The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Galaxy, January, 1877

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Title: The Galaxy, January, 1877

Author: Various

Release date: November 7, 2009 [eBook #30415]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Barbara Tozier, Carla Foust, Bill Tozier and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcriber's note

All apparent printer's errors have been retained.

The index is for all of Volume XXIII. Links have been added to those articles that are located in this issue.



A Magazine of Entertaining Reading.



JANUARY, 1877, TO JUNE, 1877.



Sheldon & Company,


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.


Typography of Churchwell & Teall.     Electrotyped by Smith & McDougal.

[Pg iii]


Administration of Abraham Lincoln Gideon Welles 5, 149
Almanacs, Some Old Charles Wyllys Elliott 24
Alnaschar. 1876 Bret Harte 217
Alfred de Musset Henry James, Jr. 790
Applied Science Charles Barnard 79, 160
Art's Limitations Margaret J. Preston 159
Assja Ivan Tourguéneff 368
Aut Diabolus aut Nihil   218
Ballad of Constance William Winter 109
Balzac, Letters of Henry James, Jr. 183
Battalion, The J. W. De Forest 817
Beer S. G. Young 62
Beethoven, To Sidney Lanier 394
Cigarettes   471
Cleopatra's Soliloquy Mary Bayard Clarke 506
Climbing Rose, The   596
Cossacks, An Evening Party with the David Ker 406
Dead Star, The John James Piatt 660
Dead Vashti, A Louise Stockton 428
Defeated Mary L. Ritter 354
Dramatic Canons, The Frederick Whittaker 396, 508
Drift-Wood Philip Quilibet 125, 265, 411, 553, 695, 842

The Twelve-Month Sermon; Ribbons and Coronets at Market Rates; The Spinning of Literature; Growth of American Taste for Art; The Wills of the Triumvirate; The Duel and the Newspapers; The Industry of Interviewers; Talk about Novels; Primogeniture and Public Bequests; The Times and the Customs; Victor Hugo; Evolutionary Hints for Novelists; The Travellers; Swindlers and Dupes; Pegasus in Harness.

Eastern Question, The A. H. Guernsey 359
English Peerage, The E. C. Grenville Murray 293
English Traits Richard Grant White 520
English Women Richard Grant White 675
Executive Patronage and Civil Service Reform J. L. M. Curry 826
Fascinations of Angling, The George Dawson 818
Fallen Among Thieves   809
Great Seal of the United States John D. Champlin, Jr. 691
Hard Times Charles Wyllys Elliott 474
Head of Hercules, The James M. Floyd 52
Heartbreak Cameo Lizzie W. Champney 111
Home of My Heart F. W. Bourdillon 543
Influences Charles Carroll 124
Juliet on the Balcony Howard Glyndon 42
Lassie's Complaint, The James Kennedy 367
Libraries, Public in the United States John A. Church 639
Life Insurance   686, 803
Literature, Current   137, 279, 425, 567, 708, 855
Love's Messengers Mary Ainge De Vere 51
Love's Requiem William Winter 182
Lucille's Letter   23
Madcap Violet. Chapters XLIV. to End William Black 30
Margary, The Murder of Walter A. Burlingame 175
Miss Misanthrope. Chapters I. to XX. Justin McCarthy 244, 302, 450, 597, 746
Miss Tinsel Henry Sedley 337
Mohegan-Hudson James Manning Winchell 637
Monsieur Delille T. S. Fay 119
National Bank Notes, How Redeemed Frank W. Lautz 647
Nebulæ By The Editor 144, 288, 431, 576, 720, 864
Normandy and Pyrenees Henry James, Jr. 95
On Being Born Away from Home Titus Munson Coan 533
Our Rural Divinity John Burroughs 43
[Pg iv]Philter, The Mary B. Dodge 242
Portrait D'une Jeune Femme Inconnue M. E. W. S. 336
Progressive Baby, A S. F. Hopkins 581, 727
Punished, The Ella Wheeler 789
Pythia, The Modern S. B. Luce 209
Renunciation Kate Hillard 358
Reflected Light Mary Ainge De Vere 802
Romance J. W. De Forest 61
Roman Picture, A Mary Lowe Dickinson 674
Saint Lambert's Coal Margaret J. Preston 519
Scientific Miscellany Prof. John A. Church 129, 269, 415, 558, 699, 846

Complications of the Channel Tunnel; A Town of Dwarfs; Whooping Cough; British Association Notes; An English Crop; Influence of White Colors; An Involved Accident; An Old Aqueduct System; Galvanism Cannot Restore Exhausted Vitality; Curious Optical Experiments; Ice Machines; American Antiquities; Protection from Lightning; Steam Machinery and Privateering; Man and Animals; The Limbs of Whales; Our Educational Standing; Surface Markings; The Oldest Stone Tools; Origin of the Spanish People; The English Meteorite; The Boomerang; A Western Lava Field; The Principle of Cephalization; Curiosities of the Herring Fishery; Natural Gas in Furnaces; South Carolina Phosphates; Rare Metals from Old Coins; A French Mountain Weather Station; Migration of the Lemming; New Discovery of Neolithic Remains; October Weather; French National Antiquities; The Force of Crystallization; Frozen Nitro-Glycerine; English Great Guns; Ear Trumpets for Pilots; Hot Water in Dressing Ores; Ocean Echoes; The Delicacy of Chemists' Balances; Government Control of the Dead; Microscopic Life; The Sources of Potable Water; Theory of the Radiometer; Tempered Glass in The Household; The New York Aquarium; The Cruelty of Hunting; The Gorilla in Confinement; Instruction Shops In Boston; Moon Madness; The Argument against Vaccination; The Telephone; Damages by an Insect; The Summer Scientific Schools; An Intelligent Quarantine; The "Grasshopper Commission"; Surveying Plans for the Season; The Causes of Violent Death; A New Induction Coil; French Property Owners; Trigonometrical Survey of New York; The Use of Air in Ore Dressing; Polar Colonization; The Survey in California; A German Savant among the Sioux; Ballooning for Air Currents; The Greatest of Rifles; Vienna Bread; Modern Loss in Warfare; A New Treasury Rule; A Hygienic School; Microscopic Comparison of Blood Corpuscles; The Summer Scientific Schools; The Wages Value of Steam Power; The Negro's Color; Scientific Items.

Shakespeare, On Reading Richard Grant White 70, 233
Shall Punishment Punish? Chauncey Hickox 355
Sister St. Luke Constance Fenimore Woolson 489
Sounding Brass Lizzie W. Champney 671
South, The, Her Condition and Needs Hon. J. L. M. Curry 544
Story of a Lion Albert Rhodes 196
Spring H. R. H. 841
Spring Longing Emma Lazarus 725
Theatres of London Henry James, Jr. 661
Three Periods of Modern Music Richard Grant White 832
Théâtre Français, The Henry James, Jr. 437
Tried and True Sylvester Baxter 470
Two Worlds, The Ellice Hopkins 488
Unknown Persons Mary Murdoch Mason 657
"Uniformed Militia" Service, The C. H. M. 776
Walt Whitman, To Joaquin Miller 29
Woman's Gifts, A Mary Ainge De Vere 208
Wordsworth's Corrections Titus Munson Coan 322
Yosemite Hermit, The Clara G. Dolliver 782

[Pg 5]


VOL. XXIII.—JANUARY, 1877.—No. 1.


The political differences which have generated parties in this country date back to an early period. They existed under the old confederation, were perceptible in the formation of the Constitution and establishment of "a more perfect union." Differences on fundamental principles of government led to the organization of parties which, under various names, after the adoption of the Federal Constitution, divided the people and influenced and often controlled national and State elections. Neither of the parties, however, has always strictly adhered or been true to its professed principles. Each has, under the pressure of circumstances and to secure temporary ascendancy in the Federal or State governments, departed from the landmarks and traditions which gave it its distinctive character. The Centralists, a name which more significantly than any other expresses the character, principles, and tendency of those who favor centralization of power in a supreme head that shall exercise paternal control over States and people, have under various names constituted one party. On the other hand, the Statists, under different names, have from the first been jealous of central supremacy. They believe in local self-government, support the States in all their reserved and ungranted rights, insist on a strict construction of the Constitution and the limitation of Federal authority to the powers specifically delegated in that instrument.

The broad and deep line of demarcation between these parties has not always been acknowledged. Innovation and change have sometimes modified and disturbed this line; but after a period the distinctive boundary has reappeared and antagonized the people. During the administration of Mr. Monroe, known as the "era of good feeling," national party lines were almost totally obliterated, and local and personal controversies took their place. National questions were revived, however, and contested with extreme violence during several succeeding administrations. Thirty years later, when the issues of bank, tariff, internal improvements, and an independent treasury were disposed of, there was as complete a break up of parties as in the days of Monroe. It was not, however, in an "era of good feeling" that this later dislocation of parties took place; but an attempt was made in 1850 by leading politicians belonging to different organizations to unite the people by a compromise or an arrangement as unnatural as it was insincere—party lines if not obliterated were, as the authors intended, in a measure broken down. This compromise, as it was called, was a sacrifice of honest principles, and instead of allaying disputes, was followed by a terrific storm of contention and violence transcending [Pg 6]thing the country had ever experienced, and ended in a civil war.

The time has not yet arrived for a calm and dispassionate review of the acts and actors of that period and the events of the immediately succeeding years; but the incidents that took place and the experience so dearly purchased should not be perverted, misunderstood, or wholly forgotten.

The compromises of 1850, instead of adjusting differences and making the people of one mind on political questions, actually caused in their practical results the alienation of life-long party friends, led to new associations among old opponents, and created organizations that partook more of a sectional character than of honest constitutional differences on fundamental questions relative to the powers and authority of the Government, such as had previously divided the people. The facility with which old political opponents came together in the compromise measures of 1850, and abandoned principles and doctrines for which they had battled through their whole lives, begot popular distrust. Confidence in the sincerity of the men who so readily made sacrifices of principles was forfeited or greatly impaired. The Whig party dwindled under it, and as an organization shortly went out of existence. A large portion of its members, disgusted with what they considered the insincerity if not faithlessness of their leaders, yet unwilling to attach themselves to the Democratic party, which had coalesced in the movement, gathered together in a secret organization, styling themselves "Know Nothings." Democrats in some quarters, scarcely less dissatisfied with the compromises, joined the Know Nothing order, and in one or two annual elections this strange combination, without avowed principles or purpose, save that of the defeat and overthrow of politicians, who were once their trusted favorites, was successful. In this demoralized condition of affairs, the Democrats by the accession of Whigs in the Southern States obtained possession of the Government and maintained their ascendancy through the Pierce administration; and, in a contest quite as much sectional as political, elected Buchanan in 1856.

But these were the expiring days of the old Democratic organization, which, under the amalgamating process of the compromise measures, became shattered and mixed, especially in the Southern States, with former Whigs, and was to a great extent thereafter sectionalized. The different opposing political elements united against it and organized and established the Republican party, which triumphed in the election of Lincoln in 1860. The administration which followed and was inaugurated in 1861 differed in essential particulars from either of the preceding political organizations. Men of opposing principles—Centralists, who like Hamilton and patriots of that class were for a strong imperial national government, with supervising and controlling authority over the States, on one hand, and Statists on the other, who, like Jefferson, adhered to State individuality and favored a league or federation of States, a national republic of limited and clearly defined powers, with a strict observance of all the reserved right of the local commonwealths—were brought together in the elections of 1860. It has been represented and recorded as grave history that the Republican party was an abolition party. Such was not the fact, although the small and utterly powerless faction which, under the lead of William Lloyd Garrison and others, had for years made aggressive war on slavery, was one of the elements which united with Whigs and Democrats in the election of Mr. Lincoln. Nor was that result a Whig triumph, though a large portion of the Whigs in the free States, after the compromises of 1850, from natural antagonism to the Democrats, entered into the Republican organization. While it is true that a large majority of the Whigs of the North relinquished their old organization and became Republicans, it is[Pg 7] no less true that throughout the slave States, and in many of the free States, the members of the Whig party to a considerable extent supported Bell or Breckenridge. But Democrats dissatisfied with the measures of the Pierce and Buchanan administrations, in much larger numbers than is generally conceded, took early and efficient part in the Republican organizations—some on account of the repeal of the Missouri compromise, but a much larger number in consequence of the efforts of the central Government at Washington, by what was considered by them an abuse of civil trust, and by military interference, to overpower the settlers in Kansas, denying them the right of self-government, and an attempt arbitrarily and surreptitiously to impose upon the inhabitants against their will a fraudulent Constitution. It was this large contribution of free-thinking and independent Democrats, who had the courage to throw off party allegiance and discipline in behalf of the principles of free government on which our republican system is founded, the right of the people to self-government, and, consequently, the right to form and establish their own constitution without dictation or interference from the central government so long as they violated no provision of the organic law, that gave tone, form, and ascendancy to the Republican party in every free State.

Persistent efforts have been made to establish as historical truths the representations that the civil war had its origin in a scheme or purpose to abolish slavery in the States where it existed, and that the election of Abraham Lincoln was an abolition triumph—a premeditated, aggressive, sectional war upon the South; whereas the reverse is the fact—the Republican party in its inception was a strictly constitutional party, that defended the rights of the people, the rights of the States, and the rights of the Federal Government, which were assailed by a sectional combination that was not satisfied with the Constitution as it was, but proposed to exact new guarantees from the nation for the protection of what they called "Southern rights"—rights unknown to the Constitution. The misrepresentations that the Republicans were aggressive and aimed to change the organic law have not been without their influence, temporarily at least, in prejudicing and warping the public mind. It is true that the slavery question was most injudiciously and unwisely brought into the party controversies of the country; but it was done by the slaveholders or their political representatives in Congress after the failure of the nullifiers to obtain ascendancy in the Government on the subject of free trade and resistance to the revenue laws.

John C. Calhoun, a man of undoubted talents, but of unappeasable ambition, had at an early period of his life, while Secretary of War, and still a young man, aspired to the office of President. By his ability and patriotic course during the war of 1812, and subsequently by a brilliant career as a member of Mr. Monroe's Cabinet, he had acquired fame and a certain degree of popularity which favored his pretensions, particularly with young men and army officers. Schemes and projects of national aggrandizement by internal improvements, protection to home industries, large military expenditures, and measures of a centralizing tendency which were popular in that era of no parties, gave him éclat as Secretary of War. Flattered by his attentions and by his shining qualities, military men became his enthusiastic supporters, and received encouragement from him in return. It was the first attempt to elect so young a man to be Chief Magistrate, and was more personal than political in its character. In the memorable contest for the successorship to President Monroe, Mr. Calhoun at one time seemed to be a formidable candidate; but his popularity being personal was evanescent, and failed to enlist the considerate and reflecting. Even his military hopes were soon eclipsed by General Jack[Pg 8]son, whose bold achievements and successes in the Indian and British wars captivated the popular mind. Jackson had also, as a representative and Senator in Congress, Judge of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, and Governor of Florida, great civil experience. Mr. Calhoun was, however, in the political struggle that took place in 1824, elected to the second office of the republic, while in the strife, confusion, and break up of parties no one of the competing candidates for President received a majority of the electoral votes. He and his supporters submitted to, it may be said acquiesced in, the result then and also in 1828, when General Jackson was elected President and Mr. Calhoun was reëlected to the office of Vice-President. This acquiescence, however, was reluctant; but with an expectation that he would in 1833, at the close of General Jackson's term, be the successor of the distinguished military chieftain.

But the arrangements of calculating politicians often end in disappointments. Such was the misfortune of Mr. Calhoun. His ambitious and apparently well contrived plans had most of them an abortive and hapless termination. Observation and experience convinced him, after leaving Mr. Monroe's Cabinet, that the educated and reflective Statists or State rights men of the country, and especially of the South, would never sanction or be reconciled to the exercise of power by the Federal Government to protect the manufacturing interests of New England, or to construct roads and canals in the West, at the expense of the National Treasury. These were, however, favorite measures of a class of politicians of the period who had special interests to subserve, and who carried with them the consolidationists, or advocates of a strong and magnificent central government. The tariff, internal improvements, and kindred subjects became classified and known in the party politics of that day as the "American system"—a system of high taxes and large expenditures by the Federal Government—without specific constitutional authority for either. Parties were arrayed on opposite sides of this system, which, besides the political principles involved, soon partook of a sectional character. High and oppressive duties on importations, it was claimed, were imposed to foster certain industries in the North to the injury of the South.

Henry Clay, a politician and statesman of wonderful magnetic power, was the eloquent champion of the "American system," and enlisted in his favor the large manufacturing interest in the North and the friends of internal improvement in the West. These measures were made national issues, and Mr. Clay, Speaker of the House of Representatives, appropriated them to his personal advancement, and was their recognized leading advocate. Mr. Calhoun could not be second to his Western rival, but abandoned the policy of protection, internal improvements, and great national undertakings, and allied himself to the commercial and plantation interests, which opposed the system, expecting to identify himself with and to receive the support of the Statists. But the strict constructionists of Virginia, Georgia, and other States of the old Jefferson school distrusted him and withheld their confidence and support.

South Carolina, erratic, brilliant, and impulsive, had never fully harmonized with the politicians of Virginia in their political doctrines, but had been inclined to ridicule the rigid and non-progressive principles of her statesmen, who, always cautious, were now slow to receive into fellowship and to commit themselves to the new convert who sought their support. They slighted him, and rejected his nullification remedies. Instead of following the Palmetto State in her fanatical party schemes on the alleged issue of free trade, and supporting her "favorite son" in his theories, they sustained General Jackson, whose Union sentiments they approved, and who, to the disgust of Calhoun, became a[Pg 9] candidate for reëlection in 1832 and received the votes of almost the whole South.

In this crisis, when the heated partisans of South Carolina in their zeal for free trade and State rights had made a step in advance of the more staid and reflecting Statists, and undertook to abrogate and nullify the laws of the Federal Government legally enacted, they found themselves unsupported and in difficulty, and naturally turned to their acknowledged leader for guidance. To contest the Federal Government, and pioneer the way for his associates to resist and overthrow the Administration, Mr. Calhoun resigned the office of Vice-President and accepted that of Senator, where his active mind, fertile in resources, could, and as he and they believed would extricate them. There was, however, at the head of the Government in that day a stern, patriotic, and uncompromising Chief Magistrate, who would listen to no mere temporizing expedients when the stability of the Union was involved, and who, while recognizing and maintaining the rights of the States, never forgot the rights that belonged to the Federal Government. In his extremity, when confronting this inflexible President, Mr. Calhoun hastened to make friends with his old opponents, Clay, Webster, and the protectionists, the advocates of the "American system," the authors and champions of the very policy which had been made the pretext or justification for nullification and resistance to Federal law and the Federal authority. This coalition of hostile factions combined in a scheme, or compromise, where each sacrificed principles to oppose the administration of Jackson. It was an insincere and unrighteous coalition which soon fell asunder.

In the mean time, while nullification was hopelessly prostrate, and before the coalition was complete, the prolific mind of the aspiring Carolinian devised a new plan and a new system of tactics which it was expected would sectionalize and unite the South. This new device was a defence of slavery—a subject in which the entire South was interested—against the impudent demands of the abolitionists. Not until the nullifiers were defeated, and had failed to draw the South into their nullification plan, was slavery agitation introduced into Congress and made a sectional party question with aggressive demands for national protection. The abolitionists were few in numbers, and of little account in American politics. Some benevolent Quakers and uneasy fanatics, who neither comprehended the structure of our Federal system nor cared for the Constitution, had annually for forty years petitioned Congress to give freedom to the slaves. But the statesmen of neither party listened to these unconstitutional appeals until the defeated nullifiers professed great apprehension in regard to them, and introduced the subject as a disturbance, and made it a sensational sectional issue in Congress and the elections.

From the first agitation of the subject as a party question, slavery in all its phases was made sectional and aggressive by the South. Beginning with a denial of the right to petition for the abolition of slavery, and with demands for new and more exacting national laws for the arrest and rendition of fugitives, the new sectional party test was followed by other measures; such as the unconditional admission of Texas, the extension of slavery into all the free territory acquired from Mexico, the repeal of the Missouri compromise, a denial to the people of Kansas of the right to frame their own constitution, and other incidental and irritating questions that were not legitimately within the scope of Federal authority. Fierce contentions prevailed for years, sometimes more violent than at others.

In 1850 a budget of compromises, which has already been alluded to, involving a surrender of principles and an enactment of laws that were unwarranted by the Constitution, and[Pg 10] offensive in other respects, had been patched up by old Congressional party leaders, ostensibly to reconcile conflicting views and interests, but which were superficial remedies for a cancerous disease, and intended more to glorify the authors than to promote the country's welfare. Both of the great parties were committed by the managers to these compromises, but the effect upon each was different. The Whigs, tired of constant defeat, hoped for a change by the compromises that would give them recognition and power; but instead of these they found themselves dwarfed and weakened, while the Democrats, who yielded sound principles to conciliate their Southern allies, were for a time numerically strengthened in that section by accessions from the Whigs. Old party lines became broken, and in the Presidential contest of 1852 the Democratic candidate, General Pierce, a young and showy, but not profound man, was elected by an overwhelming majority over the veteran General Scott, who was the candidate of the Whigs. From this date the Whig organization dwindled and had but a fragmentary existence. Thenceforward, until the overthrow of the Democratic party, the Government at Washington tended to centralization. Fidelity to party, and adherence to organization with little regard for principle, were its political tests in the free States. Sectional sentiments to sustain Southern aggressions, under the name of "Southern rights," were inculcated, violent language, and acts that were scarcely less so, prevailed through the South and found apologists and defenders at the North. Presidents Pierce and Buchanan, literally "northern men with southern principles," were submissive to these sectional aggressions, acquiesced in the repeal of the Missouri compromise, the extension and nationalizing of slavery, hitherto a State institution, and also to the schemes to prevent the establishment of a free constitution by the people of Kansas. The mass of voters opposed to the policy of these administrations, and who constituted the Republican party, were not entirely in accord on fundamental principles and views of government, but had been brought into united action from the course of events which followed the Mexican war, the acquisition of territory, and the unfortunate compromises of 1850. The sectional strife, for the alleged reason of Lincoln's election and Republican success, which eventuated in hostilities in 1861, and the tremendous conflict that succeeded and shook the foundation of the Government during the ensuing four years, threatening the national existence, absorbed all minor questions of a purely political party character, and made the Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln, though its members entertained organic differences, a unit. There were occasions when the antecedent opinions and convictions of the members elicited discussion in regard to the powers, limitations, and attributes of government; but in the midst of war disagreeing political opinions as well as the laws themselves were silenced. Each and all felt the necessity of harmonious and efficient action to preserve the Union.

This was especially the case during the first two years of the war of secession. Not only the President's constitutional advisers, but the Republican members of Congress, embracing many captious, factious, and theoretical controversialists, acted in harmony and concert. Murmurs were heard among its friends, and dissatisfaction felt that the Administration was not sufficiently energetic or arbitrary, and because it did not immediately suppress the rebellion. A long period of peace which the country had enjoyed rendered the malcontents incapable of judging of the necessities of preparation for war. "On to Richmond" became the cry of the impatient and restless before the armies mustered into service were organized. The violent and impassioned appeals of excited and mischievous speakers[Pg 11] and writers created discontent and clamor that could not always be appeased or successfully resisted. Not content with honest if not always intelligent criticism of the Government, some editors, papers, writers, and speakers, at an early period and indeed throughout the war, condemned the policy pursued, assumed to direct the management of affairs, and advanced crude and absurd notions of the manner in which the Government should be administered and military operations conducted. For a period after the rout at Bull Run, which seemed a rebuke to these inconsiderate partisans, there was a temporary lull of complaints and apparent acquiescence by Republicans in the measures of administration.

Military differences and army jealousies existed from the beginning, which were aggravated and stimulated by partisan friends and opponents of the rival officers, and by dissent from the policy pursued in the conduct of military affairs to which many took exception.

General Scott was the military oracle of the Administration in the first days of the war. His ability and great experience entitled him to regard and deference on all questions relating to military operations. No one appreciated his qualities more than the President, unless it was General Scott himself, who with great self-esteem was nevertheless not unconscious that his age and infirmities had impaired his physical energies, and in some respects unfitted him to be the active military commander. It was his misfortune that he prided himself more if possible on his civil and political knowledge and his administrative ability than on his military skill and capacity. As a politician his opinions were often chimerical, unstable, and of little moment; but his military knowledge and experience were valuable. With headquarters at Washington, and for thirty years consulted and trusted by successive administrations of different parties in important emergencies, internal and external, and at one time the selected candidate of one of the great political parties for President, he had reason to feel that he was an important personage in the republic; also that he was competent, and that it was a duty for him to participate in political matters, and to advise in civil affairs when there were threatened dangers. But while he was sagacious to detect the premonitory symptoms of disturbance, and always ready to obey and execute military orders, he was in political and civil matters often weak, irresolute, and infirm of purpose. He had in the autumn of 1860 warned President Buchanan of danger to be apprehended from the secession movement, and wisely suggested measures to preserve peace; but he soon distrusted and abandoned his own suggestions. Without much knowledge of Mr. Lincoln, and believing erroneously, as did many others, that Mr. Seward was to be the controlling mind in the new administration, he early put himself in communication with that gentleman. The two agreed upon the policy of surrendering or yielding to the States in secession the fortresses within their respective limits. It has been said, and circumstances indicate that there was also an understanding by Mr. Seward with certain secession leaders, that the forts, particularly Sumter, if not attacked, should not be reinforced. Of the plans of Mr. Seward and General Scott, and the understanding which either of them had with the secessionists, President Lincoln was not informed; but, while he had a sense of duty and a policy of his own, he attentively and quietly listened to each and to all others entitled to give their opinions.

The reports of Major Anderson and the defence of Sumter being military operations, the President, pursuant to Mr. Seward's advice, referred to General Scott, and it was supposed by those gentlemen that the President acquiesced in their conclusions. Nor were they alone in that supposition, for the[Pg 12] President, while cautiously feeling his way, sounding the minds of others, and gathering information from every quarter, wisely kept his own counsel and delayed announcing his determination until the last moment. He was accused of being culpably slow, when he was wisely deliberate.

When his decision to reinforce Sumter was finally made known, the Secretary of State and the General-in-Chief were surprised, embarrassed, and greatly disappointed; for it was an utter negation and defeat of the policy which they had prescribed. The General, like a good soldier, quietly and submissively acquiesced; but Mr. Seward, a man of expedients and some conceit, was unwilling and unprepared to surrender the first place in the Administration, and virtually publish the fact by an Executive mandate which upset his promised and preferred arrangements. It was then that he became aware of two things: first, that neither himself nor General Scott, nor both combined, were infallible with the Administration; and second, that the President, with all his suavity and genial nature, had a mind of his own, and the resolution and self-reliance to form, and the firmness and independence to execute a purpose. They had each overestimated the influence of the other with the President, and underestimated his capacity, will, and self-reliance. When the Secretary became convinced that he could not alter the President's determination, he conformed to circumstances, immediately changed his tactics, and after notifying the authorities at Charleston that the garrison in Sumter was to be supplied, he took prompt but secret measures to defeat the expedition by detaching the flagship, and sending her, with the supplies and reinforcements that had been prepared and intended for Sumter, to Fort Pickens. In doing this he consulted neither the War nor Navy Departments, to which the service belonged; but discarding both, and also the General-in-Chief, his preceding special confidant, and with whom he had until then acted in concert, he took to his counsel younger military officers, secretly advised with them and withdrew them from their legitimate and assigned duties. The discourtesy and the irregularity of the proceeding, when it became known, shocked General Scott. His pride was touched. He felt the slight, but he was too good an officer, too subordinate, and too well disciplined, to complain. The secret military expedition undertaken by the Secretary of State without the knowledge of the proper departments and of himself, was so irregular, such evidence of improper administration, that he became alarmed. He felt keenly the course of Mr. Seward in not consulting him, and in substituting one of his staff as military adviser for the Secretary of State; but he was more concerned for the Government and country.

A native of Virginia, and imbued with the political doctrines there prevalent, but unflinching in patriotism and devotion to the Union and the flag, General Scott hesitated how to act—objected to the hostile invasion of any State by the national troops, but advised that the rebellious section should be blockaded by sea and land. He thought that surrounded by the army and navy the insurgents would be cut off from the outer world, and when exhausted from non-intercourse and the entire prostration of trade and commerce they would return to duty; the "anaconda principle" of exhausting them he believed would be effectual without invading the territory of States. When the mayor of Baltimore and a committee of secessionists waited upon the President on the 20th of April to protest against the passage of troops through that city to the national capital, he, in deference to the local government, advised the President to yield to the metropolitan demand, and himself drew up an Executive order to that effect. The seizure of Harper's Ferry and Norfolk and the threatened attack upon Washington greatly disturbed him, but not so much as the[Pg 13] wild cry of the ardent and impulsive which soon followed of "on to Richmond" with an undisciplined army.

Sensible of his inability to take the field, he acquiesced in the selection if he did not propose after the disaster at Bull Run, that General McClellan should be called to Washington to organize the broken and demoralized Army of the Potomac. A thorough reorganization was promptly and effectually accomplished by that officer. In a few days order, precision, and discipline prevailed—the troops were massed and a large army was encamped in and about the national capital. But it was soon evident to the members of the Administration that there was not perfect accord between the two Generals. The cause and extent of disagreement were not immediately understood.

At a Cabinet meeting which took place in September at the headquarters of the General-in-Chief by reason of his physical infirmities, a brief discussion occurred which developed coolness if not dissatisfaction. An inquiry was made by the President as to the exact number of troops then in and about Washington. General McClellan did not immediately respond—said he had brought no reports or papers with him. General Scott said he had not himself recently received any reports. Secretary Seward took from his pocket some memoranda, stating the number that had been mustered in a few days previous, and then went on to mention additional regiments which had arrived several successive days since, making an aggregate, I think, of about ninety-three thousand men. The General immediately became grave.

When the subject matter for which the Cabinet and war officers had been convened was disposed of, some of the gentlemen left, and General McClellan was about retiring, when General Scott requested him to remain, and he also desired the President and the rest of us to listen to some inquiries and remarks which he wished to make. He was very deliberate, but evidently very much aggrieved. Addressing General McClellan, he said:

"You are perhaps aware, General McClellan, that you were brought to these headquarters by my advice and by my orders after consulting with the President. I know you to be intelligent and to be possessed of some excellent military qualities; and after our late disaster it appeared to me that you were a proper person to organize and take active command of this army. I brought you here for that purpose. Many things have been, as I expected they would be, well done; but in some respects I have been disappointed. You do not seem to be aware of your true position; and it was for this reason I desired that the President and these gentlemen should hear what I have to say. You are here upon my staff to obey my orders, and should daily report to me. This you have failed to do, and you appear to labor under the mistake of supposing that you and not I are General-in-Chief and in command of the armies. I more than you am responsible for military operations; but since you came here I have been in no condition to give directions or to advise the President because my chief of staff has neglected to make reports to me. I cannot answer simple inquiries which the President or any member of the Cabinet makes as to the number of troops here; they must go to the State department and not come to military headquarters for that information."

Mr. Seward here interposed to say that the statement he had made was from facts which he had himself collected from day to day as the troops arrived. "Do I understand," asked General Scott, "that the regiments report as they come here to the Honorable Secretary of State?"

"No, no," said Mr. Cameron, who wished to arrest or soften a painful interview. "General McClellan is not to blame; it is Seward's work. He is constantly meddling with what is none of his business, and (alluding to the Pickens expedition) makes mischief in[Pg 14] the war and navy departments by his interference."

There was in the manner more than in the words a playful sarcasm which Seward felt and the President evidently enjoyed. General McClellan stood by the open door with one hand raised and holding it, a good deal embarrassed. He said he had intended no discourtesy to General Scott, but he had been so incessantly occupied in organizing and placing the army, receiving and mustering in the recruits as they arrived, and attending to what was absolutely indispensable, that it might seem he omitted some matters of duty, but he should extremely regret if it was supposed he had been guilty of any disrespect.

"You are too intelligent and too good a disciplinarian not to know your duties and the proprieties of military intercourse," said General Scott; "but seem to have misapprehended your right position. I, you must understand, am General-in-Chief. You are my chief of staff. When I brought you here you had my confidence and friendship. I do not say that you have yet entirely lost my confidence. Good day, General McClellan."

A few weeks later General Scott was on his own application placed upon the retired list, and General McClellan became his successor. Disaffection on the part of any of the officers, if any existed, did not immediately show itself; the army and people witnessed with pride the prompt and wonderful reorganization that had taken place, and for a time exulted in the promised efficiency and capabilities of the "young Napoleon." But the autumn passed away in grand reviews and showy parades, where the young General appeared with a numerous staff composed of wealthy young gentlemen, inexperienced, untrained, and unacquainted with military duty, who as well as foreign princes had volunteered their services. Parades and reviews were not useless, and the committal of wealthy and influential citizens who were placed upon his staff had its advantages; but as time wore on and no blow was struck or any decisive movement attempted, complaints became numerous and envy and jealousy found opportunity to be heard.

The expectation that the rebellion would be suppressed in ninety days, and that an undisciplined force of seventy-five thousand men or even five times that number would march to Richmond, clear the banks of the Mississippi, capture New Orleans, and overwhelm the whole South, had given way to more reasonable and rational views before Congress convened at the regular session in December. Still the slow progress that was made by the Union armies, and the immense war expenditures, to which our country was then unaccustomed, caused uneasiness with the people, and furnished food and excitement for the factions in Congress.

The anti-slavery feeling was increasing, but efforts to effect emancipation were not controlling sentiments of the Administration or of a majority of Congress at the commencement or during the first year of Mr. Lincoln's term, although such are the representations of party writers, and to some extent of the historians of the period. Nor did the Administration, as is often asserted and by many believed, commence hostilities and make aggressive war on the slave States or their institutions; but when war began and a national garrison in a national fortress was attacked, it did not fail to put forth its power and energies to suppress the rebellion and maintain the integrity of the Union. Military delays and tardy movements were nevertheless charged to the imbecility of the Government. It is not to be denied that a portion of the most active supporters of the President in and out of Congress and in the armies had in view ulterior purposes than that of suppressing the insurrection. Some were determined to avail themselves of the opportunity to abolish slavery, others to extinguish the claim of reserved sovereignty to the States, and a portion were favorable to[Pg 15] both of these extremes and to the consolidation of power in the central Government; but a larger number than either and perhaps more than all combined were for maintaining the Constitution and Union unimpaired.

The President, while opposed to all innovating schemes, had the happy faculty of so far harmonizing and reconciling his differing friends as to keep them united in resisting the secession movement.

Abraham Lincoln was in many respects a remarkable man, never while living fully understood or appreciated. An uncultured child of the frontiers, with no educational advantages, isolated in youth in his wilderness home, with few associates and without family traditions, he knew not his own lineage and connections. Nor was this singular in the then condition of unsettled frontier life. His grandfather, with Daniel Boone, left the settled part of Virginia, crossed the Alleghany mountains, penetrated the "dark and bloody ground," and took up his residence in the wilds of Kentucky near the close of the Revolutionary war. There was little intercourse with each other in the new and scattered settlements destitute of roads and with no mail facilities for communication with relatives, friends, and the civilized world east of the mountains. Abraham Lincoln, the grandfather of the President, was a nephew of Daniel Boone, and partook of the spirit of his brave and subsequently famous relative. But his residence in his secluded home was brief. He was killed by the Indians when his son Thomas, the father of President Lincoln, was only six years old. Four years later the fatherless boy lost his mother. Left an orphan, this neglected child, without kith or kindred for whom he cared or who cared for him, led a careless, thriftless life, became a wandering pioneer, emigrated from Kentucky when the President was but seven years old, took up his residence for several years in the remote solitudes of Indiana, and drifted at a later day to Illinois. This vagrant life, by a shiftless father, and without a mother or female relative to keep alive and impress upon him the pedigree and traditions of his family, left the President without definite knowledge of his origin and that of his fathers. The deprivation he keenly felt. I heard him say on more than one occasion that when he laid down his official life he would endeavor to trace out his genealogy and family history. He had a vague impression that his family had emigrated from England to Pennsylvania and thence to Virginia; but, as he remarked in my presence to Mr. Ashmun of Massachusetts, and afterward to Governor Andrew, there was not, he thought, any immediate connection with the families of the same name in Massachusetts, though there was reason to suppose they had a common ancestry.

Having entered upon this subject, and already said more than was anticipated at the commencment, the opportunity is fitting to introduce extracts from a statement made by himself and to accompany it with other facts which have come into my possession since his death—facts of which he had no knowledge.

In a brief autobiographical sketch of his life, written by himself, he says:

I was born February 12, 1809, in Hardin county, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families—second families perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now reside in Adams and others in Macon county, Illinois. My paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham county, Virginia, to Kentucky, about 1781 or 2, where, a year or two later, he was killed by Indians, not in battle, but by stealth, when he was laboring to open a farm in the forest. His ancestors, who were Quakers, went to Virginia from Berks county, Pennsylvania. An effort to identify them with the New England family of the same name ended in nothing more definite than a similarity of Christian names in both families, such as Enoch, Levi, Mordecai, Solomon, Abraham, and the like.

My father, at the death of his father, was but six years of age; and he grew up literally without education. He removed from Kentucky to what is now Spencer county, Indiana, in my eighth year. We reached our new home about the time the State came into the Union. It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up.[Pg 16] There were some schools, so called; but no qualification was ever required of a teacher, beyond reading, writing, and ciphering to the rule of three. If a straggler, supposed to understand Latin, happened to sojourn in the neighborhood, he was looked upon as a wizard. There was absolutely nothing to excite ambition for education. Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still, somehow, I could read, write, and cipher, to the rule of three; but that was all. I have not been to school since. The little advance I now have upon this store of education I have picked up from time to time under the pressure of necessity.

I was raised to farm work, which I continued till I was twenty-two. At twenty-one I came to Illinois, and passed the first year in Macon county. Then I got to New Salem, at that time in Sangamon, now in Menard county, where I remained a year as a sort of clerk in a store.

In addition to the foregoing I may add that among my acquaintance in central Pennsylvania were several sisters whose maiden name was Winters. Two of these sisters were wives of Judges of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Another sister was the wife of William Potter, a member of Congress of some note from that State and son of General Potter of the Revolution. These sisters were the great aunts of President Lincoln, and I subjoin an obituary notice of the younger sister, Mrs. Potter, who died in 1875, at the advanced age of eighty-four. There are some incidents not immediately connected with the subject that might be omitted, but I think it best to present the obituary in full:

Died, in Bellefonte, at the residence of Edward C. Humes, on Sunday morning, the 30th of May A. D. 1875, Mrs. Lucy Potter, relict of Hon. William W. Potter, deceased, aged eighty-four years, nine months, and two days.

Mrs. Potter was a member of a large and rather remarkable family; her father having been born in 1728, married in 1747, died in 1794; children to the number of nineteen being born to him, the eldest in 1748, the youngest in 1790—their birth extending over a period of forty-two years. William Winters, the father of the deceased, came from Berks county to Northumberland, now Lycoming county, in the year 1778, having purchased the farm lately known as the Judge Grier farm, near what was called Newberry, but now within the corporate limits of the city of Williamsport. Mr. Winters was twice married. His first wife was Ann Boone, a sister of Colonel Daniel Boone, famous in the early annals of Kentucky. His marriage took place in the year 1747 in the then province of Virginia. By this union there were issue eleven children, four males and seven females. His eldest daughter, Hannah, married in Rockingham county, Virginia, Abraham Lincoln, the grandfather of President Lincoln. Shortly before his death, Lincoln, who was killed by the Indians, visited his father-in-law at what is now Williamsport, and John Winters, his brother-in-law, returned with him to Kentucky, whither Mr. Lincoln had removed after his marriage; John being deputed to look after some lands taken by Colonel Daniel Boone and his father.

They travelled on foot from the farm, by a route leading by where Bellefonte now is, the Indian path "leading from Bald Eagle to Frankstown."

John Winters visited his sister, Mrs. Potter, in 1843, and wandering to the hill upon which the Academy is situated, a messenger was sent for him, his friends thinking he had lost himself; but he was only looking for the path he and Lincoln had trod sixty years before, and pointed out with his finger the course from Spring creek, along Buffalo run, to where it crosses the "Long Limestone Valley," as the route they had travelled.

Upon the death of Mr. Winters's first wife, in 1771, he again, in 1774, married. His second wife was Ellen Campbell, who bore him eight children, three males and five females, of which latter the subject of this notice was the youngest.

The father of Mrs. Potter died in 1794, and in 1795 Mrs. Ellen Winters, his widow, was licensed by the courts of Lycoming county to keep a "house of entertainment" where Williamsport now is—where she lived and reared her own children as well as several of her step children.

Here all her daughters married, Mary becoming the wife of Charles Huston, who for a number of years adorned the bench of the Supreme Court of this State; Ellen, the wife of Thomas Burnside, who was a member of Congress, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and finally a Justice of the Supreme Court; Sarah, the wife of Benjamin Harris, whose daughter, Miss Ellen Harris, resides on Spring street in this borough; Elizabeth, the wife of Thomas Alexander, a carpenter and builder, who erected one of the first dwellings in Williamsport, at the corner of what are now Pine and Third streets in that city, and many of whose descendants are still living in Lycoming county; Lucy, the wife of William W. Potter, a leading politician in this county, who died on the 15th day of October, 1888, while a member of our national Congress.

Mrs. Potter continued with her mother's family in Lycoming county, frequently visiting her two sisters, Mrs. Huston and Mrs. Burnside, who resided in Bellefonte, where, in 1815, she was united in marriage, by Rev. James Linn, with William W. Potter, a young and rising lawyer, and son of General James Potter, one of the early settlers of the county. Here, with her husband until his death, and then, upon the marriage of her niece, Miss Lucy Alexander, with Mr. Edward C. Humes, she made her home, living continuously in this town since her marriage, and having survived her husband for the long period of thirty-seven years, being that length of time a widow.

The biographers of President Lincoln have none of them given these facts because they did not know them, nor was the President himself aware of them. Of their authenticity so far[Pg 17] as the relationship of Mr. Lincoln with the family of Winters is concerned, I have no doubt. His ancestry in this country, paternal and maternal—Lincoln, Boone, and Winters—is to be traced to the county of Berks, Pennsylvania.

A roving child of the forest, where there were not even village schools, Abraham Lincoln had little early culture, but his vigorous native intellect sought information wherever it could be obtained with limited means and opportunities, and overcame almost insuperable obstacles. His quick perception and powers of observation and reflection, and his retentive memory were remarkable; his judgment was good, his mental grasp and comprehension equal to any emergency, his intentions were always honest, and his skill and tact, with a determination to always maintain the right, begot confidence and made him successful and great. Party opponents imputed his success under difficulties that seemed insurmountable to craft and cunning; but while not deficient in shrewdness, his success was the result not of deceptive measures or wily intrigue, but of wisdom and fidelity with an intuitive sagacity that seldom erred as to measures to be adopted, or the course to be pursued. It may be said of him, that he possessed inherently a master mind, and was innately a leader of men. He listened, as I have often remarked, patiently to the advice and opinions of others, though he might differ from them; treated unintentional errors with lenity, was forbearing, and kind to mistaken subordinates, but ever true to his own convictions. He gathered information and knowledge whenever and wherever he had opportunity, but quietly put aside assumption and intrusive attempt to unduly influence and control him.

Like all his Cabinet, with the exception of Mr. Blair, who had been educated at West Point, he was without military pretension when he entered upon his executive duties and encountered at the very threshold a civil war which had been long maturing, was deeply seated, and in its progress was almost unprecedented in magnitude. Neither he nor any of his advisers had personal, official, practical experience in administering the civil service of the Federal Government. The commencement of hostilities, before they had time to become familiar with their duties, imposed upon each and all labors and cares beyond those of any of their predecessors. To these were added the conduct of military operations as novel as they were responsible. Unprepared as the country was for the sudden and formidable insurrection, the Administration was not less so, yet it was compelled at once to meet it, make preparations, call out immense armies, and select officers to organize and command them.

These commanders were most of them educated military officers, but possessed of limited experience. Their lives had been passed on a peace establishment, and they were consequently without practical knowledge. Many of these, as well as such officers as were selected from civil life, seemed bewildered by their sudden preferment, and appeared to labor under the impression that they were clothed not only with military but civil authority. Some in the higher grades imagined that in addition to leading armies and fighting battles, they had plenary power to administer the Government and prescribe the policy to be pursued in their respective departments. Much difficulty and no small embarrassment was caused by their mistaken assumptions and acts, in the early part of the war.

J. C. Fremont, the western explorer, a political candidate for the Presidency in 1856, and made a major general by President Lincoln at the beginning of the rebellion in 1861, was assigned to the command of the western department. He evidently considered himself clothed with proconsular powers; that he was a representative of the Government in a civil[Pg 18] capacity as well as military commander, and soon after establishing his headquarters at St. Louis assumed authority over the slavery question which the President could neither recognize nor permit. General Hunter, at Port Royal, and General Phelps, in the Gulf, each laboring under the same error, took upon themselves to issue extraordinary manifestoes that conflicted with the Constitution and laws, on the subject of slavery, which the President was compelled to disavow. The subject, if to be acted upon, was administrative and belonged to the Government and civil authorities—not to military commanders. But there was a feeling in Congress and the country which sympathized with the radical generals in these anti-slavery decrees, rather than with the law, and the Executive in maintaining it. The Secretary of War, under whom these generals acted, not inattentive to current opinion, also took an extraordinary position, and in his annual report enunciated a policy in regard to the slavery question, without the assent of the President and without even consulting him. Mr. Lincoln promptly directed the assuming portion of the report, which had already been printed, to be cancelled; but the proceeding embarrassed the Administration and contributed to the retirement of Mr. Cameron from the Cabinet. These differences in the army, in the Administration, and among the Republicans in Congress, extended to the people. A radical faction opposed to the legal, cautious, and considerate policy of the President began to crystallize and assume shape and form, which, while it did not openly oppose the President, sowed the seeds of discontent against his policy and the general management of public affairs.

The military operations of the period are not here detailed or alluded to, except incidentally when narrating the action of the Administration in directing army movements and shaping the policy of the Government. Nearly one-third of the States were, during the Presidency of Mr. Lincoln, unrepresented in the national councils, and in open rebellion. A belt of border States, extending from the Delaware to the Rocky mountains, which, though represented in Congress, had a divided population, was distrustful of the President. Yielding the Administration a qualified support, and opposed to the Government in almost all its measures, was an old organized and disciplined party in all the free States, which seemed to consider its obligations to party paramount to duty to the country. This last, if it did not boldly participate with the rebels, was an auxiliary, and as a party, hostile to the Administration, and opposed to nearly every measure for suppressing the insurrection.

There were among the friends of the Administration, and especially during its last two years, radical differences, which in the first stages of the war were undeveloped. The mild and persuasive temper of the President, his generous and tolerant disposition, and his kind and moderate forbearance toward the rebels, whom he invited and would persuade to return to their allegiance and their duty, did not correspond with the schemes and designs of the extreme and violent leaders of the Republican party. They had other objects than reconstruction to attain, were implacable and revengeful, and some with ulterior radical views thought the opportunity favorable to effect a change of administration.

These had for years fomented division, encouraged strife, and were as ultra and as unreasonable in their demands and exactions as the secessionists. Some had welcomed war with grim satisfaction, and were for prosecuting it unrelentingly with fire and sword to the annihilation of the rights, and the absolute subversion of the Southern States and subjection of the Southern people. There was in their ranks unreasoning fanaticism, and ferocity that partook of barbarism, with a mixture of political intrigue fatal to our Federal system. These men, dis[Pg 19]satisfied with President Lincoln, accused him of temporizing, of imbecility, and of sympathy with the rebels because he would not confiscate their whole property, and hang or punish them as pirates or traitors. These radical Republicans, as they were proud to call themselves, occupied, like all extreme men in high party and revolutionary times, the front rank of their party, and, though really a minority, gave tone and character to the Republican organization. Fired with avenging zeal, and often successful in their extreme views, though to some extent checked and modified by the President, they were presuming, and flattered themselves they could, if unsuccessful with Mr. Lincoln, effect a change in the administration of the Government in 1864 by electing a President who would conform to their ultra demands. Secret meetings and whispered consultations were held for that purpose, and for a time aspiring and calculating politicians gave them encouragement; but it soon became evident that the conservative sentiment of the Republicans and the country was with Mr. Lincoln, and that the confidence of the people in his patriotism and integrity was such as could not be shaken. Nevertheless, a small band of the radicals held out and would not assent to his benignant policy. These malcontents undertook to create a distinct political organization which, if possessed of power, would make a more fierce and unrelenting war on the rebels, break down their local institutions, overturn their State governments, subjugate the whites, elevate the blacks, and give not only freedom to the slaves, but by national decree override the States, and give suffrage to the whole colored race. These extreme and rancorous notions found no favor with Mr. Lincoln, who, though nominally a Whig in the past, had respect for the Constitution, loved the Federal Union, and had a sacred regard for the rights of the States, which the Whigs as a party did not entertain. War two years after secession commenced brought emancipation, but emancipation did not dissolve the Union, consolidate the Government, or clothe it with absolute power; nor did it impair the authority and rights which the States had reserved. Emancipation was a necessary, not a revolutionary measure, forced upon the Administration by the secessionists themselves, who insisted that slavery which was local and sectional should be made national.

The war was, in fact, defensive on the part of the Government against a sectional insurrection which had seized the fortresses and public property of the nation; a war for the maintenance of the Union, not for its dissolution; a war for the preservation of individual, State, and Federal rights; good administration would permit neither to be sacrificed nor one to encroach on the other. The necessary exercise of extraordinary war powers to suppress the Rebellion had given encouragement and strength to the centralists who advocated the consolidation and concentration of authority in the general Government in peace as well as war, and national supervision over the States and people. Neither the radical enthusiasts nor the designing centralists admitted or subscribed to the doctrine that political power emanated from the people; but it was the theory of both that the authority exercised by the States was by grant derived from the parental or general Government. It was their theory that the Government created the States, not that the States and people created the Government. Some of them had acquiesced in certain principles which were embodied in the fundamental law called the Constitution; but the Constitution was in their view the child of necessity, a mere crude attempt of the theorists of 1776, who made successful resistance against British authority, to limit the power of the new central Government which was substituted for that of the crown. For a period after the Revolution it was admitted that feeble limitations on central authority had[Pg 20] been observed, though it was maintained that those limitations had been obstructions to our advancing prosperity, the cause of continual controversy, and had gradually from time to time been dispensed with, broken down, or made to yield to our growing necessities. The civil war had made innovations—a sweep, in fact, of many constitutional barriers—and radical consolidationists like Thaddeus Stevens and Henry Winter Davis felt that the opportunity to fortify central authority and establish its supremacy should be improved.

These were the ideas and principles of leading consolidationists and radicals in Congress who were politicians of ability, had studied the science of government, and were from conviction opponents of reserved rights and State sovereignty and of a mere confederation or Federal Union, based on the political equality and reserved sovereignty of the States, but insisted that the central Government should penetrate further and act directly on the people. Few of these had given much study or thought to fundamental principles, the character and structure of our Federal system, or the Constitution itself. Most of them, under the pressure of schemers and enthusiasts, were willing to assume and ready to exercise any power deemed expedient, regardless of the organic law. Almost unrestrained legislation to carry on the war induced a spirit of indifference to constitutional restraint, and brought about an assumption by some, a belief by others, that Congress was omnipotent; that it was the embodiment of the national will, and that the other departments of the Government as well as the States were subordinate and subject to central Congressional control. Absolute power, the centralists assumed and their fanatical associates seemed to suppose, was vested in the legislative body of the country, and its decrees, arbitrary and despotic, often originating in and carried first by a small vote in party caucus, were in all cases claimed to be decisive, and to be obeyed by the Executive, the judiciary, and the people, regardless of the Constitution. Parliamentary discussions were not permitted, or of little avail. The acts of caucus were despotic, mandatory, and decisive. The several propositions and plans of President Lincoln to reëstablish the Union, and induce the seceding States to resume their places and be represented in Congress, were received with disfavor by the radical leaders, who, without open assault, set in motion an undercurrent against nearly every Executive proposition as the weak and impotent offspring of a well meaning and well intentioned, but not very competent and intelligent mind. It was the difference between President Lincoln and the radical leaders in Congress on the question of reconciliation, the restoration of the States, and the reëstablishment of the Union on the original constitutional basis, which more than even his genial and tolerant feelings toward the rebels led to political intrigue among Republican members of Congress for the nomination of new candidates, and opposition to Mr. Lincoln's reëlection in 1864. At one period this intrigue seemed formidable, and some professed friends lent it their countenance, if they did not actually participate in it, who ultimately disavowed any connection with the proceeding.

Singular ideas were entertained and began to be developed in propositions of an extraordinary character, relative to the powers and the construction of the Government, which were presented to Congress, even in the first year of the war. Theoretical schemes from cultivated intellects, as well as crude notions from less intellectual but extreme men, found expression in resolutions and plans, many of which were absurd and most of them impracticable and illegal. Foremost and prominent among them were a series of studied and elaborate resolutions prepared by Charles Sumner, and submitted to the Senate on the 11th of February, 1862. Although presented at that early day, they were the germ of the reconstruc[Pg 21]tion policy adopted at a later period. In this plan or project for the treatment of the insurrectionary States and the people who resided in them, the Massachusetts Senator manifested little regard for the fundamental law or for State or individual rights. The high position which this Senator held in the Republican party and in Congress and the country, his cultured mind and scholarly attainments, his ardent if not always discreet zeal and efforts to free the slaves and endow the whole colored race, whether capable or otherwise, with all the rights and privileges, socially and politically, of the educated and refined white population whom they had previously served, his readiness and avowed intention to overthrow the local State governments and the social system where slavery existed, to subjugate the whites and elevate the blacks, will justify a special notice; for it was one of the first, if not the very first of the radical schemes officially presented to change the character of the Government and the previously existing distinctions between the races. His theory or plan may be taken as the pioneer of the many wild and visionary projects of the central and abolition force, that took shape and form not only during the war, but after hostilities ceased and the rebels were subdued.

