straitened their means, and obliged them to live in retirement. However this might be, Henriette appeared perfectly contented with her lot. Eugène studied with her, and played with her; and they grew up together with all the affection and familiarity of a brother and sister; while old M. de Beaugency never seems to have suspected that any other sentiment could possibly subsist between them: not that they took the slightest pains to disguise their feelings; and it was their very openness that had probably lulled the father's suspicions. Indeed, their lives flowed so smoothly, and their intercourse was so unrestrained, that nothing ever occurred to awaken even themselves to the nature of their sentiments; while the affection that united them had grown so gradually under the parent's eyes, that their innocent terms of endearment, and playful caresses, appeared to him but the natural manifestations of the relation in which they stood to each other. The first sorrow Henriette had was when Eugène was sent to Paris to study for the bar; but it was a consolation that her own regret scarcely exceeded that of her father; and when she used to be counting the weeks and days as the period of his return drew nigh, the old man was almost as pleased as she was to see their number diminish.

"All this harmony and happiness continued uninterrupted for several years; but, at length, an element of discord, at first slight, seemed to arise from the appearance on the scene of a certain Count Ruy Gonzalez, who came here with the father and daughter after one of their annual excursions into Catalonia. He was an extremely handsome, noble-looking Spaniard, of about thirty years of age, and said to be rich; but there was an air of haughty, inflexible sternness about him, that repelled most people, more than his good looks and polished manners attracted them. These unamiable characteristics, however, appeared to be much modified, if not to vanish altogether, in the presence of Mademoiselle de Beaugency, to whom it soon became evident he was passionately attached; while it was equally clear that her father encouraged his addresses. Even the young lady, in spite of her love for her cousin, seems to have been not quite insensible to the glory of subduing this magnificent Catalonian, who walked the earth like an archangel in whom it was a condescension to set his foot on it. She did not, therefore, it is to be feared, repress his attentions in the clear and decided manner that would have relieved her of them—though, indeed, if she had done so, considering the character she had to deal with, the dénouement might not have been much less tragical than it was. In the mean while, pleased and flattered, and joyfully anticipating her cousin's return, she was happy enough; for the pride of the Spaniard rendering him cautious to avoid the possibility of refusal or even hesitation in accepting him, he forebore to make his proposal till the moment arrived when he should see it eagerly desired by her. All this was very well till Eugène came home; but then the affair assumed another color. Love conquered vanity;[Pg 244] and the Spaniard, finding himself neglected for the young advocate, began to exhibit the dark side of his character; whereupon the girl grew frightened, and fearing mischief, she tried to avert it by temporizing—leading the count to believe that the affection betwixt herself and her cousin was merely one of early habit and relationship; while she secretly assured Eugène of her unalterable attachment. So great was her alarm, that she tacitly deceived her father as well as the Spaniard; and as the latter seemed resolved not to yield his rival the advantage his own absence would have given him, she was actually rejoiced when the period of her cousin's visit expired.

"The young man gone, Ruy Gonzalez resumed his former suavity of manner; and as he possessed many qualities to recommend him in a lady's eyes, he might possibly have won her heart had it been free; but as the matter stood, she ardently desired to get rid of him, and waited anxiously for the moment when he would give her an opportunity of declining his hand, trusting that would be the signal for his final departure. But whether from caution, or because he had penetrated her feelings, the expected offer was not made, although he assiduously continued his attentions, and spent more of his time at her house than at his own in Catalonia. At length Mademoiselle de Beaugency began to apprehend that he intended to wait the result of his observations at her cousin's next visit; and feeling quite assured that if the rivals met again, a quarrel would ensue, she persuaded her father to select that season for their own visit to her brother; while she wrote to Eugène, excusing their absence, and begging him not to come to see her at present. It is true, all this was but putting off the evil day; but she had a presentiment of mischief, and did not know what to do to avert it; the rather that she was aware both her father and brother wished to see her married to the count, and that neither of them would consent to her union with Eugène, who had no means of supporting her, nor was likely to have for some years to come. It was not to be expected that this arrangement should be agreeable to the young lover: it was now his turn to be jealous; and instead of staying away as he was desired, he set out post-haste with the fixed determination of following them from their residence to Catalonia, and coming to an immediate explanation with the count. But his jealous pangs were appeased, and all thoughts of revenge postponed, by finding his uncle at the last extremity, his mistress in great distress, and Ruy Gonzalez not with them. Their journey had been prevented by the sudden seizure of M. de Beaugency, who, after a few days' suffering, expired in his daughter's arms, quite ignorant of her attachment to her cousin, and with his dying breath beseeching her to marry the count. When his affairs began to be looked into, the motive for this urgency became apparent. He had been living on the principal of what money he had; and nearly all that remained of his dilapidated fortunes was this house and the small piece of ground attached to it. This was a great disappointment to the young couple, who, previous to their discovery, had agreed to be married in six months—the lady believing her fortune would be sufficient to maintain them both. But now marriage was out of the question till Eugène had some means of maintaining her. At present, he had nothing; he was an advocate without a brief, and had been hitherto living on the small stipend allowed by his uncle; starving himself three-quarters of the year, in order that he might have the means of spending the other quarter at the Beaugency mansion. And what a long time might elapse before he could make any thing by his profession! It was, as they both agreed, désespérant.

"These events occurred in the early years of the French Republic, when France was at war with all the world, and soldiering the best trade going. 'I'll enter the army,' said Eugène; 'it is the profession I always preferred, and that for which I have most talent, and the only one in these times by which a man can hope to rise rapidly. At the bar I may wait for years without getting any thing to do. Besides, I am intimate with a son of General Duhamel's; and I know he will speak a good word for me, and get his father to push me on.' Of course there were objections to this plan on the part of Henriette, but her lover's arguments overcame them; and, after repeated vows of fidelity, they parted, he to fulfill his intentions, and she to remain at home with Rosina and an elderly female relative, who came to live with her—a plan she preferred to accepting her brother's invitation to reside with him in Catalonia, where she would have been exposed to the constant visits of the count: whereas, now that her father was dead, he could not, with propriety, visit her at her own house. It appeared afterward that he had only been deferring his proposals till what he considered a decorous moment for making them; being meanwhile assured of the brother's support, and having little doubt of being accepted since the state of M. de Beaugency's affairs was disclosed. But before that moment came, a circumstance occurred to facilitate his views, in a manner he little expected; for, eager to distinguish himself under the eye of his commanding officer, Eugène de Beaugency, with the ardor and inexperience of youth, had rushed into needless danger, and fallen in the very first battle his regiment was engaged in."

By the time my companion had reached this point in his narration, we found ourselves at the entrance of the village, where the church stood, and beside it the small house occupied by the curé. It had a little garden in front, and under the porch sat a very ancient woman basking in the sun. Her head shook with palsy, her form was bent, and she had a pair of long knitting needles in her hands, from her manner of using which I perceived she was blind. The priest invited me to walk in, informing me that that[Pg 245] was Rosina; and adding, that if I liked to rest myself for half an hour, he would ask her to tell me the rest of the story. Feeling assured that some strange catastrophe remained to be disclosed, I eagerly accepted the good man's offer; and having been introduced to Henriette's former companion, whose memory, in spite of her great age, I found perfectly clear, I said I feared it might give her pain to recall circumstances that were doubtless of a distressing nature.

"Ah, madame," said she, "it is but putting into words the thoughts that are always in my head! I have never related the sad tale but twice; for I would not, for my dear mistress's sake, speak of such things to the people about her; but each time I slept better afterward. I seemed to have lightened the heaviness of my burthen by imparting the secret to another."

"You were very much attached to Mademoiselle de Beaugency?" said I.

"My mother was her nurse, madame, but we grew up like sisters," answered Rosina. "She never concealed a thought from me; and the Virgin knows her thoughts will never keep me an hour out of Paradise, for there was no more sin in them than a butterfly's wing might bear."

"I suppose she suffered a great deal when she heard of her cousin's death?" said I. "How long was it before she married the count? For she did marry him, I conclude, from what I have heard?"

"Ay, madame, she did, about a year after the—the news came, worse luck! Not that she was unhappy with him exactly. He did not treat her ill; far from it; for he was passionately fond of her. But he was jealous—heavens knows of whom, for he had nobody to be jealous of. But he loved like a hot-blooded Spaniard, as he was; and I suppose he felt that she did not return his love in the same way. How should she, when she had given her whole heart to her cousin? Still she liked the count, and I could not say they were unhappy together; but she did not like Spain, and the people she lived among there. The count's place was dreadfully gloomy, certainly. For my part, I used to be afraid to go at night along the vaulted passages, and up those wide, dark staircases, to my bed. But the count doted on it because it had belonged to the family time out of mind; and it was only to please her that he ever came to her family home at all."

"But surely this place is very dismal, too?" said I.

"Dismal!" said she. "Ay, now, I daresay, because there's a curse on it; but not then. Oh, it was a pleasant place in old M. de Beaugency's time! besides, my poor mistress loved it for the sake of the happy days she had seen there; and when the period approached that she was to be confined of her first child, she entreated her husband to bring her here. She wanted to have my mother with her, who had been like a mother to her; and as she told him she was sure she should die if he kept her in Catalonia, he yielded to her wishes, and we came. The doctor was spoken to, and everything arranged; and she was so pleased, poor thing, at the thoughts of having a baby, that as we used to sit together making the clothes for the little creature that was expected, she chatted away so gayly about what she would do with it, and how we should bring it up, that I saw she was now really beginning to forget that she was not married to the husband her young heart had chosen.

"Well, madame," continued Rosina, after wiping her sightless eyes with the corner of her white apron—"we were all, as you will understand, happy enough, and looking forward shortly to the birth of the child, when, one afternoon, while my master and mistress were out driving, and I was looking through the rails of the garden gate for the carriage—for they had already been gone longer than usual—I saw a figure coming hastily along the road toward where I stood, a figure which, as it drew near, brought my heart into my mouth, for I thought it was an apparition! I just took a second look, and then, overcome with terror, I turned and ran toward the house; but before I reached it, he had opened the gate, and was in the garden."

"Who was?" said I.

"M. Eugène, madame—Eugène de Beaugency, my lady's cousin," answered Rosina.

"'Rosina!' cried he, 'Rosina! don't be frightened. I'm no ghost, I assure you. I suppose you heard I was killed? But I was not, you see; I was only taken prisoner, and here I am, alive and well, thank God! How's my cousin? Where is she?'

"I leave you to judge, madame, how I felt on hearing this," continued the old woman. "A black curtain seemed to fall before my eyes, on which I could read woe! woe! woe! I could not tell what form it would take; I never could have guessed the form it did take; but I saw that behind the dark screen which vailed the future from my eyes there was nothing but woe on the face of the earth for those three creatures. The Lord have mercy upon them! thought I; and for the world to come, I hope my prayer may have been heard—but it was of no avail for this!

"Well, madame, my first fear was, that the count would return and find him there, for well I knew there would be bloodshed if they met; so without answering his questions, I entreated him to go away instantly to my mother's, promising that I would follow him presently, and tell him every thing; but this very request, together with the agitation and terror he saw me in, made him suspect the truth at once; and, seizing my arm with such violence that I bore the marks of his poor fingers for many a day afterward, he asked me if she was married. 'She is,' said I: 'she thought you were dead; she had no money left; and you know it was her father's dying injunction that—' 'Married to the Spaniard—to Ruy Gonzalez?' said he, with such a face, the Lord deliver me!" (and the old woman paused for a moment, as if to [Pg 246]recover from the pain of the recollection.) "'Yes,' said I, 'to Ruy Gonzalez; and if he sees you here, he'll kill you!' 'Let him.' said he. 'But it will be her death,' said I; 'and she's—she's'—I hadn't the heart to go on. 'What?' said he. 'In the family way—near her confinement,' I answered. He clenched his two fists, and clapped them on his forehead. 'I must see her,' said he. 'Impossible,' I answered; 'he never leaves her for a moment.' 'Where are they now?' he asked. 'Out driving,' said I. 'In a dark-blue carriage?' 'Yes; and I expect them every minute. Go, go, for the Lord's sake, go to my mother's!' 'I saw the carriage,' said he, with a bitter smile. 'It passed me just this side of Noirmoutier. Little I thought'—and his lip quivered for a moment, and his features were convulsed with agony. 'I will, I must see her,' continued he; 'and you had better help me to do it, or it will be the worse for us all. Hide me in her room; he does not sleep there, I suppose?' 'No,' I replied; 'but he goes there often to talk to her when she is dressing.' 'Put me in the closet,' said he, 'there's room enough for me to crouch down under the book-shelves. You can then tell her; and when he has left her for the night, you can let me out.' 'My God!' I cried, my knees beginning to shake under me, 'I hear the carriage; they'll be here in an instant!' 'Do as you like!' said he, seeing the advantage this gave him; 'if you won't help me to see her, I'll see her without you. I shall stay where I am!' and he struck his cane into the ground with a violence that showed his resolution to do what he threatened. 'Come away, for the Lord's sake!' cried I, for the carriage was close at hand, and there was not a moment to spare; and seizing him by the arm, I dragged him into the house; for even now he was half inclined to wait for them, and I saw he was burning to quarrel with the count. Well, I had but just time to lock him into the closet, and put the key in my pocket, before they had alighted, and were walking up the garden.

"You may conceive, madame, the state I was in when I met the count and my lady; and my confusion was not diminished by finding that he observed it. 'What is the matter, Rosina?' said he, 'has any thing unusual happened?' and as he spoke, he fixed his dark, piercing eyes upon me in such a way that I felt as if he was reading my very thoughts. I affected to be busy about my mistress, keeping my face away from him; but I knew he was watching me, for all that. Generally, when they came home, he used to retire to his own apartment, and leave his wife with me; but now he came into the salon, took off his hat, and sat himself down; nor did he leave her for two minutes during the whole evening. This conduct was so unusual, that it was plain to me he suspected something; besides, I saw it in his countenance, though I did not know whether his suspicions had been roused by my paleness and agitation, or whether any thing else had awakened them; but I felt certain afterward, that he had seen the poor young man when the carriage passed him, or at least, been sufficiently struck with the resemblance to put the true interpretation on my confusion. Well, madame, you may imagine what an evening I spent. I saw clearly that he was determined not to leave me alone with his wife; but this was not of so much consequence, since I had resolved not to give her a hint of what had happened till the count had taken leave of her for the night, because I knew that her agitation would have betrayed the secret. In the mean while she suspected no mischief; for although she observed something was wrong with me, she supposed I was suffering in my mind about a young man I was engaged to marry, called Philippe, who had been lately ill of a fever, and was now said to be threatened with consumption.

"While I pretended to be busying myself in my lady's room, they went out to take a stroll in the garden; and when I saw them safe at the other end, I put my lips to the key-hole, and conjured Eugène, for the sake of all that was good, to be still; for that I was certain it would not only be his death, but my mistress's too, if he were discovered; and he promised me he would. I had scarcely got upon my feet again, and turned to open a drawer, when I heard the count's foot in the salon. 'The countess is oppressed with the heat,' said he, 'and wants the large green fan: she says you'll find it in one of the shelves in the closet.'

"Only think, madame! only think!" said Rosina, turning her wrinkled face toward me, and actually shaking all over with the recollection of her terror. "I thought I should have sank into the earth! I stood for a moment aghast, and then I began to fumble in my pocket. 'Where can the key be?' said I, pretending to search for it; but my countenance betrayed me, and my voice shook so, that he read me like a book. I am sure he knew the truth from that moment. He looked hard at me, while his face became quite livid; and then he said, in a calm, deep voice: 'For the fan, no matter; I'll take another; but I see you are ill: you have caught Philippe's fever; you must go to bed directly. Come with me, and I'll lead you to your room.' 'I am not ill, Monsieur le Conte,' I stammered out; but taking no notice of what I said, he grasped my arm with his powerful hand, and dragged me away up-stairs; I say dragged, for I had scarcely strength to move my feet, and it was rather dragging than leading. As soon as he had thrust me into the room, he said in a significant tone: 'Remember, you are in danger! Unless you are very prudent, this fever will be fatal. Go to bed, and keep quite still till I come to see you again, or you may not survive till morning!' With that he closed the door and locked it; and I heard him take out the key, and descend the stairs. Then I suppose I swooned; for when I came to myself it was nearly dark, I was lying[Pg 247] on the floor, and could not at first remember what had happened. When my recollection returned, I crawled to the bed, and burying my face in the pillows, I gave vent to my anguish in sobs and tears; for I loved my mistress, madame, and I loved M. Eugène, and I knew there would be deadly mischief among them. I expected that the count would break open the closet, and that one or both would be killed; and considering the state she was in, I did not doubt that the grief and fright would kill the countess also. You may judge, madame, what a night I passed! sometimes weeping, sometimes listening: but I could hear nothing unusual, and at length I began to fancy that the conflict had occurred while I was lying in the swoon. But how had it terminated? I would have given worlds to know; but there I was, a prisoner, and I feared that if I tried to give any alarm, I might only make bad worse.

"Well, madame, I thought the morning would never break; but at length the sun rose, and I heard people stirring. It seemed, indeed, that there was an unusual bustle and running about; and by-and-by I heard the sound of wheels and horses' feet in the court, and I knew they were bringing out the carriage. Where could they be going? I could not imagine; but, on the whole, I was relieved, for I fancied that the meeting and explanation were over, and that now the count wished to leave the house, which, under the circumstances, I could not wonder at. He has spared Eugène for her sake, thought I. And this belief was strengthened by my master's entering my room presently afterward, and saying, 'Your mistress is gone away; I am afraid of her taking this fever. When I think it proper, you shall be removed: till then, remember that your life depends on your remaining quiet!' He placed a loaf of bread and a carafe of water on the table, and went away, locking the door as before. I confess now that much as I felt for M. Eugène, I could not help pitying the count also. What ravages the sufferings of that night had made on him! His cheeks looked hollow, his eyes sunken, his features all drawn and distorted, and his complexion like that of a corpse. It was a dreadful blow to him, certainly, for I knew that he loved my mistress to madness.

"Well, madame, I passed the day more peacefully than I could have hoped; but my mind being somewhat relieved about my lady, I began to think a little of myself, and to wonder what the count meant to do with me. I felt certain he would never let me see her again if he could help it, and that alone was a heartbreaking grief to me; and then it came into my head that perhaps he would confine me somewhere for life—shut me up in a convent, perhaps, or a madhouse! As soon as this idea possessed me, it grew and grew till I felt as if I really was going mad with the horror of it; and I resolved, though it was at the risk of breaking my neck, to try and make my escape by the window during the night. It looked to the side of the house, and was not very high up; besides, there were soft flower-beds underneath to break my fall; so I thought by tying the sheets together, and fastening them to an iron bar that divided the lattice, I might reach the ground in safety. I was a little creature, and though the space was not large, it sufficed for me to get through; and when all was quiet, and I thought every body was in bed, I made the attempt, and succeeded. I had to jump the last few feet, and I was over my ankles in the soft mould; but that did not signify—I was free; and taking to my heels, I ran off to my mother's, who lived then in a cottage hard by, where we are now sitting; and after telling her what had happened, it was agreed that I should go to bed, and that if anybody came to inquire for me she should say I was ill of the fever, and could not be seen. I knew when morning came I should be missed, for doubtless the count would go to my room; and besides that, I had left the sheets hanging out of the window.

"For two days, however, to my great surprise, we heard nothing; but on the third, Philippe (the young man I was engaged to) hearing I was not at the Beaugency house, came to our cottage to inquire about me. We had not met for some time, the countess having forbidden all communication between us, as she had a horrible dread of the fever, so that he could only hear of me through my mother. 'Rosina is here, and unwell,' said my mother: 'we think she's got the fever;' for though we might have trusted Philippe with our lives, we thought it would be safer for him to be ignorant of what had happened. Upon this he begged leave to see me; and she brought him into my chamber. After asking about himself, and telling him I was very poorly, and so forth, he said, 'This is a sad thing for the countess!' 'What is?' I asked. 'Your being ill at this time,' said he, 'when she must want you so much.' 'What do you mean?' said I; 'the countess is not at the house?' 'Don't you know she's come back,' said he, 'and that she's ill? The doctor has been sent for, and they say she's very bad.' 'Gracious heavens!' I exclaimed; 'is it possible? My poor dear mistress ill, and I not with her!' 'Robert, the footman, says,' continued Philippe—'but he bade me not mention it to any body—that when they stopped at the inn at Montlouis, Rateau, the landlord, came to the carriage-door, and asked if she had seen M. Eugène de Beaugency; and that when the countess turned quite pale and said, 'Are you not aware my cousin was killed in battle, M. Rateau?' he assured her it was no such thing; for that M. Eugène had called there shortly before on his way to her house. Rateau must have taken somebody else for him, of course; but I suppose she believed it, for she returned directly.' 'Rateau told her that he had seen M. Eugène?' said I. 'So Robert says; but Didier, the mason, says she was ill before she went, and that it was the[Pg 248] rats in the closet that frightened her.' 'Rats!' said I, sitting up in my bed and staring at him wildly. 'What rats?—what closet?' 'Some closet in her bed-room,' said he. 'The count sent for Didier to wall it up directly.' 'To wall it up?—wall up the closet?' I gasped out. 'Yes, build and plaster it up. But what's the matter, Rosina? Oh, I shouldn't have told you the countess was ill!' he cried out, terrified at the agitation I was in. 'Leave me, in the name of God!' I screamed, 'and send my mother to me!'

"I remember nothing after this, madame, for a long, long time. When my mother came, she found me in my night-clothes, tying the sheets together in order to get out of the window, though the door was wide open; but I was quite delirious. Weeks passed before I was in a state to remember or comprehend any thing. Before I recovered my senses, my poor mistress and her baby were in the grave, my master gone away, nobody knew whither, the servants all discharged, and the accursed house shut up. Not long afterward the news came that the count had died in Paris."

"But, Rosina,' said I, 'are you sure that M. de Beaugency was in that closet? How do you know the count had not first released him?"

"Ah, madame," she replied, ominously shaking her palsied head, "you would not ask that question if you had known Ruy Gonzalez as I did. The moment the words were out of Philippe's mouth I saw it all. It was just like him—just the revenge for that stern and inflexible spirit to take. Besides, madame, when all was over, and he durst speak, Didier the mason told me that nothing should ever convince him that there was not some living thing in that closet at the time he walled it up, though who or what it could be he never could imagine."

"And do you think, Rosina," said I, "do you think the countess ever suspected the secret of that dreadful closet?"

"Ay did she, madame," answered she; "and it was that which killed her; for when my mistress came back so unexpectedly, the count was closeted up-stairs with his agent, making arrangements for quitting the place forever, and had given orders not to be disturbed. He had locked up her apartments, and had the key in his pocket; but he had forgotten that there was a spare key for every room in the house, which the housekeeper had the charge of; so my lady sent for her to open the doors. Now, though from putting this and that together—the count's agitation, my sudden disappearance, her own removal, and the innkeeper's story—she felt sure there was some mischief in the wind, she had no suspicion of what had really occurred; as indeed how should she, till her eyes fell upon the door of the closet. Then she comprehended it all. You may imagine the rest, madame! Words couldn't paint it! When they came into the room, she was battering madly at the wall with the poker. But a few hours terminated her sufferings. She was already dead when Philippe was telling me of her return."

"It's a fearful tragedy to have lived through!" said I. "And Philippe: what became him?"

"He died like the rest, madame, about six months after these sad events had occurred. When I recovered my health, I went into service, and for the last forty years I have been housekeeper to M. le Curé here."

"And he is the only person that ever enters that melancholy house?"

"Yes, madame. I went there once—just once—to look at that fatal chamber, and the bed where my poor mistress died. When the place was let, those apartments were locked up; but"—and she shook her head mournfully—"the tenants were glad to leave it."

"And for what purpose does M. le Curé go there so often?" I asked.

"To pray for the souls of the unfortunates!" said the old woman, devoutly crossing herself.

Deeply affected with her story, I took leave of this sole surviving witness of these long-buried sorrows; and I, too, accompanied by the curé, once more visited the awful chamber. "Ah, madame!" said he, "poor human nature! with its passions, and its follies, and its mad revenges! Is it not sad to think that so much love should prove the foundation of so much woe?"



OF all the wonders of distant climes of which we read in childhood, perhaps none make a stronger impression on our imaginations than such objects as exist beyond the mystic Arctic Circle. The pictorial representations of the Midnight Sun, the North Cape, the Aurora Borealis, the Laplanders and their reindeer, which all of us have gloated over in our dreaming youthful days, sink indelibly into our memory. While I sojourned on the Island of Tromsö, learning that on the neighboring mainland some Laplanders were encamped, I resolved to pay them a visit. Procuring a boat, I rowed over to the opposite shore (on the 17th July, 1850), where I met with a Nordlander, who informed me that the Lap encampment might be found somewhere toward the extremity of Trömsdal—a magnificent ravine commencing at no great distance from the shore, and running directly inland. He stated that the Laps had a noble herd of reins (the name universally given to reindeer), about eight hundred in number, and that, when the wind blew from a certain quarter, the whole herd would occasionally wander close to his house, but a rein-hund (reindeer-dog) was kept by him to drive them back.

The entrance to Trömsdal was a rough, wild tract of low ground, clothed with coarse wild grasses and dwarf underwood. There were many wild flowers, but none of notable beauty, the most abundant being the white flower of[Pg 249] that delicious berry the moltebær. The dale itself runs with a gentle but immense curve, between lofty ranges of rock, which swell upward with regularity. The bed of this dale, or ravine, is from one quarter to three quarters of a mile across, and the centre was one picturesque mass of underwood and bosky clumps. All shrubs, however, dwindled away up the mountains' sides, and the vegetation grew scantier the higher one looked, until, at an altitude of not more than one hundred yards above the level of the sea, the snow lay in considerable masses. Overhead hung a summer Italian sky! Looking backward, the entrance to Trömsdal seemed blocked up by towering snow-clad mountains; and, looking forward, there was a long green vista between walls of snow, closed at the extremity by huge fantastic rocks, nodding with accumulated loads of the same material. Down the gray rocks on each hand, countless little torrents were leaping. They crossed the bottom of the ravine every few yards, and all of them hurried to blend with Trömsdal Elv—"the river of Trömsdal"—which runs through the dale, and falls into the sea at its entrance.