Mr. Sumner introduced his scheme with a preamble which declared, among other things, that the "extensive territory" of the South had been "usurped by pretended governments and organizations"; that "the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, cannot be displaced in its rightful operation within this territory, but must ever continue the supreme law thereof, notwithstanding the doings of any pretended governments acting singly or in confederation in order to put an end to its supremacy." Therefore:

Resolved, 1st. That any vote of secession, or other act by which any State may undertake to put an end to the supremacy of the Constitution within its territory, is inoperative and void against the Constitution, and when sustained by force it becomes a practical abdication by the State of all rights under the Constitution, while the treason which it involves still further works an instant forfeiture of all those functions and powers essential to the continued existence of the State as a body politic, so that from that time forward the territory falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress as other territory, and the State, being, according to the language of the law, felo de se, ceases to exist.

2d. That any combination of men assuming to act in the place of such State, attempting to ensnare or coerce the inhabitants thereof into a confederation hostile to the Union, is rebellious, treasonable, and destitute of all moral authority; and that such combination is a usurpation incapable of any constitutional existence and utterly lawless, so that everything dependent upon it is without constitutional or legal support.

3d. That the termination of a State under the Constitution necessarily causes the termination of those peculiar local institutions which, having no origin in the Constitution, or in those natural rights which exist Independent of the Constitution, are upheld by the sole and exclusive authority of the State.

... Congress will assume complete jurisdiction of such vacated territory where such unconstitutional and illegal things have been attempted, and will proceed to establish therein republican forms of government under the Constitution.

It is not shown how a usurpation or illegal act by conspirators in any State or States could justify or make legal a usurpation by the general Government, as this scheme evidently was, nor by what authority Congress could declare that the illegal, inoperative, and void acts of usurpers who might have temporary possession of or be a majority in a State, could constitute a practical abdication by the State itself of all rights under the Constitution, regardless of the rights of a legal, loyal minority, guilty of no usurpation or attempted secession—the innocent victims of a conspiracy; nor where Congress or the Federal Government obtained authority to pronounce "an instant forfeiture of all those functions and powers essential to the continued existence of a State as a body politic, so that from that time forward the territory falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress as other territory, and the State, being, according to the language of the law, felo de se, ceases to exist."

The administration of Mr. Buchanan[Pg 22] had laid down as a rule of government that a State could not be coerced. The whole country not in rebellion had declared there should be no secession, division, or destruction of the Federal Union, but here was the most conspicuous leader of the Republican party in the Senate proposing a scheme to punish a State, to annihilate and destroy its government, to territorialize it, to exclude or expel it from the Union, to make no discrimination in its exclusions and denunciations between the loyal and disloyal inhabitants, but to punish alike, without trial or conviction, the just and the unjust. There were, though he was unwilling to admit it, and was perhaps unaware of it, vindictive feelings, venom, and revenge in his resolutions and in his whole treatment of the States and the white people of the South. From the time that he had been stricken down by the bludgeon of Brooks in the Senate, Mr. Sumner waged unrelenting war on the whites in the Southern States, and seemed to suppose it was his special mission—he certainly made it the great object of his life—to elevate the negro race—to give them at least equal rights and privileges with the educated and refined class—and did not conceal his intention and expectation to bring them in as auxiliaries to the Republican party, and thereby give it permanent ascendancy. All this was done in the name of humanity, and with apparent self-convinced sincerity. He was unwilling to acknowledge that he was governed or influenced by personal resentments in his revolutionary plans to degrade the intelligent white and exalt the ignorant black population by tearing down the constitutional edifice. In frequent interviews which I held with him then and at later periods, when he found it impossible to hold his positions under the Constitution, he claimed that he occupied higher ground, and that his authority for these violent measures was the Declaration of Independence, which declared all men were born equal, etc. Mr. Sumner was an idealist—neither a constitutionalist nor a practical statesman. He could pull down, but he could not construct—could declare what he considered humane, right, and proper, and act upon it regardless of constitutional compromises or conventional regulations which were the framework of the Government. No man connected with the Administration, or in either branch of Congress, was more thoroughly acquainted with our treaties, so familiar with the traditions of the Government, or better informed on international law than Charles Sumner; but on almost all other Governmental questions he was impulsive and unreliable, and when his feelings were enlisted, imperious, dogmatical, and often unjust.

Why innocent persons who were loyal to the Government and the Union should be disfranchised and proscribed because their neighbors and fellow citizens had engaged in a conspiracy, he could not explain or defend. By what authority whole communities and States should be deprived of the local governments which their fathers had framed, under which they were born, and with the provisions and traditions of which they were familiar, was never told.

His propositions found no favor with the Administration, nor were they supported at the beginning by any considerable number even of the extremists in Congress. It required much training by the centralizing leaders for years and all the tyranny of caucus machinery after the death of Mr. Lincoln to carry them into effect by a series of reconstruction measures that were revolutionary in their character, and which to a certain extent unsettled the principles on which the Government was founded.

But the counsel and example of the distinguished Senator from Massachusetts were not without their influence. Resolutions by radical Republicans and counter resolutions, chiefly by Democrats, relative to the powers and limitations of the Federal Government and the status of States, followed in quick succession. On the 11th of June, the[Pg 23] subject having been agitated and discussed for four months, Mr. Dixon, a Republican Senator from Connecticut, whose views coincided in the main with those of Mr. Lincoln and the Administration, submitted, after consultation and advisement, the following:

Resolved, That all acts or ordinances of secession, alleged to have been adopted by any legislature or convention of the people of any State, are as to the Federal Union absolutely null and void; and that while such acts may and do subject the individual actors therein to forfeitures and penalties, they do not, in any degree, affect the relations of the State wherein they purport to have been adopted to the Government of the United States, but are as to such Government acts of rebellion, insurrection, and hostility on the part of the individuals engaged therein, or giving assent thereto; and that such States are, notwithstanding such acts or ordinances, members of the Federal Union, and as such are subject to all the obligations and duties imposed upon them by the Constitution of the United States; and the loyal citizens of such States are entitled to all the rights and privileges thereby guaranteed or conferred.

The resolution of Dixon traversed the policy of Sumner and was the Executive view of the questions that were agitated in Congress as to the effect of the rebellion and the condition of the States in insurrection. The Administration did not admit that rebellion dissolved the Union or destroyed its federative character; nor did it adopt or assent to the novel theory that the States and the whole people residing in them had forfeited all sovereignty and all reserved State and individual rights, because a portion of the inhabitants had rebelled; nor did it admit that the usurpation of a portion of any community could bring condemnation and punishment on all. The usurpations and acts of the rebels were considered not legal acts, but nullities.

Gideon Welles.


Out of the dreary distance and the dark
I stretch forth praying palms—yet not to pray;
Hands fold themselves for heaven, while mine, alas!
Are sundered—held your way.
Brief moments have been ours, yet bright as brief;
Oh! how I live them over, one by one,
Now that the endless days, bereft of you,
Creep slowly, sadly on.
Garnered in memory, those bewildering hours,
A golden harvest of enchantment yield;
Here, like a pale, reluctant Ruth, I glean
A cold and barren field—
Barren without a shelter: and the hedge
Is made of thorns and brambles. If I fain
Would lean beyond the barrier, do you see
The wounding and the stain?
Did God make us to mock us, on the earth?
Why did he fuse our spirits by His word,
Then set His awful Angel in our path,
His Angel with the sword?
Why, when I contrite kneel confessing all,
And seek with tears the way to be forgiven—
Why do your pleading eyes look sadly down
Between my face and heaven?
Why does my blood thrill at your fancied touch—
Stop and leap up at your ideal caress?
Ah, God! to feel that dear warm mouth on mine
In lingering tenderness!
To lie at perfect peace upon your heart,
Your arms close folded round me firm and fast,
My cheek to yours—oh, vision dear as vain!
That would be home at last.
Leon, you are my curse, my blessing too,
My hell, my heaven, my storm that wrecks to save:
Life daunts me, and the shadows lengthen out
Beyond the grave.

Mary L. Ritter.

[Pg 24]


Do you know, gentle reader, what an interesting, valuable, and useful book an "Almanack" once was? You are gorged with books, and newspapers lie about thick as leaves in Vallambrosa. Do you ever buy an Almanac for five cents? I trow not. Therefore you do not know how much careful calculation, skill, and knowledge are to be had for that small piece of money.

Therefore you cannot sit down in the evening and pore over its mystic signs. Indeed, I fear you do not know what a zodiac is, or what the meaning of "Cancer the Crab" and "Gemini the Twins" may be. It is more than likely you will reply, "Oh, yes; if the Crab had a Cancer, he would cry Gemini to the Twins"—and in that light and flippant way you will try to hide your brutal ignorance, if a male, your shallow understanding, if a female.

Now I have just had a sort of musty satisfaction in looking over some old Almanacs, which dated as far back as 1727. They seem to have been the property of somebody whose letters were W. S. His almanacs were so prized that he had interleaved them, and then he recorded his profound observations. He thus had learned, what I fear you have not, that the moon had many mysterious influences besides making the tides rise and fall, if it does. It seems, if we can believe "A Native of New England," who made B. Greene's Almanack for 1731, that the "Moon has dominion over man's body," and that when she gets into "Cancer the Crab" you must expect every sort of bedevilment in your breast and stomach. When she gets into "Gemini," the same in your arms and shoulders. When she is in "Scorpio" your bowels and belly are in danger, and so on all through your body; so that we might well enough wish the moon were wholly abolished; for the little wishy-washy light she gives to lovers and thieves is not at all a balance for such fearful threatenings.

Who was the "Native of New England" is a secret, and well it is, for in 1727 he graced his title-page with this poem:

——Man—that Noble Creature,
Scanted of time, and stinted by Weak Nature,
That in foretimes saw jubilees of years,
As by our Ancient History appears;
Nay, which is more, even Silly Women then,
Liv'd longer time than our grave Graybeard Men.

"Graced," did I say? May we not put a dis before it? "Silly Women!" "Noble Creature!" Did the Native mean that woman then was silly and man then noble? Well for him is it that our "Mrs. Ward Howes" and "Mrs. Lillie Blakes" cannot make rhymes upon his name; well for him that he went his way holding his mantle before his face.

But he himself did not hold himself lightly. He knew all about Apogé and Perigé (we now spell them Apogée and Perigée). But does the Radical Club itself know anything at all about Apogée and Perigée? He knew when some "fine moderate weather" would come, when "winds enough for several" would blow, when "bad weather for hoop petticoats" would be; and that was on the 29th and 30th of January, 1727. Fearful weather, we may believe; but he, the Native, knew. But alas for us! On the 2d, he puts it down as "sloppy and raw cold." Now it so chances that W. S. has kept his MS. notes against this day, and he has it "Very fine and pleasant," and the next day, "Dry and dusty." Lamentable indeed for the Native! But he is not to be shaken for all that; he prognosticates through all the year just as if all was to come exactly right. One would like to know what W. S. thought of his prognosticator, and if he kept on studying and believing just the same as if all had come right. I do not doubt he did.[Pg 25]

And now we come to some positive statements about Eclipses, and learn what we may depend on in that quarter.

The Native goes on to say, "As to the effects, they chiefly affect those Men that live by their Ingenuity; I mean Painters, Poets, Mercurialists, &c." What is a mercurialist? Does he mean the worshippers of Mercury, thieves, and that sort? "But"—and mark the cautious tone here—"but whether it forbodes good or ill to them I shall not now determine; only advise them to prepare for the worst!" Pretty good advice in all times of eclipse; and in these days even when there is no eclipse. Mark his modesty: "I do not pretend to Infallibility in my Conjectures, yet (as I said last year) they many times come out too True to make a jest of." Then he goes on: "I have read of a story which Thaurus is said to relate of Andreas Vesalius, a great Astrologer who lived in the reign of Henry the VIII.; to wit, that he told Maximilian the Day and Hour of his Death, who, giving credit thereto, ordered a great feast to be made, inviting his Friends, sat and Eat [ate?] with them; and afterwards, having distributed his Treasures among them, took leave of them and Dyed at the time predicted." Most kind of this Maximilian, for it must have secured a good patronage to the astrologers.

"Yet it does not from hence follow that a certain rule may be laid down"—a very fine astrologer, you perceive, may fail—"whereby exactly to discover the Divine appointments. But there are many concurring Causes of Mundane Accidents of which Humanity must be content to remain Ignorant, and (as a wise Author affirms) No Index can be found or formed whereby to give us any certain Diary or Destiny saving that of our dear-bought Experience." But how can we learn about our own dying by experience—which is what we die to know about? He continues: "And here I cannot but take notice of our Negro-mancers, who, under pretence of knowledge in the Motions of the Heavens, take upon them to Fore tell the Appointments of Fate with respect to particular Persons, and thereby betray the Ignorant part of the World Inevitably into the Worship of the Devil. But if the Wholesome Laws of the Province were duly executed on such Negro-mancers, I could venture to Fore tell what would soon be their Fortune; You may Read it at large in this Province, New Law Book, page 117.

"Marblehead, Sept. 28, 1726.

"N. Bowen."

Ah, friend Bowen was too alarmingly near the Salem witch times when Minister Parris and Judge Hawthorne had come so nigh putting the Devil to rout by hanging an old woman or two and squeezing poor Giles Cory to death. He knew what the Law could do to those wicked negro-mancers if they went about predicting things in a wicked way. And what a bore it might become to have a negro-mancer foretelling in a rash and miscellaneous way one's death and bringing it to pass too some fine and inconvenient day! Who would not hang a negro-mancer like that?

But suppose they should go on and squeeze the life out of such mild negromancers as N. Bowen, Esq., too. What then?

In 1729 we get an Almanac made by a student with a name—Nathaniel Ames, junior, student in Physick and Astronomy. He does not apply his intellect to such great speculations as Bowen grappled with, but runs easily into poetry of the true Homeric stamp. Listen:


The Earth is white like Neptune's foamy face,
When his proud Waves the hardy Rocks embrace.


Boreas's chilly breath attacks our Nature,
And turns the Presbyterian to a Quaker.

What wicked waggery is here hidden, who can tell? One thing is sure, that Februarys ought to be abolished by the General Court if such is true; for a Quaker then was an abominable thing.[Pg 26]


Phœbus and Mars conjoined do both agree,
This month shall Warm (nay, more than usual) be.

We pray that our Almanac makers will conjoin Phœbus and Mars in all our Marches hereafter, so that we too may "Warm (more than usual) be." How melodious that line!

April gives a sweet strain, possibly premature—

The Birds, like Orphans, now all things invite
To come and have Melodious, sweet delight.

Like Orphans! Why? Should Orpheus come in there, or are orphans children of Orpheus? We are perplexed. The words sound alike.

May like a Virgin quickly yields her Charms,
To the Embrace of Winter's Icy Arms.

It is not easy to see how that can be. Does he mean that winter had come back and given May a late frost? And then Virgins do not, so far as I know, yield to the Embrace of Winter's Icy Arms. Do they? I ask persons of experience.

June comes upon us heavily—

Sol's scorching Ray puts Blood in Fermentation,
And is stark raught to acts of Procreation.

That has a terrible sound. What does he mean?


The Moon (this Month), that pale-faced Queen of Night,
Will be disrobed of all her borrowed light.

No month for lover's madness, this. Not a lover can steal forth by the light of the moon, or do any foolish thing this month, thanks be to God!


The Earth and Sky Resound with Thunder Loud,
And Oblique streams flash from the dusky Cloud.

That first line demands many capital letters, and what a fine word Oblique is in the second.

September says—

The burthened earth abounds with various fruit,
Which doth the Epicurean's Palate Suit.

It is to be hoped these wicked Epicureans got no more than their share, and that church members were not converted to the heathen philosophy by such baits.


The Tyrant Mars old Saturn now opposes,
Which stirs up Feuds and may make bloody Noses.

October then was the fighter's month. This begins nobly, but ends waggishly.


Now what remains to Comfort up our lives,
But Cordial Liquor and kind, loving Wives?

"Comfort up," that is good. But the Cordial Liquor is doubtful; and then are there no girls in the sweet bloom of maidenhood left to Comfort up our lives? Sad indeed!

December closes up—

The Chrystal streams, congealed to Icy Glass,
Become fit roads for Travellers to pass.

Excellent for the travellers.

But now in the column of "Mutations of Weather," we find this":

"Christmas is nigh;
The bare name of it
to Rich or Poor
will be no profit."

We are startled. Does he mean to speak ill of Christmas—to stab it? We look again. No—it is that Christmas without roast Turkeys and Mince pies will be very bad. The "bare name"—that is what he will none of. But on the contrary the real thing he will have, with Roasts and bakes, and—possibly—Cordial Liquor to "Comfort up" the day. What a good word that "Comfort up" is. We thank Nathaniel for it.

Now in the volume for 1730 are other interesting items, and the seer and poet seems to be our old friend, Nathan Bowen. He inclines somewhat to poetry also, for he thus sings:

Saturn in Thirty Years his Ring Compleats,
Which Swiftest Jupiter in Twelve repeats;
Mars Three and Twenty Months revolving spends,
The Earth in Twelve her Annual Journey Ends.
Venus thy Race in twice Four Months is run,
For his Mercurius Three demands. The Moon
Her Revolution finishes in One.
If all at Once are Mov'd, and by one Spring,
Why so Unequal in their Annual Ring?"

Here again the sensitive soul, anxiously pondering, asks, Are students of astronomy prone to infidelity, and does this last question mean to convey the faintest shadow of a doubt? If not, why that "Why"?

We gladly pass on to another topic, hoping that Nathan was not damned for skepticism.[Pg 27]

"N. B.—The paper Mill mentioned in last year's almanack (at Milton) has begun to go. Any person that will bring Rags to D. Henchman & T. Hancock, shall have from 2d. to 6d. a pound according to their goodness."

"Begun to go." I like that word. "Commenced operations," "started in business": how new and poor those great three-syllabled words seem! "Begun to go"—that is good.

In 1731 he tells us:

Ready money is now
the best of Wares."
"Some gain & some loose."

Dear, dear, how bad! Almost, not quite so miserable, as to-day—all lose now.

Then he informs us officially what salutes are to be fired at Castle William, as follows:

March 1 Queen's Berthday 21 guns.
May 29 Restoration of K. Ch. II. 17  "
June 11 K. George II. accession 21  "
Oct. 11 K. G. II. coronation 33  "
Oct. 30 K. G. II. Berthday 27  "
Nov. 5 Powder Plot 17  "
Jan. 19 Prince of W. Berthday 21  "

In 1732 the Native of New England (if it be Nathan Bowen of Marblehead) takes hold again and breaks into song:

Indulge, and to thy Genius freely give;
For not to live at Ease is not to live.
Death stalks behind thee, and each flying Hour
Does some loose Remnant of thy Life devour.
Live while thou livest, for Death shall make us all
A Name of Nothing, but an Old Wife's Tale.
Speak: wilt thou Avorice or Pleasure Chuse
To be thy Lord? Take One & One Refuse.—Perseus.

We begin to fear indeed that Nathan is little better than one of those wicked Epicureans himself. Avorice or Pleasure. Take one? Must we indeed? Pleasure? It looks as if Nathan was a very naughty man.

Things have evidently not gone quite smoothly with N. Bowen this last year, for, in his "Kind Reader" of 1733, he says: "Having last year finished Twelve of my Annual Papers [he means Almanacks], I proposed to lay down my pen and leave the Drudgery of Calculation to those who have more leisure and a Clearer Brain than I can pretend to. Indeed, the Contempt with which a writer of Almanacks is looked on and the Danger he is in of being accounted a Conjurer"—a negro-mancer—"should seem sufficient to deter a man from publishing anything of this kind. But when I consider that all this is the effect of Ignorance, and, therefore, not worth my Notice or Resentment, and that the most judicious and learned part of the World have always highly valued and esteemed such Undertakings as what are not only great and noble in themselves; but as they are of absolute necessity in the Business and Affairs of Life, I am induced to appear again in the World, and hope this will meet with the same kind acceptance with my former."

With me he meets with the same kind acceptance, for I believe in the Nobility of the Almanac; and it is certain that every man should believe in the Nobility of his work whatever it is—then he is sure of one ardent Admirer. It is sad to think that some carping critic had been riling the sweet soul of Nathan in the year 1732. It is all over now. Let us hope he is not damned for his Epicureanism, but is reaping his crop of praise in a better climate than Marblehead. He gives us more poetry in 1733, and a clear account of why Leap years are necessary, which I do not repeat here, the popular belief being that they were invented in order that maidens might if they wished make love to swains, which belief I would do nothing to shake.

In the next year we have quite a learned discourse about the Julian Æra, Epochs, Olympiads, etc., from which I can only venture to take the following concise and valuable and accurate statement of this astronomer:

"Jesus Christ the Saviour of the World was Incarnate in the 4,713 year of the Julian Period; the 3,949 of the Creation, the 4th of the 194th Olym[Pg 28]piad, and the 753 Currant Year of the Roman Foundation."

Persons having any doubts as to the time of our blessed Saviour's appearance had better cut this out and keep it carefully for future reference and for the confusion of "skepticks."

Let us not leave these interesting vestiges of an earlier creation without a few words as to W. S. He, as I have said, was the purchaser and owner of these sacred books. His almanacs were carefully interleaved and evidently were intended to be not only a record of the wisdom of the "Students in Physick and Astronomy," but also of events in the lives of devout owners. We find W. S. begins with fervor and fidelity to record daily interesting facts such as, in February:

"Fine, somewhat cold.

"Very pleasant.

"A storm of snow.

"More snow, but clears away windy.

"A very fine day.

"Idem, but windy."

Aha! here, then, we have a man who knew Latin in the Year of our Lord 1727. "Idem"—that is such a good word that he uses it often, and it has a good sound, too. Through January, February, March he attends daily to this high duty, and tells us how it was:

"A bright morning, but a dull day.



On the 27th, "Much rain, a violent storm, snow'd up."

In April things change. His interest flags. He does not write down his record every day. Has W. S. grown lazy? Is it too warm for assiduous tasks, or has a new element come into his life? Let us see. He begins April:

"1. A clearer day.

"2. Set my clock forward 20 m.

"3. Lethfield arrived from London."

The clock—that, I believe, was the great event, and that it came from London. What may it have been? Clearly one of those tall, stately pieces with the moon and the sun showing their faces on the silver dial, the fine mahogany case worthy to uphold all. Where is that clock now? Who can tell? From this time forth this was the object of interest, for in nearly all the months we have this record, "Set my clock." He grows terribly indifferent to the weather. A clock then was a wonderful thing, and it is a wonderful thing now. Think of it. How these little wheels and springs are so contrived that they tick the seconds and the minutes and the hours day and night, so that Father Time might himself set his watch by some of them. But then it was a rarer and a more interesting thing than now. We can easily fancy the neighbors gathering to see the fine clock standing in its place in the hall, telling its monotonous tale all the nights and days.

But another interesting record now comes in. This, too, is an event—in May:

"17. I bottled cyder."

And then in October again:

"20. Cyder come."

Cyder is not a thing to be despised even by a man who knows Latin. But is not cyder an important thing to everybody? They had neither tea nor coffee then, and man likes to drink. We may know, too, that in those days every good woman made a few bottles of currant wine, made also her rose cakes to sweeten her drawers, gathered and dried lavender to make lavender-water, also sage and hoarhound, "good for sickness." Alas! that people might be sick even in those "Good old Times," we know, and we find that in January, 1727, W. S. puts down carefully this:

"A Recipe for ye cure of Sciatica pains—viz.:

"Take 2 ounces of flowered brimstone, four ounces of Molasses. Mix ym together, and take a spoonfull morning and evening, and if yt do not effect a cure, take another spoonfull at noon also." You continue until you get well, or—something!

Why endure sciatica pains after this? We make no charge for this valuable knowledge.[Pg 29]

But in June we find it put down:

"Mr. Davenport Chosen Tutor And confirmed by ye overseers."

Here we have a clue to the Latin.

And in August is another entry:

"Governor Burnett, upon an invitation, came to visit ye Coll: besides—— ye Civil Officers in Cambridge wth some others, together with ye Masters of Art in College, were invited to dine wth him. There was an Oration in ye hall by Sir Clark, some of ye neighboring Clergie were present, & about sixty persons in all had a handsome dinner in ye Library."

Here was an event to be recorded. But was W. S. present? We remain in the dark.

Entries now become more and more uncommon. We learn little more of the clock or of the cyder; and we are at a loss to explain the reason why. But lo! we have it! In November there is but one entry, on the

"21. I was married."

There is the gospel, without note or comment. To whom? We ask in vain. "I was married," and that is all. But is not that enough? No more records about clocks and cyder! What need of those things? Very few entries are made in this year, and these are records of the thermometer. Evidently a new one had come from London. But in October is a short and significant record:

"19. Bille was born at 5 a clock morning."

It was inevitable—cause and effect—a striking example—most philosophic! Had he black eyes or blue? Was he like his father or his mother? Was he little or big? Did he weigh eight pounds or ten? Did he live to be a man? None of these things are recorded, and we shall never know. After this supreme event few entries appear in the diary through the years. Life has become engrossing, important. Let us hope it was sufficing and not full of failure and trouble; let us enjoy the pleasure of believing so, as we well may. The clock, the cyder, the thermometer, the little Bille: what more important matters had he or have we to record? We part with the three, the four faint shadows, Nathaniel, Nathan, W. S., and little Bille, with a mild regret, hoping we may meet them, and especially "little Bille," on the other side. Till then farewell.

Charles Wyllys Elliott.


O Titan soul, ascend your starry steep
On golden stair to gods and storied men!
Ascend! nor care where thy traducers creep.
For what may well be said of prophets when
A world that's wicked comes to call them good?
Ascend and sing! As kings of thought who stood
On stormy heights and held far lights to men,
Stand thou and shout above the tumbled roar,
Lest brave ships drive and break against the shore.
What though thy sounding song be roughly set?
Parnassus' self is rough! Give thou the thought,
The golden ore, the gems that few forget;
In time the tinsel jewel will be wrought....
Stand thou alone and fixed as destiny;
An imaged god that lifts above all hate,
Stand thou serene and satisfied with fate.
Stand thou as stands that lightning-riven tree
That lords the cloven clouds of gray Yosemite.
Yea, lone, sad soul, thy heights must be thy home.
Thou sweetest lover! love shall climb to thee,
Like incense curling some cathedral dome
From many distant vales. Yet thou shalt be,
O grand, sweet singer, to the end alone.
But murmur not. The moon, the mighty spheres,
Spin on alone through all the soundless years;
Alone man comes on earth; he lives alone;
Alone he turns to front the dark Unknown.
Then range thine upper world, nor stoop to wars.
Walk thou the heights as walked the old Greeks when
They talked to austere gods, nor turned to men.
Teach thou the order of the singing stars.
Behold, in mad disorder these are set,
And yet they sing in ceaseless harmonies.
They spill as jewels spilt through space. They fret
The souls of men who measure melodies
As they would measure slimy deeps of seas.
Take comfort, O uncommon soul. Yet pray
Lest ye grow proud in such exalted worth.
Let no man reckon he excels. I say
The laws of compensation compass earth,
And no man gains without some equal loss:
Each ladder round of fame becomes a rod,
And he who lives must die upon a cross.
The stars are far, but flowers bless the sod,
And he who has the least of man has most of God.

Joaquin Miller.

[Pg 30]


By William Black.



Was this man mad, that he, an invalid, propped up in his chair, and scarcely able to move a wine-glass out of his way, should play pranks with the whole created order of things, tossing about solar systems as if they were no more than juggler's balls, and making universal systems of philosophy jump through hoops as if he were a lion tamer in a den? These poor women did not know where to catch him. Violet used to say that he was like a prism, taking the ordinary daylight of life and splitting it up into a thousand gay and glancing colors. That was all very well as a spectacular exhibition; but how when he was apparently instructing them in some serious matter? Was it fair to these tender creatures who had so lovingly nursed him, that he should assume the airs of a teacher, and gravely lead out his trusting disciples into the desert places of the earth, when his only object was to get them into a bog and then suddenly reveal himself as a will-o'-the-wisp, laughing at them with a fiendish joy?

What, for example, was all this nonsense about the land question—about the impossibility of settling it in England so long as the superstitious regard for land existed in the English mind? They were quite ready to believe him. They deprecated that superstition most sincerely. They could not understand why a moneyed Englishman's first impulse was to go and buy land; they could give no reason for the delusion existing in the bosom of every Englishman that he, if no one else, could make money out of the occupation of a farm that had ruined a dozen men in succession. All this was very well; but what were they to make of his sudden turning round and defending that superstition as the most beautiful sentiment in human nature? It was, according to him, the sublimest manifestation of filial love—the instinct of affection for the great mother of us all. And then the flowers became our small sisters and brothers; and the dumb look of appeal in a horse's eye, and the singing of a thrush at the break of day—these were but portions of the inarticulate language now no longer known to us. What was any human being to make of this rambling nonsense?

It all came of the dress coat, and of his childish vanity in his white wristbands. It was the first occasion on which he had ceremoniously dressed for dinner; and Violet had come over; and he was as proud of his high and stiff collar, and of his white necktie, as if they had been the ribbon and star of a royal order. And then they were all going off the next morning—Miss North included—to a strange little place on the other side of the Isle of Wight; and he had gone "clean daft" with the delight of expectation. There was nothing sacred from his mischievous fancy. He would have made fun of a bishop. In fact he did; for, happening to talk of inarticulate language, he described having seen "the other day," in Buckingham Palace road, a bishop who was looking at some china in a shop window; and he went on to declare how a young person driving a perambulator, and too earnestly occupied with a sentry on the other side of the road, incontinently drove that perambulator right on to the carefully swathed toes of the bishop; and then he devoted himself to analyzing the awful language which he saw on the afflicted man's face.

"But, uncle," said Amy Warrener,[Pg 31] with the delightful freshness of fifteen, "how could you see anybody in Buckingham Palace road the other day, when you haven't been out of the house for months?"

"How?" said he, not a whit abashed. "How could I see him? I don't know, but I tell you I did see him. With my eyes, of course."

He lost his temper, however, after all.

"To-morrow," he was saying, "I bid good-by to my doctor. I bear him no malice; may he long be spared from having to meet in the next world the people he sent there before him! But look here, Violet—to-morrow evening we shall be free—and we shall celebrate our freedom, and our first glimpse of a seashore, in Scotch whiskey—in hot Scotch whiskey—in Scotch whiskey with the boilingest of boiling water, just caught at the proper point of cooling. You don't know that point; I will teach you; it is perfection. Don't you know that we have just caught the cooling point of the earth—just that point in its transition from being a molten mass to its becoming a chilled and played out stone that admits of our living——"

"But, uncle," said Amy, "I thought the earth used to be far colder than it is now. Remember the glacial period," added this profound student of physics.

This was too much.

"Dear, dear me!" he exclaimed. "Am I to be brought up at every second by a pert schoolgirl when I am expounding the mysteries of life? What have your twopenny-halfpenny science primers to do with the grand secret of toddy? I tell you we must catch it at the cooling point; and then, Violet—for you are a respectful and attentive student—if the evening is fine, and the air warm, and the windows open and looking out to the south—do you think the doctor could object to that one first, faint trial of a cigarette, just to make us think we are up again in the August nights—off Isle Ornsay—with Aleck up at the bow singing that hideous and melancholy song of his, and the Sea Pyot slowly creeping along by the black islands?"

She did not answer at all; but for a brief moment her lip trembled. Amid all this merriment she had sat with a troubled face, and with a sore and heavy heart. She had seen in it but a pathetic bravado. He would drink Scotch whiskey—he would once more light a cigarette—merely to assure her that he was getting thoroughly well again; his laughter, his jokes, his wild sallies were all meant, and she knew it, to give her strength of heart and cheerfulness. She sat and listened, with her eyes cast down. When she heard him talk lightly and playfully of all that he meant to do, her heart throbbed, and she dared not lift her eyes to his face, lest they should suddenly reveal to him that awful conflict within of wild, and piteous, and agonizing doubt.

Then that reference to their wanderings in the northern seas—he did not know how she trembled as he spoke. She could never even think of that strange time she had spent up there, and of the terrible things that had come of it, without a shudder. If she could have cut it out of her life and memory altogether, that would have been well; but how could she forget the agony of that awful farewell; the sense of utter loneliness with which she saw the shores recede; the conviction then borne in upon her—and never wholly eradicated from her mind—that some mysterious doom had overtaken her, from which there was no escape. The influence of that time, and of the time that succeeded it, still dwelt upon her, and overshadowed her with its gloom. She had almost lost the instinct of hope. She never doubted, when they carried young Dowse into that silent room, but that he would die: was it not her province to bring misery to all who were associated with her? And she had got so reconciled to this notion that she did not argue the matter with herself; she had, for example, no sense of bitter[Pg 32]ness in contrasting this apparent "destiny" of hers with the most deeply-rooted feeling in her heart; namely, a perfectly honest readiness to give up her own life if only that could secure the happiness of those she loved. She did not even feel injured because this was impossible. Things were so; and she accepted them.

But sometimes, in the darkness of her room, in the silence of the night-time, when her heart seemed to be literally breaking with its conflict of anxious love and returning despair, some wild notion of propitiation—doubtless derived from ancient legends—would flash across her mind; and she would cry in her agony, "If one must be taken, let it be me! The world cares for him. What am I?" If she could only go out into the open place of the city, and bare her bosom to the knife of the priest, and call on the people to see how she had saved the life of her beloved—surely that would be to die happy. What she had done, now that she came to look back over it, seemed but too poor an expression of her great love and admiration. What mattered it that a girl should give up her friends and her home? Her life—her very life—that was what she desired, when these wild fancies possessed her, to surrender freely, if only she could know that she was rescuing him from the awful portals that her despairing dread saw open before him, and was giving him back—as she bade him a last farewell—to health, and joy, and the comfort of many friends.

With other wrestlings in spirit, far more eager and real than these mere fancies derived from myths, it is not within the province of the present writer to deal; they are not for the house-tops or the market-places. But it may be said that in all directions the gloomy influences of that past time pursued her; wherever she went she was haunted by a morbid fear that all her resolute will could not shake off. Where, for example, could she go for sweeter consolation, for more cheering solace than to the simple and reassuring services of the church? But before she entered, eager to hear words of hope and strengthening, there was the graveyard to pass through, with the misery of generations recorded on its melancholy stones.



But if this girl, partly through her great yearning love, and partly through the overshadowing of her past sufferings, was haunted by a mysterious dread, that was not the prevailing feeling within this small household which was now pulling itself together for a flight to the south. Even she caught something of the brisk and cheerful spirit awakened by all the bustle of departure; and when her father, who had come to London Bridge station to see the whole of them off, noticed the businesslike fashion in which she ordered everybody about, so that the invalid should have his smallest comforts attended to, he could not help saying, with a laugh—

"Well, Violet, this is better than starting for America all by yourself, isn't it? But I don't think you would have been much put out by that either."

A smart young man came up, and was for entering the carriage.

"I beg your pardon," said she, respectfully but firmly. "This carriage is reserved."

The young man looked at both windows.

"I don't see that it is," he retorted coolly.

He took hold of the handle of the door, when she immediately rose and stood before him, an awful politeness and decorum on her face, but the fire of Brünhilde the warrior maiden in her eyes.

"You will please call the guard before coming in here. The carriage is reserved."[Pg 33]

At this moment her father came forward—not a little inclined to laugh.

"I beg your pardon, sir, but the carriage is really reserved. There was a written paper put up—it has fallen down, I suppose—there it is."

So the smart young man went away; but was it fair, after this notable victory, that they should all begin to make fun of her fierce and majestic bearing, and that the very person for whose sake she had confronted the enemy should begin to make ridiculous rhymes about her, such as these:

"Then out spake Violet Northimus—
Of Euston Square was she—
'Lo, I will stand at thy right hand,
And guard the door with thee!'"

Violet Northimus did not reply. She wore the modesty of a victor. She was ready at any moment to meet six hundred such as he; and she was not to be put out, after the discomfiture of her enemy, by a joke.

Then they slowly rolled and grated out of the station, and by-and-by the swinging pace increased, and they were out in the clearer light and the fresher air, with a windy April sky showing flashes of blue from time to time. They went down through a succession of thoroughly English looking landscapes—quiet valleys with red-tiled cottages in them, bare heights green with the young corn, long stretches of brown and almost leafless woods, with the rough banks outside all starred with the pale, clear primrose. There was one in that carriage who had had no lack of flowers that spring—flowers brought by many a kindly hand to brighten the look of the sick room; but surely it was something more wonderful to see the flowers themselves, growing here in this actual and outside world which had been to him for many a weary week but a dimly imagined dreamland. There were primroses under the hedges, primroses along the high banks, primroses shining pale and clear within the leafless woods, among the russet leaves of the previous autumn. And then the life and motion of the sky, the southwesterly winds, the black and lowering clouds suddenly followed by a wild and dazzling gleam of sunlight, the grays and purples flying on and leaving behind them a welcome expanse of shining April blue.

The day was certainly squally enough, and might turn to showers; but the gusts of wind that blew through the carriage were singularly sweet and mild; and again and again Mr. Drummond, who had been raised by all this new life and light into the very highest spirits, declared with much solemnity that he could already detect the smell of the salt sea air. They had their quarrels of course. It pleased a certain young lady to treat the south coast of England with much supercilious contempt. You would have imagined from her talk that there was something criminal in one's living even within twenty miles of the bleak downs, the shabby precipices, and the muddy sea which, according to her, were the only recognizable features of our southern shores. She would not admit indeed that there was any sea at all there; there was only churned chalk. Was it fair to say, even under the exasperation of continual goading, that the Isle of Wight was only a trumpery toy shop; that its "scenery" was fitly adorned with bazaars for the sale of sham jewelry; that its amusements were on a par with those of Rosherville gardens; that its rocks were made of mud and its sea of powdered lime?

"By heavens," exclaimed her antagonist, "I will stand this no longer. I will call upon Neptune to raise such a storm in the Solent as shall convince you that there is quite enough sea surrounding that pearl of islands, that paradise, that world's wonder we are going to visit."

"Yes, I have no doubt," said she with sweet sarcasm, "that if you stirred the Solent with a teaspoon, you would frighten the yachtsmen there out of their wits."

"Oh, Violet," cried another young lady, "you know you were dreadfully[Pg 34] frightened that night in Tobermory bay, when the equinoctial gales caught us, and the men were tramping overhead all night long."

"I should be more frightened down here," was the retort, "because if we were driven ashore I should be choked first and drowned afterward. Fancy going out of the world with a taste of chalk in your mouth."

"Well, at this moment the fierce discussion was stopped by the arrival of the train at Portsmouth; but here a very singular incident occurred. Violet was the first to step out on to the platform.

"You have a tramway car that goes down to the pier, have you not?" she asked of the guard.

"Ain't going to-day, miss," was the answer. "Boats can't come in to Southsea—the sea is very high. You'll have to go to Portsea, miss."

Now, what was this man's amazement on seeing this young lady suddenly burst out laughing as she turned and looked into the carriage.

"Did you hear that?" she cried. "The Solent is raging! They can't come near Southsea! Don't you think, Mrs. Warrener, that it will be very dangerous to go to Portsea?"

"I'll tell you what it is," said Mrs. Warrener with a malicious smile, "if a certain young lady I know were to be ill in crossing, she would be a good deal more civil to her native country when she reached the other side."

But in good truth, when they got down to Portsea there was a pretty stiff breeze blowing; and the walk out on the long pier was not a little trying to an invalid who had but lately recovered the use of his limbs. The small steamer, too, was tossing about considerably at her moorings; and Violet pretended to be greatly alarmed because she did not see half-a-dozen lifeboats on board. Then the word was given; the cables thrown off; and presently the tiny steamer was running out to the windy and gray-green sea, the waves of which not unfrequently sent a shower of spray across her decks. The small party of voyagers crouched behind the funnel, and were well out of the water's way.

"Look there now," cried Mr. Drummond, suddenly pointing to a large bird that was flying by, high up in the air, about a quarter of a mile off—"do you see that? Do you know what that is? That is a wild goose, a gray lag, that has been driven in by bad weather; now can you say we have no waves, and winds, and sea in the south?"

Miss Violet was not daunted.

"Perhaps it is a goose," she said coolly. "I never saw but one flying—- you remember you shot it. What farm-yard has this one left?"

"Oh, for shame, Violet," Mrs. Warrener called out, "to rake up old stories!"

She was punished for it. The insulted sportsman was casting about for the cruelest retort he could think of, when, as it happened, Miss Violet bethought her of looking round the corner of the boiler to see whether they were getting near Ryde; and at the same moment it also happened that a heavy wave, striking the bows of the steamer, sent a heap of water whirling down between the paddle-box and the funnel, which caught the young lady on the face with a crack like a whip. As to the shout of laughter which then greeted her, that small party of folks had heard nothing like it for many a day. There was salt water dripping from her hair; salt water in her eyes; salt water running down her tingling and laughing cheeks; and she richly deserved to be asked, as she was immediately asked, whether the Solent was compounded of water and marl or water and chalk, and which brand she preferred.

Was it the balmy southern air that tempered the vehemence of these wanderers as they made their way across the island, and getting into a carriage at Ventnor, proceeded to drive along the Undercliff? There was a great quiet prevailing along these southern shores. They drove by underneath[Pg 35] the tall and crumbling precipices, with wood pigeons suddenly shooting out from the clefts, and jackdaws wheeling about far up in the blue. They passed by sheltered woods, bestarred with anemones and primroses, and showing here and there the purple of the as yet half-opened hyacinth; they passed by lush meadows, all ablaze with the golden yellow of the celandine and the purple of the ground ivy; they passed by the broken, picturesque banks where the tender blue of the speedwell was visible from time to time, with the white glimmer of the starwort. And then all this time they had on their left a gleaming and wind-driven sea, full of motion, and light, and color, and showing the hurrying shadows of the flying clouds.

At last far away, secluded and quiet, they came to a quaint little inn, placed high over the sea, and surrounded by sheltering woods and hedges. The sun lay warm on the smooth green lawn in front, where the daisies grew. There were dark shadows—almost black shadows—along the encircling hedge and under the cedars; but these only showed the more brilliantly the silver lighting of the restless, whirling, wind-swept sea beyond. It was a picturesque little house, with its long veranda half-smothered in ivy and rose bushes now in bud; with its tangled garden about, green with young hawthorn and sweetened by the perfume of the lilacs; with its patches of uncut grass, where the yellow cowslips drooped. There was an air of dreamy repose about the place; even that whirling and silvery gray sea produced no sound; here the winds were stilled, and the black shadows of the trees on that smooth green lawn only moved with the imperceptible moving of the sun.

Violet went up stairs and into her room alone; she threw open the small casements, and stood there looking out with a somewhat vague and distant look. There was no mischief now in those dark and tender eyes; there was rather an anxious and wistful questioning. And her heart seemed to go out from her to implore these gentle winds, and the soft colors of the sea, and the dreamy stillness of the woods, that now they should, if ever that was possible to them, bring all their sweet and curative influences to bear on him who had come among them. Now, if ever! Surely the favorable skies would heed, and the secret healing of the woods would hear, and the bountiful life-giving sea winds would bestir to her prayer! Surely it was not too late!



The long journey had taxed his returning strength to the utmost, and for the remainder of that day he looked worn and fatigued; but on the next morning he was in the best of spirits, and nothing would do but that they should at once set out on their explorations.

"Why not rest here?" said Violet. They were sitting in the shade of their morning room, the French windows wide open, the pillars and roof of the veranda outside framing in a picture of glowing sunlight and green vegetation, with glimpses of the silvery, white sea beyond. "Why not rest here?" she said; "what is the use of driving about to see bare downs, and little holes in the mud that they call chasms, and waterfalls that are turned on from the kitchen of the hotel above? That is what they consider scenery in the Isle of Wight; and then, before you can see it, you must buy a glass brooch or a china doll."

The fact is, he did not himself particularly care about these excursions, but he was afraid of the place becoming tiresome and monotonous to one whom he would insist on regarding as a visitor. She on the other hand affected a profound contempt for the sufficiently pleasant places about the Isle of Wight for the very purpose of inducing him to rest in the still seclu[Pg 36]sion of this retreat they had chosen. But here was the carriage at the door.

"Violet," said Amy Warrener, as they were leisurely driving along the quiet ways, under the crumbling gray cliffs, where the jackdaws were flying, "where shall we go for a climb? Don't you think we might come upon another Mount Glorioso?"

"No," said the girl rather absently; "I don't think we shall see another Mount Glorioso soon again."

"Not this autumn?" cried Mr. Drummond cheerfully; "not this summer?—for why should we wait for the autumn! Violet, I have the most serious projects with regard to the whole of us. It is high time that I set about recognizing the ends of existence; that is to say, before I die I must have a house in Bayswater and two thousand a year. All nice novels end that way. Now, in order that we shall all reach this earthly paradise, what is to be done? I have two projects. A publisher—the first wise man of his race—I will write an epitaph for him quite different from my universal epitaph—this shrewd and crafty person, determined to rescue at least one mute, inglorious Milton from neglect, has written to me. There! He has read my article on 'The Astronomical Theory with regard to the Early Religions'; he has perceived the profound wisdom, the research, the illuminating genius of that work—by the way, I don't think I ever fully explained to you my notions on that subject?"

"Oh, no, please don't," said Violet meekly. "What does the publisher say?"

"Do you see the mean, practical, commercial spirit of these women?" he said, apparently addressing himself. "It is only the money they think of. They don't want to be instructed!"

"I know the article well enough," said Violet blushing hotly. "I read it—I—I saw it advertised, and bought the review, when I hadn't much money to spend on such things."

"Did you, Violet?" said he, forgetting for a moment his nonsense. Then he continued: "The publisher thinks that with some padding of a general and attractive nature, the subject might be made into a book. Why, therefore, should not our fortune be made at once, and the gates of Bayswater thrown open to the Peri? I do believe I could make an interesting book. I will throw in a lot of Irish anecdotes. I wonder if I could have it illustrated with pictures of 'Charles I. in Prison,' the 'Dying Infant,' 'The Sailor's Adieu,' and some such popular things!"

"I think," said Violet humbly, "we might go on to the other project."

"Ah," said he thoughtfully, "that requires time and silence first. I must have the inspiration of the mountains before I can resolve it. Do you know what it is?"

"Not yet."

"It is the utilizing of a great natural force. That is what all science is trying to do now; and here is one of the mightiest forces in nature of which nothing is made, unless it be that a few barges get floated up and down our rivers. Do you see? The great mass of tidal force, absolutely irresistible in its strength, punctual as the clock itself, always to be calculated on—why should this great natural engine remain unused?"

"But then, uncle," said a certain young lady, "if you made the tide drive machinery at one time of the day, you would have to turn the house round to let it drive it again as it was going back."

"Child, child!" said the inventor peevishly, "why do you tack on these petty details to my grand conception? It is the idea I want to sell; other people can use it. Now, will the government grant me a patent?"

"Certainly," said Violet.

"What royalty on all work executed by utilizing the tidal currents?"

"A million per cent."

"How much will that bring in?"

"Three millions a minute!"

"Ah," said he, sinking back with a sigh, "we have then reached the goal[Pg 37] at last. Bayswater, we approach you. Shall the brougham be bottle-green or coffee-colored?"

"A brougham!" cried Violet; "no—a barge of white and gold, with crimson satin sails, and oars of bronze, towed by a company of snow-white swans——"

"Or mergansers"——

"And floating through the canals of claret which we shall set flowing in the streets. Then the Lord Mayor and the corporation will come to meet you, and you will get the freedom of the city presented in a gold snuff-box. As for Buckingham Palace—well, a baronetcy would be a nice thing."

"A baronetcy! Three millions a year and only a baronet! By the monuments of Westminster Abbey, I will become a duke and an archbishop rolled into one, and have the right of sending fifteen people a day to be beheaded at the tower."

"Oh, not that, uncle!"

"And why not?"

"Because there wouldn't be any publishers at the end of the year."

"And here we are at Black Gang Chine!"

Violet would not go down. She positively refused to go down. She called the place Black Gang Sham, and hoped they were pouring enough water down the kitchen pipe of the hotel to make a foaming cataract. But she begged Mrs. Warrener and Amy, who had not seen the place, to go down, while she remained in the carriage with Mr. Drummond. So these two disappeared into the bazaar.

"You are not really going to Scotland, are you?" she said simply, her head cast down.

"I have been thinking of it," he answered. "Why not?"

"The air here is very sweet and soft," she said in a hesitating way. "Of course, I know, the climate on the west coast of Scotland is very mild, and you would get the mountain air as well as the sea air. But don't you think the storms, the gales that blow in the spring——"

"Oh," said he cheerfully, "I shall never be pulled together till I get up to the north—I know that. I may have to remain here till I get stronger, but by-and-by I hope we shall all go up to Scotland together, and that long before the shooting begins."

"I—I am afraid," said she, "that I shall not be of the party."

"You? Not you?" he cried. "You are not going to leave us, Violet, just after we have found you?"

He took her hand, but she still averted her eyes.

"I half promised," she said, "to spend some time with Mr. and Mrs. Dowse. They are very lonely. They think they have a claim on me, and they have been very kind."

"You are not going to Mr. and Mrs. Dowse, Violet," said he promptly. "I pity the poor people, but we have a prior claim on you, and we mean to insist on it. What, just after all this grief of separation, you would go away from us again? No, no! I tell you, Violet, we shall never find you your real self until you have been braced up by the sea breezes. I mean the real sea breezes. You want a scamper among the heather—I can see that; for I have been watching you of late, and you are not up to the right mark. The sooner we all go the better. Do you understand that?"

He had been talking lightly and cheerfully, not caring who overheard. She, on the other hand, was anxious and embarrassed, not daring to utter what was on her mind. At last she said:

"Will you get down for a minute or two, and walk along the road? It is very sheltered here, and the sun is warm."

He did so, and she took his arm, and they walked away apart in the sunlight and silence. When they had gone some distance she stopped and said in a low and earnest voice:

"Don't you know why I cannot go to the Highlands with you? It would kill me. How could I go back to all those places?"[Pg 38]

"I understand that well enough, Violet," said he gently, "but don't you think you ought to go for the very purpose of conquering that feeling? There is nothing in that part of the country to inspire you with dread. You would see it all again in its accustomed light."

She shook her head.

"Very well, then," said he, for he was determined not to let these gloomy impressions of the girl overcome him. "If not there, somewhere else. We are not tied to Castle Bandbox. There is plenty of space about the West Highlands or about the Central Highlands, for the matter of that. Shall we try to get some lodging in an inn or farmhouse about the Moor of Rannoch? Or will you try the islands—Jura, or Islay, or Mull?"

She did not answer. She seemed to be in a dream.

"Shall I tell you, Violet," he continued, gravely and gently, "why I want you to come with us? I am anxious that you and I should be together as long—as long as that is possible. One never knows what may happen, and lately—well, we need not speak of it; but I don't wish us to be parted, Violet."

She burst into a violent fit of crying and sobbing. She had been struggling bravely to repress this gathering emotion; but his direct reference to the very thought that was overshadowing her mind was too much for her. And along with this wild grief came as keen remorse, for was this the conduct required of an attendant upon an invalid?

"You must forgive me," she sobbed. "I don't know what it is—I have been very nervous of late—and—and——-"

"There is nothing to cry about, Violet," said he gently. "What is to be, is to be. You have not lost your old courage! Only let us be together while we can."

"Oh, my love, my love!" she suddenly cried, taking his hand in both of hers, and looking up to him with her piteous, tear-dimmed eyes; "we will always be together! What is it that you say?—what is it that you mean? Not that you are going away without me? I have courage for anything but that. It does not matter what comes, only that I must go with you—we two together!"

"Hush, hush, Violet," said he soothingly, for he saw that the girl was really beside herself with grief and apprehension. "Come, this is not like the brave Violet of old. I thought there was nothing in all the world you were afraid to face. Look up, now."

She released his hand, and a strange expression came over her face. That wild outburst had been an involuntary confession; now a great fear and shame filled her heart that she should have been betrayed into it, and in a despairing, pathetic fashion she tried to explain away her words.

"We shall be together, shall we not?" she said, with an affected cheerfulness, though she was still crying gently. "It does not matter what part of the Highlands you go to—I will go with you. I must write and explain to Mrs. Dowse. It would be a pity that we should separate so soon, after that long time, would it not? And then the brisk air of the hills, and of the yachting, will be better for you than the hot summer here, won't it? And I am sure you will get very well there; that is just the place for you to get strong; and when the time for the shooting comes, we shall all go out, as we used to do, to see you missing every bird that gets up."

She tried to smile, but did not succeed very well.

"And really it does not matter to me so very much what part we go to, for, as you say, one ought to conquer these feelings, and if you prefer Castle Bandbox, I will go there too—that is, I shall be very proud to go if I am not in the way. And you know I am the only one who can make cartridges for you."

"I don't think I shall trouble the cartridges very much," said he, glad to think she was becoming more cheerful.[Pg 39]

"Indeed," she continued, "I don't know what would have become of your gun if I had not looked after it, for you only half cleaned it, and old Peter would not touch it, and the way the sea air rusted the barrels was quite remarkable. Will you have No. 3 or No. 4 shot this year for the sea birds?"

"Well," he answered gravely, "you see we shall have no yacht this year, and probably no chances of wild duck at all; and it would scarcely be worth while to make cartridges merely to fire away at these harmless and useless sea pyots and things of that sort."

"Oh, but my papa could easily get us a yacht," she said promptly; "he would be delighted—I know he would be delighted. And I have been told you can get a small yacht for about £40 a month, crew and everything included, and what is that? Indeed, I think it is quite necessary you should have a yacht."

"Forty pounds," said he. "I think we could manage that. But then we should deduct something from the wages of the crew on the strength of our taking our own cook with us. Do you remember that cook? She had a wonderful trick of making apricot jam puddings; how the dickens she managed to get so much jam crammed in I never could make out. She was just about as good at that as at making cartridges. Did you ever hear of that cook?"

By this time they had walked gently back to the carriage, and now Mrs. Warrener and her daughter made their appearance. The elder woman noticed something strange about Violet's expression, but she did not speak of it, for surely the girl was happy enough? She was, indeed, quite merry. She told Mrs. Warrener she was ready to go with them to the Highlands whenever they chose. She proposed that this time they should go up the Caledonian canal, and go down by Loch Maree, and then go out and visit the western isles. She said the sooner they went the better; they would get all the beautiful summer of the north; it was only the autumn tourists who complained of the rain of the Highlands.

"But we had little rain last autumn," said Mrs. Warrener.

"Oh, very little indeed," said Violet, quite brightly; "we had charming weather all through. I never enjoyed myself anywhere so much. I think the sooner your brother gets up to the Highlands, the better it will do him a world of good."



So the long, silent, sunlit days passed, and it seemed to the three patient watchers that the object of their care was slowly recovering health and strength. But if they were all willing and eager to wait on him, it was Violet who was his constant companion and friend, his devoted attendant, his humble scholar. Sometimes when Mrs. Warrener's heart grew sore within her to think of the wrong that had been wrought in the past, the tender little woman tried to solace herself somewhat by regarding these two as they now sat together—he the whimsical, affectionate master, she the meek pupil and disciple, forgetting all the proud dignity of her maidenhood, her fire, and audacity, and independence, in the humility and self-surrender of her love. Surely, she thought, this time was making up for much of the past. And if all went well now, what had they to look forward to but a still closer companionship in which the proud, and loyal, and fearless girl would become the tender and obedient wife? There was no jealousy in the nature of this woman. She would have laughed with joy if she could have heard their marriage bells.

And Violet, too, when the sun lay warm on the daisies and cowslips, when the sweet winds blew the scent of the lilacs about, and when her master and teacher grew strong enough to walk with her along the quiet woodland ways—how could she fail to pick up[Pg 40] some measure of cheerfulness and hope? It almost seemed as if she had dropped into a new world; and it was a beautiful world, full of tenderness, and laughter, and sunshine. Henceforth there was to be no more George Miller to bother her; he had gone clean out of existence as far as she was concerned; there was no more skirmishing with Lady North; even the poor Dowses, with their piteous loneliness and solemn house, were almost forgotten. Here was her whole world. And when she noticed the increasing distances that he walked, and the brighter look of his face, and the growing courage and carelessness of his habits—then indeed the world became a beautiful world to her, and she was almost inclined to fall in love with those whirling and gleaming southern seas.

It was in the black night-time, when all the household but herself were asleep, that she paid the penalty of these transient joys. Haunted by the one terrible fear, she could gain no rest; it was in vain that she tried to reason with herself; her imagination was like some hideous fiend continually whispering to her ear. Then she had no friend with whom to share those terrible doubts; she dared not mention them to any human soul. Why should she disturb the gentle confidence of his sister and her daughter? She could not make them miserable merely to lift from her own mind a portion of its anxiety. She could only lie awake, night after night, and rack her brain with a thousand gloomy forebodings. She recalled certain phrases he had used in moments of pathetic confidence. She recalled the quick look of pain with which he sometimes paused in the middle of his speech, the almost involuntary raising the hand to the region of the heart, the passing pallor of the face. Had they seen none of those things? Had they no wild, despairing thoughts about him? Was it possible they could go peacefully to sleep with this dread thing hanging over them, with a chance of awaking to a day of bitter anguish and wild, heart-broken farewell? This cruel anxiety, kept all to herself, was killing the girl. She grew restless and feverish; sometimes she sat up half the night at the window listening to the moaning of the dark sea outside; she became languid during the day, pale, and distraite. But it was not to last long.

One evening these two were together in the small parlor, he lying down, she sitting near him with a book in her hand. The French windows were open; they could hear Mrs. Warrener and her daughter talking in the garden. And, strangely enough, the sick man's thoughts were once more turned to the far Highlands, and to their life among the hills, and the pleasant merry-making on board the Sea Pyot.

"The air of this place does not agree with you at all, Violet," he was saying. "You are not looking nearly so well as you did when we came down. You are the only one who has not benefited by the change. Now that won't do; we cannot have a succession of invalids—a Greek frieze of patients, all carrying phials of medicine. We must get off to the Highlands at once. What do you say—a fortnight hence?"

She knelt down beside him, and took his hand, and said in a low voice—

"Do not be angry with me—it is very unreasonable, I know—but I have a strange dread of the Highlands. I have dreamed so often lately of being up there—and of being swept away on a dark sea—in the middle of the night."

She shuddered. He put his hand gently on her head.

"There is no wonder you should dream of that," he said with a smile. "That is only part of the story which you made us all believe. But we have got a brighter finish for it now. You have not been overwhelmed in that dark flood yet——"

He paused.

"Violet! My love!" he suddenly cried.

He let go her hand, and made a wild grasp at his left breast; his face grew white with pain. What made her in[Pg 41]stinctively throw her arms round him, with terror in her eyes?

"Violet! What is this? Kiss me!"

It was but one second after that that a piercing shriek rang through the place. The girl had sprung up like a deer shot through the heart; her eyes dilated, her face wild and pale. Mrs. Warrener came running in; but paused, and almost retreated in fear from the awful spectacle before her; for the girl still held the dead man's hand, and she was laughing merrily. The dark sea she had dreaded had overtaken her at last.

But one more scene—months afterward. It is the breakfast room in Lady North's house in Euston Square; and Anatolia is sitting there alone. The door opens, and a tall young girl, dressed in a white morning costume, comes silently in; there is a strange and piteous look of trouble in her dark eyes. Anatolia goes over to her, and takes her hand very tenderly, and leads her to the easy-chair she had herself just quitted.

"There is not any letter yet?" she asks, having looked all round the table with a sad and wearied air.

"No, dear, not yet," says Anatolia, who, unlovely though she may be, has a sympathetic heart; and her lip trembles as she speaks. "You must be patient, Violet."

"It is another morning gone, and there is no letter, and I cannot understand it," says the girl, apparently to herself, and then she begins to cry silently, while her half-sister goes to her, and puts her arm around her neck, and tries to soothe her.

Lady North comes into the room. Some changes have happened within these few months; it is "Mother" and "My child" now between the enemies of yore. And as she bids Violet good morning, and gently kisses her, the girl renews her complaint.

"Mother, why do they keep back his letter? I know he must have written to me long ago; and I cannot go to him until I get the letter! and he will wonder why I am not coming. Morning after morning I listen for the postman—I can hear him in the street from house to house—and they all get their letters, but I don't get this one that is worth all the world to me. And I never neglected anything that he said; and I was always very obedient to him; and he will wonder now that I don't go to him, and perhaps he will think that I am among my other friends now and have forgotten—— No, he will not think that. I have not forgotten."

"My child, you must not vex yourself," says Lady North with all the tenderness of which she is capable—and Anatolia is bitterly crying all the while. "It will be all right. And you must not look sad to-day; for you know Mrs. Warrener and your friend Amy are coming to see you."

She does not seem to pay much heed.

"Shall we go for the flowers to-day?" she asks, with her dark wet eyes raised for the first time.

"My darling, this is not the day we go for the flowers; that is to-morrow."

"And what is the use of it?" she says, letting her head sink sadly again. "Every time I go over to Nunhead I listen all by myself—and I know he is not there at all. The flowers look pretty, because his name is over them. But he is not there at all—he is far away—and he was to send me a message—and every day I wait for it—and they keep the letter back. Mother, are all my dresses ready?"

"Yes, Violet."

"You are quite sure!"

"They are all ready, Violet. Don't trouble about that."

"It is the white satin one he will like the best; and he will be pleased that I am not in black like the others. Mother, Mrs. Warrener and Amy surely cannot mean to come to the wedding in black."

"Surely not, Violet. But come, dear, to your breakfast."

She took her place quite calmly and humbly; but her mind was still wandering toward that picture.

"I hope they will strew the church-yard[Pg 42] with flowers as we pass through it—not for me, but for him; for he will be pleased with that; and there is more than all that is in the Prayer-book that I will promise to be to him, when we two are kneeling together. You are quite sure everything is ready?"

"Everything, my darling."

"And you think the message from him will come soon now?"

"I think it will come soon now, Violet," was the answer, given with trembling lips.

The End.

And now to you—you whose names are written in these blurred pages, some portion of whose lives I have tried to trace with a wandering and uncertain pen—I stretch out a hand of farewell. Yet not quite of farewell, perhaps: for amid all the shapes and phantoms of this world of mystery, where the shadows we meet can tell us neither whence they came nor whither they go, surely you have for me a no less substantial existence that may have its chances in the time to come. To me you are more real than most I know: what wonder then if I were to meet you on the threshold of the great unknown, you all shining with a new light on your face? Trembling, I stretch out my hands to you, for your silence is awful, and there is sadness in your eyes; but the day may come when you will speak, and I shall hear—and understand.


O lips that are so lonely
For want of his caress;
O heart that art too faithful
To ever love him less;
O eyes that find no sweetness
For hunger of his face;
O hands that long to feel him,
Always, in every place!
My spirit leans and listens,
But only hears his name,
And thought to thought leaps onward
As flame leaps unto flame;
And all kin to each other
As any brood of flowers,
Or these sweet winds of night, love,
That fan the fainting hours!
My spirit leans and listens,
My heart stands up and cries,
And only one sweet vision
Comes ever to my eyes.
So near and yet so far, love,
So dear, yet out of reach,
So like some distant star, love,
Unnamed in human speech!
My spirit leans and listens,
My heart goes out to him,
Through all the long night watches,
Until the dawning dim;
My spirit leans and listens,
What if, across the night,
His strong heart send a message
To flood me with delight?

Howard Glyndon.

[Pg 43]


I wonder that Wilson Flagg did not include the cow among his "Picturesque Animals," for that is where she belongs. She has not the classic beauty of the horse, but in picture-making qualities she is far ahead of him. Her shaggy, loose-jointed body, her irregular, sketchy outlines, like those of the landscape—the hollows and ridges, the slopes and prominences—her tossing horns, her bushy tail, her swinging gait, her tranquil, ruminating habits—all tend to make her an object upon which the artist eye loves to dwell. The artists are for ever putting her into pictures too. In rural landscape scenes she is an important feature. Behold her grazing in the pastures and on the hill sides, or along banks of streams, or ruminating under wide-spreading trees, or standing belly deep in the creek or pond, or lying upon the smooth places in the quiet summer afternoon, the day's grazing done, and waiting to be summoned home to be milked; and again in the twilight lying upon the level summit of the hill, or where the sward is thickest and softest; or in winter a herd of them filing along toward the spring to drink, or being "foddered" from the stack in the field upon the new snow—surely the cow is a picturesque animal, and all her goings and comings are pleasant to behold.

I looked into Hamerton's clever book on the domestic animals, also expecting to find my divinity duly celebrated, but he passes her by and contemplates the bovine qualities only as they appear in the ox and the bull.

Neither have the poets made much of the cow, but have rather dwelt upon the steer, or the ox yoked to the plough. I recall this touch from Emerson:

The heifer that lows in the upland farm,
Far heard, lows not thine ear to charm.

But the ear is charmed nevertheless, especially if it be not too near, and the air be still and dense, or hollow, as the farmer says. And again, if it be spring time and she task that powerful bellows of hers to its utmost capacity, how round the sound is, and how far it goes over the hills.

The cow has at least four tones or lows. First, there is her alarmed or distressed low, when deprived of her calf, or separated from her mates—her low of affection. Then there is her call of hunger, a petition for food, sometimes full of impatience, or her answer to the farmer's call, full of eagerness. Then there is that peculiar frenzied bawl she utters on smelling blood, which causes every member of the herd to lift its head and hasten to the spot—the native cry of the clan. When she is gored or in great danger she bawls also, but that is different. And lastly, there is the long, sonorous volley she lets off on the hills or in the yard, or along the highway, and which seems to be expressive of a kind of unrest and vague longing—the longing of the imprisoned Io for her lost identity. She sends her voice forth so that every god on Mount Olympus can hear her plaint. She makes this sound in the morning, especially in the spring, as she goes forth to graze.

One of our rural poets, Myron Benton, whose verse often has the flavor of sweet cream, has written some lines called "Rumination," in which the cow is the principal figure, and with which I am permitted to adorn my theme. The poet first gives his attention to a little brook that "breaks its shallow gossip" at his feet and "drowns the oriole's voice":

But moveth not that wise and ancient cow,
Who chews her juicy cud so languid now
Beneath her favorite elm, whose drooping bough
Lulls all but inward vision, fast asleep:
But still, her tireless tail a pendulum sweep
[Pg 44] Mysterious clockwork guides, and some hid pulley
Her drowsy cud, each moment, raises duly.
Of this great, wondrous world she has seen more
Than you, my little brook, and cropped its store
Of succulent grass on many a mead and lawn;
And strayed to distant uplands in the dawn.
And she has had some dark experience
Of graceless man's ingratitude; and hence
Her ways have not been ways of pleasantness,
Nor all her paths of peace. But her distress
And grief she has lived past; your giddy round
Disturbs her not, for she is learned profound
In deep brahminical philosophy.
She chews the cud of sweetest revery
Above your worldly prattle, brooklet merry,
Oblivious of all things sublunary.

The cow figures in Grecian mythology, and in the Oriental literature is treated as a sacred animal. "The clouds are cows and the rain milk." I remember what Herodotus says of the Egyptians' worship of heifers and steers; and in the traditions of the Celtic nations the cow is regarded as a divinity. In Norse mythology the milk of the cow Andhumbla afforded nourishment to the Frost giants, and it was she that licked into being and into shape a god, the father of Odin. If anything could lick a god into shape, certainly the cow could do it. You may see her perform this office for young Taurus any spring. She licks him out of the fogs and bewilderments and uncertainties in which he finds himself on first landing upon these shores, and up on to his feet in an incredibly short time. Indeed, that potent tongue of hers can almost make the dead alive any day, and the creative lick of the old Scandinavian mother cow is only a large-lettered rendering of the commonest facts.

The horse belongs to the fiery god Mars. He favors war, and is one of its oldest, most available, and most formidable engines. The steed is clothed with thunder, and smells the battle from afar; but the cattle upon a thousand hills denote that peace and plenty bear sway in the land. The neighing of the horse is a call to battle; but the lowing of old Brockleface in the valley brings the golden age again. The savage tribes are never without the horse; the Scythians are all mounted; but the cow would tame and humanize them. When the Indians will cultivate the cow, I shall think their civilization fairly begun. Recently, when the horses were sick with the epizoötic, and the oxen came to the city and helped to do their work, what an Arcadian air again filled the streets. But the dear old oxen—how awkward and distressed they looked! Juno wept in the face of every one of them. The horse is a true citizen, and is entirely at home in the paved streets; but the ox—what a complete embodiment of all rustic and rural things! Slow, deliberate, thick-skinned, powerful, hulky, ruminating, fragrant-breathed, when he came to town the spirit and suggestion of all Georgics and Bucolics came with him. Oh, citizen, was it only a plodding, unsightly brute that went by? Was there no chord in your bosom, long silent, that sweetly vibrated at the sight of that patient, Herculean couple? Did you smell no hay or cropped herbage, see no summer pastures with circles of cool shade, hear no voice of herds among the hills? They were very likely the only horses your grandfather ever had. Not much trouble to harness and unharness them. Not much vanity on the road in those days. They did all the work on the early pioneer farm. They were the gods whose rude strength first broke the soil. They could live where the moose and the deer could. If there was no clover or timothy to be had, then the twigs of the basswood and birch would do. Before there were yet fields given up to grass, they found ample pasturage in the woods. Their wide-spreading horns gleamed in the duskiness, and their paths and the paths of the cows became the future roads and highways, or even the streets of great cities.

All the descendants of Odin show a bovine trace, and cherish and cultivate the cow. What were those old Vikings but thick-hided bulls that delighted in nothing so much as goring each other? And has not the charge[Pg 45] of beefiness been brought much nearer home to us than that? But about all the northern races there is something that is kindred to cattle in the best sense—something in their art and literature that is essentially pastoral, sweet-breathed, continent, dispassionate, ruminating, wide-eyed, soft-voiced—a charm of kine, the virtue of brutes.

The cow belongs more especially to the northern peoples, to the region of the good, green grass. She is the true grazing animal. That broad, smooth, always dewy nose of hers is just the suggestion of green sward. She caresses the grass; she sweeps off the ends of the leaves; she reaps it with the soft sickle of her tongue. She crops close, but she does not bruise or devour the turf like the horse. She is the sward's best friend, and will make it thick and smooth as a carpet.

The turfy mountains where live the nibbling sheep

are not for her. Her muzzle is too blunt; then she does not bite as do the sheep; she has not upper teeth; she crops. But on the lower slopes, and margins, and rich bottoms, she is at home. Where the daisy and the buttercup and clover bloom, and where corn will grow, is her proper domain. The agriculture of no country can long thrive without her. Not only a large part of the real, but much of the potential wealth of the land is wrapped up in her.

What a variety of individualities a herd of cows presents when you have come to know them all, not only in form and color, but in manners and disposition. Some are timid and awkward and the butt of the whole herd. Some remind you of deer. Some have an expression in the face like certain persons you have known. A petted and well-fed cow has a benevolent and gracious look; an ill-used and poorly-fed one a pitiful and forlorn look. Some cows have a masculine or ox expression; others are extremely feminine. The latter are the ones for milk. Some cows will kick like a horse; some jump fences like deer. Every herd has its ringleader, its unruly spirit—one that plans all the mischief and leads the rest through the fences into the grain or into the orchard. This one is usually quite different from the master spirit, the "boss of the yard." The latter is generally the most peaceful and law-abiding cow in the lot, and the least bullying and quarrelsome. But she is not to be trifled with; her will is law; the whole herd give way before her, those that have crossed horns with her, and those that have not, but yielded their allegiance without crossing. I remember such a one among my father's milkers when I was a boy—a slender-horned, deep-shouldered, large-uddered, dewlapped old cow that we always put first in the long stable so she could not have a cow on each side of her to forage upon; for the master is yielded to no less in the stancheons than in the yard. She always had the first place anywhere. She had her choice of standing room in the milking yard, and when she wanted to lie down there or in the fields the best and softest spot was hers. When the herd were foddered from the stack or barn, or fed with pumpkins in the fall, she was always first served. Her demeanor was quiet but impressive. She never bullied or gored her mates, but literally ruled them with the breath of her nostrils. If any newcomer or ambitious younger cow, however, chafed under her supremacy, she was ever ready to make good her claims. And with what spirit she would fight when openly challenged! She was a whirlwind of pluck and valor; and not after one defeat or two defeats would she yield the championship. The boss cow, when overcome, seems to brood over her disgrace, and day after day will meet her rival in fierce combat.

A friend of mine, a pastoral philosopher, whom I have consulted in regard to the master cow, thinks it is seldom the case that one rules all the herd, if it number many, but that there is often one that will rule nearly[Pg 46] all. "Curiously enough," he says, "a case like this will often occur: No. 1 will whip No. 2; No. 2 whips No. 3; and No. 3 whips No. 1; so around in a circle. This is not a mistake; it is often the case. I remember," he continued, "we once had feeding out of a large bin in the centre of the yard six oxen who mastered right through in succession from No. 1 to No. 6; but No. 6 paid off the score by whipping No. 1. I often watched them when they were all trying to feed out of the box, and of course trying, dog-in-the-manger fashion, each to prevent any other he could. They would often get in the order to do it very systematically, since they could keep rotating about the box till the chain happened to get broken somewhere, when there would be confusion. Their mastership, you know, like that between nations, is constantly changing. But there are always Napoleons who hold their own through many vicissitudes; but the ordinary cow is continually liable to lose her foothold. Some cow she has always despised, and has often sent tossing across the yard at her horns' ends, some pleasant morning will return the compliment and pay off old scores."

But my own observation has been that in herds in which there have been no important changes for several years, the question of might gets pretty well settled, and some one cow becomes the acknowledged ruler.

The bully of the yard is never the master, but usually a second or third-rate pusher that never loses an opportunity to hook those beneath her, or to gore the masters if she can get them in a tight place. If such a one can get loose in the stable, she is quite certain to do mischief. She delights to pause in the open bars and turn and keep those at bay behind her till she sees a pair of threatening horns pressing toward her, when she quickly passes on. As one cow masters all, so there is one cow that is mastered by all. These are the two extremes of the herd, the head and the tail. Between them are all grades of authority, with none so poor but hath some poorer to do her reverence.

The cow has evidently come down to us from a wild or semi-wild state; perhaps is a descendant of those wild, shaggy cattle of which a small band still exists in the forests of Scotland. Cuvier seems to have been of this opinion. One of the ways in which her wild instincts still crop out is the disposition she shows in spring to hide her calf—a common practice among the wild herds. Her wild nature would be likely to come to the surface at this crisis if ever; and I have known cows that practised great secrecy in dropping their calves. As their time approached they grew restless, a wild and excited look was upon them, and if left free, they generally set out for the woods or for some other secluded spot. After the calf is several hours old, and has got upon its feet and had its first meal, the dam by some sign commands it to lie down and remain quiet while she goes forth to feed. If the calf is approached at such time, it plays "'possum," assumes to be dead or asleep, till on finding this ruse does not succeed, it mounts to its feet, bleats loudly and fiercely, and charges desperately upon the intruder. But it recovers from this wild scare in a little while, and never shows signs of it again.

The habit of the cow, also, in eating the placenta, looks to me like a vestige of her former wild instincts—the instinct to remove everything that would give the wild beasts a clue or a scent, and so attract them to her helpless young.

How wise and sagacious the cows become that run upon the street, or pick their living along the highway. The mystery of gates and bars is at last solved to them. They ponder over them by night, they lurk about them by day, till they acquire a new sense—till they become en rapport with them and know when they are open and unguarded. The garden gate, if it open into the highway at any[Pg 47] point, is never out of the mind of these roadsters, or out of their calculations. They calculate upon the chances of its being left open a certain number of times in the season; and if it be but once and only for five minutes, your cabbage and sweet corn suffer. What villager, or countryman either, has not been awakened at night by the squeaking and crunching of those piratical jaws under the window or in the direction of the vegetable patch? I have had the cows, after they had eaten up my garden, break into the stable where my own milcher was tied, and gore her and devour her meal. Yes, life presents but one absorbing problem to the street cow, and that is how to get into your garden. She catches glimpses of it over the fence or through the pickets, and her imagination or epigastrium is inflamed. When the spot is surrounded by a high board fence, I think I have seen her peeping at the cabbages through a knot-hole. At last she learns to open the gate. It is a great triumph of bovine wit. She does it with her horn or her nose, or may be with her ever ready tongue. I doubt if she has ever yet penetrated the mystery of the newer patent fastenings; but the old-fashioned thumb-latch she can see through, give her time enough.

A large, lank, muley or polled cow used to annoy me in this way when I was a dweller in a certain pastoral city. I more than half suspected she was turned in by some one; so one day I watched. Presently I heard the gate-latch rattle; the gate swung open, and in walked the old buffalo. On seeing me she turned and ran like a horse. I then fastened the gate on the inside and watched again. After long waiting the old cow came quickly round the corner and approached the gate. She lifted the latch with her nose. Then, as the gate did not move, she lifted it again and again. Then she gently nudged it. Then, the obtuse gate not taking the hint, she butted it gently, then harder and still harder, till it rattled again. At this juncture I emerged from my hiding place, when the old villain scampered off with great precipitation. She knew she was trespassing, and she had learned that there were usually some swift penalties attached to this pastime.

I have owned but three cows and loved but one. That was the first one, Chloe, a bright red, curly-pated, golden-skinned Devonshire cow, that an ocean steamer landed for me upon the banks of the Potomac one bright May day many clover summers ago. She came from the north, from the pastoral regions of the Catskills, to graze upon the broad commons of the national capital. I was then the fortunate and happy lessee of an old place with an acre of ground attached, almost within the shadow of the dome of the capitol. Behind a high but aged and decrepit board fence I indulged my rural and unclerical tastes. I could look up from my homely tasks and cast a potato almost in the midst of that cataract of marble steps that flows out of the north wing of the patriotic pile. Ah, when that creaking and sagging back gate closed behind me in the evening, I was happy; and when it opened for my egress thence in the morning, I was not happy. Inside that gate was a miniature farm redolent of homely, primitive life, a tumble-down house and stables and implements of agriculture and horticulture, broods of chickens, and growing pumpkins, and a thousand antidotes to the weariness of an artificial life. Outside of it were the marble and iron palaces, the paved and blistering streets, and the high, vacant, mahogany desk of a government clerk. In that ancient enclosure I took an earth bath twice a day. I planted myself as deep in the soil as I could to restore the normal tone and freshness of my system, impaired by the above mentioned government mahogany. I have found there is nothing like the earth to draw the various social distempers out of one. The blue devils take flight at once if they see you mean to bury them and make compost of them.[Pg 48] Emerson intimates that the scholar had better not try to have two gardens; but I could never spend an hour hoeing up dock and red-root and twitch grass without in some way getting rid of many weeds and fungus, unwholesome growths that a petty, in-doors life was for ever fostering in my own moral and intellectual nature.

But the finishing touch was not given till Chloe came. She was the jewel for which this homely setting waited. My agriculture had some object then. The old gate never opened with such alacrity as when she paused before it. How we waited for her coming! Should I send Drewer, the colored patriarch, for her? No; the master of the house himself should receive Juno at the capital.

"One cask for you," said the clerk, referring to the steamer bill of lading.

"Then I hope it's a cask of milk," I said. "I expected a cow."

"One cask it says here."

"Well, let's see it; I'll warrant it has horns and is tied by a rope"; which proved to be the case, for there stood the only object that bore my name, chewing its cud, on the forward deck. How she liked the voyage I could not find out; but she seemed to relish so much the feeling of solid ground beneath her feet once more that she led me a lively step all the way home. She cut capers in front of the White House, and tried twice to wind me up in the rope as we passed the Treasury. She kicked up her heels on the broad avenue and became very coltish as she came under the walls of the capitol. But that night the long-vacant stall in the old stable was filled, and the next morning the coffee had met with a change of heart. I had to go out twice with the lantern and survey my treasure before I went to bed. Did she not come from the delectable mountains, and did I not have a sort of filial regard for her as toward my foster mother?

This was during the Arcadian age at the capital, before the easy-going southern ways had gone out and the prim new northern ways had come in, and when the domestic animals were treated with distinguished consideration and granted the freedom of the city. There was a charm of cattle in the streets and upon the commons: goats cropped your rose bushes through the pickets, and nooned upon your front porch, and pigs dreamed Arcadian dreams under your garden fence or languidly frescoed it with pigments from the nearest pool. It was a time of peace; it was the poor man's golden age. Your cow, or your goat, or your pig led a vagrant, wandering life, and picked up a subsistence wherever they could, like the bees, which was almost everywhere. Your cow went forth in the morning and came home fraught with milk at night, and you never troubled yourself where she went or how far she roamed.

Chloe took very naturally to this kind of life. At first I had to go with her a few times and pilot her to the nearest commons, and then left her to her own wit, which never failed her. What adventures she had, what acquaintances she made, how far she wandered, I never knew. I never came across her in my walks or rambles. Indeed, on several occasions I thought I would look her up and see her feeding in the national pastures, but I never could find her. There were plenty of cows, but they were all strangers. But punctually, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, her white horns would be seen tossing above the gate and her impatient low be heard. Sometimes, when I turned her forth in the morning, she would pause and apparently consider which way she would go. Should she go toward Kendall Green to-day, or follow the Tiber, or over by the Big Spring, or out around Lincoln Hospital? She seldom reached a conclusion till she had stretched forth her neck and blown a blast on her trumpet that awoke the echoes in the very lantern on the dome of the capitol. Then, after one or two licks, she would disappear around the corner. Later in[Pg 49] the season, when the grass was parched or poor on the commons, and the corn and cabbage tempting in the garden, Chloe was loth to depart in the morning, and her deliberations were longer than ever, and very often I had to aid her in coming to a decision.

For two summers she was a well-spring of pleasure and profit in my farm of one acre, when in an evil moment I resolved to part with her and try another. In an evil moment I say, for from that time my luck in cattle left me. Juno never forgave me the execution of that rash and cruel resolve.

The day is indellibly stamped on my memory when I exposed my Chloe for sale in the public market place. It was in November, a bright, dreamy, Indian summer day. A sadness oppressed me, not unmixed with guilt and remorse. An old Irish woman came to the market also with her pets to sell, a sow and five pigs, and took up a position next me. We condoled with each other; we bewailed the fate of our darlings together; we berated in chorus the white-aproned but bloodstained fraternity who prowled about us. When she went away for a moment I minded the pigs, and when I strolled about she minded my cow. How shy the innocent beast was of those carnal market men. How she would shrink away from them. When they put out a hand to feel her condition she would "scrooch" down her back, or bend this way or that, as if the hand were a branding iron. So long as I stood by her head she felt safe—deluded creature—and chewed the cud of sweet content; but the moment I left her side she seemed filled with apprehension, and followed me with her eyes, lowing softly and entreatingly till I returned.

At last the money was counted out for her, and her rope surrendered to the hand of another. How that last look of alarm and incredulity, which I caught as I turned for a parting glance, went to my heart!

Her stall was soon filled, or partly filled, and this time with a native—a specimen of what may be called the cornstalk breed of Virginia: a slender, furtive, long-geared heifer just verging on cowhood, that in spite of my best efforts would wear a pinched and hungry look. She evidently inherited a humped back. It was a family trait, and evidence of the purity of her blood. For the native blooded cow of Virginia, from shivering over half rations of corn stalks, in the open air, during those bleak and windy winters, and roaming over those parched fields in summer, has come to have some marked features. For one thing, her pedal extremities seemed lengthened; for another, her udder does not impede her travelling; for a third, her backbone inclines strongly to the curve; then, she despiseth hay. This last is a sure test. Offer a thorough-bred Virginia cow hay, and she will laugh in your face; but rattle the husks or shucks, and she knows you to be her friend.

The new comer even declined corn meal at first. She eyed it furtively, then sniffed it suspiciously, but finally discovered that it bore some relation to her native "shucks," when she fell to eagerly.

I cherish the memory of this cow, however, as the most affectionate brute I ever knew. Being deprived of her calf, she transferred her affections to her master, and would fain have made a calf of him, lowing in the most piteous and inconsolable manner when he was out of her sight, hardly forgetting her grief long enough to eat her meal, and entirely neglecting her beloved husks. Often in the middle of the night she would set up that sonorous lamentation and continue it till sleep was chased from every eye in the household. This generally had the effect of bringing the object of her affection before her, but in a mood anything but filial or comforting. Still, at such times a kick seemed a comfort to her, and she would gladly have kissed the rod that was the instrument of my midnight wrath.[Pg 50]

But her tender star was destined soon to a fatal eclipse. Being tied with too long a rope on one occasion during my temporary absence, she got her head into the meal barrel, and stopped not till she had devoured nearly half a bushel of dry meal. The singularly placid and benevolent look that beamed from the meal-besmeared face when I discovered her was something to be remembered. For the first time also her spinal column came near assuming a horizontal line.

But the grist proved too much for her frail mill, and her demise took place on the third day, not of course without some attempt to relieve her on my part. I gave her, as is usual in such emergencies, everything I "could think of" and everything my neighbors could think of, besides some fearful prescriptions which I obtained from a German veterinary surgeon, but to no purpose. I imagined her poor maw distended and inflamed with the baking sodden mass which no physic could penetrate or enliven.

Thus ended my second venture in live stock. My third, which followed sharp upon the heels of this disaster, was scarcely more of a success. This time I led to the altar a buffalo cow, as they call the "mully" down south—a large, spotted, creamy-skinned cow, with a fine udder, that I persuaded a Jew drover to part with for ninety dollars. "Pag like a dish rack (rag)," said he, pointing to her udder after she had been milked. "You vill come pack and gif me the udder ten tollars" (for he had demanded an even hundred), he continued, "after you have had her a gouple of days." True I felt like returning to him after a "gouple of days," but not to pay the other ten dollars. The cow proved to be as blind as a bat, though capable of counterfeiting the act of seeing to perfection. For did she not lift up her head and follow with her eyes a dog that scaled the fence and ran through the other end of the lot, and the next moment dash my hopes thus raised by trying to walk over a locust tree thirty feet high? And when I set the bucket before her containing her first mess of meal, she missed it by several inches, and her nose brought up against the ground. Was it a kind of far-sightedness and near blindness? That was it, I think; she had genius, but not talent; she could see the man in the moon, but was quite oblivious to the man immediately in her front. Her eyes were telescopic and required a long range.

As long as I kept her in the stall, or confined to the enclosure, this strange eclipse of her sight was of little consequence. But when spring came, and it was time for her to go forth and seek her livelihood in the city's waste places, I was embarrassed. Into what remote corners or into what terra incognita might she not wander! There was little doubt but she would drift around home in the course of the summer, or perhaps as often as every week or two; but could she be trusted to find her way back every night? Perhaps she could be taught. Perhaps her other senses were acute enough to in a measure compensate her for her defective vision. So I gave her lessons in the topography of the country. I led her forth to graze for a few hours each day and led her home again. Then I left her to come home alone, which feat she accomplished very encouragingly. She came feeling her way along, stepping very high, but apparently a most diligent and interested sightseer. But she was not sure of the right house when she got to it, though she stared at it very hard.

Again I turned her forth, and again she came back, her telescopic eyes apparently of some service to her. On the third day there was a fierce thunderstorm late in the afternoon, and old buffalo did not come home. It had evidently scattered and bewildered what little wit she had. Being barely able to navigate those straits on a calm day, what could she be expected to do in a tempest?

After the storm had passed, and near sundown, I set out in quest of her, but could get no clue. I heard that two[Pg 51] cows had been struck by lightning about a mile out on the commons. My conscience instantly told me that one of them was mine. It would be a fit closing of the third act of this pastoral drama. Thitherward I bent my steps, and there upon the smooth plain I beheld the scorched and swollen forms of two cows slain by thunderbolts, but neither of them had ever been mine.

The next day I continued the search, and the next, and the next. Finally I hoisted an umbrella over my head, for the weather had become hot, and set out deliberately and systematically to explore every foot of open common on Capitol hill. I tramped many miles, and found every man's cow but my own—some twelve or fifteen hundred, I should think. I saw many vagrant boys and Irish and colored women, nearly all of whom had seen a buffalo cow that very day that answered exactly to my description, but in such diverse and widely separate places that I knew it was no cow of mine. And it was astonishing how many times I was myself deceived; how many rumps or heads, or liver backs or white flanks I saw peeping over knolls or from behind fences or other objects that could belong to no cow but mine!

Finally I gave up the search, concluded the cow had been stolen, and advertised her, offering a reward. But days passed, and no tidings were obtained. Hope began to burn pretty low—was indeed on the point of going out altogether, when one afternoon, as I was strolling over the commons (for in my walks I still hovered about the scenes of my lost milcher), I saw the rump of a cow, over a grassy knoll, that looked familiar. Coming nearer, the beast lifted up her head; and, behold! it was she! only a few squares from home, where doubtless she had been most of the time. I had overshot the mark in my search. I had ransacked the far-off, and had neglected the near-at-hand, as we are so apt to do. But she was ruined as a milcher, and her history thenceforward was brief and touching!

John Burroughs.


Who will tell him? Who will teach him?
Have you voices, merry birds?
Then be voice for me, and reach him
With a thousand pleading words.
Sing my secret, east and west,
Till his answer be confessed!
Roses, when you see him coming,
Light of heart and strong of limb,
Make your lover-bees stop humming;
Turn your blushes round to him—
Blush, dear flowers, that he may learn,
How a woman's heart can burn!
Wind—oh, wind—you happy rover!
Oh that I were half as free—
Leave your honey-bells and clover,
Go and seek my love for me.
Find, kiss, clasp him, make him know
It is I who love him so!

Mary Ainge De Vere.

[Pg 52]


One of the most curious cases that ever came under my notice in a long course of criminal practice was not brought into any court, and, as I believe, has never been published until now. The details of the affair came under my personal cognizance in the following manner:

In 1858 I went down into the Shenandoah valley to spend my summer vacation among the innumerable Pages, Marshalls, and Cookes who all hailed me as cousin, by right of traditional intermarriages generations back. My first visit was to the house of McCormack Beardsley, a kinsman and school-fellow whom I had not seen since we parted at the university twenty years before.

We were both gray-haired old fellows now, but I had grown thin and sharp in the courts of Baltimore and Washington, while he had lived quietly on his plantation, more fat and jovial and genial with every year.

Beardsley possessed large means then, and maintained the unlimited hospitality usual among large Virginia planters before the war. The house was crowded during my stay with my old friends from the valley and southern countries. His daughter, too, was not only a beauty, but a favorite among the young people, and brought many attractive, well-bred girls about her, and young men who were not so attractive or well bred. Lack of occupation and a definite career had reduced the sons of too many Virginia families at that time to cards and horses as their sole pursuits; the war, while it left them penniless, was in one sense their salvation.

One evening, sitting on the verandah with Beardsley, smoking, and looking in the open windows of the parlor, I noticed a woman who sat a little apart, and who, as I fancied, was avoided by the younger girls. In a Virginia country party there are always two or three unmarried women, past their first youth, with merry blue eyes, brown hair, and delicate features—women "with a history," but who are none the less good dancers, riders, and able to put all their cleverness into the making of a pie or a match for their cousins. This woman was blue-eyed and brown-haired, but she had none of the neat, wide-awake self-possession of her class. She had a more childish expression, and spoke with a more timid uncertainty, than even Lotty Beardsley, who was still in the schoolroom. I called my host's attention to her and asked who she was.

"It is the daughter of my cousin, General George Waring. You remember him surely—of the Henrico branch of Warings?"

"Certainly. But he had only one child—Louisa; and I remember receiving an invitation to her wedding years ago."

"Yes. This is Louisa. The wedding never took place. It's an odd story," he said, after a pause, "and the truth is, Floyd, I brought the girl here while you were with us in the hope that you, with your legal acumen, could solve the mystery that surrounds her. I'll give the facts to you to-morrow—it's impossible to do it now. But tell me, in the mean time, how she impresses you, looking at her as a lawyer would at a client, or a—a prisoner on trial. Do you observe anything peculiar in her face or manner?"

"I observed a very peculiar manner in all those about her—an effort at cordiality in which they did not succeed; a certain constraint in look and tone while speaking to her. I even saw it in yourself just now as soon as you mentioned her name."

"You did? I'm sorry for that—ex[Pg 53]ceedingly sorry!" anxiously. "I believe in Louisa Waring's innocence as I do in that of my own child; and if I thought she was hurt or neglected in this house—— But there's a cloud on the girl, Floyd—that's a fact. It don't amount even to suspicion. If it did, one could argue it down. But——Well, what do you make of her—her face now?"

"It is not an especially clever face, nor one that indicates power of any kind; not the face of a woman who of her own will would be the heroine of any remarkable story. I should judge her to have been a few years ago one of the sensible, light-hearted, sweet-tempered girls of whom there are so many in Virginia; a nice housekeeper, and one who would have made a tender wife and mother."

"Well, well? Nothing more?"

"Yes. She has not matured into womanhood as such girls do. She looks as if her growth in every-day experiences had stopped years ago; that while her body grew older her mind had halted, immature, incomplete. A great grief might have had that effect, or the absorption of all her faculties by one sudden, mastering idea."

"You are a little too metaphysical for me," said Beardsley. "Poor Lou isn't shrewd by any means, and always gives me the feeling that she needs care and protection more than most women, if that is what you mean."

"There is a singular expression in her face at times," I resumed.

"Ah! Now you have it!" he muttered.

"Sitting there in your parlor, where there is certainly nothing to dread, she has glanced behind and about her again and again, as though she heard a sound that frightened her. I observe, too, that when any man speaks to her she fixes on him a keen, suspicious look. She does not have it with women. It passes quickly, but it is there. It is precisely the expression of an insane person, or a guilty one dreading arrest."

"You are a close observer, Floyd. I told my wife that we could not do better than submit the whole case to your judgment. We are all Lou's friends in the neighborhood; but we cannot look at the matter with your legal experience and unprejudiced eyes. Come, let us go into supper now."

The next morning I was summoned to Beardsley's "study" (so called probably from the total absence of either book or newspaper), and found himself and his wife awaiting me, and also a Doctor Scheffer, whom I had previously noticed among the guests—a gaunt, hectic young man, apparently on the high road to death, the victim of an incurable consumption.

"I asked William Scheffer to meet us here," said Mr. Beardsley, "as Louisa Waring was an inmate of his father's house at the time of the occurrence. She and William were children and playmates together. I believe I am right, William. You knew all the circumstances of that terrible night?"

The young man's heavy face changed painfully. "Yes; as much as was known to any one but Louisa, and—the guilty man, whoever he was. But why are you dragging out that wretched affair?" turning angrily on Mrs. Beardsley. "Surely any friend of Miss Waring's would try to bury the past for her!"

"No," said the lady calmly. "It has been buried quite too long, in my opinion; for she has carried her burden for six years. It is time now that we should try to lift it for her. You are sitting in a draught, William. Sit on this sofa."

Scheffer, coughing frightfully, and complaining with all the testiness of a long-humored invalid, was disposed of at last, and Beardsley began:

"The story is briefly this. Louisa, before her father's death, was engaged to be married to Colonel Paul Merrick (Merricks of Clarke county, you know). The wedding was postponed for a year when General Waring died, and Louisa went to her uncle's—your father, Wil[Pg 54]liam—to live during that time. When the year was over, every preparation was made for the marriage: invitations were sent to all the kinsfolk on both sides (and that included three or four counties on a rough guess), and we—the immediate family—were assembled at Major Scheffer's preparing for the grand event, when——" Beardsley became now excessively hot and flurried, and getting up, thumped heavily up and down the room.

"After all, there is nothing to tell. Why should we bring in a famous lawyer to sit in judgment on her as if the girl were a criminal? She only did, Floyd, what women have done since the beginning—changed her mind without reason. Paul Merrick was as clever and lovable a young fellow as you would find in the State, and Louisa was faithful to him—she's faithful to him yet; but on the night before the wedding she refused to marry him, and has persisted in the refusal ever since, without assigning a cause."

"Is that all of the story?" I asked.

Beardsley was silent.

"No," said his wife gently; "that is not all. I thought McCormack's courage would fail before he gave you the facts. I shall try and tell you——"

"Only the facts, if you please, without any inferences or opinions of others."

The old lady paused for a moment, and then began: "A couple of days before the wedding we went over to Major Scheffer's to help prepare for it. You know we have no restaurateurs nor confectioners to depend upon, and such occasions are busy seasons. The gentlemen played whist, rode about the plantation, or tried the Major's wines, while indoors we, all of us—married ladies and girls and a dozen old aunties—were at work with cakes, creams, and pastry. I recollect I took over our cook, Prue, because Lou fancied nobody could make such wine jelly as hers. Then Lou's trousseau was a very rich one, and she wanted to try on all of her pretty dresses, that we might see how——"

"My dear!" interrupted Mr. Beardsley, "this really appears irrelevant to the matter——"

"Not at all. I wish Mr. Floyd to gain an idea of Louisa's temper and mood at that time. The truth is, she was passionately fond of her lover, and very happy that her marriage was so near; and being a modest little thing, she hid her feeling under an incessant, merry chatter about dresses and jellies. Don't you agree with me, William?"

The sick man turned on the sofa with a laugh, which looked ghastly enough on his haggard face. "I submit, Aunt Sophie, that it is hardly fair to call me in as a witness in this case. I waited on Lou for two or three years, Mr. Floyd, and she threw me over for Merrick. It is not likely that I was an unprejudiced observer of her moods just then."

"Nonsense, William. I knew that was but the idlest flirtation between you, or I should not have brought you here now," said his aunt. "Well, Mr. Floyd, the preparations all were completed on the afternoon before the wedding. Some of the young people had gathered in the library—Paul Merrick and his sisters and—you were there, William?"

"Yes, I was there."

"And they persuaded Lou to put on her wedding dress and veil to give them a glimpse of the bride. I think it was Paul who wished it. He was a hot, eager young fellow, and he was impatient to taste his happiness by anticipation. It was a dull, gusty afternoon in October. I remember the contrast she made to the gray, cold day as she came in, shy and blushing, and her eyes sparkling, in her haze of white, and stood in front of the window. She was so lovely and pure that we were all silent. It seemed as if she belonged then to her lover alone, and none of us had a right to utter a word. He went up to her, but no one heard what he said, and then took her by the hand and led her reverently to the door. Presently I met her coming[Pg 55] out of her chamber in a cloak and hat. Her maid Abby was inside, folding the white dress and veil. 'I am going down to Aunty Huldah's,' Lou said to me. 'I promised her to come again before I was married and tell her the arrangements all over once more.' Huldah was an old colored woman, Lou's nurse, who lived down on the creek bank and had long been bedridden. I remember that I said to Louisa that the walk would be long and lonely, and told her to call Paul to accompany her. She hesitated a moment, and then turned to the door, saying Huldah would probably be in one of her most funereal moods, and that she would not have Paul troubled on the eve of his wedding day. She started, running and looking back with a laugh, down the hill." Mrs. Beardsley faltered and stopped.

"Go on," said Dr. Scheffer. "The incidents which follow are all that really affect Louisa's guilt or innocence."

"Go on, mother," said Beardsley hastily. "Louisa's innocence is not called in question. Remember that. Tell everything you know without scruple."

The old lady began again in a lower voice: "We expected an arrival that afternoon—Houston Simms, a distant kinsman of Major Scheffer's. He was from Kentucky—a large owner of blooded stock—and was on his way home from New York, where his horses had just won the prizes at the fall races. He had promised to stop for the wedding, and the carriage had been sent to the station to meet him. The station, as you know, is five miles up the road. By some mistake the carriage was late, and Houston started, with his valise in his hand, to walk to the house, making a short cut through the woods. When the carriage came back empty, and the driver told this to us, some of the young men started down to meet the old gentleman. It was then about four o'clock, and growing dark rapidly. The wind, I recollect, blew sharply, and a cold rain set in. I came out on the long porch, and walked up and down, feeling uneasy and annoyed at Louisa's prolonged absence. Colonel Merrick, who had been looking for her all through the house, had just learned from me where she had gone, and was starting with umbrellas to meet her, when she came suddenly up to us, crossing the ploughed field, not from the direction of Huldah's cabin, but from the road. We both hurried toward her; but when she caught sight of Colonel Merrick she stopped short, putting out her hands with a look of terror and misery quite indescribable. 'Take me away from him! Oh, for God's sake!' she cried. I saw she had suffered some great shock, and taking her in my arms, led her in, motioning him to keep back. She was so weak as to fall, but did not faint, nor lose consciousness for a single moment. All night she lay, her eyes wandering from side to side as in momentary expectancy of the appearance of some one. No anodyne had any effect upon her—every nerve seemed strained to its utmost tension. But she did not speak a word except at the sound of Colonel Merrick's voice or step, when she would beg piteously that he should be kept away from her. Toward morning she fell into a kind of stupor, and when she awoke appeared to be calmer. She beckoned to me, and asked that her uncle Scheffer and Judge Grove, her other guardian, should be sent for. She received them standing, apparently quite grave and composed. She asked that several other persons should be called in, desiring, she said, to have as many witnesses as possible to what she was about to make known. 'You all know,' she said, 'that to-morrow was to have been my wedding day. I wish you now to bear witness that I refuse to-day or at any future time to marry Paul Merrick, and that no argument or persuasion will induce me to do so. And I wish,' raising her hand, to keep silence—'I wish to say publicly that it is no fault or ill doing of[Pg 56] Colonel Merrick's that has driven me to this resolve. I say this as in the sight of Almighty God.' Nobody argued, or scarcely, indeed, spoke to her. Every one saw that she was physically a very ill woman; and it was commonly believed that she had received some sudden shock which had unhinged her mind. An hour afterward the searching party came in (for the young men, not finding Houston Simms, had gone out again to search for him). They had found his dead body concealed in the woods by Mill's spring. You know the place. There was a pistol shot through the head, and a leathern pocketbook, which had apparently contained money, was found empty a few feet away. That was the end of it all, Mr. Floyd."

"You mean that Simms's murderer was never found?"

"Never," said Beardsley, "though detectives were brought down from Richmond and set on the track. Their theory—a plausible one enough too—was that Simms had been followed from New York by men who knew the large sum he earned from the races, and that they had robbed and murdered him, and readily escaped through the swamps."

"It never was my belief," said Dr. Scheffer, "that he was murdered at all. It was hinted that he had stopped in a gambling house in New York, and there lost whatever sum he had won at the races; and that rather than meet his family in debt and penniless, he blew out his brains in the first lonely place to which he came. That explanation was plain enough."

"What was the end of the story so far as Miss Waring was concerned?" I asked.

"Unfortunately, it never has had an end," said Mrs. Beardsley. "The mystery remains. She was ill afterward; indeed, it was years before she regained her bodily strength as before. But her mind had never been unhinged, as Paul Merrick thought. He waited patiently, thinking that some day her reason would return, and she would come back to him. But Louisa Waring was perfectly sane even in the midst of her agony on that night. From that day until now she has never by word or look given any clue by which the reason of her refusal to marry him could be discovered. Of course the murder and her strange conduct produced a great excitement in this quiet neighborhood. But you can imagine all that. I simply have given you the facts which bear on the case."

"The first suspicion, I suppose, rested on Merrick?" I said.

"Yes. The natural explanation of her conduct was that she had witnessed an encounter in the woods between Simms and her lover, in which the old man was killed. Fortunately, however, Paul Merrick had not left the house once during the afternoon until he went out with me to meet her."

"And then Miss Waring was selected as the guilty party?"

No one answered for a moment. Young Scheffer lay with his arm over his face, which had grown so worn and haggard as the story was told that I doubted whether his affection for the girl had been the slight matter which he chose to represent it.

"No," said Beardsley; "she never was openly accused, nor even subjected to any public interrogation. She came to the house in the opposite direction from the spot where the murder took place. And there was no rational proof that she had any cognizance of it. But there were not wanting busybodies to suggest that she had met Simms in the woods, and at some proffered insult from him had fired the fatal shot."

His wife's fair old face flushed. "How can you repeat such absurdity, McCormack?" she said. "Louisa Waring was as likely to go about armed as—as I!" knitting vehemently at a woollen stocking she had held idly until now.

"I know it was absurd, my dear. But you know as well as I that though it was but the mere breath of suspi[Pg 57]cion, it has always clung to the girl and set her apart as it were from other women."

"What effect did that report have on Merrick?" I asked.

"The effect it would have on any man deserving the name," said Beardsley. "If he loved her passionately before, she has been, I believe, doubly dear to him since. But she has never allowed him to meet her since that night."

"You think her feeling is unchanged for him?"

"I have no doubt of it," Mrs. Beardsley said. "There is nothing in Lou's nature out of which you could make a heroine of tragedy. After the first shock of that night was over she was just the commonplace little body she was before, and could not help showing how fond she was of her old lover. But she quietly refused to ever see him again."

"Merrick went abroad three years ago," interposed her husband. "I'll let you into a secret, Floyd. I've determined there shall be an end of this folly. I have heard from him that he will be at home next week, and is as firm as ever in his resolve to marry Miss Waring. I brought her here so that she could not avoid meeting him. Now if you, Floyd, could only manage—could look into this matter before the meeting, and set it to rights, clear the poor child of this wretched suspicion that hangs about her? Well, now you know why I have told you the story."

"You have certainly a sublime faith in Mr. Floyd's skill," said Scheffer with a disagreeable laugh. "I wish him success." He rose with difficulty, and wrapping his shawl about him, went feebly out of the room.

"William is soured through his long illness," Beardsley hastened to say apologetically. "And he cared more for Lou than I supposed. We were wrong to bring him in this morning"; and he hurried out to help him up the stairs. Mrs. Beardsley laid down her knitting, and glanced cautiously about her. I saw that the vital point of her testimony had been omitted until now.

"I think it but right to tell you—nobody has ever heard it before"—coming close to me, her old face quite pale. "When I undressed Louisa that night her shoes and stockings were stained, and a long reddish hair clung to her sleeve. She had trodden over the bloody ground and handled the murdered man."

Every professional man will understand me when I say I was glad to hear this. Hitherto the girl's whim and the murder appeared to me two events connected only by the accident of occurrence on the same day. Now there was but one mystery to solve.

Whatever success I have had in my practice has been due to my habit of boldly basing my theories upon the known character of the parties implicated, and not upon more palpable accidental circumstances. Left to myself now, I speedily resolved this case into a few suppositions, positive to me as facts. The girl had been present at the murder. She was not naturally reticent: was instead an exceptionally confiding, credulous woman. Her motive for silence, therefore, must have been a force brought to bear on her at the time of the murder stronger than her love for Merrick, and which was still existing and active. Her refusal to meet her lover I readily interpreted to be a fear of her own weakness—dread lest she should betray this secret to him. Might not her refusal to marry him be caused by the same fear? some crushing disgrace or misery which threatened her through the murder, and which she feared to bring upon her husband? The motive I had guessed to be strong as her love: what if it were her love? Having stepped from surmise to surmise so far, I paused to strengthen my position by the facts. There were but two ways in which this murder could have prevented her marriage—through Merrick's guilt or her own. His innocence was proven; hers I did not[Pg 58] doubt after I had again carefully studied her face. Concealed guilt leaves its secret signature upon the mouth and eye in lines never to be mistaken by a man who has once learned to read them.

Were there but these two ways? There was a third, more probable than either—fear. At the first presentation of this key to the riddle the whole case mapped itself out before me. The murderer had sealed her lips by some threat. He was still living, and she was in daily expectation of meeting him. She had never seen his face, but had reason to believe him of her own class. (This supposition I based on her quick, terrified inspection of every man's face who approached her.) Now what threat could have been strong enough to keep a weak girl silent for years, and to separate her from her lover on their wedding day? I knew women well enough to say, none against herself; the threat I believed hung over Merrick's head, and would be fulfilled if she betrayed the secret or married him, which, with a weak, loving woman, was equivalent, as any man would know, to betrayal.

I cannot attempt to make the breaks in this reasoning solid ground for my readers; it was solid ground for me.

The next morning Beardsley met me on leaving the breakfast table. He held a letter open in his hand, and looked annoyed and anxious.

"Here's a note from Merrick. He sailed a week sooner than he expected—has left New York, and will be here to-night. If I had only put the case in your hands earlier! I had a hope that you could clear the little girl. But it's too late. She'll take flight as soon as she hears he is coming. Scheffer says it's a miserable, bloody muddle, and that I was wrong to stir it up."

"I do not agree with Dr. Scheffer," I said quietly. "I am going now to the library. In half an hour send Miss Waring to me."

"You have not yet been presented to her?"

"So much the better. I wish her to regard me as a lawyer simply. State to her as formally as you choose who I am, and that I desire to see her on business."

I seated myself in the library; placed pen and ink, and some legal-looking documents, selected at random, before me. Red tape and the formal pomp of law constitute half its force with women and men of Louisa's calibre. I had hardly arranged myself and my materials when the door slowly opened, and she entered. She was alarmed, yet wary. To see a naturally hearty, merry little body subjected for years to this nervous strain, with a tragic idea forced into a brain meant to be busied only with dress, cookery, or babies, appeared to me a pitiful thing.