I had probably wandered four or five English miles down this noble dale, when a wild but mellow shout or halloa floated on the crisp, sunny breeze from the opposite side. I listened eagerly for its repetition, and soon it was repeated, more distinctly and more musically, and then I felt sure that it was the call of a Lap to the herd of reins. I paused, glanced keenly between the intercepting branches, and lo! there they were, of all sizes, by twos and threes, and dozens and scores. There they were, "native burghers of this desert city," denizens of the wilds, gathering together in one jostling mass of animated life! See their tossing antlers and glancing sides, as they pass to and fro among the green underwood.

They were on the far side of Elv; and just as I reached one bank of the stream, they came up to the other. The water here flowed with extreme violence, and was piercingly cold, but I unhesitatingly plunged in, and waded across. In a minute I was in the midst of the herd, and then saw that a Lap youth and Lap girl were engaged in driving them to the encampment. The youth had very bright, playful, hazel eyes, rather sunken, and small regular features of an interesting cast. His hands, like those of all Laps, are as small and finely shaped as those of any aristocrat. The simple reason for this is, that the Laps, from generation to generation, never perform any manual labor, and the very trifling work they necessarily do is of the lightest kind. His pæsk (the name of a sort of tunic, invariably worn by the Laplanders) was of sheep-skin, the wool inward, reaching to his knees. His boots were of the usual peaked shape, a few inches higher than his ankles, and made of the raw skin of the reindeer, the hair being nearly all worn off. On his head was a round woolen cap, shaped precisely like a night-cap, with a red tassel, and a red worsted band round the rim. This species of cap is the favorite one worn by the Laps.

The dress of the girl was similar in shape, but her pæsk was of very coarse, light-colored woolen cloth, a material frequently used in summer for the pæsks of both sexes, as being cooler than reindeer-skin or sheep-skin. Her head was bare, and her hair hung low over her shoulders. Her features were minute, and the prettiest and most pleasing of any Lap I ever saw either before or since. The complexion was a tawny reddish hue, common to all Laplanders. The legs of the nymph in question were bare from the tops of her boots to the knee, and were extremely thick and clumsy, furnishing a striking contrast to the delicate shape of her hands. The twain were accompanied by three little rein-dogs, and were very leisurely driving the herd onward, each having a branch of a tree in hand, to whisk about, to urge the deer on. The girl had a great coarse linen bag slung round her neck, and resting on her back. This she filled with a particular kind of moss as she went along. I asked her what she gathered it for, and she gave me to understand it was used in milking the reins; but in what manner, was as yet to me a mystery. I found both the girl and the youth very good-natured, and the eyes of the latter especially sparkled with merry humor. They could speak only a very few words of Norwegian, but understood some of my questions in that language, and very readily answered them. They were driving the herd to be milked, and on my telling them I was an Englishman, come from afar to see them and their reins, they repeated the word "Englesk" several times, in a tone of surprise, and regarded me with an interest and curiosity somewhat akin to what the appearance of one of their people would excite in an English city. Yet I must remark that, except in what immediately concerns themselves, the emotions of all Laplanders, so far as my opportunities of judging enable me to conclude, flow in a most sluggish channel. I asked the girl to show me the moss the reins eat, and she did so (after a little search), and gathered me some. It is very short in summer, but long in winter. In Sweden, I learn that this most admirable provision of nature for the sole support of the deer during nine months in the year (and in consequence, the existence of the Laplanders also depends on it) grows much more abundantly, and is of a greater length; which is the reason most Laps prefer Swedish Lapmark for their winter wanderings. Coming to a marshy spot where a particular long, sharp, narrow grass grew, I plucked some, and asked the Laps if they did not use that to put in their boots in lieu of stockings? They instantly responded affirmatively. This is the celebrated bladder carex, or cyperus grass (the carex-vesicaria of Linnæus). I gathered some, and afterward found it in several parts of the Island of Tromsö; but it only grows in marshy spots. The Laps at all seasons stuff their boots quite[Pg 250] full of it, and it effectually saves their feet from being frost-bitten.

Onward we went, driving the herd, in which I gleefully helped, the three little dogs at times barking and fetching up stragglers. The Laps occasionally gave a short cry or urging shout to the reins, and I burst forth with my full-lunged English hallo, to the evident amusement of my companions. The scene was most exciting, and vividly brought to my recollection the forest scenes in "As you like it." The brilliant sunlight, the green grass, the sparkling, murmuring Elv, the picturesque glen, the figures of the Laps, the moving herd of reins—the novelty of the whole was indescribably delightful. I found the reins did not make such a very loud, "clicking" noise as most travelers have asserted. Here were hundreds of reins striking their hoofs together, and yet the noise was certainly any thing but loud from their cloven feet and horny fetlocks, and would hardly have been noticeable had I not particularly listened for it. But another thing, of which I had never read any notice, struck me much—the loud, snorting noise emitted by the deer at every step. Unpoetical as my fancy may seem, it reminded me most strongly of the grunting of swine, but was certainly not so coarse a noise, and, at the same time, partook much of the nature of a snort. The cause of the noise is this: when the deer are heated, they do not throw off their heat in sweat—their skin is too thick for that; but, like the dog, they emit the heat through the mouth. The size of some of the reins astonished me. In many instances they were as large as Shetland ponies, and some had most magnificent branching antlers of a very remarkable size. This is the only animal of the deer genus which invariably has a horizontal branch from the main antlers, projecting in a line over each eye. These antlers are covered with a short gray hair. Some of the herd in question had broken pieces off their antlers, which hung down bleeding by the skin. The does also have antlers, but very small, and generally straight, which, when skinned and dried, can be distinguished from those of the male by their whiteness. All the herd were casting their winter hair, and consequently their coats looked somewhat ragged and parti-colored—the new color being generally a dark, and the old a light gray. In some cases, however, the deer are white; and in winter all are more or less of a light color. There were many pretty young does running among the herd.

The eye of the rein is beautiful; it is rather prominent, with clear, dark eyeball and reddish iris. One noble deer was the leader of the herd, and was distinguished by a bell hanging beneath his neck, just in front of the chest, and suspended from a broad slip of wood bent round his neck, and tied with a thong.

We at length drew nigh the Lap encampment, consisting of two large gammes (summer huts), most rudely constructed of earth, stones, and trunks of trees; and also of a summer canvas tent. Besides these, were two or three extraordinary erections of trees and branches, which I shall hereafter describe. Between us and the encampment flowed a bend of Trömsdal Elv, and on the north side of this (the side we were on) were inclosed circus-like open places, each of a diameter of one hundred and fifty feet, as nearly as I could estimate. They were formed by stumps of trees and poles, set upright on the ground, and these were linked together by horizontal poles, and against the latter were reared birch poles and branches of trees, varying from six to ten feet in height, without the slightest attempt at neatness, the whole being as rude as well could be; but withal, this inclosure was sufficiently secure to answer the purpose of its builders. On the south side of the Elv, and about one hundred yards distant, was a third similar inclosure.

Soon we were joined by the whole Lappish tribe, who came by twos and threes, bringing with them all the instruments and appliances necessary for the important business of milking. These consisted of long thongs of reindeer-skin, and also hempen cords of the manufacture of civilized men, for noosing the reins, and of bowls, kits, &c., to receive the milk. The bowls were thick, clumsy things, round, and of about nine inches in diameter, with a projecting hand-hold. They would probably each hold a couple of quarts, and the edges inclined inward, so as to prevent the milk from spirting over during the operation of milking. The large utensils for receiving the milk from these hand-bowls consisted of four wooden kits with covers, one iron pot, and a long keg or barrel.

All the Lap huts I have seen are furnished with one or more small barrels, containing a supply of water for drinking. The utensils enumerated were set apart together on the long grass, close beside the fence, in the inner portion of the circle, and in their midst was placed another object, which I regarded with extreme interest, viz., a child's cradle! This was the last thing brought from the encampment, which then did not contain a living animal—men, women, children, and dogs, being one and all assembled in the inclosures. The cradle was ingeniously made entirely of reindeer-skin, shorn of hair, and, as it appeared to me, also hardened or tanned by some process. Its shape much resembled a huge shoe of the fashion of the middle ages, having a high back, and turned up at the foot or toe. It reminded me strongly of the bark cradles of the North American Indians, and was equally adapted to be slung at the mother's back on a journey, or to be hung up in a gamme, or on a tree, out of the reach of hungry dogs or prowling wolves. The head of the cradle was spanned by a narrow top, from which depended a piece of coarse common red check woolen stuff, drawn so tightly over the body of the cradle that one would have fancied the little creature in some danger of suffocation, and it was only by an occasional feeble struggle under the cloth, that I was apprised of[Pg 251] the existence of a living creature beneath it. Evidently this cover was necessary, for I saw a huge musquito—the summer pest of the North—settle repeatedly upon it, as though longing to suck the blood of the innocent little prisoner.

The entire number of Laps now assembled could not be less than forty, men, women, and children included; and the three dogs had been joined by at least a score of their brethren. The men, generally, were attired in rough and ragged pæsks, either of reindeer-skin or of sheep-skin; the hair of the latter being worn inward, but of the former, outward. The women had all pæsks of cloth, but their appearance was so strikingly similar to that of the men, and the hair of both sexes hung down over the shoulders and shaded the face so much, that it was, in some cases, difficult, at the first glance, to distinguish the sex of the younger adults. The heads of the women were bare, and they all wore girdles of leather, studded with glittering brass ornaments, of which they are excessively proud. The men wore caps, as already described, and plain leather girdles, with a knife attached in a sheath, and in some instances the woman also wore a small knife. The children had miniature pæsks of sheep-skin, their only clothing. I had read of the generally diminutive stature of the Laplanders, and found them to be truly a dwarfish race. On an average the men did not appear to exceed five feet in height, and the women were considerably less. They were most of them very robust, however, and probably the circumference of their chest nearly equaled their height. The complexion of all was more or less tawny, their eyes light-colored, and their hair either reddish or auburn, and its dangling masses added much to the wildness of their aspect. Some of them wore mustaches and beards, but nature had apparently denied the majority such hirsute signs of manhood.

The gait or bearing of the Laps is indescribably clumsy, when they are walking on level ground, and as unsteady as that of a person under the influence of liquor; but they appear the reverse of awkward when engaged in the avocations incident to their primitive life. They are exceedingly phlegmatic in temperament, greedy, avaricious, suspicious, very indolent and filthy, and by no means celebrated for strict adherence to truth. The Nordlanders one and all spoke of them, in answer to my questions, with mingled distrust and contempt, and my own limited experiences most assuredly did not tend much toward impressing me with a more favorable opinion. The countenances of most of the Laps present a combination of stolidity, low cunning, and obstinacy, so as to be decidedly repulsive; yet it is undeniably true, that crimes attended with violence rarely occur among them, though I take that as no decided proof of the mildness of their disposition. They also are strict in their attendance at church, whenever opportunity serves; but their conduct immediately on quitting the sacred edifice, too frequently evinces that hardly a spark of genuine religion has lightened up the darkness of their souls. Drunkenness has long been, and is still their besetting sin, but I am assured that this failing, so common to all uncivilized races, is rapidly decreasing.

The tribe of Laps whom I am particularly describing were not Norwegian but Swedish Laps, and for a number of years have regularly resorted to Trömsdal, as affording a very fine pasturage for their herds, as well as being in the immediate vicinity of salt water, it being absolutely necessary for the herd to be driven to the sea-shore during the fervid summer season, to avoid the deadly pests of musquitoes and other insects, and to be within the cooling influence of the sea-breezes.

The herd was now driven within the inclosure, and all outlets secured. I stood in the midst of the animated, jostling mass of reins, Laps, and dogs. I found myself naturally an object of curiosity to the tribe, who questioned the youth and girl, whom I had accompanied to the spot, concerning me; and, from the glances the Laps cast on me and exchanged with one another, it was clear that I was regarded with some degree of suspicion, for they evidently considered I must have some secret ulterior object in visiting them. The Lapponic language is as liquid as the purest Italian, but it always struck me as being pervaded with a plaintive, melancholy, wailing tone. Anxious to conciliate my Lappish friends, I addressed a few words of Norwegian to one after another, but a shake of the head and a dull, glowering stare was the only answer I got. At length, finding one who appeared a principal man of the commonwealth, who spoke Norwegian very well, I made him understand that a desire to see a herd of reins had alone drawn me to the spot. He exchanged a few amicable "Ja, Ja's" with me, but was too intent on the great business of the day to say much.

Throwing my wet stockings and shoes aside, I walked about bare-legged among the throng, bent on seeing all that was to be seen. The first thing to be done was to secure the restive reins. Selecting a long thong or cord, a Lap took a turn of both ends round his left hand, and then gathered what sailors call the bight in loose folds held in his right. He now singled out a rein, and threw the bight with unerring aim over the antlers of the victim. Sometimes the latter made no resistance, but generally no sooner did it feel the touch of the thong than it broke away from the spot, and was only secured by the most strenuous exertions of its capturer. Every minute might be seen an unusually powerful rein furiously dragging a Lap round and round the inclosure, and occasionally it would fairly overcome the restraint of the thong, and whirl its antagonist prostrate on the sod. This part of the scene was highly exciting, and one could not but admire the great muscular strength and the trained skill evinced by all the Laps, women as well as men. The resistance of a[Pg 252] rein being overcome, the Lap would take a dexterous hitch of the thong round his muzzle and head, and then fasten him to a trunk of a prostrate tree, many of which had been brought within the level inclosure for that especial purpose. Even when thus confined, some of the reins plunged in the most violent manner. Men and women were indiscriminately engaged, both in singling out milk-reins and in milking them. The wooden bowl, previously described, was held in the operator's left hand, and he then slapped the udder of the rein several times with the palm of the right hand; after which, moistening the tips of his fingers with his lips, he rapidly completed the operation. I paid particular attention to the amount of milk yielded by a single rein, noticing only bowls which had not previously received contributions, and I found that, although some yielded little more than a gill, others gave at least double, and a few thrice, that quantity. I think the fair average might be half a pint.

This milk is as thick as the finest cream from the cow, and is luscious beyond description. It has a fine aromatic smell, and in flavor reminded me most strongly of cocoa-nut milk. No stranger could drink much of it at a time—it is too rich. I bargained with the Laps subsequently for a large bottleful, and never shall I forget the treat I enjoyed in sipping the new, warm milk on the ground. When a rein was milked, the operator took up a small portion of the particular species of moss spoken of, and carefully wiped the drained udder and teats with it. From time to time, the bowls were emptied into the kits, &c.

It is impossible to give an adequate idea of the impressive, exhilarating tout ensemble of the whole inclosure. Every soul seemed fully occupied, for even the little Lap children were practicing the throwing of the lasso, and evinced great dexterity, although their strength was insufficient to hold the smallest doe. Many of the young reins attempted to suck the parent doe, but were always beaten away by the Laps. Great quantities of the loose hair on the backs of the reins fell to the ground at a touch, and I observed that the women failed not to gather it every now and then, and put it aside in large handfuls. Inquiring the reason of this, I learned they used it to form beds, on which to stretch their reindeer-skins, and thus save them from contact with the mud floor of the huts. I seated myself on a fragment of rock in the centre of the circle, and made hasty notes of what I beheld around me. This act excited very general dissatisfaction among the Laps, who regarded me with increased suspicion, doubtless imagining me to be enumerating themselves and reins for the purpose of taxation, or something worse. Several came close up to me, and peered over the cabalistic signs on my paper with a sort of gloomy inquisitiveness. I spoke to the Lap who understood Norwegian, and he acted as tolk in interpreting anew to his brethren the purely amicable nature of my intentions. As to the half-dozen of little wild imps of children, I had already won their confidence by distributing among them large rye cakes, with which I had filled my pockets at Tromsö, expressly with that view. At first it was with difficulty they were induced to approach me to receive my gifts, but they soon came readily enough, and, as fast as I broke up the cakes and distributed the fragments, just so fast did the said fragments disappear down their hungry little stomachs. They gave no sign of acknowledgment of the treat—as it truly was to them—no more than so many automata. The tolk, however, marking this, made one of them say, in the Norwegian, "Taks, mange taks" (thanks, many thanks).


IT is curious to look back on the fatal and universal prevalence of Gold-worship recorded in the history of our race, from the period when Midas became its victim, and the boy chased the rainbow to find the pot of treasure at its foot, to the days when the alchemist offered his all a burnt-sacrifice on the altar; until we reach the present time, when, although the manner of its worship has changed, the old idolatry remains in spirit the same. One or two anecdotes illustrative of the passion for gold worship may not prove uninteresting.

The hero of our first story—a chamois hunter of the Swiss Alps—was for many years of his existence an absolute stranger to the very sight of gold. He dwelt in a mountain chalet, in the peaceful contentment and ignorant simplicity of former ages—lord of his own freedom, with nature for his domain, and the fleet Alpine creatures for his subjects. By some unfortunate chance, however, he moved from this dwelling of his youth to the lower station, and to the side of a pass frequented by travelers, toward whom he was frequently called on to exercise hospitality. His services, and the shelter he afforded, were occasionally rewarded with gold, which, though of little actual use or value to him as a circulating medium, gradually exercised a strange fascination over his senses. He hoarded his guineas with the doting fondness of the miser; he looked on them with more pleasure than on the faces of his children; and listened to their chink with a satisfaction no tone of household love or sweet Alpine melody could call forth. It chanced one day that our hunter, in the pursuit of his ordinary avocation, perceived a tiny cavern hitherto unknown to him. He determined to snatch his hasty noon-tide meal beneath its shelter; and in order to enter it, rolled away a block of stone which obstructed the mouth of the fissure. To his amazement, its removal presented to his gaze a deep hole, in which a vase of considerable size was buried. He removed the lid, and there, fresh and bright, as if they were coins of yesterday, glittered before his eyes a multitude of golden pieces, mingled with shining particles of ore. A buried treasure of long past ages was before him. He took them in his hands, he[Pg 253] clutched them, he stared at them with half-insane delight. He could not, of course, divine how they had come to be in their strange hiding-place, or who had placed them there; the inscriptions on them—the figure of a lamb, which some few bore—said nothing to him. There appeared to be something supernatural in the discovery, and he wasted all the remaining hours of daylight beside the vase; then, as night closed in, he replaced both the lid and the stone above the treasure. He did not attempt to remove it to his own dwelling, nor did he breathe a word of his discovery even to his wife; but from that hour he became an altered man.

The love of gold is an absorbing passion, especially when thus embodied and materialized. He lived only beside his treasure; thither he bent his steps daily, nor left it till the gloom of evening hid the object of his idolatry from his eager gaze. His hunter's craft was neglected; his family pined for food; he himself grew gaunt and thin, anxious and suspicious; ever dreading that his secret might be discovered; restless and miserable except when beside his wealth, where want, and hunger, and the sad, suffering faces of those he had once loved, were all forgotten. Only when the gathering darkness drove him from his hoard did he think of using his fowling-piece, and scanty was the provision thus obtained. In order fully and perfectly to contemplate his gold, it was necessary for him to stretch himself at full length before the entrance to the little hollow; his head and shoulders to the waist being thus within the cave, immediately over the vase, his body and legs outside. The cliff above the opening was nearly perpendicular, and had been much split and shaken by the frosts since an avalanche had deprived it of its crown of snow; but of his danger he was heedless or unconscious. One morning while lying prone, repeating for the fiftieth time his daily counting of the old coins, a portion of the rock detached itself slowly, and falling on his waist, pinned him to the earth, without however crushing or greatly injuring him. He uttered a loud cry, and made desperate exertions to raise it and free himself, but in vain; a force beyond his strength to resist had fixed him to the spot of his unhallowed and insane devotion. Imagination can scarcely conceive a more fearful death than the slow lingering one of bodily torture and starvation that must have followed. He was of course sought for as soon as missed; but the spot was unknown even to the most practiced hunters, and it was more than a week before the body was discovered. The surprise and horror of his family may be imagined. They had never been able to comprehend his altered conduct and mysterious disappearances: all was explained, however, when the huge stone being removed, he was found—perhaps from his position involuntarily—clutching in his dead fingers the fatal gold.

We relate this incident on the authority of a Swiss lady who had seen the cave, and who assured us that the simple mountaineers avoid the spot with superstitious horror. To them there must have appeared to be some strange magic in the hidden treasure; and so to the calmest judgment it would seem, when in the ordinary course of life we behold, not only the fearful and painful sacrifices made for the attainment of gold, but the court paid, the homage offered to its possessors by those who have no hope of gaining any thing by their reverence for the mere name of wealth.

To come nearer home, our village at one time rejoiced in a gold-worshiper, whose history is worth relating. While still young, and taking our daily walk with our nurse, we observed an old man working at the repairs of some miserably dismantled houses. He was a tall, gaunt personage, painfully meagre, and very ragged. His jawbones protruded distressingly, and his poor thin elbows looked so sharp, that one could have fancied they had cut their way through the torn coat that no longer covered them. We pitied, and with childlike sympathy and freedom made acquaintance with him; always pausing to speak to him when we passed the spot on which he labored. Sometimes a little boy, a fair delicate child, was with him, assisting in the work as far as his age allowed; and with this young creature we grew intimate, and were at length led by him to the old man's home. It was a very large, old-fashioned farm-house, but so much out of repair that only three or four rooms were habitable. These, however, were kept in exquisite order by the wife, who was a very pretty, sad-looking woman, many years younger than her husband. By her care the antique furniture, which must have counted its century at least, was preserved brightly polished; the floors were so clean, that the lack of carpeting was scarcely perceptible; and the luxuriant jessamine she had trained round the windows was a charming substitute for curtains. There was one peculiarity about the dwelling, of a striking kind when its apparent poverty and the character of its owner were considered: it contained a music-room! in which was a tolerably large church-organ, made and used by the miser himself. To the debasing and usually absorbing passion which governed him, he united a wonderful taste and genius for music, to gratify which he had constructed himself the instrument we have named, on which we have heard him perform in a style of touching, and at times sublime, expression, the compositions of Purcell, Pergolesi, Handel, &c. We have always thought this love of harmony in a miser a more singular and inconsistent characteristic than the avarice of Perugino or Rembrandt, since in their case the art they practiced fed their reigning passion for gold; nevertheless, so it was—old Mr. Monckton would go without a meal, see his wife and family want common necessaries, with plenty of money at his command, and yet solace himself by performances on the organ, which frequently went far into the night, startling the passing stranger by bursts of solemn midnight[Pg 254] melody; for he never played till the faded daylight rendered it impossible for him to work at the various little jobs by which he added to his hoards.

He had two sons: the pretty child we first knew, and an elder one—a slim, delicate youth, who was by nature an artist. His father's parsimony rendered it, however, a difficult matter for him to procure materials for the exercise of his art, which was wholly self-taught; and it was wonderful to witness the effect he could produce from a bit of common lamp-black, or an ordinary drawing-pencil. His genius at last found aid in the loving heart of his mother, who secretly and at night—often while her strange husband filled the house with solemn music—worked at her needle to procure the means of purchasing paints, canvas, brushes, &c., for her boy; toiling secretly, for if she had permitted the father to know that she possessed even a few shillings, he would have extorted them from her. It was all she could do to help the young painter in his eager self-teaching; for she possessed no other knowledge than that acquired at a village school during her childhood. Her own fate had been a very sad one. She was a laborer's daughter, betrothed from early girlhood to a sailor, who was her cousin; but during one of his voyages—the last he was to make before their marriage—her beauty attracted the admiration of the rich Mr. Monckton, and he offered to make her his wife. The poor girl would fain have refused him, and kept her promise to her absent lover, but her family were flattered and dazzled by the idea of her wedding a man known to be so wealthy, and she was not proof against their entreaties and their anger. She married him; her relatives, however, derived no benefit from the match their selfishness had made. The miser's doors were closed against them; and lest his wife should be tempted to assist their poverty at his expense, he forbade her ever seeing her parents. A weary lot had been poor Mary's from that hour she married. Her only comfort was derived from her children; and even they became a source of sorrow as they grew past infancy, and she found that her husband's avarice would deny them even the advantages she had enjoyed as a poor cottage child. They received no education but such as she could give them; nay, were made to toil at the lowest drudgery in return for the scanty food and clothing their father bestowed. She taught them to read and write; and afterward Richard, the elder, became his own instructor. There were many old books to be found in the farm-house, and of those he made himself master. The villagers, who had a few volumes, were willing to lend them to such a clever lad; and at length, as we have said, his genius for painting developed itself, and was ministered to by his mother's industry. We remember seeing his first attempt at original composition. It was boldly conceived and well executed, considering the difficulties under which he labored: the subject was Phaeton driving the chariot of the sun. It was shown to the clergyman of the village, a man of great taste, and a connoisseur in painting. He was so much pleased with it that he became the warm friend of the young artist, and, as far as circumstances permitted, his instructor in literature and painting. The younger brother inherited his father's taste for music, and was a quiet, thoughtful child, passionately attached to Richard, on whom he looked as a prodigy of learning and talent. Nothing, in fact, could be more touching than the attachment of these two brothers: at their leisure hours they were always to be seen together; their pleasures or sorrows were mutual.

The privations, injustice, and restraint to which they were subjected appeared to bind them to each other with a love "passing the love of woman;" and both found consolation in the mental gifts mercifully imparted to them.

About four years after we first became acquainted with the Moncktons, the fair, gentle child, then nearly fourteen, became ill; growing thin, pale, and weak, till his mother and Richard, in great alarm, besought old Monckton to let him have medical advice. The request produced a storm of passionate reproaches. "The boy," he said, "was well enough. He ate as much as was good for him. Did they think people could not live without gormandizing as they did? Did they imagine he should throw away his little means upon doctors, who were all a set of cheats? He should do nothing of the kind!" And poor Ernest was left to pine and wither, till Richard in despair sought out a physician, and telling him their story, besought him to come and see his brother, promising to repay the advice he asked by his future toil.

Dr. N—— was a kind-hearted, benevolent man. He at once complied with the youth's entreaty, and called at an hour when the old man was absent at the farm. He found his patient worse than the brother's report had led him to believe. The illness was decline, caused probably by want of sufficiently nourishing food at a period of rapid growth, and increased by the overworking of a mind that was ever craving after knowledge. He prescribed such remedies as he judged best; but informed the mother, at the same time, that strengthening food was of the first importance, and would be the best means to effect a cure. Alas! how was it to be obtained? The heart of the miser was impenetrable to their remonstrances and entreaties—what was life in his eyes compared with gold? When they found that no human sympathy could be expected from the father, the mother and brother determined to use their own exertions to obey the behest of the physician. Early and late the former worked at her needle, the good doctor finding her as much employment as he could; while Richard, abandoning the study of his art, painted valentines, card-racks, and fancy articles for the stationers, and sought eagerly for every opportunity of winning a few shillings, to be spent in ministering to the [Pg 255]comfort of the beloved sufferer. But it was all too late: Ernest sank slowly, but surely.