"Miss Waring?" reducing the ordinary courtesies to a curt, grave nod. "Be seated, if you please." I turned over my papers slowly, and then looked up at her. I had, I saw, none of the common feminine shrewdness to deal with; need expect no subtle devices of concealment; no clever doublings; nothing but the sheer obstinacy which is an unintellectual woman's one resource. I would ignore it and her—boldly assume full possession of the ground at the first word.

"My errand to this house, Miss Waring, is in part the investigation of a murder in 1854, of which you were the sole witness—that of Houston Simms——"

I stopped. The change in her face appalled me. She had evidently not expected so direct an attack. In fact, Beardsley told me afterward that it was the first time the subject had been broached to her in plain words. However, she made no reply, and I proceeded in the same formal tone:

"I shall place before you the facts which are in my possession, and require your assent to such as are within your knowledge. On the afternoon of Tuesday, October 5, 1854, Houston Simms left the Pine Valley station, carrying a valise containing a large sum of money. You——"[Pg 59]

She had been sitting on the other side of the table, looking steadily at me. She rose now. She wore a blue morning dress, with lace ruffles and other little fooleries in which women delight, and I remember being shocked with the strange contrast between this frippery and the speechless dread and misery of her face. She gained control of her voice with difficulty.

"Who has said that I was a witness of the murder?" she gasped. "I always explained that I was in another part of the wood. I went to aunty Huldah——"

"Pray do not interrupt me, Miss Waring. I am aware that you were the witness—the sole witness—in this matter." (She did not contradict me. I was right in my first guess—she had been alone with the murderer.) "On returning from your nurse's cabin you left the direct path and followed the sound of angry voices to the gorge by Mill's spring——"

"I did not go to play the spy. He lied when he said that," she cried feebly. "I heard the steps, and thought Colonel Merrick had come to search for me."

"That matters nothing. You saw the deed done. The old man was killed, and then robbed, in your sight"—I came toward her, and lowered my voice to a stern, judicial whisper, while the poor girl shrank back as though I were law itself uttering judgment upon her. If she had known what stagy guesswork it all was! "When you were discovered, the murderer would have shot you to insure your silence."

"I wish he had! It was Thad who would have done that. The white man's way was more cruel—oh, God knows it was more cruel!"

(There were two then.) I was very sorry for the girl, but I had a keen pleasure in the slow unfolding of the secret, just as I suppose the physician takes delight in the study of a new disease, even if it kills the patient.

"Yes," I said with emphasis. "I believe that it would have been less suffering for you, Miss Waring, to have died then than to have lived, forced as you were to renounce your lover, and to carry about with you the dread of the threat made by those men."

"I have not said there was a threat made. I have betrayed nothing." She had seated herself some time before by the table. There was a large bronze inkstand before her, and as she listened she arranged a half dozen pens evenly on the rest. The words she heard and spoke mattered more to her than life or death; her features were livid as those of a corpse, yet her hands went on with their mechanical work—one pen did not project a hair's breadth beyond the other. We lawyers know how common such puerile, commonplace actions are in the supreme moments of life, and how seldom men wring their hands, or use tragic gesture, or indeed words.

"No, you have betrayed nothing," I said calmly. "Your self-control has been remarkable, even when we remember that you believed your confession would be followed by speedy vengeance, not on your head, but Colonel Merrick's."

She looked up not able to speak for a minute. "You—you know all?"

"Not all, but enough to assure you that your time of suffering is over. You can speak freely, unharmed."

Her head dropped on the table. She was crying, and, I think, praying.

"You saw Houston Simms killed by two men, one of whom, the negro Thad, you knew. The white man's face was covered. You did not recognize him. But he knew you, and the surest way to compel you to silence. I wish you now to state to me all the details of this man's appearance, voice, and manner, to show me any letters which you have received from him since" (a random guess, which I saw hit the mark)—"in short, every circumstance which you can recall about him."

She did not reply.

"My dear Miss Waring, you need have no fear on Colonel Merrick's ac[Pg 60]count. The law has taken this matter out of your hands. Colonel Merrick is protected by the law."

"Oh! I did not understand," meekly.

To be brief, she told me the whole story. When she reached the spring she had found the old man bleeding and still breathing. He died in her arms. The men, who had gone back into the laurel to open the valise, came back upon her. The negro was a desperate character, well known in the county. He had died two years later. The other man was masked and thoroughly disguised. He had stopped the negro when he would have killed her, and after a few minutes' consultation had whispered to him the terms upon which she was allowed to escape.

"You did not hear the white man's voice?"

"Not once."

"Bring me the letters you have received from him."

She brought two miserably spelled and written scrawls on soiled bits of paper. It was the writing of an educated man, poorly disguised. He threatened to meet her speedily, warned her that he had spies constantly about her.

"That is all the evidence you can give me?"

"All." She rose to go. I held the door open for her, when she hesitated.

"There was something more—a mere trifle."

"Yes. But most likely the one thing that I want."

"I returned to the spring again and again for months afterward. People thought I was mad. I may have been; but I found there one day a bit of reddish glass with a curious mark on it."

"You have it here?"

She brought it to me. It was a fragment of engraved sardonyx, apparently part of a seal; the upper part of a head was cut upon it; the short hairs curving forward on the low forehead showed that the head was that of Hercules.

Some old recollection rose in my brain, beginning, as I may say, to gnaw uncertainly. I went to my room for a few minutes to collect myself, and then sought Beardsley.

He was pacing up and down the walk to the stables, agitated as though he had been the murderer.

"Well, Floyd, well! What chance is there? What have you discovered?"

"Everything. One moment. I have a question or two to ask you. About ten years ago you commissioned me to buy for you in New York a seal—an intaglio of great value—a head of Hercules, as I remember. What did you do with it?"

"Gave it to Job Scheffer, William's father. Will has it now, though I think it is broken."

"Very well. What have Dr. Scheffer's habits been, by the way? Was he as fond of turning the cards as the other young fellows?"

"Oh, yes, poor boy! There was a rumor some years ago that he was frightfully involved in Baltimore—that it would ruin the old man, in fact, to clear off his debts of honor. But it died out. I suppose William found some way of straightening them out."

"Probably. Where is Dr. Scheffer now? I have a message for him."

"In his room. But this matter of Louisa Waring——"

"Presently. Have patience."

I went up to the young man's room. After all, the poor wretch was dying, and to compel him to blast his own honorable name seemed but brutal cruelty. I had to remember the poor girl's wasted face and hopeless eyes before I could summon courage to open the door after I had knocked. I think he expected me, and knew all that I had to say. A man in health would soon have known that I was acting on surmise, and defied me to the proof. Scheffer, I fancied, had been creeping through life for years with death in two shapes pursuing him, step by step. He yielded, cowed submissive at the first touch, and only pleaded feebly for mercy.

The negro had been his body servant—knew his desperate straits, and[Pg 61] dragged him into the crime. Then, he had loved Louisa: he was maddened by her approaching marriage. The scheme of ensuring her silence and driving Merrick away was the inspiration of a moment, and had succeeded. He only asked for mercy. His time was short. He could not live beyond a few weeks. I would not bring him to the gallows.

I was merciful, and I think was right to be so. His deposition was taken before his uncle, Mr. Beardsley, who was a magistrate, and two other men of position and weight in the community. It was to be kept secret until after his death, and then made public. He was removed at once to his father's house.

On Colonel Merrick's arrival that evening, this deposition was formally read to him. I do not think it impressed him very much. He was resolved to marry Miss Waring in spite of every obstacle.

"But I never would have married you unless the truth had been discovered—never," she said to him that evening as they stood near me in the drawing-room. Her cheeks were warm, and her dark eyes full of tender light. I thought her a very lovely woman.

"Then I owe you to Mr. Floyd after all?" he said, looking down at her fondly.

"Oh, I suppose so," with a shrug. "But he is a very disagreeable person! Cast-iron, you know. I am so thankful you are not a lawyer, Paul."

James M. Floyd.


I would I were mighty, victorious,
A monarch of steel and of gold—
I would I were one of the glorious
Divinities hallowed of old—
A god of the ancient sweet fashion
Who mingled with women and men,
A deity human in passion,
Transhuman in strength and in ken.
For then I could render the pleasure
I win from the sight of your face;
For then I could utter my treasure
Of homage and thanks for your grace;
I could dower, illumine, and gladden,
Could rescue from perils and tears,
And my speech could vibrate and madden
With eloquence worthy your ears.
You meet me: you smile and speak kindly;
One minute I marvel and gaze,
Idolatrous, worshipping blindly,
Yet mindful of decorous ways.
You pass; and the glory is ended,
Though lustres and sconces may glow:
The goddess who made the scene splendid
Has vanished; and darkly I go.
You know not how swiftly you mounted
The throne in the depths of my eyes;
You care not how meekly I counted
Those moments for pearls of the skies;
Or, knowing it, all is forgotten
The moment I pass from your sight—
Consigned to the fancies begotten
Of chaos and slumber and night.
But I—I remember your glances,
Your carelessest gesture and word,
And out of them fashion romances
Man never yet uttered nor heard;
Romances too splendid for mortals,
Too sweet for a planet of dole;
Romances which open the portals
Of Eden, and welcome my soul.

J. W. DeForest.

[Pg 62]


Poets, in every age since the time of Anacreon, have sung odes in praise of wine. The greatest bards of every clime have sought inspiration in its sparkling depths. But the poet, even German, is yet unborn, who, moved by sweet memories of the nectar of his fatherland, shall chant in rhyme the virtues of his national drink. Yet though its merit has inspired neither of the sister graces, poetry and song, to strike the lyre in its honor, it has had, none the less, an important mission to perform. To its plebeian sister beer, as a healthful beverage, wine must yield the palm. As a common drink, suited to human nature's daily need, it has never been surpassed. If it has nerved no hand to deeds of daring, or struck the scintillating sparks of genius from the human brain, it has added immensely to the health, long life, and happiness of many nations, and is destined to still greater triumphs, as life becomes studied more from a hygienic standpoint.

Beer is believed to have been invented by the Egyptians, and is of almost universal use; the zone of the cereals being more extended than that of the grape. Greek writers before Christ mention a drink composed of barley, under the name of zythos. This beverage was not unknown to the Romans, and we find it first mentioned by the historian Tacitus. By the nations of the West it was regarded as a nourishing drink for poor people. They prepared it from honey and wheat. Among the ancient Germans and Scandinavians, however, beer was in former times the national beverage, and was prepared from barley, wheat, or oats, with the addition of oak bark, and later of hops.

The ancients put bitter herbs in beer, and the present use of hops is in imitation. Modern beer was born at the time of Charlemagne, an epoch at which hops were first cultivated. The earliest writing in which one finds mention of hops as an aroma to beer is in a parchment of St. Hildegarde, abbess of the convent of St. Rupert, at Bingen on the Rhine. The art of fabricating beer remained for a long time a privilege of convents. The priests drank Pater's beer, while the lighter or convent beer was used by the laity. Although beer has been manufactured of all the cereals, barley only can be called its true and legitimate father.

Bavaria and Franconia were already in the fourteenth century celebrated for their excellent beer, and the German cities, of which each one soon had its own brewery, vied with their predecessors. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the Upper and Lower Saxony breweries became well known. The Braunschweiger, Einbeker, Göttinger, Bremer, and Hamburger beer, as well as the breweries of the cities of Würzen, Zwickau, Torgau, Merseburg, and Goslar, were far and wide celebrated. Bavarian beer has long made the tour of the world. Bock beer from Bavaria and from the Erzgebirge is exported to Java and China.

German lager beer, as a healthy and lightly stimulating beverage, is welcome in both hot and cold countries. It is liked as well by the Russians and Scandinavians as by the inhabitants of the tropics. It is brewed by Germans in all parts of the globe—in Valenciennes, Antwerp, Madrid, Constantinople, and even in Australia, Chili, and Brazil.

The English commenced later than the Germans to make beer. In 1524, however, they not only brewed beer, but used hops in its fabrication.

The Greek and Latin races, which drank wine, had but little taste for beer, which divided them from the Germanic races as a sharp boundary.[Pg 63] Beer and wine seem to have had an influence in forming the temperament of these widely differing races. While wine excites the nervous system, beer tranquillizes and calms it. The action of a particular kind of daily drink, used for centuries, must in this respect have been more or less potent. Hence, perhaps, the Teuton's phlegm and the Gaul's excitability.

There may be said to be three principal types of beer—the Bavarian, Belgian, and English. The Bavarian is obtained by the infusion or decoction of sprouted barley; then by the fermentation of deposit, in tubs painted internally with resin. The varieties most appreciated are the Bock and Salvator beers. The beers of Belgium have the special character of being prepared by spontaneous fermentation, and the process is therefore slow. The principal varieties are the Lambick, the Faro, the March beer, and the Uytzd. In the English beer the must is prepared by simple infusion and the fermentation is superficial. On account of its great alcoholic richness it is easily conserved. The ale, the porter, and the stout are the chief varieties of English beer, which differ among themselves only by the diverse proportion of their ingredients and the different degrees of torrefaction of the barley, rendering it more or less brown. In France only the superficial method of fermentation is employed. In a litre of Strasburg beer one finds 5 1-4 grammes of albumen, 45 grammes of alcohol, and .091 of salts. The ordinary Bavarian beer contains three per cent. of alcohol and six and a half per cent. of nourishing extracts. The beers the most sticky to the touch are the heaviest in volume and the most nutritious. It is historical that in very olden days the Munich city fathers tried the goodness of the beer by pouring it out on a bench and then sitting down in their leather inexpressibles, and approved of it only when they remained glued to the seat.

In Nuremberg there is a school of brewers, where one may learn all the mysteries of beer brewing. Certain breweries, however, pretend to possess secrets pertaining to the art known exclusively to them. For example, one family near Leipsic is said to have possessed for a century the secret which chemistry has tried in vain to discover, of making the famous Gose beer.

"Good beer," says Dr. Paolo Mantegazza, a celebrated Italian writer on medicine, "is certainly one of the most healthy of alcoholic drinks. The bitter tonic, the richness of the alimentary principle which it contains, and its digestibility make it a real liquid food, which, for many temperaments, is medicine. The English beer, which is stronger in spirit than some wines, never produces on the stomach that union of irritating phenomena vulgarly called heat, and for this reason beer is often tolerated by the most weak and irritable persons, and can be drunk with advantage in grave diseases."[A] Laveran, a French physician, counsels it for consumptives, and for nervous thin people in the most diverse climates.

In the intoxication by beer there is always more or less stupidity. Beer is by no means favorable to l'esprit. It is doubtful if it has ever inspired the great poets or the profound thinkers who make Germany, in science, the leading country in Europe. Reich, Voigt, and many great writers have launched their anathemas against it. As a stimulant beer is less potent than wine or tea and coffee. The forces of soldiers have never been sustained on a fatiguing march, nor can they be incited to a battle, by plentiful libations of beer. During the late French-Prussian war nearly every provision train which left Bavaria carried supplies of beer to the Bavarian troops. It was found very favorable for the convalescent soldiers in the hospitals, but inferior to coffee or wine as a stimulant on the eve of battle.

The old chroniclers of Bavaria relate this curious tale of the origin of the celebrated bock beer. There was one [Pg 64]day in olden times at the table of the Duke of Bavaria, as guest, a Brunswick nobleman. Now there had long prevailed at the court the custom of presenting to noble guests, after the meal, a beaker of the Bavarian barley juice, not without a warning as to its strength. The Brunswicker received the usual cup, emptied it at a draught, and pronounced it excellent. "But," he continued, "such barley juice as we brew at home in Brunswick is equalled by no other. Our Mumme is the king of beers, so that the bravest drinker cannot take two beakers of it without sinking under the table." The duke listened with displeasure to the haughty words of the knight, for he was not a little proud of the brewings of his country, and commanded his cup-bearer, with a meaning look, to challenge him.

"By your leave, Sir Knight," replied the page, "what you say is not quite true. If it pleases you and my lord Duke, I should like to lay a wager with you."

The duke nodded assent, and the knight, smiling scornfully, challenged the cup-bearer to pledge him.

"Your Brunswick Mumme," continued the page, "may pass as a refreshing drink; but with our beer you cannot compare it, for the best of our brewings is unknown to you. In case, however, you please again to make your appearance at the hospitable court of my gracious lord, I will promise you a beaker of beer which cannot be equalled in any other country of united Christendom. I will drink the greatest bumper that can be found in our court of your Mumme at one draught, if you can take of our beer, even slowly, three beakers. He who a half hour afterward can stand on one leg and thread a needle shall win the wager, and receive from the other a mighty cask of Tokayer Rebensafte."

This speech received loud applause, and the Brunswicker laughingly accepted the challenge.

After the knight had departed the duke tapped the page on the shoulder and said, "Take care that thou dost not repent thy word, and that the Brunswicker does not win the wager."

The first morning in May the Brunswicker rode into the castle and was welcomed by the duke. All eyes were turned on the cup-bearer, who shortly afterward appeared with a suite of pages carrying on a bier two little casks, one bearing the Bavarian arms and the other those of Brunswick. The right to give to the contents of the former a particular name was reserved to the duke. The page produced likewise a monstrous silver bumper and three beakers of the ordinary size. It was long before the bumper was filled to the rim, and then it required two men to raise it to the table. In the mean time another page placed the three beakers before the knight, who could not suppress a sarcastic laugh at the huge bumper which the page, taking in his strong arms, placed to his lips. As the knight emptied the last beaker the cup-bearer turned down the bumper. Two needles and a bundle of silk lay on the table. It wanted a few moments of the half hour, and the Brunswicker ran toward the garden for fresh air. Hardly arrived in the court, a peculiar swimming of the head seized him, so that he fell to the ground. A servant saw him from the window, and hastened out, followed by the court, with the duke in advance. There lay the Brunswicker, and tried in vain to rise.

"By all the saints, Herr Ritter, what has thrown you in the sand?" inquired the duke sympathetically.

"The bock, the bock" (the goat, the goat), murmured the knight with a heavy tongue.

A burst of sarcastic laughter echoed in the courtyard. In the mean time the page stood on one foot, and without swaying threaded the needle.

"The bock, the bock," repeated the duke smiling. "Our beer is no longer without a name. It shall be called bock, that one may take care."

The bock season lasts about six[Pg 65] weeks, from May into June. Just before it commences a transparency of a goat, drinking from a tall, slender glass, is placed as a sign before certain beer locals, called in Munich dialect bock stalls, not because goats are kept there, but because wonderful beer, called bock, is dispensed.

He who has not lived in Bavaria can have no idea of what importance beer is in Bavarian life. There are in Munich Germans who exist only for beer, and there have been pointed out to me old gentlemen who have frequented daily the same local for twenty-five or thirty years, and even occupied the same seat, and pounded the same table, by way of enforcing their views, in discussing the politics of the day. They are called Stammgäste (literally stock guests), and are much honored in their respective locals.

The greatest personages do not disdain the meanest locals, provided the beer is good and to their taste. Naked pine tables do not disgust them, nor the hardest benches. Often on the table skins of radishes, crusts of bread, cigar stumps, tobacco ashes, herring heads, and cheese rinds form a fragrant mélange. The inheritors of this precious legacy push it away without undue irritability. Radishes are carried about by old women called radi-weibers, who do a thriving business besides in nuts and herrings. One cannot find in any other country of the world radishes of such size, tenderness, and flavor—a brown variety inherited by the happy Müncheners with their breweries. Nowhere else does cutting and salting them rank as an art. To prepare one scientifically they pare it carefully, slit it in three slices nearly to the end, place salt on the top, and draw the finger over it, as if it were a pack of cards. The salt falls between the slices, and when they are pressed together becomes absorbed.

In a German Bier Local are represented all classes of society. Beer is the great leveller of social distinctions. The foaming glass of King Gambrinus unites all Germans of all states, climates, and professions in a closer brotherhood than the sceptre of the Hohenzollerns, and links that portion of the Teutonic race over which the stars and stripes throws its protecting folds to the dear fatherland.

Fine wines are a perquisite of money. The fortunate aristocrat and the house of Israel, which everywhere waxes fat on the needs of travellers, may sip their champagne, their Lachrymæ Christi, and their Hockheimer, while less favored humanity contents itself with sour vin ordinaire; but beer is the same for all, and in some breweries each one must search for a glass, rinse it, and present himself in his turn at the shank window, to which there is no royal road. "La bière," which a great writer calls "ce vin de la réforme," is essentially a democratic drink. It became popular at a time when a fatal blow had been struck at class privileges and priestly exclusiveness.

Manfully does a true-hearted Bavarian stand by his brewery, in ill as well as good report. If the beer turns out badly, he does not find it a sufficient reason to desert his local for some other, but rather remains with touching devotion, and anticipates the approaching end of the old beer and the advent of new, with implicit trust and confidence in the future. Some years ago the Bavarian post and railway conductors distinguished themselves by the mournful zeal with which they notified to the passengers the nearing of the frontier. At each station they were sorrowfully communicative.

"The last Bairischer[B] but four, gentlemen! Gentlemen, there are only two more real Bairischers! Gentlemen," with tears in the voice, "the last Bairischer."

The passengers rushed to the buffet and drank.

Even now, with that curious affection with which every Bavarian's heart turns to his Mecca of beer, the salutation to a stranger is, "Are you going [Pg 66]to Munich? Da werden sie gutes Bier trinken."[C]

"You came from Munich! Ach! da haben sie gutes Bier getrunken."[D]

Even in Beerland there are different kinds of beer, like the federal union, one in many and many in one. Between them are sometimes irreconcilable differences, as for example, between the white and Actiens beer of Berlin. The former is made of wheat, and is exclusively a summer beverage, and a glass of it is fondly termed a "kleine Weisse" (a little white one), perhaps in irony, for it is served in excentric mammoth tumblers, which require both hands to lift.

Then there is the Vienna beer, the antipodes of the Bavarian. The latter must be drunk soon after it is made, while the former must lie many months in the cellar before it is ready for use. In Austria, that forcible union of States of clashing interests and nationalities, which is not a nation, but only a government reposing on bayonets, the population is divided between the partisans of King Gambrinus and those of Bacchus.

As little as an artist could maintain that he was familiar with the works of the great masters when he had not visited Italy, so little could a beer drinker assert that he had seen beer rightly drunk when he had not been in Munich. All over the world beer is regarded as a refreshment, but in Munich it is the elixir of life, the fabled fountain of youth and happiness. It is looked upon as nourishment by the lower classes, who drink for dinner two masses[E] of it, with soup and black bread. For the price of the beer they could procure a good portion of meat, but they universally maintain that they are best nourished with beer and bread.

The Bavarian drinks to satisfy his "thirst, that beautiful German gift of God." If he is healthy, he drinks because it keeps his life juices in their normal state; if he is sick and in pain, because it is a soothing and harmless narcotic; if he is hungry, because beer is nourishment; if he has already eaten, because beer promotes digestion; if he is warm, because it is cooling and refreshing; if he is cold, because it warms him; if he is fatigued, because it is a tonic and sovereign strength renewer; if he is angry, because beer soothes him and gives him time to consider; if he needs courage, because beer is precisely the right stimulant. Where the Americans fly to their bitters "to tone up the system and enliven the secretions," the Germans resort to beer; and many are of opinion that frequent trips to the bock stalls in the spring are more healing than a visit to Carlsbad or Baden Baden, where one drinks disgusting water. In all circumstances and all moods they drink and are comforted.

The Jews believed that the sacred waves of the Jordan were powerful to wash away all human suffering, either of the soul or body. Faith was necessary to this pious healing. To the Münchener beer is the river of health. His faith in it dates from his earliest infancy, and he resorts to its beneficent influence at least seven times a day, and drinks his last Krügl with apparently the same relish as the first. The quantity which Germans drink is something incredible. Bavarian students usually take from five to seven masses per day. (At the German Jesuit seminary in Prague the novices are allowed daily seven, the clericos ten, and the priests twelve pints of beer.)

Beer is considered good not only for men, but for women, for girls and boys, and even unweaned infants.

"Mein Krügl" the Münchener speaks of as of his natural and human rights. He was born with a right to his beer, and his Krügl, as "man is born with a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and equally with these the State must look after this right. The krügls, or beer mugs, of each brewery are inspected by the police, to[Pg 67] see if the measure is correct, and if the ware has no poisonous lead in its composition. The royal K is stamped on them by the King's authority. The police also examine the contents of the beer with the same zeal as the water or the condition of the sewers.

The Germans as a nation are patient of wrong and peace-loving, but the rumor of a tax on beer raises a frightful commotion, and a riot is often the consequence. As well tax air, water, and fire as beer, the fifth element.

In an ancient neighborhood of Munich, behind the post, and best entered from Maximilian street, is a little square remarkable for its ugliness. All the houses are old, and one feels upon entering it as if one had suddenly walked back into the middle ages. On the east side stands a time-gray, low, irregular building, resembling in architecture, or by its want of it, nothing of the present age. This is the royal Hof Brauerei. After 10 A. M. a constant stream of thirsty souls flows along the streets and narrow alleys leading toward its dismal-looking portals. Its beer is celebrated as being the finest in the world, and is the standard by which all other beers are judged. It is the poetry of beer; it is to all other brewings what Shakespeare is to the drama; what the Coliseum is to other antiquities. None of the beer is exported or sold; it is all drunk on the spot, and when it gives out no other brewery can supply a drop comparable with it. The Parisians, who have heaped every luxury, from the poles to the tropics, in their capital of the world, have not enough money in the Bank of France to purchase a cask of it. It is said that Maximilian II. resolved that the best beer in the world should be made at the royal brewery in Munich. It has never been expected that it would yield any revenue, but merely pay its expenses. It is now under the protection of the present King, and the ingredients are inspected by an officer of the royal household.

For its dirt, its darkness, and its utter want of service, the Hof Brauerei is unequalled in the world, and nowhere else can be found such a mixed society. Entering the low-vaulted room, each one looks anxiously about for an empty mug. These are of gray stone, containing a mass, the price of which is seven and a half kreutzers. Spying one, he hastens to secure it from other competitors. The first who reaches it carries it off in triumph to the spring in the anteroom, rinses it, and presents himself behind a queue of predecessors at the shank window, where several pairs of hands are occupied all day long in filling mugs from the great casks within. This accomplished, he returns to the guest room and searches for a seat. If found, it is certainly not luxurious—a wooden bench of pine, stained by time and continual use to a dark dirt color, behind an ancient table. The walls and ceiling are grim with age, and the atmosphere hazy with smoke. The scene baffles description. All classes of society are represented. Side by side with the noble or learned professor, one sees the poorest artisan and the common soldier. Here and there the picturesque face of an artist is in close proximity to a peasant, and through the smoky atmosphere one catches the gleam of the scarlet or sky-blue cap of a German student, or the glitter of an epaulette. The Catholic of the most ultramontane stamp is there, as well as the Jew, the Protestant, and the freethinker. Here stands a pilgrim from far America, armed with a Bädeker, and there an Englishman with the inevitable Murray under his arm, too amazed or disdainful to search for a mass. Remarkable also are the steady habitués of the place, with Albert Dürer-like features which look as if hastily hewn out of ancient wood with two or three blows of a hatchet, or with smoke-dried physiognomies having a tint like that of a meerschaum pipe, acquired by years of exposure to the thick atmosphere of smoky breweries. They are there morning, noon, and night, year in and year out.[Pg 68] Some talk over the news of the day, but most sit in silence. Not a few make a meal with bread and radishes, or a sausage brought from the nearest pork shop.

In Munich a singular and ancient custom prevails. If by chance the cover of a mug is left up, any individual who chooses may seize it, and drink the contents. At the Hof Brauerei I once saw a newly arrived Englishman, carrying the usual red guidebook, quit the room for an instant, leaving uncovered his just acquired mass of beer. There came along a seedy-looking old gentleman, evidently a Stammgast. A gleam of satisfaction stole over his wooden features as he espied the open mug. Pausing a moment, he lifted it to his lips and slowly drank the contents. Setting it down empty, with a face mildly radiating satisfaction, he went his way. Presently the owner of the beer returned, took his seat, and lifted the mass, without looking, to his lips. With intense astonishment he put it down again, appeared not to believe the evidence of his senses, applied his glass to his eye, looked with anxiety into his mug, and became satisfied of its emptiness. At his neighbors he cast a quick glance of indignant suspicion—the look of a Briton whose rights were invaded. No one even looked up; apparently the occasion was too common to excite attention. Gradually his face regained its composure. He procured a new supply, and as the wonderful barley juice disappeared became again calm and happy. Miraculous mixture! Who would not, under thy benign influence, forget all rancor and bitterness, even though his deadliest enemy sat opposite?

In the Haupt und Residenz Stadt München, as Munich is always called in official documents, many of the breweries bear the names of orders of monks, because there the friars in olden days made particularly good beer. The breweries borrowed from them the receipt and the name. Hence the brewery to the Augustiner, to the Dominikaner, to the Franciskaner, and the Salvator.

New beer is in all cities of America and Europe a simple fact. In Munich it is an important public and private family event, concerning each house as well as the entire city.

The opening of the Salvator brewery in the suburbs of Munich, for its brief season of a month in the spring, assumes for the inhabitants the importance of a long anticipated holiday. Thither an eager crowd of townspeople make pilgrimage. I was present on one of these auspicious occasions, and found a joyous multitude of more than two thousand persons, filling to overflowing the capacious building gayly trimmed with evergreens interspersed with the national colors. A band discoursed excellent music, that necessary element, without which no German scene is complete. The waiters, more than usually adroit in supplying the wants of the crowd, carried in their hands fourteen glasses at a time with professional dexterity. The peculiar delicacy of the occasion, aside from the beer, seemed to be cheese, plentifully sprinkled with black pepper.

Late in the evening the people became more excited and sympathetic, and then it was proposed to sing "Herr Fisher," a popular German song of the people. A verse was sung by a few voices as a solo; then followed a mighty chorus from all the persons present. Each one raised the cover of his beer mug at the commencement, and let it fall with a clang at the close of the chorus, with startling effect.

In Munich one-half of the inhabitants appear to be engaged in the fabrication of beer and the entire population in drinking it. It impresses one as being the only industry there. The enormous brewery wagons, drawn by five Norman horses, are ever to be seen. On the trains going from the city there is ordinarily a beer car painted in festive white. It bears an inscription,[Pg 69] that none may mistake its contents, and perhaps that the peasants may bless it as it passes. It is looked upon with as much reverence as if it bore the ark of the covenant.

All over Germany, among the most ordinary of birthday or holiday presents are the elegantly painted porcelain tops for beer glasses. The works of great masters may be found copied in exquisite style for this purpose, as well as illustrations suited to uncultivated tastes. To these pictures there are appropriate mottoes, and often a verse adapted to the comprehension of the most uneducated peasant. A favorite among the Bavarians, judging from the frequency with which it is met with in all parts of Bavaria, represents a peasant in a balcony waving her kerchief to her lover, departing in a little skiff, on an intensely blue sea. Beneath, in patois, is the doggerel:

Beautifully blue is the sea,
But my heart aches in me,
And my heart will never recover
Till returns my peasant lover.

Equally a favorite is the following:

A rifle to shoot,
And a fighting ring to hit,
And a maiden to kiss,
Must a lively boy have.

The rings to which the rhyme refers are of huge size, of silver, with a sharp-edged square of the same metal. They are heirlooms among the peasants, and are worn on the middle finger. It is the custom in a quarrel to hit one's adversary with the Stozzring on the cheek, which it tears open.

In Germany many of the great breweries have summer gardens in the suburbs of the cities. In Berlin there are magnificent Biergärten, where the two most necessary elements of German existence, beer and music, are united. I need only refer to the Hof Jäger, with its flowers, fountains, miniature lake, and open-air theatre, where popular comedies are performed. Three times per week there is an afternoon concert by one or two regiment bands. Thither the Germans conduct their families. In the winter there are concert rooms in the cities, where "music is married," not "to immortal verse," but to beer; and these classical concerts are patronized by people of high respectability.

Beer is peculiarly suited to the American temperament, too nervous and sensitive. It is certain that the human race always has, and probably always will, resort to beverages more or less stimulating. The preaching of moralists and the efforts of legislators will not exclude them permanently from our use. It is not in the use but in the abuse of these that the difficulty lies. Neither tea nor coffee answers for all temperaments and all occasions as nervous aliments. The extraordinary and increasing diffusion of liquors is one of the social ulcers of modern society, particularly in America. It is unfortunately true that the use of strong alcoholics is increasing every day, to the great detriment of public health and morals. Taken merely to kill time, they often end by killing the individual.

One of the great advantages of beer, too much forgotten even by physicians, is that it reverses the influence of alcohol, by which it loses its irritating properties on the mucous membrane of the stomach. The celebrated Dr. Bock (late professor of pathological anatomy in the university at Leipsic) says, "Beer exercises on the digestion, on the circulation, on the nerves, and above all on the whole system, a beneficial effect."[F]

It would be well if Americans would adopt it instead of the innumerable harmful beverages which ruin the health and poison the peace of society.

S. G. Young.


[A] "Quadri della Natura Umana."

[B] The local term in Bavaria for a glass of beer.

[C] There you will drink good beer.

[D] There you drank good beer.

[E] A mass equals fifteen-sixteenths of a quart.

[F] "Buch vom gesunden und kranken Menschen" (9th edition).

[Pg 70]



We have followed Shakespeare's course of dramatic production down to the time when he began to embody in the work by which he earned his bread and made his fortune the results of an intuitive knowledge of human nature and a profound reflection upon it never surpassed, if ever equalled, and which, even if possessed, have never been united in any other man with a power of expression so grand, so direct, so strong, and so subtle. "Twelfth Night," "Henry V.," and "As You Like It" mark the close of his second period, which ended with the sixteenth century. His third period opens with "Hamlet," which was written about the year 1600. But here I will say that the division of his work into periods, and the assignment of his plays to certain years, is only inferential and approximative. We are able to determine with an approach to certainty about what time most of his plays were written; but we cannot fix their date exactly. Nor is it of very great importance that we should do so. There are some people who can fret themselves and others as to whether a play was written in 1600 or in 1601, as there are others who deem the question whether its author was born on the 23d of April in one year, and died on the same day of the same month in another, one of great importance. I cannot so regard it. A few days in the date of a man's birth or death, a few months in the production of a play—these are matters surely of very little moment. What is important to the student and lover of Shakespeare is the order of the production of his works; and this, fortunately, is determinable with a sufficient approach to accuracy to enable us to know about at what age he was engaged upon them, and what changes in his style and in his views of life they indicate.

In the first ten years of the seventeenth century, between his thirty-seventh and forty-seventh year, he produced "Hamlet," "Measure for Measure," his part of "Pericles," "All's Well that Ends Well," "King Lear," "Macbeth," "Julius Cæsar," "Antony and Cleopatra," "Troilus and Cressida," "Cymbeline," "Coriolanus," and "Othello." These, with other works, were the fruit of his mind in its full maturity and vigor. Think of it a moment! what a period it was! As my eye lights upon the back of the eleventh volume of my own edition and the eighth of the Cambridge edition, and I read "Hamlet, King Lear, Othello," I am moved with a sense of admiration and wonder which, if I allow it to continue, becomes almost oppressive; and I also take pleasure in the result of a convenience of arrangement that brought into one volume these three marvellous works—the three greatest productions of man's imagination, each wholly unlike the others in spirit and in motive.

Although they were not written one after the other, but with an interval of about five years between them, it would be well to read them consecutively and in the order above named, which is that in which they happen to be printed in the first collected edition (1623) of Shakespeare's plays. They were written—"Hamlet" in 1600-2, "King Lear" in 1605, and "Othello" about 1610, its date being much more uncertain than that of either of the others. The thoughtful reader who, having followed the course previously marked out, now comes to the study of these tragedies, is prepared to apprehend them justly, not only in their own greatness, but in their relative position[Pg 71] as the product of their author's mind in its perfected and disciplined maturity—as the splendid triple crown of Shakespeare's genius. No other dramatist, no other poet, has given the world anything that can for a moment be taken into consideration as equal to these tragedies; and Shakespeare himself left us nothing equal to any one of them, taken as a whole and in detail; although there are some parts of other late plays—"Macbeth," "Antony and Cleopatra," "Troilus and Cressida," and "The Tempest"—which, in their grandeur of imagination and splendor of language, bear the stamp of this great period.

And yet such was the merely stage-providing nature of Shakespeare's work, that even "Hamlet," produced at the very height of his reputation, is, like the Second and Third Parts of "King Henry VI.," which came from his 'prentice hand, connected in some way, we do not know exactly what, with a drama by an elder contemporary upon the same subject. There are traces in contemporary satirical literature of a "Hamlet" which had been performed as early as 1589, or possibly two years earlier. It is remarkable that in the first edition of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" (1603) Polonius is called Corambis, and Reynaldo, Montano; in which latter names we may safely assume that we have relics of the old play; and, although I am sure that in this edition of 1603 we have merely a mutilated and patched-up version, surreptitiously obtained, and printed in headlong haste, of the perfected play (in which opinion I differ from some English scholars, whose learning and judgment I respect, but to whom I would hold myself ready to prove, under forfeit, to their satisfaction the correctness of my view); there are also in this mutilated 1603 edition passages which not only are manifestly not what Shakespeare wrote, but not even a mutilated form of what he wrote. They are probably taken from the older play to supply the place of passages of the new play which could not be obtained in time for the hasty publication of this pirated edition of Shakespeare's tragedy. Remark, here, in this hasty and surreptitious edition, evidence of the great impression suddenly made by Shakespeare's "Hamlet." On its production it became at once so popular that a piratical publisher was at the trouble and expense of getting as much of the original as he could by unfair means, and vamping this up with inferior and older matter to meet the popular demand for reading copies. There is evidence of a like success of "King Lear." Since the time when these plays were produced there has been, we are called upon to believe, a great elevation of general intelligence, and there surely has been a great diffusion of knowledge; and yet it may be safely remarked that "Saratoga" and "Pique" and "The Golden Age," which ran their hundred nights and more, are not quite equal to "Hamlet" or to "King Lear," which, even with all their success, did not run anything like a hundred nights; and we may as safely believe that if "Hamlet" or "King Lear" were produced for the first time this winter in New York or in London, there would not be such a great and sudden demand for copies that extraordinary means would be taken by publishers to supply it. This superiority of the general public taste in dramatic literature during the Elizabethan era is one of the remarkable phenomena in literary history; and it is one that remains unaccounted for, and is, I think, altogether inexplicable, except upon the assumption that theatres nowadays rely for their support upon a public of low intellectual grade, and a taste for gross luxury and material splendor.

In reading "Hamlet" there is little opportunity of comparing it instructively with any of its predecessors. Its principal personage is entirely unlike any other created by Shakespeare. The play is all Hamlet: the other personages are mere occasions for his presence and means of his develop[Pg 72]ment. But Polonius is something the same kind of man as old Capulet in "Romeo and Juliet;" and although there were opportunities enough for the noble Veronese father to utter sententiously the knowledge of the world which he had gained by living in it, see how comparatively meagre and superficial his "wise saws" are compared with the counsel that Polonius gives to his son and to his daughter, and to the King and Queen; although Polonius, with all his sagacity, is garrulous and a bore; in Hamlet's words, a tedious old fool. As to Hamlet's character, Shakespeare did not mean it to be altogether admirable or otherwise, but simply to be Hamlet—a perfectly natural and not very uncommon man, although he expresses natural and not uncommon feelings with the marvellous utterance of the great master of dramatic poetry. And Hamlet's character is not altogether admirable; but it is therefore none the less, but probably the more, deeply interesting. How closely packed the play is with profound truths of life philosophy is shown by the fact that it has contributed not only very much more—four or five times more—than any other poem of similar length to the storehouse of adage and familiar phrase, but at least twice as much as any other of Shakespeare's plays. I know two boys who, going to see the play for the first time, some years before the appearance of a like story in the newspapers, came home and did actually, in the innocence of their hearts, qualify the great admiration they expressed for it by adding, "but how full it is of quotations." In fact, about one eighth of this long play has become so familiar to the world that it is in common use, and is recognized as the best expression known of the thoughts that it embodies. This, however, is not an absolute test of excellence, for it is remarkable that "King Lear" is very much behind it, and also behind "Othello," in this respect; and indeed there are several plays, including "Macbeth," "Julius Cæsar," "Henry IV.," "As You Like It," and "The Merchant of Venice," which are richer than "King Lear" in passages familiarly quoted; and yet as to the superiority of "King Lear" to the other plays I think there can be no doubt. It is the greatest tragedy, the greatest dramatic poem, the greatest book, ever written; so great is it, in fact, so vast in its style, so lofty in its ideal, that to those who have reflected upon it and justly apprehended it, it has become unplayable. As well attempt to score the music of the spheres, or to paint "the fat weed that roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf." In "King Lear" there is a personage who may be very instructively compared with others of the same kind by the student of Shakespeare's mental development. This is the Fool. Shakespeare's fools or clowns (such as those in "Love's Labor's Lost" and in "Hamlet") are among the most remarkable evidences of his ability to make anything serve as the occasion and the mouthpiece of his wit and his wisdom. He did not make the character; he found it on the stage, and a favorite with a considerable part of the play-goers. It was, however, as he found it, a very coarse character, rude as well as gross in speech, and given to practical joking. He relieved it of all the rudeness, if not of all the grossness, and reformed the joking altogether; but he also filled the Fool's jesting with sententious satire, and while preserving the low-comedy style of the character, brought it into keeping with a lofty and even a tragic view of life. In "King Lear" the Fool rises into heroic proportions, and becomes a sort of conscience, or second thought, to Lear. Compared even with Touchstone he is very much more elevated, and shows not less than Hamlet, or than Lear himself, the grand development of Shakespeare's mind at this period of its maturity. In the representation of Shakespeare's plays there has been no greater affront to common sense than the usual presentation of this Fool upon the stage as a boy, ex[Pg 73]cept the putting a pretty woman into the part, dressed in such a way as to captivate the eye and divert the attention by the beauty of her figure. It is disturbing enough to see Ariel, sexless, but, like the angels, rather masculine than feminine, represented by a woman dressed below the waist in an inverted gauze saucer, and above the waist in a perverted gauze nothing; but to see Lear's Fool thus unbedecked is more amazing than Bottom's brutal translation was to his fellow actors. This Fool is a man of middle age, one who has watched the world and grown sad over it. His jesting has a touch of heart-break in it which is prevented from becoming pathetic only by the cynicism which pertains partly to his personal character and partly to his office. He and Kent are about of an age—Kent, who when asked his age, as he comes back disguised to his old master, says, "Not so young as to love a woman for her singing, nor so old as to dote on her for anything; I have years on my back forty-eight"—a speech which contains one of the finest of Shakespeare's minor touches of worldly-wise character drawing. The German artist Retsch in his fine outline illustrations of this play has conceived this Fool with fine appreciation of Shakespeare's meaning. He makes him a mature man, with a wan face and a sad, eager eye. The misrepresentation of the character has its origin in Lear's calling the Fool "boy"—a term partly of endearment and partly of patronage, which has been so used in all countries and in all times. A similar misunderstanding of a similar word fool, which Lear touchingly applies to Cordelia in the last scene—"and my poor fool is hanged"—caused the misapprehension until of late years[G] that Lear's court Fool was hanged—although why Edmund's creatures should have been at the trouble in the stress of their disaster to hang a Fool it would puzzle any one to tell.

"Othello" bears throughout the marks of the same maturity of intellect, and the same mastery of dramatic effect, that appear in "Hamlet" and in "King Lear"; but from the nature of its subject it is not so profoundly thoughtful as the others. It is a drama of action, which "Hamlet" is not in a high degree; and although a grand example of the imaginative dramatic style, it has the distinction of being the most actable of all Shakespeare's tragedies. It is difficult to conceive any age or any country in which "Othello" would not be an impressive and a welcome play to any intelligent audience. Highly poetical in its treatment, it is intensely real in its interest; and it must continue so until there is a radical change in human nature.

In the first of these articles I proposed to analyze and compare the jealousy of Othello, Claudio, and Leontes; but I have abandoned the design, partly because I find that it would require another article in itself, and partly because it would necessarily lead me into a psychological and physiological discussion which would hardly be in keeping with the purpose with which I am now writing, which is merely to offer such guidance and such help as I can give to intelligent and somewhat inexperienced readers of Shakespeare. But I will remark that Othello's jealousy is man's jealousy (so called) raised to the most intense power by the race and the social position of the person who is its subject. The feeling in man and that in woman, called jealousy, are quite different in origin and in nature, although they have the same name. In woman the feeling arises from a supposed slight of her person, the spretæ injuria formæ of Virgil, to which he attributes Juno's enmity to Troy; and however it may be sentimentally developed, it has this for its spring and its foundation. But a man, unless he is the weakest of all coxcombs, and unworthy to wear his beard, does not trouble himself because a woman admires another man's person more than his own. His feeling has its origin in[Pg 74] the motherhood of woman, a recognition of which is latent in all social arrangements touching the sex, and in all man's feeling toward her. Man's jealousy is a mingled feeling of resentment of personal disloyalty, and of grief at unchastity on the part of the woman that he loves. Man is jealous much in the same sense in which it is said, "The Lord thy God is a jealous God"; which saying, indeed, is a consequence of the anthropomorphic conception of the Deity, notwithstanding the exclusion from it of the idea of sex. But it is impossible to conceive of such a feeling as feminine jealousy being referred to in the passage in the second commandment. The "jealousy" of Othello and Leontes, and of Claudio, will be found on examination to be at bottom the same. In Claudio it is correct, gentlemanly, princely, and somewhat weak; in Leontes it is morbid, unreasonable, hard, and cruel; in Othello it is perfectly pure in its quality, and has in it quite as much of tenderness and grief as of wrath and indignation; and it rages with all the fierceness of his half-savage nature. The passion in him becomes heroic, colossal; but it is perfect in its nature and in its proportions, and from the point to which he has been brought by Iago, perfectly justifiable. Hence it is that it is so respected by women. Nothing was more remarkable at Salvini's admirable performance of Othello than the acquiescence of all his female auditors in the fate of Desdemona. They were sorry for the poor girl, to be sure; but they seemed to think that Desdemonas were made to be the victims of Othellos, and that a man who could love in that fashion and be jealous in that style of exalted fury was rather to be pitied and admired when he smothered a woman on a misunderstanding. She should not have teased him so to take back Cassio; and what could she have expected when she was so careless about the handkerchief and told such lies about it! It is somewhat unpleasant to be smothered, to be sure, but all the same she ought to be content and happy to be the object of such love and the occasion of such jealousy. They mourned far more over his fate than over hers. This representation of manly jealousy, so elemental and simple, and yet so stupendous, is one of Shakespeare's masterpieces. I mean not merely in its verbal expression, but in its characteristic conception of the masculine form of the passion. Compare it with the jealousy of any of his women—of Adriana, of Julia, of Cleopatra, of Imogen, of Regan—and see how different it is in kind; I will not say in degree; for Shakespeare has not exhibited woman as highly deformed by this passion; that he left for inferior dramatists, with whom it is a favorite subject.

In two of these tragedies we have Shakespeare's most elaborate and, so to speak, admirable representations of villany: Edmund in "King Lear" and Iago in "Othello." These vile creations cannot, however, be justly regarded as the fruit of a lower view of human nature consequent upon a longer acquaintance with it. They were merely required by the exigencies of his plots; and being required, he made them as it was in him to do. For in nothing is his superiority more greatly manifested than in the fact that monsters of baseness, or even thoroughly base men, figure so rarely among his dramatis personæ. They are common with inferior dramatists and writers of prose fiction, whose ruder hands need them as convenient motive powers and as vehicles of the expression of a lower view of human nature. Not so with him. He has weak and erring men—men who are misled by their passions, ambition, revenge, selfish lust, or what not; but Iago, Edmund, and the Duke in "Measure for Measure" are almost all his characters of their kind. In "Richard III." he merely painted a highly colored historical portrait; and Parolles, in "All's Well that Ends Well," and Iachimo, in "Cymbeline," do not rise to the dignity of even[Pg 75] third-rate personages. Iago, it need hardly be said, is the most perfect of all his creatures in this kind, and indeed he is the most admirably detestable and infamous character in all literature. Edmund is equally base and cruel; but compared with Iago he is a coarse, low, brutal, and rabid animal. In Iago all the craft and venom of which the human soul is capable is united with an intellectual subtlety which seems to reach the limit of imagination or conception. There are some who see in the making the bastard son in "Lear" the monster of ingratitude and villany and the legitimate a model of all the manly and filial virtues an evidence of Shakespeare's judgment and discrimination. But this is one of those fond and over-subtle misapprehensions from which Shakespeare has suffered in not a few instances, even at the hands of critics of reputation. It suited Shakespeare's plot that the villain should be the bastard; that is all; and Lear's legitimate daughters Goneril and Regan are as base, as bad, and as cruelly ungrateful as Gloucester's illegitimate son. Shakespeare knew human nature too well, and handled it with too just and impartial a hand, to let the question of legitimacy influence him in one way or the other. In "King John" we have, on the contrary, the mean-souled Robert Faulconbridge and his gallant and chivalrous bastard brother Philip.

About the same time, or if not in the same time, perhaps in the same year which saw the production of "King Lear," "Macbeth" was written. But its date is not certain within four or five years. It was surely written before 1610, in which year a contemporary diary records its performance on the 20th of April. The Cambridge editors, in their annotated edition of this play, in the "Clarendon Press" series, prefer the later date; but notwithstanding my great respect for their judgment, I hold to my conclusion for the earlier, for the reasons given in my own edition. The question has not in itself much pertinence to our present purpose, as there is no doubt that the tragedy was produced in this period, and its general style, both of thought and versification, is that of Shakespeare in its fullest development and vigor. But with the question of date there is involved another of great interest to the thoughtful reader—that of mixed authorship. In the introductory essay to my edition of this play (published in 1861) attention was directed to the internal evidence that it was hastily written and left unfinished.[H] Subsequent editors and critics, notably the Cambridge editors and the Rev. F. G. Fleay, in his "Shakespearian Manual," starting from this view, have gone so far as to say that "Macbeth," as we have it, is not all Shakespeare's, but in part the work of Thomas Middleton, a second or third-rate playwright contemporary [Pg 76]with Shakespeare, who wrote a play, called "The Witch," which is plainly an imitation of the supernatural scenes in this tragedy. The Cambridge editors believe that Middleton was permitted to supply certain scenes at the time of the writing of Macbeth: Mr. Fleay, that Middleton cut down and patched up Shakespeare's perfected work, adding much inferior matter of his own, and that he did this being engaged to alter the play for stage purposes. The latter opinion I must reject, notwithstanding Mr. Fleay's minute, elaborate, and often specious argument; but the opinion of the Cambridge editors seems to me to a certain extent sound. I cannot, however, go to the length which they do in rejecting parts of this play as not being Shakespeare's work. This study of Shakespeare's style and of what is not his work at a certain period of his life being directly to our purpose, let us examine the tragedy for traces of his hand and of another.

And first let the reader turn to Scene 5 of Act III., which consists almost entirely of a long speech by Hecate, beginning:

Have I not reason, beldames as you are,
Saucy, and overbold? How did you dare
To trade and traffic with Macbeth
In riddles and affairs of death:
And I, the mistress of your charms,
The close contriver of all harms,
Was never called to bear my part,
Or show the glory of our art?

This speech is surely not of Shakespeare's writing. Its being in octosyllabic rhyme is not against it, however; although he abandoned rhyme almost altogether at or before this period. The fact of the business of the scene being supernatural would account for its form. But it is mere rhyme; little more than an unmeaning jingle of verses. Any journeyman at versemaking would write such stuff. Read the speech through, and then think of the writer of "Hamlet," and "Lear," and "Othello," producing such a weak wash of words at the same time when he was writing those tragedies. And even turn back and compare it with the rhyming speeches of his other supernatural personages, of Puck and Titana and Oberon in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which he wrote at least ten or twelve years earlier, and you will see that it is not only so inferior, but so unlike his undoubted work that it must be rejected. Turn next to Scene 3 of Act II., and read the speeches of the Porter. Long ago Coleridge said of these, "This low soliloquy of the Porter and his few speeches afterward I believe to have been written for the mob by some other hand." That they were written for the mob is nothing against them as Shakespeare's. Shakespeare wrote for the mob. He made a point of putting in something for the groundlings[I] in every play that he wrote. But with what a mighty hand he did it! so that those who have since then sat in the highest seats in the world's theatre have laughed, and pondered as they laughed. "Lear" is notably free from this element; but even in the philosophical "Hamlet" we have the much elaborated scene of the Gravediggers, which was written only to please Coleridge's "mob."[J] But let the reader now compare these Porter's speeches in "Macbeth" with those of the Gravediggers in "Hamlet," and if he is one who can hope to appreciate Shakespeare at all, he will at this stage of his study see at once that although both are low-comedy, technically speaking, the former are low-lived, mean, thoughtless, without any other significance than that of the surface meaning of the poor, gross language in which they are written; while [Pg 77]the latter, although, far more laughable even to the most uncultivated hearer, are pregnant with thought and suggestion. There can be no question that these speeches in "Macbeth" were written by some other hand than Shakespeare's.

Having now satisfied ourselves that some part of "Macbeth" is not Shakespeare's (and I began with those so manifestly spurious passages to establish that point clearly and easily in the reader's apprehension), "we are in a proper mood of mind to consider the objections that have been made by the Cambridge editors to other parts of the tragedy. The whole second scene of Act I. is regarded as spurious because of "slovenly metre," too slovenly for him even when he is most careless; "bombastic phraseology," too bombastic for him even when he is most so; also because he had too much good sense to send a severely wounded soldier with the news of a victory. I cannot reject this scene for these reasons. The question of metre and style is one of judgment; and the one seems to me not more irregular and careless, and the other not more tumid, than Shakespeare is in passages undoubtedly of his writing; while there is a certain flavor of language in the scene and a certain roll of the words upon the tongue which are his peculiar traits and tricks of style. The point as to the wounded soldier seems to me a manifest misapprehension. He is not sent as a messenger. Nothing in the text or in the stage directions of the original edition gives even color to such an opinion. The first two scenes of this act prepare one's mind for the tragedy and lay out its action; and they do so, as far as design is concerned, with great skill. The first short scene announces the supernatural character of the agencies at work; the next tells us of the personages who are to figure in the action and the position in which they are placed. In the second scene King Duncan and his suite, marching toward the scene of conflict, and so near it that they are within ear-shot, if not arrow-shot, meet a wounded officer. He is not sent to them. He is merely retiring from the field severely wounded—so severely that he cannot remain long uncared for. The stage direction of the folio is "Alarum within," which means (as will be found by examining other plays) that the sound of drums, trumpets, and the conflict of arms is heard. Then, "Enter King, etc., etc., meeting a bleeding Captaine." The King, then, does not greet or regard him as a messenger, but exclaims, "What bloody man is that?" and adds, "He can report, as seemeth by his plight, the condition of the revolt." Plainly this is no messenger, but a mere wounded officer who leaves the field because, as he says, his "gashes cry for help."

In Act IV., Sc. 1, this speech of the First Witch after the "Show of Eight Kings," is plainly not Shakespeare's:

Ay, sir, all this is so; but why
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
And show the best of our delights.
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antic round,
That this great king may kindly say
Our duties did his welcome pay.

This is condemned by the Cambridge editors, and I agree entirely with them. Moreover it seems to be manifestly from the same hand as Hecate's speech (Act III., Sc. 5), previously referred to. The style shows this, and the motive is the same—the introduction of fairy business, dancing and singing, which have nothing to do with the action of the tragedy, and are quite foreign to the supernatural motive of it as indicated in the witch scenes which have the mark of Shakespeare's hand.

In Act IV., Sc. 3, the passage in regard to touching for the King's Evil, from "Enter a Doctor" to "full of grace," was, we may be pretty sure, an interpolation previous to a representation at court, as the Cambridge editors suggest, and it is probably not Shakespeare's; but I would not undertake to say so positively. The same editors say they "have doubts about[Pg 78] the second scene of Act V." I notice this not merely to express my surprise at it, but to let the reader see how difficult it is to arrive at a general consent upon such points which are merely matters of judgment. To me this scene is unmistakably Shakespeare's. Who else could have written this passage, not only for its excellence but for its peculiarity?

Caithness.—Great Dunsinane he strongly fortifies:
Some say he's mad; others, that lesser hate him,
Do call it valiant fury; but for certain
He cannot buckle his distempered cause
Within the belt of rule.
Angus.—                Now does he feel
His secret murders sticking on his hands;
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach;
Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love; now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him like a giant's robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.

I am sure that I should have suspected those lines to be Shakespeare's if I had first met them without a name, in a nameless book. Still more surprising is it to me to find these editors saying that in Act V., Sc. 5, lines 47-50 are "singularly weak." Here they are:

If this which he avouches does appear,
There is no flying hence or tarrying here.
I 'gin to be a-weary of the sun,
And wish the estate of the world were now undone.

The first two have no particular character, nor need they have any, as they merely introduce the last two, which contain an utterance of blank despair and desolation which seems to me more expressive than any other that I ever read.

The last passage of the play, that after line 34, when Macbeth and Macduff go off fighting, and Macbeth is killed, are probably, as the Cambridge editors suggest, by another hand than Shakespeare's. Their tameness and their constrained rhythm are not Shakespearian work, particularly at this period of his life, and in the writing of such a scene. "Nor would he," as the Cambridge editors say, "have drawn away the veil which with his fine tact he had dropped over her [Lady Macbeth's] fate by telling us that she had taken off her life 'by self, and violent hands.'"

The person who wrote these un-Shakespearian passages was probably Middleton. Shakespeare, writing the tragedy in haste for an occasion, received a little help, according to the fashion of the time, from another playwright; and the latter having imitated the supernatural poets of this play in one of his own, the players or managers afterward introduced from that play songs by him—"Music and a song, Come away, come away," Act III., Sc. 5, and "Music and a song, Black spirits," etc., Act IV., Sc. 1. This was done to please the inferior part of the audience. These songs and all this sort of operatic incantation are entirely foreign to the supernatural motive of the tragedy as Shakespeare conceived it. And I will here remark that the usual performance of "Macbeth" with "a chorus" and "all Locke's music" is a revolting absurdity.

My next paper will close this series with an examination of some of Shakespeare's least known dramas.

Richard Grant White.


[G] Since 1854.

[H] For the convenience of readers to whom my edition is not accessible I quote the following passage:

"I am more inclined to this opinion from the indications which the play itself affords that it was produced upon an emergency. It exhibits throughout the hasty execution of a grand and clearly conceived design. But the haste is that of a master of his art, who, with conscious command of its resources, and in the frenzy of a grand inspiration, works out his conception to its minutest detail of essential form, leaving the work of surface finish for the occupation of cooler leisure. What the Sistine Madonna was to Raphael, it seems that 'Macbeth' was to Shakespeare—a magnificent impromptu; that kind of impromptu which results from the application of well-disciplined powers and rich stores of thought to a subject suggested by occasion. I am inclined to regard 'Macbeth' as, for the most part, a specimen of Shakespeare's unelaborated, if not unfinished, writing, in the maturity and highest vitality of his genius. It abounds in instances of extremest compression and most daring ellipsis; while it exhibits in every scene a union of supreme dramatic and poetic power, and in almost every line an imperially irresponsible control of language. Hence, I think, its lack of formal completeness of versification in certain passages, and also of the imperfection in its text, the thought in which the compositors were not always able to follow and apprehend. The only authority for the text of 'Macbeth' is the folio of 1623, the apparent corruptions of which must be restored with a more than usually cautious hand. Without being multitudinous or confusing, they are sufficiently numerous and important to test severely the patience, acumen, and judgment of any editor."—"The Works of William Shakespeare." Vol. X., P. 424.

[I] So called because they stood on the ground. The pit was then a real pit, and its floor was the bare earth. There were no benches. It was so in the French theatre until a much later period. Hence the French name parterre for the pit—par terre, upon the ground. The name parquet, which is given to that part of a theatre in America, is not French, and is no word at all, but a miserable affected nonentity of sound.

[J] The reader who cares to do so will find something upon this point in my essay on Shakespeare's genius, "Life and Genius of Shakespeare," pp. 280, 281.

[Pg 79]




The village of Salmon Falls, in eastern New England, consists of a number of mills and factories, the railroad station, a store or two, and two hundred dwellings. Among these is the Denny mansion at the top of the hill, where the road climbs up from the station and the river. It is a large square house in the old colonial fashion, with two wings at the rear and a garden in front.

It was a warm July morning when Mr. John Denny, mill owner and proprietor of the homestead, had his chair rolled out to the porch, and with some assistance from the servants, reached it on his crutch and sat down in the shadow of the great house and out of the glare of the hot sun. The vine-covered porch and the wide piazza opened directly upon the garden and gave a full view of the road. Beyond there was an outlook over the open fields, the mills, the stream, and the village in the valley. By the road there was a stone wall and a wicker gate opening upon the grassy sidewalk outside. A table had been laid with a white cloth in the porch, and Mr. Denny sat by it and waited for the coming of his daughter and breakfast. While he sat thus he turned over a number of papers, and then, after a while, he began to talk to himself somewhat in this wise:

"Expense! expense! expense! There seems no end to it. Bills coming in every day, and every one larger than was expected. In my young days we built a shop and knew to a dollar what it would cost. Now the estimates are invariably short. The batting mill has already gone a thousand dollars beyond the estimates, and the roof is but just put on. Even the new chimney cost four dollars a foot more than was expected. Thank Heaven, it is done, and that expense is over. Could I walk, I might look after things and keep them within bounds. With my crushed foot I sit a prisoner at home, and must leave all to Lawrence. It is fortunate that I have one man I can trust with my affairs."

Just here Alma, his only child, a bright and wholesome girl of nineteen, appeared from the house. Fairly educated, sensible, and affectionate, but perhaps a trifle inexperienced by reason of her residence in this quiet place, she is at once the pride and the light of the house.

"Good morning, father. Are you well this happy summer's day?"

The old gentleman kissed her fondly, and asked did she pass a quiet night.

"Oh, yes. I didn't sleep much, that is all—for thinking."

"Thinking of what?"

"The expected guest. To-day is the 9th of July, and cousin Elmer comes."

"Ah, yes—Elmer Franklin. I had almost forgotten him."

"How does he look, father? Is his hair dark, or has he blue eyes? I hardly know which I like best."

"I do not remember. I've not seen the boy since he was a mere child, years ago. He has been at school since."

"He must be a man now. He is past twenty-one, and, as for school, why, it's the Scientific School, and I'm sure men go to that."

"You seem greatly interested in this unknown relative, Alma."

"He is to be our guest, father—for a whole month. Come! Will you have breakfast out here in the porch?"

"Yes, dear. It is quite comfortable[Pg 80] here, and it will save the trouble of moving."

Thereupon Alma entered the house in search of the breakfast, and a moment after Mr. Lawrence Belford entered the garden at the street gate. The son of an old friend of Mr. Denny's lamented wife, Mr. Belford had been admitted to the house some months since as confidential clerk and business man. He was a rather commonplace person, about thirty years of age, and his education and manners were good if not remarkable. During his residence with the Dennys he had found time to fall in love with Alma, and they had been engaged—and with Mr. Denny's consent.

"Good morning, Lawrence. You're just in time for breakfast."

"Good morning, sir. Thank you, no. I have been to breakfast. I am just up from the station."

"Seen anything of the railroad coach? The train is in, and it is time for the coach to pass. Our guest may be in it."

"No, sir, but I saw the express coming up the hill with an extra large load of baggage."

Just here Alma returned from the house bearing a large tray of plates and breakfast things. The young people greet each other pleasantly, and Alma proceeds to lay the table.

"Now for breakfast, father. Everything waits upon a good appetite. Will you not join us, Lawrence?"

Mr. Belford replies that he has been to breakfast. Mr. Denny takes a cup of coffee, and while sipping it remarks:

"How many more window-frames shall you require for the new mill, Lawrence?"

"Ten more, sir. There is only a part of the fourth story unfinished."

"Alma, dear, do you remember how high we decided the new chimney was to be? Yes, thank you, only two lumps of sugar. Thank you. You remember we were talking about it when the Lawsons were here."

"Don't ask me. Ask Lawrence. I never can remember anything about such matters."

Just at that moment the express pulled up at the gate, and there was a knock. Alma rose hastily, and said:

"Oh! That must be Elmer."

She opened the gate, and young Mr. Elmer Franklin of New York entered. A man to respect: an open, manly face, clear blue eyes, and a wiry, compact, and vigorous frame. A man with a sound mind in a sound body. He was dressed in a gray travelling suit, and had a knapsack strapped to his back; in his hand a stout stick looking as if just cut from the roadside, and at his side a field glass in a leather case. Immediately behind him came a man bending under the load of an immense trunk. Alma smiled her best, and the young stranger bowed gallantly.

"Mr. Denny, I presume?"

"Welcome, cousin Franklin," said Mr. Denny from his chair. "I knew you at once, though it is years since any members of our families have met. Pardon me if I do not rise. I'm an old man, and confined to my chair."

Mr. Franklin offered his hand and said politely:

"Thank you, sir, for your kind reception. I am greatly pleased to—— Hullo! Look out there, boys! That baggage is precious and fragile."

Another man appeared, and the two brought in trunks and boxes, bundles and parcels, till there was quite a large heap of baggage piled up on the grass. Alma and Lawrence were properly amazed at this array of things portable, and Mr. Denny laid aside the breakfast things to look at the rather remarkable display.

The young man seemed to think apologies essential.

"I do not wonder that you are alarmed. I do not often take such a load of traps. I wrote you that my visit would be one of study and scientific investigation, and I was obliged to bring my philosophical apparatus and books with me."[Pg 81]

"It is indeed a wonderful train of luggage for a man. One would have thought you intended to bring a wife."

Then Mr. Denny bethought him of his duty, and he introduced his newly found relative to his daughter and to Mr. Lawrence Belford, and then bade him draw up to the table for breakfast. The young man made the motions suitable for such an occasion, and then he turned to pay his expressman. This trifling incident deserves record as happily illustrating the young man's noble character.

"Thank you, sir. Breakfast will be a cheerful episode. I've a glorious appetite, for I walked up from the station."

"There's a coach, Mr. Franklin, and it passes our door."

"I knew that, sir, but I preferred to walk and see the country. Fine section of conglomerate you have in the road cutting just above the station."

"Eh! What were you saying?"

"I said that I observed an interesting section of conglomerate—water-worn pebbles, I should say—mingled with quartz sand, on the roadside. I must have a run down there and a better look at it after breakfast."

Mr. Denny was somewhat overwhelmed at this, and said doubtfully,

"Ah, yes, I remember—yes, exactly."

"Are you interested in geology, Miss Denny?"

Alma was rather confused, and tried hard to find the lump of sugar that had melted away in her coffee, and said briefly,

"No. I didn't know that we had any in this part of the country."

Mr. Belford here felt called upon to say:

"My dear Alma, you forget yourself."

"Why will you take me up so sharply, Lawrence? I meant to say that I didn't know we had any quartz conglomerate hereabouts."

Mr. Franklin smiled pleasantly, and remarked to himself:

"My dear Alma! That's significant. Wonder if he's spooney on her?"

Then he said aloud:

"The pursuit of science demands good dinners. Pardon me if I take some more coffee."

"Yes, do—and these rolls. I made them myself—expressly for you."

"Thank you for both rolls and compliment."

Mr. Lawrence took up some of the papers from the table and began to read them, and the others went on with their breakfast. Presently Mr. Denny said:

"I presume, Mr. Franklin, that you are greatly interested in your school studies?"

"Yes, sir. The pursuit of pure science is one of the most noble employments that can tax the cultivated intellect."

"But you must confess that it is not very practical."

Before the young man could reply Alma spoke:

"Oh! cousin Elmer—I mean Mr. Franklin—excuse me. You haven't taken off your knapsack."

Taking it off and throwing it behind him on the ground, he said:

"It's only my clothes."

"Clothes!" said Mr. Denny. "Then what is in the trunks?"

"My theodolite, cameras, chains, levels, telescopes, retorts, and no end of scientific traps."

Alma, quite pleased:

"How interesting. Won't you open one of the trunks and let us see some of the things?"

"With the greatest pleasure; but perhaps I'd better take them to my room first."

"Anything you like, Elmer—Mr. Franklin, I mean. Our house is your home."

Lawrence Belford here frowned and looked in an unpleasant manner for a moment at the young stranger, who felt rather uncomfortable, though he could scarcely say why. With apparent indifference he drew out a small brass sounder, such as is used in tele[Pg 82]graph offices, and began snapping it in his fingers.

In his mind he said:

"Wonder if any of them are familiar with the great dot and line alphabet!"

Alma heard the sounder and said eagerly:

"Oh! cou—Mr. Franklin, what is that?"

"It is a pocket sounder. Do you know the alphabet?"

"I should hope so."

"I beg pardon. I meant Morse's."


"Yes. Morse's alphabet."

"No. You must teach it to me."

Thereupon he moved the sounder slowly, giving a letter at a time, and saying:

"A - — L - — - - M — — A - —.

That's your name. Queer sound, isn't it?"

"Let me try. Perhaps I could do it."

"My dear Alma, your father is waiting. You had best remove the things."

"Yes, Lawrence. I'll call Mary."

The maid soon appeared, and the breakfast things were removed. Then Mr. Denny drew Mr. Franklin's attention to the new factory chimney that stood in plain sight from where they sat.

The young man promptly drew out his field glass, and, mounting one of the steps of the porch, took a long look at the new shaft.

"Not quite plumb, is it?"

"Not plumb! What do you mean?"

"It is impossible," said Mr. Belford with some warmth.

"It looks so," said the young man with the glass still up at his eyes.

"I tell you it is impossible, sir. I built it myself, and I ought to know."

"Oh! Beg pardon. You can take the glass and see for yourself."

"I need no glass. I took the stage down only yesterday, and I ought to know."

"Allow me to take your glass, cousin Franklin," said Mr. Denny. He took the glass, but quickly laid it down with a sigh.

"My eyes are old and weak, and the glass does not suit them. I am very sorry to hear what you say. I would not have one of my chimneys out of line for the world."

"I am sorry I said anything about it, sir. I did not know the chimney belonged to you."

Alma was apparently distressed at the turn the conversation had taken, and tried to lead it to other matters, but the old gentleman's mind was disturbed, and he returned to the chimney.

"I designed it to be the tallest and finest chimney I ever erected, and I hope it is all correct."

"It is, sir," said Mr. Belford. "Everything is correct to the very capstones."

"It is my tallest chimney, Mr. Franklin—eighty-one feet and six inches; and that is two feet taller than any chimney in the whole Salmon Falls valley."

Mr. Franklin, in an innocent spirit of scientific inquiry, put his glass to his eyes and examined the chimney again. Alma began to feel ill at ease, and Lawrence Belford indulged in a muttered curse under his black moustache.

"Eighty-one feet and six inches—the tallest chimney in the valley."

No one seemed to heed the old gentleman's remark, and presently Mr. Franklin laid his field glass on the table, and taking out his brass sounder, he idly moved it as if absently thinking of something.

Alma suddenly looked up with a little blush and a smile. Her eyes seemed to say to him:

"I heard you call? What is it?"

He nodded pleasantly, and said, "Would you like to see some of my traps?"

"Oh, yes. Do open one of your trunks."

Mr. Franklin took out a bunch of keys and went to one of the trunks. As he did so he said to himself:

"Deuced bright girl! She learned[Pg 83] my call in a flash. I must teach her the whole alphabet, and then will have some tall fun and circumvent that fool of a clerk."

This remark was applied to Mr. Belford, and was eminent for its touching truth.

While the young people were opening the trunk, Mr. Denny and Mr. Belford were engaged in examining the business papers spread on the table, and for several minutes they paid no attention to things done and said almost under their eyes.

Such a very strange trunk. Instead of clothing, it contained the most singular assortment of scientific instruments. Each was carefully secured so that no rude handling would harm it, and all shining and glistening brilliantly as if kept with the most exquisite care. Mr. Franklin unfastened a small brass telescope, mounted upon a stand, with a compass, levels, plumb line, and weight attached.

"That's my theodolite. There's a tripod in one of my boxes. I'll get it and mount it, and we'll have a shot at the chimney.

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, nothing! I'm going to measure it. Wouldn't you like to help me?"

"With all my heart. Tell me what to do."

"Presently. Wait till I've screwed things together; then I'll tell you what to do. Oh! By the way, I must tell you an amusing episode that happened at the railroad station while I was waiting for my luggage. There was a young man sending off a message at the little telegraph station, and I overheard the message and the comments of the operator."

Alma didn't appear to enjoy this incident.

"Not listening intentionally, you know. It was the telegraph I heard, not the people."

Alma felt better.

"It was all by mere sounds, and it ran this way: 'The old fool is here again.' That's what she said—the operator, I mean. 'To Isaac Abrams, 1,607 Barclay street, New York. I have secured the will. Foreclose the mortgage and realize at once. Get two state rooms for the 25th.—L. B.' That was the message, and it was so very strange I wrote it out in my—— Oh! Beg pardon, Miss Denny. Are you ill?"

Alma's face had assumed a sudden pallor, and she seemed frightened and ill at ease.

"'Tis nothing—really nothing! I shall be better presently."

Then, as if anxious to change the conversation, she began to ask rapid questions about the theodolite and its uses.

Mr. Franklin was too well bred to notice anything, but he confessed to himself that he had said something awkward, and, for the life of him, he could not imagine what it might be. He replied briefly, and then went on with his preparations for some time in silence, Alma meanwhile looking on with the greatest interest. The theodolite having been put together, Mr. Franklin opened another box and took out a wooden tripod, such as are used to support such instruments. He also took out a fine steel ribbon, or measuring tape, neatly wound up on a reel.

"You shall carry that, Miss Denny, and I'll shoulder the theodolite."

"Wait till I get my hat and the sun umbrella."

"To be sure; it will be warm in the fields."

Alma was soon arrayed in a dainty chip. At least she called it a chip, and the historian can do naught but repeat her language. Besides this, it was not bigger than a chip, and it looked very pretty tied under her chin. Over her head she carried its real protection, an immense Japanese paper umbrella, light, airy, and generous.

"Where are you going, Alma?" said Mr. Denny.

"Oh! only to the fields for a little walk. We'll be back presently."

The confidential clerk thought it[Pg 84] strange that the daughter of the house should be so free with the stranger. But the young people were distant cousins, and it wouldn't have been polite in him to have objected to the little walk.

So the two, under the friendly shade of the big paper umbrella, went out to see the new chimney, while Mr. Denny and the confidential clerk staid behind to talk business.

The new chimney stood at the southeast corner of the great four-story mill, and close beside the little brick engine house. Alma led the youthful son of science out of the gate, down the road a few rods, and then they passed a stile, and took the winding path that straggled over the pastures to the mill.

Of course they talked volubly. This being the stern and prosy record of applied science, it becomes us not to report the chatterings of these two till they reached the base of the vast brick chimney, towering nearly eighty feet into the air above them. Its long shadow lay like a stiffened snake upon the fields, and Elmer, observing it, said:

"Good! We can use the shadow, too, and have double proof."

"How?" said the bright one, in a beautiful spirit of inquiry.

"If an upright stick, a foot long, casts a shadow three feet long, the shadow of another stick beside it, at the same time, is proportionally long."

"I knew that before. That isn't very high science."

"Why did you say 'how'?"

"Because I didn't think. Because I was a goose."

"Such terms are not choice, and are devoid of truth. Here! stern duty calls. Do you hold one end of the tape at the foot of the chimney, and I'll measure off the base line of our triangle."

Alma was charmed to be of use, and sat on a stone with the brass ring of the tape on her ring finger next her engagement ring, and her hand flat against the first course of bricks. Trifles sometimes hint great events. Little did she think that the plain brass ring on her finger was the hard truth of science that should shiver her gold ring to fragments and pale its sparkling diamond. Being a wholesome creature, and not given to romance, she thought nothing about it, which was wise. Her cousin, the knight of the theodolite, set his instrument upright upon the grass, and then ran the measuring line out to its full length.

"All right! Let the tape go."

Alma took off the brass ring, and the steel ribbon ran like a glittering snake through the grass, and she slowly followed it and joined her knight.

"Once more, please. Hold the ring on this bit of a stake that I've set up in the ground."

Alma, like a good girl, did as she was bid, and the ribbon ran out again to its full length. Another stake was set up, and the theodolite was placed in position and a sight obtained at the top of the tall chimney. A little figuring in a note-book, and then the son of high science quietly remarked:

"Seventy-six feet four inches—short five feet two inches."

Just here several urchins of an inquiring turn of mind drew near and began to make infantile comments, and asked with charming freedom if it was circus.

"No!" said Alma, from under her paper tent. "No! Run away, children, run away."

It was too warm for so much exertion, and they wouldn't move.

"Oh! never mind them. They don't trouble me; and if it amuses them, it's so much clear gain."

"They are some of the factory children, and I thought they might bother you."

"Inelegant, but thoughtful." He didn't say so. He only thought it, which was quite as well.

During this little episode the impressive facts that all this scientific exertion had brought out concerning the chimney were lost upon Alma.[Pg 85] It was small consequence. She knew it well enough before night.

Now for the shadow by way of proof. The theodolite, paper umbrella, and admiring crowd of children trotted severally and collectively over the grass till they reached the chimney again.

"The tape-measure, Alma. You hold the ring, and I'll unreel the string."

It was surprising how quickly these two made each other's acquaintance. By the time the long shadow was measured, a stake set up, and the two shadows compared, they seemed to have known each other for weeks. Such is the surprising effect of pure science when applied to love.

Had it come to this already? She was engaged to the confidential, the chimney-builder. His ring glittered on her finger. True—all of it!

See them sauntering slowly (the thermometer at 87 deg.) homeward under the friendly shade of an oiled paper umbrella. They are indeed good friends already. They enter the house together, and the cheerful dinner bell greets their ears. She folds her oiled paper tent and he sets his instrument up in a corner of the great shady hall. She leads the way to the chamber that is to be his room during his stay, and then retires to her own to prepare for the frugal noontide meal.

The exact truth records that the meal was not severely frugal. It was otherwise, and so much nicer.

The entire family were assembled, and conversation was lively, considering the weather. Near the close of the meal it grew suddenly warm. The innocent son of science, proud of his accomplishments, made a most incautious statement, and the result was peculiar.

"Oh, uncle, you were saying this morning that my science was not very practical. I tried a bit of it on your chimney this morning, and what do you think I found?"

"I'm sure I can't tell," said Mr. Denny.

"I measured it, and it is exactly seventy-six feet, four inches high."

If he had dropped a can of nitro-glycerin under the table, the effect couldn't have been more startling. Mr. Lawrence Belford dropped his fruit knife with a ruinous rattle, his face assumed the color of frosted cake (the frosting, to be exact), and he seemed thoroughly frightened. Mr. Denny looked surprised, and said,


Alma said nothing, but fished for the sugar in her strawberries and cream.

"What did you say, Mr. Franklin?"

"I said that I measured the new chimney, just for the fun of the thing, and found that it is exactly seventy-six feet, four inches high."

"It's an abominable lie."

"Lawrence!" said Alma, with an appealing glance.

"Are you sure, Mr. Franklin? Have you not made some mistake?"

"You are utterly mistaken, Mr. Franklin. I measured that chimney with a line from the top, and I know your statement is entirely incorrect."

"I hope so," said the old gentleman.

"It is so, sir," added Mr. Belford; and then, waxing bolder, he said, "How could this young person, just from school, know anything of such matters? Did he build a staging, or did he climb up the inside like a chimney sweep?"

Young Mr. Franklin saw that he had in some innocent fashion started a most disagreeable subject. Why Mr. Denny should be so disturbed and Mr. Belford so angry was past his comprehension. At the same time Mr. Belford's language was offensive, and he replied with some spirit:

"There is no need to climb the chimney, or use a line. It is a trifling affair to ascertain the height of any building with a theodolite, as you probably know."

"I tell you, sir, it is false—utterly false. Besides, you have made some mistake in the figures. You—you—but[Pg 86] I've no patience with such boy's play. It's only fit for school children."

"Lawrence," said Alma, "you are unkind. I'm sure we meant no harm. I helped Mr. Franklin, and I'm sure he's right; besides, we measured the chimney by its shadow, and both statements were alike."

"Oh, if you've turned against me, I've nothing more to say."

Mr. Denny meanwhile seemed lost in deep study, and he hardly heeded what was going on.

"What can that boy know about such things? I tell you, it's——"

"It seems to me, Mr. Belford, you are unnecessarily excited," said Mr. Denny. "Mr. Franklin is a much younger man than you, but he showed a knowledge of this matter, and if his figures are correct——"

"They are, sir," said Elmer warmly. "I can show you the base line, and the theodolite is still at the same angle. Alma saw me measure the base, and she can tell you its length. There are the figures in my note-book."

Mr. Denny took the note-book and examined the figuring out of this problem, and Elmer went to the hall for his instrument. He returned with the theodolite still secured at the angle at which the sight had been taken. As he laid the instrument on the dining table, he said:

"I am very sorry, uncle, that I did anything about this matter. It was done in mere sport, and I wish I had said nothing concerning it. I would not had not Mr. Belford used the language he did."

Mr. Denny ran his eye over the figures in the book, and then, with a pained expression, he said briefly,

"Everything seems to be correct."

"Damnation! I'll break his head for him, the intermeddling fool." This language was not actually used by Mr. Belford, but he thought as much. His eyes flashed, and he clenched his fists under the table. Alma's presence alone restrained him from something more violent. He appeared calm, but inwardly he was angry. This unexpected announcement concerning the chimney he had built cast a heavy shadow over him, and his conscience awoke with a sudden smart.

Alma was greatly disturbed, and ready to cry for shame and vexation. She did not, for she felt sure this was only the beginning of a new trouble, and she well knew that heavy sorrows had already invaded the house. They needed no more.

Mr. Franklin glanced from one to another in alarm. He saw that he was treading upon uncertain ground, and he wisely held his peace. After a brief and awkward pause, Mr. Belford rose, and pleading the calls of business, went out, and the unhappy interview came to an end.

It was a strange room. Its belongings stranger still. A large square chamber, with windows on three sides and a door and a fireplace on the other. Just now the fireplace had fallen from its high estate and had become a catch-all for the wrecks of much unpacking. There was a small single bed, two chairs, and an indefinite number of tables. Impossible to say how many, for they were half obscured by numberless things scientific: microscopes, a retort, small furnace, two cameras, galvanic battery, coils of wire and rubber tubing, magic lantern, books, photographs, and papers; on a small desk a confused pile of papers; on the walls a great number of pictures and photographs.

The very den of a student of science. Hardly room to walk among the wilderness of traps, boxes, and trunks. At the window, the young man, just dressed, and taking a view of the mill and its new chimney.

"Gad! how mad the fellow was over my little measurements. Wonder what it all means? The girl's in trouble, the father has a grief, and the clerk—I can make nothing of him. What matter? My duty is with my books, that I may pursue pure science. The moment things become practical I drop 'em."[Pg 87]

Then he turned and looked out of the next window.

"Fine view of the river. I must have another try at it with the camera."

He crossed the room, and standing in the bright morning sunshine, he looked about to examine the other L that had been thrown out from the back of the main building.

"That's Alma's room, and the next is the clerk's, the chimney man. The window is open, and the place looks as dark as a cave. I've a mind to light it up."

So saying he took a small hand mirror from a table near by. Holding it in the full sunlight, he moved it slowly about till the dancing spot of reflected light fell upon the open window and leaped in upon the opposite wall of the room. The observer with steady hand moved the spot of light about till he had probed the room, and found all it contained, which was nothing save a bed and two chairs.

"Applied science reports the man is fit for treason, spoils, and that sort of thing. He has no pictures. His room is a sleeping den. The man is a——Hallo! Steady there!"

The door in the room opened, and the student of applied science turned quickly away with his back to the wall beside his window. Cautiously raising the mirror, he held it near the window in such a way that in it he could see all that went on in the other room, without being himself seen.

Suddenly he saw something in the glass. Some one appeared at the window, looked out as if watching for something, and then withdrew into the bare little sleeping room. Then the figure in the mirror went to the bed and carefully turned all the clothes back. The student of science watched the mirror intently. The figure bent over the uncovered mattress and quietly opened the sacking and took something out. It sat down on the edge of the disordered bed and proceeded to examine the box or bundle, whatever it might be, that it had found in the bed.

Just here there was the sound of a distant door opening and closing. The figure crouched low on the bed, as if fearing to be seen, and waited till all was quiet again. Then it slowly opened the box or package, and took out a folded paper. The student bent over the mirror with the utmost interest. What did it mean? What would happen next? Nothing in particular happened. The figure closed the box, returned it to its hiding place in the bed, and then crept out of the range of reflected vision.

Why should the confidential clerk hide papers in his bed? What was the nature of the documents? A strange affair, certainly, but it did not concern him, and perhaps he had better drop the subject. He turned to his books and papers, and for an hour or more was too much occupied with them to heed aught else.

Suddenly there was a brisk series of taps at his door, like this:

-  - —  - - — —  -  - —  —

"I'm here. Come in."

Alma, the bright one entered.

"What a room! Such disorder, Elmer."

"Yes. It is quite a comfortable den. I've unpacked everything, and—mind your steps—feel quite at home—thank you."

"I should say as much. Do look at the dust. I must have Mary up here at once."

"Madam, I never allow any female person to touch my traps. Mary may make the bed, but she must not sweep, nor dust, nor touch anything."

"Oh! really. Then I'll go at once."

"Better not."


"Because I've many things to show——"

"Oh, Elmer! What is that—that queer thing on the table? May I look at it?"

"That's my new camera."

"How stupid. I might have known that. Do you take pictures?"

"Photos? Yes. Will you sit?"

"Oh, dear, no. I hate photo[Pg 88]graphs. It's so disagreeable to see oneself staring with some impossible expression, and sitting in an impossible palace, with a distant landscape and drapery curtains."

"Then I'll take a view for you. Find a seat somewhere while I rig things. See those two people sitting on the little bridge that crosses the race beyond the mill? I'll photograph them without their permission."

Alma looked out of the window when Elmer had raised the curtain, but declared she couldn't see anything.

"They are very far off. Take the field glass, and you'll see them."

Alma took the glass from the table, and looked out on the sunny landscape.

"I see what you mean, but I can't make out who they are, even with the glass. It's a man and a woman, and that's as much as I can see."

"You shall see them plain enough in a moment."

So saying, Elmer placed a long brass telescope upon a stand by the open window, and through it he examined the couple on the bridge. Meanwhile Alma gazed round the room and examined its strange contents with the greatest interest.

The moment the focus of the glass was secured, Elmer hastily took the little camera, and adjusting a slide in it from a table drawer, he placed it before the telescope on the table and close to the eye hole. Then, by throwing a black cloth over his head, he looked into it, turned a screw or two, and in a moment had a negative of the distant couple.

"Aren't you almost ready?"

"In one moment, Alma. I must fix this first. I'll be right back."

So saying he took the slide from the little camera, and went out of the room into a dark closet in the entry.

Alma waited patiently for a few moments, and then she took up the field glass, and looked out of the window. Who could they be? They seemed to be having a cosy time together; but beyond the fact that one figure was a woman she could learn nothing. She wanted to take a look through the telescope, but did not dare to move the little camera that stood before it.

"Here's the picture," said Elmer as he entered the room.

Alma took the bit of glass he offered her, but declared she couldn't see anything but a dirty spot on the glass.

"That's the negative. Let me copy it, and then I'll throw it up with the stereopticon."

He selected another bit of glass from a box, and in a few minutes had it prepared and the two put together and laid in the sun on the window-seat.

"What's in that iron box, Elmer?"

"Nitrous oxide."

"The same thing that the dentists use?"

"Yes. Would you like to try a whiff? It's rather jolly, and will not hurt you in the least."

Elmer caught up a bit of rubber pipe, secured one end to the iron chest and inserted the other in a mouthpiece having the proper inhalation and exhalation valves.

"Put that in your mouth for a moment."

Alma, with beautiful confidence, put the tube in her mouth, and in a moment her pretty head fell back against the back of the chair in deep sleep. With wonderful speed and skill Elmer rolled a larger camera that stood in a corner out into the centre of the room, ran in a slide, adjusted the focus, and before the brief slumber passed had a negative of the sleeping one.

"Oh, how odd! What a queer sensation to feel yourself going and going, off and off, till you don't know where you are!"

"It is rather queer. I've often taken the gas myself—just for fun. Now, Alma, if you will let down the curtains, and close the shutters, and make the room dark, I'll light the lantern and show you the picture."

Alma shut the blinds, drew down the curtains, and closed all the shutters save one.[Pg 89]

"Won't it be too dark?"

"No. It must be quite dark. You can stand here in the middle of the room and look at that bit of bare wall between the windows. I left that space clear for a screen."

Alma eagerly took her place, and said with a laugh:

"If this is the pursuit of pure science, it is very amusing. I'd like to study science—in this way."

"Yes, it is rather interesting——"

"Oh, Elmer, it's pitch dark."

"Never mind. Stand perfectly still and watch the wall. There—there's the spot of light. Now I'll run in the positive."

A round spot of white light fell on the unpapered wall, and then two dusky shadows slid over it, vague, obscure, and gigantic.

"There are your people. Now I'll adjust the focus. There—look."

A heavy sob startled him.

"Oh! It's that hateful Alice Green!"

Elmer opened the door of the lantern, and the light streamed full upon Alma. She was bathed in tears, and her shoulders, visible through her light summer dress, shook with sobs.

"What's the matter?"

"Nothing! Oh, it's—nothing—let me—go——"

With an impatient gesture she tried to brush the tears from her eyes, and then, without a word, she hastily ran out of the room.

The student of pure science was surprised beyond measure. What had happened? What new blunder had he committed? With all his deep study of things material he was ignorant of things emotional and sentimental. This exhibition of anger and grief in his pretty cousin utterly disconcerted him. He did not know what to do, nor what to think, and he stood in the glare of his lantern for a moment or two in deep thought.

Then he closed the lantern and turning round, examined the shadowy picture thrown upon the wall. It represented a young man and a young woman seated upon the wooden rail of the bridge in the open air, and in most loving embrace. His arm was about her waist, and he was looking in her face. His straw hat hid his features, but the face of the young woman was turned toward the camera that had so perfectly mirrored them both. She seemed to be a young and pretty girl in the more lowly walks of life, and her lover seemed to be a gentleman. What a pity he hadn't looked up! Who could he be? And she? Alma's remark plainly showed that she at least knew the girl, and for some reason was hotly indignant with her.

Thinking he had made trouble enough already, Elmer took one more good look at the picture, and then prepared to destroy it. Something about the young man's hat struck him as familiar. It was a panama hat, and had two ribbons wound round it in a fanciful manner that was not exactly conventional.

He silently opened a shutter, and the picture faded away. He drew up the curtains and looked out on the bridge. The young couple had disappeared. Poor innocents! They little knew how their pictures had been taken in spite of themselves, and they little knew the tragic and terrible consequences that were to flow from the stolen photograph so strangely made. Elmer took the little slide from the lantern, and was on the point of shivering it to fragments on the hearthstone, when he paused in deep thought. Was it wise to destroy it? Had he not better preserve it? Perhaps he could some day solve the mystery that hung about it, and find out the cause of Alma's grief and anger. Perhaps he might help her; and there came a softening about his heart that seemed both new and wonderfully unscientific.

Shortly after this the dinner bell rang, and he went down to the dining-room. Alma sent word that she had a severe headache and could not appear. Mr. Belford was already there, and he looked at Mr. Franklin[Pg 90] with an expression that made the young man uncomfortable in spite of himself. Mr. Denny was unusually thoughtful and silent, and conversation between the younger men was not particularly brilliant or entertaining. At last the dreary meal was finished. Mr. Belford rose first and went out into the hall. Mr. Franklin followed him, and saw something that quite took his breath away.

There lay the hat of the photograph, double ribbons and all. Mr. Belford quietly took it up and put it on, and it fitted him perfectly. Elmer stopped abruptly and looked at the man with the utmost interest. The confidential, the chimney builder paid no attention, and quickly passed on out of the front door.

"E. Franklin, you have made a discovery. The pursuit of pure science never showed anything half so interesting as this. You had better raise a cloud on the subject. Gad! It's cloudy enough already!"

This to himself as he slowly went up stairs to his room. Selecting a pipe, he filled it, and finding a comfortable seat, he fired up and prepared to examine mentally the events of the day.

"It was the confidential, making love to some village beauty, supposed to be 'Green,' by name, if not by nature. Alma loves him. That's bad. Perhaps she's engaged to him. Has she a ring? Yes—saw it the other day. The affair is cloudy—and—Gad! Blessed if I don't keep that lantern-slide! It may be of use some day. Come in."

This last was in response to a knock at the door. Mr. Belford entered, panama hat with two ribbons in hand.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Franklin. I thought I might find you here.".

"Yes, I'm at leisure. What can I do for you? Smoke?"

"No; I can't to-day. The fact is, I've a bad tooth, and smoking troubles it."

"Indeed? Let me see it. I'm a bit of a dentist."

"Are you? That's fortunate, for it aches sadly, and our nearest dentist is five miles away."

"Sit right here by the window, where I can have a good light."

Mr. Belford, a physical coward, could not bear pain; and though he was unwilling to be under obligations to one whom he considered a mere boy, he sat down in the proffered chair, and opened his mouth dutifully.

"Ah, yes—dentes sapentia. It's quite gone. Shall I take it out for you?"

"Will it be painful?"

"No. I'll give you nitrous oxide. Without it it might be very painful, for the tooth is much broken down."

Mr. Belford hesitated. Had he better place himself so utterly at the mercy of this young man?

"It will pass off in a moment, and leave no ill effects behind. You had better take it."

"Well, I will; but make it very mild, for I am afraid of these new-fangled notions."

"You need have no fear," said Elmer, bringing up his iron box of nitrous oxide, and selecting a pair of forceps from the mass of instruments in one of his trunks.

"It's very odd. It's the merest chance that I happened to have a pair of forceps. Are you ready now? Put this tube in your mouth, and breathe easily and naturally."

The patient leaned back in the chair, and the amateur stood silently watching him.

"It's a fearful risk, but I'm going to try it. I succeeded with Alma, and I fancy I can with this fool. He was a fool to run right into my arms in this fashion. No wonder his wisdom tooth was rotten. I'll have it out in a moment."

All this to himself. The patient closed his eyes, and fell into a deep sleep.

"Take it strong. It will not hurt you, and I must keep you quiet till the deed is done."

High science was to be brought to[Pg 91] bear upon rascality, and he must move cautiously and quickly. The instant the patient was unconscious, Elmer bent over him and turned back his coat, and from the inside pocket he drew forth a folded paper. He had caught a glimpse of it when he looked in the man's mouth, and on the spur of the moment he had conceived and put into practice this bold stroke of applied science. Making the man comfortable, and giving him a little air with the gas, he opened the paper and spread it wide open before a pile of books in the full sunlight. The patient stirred uneasily. With a breathless motion Elmer plied him with more gas, and he sighed softly and slumbered deeper than ever. With a spring he reached the camera, rolled it up before the paper, and set in a new slide. It copied the paper with terrible certainty, and then, without reading it, Elmer folded the paper up again and restored it to his patient's pocket.

The patient revived. He put his hand in his mouth. The tooth was still there.

"Why, you didn't touch it?"

"No. I was delayed a bit. Take the gas again."

The man submitted, and inhaled more gas. At the instant he slumbered the forceps were deftly plied and the tooth removed. Bathing the man's face with water, the young dentist watched him closely till he revived again.

"Do you feel better?"

"Better! Why, I'm not hurt! Is it really out?"

"Yes. There it is in the washbowl."

"You did very well, young man. Excellently. I'm sure I'm much obliged."

"You're welcome," replied Mr. Franklin. "It was a trifling affair."

Repeating his thanks, the visitor put on his hat with its two ribbons and retired.

For an hour or more the youthful son of science worked over his new negatives, and then he quietly closed the shutters and lighted his stereopticon. The first picture he threw upon the wall greatly pleased him. With half-parted lips, a placid smile, and closed eyes, the sleeping Alma lived in shadowy beauty before him.

"Queer such a charming girl should belong to such a fool!"

Not choice language for a son of pure-eyed science, but history is history, and the truth must be told.

"Now for the paper."

He took Alma's stolen picture from the lantern, and inserted in its place a positive copy of the paper he had captured from her lover. Suddenly there flashed upon the wall a document of the most startling and extraordinary character. He read it through several times before he could bring himself to understand the peculiar nature of the important discovery he had made. Long and earnestly he gazed upon the gigantic writing on the wall, and then he slowly opened one of the shutters, and the magic writing faded away in the rosy light of the setting sun.

A moment after, the tea-bell rang. This over, young Mr. Franklin said he, must go out for his evening constitutional. He wished to be alone. The events of the day, the discoveries he had made, and, more than all, Alma's grief and silence at the supper-table, disturbed him. He wished more air, more freedom to think over these things and to devise some plan for future action.

Alma. What of her? Was he not growing to like her—perhaps love her? And she was engaged to that—that—he could not think of him with patience. The chimney, the two in the photo, and the strange paper: what did they all mean? Why were both father and daughter in such evident distress? He pondered these things as he walked through the shadowy lanes, and then, about eight o'clock, he returned, in a measure composed and serene.

There was a light in the parlor, and he went in and found Alma alone.

"Oh, Elmer! I'm glad you've come. It's very lonely here. Father has gone[Pg 92] to bed quite ill, and Lawrence asked me to sit up till he returned. He's gone down to the village on some business. I can't see why he should. The stores are closed and the last train has gone."

She made a place for him on the sofa, and he sat down beside her. For some time they talked indifferently upon various matters—the weather, the heat of the day, and like trivialities.

Suddenly she turned upon him, and said, with ill-suppressed excitement:

"What did you do with it, Elmer?"

"Do with what?"

"The picture."

"Oh, yes—the lantern slide. I wish I had never made it. It's up stairs in my room."

"You didn't know it was Alice Green?"

"No. How should I? I did not know who either of the people was till the picture was thrown upon the wall."

"Do you know now—know both of them, I mean?"

"Yes—I think I do. One was Mr.——"

"Yes, Elmer, you may as well say it. It was Lawrence."

Elmer could think of nothing to say, and wisely said nothing. After a brief pause Alma said slowly, as if talking to herself:

"It was a cruel thing to do."

"I did not mean to be cruel."

"Oh, my dear—cousin, don't think of it in that way. It was Lawrence who was so cruel."

"Yes. It was not very gentlemanly; but perhaps he does not care for—for this person."

"He does. The picture was only confirmation of what I had heard before. I've done with him," she added in a sort of suppressed desperation. "I'm going to break our engagement this very night. I know it will nearly break my heart, and father will be very angry; but, Elmer, come nearer; let me tell you about it. I'm afraid of him. He has such an evil eye, and you remember the chimney—the day you came—I thought he would kill you, he was so angry."

Evidently she was in sore trouble. Even her language was marked by doubt and difficulty.

"Advise me, Elmer. Tell me what to do. I hardly know which way to turn, and I'm so lonely. Father is busy every day, and I can't talk to him. And Lawrence—I dare not trust him."

Here she began to cry softly, and hid her face in her handkerchief. The son of science was perplexed. What should he do or say? All this was new to him. That a young and pretty girl should appeal to him with such earnestness disconcerted him, and he did not know how to act. A problem in triangulation or knotty question in physics would have charmed him and braced him up for any work. This was so new and so peculiar that he said, "Don't cry, cousin," and repented it at once as a silly speech.

"I must. It does me good."

"Then I would."

Thereupon they both laughed heartily and felt better. He recovered his wits at once.

"Do you think you really love him?"

The man of science is himself again.

"No, I don't."

"Then—well, it's hardly my place to say it."

"Then break the engagement. That's what you mean. I intend to do so; but, Elmer, I wish you could be here with me."

"It would be impossible. Oh! I've an idea."

"Have you? There! I knew you would help me. You are so bright, Elmer, and so kind——"

He nipped her enthusiasm in the bud.

"Do you think you could telegraph to me from your pocket?"

"I don't know what you mean."

"You know the letters now perfectly, and if you had your hand on an armature, you could send off messages quickly?"

"Yes. You know I learned the alphabet in one day, and it's nearly a[Pg 93] week since you put up that line to my room. Think how we have talked with it already. And you remember the tea table, when the Lawsons and the Stebbens were here. Didn't I answer all your questions about Minna Lawson while I was talking with her by tapping on the table with a spoon?"

"Yes. So far so good; but now I'm going to try a most dangerous and difficult piece of scientific work, and you must help me. My plan is for you to keep in telegraphic communication with me while the interview goes on. Then, if he is insulting or troublesome, you can call me."

"How bright of you, Elmer. If Lawrence had been half so good and kind and bright—if he knew half as much—I might have loved him longer."

"Wait a bit, and I'll get the lines."

"May I go too?"

"Oh, yes; come."

The two went softly up the hall stairs, through the long entry to the L, and into Elmer's room. They set the lamp on a table, and Elmer dragged forth from the scientific confusion of the place a collection of telegraphic apparatus of all kinds.

"There's the battery. That I'll keep here. There is the recording instrument. That I'll keep here also. Now you want a small armature to open and close the current. Wait a bit! I'd better make one."

Alma sat down on a box, and her new Lohengrin set to work with shears and file to make something that would answer for an armature and still be small enough to hide in the hand. Cutting off two small pieces of insulated copper wire, he bound them together side by side at one end. The loose ends he separated by crowding a bit of rubber between them, and then with the file and his knife he removed a part of the insulating covering till the bright copper showed at the tips of each wire.

"There! You can hide that in the pocket of your dress, or hold it in your hand even. When you wish to close the circuit, pinch the wires, and they will touch each other. When you withdraw the pressure the rubber will push them apart."

Alma declared she could do it easily, and the armature having been connected with the wires and the battery, they both prepared to go to the parlor.

Down the stairs they crept, slowly unwinding two delicate coils of insulated wire as they went, and pushing them back against the wall well out of sight. When they came to the mats Alma lifted them up, and Elmer laid the wires down, and then the mats covered them from sight.

"Now, you sit here, in a comfortable chair, and hide the wires in the folds of your dress. I'll lead them off over the carpet behind you, and unless the——Lawrence is brighter than I think he is, he'll not find them."

These mysterious operations were hardly completed before the door bell rang and Lawrence came in. He did not seem particularly pleased to find Mr. Franklin sitting up with Alma, and the meeting was not very cordial. After a few unimportant remarks Mr. Franklin said that he must retire.

"I'd like to know, miss, what that puppy said to you. He's been here all the evening, I dare say."

"He has, Lawrence; but I will not have my friends spoken of in that way."

"Your friends indeed! What do you intend to do about it?"

Meanwhile her hand, persistently kept in her pocket, nervously moved the electric armature, and a sudden twinge of pain startled her. Her finger, caught between the wires, felt the shock of a returning current. Suddenly the pain flashed again, and she understood it. Elmer was replying to her. She forced herself to read his words by the pain the wires caused her, and she spelled out:

"Keep cool. Don't fear him."

"Seems to me you're precious silent, miss."

"One might well keep silence while you use such language as you do, Lawrence Belford."[Pg 94]

"Who's a better right?"

"No man has a right not to be a gentleman, and as for your right, I have decided to withdraw it."

"What do you mean?" he cried in sudden anger.

She drew her hand out of her pocket, slowly took off her engagement ring, and said,


"Oh! We'll have none of that. You may put your ring on again."

"I shall never wear it again."

"Yes, you will."

"I shall not."

"Look here, Miss Denny. We'll have no nonsense. You are going to marry me next week. I suppose you know that mortgage is to be foreclosed on Monday, and you and your father will be beggars. I know how to stop all this, and I can do it. Marry me, and go to New York with me on Wednesday, and the mortgage will be withdrawn."

"We may find the will before that."

"Oh! You may, you may. You and your father have been searching for that will these ten years. You haven't found it yet, and you won't."

Alma under any ordinary circumstances would have quailed before this man. As it was, those trails of copper wire down her dress kept her busy. She rapidly sent off through them nearly all that was said, and her knight of the battery sat up stairs copying it off alone in his room, and almost swearing with anger and excitement.

Suddenly the messages stopped. He listened sharply at the door. Not a sound. The old house was as still as a grave. Several minutes passed, and nothing came. What had happened? Had he cut the wires? Had Alma fainted? Suddenly the sounder spoke out sharp and clear in the silent room:

"Elmer, come!"

He seized a revolver from the bureau, and thrusting it into his pocket, tore off the white strip of paper that had rolled out of the instrument, and with it in his hand he went quickly down stairs. He opened the door without knocking, and advanced into the middle of the room.

The moment he entered, Alma sprang up from her seat, pulling out the two wires as she did so, and throwing her arm about the young man, she cried out in an agony of fear and shame:

"Oh, Elmer, Elmer! Take me away! Take me to my father!"

He supported her with his right arm, and turned to face her assailant with the crumbled ribbon of paper still in his hand.

"What does this mean, sir? Have you been ill treating my cousin?"

"Go to bed, boy. It's very late for school children to be up."

"Your language is insulting, sir. I repeat it. What have you said or done to Miss Denny?"

"Oh! Come away! come away, Elmer!"

"None of your business, you puppy."

"There is no need to ask what you said, sir. I know every word and have made a copy of it."

"Ah! Listening, were you?"

"No, sir. Miss Denny has told me. Do you see those wires? They will entangle you yet and trip you up."

"Come away, Elmer. Come away."

"For the present I will retire, sir; but, mark me, your game is nearly up."

"By, by, children. Good night. Remember your promise, Miss Denny. The carriage will be all ready."

Without heeding this last remark, Elmer, with his cousin on his arm, withdrew. As they closed the door the telegraph wires caught in the carpet and broke. The man saw them, and picking one up, he examined it closely.

Suddenly he dropped it and turned ashen pale. With all his bravado, he quailed before those slender wires upon the carpet. He did not understand them. He guessed they might be some kind of telegraph, but beyond this everything was vague and mysterious, and they filled him with guilty alarm and terror.

Charles Barnard.

[Pg 95]


The other day, before the first fire of winter, when the deepening dusk had compelled me to close my book and wheel my chair closer, I indulged in a retrospect. The objects of it were not far distant, and yet they seemed already to glow with the mellow tints of the days that are no more. In the crackling flame the last remnant of the summer appeared to shrink up and vanish. But the flicker of its destruction made a sort of fantastic imagery, and in the midst of the winter fire the summer sunshine seemed to glow. It lit up a series of visible memories.


One of the first was that of a perfect day on the coast of Normandy—a warm, still Sunday in the early part of August. From my pillow, on waking, I could look at a strip of blue sea and a section of white cliff. I observed that the sea had never been so brilliant, and that the cliff was shining like the coast of Paros. I rose and came forth with the sense that it was the finest day of summer, and that one ought to do something uncommon by way of keeping it. At Etretal it was uncommon to take a walk; the custom of the country is to lie all day upon the pebbly strand watching, as we should say in America, your fellow boarders. Your leisurely stroll, in a scanty sheet, from your bathing cabin into the water, and your trickling progress from the water back into your cabin, form, as a general thing, the sum total of your peregrination. For the rest you remain horizontal, contemplating the horizon. To mark the day with a white stone, therefore, it was quite sufficient to stretch my legs. So I climbed the huge grassy cliff which shuts in the little bay on the right (as you lie on the beach, head upward), and gained the bleak white chapel of Notre Dame de la Garde, which a lady told me she was sure was the original of Matthew Arnold's "Little Gray Church on the Windy Hill." This is very likely; but the little church to-day was not gray; neither was the hill windy.