There were intervals when life, like the flicker of an expiring lamp, appeared successfully struggling with death; but these occasional brightenings were always succeeded by a more entire prostration and languor. The personal beauty, for which Ernest had always been remarkable, grew almost superhuman during his illness, and Richard could not resist stealing a little time from his busy labors to paint his brother's portrait. In the execution of this task of love, however, many hindrances occurred; and before it was more than a sketch, the dear original had passed away from them in one of those quiet sleeps which in such cases, are the usual harbingers of death. The painting was removed to Richard's chamber, and in the first agony of his grief, forgotten; but when Ernest had been committed to the grave, and life had assumed its usual monotony—more gloomy now than ever—he remembered his attempt, and resolved on finishing the likeness from memory. An easy task! for nightly, in his slumbers, he saw the fair, sweet face of his young brother. The second morning after he had resumed his pencil, he was startled at finding that the painting appeared to be in a more advanced state than he had left it the night before, but he fancied imagination must be juggling him, and that he really had done more than he remembered. The following day, however, the same phenomenon startled him, and he mentioned the circumstance to his mother. She was superstitious, and nervous from sorrow and regret; and she at once adopted the fanciful notion that there was something supernatural in the matter; suggesting the possibility of their dear Ernest's gentle spirit having thus endeavored to show them, that in another world he still thought of them and loved them. Richard combated the idea by every argument his reason offered him; but as he was convinced of the fact, and could give no satisfactory explanation of it, he was at last persuaded by her earnest entreaties to leave the picture untouched for two or three days, and see what consequences would follow. The painting progressed! daily, or rather nightly, it advanced toward completion. Every morning a stronger likeness of the dead smiled on them from the canvas, and a more skillful hand than the young painter's appeared to be engaged on the work. It was a marvel past their simple comprehension; but the mother, confirmed in her first belief, resolved to watch, and try if it might be permitted to her living eyes to gaze upon the child whom the grave had shut from her sight. With this hope she concealed herself, without Richard's knowledge, in a large closet in his bed-room—placing the door ajar that she might see all that passed in the chamber. Her watch was of no long duration; suddenly her sleeping son rose from his couch, lighted his candle, approached his easel, and began to work at the portrait! Much amazed and half angry at the deception she believed he had practiced on her, Mrs. Monckton issued from her hiding-place, and spoke to him. He made her no answer; she stood before him—he saw her not; he was fast asleep! It was indeed a spirit's painting; for love had in this instance burst the bands of matter, and the somnambulist had achieved a work of art that surpassed all the efforts of his waking hours.

The story of the sleep-painting got abroad, and reached the ears of a gentleman of large fortune, who resided in the neighborhood. He called on the young artist; was pleased with his manners; and proposed engaging him as traveling companion to his own son, a youth about to visit Italy with his tutor; proffering a salary that would enable him to cultivate his genius for painting in the land of its birth, and of its perfect maturity. The offer was eagerly and thankfully accepted, and old Monckton made no opposition to his son's wish: he was only too thankful to be relieved from the burden of supporting him. Indeed the miser was somewhat changed since Ernest's death; not that he expressed in words any remorse for having preferred his gold to the life of his fair young son; but from that time he never touched the organ—the spirit of music appeared to have died with Ernest; and he often visibly shrank from meeting the silent reproach of Richard's eyes. The neighbors also shunned him; they had loved poor Ernest, and the conduct of his father toward him—the fact of his refusing to pay the physician who had attended him, "because he never sent for him"—and the mean, pauper-like funeral which he had grudgingly bestowed on the dead—revolted and disgusted them. A mean funeral was one of the offenses the people of K—— never forgave! The old man probably detected something of their feelings in their manners, for he gradually gave up his ordinary work about the village—that is, the keeping in repair such cottages as belonged to him—and remained much within doors. This change of habits and want of exercise told fatally on three score and ten, and probably hastened his death, which took place two years after his son's. He died without a will, but left very considerable property. It was supposed he died intestate, either because he grudged the expense of making a will, or because he could not endure the thought of parting from the gold which had had the worship and service of his life. Richard, on his return, repaired the old farm-house, and restored it to something like comfort. He proved liberal, but not (as is frequently the case in such instances) lavish. The only piece of extravagance of which he was ever accused—and it was the village stone-mason who blamed him for that—being the procuring an elegant marble monument from Italy, the work of a first-rate sculptor, to place over the grave of his beloved brother. The figures on it were—an admirable likeness of Ernest, taken from the somnambulist's picture, and two angelic beings in the act of presenting the risen spirit with the palms[Pg 256] and crown of victory gained over sorrow, suffering, and death. The inscription on the tomb had an awful and touching meaning to those who knew the story of the brother's life; and we know not how we can better conclude our sketches of the insane folly of gold-worship, than by finishing them with those solemn words—"Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven."



LEONARD had been about six weeks with his uncle, and those weeks were well spent. Mr. Richard had taken him to his counting-house, and initiated him into the business and the mysteries of double entry; and, in return, for the young man's readiness and zeal in matters which the acute trader instinctively felt were not exactly to his tastes, Richard engaged the best master the town afforded to read with his nephew in the evening. This gentleman was the head-usher of a large school—who had his hours to himself after eight o'clock—and was pleased to vary the dull routine of enforced lessons by instructions to a pupil who took delightedly—even to the Latin grammar. Leonard made rapid strides, and learned more in those six weeks than many a cleverish boy does in twice as many months. These hours which Leonard devoted to study Richard usually spent from home—sometimes at the houses of his grand acquaintances in the Abbey Gardens, sometimes in the Reading-room appropriated to those aristocrats. If he staid at home, it was in company with his head-clerk, and for the purpose of checking his account-books, or looking over the names of doubtful electors.

Leonard had naturally wished to communicate his altered prospects to his old friends, that they in turn might rejoice his mother with such good tidings. But he had not been two days in the house before Richard had strictly forbidden all such correspondence.

"Look you," said he, "at present we are on an experiment—we must see if we like each other. Suppose we don't, you will only have raised expectations in your mother which must end in bitter disappointment; and suppose we do, it will be time enough to write when something definite is settled."

"But my mother will be so anxious—"

"Make your mind easy on that score. I will write regularly to Mr. Dale, and he can tell her that you are well and thriving. No more words, my man—when I say a thing, I say it." Then, observing that Leonard looked blank and dissatisfied, Richard added, with a good-humored smile, "I have my reasons for all this—you shall know them later. And I tell you what, if you do as I bid you, it is my intention to settle something handsome on your mother; but if you don't, devil a penny she'll get from me."

With that Richard turned on his heel, and in a few moments his voice was heard loud in objurgation with some of his people.

About the fourth week of Leonard's residence at Mr. Avenel's, his host began to evince a certain change of manner. He was no longer quite so cordial with Leonard, nor did he take the same interest in his progress. About the same period he was frequently caught by the London butler before the looking-glass. He had always been a smart man in his dress, but he was now more particular. He would spoil three white cravats when he went out of an evening, before he could satisfy himself as to a tie. He also bought a peerage, and it became his favorite study at odd quarters of an hour. All these symptoms proceeded from a cause, and that cause was—Woman.


The first people at Screwstown were indisputably the Pompleys. Colonel Pompley was grand, but Mrs. Pompley was grander. The Colonel was stately in right of his military rank and his services in India; Mrs. Pompley was majestic in right of her connections. Indeed, Colonel Pompley himself would have been crushed under the weight of the dignities which his lady heaped upon him, if he had not been enabled to prop his position with a "connection" of his own. He would never have held his own, nor been permitted to have an independent opinion on matters aristocratic, but for the well-sounding name of his relations, "the Digbies." Perhaps on the principle that obscurity increases the natural size of objects, and is an element of the Sublime, the Colonel did not too accurately define his relations "the Digbies;" he let it be casually understood that they were the Digbies to be found in Debrett. But if some indiscreet Vulgarian (a favorite word with both the Pompleys) asked point-blank if he meant "my Lord Digby," the Colonel, with a lofty air, answered—"The elder branch, sir." No one at Screwstown had ever seen these Digbies: they lay amidst the Far—the Recondite—even to the wife of Colonel Pompley's bosom. Now and then, when the Colonel referred to the lapse of years, and the uncertainty of human affections, he would say—"When young Digby and I were boys together," and then add with a sigh, "but we shall never meet again in this world. His family interest secured him a valuable appointment in a distant part of the British dominions." Mrs Pompley was always rather cowed by the Digbies. She could not be skeptical as to this connection, for the Colonel's mother was certainly a Digby, and the Colonel impaled the Digby arms. En revanche, as the French say, for these marital connections, Mrs. Pompley had her own favorite affinity, which she specially selected from all others when she most desired to produce effect; nay, even upon ordinary occasions the name rose spontaneously to her lips—the name of the Honorable Mrs. M'Catchley. Was the fashion of a gown or cap admired, her[Pg 257] cousin, Mrs. M'Catchley, had just sent to her the pattern from Paris. Was it a question whether the Ministry would stand, Mrs. M'Catchley was in the secret, but Mrs. Pompley had been requested not to say. Did it freeze, "my cousin, Mrs. M'Catchley, had written word that the icebergs at the Pole were supposed to be coming this way." Did the sun glow with more than usual fervor, Mrs. M'Catchley had informed her "that it was Sir Henry Halford's decided opinion that it was on account of the cholera." The good people knew all that was doing at London, at court, in this world—nay, almost in the other—through the medium of the Honorable Mrs. M'Catchley. Mrs. M'Catchley was, moreover, the most elegant of women, the wittiest creature, the dearest. King George the Fourth had presumed to admire Mrs. M'Catchley, but Mrs. M'Catchley, though no prude, let him see that she was proof against the corruptions of a throne. So long had the ears of Mrs. Pompley's friends been filled with the renown of Mrs. M'Catchley, that at last Mrs. M'Catchley was secretly supposed to be a myth, a creature of the elements, a poetic fiction of Mrs. Pompley's. Richard Avenel, however, though by no means a credulous man, was an implicit believer in Mrs. M'Catchley. He had learned that she was a widow—an honorable by birth, an honorable by marriage—living on her handsome jointure, and refusing offers every day that she so lived. Somehow or other, whenever Richard Avenel thought of a wife, he thought of the Honorable Mrs. M'Catchley. Perhaps that romantic attachment to the fair invisible preserved him heart-whole among the temptations of Screwstown. Suddenly, to the astonishment of the Abbey Gardens, Mrs. M'Catchley proved her identity, and arrived at Col. Pompley's in a handsome traveling-carriage, attended by her maid and footman. She had come to stay some weeks—a tea-party was given in her honor. Mr. Avenel and his nephew were invited. Colonel Pompley, who kept his head clear in the midst of the greatest excitement, had a desire to get from the Corporation a lease of a piece of ground adjoining his garden, and he no sooner saw Richard Avenel enter, than he caught him by the button, and drew him into a quiet corner in order to secure his interest. Leonard, meanwhile, was borne on by the stream, till his progress was arrested by a sofa table at which sat Mrs. M'Catchley herself, with Mrs. Pompley by her side. For on this great occasion the hostess had abandoned her proper post at the entrance, and, whether to show her respect to Mrs. M'Catchley, or to show Mrs. M'Catchley her well-bred contempt for the people of Screwstown, remained in state by her friend, honoring only the élite of the town with introductions to the illustrious visitor.

Mrs. M'Catchley was a very fine woman—a woman who justified Mrs. Pompley's pride in her. Her cheek-bones were rather high, it is true, but that proved the purity of her Caledonian descent; for the rest, she had a brilliant complexion, heightened by a soupçon of rouge—good eyes and teeth, a showy figure, and all the ladies of Screwstown pronounced her dress to be perfect. She might have arriven at that age at which one intends to stop for the next ten years, but even a Frenchman would not have called her passée—that is, for a widow. For a spinster, it would have been different.

Looking round her with a glass, which Mrs. Pompley was in the habit of declaring that "Mrs. M'Catchley used like an angel," this lady suddenly perceived Leonard Avenel; and his quiet, simple, thoughtful air and looks so contrasted with the stiff beaux to whom she had been presented, that experienced in fashion as so fine a personage must be supposed to be, she was nevertheless deceived into whispering to Mrs. Pompley—

"That young man has really an air distingué—who is he?"

"Oh," said Mrs. Pompley, in unaffected surprise, "that is the nephew of the rich Vulgarian I was telling you of this morning."

"Ah! and you say that he is Mr. Arundel's heir?"

"Avenel—not Arundel—my sweet friend."

"Avenel is not a bad name," said Mrs. M'Catchley. "But is the uncle really so rich?"

"The Colonel was trying this very day to guess what he is worth; but he says it is impossible to guess it."

"And the young man is his heir?"

"It is thought so: and reading for College, I hear. They say he is clever."

"Present him, my love; I like clever people," said Mrs. M'Catchley, falling back, languidly.

About ten minutes afterward, Richard Avenel, having effected his escape from the Colonel, and his gaze being attracted toward the sofa table by the buzz of the admiring crowd, beheld his nephew in animated conversation with the long-cherished idol of his dreams. A fierce pang of jealousy shot through his breast. His nephew had never looked so handsome and so intelligent; in fact, poor Leonard had never before been drawn out by a woman of the world, who had learned how to make the most of what little she knew. And, as jealousy operates like a pair of bellows on incipient flames, so, at first sight of the smile which the fair widow bestowed upon Leonard, the heart of Mr. Avenel felt in a blaze.

He approached with a step less assured than usual, and, overhearing Leonard's talk, marveled much at the boy's audacity. Mrs. M'Catchley had been speaking of Scotland and the Waverley Novels, about which Leonard knew nothing. But he knew Burns, and on Burns he grew artlessly eloquent. Burns the poet and peasant; Leonard might well be eloquent on him. Mrs. M'Catchley was amused and pleased with his freshness and naïveté, so unlike any thing she had ever heard or seen, and she drew him on and on, till Leonard fell to quoting: and Richard heard, with less respect for the sentiment than might be supposed, that

[Pg 258]"Rank is but the guinea stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that."

"Well!" exclaimed Mr. Avenel. "Pretty piece of politeness to tell that to a lady like the Honorable Mrs. M'Catchley. You'll excuse him, ma'am."

"Sir!" said Mrs. M'Catchley, startled, and lifting her glass. Leonard, rather confused, rose, and offered his chair to Richard, who dropped into it. The lady, without waiting for formal introduction, guessed that she saw the rich uncle.

"Such a sweet poet—Burns!" said she, dropping her glass. "And it is so refreshing to find so much youthful enthusiasm," she added, pointing her fan toward Leonard, who was receding fast among the crowd.

"Well, he is youthful, my nephew—rather green!"

"Don't say green!" said Mrs. M'Catchley. Richard blushed scarlet. He was afraid he had committed himself to some expression low and shocking. The lady resumed, "Say unsophisticated."

"A tarnation long word," thought Richard; but he prudently bowed, and held his tongue.

"Young men nowadays," continued Mrs. M'Catchley, resettling herself on the sofa, "affect to be so old. They don't dance, and they don't read, and they don't talk much; and a great many of them wear toupets before they are two-and-twenty!"

Richard mechanically passed his hand through his thick curls. But he was still mute; he was still ruefully chewing the cud of the epithet green. What occult horrid meaning did the word convey to ears polite? Why should he not say "green?"

"A very fine young man your nephew, sir," resumed Mrs. M'Catchley.

Richard grunted.

"And seems full of talent. Not yet at the University? Will he go to Oxford or Cambridge?"

"I have not made up my mind yet, if I shall send him to the University at all."

"A young man of his expectations!" exclaimed Mrs. M'Catchley, artfully.

"Expectations!" repeated Richard, firing up. "Has the boy been talking to you of his expectations?"

"No, indeed, sir. But the nephew of the rich Mr. Avenel. Ah, one hears a great deal, you know, of rich people; it is the penalty of wealth, Mr. Avenel!"

Richard was very much flattered. His crest rose.

"And they say," continued Mrs. M'Catchley, dropping out her words very slowly, as she adjusted her blonde scarf, "that Mr. Avenel has resolved not to marry."

"The devil they do, ma'am!" bolted out Richard, gruffly; and then, ashamed of his lapsus linguæ, screwed up his lips firmly, and glared on the company with an eye of indignant fire.

Mrs. M'Catchley observed him over her fan. Richard turned abruptly, and she withdrew her eyes modestly, and raised the fan.

"She's a real beauty," said Richard, between his teeth.

The fan fluttered.

Five minutes afterward, the widow and the bachelor seemed so much at their ease that Mrs. Pompley—who had been forced to leave her friend, in order to receive the Dean's lady—could scarcely believe her eyes when she returned to the sofa.

Now, it was from that evening that Mr. Richard Avenel exhibited the change of mood which I have described. And from that evening he abstained from taking Leonard with him to any of the parties in the Abbey Gardens.


Some days after this memorable soirée, Colonel Pompley sat alone in his drawing-room (which opened pleasantly on an old-fashioned garden) absorbed in the house-bills. For Colonel Pompley did not leave that domestic care to his lady—perhaps she was too grand for it. Colonel Pompley, with his own sonorous voice, ordered the joints, and with his own heroic hand dispensed the stores. In justice to the Colonel, I must add—at whatever risk of offense to the fair sex—that there was not a house at Screwstown so well managed as the Pompleys'; none which so successfully achieved the difficult art of uniting economy with show. I should despair of conveying to you an idea of the extent to which Colonel Pompley made his income go. It was but seven hundred a year; and many a family contrive to do less upon three thousand. To be sure, the Pompleys had no children to sponge upon them. What they had, they spent all on themselves. Neither, if the Pompleys never exceeded their income, did they pretend to live much within it. The two ends of the year met at Christmas—just met, and no more.

Colonel Pompley sat at his desk. He was in his well-brushed blue coat—buttoned across his breast—his gray trowsers fitted tight to his limbs, and fastened under his boots with a link chain. He saved a great deal of money in straps. No one ever saw Colonel Pompley in dressing-gown and slippers. He and his house were alike in order—always fit to be seen—

"From morn to noon, from noon to dewy eve."

The Colonel was a short compact man, inclined to be stout—with a very red face, that seemed not only shaved, but rasped. He wore his hair cropped close, except just in front where it formed what the hair-dresser called a feather; but it seemed a feather of iron, so stiff and so strong was it. Firmness and precision were emphatically marked on the Colonel's countenance. There was a resolute strain on his features, as if he was always employed in making the two ends meet!

So he sat before his house-book, with his steel pen in his hand, and making crosses here and[Pg 259] notes of interrogation there. "Mrs. M'Catchley's maid," said the Colonel to himself, "must be put upon rations. The tea that she drinks! Good Heavens!—tea again!"

There was a modest ring at the outer door. "Too early for a visitor!" thought the Colonel. "Perhaps it is the Water-rates."

The neat man-servant—never seen, beyond the offices, save in grande tenue, plushed and powdered—entered, and bowed.

"A gentleman, sir, wishes to see you."

"A gentleman," repeated the Colonel, glancing toward the clock. "Are you sure it is a gentleman?"

The man hesitated. "Why, sir, I ben't exactly sure; but he speaks like a gentleman. He do say he comes from London to see you, sir."

A long and interesting correspondence was then being held between the Colonel and one of his wife's trustees, touching the investment of Mrs. Pompley's fortune. It might be the trustee—nay, it must be. The trustee had talked of running down to see him.

"Let him come in," said the Colonel; "and when I ring—sandwiches and sherry."

"Beef, sir?"


The Colonel put aside his house-book, and wiped his pen.

In another minute the door opened, and the servant announced—"Mr. Digby."

The Colonel's face fell, and he staggered back.

The door closed, and Mr. Digby stood in the middle of the room, leaning on the great writing-table for support. The poor soldier looked sicklier and shabbier, and nearer the end of all things in life and fortune, than when Lord L'Estrange had thrust the pocket-book into his hands. But still the servant showed knowledge of the world in calling him gentleman; there was no other word to apply to him.

"Sir," began Colonel Pompley, recovering himself, and with great solemnity, "I did not expect this pleasure."

The poor visitor stared round him dizzily, and sank into a chair, breathing hard. The Colonel looked as a man only looks upon a poor relation, and buttoned up first one trowser-pocket and then the other.

"I thought you were in Canada," said the Colonel at last.

Mr. Digby had now got breath to speak, and he said meekly, "The climate would have killed my child, and it is two years since I returned."

"You ought to have found a very good place in England, to make it worth your while to leave Canada."

"She could not have lived through another winter in Canada—the doctor said so."

"Pooh," quoth the Colonel.

Mr. Digby drew a long breath. "I would not come to you, Colonel Pompley, while you could think that I came as a beggar for myself."

The Colonel's brow relaxed. "A very honorable sentiment, Mr. Digby."

"No: I have gone through a great deal: but you see, Colonel," added the poor relation, with a faint smile, "the campaign is well-nigh over, and peace is at hand."

The Colonel seemed touched.

"Don't talk so, Digby—I don't like it. You are younger than I am—nothing more disagreeable than these gloomy views of things. You have got enough to live upon, you say—at least so I understand you. I am very glad to hear it; and, indeed, I could not assist you, so many claims on me. So it is all very well, Digby."

"Oh, Colonel Pompley," cried the soldier, clasping his hands, and with feverish energy, "I am a suppliant, not for myself, but my child! I have but one—only one—a girl. She has been so good to me. She will cost you little. Take her when I die; promise her a shelter—a home. I ask no more. You are my nearest relative. I have no other to look to. You have no children of your own. She will be a blessing to you, as she has been all upon earth to me!"

If Colonel Pompley's face was red in ordinary hours, no epithet sufficiently rubicund or sanguineous can express its color at this appeal. "The man's mad," he said at last, with a tone of astonishment that almost concealed his wrath, "stark mad! I take his child!—lodge and board a great, positive, hungry child! Why, sir, many and many a time have I said to Mrs. Pompley, ''Tis a mercy we have no children. We could never live in this style if we had children—never make both ends meet.' Child—the most expensive, ravenous, ruinous thing in the world—a child!"

"She has been accustomed to starve," said Mr. Digby, plaintively. "Oh, Colonel, let me see your wife. Her heart I can touch—she is a woman."

Unlucky father! A more untoward, unseasonable request the Fates could not have put into his lips.

Mrs. Pompley see the Digbies! Mrs. Pompley learn the condition of the Colonel's grand connections! The Colonel would never have been his own man again. At the bare idea, he felt as if he could have sunk into the earth with shame. In his alarm he made a stride to the door, with the intention of locking it. Good heavens, if Mrs. Pompley should come in! And the man, too, had been announced by name. Mrs. Pompley might have learned already that a Digby was with her husband—she might be actually dressing to receive him worthily—there was not a moment to lose.

The Colonel exploded. "Sir, I wonder at your impudence. See Mrs. Pompley! Hush, sir, hush!—hold your tongue. I have disowned your connection. I will not have my wife—a woman, sir, of the first family—disgraced by it. Yes; you need not fire up. John Pompley is not a man to be bullied in his own house. I say disgraced. Did not you run into debt, and spend your fortune? Did not you marry a low creature—a vulgarian—a tradesman's daughter?[Pg 260] and your poor father such a respectable man—a beneficed clergyman! Did not you sell your commission? Heaven knows what became of the money! Did not you turn (I shudder to say it) a common stage-player, sir? And then, when you were on your last legs, did I not give you £200 out of my own purse to go to Canada? And now here you are again—and ask me, with a coolness that—that takes away my breath—takes away—my breath, sir—to provide for the child you have thought proper to have; a child, whose connections on the mother's side are of the most abject and discreditable condition. Leave my house, leave it—good heavens, sir, not that way—this." And the Colonel opened the glass-door that led into the garden. "I will let you out this way. If Mrs. Pompley should see you!" And with that thought the Colonel absolutely hooked his arm into his poor relation's, and hurried him into the garden.

Mr. Digby said not a word, but he struggled ineffectually to escape from the Colonel's arm; and his color went and came, came and went, with a quickness that showed that in those shrunken veins there were still some drops of a soldier's blood.

But the Colonel had now reached a little postern-door in the garden wall. He opened the latch, and thrust out his poor cousin. Then, looking down the lane, which was long, straight, and narrow, and seeing it was quite solitary, his eye fell upon the forlorn man, and remorse shot through his heart. For a moment the hardest of all kinds of avarice, that of the genteel, relaxed its gripe. For a moment the most intolerant of all forms of pride, that which is based upon false pretenses, hushed its voice, and the Colonel hastily drew out his purse. "There," said he—"that is all I can do for you. Do leave the town as quick as you can, and don't mention your name to any one. Your father was such a respectable man—beneficed clergyman!"

"And paid for your commission, Mr. Pompley. My name!—I am not ashamed of it. But do not fear I shall claim your relationship. No; I am ashamed of you!"

The poor cousin put aside the purse, still stretched toward him, with a scornful hand, and walked firmly down the lane.

Colonel Pompley stood irresolute. At that moment a window in his house was thrown open. He heard the noise, turned round, and saw his wife looking out.

Colonel Pompley sneaked back through the shrubbery, hiding himself among the trees.