I had occasion, by the time I reached the summit, to wish it had been. Deep, silent sunshine filled the air, and the long grass of the downs stood up in the light without a tremor. The downs at Etretal are magnificent, and the way they stretched off toward Dieppe, with their shining levels and their faintly-shaded dells, was in itself an irresistible invitation. On the land side they have been somewhat narrowed by cultivation; the woods, and farms, and grain fields here and there creep close enough to the edge of the cliff almost to see the shifting of the tides at its base. But cultivation in Normandy is itself picturesque, and the pedestrian rarely need resent its encroachments. Neither walls nor hedges or fences are anywhere visible; the whole land lies open to the breezes and to his curious footsteps. This universal absence of barriers gives an air of vastness to the landscape, so that really, in a little French province, you have more of the feeling of being in a big country than on our own huge continent, which bristles so unconsciously with prohibitory rails and stone-piles. Norman farmhouses, too, with their mossy roofs and their visible beams making all kinds of triangles upon the ancient plaster of their walls, are very delightful things. Hereabouts they have always a dark little wood close beside them; often a chênaie, as the term is—a fantastic little grove of tempest-tossed oaks. The trees look as if, some night, when the sea-blasts were howling their loudest and their boughs were tossing most[Pg 96] wildly, the tumult had suddenly been stilled and they had stopped short, each in the attitude into which the storm was twisting it. The only thing the storm can do with them now is to blow them straight. The long, indented coast line had never seemed to me so charming. It stretched away into the light haze of the horizon, with such lovely violet spots in its caves and hollows, and such soft white gleams on its short headlands—such exquisite gradations of distance and such capricious interruptions of perspective—that one could only say that the land was really trying to smile as hard as the sea. The smile of the sea was a positive simper. Such a glittering and twinkling, such a softness and blueness, such tiny little pin-points of foam, and such delicate little wrinkles of waves—all this made the ocean look like a flattered portrait.

The day I speak of was a Sunday, and there were to be races at Fécamp, ten miles away. The agreeable thing was, of course, to walk to Fécamp, over the grassy downs. I walked and walked, over the levels and the dells, having land and ocean quite to myself. Here and there I met a shepherd, lying flat on his stomach in the sun, while his sheep, in extreme dishabille (shearing time being recent), went huddling in front of me as I approached. Far below, on the blue ocean, like a fly on a table of lapis, crawled a little steamer, carrying people from Etretal to the races. I seemed to go much faster, yet the steamer got to Fécamp before me. But I stopped to gossip with a shepherd on a grassy hillside, and to admire certain little villages which are niched in small, transverse, seaward-sloping valleys. The shepherd told me that he had been farm-servant to the same master for five-and-thirty years—ever since the age of ten; and that for thirty-five summers he had fed his flock upon those downs. I don't know whether his sheep were tired of their diet, but he professed himself very tired of his life. I remarked that in fine weather it must be charming, and he observed, with humility, that to thirty-five summers there went several rainy days.

The walk to Fécamp would be purely delightful if it were not for the fonds. The fonds are the transverse valleys just mentioned—the channels, for the most part, of small water-courses which discharge themselves into the sea. The downs subside, precipitately, to the level of the beach, and then slowly lift their grassy shoulders on the other side of the gully. As the cliffs are of immense height, these indentations are profound, and drain off a little of the exhilaration of the too elastic pedestrian. The first fond trike him as delightfully picturesque, and he is down the long slope on one side and up the gigantic hump on the other before he has time to feel hot. But the second is greeted with that tempered empressement with which you bow in the street to an acquaintance with whom you have met half an hour before; the third is a stale repetition; the fourth is decidedly one too many, and the fifth is sensibly exasperating. The fonds, in a word, are very tiresome. It was, if I remember rightly, in the bottom of the last and widest of the series that I discovered the little town of Yport. Every little fishing village on the Norman coast has, within the last ten years, set up in business as a watering-place; and, though one might fancy that Nature had condemned Yport to modest obscurity, it is plain that she has no idea of being out of the fashion. But she is a miniature imitation of her rivals. She has a meagre little wood behind her and an evil-smelling beach, on which bathing is possible only at the highest tide. At the scorching mid-day hour at which I inspected her she seemed absolutely empty, and the ocean, beyond acres of slippery seaweed, looked very far away. She has everything that a properly appointed station de bains should have, but everything is on a Lilliputian scale. The whole place looked like a huge Nü[Pg 97]remburg toy. There is a diminutive hotel, in which, properly, the head waiter should be a pigmy and the chambermaid a sprite, and beside it there is a Casino on the smallest possible scale. Everything about the Casino is so harmoniously undersized that it seems a matter of course that the newspapers in the reading-room should be printed in the very finest type. Of course there is a reading-room, and a dancing-room, and a café, and a billiard-room, with a bagatelle board instead of a table, and a little terrace on which you may walk up and down with very short steps. I hope the prices are as tiny as everything else, and I suspect, indeed, that Yport honestly claims, not that she is attractive, but that she is cheap.

I toiled up the perpendicular cliff again, and took my way over the grass, for another hour, to Fécamp, where I found the peculiarities of Yport directly reversed. The place is a huge, straggling village, seated along a wide, shallow bay, and adorned, of course, with the classic Casino and the row of hotels. But all this is on a very brave scale, though it is not manifest that the bravery of Fécamp has won a victory; and, indeed, the local attractions did not strike me as irresistible. A pebbly beach of immense length, fenced off from the town by a grassy embankment; a Casino of a bold and unsociable aspect; a principal inn, with an interminable brown façade, suggestive somehow of an asylum or an almshouse—such are the most striking features of this particular watering-place. There are magnificent cliffs on each side of the bay, but, as the French say, without impropriety, it is the devil to get to them. There was no one in the hotel, in the Casino, or on the beach; the whole town being in the act of climbing the further cliff, to reach the downs on which the races were to be held. The green hillside was black with trudging spectators and the long sky line was fretted with them. When I say there was no one at the inn, I forget the gentleman at the door who informed me positively that he would give me no breakfast; he seemed to have staid at home from the races expressly to give himself this pleasure. But I went further and fared better, and procured a meal of homely succulence, in an unfashionable tavern, in a back street, where the wine was sound, the cutlets tender, and the serving-maid rosy. Then I walked along—for a mile, it seemed—through a dreary, gray grand rue, where the sunshine was hot, the odors portentous, and the doorsteps garnished with aged fishwives, retired from business, whose plaited linen coifs looked picturesquely white, and their faces picturesquely brown. I inspected the harbor and its goodly basin—with nothing in it—and certain pink and blue houses, which surround it, and then, joining the last stragglers, I clambered up the side of the cliff to the downs.

The races had already begun, and the ring of spectators was dense. I picked out some of the smallest people, looked over their heads, and saw several young farmers, in parti-colored jackets, and very red in the face, bouncing up and down on handsome cart-horses. Satiated at last with this diversion, I turned away and wandered down the hill again; and after strolling through the streets of Fécamp, and gathering not a little of the wayside entertainment that a seaport and fishing town always yields, I repaired to the Abbey church, a monument of some importance, and almost as great an object of pride in the town as the Casino. The Abbey of Fécamp was once a very rich and powerful establishment, but nothing remains of it now save its church and its trappistine. The church, which is for the most part early Gothic, is very stately and picturesque, and the trappistine, which is a distilled liquor of the Chartreuse family, is much prized by people who take a little glass after their coffee. By the time I had done with the Abbey, the townsfolk had slid en masse down the cliff again, the yel[Pg 98]low afternoon had come, and the holiday takers, before the wine-shops, made long and lively shadows. I hired a sort of two-wheeled gig, without a board, and drove back to Etretal in the rosy stage of evening. The gig dandled me up and down in a fashion of which I had been unconscious since I left off baby-clothes; but the drive, through the charming Norman country, over roads which lay among the peaceful meadows like paths amid a park, was altogether delightful. The sunset gave a deeper mellowness to the standing crops, and in the grassiest corner of the wayside villages the young men and maidens were dancing like the figures in vignette illustrations of classic poets.


You may say there is nothing in this very commonplace adventure to sentimentalize about, and that when one plucks sentimentally a brand from the burning one should pick out a more valuable one. I certainly call it a picked day, at any rate, when I went to breakfast at St. Jouin, at the beautiful Ernestine's. Don't be alarmed; if I was just now too tame, I am not turning wild. The beautiful Ernestine is not my especial beauty, but every one's, and to contemplate her charms you have only to order breakfast. They shine forth the more brilliantly in proportion as your order is liberal, and Ernestine is beautiful according as your bill is large. In this case she comes and smiles, really very handsomely, around your table, and you feel some hesitation in accusing so well-favored a person of extortion. She keeps an inn at the end of a lane which diverges from the high road between Etretal and Havre, and it is an indispensable feature of your "station" at the former place that you choose some fine morning and seek her hospitality. She has been a celebrity these twenty years, and is no longer a simple maiden in her flower; but twenty years, if they have diminished her early bloom, have richly augmented her museé. This is a collection of all the verses and sketches, the autographs, photographs, monographs, and trinkets presented to the amiable hostess by admiring tourists. It covers the walls of her sitting-room and fills half a dozen big albums which you look at while breakfast is being prepared, just as if you were awaiting dinner in genteel society. Most Frenchmen of the day whom one has heard of appear to have called at St. Jouin, and to have left their homages. Each of them has turned a compliment with pen or pencil, and you may see in a glass case on the parlor wall what Alexandre Dumas, Fils, thought of the landlady's nose, and how several painters measured her ankles.

Of course you must make this excursion in good company, and I affirm that I was in the very best. The company prefers, equally of course, to have its breakfast in the orchard in front of the house; which, if the repast is good, will make it seem better still, and if it is poor, will carry off its poorness. Clever innkeepers should always make their victims (in tolerable weather) eat in the garden. I forget whether Ernestine's breakfast was intrinsically good or bad, but I distinctly remember enjoying it, and making everything welcome. Everything, that is, save the party at the other table—the Paris actresses and the American gentlemen. The combination of these two classes of persons, individually so delightful, results in certain phenomena which seem less in harmony with appleboughs and summer breezes than with the gas lamps and thick perfumes of a cabinet particulier, and yet it was characteristic of this odd mixture of things that Mlle. Ernestine, coming to chat with her customers, should bear a beautiful infant on her arm, and smile with artless pride on being assured of its filial resemblance to herself. She looked decidedly handsome as she caressed this startling attribute of quiet spinsterhood.[Pg 99]

St. Jouin is close to the sea and to the finest cliffs in the world. One of my companions, who had laden the carriage with his painting traps, went off into a sunny meadow to take the portrait of a windmill, and I, choosing the better portion, wandered through a little green valley with the other. Ten minutes brought us to the edge of the cliffs, which at this point of the coast are simply sublime. I had been thinking the white sea-walls of Etretal the finest thing conceivable in this way, but the huge red porphoritic-looking masses of St. Jouin have an even grander character. I have rarely seen anything more picturesque. They are strange, fantastic, out of keeping with the country, and for some rather arbitrary reason suggested to me a Spanish or even African landscape. Certain sun-scorched precipices in Spanish Sierras must have very much the same warmth of tone and desolation of attitude. A very picturesque feature of the cliffs of St. Jouin is that they are double in height, as one may say. Falling to an immense depth, they encounter a certain outward ledge, or terrace, where they pause and play a dozen fantastic tricks, such as piling up rocks into the likeness of needles and watch-towers; then they plunge again, and in another splendid sweep descend to the beach. There was something very impressive in the way their evil brows, looking as if they were all stained with blood and rust, were bent upon the blue expanse of the sleeping sea.


In a month of beautiful weather at Etretal, every day was not an excursion, but every day seemed indeed a picked day. For that matter, as I lay on the beach watching the procession of the easy-going hours, I took a good many mental excursions. The one, perhaps, on which I oftenest started was a comparison between French manners, French habits, French types, and those of my native land. These comparisons are not invidious; I don't conclude against one party and in favor of the other; as the French say, je constate simply. The French people about me were "spending the summer" just as I had so often seen my fellow countrymen spend it, and it seemed to me, as it had seemed to me at home, that this operation places men and women under a sort of monstrous magnifying glass. The human figure has a higher relief in the country than in town, and I know of no place where psychological studies prosper so as at the seaside. I shall not pretend to relate my observations in the order in which they occurred to me (or indeed to relate them in full at all); but I may say that one of the foremost was to this effect—that the summer question, for every one, had been more easily settled than it usually is at home. The solution of the problem of where to go had not been a thin-petalled rose, plucked from among particularly sharp-pointed thorns. People presented themselves with a calmness and freshness very different from the haggard legacy of that fevered investigation which precedes the annual exodus of the American citizen and his family. This impression, with me, rests perhaps on the fact that most Frenchwomen turned of thirty—the average wives and mothers—are so comfortably fat. I have never seen such massive feminine charms as among the mature baigneuses of Etratal. The lean and desiccated person into whom a dozen years of matrimony so often converts the blooming American girl has no apparent correlative in the French race. A majestic plumpness flourished all around me—the plumpness of triple chins and deeply dimpled hands. I mused upon it, and I concluded that it was the result of the best breakfasts and dinners in the world. It was the corpulence of ladies who are thoroughly well fed, and who never walk a step that they can spare. The assiduity with which the women of America measure the length of our democratic pavements[Pg 100] is doubtless a factor in their frequent absence of redundancy of outline. As a "regular boarder" at the Hotel Blanquet—pronounced by Anglo-Saxon visitors Blanket—I found myself initiated into the mysteries of the French dietary system. I assent to the common tradition that the French are a temperate people, so long as it is understood in this sense—that they eat no more than they want to. But they want to eat so much! Their capacity strikes me as enormous, and we ourselves, if we are less regulated, are certainly much more slender consumers.

The American breakfast has, I believe, long been a subject of irony to the foreign observer; but the American breakfast is an ascetic meal compared with the French déjeuner à la fourchette. The latter, indeed, is simply a dinner without soup; it differs neither generically nor specifically from the evening repast. If it excludes soup, it includes eggs, prepared in a hundred forms; and if it proscribes champagne, it admits beer in foaming pitchers, so that the balance is fairly preserved. I think it is rarely that an American will not feel a certain sympathetic heaviness in the reflection that a French family that sits down at half past eleven to fish and entrées and roasts, to asparagus and beans, to salad and dessert, and cheese and coffee, proposes to do exactly the same thing at dinner time. But we may be sure at any rate that the dinner will be as good as the breakfast, and that the breakfast has nothing to fear from prospective comparison with the dinner; and we may further reflect that in a country where eating is a peculiarly unalloyed pleasure it is natural that this pleasure should be prolonged and reiterated. Nothing is more noticeable among the French than their superior intelligence in dietary matters; every one seems naturally a judge, a dilettante. They have analyzed tastes and savors to a finer point than we; they are aware of differences and relations of which we take no heed. Observe a Frenchman of any age and of any station (I have been quite as much struck with it in the very young men as in the old) as he orders his breakfast or his dinner at a Parisian restaurant, and you will perceive that the operation is much more solemn than it is apt to be in New York or in London. (In London, indeed, it is intellectually positively brutal.) Monsieur has, in a word, a certain ideal for that particular repast, and it will make a difference in his happiness whether the kidneys, for instance, of a certain style, are chopped to the ultimate or only to the penultimate smallness. His directions and admonitions to the waiter are therefore minute and exquisite, and eloquently accentuated by the pressure of thumb and forefinger; and it must be added that the imagination of the waiter is usually quite worthy of the refined communion thus opened to it.

This subtler sense of quality is observable even among those classes in which in other countries it is generally forestalled by a depressing consciousness on the subject of quantity. Watch your Parisian porter and his wife at their mid-day meal, as you pass up and down stairs. They are not satisfying nature upon green tea and potatoes; they are seated before a meal which has been reasoned out, which, on its modest scale, is served in courses, and has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I will not say that the French sense of comfort is confined to the philosophy of nutrition, but it is certainly higher at this point (and perhaps one other) than it is elsewhere. French people must have a good dinner and a good bed; but they are willing that the bed should be stationed and the dinner be eaten in the most unpleasant neighborhoods. Your porter and his wife dine grandly and sleep soft in their lodge, but their lodge is in all probability a fetid black hole, five feet square, in which, in England or in America, people of their talents would never consent to live. French people consent to live in the dark, to huddle together, to forego privacy, and to let bad smells grow great among[Pg 101] them. They have an accursed passion for coquettish furniture: for cold, brittle chairs, for tables with scolloped edges, for ottomans without backs, for fireplaces muffled in plush and fringe and about as cheerful as a festooned hearse. A French bedroom is a bitter mockery—a ghastly attempt to serve two masters which succeeds in being agreeable to neither. It is a thing of traps and delusions, constructed on the assumption that it is inelegant to be known to wash or to sleep, and yet pervaded with suggestions of uncleanness compared with which a well-wrung bathing sponge, well en evidence, is a delightful symbol of purity. This comes of course from that supreme French quality, the source of half the charm of the French mind as well of all its dryness, the genius for economy. It is wasting a room to let it be a bedroom alone; so it must be tricked out as an ingeniously contrived sitting-room, and ends by being (in many cases) insufferable both by night and by day. But allowing all weight to these latter reflections, it is still very possible that the French have the better part. If you are well fed, you can perhaps afford to be ill lodged; whereas, I doubt whether enjoyment of the most commodious apartments is compatible with inanition and dyspepsia.


If I had not cut short my mild retrospect by these possibly milder generalizations, I should have touched lightly upon some of the social phenomena of which the little beach at Etretal was the scene. I shall have narrated that the French, at the seaside, are not "sociable" as Americans affect to be in a similar situation, and I should subjoin that at Etretal it was very well on the whole that they were not. The immeasurably greater simplicity of composition of American society makes sociability with us a comparatively untaxed virtue; but anything like an equal exercise of it in France would be attended with alarming perils and inconveniences. Sociability (in the American sense of the word) in any aristocratic country would indeed be very much like an attempt to establish visiting relations between birds and fishes. At Etretal no making of acquaintance was observable; people went about in compact, cohesive groups, of natural formation, governed doubtless, internally, by humane regulation, but presenting to the world an impenetrable defensive front. These groups usually formed a solid phalanx about two or three young girls, compressed into the centre, the preservation of whose innocence was their chief solicitude. Here, doubtless, the groups were acting wisely, for with half a dozen cocottes, in scarlet petticoats, scattered over the sunny, harmless looking beach, what were mammas and duennas to do? In order that there should be a greater number of approachable-irreproachable young girls in France there must first be a smaller number of cocottes. It is not impossible, indeed, that if the approachable-irreproachable young ladies were more numerous, the cocottes would be less numerous. If by some ingenious sumptuary enactment the latter class could be sequestrated or relegated to the background for a certain period—say ten years—the latter might increase and multiply, and quite, in vulgar parlance, get the start of it.

And yet after all this is a rather superficial reflection, for the excellent reason that the very narrow peep at life allowed to young French girls is not regarded, either by the young girls themselves or by those who have their felicity most at heart, as a grave privation. The case is not nearly so hard as it would be with us, for there is this immense difference between the lot of the jeune fille and her American sister, that the former may as a general thing be said to be certain to marry. "Ay, to marry ill," the Anglo-Saxon[Pg 102] objector may reply. But the objection is precipitate; for if French marriages are almost always arranged, it must be added that they are in the majority of cases arranged well. Therefore, if a jeune fille is for three or four years tied with a very short rope and compelled to browse exclusively upon the meagre herbage which sprouts in the maternal shadow, she has at least the comfort of reflecting that according to the native phrase, on s'occupe de la marier—that measures are being carefully taken to promote her to a condition of unbounded liberty. Whatever, to her imagination, marriage may fail to mean, it at least means freedom and consideration. It does not mean, as it so often means in America, being socially shelved—and it is not too much to say, in certain circles, degraded; it means being socially launched and consecrated. It means becoming that exalted personage, a mère de famille. To be a mère de famille is to occupy not simply (as is rather the case with us) a sentimental, but a really official position. The consideration, the authority, the domestic pomp and circumstance allotted to a French mamma are in striking contrast with the amiable tolerance which in our own social order is so often the most liberal measure that the female parent may venture to expect at her children's hands, and which, on the part of the young lady of eighteen who represents the family in society, is not infrequently tempered by a conscientious severity. All this is worth waiting for, especially if you have not to wait very long. Mademoiselle is married certainly, and married early, and she is sufficiently well informed to know, and to be sustained by the knowledge, that the sentimental expansion which may not take place at present will have an open field after her marriage. That it should precede her marriage seems to her as unnatural as that she should put on her shoes before her stockings. And besides all this, to browse in the maternal shadow is not considered in the least a hardship. A young French girl who is bien élevée—an expression which means so much—will be sure to consider her mother's company the most delightful in the world, and to think that the herbage which sprouts about this lady's petticoats is peculiarly tender and succulent. It may be fanciful, but it often seems to me that the tone with which such a young girl says Ma mère has a peculiar intensity of meaning. I am at least not wrong in affirming that in the accent with which the mamma—especially if she be of the well-rounded order alluded to above—speaks of Ma fille there is a kind of sacerdotal dignity.


After this came two or three pictures of quite another complexion—pictures of which a long green valley, almost in the centre of France, makes the general setting. The valley itself, indeed, forms one delightful picture, although the country which surrounds it is by no means a show region. It is the old region of the Gâtinais, which has plenty of history, but no great beauty. It is very still, deliciously rural, and immitigably French. Normandy is Norman, Gascony is Gascon, but this is France itself—the typical, average, "pleasant" France of history, literature, and art—of art, of landscape art, perhaps, especially. Wherever I look in the country I seem to see one of the familiar pictures on a dealer's wall—a Lambinet, a Troyon, a Daubigny, a Diaz. The Lambinets perhaps are in the majority; the mood of the landscape usually expresses itself in silvery lights and vivid greens. The history of this part of France is the history of the monarchy, and its language is, I won't say absolutely the classic tongue, but a nearer approach to it than any local patois. The peasants deliver themselves with rather a drawl, but what they speak is good clean French that any cockney can understand, which is more than can be[Pg 103] said sometimes for the violent jargon that emanates from the fishing folk of Etretal.

Each side of the long valley is a long low ridge, which offers it a high, bosky horizon, and through the middle of it there flows a charming stream, wandering, winding, and doubling, smothered here and there in rocks, and spreading into lily-coated reaches, beneath the clear shadow of tall, straight, light-leaved trees. On each side of the stream the meadows stretch away flat, clean, and magnificent, lozenged across with rows of sober foliage under which a cow-maiden sits on the grass hooting now and then, nasally, to the large-uddered browsers in front of her. There are no hedges, nor palings, nor walls; it is all a single estate. Here and there in the meadows stands a cluster of red-roofed hovels—each a diminutive village. At other points, at about half an hour's walk apart, are three charming old houses. The châteaux are extremely different, but, both picturesquely and conveniently, each has its points. They are very intimate with each other, so that these points may be amicably discussed. The points in one case, however, are remarkably strong. The château stands directly in the little river I have mentioned, on an island just great enough to hold it, and the garden flowers grow upon the further bank. This, of course, is a most delightful affair. But I found something very agreeable in the aspect of one of the others, when I made it the goal of certain of those walks before breakfast which of cool mornings in the late summer do not fall into the category of ascetic pleasures. (In France, indeed, if one did not do a great many things before breakfast, the work of life would be but meagerly performed.)

The dwelling in question stands on the top of the long ridge which encloses the comfortable valley to the south, being by its position quite in the midst of its appurtenant acres. It is not particularly "kept up," but its quiet rustiness and untrimmedness only help it to be picturesque. A grassy plateau approaches it from the edge of the hill, bordered on one side by a short avenue of horse-chestnuts, and on the other by a dusky wood. Beyond the chestnuts are the steep-roofed, yellow-walled farm buildings, and under cover of the wood a stretch of beaten turf, where, on Sundays and holidays, the farm-servants play at bowls. Directly before the château is a little square garden enclosed by a low stone parapet, interrupted by a high gateway of mossy pillars and iron arabesques, the whole of it overclambered by flowering vines. The house, with its yellow walls and russet roof, is ample and substantial; it is a very proper gentilhommière. In a corner of the garden, at the angle of the parapet, rises that classic emblem of rural gentility, the pigeonnier, the old stone dovecote. It is a great round tower, as broad of base as a lighthouse, with its roof shaped like an extinguisher, and a big hole in its upper portion, in and out of which a dove is always fluttering.

You see all this from the windows of the drawing-room. Be sure that the drawing-room is pannelled in white and gray, with old rococo moulding over the doorways and mantlepiece. The open garden gateway, with its tangled vines, makes a frame for the picture that lies beyond the little grassy esplanade where the thistles have been suffered to grow around a disused stone well, placed at quaint remoteness from the house (if, indeed, it is not a relic of an earlier habitation), a picture of a wide green country rising beyond the unseen valley, and stretching away to a far horizon in deep blue lines of wood. Behind, through other windows, you look out on the gardens proper. There are places that take one's fancy by some accident of expression, by some mystery of accident. This one is high and breezy, both sunny and shady, plain yet picturesque, extremely cheerful,[Pg 104] and a little melancholy. It has what in the arts is called "style," and so it took mine.

Going to call on the peasants was as charming an affair as a chapter in one of George Sand's rural tales. I went one Sunday morning with my hostess, who knew them well and engaged their most garrulous confidence. I don't mean that they told her all their secrets, but they told her a good many; if the French peasant is a simpleton, he is a very shrewd simpleton. At any rate, of a Sunday morning in August, when he is stopping at home from work, and he has put on his best jacket and trowsers, and is loafing at the door of his neighbor's cabin, he is a very charming person. The peasantry in the region I speak of had admirably good manners. The curé gave me a low account of their morals; by which he meant, on the whole, I suspect, that they were moderate church-goers. But they have the instinct of civility and a talent for conversation; they know how to play the host and the entertainer. By "he," just now, I meant she quite as much; it is rare that, in speaking superlatively of the French, in any connection, one does not think of the women even more than of the men. They constantly strike the foreigner as a stronger expression of the qualities of the race. On the occasion I speak of the first room in the very humble cabins I successively visited—in some cases, evidently, it was the only room—had been set into irreproachable order for the day. It had usually a sort of brown-toned picturesqueness, begotten of the high chimney-place, with its swinging pots, the important bed, in its dusky niche, with its flowered curtains, the big-bellied earthenware on the cupboard, the long-legged clock in the corner, the thick, quiet light of the small, deeply-set window; the mixture, on all things, of smoke-stain and the polish of horny hands. Into the midst of this "la Rabillon" or "la Mère Léger" brings forward her chairs and begs us to be seated, and seating herself, with crossed hands, smiles handsomely and answers abundantly all questions about her cow, her husband, her bees, her eggs, and her last-born. The men linger half outside and half in, with their shoulders against dressers and door-posts; every one smiles, with that simple, clear-eyed smile of the gratified peasant; they talk much more like George Sand's Berrichons than might be supposed. And if they receive us without gross awkwardness, they speed us on our way with proportionate urbanity. I go to six or eight little hovels, all of them dirty outside and clean within; I am entertained everywhere with the bonhomie, the quaintness, the good faces and good manners of their occupants, and I finish my tour with an esteem for my new acquaintance which is not diminished by learning that several of them have thirty or forty thousand francs securely laid by.

And yet, as I say, M. le Curé thinks they are in a bad way, and he knows something about them. M. le Curé, too, is not a dealer in scandal; there is something delightfully quaint in the way in which he deprecates an un-Christian construction of his words. There is more than one curé in the valley whose charms I celebrate; but the worthy priest of whom I speak is the pearl of the local priesthood. He has been accused, I believe, of pretentions to what is called illuminisme; but even in his most illuminated moments it can never occur to him that he has been chronicled in an American magazine, and therefore it is not indiscreet to say that he is the curé, not of Gy, but of the village nearest to Gy. I write this sentence half for the pleasure of putting down that briefest of village names and seeing how it looks in print. But it may be elongated at will, and yet be only improved. If you wish to be very specific, you may call it Gy-les-Nonnains—Gy of the Little Nuns. I went with my hostess, another morning, to call[Pg 105] upon M. le Curé, who himself opened his garden door to us (there was a crooked little black cross perched upon it), and, lifting his rusty calotte, stood there a moment in the sunshine, smiling a greeting more benignant than words.

A rural presbytère is not a very sumptuous dwelling, and M. le Curé's little drawing room reminded me of a Yankee parlor (minus the subscription books from Hartford, on the centre-table) in some out-of-the-way corner of New England. But he took us into his very diminutive garden, and showed us an ornament that would not have flourished in the shade of a Yankee parlor—a rude stone image of the Virgin, which he had become possessed of I know not how, and for which he was building a sort of niche in the wall. The work was going on slowly, for he must take the labor as he could get it; but he appealed to his visitors, with a smile of indulgent irony, for an assurance that his little structure would not make too bad a figure. One of them told him that she would send him some white flowers to set out round his statue; whereupon he clasped his hands together over his snuff-box and expressed cheerful views of the world we live in. A couple of days afterward he came to breakfast, and, of course, he arrived early, in his new cassock and band. I found him in the billiard-room, walking up and down alone, and reading his breviary. The combination of the locality, the personage, and the occupation made me smile; and I smiled again when, after breakfast, I found him walking up and down the garden, puffing a cigarette. Of course he had an excellent appetite; but there is something rather cruel in those alternations of diet to which the French parish priest is subjected. At home he lives like a peasant—a fact which, in itself, is not particularly cruel, inasmuch as he is usually a peasant born. But his fellow peasants don't breakfast at the château and gaze adown the savory vistas opened by cutlets à la Soubise. They have not the acute pain of being turned back into the stale atmosphere of bread and beans. Of course it is by no means every day or every week even that M. le Curé breakfasts at the château; but there must nevertheless be a certain uncomfortable crookedness in his position. He lives like a laborer, and yet he is treated like a gentleman. The latter character must seem to him sometimes a rather heavy irony on the other. But to the ideal curé, of course, all characters are equal; he thinks neither too ill of his bad breakfasts, nor too well of his good ones. I won't say that the excellent man I speak of is the ideal curé, but I suspect he is an approach to it; he has a grain of epicureanism to an ounce of stoicism. In the garden path, beside the moat, while he puffed his cigarette, he told me how he had held up his head to the Prussians; for, hard as it seemed to believe it, that pastoral valley had been occupied by ravaging Teutons. According to this recital, he had spoken his mind civilly, but most distinctly, to the group of officers who had made themselves at home in his dwelling—had informed them that it grieved him profoundly that he was obliged to meet them standing there in his cassock, and not out in the fields with a musket in his hands and a dozen congenial spirits at his side. The scene must have been picturesque. The first of the officers got up from table and asked for the privilege of shaking his hand. "M. le Curé," he said, "j'estime hautement votre caractère."

Six miles away—or nearer, by a charming shaded walk along a canal—was an ancient town with a legend—a legend which, as a child, I read in my lesson-book at school, marvelling at the wood-cut above it, in which a ferocious dog was tearing a strange man to pieces, while the king and his courtiers sat by as if they were at the circus. I allude to it chiefly in order to mention the name of one of its promenades, which is the stateliest, beyond all comparison, in the world; the name, I mean, not the street. The[Pg 106] latter is called Les Belles Manières. Could anything be finer than that? With what a sweep gentlemen must once have taken off their hats there; how ladies must once have curtsied, regardless of gutters, and how people must have turned up their toes as they walked!


My next impressions were gathered on the margin of a southern sea—if the Bay of Biscay indeed deserves so soft-sounding a name. We generally have a mental image beforehand of a place we think of going to, and I supposed I had a tolerably vivid prevision of Biarritz. I don't know why, but I had a singular sense of having been there; the name always seemed to me expressive. I saw the way it lay along its gleaming beach; I had taken in imagination the long walks toward Spain over the low cliffs, with the blue sea always to my right, and the blue Pyrenees always before me. My only fear was that my mental picture was not brilliant enough; but this could easily be touched up on the spot. In truth, however, I was exclusively occupied in toning it down. Biarritz seemed to be decidedly below its reputation; I am at a loss to see how its reputation was made. There is a partial explanation that is obvious enough. There is a low, square, bare brick mansion seated on the sands, under shelter of a cliff; it is one of the first objects to attract the attention of an arriving stranger. It is not picturesque, it is not romantic, and even in the days of its prosperity it never can have been impressive. It is called the Villa Eugénie, and it explains in a great measure, as I say, the Biarritz which the arriving stranger, with some dismay, perceives about him. It has the aspect of one of the "cottages" of Newport during the winter season, and is surrounded by an even scantier umbrage than usually flourishes in the vicinity of those establishments. It was what the newspapers call the "favorite resort" of the ex-Empress of the French, who might have been seen at her imperial avocations with a good glass at any time from the Casino. The Casino, I hasten to add, has quite the air of an establishment frequented by gentlemen who look on ladies' windows with telescopes. There are Casinos and Casinos, and that of Biarritz is, in the summary French phrase, "impossible." Except for its view, it is moreover very unattractive. Perched on the top of a cliff which has just space enough to hold its immense brick foundations, it has no garden, no promenade, no shade, no place of out-of-door reunion—the most indispensable feature of a Casino. It turns its back to the Pyrenees and to Spain, and looks out prettily enough over a blue ocean to an arm of the low French coast.

Biarritz, for the rest, scrambles over two or three steep hills, directly above the sea, in a promiscuous, many-colored, noisy fashion. It is a watering-place, pure and simple; every house has an expensive little shop in the basement, and a still more expensive set of rooms to let above stairs. The houses are blue, and pink, and green; they stick to the hillsides as they can, and being near Spain, you try to fancy they look Spanish. You succeed perhaps, even a little, and are rewarded for your zeal by finding, when you cross the border a few days afterward, that the houses at San Sebastian look strikingly French. Biarritz is bright, crowded, irregular, filled with many sounds, and not without a certain second-rate picturesqueness; but it struck me as common and cocknified, and my vision travelled back to modest little Etretal, by its northern sea, as to a more truly delectable resting-place. The southwestern coast of France has little of the exquisite charm of the Mediterranean shore. It has of course a southern expression which in itself is always delightful. You see a brilliant, yellow sun, with a pink-faced, red-tiled house staring up[Pg 107] at it. You can see here and there a trellis and an orange tree, a peasant woman in gold necklace, driving a donkey, a lame beggar adorned with ear-rings, a glimpse of blue sea between white garden walls. But the superabundant detail of the French Riviera is wanting; the softness, luxuriousness, enchantment.

The most picturesque thing at Biarritz is the Basque population, which overflows from the adjacent Spanish provinces and swarms in the crooked streets. It lounges all day in the public places, sprawls upon the curbstones, clings to the face of the cliffs, and vociferates continually in a shrill, strange tongue, which has no discoverable affinity with any other. The Basques look like the hardier and thriftier Neapolitan lazzaroni; if the superficial resemblance is striking, the difference is very much in their favor. Although those specimens which I observed at Biarritz appeared to enjoy an excess of leisure, they had nothing of a shiftless or beggarly air, and seemed as little disposed to ask favors as to confer them. The roads leading into Spain were dotted with them, and here they were coming and going as if on important business—the business of the abominable Don Carlos himself. They struck me as a very handsome race. The men are invariably clean shaved; smooth chins seem a positively religious observance. They wear little round, maroon-colored caps, like those of sailor-boys, dark stuff shirts, and curious white shoes, made of strips of rope laid together—an article of toilet which makes them look like honorary members of base-ball clubs. They sling their jackets, cavalier fashion, over one shoulder, hold their heads very high, swing their arms very bravely, step out very lightly, and when you meet them in the country at eventide, charging down a hillside in companies of half a dozen, make altogether a most impressive appearance. With their smooth chins and childish caps, they may be taken, in the distance, for a lot of very naughty little boys. They have always a cigarette in their teeth.

The best thing at Biarritz is your opportunity for driving over into Spain. Coming speedily to a consciousness of this fact, I found a charm in sitting in a landau and rolling away to San Sebastian, behind a driver in a high glazed hat with long streamers, a jacket of scarlet and silver, and a pair of yellow breeches and of jack-boots. If it has been the desire of one's heart and the dream of one's life to visit the land of Cervantes, even grazing it so lightly as by a day's excursion from Biarritz is a matter to set one romancing. Everything helping—the admirable scenery, the charming day, my operatic coachman, and smooth-rolling carriage—I am afraid I romanced more than it is decent to tell of. You face toward the beautifully outlined mass of the Pyrenees, as if you were going to plunge straight into them, but in reality you travel beneath them and beside them; you pass between their expiring spurs and the sea. It is on proceeding beyond San Sebastian that you seriously attack them. But they are already extremely picturesque—none the less so that in this region they abound in suggestion of the recent Carlist war. Their far-away peaks and ridges are crowned with lonely Spanish watch-towers and their lower slopes are dotted with demolished dwellings. It was hereabouts that the fighting was most constant. But the healing powers of nature are as remarkable as the destructive powers of man, and the rich September landscape appeared already to have forgotten the injuries of yesterday. Everything seemed to me a savory foretaste of Spain. I discovered an unconscionable amount of local color. I discovered it at St. Jean de Luz, the last French town, in a great brown church, filled with galleries and boxes, like a playhouse—the altar and chair, indeed, looked very much like a proscenium; at Bohebia, on the Bidassoa, the small yellow stream which divides France from Spain, and which at this[Pg 108] point offers to view the celebrated Isle of Pheasants, a little bushy strip of earth adorned with a decayed commemorative monument, on which, in the seventeenth century, the affairs of Louis XIV. and his brother monarch were discussed in ornamental conference; at Fuentarabia (glorious name), a mouldering relic of Spanish stateliness; at Hondaye, at Irun, at Renteria, and finally at San Sebastian. At all of these wayside towns the houses show marks of Alphonsist bullets (the region was strongly Carlist); but to be riddled and battered seems to carry out the meaning of the pompous old escutcheons carven above the doorways, some of them covering almost half the house. It seemed to me, in fact, that the narrower and shabbier was the poor little dusky dwelling, the grander and more elaborate was this noble advertisement. But it stood for knightly prowess, and pitiless Time had taken up the challenge. I found it fine work to rumble through the narrow single street of Irun and Renteria, between the strange-colored houses, the striped awnings, the universal balconies, and the heraldic doorways.

San Sebastian is a lively watering-place, and is set down in the guidebooks as the Biarritz or the Brighton of Spain. It has of course a new quarter in the provincial-elegant style (fresh stucco cafés, barber shops, and apartments to let), looking out upon a planted promenade and a charming bay, locked in fortified heights, with a narrow portal to the ocean. I walked about for two or three hours, and devoted most of my attention to the old quarter, the town proper, which has a great frowning gate upon the harbor, through which you look along a vista of gaudy house fronts, balconies, and awnings, surmounted by a narrow strip of sky. Here the local color was richer, the manners more naïf. Here too was a church with a flamboyant Jesuit façade and an interior redolent of Spanish Catholicism. There was a life-sized effigy of the Virgin perched upon a table beside the great altar (she appeared to have been walking abroad in a procession), whom I looked at with extreme interest. She seemed to me a heroine, a solid Spanish person, as perfect a reality as Don Quixote or St. Theresa. She was dressed in an extraordinary splendor of laces, brocades, and jewels, her coiffure and complexion were of the finest, and she evidently would answer to her name if you spoke to her. Improving the stateliest title I could think of, I addressed her as Doña Maria of the Holy Office; whereupon she looked round the great dusky, perfumed church, to see whether we were alone, and then she dropped her fringed eyelids and held out her hand to be kissed. She was the Sentiment of Spanish Catholicism: gloomy, yet bedizened, emotional as a woman, and yet mechanical as a doll. After a moment I grew afraid of her, and went slinking away. After this I didn't really recover my spirits until I had the satisfaction of hearing myself addressed as "Cabellero." I was hailed with this epithet by a ragged infant, with sickly eyes and a cigarette in his lips, who invited me to cast a copper into the sea, that he might dive for it; and even with these limitations, the sensation seemed worth the cost of my excursion. It appeared kinder, to my gratitude, to make the infant dive upon the pavement.

A few days later I went back to San Sebastian, to witness a bull fight; but I suppose my right to descant upon this entertainment should be measured less by the gratification it afforded me than by the question whether there is room in literature for another bull fight. I incline to think there is not; the Spanish diversion is the best described thing in the world. Besides, there are other reasons for not describing it. It is extremely disgusting, and one should not describe disgusting things—except (according to the new school) in novels, when they have not really occurred, and are manufactured on purpose. But one has taken a certain sort of pleasure in the bull fight,[Pg 109] and yet how is one to state gracefully that one has taken pleasure in a disgusting thing? It is a hard case. If you record your pleasure, distinctly, you seem to exaggerate it and to calumniate your delicacy; and if you record nothing but your displeasure, you feel rather crabbed and stingy. This much I can say, at any rate, that as there had been no bull fights in that part of the country during the Carlist war, the native dilettanti (and every man, woman, and child of them comes under this denomination) returned to their previous pastime with peculiar zest. The spectacle, therefore, had an unusual splendor. Under these circumstances it is highly picturesque. The weather was beautiful; the near mountains peeped over the top of the vast open arena, as if they too were curious; weary of disembowelled horses and posturing espadas, the spectator (in the boxes) might turn away and look through an unglazed window at the empty town and the cloud-shadowed sea. But few of the native spectators availed themselves of this privilege. Beside me sat a blooming matron, in a white lace mantilla, with three very juvenile daughters; and if these ladies sometimes yawned, they never shivered. For myself, I confess that if I sometimes shivered, I never yawned. A long list of bulls was sacrificed, each of whom had pretentions to originality. The banderillos, in their silk stockings and embroidered satin costumes, skipped about with a great deal of elegance; the espada folded his arms, within six inches of the bull's nose, and stared him out of countenance; but I thought the bull, in any case, a finer fellow than any of his tormentors, and I thought his tormentors finer fellows than the spectators. In truth, we were all, for the time, rather sorry fellows together. A bull fight will, to a certain extent, bear looking at, but it will not bear thinking of. There was a more innocent picturesqueness in what I saw afterward, when we all came away, in the late afternoon, as the shadows were at their longest: the bright-colored southern crowd, spreading itself over the grass, and the women, with mantillas and fans, strolling up along before the mountains and the sea.

Henry James, Jr.


With diamond dew the grass was wet,
T'was in the spring, and gentlest weather,
And all the birds of morning met,
And carolled in her heart together.
The wind blew softly o'er the land,
And softly kissed the joyous ocean:
He walked beside her, on the sand,
And gave and won a heart's devotion.
The thistledown was in the breeze,
With birds of passage homeward flying:
His fortune called him o'er the seas,
And on the shore he left her sighing.
[Pg 110]
She saw his barque glide down the bay—
Through tears and fears she could not banish;
She saw his white sails melt away;
She saw them fade; she saw them vanish.
And "Go," she said; "for winds are fair,
And love and blessing round you hover:
When you sail backward through the air,
Then I will trust the word of lover."
Still ebbed, still flowed the tide of years,
Now chilled with snows, now bright with roses,
And many smiles were turned to tears,
And sombre morns to radiant closes.
And many ships came gliding by,
With many a golden promise freighted:
But nevermore from sea or sky
Came love to bless her heart that waited.
Yet on, by tender patience led,
Her sacred footsteps walked unbidden,
Wherever sorrow bows its head,
Or want and care and shame are hidden.
And they who saw her snow-white hair,
And dark, sad eyes, so deep with feeling,
Breathed all at once the chancel air,
And seemed to hear the organ pealing.
Till once, at shut of autumn day,
In marble chill she paused and harkened,
With startled gaze where far away
The waste of sky and ocean darkened.
There, for a moment, faint and wan,
High up in air, and landward striving,
Stern-fore a spectral barque came on,
Across the purple sunset driving.
Then something out of night she knew,
Some whisper heard, from heaven descended,
And peacefully as falls the dew
Her long and lonely vigil ended.
The violet and the bramble-rose
Make glad the grass that dreams above her;
And freed from time and all its woes,
She trusts again the word of lover.

William Winter.

[Pg 111]


"It is a cameo to break one's heart!" said Mrs. Dalliba, as she toyed with the superb jewel. "The cutting is unmistakably Florentine, and yet you have placed it among your Indian curiosities. I do not understand it at all."

Mrs. Dalliba was a connoisseur in gems; she had travelled from one extremity of Europe to the other; had studied the crown jewels of nearly every civilized nation, haunted museums, and was such a frequent visitor at the jewellers' of the Palais Royal, that many of them had come to regard her as an individual who might harbor burglarious intentions. She was a very harmless specialist, however, who, though she loved these stars of the underworld better than any human being, could never have been tempted to make one of them unfairly her own, and she seldom purchased, for she never coveted one unless it was something quite extraordinary, beyond the reach of even her considerable fortune. Meanwhile few of the larger jewelry houses had in their employ lapidaries more skilled than Mrs. Dalliba. She pursued her studies for the mere love of the science, devoting a year in Italy to mosaics, cameos, and intaglios. And yet the Crèvecœur cameo had puzzled wiser heads than Mrs. Dalliba's, adept though she was. It was cut from a solid heart-shaped gem, a layer of pure white, shading down through exquisite gradations into deep green, and represented Aphrodite rising from the sea; the white form rose gracefully, with arms extended, scattering the drops of spray from her hands and her wind-blown hair; the foamy waves were beautifully cut with their intense hollows and snowy crests; it was evidently the work of a cultivated as well as a natural artist; it was not surprising that Mrs. Dalliba should insist that it could not have been executed out of Italy.

But Prof. Stonehenge was right too; it was a stone of the chalcedonic family, resembling sardonyx, except in color; others, similar to it both in a natural state and wrought into arrow-heads, had been found along the shores of Lake Superior. This seemed to have been brought away from its associates by some wandering tribe, for it had been discovered in Central Illinois. The nearest point at which other relics belonging to the same period had been found was the site of Fort Crèvecœur, near Starved Rock, Illinois. After all, the stone only differed from the arrow-heads of Lake Superior in its beautiful carving and unprecedented size—and, ah, yes! there was another difference, the mystery of its discovery. No other skeleton among all the buried braves unearthed by scientific research at Crèvecœur had been found with a gem for a heart—a gem that glittered not on the breast, but within a chest hooped with human bone. Mrs. Dalliba had just remarked that she had never felt so strong a desire to possess and wear any jewel as now; but when Prof. Stonehenge told how the uncanny thing rattled within the white ribs of the skeleton in which it was found, she allowed the gem to slip from her hand, while something of its own pale green flickered in the disgusted expression which quivered about the corners of her mobile mouth. The cameo was a mystery which had baffled geologist, antiquarian, and sculptor alike, for Father Francis Xavier had gone down to his grave with his secret and his cameo hidden in his heart. He had kept both well for two centuries, and when the heart crumbled in dust it took its secret with it, leaving only the cameo to bewilder conjecture.[Pg 112]

Its story was, after all, a simple one. On the southern shore of Michillimackinac, in the romantic days of the first exploration of the great lakes by the Courreurs de Bois and pioneer priests, had settled good Père Ignace, a devoted Jesuit missionary. The old man was revered and loved by the Indians among whom he dwelt. His labors blossomed in a little village, called from his patron saint the mission of St. Ignace, that displayed its cluster of white huts and wigwams like the petals of a water-lily on the margin of the lake. Just back of the village was a round knoll which served as a landmark on the lake, for the shore near St. Ignace was remarkably level. On the summit of this mound the good father had reared a great white cross, and at its foot the superstitious Indians often laid votive offerings of strongly incongruous character. Here he had lived and taught for many years, succeeding in instructing his little flock in the French tongue, and in at least an outward semblance of the Catholic religion. Even the rude trappers, who came to trade at regular intervals, revered him, and lived like good Christians while at the mission, so as not to counteract his teaching by their lawless example. Here Père Ignace was growing old, and even this grasshopper of a spiritual charge was becoming a burden. His superior, at Montreal, understood this and sent him an assistant.

Very unlike Father Ignatius was Père François Xavier, a man with all the fire and enthusiasm of youth in his blood—just the one for daring, hazardous enterprises; just the one to undergo all the privation and toil of planting a mission; to undertake plans requiring superhuman efforts, and to carry them through successfully by main force of will. A better assistant for Father Ignatius could not have been found. It was force, will, and intellect in the service of love and meekness; only there was a doubt if the servant might not usurp the place of the master, and the sway of love be not materially advanced by its new ally. Indeed, if the truth had been known, even the Bishop of Montreal had felt that Father Francis Xavier was too ambitious a character to reside safely in too close proximity to himself; and engrossing employment at a distance for him, rather than the expressed solicitude for Father Ignatius, prompted this appointment. The results of the following year approved the arrangement. The mission received a new accession of life; its interests were pushed forward energetically.

Father Francis Xavier devoted himself to an acquisition of the various Indian dialects, and to excursions among the neighboring tribes. Converts were made in astonishing numbers, and they brought liberal gifts to the little church from their simple possessions. Father Ignatius had never thought to barter with the trappers and traders, but his colleague did; large church warehouses were erected, and the mission soon had revenues of importance. Away in the interior Father Xavier had discovered there was a silver mine; but this discovery, for the present, he made no attempt at exploiting. He had secured it to the church by title deed and treaty with the chief who claimed it; had visited it and assured himself that it would some day be very valuable, and he contented himself with this for the present, and even managed to forget its acquisition in his yearly report sent to Montreal. Father Francis Xavier was something of a geologist; his father was a Florentine jeweller, and the son had studied as his apprentice, not having at first been destined for the church. Even after taking holy orders, Father Francis Xavier had labored over precious stones designed for ecclesiastical decoration. His specialty had been that of a gem engraver, and his long white fingers were remarkably skilful and delicate. This northern region, with all its wealth of precious stones, was a great jewel casket for him, and he became at once an enthusiastic collector.[Pg 113]

Before the coming of his assistant, Father Ignatius had managed his own simple housekeeping in all its most humble details. Now they had the services of an Indian maid of all work, who had been brought up under the eyes of Father Ignatius, and whom the old man regarded rather as a daughter than as a servant. Her moccasined feet fell as silently as those of spirits as she glided about their lodge. She never sang at her work, and rarely spoke, but she smiled often with a smile so childlike as to be almost silly in expression. Father Ignatius loved the silent smile, and a word from him was always sure to bring it; but it angered Father Francis Xavier more than many a more repulsive thing would have done. It seemed so utterly imbecile and babyish to him, he had got so far away from innocence and smiles and childhood himself, that the sight of them irritated him. The young Indian girl had a long and almost unpronounceable name. Père Ignace had baptized her Marie, and the new name had gradually taken the place of the old.

One day, as she was silently but dexterously putting to order the large upper room, which served Père Francis Xavier as study and dormitory, she paused before his collection of agates and minerals, and stroking the stones, said in her soft French and Indian patois, "Pretty, pretty." Father Xavier was seated at the great open window, looking over the top of his book away across the breezy lake. He heard the words, and knew that she was looking at him from the corner of her eye, but his only reply was a deeper scowl and a lowering of his glance to the printed page. The silly smile which he felt sure was upon her face faded out, but the girl spoke again, and this time more resolutely, determined to attract his attention. "Pretty stones. Marie's father many more, much prettier—much."

Father Xavier laid down his book. He was all attention. "Where did your father get them?" he asked.

"In the mountains climb, in the mines dig, in the lake dive, he seek them all the time summer."

"What does he do with them?"

"Cuts them like mon père," and Marie imitated in pantomime the use of the hammer and chisel. "Cut them all time winter, very many."

"What does he do that for?" asked the priest, surprised.

"All the same you," replied the girl—"make arrow-heads."

"Oh! he makes arrow-heads, does he? Mine are not arrow-heads, but I should like to see what your father does. Does he live far from here?"

"Marie take you to-night in canoe."

"Very well, after supper."

She had often taken him out upon the lake before, for she managed their birch-bark canoe with more skill than himself, and it was convenient to have some one to paddle while he fished or read or dreamed. She rowed him swiftly up the lake for several miles, then, fastening the canoe, led the way through a trail in the forest. The sun was setting, and "the whispering pines and the hemlocks" of the forest primeval formed a tapestry of gloom around the paternal wigwam as they reached it. Black Beaver, her father, reclined lazily in the door, watching the coals of the little fire in front of his tent. He was always lazy. It was difficult to believe that he ever climbed or dug or dived for agates as Marie had said, so complete a picture he seemed of inaction. The girl spoke a few words to him in their native dialect, and he grumblingly rose, shuffled into the interior of the wigwam, and brought out two baskets. One was a shallow tray filled with the finished heads in great variety of material and color. There were white carnelian, delicately striped with prophetic red, blood-stone deep-colored and hard as ruby, agates of every shade and marking, flinty jasper, emerald-banded malachite, delicate rose color, and purple ones made from shells, and various crystals with whose names Father François Xavier was un[Pg 114]familiar. There was one shading from dark green through to red, only a drop of the latter color on the very tip of the arrow where blood would first kiss blood. Father Xavier looked at it in wondering admiration, and at last asked Black Beaver what he called it.

"It is a devil-stone," replied the Indian. "More here," and he opened the deeper basket in which were stored the unground and uncut stones, and placed a superb gem in Father Xavier's hand. He had ground it sufficiently to show that it was in two layers, white and green; in this there was no touch of red, but in every other respect it was the handsomer stone.

"Will you sell it to me?" asked the priest. "How much?"

The Indian smiled with an expression strangely like that of his daughter, and put it back with alacrity in his basket, saying, "Me no sell big devil-stone. No money buy."

"What do you mean to do with it?" asked Father Xavier.

"Make arrowhead—very hungry—no blood"; and he indicated the absence of the red tint. "Very hungry—kill very much—never have enough!"

"Then you mean to keep it and use it yourself?"

"No," said the other. "Me no hunt game—hunt stones."

"What will you do with it?" asked the puzzled priest.

"Give it away," said Black Beaver—"give away to greatest——"

"Chief?" asked Father Xavier.

Black Beaver shook his head.

"Friend then?"

"No," grunted the arrowhead maker—"give away to big enemy!"

"What did he mean by that?" Father Xavier asked of Marie on their way back to the mission. And the girl explained the superstition that Indians of their own tribe never killed an enemy with ordinary weapons, for fear that his soul would wait for theirs in the Happy Hunting Grounds; but if he was shot with a devil-stone, the soul could not fly upward, but would sink through all eternity, until it reached the deepest spot of all the great lakes under the stony gaze of the Doom Woman.

When he inquired further as to the whereabouts of the Doom Woman's residence he ascertained that she was only a sharp cliff among "the pictured rocks of sandstone" of the upper lake—a cliff that viewed from either side maintained its resemblance to a female profile looking sternly down at the water beneath it, which was here believed to be unfathomable. The Doom Woman still exists. Strange to say, under its sharp-cut features a steamer has since been wrecked and sunk, and its expression of gloomy fate is now awfully appropriate. Marie had visited "the great Sea Water" with her father. Nature's titanic and fanciful frescoing and cameo cutting had strongly wrought upon her impressionable mind, and the old legends and superstitions of paganism had been by no means effaced by the very slight veneer of Christianity which she had received at the mission.