"Ill-luck is a bêtise," said the great Cardinal Richelieu; and on the long run, I fear, his eminence was right. If you could drop Dick Avenel and Mr. Digby in the middle of Oxford-street—Dick in a fustian jacket, Digby in a suit of superfine—Dick with five shillings in his pocket, Digby with a thousand pounds—and if, at the end of ten years, you looked up your two men, Dick would be on his road to fortune, Digby—what we have seen him! Yet Digby had no vice; he did not drink, nor gamble. What was he, then? Helpless. He had been an only son—a spoiled child—brought up as "a gentleman;" that is, as a man who was not expected to be able to turn his hand to any thing. He entered, as we have seen, a very expensive regiment, wherein he found himself, at his father's death, with £4000 and the incapacity to say "No." Not naturally extravagant, but without an idea of the value of money—the easiest, gentlest, best-tempered man whom example ever led astray. This part of his career comprised a very common history—the poor man living on equal terms with the rich. Debt; recourse to usurers; bills signed sometimes for others, renewed at twenty per cent.; the £4000 melted like snow; pathetic appeal to relations; relations have children of their own; small help given grudgingly, eked out by much advice, and coupled with conditions. Among the conditions there was a very proper and prudent one—exchange into a less expensive regiment. Exchange effected; peace; obscure country quarters; ennui, flute-playing and idleness. Mr. Digby had no resources on a rainy day—except flute-playing; pretty girl of inferior rank; all the officers after her; Digby smitten; pretty girl very virtuous; Digby forms honorable intentions; excellent sentiments; imprudent marriage. Digby falls in life; colonel's lady will not associate with Mrs. Digby; Digby cut by his whole kith and kin; many disagreeable circumstances in regimental life; Digby sells out; love in a cottage; execution in ditto. Digby had been much applauded as an amateur actor; thinks of the stage; genteel comedy—a gentlemanlike profession. Tries in a provincial town, under another name; unhappily succeeds; life of an actor; hand-to-mouth life; illness; chest affected; Digby's voice becomes hoarse and feeble; not aware of it; attributes failing success to ignorant provincial public; appears in London; is hissed; returns to provinces; sinks into very small parts; prison; despair; wife dies; appeal again to relations; a subscription made to get rid of him; send him out of the country; place in Canada—superintendent to an estate, £150 a year; pursued by ill-luck; never before fit for business, not fit now; honest as the day, but keeps slovenly accounts; child can not bear the winter of Canada; Digby wrapped up in the child; return home; mysterious life for two years; child patient, thoughtful, loving; has learned to work; manages for father; often supports him; constitution rapidly breaking; thought of what will become of this child—worst disease of all. Poor Digby! Never did a base, cruel, unkind thing in his life; and here he is, walking down the lane from Colonel Pompley's house! Now, if Digby had but learned a little of the world's cunning, I think he would have succeeded even with Colonel Pompley. Had he spent the £100 received from Lord[Pg 261] Estrange with a view to effect—had he bestowed a fitting wardrobe on himself and his pretty Ellen; had he stopped at the last stage, taken thence a smart chaise and pair, and presented himself at Colonel Pompley's in a way that would not have discredited the Colonel's connection, and then, instead of praying for home and shelter, asked the Colonel to become guardian to his child in case of his death, I have a strong notion that the Colonel, in spite of his avarice, would have stretched both ends so as to take in Helen Digby. But our poor friend had no such arts. Indeed, of the £100, he had already very little left, for before leaving town he had committed what Sheridan considered the extreme of extravagance—frittered away his money in paying his debts; and as for dressing up Helen and himself—if that thought had ever occurred to him, he would have rejected it as foolish. He would have thought that the more he showed his poverty, the more he would be pitied—the worst mistake a poor cousin can commit. According to Theophrastus, the partridge of Paphlagonia has two hearts; so have most men: it is the common mistake of the unlucky to knock at the wrong one.


Mr. Digby entered the room of the inn in which he had left Helen. She was seated by the window, and looking out wistfully on the narrow street, perhaps at the children at play. There had never been a playtime for Helen Digby. She sprang forward as her father came in. His coming was her holiday.

"We must go back to London," said Mr. Digby, sinking helplessly on the chair. Then with his sort of sickly smile—for he was bland even to his child—"Will you kindly inquire when the first coach leaves?"

All the active cares of their careful life devolved upon that quiet child. She kissed her father, placed before him a cough mixture which he had brought from London, and went out silently to make the necessary inquiries, and prepare for the journey back.

At eight o'clock the father and child were seated in the night-coach, with one other passenger—a man muffled up to the chin. After the first mile, the man let down one of the windows. Though it was summer, the air was chill and raw. Digby shivered and coughed.

Helen placed her hand on the window, and, leaning toward the passenger, whispered softly.

"Eh!" said the passenger, "draw up the windows? You have got your own window; this is mine. Oxygen, young lady," he added solemnly, "oxygen is the breath of life. Cott, child!" he continued, with suppressed choler, and a Welsh pronunciation, "Cott! let us breathe and live."

Helen was frightened, and recoiled.

Her father, who had not heard, or had not heeded this colloquy, retreated into the corner, put up the collar of his coat, and coughed again.

"It is cold, my dear," said he languidly to Helen.

The passenger caught the word, and replied indignantly, but as if soliloquizing—

"Cold—ugh! I do believe the English are the stuffiest people! Look at their four-post beds?—all the curtains drawn, shutters closed, board before the chimney—not a house with a ventilator! Cold—ugh!"

The window next Mr. Digby did not fit well into its frame.

"There is a sad draught," said the invalid.

Helen instantly occupied herself in stopping up the chinks of the window with her handkerchief. Mr. Digby glanced ruefully at the other window. The look, which was very eloquent, aroused yet more the traveler's spleen.

"Pleasant!" said he. "Cott! I suppose you will ask me to go outside next! But people who travel in a coach should know the law of a coach. I don't interfere with your window; you have no business to interfere with mine."

"Sir, I did not speak," said Mr. Digby meekly.

"But Miss here did."

"Ah, sir!" said Helen plaintively, "if you knew how papa suffers!" And her hand again moved toward the obnoxious window.

"No, my dear: the gentleman is in his right," said Mr. Digby; and, bowing with his wonted suavity, he added, "Excuse her, sir. She thinks a great deal too much of me."

The passenger said nothing, and Helen nestled closer to her father, and strove to screen him from the air.

The passenger moved uneasily. "Well," said he, with a sort of snort, "air is air, and right is right; but here goes"—and he hastily drew up the window.

Helen turned her face full toward the passenger with a grateful expression, visible even in the dim light.

"You are very kind, sir," said poor Mr. Digby: "I am ashamed to"—his cough choked the rest of the sentence.

The passenger, who was a plethoric, sanguineous man felt as if he were stifling. But he took off his wrappers, and resigned the oxygen like a hero.

Presently he drew nearer to the sufferer, and laid hand on his wrist.

"You are feverish, I fear. I am a medical man. St!—one—two. Cott! you should not travel; you are not fit for it!"

Mr. Digby shook his head; he was too feeble to reply.

The passenger thrust his hand into his coat-pocket, and drew out what seemed a cigar-case, but what, in fact, was a leathern repertory, containing a variety of minute vials, from one of these vials he extracted two tiny globules. "There," said he; "open your mouth—put those on the tip of your tongue. They will lower the pulse—check the fever. Be better presently—but should not travel—want rest—you should be in bed. Aconite!—Henbane!—hum! Your[Pg 262] papa is of fair complexion—a timid character, I should say—a horror of work, perhaps. Eh, child?"

"Sir!" faltered Helen, astonished and alarmed—Was the man a conjurer?

"A case for phosphor!" cried the passenger; "that fool Browne would have said arsenic. Don't be persuaded to take arsenic."

"Arsenic, sir!" echoed the mild Digby. "No; however unfortunate a man may be, I think, sir, that suicide is—tempting, perhaps, but highly criminal."

"Suicide," said the passenger tranquilly—"suicide is my hobby! You have no symptom of that kind, you say?"

"Good heavens! No, sir."

"If ever you feel violently impelled to drown yourself, take pulsatilla. But if you feel a preference toward blowing out your brains, accompanied with weight in the limbs, loss of appetite, dry cough, and bad corns—sulphuret of antimony. Don't forget."

Though poor Mr. Digby confusedly thought that the gentleman was out of his mind, yet he tried politely to say "that he was much obliged, and would be sure to remember;" but his tongue failed him, and his own ideas grew perplexed. His head fell back heavily, and he sank into a silence which seemed that of sleep.

The traveler looked hard at Helen, as she gently drew her father's head on her shoulder, and there pillowed it with a tenderness which was more that of mother than child.

"Moral affections—soft—compassionate!—a good child, and would go well with—pulsatilla."

Helen held up her finger, and glanced from her father to the traveler, and then to her father again.

"Certainly—pulsatilla!" muttered the homeopathist: and, ensconcing himself in his own corner, he also sought to sleep. But after vain efforts, accompanied by restless gestures and movements, he suddenly started up, and again extracted his vial-book.

"What the deuce are they to me?" he muttered. "Morbid sensibility of character—coffee?? No!—accompanied by vivacity and violence—nux!" He brought his book to the window, contrived to read the label on a pigmy bottle. "Nux! that's it," he said—and he swallowed a globule!

"Now," quoth he, after a pause, "I don't care a straw for the misfortunes of other people; nay, I have half a mind to let down the window."

Helen looked up.

"But I won't," he added, resolutely; and this time he fell fairly asleep.


The coach stopped at eleven o'clock, to allow the passengers to sup. The homeopathist woke up, got out, gave himself a shake, and inhaled the fresh air into his vigorous lungs, with an evident sensation of delight. He then turned and looked into the coach:

"Let your father get out, my dear," said he, with a tone more gentle than usual. "I should like to see him in-doors—perhaps I can do him good."

But what was Helen's terror when she found that her father did not stir. He was in a deep swoon, and still quite insensible when they lifted him from the carriage. When he recovered his senses, his cough returned, and the effort brought up blood.

It was impossible for him to proceed further. The homeopathist assisted to undress and put him into bed. And having administered another of his mysterious globules, he inquired of the landlady how far it was to the nearest doctor—for the inn stood by itself in a small hamlet. There was the parish apothecary three miles off. But on hearing that the gentlefolks employed Dr. Dosewell, and it was a good seven miles to his house, the homeopathist fetched a deep breath. The coach only stopped a quarter of an hour.

"Cott!" said he angrily to himself—"the nux was a failure. My sensibility is chronic. I must go through a long course to get rid of it. Hallo, guard! get out my carpet-bag. I shan't go on to-night."

And the good man, after a very slight supper, went up-stairs again to the sufferer.

"Shall I send for Dr. Dosewell, sir?" asked the landlady, stopping him at the door.

"Hum! At what hour to-morrow does the next coach to London pass?"

"Not before eight, sir."

"Well, send for the doctor to be here at seven. That leaves us at least some hours free from allopathy and murder," grunted the disciple of Hahnemann, as he entered the room.

Whether it was the globule that the homeopathist had administered, or the effect of nature, aided by repose, that checked the effusion of blood, and restored some temporary strength to the poor sufferer, is more than it becomes one not of the Faculty to opine. But certainly Mr. Digby seemed better, and he gradually fell into a profound sleep, but not till the doctor had put his ear to his chest, tapped it with his hand, and asked several questions; after which the homeopathist retired into a corner of the room, and, leaning his face on his hand, seemed to meditate. From his thoughts he was disturbed by a gentle touch. Helen was kneeling at his feet.

"Is he very ill—very?" said she; and her fond wistful eyes were fixed on the physician's with all the earnestness of despair.

"Your father is very ill," replied the doctor, after a short pause. "He can not move hence for some days at least. I am going to London—shall I call on your relations, and tell some of them to join you?"

"No, thank you, sir," answered Helen, coloring. "But do not fear; I can nurse papa. I think he has been worse before—that is, he has complained more."

The homeopathist rose and took two strides[Pg 263] across the room, then he paused by the bed, and listened to the breathing of the sleeping man.

He stole back to the child, who was still kneeling, took her in his arms, and kissed her. "Tamm it," said he, angrily, and putting her down, "go to bed now—you are not wanted any more."

"Please, sir," said Helen, "I can not leave him so. If he wakes he would miss me."

The doctor's hand trembled; he had recourse to his globules. "Anxiety, grief suppressed," muttered he. "Don't you want to cry, my dear? Cry—do!"

"I can't," murmured Helen.

"Pulsatilla!" said the doctor, almost with triumph. "I said so from the first. Open your mouth—here! Good night. My room is opposite—No. 6; call me if he wakes."


At seven o'clock Dr. Dosewell arrived, and was shown into the room of the homeopathist, who, already up and dressed, had visited his patient.

"My name is Morgan," said the homeopathist—"I am a physician. I leave in your hands a patient whom, I fear, neither I nor you can restore. Come and look at him."

The two doctors went into the sick-room. Mr. Digby was very feeble, but he had recovered his consciousness, and inclined his head courteously.

"I am sorry to cause so much trouble," said he. The homeopathist drew away Helen; the allopathist seated himself by the bedside and put his questions, felt the pulse, sounded the lungs, and looked at the tongue of the patient. Helen's eye was fixed on the strange doctor, and her color rose, and her eye sparkled when he got up cheerfully, and said in a pleasant voice, "You may have a little tea."

"Tea!" growled the homeopathist—"barbarian!"

"He is better, then, sir?" said Helen, creeping to the allopathist.

"Oh, yes, my dear—certainly; and we shall do very well, I hope."

The two doctors then withdrew.

"Last about a week!" said Dr. Dosewell, smiling pleasantly, and showing a very white set of teeth.

"I should have said a month; but our systems are different," replied Dr. Morgan, drily.

Dr. Dosewell (courteously).—"We country doctors bow to our metropolitan superiors; what would you advise? You would venture, perhaps, the experiment of bleeding."

Dr. Morgan (spluttering and growing Welsh, which he never did but in excitement).—"Pleed! Cott in heaven! do you think I am a butcher—an executioner? Plead! Never."

Dr. Dosewell.—"I don't find it answer myself, when both lungs are gone! But perhaps you are for inhaling."

Dr. Morgan.—"Fiddledee!"

Dr. Dosewell (with some displeasure).—"What would you advise, then, in order to prolong our patient's life for a month?"

Dr. Morgan.—"Stop the hæmoptysis—give him Rhus!"

Dr. Dosewell.—"Rhus, sir! Rhus! I don't know that medicine. Rhus!"

Dr. Morgan.—"Rhus Toxicodendron."

The length of the last word excited Dr. Dosewell's respect. A word of five syllables—this was something like! He bowed deferentially, but still looked puzzled. At last he said, smiling frankly, "You great London practitioners have so many new medicines; may I ask what Rhus toxico—toxico—"



"The juice of the Upas—vulgarly called the Poison-tree."

Dr. Dosewell started.

"Upas—poison-tree—little birds that come under the shade fall down dead! You give upas juice in hæmoptysis—what's the dose?"

Dr. Morgan grinned maliciously, and produced a globule the size of a small pin's head.

Dr. Dosewell recoiled in disgust.

"Oh!" said he, very coldly, and assuming at once an air of superb superiority, "I see, a homeopathist, sir!"

"A homeopathist!"



"A strange system, Dr. Morgan," said Dr. Dosewell, recovering his cheerful smile, but with a curl of contempt in it, "and would soon do for the druggists."

"Serve 'em right. The druggists soon do for the patients."



Dr. Dosewell (with dignity).—"You don't know, perhaps, Dr. Morgan, that I am an apothecary as well as a surgeon. In fact," he added, with a certain grand humility, "I have not yet taken a diploma, and am but Doctor by courtesy."

Dr. Morgan.—"All one, sir! Doctor signs the death warrant—'pothecary does the deed!"

Dr. Dosewell. (with a withering sneer).—"Certainly we don't profess to keep a dying man alive upon the juice of the deadly upas-tree."

Dr. Morgan (complacently).—"Of course you don't. There are no poisons with us. That's just the difference between you and me, Dr. Dosewell!"

Dr. Dosewell (pointing to the homeopathist's traveling pharmacopœia, and with affected candor).—"Indeed, I have always said that if you can do no good, you can do no harm, with your infinitesimals."

Dr. Morgan, who had been obtuse to the insinuation of poisoning, fires up violently at the charge of doing no harm.

"You know nothing about it! I could kill quite as many people as you, if I chose it; but I don't choose."

[Pg 264]

Dr. Dosewell (shrugging up his shoulders).—"Sir! 'tis no use arguing; the thing's against common sense. In short, it is my firm belief that it is—is a complete—"

Dr. Morgan.—"A complete what?"

Dr. Dosewell (provoked to the utmost).—"Humbug!"

Dr. Morgan.—"Humbug! Cott in heaven! You old—"

Dr. Dosewell.—"Old what, sir?"

Dr. Morgan (at home in a series of alliteral vowels, which none but a Cymbrian could have uttered without gasping).—"Old allopathical anthropophagite!"

Dr. Dosewell (starting up, seizing by the back the chair on which he had sat, and bringing it down violently on its four legs).—"Sir!"

Dr. Morgan, (imitating the action with his own chair).—"Sir!"

Dr. Dosewell.—"You're abusive."

Dr. Morgan.—"You're impertinent."

Dr. Dosewell.—"Sir!"

Dr. Morgan.—"Sir!"

The two rivals fronted each other.

They were both athletic men, and fiery men. Dr. Dosewell was the taller, but Dr. Morgan was the stouter. Dr. Dosewell on the mother's side was Irish; but Dr. Morgan on both sides was Welsh. All things considered, I would have backed Dr. Morgan if it had come to blows. But, luckily for the honor of science, here the chamber-maid knocked at the door, and said, "The coach is coming, sir."

Dr. Morgan recovered his temper and his manners at that announcement. "Dr. Dosewell," said he, "I have been too hot—I apologize."

"Dr. Morgan," answered the allopathist, "I forgot myself. Your hand, sir."

Dr. Morgan.—"We are both devoted to humanity, though with different opinions. We should respect each other."

Dr. Dosewell.—"Where look for liberality, if men of science are illiberal to their brethren?"

Dr. Morgan (aside).—"The old hypocrite! He would pound me in a mortar if the law would let him."

Dr. Dosewell (aside).—"The wretched charlatan! I should like to pound him in a mortar."

Dr. Morgan.—"Good-by, my esteemed and worthy brother."

Dr. Dosewell.—"My excellent friend, good-by."

Dr. Morgan (returning in haste).—"I forgot. I don't think our poor patient is very rich. I confide him to your disinterested benevolence."—(Hurries away.)

Dr. Dosewell (in a rage).—"Seven miles at six o'clock in the morning, and perhaps done out of my fee! Quack! Villain!"

Meanwhile, Dr. Morgan had returned to the sick-room.

"I must wish you farewell," said he to poor Mr. Digby, who was languidly sipping his tea. "But you are in the hands of a—of a—gentleman in the profession."

"You have been too kind—I am shocked," said Mr. Digby. "Helen, where's my purse?"

Dr. Morgan paused.

He paused, first, because it must be owned that his practice was restricted, and a fee gratified the vanity natural to unappreciated talent, and had the charm of novelty, which is sweet to human nature itself. Secondly, he was a man "Who knew his rights, and, knowing, dared maintain." He had resigned a coach fare—staid a night—and thought he had relieved his patient. He had a right to his fee.

On the other hand he paused, because, though he had small practice, he was tolerably well off, and did not care for money itself, and he suspected his patient to be no Crœsus.

Meanwhile, the purse was in Helen's hand. He took it from her, and saw but a few sovereigns within the well-worn net-work. He drew the child a little aside.

"Answer me, my dear, frankly—is your papa rich?" And he glanced at the shabby clothes strewed on the chair, and Helen's faded frock.

"Alas, no!" said Helen, hanging her head.

"Is that all you have?"


"I am ashamed to offer you two guineas," said Mr. Digby's hollow voice from the bed.

"And I should be still more ashamed to take them. Good-by, sir. Come here, my child. Keep your money, and don't waste it on the other doctor more than you can help. His medicines can do your father no good. But I suppose you must have some. He's no physician, therefore there's no fee. He'll send a bill—it can't be much. You understand. And now, God bless you."

Dr. Morgan was off. But as he paid the landlady his bill he said, considerately, "The poor people up-stairs can pay you, but not that doctor—and he's of no use. Be kind to the little girl, and get the doctor to tell his patient (quietly, of course) to write to his friends—soon—you understand. Somebody must take charge of the poor child. And stop—hold your hand; take care—these globules for the little girl when her father dies—(here the Doctor muttered to himself, 'grief;—aconite')—and if she cries too much afterward—these (don't mistake). Tears;—caustic!"

"Come, sir," cried the coachman.

"Coming;—tears—caustic," repeated the homeopathist, pulling out his handkerchief and his vial-book together as he got into the coach. And he hastily swallowed his anti-lachrymal.


Richard Avenel was in a state of great nervous excitement. He proposed to give an entertainment of a kind wholly new to the experience of Screwstown. Mrs. M'Catchley had described with much eloquence the déjeûnés dansants of her fashionable friends residing in the elegant[Pg 265] suburbs of Wimbledon and Fulham. She declared that nothing was so agreeable. She had even said point-blank to Mr. Avenel, "Why don't you give a déjeûné dansant?" And, therewith, a déjeûné dansant Mr. Avenel resolved to give.

The day was fixed, and Mr. Avenel entered into all the requisite preparations with the energy of a man and the providence of a woman.

One morning as he stood musing on the lawn, irresolute as to the best site for the tents, Leonard came up to him with an open letter in his hand.

"My dear uncle," said he, softly.

"Ha!" exclaimed Mr. Avenel, with a start. "Ha—well—what now?"

"I have just received a letter from Mr. Dale. He tells me that my poor mother is very restless and uneasy, because he can not assure her that he has heard from me; and his letter requires an answer. Indeed, I shall seem very ungrateful to him—to all—if I do not write."

Richard Avenel's brows met. He uttered an impatient "pish!" and turned away. Then coming back, he fixed his clear, hawk-like eye on Leonard's ingenuous countenance, linked his arm in his nephew's, and drew him into the shrubbery.

"Well, Leonard," said he, after a pause, "it is time that I should give you some idea of my plans with regard to you. You have seen my manner of living—some difference from what you ever saw before, I calculate! Now I have given you, what no one gave me, a lift in the world; and where I place you, there you must help yourself."

"Such is my duty, and my desire," said Leonard, heartily.

"Good. You are a clever lad, and a genteel lad, and will do me credit. I have had doubts of what is best for you. At one time I thought of sending you to College. That, I know, is Mr. Dale's wish; perhaps it is your own. But I have given up that idea; I have something better for you. You have a clear head for business, and are a capital arithmetician. I think of bringing you up to superintend my business; by-and-by I will admit you into partnership; and before you are thirty you will be a rich man. Come, does that suit you?"

"My dear uncle," said Leonard, frankly, but much touched by this generosity, "it is not for me to have a choice. I should have preferred going to College, because there I might gain independence for myself, and cease to be a burden on you. Moreover, my heart moves me to studies more congenial with the college than the counting-house. But all this is nothing compared with my wish to be of use to you, and to prove in any way, however feebly, my gratitude for all your kindness."

"You're a good, grateful, sensible lad," exclaimed Richard, heartily; "and believe me, though I'm a rough diamond, I have your true interest at heart. You can be of use to me, and in being so you will best serve yourself. To tell you the truth, I have some idea of changing my condition. There's a lady of fashion and quality who, I think, may condescend to become Mrs. Avenel; and if so, I shall probably reside a great part of the year in London. I don't want to give up my business. No other investment will yield the same interest. But you can soon learn to superintend it for me, as some day or other I may retire, and then you can step in. Once a member of our great commercial class, and with your talents, you may be any thing—member of parliament, and after that, minister of state, for what I know. And my wife—hem!—that is to be—has great connections, and you shall marry well; and—oh, the Avenels will hold their heads with the highest, after all! Damn the aristocracy—we clever fellows will be the aristocrats—eh!" Richard rubbed his hands.

Certainly, as we have seen, Leonard, especially in his earlier steps to knowledge, had repined at his position in the many degrees of life—certainly he was still ambitious—certainly he could not now have returned contentedly to the humble occupation he had left; and woe to the young man who does not hear with a quickened pulse, and brightening eye, words that promise independence, and flatter with the hope of distinction. Still, it was with all the reaction of chill and mournful disappointment that Leonard, a few hours after this dialogue with his uncle, found himself alone in the fields, and pondering over the prospects before him. He had set his heart upon completing his intellectual education, upon developing those powers within him which yearned for an arena of literature, and revolted from the routine of trade. But to his credit be it said that he vigorously resisted this natural disappointment, and by degrees schooled himself to look cheerfully on the path imposed on his duty, and sanctioned by the manly sense that was at the core of his character.

I believe that this self-conquest showed that the boy had true genius. The false genius would have written sonnets and despaired.

But still Richard Avenel left his nephew sadly perplexed as to the knotty question from which their talk on the future had diverged—viz., should he write to the Parson; and assure the fears of his mother? How do so without Richard's consent, when Richard had on a former occasion so imperiously declared that, if he did, it would lose his mother all that Richard intended to settle on her. While he was debating this matter with his conscience, leaning against a stile that interrupted a path to the town, Leonard Fairfield was startled by an exclamation. He looked up, and beheld Mr. Sprott the tinker.


The tinker, blacker and grimmer than ever, stared hard at the altered person of his old acquaintance, and extended his sable fingers, as if inclined to convince himself by the sense of[Pg 266] touch, that it was Leonard in the flesh that he beheld, under vestments so marvelously elegant and preternaturally spruce.

Leonard shrank mechanically from the contact, while in great surprise he faltered—

"You here, Mr. Sprott! What could bring you so far from home?"

"'Ome!" echoed the tinker, "I 'as no 'ome! or rayther, d'ye see, Muster Fairfilt, I makes myself at 'ome verever I goes! Lor' love ye, I ben't settled on no parridge. I vanders here and I vanders there, and that's my 'ome verever I can mend my kettles, and sell my tracks!"

So saying the tinker slid his paniers on the ground, gave a grunt of release and satisfaction, and seated himself with great composure on the stile, from which Leonard had retreated.

"But, dash my vig," resumed Mr. Sprott, as he once more surveyed Leonard, "vy, you bees a rale gentleman now, surely! Vot's the dodge—eh?"—

"Dodge!" repeated Leonard mechanically—"I don't understand you." Then, thinking that it was neither necessary nor expedient to keep up his acquaintance with Mr. Sprott, nor prudent to expose himself to the battery of questions which he foresaw that further parley would bring upon him, he extended a crown-piece to the tinker; and saying with a half smile, "You must excuse me for leaving you—I have business in the town; and do me the favor to accept this trifle," he walked briskly off.

The tinker looked long at the crown-piece, and then sliding it into his pocket, said to himself—

"Ho—'ush-money! No go, my swell cove."

After venting that brief soliloquy he sat silent a little while, till Leonard was nearly out of sight, then rose, resumed his fardel, and, creeping quick along the hedgerows, followed Leonard toward the town. Just in the last field, as he looked over the hedge, he saw Leonard accosted by a gentleman of comely mien and important swagger. That gentleman soon left the young man, and came, whistling loud, up the path, and straight toward the tinker. Mr. Sprott looked round, but the hedge was too neat to allow of a good hiding-place, so he put a bold front on it, and stepped forth like a man. But, alas for him! before he got into the public path, the proprietor of the land, Mr. Richard Avenel (for the gentleman was no less a personage), had spied out the trespasser, and called to him with a "Hillo, fellow," that bespoke all the dignity of a man who owns acres, and all the wrath of a man who beholds those acres impudently invaded.

The tinker stopped, and Mr. Avenel stalked up to him.

"What the devil are you doing on my property, lurking by my hedge? I suspect you are an incendiary!"

"I be a tinker," quoth Mr. Sprott, not louting low (for a sturdy republican was Mr. Sprott), but like a lord of humankind,

"Pride in his port, defiance in his eye."