From this evening Father Xavier's manner toward her changed. Her smile no longer seemed to irritate him, and a close observer might have noticed that she smiled less than formerly. He talked with her more, paid closer attention to her studies, made her little presents from time to to time, and spoke to her always with studied gentleness that was quite foreign to his nature. And Marie watched him at work over his stones, spent her spare time in rambling in search of those which she had learned he liked, and laid upon his table without remark each new discovery of quartz, or crystal, or pebble. She had been in the habit of making little boxes which she decorated with a rude mosaic of small shells, and Father Xavier noticed that these gradually acquired more taste and were arranged with some eye to the harmonies of color, while the forms were copied with Chinese accuracy from patterns on the[Pg 115] bindings of his books or the borders of the religious pictures. Marie was developing under an art education which if carried far enough might effect great things. She even managed his graving tools with a good deal of accuracy, copying designs which he set her, until he wondered what his father would have thought of so apt an apprentice.

Suddenly, one morning in midsummer, Marie announced that she should leave them. Her father was going on a long expedition for stones to the head of Lake Superior, and she did not know when she might return. As she imparted this information she watched Father Xavier from the corner of her eye, and something of the old childish smile reappeared as he showed that he was really annoyed.

The summer passed profitably for the Black Beaver, and he began to think of returning to St. Ignace with his small store of valuable stones before the fall gales should set in. He was just a few days too late. When within sight of Michillimackinac a storm arose driving them out upon the open lake, and playing with their canoe as though it were a cockle shell. When the storm abated a cloudy night had set in; no land was visible in any direction; they had completely lost their direction, and knew not toward which point to seek the shore. Paddling at hazard might take them further out into the centre of the lake, and indeed they were too worn with battling with the storm to do any more than keep the tossed skiff from capsizing. Morning dawned wet and gray, after a miserable night; they were drenched to the skin, and almost spent with weariness and hunger, and now that a wan and ghostly daylight had come they were no better for it, for an impenetrable fog shut them in on every side. Marie and her mother began to pray. The Black Beaver sat dogged and inert, with upturned face, regarding the sky.

The day wore by wearily; some of the time they paddled straight onward, with sinking hearts, knowing not toward what they were going, and at others rested with the inaction of despair. When the position of the bright spot which meant the sun told that it lacked but an hour of sunset, and the clouds seemed to be thickening rather than dispersing, the Black Beaver gave a long and hideous howl. His wife and daughter shuddered when they heard it, as would any one, for a more unearthly and discordant cry was never uttered by man or beast; but they had double reason to shudder; it was the death cry of their nation.

"We can never live through another night," said he, and he covered his face with his arms.

"Father," said Marie, "try what power there is in the white man's God. Say that you will give Him your devil-stone if He will save us now."

"The priest may have it," said the Black Beaver, and he uncovered his face and sat up as though expecting a miracle. And the miracle came. The sun was setting behind them, and in front, somewhat above the horizon, the clouds parted, forming a circle about a white cross which hung suspended in the air. They all saw it distinctly, but only for a few moments; then the clouds closed and the vision vanished. With new hope the little party rowed toward the spot where they had last seen it, and through the fog they could dimly discern the outlines of the coast—they were nearing land. A little further on, and a village was visible, which gained a more and more familiar aspect as they approached. Night settled down before they reached it, but ere their feet touched the land they had recognized the mission of St. Ignace. The cross was not a vision. The clouds had parted to show them the great white landmark and sign which Father Ignatius had raised upon the little knoll.

The next day the Black Beaver unearthed his devil-stone, and fastening a silver chain to it, was about to carry it away and attach it to the cross, which was already loaded with the[Pg 116] gifts of the little colony; but Marie took it from his hand. "I will give it to the good priest myself," she said. "He may see fit to place it on the image of the Virgin in the church."

A few days later Marie placed the coveted stone in Father Xavier's hand; but what was his bitter disappointment to find that she had marred the exquisite thing by a rude attempt at a delineation upon it of the vision of the cross. She had carefully chiselled away the milky white layer, excepting on the crests of some very primitive representations of waves, and within the awkwardly plain cross in the centre of the gem. All his hopes of cutting a face upon this lovely jewel were crushed; it was ruined by her unskilful work. Father Xavier was completely master of his own emotions. He took the stone without remark, and hung it, as Marie requested, about the neck of the Madonna. Each day as he said mass the sight of the mutilated jewel roused within him resentful feelings against poor, well-wishing little Marie. He had been very kind to her since he had first seen the stone in the possession of her father, but now it was worse than before. He avoided her markedly, for the smile which so annoyed him still lighted her face whenever she saw him, and there was in it a reproachful sadness which was even more aggravating than its simple childishness had been.

One day Father Xavier in turning over his papers came across an old etching of Venus rising from the sea. The figure, with its outstretched arms, suggested a possibility to him. He made a careful tracing of it, took it to the church and laid it upon the stone. All of its outlines came within the white cross; there was still hope for the cameo. All that winter Father Xavier toiled upon it, exhausting his utmost skill, but never exhausting his patience. His chief trial was in the extreme hardness of the stone, which rapidly wore out his graving tools. At last it was finished, and Father Xavier confessed to himself, in all humility, that he had not only never executed so delicate a piece of workmanship, but he had never seen its equal. Every curve of the exquisite-hued waves was studied from the swell that sometimes swept grandly in from the lake on the long reef of rocks a few miles above St. Ignace. The form of the goddess was modelled from his remembrance of the Greek antique. It was a gem worthy of an emperor. What should he do with it?

As the spring ripened into summer, ambitious thoughts flowered in Père Francis Xavier's soul. What a grand bishopric this whole western country would make with its unexplored wealth of mines, and furs, and forest. Why should he be obliged to make reports of the revenue which his own financiering had secured to the mission, to the head at Montreal? Why should not his reverence the Lord Bishop Francis Xavier dwell in an episcopal palace built somewhere on these lakes, with unlimited spiritual and temporal sway over all this country? To effect such a scheme it would be necessary for him to see both the King of France and the Pope. He was not sure that even if he could return to Europe immediately, he had the influence necessary in either quarter, but the cameo was a step in the right direction. Something of the same thought occurred at the same time to the Bishop of Montreal. Father Xavier's reports showed the mission to be in a flourishing condition. The first struggles of the pioneer were over. Father Xavier must not be left in too luxurious a position. The Chevalier La Salle was now fitting out his little band designed to explore the lakes and follow the Mississippi from its source to the Gulf. A most important expedition; it would be well that the Jesuit fathers should share in the honors if it proved successful, and if the little party perished in its hazardous enterprise, Père Francis Xavier could perhaps be spared as easily as any member of his spiritual army.

And so, in the summer of 1679, the[Pg 117] Chevalier sailed up the Lac du Dauphin, as Lake Erie was then called, into the Lac d'Orleans, or Huron, carrying letters in which Père Francis Xavier was ordered to leave his charge for a time in order to render all the assistance in his power to the explorers. The Bishop of Montreal could never have guessed with what heartfelt joy his command was obeyed. Father Xavier was tired of this peaceful life, tired of "the endless wash of melancholy waves," of the short cool summers, and long white blank of winter; tired of inaction, of the lack of stimulating surroundings, of the gentleness of Father Ignatius and Marie's haunting smile. Here, too, might be the very occasion he craved of making himself famous and deserving of reward as an explorer. It was true that he started as a subordinate, but that was no reason that he should return in the same capacity. Marie had served the noble guests with pleasant alacrity, passing the rainbow-tinted trout caught as well as broiled by her own hand, and the luscious huckleberries in tasteful baskets of her own braiding, and Tontz Main de Fer, the chivalric companion and friend of La Salle, was moved like Geraint, served by Enid, "to stoop and kiss the dainty little thumb that crossed the trencher." The salutation was received with unconscious dignity by little Marie; once only was Père François Xavier annoyed by the absence of a display of childish pleasure in an ever ready smile.

History tells how trial and privation of every kind waited on this little band of heroic men—how hunger, and cold, and fever dogged their steps; how the Indians proved treacherous and hostile; how, having reached central Illinois after incredible exertion, they found themselves in the dead of winter unable to proceed further, and surrounded by tribes incited against them by some unknown enemy. A fatality seemed to hang over them; suspicious occurrences indicated that they had a traitor among their number, but he was never discovered. La Salle did not despair or abandon the enterprise, but when six of his most trusted men mutinied and deserted, he lost hope, and became seized with a presentiment that he would never return from his expedition. Father Xavier was his confidant as well as confessor, but he seems not to have been able to disperse the gloom which settled over the leader's mind. Perhaps he did not endeavor to do so. Hopeless but still true to his trust, La Salle constructed near Peoria a fort which he named Crèvecœur, in token of his despondency and disappointment. Leaving Tontz Main de Fer in command here with the greater part of his men, he set out with five for Frontenac, on the 2d of March, 1680, intending to return with supplies to take command again of his party, and to proceed southward. It was at this point that the most inexplicable event of the entire enterprise occurred. Before the party divided some one attempted to poison the Chevalier La Salle. The poison was a subtle and slow one, similar in its effects to those used by the Borgia family; the secret of its manufacture was thought to be unknown out of Italy. Fortunately he had taken an under or overdose of it, and the effects manifested themselves only in a long illness. He was too far on his journey from Fort Heartbreak when stricken down to return to it, and was mercifully received and nursed back to health by the friendly Pottawottamies.

While the leader was lying sick in an Indian lodge, the knightly Tontz, ignorant of the fate of his friend, was having his troubles at the little fort of Heartbreak. Père François Xavier had remained with him, and aided him with counsels and personal exertions; he had made himself so indispensable that he was now lieutenant; if anything should happen to Tontz, he would be commander. He was secretary of the expedition, drew careful maps, and made voluminous daily entries in a journal, which was afterward found to be a marvel of painstaking[Pg 118] both in the facts and fictions which it contained. Scanty mention was there of La Salle and Tontz Main de Fer, and much of Père François Xavier, but it was clear, explicit, depicting the advantages of an acquisition of this territory to the crown of France in glowing terms, and strongly advising that the man who had most distinguished himself in the difficulties of its discovery should be appointed as governor, or baron, under the royal authority.

While Father Xavier was compiling this remarkable piece of authorship, the Iroquois descended in warlike array upon the somewhat friendly disposed Illinois Indians, in whose midst Fort Crèvecœur had been built. The suspicious Indian mind immediately connected the advent of their enemies with the building of the fort, and regarded the little garrison with distrust. Tontz, at the instance of Father Xavier, presented himself to their chief, and offered to do anything in his power to prove his friendly intentions. The chief accepted his services, and sent him as ambassador to inquire into the cause of the coming of the Iroquois. This mission had nearly been his last, for Tontz was received with stabs, and hardly allowed to give the message of the chief. His ill treatment at the hands of their enemies did not reassure the suspicious Illinois, who ordered Tontz to immediately evacuate the fort and return with his forces to the country whence he had come. In his wounded condition such a journey was extremely hazardous, and it must have been with grave doubts as to his surviving it that Father Xavier took temporary command of the returning expedition.

It was the spring of 1681. Father Xavier had been absent nearly two years. Father Ignatius missed him sadly—all the life and fire seemed to have gone out of the mission. Even Marie moved about her work in a listless, languid way, which contrasted markedly with her once lithe and rapid movements. They had not once heard from the explorers, and Father Ignatius shook his head sadly, and feared that he would never see his energetic colleague again. The Black Beaver had slept through the last months of winter, and, as with the general awakening of spring the bears came out of their dens, and the snakes sunned themselves near their holes, he too stretched himself lazily and awoke to a consciousness of what was passing around him. In the first place something was amiss with Marie. When she came to the wigwam it was not to chat merrily of the affairs of the mission. She did not braid as many baskets as formerly, and no longer showed him new patterns in shell mosaic on the lids of little boxes. He was a curious old man, and he soon drew her secret from her. Marie loved Père François Xavier, and he had gone.

The Black Beaver went down to the mission one evening and had a long talk with Father Ignatius. He ascertained first that Père François Xavier really meant to return; then, with all the dignity of an old feudal baron, he offered Marie as a bride for his spiritual son. Very gently the good Père Ignace explained that Romish priests were so nearly in the kingdom of heaven that the question of marrying and giving in marriage was not for them to consider. The Black Beaver went home, told no one of his visit, and for several days indulged in the worst drunken spree of which he was capable. When he came out of it he announced to his wife and Marie that he was going away on his annual trip for stores, but that they need not accompany him.

Marie knelt as usual in the little church on the evening of the day on which her father had gone away. Père François Xavier had replaced the cameo on the Virgin's breast before he went; it was a safer place than the vault of a bank would have been, had such a thing existed in the country. There was no one in the island sacrilegious enough to rob the church. Marie had gazed at the stone each[Pg 119] time that she repeated the prayer which he had taught her. She looked up now, and it was gone.

Half-way upon their northward route, Tontz's band were struggling wearily on when they were met by a solitary Indian, who, though he carried a long bow, had not an unfriendly aspect. He eyed the little band silently as they passed by him in defile, then ran after them, and inquired if the Père François Xavier, of Mission St. Ignace, was not of their number. He was informed that the reverend father had remained a short distance behind to write in his journal, but that he would soon overtake them; and he was warmly pressed to remain with them if he had messages for the priest, and give them to him when he arrived; but the Indian shook his head and passed on in the direction in which they told him he would be likely to meet Father Xavier. The party halted and waited hour after hour for the priest, but he did not come. Finally two went back in search, and found him lying upon the sod with upturned face—the place where he had written last in his journal marked by a few drops of his heart's blood, and the long shaft of an arrow protruding from his breast. They drew it out, but the arrow-head had been attached, as is the custom in some Indian tribes, by means of a soft wax, which is melted by the warmth of the body, and it remained in the heart. Father Xavier had been dead some hours. They buried him where they found him, and proceeded on their march. Tontz recovered on the way. They reached Michillimackinack in safety, where they were joined two months later by La Salle; and the world knows the result of his second expedition.

Little Marie learned by degrees to smile again, and in after years married another arrow-head maker, as swarthy and as shaggy as the Black Beaver. There is no moral to my story except that of poetic justice. Père François Xavier had sown a plentiful crop of stratagems, and he learned in the lonely forest that "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."

Meanwhile to all but you, my readers, the Crèvecœur cameo remains as great a mystery as ever.

Lizzie W. Champney.



The newspapers of Berlin announced the arrival of a superior artist, the celebrated M. Delille of the Théâtre Français de Paris, where he had played first parts. Born and bred in the French metropolis, it was believed he would not only open new sources of amusement to the public, but add elegance to the French even of the highest regions. Everybody was talking of him. His acquisition, rendered possible only by a différend with the Paris manager, was a triumph for Berlin. I was quite curious to see him.

One day I stepped into Rey's perfumery shop to buy some cologne water. The rooms were crowded with fashionable ladies looking over the glittering and fragrant assortment of savons de toilette, pâtes d'amandes, huiles essentielles, eaux de vie aromatisées, etc. While making my purchase, a very handsome fellow came in who excited unusual attention. His toilette recherchée, his noble but modest air made one look at him again and again. He spoke with Rey in a voice so harmonious and in such French as one does not hear every day even in Paris. I[Pg 120] heard a lady whisper to another: "Ah, voilà qui est parlez Français (that is the way to speak French)." The stranger was certainly somebody, or so many furtive glances would not have been cast at him. I might, by inquiry, easily have ascertained who he was, but I found a kind of pleasure in prolonging my curiosity. The Emperor Nicholas of Russia was daily expected. He was supposed to be the handsomest man in the world. But he was six feet two, taller than this person. The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin had arrived the previous afternoon; but, it seemed to me, no German could speak French with just that modulation. The Prince de Joinville was expected. Perhaps it was he.

"Will you kindly give yourself the trouble to send the box to M. Delille, Friedrich strasse 30?"

Ah ha! Le voilà! There was my man. Strange I had not thought of him.

I had a season ticket at the French theatre for the purpose of learning French, and I had been as much entertained as instructed (I mean instructed in the language). Every one knows a Frenchman can infuse airy elegance into a button, bestow a marketable value upon a straw, breathe esprit into a feather, and make ten dishes out of a nettle-top. So the poet can transform any incident into an attractive vaudeville. The tender situation dramatique, the humorous coup de théâtre, the jeu d'esprit sparkling up into music, the elevated sentiment, the merciless exposure of vice and folly, the purest and noblest morality, largely mixed with an ostentatious ridicule of every sacred truth, and an absolute disregard of every principle of decency and duty, give strange glimpses into French social life.

As a school for the French student, however, the theatre is a useful institution. For French has got to be learned somehow or other. A dancing master of my acquaintance used always to commence his course by a short address to his class in which he remarked: "Mesdemoiselles! La chose la plus importante du monde c'est la danse!" (the most important thing in the world is dancing.) Perhaps he was right. In that case I must add that the next most important thing in the world is the French language; at least to a foreigner on the continent of Europe. Without that you do not know anything. You are a straw man. You are a deaf and dumb creature. Ladies gaze at you with compassion, gentlemen with contempt, children with wonder, while waiters quiz you, cheat you, and make the imaginary mill behind your back.

Impressed with the inconvenience of this position, I had long ago commenced a siege of the French language. I studied it a fond. I looked into every y and en. I had attended the French theatre as a school, and profited by the performances. The company was excellent, particularly one young girl, Mlle. Fontaine. Her playing was unsurpassable. She knew always when to go on and when to stop. Perfect simplicity, a taste never at fault, delightful humor, a high tragic power; to these add a lovely face, a beautiful form, grace in every movement, a voice just as sweet as a voice could be, and you have a dim idea of Mlle. Fontaine. In her private life, moreover, she enjoyed the reputation of being without reproach. The whole world repeated of her the old saying: "Elle n'a qu'un défaut, celui de mettre de l'esprit partout!" (She has but one fault: she touches nothing without importing to it a charm of her own.)

When M. Delille came out, Mlle. Fontaine and he generally played together, amid thundering plaudits of overflowing audiences. Delille himself was a perfect artist. The French theatre was in its glory.

One morning, hard at work in my office, I was surprised by a card, "Monsieur Delille, du Théâtre Français." The gentleman wished to have the honor of a few moments' conversation.

The theatre and all the various per[Pg 121]sonages of its imaginary world were so completely apart from my real life, that I could scarcely have been more surprised at receiving a card from Louis XIV., or hearing that the General Napoleon Bonaparte was waiting at the door, and desired the honor of my acquaintance.

M. Delille entered, hat in hand, with bow and smile, as I had so often seen him do in the theatre drawing-rooms. We had a pleasant chat. He spoke no English, which forced upon me the necessity of exhibiting my dazzling French. He complimented me upon it. I told him it was principally owing to himself and to Mlle. Fontaine. This brought out the object of his visit. He was going to be married. He had been in America, which emboldened him to consider himself in some sort my countryman, and to request the honor of my presence at the ceremony.

"And the lady?"

"Monsieur," he said, "peut-on douter? (can you doubt?) Mlle. Fontaine! You are to come to the French church at 3. You will, then, will you not, do us the honor to dine at our lodgings, Friedrich strasse, No. 30?"

I returned his own answer:

"Monsieur, peut-on douter?"

At the hour appointed I was at the church. I found quite an assembly—artists, painters, sculptors, actors, critics, poets, newspaper writers, several members of the corps diplomatique, some officers, a few gentlemen of the court, etc.

The bride and groom appeared very simply attired. Their deportment was perfect. The ceremony was impressive. In a short time the holy bands had made them one. There was no acting about either of them. M. Delille was pale; Mademoiselle still paler. Their emotion was obviously genuine. Some folks think when actors tremble or shed tears, it must be only acting; and that they can get married or die as easily in the world as on the stage. This is a mistake. Getting really married is as serious a step to them as to you; and they know that real dying is a very different thing from those exits which they make at the end of the tragedy. They struggle with life, and walk forward toward death just as do their fellow-creatures, who preach from the pulpit, speak in the Senate, or congregate on the exchange. The rich banker; the self-important diplomat; the general, covered with orders; the minister, who holds the helm of state; the emperor, the queen, who deign to honor the representation with their presence, smile when they behold themselves reflected on the stage. But there is not so much difference, as they are pleased to suppose, between themselves and their theatre colleagues. Shakespeare says:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.

The question is, which of these men and women are the best? Perhaps the theatre statesman would have administered the affairs of his country with more wisdom; the dramatic banker would have made his money more honestly and used it with greater discretion; the stage general would have conducted the war with more humanity and success; and the senators, in "Julius Cæsar" and "Damon and Pythias," would have been less open to bribery and corruption than the gentlemen who have really occupied similar positions in the world. Perhaps, if M. Delille had been Admiral Blank, he would have looked at his chart, and not run his ship upon that rock in the Mediterranean on a clear summer morning. Perhaps, if Mme. Delille had been Empress of France, she would not have striven quite so hard to bring on the last war with Prussia.

From the church to the lodgings of Monsieur and Madame Delille. On passing through the entrance, in Berlin generally a way for horses and carriages, you would scarcely expect such elegant apartments. The moment you crossed the threshold you were in another world. Everything rich, taste[Pg 122]ful, new; the walls superbly papered; the woodwork painted like snow and varnished like a mirror: Brussels carpet, then not over-common in the richest houses; lounges, chaises longues, sofas, divans; a strong smell of Russia binding from splendid volumes on the table, and gleaming from mahogany book-cases; beautiful paintings and engravings; a lavish display of clocks on tables and writing-desks; one, looking down from a loftier pedestal, clicked audibly the seconds and struck the quarters with a solemn sound, like the booming of some far-off old cathedral bell hanging in the clouds. Everything told of the new married man: everything new, bright, unexceptionable, faultless, perfect—like the new wife, the new husband, the new affection, the new hopes, yet unexposed to the wear and tear of years.

I was among the first. My host and hostess awaited their guests. Mademoiselle—I beg her pardon—madame received me with graceful cordiality. The company immediately began to appear, principally performers whose faces I had never seen before, except on the stage, associated with incidents, words, actions, intrigues, and scenes of the poet's imagination. I enjoyed as if I had been a boy, recognizing the various characters whose pranks, joys, and sorrows I had followed with so much interest: the wicked "jeune homme à la mode," the bewitching "femme de chambre," the vieux "général sous l'empire," the rich banquier de Paris, the handsome, dangerous guardien, the naughty husband who had exclaimed, "Ciel ma femme!" the jealous lover, the hard-hearted landlord, and the comique of the troupe, upon whose mobile face I could scarcely look without laughing when he asked me: "Voulez-vous bien avoir la bonté de passer le sel?" There were present several from the court: the Marquis de B——, who in private theatricals at the King's had distinguished himself; M. le Comte de S——, supposed to be a little impressionné by Mlle. Zoé, the last successful débutante, and now among the guests.

Mme. Delille looked like a lady born, and did the honors of her house like one. The servant announced the dinner, and we adjourned to the dining-room.

The dinner was on ne peut pas mieux. I sat between the lady of the house and Mlle. Zoé. One of the French arts is that of placing people at ease in society. It is not uncommon to meet persons not wanting in intelligence, yet who, unless you draw them out, will simply remain in the whole evening. My charming neighbors drew me out immediately. They possessed a magnetism which made talking, and in one's best style, as easy as flying to a bird. Mlle. Zoé said a great many brilliant and surprising things; but Mme. Delille's manners and conversation were far superior. I found in her a thoughtful, cultivated, balanced mind, inspiring genuine esteem. I was struck by her views of political events and characters. She touched lightly and skilfully upon various personages with wisdom and humor, but with charity. She referred to her own position in life as an actress in a way which interested me extremely, and she found opportunity amid the miscellaneous conversation to relate her history, and how she came to adopt a profession contrary to her taste; and a more touching story I never heard. The conversation even ascended to higher subjects. I was not a little astonished to find in a young and universally flattered French actress a noble-minded, superior woman, who had suffered deeply, and thought seriously and spiritually upon subjects generally considered irreconcileable with her profession.

The dinner was finished; the nuts and the jokes were cracked; the café, the chasse-café, the enigmas, the conundrums, the anecdotes, the songs, the tableaux-vivants followed each other. My amiable hostess seemed to think I must have had enough of it, and, with[Pg 123] her graceful acquiescence, I stole out after a confidential pantomimic leave-taking with her and my host.

I became subsequently well acquainted with Monsieur and Madame Delille, and have seldom known more interesting persons. Occasionally they invited me to a quiet family dinner, where I always met one or two distinguished guests; and sometimes I had the pleasure of having them at my house in a quiet way. They both rose more and more in my esteem the more I observed their inner life and character. As years rolled on, my visits were enlivened by the sight of small drums, trumpets, horses with their tails pulled out, and dolls with their noses knocked off. Sometimes very pretty little cherubs peeped in at the door, or were invited for half an hour to the dinner table.

The world went on with its ways. More than one throne was vacated and filled anew. Great knotty questions of diplomacy rose and disappeared. Mehemet Ali, M. Thiers, the King of Hanover, Metternich, the Chartist, the anti-corn law league, Sir Robert and Mr. Cobden filled the newspapers. Nations growled at each other like bulldogs, and we had wars and rumors of wars a plenty.

One day who should come in but Monsieur and Madame Delille, the very picture of a perfectly happy man and wife. They came to bid me good-by. He had made his fortune, wound up his affairs with the theatre, and abandoned his profession for ever. Madame was at the summit of earthly felicity. She spoke with inexpressible delight of the change in her life. She had longed so often to quit the theatre, and now at last her dream was realized. M. Delille was going to buy a cottage in the south of France, and to be perfectly happy with his dear wife and four children. Amid oranges, lemons, and grapes, beneath the blue summer sky, surrounded by flowers, the waves of the beautiful Mediterranean breaking at his feet, he intended to pass the rest of his days in unclouded peace and joy. He had worked all his life, and now he was going to take his reward.

"But," said I, "did you say four children?"

"Mais oui! I have four.

"Why, it seems but yesterday that——"

"Comptez donc! Six years and six months."

His picture of future felicity was very bright. I thought in my heart that such plans of retirement were—but I suppressed my sermon and congratulated him upon his prospects. Why should I disturb his happiness even though it might be a dream? What but a dream would have been even the realization of all his hopes?

We parted after embracing like old friends. I had more respect for those two than I had for a great many whose sonorous titles did not cover qualities half so estimable, manners half so agreeable, characters half so pure, or a sense of religion half so true and deep.

The French theatre declined after the departure of Monsieur and Madame Delille. I had entirely ceased attending or taking any interest in it.

Two years passed, when one day, in a lonely part of the Thiergarten, I met—whom do you think? M. Delille; but pale, sad, solitary, subdued.

"Well, here I am again," said he. "All my fine dreams have disappeared. I won't bore you with the story. The fact is—that is to say—one can never count upon one's plans in this world. I have lost my fortune, and accepted an invitation to become director of the Berlin French theatre. I am to form a new company. There is a great opposition to this, and the matter has raised up against me furious enemies. They accuse me of everything base. You know me. You know I would not be guilty of anything dishonorable."

I looked into his sad, ingenuous face, and replied:

"I am sure you would not."

"Oh, I thank you. But the worst remains to be told. My wife—my[Pg 124] poor, dear wife—who had been my consolation in all this trouble! Pauvre Marie! she is very ill, and I was obliged to leave her in Paris, or to lose all our prospects. She would have it so. This annoys me. This makes me unhappy. With her I am proof against all troubles. Ah, monsieur, you do not know my Marie. The most faithful, the most gentle, the purest, the——"

"But is she so dangerously ill?"

"I hope not. I think not. She will be here in a few weeks. The doctor has given me his word of honor."

A couple of months more. A series of articles, in the mean time, appeared in the newspapers against M. Delille and the new French theatre government. The venomous shafts were launched by an able hand. Gall is sweet compared with them. An actor is the most sensitive of human beings. His reputation is his all. The personal malice and interest of the writer were obvious, but the public were too busy to examine. The crowd enjoy a battle, without caring much about the right.

I met M. Delille a few days after the appearance of the fifth of these articles, and expressed my indignation. His manner of viewing the subject was really noble and more instructive to me than many a sermon. He spoke temperately of the désagrément of his position and the wisdom of keeping on his way calmly. "An actor," he said, "is a public target. Every one has the right to shoot at him. I cannot always forget, but I try to forgive."

"And your wife?"

His face darkened.

"Oh, I am weary. She does not get well. She lingers on. She is not strong enough to come to me. I cannot go to her. She will not consent. They would declare I had run away. Her short letters are full of encouragement and consolation. Ah, if these men knew—but we must be patient. The doctor positively assures me she is doing very well."

Three weeks later I was again taking a walk through the Thiergarten, wrapped in my cloak, for it was winter, when I perceived M. Delille sitting on a quite wet bench. His face was very pale. I never saw a sadder expression. Hoping to rally him, I said:

"What a melancholy countenance! What a brown study! Come, I have arrived in time to laugh to you and of it!"

His face did not reply to my gayety. He asked after my health.

"But you are sitting on a wet, snowy bench. You will take cold."

"No, I shall not take cold."

"And how," said I, "is your——"

I paused, for I now for the first time remarked a black crape on his hat.

He perceived my embarrassment and relieved me.

"My children?"

I was silent.

"They are very well, I thank you—they are very well."

"Come," added he, with an effort, after covering his eyes a moment with his hand, "what have we now? Is there really to be a war?"

Theodore S. Fay.


The southern bird, which, swift in airy speed,
Toward ruder regions wings its careless way,
Wafts from its plumage oft a floating seed,
Unheeded relic of some tropic day.
And lo! a wonder! on the spot beneath
The tiny germ asserts its mystic power;
With sudden bloom illumes the rugged heath,
And bursts at once to fragrance, light, and flower.
All the sad woodland flushes at the sight:
The brook, which murmured, sparkles now, and sings:
The cowslips watch, with yearning, strange delight,
The bird which shed such glories from its wings,
Watching it hover onward free and far;
Breathing farewell with restless doubt and pain.
What were a heaven with but one only star?
Must this be all? Will it not come again?
While the new lily, lonely in her pride,
Sighing through silver bells, repeats the strain,
Longing for sister blossoms at her side,
And whispering soft, Will it not come again?

Charles Carroll.

[Pg 125]



The year's end is traditionally the season for moralizing and retrospect. Eheu! fugaces anni is a sigh that even the Latin primer teaches us; and though in schoolbook days calling the years fugacious seems absurd, we catch the meaning as they glide away. To schoolboys the man of fifty is immoderately old: thirty marks a milestone on the downhill of life. People whom we looked upon as of great antiquity, in childhood, turn out to have been mere striplings. I saw "old Kent" yesterday after the lapse of thirty years, and protest he was younger than when he rapped sepulchral silence from his resounding desk. "How are you, Quilibet First?" he said, quite in the ancient way; he seemed once more to brandish the ferrule on his awful throne.

Boys always call schoolmasters and sextons "old," irrespective of their years. Clerks in the shop style their employer "the old gentleman" without meaning to impute antiquity. Gray-haired diggers and pounders speak of their overseer as "the old man," even though he be a rosy-cheeked youth of two-and-twenty. Lexicographers should look to this. "Old" evidently means sometimes "having independent authority," and does not necessarily signify either lack of freshness or being stricken in years. Thus Philip Festus Bailey's dictum, that "we live in deeds, not years," is borne out by common parlance, and future Worcesters and Websters must make a note of it.

Whoever, also, reaches a fixed position of authority, seems (rightly enough, as the world goes) to have achieved success in life. This measurement of success by the kind of occupation one follows begins with us in short clothes. Mary's ambition is to be "either a milliner, a queen, or a cook;" the ideal of Augustus is a woodchopper, killing bears when they attack him at his work, and living in a hut. The sons of confectioners must be marvels if they grow up alike unspoiled in morals by the universal envy of comrades, and unspoiled in teeth by the parental sugar-plums. People of older growth attach childish importance to the trade one plies. Nobs and nabobs (at least on the stage) disinherit daughters offhand for marrying grocers, and groan over sons who take to high art. The smug and prudent citizen shudders at the career of the filibuster, while the adventurer would commit suicide rather than achieve a modest livelihood in tape and needles. The mother of Sainte Beuve was sorely distressed at his pursuit of literature, a career that she reckoned mere vagabondage, despite his brilliant feats in it, until the day he was elected to the French Academy, and thereby became entitled to $300 a year. "Then my mother was a little reassured; thenceforth, j'avais une place."

When the close of the year sets us to reckoning up how much we have made of life, pray what is that "success" of which we all talk so glibly? It is plainly a standard varying according to each man's taste and temperament, his humility or vanity, and shifting as his life advances. What to the Bohemian is success to the Philistine is stark failure. The anchoret looks on this sublunary sphere as one of sighing, the attorney as one of suing—there being all that difference betwixt law and gospel. Sixty years cannot see life through the eyes of sixteen. When men, fearing to measure themselves, seek the judgment of their fellows, adulation or affection may lead astray. In the year's retrospect of science, touching the solar eclipse it is said: "Cape Flattery is our northwestern cape, and there occurred the largest obscuration of the sun in the United States." "Cape Flattery," I fear, is the locus of largest obscuration for the United States every year, and was particularly so in the past twelvemonth of jubilee and gratulation; and what the mantle of flattery is for the sunlight of truth in the nation it is in the individual. In politics, at any rate, the centennial year is closing with some reproof of our all-summer conceit. Our frame of government is not so flawless as we fancied;[Pg 126] the pharisaic contrast we drew between our politics and those of other nations is no longer so effective.

And with men as with nations, a ray of clear light reveals the shams and shortcomings of what is hastily styled success. The pushing, elbowing fellow gets ahead in the struggle of life, but his success is a questionable one. The bargaining man, who, partly by instinct and partly by practice, judges everything from the point of view, "How is that going to affect me?" will no doubt make money. Even his most disinterested advice pivots on the thought, "What will pay me best?" as the magnet surely wheels to the pole. But when all is done, to have achieved this artistic perfection of self-seeking is a sorry account to give of life.

Thus, the very successes on which we plume ourselves are sometimes badges of disaster, as we ourselves may secretly know if others do not. "When one composes long speeches," says Jarno, "with a view to shame his neighbors, he should speak them to a looking-glass." If not a hypocrite or a vain man, he may find himself blushing at the thought de me fabula narratur. The only alteration that our satire on others may require is to change the name of the folly or fault we lash, and then the stripes will be merited by ourselves. The other day Temple and I listened to a discourse of the Rev. Dr. Waddell of St Magdalen's on the perils of novel-reading. I think the worthy doctor really refrains from that sin; he is certainly severe on those who are given to it. "That fat man," said Temple, as we strolled away from St. Magdalen's sanctuary, "is too greedy, too gluttonous to listen to any cry but that of his own stomach. His god is his belly. His indifference to the sufferings of others amounts to a disease."

"What disease do you call it?" I asked.

"Fatty degeneration of the heart," replied Temple, with a laugh. On the other hand, quite shocked at people who "make pigs" of themselves, is Mrs. Pavanne, who starves her stomach to beautify her back, and who, I assure you, would prefer after three days' fasting a new boiled silk and trimmings to any similarly treated leg of mutton and capers.

Grundy is a model of social demeanor and domesticity, but occasionally cheats in a bargain wherever it is safe; Gregory, honest as the day, gets tipsy. Let Gregory remember his own weakness before scorning Grundy, and let Grundy respect the good in Gregory before holding him up to disgrace. The question is often not whether X is a saint and Y a Satan, but rather what road a man's indulgence takes. Is it body or spirit that rules him—his fear, lust, vanity, gluttony, surliness, or sloth? his humility, generosity, piety, sense of justice, sense of duty? Is his cardinal weakness a vice or only a foible—a crime that degrades or only a pettiness that narrows him?

If we hold with Scripture that he who ruleth his spirit is greater than he that taketh a city, we must not give all the laurels of success to the mighty, wealthy, witty, and renowned. Poor John Jones, the clerk yonder at a thousand a year, if we reckon at anything gentleness, courage, simplicity, devotion to mother, wife, and babes, has made as great a success of life as old Rollin Ritchie, the head of the house. You would imagine a first use of wealth to be the liberty to pick at will one's employees and allies, one's friends and agents, to repel the dishonest and rebuke the impudent, dealing with those whom one chooses to deal with, where personal choice can fairly be exercised; but such a privilege is Utopian in business, even among men of fortune, and envied Ritchie has little more freedom than humble Jones. Besides, the pursuit of startling success, though it often ruins possibilities of contentment, rarely creates them. Frédéric Soulié, having had the misfortune to gain $16,000 in one year by his pen, refused a government place at $3,000, with leisure to write an occasional play or a novel; he was eager to produce half a dozen plays and novels in a twelvemonth, says a biographer, and to repeat his $16,000; and he died of work and watching in two years more.

We are not, in these kindly Christmas days, to cynically deny to unpromising careers all power of recovery. Temple was telling me the other day of this instance known to him: Honorius had an exceedingly dissolute son, who pursued his vicious courses almost unchecked by parental rein, until he seemed to think his iniquities the rather fostered than[Pg 127] forbidden. But one day a friend of both questioned the father why he allowed his son such abused license? "Sir," replied he, "if my son chooses to go to the devil, as he is now fast going, he alone must take the consequences." The conversation being reported to our young rake, he was so affected by the view of his responsibility, which he now appreciated for the first time, as to turn back toward the way of virtue. And as before he had conceived his father in some sort liable for those scandalous excesses, so now, being driven from that strange error, he chooses for himself the path of honor and usefulness.

In judging unsuccessful lives, too, we need to make large allowance for the unknown elements of fortune. "It is fate," says the Greek adage, "that bringeth good and bad to men; nor can the gifts of the immortals be refused." But we can find justification for charitable judgments without resorting to this general theory. We discover one youth, who promised well, ruined by a bad choice of profession, while a second, who selected well, finds the immediate problem in life to be not personal eminence, but providing for a wife and half a dozen children: and if he does fitly provide for them, pray, why set down his life, however pruned of its first ambitious pinions, as a failure?

So, finally, our unaspiring old-year homily simply chimes in with the traditional spirit of Christmastide—season of hopeful words and wishes, of kindness for the struggling, of encouragement for the discouraged, of charity for the so-called failures.


It is said that a Yankee has arranged to furnish foreign titles (warranted genuine) of "earl or count for $10,000; European orders, from $250 to $10,000; membership in foreign scientific and literary societies, $250 and upward." The story is plausible. Impecunious princes and potentates have been known to replenish their purses in this way, though hitherto usually by private sale rather than market quotations. It is not probable that our ingenious countryman has the Order of the Seraphim or of the Annonciade at disposal, or that he can supply the Golden Fleece to whoever will "gif a good prishe," or even that he would pretend to furnish the Black Eagle of Prussia in quantities to suit purchasers. He can hardly be the medium of creating many Knights of the Garter, nor can the Bath or the St. Michael and St. George very well be in his list of decorations "to order." But we know from the Paris and Vienna fairs that a Cross of the Legion is obtainable by Americans of the mercantile class; and as for the Lion and the Sun, it was an order created by some bygone shah for the express purpose of rewarding strangers who had rendered service to Persia; and what service more substantial, pray, than helping to fill the Persian purse? When you come to central and southern Europe, titles are going a-begging, and hard-up princelets will presumably be eager to raise the wind with them.

And there will be buyers as well as sellers. To the democratic mind a royal star or ribbon is an object of befitting reverence. None of our countrymen would, indeed, on purchasing a title, really ask to be addressed as "Your lordship," or even to be familiarly called Grand Forester or Sublime Bootjack to His Serene Highness—unless in private, by some very much indulged servitor or judicious retainer. But though the badge of nobility may not be worn in the streets by the happy purchaser, for fear of attracting a rabble of the curious, he can fondly gaze upon it in the privacy of home, or try it on for the admiration of the domestic circle, or haply submit it to the inspection of discreet friends.

The case is different with the "bogus diploma" trade. Business and not vanity is doubtless the ruling motive with the foreigners who strut in plumage bought of the Philadelphia "university." The diploma of M. D. is worth its price for display before the eyes of the patients waiting in the "doctor's" office, while to Squeers of Dotheboys Hall the degree of A. M. is good for at least three new pupils, and Ph. D. for a dozen. I presume that in some of the foreign magazines and weekly newspapers of a certain class, D. D. or L.L. D. has a real cash value of at least five per cent. more in pay, or perhaps it may turn the scale in favor of an article which, without that honorary signature, might be put in the waste-paper basket. So long as such practical results can be had the diploma[Pg 128] trade is likely to flourish, with full variety offered to buyers.

Now, it is not impossible to turn to trade account an Order of the Elephant, of the Iron Crown, of the Legion of Honor, or of the Medjidieh, as probably shrewd mechanics,contractors, and tradesmen in America and England can attest. But while this is an additional inducement to buyers, I am sure the new industry appeals to a loftier emotion than that of mere money-making. America, in fact, is ripe for this improvement. The modern phrase of ambition here in America is "social status;" and dealers in heraldry are doing a business so thriving in coats of arms for seal rings and scented note-paper, that I fancy it is this that has suggested the trade in noble titles. The village of Podunk looks down on the neighboring town of Hardscrabble. "Hardscrabble," say the scornful Podunkers, "plumes itself on its wealth, but Podunk prides herself on her birth—on her extremely old families!" In fact you find all over the republic people talking of their aristocratic families, and their "refined neighborhood," and "refined birth"—even where, after all, it may be only a case of refined petroleum.

Here, then, is the sphere and the opportunity for the enterprising middleman. He appeals to a tuft-hunting instinct so deep in human nature that the mere surface difference of republic or monarchy hardly touches it. In a London church you will see a pew full of ladies' maids, and presently there is a great crowding and squeezing, and a low whisper of "make room for Lady Philippa." It is only another lady's maid joining her friends; but they all get titles by reflection. Turn from this scene to the New York area steps, and the artful little rascal who is peddling strawberries, says to Bridget, who answers the bell, "Have some berries, lady?" knowing that this will make a market, if anything can. The fact is, we all like to be "Colonel" and "Deacon" and "Doctor," instead of simple Jones, Brown, and Robinson; calling us "the judge" or "alderman" is a perpetual titillation of a pleasant feeling. "Good morning, Mr. Secretary," or, "I hope you are very well, State Senator," is a greeting that carries a kind of homage with it; and from that you go upward in titular recognition of official eminence until you come to "His Great Glorious and most Excellent Majesty, who reigns over the Kingdoms of Thunaparanta and Tampadipa and all the Umbrella-Bearing Chiefs of the Eastern Country, the King of the Rising Sun, Lord of the Celestial Elephants, Master of Many White Elephants, the Great Chief of Righteousness, King of Burmah."

Macte virtute I would say, then, to the peddlers of stars, crosses, garters, and A. S. S.'s. There are poverty-stricken principalities and hard-up beys and khedives enough to find ribbons for a thousand American buttonholes, and to turn ten thousand of our exemplary fellow citizens to chevaliers. An envious public sentiment might prevent the wearing of all the ribbons and crosses that a liberal man of means could buy; but decorations, like doorplates, are "so handy to have in the house." The centennial year, by bringing to our shores a shoal of titled personages, has presumably whetted the appetite of our people for heraldic distinctions. But for years before we had even the village tailor appearing occasionally in the local newspaper as Sir Knight Shears, and the apothecary as Most Worthy Grand Commander and Puissant Potentate Senna. If it is pleasant for Bobby Shears and Sammy Senna to be knighted by their cronies and customers, how much more agreeable to the American mind a decoration and investiture from a real prince!

The possibilities, to be sure, are limited. Aristocratic exclusiveness confines the Garter to twenty-five persons, the Order of the Thistle is only for Scotch nobles, and the Iron Cross of Savoy is purely Italian; military or naval services are required for the St. George of Russia and the Victoria Cross; and it is to be feared that some sort of illustrious services would be needed even for the Leopold of Belgium, the Iron Cross of Prussia, the St. James of Spain, or the Tower and Sword of Portugal. But in the little principalities of Germany, where the people are ravenous for titular distinctions, there is a large supply; and as, in fine, there are said to be sixscore orders of chivalry scattered over both Christian and Mussulman lands, a wealthy aspirant may not despair of reaching one or two of them without the pangs of knight errantry.

Philip Quilibet.

[Pg 129]



Baron von Weber, a distinguished English engineer, predicts that the Channel tunnel between England and France, if constructed, will be the cause of great annoyance to English railway managers, and bring forward some very acute observations in support of this opinion.

The English railway system was a world of its own; it was an insular world which could hardly have been more peculiar if it had belonged to another quarter of the globe altogether. All this, however, will change as soon as the tunnel is pierced between England and the Continent.

England will then no longer be an island, but a peninsula, and although the isthmus which connects it with the Continent will be submarine, its effect on the railway system will be exactly the same as if it were a natural one.

If the importance of the object to be attained by the Channel tunnel is to bear any rational proportion at all to the means required, the tunnel will be constructed only if a very considerable goods traffic between the two shores is expected, besides the large passenger traffic. Such a traffic, which would have to compete with sea carriage, is only possible for goods if shifting the loads is completely avoided, and the wagons and trucks can run from England far into the Continent and vice versa. Now the English exports to the Continent far exceed the imports from it. The English trucks, therefore, loaded with rails, machines, coals, cotton goods, etc., will, after passing the tunnel, be scattered far and wide on the continental railways (whose length exceeds threefold that of the whole British system), and will have to run distances five times as great as from London to the Highlands.

The English railway companies, who are now able to follow their rolling stock almost with the naked eye, who know exactly how long each truck will take to run the short distances in their island, who can, therefore, provide proper loads both for the up and down journeys, hence making the best use of their stock, and who are always aware in whose hands their trucks are, will suddenly see a great number of them disappear out of their sight and beyond their control on long journeys and unknown routes. They will no longer be able to calculate, even approximately, when the stock will return. England will therefore lose an important percentage of its rolling stock, which will be but incompletely replaced by the foreign wagons, which will remain in England a much shorter time on account of the shorter distances. The deficiency will have to be made up at considerable expense. The stock will travel as far as the shores of the Black and Egean seas, to the east coast of the Baltic, to the southernmost point of Italy, and to the Pyrenees; it will pass over the lines of a dozen or more foreign companies, be brought under the influence of three or four different legislatures, police regulations, by-laws, Government inspections, etc., and where three or four different languages are officially in use.

Quite new legal obligations and intricacies will appear if the companies having to forward goods direct into foreign countries send their wagons into the territories of different jurisdictions. It will not be of much use if the English companies attempt formally to confine their transactions to the French railway which joins theirs. Claims from Turkish, Russian, Austrian, Italian, German, Belgian, and French railways will still be brought against them, in some cases requiring direct and immediate communication.


A writer in the London "Times" describes the effect of excessive intermarriage on the inhabitants of Protés, a little town in the province of Santander, Spain. Until eighteen or nineteen years ago, the village was quite shut off from the rest of the world. Its inhabitants, from their ever-recurring intermarriages, had become quite a race of dwarfs. On market days the priests might be seen, with long[Pg 130] black coats and high black hats, riding in to purchase the simple provision for the week's consumption—men of little intelligence and no learning, sprung from the lowest ranks. About eighteen years ago the Galician laborers, or Gallegos, from the mines of Galicia, swarmed into the town for lodgings, etc., and since their colonization the population has increased in strength, stature, education, intellect, and morality. Their intellects, also, have improved—intellects which had been stunted, dwarfed, and ruined by their frequent intermarriages.


According to Dr. Sturges, an English physician, whooping cough is not always to be escaped by preventing contagion, for at a certain age the disposition toward this disease is so great that the child will originate it. He says: "Whooping cough is a nervous disease of immature life, due immediately, like nervous asthma, to a morbid exaltation of sensibility of the bronchial mucous membrane. Although possible in a modified form at all ages, it has its period of special liability and full development simultaneously with that time of life when the nervous system is irritable and the mechanism of respiration diaphragmatic. A child of the proper age with catarrh and cough is thus on the very brink of whooping cough. A large proportion of such children will develop the disease for themselves upon casual provocation, all contagion and all epidemic influence apart." Therefore he does not think contagion plays the important part generally supposed, and the assumption of a specific morbid poison is in his opinion entirely gratuitous. As to treatment he says:

"The specific remedies for whooping cough (which have their season and may be said now to include all drugs whatever of any potency) have all of them a certain testimony in their favor. They agree in a single point: whether by their nauseousness, the grievous method of their application, or the disturbance they bring to the child's habits and surroundings, the best vaunted remedies—emetics, sponging of the larynx, ill-flavored inhalation, change of scene, beating with the rod—all are calculated to impress the patient, and find their use accordingly.


The committee appointed to test experimentally Ohm's law, that with any conductor the electromotive force is proportioned to the current produced, reports that this law is absolutely correct. If a conductor of iron, platinum, or German silver of one square centimetre in section has a resistance of one ohm for infinitely small currents, its resistance when acted on by an electromotive force of one volt (provided its temperature is kept the same) is not altered by so much as the millionth of a millionth part. This fine result is the more gratifying since Ohm's law is entirely empirical and does not rest at all upon logical deduction.

The vast amount of water circulating through the solid earth is shown by the calculations of the committee on the underground waters of the Permian and New Red sandstones.

Taking an average rainfall of 30 inches per annum, and granting that only 10 inches percolate into the rock, the supply of water stored up by the Permian and New Red formations was estimated by the committee to amount to 140,800,000 gallons per square mile per year. This rate would give, for the 10,000 square miles covered by the formations, in Great Britain, 1,408,000,000,000 gallons. Only a very small proportion of this amount is made available for the supply of cities and towns.

The subject of the chemical constitution of matter was taken up by Mr. Johnstone Stoney, F. R. S., who amused and interested the chemical section by a number of drawings of tetrahedra, octahedra, etc., on to which he dexterously stuck representations of oxygen atoms, chlorine atoms, and so on. His general endeavor seemed to be to convince his auditors that in most basic salts oxygen is divalent, being in direct combination with the acidifying constituent of the molecule, but that when oxygen is not so directly related to this constituent in basic salts it is tetravalent.

In the geological section, Dr. Bryce observed that there are two lines along which earthquakes are commonly observed in Scotland, the one running from Inverness, through the north of Ireland, to Galway bay, and the other passing east and west through Comrie. The phenomena of earthquakes in the latter[Pg 131] district are now being systematically observed and recorded, under the direction of a committee appointed by the British Association, seismometers being employed on the two principles of vertical pendulum and delicately poised cylinders. Arrangements have been made to ascertain whether shocks in this region can be traced to any common central point, there being reason to believe them to be connected with a mass of granite in Glen Lednoch, whose position was indicated on a map exhibited by the author. He thought the Comrie earthquakes may be explained on Mr. Mallet's theory of a shock produced by the fall of huge masses of rock from the roof of huger caverns in the earth's crust.

In a paper on the plants of the coal measures, Prof. W. C. Williamson expressed his strong conviction that the flora of the coal measures would ultimately become the battlefield on which the question of evolution with reference to the origin of species would be fought out. There would probably never be found another unbroken period of a duration equal to that of the coal measures. Further, the roots, seeds, and the whole reproductive structure of the coal-measure plants are all present in an unequalled state of preservation. With reference to calamites, Prof. Williamson said that what had formerly been regarded as such had turned out to be only casts in sand and mud of the pith of the true plant. He had lately obtained a specimen of calamite with the bark on which showed a nucleal cellular pith, surrounded by canals running lengthwise down the stem; outside of these canals wedges of true vascular structure; and lastly, a cellular bark.

In the department of anthropology, Dr. Phené read a paper "On Recent Remains of Totemism in Scotland." He defined Totemism as a form of idolatry; a totem was either a living creature or a representation of one, mostly an animal, very seldom a man. It was considered, from reference to Pictish and other devices, that a dragon was a favorite representative among such people of Britain as had not been brought under Roman sway.

Mr. W. J. Knowles read a paper "On the Classification of Arrowheads," recommending the use of the following terms: stemmed, indented, triangular, leaf-shaped, kite-shaped, and lozenge-shaped. Commander Cameron, the African explorer, mentioned that arrow-heads of the same shape as many exhibited by Mr. Knowles were in use in various African tribes. One shape was formed so as to cause the arrow to rotate, and was principally used for shooting game at long distances. The shape of the arrows varied according to the taste of the makers; in one district there were forty or fifty different shapes.

Commander Cameron gave drawings of the men with horns, a tribe of which has been found by Captain J. S. Hay. According to the reproductions of these drawings by the illustrated papers, these horns are very prominent, and project forward from the cheekbone.

Mr. Gwin-Jeffreys, whose experience in deep-sea dredging makes his opinion valuable, said that telegraph engineers did not sufficiently take account of the sharp stones on the sea bottom, but assumed too readily that they had to deal with a soft bottom only.

Mr. John Murray of the Challenger expedition announced that meteoric dust is found in the sea ooze, a result that follows as a matter of course from the discovery that this cosmic dust is falling all over the earth.


The yearly trial of harvesting machines was made this year at Leamington, and the rye grass field, where the reapers and mowers were worked, has its history given in the "Engineer," London. "It will be interesting if we first describe this rye grass crop and the preceding crop. A crop of wheat was grown in this field of seven acres last year, and by the end of September it was well cultivated and sown with rye grass seed. Three crops before this have been cut this year, the weight of which was about eight tons to the acre for each crop, and as the selling price was 1s. 6d. (36 cents) per cwt., this was at the rate of £12 ($60) per acre per crop, or £36 per acre for the three crops. Had not the last crop been set apart for the reaper and mower trials, it would have been cut three weeks ago, when there were again about eight tons to the acre. As it was, however, last week the crop had gone too much to seed, and was too much laid for being of prime[Pg 132] quality; the result of which is, Mr. Tough, the owner, reckons the plants are too much spent to stand well through a second year, and he therefore contemplates turning it over in the spring for mangolds. Mr. Tough calculated, however, that there were ten tons to the acre this cut, and lots of carts and vans came to take the best of it; that is, the parts which were not laid and yellow at the bottom, at the same price, 1s. 6d. per cwt. The carts are weighed in over a weigh-bridge, and weighed out again after the buyers have loaded up as much as they choose or require. We may add this is better than selling by square measure. As to the next growth, Mr. Tough says he shall get two more fair cuts this autumn if the weather be warm, and he expects the two together will weigh eight tons per acre more. As there will be a certain sale for this at 1s. 6d. per cwt., this year's yield will realize the great return of £60 ($300) per acre.