Mr. Avenel's fingers itched to knock the tinker's villainous hat off his Jacobinical head, but he repressed the undignified impulse by thrusting both hands deep into his trowsers' pockets.

"A tinker!" he cried—"that's a vagrant, and I'm a magistrate, and I've a great mind to send you to the treadmill—that I have. What do you do here, I say? You have not answered my question?"

"What does I do 'ere?" said Mr. Sprott. "Vy, you had better ax my crakter of the young gent I saw you talking with just now; he knows me!"

"What! my nephew know you?"

"W—hew," whistled the tinker, "your nephew is it, sir? I have a great respek for your family. I've knowed Mrs. Fairfilt, the vasher-voman, this many a year. I 'umbly ax your pardon." And he took off his hat this time.

Mr. Avenel turned red and white in a breath. He growled out something inaudible, turned on his heel, and strode off. The tinker watched him as he had watched Leonard, and then dogged the uncle as he had dogged the nephew. I don't presume to say that there was cause and effect in what happened that night, but it was what is called "a curious coincidence" that that night one of Richard Avenel's ricks was set on fire; and that that day he had called Mr. Sprott an incendiary. Mr. Sprott was a man of very high spirit and did not forgive an insult easily. His nature was inflammatory, and so was that of the lucifers which he always carried about him, with his tracts and glue-pots.

The next morning there was an inquiry made for the tinker, but he had disappeared from the neighborhood.


It was a fortunate thing that the déjeûné dansant so absorbed Mr. Richard Avenel's thoughts, that even the conflagration of his rick could not scare away the graceful and poetic images connected with that pastoral festivity. He was even loose and careless in the questions he put to Leonard about the tinker; nor did he set justice in pursuit of that itinerant trader; for, to say truth, Richard Avenel was a man accustomed to make enemies among the lower orders; and though he suspected Mr. Sprott of destroying his rick, yet, when he once set about suspecting, he found he had quite as good cause to suspect fifty other persons. How on earth could a man puzzle himself about ricks and tinkers, when all his cares and energies were devoted to a déjeûné dansant? It was a maxim of Richard Avenel's, as it ought to be of every clever man, "to do one thing at a time;" and therefore he postponed all other considerations till the déjeûné dansant was fairly done with. Among these considerations was the letter which Leonard wished to write to the Parson. "Wait a bit, and we will both write!" said Richard good-humoredly, "the moment the déjeûné dansant is over!"

[Pg 267]

It must be owned that this fête was no ordinary provincial ceremonial. Richard Avenel was a man to do a thing well when he set about it,

"He soused the cabbage with a bounteous heart."

By little and little his first notions had expanded, till what had been meant to be only neat and elegant now embraced the costly and magnificent. Artificers accustomed to déjeûnés dansants came all the way from London to assist, to direct, to create. Hungarian singers, and Tyrolese singers, and Swiss peasant-women who were to chant the Ranz des Vaches, and milk cows, or make syllabubs, were engaged. The great marquee was decorated as a Gothic banquet hall; the breakfast itself was to consist of "all the delicacies of the season." In short, as Richard Avenel said to himself, "It is a thing once in a way; a thing on which I don't object to spend money, provided that the thing is—the thing!"

It had been a matter of grave meditation how to make the society worthy of the revel; for Richard Avenel was not contented with the mere aristocracy of the town—his ambition had grown with his expenses. "Since it will cost so much," said he, "I may as well come it strong, and get in the county."

True, that he was personally acquainted with very few of what are called county families. But still, when a man makes himself of mark in a large town, and can return one of the members whom that town sends to parliament; and when, moreover, that man proposes to give some superb and original entertainment, in which the old can eat and the young can dance, there is no county in the island that has not families enow who will be delighted by an invitation from that man. And so Richard, finding that, as the thing got talked of, the Dean's lady, and Mrs. Pompley, and various other great personages, took the liberty to suggest that Squire this, and Sir Somebody that, would be so pleased if they were asked, fairly took the bull by the horns, and sent out his cards to Park, Hall, and Rectory, within a circumference of twelve miles. He met with but few refusals, and he now counted upon five hundred guests.

"In for a penny, in for a pound," said Mr. Richard Avenel. "I wonder what Mrs. M'Catchley will say?" Indeed, if the whole truth must be known, Mr. Richard Avenel not only gave that déjeûné dansant in honor of Mrs. M'Catchley, but he had fixed in his heart of hearts upon that occasion (when surrounded by all his splendor, and assisted by the seductive arts of Terpsichore and Bacchus), to whisper to Mrs. M'Catchley those soft words which—but why not here let Mr. Richard Avenel use his own idiomatic and unsophisticated expression? "Please the pigs, then," said Mr. Avenel to himself, "I shall pop the question!"


The Great Day arrived at last; and Mr. Richard Avenel, from his dressing-room window looked on the scene below, as Hannibal or Napoleon looked from the Alps on Italy. It was a scene to gratify the thought of conquest and reward the labors of ambition. Placed on a little eminence stood the singers from the mountains of the Tyrol, their high-crowned hats and filagree buttons and gay sashes gleaming in the sun. Just seen from his place of watch, though concealed from the casual eye, the Hungarian musicians lay in ambush amidst a little belt of laurels and American shrubs. Far to the right lay what had once been called (hor resco referens) the duck-pond, where—Dulce sonant tenui gutture carmen aves. But the ruthless ingenuity of the head artificer had converted the duck-pond into a Swiss lake, despite grievous wrong and sorrow to the assuetum innocuumque genus—the familiar and harmless habitants, who had been all expatriated and banished from their native waves. Large poles twisted with fir branches, stuck thickly around the lake, gave to the waters the becoming Helvetian gloom. And here, beside three cows all bedecked with ribbons, stood the Swiss maidens destined to startle the shades with the Ranz des Vaches. To the left, full upon the sward, which it almost entirely covered, stretched the great Gothic marquee, divided into two grand sections—one for the dancing, one for the déjeûné.

The day was propitious—not a cloud in the sky. The musicians were already tuning their instruments; figures of waiters—hired of Gunter—trim and decorous, in black trowsers and white waistcoats, passed to and fro the space between the house and marquee. Richard looked and looked; and as he looked he drew mechanically his razor across the strop; and when he had looked his fill, he turned reluctantly to the glass and shaved! All that blessed morning he had been too busy, till then, to think of shaving.

There is a vast deal of character in the way that a man performs that operation of shaving! You should have seen Richard Avenel shave! You could have judged at once how he would shave his neighbors, when you saw the celerity, the completeness with which he shaved himself—a forestroke and a backstroke, and tondenti barba cadebat! Cheek and chin were as smooth as glass. You would have buttoned up your pockets instinctively if you had seen him.

But the rest of Mr. Avenel's toilet was not completed with correspondent dispatch. On his bed, and on his chairs, and on his sofa, and on his drawers, lay trowsers, and vests, and cravats, enough to distract the choice of a Stoic. And first one pair of trowsers was tried on, and then another—and one waistcoat, and then a second, and then a third. Gradually that chef d'œuvre of Civilization—a man dressed—grew into development and form; and, finally, Mr. Richard Avenel emerged into the light of day. He had been lucky in his costume—he felt it. It might not suit every one in color or cut, but it suited him.

And this was his garb. On such occasions, what epic poet would not describe the robe and tunic of a hero?

[Pg 268]

His surtout—in modern phrase, his frockcoat—was blue, a rich blue, a blue that the royal brothers of George the Fourth were wont to favor. And the surtout, single-breasted, was thrown open gallantly; and in the second button-hole thereof was a moss rose. The vest was white, and the trowsers a pearl-gray, with what tailors style "a handsome fall over the boot." A blue and white silk cravat, tied loose and debonair; an ample field of shirt front, with plain gold studs; a pair of lemon-colored kid gloves, and a white hat, placed somewhat too knowingly on one side, complete the description, and "give the world assurance of the man." And, with his light, firm, well-shaped figure, his clear complexion, his keen, bright eye, and features that bespoke the courage, precision, and alertness of his character—that is to say, features bold, not large, well-defined, and regular—you might walk long through town or country before you would see a handsomer specimen of humanity than our friend Richard Avenel.

Handsome, and feeling that he was handsome; rich, and feeling that he was rich; lord of the fête, and feeling that he was lord of the fête, Richard Avenel stepped out upon his lawn.

And now the dust began to rise along the road, and carriages, and gigs, and chaises, and flies might be seen at near intervals and in quick procession. People came pretty much about the same time—as they do in the country—heaven reward them for it!

Richard Avenel was not quite at his ease at first in receiving his guests, especially those whom he did not know by sight. But when the dancing began, and he had secured the fair hand of Mrs. M'Catchley for the initiatory quadrille, his courage and presence of mind returned to him; and, seeing that many people whom he had not received at all seemed to enjoy themselves very much, he gave up the attempt to receive those who came after—and that was a great relief to all parties.

Meanwhile Leonard looked on the animated scene with a silent melancholy, which he in vain endeavored to shake off—a melancholy more common among very young men in such scenes than we are apt to suppose. Somehow or other the pleasure was not congenial to him; he had no Mrs. M'Catchley to endear it; he knew very few people; he was shy; he felt his position with his uncle was equivocal; he had not the habit of society; he heard incidentally many an ill-natured remark upon his uncle and the entertainment; he felt indignant and mortified. He had been a great deal happier eating his radishes and reading his book by the little fountain in Riccabocca's garden. He retired to a quiet part of the grounds, seated himself under a tree, leaned his cheek on his hand, and mused. He was soon far away—happy age, when, whatever the present, the future seems so fair and so infinite!

But now the déjeûné had succeeded the earlier dances; and, as champagne flowed royally, it is astonishing how the entertainment brightened.

The sun was beginning to slope toward the west, when, during a temporary cessation of the dance, all the guests had assembled in such space as the tent left on the lawn, or thickly filled the walks immediately adjoining it. The gay dresses of the ladies, the joyous laughter heard every where, and the brilliant sunlight over all, conveyed even to Leonard the notion, not of mere hypocritical pleasure, but actual healthful happiness. He was attracted from his reverie, and timidly mingled with the groups. But Richard Avenel, with the fair Mrs. M'Catchley—her complexion more vivid, and her eyes more dazzling, and her step more elastic than usual—had turned from the gayety just as Leonard had turned toward it, and was now on the very spot (remote, obscure, shaded by the few trees above five years old that Mr. Avenel's property boasted) which the young dreamer had deserted.

And then! Ah! then! moment so meet for the sweet question of questions, place so appropriate for the delicate, bashful, murmured popping thereof!—suddenly from the sward before, from the groups beyond, there floated to the ears of Richard Avenel an indescribable, mingled, ominous sound—a sound as of a general titter—a horrid, malignant, but low cacchination. And Mrs. M'Catchley, stretching forth her parasol, exclaimed, "Dear me, Mr. Avenel, what can they be all crowding there for?"

There are certain sounds and certain sights—the one indistinct, the other vaguely conjecturable—which, nevertheless, we know by an instinct, bode some diabolical agency at work in our affairs. And if any man gives an entertainment, and hears afar a general, ill-suppressed, derisive titter, and sees all his guests hurrying toward one spot, I defy him to remain unmoved and uninquisitive. I defy him still more to take that precise occasion (however much he may have before designed it) to drop gracefully on his right knee before the handsomest Mrs. M'Catchley in the universe, and—pop the question! Richard Avenel blurted out something very like an oath; and, half guessing that something must have happened that it would not be pleasing to bring immediately under the notice of Mrs. M'Catchley, he said hastily, "Excuse me; I'll just go and see what is the matter—pray, stay till I come back." With that he sprang forth; in a minute he was in the midst of the group, that parted aside with the most obliging complacency to make way for him.

"But what's the matter?" he asked impatiently, yet fearfully. Not a voice answered. He strode on, and beheld his nephew in the arms of a woman!

"God bless my soul!" said Richard Avenel.


And such a woman!

She had on a cotton gown—very neat, I dare say—for an under housemaid; and such thick shoes! She had on a little black straw bonnet, and a kerchief that might have cost tenpence,[Pg 269] pinned across her waist instead of a shawl; and she looked altogether—respectable, no doubt, but exceedingly dusty! And she was hanging upon Leonard's neck, and scolding, and caressing, and crying very loud. "God bless my soul!" said Mr. Richard Avenel.

And as he uttered that innocent self-benediction, the woman hastily turned round, and darting from Leonard, threw herself right upon Richard Avenel—burying under her embrace blue coat, moss-rose, white waistcoat and all—with a vehement sob and a loud exclamation!

"Oh! brother Dick!—dear, dear brother Dick! and I lives to see thee agin!" And then came two such kisses—you might have heard them a mile off! The situation of brother Dick was appalling! and the crowd, that had before only tittered politely, could not now resist the effect of this sudden embrace. There was a general explosion! It was a roar! That roar would have killed a weak man; but it sounded to the strong heart of Richard Avenel like the defiance of a foe, and it plucked forth in an instant from all conventional let and barrier the native spirit of the Anglo-Saxon.

He lifted abruptly his handsome masculine head, looked round the ring of his ill-bred visitors with a haughty stare of rebuke and surprise.

"Ladies and gentlemen," then said he, very coolly, "I don't see what there is to laugh at! A brother and sister meet after many years' separation, and the sister cries, poor thing. For my part, I think it very natural that she should cry; but not that you should laugh!" In an instant the whole shame was removed from Richard Avenel, and rested in full weight upon the bystanders. It is impossible to say how foolish and sheepish they all looked, nor how slinkingly each tried to creep off.

Richard Avenel seized his advantage with the promptitude of a man who had got on in America, and was therefore accustomed to make the best of things. He drew Mrs. Fairfield's arm in his, and led her into the house; but when he had got her safe into his parlor—Leonard following all the time—and the door was closed upon those three, then Richard Avenel's ire burst forth.

"You impudent, ungrateful, audacious—drab!"

Yes, drab was the word. I am shocked to say it, but the duties of a historian are stern; and the word was drab.

"Drab!" faltered poor Jane Fairfield; and she clutched hold of Leonard to save herself from falling.

"Sir!" cried Leonard, fiercely.

You might as well have cried "sir" to a mountain-torrent. Richard hurried on, for he was furious.

"You nasty, dirty, dusty dowdy! How dare you come here to disgrace me in my own house and premises, after my sending you fifty pounds? To take the very time, too, when—when—"

Richard gasped for breath; and the laugh of his guests rang in his ears, and got into his chest, and choked him. Jane Fairfield drew herself up, and her tears were dried.

"I did not come to disgrace you; I came to see my boy, and—"

"Ha!" interrupted Richard, "to see him."

He turned to Leonard: "You have written to this woman, then?"

"No, sir, I have not."

"I believe you lie."

"He does not lie; and he is as good as yourself, and better, Richard Avenel," exclaimed Mrs. Fairfield; "and I won't stand here and hear him insulted—that's what I won't. And as for your fifty pounds, there are forty-five of it; and I'll work my fingers to the bone till I pay back the other five. And don't be afeard I shall disgrace you, for I'll never look on your face agin; and you're a wicked, bad man—that's what you are."

The poor woman's voice was so raised, and so shrill, that any other and more remorseful feeling which Richard might have conceived, was drowned in his apprehension that she would be overheard by his servants or his guests—a masculine apprehension, with which females rarely sympathize; which, on the contrary, they are inclined to consider a mean and cowardly terror on the part of their male oppressors.

"Hush! hold your infernal squall—do!" said Mr. Avenel, in a tone that he meant to be soothing. "There—sit down—and don't stir till I come back again, and can talk to you calmly. Leonard, follow me, and help to explain things to our guests."

Leonard stood still, but shook his head slightly.

"What do you mean, sir?" said Richard Avenel, in a very portentous growl. "Shaking your head at me? Do you intend to disobey me? You had better take care!"

Leonard's front rose; he drew one arm round his mother, and thus he spoke:

"Sir, you have been kind to me, and generous, and that thought alone silenced my indignation, when I heard you address such language to my mother; for I felt that, if I spoke, I should say too much. Now I speak, and it is to say shortly that—"

"Hush, boy," said poor Mrs. Fairfield, frightened; "don't mind me. I did not come to make mischief, and ruin your prospex. I'll go!"

"Will you ask her pardon, Mr. Avenel?" said Leonard, firmly; and he advanced toward his uncle.

Richard, naturally hot and intolerant of contradiction, was then excited, not only by the angry emotions which it must be owned, a man so mortified, and in the very flush of triumph, might well experience, but by much more wine than he was in the habit of drinking; and when Leonard approached him, he misinterpreted the movement into one of menace and aggression. He lifted his arm: "Come a step nearer," said he, between his teeth, "and I'll knock you down." Leonard advanced that forbidden step; but as Richard caught his eye, there was something in that eye—not defying, not threatening,[Pg 270] but bold and dauntless—which Richard recognized and respected, for that something spoke the freeman. The uncle's arm mechanically fell to his side.

"You can not strike me, Mr. Avenel," said Leonard, "for you are aware that I could not strike again my mother's brother. As her son, I once more say to you—ask her pardon."

"Ten thousand devils! Are you mad?—or do you want to drive me mad? you insolent beggar, fed and clothed by my charity. Ask her pardon! what for? That she has made me the object of jeer and ridicule with that d—d cotton gown, and those double-d—d thick shoes? I vow and protest they've got nails in them! Hark ye, sir, I've been insulted by her, but I'm not to be bullied by you. Come with me instantly, or I discard you; not a shilling of mine shall you have as long as I live. Take your choice—be a peasant, a laborer, or—"

"A base renegade to natural affection, a degraded beggar indeed!" cried Leonard, his breast heaving, and his cheeks in a glow. "Mother, mother, come away. Never fear—I have strength and youth, and we will work together as before."

But poor Mrs. Fairfield, overcome by her excitement, had sunk down into Richard's own handsome morocco leather easy-chair, and could neither speak nor stir.

"Confound you both!" muttered Richard. "You can't be seen creeping out of my house now. Keep her here, you young viper, you; keep her till I come back; and then if you choose to go, go and be—"

Not finishing his sentence, Mr. Avenel hurried out of the room, and locked the door, putting the key into his pocket. He paused for a moment in the hall, in order to collect his thoughts—drew three or four deep breaths—gave himself a great shake—and, resolved to be faithful to his principle of doing one thing at a time, shook off in that shake all disturbing recollection of his mutinous captives. Stern as Achilles when he appeared to the Trojans, Richard Avenel stalked back to his lawn.


Brief as had been his absence, the host could see that, in the interval, a great and notable change had come over the spirit of his company. Some of those who lived in the town were evidently preparing to return home on foot; those who lived at a distance, and whose carriages (having been sent away, and ordered to return at a fixed hour) had not yet arrived, were gathered together in small knots and groups; all looked sullen and displeased, and all instinctively turned from their host as he passed them by. They felt they had been lectured, and they were more put out than Richard himself. They did not know if they might not be lectured again. This vulgar man, of what might he not be capable?

Richard's shrewd sense comprehended in an instant all the difficulties of his position; but he walked on deliberately and directly toward Mrs. M'Catchley, who was standing near the grand marquee with the Pompleys and the Dean's lady. As these personages saw him make thus boldly toward them, there was a flutter. "Hang the fellow!" said the Colonel, intrenching himself in his stock, "he is coming here. Low and shocking—what shall we do? Let us stroll on."

But Richard threw himself in the way of the retreat.

"Mrs. M'Catchley," said he, very gravely, and offering her his arm, "allow me three words with you."

The poor widow looked very much discomposed. Mrs. Pompley pulled her by the sleeve. Richard still stood gazing into her face, with his arm extended. She hesitated a minute, and then took the arm.

"Monstrous impudent!" cried the Colonel.

"Let Mrs. M'Catchley alone, my dear," responded Mrs. Pompley; "she will know how to give him a lesson!"

"Madam," said Richard, as soon as he and his companion were out of hearing, "I rely on you to do me a favor."

"On me?"

"On you, and you alone. You have influence with all those people, and a word from you will effect what I desire. Mrs. M'Catchley," added Richard, with a solemnity that was actually imposing, "I flatter myself that you have some friendship for me, which is more than I can say of any other soul in these grounds—will you do me this favor, ay or no?"

"What is it, Mr. Avenel?" asked Mrs. M'Catchley, much disturbed, and somewhat softened—for she was by no means a woman without feeling; indeed, she considered herself nervous.

"Get all your friends—all the company, in short—to come back into the tent for refreshments—for any thing. I want to say a few words to them."

"Bless me! Mr. Avenel—a few words!" cried the widow, "but that's just what they are all afraid of! You must pardon me, but you really can't ask people to a déjeûné dansant, and then—scold 'em."

"I'm not going to scold them," said Mr. Avenel, very seriously—"upon my honor, I'm not! I'm going to make all right, and I even hope afterward that the dancing may go on—and that you will honor me again with your hand. I leave you to your task; and, believe me, I'm not an ungrateful man." He spoke, and bowed—not without some dignity—and vanished within the breakfast division of the marquee. There he busied himself in re-collecting the waiters, and directing them to re-arrange the mangled remains of the table as they best could. Mrs. M'Catchley, whose curiosity and interest were aroused, executed her commission with all the ability and tact of a woman of the world, and in less than a quarter of an hour the marquee was[Pg 271] filled—the corks flew—the champagne bounced and sparkled—people drank in silence, munched fruits and cakes, kept up their courage with the conscious sense of numbers, and felt a great desire to knew what was coming. Mr. Avenel, at the head of the table, suddenly rose—

"Ladies and Gentlemen," said he, "I have taken the liberty to invite you once more into this tent, in order to ask you to sympathize with me, upon an occasion which took us all a little by surprise to-day.

"Of course, you all know I am a new man—the maker of my own fortunes."

A great many heads bowed involuntarily. The words were said manfully, and there was a general feeling of respect.

"Probably, too," resumed Mr. Avenel, "you may know that I am the son of very honest tradespeople. I say honest, and they are not ashamed of me—I say tradespeople, and I'm not ashamed of them. My sister married and settled at a distance. I took her son to educate and bring up. But I did not tell her where he was, nor even that I had returned from America—I wished to choose my own time for that, when I could give her the surprise, not only of a rich brother, but of a son whom I intended to make a gentleman, so far as manners and education can make one. Well, the poor dear woman has found me out sooner than I expected, and turned the tables on me by giving me a surprise of her own invention. Pray, forgive the confusion this little family scene has created; and though I own it was very laughable at the moment, and I was wrong to say otherwise, yet I am sure I don't judge ill of your good hearts when I ask you to think what brother and sister must feel who parted from each other when they were boy and girl. To me (and Richard gave a great gulp—for he felt that a great gulp alone could swallow the abominable lie he was about to utter)—to me this has been a very happy occasion! I'm a plain man; no one can take ill what I've said. And, wishing that you may be all as happy in your family as I am in mine—humble though it be—I beg to drink your very good healths!"

There was an universal applause when Richard sat down—and so well in his plain way had he looked at the thing, and done the thing, that at least half of those present—who till then had certainly disliked and half despised him—suddenly felt that they were proud of his acquaintance. For, however aristocratic this country of ours may be, and however especially aristocratic be the genteeler classes in provincial towns and coteries—there is nothing which English folks, from the highest to the lowest, in their hearts so respect as a man who has risen from nothing, and owns it frankly! Sir Compton Delaval, an old baronet, with a pedigree as long as a Welshman's, who had been reluctantly decoyed to the feast by his three unmarried daughters—not one of whom, however, had hitherto condescended even to bow to the host—now rose. It was his right—he was the first person there in rank and station.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," quoth Sir Compton Delaval, "I am sure that I express the feelings of all present when I say that we have heard with great delight and admiration the words addressed to us by our excellent host. (Applause.) And if any of us, in what Mr. Avenel describes justly as the surprise of the moment, were betrayed into an unseemly merriment at—at—(the Dean's lady whispered 'some of the')—some of the—some of the"—repeated Sir Compton, puzzled, and coming to a dead lock—('holiest sentiments,' whispered the Dean's lady)—"ay, some of the holiest sentiments in our nature—I beg him to accept our sincerest apologies. I can only say, for my part, that I am proud to rank Mr. Avenel among the gentlemen of the county (here Sir Compton gave a sounding thump on the table), and to thank him for one of the most brilliant entertainments it has ever been my lot to witness. If he won his fortune honestly, he knows how to spend it nobly!"

Whiz went a fresh bottle of champagne.

"I am not accustomed to public speaking, but I could not repress my sentiments. And I've now only to propose to you the health of our host, Richard Avenel, Esquire; and to couple with that the health of his—very interesting sister, and long life to them both!"

The sentence was half-drowned in enthusiastic plaudits, and in three cheers for Richard Avenel, Esquire, and his very interesting sister.

"I'm a cursed humbug," thought Richard Avenel, as he wiped his forehead; "but the world is such a humbug!"

Then he glanced toward Mrs. M'Catchley, and, to his great satisfaction, saw Mrs. M'Catchley wiping her eyes.

Now, though the fair widow might certainly have contemplated the probability of accepting Mr. Avenel as a husband, she had never before felt the least bit in love with him; and now she did. There is something in courage and candor—at a word, in manliness—that all women, the most worldly, do admire in men; and Richard Avenel, humbug though his conscience said he was, seemed to Mrs. M'Catchley like a hero.

The host saw his triumph. "Now for another dance!" said he, gayly; and he was about to offer his hand to Mrs. M'Catchley, when Sir Compton Delaval, seizing it, and giving it a hearty shake, cried, "You have not yet danced with my eldest daughter; so, if you won't ask her, why, I must offer her to you as your partner. Here—Sarah."

Miss Sarah Delaval, who was five feet eight, and as stately as she was tall, bowed her head graciously; and Mr. Avenel, before he knew where he was, found her leaning on his arm. But as he passed into the next division of the tent, he had to run the gauntlet of all the gentlemen who thronged round to shake hands with him. Their warm English hearts could not be satisfied till they had so repaired the sin of[Pg 272] their previous haughtiness and mockery. Richard Avenel might then have safely introduced his sister—gown, kerchief, thick shoes and all—to the crowd; but he had no such thought. He thanked heaven devoutly that she was safely under lock and key.

It was not till the third dance that he could secure Mrs. M'Catchley's hand, and then it was twilight. The carriages were at the door, but no one yet thought of going. People were really enjoying themselves. Mr. Avenel had had time, in the interim, to mature all his plans for completing and consummating that triumph which his tact and pluck had drawn from his momentary disgrace. Excited as he was with wine and suppressed passion, he had yet the sense to feel that, when all the halo that now surrounded him had evaporated, and Mrs. M'Catchley was redelivered up to the Pompleys, whom he felt to be the last persons his interest could desire for her advisers—the thought of his low relations would return with calm reflection. Now was the time. The iron was hot—now was the time to strike it, and forge the enduring chain.

As he led Mrs. M'Catchley after the dance, into the lawn, he therefore said tenderly—

"How shall I thank you for the favor you have done me?"

"Oh!" said Mrs. M'Catchley, warmly, "it was no favor—and I am so glad"—She stopped.

"You're not ashamed of me, then, in spite of what has happened?"

"Ashamed of you! Why, I should be so proud of you, if I were—"

"Finish the sentence, and say—'your wife!'—there it is out. My dear madam, I am rich, as you know; I love you very heartily. With your help, I think I can make a figure in a larger world than this; and that whatever my father, my grandson at least will be—But it is time enough to speak of him. What say you?—you turn away. I'll not tease you—it is not my way. I said before, ay or no; and your kindness so emboldens me that I say it again—ay or no?"

"But you take me so unawares—so—so—Lord, my dear Mr. Avenel; you are so hasty—I—I—." And the widow actually blushed, and was genuinely bashful.

"Those horrid Pompleys!" thought Richard, as he saw the Colonel bustling up with Mrs. M'Catchley's cloak on his arm.

"I press for your answer," continued the suitor, speaking very fast. "I shall leave this place to-morrow, if you will not give it."

"Leave this place—leave me?"

"Then you will be mine?"

"Ah, Mr. Avenel!" said the widow, languidly, leaving her hand in his; "who can resist you?"

Up came Colonel Pompley; Richard took the shawl: "No hurry for that now, Colonel—Mrs. M'Catchley feels already at home here."

Ten minutes afterward Richard Avenel so contrived that it was known by the whole company that their host was accepted by the Honorable Mrs. M'Catchley. And every one said, "He is a very clever man, and a very good fellow," except the Pompleys—and the Pompleys were frantic. Mr. Richard Avenel had forced his way into the aristocracy of the country. The husband of an Honorable—connected with peers!

"He will stand for our city—Vulgarian!" cried the Colonel.

"And his wife will walk out before me," cried the Colonel's lady—"nasty woman!" And she burst into tears.

The guests were gone; and Richard had now leisure to consider what course to pursue with regard to his sister and her son.

His victory over his guests had in much softened his heart toward his relations; but he still felt bitterly aggrieved at Mrs. Fairfield's unseasonable intrusion, and his pride was greatly chafed by the boldness of Leonard. He had no idea of any man whom he had served, or meant to serve, having a will of his own—having a single thought in opposition to his pleasure. He began, too, to feel that words had passed between him and Leonard which could not be well forgotten by either, and would render their close connection less pleasant than heretofore. He, the great Richard Avenel, beg pardon of Mrs. Fairfield, the washerwoman! No; she and Leonard must beg his. "That must be the first step," said Richard Avenel; "and I suppose they have come to their senses." With what expectation, he unlocked the door of his parlor, and found himself in complete solitude. The moon, lately risen, shone full into the room, and lit up every corner. He stared round, bewildered—the birds had flown. "Did they go through the key-hole?" said Mr. Avenel. "Ha! I see—the window is open!" The window reached to the ground. Mr. Avenel, in his excitement, had forgotten that easy mode of egress.

"Well," said he, throwing himself into his easy chair, "I suppose I shall soon hear from them; they'll be wanting my money fast enough, I fancy." His eye caught sight of a letter, unsealed, lying on the table. He opened it, and saw bank-notes to the amount of £50—the widow's forty-five country notes, and a new note, Bank of England, that he had lately given to Leonard. With the money were these lines, written in Leonard's bold, clear writing, though a word or two here and there showed that the hand had trembled—

"I thank you for all you have done to one whom you regarded as the object of charity. My mother and I forgive what has passed. I depart with her. You bade me make my choice, and I have made it. Leonard Fairfield."

The paper dropped from Richard's hand, and he remained mute and remorseful for a moment. He soon felt, however, that he had no help for it but working himself up into a rage. "Of all people in the world," cried Richard, stamping his foot on the floor, "there are none so disagreeable, insolent, and ungrateful as poor relations. I wash my hands of them."


[Pg 273]

Monthly Record of Current Events.



From the abstract of the Seventh Census of the United States, and from the returns of the previous decennial periods, we compile the following table and statements, setting forth the principal features of the increase of the population of the country. The manner of apportioning the Congressional representation was fixed by an Act passed May 23, 1850. From and after March 3, 1853, the House of Representatives, unless otherwise ordained by Congress, is to consist of 233 members. The apportionment is made by adding to the number of free persons three-fifths of the number of slaves: the representative population, thus found, divided by 233, gives the ratio of apportionment: the representative population of each State, divided by this ratio, shows the number of Representatives to which the State is entitled. To the aggregate thus obtained is added a number sufficient to make up the whole number of 233 members; this additional number is apportioned among the States having the largest fractions. It is, however, provided by the Constitution that each State shall be entitled to at least one Representative. The representative population being 21,832,521, the ratio of representation is 93,702. The States which have a Representative for a fraction of the ratio are indicated in the table by a *. Those whose population is estimated are designated by a +.

  Free. Slave. Total. Free. Slave. Total.   1853. 1851.
Alabama* 428,765 342,894 771,659 91,541 89,362 180,903 634,501 7 7
Arkansas 162,658 46,983 209,641 85,019 27,048 112,067 190,848 2 1
California+ 200,000 —— 200,000 200,000 —— 200,000 200,000 2 2
Connecticut* 370,604 —— 370,604 60,596 [dec. 17] 60,579 370,604 4 4
Delaware 89,239 2,289 91,528 13,759 [dec. 316] 13,443 90,612 1 1
Florida 48,046 39,341 87,387 19,286 13,624 32,910 71,650 1 1
Georgia* 515,669 362,966 878,635 105,221 82,022 187,243 733,448 8 8
Illinois 858,298 —— 858,295 382,446 [dec. 331] 382,115 858,298 9 7
Indiana* 988,734 —— 988,734 302,871 [dec. 3] 302,868 988,734 11 10
Iowa 192,122 —— 192,122 149,027 [dec. 16] 149,011 192,122 2 2
Kentucky* 779,728 221,768 1,001,496 182,158 39,510 221,668 912,788 10 10
Louisiana 269,956 230,807 500,762 85,996 62,355 148,351 408,440 4 4
Maine 583,232 —— 583,232 81,439 —— 81,439 583,232 6 7
Maryland* 492,706 89,800 582,506 112,424 63 112,487 546,586 6 6
Massachusetts* 994,271 —— 994,271 256,572 —— 256,572 994,271 11 10
Michigan 395,703 —— 395,703 183,427 —— 183,427 395,703 4 3
Mississippi 292,434 300,419 592,853 111,994 105,208 217,202 472,685 5 4
Missouri 594,843 89,289 684,132 269,381 31,049 300,430 648,416 7 5
New Hampshire 317,831 —— 317,831 33,258 [dec. 1] 33,257 317,831 3 4
New Jersey 488,552 119 488,671 115,801 [dec. 555] 115,246 488,623 5 5
New York* 3,090,022 —— 3,090,022 661,105 [dec. 4] 661,101 3,090,022 33 34
N. Carolina 580,458 288,412 868,470 72,856 42,595 115,451 753,505 8 9
Ohio 1,977,031 —— 1,977,031 457,567 [dec. 3] 457,564 1,977,031 21 21
Pennsylvania* 2,311,681 —— 2,311,681 587,712 [dec. 64] 587,648 2,311,681 25 24
Rhode Island* 147,555 —— 147,555 38,730 [dec. 5] 38,725 147,555 2 2
S. Carolina 283,554 384,925 668,469 16,184 57,887 74,071 514,499 5 7
Tennessee* 773,599 249,519 1,023,118 127,448 66,460 193,908 923,310 10 11
Texas* 134,057 53,346 187,403 134,057 53,346 187,403 166,064 2 2
Vermont 313,466 —— 313,466 21,518 —— 21,518 313,466 3 4
Virginia 948,055 473,026 1,421,081 157,245 24,039 181,284 1,231,870 13 15
Wisconsin 304,226 —— 304,226 273,292 [dec. 11] 273,281 304,226 3 3
Dist. Columbia 48,000 3,687 51,687 8,982 [dec. 1,007] 7,975 ——
Minnesota 6,192 —— 6,192 6,192 —— 6,192 ——
New Mexico 61,632 —— 61,632 61,632 —— 61,632 ——
Oregon+ 20,000 —— 20,000 20,000 —— 20,000 ——
Utah+ 25,000 —— 25,000 25,000 —— 25,000 ——
  20,087,909 3,179,589 23,267,498 5,511,911 692,234 6,204,145 21,832,521 233 233

The Free Colored population, included in the above, numbers 419,173; of whom 184,882 are in the Free States, and 234,291 in the Slave States. Maryland has the highest number, 73,943. They have increased during the last ten years only 32,880, or 7.84 per cent. At the six previous enumerations respectively, there were returned 40,370, 35,946, 27,505, 18,148, 3553, and 1129 slaves from the Free States. The published abstract of the recent census shows only 119, all in New Jersey. The population, and the increase since 1840, are made up of the following elements; the total population of the territories not included in the census of 1840 being considered as increase:

Free States: Free Inhabitants 13,646,152  
  Slaves 119 —13,646,271
Slave Slates: Free Inhabitants 6,441,757  
  Slaves 3,179,470 –—9,621,227
Total Population 23,267,498
Free States: Increase of free Inhab. 3,937,362
  Less decrease of Slaves 1,010 –—3,926,352
Slave States: Increase of free Inhab. 1,584,549  
  Increase of Slaves 693,244 –—2,277,793
Total Increase 6,204,145

[Pg 274]

At the last apportionment, the House of Representatives consisted of 223 members, of whom 135 were from the Free States, and 88 from the Slave States; a Free State majority of 47. By the next apportionment there will be 233 members, of whom 144 will be from the Free States, and 89 from the Slave States; a Free State majority of 55: being an increase of 8 above that at the previous apportionment.

The projected invasion of Cuba has entirely miscarried. The bands of adventurers who had been collected at various points have dispersed, none of them having succeeded in getting away from the United States. At Jacksonville, Florida, where some hundreds were at different times congregated, many were indebted to charity for the means of returning to their homes. A number of persons have been arrested on charge of participation in the proposed expedition.

After the celebration of the opening of the New York and Erie Railroad, noticed in our Record of last month, President Fillmore returned to Washington by way of Rochester, Albany, New York, and Philadelphia. He reached the seat of Government on the 24th of May, after an absence of twelve days. Mr. Webster remained behind for a few days, and delivered, at Buffalo, Syracuse, and Albany, a series of elaborate speeches, setting forth his views of the state of public affairs, and explaining and vindicating his course and principles. He expressed his entire and hearty concurrence in all the prominent measures adopted by the Administration. The question, as far as related to the North, was not one of Union or Disunion; but whether the Constitution should be so administered that all the members of the Confederacy could remain within it. He disclaimed, most emphatically all idea of concession; the South should not have a hair's-breadth of concession from him; but he would maintain, to the utmost of his power, and in the face of all danger, the rights, under the Constitution, of the South as well as of the North; "and God forsake me and my children, if I ever be found to falter in one or the other." He gave a sketch of the historical relations of slavery to the Constitution; and insisted that the meaning and intent of the clause providing for the return of fugitives from labor, was so plain and evident, that not an attorney could be found who could raise a doubt about it. It was assumed in many quarters, that if a colored man comes to the North, he comes as a freeman; but, according to the Constitution, if he comes as a fugitive from service or labor, he is not a freeman, and must be delivered up, upon claim of those who are entitled to his services. There was not a man who held office under the General or State Government who was not bound by solemn oath to support and carry out this clause of the Constitution. Mr. W. asserted most emphatically, that he was and ever had been opposed to the admission of new slave territory into the Union, believing that it was beyond the power and against the provisions of the Constitution. He would never consent that there should be one foot of slave-territory beyond what the old Thirteen States had at the time of the formation of the Union. He was not in Congress at the time of the acquisition of Louisiana and Florida. But when the project of the annexation of Texas was about to be brought forward, he had gone out of his way, in a speech at New York, in 1837, to denounce, in advance the annexation of Texas as slave territory to the United States. He then expressed the opinion that the people of the United States would not, and ought not to consent to bring this territory into the Union. But he had proved a false prophet. The State of New York consented to it, and the vote of her Senators decided the question. In Congress, before the final consummation of the deed, he fought against the measure, and he would not now, before the country or the world, consent to be numbered among those who introduced new slave power into the Union. He disliked the Mexican war, and disliked the peace still more, because it brought in new territories. The rush of Northern men to California made it of necessity a Free State. As to New Mexico and Utah, he saw that the existence of slavery there was impossible; and as the South thought that the application of the Wilmot Proviso was irritating and disrespectful, he voted against it; for he was not disposed to give offense without cause. Mr. W. discussed at length the question of the Texas boundary, and proclaimed it as his solemn belief that unless it had been settled by Congress, a civil war would have ensued. The other great question, in 1850, was that of the Fugitive Slave Law. Under the provisions of the Constitution a law for the delivery of fugitives had been passed in 1793, by general consent. It answered its purpose till 1841 or 1842, when the States began to make enactments in opposition to it. Mr. W. was in favor of a proper law; he had, indeed, proposed a different one; he was of the opinion that a trial by jury might be had. But the law of 1850, passed, and he would undertake to say, that it was more favorable to the fugitive than that of 1793; since it placed the matter within the jurisdiction of a higher tribunal. Mr. W. denounced in the severest terms those who counseled resistance to the law; and defended his own course in advocating the Compromise measures. He felt that he had a duty to perform to exert every power to keep the country together, and if the fate of John Rogers had been presented to him, if he had heard the thorns crackling, by the blessing of Almighty God, he would have gone on and discharged the duty which he thought his country called upon him to perform.

No little interest has been awakened by a legal suit brought by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, to recover a portion of the "Book Fund" belonging to the Methodist Episcopal Church before its division. This fund, arising from the sale of books and publications, and devoted to the benefit of traveling, supernumary, superannuated, and worn-out preachers, their wives, widows, and children, amounted, in 1845, when the division in the Church took place, to about $750,000. It was under the charge of the General Conference, with the restriction that they should appropriate it to no other purpose than that above specified, except by a vote of two-thirds, upon the recommendation of three fourths of the members of the Annual Conferences. In 1844, when it seemed apparent that the diversities of opinion in the Church on the subject of slavery, would render a separation advisable, the General Conference recommended to the Annual Conferences to pass resolutions authorizing it to make proper arrangements as to the Fund; and in anticipation of such authorization, appointed a committee to meet one from the South, to make the necessary arrangements for an equitable division. But the separation, thus amicably proposed, did not take place without great exasperation on both sides. In the Annual Conferences the vote authorizing the division was 2135 out of 3205, lacking 269 of the requisite majority of three-fourths. The Northern[Pg 275] Commissioners, therefore, decided that they had no authority to act. The separation was formally effected in 1845. In May, 1848, the General Conference, held at Pittsburgh, authorized the Book Agents in New York and Cincinnati, to submit the matter to arbitration, provided that, upon consultation with eminent counsel, they should be satisfied they had the legal power so to do, when clothed with all the authority the General Conference could confer. If the Agents should find that they had no such legal power, they were authorized, in the event of a suit being instituted by the Southern Church, to submit the claims to a legal arbitration, under the authority of a competent court. And in case no suit should be commenced, the General Conference recommended to the Annual Conferences so to suspend the "restrictive clause" as to authorize a voluntary arbitration. Previous to the commencement of this suit, the Bishops had begun to lay the above recommendation before the Annual Conferences. When, however, in June, 1849, a suit was instituted, this proceeding was suspended. The suit came on, upon the 19th of May, in the United States Circuit Court, before Judges Nelson and Betts. It lasted eight days, four of which were occupied with the arguments of counsel—Messrs. Daniel Lord and Reverdy Johnson for the plaintiffs, and Rufus Choate and Geo. Wood for the defendants. On the part of the South it was claimed:—That the Fund was the property of those who received the benefit of it; of which they could not be deprived without clear proof of a breach of condition:—That there had been no forfeiture by the separation, because the General Conference, in the exercise of its legitimate authority, and for good and sufficient reasons, had assented to that division. They therefore ask that an equitable proportion of the capital, and of the profits of the Concern since 1845, should be awarded to them. On the part of the North it was claimed:—That the Fund was the property of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the beneficiaries receiving the profits of it merely by way of charity:—That the Southern Conferences seceded from and so form, at the present time, no part of the Church; since the General Conference had no power to authorize a separation; and, in fact, did not authorize it, their action being prospective, and accompanied by conditions which had not been complied with. And even had the separation been legitimate, a division of the property could only be claimed in virtue of a special agreement—sanctioned by a competent court; and there was, moreover, if the action of the General Conference was available, a special agreement as to the property in question, in virtue of which the plaintiffs can have no claim upon it. At the close of the arguments, the Court announced that it would not give its decision for some time; and advised the parties, in the mean while, to make an amicable adjustment of the matter; intimating that such an adjustment, if made, would receive the sanction of the Court. The defendants, therefore, made proposals to the plaintiffs to submit the matter to a legal arbitration, under the sanction of the Court; without, however, conceding any thing as to the question before the Court. The plaintiffs, meanwhile, before this offer was communicated to them, made similar overtures to the defendants. There is, therefore, every reason to hope for an amicable adjustment of this vexatious case.

The General Assembly of the New School Presbyterian Church convened at Utica, May 15. Rev. Albert Barnes of Philadelphia was chosen Moderator by a unanimous vote. The chief topic of interest discussed was a plan for the extension of the distinctive principles of the denomination, especially at the West. A few petitions on the subject of Slavery were presented. They were quietly disposed of by re-affirming the conciliatory action of the preceding General Assembly. Hon. J.R. Giddings, of Ohio, who was elected as a delegate, and was expected to agitate this question, was prevented by an accident from being present. The city of Washington was selected as the place for the next meeting.—— The General Assembly of the Old School Presbyterian Church met on the 20th of May at St. Louis. Rev. Dr. Humphreys, of Kentucky, was chosen Moderator. The next meeting of the Assembly was appointed to be held at Charleston, upon the assurance of delegates from South Carolina that there was no danger of that city being at that time situated in a foreign country.

The question as to the comparative speed of the British and American Ocean Steamers has been settled for the present. The Pacific, of Collins's line, has made the four shortest passages, three of them consecutive, that have been made across the Atlantic. They were all performed within ten days, which has not been accomplished by any British steamer. The American Ocean Steamers now afloat number 74, with an aggregate tonnage of nearly 90,000. Of these, 9 ships, averaging about 2400 tons, cross the Atlantic; 25 vessels, averaging 1250 tons, ply between ports on the Atlantic and on the Gulf of Mexico; and 40 steamers, averaging 650 tons, are employed on the Pacific.

During the month of May 38,858 immigrants arrived at the port of New York. The arrivals in five months of the present year were 100,571, exceeding by 21,169 those of the corresponding period last year. The English and Irish papers announce the expected departure of increasing numbers of emigrants, of the most desirable class; to make amends for which, the local authorities are emptying the poor-houses upon our shores; it being found cheaper to export than to feed their paupers. This will be done, unless prevented, more extensively this year than ever before.

The Legislature of New York convened in Special Session on the 10th of June. In the House Hon. J.B. Varnum of New York City was chosen Speaker, in place of Mr. Raymond, who is in Europe, and the organization was continued in other respects as before the adjournment. The twelve Senators who resigned in order to prevent the passage of the bill for the Enlargement of the Canals, were, with a single exception, nominated for re-election. The result of the special election was, that of the twelve vacancies, five were filled with advocates, and seven with opponents of the proposed measure; and in one district there was no choice. The Senate therefore stands at present twenty-two in favor, and nine opposed to the bill. The Message of Governor Hunt narrates the events which gave occasion to the Extra Session, and argues in favor of the constitutionality and expediency of the proposed measure for the enlargement of the canals.—— An Address has been issued by 56 of the 112 members of the Convention which framed the Constitution of the State, whose names are appended to that document, in which, after examining the provisions of the Constitution, and of the proposed Enlargement Bill, they express it as their opinion that the bill violates the entire spirit and scope of the financial article of the Constitution, and is inconsistent with several of its express provisions.

A large number of Germans who had assembled at Hoboken, opposite to New York, on the 26th of[Pg 276] May, to celebrate their customary May-Festival, were attacked by a gang of desperadoes from New York, known as "Short Boys." The Germans repulsed their assailants, and made violent reprisals. In the course of the riot great damage was done to property, and one person lost his life, besides many being severely injured.

The Legislature of Massachusetts closed a very protracted session on the 24th of May. Among the measures passed, was a General Banking Act; a Homestead Exemption Law, with a limit of $500; the Secret Ballot Law, requiring all ballots to be inclosed in envelopes; a law to take the sense of the people whether a Convention shall be called to revise the Constitution of the State; a law changing the composition of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University; the Plurality Act, in accordance with which members of Congress at the second trial, and Presidential electors at the first, are elected by a plurality of votes. At the special election to supply three vacancies in the Congressional representation, Mr. Rantoul, Free-Soil Democrat, and Messrs. Thompson and Goodrich, Whigs, received a plurality, and were elected. Mr. Sumner has addressed to the Legislature a letter, accepting the office of United States Senator. He says that he will maintain the interests of all parts of the country, and oppose every effort to loosen the ties of the Union, as well as "all sectionalism, whether it appear in unconstitutional efforts by the North to carry freedom to the Slave States, or in unconstitutional efforts of the South, aided by Northern allies, to carry the sectional evil of slavery into the Free States; or in whatsoever efforts it may make to extend the sectional dominion of slavery over the United States." He looks upon the Union as the guardian of the repose of the States, and as the model of a future federation among nations; and he does not believe that any part of it can be permanently separated from the rest. Politics, he says, are simply morals applied to public affairs; and his political course shall be determined by those everlasting rules of right and wrong, which are a law alike to individuals and communities. An address from 170 members of the late Legislature has been published, denouncing, in the severest terms, the political combination which resulted in the election of the present Governor and Senator. The Supreme Court have pronounced a unanimous opinion, affirming the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave law. Several persons charged with aiding in the escape of Shadrach, the fugitive, have been tried; but the jury were unable to agree upon a verdict.

The Governor of Maine, in his Message to the Legislature, complains of the illiberal conduct of Massachusetts, in regard to the land-claims within the State of Maine; and especially in refusing to aid in the construction of the Aroostook road, which passes mainly through those claims. The Legislature, previous to its adjournment till January, passed a stringent law for the suppression of tippling-houses; and made an appropriation of $2000 to circulate document relating to the survey for the North American and European Railway. It is reported that gold has been discovered in the northern part of the State, bordering upon Canada. Companies have been formed for securing the treasures of this Northern Eldorado.

In New Hampshire Hon. Samuel Dinsmoore, Democrat, has been elected Governor by the Legislature, no choice having been made by the people. In his Inaugural Address, he speaks of the Compromise measures as a part of the law of the land, the maintenance of which is demanded by every consideration of good faith and sound policy. The Fugitive Slave law he says, "is painfully repugnant to the feelings of the North, but is designed to fulfill a plain constitutional obligation, deliberately and unanimously assumed, with a full knowledge of its import, by those who framed the Constitution, and since affirmed and enforced by our highest political and judicial authorities."

A new Constitution has been adopted in Maryland, of which, apart from the usual legislative, judicial, and executive formulas, the following are the principal provisions: The franchise is vested in all free white male citizens, who have resided a year within the State, and six months within the county. A conviction for larceny or any infamous crime operates as a disfranchisement. The only religious test for office is a declaration of belief in the Christian religion; or, in case of Jews, of a belief in a future state of rewards and punishments. Participation in a duel, or bribery, disqualifies from holding office. The Legislature has power to provide for the disposition or removal of the free colored population. Clergymen are not eligible as members of the Legislature. No religious sect or teacher, as such, without express Legislative permission, can receive any gift or sale of land, except five acres for a church, parsonage or burial-ground. The Legislature can grant no divorces, nor pass any laws abolishing the relation of master and slave. The credit of the State can not be loaned. No State debt can be contracted without the imposition of a tax sufficient to meet the interest, and liquidate the debt in fifteen years. Corporations to be formed only under general laws; stockholders are liable to an amount equal to their shares; no officer of a corporation to borrow money of it. Imprisonment for debt is abolished. Lotteries are prohibited after 1858. Provisions are made for digesting and codifying the laws, and for simplifying the forms of legal procedure. The will of the people to be taken every ten years whether a Convention for amending the Constitution shall be called.

In Georgia Hon. Howell Cobb, late Speaker of the House of Representatives, is the Union candidate for Governor. Ex-Governor Charles J. McDonald, President of the late Nashville Convention, has been nominated by the secession party. In Georgia this party by no means assumes the extreme ground of their namesakes in South Carolina; they only advocate the absolute right of secession, and its expediency in certain contingencies. Party lines appear to be in a great measure lost sight of. Mr. Cobb, though a Democrat, is supported by no small portion of the Whig party, and denounced by a part of his own. In a recent speech at Savannah, he spoke in opposition to the course pursued by South Carolina, in assuming the sole decision of the momentous issues at stake, and endeavoring to drag the other Southern States into the gulf of disunion. He hoped that Georgia would give her to understand that no aid in such a project was to be expected from her.—— In Mississippi Hon. H.S. Foote is the Union candidate for Governor, opposed by General Quitman, who has been nominated for re-election. He, however, emphatically repudiates the charge of being in favor of disunion.—— In South Carolina the advocates for secession—immediate, unconditional, and at all hazards—for a time over-bore all opposition. The cautious and skillful policy of Mr. Calhoun, advocated by the cooler politicians of the State, was apparently abandoned.[Pg 277] Recent indications seem to show that the prominence assumed by the advocates of secession was out of all proportion to their real strength in the State. The glowing visions of commercial prosperity presented by Mr. Rhett, to be maintained by making South Carolina the great entrepôt from which contraband goods were to be poured into all the Southern States, are dissipated by a writer in a leading Charleston paper, who demonstrates that a commerce of five millions, affording a revenue, by the proposed duty, of half a million, is all that the nation of South Carolina could expect, even though unmolested by the United States. Hon. J.R. Poinsett has published a letter in relation to Mr. Rhett's notable project, in which he says, "The Senator tells us that 'safety and honor are on the one hand, danger and degradation on the other;' and I agree with him except as to on which side lie the danger and degradation." Jealousy begins to show itself on the part of the country party against the towns, which are represented to be influenced by a "foreign population," as Governor Seabrook denominates citizens from other states. Every week shows an increase of strength and confidence in the party opposed to immediate secession, who for a time appeared completely overawed.