Prof. Wallace gave at Glasgow some curious speculations based upon the peculiarities observable in white animals. He had been discussing at great length and with rare knowledge the distribution of butterflies, remarking that some of the island groups were noticeably light-colored, and endeavored to connect their color with their environment as follows:

Some very curious physiological facts, bearing upon the presence or absence of white colors in the higher animals, have lately been adduced by Dr. Ogle. It has been found that a colored or dark pigment in the olfactory region of the nostrils is essential to perfect smell, and this pigment is rarely deficient except when the whole animal is pure white. In these cases the creature is almost without smell or taste. This, Dr. Ogle believes, explains the curious case of the pigs in Virginia adduced by Mr. Darwin, white pigs being poisoned by a poisonous root, which does not affect black pigs. Mr. Darwin imputed this to a constitutional difference accompanying the dark color, which rendered what was poisonous to the white-colored animals quite innocuous to the black. Dr. Ogle, however, observes, that there is no proof that the black pigs eat the root, and he believes the more probable explanation to be that it is distasteful to them, while the white pigs, being deficient in smell and taste, eat it, and are killed. Analogous facts occur in several distinct families. White sheep are killed in the Tarentino by eating Hypericum Criscum, while black sheep escape: white rhinoceroses are said to perish from eating Euphorbia Candelabrum; and white horses are said to suffer from poisonous food, where colored ones escape. Now it is very improbable that a constitutional immunity from poisoning by so many distinct plants should in the case of such widely different animals be always correlated with the same difference of color; but the facts are readily understood if the senses of smell and taste are dependent on the presence of a pigment which is deficient in wholly white animals. The explanation has, however, been carried a step further, by experiments showing that the absorption of odors by dead matter, such as clothing, is greatly affected by color, black being the most powerful absorbent, then blue, red, yellow, and lastly white. We have here a physical cause for the sense inferiority of totally white animals which may account for their rarity in nature. For few, if any, wild animals are wholly white. The head, the face, or at least the muzzle or the nose, are generally black. The ears and eyes are also often black; and there is reason to believe that dark pigment is essential to good hearing, as it certainly is to perfect vision. We can therefore understand why white cats with blue eyes are so often deaf; a peculiarity we notice more readily than their deficiency of smell or taste.

If then the prevalence of white-coloration is generally accompanied with some deficiency in the acuteness of the most important senses, this color becomes doubly dangerous, for it not only renders its possessor more conspicuous to its enemies, but at the same time makes it less ready in detecting the presence of danger. Hence, perhaps, the reason why white appears more frequently in islands where competition is less severe and enemies less numerous and varied. Hence, also, a reason why albinoism, although freely occurring in captivity, never maintains itself in a wild state, while melanism does. The peculiarity of some islands in having all their inhabitants of dusky colors—as the Galapa[Pg 133]gos—may also perhaps be explained on the same principles; for poisonous fruits or seeds may there abound, which weed out all white or light-colored varieties, owing to their deficiency of smell and taste. We can hardly believe, however, that this would apply to white-colored butterflies, and this may be a reason why the effect of an insular habitat is more marked in these insects than in birds or mammals. But though inapplicable to the lower animals, this curious relation of sense acuteness with colors may have had some influence on the development of the higher human races. If light tints of the skin were generally accompanied by some deficiency in the senses of smell, hearing, and vision, the white could never compete with the darker races, so long as man was in a very low and savage condition, and wholly dependent for existence on the acuteness of his senses. But as the mental faculties become more fully developed and more important to his welfare than mere sense acuteness, the lighter tints of skin, and hair, and eyes, would cease to be disadvantageous whenever they were accompanied by superior brain power. Such variations would then be preserved; and thus may have arisen the Xanthochroic race of mankind, in which we find a high development of intellect accompanied by a slight deficiency in the acuteness of the senses as compared with the darker forms.


Though American recklessness of life is proverbial among foreigners, we may be thankful that India-rubber bags of explosive gases are not carried by ignorant boys through our streets, as in Newcastle, England. The practice resulted by a singular chain of mishaps in a violent explosion. The first error was in using a bag for conveying an explosive gas; the second in using a leaky bag; the third in the experimenter, who put coal gas into a bag containing oxygen; the fourth in sending a boy to deliver it. Then comes a chapter of results. The boy became tired and stopped to rest, dropping the bag on the pavement. Just as he did so a passer-by lit his pipe and threw the burning match down. By chance it fell upon the innocent looking bag, and probably just at the spot where it leaked. After the consequent explosion only two pieces of the bag could be found, one of which was thrown through the top windows of the bank. Even the sound wave, or wave of concussion, had a mind to distinguish itself. It entirely missed the first floor windows of the bank, and left them uninjured, though the windows in both the ground floor and the second floor were broken. The wave seems to have crossed the street, smashing the ground windows there, and then been deflected back across the street and upward to the top story of the bank.


Ancient life is not usually considered to have been very cleanly, but it is to the credit of the Romans that as much as 2,200 years ago they made up their minds to reject the water of the Tiber as unfit to drink. They hunted for springs in the mountains, and in the course of a few centuries so many aqueducts were built that Rome had theoretically a better supply of water than any modern city enjoys. Practically, however, the Romans suffered from a peculiar kind of water pilfering. Instead of 400,000,000 gallons daily which the springs furnished, the city received only 208,000,000 gallons. This immense loss, says a careful paper by the Austrian engineer, E. H. d'Avidor, arose partly through neglect of the necessary repairs in the aqueducts, but still more through the water being positively stolen. For one of the principal favors by which the State and the emperors were in the habit of rewarding minor services was by granting concessions for the lost water; that is, for the water which escaped through the overflow of the reservoirs, cisterns, and public fountains, or through the defects in the aqueducts and mains. The consequence, of course, was that every landed proprietor who had obtained a concession for the waste water escaping from an aqueduct passing through his grounds was anxious to increase this waste as much as possible—and from this wish to intentional injury was but a step. The overseers and slaves in charge were constantly bribed to abstain from repairing damages which had arisen, or to cause new ones to arise, and these abuses reached such a pitch that one aqueduct (Tepula) brought no water whatever to[Pg 134] Rome during several years, the whole having been wasted, or rather abstracted on its way. The irregularities of the water supply were still further increased by the nature of the mains and distributing pipes, which, as I have mentioned, were mere lead plates soldered into a pear-shaped section, incapable of resisting even the most moderate pressure and liable to injury by a common knife, so that any evil-disposed person could tap the main almost wherever he pleased. At a later period, indeed, the Romans appear to have used short clay pipes; lengths of such mains have been discovered, consisting of two-feet spigot and socket pipes carefully laid in and covered with a bed of concrete. These have outlasted all the lead pipes, and are still frequently found in good condition.

In the reign of Augustus, when Rome had about 350,000 inhabitants within its walls, there was a supply of something like 680 gallons per head; that is, about forty times as much as the valuation for Vienna. But there were in ancient Rome no less than 1,352 public fountains, 591 jet fountains, 19 large fortified camps or barracks, 95 thermæ or immense public baths, and 39 arenas or theatres, all of which were supplied with a superfluity of constantly flowing water. The reservoirs contained only about 6,000,000 gallons, and the distribution must have been very irregular, and it has been calculated that some houses received ten times as much water as others. Just as the Western miner reckons the quantity of water by the inch, the Roman estimated it by the quinarius, or amount that could flow through a pipe of one and a quarter finger diameter, under a head of twelve inches. This would yield about ninety-two gallons in twelve hours, and the price was so low that the householder paid only about half a cent per year for each gallon supplied daily. Ninety-two gallons a day would therefore cost less than half a dollar a year. (In New York it would cost nearly $18.) But though cheap, the water was not a vested right of all citizens. The poor had it for nothing in the ample baths, wash houses, and fountains, but householders could only obtain the right of water supply by a petition to the consul, and in later times to the emperor himself; even then, however, with difficulty. It was a matter of favor and a reward of merit, that applied only to the person to whom it was granted, not transferable by gift or sale, and which lapsed with the death of the owner or the sale of the house for which it had been granted.


Dr. B. W. Richardson says that artificial respiration is a much more effective means of restoring the drowned or asphyxiated than galvanism. By the use of an intermittent current of galvanism it is possible to make the respiratory muscles of an animal recently dead act in precise imitation of life, and the heart can be excited into brisk contraction by the same means. But the result was that "the muscles excited by the current dropped quickly into irrevocable death through becoming exhausted under the stimulus, and that in fact the galvanic battery, according to our present knowledge of its use in these cases, is an all but certain instrument of death. By subjecting animals to death from the vapor of chloroform in the same atmosphere, and treating one set by artificial respiration with the double-acting pump, and the other set by artificial respiration excited by galvanism, I found that the first would recover in the proportion of five out of six, the second in proportion of one out of six. Further, I found that if during the performance of mechanical artificial respiration the heart were excited by galvanism, death is all but invariable." This results from the fact that "the passage of a galvanic current through the muscles of a body recently dead confers on those muscles no new energy; that the current in its passage only excites temporary contraction; that the force of contraction resident in the muscles themselves is but educed by the excitation, and to strike the life out of the muscles by the galvanic shock without feeding the force, expended by contraction, from the centre of the body, is a fatal principle of practice."


Prof. Nipher of the Washington university at St. Louis describes some optical illusions, easily tried and apparently very singular, as follows: 1. Fold a sheet of writing paper into a tube whose di[Pg 135]ameter is about three cm. Keeping both eyes open, look through the tube with one eye, and look at the hand with the other, the hand being placed close by the tube. An extraordinary phenomenon will be observed. A hole the size of the tube will appear cut through the hand, through which objects are distinctly visible. That part of the tube between the eye and the hand will appear transparent, as though the hand was seen through it. This experiment is not new, but I have never seen it described. The explanation of it is quite evident.

2. Drop a blot of ink upon the palm of the hand, at the point where the hole appears to be, and again observe as before. Unless the attention be strongly concentrated upon objects seen through the tubes the ink-spot will be visible within the tube (apparently), but that part of the hand upon which it rests will be invisible, unless special attention be directed to the hand. Ordinarily the spot will appear opaque. By directing the tube upon brilliantly illuminated objects, it will, however, appear transparent, and may be made to disappear by proper effort. By concentrating the attention upon the hand, it may also be seen within the tube (especially if strongly illuminated), that part immediately surrounding the ink spot appearing first.

3. Substitute for the hand a sheet of unruled paper, and for the ink spot a small hole cut through the paper. The small hole will appear within the tube, distinguishing itself by its higher illumination, the paper immediately surrounding it being invisible. Many other curious experiments will suggest themselves. For example: if an ink spot somewhat larger than the tube be observed, the lower end of the tube will appear to be blackened on the inside.


Ice machines are constructions designed to employ the heat generated from coal in extracting the heat stored up in water at the ordinary temperature. One ton of coal will make 15 tons of ice, and yet only about 1 per cent. of the power used is utilized, these machines being especially wasteful of heat. The work is done through the medium of some volatile fluid, like ether or ammonia, or by the use of previously cooled air. Raoul Pictet, who advocates the employment of another fluid—sulphurous acid solution—says that every machine must comply with five conditions: 1. Too great pressure must not occur in any part of the apparatus. 2. The volatile liquid employed ought to be so volatile that there will be no danger of air entering. 3. It is necessary to have a system of compression which does not require the constant introduction of grease or of foreign materials into the machine. 4. The liquid must be stable, it must not decompose by the frequent changes of condition, and it must not exert chemical action on the metals of which the apparatus is constructed. 5. Lastly, it is necessary, as far as possible, to remove all danger of explosion and of fire, and for this reason the liquid must not be combustible. The only substance, in his opinion, that answers these requirements is sulphurous acid. This subject is a very important one. If the utilization of heat could be carried to 3 per cent., as in most machines, it might be possible to make ice cheaper in New York than to gather, store, and transport it.


Some months ago the telegraph announced that a Congress of Americanistes had met in Nancy in France, and few people in this country could imagine who the congressmen were or whether they were of this country. It was, in fact, the meeting of a society, composed chiefly of Europeans, which means to prosecute studies in the history, language, and character of American aborigines. This is a laudable work. America probably offers the most important field for ethnological study in the world. The great extent of her two continents gave the freest scope for the complete development of whatever capacity for civilization her people had; and yet savagism continued here for many centuries after it had ceased in Europe. Thus the student in going back three hundred years can penetrate the past as far in this country as he can reach in Europe by pursuing his inquiries back for two to three thousand years. Under ordinary circumstances this fact would make American history much easier to study than those of Europe where the remnants left by[Pg 136] the savage tribes are dimmed by an extraordinary progress or covered by the débris of centuries of movement. But the truth is it is about as easy to learn the habits of the ancient Britons as those of the American tribes, even the most civilized, five centuries ago. This is partly due to the wanton destruction of valuable records by the early conquerors and partly to the prepossession that most men, even able ones, seem to be shackled with; namely, that the origin of America's former inhabitants is to be sought in some people of Asia. If they would leave that question for the twentieth century to decide, and begin a painstaking inquiry into what was going on in this country before its discovery, ask not who, but what sort of men inhabited it, their habits and their relations, the gentlemen who compose this society of Americanistes would probably reach valuable results. There is plenty to occupy them. If they do not want to grapple at once such a knotty subject as the relation of the Mound Builders to the existing tribes, let them explore Spain for relics of the Aztecs. It is highly probable that records of the most precious character are still to be found there in public archives and in private hands, the descendants perhaps of common soldiers of Cortes's army, who were quite likely to send home during and after the Conquest things that were odd and quaint to them and which would be invaluable to us now. As it is, the time of the Nancy Congress of Americanistes has been too much occupied with efforts to make the ancient inhabitants of this country a tag to one of the numerous Asian migrations. All such attempts have been failures, for the simple reason that we do not have facts enough to prove any theory. Still they have done some good work, and though the subject is not of the most importance, we can but think that M. Comettant's paper on "Music in America" before its discovery by Columbus must have been as correct in purpose as it appears daring in subject.

Some seeds will germinate when placed between pieces of ice and kept at a freezing temperature; and it is thought that, this method will afford an easy means of selecting varieties of seed which will bear a cold climate.

The explosion in the coal mines at Jabin, Belgium, last February, was due to the ignition of fine coal powder suspended in the air.

A Vienna lady, who had been maid of honor to the Empress Maria Theresa, lately died in that city at the age of one hundred and nineteen years. That is certainly a well established case of longevity extending beyond a century.

The rare metal vanadium is worth 13,000 francs ($2,600) per pound; about eight times as much as gold. And yet vanadium is, as Dr. Hayes has shown, a very widely diffused metal. It forms, however, only a mere trace in most rocks.

W. Siemens has lately determined velocity of propagation of electricity in suspended iron telegraph wires, and finds it to be between 30,000 and 35,000 miles per second. Kirchhoff had determined it at 21,000 miles and Wheatstone at 61,900 miles.

Prof. Forel of Switzerland has proved that the water of lakes oscillates almost constantly from one bank to another, and this not only from end to end, but also from side to side. Thus the Swiss lakes have two Seiches, as they are called, in opposite directions.

The sewage schemes have had a good many indignant critics and fervent defenders. Of the former is Mr. Louis Thompson, who says that the sewage discharged into seacoast harbors floats on the surface, being lighter than salt water. Its solid portions are cast up on the shore and in shoal places, there to become the food of animals, among which are shell fish, that serve for man's food.

Boys' kites can be kept from plunging by making both the wood cross pieces in the form of a bow, instead of flat. The string is placed a little above the centre of the upright bow, and a very light tail attached. These kites are very steady, and if a string attached to one side of the centre is pulled after the kite has risen, it can be made to fly as much as thirty degrees from the wind. For this reason it is proposed to use kites for bringing a vessel to windward.

[Pg 137]


Mrs. Annie Edwards's last book[K] does not open well in point of style. The first paragraph of the first chapter is: "She was a woman of nearly thirty when I first saw her; a woman spiritless and worn beyond her years," etc. This beginning not only a chapter but a book with a pronoun implying an antecedent is very bad, in the low and vulgar way of badness. It brings to mind the superhuman daily efforts of the "American humorist" of journalism to be funny; and it should be left to him and to his kind. And in the next paragraph Mrs. Edwards describes her heroine as "walking wearily along the weary street of Chesterford St. Mary." Bad style again, and this time in the way of affectation. A man's way may be weary if he is tired or weak; but not even then should it be so called, when he has just been spoken of as weary himself, or as walking wearily; and weary as applied descriptively to a village street is almost nonsense. These defects are not important, but they arrest attention as being at the very opening of the story. And it must be confessed that for a chapter or two "A Point of Honor" is rather slight in texture and commonplace. It is, however, interesting enough to lead us on, and the reader who holds his way into the third or fourth chapter is repaid. The authoress then warms up to her work, and begins to show her quality, which is that of a true literary artist. We do not say a great artist, be it observed, but a true artist. She paints only genre pictures; but unlike most works of that class (on canvas at least), they are not mere representations of pretty faces and pretty clothes. She works with a real knowledge of the human heart, and her work is full of feeling. She does nothing in the grand style; even her most loving women do not have grand passions; but all her work is truthful and warm with real life, and her earnest people are really in earnest. The story of "A Point of Honor" is interesting, although its incidents are not all out of the common way. Gifford Mohun, the handsome young heir of Yatton, an estate in Devonshire, loves, when he is only twenty, one Jane Grand, a beautiful and sweet-natured girl who is only a year younger than himself. Nothing is known of her history. She herself does not know her own parentage. All this has been concealed from her at her father's request, and with some reason; for it comes out that she is the daughter of a felon, who died in the hulks, by a minor French actress, a modification of whose name, Grandet, she bears. When she knows this, she refuses to taint Mohun's name and life with such dishonor, and he accepts her decision; doing so with two implications on the part of the authoress: first, that he was selfish in doing so at all; next, that doing it he did it coldly and with a false affectation of feeling. He leaves Yatton and its neighborhood, and plunges into dissipation. Jane remains at Chesterford, leading her solitary life and loving him. Meantime the vicar, Mr. Follett, a man of strong nature, much tenderness, and great tact, whose character is admirably drawn, loves Jane, and quietly bides his time. After ten years, however, Mohun returns, walks into Jane's parlor, and asks her to be friends with him. She, loving him no less than ever, assents gladly, and thereafter he is almost domesticated in her cottage. He has become somewhat gross in manner and in speech, as well as in person; but Jane loves him, and watches for his coming, day by day, as when she was a girl. This goes on for some months, with a slight admixture of the curate, when all at once a new personage appears upon the scene. Mohun receives a letter, which he shows to Jane, and asks her advice about. It is from a Matty Fergusson, whom he remembers as the untidy little daughter of some disreputable people he knew something of at a German watering place. She tells a sad tale of destitution, and asks him to recommend her to some of his friends as a governess or companion. He is dis[Pg 138]gusted and angered at the intrusion, and proposes to send her a five-pound note, or perhaps ten pounds, and so end the matter. But Jane, whom he asks to write the letter for him, is touched with pity for the poor girl's forlornness and suffering, and writes an invitation to her to come to Chesterford and visit her for a week. She brings a Greek horse within the walls of her little Troy. She and Gifford expect to see a poor, meek, limp, shabbily dressed slip of a girl; but Miss Matty Fergusson enters the cottage a tall and magnificently beautiful young woman; her grandeur both of toilet and person quite dwarfing the poor little cottage and its poor little mistress. The end is now visible. Matty Fergusson is the adventuress daughter of an adventuress mother. Nothing was true in her letter except the story of her poverty; and she has played this game with the direct purpose of catching the master of Yatton. She succeeds; and when Jane speaks to him about its being time for his overwhelming young friend to depart, he becomes rude and makes a brutal speech, which undeceives Jane, and kills her love for him. Mohun, however, does not give himself up to the Fergusson without an attempt at freedom, and an endeavor to resume his relations with Jane, whom he now appreciates at her full worth. He confesses and deplores his fault and begs forgiveness, and offers to break with Miss Fergusson at any cost, if Jane will give him back her love. But she, although she forgives, will not receive him again on the old footing, and he drives off with his handsome adventuress wife, and Jane loves and is married to Mr. Follett. The story is told with great and yet with very simple skill, and the characters of the few personages are revealed rather than portrayed. And by the way, we remark upon Mrs. Edwards's ability to interest her readers and work out a story with few materials. She rarely depends for her effects upon more than four or five personages. She is equally reserved in her manner. She does not paint black and white, but with human tints only in light and shadow. In this book Mohun's selfishness is shown with a very delicate hand, and although we are left in no doubt as to his real character, he is dealt with in such an impartial and artistic spirit, that some similarly selfish men will apologize for him and some others will, it may be hoped, read themselves in him and struggle against the worse part of their natures. Jane is, perhaps, more angel than woman, but then a good woman who loves is so often truly angelic with an admixture of human passion that makes her more loveable as well as more loving than any angel ever was, that we cannot find fault with poor Jane's perfection. In reading this book we cannot but remark the common nature of its subject in women's novels nowadays. The themes on which they write endless variations are the selfishness of men, and the unselfishness of women in love. Of the men in the women-written novels of the day, so many are plausible, agreeable, clever, accomplished, heartless creatures; only a few escape the general condemnation, and they are those queer creatures "women's men"—impossible, and bores, like Daniel Deronda. The heroines, major and minor, love devotedly. But George Eliot does not fall into the latter blunder. For some reason she is able to see the feminine as well as the masculine side of social and sexual selfishness. This treatment of men on the part of the sex is remarkable, for women themselves will admit and do admit, in unguarded moments, that there is somewhat less of disinterestedness in this matter on woman's side than on man's. But the point, we suppose, is this, that woman, when she does love with all her heart, loves with a blind devotion, an exclusiveness of admiration and of passion, and a persistency, which she demands from man, which, not having, she doubts whether she is loved at all, and which, it must be confessed, rare in woman, is much more rare in man, with whom indeed it is exceptional. The truth is that man's love is as different from woman's as his body is; but it is, therefore, none the less worth having if she would only think so. Man is made to have less exclusiveness of feeling in this respect than woman has. He would not be man else, nor she woman if she were otherwise. The mistake is in her expectation of receiving exactly the same as she gives. She has found out that she does not get it, or does so very rarely, and the men in women's novels of the Gifford Mohun type are one of the ways in which she proclaims and avenges her wrongs.

—"The Barton Experiment," by "the[Pg 139] author of 'Helen's Babies,'"[L] cannot be called a novel—hardly a tale—and yet it is a story—the story of a great "temperance movement" at Barton, which is supposed to be a village somewhere at the west—in Kentucky, we should say, from certain local references. We do not know who the author of Helen's Babies is—he, and Helen, and her babies being alike strangers to us; but he is a clever writer, and a humorist, with no little dramatic power. His personages are studies from nature, and have individuality and life; albeit they reveal a somewhat narrow horizon of observation. He uses largely, but always humorously, the western style of exaggeration; as, for example, when he makes one of his reformers tell a steamboat captain that if he will stop drinking whiskey, he will make a reputation, and "be as famous as the Red River raft or the Mammoth Cave—the only thing of the sort west of the Alleghanies." He describes his people in a way that shows that he has them in the eye of his imagination; as in this portrait of a Mrs. Tappelmine: "With face, hair, eyes, and garments of the same color, the color itself being neutral; small, thin, faded, inconspicuous, poorly clad, bent with labors which had yielded no return, as dead to the world as saints strive to be, yet remaining in the world for the sake of those whom she had often wished out of it," etc. The book is in every way clever, and its purpose is admirable—the lesson which it is written to teach being that personal effort and personal sacrifice on the part of reformers is necessary to reclaim hard drinkers. But the radical fault of all such moral story writing is that the writer makes his puppets do as he likes. The drinking steamboat captain yields to the persuasions of his friend, and even submits to necessary personal restraint. But how if he had not yielded? Old Tappelmine gives up his whiskey for the sake of money and employment, which inducements are strongly backed by his neutral-colored wife; but how if he had been brutally selfish and immovable? In both these cases, and in all the others, failure was at least quite as likely as success. People in real life cannot be managed as they can upon paper. Still the book contains a truth, and is likely to do good.

—The same publishers have also brought out an illustrated book by Bayard Taylor,[M] which is suitable to the coming holiday season. It is a collection of short tales of adventure in different parts of the world, in which boys take a prominent part. It is one of the fruits of the author's extended travels, and is manly, simple, and healthy—a very good sort of book for those for whom it is intended, which, in these days of mawkish or feverish "juvenile" literature, is saying much for it.

—Why Miss Thacher should call a little book, which contains a little collection of little sketches, "Seashore and Prairie," we do not see. It is rather a big and an affected name for such a slight thing. But it is bright and pleasant, and well suited to the needs of those who cannot fix their attention long upon any subject. We regret to see in it marks of that extravagance and affectation in the use of language which are such common blemishes of style in our ephemeral literature. For example: a very sensible and much needed plea for the preservation of birds, is called "The Massacre of the Innocents;" and we are told that "a St. Bartholomew of birds has been inaugurated." Miss Thacher should leave this style of writing to the newspaper reporters.

—The large circle of readers who are interested in Palestine, and the lands and waters round about it, will find Mr. Warner's last book of travel[N] very pleasant reading—full of information and suggestion. He observes closely, describes nature with a true feeling for her beauties, and men with spirit and a fine apprehension of their peculiarities. He is not very reverent, and breaks some idols which have been worshipped. He is not an admirer of the Hebrews, or of anything that is theirs, except their literature. His style is lively and agreeable, but we cannot call it either elegant or correct. He tells some "traveller's stories;" for instance, one about catching [Pg 140]an eagle's feather on horseback (pp. 103, 104). True he "has the feather to show;" but on the whole he makes not too many overdrafts upon the credulity of his readers, and does not color much too highly.

—In his latest tale[O] Mr. Yates introduces American characters, following what seems to be the prevailing fashion among English authors, especially those who are not of the first rank. Mr. Yates manages his foreign scenes and characters with good judgment, but his Americans we should not recognize as such without his introduction. The scene of the story is in England. Sir Frederick Randall, a dissolute young nobleman, is condemned to imprisonment, under an assumed name, for forgery. Making his escape, he woos a beautiful and innocent American girl, the daughter of a petroleum millionaire from Oil City. As he is already married, it is necessary to dispose of one wife before he takes another. This he does by throwing madam over a cliff by the seashore. Caught by projecting bushes, she is, without his knowledge, rescued alive by some Americans, who are yachting off the coast. One of these Americans has long loved Minnie Adams, the pretty American girl, but she and her parents are fascinated by Sir Frederick's title and the expected introduction to high-class English society. Minnie marries the would-be murderer, and after a year of trouble and brutal treatment, severe sickness ensues, during which she is nursed by her husband's first and only legal wife. Finally Sir Frederick is murdered by an old comrade of his debaucheries, and the two wives are equitably distributed between the two American gentlemen.

—Messrs. Hurd & Houghton are doing good service in reissuing the Riverside edition of the Waverley Novels.[P] The well-chosen proportion of page and type and the excellent work of the Riverside press have combined to make these volumes, what American books are too apt not to be—a thing of permanent beauty. The publishers intend to bring out the edition quite rapidly. Five volumes are ready, and the others will follow at the rate of one each month. The present is the great era of mediocre men. A horde of novel writers gain their living successfully enough, and we take them up and talk about what they are doing, and how their works compare with each other, as if their doings had real importance. But what are they to the enduring genius of Abbotsford? He has not only proved an inexhaustible source of delight to two generations of readers, but has founded an industry—the publication of his works—which is likely to be for scores of years to come a permanent source of livelihood to hundreds.

It is evident that we have not a new light of poetry in Mr. Voldo.[Q] He tells us that this is a first attempt, and it may well be the last, for he seems to have been led—and misled—into the practice of poetic expression by a certain gift, in his case fatal, of rhythm. The flow of his lines is far superior to the meaning or the expression. In fact the latter is so involved and farfetched, that the former is often entirely obscured. To find out what it is he tries to tell us would really be a painful process, and the few attempts we have made were too immediately fatiguing to produce any results. Two of his poems are worth reading, one because its versification is well managed, and the other because its story is simple and naturally told. It is a relief after so many pages of overstraining at words, and it shows that Mr. Voldo can be really pleasant, if he will only be simple. Well, two out of fifty is above the average!

It is only two years since a prominent American geologist wrote to a foreign scientific paper that he had been on the point of sending to Germany for two or three men to assist him in an important State survey.[R] His reason for this determination was that our country did not possess men competent to find and follow up intelligently the different strata; except those who were already engaged on other surveys. Luckily this discreditable act was prevented by the sudden [Pg 141]abandonment of one of these other surveys, which released assistants enough to satisfy this extremely difficult gentleman. The truth is that, by some means, geological science has been pushed in this country with great vigor and with grand results. Within the last ten years there has been a revival of energy in that particular science which recalls the golden days of Hugh Miller, Murchison, Agassiz, and Lyell. The time when the very exacting gentleman, above alluded to, could not find helpers on this side of the Atlantic, was the middle point around which were grouped the surveys of Newberry and Andrews in Ohio, Clarence King in Nevada, Whitney in California, Wheeler and Powell south of the Pacific Railroad, and Hayden north of that line. Michigan was just finishing a partial, but extremely productive, survey of her mineral regions. Missouri had plunged hopefully into another. Pennsylvania was planning the comprehensive work in which Leslie and his aids are now engaged. Indiana, New Jersey, and other States had taken the great steps so much desired by the initiated all over the world, and had made the geologist a standing member of their government. All this had been done without the necessary importation of a foreigner. One or two foreigners had obtained employment on these surveys, but only because they came here and sought the work. Nearly every one of the young men who performed the work of assistants was an American. It is safe to say that in this revival of geological work from twenty to fifty young Americans have learned to be scientific men. As to the results of their activity, it is sufficient to read a report like that of Mr. Powell, to find how rapidly they are adding to our knowledge of the earth's history, and even altering the canons of scientific belief. Mr. Powell tells us that in his first expedition, eight years ago, and for three years after that, he tried hard to find in the west the equivalents of the State epochs and periods so well known as the basis of geological nomenclature, and nearly all taken from the exposures in New York and other Eastern and Southeastern States. It was not until this attempt was abandoned that he began to make progress. He had to study the western regions by themselves, and leave correspondences to the future. That was the experience of all the workers in the west, and it brings plainly to view the great fact, of which not all, even of our best known geologists, are yet fully persuaded, that the geological record, though doubtless a unit, is not uniform over the whole country. These shackles thrown off, the geology of the west leaped up with a vigor which is astonishing. It seemed to be pretty evident, from Prof. Huxley's lectures here, that he had not before imagined what results had been obtained in America. This is not surprising. Few foreigners are able to keep along with the work performed in this country, where there is such a direful supposed lack of workers! It is a fact that at present there is no part of the world where the discoveries made in this science are of so general importance as here. The Rocky mountains owe their name "to great and widely spread aridity," the mountains being "scantily clothed with vegetation and the indurated lithologic formations rarely masked with soils." But there are many systems of uplifts in this region, and Mr. Powell distinguishes three in the field covered by his report. They are the Park mountains ("the lofty mountains that stand as walls about the great parks of Southern Wyoming, Colorado, and Northern New Mexico"); the Basin Range system (named by Gilbert from the fact that many of them surround basins that have no drainage to the sea); and the Plateau Province. It is worth remarking that in the west the geologist precedes or accompanies the topographer, and accordingly has an opportunity to name the regions according to real peculiarities rather than chance suggestions. The future map will be significant of the past history as well as of the ocular features of the landscape. Mr. Powell gives careful sections of the strata in the Plateau Province, where they are about 46,000 feet thick. Few persons imagine the vast amount of work, exploration, and comparison which such drawings embody. The beds form a series of groups unlike those of the New York geologists, but the great geologic ages are as well defined as elsewhere. The synchronism remains to be fully established by palæontological proofs. He thinks he has been able to fix upon the[Pg 142] true point of division between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic ages, and to prove that coal was deposited through about 7,000 feet of Cretaceous and about 4,500 feet of Cenozoic beds. Mr. Powell's literary style is excellent—not involved, but clear and energetic. He was wise to abandon the idea of publishing an itinerary, which would, as he says, "encumber geological literature with a mass of undigested facts of little value." Geology has enough of such meaningless reports. As it is, we follow him with confidence, and he gives us a story that is plain and comprehensible.

The publications of the Massachusetts Board of Health[S] have been of a superior character, and have given that organization decided prominence among similar American boards. The question of how to prevent river pollution in their State they think can best be solved by placing advisory power in the hands of some Government officer, upon whose conclusions legislative action for each case should be based. This officer would be paid by the parties in interest. Good results are to be obtained only by comparing and altering when necessary what is done. In this country too little is known about this subject, and the appointment of an official "with power" is the first step toward knowledge. The suggestions made as to the way to deal with sewage are also mostly good, but it is doubtful whether general purification can wisely be enforced in the present state of sanitary science. If there are any very bad cases of pollution, they may properly be provided for in the way suggested, and experience gained from them. The lack of experience here is partially corrected by studying the work accomplished abroad; but a rapid review of such work can never replace the slower results of individual experience. The report of Mr. Kirkwood, the engineer, adds to the abundant testimony we already have of the efficacy and power of Nature's quietest work. Analyses show that the water of Charles river above the Newton lower falls is, when filtered, fit, though barely fit, to drink, and yet it has received the refuse of forty-two mills and factories, with a population of 14,000 persons known to be sewering into the river, and a population in the basin of three times that number. The river has a dry-weather flow of only twenty million gallons in twenty-four hours. On the general subject of sewage utilization the secretary concludes that in this country the sewage has no value, but can in some places, at least, be utilized without loss. In the death rate of Massachusetts towns the village of Canton (4,192 population) carries the palm, with only 11.9 deaths per thousand. Holyoke, 56.5 per thousand, has the highest.

—The report that a city is to be built in England on strict sanitary principles, in which man may, if he will, live to a hundred and fifty years of age, will give additional interest to this address[T] in which Dr. Richardson develops the project. The address was delivered a year ago, when the Doctor was president of the Health Department of the Social Science Association. It deserves attention because it indicates, pretty nearly, the goal toward which all the conscious and unconscious improvement in our living for centuries has tended. Whether man can obtain such control over the duration of his life depends very largely upon whether he finds himself able to submit to the discipline and self-abnegation without which the mechanical improvements made will have only partial success. Perfect living is not merely a thing of appliances. These are necessary, but the subjection of the will to the requirements of orderly conduct is equally necessary. However, Dr. Richardson says that "Utopia is but another word for time," and it is certain that his ideal of public and private life will be at least approached by the slow progress of small improvements. Some people have objected that they don't want to live a century and a half, and that a city where men two hundred years of age might occasionally be seen walking about is just the place they would most carefully avoid. But we can none of us escape our fate. If society is progressing toward that end, let us accept it, and even allow the men of science to hurry up matters a century or two. It is, perhaps, significant that this change in man's estate [Pg 143]comes just at the time when a reduction in the rate of interest is taking place, and it seems likely that a man will have to live to a hundred years in order to accumulate enough to buy him a house. When he has it, he will need another half century to enjoy it. At all events read this ideal, extraordinary, and learned exposition of the health of the future.

—The idea of collecting in one volume a concise statement of modern theories of the mode in which we receive impressions is excellent, and it has been well carried out by Prof. Bernstein.[U] Touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste are treated from an anatomical and experimental point of view, and the researches of Helmholtz, Weber, and the numerous band of investigators who have in late years devised so many ingenious modes of testing the operation of these senses are well represented. The book contains probably as much exact and accurate information, and as thorough a treatment of the subject, as can be contained in a volume of this size. It is an advanced treatise that places the reader in possession of the latest theories on these occult subjects. Of necessity it is not new; but this treatment and the facts here given will be found novel by most readers.


[K] "A Point of Honor." By Mrs. Annie Edwards. 16mo, pp. 325. New York: Sheldon & Co.

[L] "The Barton Experiment." By the author of "Helen's Babies." New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

[M] "Boys of Other Countries. Stories for American Boys." By Bayard Taylor. 12mo, pp. 164. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

[N] "In the Levant." By C. D. Warner. 12mo, pp. 374. Boston: J. R. Osgood & Co.

[O] "Going to the Bad. A Novel." By Edmund Yates. Boston: William F. Gill & Co. 75 cts.

[P] "Waverley Novels." Riverside Edition. "Waverley," "Guy Mannering," "Rob Roy," "The Antiquary." New York: Hurd & Houghton. $3.50 per volume.

[Q] "A Song of America, and Minor Lyrics." By V. Voldo. New York: Hanscom & Co.

[R] "Report on the Geology of the Eastern Portion of the Unita Mountains and Adjacent Country." With Atlas. By J. W. Powell. Washington: Department of the Interior.

[S] "Seventh Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Massachusetts." Boston: Wright & Potter.

[T] "Hygeia: A City of Health." By Benjamin Ward Richardson. MacMillan & Co.

[U] "The Five Senses of Man." By Julius Bernstein. Illustrated. New York: D. Appleton & Co. (International Scientific Series.)


"Outlines of Lectures on the History of Philosophy." By J. J. Elmendorf, L.L. D. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York.

"Modern Materialism; its Attitude Toward Theology." By J. Martineau, L.L. D. The same.

"A Child's Book of Religion." By O. B. Frothingham. The same.

"An Alphabet in Finance." By G. McAdam. The same.

"Roddy's Ideal." By Helen K. Johnson. The same.

"History of French Literature." By Henri Van Laren. The same.

"Lectures on the History of Preaching." By J. A. Broadus, D. D., LL. D. Sheldon & Co., New York.

"Why Four Gospels?" By Rev. D. D. Gregory. The same.

"Rules for Conducting Business in Deliberative Assemblies." By P. H. Mell, D.D., LL.D. The same.

"A Young Man's Difficulties with His Bible." By D. W. Faunce, D.D. The same.

"A Vocabulary of English Rhymes." By Rev. S. W. Barnum. D. Appleton & Co., New York.

"The Carlyle Anthology." By E. Barrett. H. Holt & Co., New York.

"Our Mutual Friend." By Charles Dickens. Condensed by R. Johnson. The same.

"Life and Times of William Samuel Johnston, LL.D." By E. E. Beardsley, D.D., LL.D. Hurd & Houghton, New York.

"Washington. A Drama in Five Acts." By Martin F. Tupper. J. Miller, New York.

"Castle Windows." By L. C. Strong. H. B. Nims & Co., Troy, N. Y.

"That New World, and Other Poems." By Mrs. S. M. B. Piatt. J. R. Osgood & Co., Boston.

"Light on the Clouds; or, Hints of Comfort for Hours of Sorrow." By M. J. Savage. Lockwood, Brooks & Co., Boston.

"In the Sky Garden." By L. W. Champney. The same.

"The Religion of Evolution." By M. J. Savage. The same.

"Student Life at Harvard." The same.

"Long Ago. (A year of Child life)." By Ellis Gray. The same.

"The Young Trail Hunters; or, The Wild Riders of the Plains." By S. W. Cozzens. Lee & Sheppard, Boston.

"Vine and Olive; or, Young America in Spain and Portugal." By W. T. Adams (Oliver Optic). The same.

"The National Ode." By Bayard Taylor. W. F. Gill & Co., Boston.

"Hold the Fort." By P. P. Bliss. The same.

"The Poetical and Prose Writings of Charles Sprague." A. Williams & Co., Boston.

"Corinne; or, Italy. A Love Story." By Mme. De Stael. T. B. Peterson & Bro., Philadelphia.

"Frank Nelson in the Forecastle; or, The Sportsman's Club among the Whalers." By Harry Castlemon. The same.

"Fridthjof's Saga. A Norse Romance." By E. Fegner, Bishop of Mexico. S. C. Griggs & Co., Chicago.

"Viking Tales of the North." By Anderson. The same.

"Michigan Board of Agriculture. 1875." Lansing, Mich.

[Pg 144]


—During the progress of the canvass for the Presidential election—in our September number—we made a promise which seemed about the safest that could be made, but which proved to be a rash one—so rash that at this moment we are entirely unable to redeem it—as unable as if we had undertaken to say which exhibitor at the Philadelphia Exhibition would not get a medal. We said that we would give our readers accurate information, in our December number, as to which party was likely to carry the day. What may happen before these words are printed and laid before our readers we cannot tell; and the experience of the past few weeks has taught us caution as to prediction and promise, even upon apparent certainty; but although the election is more than a month past, we do not know who is to be President, and no one is wiser on this subject than we are. The matter is not one to be treated lightly. It is of the gravest possible importance. No consequence of our civil war is more serious or more deplorable than that condition of the former slave States, which has caused this prolonged uncertainty with regard to the result of the election, and that political state of the whole country which has made this uncertainty the occasion of such intense and embittered feeling, and such desperate measures by the managers of both the great political parties. In fact, the war of secession is not at an end. Twelve years have passed since the military forces of the seceders surrendered to those of the Government, but the contest, or one arising from it, prolongs itself into the present, when those are men who, when the war broke out, were too young to understand its causes. And at the same time we are suffering, in our prostrate trade and almost extinguished commerce, another grievous consequence of the same dire internecine struggle. Truly ourselves and our institutions are sorely tried. A like combination of disastrous circumstances would bring about a revolution in any other country. If we go through this trial safely, we may not only feel thankful, but take some reasonable pride in the national character and in the political institutions that will bear such a long and severe strain without breaking. And yet we all have faith that we shall endure it and come out in the end more stable and more prosperous than ever.

—The cause of this trouble is a change in the political substance and the political habits of the country, of which the average citizen seems to have little knowledge and of which he takes less thought. We do not refer to the change of the functions of the Electoral College from those of a real electing body to those of a mere recorder of the votes of the people of the several States, which has been much remarked upon of late years. That change took place very early; and thus far it has been productive of no trouble or even of inconvenience. If that were all, there would be little need of any modification of our system of electing the President. But there has been of later years—say within the last half century—a change from the political condition of the country to which the Electoral College was adapted. We are in the habit, in patriotic moments, of lauding the wisdom and the foresight of the fathers of the republic. And they were wise, and good, and patriotic men; but as to their foresight, it would seem that we are to-day a living witness that they were quite incapable of seeing into the political future. We are now demanding that the Electoral College shall be abolished, and the President be elected by a direct popular vote; and yet nothing is surer than that the distinct purpose of the founders of our Federal Union was to prevent such an election. Their design was to establish, not a democratic government, working more or less by mass-meeting—a direct vote of the mass of the citizens—but a representative republican government, in which the people should commit their affairs to their representatives, who should have[Pg 145] full power to manage them according to their discretion, entirely irrespective of the dictation of their constituents, although not without respect for their opinions and wishes. The doctrine of instruction, by which the representative is turned into a mere delegate—a sort of political attorney—is new and is entirely at variance with the design of the founders of the republic, to which, of course, the Constitution was adapted. It was supposed, assumed as a matter of course, by them that there would always be a body of men of high character and intelligence, who would have sufficient leisure to perform the functions of legislators, governors, and other officers, for a small compensation, and that the people at large would freely commit their affairs to these gentlemen, choosing, of course, those whose general political views were most in accordance with their own. So it was at the time of the war of Independence, and at that of the formation of the Constitution. Of such a political conception the Electoral College was a legitimate product. The "Fathers" didn't mean that the people should decide between the merits of the candidates for the Presidency. They thought—and shall we therefore decry their wisdom?—that a small body of intelligent and well educated men, men of character and social position, accustomed to the study of public affairs, was better fitted to choose such an officer as the President of the United States than the whole mass of the people. Moreover, the people themselves have changed, and have become in substance and in condition something that the "Fathers" did not dream of. States in which the vote of the mass of the citizens should be in the hands of negroes or of emigrants from the peasant class of Europe were not among the political conditions for which their foresight provided.

—The great controlling fact in our politics is this one, so little regarded not only by the general public, but by men in active political life—the thorough change which has taken place in our society and in the attitude of the people toward the Government. As a consequence of this change, political power has passed almost entirely out of the hands of the class of men to whom the framers of our Constitution intended to commit the administration of the Government which they called into being. It has fallen into those of men generally much inferior in cultivation and in position. And as we have already said, the very substance of the political constituency has changed. A suffrage practically universal and a controlling vote in one part of the country of emancipated negro slaves and in the other of uneducated foreign emigrants was not the political power to which Franklin, and Jefferson, and Hamilton and Adams, and their co-workers, supposed they were required to adapt their frame of government. And now no small part of our difficulty arises from the failure of a very large portion of our people, North as well as South, to perceive or at least fully to appreciate this change and its inevitable consequences. It is agreed by all students of political history, that the weakness of a written constitution lies in its inflexibility; and the error of many of our political managers lies in their failure to appreciate this truth and their assumption that the country is to be governed now just as it was in the days of Washington. But the fact is that such a condition of political affairs as now exists in South Carolina and in Louisiana would have been not only morally but physically impossible in the earlier years of the republic. "The people" in those States, and to a certain extent in all the States, but chiefly at the South, has not the same meaning that it had three-quarters of a century ago. Over the whole country the conditions of our political problem have changed; but most of all there; and the result is a strain upon our political institutions, and even upon our social institutions, which taxes their stability to the utmost. The present crisis is only inferior in its gravity to that which preceded the attempted secession; and now as then South Carolina takes the lead. But serious as the peril is, we shall pass through it safely. We did not emerge safely from the greater danger, to be overwhelmed by the less. Wisdom and firmness in the highest degree are demanded by the emergency; but wisdom and firmness will control it, and whatever measures may become necessary we may be sure that they will be fraught with no peril to our liberties, or to the[Pg 146] stability of our Government. The nervous apprehension exhibited by some people that any grave political disturbance and consequent manifestation of power on the part of the central Government is likely to end in a usurpation, and an enslavement of the American people, may be surely characterized, if not as weak, at least as unwarranted. Think of it coolly for a moment, and see how absurd it is. Any man born and bred in the United States ought to be ashamed to entertain such a notion for a moment. If we look back through the long and weary years of our civil war, we shall find that mistakes were made on the side of the arbitrary exercise of power, from which a few individuals suffered; but indefensible as some of these were, according to the strict letter of the law, we can now see their real harmlessness to the public as clearly as we see the error of those who committed them. At no time have our liberties been in less peril than when the President of the United States had under his absolute command an army larger than that ever actually controlled by any monarch (fables and exaggerations allowed for), and when the warrant of the Secretary of War would have lodged any man in a Federal fortress. We see now the folly of the vaticinations against the endurance of our liberty which were uttered by many foreign wiseacres and some weak-kneed natives. Whatever may come of our present trouble, let us not forget the lessons of our recent experience. In spite of any bugaboo we shall remain a Federal republic and a free people.

—One accompaniment of the singular result of the election has been sufficiently ridiculous—the daily reports of "the situation" as they appeared in the columns and at the doors of the Republican and Democratic newspapers. The phrase "to lie like a bulletin" has been justified to the fullest extent. On which side lay the deviation from truth it was impossible to say; but if one respectable journal's assertions were true, the others surely were false. It was strange and laughable to read on one bulletin board, "Republican Victory! Election of Hayes! South Carolina and Florida ours by large majorities!" and then to find only a few yards off a no less flaming announcement of "Democratic Triumph! Tilden elected! South Carolina and Florida give decided Democratic majorities!" And this was not only ridiculous, but somewhat incomprehensible. For the newspapers which made these flatly contradictory announcements at the same time and within short distances, all equally prided themselves on their reputation as purveyors of news—news that could be relied upon. Moreover, their means of obtaining news are pretty well known to the public and quite well to each other. True the "reliable gentleman," and the "distinguished member of Congress," figured somewhat largely as the sources of those very discrepant statements; and those persons are notoriously untrustworthy; even more so than the "intelligent contraband" of the war times. But after all it was a puzzle—unless, indeed, upon the assumption that these newspapers published each of them, not what they knew to be the fact, but what they thought their readers would like to be told; a theory not to be entertained for a moment. Nevertheless the facts as they presented themselves did seem to be worthy of some candid consideration by the journalistic mind; for to mere outsiders they seemed to point to the prudence and safety, to say the least, of more caution and reserve of assertion, with the certainty that the introduction of these new elements into the news department of journalism would tend to the elevation of the profession, and would beget a confidence in that department of our leading journals which it may perhaps be safely said does not exist in a very high degree at present. Possibly, however, the question may have presented itself in this form to the journalistic mind: "If we continue to announce victory for our own party, and it so turns out in the end, we are all right, and we shall have pleased our readers." If the contrary, we shall merely have to denounce the frauds of our opponents which have falsified the truth that we told, and we shall have pleased our readers all the same." Ingenious gentlemen.

—Among the humors of the election is one so significant that it should not be allowed to pass by unrecorded. One[Pg 147] Irish "American" was describing to another the glories of a procession which had made night hideous to those not particularly interested in it; and he closed the glowing account by saying, "Oh, it wuz an illigent purrceshin intoirely! Div'l a naygur or a Yankee int' ut!" Doubtless this gentleman would think an election equally illigant in which neither a naygur nor a Yankee presumed to vote.

—The period of the election excitement was marked also by the close of the great Centennial Exhibition, which must be regarded as a very great success, and which, we are pleased to record, proved far more successful pecuniarily than we anticipated that it would. Among the grand expositions of the world's industry this one stands alone, we believe, in its possession of a surplus over and above its enormous expenses. This, however, is but one witness to the admirable manner in which it was managed. But even if it had failed in this respect, as at first it seemed probable that it would, the money lost would have been well spent in producing the impression which it left upon all, or nearly all, of the intelligent foreigners whom it drew to Philadelphia. We happen to have heard some of these, who had not only been present at other exhibitions of the same kind in Europe, but had held the position of judges there, say that the Philadelphia exhibition was superior to all the others, not, it is true, in the beauty and value of the foreign articles exhibited, but in the native productions and in the arrangement, the system and discipline of the whole affair. The American machinery and tools elicited the highest admiration from qualified European judges. They found in them the results of a union of the highest scientific acquirement with a corresponding excellence of material and exactness in manufacture. All the tools used in the higher departments of mechanics elicited this expression of admiration, and with regard to those exhibited by two or three manufacturers the approbation was without qualification and in the highest terms. This result will be largely beneficial to our national reputation; for it was just in these respects, science, thoroughness, and exactness, that our foreign critics were prepared to find us wanting.

—The richness and variety of American slang is remarked upon by almost all English travellers, who, however, might find at home, in the language of high-born people, departures from purity quite as frequent and as great as those prevalent with us, although perhaps not so gross; for it must be confessed that most of our slang is coarse and offensive, at least in form. But the most remarkable American peculiarity in regard to slang, or indeed in regard to any new fangle in language, is the quickness with which it is adopted, and comes, if not into general use, into general knowledge. This readiness of adaptability to slang may, however, be attributed almost entirely to the reporters and correspondents, and "makers-up" of our newspapers, who catch eagerly at anything new in phraseology as well as in fact, to give a temporary interest to their ephemeral writing. Here, for example, is the word "bulldose," the occasion of our remarks. A man who went on a journey to South America or to Europe four months ago would have departed in the depths of deplorable ignorance as to the very existence of this lovely word; returning now, he would find it in full possession of the newspapers—appearing in correspondence, in reports, in sensation headlines, and even in leading articles. Although to the manner born, he would be puzzled at the phraseology of the very newspaper which mingled itself with his earliest recollections and with his breakfast; for there he would find the new word in all possible forms and under all possible modifications: bulldose, the noun, to bulldose, the verb, bulldosing, the present participle, bulldosed, the past participle, and even, to the horror of the author of "Words and their Uses," and in spite of him, being bulldosed, "the continuing participle of the passive voice." Such a phenomenon in language is peculiar to this country. But notwithstanding the fears of the purists and the philologers, it does not threaten the existence of the English language here, nor is it at all likely to affect it permanently even by the addition of one phrase or word. For our use of slang of this kind is the most fleeting of temporary fashions. Such[Pg 148] slang passes rapidly into use and into general recognition, and passes as quickly out again. Bartlett's "Dictionary of Americanisms" is full of words of this kind—locofoco, for example—which lived their short lives, and then passed not only out of use, but out of memory. While they are in vogue, however, they deform our speech, and they tend to increase our habits of looseness in language; and they bring reproach upon us such as that with an allusion to which we began this item. For our reputation's sake we should stop this; it subjects us with some reason to ridicule. But we shall not stop, because the men who could stop it—the editors—will not do so. Very few newspapers in the country—only two or three—are really edited as to the language used in them; and as to slang of this sort, it is regarded as something pleasant to the ears of the average reader, who is supposed to think it funny. This is enough. If the readers want it, the editors will furnish it; and so we may expect to be "bulldosed," or otherwise dosed with some like nauseous mess of language, until journalism has some other purpose than to pander to the lower cravings of the moment.

—It is said that in the schools for girls it is now becoming the fashion to teach the large angular handwriting which is commonly used by Englishwomen. The announcement is welcome and surprising in one respect; for it implies that writing is taught in schools, as to which an acquaintance with the chirography of the rising generation justly awakens some doubts. But as to the beneficial result of the adoption of the style in question, that is a matter of some uncertainty. This angular English hand is very elegant and lovely to look upon in a little note, particularly if it assures you of the fair writer's high regard, or asks you to dinner. But in fact it is so uncertain in its forms that sometimes it is quite difficult to tell which is meant, the high regard or the dinner. We have heard of one case of deplorable uncertainty. A lady going out of town hastily on a short visit left a key upon her husband's table with a slip of paper on which was written in the new style a few words which after much toil and with the hint from the key, he deciphered and read as "Key of wine closet. Please put on gin-sling." He was amazed; for whatever his fondness might have been for gin-sling, it was not his habit to put it on the table. Wherefore he inferred that instead of "gin-sling" he should read "green seal," but there was none of that brand of champagne in the wine closet. Further investigation led him to adopt the reading, "please put on full swing." This, however, he abandoned as not exactly a feminine exhortation in that particular matter. Then for "gin-sling" he read "gunning," and "gun sing," and "grinning," all of course to be abandoned in their turn. Submitted to an expert, the elegant lines were pronounced to be unmistakably, "Key of wine closet. Recase pat on gnu eing," not a highly intelligible letter of instruction. Finally, in his perplexity, he remembered something that the lady had once said upon the subject of the danger of leaving the particular key in question lying about loose or even in an accessible drawer, and then it flashed upon him that the writing was, or was meant to be, "Key of wine closet. Please put on your ring." Hence it appears that the elegant English hand is very easily read when you know what the fair writer means to say. Observe, too, that the perplexity would have been obviated by the introduction of a much needed pronoun—it. If the lady had written, "Put it," etc., there would have been a guide out of the labyrinth. No small part of the obscurity found in writing arises from compression. It is better to take the trouble to write two words, and thereby be understood, than to write one, in angular Anglican elegance, and leave your reader in darkness.