In the Constitutional Convention of Virginia the basis of representation has been settled by compromise. The House is to consist of 150 members; the Senate of 50. Eastern Virginia, with 401,540 whites, 45,783 free colored persons, and 409,793 slaves, in all 857,116 inhabitants, is to have 82 Representatives and 20 Senators. Western Virginia, with 492,609 whites, 8123 free colored, and 62,233 slaves, 563,965 in all, is to have 68 Representatives and 30 Senators. A new apportionment is to be made in 1865. A provision has been adopted prohibiting the Legislature from passing any law for the emancipation of slaves.

From Texas and New Mexico accounts continue to reach us of Indian depredations and murders. The Apaches commenced violating the treaty they had entered into within a month from its completion. Troops are to be posted in such a manner as to cover the water-courses along which the Indians take their way, ostensibly in pursuit of the buffalo, but really for plunder and murder. An encounter took place on the 9th of April between a body of Texan militia and a party of Indians, in which nine of the latter were killed; none of the whites were injured. A company of 200 dragoons has been ordered to assist the Indian Agents in procuring the release of captives, and punishing the Indians who have violated the treaty. A portion of the Mormons, known as the "Brewster branch," have purchased land and commenced a settlement in New Mexico.

From California we have intelligence to May 1. The Legislature adjourned on the last day of April. A law had been passed exempting homesteads and certain other property from legal seizure, in prescribed cases. The legal rate of interest is fixed at 10 per cent.; 18 per cent. may be taken by special agreement. In the municipal election at San Francisco the Whigs were successful. Large sums of money have been issued by private coiners, worth less than its nominal value. The refusal of the coiners to redeem this causes great dissatisfaction. There is little or no diminution in the frequency of outrages upon persons and property, or abatement in the determination to inflict summary and extra-judicial punishment upon the offenders. In San Francisco a prison is in course of erection by the labor of felons condemned to the chain-gang. The amount of gold produced in the course of the current year is expected to be very large. The great desideratum at present is to find some cheap and effective method of disengaging the microscopic gold contained in the auriferous quartz. The methods now in use fail to extricate more than one-fifth of the amount contained in many of the richest veins. A treaty has been negotiated with six Indian tribes numbering some 15,000 souls, who have been the chief annoyance in the region of the Mariposa and Merced rivers. A territory twelve miles square has been assured to them forever, together with the privilege of hunting up to the Sierra Nevada, and of fishing and gathering gold in the rivers. Supplies to a limited amount, together with teachers and mechanics, are to be provided for them by the United States Government.

The tide of emigration has begun to set once more strongly toward Oregon. A late arrival brought out six female teachers sent under the auspices of a society at the East. Discoveries of coal have been made at various points along the Pacific coast. Steam communication has been established between the mouth of the Columbia and the Willamette.


In Mexico Congress has been endeavoring to devise some means to raise funds to meet the current expenses of Government. Among other expedients it was proposed to withhold from the public creditors the balance of the United States indemnity remaining in the treasury, and to impose indirect contributions on the departments. An unsuccessful attempt was made to invest the President with full powers to raise funds as he could, without the concurrence of the legislative authority. Congress, however, adjourned on the 23d of May, leaving affairs in the utmost confusion and uncertainty. The late resignation of Señor Esteva, the Minister of Finance, was occasioned by his inability, from want of funds, to effect the consolidation of the interior debt. He wished the indemnity to be withheld from the public creditors, and a suspension of payments till 1852 to be decreed. The Indians in Yucatan have suffered severe checks, and are giving up hostilities. Claims to a large amount have been presented against the Government of the United States, for damages arising from failure to prevent Indian depredations, according to the stipulations of the treaty.

In Brazil warlike preparations are still carried on against Buenos Ayres, or rather against Rosas, the President, who has made himself especially obnoxious to all the States on the Parana. Little apprehensions of actual hostilities are entertained.

In Peru Gen. Echenique, who had been chosen President by 2392 out of 3804 votes, entered upon his office on the 20th of April. He is the first President who has attained the post by election; his predecessors owing their elevation to the sword. He nominated Gen. Vivanco, his principal opponent, as Minister to Washington, perhaps as a kind of honorable banishment. The appointment was declined. An insurrection was attempted, and Vivanco was named by the insurgents as their leader, apparently without his direct concurrence. He was, however, arrested and imprisoned.

In Chili a tumult arising out of political feeling, in view of the approaching election, broke out on the 20th of April. Some regiments, headed by Col. Urricola, took up arms. The insurrection was suppressed in a few hours; some 20 were killed, among whom was Urricola. Valparaiso and Santiago were put under martial law. A series of severe shocks of an earthquake have taken place, commencing on the[Pg 278] 2d of April. For three days the shocks averaged one an hour. One on the 2d lasted 55 seconds, by which many houses in Valparaiso were thrown down. So severe an earthquake has not been felt in Chili since 1822.

In Central America discontent is felt at the unsettled state of affairs. Permission has been accorded by the British authorities for the election of a municipal council in the city of San Juan de Nicaragua. Of the five members chosen two were Americans. This is hailed as the initiatory step toward the withdrawal of the British protectorate. A violent earthquake occurred in Costa Rica on the 8th of March.


The Great Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations has succeeded beyond all anticipations. Long after every other doubt had been removed, its financial success was considered problematical, and it was feared that application must be made to Government to supply a large deficiency in the amount of funds. A writer in the Times, who professed to speak after careful investigation, estimated the expenditures at £120,000; the receipts from subscriptions at £60,000, and the utmost that could be hoped from visitors at £25,000, leaving a deficit of £35,000. This estimate of expenses did not include the absolute purchase of the building, which was hoped rather than expected by the most sanguine friends of the enterprise. But the three first weeks of the Exhibition have placed its financial success beyond a question. From subscriptions and season tickets £130,000 have been realized; and nearly £40,000 have been received for admissions at the doors. It is not believed that the receipts for the next hundred days can fall short of £1500 a day. The total receipts will thus amount to some £320,000, which will enable the Committee to purchase the building for the permanent use of the nation, and graduate all the expenditures on a much more liberal scale than was at first thought possible. The value of the articles exhibited is variously estimated at from twelve to thirty millions of pounds. The condensed Catalogue, which merely gives the names of the articles and of the exhibitors, forms a volume with fully three times the amount of matter contained in a Number of our Magazine. The large Catalogue will extend to a number of volumes, and will constitute a comprehensive Cyclopædia of the Industry of the Nineteenth Century. The American contributions do not fulfill the expectations that had been raised. From the amount of space asked, it was supposed that the contributions from the United States would exceed those from any other foreign country with the exception of France, which proves to be by no means the case; apart from their number, the American contributions, consisting to a considerable extent of raw materials, are not of a nature to be fully appreciated by ordinary visitors when brought into immediate contact with the more ornamental products of European industry. Mr. Riddle, the American commissioner, notwithstanding the sneers of the English press, writes that in every respect save that of number these contributions are worthy of the country. He urges that immediate and strenuous exertions be made to supply the deficiency, stating that the Exhibition will remain open till late in the autumn, and articles will be received until the first of August. The effect of the Exhibition has been in many respects different from what was anticipated. Those who had expected to make fortunes by supplying the wants of visitors have been woefully disappointed. The current sets from London almost as rapidly as to it, so that at no time is the population sensibly augmented. The visitors spend comparatively little, and the shopkeepers complain of unusual dullness. The Exhibition has taken the place of theatres and other places of amusement, which are, to a great extent, kept open at a loss. Some apprehensions were felt of tumult, or at least of an inconvenient pressure, when the price of admission should be reduced to a shilling; and a few precautions were taken to prevent the evil. These fears were found to be altogether gratuitous. On the first day only about 20,000 visitors were present, though the building will amply accommodate 60,000 at a time. As apprehension wore off the number rapidly rose to upward of 50,000 a day. The order and decorum observed by those who paid the reduced price has not been inferior to that of those who paid the highest. The Queen makes visits to the Exhibition, even on the shilling days.

In Parliament the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill advances slowly through the House of Commons, opposed most pertinaciously at every step by a small band of members, mostly Irish Catholics, who take every occasion to embarrass its progress by calls for a division, and motions for adjournment. As it is not made a question between the great parties, the majorities in its favor are very large; at the final vote the majority can not well be less than ten to one. The Ministers are alternately victorious and beaten on subordinate questions, but there seems a tacit understanding on the part of the Opposition, that no measure of sufficient importance to force them to resign shall be pressed against them; and on the part of the Ministers, that they will not abandon the conduct of affairs on account of minor checks. The motion for a vote of censure on Lord Torrington, as Governor of Ceylon, the last important measure to be brought forward, was lost, by a majority of 80, so that the position of the Ministers is assured for the remainder of the session. The bill to appoint visitors to inspect female convents and religious houses has been rejected.

The decision of the Courts, made last year, adverse to copyrights of foreigners, has been reversed. The decision now is, that a foreigner who publishes a book originally in Great Britain, whether it be written there or abroad, is entitled to a copyright. This decision is not absolutely final, as an appeal is open to the House of Lords. At a meeting of publishers interested in cheap reprints it was resolved to bring the matter before the Lords, with a view to a final decision of the question. A subscription was entered into to defray the expenses of the procedure.

A Protectionist meeting and dinner was held at Tamworth, the residence of the late Sir Robert Peel. It was looked upon as a wanton insult to the memory of the great Free Trade statesman, and was attacked by a mob and dispersed.

Thackeray, the most brilliant writer of the day, Dickens, in our judgment, not excepted, is delivering a course of lectures on the English Humorists. The lectures are received with great favor by an audience fit and not few. The first was upon Swift, and was a striking portraiture of that able, unscrupulous, and baffled clerical adventurer. The second lecture was upon Congreve, the most worthless, and Addison, the most amiable of the English Humorists. His treatment of Addison is characterized as more brilliant than any thing Addison himself ever produced. His appearance is thus described: "Thackeray in the rostrum is not different from Thackeray any where else. It is the same strange, anomalous, striking aspect: the face and contour of child—of the[Pg 279] round-cheeked humorous boy, who presumes so saucily on being liked, and liked for his very impudence—grown large without losing its infantile roundness or simplicity; the sad grave eyes looking forth—through the spectacles that help them, but baffle you with their blank dazzle—from the deep vaults of that vast skull, over that gay, enjoying smile; the curly hair of youth, but gray with years, brought before their time by trouble and thought. Those years, rich in study, have produced the consummate artist."


The revision of the Constitution occupies public attention to the almost entire exclusion of every other topic. On the 28th of May the National Assembly entered upon the third year of its existence, when by the Constitution it is competent to consider the question of revision. Some very exciting and stormy debates have occurred. The plans and wishes of parties begin to develop themselves. The Bonapartists desire an alteration in but a single point: that which renders the President ineligible for a second term at the conclusion of the first. The Monarchists are in favor of a revision, by which they mean an entire abolition of the republican Constitution, and the establishment of a monarchy. The Legitimatists are eager for the restoration of the Bourbons; the Orleanists for the elevation of the heir of Louis-Philippe. A union of these two branches of the Monarchists is not impossible, since the Count of Chambord, the Bourbon heir, is childless, and his elevation to the throne would be only a postponement of the claims of the House of Orleans. The Revolutionists of all classes have a large majority in the Assembly, but not the requisite constitutional three-fourths. The Republicans of all shades, who unite to oppose the revision, number fully 250 members, and 188 is all that they need to prevent its accomplishment without a violation of the Constitution. They announce their determination to defend the Constitution at all hazards. Petitions pour in from all quarters in favor of a revision, and it is hoped that they will be sufficiently numerous to declare that the will of the nation is in favor of it; in which case the Assembly may take upon itself the responsibility of setting aside the letter of the Constitution, and appealing to the nation for a vindication of its course. In the event of the calling of a Convention a further question is to be considered as to whether the delegates shall be elected by universal suffrage, or under the present restrictive laws. The Ministry now in office seem pledged to the latter, while the Constitutionnel, understood to be the organ of the President, advocates universal suffrage. From this it is inferred that Bonaparte intends to keep the choice open to himself of selecting either scheme which events shall indicate to be most favorable to his interests. The probabilities now are that the national desire will be found to be so decidedly in favor of the continuance of the President in office, that the prohibitory article will be altered in his favor. He has this great advantage over his opponents, that he is one and they are many.

In Algeria some severe encounters have recently taken place. Early in May the French troops entered Kabylia, and a series of engagements took place in which the Kabyles were defeated with great loss.

The editor of the Charivari has been condemned to an imprisonment of six months and a fine of 2000 francs for having published a caricature representing the Constitution set up as a mark, and the President offering a reward to the person who should shoot it down. The artist who designed the print was also sentenced to a fine of 200 francs, and imprisonment for two months.


The Dresden Conference closed on the 4th of May. The Frankfort Diet recommenced its sittings with as little formality as though the last three years had never existed, and it was re-assembling after an ordinary adjournment. The sovereigns of Russia, Prussia, and Austria, have had a fraternal meeting at Warsaw, preparatory to a more formal conference at Olmutz. The Emperor of Russia was especially gracious to the King of Prussia. The Prussian Chambers adjourned on the 11th, having rendered still more stringent the laws for the regulation of the press. The Royal speech was delivered by proxy. It stated that in whatever form revolution might show itself, the Government would be found firm, and Prussia armed. The threatening position assumed by the enemies of order rendered it the urgent duty of all German Governments no longer to leave Germany without a central power; and whether they returned to the old form of the Diet, or whether the plans of re-organization, by no means abandoned, should be carried into effect, the independent development of Prussia would in neither case be endangered. The Austrian Government was busy in endeavors to improve the financial condition of the empire, which is in a lamentable state of disorganization.


In Portugal the insurrection under the Duke of Saldanha has proved entirely successful. His rival, the Count of Thomar has fled to England. The royal consort has been deprived of the command of the army. The Duke of Saldanha has formed a ministry of his partisans, he himself taking the post of President of the Council, with actual dictatorial authority.

In Spain the farce of an election of members of Cortes has been enacted. A large majority of the members returned are in favor of the Government. A Concordat with the Roman Court has been unofficially made public. Various ecclesiastical regulations are agreed upon. The Catholic religion is to be the only one tolerated. Public education and the superintendence of the press and of books introduced into the country are to be committed to the clergy. Serious disturbances had broken out among the students of the University of Madrid, which called for the intervention of the police, in the course of which a number of the students were severely injured. The tumult arose from personal, not political causes.

In Italy the most prominent subject of interest is literally one of smoke. The various Governments derive a large revenue from the duties upon tobacco. The malcontents make a demonstration of their hatred to the Governments by abstaining from the use of the weed, and endeavoring to induce others, sometimes by no gentle means, to do the same. At Bologna the Austrian commandant was obliged to issue an ordinance threatening punishment upon those who offered violence to peaceable citizens by hindering them from using tobacco either for smoking or as snuff. At Rome the state of things is much the same. Continual encounters take place between the French soldiers and the Romans. The French commander has suppressed all permission to carry arms in consequence. Fire-arms, swords, and poinards, were ordered to be surrendered by a certain day, after which domiciliary visits would be made, and all persons found having weapons in their possession, were to be tried by court-martial. Persons carrying sword-canes to be arrested and fined.

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Literary Notices.

Memoirs of William Wordsworth, Vol. I., by his nephew, Christopher Wordsworth, edited by Henry Reed, and published by Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, will disappoint those who have anticipated an abundance of interesting personal details in the biography of its illustrious subject. It is the history of his mind, not of his external life. The incidents of his peculiar career were the successive births of his poems. No man ever led a more self-contained, interior, subjective life than Wordsworth, and hence the development of thought takes the place in his biography which is usually occupied by the flow of events. Every object was valued by him in proportion as it furnished the materials of poetry. The aspects of the glorious mountain region in which he had established his household gods, the intercourse of society in which, during the later portion of his life, he took a conspicuous part, on account of the influx of visitors that besieged his retired, contemplative haunts, the manifestations of the contemporary literature of the day in its wonderful, pregnant phases, and the strong current of political excitements throughout a most eventful period of English history, never disturbed the deep, placid stream of the poet's existence, or seduced him from the exclusive communion with the realms of fancy and reflection, to which he was wedded by ties of indissoluble fealty. His biographer has been true to this cardinal fact, which characterizes the identity of Wordsworth. He has aimed only to explain the genesis of his poems, in a manner to make them the historians of their author. The critical disquisitions which thus arise often possess great interest, and furnish suggestive lessons which few living poets can study without profit. Numerous extracts from the correspondence of Wordsworth are given in this volume, which are marked by his usual gravity and intenseness of reflection, but are destitute of the spontaneous ease which forms the chief beauty of epistolary writing. On the whole, we regard this biography as eminently instructive, presenting many noticeable facts in psychology and literary history, and well rewarding an attentive study, but of so uniformly a didactic cast as to grow tedious in perusal, and likely to find few readers beyond the circle of Wordsworth's enthusiastic admirers.

The Religion of Geology and its Connected Sciences, by Edward Hitchcock, President of Amherst College (published by Phillips, Sampson, and Co.), presents in a compact, popular form, the latest established results of geological investigation, in connection with their bearings on revealed religion. In the opinion of President Hitchcock, a large proportion of the works which have been written within the last thirty years on this subject, excepting those of J. Pye Smith, Dr. Chalmers, Dr. Harris, Dr. Buckland, Professor Sedgewick, Professor Whewell, Dr. King, Dr. Anderson, Hugh Miller, and similar writers, have shown a deficiency of the knowledge essential to a mastery of the question. A number of authors, though familiar with the Bible, had no accurate knowledge of geology, and by resorting to the denunciation of their opponents, have excited a gross and unfounded prejudice against the cultivators of that science, and at the same time have awakened a disgust among intelligent students, who have inferred the weakness of their cause from the folly of its defense. The subject is discussed in the present volume with a large, philosophical comprehension, and with distinguished ability. Faithful to the substantial deductions of science, it strenuously defends the received principles of religion and presents, from its elevated point of view, a variety of conclusions of no less importance to natural theology, than to a lucid conception of the structure of the material universe.

The Glens (published by Charles Scribner) is a new novel, by J.L. M'Connel, the author of "Grahame," and "Talbot and Vernon," who now comes before the public for the first time under his own name. The plot and execution of "The Glens" sufficiently resemble his former productions to betray the identity of their origin. With greater compression of style, and a more natural development of incident, it exhibits the same passion for dealing with legal evidence, and the same acute and comprehensive analysis of character, which distinguish the other writings of the author. He certainly possesses a rare power of clothing the darker emotions of the soul with a life-like naturalness, and depicting the excesses of stern and sullen passion in colors that are no less abhorrent than truthful. The plot of this novel is one of terrible intensity, though it can not be charged with extravagance. The prevailing gloom of the story is happily relieved by the descriptions of Western manners and scenery, which are lively and picturesque, and at the same time, as we have reason to believe, remarkable for their exact fidelity. We think the success of this work must decide the vocation of the author. He has already gained a reputation in American literature of which he may justly be proud. We shall look with interest for the future creations of his genius, which with the increasing polish of their execution, we are confident, will not lose their natural fragrant freshness, nor their bold masculine vitality.

The History of Cleopatra, by Jacob Abbott, a new volume of his Historical Series, publishing by Harper and Brothers, presents a subject of considerable delicacy for the pen of its grave and highly ethical author. He seems to be aware of the difficulty at the outset. "The story of Cleopatra," he observes, "is a story of crime. It is a narrative of the course and the consequences of unlawful love. In her strange and romantic history we see this passion portrayed with the most complete and graphic fidelity, in all its influences and effects, its uncontrollable impulses, its intoxicating joys, its reckless and mad career, and the dreadful remorse, and ultimate despair and ruin in which it always and inevitably ends." But Mr. Abbott has disposed of the uncongenial theme with his accustomed ingenuity and good sense. Without vailing the character of the voluptuous queen, or concealing the poetical aspects of her romantic history, he delineates the events in her life, for which she is now chiefly remembered, with a naïve simplicity that becomes piquant from its apparent artlessness. Nor does he indulge, to any disagreeable excess, in the superfluous moralizing which a less shrewd writer would have deemed essential to the effect. He leaves the story to assert its own moral. The reader, who chooses, may find it for himself.

C.S. Francis and Co. have republished a new volume of Poems, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, containing "Prometheus Bound," "A Lament for Adonis," "Casa Guidi Windows," and a variety of miscellaneous pieces. They bear the authentic impress of Mrs. Browning's peculiar genius, abounding in bursts of noble inspiration, combined with the workings of earnest reflection, and expressed in a style which is no less remarkable for the richness of its classic adornings, than for its wild, erratic strength, and its frequent displays of an almost [Pg 281]puerile simplicity. The typographical appearance of this volume is very neat.

The Third and last Volume of Humboldt's Cosmos, in Otté's translation, is issued by Harper and Brothers, embracing a general view of the discoveries of astronomical science, considered in two divisions, namely, the region of the fixed stars, and our solar and planetary system. This portion of Humboldt's great work is characterized by the sublime brevity, the profound comprehensiveness, the affluence of physical facts, and the reverent modesty of speculation which distinguish the philosophical writings of the author, and which are in such admirable harmony with the impressive dignity of the theme. In the Introduction to the present volume, Humboldt gives an historical review of the attempts to reduce the phenomena of the universe to a grand central unity, including the labors of Anaxagoras, Aristotle, Giordano Bruno, Descartes, and Sir Isaac Newton. The problem, as he conclusively shows, still remains to be solved. The present imperfect state of physical science offers insuperable obstacles to a speedy solution. New substances and new forces are constantly brought to light, nor can we escape from the conviction that no observation or analysis has yet exhausted the number of impelling, producing, and formative agencies. "The great and solemn spirit," Humboldt remarks, "which pervades the intellectual labor in question arises from the sublime consciousness of striving toward the infinite, and of grasping all that is revealed to us amid the boundless and inexhaustible fullness of creation, development, and being." The fidelity to this sentiment which is every where apparent in "Cosmos," is no less remarkable than the compactness of its reasoning and the wealth of its details, and to the mind imbued with the genuine spirit of science, invests this extraordinary work with a perpetual charm.

A useful educational work has just been issued by A.S. Barnes and Co., entitled The Orthoepist, by James H. Martin, comprising a selection of nearly two thousand English words, which are supposed to be especially liable to an incorrect pronunciation. The tables of words are illustrated by exercises in reading, which exhibit both the diligence and the ingenuity of the author in a favorable light. We have no doubt that this little work might be used to great advantage by a skillful instructor, besides forming a convenient manual for private consultation.

The Heir of Wast-Wayland, by Mary Howitt (published by Harper and Brothers), is the latest production of its charming author, written with more vigor and not less sweetness than the popular stories which have given her such a beautiful fame as a writer of graceful and touching fiction. The best-drawn character in this tale is Richard Ellworthy, a designing, subtle villain, whose bold and crafty manœuvres are depicted in striking contrast with several admirable specimens of feminine loveliness, and a few touches of Quaker life, which pervade the volume with their pure, refreshing influence. The unmistakable power of this story, no less than its delightful domestic spirit, will win a heart-felt welcome for it among the numerous American friends of Mary and William Howitt.

A Grandmother's Recollections, by Ella Rodman (published by Charles Scribner), is a natural, affectionate, and delightful narrative of early days, purporting to be from a charming old lady, who has both a retentive memory and an enviable gift of genial, winning expression.

Mayhew's London Labor and the London Poor, of which we have the seventh number, from the press of Harper and Brothers, continues to exhibit an appalling picture of the lower strata of civilization in London society. In connection with the magnificent displays of English industry and art, which are exciting the admiration of the world in the Crystal Palace, Mr. Mayhew's disclosures afford a pregnant commentary on the moral effects of the present intensely competitive system of labor and commerce. His revelations are startling, at times almost incredible, but always instructive. His facts are arranged, no doubt, with a view to effect, but they are sustained by ample evidence, and are more impressive, from being free from theory or speculation. They are fruitful of suggestion to every thinking mind.

Ida is the title of an anonymous poem in three books, published by James Monroe and Co., Boston. Polished and graceful to an uncommon degree in its versification, this little poem exhibits a fine contemplative vein, and a pervading tone of genuine pathos. The influence of favorite authors is too perceptible in its composition for entire originality, many of the lines sounding like reminiscences of favorite strains.

Land and Lee in the Bosphorus and Egean, is a new volume of Rev. Walter Colton's Collected Works, edited by Rev. Henry T. Cheever, and published by A.S. Barnes and Co. It is the substance of a work published during Mr. Colton's life-time, under the title of "Visit to Athens and Constantinople," with additions from the original manuscripts of the author, and revised and condensed by the editor. Mercurial, sketchy, and incoherent, tasting strongly of the salt water and the ship's-cabin, enlivened with occasional flashes of harmless vanity, it rewards the attention of the reader by its lively, rapid descriptions, its unfailing fund of good humor, and its local and geographical details, which are frequently instructive and entertaining. The snatches of common-place sentimentality, which the author appears to indulge in both as a matter of taste and from a sense of duty, might safely be dispensed with.

History of the Protestants of France, by G. De Felice, translated by Henry Lobdell, M.D. (published by Edward Walker), is a lucid, popular narrative of the development of French Protestantism from the Reformation to the present time. The author is well-known among the living religious writers of France, as a man of learning, ability, and zeal. His style combines great vivacity of expression with a tone of earnest and profound reflection. The present work is evidently the fruit of conscientious research, and though making no pretensions to impartiality, is written without bitterness. The translation is executed with care, and although by no means a model in its kind, is generally free from glaring faults. Some general views are advanced in the Preface which will be read with interest in the present state of the Catholic controversy.

Para; or, Scenes and Adventures on the Banks of the Amazon, by John Esaias Warren (published by G.P. Putnam), is a spirited volume of travels in Brazil, by a very susceptible observer and fluent writer. The pictures of South American life which he delineates with enthusiastic unction, are soft and sunny, presenting a delicious profusion of enchantments. According to his mellow descriptions, the equator has a decided advantage over these dull, temperate, hyperborean regions.

The edition of The Life and Writings of George Herbert, published by James Munroe and Co., contains the Life of Herbert, abridged from Izaak Walton, The Temple, and The Country Parson, together[Pg 282] with the Synagogue, an imitation usually accompanying his works. The quaint felicities and pious unction of this earnest-minded old English poet and divine, with his sweet and saintly spirit, will always keep his memory fresh among the readers of the best contemplative literature. We are glad to possess his inimitable productions in such a convenient and beautiful American edition.

Caleb Field, by the author of "Passages in the Life of Mrs. Margaret Maitland" (published by Harper and Brothers), is a religious story of the English Puritan age, distinguished for the characteristic sweetness and pathos of the earnest and powerful writer. The heroine, Edith Field, is a charming creation. The daughter of a stern Puritan clergyman, who devotes himself to the spiritual care of his flock during the prevalence of the Great Plague, she ministers to their temporal needs with the constancy of a martyr, and the gentleness of an angel. Her beautiful nature presents an admirable relief to the scenes of stern and dark passion which are portrayed. The lights and shades of the story are managed with genuine artistic effect. Though constructed of slight materials, and absolutely without pretension, it must be regarded as a truly exquisite gem.

First Things, by Gardiner Spring, D.D. (published by M.W. Dodd), is the title of a series of lectures upon a number of great facts and moral lessons contained in the early portions of the Scriptures, composed in a style of grave and harmonious beauty, characteristic of the venerable author. The distinguishing features of the theological school to which Dr. Spring belongs are brought unshrinkingly forward, constituting as they do, in his opinion, vital and essential portions of the system of revealed religion. We meet with occasional interpretations and expositions of Scripture which, though formerly accepted, had, we supposed, been generally set aside by the investigations of modern criticism; and some of the topics treated of, while essential to the plan of the work, require a degree of violence to comprise them under the somewhat fanciful title selected. These volumes are dedicated to the flock under the pastoral care of the author, and can not fail to prove a welcome and appropriate memorial, to the two generations to whom his unbroken ministrations have been addressed, of one of the ablest and most honored divines who have adorned the American pulpit.

Yeast. A Problem. (Harper and Brothers.) Under this quaint title, the author of "Alton Locke" has collected into a volume a series of papers formerly contributed to Frazer's Magazine. Not so radical, so fantastic, nor so vigorous as many portions of the "Autobiography of a Tailor," dealing more with religious, and less with social questions, written in a more obscure and uncertain stage of experience, this production is a sparkling effervescing fragment, abounding in passages of singular beauty and heart-rending pathos, with some delineations of character, which, for originality of conception and force of coloring, can rarely be matched in contemporary literature. The work is abrupt, spasmodic, and, of course, very unequal in its execution; the plot serves only as an apology for the exhibition of psychological studies; and although it breaks off with little warning and no satisfaction, its perusal can not fail to touch the deepest sympathies of the reader.

Stanford and Swords have published a neat edition of The Angel's Song, a Christmas Token, by Charles B. Taylor, one of the best religious stories of that popular writer. His style is marked by a beautiful simplicity, which gives an unfailing freshness to his narrative, while his skill in availing himself of the most effective incidents challenges the constant curiosity of the reader. The volume is got up in a uniform style with the seven preceding volumes, forming a valuable series for the family or parish library.

Stuart of Dunleath, by Mrs. Norton. (Harper and Brothers.) With scarce an exception, no novel of the present season has received such enthusiastic praise from the English press as this brilliant production. The style is no less chaste and exquisite, than the plot is deep and absorbing. Variety, movement, passion, and intense interest, pervade the whole narrative, which, at the same time, is singularly natural, depending for its effect on its truthful revelations of character and life. In the profusion of superior novels which have recently made their appearance, we can not hesitate to yield the pre-eminence to "Stuart of Dunleath."

Isabella is the subject of the Sixth Tale in the Girlhood of Shakspeare's Heroines, by Mary Cowden Clarke, published by Geo. P. Putnam. The narrative shows the fertility of invention which characterizes all the Tales of the present series, and as an exercise of fanciful ingenuity, is not inferior to any which have preceded it. The reverence for Shakspeare, which is an inwrought element in the character of the author, may palliate, if it does not excuse the presumption of her enterprise. It must be confessed that her success thus far has to a great degree falsified the predictions which the announcement of her plan called forth.

The Solitary of Juan Fernandez, by the author of Picciola, translated from the French, by ANne T. Wilbur (published by Ticknor, Reed, and Fields), is founded on the Life of Alexander Selkirk, whose adventures it employs to enforce the moral lesson of the importance of society. The story is constructed with the subtle delicacy of conception which pervades the charming Picciola, and contains several passages of exquisite beauty. In presenting a vivid picture of the pernicious influence of solitude on the human faculties, the author claims a greater fidelity to nature than was exercised by De Foe, whose Robinson Crusoe, he maintains, completely alters the mental physiognomy of his model. Robinson is not a man in a state of entire isolation, but is, in fact, a European developing the resources of his industry, while contending with a barren soil and ferocious enemies. Without comparing the present work with the immortal production of De Foe, which regards the history in another point of view, we must allow it the merit of a rich poetical fancy, and uncommon felicity of expression. The translation shows some marks of haste, but, on the whole, is gracefully executed.

Not so Bad as We Seem is the title of Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's new Comedy (published by Harper and Brothers), written for the benefit of the Guild of Literature and Art, and performed with brilliant eclat at Devonshire House, by a company of literary amateurs. The part taken in its representation by Dickens, Douglas Jerrold, John Forster, Marston, Wilkie Collins, and other men of prominent intellectual distinction, has given a remarkable prestige to this play, independent of its actual merits. It can not fail to be sought with avidity, both from interest in the occasion, and the popularity of the author. Nor is it altogether unworthy of his great reputation. The construction of the plot shows his usual fertility of resource, and the dialogue, which is various and spirited, is managed with no small skill. The scene is laid in London during the reign of George I., and the incidents are drawn from the political manœuvres of that day.

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Editor's Drawer.

Doubtless there are few men, who at all enjoy their own thoughts, or books, the printed thoughts of others, either of the past, or in the present, but have preserved in some form what impressed them favorably or interested them deeply. Some elaborate at night, after their hours of business are over, a daily record, or diary, in which are set down many of the "choice things" and all the "remarkable occurrences," to which the day may have given rise. Others—and they are not only wise but benevolent—do not selfishly shut up these things between the covers of a private manuscript-volume, but copy them off in a fair hand, and send them to the editor of some clever journal or magazine, where they are soon "known and read of all men"—and women. Now we have a collection of the kind to which we have alluded. When scribbled, they have been thrown into a drawer of the table whereon they were written. They are of all kinds and descriptions; of matters humorous and of matters pathetic: some have come warm from the heart—others come fresh from the fancy. Many things from the lips of others have been preserved, some of which drew tears from eyes unused to weep; while, on the other hand, and in respect of other things, the "water of mirth" has crept into the same eyes. Of such are the materials of our collection. There will be found in them no attempts at "fine writing;" for that is a thing as much beyond our inclination as our power. Simplicity, earnestness, a desire to put down plainly our own natural thoughts and meditations, and the brief, amusing, or instructive thoughts of others—these are the means and this the purpose of our "Editor's Drawer." Wherefore, reader, perpend the first "batch," and patiently await a second and a better.

How much there is in the power of a single felicitous word in poetry, toward making a perfect picture to the mind of the reader! It often invests an inanimate object with almost actual life, and makes the landscape a sentient thing. Here are a few lines that live in our memory—from Proctor, Barry Cornwall, if we do not mistake—which are eminently in illustration of this. The poet is sitting at night-fall upon a green meadow-bank, with his little daughter by his side, looking at the setting sun, and the twilight exhalations colored by its evening beams:

"——Here will we sit,
The while the sun goes down the glowing west,
And drink the balmy air
Exhaling from the meadows; the nectarous breath
Which Earth sends upward when her lord, the Sun,
Kisses her cheek at parting."

There is action as well as vitality in this beautiful simile. Shakspeare paints similarly, when he says:

"How soft the moonlight sleeps upon yon bank!"

Now, suppose he had written "rests upon yon bank?" how tame, in comparison, would the word have been; and yet it would be equally "correct." What is it that gives to the following line from Campbell's "Battle of Hohenlinden" its almost terrific force, but a single word:

"Far flashed the red artillery!"

That little word of one syllable sets the distant horizon all a-glow with the bursting flames from the deep-mouthed ordnance. Wherefore, ye minor bardlings, look to your accessories.

It was impossible not to laugh when the following circumstance was mentioned the other day in our hearing: A lady, whose little child had by accident partaken of something which it was feared would inflame or distend its bowels, was awakened in the night by the bursting of a yeast-bottle, in an adjoining closet. "Husband!" she exclaimed "get up! get up! Betsey has exploded! I heard her explode this minute!"—and nothing short of lighting a candle, and going to the apartment where the little girl slept would convince her of the unreality of her ridiculous impression.

The memories of childhood, after a mature age has been attained, are more powerful than many people are aware of. And especially is this the case, in reference to the religious observances which first arrest the attention of children. Our annual anniversaries, which bring to the Great Metropolis so many ministers of different denominations, are fruitful examples of the strong memories of children in this respect. With the familiar faces of the clergymen who ministered before him in holy things in his boyhood, come back to the city denizen fresh memories of his early life in the country; the plain village-church, with its farmer-occupants; the "tiding-men," who used to pull his ears, and make him change his seat, when he was restive under the delays and restraints of the sanctuary. "Do you see that white-haired old gentleman?" said a friend to us in the crowded Tabernacle, at a late religious anniversary, pointing to a venerable clergyman, the personification of solemn dignity. He was our minister in the country nearly forty years ago, and he was called "old Mr. L——" then. How well I remember his baptizing my little sister!—and it seemed but a dream of time, afterward, when I saw him marry her to a young man who had won her heart; and in less than two years afterward he uncovered his white head at her grave, and endeavored to speak words of consolation to her bereaved friends. The last time I heard him in the country was at a conference-meeting, on a summer afternoon, at the little school-house; and well do I recollect how, as the late twilight drew on, and I was looking out upon the deepening green of the trees that surrounded the humble building, his voice trembled with emotion as he read the parting hymn:

'The day is past and gone,
The evening shades appear;
Oh, may we all remember well,
The night of Death draws near!

'We lay our garments by,
Upon our beds to rest;
So Death will soon disrobe us all
Of what we here possessed.'

"I should like," continued our friend, as we walked away after the services were over; "I should like to go home to die, when it shall please GOD to call me away, and have that good old man, the friend and director of my boyhood, speak a few words over my last remains."

It is a pleasant thing, once in a while, to encounter a man of imperturbable good-nature; and such a one it was, who recently, at one of our hotels, after pulling some dozen of times at his bell, which continued unanswered, all at once said to a friend who was in his apartment: "I wonder if it's because I keep pulling at that bell so, that they don't come up! I'm afraid it is, really. Perhaps they're offended at me!" Even such patience is better than loud grumbling in a tavern-hall, and vociferous "bully-ragging" of servants.

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Somebody—and we know not whom, for it is an old faded yellow manuscript scrap in our drawer—thus rebukes an Englishman's aspiration to be "independent of foreigners:" A French cook dresses his dinner for him, and a Swiss valet dresses him for his dinner. He hands down his lady, decked with pearls that never grew in the shell of a British oyster, and her waving plume of ostrich-feathers certainly never formed the tail of a barn-door fowl. The viands of his table are from all countries of the world; his wines are from the banks of the Rhine and the Rhone. In his conservatory he regales his sight with the blossoms of South American flowers; in his smoking-room he gratifies his scent with the weed of North America. His favorite horse is of Arabian blood; his pet dog of the St. Bernard breed. His gallery is rich with pictures from the Flemish school, and statues from Greece. For his amusement he goes to hear Italian singers warble German music, followed by a French ballet. The ermine that decorates his judges was never before on a British animal. His very mind is not English in its attainments: it is a mere pic-nic of foreign contributions. His poetry and philosophy are from ancient Greece and Rome; his geometry from Alexandria; his arithmetic from Arabia, and his religion from Palestine. In his cradle, in his infancy, he rubbed his gums with coral from oriental oceans; and when he dies, he is buried in a coffin made from wood that grew on a foreign soil, and his monument will be sculptured in marble from the quarries of Carrara. A pretty sort of man this, to talk of being "independent of foreigners!"

Parodies, as a general thing, are rather indifferent reading. The "Rejected Addresses" and "Warrenniana," however, are brilliant exceptions to this remark. One of the most happy native exhibitions of this sort that we have seen, is a parody upon the Scottish song of "Jessie, the Flower of Dunblane," written by a distinguished jurist in Pennsylvania:

"Oh, shweet ish de lily mit its prown yellow plossom,
Und so ish de meadow, all covered mit green;
But noding's so sweet, nor yet sticks in my posom,
Like sweet liddel Katy, vot lives on de plain:
She's pashful as any—like her dere's not many;
She's neider high-larnt, nor yet foolish, nor vain;
Und he's a great villain, mitout any feelin',
Dat vould hurt vonce my Kitty, vot lives on de plain."

In a story which we once heard related by an Englishman, there seemed to us so good an exemplification of one phase of human incredulity, overcome by superior cunning, that we could not resist the inclination to "make a note of it." A fat, burly English landlord was sitting one afternoon at the door of his inn, in a provincial town not a hundred miles from London, when a person entered the house, and after complimenting its cleanliness and snug appearance, ordered a good dinner and a bottle of wine. The dinner, when ready, was laid in an upper apartment, looking out upon a pleasant garden; and after it had been thoroughly discussed, and the wine sipped luxuriously to the bottom of the bottle, the satisfied guest sent for his host, and when he entered the room, thus addressed him: "You have a fine inn here, landlord—a very fine inn: every thing is particularly nice—in fact, what I call comfortable." The landlord expressed his gratification. "I shall have great pleasure," continued the guest, without noticing the interruption, "in recommending your house to my friends in town. There remains only one thing more to mention, landlord; and as the subject is one which I have reason to think will be as unpleasant to you as to myself, I will express it in a few words. I have not, at this moment, any money; but I will be here again in—" "No money!" exclaimed the landlord, in a voice husky with anger. "No Money!! then why did you come to the 'Hen-and-Chickens' and run up a bill that you can't pay? Get out of my house this instant! Go! walk!" "I expected this," replied the guest, rising; "I anticipated this treatment; nor can I much blame you, landlord, to tell you the truth, for you don't know me. Because you sometimes meet with deception, you think I am deceiving you; but I pledge you my honor that a fortnight from this day I will be with you again, and you will confess your self ashamed of your suspicions." "Bah! you're a swindler!" ejaculated Boniface; "this will be the last of you: take that!" and with a vigorous coup de pied, was "sped the parting guest." "You will live to regret this, landlord, I am sure; but I do not blame you, for you are ignorant of my character," was the meek reply to this gross indignity. Just two weeks from that day, this same ill-used gentleman (with a traveling friend), was, with many apologies and protestations, shown into the best room of the celebrated "Hen-and-Chickens" inn. The landlord's profuse apologies were accepted; he was forgiven; and even invited to dine with the two friends upon the best dinner, flanked by the very choicest wines which his house afforded. When all was finished, and while the landlord, who had become exceedingly mellow, was protesting that he should never be so suspicious of a "real gentleman" again, he was interrupted by his first guest with: "But, landlord, there is one thing which we ought, in justice to you, to mention. I do not happen to have, at this moment, a single penny; and, I grieve to say, that my companion, who is a good man, but in a worldly point of view, very poor, is not a whit better off. Under these unpleasant circumstances, it becomes, as it were, a necessity, to bid you a very good evening!" "'Done' twice! the 'Hen and Chickens' 'done' twice!—and both times exactly alike!" said the landlord, as he went down to set the swindle to the account of "Profit and Loss."

A forcible example of the necessity of observing accent and punctuation in reading, was afforded by the careless reader who gave the passage from the Bible, with the following pauses: "And the old man said unto his sons, 'Saddle me, the ass;' and they saddled him!"

The following specimen of sepulchral literature was copied literally from an old tombstone in Scotland:

"Here lies the body of Alexander Macpherson,
Who was a very extraordinary person:
He was two yards high in his stocking-feet,
And kept his accoutrements clean and neat;
He was slew
At the battle of Waterloo:
He was shot by a bullet
Plumb through his gullet;
It went in at his throat,
And came out at the back of his coat."

There is something very ludicrous in the specimens of inanimate personation mentioned by Dickens in one of his sketches. One Vauxhall waiter in London bawls out to another: "I say; look out, Bill; there's a Brandy-and-water a-gettin' over the railing, and a Go-o'-gin-and-a-Muffin a-slinkin' out o' the back-gate! Stop 'em, Bill—stop 'em!"

[Pg 285]

A Leaf from Punch.



THERE has lately been started a new steam-boat, with the odd title of the Emmet. It certainly is the very worst name for a sea-going craft, since no one will go on board the Emmet without thinking of an Emetic.... There was a thorough specimen of American Independence exhibited at the Botanical Gardens by the celebrated American plants, which were advertised to appear in full bloom, at least three weeks earlier than they condescended to show themselves. Every one was asking how it was that the American plants did not show themselves, according to promise. But they obstinately remained shut up in their buds, as if when looked for to blossom, their reply had been, "If I do, I'm blowed." ... The French Republic is always represented as wearing the Cap of Liberty. A fitter head-dress would be a mob-cap.... If you wish to hear all your faults fully canvassed, have your portrait taken, and invite your friends to come and keep you company.... I hate parrots, parroquets, and cockatoos. They are odious creatures (screechers)!... The Dictionary puts down make and construct as synonymous. They do not, however, mean precisely the same, for an omnibus, which is constructed to hold twelve persons, is made to hold fourteen, and sometimes more, especially on wet nights.... The new process of cooking by gas is a splendid triumph of gas-tronomy.... The reason why lightning turns milk and beer sour, probably is, that the electric fluid does not know how to conduct itself any better.... Philosophers have often tried to explain why a cat runs after a mouse; the reason undoubtedly is, because the mouse runs away from the cat.


Papa.—"So, Charley, you really are in love with the little black-eyed Girl you met last night?"

Charley.—"Yes, Papa, I love her dearly!"

Papa.—"How much do you love her, Charley? Do you love her as much as Pudding?"

Charley.—"O yes, Papa! and a great deal better than Pudding. But—(pausing to reflect)—I do not love her—so much as—Jelly!"

[Pg 286]

Wife of his Bosom.—"Upon my word, Mr. Peewitt! Is This the Way You Fill Up Your Census Paper? So you call Yourself the 'Head of the Family'—do You—and me a 'Female?'"

First Frenchman.—"Mon Dieu, Alphonse! Look there! What do you call that Machine?"

Second Frenchman."I see! it's a very droll affair, but I don't know what it is."

[Pg 287]

Summer Fashions.

Bridal, Morning, and Visiting Costumes. Bridal, Morning, and Visiting Costumes.

THE Summer in all its fervor is now prevailing, and the dictations of fierce Leo may not be disregarded with impunity. Light textures, only, are seasonable, and the genius of modists has wrought out beautiful and appropriate patterns for dresses, bonnets, mantelets, &c. The textures most in vogue are light silks, taffetas, barèges, mousseline de soie, valencias, plain and printed cambric muslins, jaconets, &c. Our first Illustration exhibits appropriate costume for three phases in the character of fashion; a bride's dress, a morning costume, and a visiting dress.

The Bridal Dress, seen on the left, is extremely elegant. The hair is in short bandeaux and very large. The vail of illusion silk net, is embroidered above the hem with twelve rows of narrow silk braid put very near together. It is laid flat on the head and incloses the back hair. The edge comes on the forehead. The crown is composed of double laurel flowers, bunches of lilies of the valley, and reed leaves. It goes round the head behind, and does not meet in front. The foliage reaches forward and falls all round the head.

The under-dress is of white silk, the upper of[Pg 288] India muslin, open in front, in the body and skirt, so as to show one width of the silk. The body is almost high. A deep valenciennes, scolloped, forms a lapel down the body and the edges of the skirt. The short pagoda sleeves are trimmed with rows of valenciennes. The body and skirt have several rows of narrow valenciennes, three together at intervals, and so arranged as to form undulations. These trimmings are fixed to one insertion: they are not loose, but so fastened as to follow all the motions of the folds of the skirt. The cross-bands are ornamented on the body with a silk bow in the middle; on the skirt, with two others placed at the extremities. A bow on each arm holds up the pagodas. The collar is plaited; an embroidered insertion, and three rows of valenciennes, undulated like the trimming of the dress. The under-sleeves, of embroidered muslin at the bottom, are straight, and rather loose at the wrist. They have an insertion and three rows of valenciennes.

The sitting figure shows a Morning Costume composed of taffeta and other light materials. An elegant and rather gay style is taffeta of a light gray ground, striped broad, with intervening wreaths of roses. The body three-quarter height at the back. It opens in a large lapel down each side of the tablier, which is trimmed with fringe, of hues corresponding with the dress. The fringe is continued from the bottom of the lapel down each side of the tablier. Sleeves are funnel-shaped, rather more than a half-length, and finished with fringe. Cambric chemisette, made quite up to the throat, and cambric under-sleeves. Lemon colored silk or drawn bonnet, the brim very open at the sides. The interior is trimmed in cap style with tulle; lemon colored brides or strings.

The figure on the right shows a Visiting Dress. The body is à la Louis XV.; demi-long sleeves of the small pagoda form. A pardessus like a little pelisse; a close fitting body, moderately open on the bosom; bordered with a very rich fancy trimming. Wide sleeves descending to the hand, and terminated with fancy trimming and a rich fringe. The skirt is short behind, but nearly a half length in front, open before, and trimmed round the bottom with three rows of fringe laid on as flounces. Rice straw bonnet; a very small open brim, the interior trimmed with tufts of red and yellow roses and their foliage, and white brides. The exterior of the bonnet is decorated with a wreath of the same flowers, intermixed with thin foliage, and light sprigs of small white flowers and buds.

Fig. 2.—Bonnets. Fig. 2.—Bonnets.
Turkish Costume. Turkish Costume.

Bonnets continue to be made small and very open in front. Light silks are fashionable. These are covered by rows of white festooned ribbon, as seen in the second Illustration of Fig. 2. Others have white lace on the front, over the centre, and upon the crown and curtain; as seen in the other Illustration. Florence straw, gauze, tulle, crape, and crapelisse, are more fashionable and much more seasonable. Rice straw bonnets are very much in vogue this season. The general forms of bonnets have not much changed since our last report.

There appears to be a decided and growing tendency on the part of our countrywomen, to wear the trowsers. If properly done, we certainly can not object. For some time past indications of an invasion, by the ladies, of men's peculiar domain in dress, incited by the strong-minded Miss Webers of the day, have been tangible, but the frowns of Fashion have hitherto kept the revolutionists quiet, and ladies' dresses have every month been increasing in longitude, until train-bearers are becoming necessary. It is conceded by all that the dresses of prevailing immoderate length, sweeping the ground at every step, are among the silliest foibles of Fashion; expensive, inconvenient, and untidy. Recently, in several places, practical reformers, as bold as Joan d'Arc, have discarded the trailing skirts, and adopted the far more convenient, equally chaste, and more elegant dresses of Oriental women. Some ridicule them; others sneer contemptuously or laugh incredulously, and others commend them for their taste and courage. We are disposed to be placed in the latter category; and to show our good-will, we present, above, a sketch of Oriental Costume, as a model for our fair reformers. What can be more elegant and graceful, particularly for young ladies? The style is based upon good taste, and, if the ladies are in earnest, it must prevail. A crusty cynic at our elbow who never believed in progress in any thing, thinks so too; and has just whispered in our ear of woman, that

"If she will, she will, you may depend on't,
And if she won't, she won't—so there's an end on't."


[1] At that time a son of Mr. Lee was at school at St. Bees, in England. One day, as he was standing near one of the professors of the academy, who was conversing with a gentleman of the neighboring country, he heard the question asked, "What boy is this?" To which the professor replied, "He is the son of Richard Henry Lee, of America." The gentleman, upon hearing this, put his hand upon the boy's head, and remarked, "We shall yet see your father's head upon Tower Hill." The boy promptly answered, "You may have it when you can get it." That boy was the late Ludwell Lee, Esq., of Virginia.

[2] The history of this bell, now hanging in the steeple of the State House, in Philadelphia, is interesting. In 1753, a bell for that edifice was imported from England. On the first trial ringing, after its arrival, it was cracked. It was recast by Pass and Stow, of Philadelphia, in 1753, under the direction of Isaac Norris, the then Speaker of the Colonial Assembly. Upon fillets around its crown, cast there twenty-three years before the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, are the words of Holy Writ, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." How prophetic! Beneath that very bell the representatives of the thirteen colonies "proclaimed liberty throughout all the land," and its iron tongue echoed the annunciation! For more than two hours its glorious melody floated clear and musical as the voice of an angel above the discordant chorus of booming cannon, rolling drums, and the mingled acclamations of an excited multitude. It, too, was fractured, and for long years its voice has been silent. When I stood in the belfry and sketched this portrait of the old herald, the spirit of the Past, with all its retinue, seemed to be there, for association summoned to the audience chamber of imagination, from the lofty hills and green valleys of the Republic, that band of patriots who stood sponsors at its baptism in 1776.

[3] This is in allusion to the line which Turgot wrote under the bust of Franklin: Eripuit cælo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis.

[4] None such are in fact required, for the car itself contains air enough for the use of its passengers for a quarter of an hour, and there is rarely occupied more than a period of two or three minutes to pass it through the surf to the shore.

[5] Areas being as the squares of homologous lines, the ratio would be, mathematically expressed, 1²: 4 × 12² = 1: 4 × 144 = 1: 576.

[6] There are nine of these presses in the printing-rooms of Harper and Brothers, all constantly employed in smoothing sheets of paper after the printing. The sheets of paper to be pressed are placed between sheets of very smooth and thin, but hard pasteboard, until a pile is made several feet high, and containing sometimes two thousand sheets of paper, and then the hydraulic pressure is applied. These presses cost, each, from twelve to fifteen hundred dollars.

[7] The principle on which these life-boats are made is found equally advantageous in its application to boats intended for other purposes. For a gentleman's pleasure-grounds, for example, how great the convenience of having a boat which is always stanch and tight—which no exposure to the sun can make leaky, which no wet can rot, and no neglect impair. And so in all other cases where boats are required for situations or used where they will be exposed to hard usage of any kind, whether from natural causes or the neglect or inattention of those in charge of them, this material seems far superior to any other.

[8] Continued from the June Number.

[9] Continued from the June Number.

[10] Continued from the June Number.

[11] Transactions of the Zoological Society.

[12] Josephine might afterward have fulfilled this promise, had not Madame d'Aiguillon been a divorced wife, which excluded her from holding any situation about the Empress.

[13] Continued from the June Number.